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      Music Training Increases Phonological Awareness and Reading Skills in Developmental Dyslexia: A Randomized Control Trial

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          There is some evidence for a role of music training in boosting phonological awareness, word segmentation, working memory, as well as reading abilities in children with typical development. Poor performance in tasks requiring temporal processing, rhythm perception and sensorimotor synchronization seems to be a crucial factor underlying dyslexia in children. Interestingly, children with dyslexia show deficits in temporal processing, both in language and in music. Within this framework, we test the hypothesis that music training, by improving temporal processing and rhythm abilities, improves phonological awareness and reading skills in children with dyslexia. The study is a prospective, multicenter, open randomized controlled trial, consisting of test, rehabilitation and re-test (ID NCT02316873). After rehabilitation, the music group (N = 24) performed better than the control group (N = 22) in tasks assessing rhythmic abilities, phonological awareness and reading skills. This is the first randomized control trial testing the effect of music training in enhancing phonological and reading abilities in children with dyslexia. The findings show that music training can modify reading and phonological abilities even when these skills are severely impaired. Through the enhancement of temporal processing and rhythmic skills, music might become an important tool in both remediation and early intervention programs.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02316873

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          Most cited references 35

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          Music training for the development of auditory skills.

          The effects of music training in relation to brain plasticity have caused excitement, evident from the popularity of books on this topic among scientists and the general public. Neuroscience research has shown that music training leads to changes throughout the auditory system that prime musicians for listening challenges beyond music processing. This effect of music training suggests that, akin to physical exercise and its impact on body fitness, music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness. Therefore, the role of music in shaping individual development deserves consideration.
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            A temporal sampling framework for developmental dyslexia.

             Usha Goswami (2010)
            Neural coding by brain oscillations is a major focus in neuroscience, with important implications for dyslexia research. Here, I argue that an oscillatory 'temporal sampling' framework enables diverse data from developmental dyslexia to be drawn into an integrated theoretical framework. The core deficit in dyslexia is phonological. Temporal sampling of speech by neuroelectric oscillations that encode incoming information at different frequencies could explain the perceptual and phonological difficulties with syllables, rhymes and phonemes found in individuals with dyslexia. A conceptual framework based on oscillations that entrain to sensory input also has implications for other sensory theories of dyslexia, offering opportunities for integrating a diverse and confusing experimental literature. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Musical training influences linguistic abilities in 8-year-old children: more evidence for brain plasticity.

              We conducted a longitudinal study with 32 nonmusician children over 9 months to determine 1) whether functional differences between musician and nonmusician children reflect specific predispositions for music or result from musical training and 2) whether musical training improves nonmusical brain functions such as reading and linguistic pitch processing. Event-related brain potentials were recorded while 8-year-old children performed tasks designed to test the hypothesis that musical training improves pitch processing not only in music but also in speech. Following the first testing sessions nonmusician children were pseudorandomly assigned to music or to painting training for 6 months and were tested again after training using the same tests. After musical (but not painting) training, children showed enhanced reading and pitch discrimination abilities in speech. Remarkably, 6 months of musical training thus suffices to significantly improve behavior and to influence the development of neural processes as reflected in specific pattern of brain waves. These results reveal positive transfer from music to speech and highlight the influence of musical training. Finally, they demonstrate brain plasticity in showing that relatively short periods of training have strong consequences on the functional organization of the children's brain.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                25 September 2015
                : 10
                : 9
                [1 ]Child Neurology and Psychiatry Ward, Institute for Maternal and Child Health - IRCCS ‘‘Burlo Garofolo”, Trieste, Italy
                [2 ]Center for the Child Health - Onlus, Trieste, Italy
                [3 ]Rehabilitation Center for Developmental Disorders, Villaggio Eugenio Litta, Grottaferrata, Rome, Italy
                [4 ]Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, Institute for Maternal and Child Health - IRCCS ‘‘Burlo Garofolo”, Trieste, Italy
                [5 ]Aix-Marseille Université, INS, Marseille, France
                [6 ]INSERM, U1106, Marseille, France
                MRC Institute of Hearing Research, UNITED KINGDOM
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: EF LL CT SZ DS. Performed the experiments: EF LL CT SZ DS. Analyzed the data: EF MM DS. Wrote the paper: EF LL CT MM SZ DS.


                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 3, Pages: 17
                The financial support was given by the Mariani Foundation of Milan (Grant R-11-85). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                The data have been uploaded to Figshare, with the following DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1537406.



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