Selective enhancement of low-gamma activity by tACS improves phonemic processing and reading accuracy in dyslexia

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Silvia MarchesottiAnne-Lise Giraud

Abstract

The phonological deficit in dyslexia is associated with altered low-gamma oscillatory function in left auditory cortex, but a causal relationship between oscillatory function and phonemic processing has never been established. After confirming a deficit at 30 Hz with electroencephalography (EEG), we applied 20 minutes of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) to transiently restore this activity in adults with dyslexia. The intervention significantly improved phonological processing and reading accuracy as measured immediately after tACS. The effect was selective to 30 Hz stimulation, and proportional to dyslexia severity. Importantly, we observed that the focal intervention on the left auditory cortex also decreased 30 Hz activity in the right superior temporal cortex, resulting in reinstating a left dominance for the oscillatory response, as present in controls. These findings formally establish a causal role of neural oscillations in phonological processing, and offer solid neurophysiological grounds for a potential correction of low-gamma anomalies, and for alleviating of the phonological deficit in dyslexia.

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