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Keywords:

  • Dyslexia;
  • Event-related potential;
  • Mismatch negativity;
  • Prematurity;
  • Reading acquisition

Abstract

Aim:  To study whether a dyslexia remediation programme, Audilex, improves cognition in extremely low birth (ELBW) children.

Methods:  Six-year-old ELBW children were allocated to a 5-week training with Audilex or playing control computer games. Before and after intervention, auditory event-related brain potentials (ERP) to sound changes were recorded and reading related skills assessed. Primary outcome was the mismatch negativity (MMN) component of ERP. Secondary outcomes were Audilex Test (ability to perform the Audilex games), the reading skills after the intervention and 2 years later. Of eligible children, 39 (54%) consented and 22 (30%) completed the protocol.

Results:  The MMN responses to the frequency (p = 0.02) and duration deviants (p < 0.01) increased after Audilex training (n = 11), but not after control game playing (n = 11). Audilex Test performance was similar in both groups. The reading skills were similar after intervention and 2 years later; word reading score 59.7, 66.8 and 74.9 and comprehensive reading score 8.1, 8.8 and 9.4 in Audilex, Control and healthy class-mate children, respectively.

Conclusions:  Although all children did not complete the protocol, the results suggest that training with Audilex dyslexia programme might be beneficial for enhancing neural-level sound discrimation and possibly reading skills in ELBW children. A larger trial is warranted.