Myomancy ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism

Can Dyslexia Be Cured by the Placebo Effect?

Myself and a reader going under the name of Tom, are having a discussion on the Dore Treatment. Tom is very much against Dore and has described it as a “con”. He has also accused me of promoting Dore for money and that I am lying about my treatment and subsequent improvement. You can read all this on iPhone Plays Guitar or via the Myomancy Forum.

One of the interesting points that has arisen out of this discussion is the idea that any improvement in my dyslexia has been caused by the placebo effect.

The placebo effect is defined as “…occur[ing] when a patient’s symptoms are altered in some way (i.e., alleviated or exacerbated) by an otherwise inert treatment, due to the individual expecting or believing that it will work. “. The two important elements are that the patient receives a totally inert treatment and that the patient’s symptoms really change.

The placebo effect is normally found in relation to physical medical problems ranging from common colds to cancer. Alternative medical treatments such as homeopathy and faith healing rely on the placebo effect for most of their benefits. It is also common practice in drug trials to give half the patients the real drug to be tested and the other half a sugar pill placebo. It is then possible to compare the results from the real drug to the placebo and work out how much more effective the real drug is. These drug trails regularly show 20%-30% of people on the placebo show an improvement of symptoms. In some cases, such as drugs designed to control pain, up to 75% of people on the placebo reported less pain. The placebo effect is very real and may be far more important to how effective drugs are than the big pharmaceutical companies would like you to know.

It is important to note that there is no evidence that the placebo effect actually cures anything. They can make you feel better by reducing pain or other symptoms and this can have a knock-on effect. A patient with less pain may be more positive and more active and this can help the bodies natural healing process. Another vital aspect of the placebo effect is that it wears off. A placebo only works because the patient believes it is going to work. After they have been taking a placebo for sometime the patient will begin to question why their illness hasn’t been cured. Once this loss of faith occurs the placebo loses its symptom reducing effects.

To apply this to dyslexia we have to identify the ‘disease’ and the ‘symptoms’. If the Dore Treatment is a placebo, the symptoms should reduces in intensity for a while but then return because the underlying problem or ‘disease’ still remains. Most dyslexia experts believe that dyslexia, the ‘disease’, is caused by a fundamental difference in the brain that cannot be changed. The ‘symptoms’ of this disease are reading problems, poor spelling, poor handwriting and poor short-term memory. Because the ‘disease’ is an unchangeable flaw, these symptoms can only be ameliorated. If a placebo works on dyslexia then we would expect one or more of those symptoms to show improvement and then return to its previous levels once the effect is lost.

A patient receiving a dyslexia treatment placebo might well do better in a spelling test than before because they believe they are being cured. This success would boast their confidence, helping them to learn new words and to make further progress in the next test. But if dyslexia is a lifelong condition that can only be ameliorated then this cycle of progress can only continue until the limits on the patient’s ability, placed on them by the underlying ‘disease’, are reached. Once this limit is reached the patient would lose faith in the placebo, the placebo effect would stop working, levels of confidence would drop and most of the improvements seen would disappear.

This does not appear to be the case. My own, other people’s anecdotal evidence, and research by Dore shows that the improvements gained whilst on the treatment remain and further improvements are seen after the treatment has stopped. Though the treatment has certainly not worked for some, no one has reported seeing significant improvements and then losing them once treatment stops.

This persistence of improvement is the clear sign that the Dore treatment is not working through a placebo effect but is making a permanent change in the brain.

None of this proves the underlying hypothesis of the Dore treatment that dyslexia is caused by an under-developed cerebellum or that the Dore treatment does anything but boast the patient’s confidence. But because the effects of the treatment are permanent it cannot be described as a placebo effect.

Related posts:

  1. Stim Nation: ADHD, Cocaine and the Placebo Effect
  2. Concerta Side Effects
  3. Ritalin Side Effects
  4. Adderall Side Effects
  5. The Cerebellum as the Cause of Dyslexia

Comments on: Can Dyslexia Be Cured by the Placebo Effect?

  1. hmmm Tom again hey? what a shocker!! Tom has no exprience of the Dore programme, has never done it, nor has his alledged ‘grandchild’. His vendetta to smear the Dore name is nothing more than a personal grudge. He is quite happy to sit on the computer day in day out slating the Dore programme and quoting links to brainduck and Dorothy bishop.. If he put as much time and energy into finding a constructive way to help his grandchild he may finds the next Einstein in his own family. He is a standing joke on every Dore related thread on the net. Nobody takes him seriously anymore…hes just a very silly sad man…Just be grateful he’s not your grandpa!!!

  2. No, dyslexia cannot be cured by placebo. To say anything can be cured this way is a contradiction.

    What placebo does is change the perception of an illness.

    Your post is attempting to answer a question that had not been asked, not by me.

    I know you are no fan of homeopathy, but the reason this existed in mainstream healthcare for years is simply down to placebo. The same thing can happen with Dore participants.

    I think the term Placebo covers a range of phenonemon, one noted one, is where a person being treated has a tendency not to remember acurately the symptons prior to the treatment. Another is where the person attributes a real improvement to the treatment in question, when it was another intervention that provided the real benefit. This may explain the improvemnt in your symptons, again, I am assuming you went through the treatment.

    It is for these reasons that a treatment must be methodically and subjectivly evaluated, using formal methods, rather than making claims based on 1 or a number of experiences outside side of proper controls.

  3. Chris, can you remove Erainas post. I know this is not your policy but that is unsecesserily insulting.

  4. but true….

  5. so tom, please explain to the readers what your ACTUAL experience of the Dore programme is…and why you feel it necessary to call anyone that has seen the positive results (such as chris and myself) aliar. Why are you so closed to the idea it could work? you never explain why you just say you know it doesnt work? but how can you if youve never tried it!!!!

    *chris please feel free to remove my post if you feel it necessary, I think tom gets my point….bless ‘im

  6. Tom, so far on your various forums you are posting on you have not provided any proof or evidence that therapies such as Dore do not work. You have only provided the same old articles that criticize the research end of it, but nothing to do with the actual therapy itself, which has a very solid background. Understanding and interpreting research takes a lot more than merely looking at the bottom line that states “the research shows that…….” and yourself interpreting it to you wishful thinking that it says “the therapy does not work.” You should be more careful, as there is a large difference between the twol

    Chris is also correct it stating that if Dore were a placebo, the effects would not last. That is a proven fact. (By the way, I was “cured” of an ailment by homeopathy that the effect has lasted 12 or more years,hardly a placebo effect) My son’s reading and comprehension gains have not been lost since nearly a year since he was last tested. How would you explain the appearance of executive functions, disappearance of lifelong motion sickness, and comprehension by placebo? You HAVE in fact stated that gains achieved through the Dore program have only been because of a placebo effect, and/or from the extra attention gained during the therapy. Neurological/mechanical conditions do not lend themselves well to placebos, as do subjective symptoms such as pain, etc. We have a benchmark, so there is no memory problem there as to what his “symptoms” were, no other intervention was undertaken during this time, so your argument does not hold.

    I myself have done some movement based therapy. I would do Dore if I could afford it. Now take into consideration that I am a grown woman, already matured, and I have had some great results that have been achieved through strengthening my vestibular system, and I can personally attest that it ain’t no placebo, especially when you have absolutely NO IDEA what the therapy is going to do for you, and one day you wake up and there it is, and it the results are still here with me.

    To go in countless circles for the benefit of other interested readers, strengthening and stimulating the cerebellum is old stuff. When I looked into having my son do Dore, I also wanted to find out that exercise-based therapies COULD NOT work, and I set out. What I instead found was too much published, peer-reviewed, often-cited works of individuals (Levinson, Schmahmann, etc.) who have made it their life’s work and passion to uncover the many areas of function that the cerebellum plays a part in and discovering ways that affect the plasticity of the neurological system to alleviate many symptoms of learning difficulties and cognition.

    Shame on you for having such a personal vendetta against Dore and making such sorry attempts to bring down the kinds of treatments that have literally saved thousands of lives.

  7. Eraina your wasting your time asking for any information from Tom, he did post on one site that he couldn’t say to much about Dore due to the fact that he was in legal proceeding with them?! His story has changed on several forums so we can’t really believe what he says. If he stated his personal reasons, for saying the program doesn’t work not just posting links all the time we could have some understanding as to what his reasons where. As Chirs says how can you just pick one Dyslexia treatment and jump on it to try to dicredit it for no apparent reason other than debated research papers and quack sites? He doesn’t listen to anyones opinions, clearly has an axe to grind, and IMHO is bordering on OCD.

  8. LOl@ lesley, yes he’s definatly obsessed!! Bless, we really shouldn’t mock the afflicted though Lesley.
    However the obsession gives rise to the Question, Why? I mean what does he stand to lose if the NHS took this treatment on board? Perhaps he is a CEO in a pharmacutical company that stands to lose money? Perhaps he has developed a ‘Miracle Cure’ of his own and is waiting for a patent? An ex-employee? a spurned lover? A government spy? The next Prime Minister? A woman trapped in a mans body? ooh the mystery deepens….

    To be a good liar you have to remember what you said previously *shakes head*

    Anyway Ive said enough on the subject, I found the ‘ignore user’ function on the parents forum most satisfying..even the best actor in the world cant play to an empty theatre!!!
    10/4 Echo Bravo out.

  9. Eranina, Tom, Lesley and everyone else.

    I will not be deleting any posts but please keep your comments polite and informative.

    Myomancy’s purpose is to provide clear information that parents can use to make an informed decisions. Mud flinging helps no one so please do not refer to anyone as a liar, make suggestion of mental health problems or disparaging about their (grand)parenting skills.

  10. :)

  11. Tom

    Re: Placebo

    You stated that the results I’ve seen from Dore can be explained by the placebo effect. As I consider myself cured, then you are claiming the cure was caused by a placebo effect.

    The other factors you identify

    “Placebo covers a range of phenonemon, one noted one, is where a person being treated has a tendency not to remember acurately the symptons prior to the treatment. Another is where the person attributes a real improvement to the treatment in question, when it was another intervention that provided the real benefit. This may explain the improvemnt in your symptons, …”

    The placebo effect does not cover a range of phenonemon. Science has a very specific definition of it, the one I used in my article: E.g. real but temporary improvement in symptoms after receiving an inert treatment.

    So Tom, when talking science I suggest you get your terminology straight.

    The effects you are talking about are real but not the placebo effect.

    The first effect you mention, the bias in self-reported symptoms, especially post-treatment, is well documented. Its why proper studies have a formal baseline and control groups. Obviously mine and others personal experience fulls under this bias. However, most if not all people attending Dore have been assessed by clinical physiologists and have written proof (like I have [ http://www.myomancy.com/2005/10/16_years_on_my_ ] ) of their educational problems. Even without them concrete evidence exists for most in the form school records. Children for whom Dore works show significant improvements in school grades.

    The second effect you refer to is “Post hoc ergo propter hoc” where people ascribe the cause of an effect to an event just because it occurred before the effect. In my case this is irrelevant. As a thirty-something adult, I was not undergoing other treatment, I wasn’t in any form of education and my job was the same as it had been for years. The simplest explanation (a good scientific approach) is that the year I spent training 20 mins+ a day had an effect. To ascribe my improvement to anything else (.e.g I just got better) is far less logical.

    Chris

  12. Chris, I will promise to try to be good. I love the work you do on Myomancy, it gives a very balanced approach to the Dore Programme.
    Keep up the good work.

  13. on the Doretalk forum chris, people have commented that they have seen temporary ‘negative’ results from the programme, headaches, dizziness, lack of emotinal control, unusually raised tempers, more forgetful etc……these have corrected themselves as the nueral pathways have rewired and were only ‘short term’ day, a week or two etc….I thought a placebo effect only had positive conotations? perhaps I have mis understood?….how long would a placebo effect last? its two years since we finished Dore and everyday just gets better and better? seems more to it than any placebo effect? Im sure you have found the same as its a while since you finished Dore isnt it?

  14. Eraina,

    The placebo effect can be negative but I think these symptoms are best described as side-effects though they may be coincidental and not related to the Dore treatment.

    There does seem to be a good case that whilst the brain is changing significantly, emotion control can be a problem. The brain changes a lot during your life, but there are certain peaks at ages about 2-3, puberty, menopause and when very old. All these periods are linked with emotion issues.

    The Dore program does rewire the brain and it is logical that it triggers similar problems to those seen during natural periods of brain change.

    Placebo effect are generally short lived but some long-term drug trials have shown that the placebo effect can continue for a long time if it is regularly reinforced. However once the placebo treatment has stopped, the effect normally diminishes over days or weeks.

    Like you, things continue to get better years after I finished the treatment. This isn’t the placebo effect.

  15. Thanks for your reply Chris, you put so eloquently the point i was trying to explain.

    just an update on Jordan for you, last yr (YR4) he got the highest mark of the entire school year in his English comprehension SAT…This year he is in the top of his class, in maths, science and english. His teacher has no worries about his academic or social future and is considering taking off the School Action that was put into place in yr2. She feels she has no reason to keep him on there, except to help him access services when moving to Secondary school instaed of having to get back on the loop. personally i feel that he has come such a long way I doubt it will be necessary. xx

  16. It always amazes me when the placebo affect is mentioned as it seems to have become the “IN WORD” banded around by certain people who have no real understanding of what Dore does and how it can change lives.
    I cannot imagine that the placebo explanation could have been the one and only reason why my daughter’s life changed while she was doing Dore.
    Begs the question of whether the placebo could on its own merit sort my daughter’s low IQ and her autism traties along with all her other global learning difficulties.
    She is now 2 years post Dore and remains on a par with her peers in learning and has none of the global learning difficulties she had prior to Dore.
    If it could have that much of an influence then we would not have any need for learning needs teaching, it would become obsolete.
    All they would have to do is use a placebo and everything would just disappear.
    But as we know a placebo is short lived where Dores treatment lasts a lifetime.
    So the theory behind Placebo does not hold true and is really the only answer they can come up with because they do not know why or do not want to know how Dore really works. Ellie XXX

  17. “on the Doretalk forum chris, people have commented that they have seen temporary ‘negative’ results from the programme, headaches, dizziness, lack of emotinal control, unusually raised tempers, more forgetful etc……these have corrected themselves as the nueral pathways have rewired and were only ’short term’ day, a week or two etc….I thought a placebo effect only had positive conotations?”

    This is part of the trick. I will explain. Dore cannot miraculously (as it claims) produce changes in peoples symptoms, neither positive nor negative, it can only convince people that any changes that happen anyway are soloely attributed to the treatment.

    So when a customer comes to dore and says ‘child x displayed y good behavior” the ‘Program Specialist’ will say thats Dore working its magic.

    But, also, when a customer says ‘child x displayed y BAD behavior’ Dore needed an answer, so they told them, ‘thats the rewiring of the nueral pathways, not to worry, its just Dore working its magic.

    Of course either behavior would have happened anyway.

  18. “LOl@ lesley, yes he’s definatly obsessed!! Bless, we really shouldn’t mock the afflicted though Lesley.
    However the obsession gives rise to the Question, Why? I mean what does he stand to lose if the NHS took this treatment on board? Perhaps he is a CEO in a pharmacutical company that stands to lose money? Perhaps he has developed a ‘Miracle Cure’ of his own and is waiting for a patent? An ex-employee? a spurned lover? A government spy? The next Prime Minister? A woman trapped in a mans body? ooh the mystery deepens….”

    My, you ‘Tom Bashers’ are an imaginative lot!

  19. “how can you just pick one Dyslexia treatment and jump on it to try to dicredit it for no apparent reason other than debated research papers and quack sites? He doesn’t listen to anyones opinions, clearly has an axe to grind, and IMHO is bordering on OCD.”

    It not just Dore, Brain Gym and Learning Breakthrough are my other favorite ridiculous treatments.

    My other hobby is homeopathy bashing!

  20. I have made circa 250 posts on the parents center site, 50 on addforums and a few here and there, mostly quite short, hardly obsessive compared to some of these in the pro camp, maybe their getting paid tho?

  21. “Even without them concrete evidence exists for most in the form school records. Children for whom Dore works show significant improvements in school grades. ”

    Its strange then, that similar results were not replicated in Dores own studies, these show that no gains were made over the control group.

  22. there, they’re and their..
    *tsk tsk*

  23. ok…serious point now.

    Part of the ‘placebo’ effect is because of the expectancy of the results, right? But how does this affect a 7 year old, who doesnt KNOW what the ‘expected’ results are? I could believe it in an adult with knowledge of thEIr condition and access to the internet etc. but I do find it difficult to comprehend that children of various ages, across the country, and the world, see the same reactions and improvements during the programme. Now you could say its the ‘parents’ that see the improvements therefore it the placebo effect…However, when the hard evidence is in thEIr school books and is being acknowledge by teachers (who didnt know, in our case, about the programme)I dont find this explanation plausible.

    Homeopathy…hmmm Tom at last we have found something to agree on…out of interest (and not taking the p*$$ tom, have you ever looked into the Bowen Treatment? I ask because I have ‘heard’ it can help with Autism and adhd and thought it may be an area you had researched. Thats a genuine question BTW)

  24. Eraina,

    The placebo effect can work on a 7 year old even in ignorance of a desired outcome because the parents know what the desired outcome is. They can then subtly and unconsciously reinforce certain patterns of behavior.

    This may sound far fetched but the power of suggestion can be very strong. In double blind trials, the medical staff don’t know if they are handing out placebo or real medicines. This is to prevent them unconsciously influencing how the patients view the medicine. This whole area of psychology is fascinating and very poorly understood.

    Chris

  25. Tom,

    You are quoting the Dore research.

    Are you accepting the research as valid science and anything it contains to be proven?

    I’m asking because you cannot quote Dore’s research as proof of your argument and attack them for not carrying out proper scientific research.

    So what is it Tom?

    Can Dore’s research be trusted or not?

  26. chris…i see where you are coming from, but I didnt really know what the outcomes would be either!! I think i was just hoping that I wouldnt get called into school every night!!! I certainly never expected what I got!! I was new to the area of SEN’s, and all i expected was that jordan wouldnt be so Hyper… it never crossed my mind he would be able to stay upright, concentrate, stay on task, write correctly and neatly etc etc. In fact I didnt even really know what ‘normal’ kids did!! Your are spot on that this area is very misunderstood though!! its not like Dore is a sugar coated pill though is it..I mean in that instance you can ‘understand’ why a placebo effect could take place….

    Whatever anyones opinion/reasons etc you,I and countless of others KNOW Dore has worked for them. If thats the placebo effect doing its thang…then maaaaaaaan I love placebo’s!!

    xx

  27. “Eraina,

    The placebo effect can work on a 7 year old even in ignorance of a desired outcome because the parents know what the desired outcome is. They can then subtly and unconsciously reinforce certain patterns of behavior.

    This may sound far fetched but the power of suggestion can be very strong. In double blind trials, the medical staff don’t know if they are handing out placebo or real medicines. This is to prevent them unconsciously influencing how the patients view the medicine. This whole area of psychology is fascinating and very poorly understood.

    Chris”

    Dito, and ,there is more than the placebo at play here, other phenonemon can impact too, Hawthorne, Pygmalion etc on how patients, respond, report and are percieved.

    Its seems a long strectch to say these account for the effects of loads of alternative treatments, but in a word, they do , this has a very stong effect.

  28. “Tom,

    You are quoting the Dore research.

    Are you accepting the research as valid science and anything it contains to be proven?

    I’m asking because you cannot quote Dore’s research as proof of your argument and attack them for not carrying out proper scientific research.

    So what is it Tom?

    Can Dore’s research be trusted or not? ”

    In Bishops paper, she interprets the data differently to the authors.

    I dont trust the original data thought, as there were negative gains in some areas from both treated and control, and of course the control was very poorly structured, as was thr treated.

    Overall it does show no gains were made above control. In one area control did better! as did treated in another area/

  29. “Homeopathy…hmmm Tom at last we have found something to agree on…out of interest (and not taking the p*$$ tom, have you ever looked into the Bowen Treatment? I ask because I have ‘heard’ it can help with Autism and adhd and thought it may be an area you had researched. Thats a genuine question BTW)”

    No, not something I know a huge amount about. Unfortunately the whole LD area has created an industry of these types of people and austism seems to be the main target, which is sickening, unfortunately lowlife cnuts is the only word for thes people.

  30. “Whatever anyones opinion/reasons etc you,I and countless of others KNOW Dore has worked for them. If thats the placebo effect doing its thang…then maaaaaaaan I love placebo’s!!”

    The trouble with KNOWing somthing in capital letters is that you risk never finding the truth, and the real benefits are in the truth in this area. If you change course now, you will reap greater benefits for your son, and others, in the future.

  31. but Tom I have been finished on the Dore programme for two years now!!! Hmmm let me see how I can intervene to make his life better? Well academically he is is above and beyond his peers, has so many friends we couldnt start a holiday camp, is being ASKED to be on sports teams (a request from a YR 6 teacher!!)He is a happy, polite, sometimes sweet, very clever young man….What benefits is it that Im missing here? What course is it that you suggest I change to Tom? You obviously have something that you are going to recommend to me…because I KNOW you wouldnt just tell me to change course and NOT have a suggestion in mind…that would just be silly, wouldnt it?

  32. ‘Placebo effect’ is perhaps too broad a term to use here, and there’s a lot of misunderstandings about what exactly it is. Sorry, haven’t time to write about it in detail just now, but I would direct you to this quote from the follow-up to the ‘Balsall Common’ study:

    ‘Possible (and potentially synergistic) explanations include: improved cerebellar function (neural level); improved learning ability and/or attentional ability (cognitive level); improved self-esteem and self-efficacy (affective level); and improved parental/familial support (social level)’.
    (Reynolds, D., Nicholson, R. (2006) Follow-up of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. Dyslexia 9:1, 48-71)

    I’ve given the full reference, so you can look it up on PubMed etc if you want – it’s in the abstract so access will be free.

    The researchers themselves did not believe that their study could measure whether changes happened because of ‘cerebellar development’ or for other reasons. That’s because the Balsall Common study was badly designed & poorly controlled. Whichever side of the argument you are on, you should be annoyed about this, because it’s either promoting a poor treatment, or depriving people of something that works. It’s not right to *design* a study so it can’t give you answers.

    If DORE works as well as people think it should be comparatively easy to show, we should not be mucking around with studies designed in such a way as not to be able to show whether or not it works. That’s wasting everyone’s time & stopping people getting the best possible treatments.

  33. A good example of how strange the placebo effect can be..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7233500.stm

  34. A good example Tom.

    Having believe and confidence in either yourself or an outside agency can have significant impact on the body.

    Stress effects practically every aspect of human biology. Believe and confidence significantly reduce stress allowing the body to get on with things.

    It is an aspect of the Dore and other treatments I find very interesting. How much of the improvements in academic skills (yes Tom, they are real, permanent improvements) comes from a willingness to try, fail and try again (self-confidence) and reduced stress levels.

    This is a cycle.

    A small increase in confidence –> reduction of stress levels –> improvements in memory and learning* –> better academic performance –> increase in confidence –> and so on.

    * Even moderate levels of stress have a major impact on memory, both short-term and long-term.

    It is easy to see how any treatment that instills confidence could lead to real academic achievement. Even completely nuts stuff like Scientology (which Tom Cruise claims cured his dyslexia) could work if it instills confidence.

    This Confidence Loop hypothesis of why Dore and other treatments work is only possible if you accept dyslexia as treatable, non-permanent development problem. Mainstream educationalists (Snowling et al) believe that dyslexia is a permanent, non-treatable condition and so any gains from self-confidence would be minor and temporary, i.e. the placebo effect.

  35. Let’s get into some basics:

    Fact is: A new theory as to how the brain operates is rapidly gaining acceptance in the scientific community (for confirmation: see my home page). This raises an important question: Where does this leave previous research conclusions if it turns out the brain works differently after all?

    Fact is: When I listen to/talk with dyslexia professionals in the Netherlands or the U.K., it appears only the dominate line of thought is accepted. When I had discussions with professionals in Germany and Ireland and mentioned “the dyslexia treatment of the dominant line of thought”, I got feedback such as “that’s different over here…” By the way, in Germany the media talk about a boom in alternative treatments.

    Fact is: Capacity bottlenecks are a common phenomenon in any architectural discipline when complex systems are involved (computers, motorways (= traffic jams), air traffic control, etc.). Some say, the brain is the most complex system we know of. Strangely enough, capacity bottlenecks don’t appear to have attention when it comes to brain research.

    With my background as a former capacity management professional for computers and having received breakthrough treatment through an alternative therapy myself, I’m confident to say: The alternative dyslexia approaches as well as the approach of the dominate scientific line of thought make sense! For a list of treatments I have looked into, see my homepage. They just use different capacity management techniques and often multiple of those. – There is no miracle involved at all. All that is needed is to understand bottlenecks and capacity management techniques.

    Finally: Let’s stop opposing treatments that have strong indicators of good results. It’s time to get together with the experts and get desperately needed research started. I’m happy to provide my share to this.

    Eugen
    http://www.onmentalhealth.org

  36. Myomancy: ‘Mainstream educationalists (Snowling et al) believe that dyslexia is a permanent, non-treatable condition and so any gains from self-confidence would be minor and temporary, i.e. the placebo effect.’

    I don’t think that’s the case. I’m a psychology student at York & I’ve spent much of my final year looking at specific learning difficulties. It is not the case that dyslexia is non-treatable, even if it can’t be ‘cured’. After all, that’s what the phonics approach is – a treatment.

    (sorry – have to be off before I can explain this further – but I have no problems with the idea that +confidence > +practice > +improvement which may well be maintained).

  37. Hi Brainduck: For some time I’m trying to get in contact with scientists. Meanwhile, what I am proposing has the attention of some scientists (see my homepage, see also latest ‘news’ entry there). However, in the one area in which the indicators of breakthrough treatment are, by far, the strongest, this wasn’t possible yet: the dyslexia area. All I’m asking for is 1 hour of your time, through which I’d go through some slides to present my case (that’s by phone).

  38. Brainduck,

    The phrase used by Prof Snowling in a statement after the “Myth of Dyslexia” program was “Life long condition but can be ameliorated”. On the British Dyslexia association web site they say pretty much the same thing: “It is life-long, but the affects can be minimised…”

  39. Eugen – I’m only an undergrad, I don’t even have a first degree yet, so I’d not call myself a ‘scientist’ & I don’t think I can help.

    Myomancy – yep, that sounds about right to me. However, at some point then ‘ameliorated’ isn’t so much functionally different from ‘cured’. I’m dyspraxic, but with lots of practice at specific skills, finding my ‘niche’, assistive technology (but then most students now do all their work on a laptop), & a good dose of bloody-mindedness, I don’t regard my impairment as a handicap.
    The Ed Psychs who diagnosed me would probably be astounded by the things I’ve done – if you followed me around for a day you’d be unlikely to spot I was much different from anyone else. Gains following improved confidence, specific teaching, and my gaining the confidence to look for ways round my problems have been far from ‘minor’ or ‘temporary’.
    However, if you do specific tests for dyspraxia, or ask me to do stuff I’m not interested in remediating like playing cricket, I’m still obviously dyspraxic.
    I’m not technically speaking ‘cured’, but I am functioning well at an appropriate level. I suspect the difference is more important to researchers than to people affected, and more conceptual than practical.

  40. Brain duck can I take you up on your post about your dyspraxia and the fact that you still are dyspraxic but have learned to cope with your difficulties over the years.
    I am dyslexic and am also being investigated for dyspraxia in my 40′s.
    I struggled at school with learning but like you I gradually developed the coping strategies to enable me to gain my nursing qualification in community nursing, orthopaedics and general nursing. I was working at the appropriate level for me.
    But todays education means that the level I was trained at is no longer appropriate we now have to go to degree level. Fine you may think but we are now finding that those of my age group are being diagnosed with dyslexia because of the jump from level two to level three.
    I commenced my honours degree in district nursing and had to put it on hold after a year because of the difficulties I was experiencing with doing the work expected of me and was diagnosed with dyslexia but also the dyspraxic tendencies I had as a child have increased to the point that I am now having tests to discover if I in fact do have dyspraxia as well as dyslexia.
    Now my daughter who I could see had exactly the same problems as I had as a child was also having difficulties with learning. But the difference for her was she did Dore and I cannot compare her to me as I am now. She no longer has those tendencies or any sign of the dyslexia or dyspraxia which blighted my school years.
    She is two years post dore and there is no sign that she will be returning to what she was before. She is now ahead of her own mother learning ability at the same age.
    The difference between my daughter and myself are that I functioned on the coping mechanisms through out my life but like you there were always elements there to remind me that I had a problem. My daughter on the other hand is a normal 12 year old with none of those tendencies there to see. She will go on to do her degree to reach her full potential. While her mother is still struggling to maintain her ability within her chosen career.
    I know what I would prefer to do once her brother has also benefitted from Dore. Even if I am in my 40′s!!!!! that is the beauty of Dore it treats people like me of any age. Ellie XXX

  41. Why do you think Dore can help adults?

  42. ‘Why do you think Dore can help adults?’

    Because it does.

    Because the last 30 years of research has shown that the adult brain is plastic and able to change almost as much as a child.

  43. Dore can help the adult human brain in the same way as vestibular rehab improves vestibular function in cases of later-in-life cerebellar deficits, as well as the plasticity in all if not most areas of the brain when learning and training. Even re-learning and training. But we’ve been through all that before.

    You would realize the placticity of your own brain should you yourself have an acute onset of nerual deficit due to a stroke, fall, disease, infection, etc. That is of course, should you decide to undergo treatment given your being so against this type of idea.

    No brain scientist will debate the placticyt of the brain.

  44. gads, so sorry I cannot spell!

  45. “Because it does.”

    Said like a true believer.

    “Because the last 30 years of research has shown that the adult brain is plastic and able to change almost as much as a child.”

    Now Im no brain surgeon, but I dont believe this. I have heard that in the first few years of life, all brain cells are replaced, and i would imagine this is inline with a persons ability to learn and adapt and this level of change doesnt happen to nearly the same extent in adults.

  46. Miss Ellie – you have my sympathy with the nursing degree, Mum’s been through similar & it was proper difficult for her to have to go back to academic learning 30+ years after she trained in a very different time.

    The thing is though – at 15, I was unable to tie my shoelaces or tell the time, didn’t speak much, & was not really coping with life. At 18, I ran my first marathon, went to Malaysia & New Zealand alone, got straight As & a place at uni, & was responsible for looking after profoundly disabled children. If I’d been doing some sort of programme at the time, I’ve no doubt at all that my parents would have put my improvements down to whatever I was doing. I wasn’t though, & IMO it was mostly a change of environment & teaching styles, having to take a year mostly off school & away from pressures there, being able to use a computer for written work, and being allowed to do the things I was good at instead of focusing on what I couldn’t do. I’m doing lots of things now that Drs, EdPsychs etc said I wouldn’t be able to do – my parents were told I’d not ride a bike, and a couple of years ago I came 3rd in an Ironman triathlon (with 112 mile bike leg) & have worked in a bicycle shop.

    Sorry, I’m sounding like a right show-off now, & I don’t mean to. But I know lots of people with SpLD diagnoses who have been successful in their field – I know a dyspraxic & dyslexic medical doctor, a couple of dyspraxic physicists, a Vicar, a research mathematician, several engineers, an architect, all sorts of things, and it worries me that there is an expectation that without DORE then people with SpLDs can’t be successful & happy. Children are very influenced by expectations.

    Children do have much greater neural plasticity than adults – they will recover much more quickly from brain injury, but conversely deprivation of stimuli is much more damaging to their development. There’s a certain time period where just covering a child’s eye will leave them blind, as the brain isn’t getting input from that eye so will re-assign those cells to do something else. However, humans are clever things, and adults can also recover after brain injury, though more slowly. Some of it is just learning how to do things a different way, but some is genuine changes in how the brain works. There was a cool study a few years ago about enlarged hippocampi in London taxi drivers, probably because they need good spatial skills (see here: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTX032958.html).

  47. Re: Brain Plasticity

    Plasticity is highest in the very young and lowest in the very old.

    Up to the age of three or four the brain is changing very rapidly as key areas like language develop. If a child is deprived of normal stimulation at that age and those areas do not develop then there is a real struggle to gain those skills even just a few years later. [ See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genie_%28feral_child%29 for an extreme case ].

    Beyond that point the ability of the brain to change and adapt only gradually decreases. There is no magical cut off point when your brain ‘sets’ into its adult form.

    This is why we can learn things as adult. When you learn anything, from someone’s name to a new language, your brain is changing and displaying plasticity.

    Obviously various factors effect plasticity. The “Use it or lose it” theory seems true. So those who have life long habits of learning seem to be the ones best able to recover from strokes and other brain injuries.

    Physical health is a factor. Fit, healthy adults recover from brain injury better than fat, unhealthy adults.

    The size and nature of what is being learned is the most critical factor. Learning new things, like a foreign language is easy compared to relearning to speak after a stroke.

    Have a look at these two cases of adults displaying amazing brain plasticity.

    http://www.myomancy.com/2004/07/remembering_to_

    http://www.myomancy.com/2006/03/the_incredible_

  48. Tom, go ahead and argue with the brain surgeons.

  49. The problem is Duck I never stopped learning through out my career I finished a NVQ level 4 management course a day before I started my Honours Degree and finished it in a year where many others took 2.
    I have never been out of training in the 20 odd years I have been nursing. But the degree was my stumbling block because it was at level 3 and my dyslexia could not cope with that level.
    I have the expertise and knowledge base to sail through that degree but when it came to writing it down in a level 3 format I did not have a clue. I had to work twice as hard as any other within my set to try and get it complete and if you realise that there were 8 people who started and only one finished.
    But I was within my comfort zone with the course I have always had confidence and never failed one.
    It wasn’t trying something I had not done for years it was the dyslexia which in this case held me back. I cannot fight this one Duck and think oh if I try hard enough I will over come it.
    I too have travelled on my own worked in South Africa for 2 years and all over the UK within nursing. I had the world at my feet there was no reason to think that I would not get what I wanted out of life. Rode a bike to work in several of my jobs but I wasn’t safe I was alright if I could stop and touch the floor with my foot before I fell off!!!
    I have worked with my difficulties all my life and never let it rule my life till now. The degree is the one I can say in all honesty took the biscuit.
    I will do Dore as to me it is the only natural course for me to get rid finally of all those difficulties that have afflicted me all my life.
    Well I will once I have sorted all the neurological problems which came along with the dyslexia, all those difficulties I had always coped with suddenly have increased in severity, so for me I am back to my childhood state. Ellie XXX

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