Ms Hannah Rapaport and Dr Nicholas Badcock
Ms Hannah Rapaport and Dr Nicholas Badcock

Using the sound of blood-flow to the brain to provide insights into reading remediation

Ms Hannah Rapaport and Dr Nicholas Badcock, Faculty of Human Sciences

Ms Hannah Rapaport is conducting her honours research using an ultrasound technique that is sensitive to the metabolic demands of cognitive processes. Functional Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound assesses the sound of blood-flow to the brain. When examined in relation to a cognitive process like saying a word, the speed of blood-flow to the brain regions involved in speech production is faster than to other regions.

Supervised by Dr Nicholas Badcock, Ms Rapaport will assess language processing in individuals with specific reading impairment, often referred to as dyslexia. By examining the changes in blood-flow velocity in the two sides of the brain during easy and hard language tasks, the research will provide insights into the why dyslexia has been associated with processing language in areas of the brain that do not usually process language.

This research has the potential to inform the methods used for remediating dyslexia. Affecting 1 in 10 Australians, dyslexia is associated with negative health outcomes and is over-represented in prison populations. Research leading to improvements in reading remediation will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals with dyslexia.

Dr Nicholas Badcock is a member of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.

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