Neuroscience

The word ‘Neuroscience’ is comparatively new. It is essentially stands for an interdisciplinary approach to all aspects of the nervous system and the behaviour of animals. Therefore it includes medicine (especially neurology and the diseases of the nervous system), sensory physiology, evolution, physics, chemistry, pharmacology, and even mathematics to model the functions of the brain.

A neuroscientist can map areas of the brain as in this example which shows the areas activated when reading, showing that there are two pathways. The numbers were designated by Brodmann in the early 1900s to the surface, but based on the distinctive organization of nerve cells in vertical section.

Stanislas Dehaene, a neuropsychologist, has made a schematic map showing some of the interlinked paths during the complex process of attention, reading and understanding, which he calls ‘The brain architecture for reading’.

A more exact location for the ‘the brain’s letterbox’ can be visualized in the next illustration. On the right we are looking from below up into the underside of the posterior part of the left hemisphere of the brain. Focal lesions – cell death – can leave a patient unable to recognize faces, words, or other features.

Stanislas Dehaene, presentation for Dyslexia International’s Online conference, November 2008