New clues about the biological underpinnings of dyslexia have confounded scientists’ old assumptions, opening fresh avenues of research that might one day help treat the world’s most common learning disorder.

Dyslexia, an often inherited condition that makes it difficult to read, spell, and recognize speech, has long been associated with dysfunction in the parts of the brain associated with interpreting words. But research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests dyslexia’s roots are in fact much deeper, pointing to a more complicated disorder than previously thought.

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