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Visuomotor control in movement disorders and developmental dyslexia

Testing dyslexic child with blue filters
Testing dyslexic child with blue filters

Research focus

  • Deep brain stimulation can alleviate tremor, dyskinesias,  postural instability, pain
  • Recording there has shown that pathological oscillations cause movt. disorders, pain
  • Analysis of movements, speech, EEG can detect neurodegeneration very early
  • Reading can often be helped by viewing through blue or yellow filters
  • Auditory reading difficulties can often be improved by musical rhythm training
  • Both reading and antisocial behaviour can be improved by omega3s EPA & DHA

Stein research

Steinlab research all derives from John's initial discovery in 1970 with Prof Mitchel Glickstein (now at UCL) that there is a magnocellular projection from the visual cortex to the cerebellum. The lab therefore studies the visual guidance of movement in computer models, animals, neurological patients and dyslexic children. With Mitch, Prof Alan Gibson, (Barrow Neurological Inst. Phoenix) and Prof Chris Miall (Birmingham U.) they study the roles of the cerebellum, basal ganglia and brainstem in motor control. With Tipu Aziz, neurosurgeon, they study how deep brain stimulation (DBS) relieves both akinesia and dyskinesias in Parkinson’s disease by preventing spontaneous oscillations of a brainstem motor network centred on the striatum, globus pallidus and pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN). They also found that spontaneous oscillations of the pain matrix may be a cause of central neuropathic pain, and that eliminating these by DBS can alleviate the pain.

With Dr Sue Fowler (U. Reading) they have found that like many children with cerebellar lesions, many dyslexic children have unstable eye control that causes their visual reading problems. They then showed that this is often due to impaired development of visual magnocellular neurones, which impacts on attentional and eye control in these dyslexics; and they have found that simple visual treatments such as viewing text through yellow or blue filters can often dramatically improve these children's reading.   Since the temporal resolution of magnocellular neurones is highly vulnerable to lack of membrane long chain omega-3 fatty acids, they have also found that fish oil supplements can often improve M- function and improve attention, social interactions, behaviour and reading progress, not only in dyslexic children, but also in young offenders.  They see 500 new patients with reading problems each year.  Many of these have been willing to assist in DNA studies to establish the genetic basis of dyslexia.  With their help Steinlab has discovered 2 new genes associated with developmental dyslexia.

Our team

  • John Stein
    John Stein

    Emeritus Professor of Physiology

  • Anna Pitt

    Postdoctoral Research Scientist

  • Priti Kashyap

    Research Orthoptist

Selected publications

Related research themes