Tag Archive for 'NPR'

Carol Greider at the Nobel ceremonies

On the US National Public Radio (NPR) this morning, reporter Joe Palca reports about tagging along to the ceremonies attended by Carol Greider, who was honored with a Nobel Prize with Jack Szostak and Elizabeth Blackburn for their groundbreaking work about telomeres (during Professor Greider’s graduate studies!). For those who are not familiar with Professor Greider’s history, it includes the difficulites that accompany having dyslexia. Professor Greider, who is a molecular biologist at Johns Hopkins University and one of only 10 women who have received the prestigious award, seems to have a great time in Mr. Palca’s story.
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Reversals plugged on NPR

After hearing Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition perpetuate the myth that individuals with dyslexia suffer from reversals, I submitted the following comment via the NPR Web site.

Dear Mr. Inskeep,

I was sorry to learn that you have the mistaken idea that the Learning Disability called dyslexia is characterized by “seeing things backwards.” I was even sorrier to hear you communicate this misinformation during an interview about dyslexia and entrepreneurship on 26 December.

Even though it persists among people who have not examined the research about it, the idea of reversals has been shown to be false in multiple scientific studies. To be sure, individuals with dyslexia make more reversal errors (read “was” as “saw”; confuse b and d), but that is simply because they make more errors overall; the ratio of reversal errors to total errors is the same among individuals with and without dyslexia.

I hope you can correct the misinformation that you passed along to to the large listenship of Morning Edition.

John Wills Lloyd, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Division for Learning Disabilities

For those who didn’t know or have forgotten, this is not the first time I’ve fretted about the accuracy of NPR’s coverage. For previous posts on this subject, see here (and see an earlier post about NPR’s coverage of Mel Levine).

Behavioral optometric training

On National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Ketzel Levine reported about a family that has opened a company to promote vision therapy. Although the angle for the story is “people reinventing themselves,” there is a pretty strong undertone endorsing vision therapy.

Last time I checked, those who advocated vision therapy as a means of helping people learn to read did not have a strong scientific base. Before I challenge the basis for this story, I have to go to the library and determine whether there is new evidence supporting it and overturning earlier evidence. For example, there is the possibility that the practices used in vision therapy have changed and those who employ these newer methods are, in fact, helping children, youth, and adults learn to read.

Even without formally reviewing the literature, I know that trustworthy sources such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus have issued policy statements dismissing optometric training for Learning Disabilities and including “Optometric vision training” in a list of “methods [that] have not been proven to work in scientific studies” for ADHD. Also, optometrists such a Russell Worrall have strongly criticized optometric training.

One thing that I’ll bet happens is that advocates will refer to individual cases where they can show success, claiming those successes as evidence. For those of us who say “hooray for the patient,” but are not willing to accept anecdotal evidence as providing a scientific base for a practice, this will be yet another challenge. It is very difficult to get people to put aside personal experience in deference to strong research, a point that—ironically—was made 2 August in an NPR story by Allison Aubrey on dietary supplements.