Sleep spindle activity is correlated with reading abilities in developmental dyslexia

Oliviero Bruni, Raffaele Ferri, Luana Novelli, Monica Terribili, Miriam Troianiello, Elena Finotti, Vincenzo Leuzzi, Paolo Curatolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objectives: To analyze sleep architecture of children with dyslexia, by means of conventional parameters and EEG spectral analysis and to correlate sleep parameters and EEG spectra with neuropsychological measures. Design: Cross-sectional study involving validated sleep questionnaires, neuropsychological scales, and polysomnographic recordings. Setting: Sleep laboratory in academic center. Participants: Sixteen subjects with developmental dyslexia (mean age 10.8 years) and 11 normally reading children (mean age 10.1 years). All the subjects underwent overnight polysomnographic recording; EEG power spectra were computed from the Cz derivation and spindle density was calculated during sleep stages N2. Intervention: N/A Measurements and Results: Dyslexic children showed an increase in power of frequency bands between 0.5-3 Hz and 11-12 Hz in stage N2 and between 0.5-1 Hz in stage N3; they also showed significantly increased spindle density during N2. The power of the sigma band in N2 was positively correlated with the Word reading and MT reading tests; similarly, spindle density was significantly correlated with the Word reading test. The increased spindle activity and EEG sigma power in dyslexic subjects were found to be correlated with the degree of dyslexic impairment. Conclusions: The correlation found between sleep spindle activity and reading abilities in developmental dyslexia supports the hypothesis of a role for NREM sleep and spindles in sleep-related neurocognitive processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1333-1340
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Dyslexia
  • EEG spectral analysis
  • Reading disability
  • Sleep spindles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Clinical Neurology


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