Slow EEG amplitude oscillations during NREM sleep and reading disabilities in children with dyslexia

Oliviero Bruni, Raffaele Ferri, Luana Novelli, Elena Finotti, Monica Terribili, Miriam Troianiello, Donatella Valente, Ugo Sabatello, Paolo Curatolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objectives: To analyze non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep microstructure of children with dyslexia, by means of cyclic alternating pattern (CAP) analysis and to correlate CAP parameters with neuropsychological measures. Design: Cross-sectional study using polysomnographic recordings and neuropsychological assessments. 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) underwent overnight polysomnographic recording. Intervention: N/A. Measurements and Results: Sleep architecture parameters only showed some statistically significant differences: number of sleep stage shifts per hour of sleep, percentage of N3, and number of R periods were significantly lower in dyslexic children versus controls. CAP analysis revealed a higher total CAP rate and A1 index in stage N3. A2% and A2 index in stage N2 and N3 were lower in dyslexic children while no differences were found for A3 CAP subtypes. The correlation analysis between CAP parameters and cognitive-behavioral measures showed a significant positive correlation between A1 index in N3 with Verbal IQ, full-scale IQ, and Memory and Learning Transfer reading test; while CAP rate in N3 was positively correlated with verbal IQ. Conclusions: To overcome reading difficulties, dyslexic subjects overactivate thalamocortical and hippocampal circuitry to transfer information between cortical posterior and anterior areas. The overactivation of the ancillary frontal areas could account for the CAP rate modifications and mainly for the increase of CAP rate and of A1 index in N3 that seem to be correlated with IQ and reading abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-551
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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