Scientists think they have found the area of the brain that goes wrong in people with dyscalculia – a condition that renders them unable to perform arithmetic.
This study is the first demonstration that the parietal lobe is the key to understanding developmental dyscalculia. The disorder is just as prevalent in the population as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – around 5% of the population – however, the underlying brain dysfunction causing dyscalculia is still a mystery.
Dr Roi Cohen Kadosh, of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, who lead the study said: “Most people process numbers very easily – almost automatically – but people with dyscalculia do not. We wanted to find out what would happen when the areas relevant to maths learning in the right parietal lobes were effectively knocked out for several hundred milliseconds. We found that stimulation to this brain region during a maths test radically impacted on the subjects’ reaction time.”