LONDON — Epidemiological studies can be a blessing or a curse. In the best cases, they can highlight new avenues of research to establish causal links behind certain diseases; in the worst, they can turn out to be little more than pointless distractions. Only time will tell which one the latest such study on the origins of dyslexia, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, turns out to be.

The study, by a team at the Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford University, explored the possible links between dyslexia — a condition that is thought to affect one in ten children in the UK — and familial blood pressure (Arch Dis Childhood 2002, 86:30-33). This rather unusual line of investigation is the latest in a series by the same researchers into the possibility that there may be a biological basis to the disorder.

Their hypothesis was that phospholipids,...

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