Health Update: Dickens of a word

DYSLEXIA, or word blindness, was recognised by doctors only at the turn of the century - yet Charles Dickens gave an accurate description of the condition at least 50 years earlier. A report in the Lancet points out that through the character of Mr Krook, the elderly, eccentric marine-store dealer in Bleak House, Dickens gave a detailed description of word blindness. Although sufferers can recognise individual letters, together they convey no meaning at all. Dickens knew a great deal about dyslexia and probably knew someone with it, the report suggests.

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