Monday, December 29, 2008

Teach Your Baby to Read part 2

Comment: Ms. Reich quickly responded to my email about research supporting her product. I hope her colleagues will do so as well. DM

Hi Dominick,

I have been reading your blog and was pleased to see you talked about our program recently. I have forwarded your request to our founder, Dr. James O'Neil, and to our chief engineer, Rich Tirendi, so they can respond appropriately to your research question. I am attaching our media kit to this e-mail which tells you more about our organization and who we are.

I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Happy New Year!


Elizabeth Reich
Chief Executive Officer
VisionQuest 20/20
564 W. 9th Place
Suite #3
Mesa, AZ 85201

Phone: 602-903-4460
Cell: 602-321-4800

Faculty Position in Pediatric Optometry & Vision Therapy

Looking for work in California?

Brain Waves Shed Light on Autism

...Unique brain wave patterns, spotted for the first time in autistic children, may help explain why they have so much trouble communicating....Using an imaging helmet that resembles a big salon hair dryer, researchers discovered what they believe are "signatures of autism" that show a delay in processing individual sounds....

Autism News Beat

Autism News Beat An evidence-based resource for journalists

Comments: This is a blog that responds to the autism hype...finally someone questioning what should be questioned....DM

How chromosomes meet in the dark -- Switch that turns on X chromosome matchmaking

...A research group lead by scientists at the University of Warwick has discovered the trigger that pulls together X chromosomes in female cells at a crucial stage of embryo development. Their discovery could also provide new insights into how other similar chromosomes spontaneously recognize each other and are bound together at key parts of analogous cell processes. This is an important mechanism as the binding togetgher of too many of too few of a particular chromosome can cause a number of medical conditions such as Down's Syndrome or Turner's Syndrome....

Acting Out Dreams May Be Marker of Neurodegenerative Disease

...Patients who frequently kick or cry out in their sleep may be at an increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease, particularly Parkinson's disease or Lewy body dementia....

Treatment Approved by the FDA for Hypotrichosis of Eyelashes

Allergan, Inc. (NYSE: AGN) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved LATISSE (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03% as a novel treatment for hypotrichosis of the eyelashes. Eyelash hypotrichosis is another name for having inadequate or not enough eyelashes. LATISSE is the first and only science-based treatment approved by the FDA to enhance eyelash prominence as measured by increases in length, thickness and darkness of eyelashes.

Comments: What! Using a GLC drug for better looking eyelashes....why that sounds almost as unbelievable as using a poison injected into your head to reduce wrinkles! Who in their right minds would do that? DM

Study explores how neural vision systems react to rewarding objects.

From AOAs FirstLook:

HealthDay (12/24, Dotinga) reported that, according to a study published in the Dec. 26 issue of the journal Neuron, "neural vision systems get turned on by expensive or 'rewarding' objects, even before people realize they're excited." In addition, "even the parts of the brain that handle the very beginning of the vision-processing system can tell whether something is valuable and should be flagged." For the study, researchers from the University of California-San Diego used functional magnetic resonance imaging to study "the brains of 14 college students" who were playing a game in which they had to choose rewarding targets. The investigators found that the participants' "brains reacted differently to targets that had been monetarily rewarding in the past," and also discovered "that the brains of the subjects seemed to remember which targets were more rewarding, even if the subjects themselves actually forgot."

Our unconscious brain makes the best decisions possible

... the human brain—once thought to be a seriously flawed decision maker—is actually hard-wired to allow us to make the best decisions possible with the information we are given. The findings are published in today's issue of the journal Neuron....

Brain starvation as we age appears to trigger Alzheimer's

...A slow, chronic starvation of the brain as we age appears to be one of the major triggers of a biochemical process that causes some forms of Alzheimer's disease....has found when the brain doesn't get enough sugar glucose -- as might occur when cardiovascular disease restricts blood flow in arteries to the brain -- a process is launched that ultimately produces the sticky clumps of protein that appear to be a cause of Alzheimer's....The altered protein, called eIF2alpha, increases the production of an enzyme that, in turn, flips a switch to produce the sticky protein clumps. Vassar worked with human and mice brains in his research....

Pollution at home often lurks unrecognized

...Many people may be surprised by the number of chemicals they are exposed to through everyday household products, a small study finds, suggesting, researchers say, that consumers need to learn more about sources of indoor pollution....

Teach Your Baby to Read (NOT !!!!!)

This is a video program that supposedly teaches your little one to read. I doubt it. Babies should not be learning to read. Babies should not be watching videos. Babes should be moving and exploring their world. I would strongly suggest you look for any research that supports this...what you will find is lots of research supporting your child actively engaging in his/her environment using motor activities to learn about the world. DM

HEADLINES 1 43 pm x70 Computer game determines children's vision problems

...The computer game Eye Spy helps medical professionals pinpoint vision problems like refractive error and amblyopia....

More Information
For more information
More Information

Elizabeth Reich
Chief Executive Officer
VisionQuest 20/20
Mesa, AZ
(602) 903-4460

Children wear glasses with red and blue lenses while playing the game, which is a treasure hunt. The different-colored lenses ensure each eye is screened individually.

Estimates show the game would cost about $5 per child. Professional eye exams can cost up to $75 per child....

Comments: I have not seen any research that suggests that this is a viable vision screening option. Beware. Vision screenings are just that...screenings miss many many children missed at $5 each would be worth a comprehensive eye examination for a child? (BTW I will contact Ms. Reich to see what research had been done to support this software.) DM

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Caffeine Has Greater Effect On Men, And Starts Only Ten Minutes After Consumption

....A study headed by researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB) shows that caffeine has a greater effect on men than women, and that these effects start just 10 minutes after it is drunk. In addition, contrary to what was previously thought, it has also been shown that decaffeinated coffee also produces an increased state of alertness.....

Comments: I do like my cup of "Joe" in the AM!! DM

Premature Babies Have Altered Sensory Responses In Later Life

...Premature infants who need intensive care or surgery are less sensitive to thermal (hot and cold) sensations later in life.... suggests that pain and injury related to major medical interventions in early development may alter how children respond to painful stimuli much later in life....

Visual Function at 35 and 40 Weeks' Postmenstrual Age in Low-Risk Preterm Infants

...Our findings provide data for visual function at 35 and 40 weeks' postmenstrual age in low-risk preterm infants. The results suggest that early extrauterine experience may accelerate the maturation of aspects of visual function related to ocular stability and tracking but does not seem to affect other aspects that may be more cortically mediated....

Video Games Sharpen Minds

...Paying a strategic video game could help older adults stay mentally fit. A first of its kind study looked at whether interactive video games might help cognitive functions that can decline with age.

During the research, participants played “Rise of Nations”, a video game that rewards nation-building and territorial expansion. The study looked at 40 adults between the ages of 60 and 79. Half of the study participants received over 23 hours of training on the game, while the other half did not receive any training. Researchers assessed the cognitive skills of both groups before, during and after the video game training. They discovered training on the video game did improve performance when it came to executive control functions like the ability to switch between tasks and reasoning skills....

Private prayer as a suitable intervention for hospitalised patients: a critical review of the literature

...The findings indicate that private prayer, when measured by frequency, is usually associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. Most of the studies that show positive associations between prayer and well being were located in areas that have strong Christian traditions and samples reported a relatively high level of religiosity, church attendance and use of prayer. Church attenders, older people, women, those who are poor, less well educated and have chronic health problems appear to make more frequent use of prayer. Prayer appears to be a coping action that mediates between religious faith and well being and can take different forms. Devotional prayers involving an intimate dialogue with a supportive God appear to be associated with improved optimism, wellbeing and function. In contrast, prayers that involve pleas for help may, in the absence of a pre-existing faith, be associated with increased distress and possibly poorer function....

Comments: Prayer works best seated in the foundation of faith. If you believe it works!! DM

How healthy are chronically ill patients after eight years of homeopathic treatment? - Results from a long term observational study

...A total of 3,709 patients were studied, 73% (2,722 adults, 72.8% female, age at baseline 41.0+/-12.3; 819 children, 48.4% female, age 6.5+/-4.0) contributed data to the 8-year follow-up. The most frequent diagnoses were allergic rhinitis and headache in adults, and atopic dermatitis and multiple recurrent infections in children. Disease severity decreased significantly (p<0.001)>

Comments: Let's see ... allergies, headache, dermatitis were most of the these tend to improve over time by themselves? I don' t know. DM

New computer software simulates what vision-impaired children can see.

From AOA FirstLook:

On its website, BBC News (12/24) reports that "computer software with the potential to improve the lives of visually-impaired children has been developed by doctors and academics in Glasgow," Scotland. The Sight-Sim program "measures a child's eyes and translates the images on to a screen," so "parents and teachers can...gauge the range of the child's vision and make appropriate changes to the environment around them." Conceived by Professor Gordon Dutton at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, the "software has won a Medical Futures Innovation Award in the ophthalmology category." The software was further "developed by" National Health Service "Greater Glasgow and Clyde clinical scientists, Ruth Hamilton, Michael Bradnam, and Aled Evans, in collaboration with Dr. Paul Siebert, a computing scientist at the University of Glasgow." Professor Dutton explained, "This software...can simply reveal what the child actually sees after the adult has inputted the measurements contained in the letter.

Comments: Maybe. Vision is so much more that visual acuity....if this only shows what the visual acuity will not truly represent what and/or how a child "sees" his or her world. It could a very false sense of what the child lacks interpretation...DM

Possibility of Topical Antioxidant Treatment of Cataracts: Corneal Penetration of Pyruvate in Humans

...The results demonstrate that topical administration of pyruvate is effective in elevating its concentration in the aqueous humor to a level adequate to offer protection against oxidative stress to the lens and other intraocular tissues. Hence, it should be feasible to carry out clinical trials with this compound aimed at treating diseases such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy induced by generation of reactive oxygen species and consequent oxidative stress....

Comments: The time for topical treatment of cataracts and diabetic retinopathy may be soon upon us. Let's hope these clinical trials are done soon. The availability of this form of treatment will be a major boon for our patients and optometrists will be able to not only diagnose but treat these disorders for our patients. DM

Development of a ciliary muscle–driven accommodating intraocular lens

...Evaluation of an accommodating IOL that meets the requirements for a spectacle-independent solution to presbyopia showed that the mechanical and optical designs must be further optimized to improve optical quality and functionality...

Comments: So let's see....will our OMD colleagues need to know how to conduct accommodative optometric vision therapy to make these lenses work? DM

Mom's infection raises risk of infant hearing loss

...The risk of hearing loss due to congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is greater when the mother-to-be is infected with the virus in the first three months of pregnancy rather than later in the pregnancy,...

Vision and action: The effect of visual feedback on infants’ exploratory behaviors

...The role of visual feedback during object exploration and manipulation was examined in 8-month-old infants. Infants appeared to maximize the stimulating properties of objects by producing sound when possible, and engaged in more activities in the light compared to the dark....

Comments: Multi-sensory input in the light is better for infant development than when they are in the! Keep the lights on....whoa....wasn't there a study that showed a link between a night light and the development of myopia? ...or maybe not . DM

Sex Difference On Spatial Skill Test Linked To Brain Structure

...Men consistently outperform women on spatial tasks, including mental rotation, which is the ability to identify how a 3-D object would appear if rotated in space....a study shows a connection between this sex-linked ability and the structure of the parietal lobe, the brain region that controls this type of skill....

Comments: Take that you woman libbers! We male types know our visual spatial tasks better than you do....nah, nah, nah, nah, nah....!! DM (OK, you gotta give us something from time to time!)

Flying Champagne Corks Are Bad News For Your Eyes

For most people bringing in the New Year means celebrating with friends and family, champagne toasts and cheer, but if you get hit in the eye with a champagne cork, it may mean a trip to the emergency room to try and save your sight...

Blind Man Navigates Obstacle Maze Unaided

...With a study of a blind man who successfully navigated an obstacle maze unaided, scientists have shown for the first time that it is possible for people who have been left blind after severe brain damage to the visual (striate) cortex to be able to use an ability called "blindsight", where they can detect things in their vicinity without being aware of seeing them....(in Current Biology)

Comments: See "Alesterlund L, Maino D. That the blind may see: A review: Blindsight and its implications for optometrists. J Optom Vis Dev 1999;30(2):86-93 DM

Autism And Schizophrenia Share Common Origin

Schizophrenia and autism probably share a common origin.....both mental diseases have similar physical abnormalities which are formed during the first month of pregnancy.

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Journal of Optometry Call for Papers

Comments: The Journal of Optometry is an open access Spanish journal written in English. DM

The Editors of Journal of Optometry are pleased to send you a Call for Papers on a Special Issue that will be published during the second half of 2009 related with Vision in Elderly.

It is our believe that this is a very interesting topic for optometrists, ophthalmologists and visual scientists around the world that could help us to increase the attention to Journal of Optometry.

At this moment, the Call for Papers has not been sent to other database or shared with other members of the community because we want that all members of the Editorial Board have this information first. In a few days, when the second issue of the journal will be available we will take the opportunity to send this information to all our contacts around the world.

Your opinions are much appreciated regarding this and other issues you consider important to share with us. For those involved in research areas potentially related with this topic, please consider the possibility to send a contribution to this Feature Issue.

Thank you for your support to the Journal of Optometry.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Montés-Micó, PhD

José M. González-Méijome, PhD
Associate Editor-in-Chief

60 Articles on Autism

Medpage articles on the topic of autism for 2008.

48 Articles on Kids Health

Medpage articles delaing with ADHD.

Christmas Karoke

Christmas Songs

The lyrics and some interesting information regarding the most popular Christmas songs are included on this website together with additional sections dedicated to Christmas carols, Christmas music and traditional Christmas poems which include the wonderful "Twas the night before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore. Christmas songs and their music have been popularised and advertised in different elements of the media including radio, television ,movies. The most famous of Christmas songs, White Christmas and its unforgettable music was immortalised by the recording by Bing Crosby and the movie of the same name is still enjoyed today....

Comments: Many of the lyrics also have music that you can play thru the computer speakers and sing with! DM

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Drastically Reducing Lazy Eye Treatment Times

...Treatment times for amblyopia - more commonly known as 'lazy eye' - could be drastically reduced thanks to research carried out at The University of Nottingham. Amblyopia is thought to affect up to 2.5 per cent of people and accounts for around 90 per cent of all children's eye appointments in the UK. Occlusion therapy - patching the normal eye for lengthy periods to 'train' the affected eye - is the main treatment for amblyopia. However, this method can be distressing to children, is unpopular with parents and can adversely effect educational development. This type of therapy has been used in various forms since 1743 and has long been considered to only be effective up until late childhood. ...

According To A New Government Survey, 38 Percent Of Adults And 12 Percent Of Children Use Complementary And Alternative Medicine

Approximately 38 percent of adults in the United States aged 18 years and over and nearly 12 percent of U.S. children aged 17 years and under use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to a new nationwide government survey (1). This survey marks the first time questions were included on children's use of CAM, which is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products such as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic, and acupuncture that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine

Medical Myths... turns out that:

Holiday sweets don't make the kids more hyperactive. Suicides don't go up over the holidays. Poinsettias aren't poisonous. Avoiding eating at night won't keep the pounds off. The only way to cure a hangover is not to get one in the first place. ...

Amblyopia can be treated at any I made up this last wasn't in the is still true!

Comments: I want my holiday treats! DM

A little wine may boost heart-healthy omega-3

...A glass or two of wine per day may increase the amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in a person's blood....The study of European adults found that those who drank in moderation tended to have higher blood levels of omega-3 -- even when intake of fish, the major dietary source of the fats, was taken into account...The link was strongest among wine drinkers, compared with those who favored beer and spirits. The findings suggest that wine, in particular, may affect the body's metabolism of omega-3 fats,...

Comments: I just got a gift certificate to WineStyles!! Yeah! I can drink wine and get healthy!! DM


Winter CE Registration

Online registration at will be
available the first week in January 2009!

So Mark Your Calendars

Saturday, February 21, 2009
“Medicare Coding & Billing 2009”
4 hours practice management
1:00-5:00pm ~ Hyatt Lisle, IL

Sunday, February 22, 2009
“Everything You Need to Know to Prescribe…”
6 hours TQ
9:00am-4:00pm ~ Hyatt Lisle, IL

Sunday, March 8, 2009
“The Pharmacology & Technology Revolution”
6 hours TQ
9:00am-4:00pm ~ Doubletree Alsip, IL

OEP Calendar of Events

JANUARY 24-26, 2009
The 54th Annual Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium on Vision
Hyatt Regency Bethesda, Bethesda, MD

FEBRUARY 4-8, 2009
VT/Learning Related Visual Problems (VT 2) (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Phoenix, AZ.
TOPIC: Behavioral optometric visual training for learning related visual problems
Instructor: Robin Lewis, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
35 CE hours available.

MARCH 1-2, 2009Great Lakes CongressChicago, ILTOPIC: Lenses, Performance and the Therapeutic Relationship
SPEAKERS: John Streff, O.D., Richard Harris, M.D., Joseph S. Grasso, D.O., Geoff Heddle, O.D. John A. Loesch, O.D.
CONTACT: John A. Loesch, O.D.
MARCH 14-15, 200918th Annual NORA Multi-Disciplinary Conference hosted by the 71st Annual Northwest Congress of OptometryBenson Hotel, Portland, OR. CONTACT: Bob Williams, OEP, 949-250-8070

MARCH 19-23, 2009
VT/Visual Dysfunctions (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Baltimore, MD
TOPIC: Behavioral optometric visual training for all general binocular dysfunctions
Instructor: Robert Hohendorf, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
35 CE hours available.

MARCH 19-23, 2009
The Art & Science of Optometric Care—A Behavioral Perspective (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Pomona, CA
TOPIC: Hands-on behavioral optometric clinical training in evaluation, alternatives presentations and prescribing.
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Harris, O.D.
CONTACT: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
Thirty-five CE hours.

APRIL 19-20, 2009
Robert Wold Southern California Behavioral Vision Seminar
Handlery Hotel, San Diego, CA (Mission Bay)
SPEAKER: Carl Hillier, O.D., FCOVD
CONTACT: Donald J. Janiuck, O.D., (858) 748-6120

APRIL 17-18, 2009
Southern California Vision Therapist Forum
Handlery Hotel, San Diego, CA (Mission Bay)

APRIL 23-26, 2009
VT/Strabismus & Amblyopia (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
TOPIC: Behavioral optometric visual training for strabismus and amblyopia.
INSTRUCTOR: Robin Lewis, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
28 CE hours available.

APRIL 30-May 2, 2009 77th International Conference on Light and Vision Fallsview Marriott, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Contact: College of Syntonic Optometry, Ron Wahlmeier
MAY 16- 17, 2009
2009 Eastern States Conference Crowne Plaza
White Plains, NY
Speakers: Jerry Sherman, OD, John Abbondanza, OD, and Samantha Slotnick, OD
CONTACT: Stuart Rothman, O.D.,
10 hours of CE

MAY 16-18, 2009
Acquired Brain Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury (ABI/TBI) (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Baltimore, MD
TOPIC: Acquired Brain Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury (ABI/TBI)
Instructor: Paul Harris, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
21 CE hours available.

JUNE 4-8, 2009
VT/Learning Related Visual Problems (VT 2) (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Baltimore, MD
TOPIC: Behavioral optometric visual training for learning related visual problems
Instructor: Paul Harris, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
35 CE hours available.

JUNE 4-8, 2009 Joint Conference on Clinical and Theoretical Optometry (JCTCO) Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR. TOPIC: Understanding spectrum disorders and optimizing related care in any practice CONTACT: Sally Corngold, OEP
June 24-28, 2009
AOA Congress
Washington, DC

july 11-15, 2009
The Art & Science of Optometric Care—A Behavioral Perspective (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Memphis, TN
TOPIC: Hands-on behavioral optometric clinical training in evaluation, alternatives presentations and prescribing.
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Harris, O.D.
CONTACT: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
Thirty-five CE hours.

JULY 17-19, 2009
Memphis, TN

July 25-26, 2009
Regional Clinical Seminar Cockeysville, MD (Metro Baltimore) TOPIC: Building, Managing and Maintaining a Thriving and Vital Behavioral Vision Care Practice SPEAKERS: Paul Harris, OD, Diane Serex-Dougan, OD CONTACT: Diane Serex-Dougan 800 447 0370

AugUST 1-2, 2009
Colorado Vision Summit, Colorado Convention Center, Denver
CONTACT: Barbara Zablotny,

AUGUST 27-31, 2009
VT/Visual Dysfunctions (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Grand Rapids, MI
TOPIC: Behavioral optometric visual training for all general binocular dysfunctions
Instructor: Robert Hohendorf, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
35 CE hours available.

SEPTEMBER 10-13, 2009
VT/Strabismus & Amblyopia (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Grand Rapids, MI
TOPIC: Behavioral optometric visual training for strabismus and amblyopia.
INSTRUCTOR: Robert Hohendorf, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
28 CE hours available.

SEPTEMBER 11 - 13 2009 40th Annual Colorado Vision Training Conference Estes Park, CO TOPIC: Sports Vision SPEAKER: Don Teig, O.D. CONTACT: George Hertneky, O.D., 970-842-5166,
SEPTEMBER 13-14, 2009 Northeast Congress Westford (MA) Regency Inn.

OCTOBER 13-17, 2009
39th Annual COVD Meeting
Marriott Denver Tech Center
Denver, CO

NOVEMBER 5-9, 2009
VT/Learning Related Visual Problems (VT 2) (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Grand Rapids, MI
TOPIC: Behavioral optometric visual training for learning related visual problems
Instructor: Robert Hohendorf, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
35 CE hours available.

DECEMBER 2-6, 2009
VT/Visual Dysfunctions (OEP Clinical Curriculum)
Phoenix, AZ
TOPIC: Behavioral optometric visual training for all general binocular dysfunctions
Instructor: Robin Lewis, O.D.
Contact: Theresa Krejci, 800 447 0370
35 CE hours available.

Middle Atlantic Optometric Congress, October 2009
Heart of America Congress, November 2009

April 8-11, 2010
6th International Congress of Behavioral Optometry (ICBO)
Southern California
CONTACT: Robert Williams, OEP Foundation, 949-250-8070, Robert Williams

JUNE 16-20, 2010
AOA Congress
Orlando, FL

OCTOBER 12-16, 2010
40th Annual COVD Meeting
Rio Mar Beach Resort
Puerto Rico

JUNE 15-19, 2011
AOA Congress
Salt Lake City, UT

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top 10 Health News Stories in 2008

Women's Health Top 10
Men's Health Top 10
Parenting Top 10
Pregnancy Top 10
Diet Top 10
Skin & Beauty Top 10
Emotional Health Top 10
Heart Health Top 10
Cancer Top 10
Digestive Health Top 10
Top 10 News Stories
Top 10 Slideshows
Top 10 Videos

Even Slightly Premature Infants Have Increased Health Risks

...Babies born even one to three weeks early have an increased risk of impaired neurological development, a retrospective cohort study showed. ... Infants born at 34 to 36 weeks gestation were 3.39 times more likely to have cerebral palsy than full-term babies, ...

A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial Examining the Safety and Efficacy of Therapeutic Touch in Premature Infants.

In this pilot trial, heart period variability showed an increase for the therapeutic touch (TT) group compared with the NTT group. The study reveals no adverse effects of TT in preterm infants

Eye-exercise device examined

From AOF FirstLook:

The Los Angeles Times (12/17) reports that health writer Chris Woolston examined the Eyeport Vision Training System, a device developed by optometrist Jacob Liberman, O.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., which "supposedly exercises eyes to dramatically improve their 'speed, accuracy, and efficiency.'" Hannu Laukkanen, O.D., of the Pacific University College of Optometry, called the " vision cure-all," but said "it can give tired eyes an impressive boost." Dr. Laukkanen, "who has no financial ties to the company, co-authored a study on Eyeport for a 2006 issue of the journal Optometry," in which "31 students with normal vision used the system for 10 minutes a day, six days a week, for three weeks." The results revealed that "the students' eyes worked more efficiently after the training," and could more quickly "focus on a target, an improvement that could help prevent eyestrain." James Kundart, O.D., M.Ed., FAAO, of Pacific University, said "the system has potential to help people who see blurred or doubled words while reading."

Autism And Schizophrenia Share Common Origin

Schizophrenia and autism probably share a common origin, hypothesises Dutch researcher Annemie Ploeger following an extensive literature study. The developmental psychologist demonstrated that both mental diseases have similar physical abnormalities which are formed during the first month of pregnancy...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eyes: A New Window on Mental Disorders

...Humans are social animals. In recent years, psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists have revealed the distinct parts of our brain that allow us to interact, collaborate and communicate with each other. One important way of studying the “social brain” is to look at what happens in the brain during neuro-developmental disorders associated with atypical social abilities. Two such disorders are autism and Williams syndrome, which is a rare genetic disorder. ...

New System Of Scoring IQ Tests Benefits Children With Intellectual Disabilities

...Parents of children with intellectual disabilities have long been frustrated by IQ testing that tells them little to nothing about their children's long-term learning potential. That's because the tests are scored according to the mean performance of children without disabilities, so the raw scores of many intellectually disabled children are converted to the lowest normalized score: typically a zero....

Hessl et al. A solution to limitations of cognitive testing in children with intellectual disabilities: the case of fragile X syndrome. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 2008; DOI: 10.1007/s11689-008-9001-8

Comment: It's about time! Does it really work? DM

Monday, December 15, 2008

See Mars in 3D! (stereoscopy fans, take note)

...The HIRISE website offers a large selection of Mars 3D photos, plus advice on how to buy or make 3D glasses. Old movie buffs no doubt will recall the era when movies that included free 3D glasses were real hits, especially with the Saturday morning kid audiences. Later, Viewmasters were a national hit....

Comments: Get those R/G or R/B glasses out! DM

New Administrators at ICO

It should be noted, that all 3 appointments come from the Peds/BV Service of the Illinois College of Optometry....we have great faculty!!

Illinois College of Optometry Announces Administrative Changes

CHICAGO (December 15, 2008) – The Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) today announced the appointments of Sandra Block, O.D., M.Ed., to Associate Dean; Geoffrey Goodfellow, O.D., to Chair, Department of Clinical Education; and Yi Pang, O.D., M.D., Ph.D. to Director of Research. The appointment of these individuals, effective February 1, 2009, demonstrates ICO’s commitment to offer students a world-class experience and reinforces its mission to provide excellence in optometric clinical education.

“The Illinois College of Optometry is pleased to have Drs. Block, Goodfellow and Pang take on additional leadership positions within the College,” said Kent M. Daum, O.D., Ph.D., Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs. “Each of these professionals bring knowledge, experience and dedication to preparing ICO students for success as outstanding optometrists.”

As the Associate Dean, Dr. Block will assist in the operations and development of ICO’s academic program. She will also work collaboratively with faculty to facilitate excellence in teaching and scholarly development; recruit, evaluate and select academic faculty and staff; develop work assignments and encourage research; and foster positive communication between faculty, students and administration. Dr. Block has been a full-time faculty member of ICO for more than 25 years. She has provided clinical instruction in primary care and pediatrics and binocular vision including binocular anomalies, strabismus and amblyopia, and vision and learning. Also a graduate of ICO, Dr. Block is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Optometry and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. She is also a Diplomate in Public Health of the American Academy of Optometry. She is a Global Clinical Advisor for Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes. Her research interests include public health, persons with disabilities and pediatric vision care.

ICO’s curriculum is at the core of its strategic plan and as the Chair for the Department of Clinical Education, Dr. Goodfellow will have a leadership role in managing the implementation and delivery of the didactic portion of the curriculum. Through student assessment measures, he will also identify and supervise student placement into the Clinical Honors Program during the first two years of the academic program. An emerging leader in the field of optometry, Dr. Goodfellow is an Associate Professor of Optometry at ICO teaching topics such as physiological optics and course work related to pediatrics and binocular vision. Dr. Goodfellow is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, Education Trustee of the Illinois Optometric Association and an active member of the volunteer structure of the American Optometric Association.

As the Director of Research, Dr. Pang will administrate, promote and advocate for scholarship and research activities in the College. Dr. Pang is an Assistant Professor at ICO. Over the course of three years, Dr. Pang has secured a number of grants and lead numerous research focusing on optic nerve hypoplasia, amblyopia, and strabismus. Dr. Pang’s credentials include a medical degree and a doctorate in vision science. She is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.

About the Illinois College of Optometry

The Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) is the largest and oldest educational institution dedicated solely to the teaching of optometrists in the United States. Founded in 1872, ICO has established itself as one of the world’s leading urban optometric institutions and has been serving the Chicagoland community for over 135 years.

Nystagmus in Infancy and Childhood

The journal, Seminars in Ophthalmology, is an open access journal. This paper reviews nystagmus and is worth a look for several reasons...including some great tables. Click on the title for the pdf version.

Hertle, Richard W.(2008)'Nystagmus in Infancy and Childhood',Seminars in Ophthalmology,23:5,307 — 317

Optometry: One of the best

As we approach 2009, it's good to remember that in 2008 US New and World Report noted that Optometry is one of the absolute best careers to have. They said that ...

...a career as an optometrist offers unmistakable advantages. Optometrists on average earn more than twice as much as opticians .... And optometrists ... do most of what ophthalmologists do, ..... [they] diagnose and treat eye diseases, perform ... surgery ...and of course fit people for glasses and contact lenses. Yet the required training is years shorter than it is for an ophthalmologist: a four-year, post-bachelor's program... [resulting in the Doctor of Optometry degree or O.D.]

Related News
Optometrist: A Day in the Life
Best Careers 2008
Video: Overrated Careers
Discuss Best Careers

Median Pay
National: $99,700.
More pay data by metropolitan area

Smart Specialty
Pediatric Optometry. The eye problems of children are generally among the most remediable. And the American Optometric Association projects high growth in this niche.

Other Resources
Department of Labor profile: Optometrist
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry
American Optometric Association

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Learning Disabilities Worldwide

My friend and colleague, Dr. Richard Laudon, was was elected Chair, Executive Board
of Learning Disabilities Worldwide. One of his responsibilities is to increase membership. He notes the importance of interdisciplinary care for the child/adult with LD. Obviously, the role of optometry is a critical variable in the care for those with LD. The second point is that he is asking you to consider becoming a member or making an appropriate contribution to this organization. LDW is planning to have a Conference in Germany in the Spring.

Page by Page Books

We want our patients to be able to read easily and comfortably. We may also work with patients that do not have the $$$ to pay for books or may not have ready access to a library.

If you do have these kinds of patients, have them log on to Page by Page Books which has hundreds of books available to download FREE of charge. This is a great service. Check it out.

Another web-place to check out is Classic Reader which also has free books online.


High Performance Optometry

High Performance Optometry is a newsletter designed for the primary care optometrist. The latest research, clinical case reports and more are reviewed in a timely fashion. This allows you to very easily keep up to date in many areas. For more information email the publisher, Will Kuhlman at or call him at 1-800-633-0055. (I have no $$$ interest in HPO, but Will and I have worked on several projects in the distant past.) DM

PCON Reports on CI Studies

Primary Care Optometry News recently reported on the clinical trials concerning Convergence Insufficiency....this is wonderful since 99% of their paper deals more with medical issues and not functional ones....good going PCON! Thanks for letting the profession know that optometric vision therapy has the research to back it up....those of us in Peds/BV deeply appreciate it! DM

Good-Lite Visits ICO

The Good-Lite folks came to visit us at ICO yesterday and showed us many of their new "stuff". I really appreciated the time they took to show us their products....if you need "Good-Lite stuff" for your office...they will be most helpful. (BTW I have no $$$ interest in Good-Lite...they did give me a cataloge and some "kids glasses" to try out however) DM

Al Canto Primo

I know that this blog usually deals with children, special needs patients and research, but I just ate at Al Canto Primo on Chicago's NW side and it was fantastic. If you get a chance...go to this "Galeteria" as soon as you can. Watch for them on PBS "Check Please" in January 2009. (I have no $$$ interest in this establishment....but I do count George and Maria Elbekai (the owners, chefs, and dynamos that run this fine eatery as my friends.) See info about New Years party to right...DM

ICO's EyePod

The Illinois College of Optometry's complete redesign of its third floor is absolutely amazing!
The EyePod's most notable features include 38 full lanes for teaching clinical care with the latest technology, clinical assessment space, 5 state of the art laboratories, student "fun" areas for studying and more, Wi Fi, Large screen LCD TVs and more.

The "Grand Opening" is Saturday January 10th from 4-6PM. Goodies will be served. Contact Connie Scavuzzo at 312-949-7080 or email her at . DM

Friday, December 12, 2008

Honey adds health benefits, is natural preservative and sweetener in salad dressings

...Antioxidant-rich honey is a healthy alternative to chemical additives and refined sweeteners in commercial salad dressings...

Nearly 12 percent of children use alternatives to traditional medicine, research suggests.

From AOA FirstLook:

The Washington Post (12/11, A2, Stein) reports, "More than one-third of U.S. adults and nearly 12 percent of children use alternatives to traditional medicine," according to a report titled, Complementary and Alternative Medicine use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007, which was issued by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Investigators at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics conducted the "survey of 23,300 adults and 9,400 part of a broader ongoing study." The researchers "found that use of yoga, 'probiotics,' fish oil, and other 'complementary and alternative' therapies held steady among adults since the last national survey five years earlier, and that such treatments have become part of healthcare for many youngsters."
Children "are five times as likely to try unconventional therapies if their parents also use them,"
USA Today (12/11, Szabo) adds. Typically, "children used these therapies...for back or neck pain, colds, anxiety or stress, other muscle and skeletal problems, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, the study shows." They are also "more likely to use complementary and alternative therapies if they see the doctor a lot and if they have ongoing medical problems," or "when their family has to delay or forsake conventional medical care because of cost." Researchers also found that "unconventional care is...more popular among teens, whites, and those with private insurance and well-educated parents."
AP (12/11) reports that "fish oil for hyperactivity," eye protection, and heart disease, "and echinacea for colds were the most popular supplements, although there's no proof such treatments work for those conditions, nor have they been tested in kids." Richard Nahin, of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, "cited the lack of rigorous scientific testing in declining to call such widespread use harmful or beneficial." He also pointed out that, "unlike federally regulated medicines, herbal remedies don't have to be proven safe or effective to be sold," and that "studies that have been done on them have focused on adults, not children." The AP also notes that, according to one expert, "some doctors are troubled that parents may be giving children alternative therapies in place of proven clinical treatments."
HealthDay (12/10, Reinberg) explained that "complementary and alternative medicine -- sometimes called CAM -- is an umbrella term for a collection of wide-ranging medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products that aren't generally considered conventional medicine. It includes herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic treatment, and acupuncture." While "most techniques, such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga, are safe," certain "herbal supplements may interfere with conventional medications," Nahin said.

Patching vs Atropine to Treat Amblyopia in Children Aged 7 to 12 Years

...Treatment with atropine or patching led to similar degrees of improvement among 7- to 12-year-olds with moderate amblyopia. About 1 in 5 achieved visual acuity of 20/25 or better in the amblyopic eye. ..

Comments: We should use all the tools available to us when treating our patients...and age should not stop you from treating a patient!!! DM

Anti-Stress Drug?

...In a small test on rats that were put under stressful conditions, researchers found exposing them to a small dose of muscimol -- a drug that temporarily inactivates the amygdala region of the brain -- eliminated the effects of stress completely....

Comments: we should use Ritalin to make folks smarter and muscimol to ease the affects of stress....what ever happened to "hard work" to get smarter....and using appropriate behavioral coping mechanisms for stress? Do we need a pill for everything? DM

Falls and Car Accidents Cause Most Injuries in U.S. Children

...Through the first half of this decade, about 9.2 million kids younger than 20 visited an emergency department for an unintentional injury and about 12,175 died each year, according to a report by the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control...

Video Games May Improve Cognition in the Older Population

...Nearly two dozen hours of playing a strategic video game over several weeks led to increased performance on four out of six tests of executive function...

Comments: The benefits of neuroplasticy are available to us at any age. Me? I'm gonna get me a Wii DM

Study compares eye drops to patch therapy for treatment of amblyopia

From AOA FirstLook:

In the New York Times Well blog, Tara Parker-Pope wrote that a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology "compares patch therapy for amblyopia with...a weekly regimen of medicated eye drops that essentially work as a patch by blurring vision in the stronger eye." Mitchell M. Scheiman, O.D., FCOVD, of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia, and colleagues, conducted a "randomized study of nearly 200 children," and found that "giving the eye drops on the weekend worked about as well as wearing a patch for two hours a day." The eye drops, which contain atropine, "work by preventing a muscle in the stronger eye from constricting. As a result, when a child tries to read or focus on something close, the good eye is blurred." The child's "weaker eye" is forced "to focus and work harder, which helps it strengthen over time."

Maintaining Brain's Wiring In Aging And Disease

....researchers...have discovered that the brain's circuitry survives longer than previously thought in diseases of ageing such as Alzheimer's disease....

Childcare is bad for babies

...Parents and governments are taking a "high-stakes gamble" with the long-term wellbeing of children by subjecting them to long hours of formal childcare from a very young age, according to a Unicef report....The study ... recommends that all children should where possible be cared for by parents at home during the first 12 months of life. ...

Low-carb diets can affect dieters' cognition skills

...when dieters eliminate carbohydrates from their meals, they performed more poorly on memory-based tasks than when they reduce calories, but maintain carbohydrates. When carbohydrates were reintroduced, cognition skills returned to normal....

Spelling performance of visually impaired adults

...Blind or severely visually impaired subjects who used braille frequently seem to perform better at spelling compared to those who rely on other media. Adults with low vision who use magnifying lenses frequently seem to make more spelling mistakes than those who use braille, large print, CCTV or the computer (screen-reading or screen-magnification software). ...

Stereopsis in children with unilateral pseudophakia

...Stereopsis was better in children with later manifesting cataracts, absence of strabismus and in cases with a good postoperative visual acuity. The postoperative visual acuity was the most important factor affecting the outcome of stereopsis in children with unilateral pseudophakia.

Central corneal thickness in children with congenital cataract and children with surgical aphakia

...Aphakic eyes due to congenital cataract show thicker corneas than normal phakic eyes. Aphakic eyes after congenital cataract extraction show thicker corneas than eyes with congenital cataracts, suggesting that the increase in CCT occurs postoperatively....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Review of Speed Reading Programs

...Speed reading is the ability to read at high speeds. Most people read from 200 to 300 words per minute. Speed readers can read 600 to 2500 words per minute. Some web sites claim speeds of 10,000 words per minute or more. The speed reading concept has been around a long time but new software makes it easier and faster to learn at home. ....With speed reading software you have an interactive experience which makes learning easier. When attempting to learn speed reading from a book or audio CD, you have to time yourself as you read passages. Software programs do the timing for you which is much more accurate and much much easier...

Comments: This website reviews several speed reading programs. I'm familar with one or two of these programs....but have not used any of them for my patients. If you've used them let me know how they have worked out for you and your patients. DM

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

VT computer Program

...York University researchers have designed a computer game that corrects a common vision problem more effectively than conventional, “boring” therapies.... The game, a 3-D version of Pac Man, helps patients with a condition called convergence insufficiency learn to align their eyes.... The disorder can cause headaches, blurred or double vision, eye strain, and reading problems. It affects up to five percent of the population, and is typically treated with exercises requiring repeated convergence of the eyes....

Comments: The research was done in partnership with the University of Waterloo’s School of Optometry, where the author is an adjunct professor. The University of Waterloo School of Optometry has outstanding faculty, clinicians, researchers and students. In the recent past however, they have not had a strong presence in the area of diagnosing and treating binocular vision disorders. I don't remember the last time I saw a faculty member at a COVD meeting...perhaps this will change. Hopefully, this will be one of many studies either conducted at or in cooperation with the U of W School of Optometry. The full study/paper was not readily available since this was in proceedings of the August, Virtual Rehabilitation 2008 international conference. It sounds more like a pilot study...they did not mention a control group....I will see if I can get a copy of the study and let you know what was done if I can. DM

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Screening Halves The Number Of Children Born With Down's Syndrome

..A new national screening strategy in Denmark has halved the number of infants born with Down's syndrome and increased the number of infants diagnosed before birth by 30%, according to a study published on today. ...the number of infants born with Down's syndrome decreased from 55-65 per year during 2000-4, to 31 in 2005 and 32 in 2006. The ...

How To Choose Age Appropriate And Safe Toys For Children During The Holidays

...Drowning, suffocation, strangulation, and riding toy accidents (such as when a child is hit by a motor vehicle while riding a toy, or when the child rides a toy into a body of water) are other causes of toy-related deaths....

Comment: Make sure all toys are age appropriate. Watch little ones when playing with the older kids toys. Be careful. Be safe. DM

Holiday Hazard Tips From The Drug And Poison Information

The holiday season is usually a time of joy but it also brings the potential for poisonings, according to the Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC), a service of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The following information includes safety hazards and precautionary ways to ensure that families have a safe holiday season.

Watch out for:


Investigating Numbness, Pain Or Muscle Weakness? Guidelines Identify Best Tests For Neuropathy

...Neuropathy affects one in 50 people in the general population and one in 12 over the age of 55. It ...causes numbness, tingling or pain, often starting in the feet and moving to the hands. Symptoms spread slowly and evenly up the legs and arms. Muscle wasting and weakness can also occur. Neuropathy takes many forms and has many causes. The most common cause is diabetes. Other common causes are heredity, alcohol abuse, poor nutrition and autoimmune processes. Not all of the causes are known. ...

Groundbreaking Research On Human Memory

...the neurons excited during an experience are the same as those excited when we remember that experience. ...

Tracking Eye Disorders In Statin Users; Predicting Visual Outcomes For Wounded Soldiers; Improving Glaucoma Tests With Patient Input

...Eye disorders related to statins are rare, occurring in about 0.1 percent of patients (0.5 to 2.5 percent when gemfibrozil, another type of cholesterol-lowering drug, is taken simultaneously). .... There were 23 cases of loss of eye range of motion, 8 cases of ptosis, and 18 cases of ptosis in conjunction with double vision; disorders in all patients apparently resolved completely when statins were discontinued. ...

What Is ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

...Health experts say that ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is the most common behavioral disorder that starts during childhood. However, it does not only affect children - people of all ages can suffer from ADHD. Psychiatrists say ADHD is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder...

Comments: Don't forget that a good percentage of ADHD patients have convergence insufficiency....and a good percentage of folks with convergence insufficiency act as if they have ADHD. All kids with ADHD and CI should be evaluated carefully. See articles below. DM

The relationship between convergence insufficiency and ADHD. Granet DB, Gomi CF, Ventura R, Miller-Scholte A. Strabismus. 2005 Dec;13(4):163-8.

Measuring ADHD behaviors in children with symptomatic accommodative dysfunction or convergence insufficiency: a preliminary study. Borsting E, Rouse M, Chu R. Optometry. 2005 Oct;76(10):588-92.

1,500 Americans suffer cork-related eye injuries

From AOA FirstLook:

Estimated 1,500 Americans suffer cork-related eye injuries, group says.
In the
USA Today (12/8) Better Life blog, Rita Rubin wrote that, according to a group of eye physicians, "an estimated 1,500 Americans suffer cork-related eye injuries" from improperly opening bottles of champagne and sparkling wines. According to the group, a champagne cork "can fly through the air at 50 miles an hour. That's enough to break glass or cause permanent eye injuries in a fraction of a second." Experts recommend chilling the bottle well, not shaking it before opening, and "covering the cork with a towel as you twist it out by hand, not with a corkscrew," as well as not pointing it at anyone as you are opening it.

Comments: Be very careful openning up that bubbly! DM

Infants blink less than twice a minute

From the AOA FirstLook:

Infants blink on average less than twice a minute, columnist explains.

In the New York Times (12/9, D5) Really? column, Anahad O'Connor writes that normal newborns "rarely close their eyes, except, of course, when sleeping," blinking "spontaneously at a rate far below that of adults." Published in the Annals of Neurology, a study once found that newborns "blink on average less than twice a minute, a rate that steadily increases up to the age of 14 or 15." In comparison, "adults, on average, blink about 10 to 15 times a minute." Experts theorize that babies, "perhaps because their eyes are better protected by smaller openings or because they sleep so much, may require less eye lubrication." It is also possible they don't blink often because their "ability to see is incomplete," and they "work hard to soak in visual information."

Millions need eyeglasses but don't have them

...More than 1 billion people globally suffer from a condition in which the eye's lens loses flexibility, blurring objects close by, and half of them do not own eyeglasses to help them see, researchers said on Monday....In 2005, an estimated 517 million people with presbyopia -- which is thought to be caused by a stiffening of the eyes' lenses or a weakening of muscles that focus the lens -- lacked eyeglasses or had an inadequate pair....

Comments: Finally refractive conditions get some respect! Let's get these folks examined and prescribed a pair of specs today! It's relatively easy, inexpensive, and doable....DM

Clothing With A Brain: 'Smart Fabrics' That Monitor Health

...Researchers in United States and China are reporting progress toward a simple, low-cost method to make "smart fabrics," electronic textiles capable of detecting diseases, monitoring heart rates, and other vital signs. ..... straight-out-of-science-fiction-fibers, made of carbon nanotubes...

Drug-Safety Data: Too Much Information?

...Too much information about drug safety -- disseminated through media, online alerts from consumer watchdog groups and even by the Food and Drug Administration itself -- might overwhelm patients and raise undue alarm, some medical professionals caution. Consumers may forget about the benefits of a medication if they focus only on risk. And the health consequences associated with stopping a medication, particularly for a chronic condition, may be far worse than the possibility of a side effect....

Comments: Are patients are not that dumb. They have a right to be informed and ask questions. We must be sure they understand the risks/benefits of any drug or medical device in a "reasonable" manner. Life carries most cases these risks are small, but if we inform the patient appropriately if things do go bad...they can recognize the signs and respond appropriately. The problem is not too much infor....but rather how we present the info to our patients! DM

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Institute on Disability and Human Development Alert newsletter

The Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD) at the University of Illinois at Chicago invites you to read our Alert newsletter on Support Services.

Books on Autism

This blog lists several books including Seeing Through New Eyes by Melvin Kaplan. DM

Ben's Stem Cell News

For the latest in Stem Cell should check out this blog. DM

Poor Reading Skills Linked with Impaired Eyesight

...Does your child hate to read - even though he enjoyed reading when he was in the primary grades? If so, you may want to schedule a vision test. Your child may have a common problem that can be corrected with eye training exercises, according to a new government study....

Creative Minds Temple Grandin, Ph.D. "Autism Is No Obstacle

The January Lecture will feature Temple Grandin, Ph.D. with her lecture, "Autism Is No Obstacle" on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm. The most accomplished and best-known adult with autism, Temple Grandin, Ph.D. is the author of best-selling books like Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports From My Life With Autism and Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. She invented a series of innovative livestock handling devices and has authored more than 300 articles in both scientific journals and livestock periodicals. During her presentation, she will offer personal insight into autism and offer strategies for overcoming this increasingly common condition of our society....All Creative Minds events will be held in Jelks Auditorium at Savannah Country Day School, located at 824 Stillwood Drive 31419, in Savannah, Georgia.

Comments: I've had an opportunity to meet and talk with Dr. Grandin at a COVD meeting a couple of years ago....she is a most interesting individual. If you happen to be in Savannah, GA go to this meeting. DM

Speaking the language of vaccines

Easing parents' fears about vaccine safety may mean moving beyond answers couched with scientific caveats....Childhood vaccines are entangled in a vast public controversy, and doctors often find themselves helping perplexed parents sort through misinformation before making a decision on immunization....

Neurology of musical performance

Altenmüller E. Neurology of musical performance Clin Med. 2008 Aug;8(4):410-3.

Performing music at a professional level requires the integration of multimodal sensory and motor information and precise monitoring of the performance via auditory feedback. .... dysfunctional plasticity in musicians, known as musician's dystonia, leads to deterioration of extensively trained fine motor skills. Musician's dystonia may be caused by training induced dysplasticity with pathological fusion of central nervous representations in sensorimotor cortical and subcortical brain regions.

AAP Recommends Red Reflex Examination for All Neonates, Infants, and Children

A revised policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics further outlines the risk factors for potentially vision- and life-threatening eye abnormalities, and recommends that all neonates, infants, and children have a red reflex eye examination. According to the statement, the examination should be conducted before discharge from the neonatal nursery and during all subsequent routine health supervision visits. All infants or children with an abnormal test should be immediately referred to an ophthalmologist skilled in pediatric examinations.While all infants and children benefit from serial red reflex screening, high risk infants (with relatives diagnosed with retinoblastoma, infantile or juvenile cataracts, retinal dysplasia, juvenile glaucoma, or other hereditary vision-threatening disorders) require referral to an ophthalmologist for complete exam regardless of the findings on red reflex testing.

Comments: Red reflex?! Shame on the AAP. Each infant should have a comprehenisive eye examination between 6 months and 1 year of age....and the American Optometric Association has the program to do just that! (BTW shame on the AAP for not mentioning that optometrists provide these services....FREE for these young children.). This program is the AOA's InfantSee program. Come on AAP....start thinking about your patients. Stop thinking that only OMDs can serve your patients. DM

Video Game Vision Test

One in four kids in the United States has some kind of vision problem, and undetected vision problems can make it tough for kids to learn. ...A new cost-effective and fun solution may make screenings easier. ...It's a video game designed to check kids' eyes. ..."By measuring response time in the right eye versus the left eye, it gives us information as to whether one eye is underperforming or not," ...many kids with vision problems can still pass a conventional eye test. ...The test screens for everything from visual acuity and basic vision problems to lazy eye, retinal disorders and even cataracts. Because it's automated, researchers believe this new test is more accurate and cost-effective than standard vision tests. .... A non-profit organization called VisionQuest 20/20 hopes to distribute the eye screening game to schools nationwide

Comments: I have not heard of this until now. Anyone know more? You can find out more by clicking here This organization was the Amblyopia Foundation of America...DM

One of a Kind Eye Treatment (for keratoconus)

...Drops of riboflavin, or vitamin B2, are applied to the cornea in phases. An ultraviolet light activates the drops. ..."There's a reaction between the ultraviolet light and the riboflavin, which joins or links the collagen molecules in the cornea and in doing so, makes it stiffer," Doyle Stulting, M.D., Ph.D., an ophthalmologist at Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, Ga., told Ivanhoe....

Comments: Eye drops to correct keratoconus! Awesome. If this works, it would be wonderful for my patients with Down Syndrome who have keratoconus. DM

Childhood Media Exposure Linked to Variety of Negative Health Outcomes

...Children who spend more time parked in front of video screens are more likely to suffer for it later, ...173 published studies found strong evidence linking duration of children's exposure to various forms of media to future tobacco use and obesity, reported Marcella Nunez-Smith, M.D., of Yale University, and colleagues in a report published and funded by Common Sense Media. They found moderate-quality evidence that increased exposure to media -- defined as television, video games, films, computer or internet use, music, music videos, and magazines -- leads to alcohol or drug use or poor school performance, and only a hint that it contributes to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)....

Comments: Please note that Common Sense Media has a mission and that funding this project may reflect what they believe to be true...on the other hand....we know kids need to get out, play outside, turn the tube off, interact with their environment thru motor activities to grow. Optometrist have been recommending these kinds of activities for our children for decades. DM

Computer game designed to correct convergence insufficiency

From AOA's FirstLook:

Canada's Exchange Morning Post (12/5) reported that, according to a study presented at a vision conference, researchers from Canada's York University, working in collaboration with the University of Waterloo's School of Optometry, "have designed a computer game that corrects" convergence insufficiency "more effectively than conventional, 'boring' therapies." The video game is "a 3-D version of Pac Man" that "helps patients with" the condition "learn to align their eyes." The investigators "conducted a study in which patients were instructed to play the game for 20 minutes a day, five days a week, over a period of two weeks. They found that as subjects advanced through the game, the coordination of their eyes improved." The authors emphasized that "hidden stereoscopic imagery" within the game "provides a check that players have their eyes in the correct position." They also said that "results to date suggest the game will improve compliance on vision-therapy exercises."

Comments: It's really great that our colleagues at the U of Waterloo have developed this therapy. I would like to suggest that they present information about this development at the AOA, AAO and the COVD meetings in 2009! DM

Scientists back brain drugs for healthy people

...Healthy people should have the right to boost their brains with pills, like those prescribed for hyperactive kids or memory-impaired older folks, several scientists contend in a provocative commentary.College students are already illegally taking prescription stimulants like Ritalin to help them study, and demand for such drugs is likely to grow elsewhere, they say.
"We should welcome new methods of improving our brain function," and doing it with pills is no more morally objectionable than eating right or getting a good night's sleep, these experts wrote in an opinion piece published online Sunday by the journal Nature....

Comments: What? Normal people taking medically unnecessary drugs? We do not allow athletes to do this. We do not allow dopers to do this. Why would we allow others to do this? Several sci-fi writers have shown us a society where folks are given drugs to enhance this or that quality(usually fighters/soldiers)...and the harm that results. Whatever "experts" think this is a good idea should re-think the whole concept immediately! DM

Poor Children's Brain Activity Resembles That Of Stroke Victims, EEG Shows

... brains of low-income children function differently from the brains of high-income kids.
...normal 9- and 10-year-olds differing only in socioeconomic status have detectable differences in the response of their prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is critical for problem solving and creativity...."Kids from lower socioeconomic levels show brain physiology patterns similar to someone who actually had damage in the frontal lobe as an adult," said Robert Knight, director of the institute and a UC Berkeley professor of psychology. "We found that kids are more likely to have a low response if they have low socioeconomic status, though not everyone who is poor has low frontal lobe response."...

Comments: If this is true, than children from lower socio-economic levels should be able to benefit from the same or similar optometric vision therapy that is currently used for those with traumatic brain injury. DM

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I've mentioned this before....but it's worth telling you again and offers many resources for the optometrist interested in optometric vision therapy. Click on the title to learn more....DM

Cover test simulator

Eye on Techs offers several simulations including the cover test, retinoscopy, pupil assessment, and anatomy. Here's more: Hirschberg, Worth 4 Dot, and oculo-motility.

Most of this is pretty basic....but check it out anyway! DM

Brain Fitness Research

marbles the brain store

Holiday shopping doesn't need to be mind-numbing this year. There is a new store in Chicago with something for brains of all ages.

marblesTM the brain store
55 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Comments: This place looks like a cool place with cool stuff.....I am going to try to visit it and get back to you .... DM

Do individuals with autism process words in context? Evidence from language-mediated eye-movements.

Brock J, Norbury C, Einav S, Nation K.Do individuals with autism process words in context? Evidence from language-mediated eye-movements. Cognition. 2008 Sep;108(3):896-904. Epub 2008 Aug 8.Click here to read

It is widely argued that people with autism have difficulty processing ambiguous linguistic information in context. ...we recorded the eye-movements of 24 adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and 24 language-matched peers as they monitored spoken sentences for words corresponding to objects on a computer display.... Contrary to predictions, the two groups evidenced similar effects of context on eye-movements. Instead, across both groups, the effect of sentence context was reduced in individuals with relatively poor language skills. Implications for the weak central coherence account of autism are discussed.

Exploration of core features of a human face by healthy and autistic adults analyzed by visual scanning.

Hernandez N, Metzger A, Magne R, Bonnet-Brilhault F, Roux S, Barthelemy C, Martineau J. Exploration of core features of a human face by healthy and autistic adults analyzed by visual scanning. Neuropsychologia. 2008 Nov 5; [Epub ahead of print]Click here to read

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by disorders in social interaction and emotional reciprocity which can be explained by impairments of the ability to understand the mental states of others ("theory of mind") and recognition of facial expressions..... The aim of this study was to quantify ocular behaviour in 11 adults with autism and 23 healthy subjects (15-35 years) while exploring neutral faces and faces expressing an emotion using an eye tracking method. .... All healthy subjects significantly began their exploration of a face by looking at the eye in the contralateral visual field to their dominant eye. This strategy seemed to be impaired in patients with autism. To conclude, these results contrast with earlier reports regarding the lack of interest in the eye region in patients with autism, and demonstrate for the first time that perception of the face is dependent on eye dominance.

WebMD on Headaches

MDs often forget about vision related headaches....and yet, I have patients tell me every day about how they develop headaches without their glasses...or when they read more than their eyes can handle .... Vision related headaches are often easy to "fix"....a near add (reading glasses), a correction for astigmatism or other refractive error....or a bit of optometric vision therapy....all can take care of these vision related a headache...??? See your developmental/functional/behavioral optometrist today!! DM

The Institute on Disability and Human Development

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IDHD at UIC is the federally designated University Center for Excellence, Education, Research and Service (UCE) in Developmental Disabilities for the state of Illinois. Authorized under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (Public Law 106-402), the IDHD is part of a network of sixty-one university-based centers in every state and territory of the United States.