Friday, June 20, 2008

City neglects children's vision and hearing tests

..The city's Department of Education is failing to screen children for vision and hearing problems in all five boroughs, according to an audit of 10 public schools released by New York City Comptroller William Thompson.The DOE and the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted only 66% of the 1,176 required vision screenings in those schools and only 54% of the required hearing screenings between academic years 2002-03 and 2005-06, according to the audit. ...

Promising trials for new MS pill

...Laquinimod was shown to reduce signs of disease activity in scans, and was well tolerated by patients with the relapsing-remitting form of MS. .. Experts say an oral medication could potentially be a significant advance, as current drugs are all injectable

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Exercising your brain power

...Teenagers cramming for tests and people worried about "senior moments" can now turn to an explosion of brain-assisting video games, such as Nintendo's "Brain Age"; puzzles that are said to ward off dementia, such as Sudoku and crosswords; online tips that claim to train the brain; even herbal supplements with touted therapeutic value such as ginkgo biloba, Siberian ginseng, gotu kola and passion flower. ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis

..Our meta-analysis suggests that garlic preparations are superior to placebo in reducing blood pressure in individuals with hypertension....

Comments: I'm Italian so I love I even have a better reason to use plenty of garlic when I cook my Italian dishes!! DM

IOA hails Illinois state law requiring comprehensive eye exams for schoolchildren.

Illinois's Belleville News Democrat (6/17) reported that the "Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) is hailing a new state law that requires comprehensive eye exams for children entering kindergarten or enrolling for the first time in a public, private, or parochial school in Illinois." Because "[p]roof of the required eye exam must be submitted by Oct. 15," Illinois "[o]ptometrists are encouraging parents to arrange for a comprehensive eye exam early to beat the summer rush." They emphasize that these "exams are critical in uncovering such disorders as amblyopia ('lazy eye'), strabismus ('crossed eyes'), retinoblastoma (a rare eye cancer), and other problems that may hamper sight and performance in school." The News Democrat pointed out that "Illinois is now the third state in the nation requiring eye exams for children entering public schools; Kentucky and Missouri were the first."

Opaque Intra-ocular Lens for Intractable Diplopia: Experience and Patients Expectations and Satisfaction

...Opaque intraocular lens (IOL) insertion is a valuable option in the management of intractable diplopia. The VF-14 revealed very little or no impairment in visual function following the procedure. All patients reported improvement in their visual function and were pleased with the final outcome....

Comments: This paper's abstract does mention that this option was used ONLY after all other options were tried. Cutting open the eye and putting in an opaque lens would certainly not be my first choice for treatment....when other less drastic methods are available. DM

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Evidence-Based Amblyopia Treatment: Results of PEDIG Studies

....Results have shown that spectacles alone are a powerful treatment for amblyopia; patching is superior to spectacles alone; initiating fewer hours of prescribed patching seems to be as effective as traditional treatment; patching is effective in older children, particularly if they have not previously been treated; atropine is as effective as patching after six months; and weekend atropine is equally effective as daily atropine. ...

The results of treatment of anisomyopic and anisohypermetropic amblyopia

...To analyze the results of treatment of anisomyopic and anisohypermetropic amblyopia comparing full-time and part-time occlusion. ...FTO is superior to PTO for the treatment of amblyopia. The greatest amount of improvement in visual acuity was seen in simple myopes and the least in simple hyperopes. Compliance is critical for successful treatment of amblyopia. ...

Comments: If past research and my own clinical experience shows is that full time occlusion is typcially VERY difficult to achieve. Why put the child thru that when if you add active hand eye activities you can improve the VA nicely. So 2 hrs of occlusion with one of those hours doing active therapy involving hand eye activities will work just fine, the patient will be more compliant...and your end VA will be just what you'd like! DM

The APCs of nerve cell function

...Rapid information processing in the nervous system requires synapses, specialized contact sites between nerve cells and their targets. One particular synapse type, cholinergic, uses the chemical transmitter acetylcholine to communicate between nerve cells. Cholinergic synapses are essential for normal learning and memory, arousal, attention, and all autonomic (involuntary) nervous system functions....

Online Scheduler Helps Track Kids' Shots

Computerized program tells them when to give vaccines after child misses appointment ...It's common for children to miss getting vaccines at the recommended time. About 28 percent of toddlers haven't been vaccinated according to U.S. guidelines, said a report issued recently by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 9 percent of children received all their vaccinations at the recommended times, and only half received all the recommended doses by their second birthday, according to another recent survey...

Optometry & Vision Development Volume 39, No. 2, 2008


by Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A, Editor

Decision Making
by Gary J. Williams, OD, FAAO, FCOVD

Limited Research and Education on Special Populations in Optometry and Ophthalmology
by Wes Sands, OD; Marc Taub, OD, FAAO; Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A

Practice Management
The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes
by Thomas Lecoq
Financial Management - Payment Card Fraud Can Happen to You
by Richard Rizzardi

Book Review
Illustrated Tutorials in Clinical Ophthalmology
Review by Christine L. Allison, OD, FAAO, FCOVD

The Creative Brain: The Science of Genius
Review by David A. Goss, OD, PhD, FCOVDA, FAAO

Literature Review
Current Eye & Vision Science Literature
by David A. Goss, OD, PhD, FAAO, FCOVD-A


Repeatability of the VMI Supplemental Developmental Test of Visual Perception
by Marjean Taylor Kulp, OD, MS, FAAO and Michael J. Earley, OD, PhD, FAAO

The COVD - QOL Questionnaire in a socially at-risk population of youth
by Willard B. Bleything, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD, Sandra L. Landis, OD, FCOVD

Optometric Vision Therapy/Rehabilitation Service at the SUNY College Of Optometry
by Harold N Friedman OD, COVD, FAAO

Guidelines for Authors

Call for Papers, Call for Photographs

Journal of Vision

Comments: I just found this interesting journal on the internet....check it out! An index of issues is available by clicking here. DM

Special Issue Introduction

Perceptual organization and neural computation Sergei Gepshtein James H. Elder Laurence T. Maloney


On the plausibility of the discriminant center-surround hypothesis for visual saliency Dashan Gao Vijay Mahadevan Nuno Vasconcelos

Spatial structure affects temporal judgments: Evidence for a synchrony binding code Samuel Cheadle Frank Bauer Andrew Parton Hermann Müller Yoram S. Bonneh Marius Usher

Selective mechanisms for simple contours revealed by compound adaptation Sarah Hancock Jonathan W. Peirce

A feedback model of figure-ground assignment Dražen Domijan Mia Šetić

Contextual modulations of center-surround interactions in motion revealed with the motion aftereffect Duje Tadin Chris L. E. Paffen Randolph Blake Joseph S. Lappin

Perceptual organization reconsidered in the light of the watercolor illusion: The problem of perception of holes and the object-hole effect Baingio Pinna Maria Tanca

The segmental structure of faces and its use in gender recognition Adrian Nestor Michael J. Tarr

Perceptual segmentation and the perceived orientation of dot clusters: The role of robust statistics Elias H. Cohen Manish Singh Laurence T. Maloney

Fixation locations when grasping partly occluded objects Denise D. J. de Grave Constanze Hesse Anne-Marie Brouwer Volker H. Franz

Induced Gamma activity in primary visual cortex is related to luminance and not color contrast: An MEG study Peyman Adjamian Avgis Hadjipapas Gareth R. Barnes Arjan Hillebrand Ian E. Holliday

Local determinants of contour interpolation Marianne Maertens Robert Shapley

Perceptual grouping and inverse fMRI activity patterns in human visual cortex Fang Fang Daniel Kersten Scott O. Murray

Bistability for audiovisual stimuli: Perceptual decision is modality specific Jean-Michel Hupé Lu-Ming Joffo Daniel Pressnitzer

Transfer Of Learning Traced To Areas Of The Brain

...Practice makes perfect, but a question that still remains a mystery is why it is so difficult to transfer learning from a trained to an untrained task? Why are we no better at remembering faces when we have been training our memory for words?...

Missing Protein In Fragile X Syndrome Is Key To Transporting Signals Within Neurons

...Fragile X syndrome (FXS) robs the brain of a protein that plays a major role in the way neurons communicate and that is essential for brain development, learning and memory. ...

Mechanism May Explain Aspects Of Brain Impairment Seen In Fragile X Syndrome

...defects in stimulus-induced synaptic localization of FMRP target mRNAs may make a significant contribution to the synaptic and cognitive defects observed in FXS. "The present study has identified several key FMRP targets that are dysregulated in dendrites and may provide insight into new therapeutics for the treatment of FXS that target the mRNA localization pathway and its signaling components....

'Faulty' Brain Connections May Be Responsible For Social Impairments In Autism

...Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, a team of researchers affiliated with the University of Washington's Autism Center also found that the most severely socially impaired subjects in the study exhibited the most abnormal pattern of connectivity among a network of brain regions involved in face processing...

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Open Access Journal Call for Articles

Dr. Robert Montés-Micó, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the new peer reviewed Journal of Optometry of the Spanish Council of Optometry is devoted to publication of research in the field of Optometry, Vision Sciences and related areas. He invites all to submit an Original Research Article, Review, Case Report or Technical Report.

The journal welcomes the submission of original manuscripts and reviews describing clinical and experimental research in the field of Optometry, Ophthalmic Optics, Ocular Surface and Basic and Applied Visual Science in general; research on Instruments and Techniques, Reports of Clinical Cases, and clinically relevant laboratory investigations are also welcomed.

Journal features include rapid publication of articles, international Editorial Board, free on-line access, large readership, authors retain copyright of their work and movies are accepted.

Do not hesitate to contact him if you have any further questions.

Journal home page available at:

Author guidelines are available at

Light sensors that control body clock are found in eye

...Scientists have discovered the function of a third type of light sensor in the eye -- not vision, but control of the body's internal clock -- opening a new pathway for potential treatments of light-related mood and sleep disorders.The sensors, found in 2% of retinal cells, are dedicated to detecting the presence and intensity of light through the use of a light-sensitive molecule called melanopsin...

Common Sleep Disorder Damages Memory

...Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found mammillary bodies, small structures on the underside of the brain, were 20 percent smaller in sleep apnea patients than in control participants. These structures are responsible for transferring recent memory into long-term memory, and for operating spatial memory, which keeps track of where you are in space,...

Use of drugs to treat mental problems for youngsters raises concerns

...Researchers now suspect that young children, even toddlers or babies, can suffer from a short list of mental problems, including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder...

Comments: Give me a break! Babies with bipolar disorder? I would suggest that we look at this with a very skeptical eye....and that those docs who are quick to medicate...need a major re-think! DM

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Evaluating Changes in Quality of Life After Vision Therapy Using the COVD Quality of Life Outcomes Assessment

Background: This study determined if completing an optometry school based home- and in-office vision therapy program could decrease symptoms and improve quality of life using the COVD Quality of Life Outcomes Assessment as a measurement tool. Methods: Forty-nine subjects ages 7-45 years with various visual diagnoses completed the 30-item survey before starting vision therapy (Visit 1), again at the six-week visit (Visit 6), and following the completion of the therapy (Final). Data were analyzed by Visit 1, Visit 6, and Final survey
summed results. These results were divided into four domains: Physical-Occupational, Social Integration, Somatic Sensation, and Psychological, which are based on the original question categories. Data were also analyzed by age groups to determine if perceptions of changes in quality of life differ between groups. A lower score indicated less severe symptoms. Results:
Mean scores were progressively lowered from Visit 1, to Visit 6, to Final Visit for all domains, in both the older age group (≥ 18 years) and the younger age group (<18>Outcomes Assessment was an effective way to measure quality of life changes after vision therapy in this patient population. Vision therapy resulted in a decrease in subjects’ symptoms.

Vestibular Function, Sensory Integration,and Balance Anomalies: A Brief Literature Review

The essence of this paper is to review selective research articles that relate to vestibular functioning, sensory integration, and balance anomalies in children and adults. Studies that involve the role of the optometrist have been quite sparse. Special effort is made to distinguish between developmental and acquired brain injuries (ABI). While the former often are traced to pre-, peri- and postnatal disorders, traumatic brain injuries are the consequence of sports, motor vehicular and industrial accidents. Delayed vestibular maturation correlates significantly with sensory integration dysfunctions, slow vision processing, impaired hearing, and reading disability. Because of overlap in cortical systems, uncorrected vestibular disorders may affect attention processes and result in cognitive dysfunctions. The clinical value of several therapeutic procedures is discussed in the context of controlled studies. Successful rehabilitation may require treatment for vestibular and visual systems since the former may have provided only a partial cure. Future sensorimotor research should stress Optometry’s role in this important aspect of vision care.

Infant Vision Guidance:Fundamental Vision Development in Infancy

This paper reviews the general stages of infant vision development with specific emphasis on the
environmental factors affecting the emergence of the basic vision functions (visual acuity, pursuits, saccades, binocularity, and visual perception).Vision guidance and optometric vision therapy activities are explained and demonstrated to educate and guide parents in playful interactions with their child. The activities are suited for the infant from birth to age three. The aim is to prevent vision abnormalities from developing by providing a comprehensive program of movement oriented vision stimulation.

Comments A good article to give to new parents. DM

Sound Therapy for Learning andWellness

This is a review of different sound therapies in use for a wide variety of disorders. I just thought of this article, because one of my patients was participating in a sound therapy program. DM

FDA's Sentinel Initiative

On May 22, 2008, FDA launched the Sentinel Initiative with the ultimate goal of creating and implementing the Sentinel System--a national, integrated, electronic system for monitoring medical product safety.

The Sentinel System will enable FDA to query multiple, existing data sources, such as electronic health record systems and medical claims databases, for information about medical products. The system will enable FDA to query data sources at remote locations, consistent with strong privacy and security safeguards. Data sources will continue to be maintained by their owners.
This historic new system will strengthen FDA's ability to monitor the performance of a product throughout its entire life cycle, thus enhancing the protection and promotion of public health. Such a system could also ultimately facilitate data mining and other research-related activities.
As envisioned, the Sentinel System can be achieved with minimal transfer of data, using tools and processes that will ensure the protection of patient information.

RSS Feed for FDA News Releases
FDA MedWatch Home
MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form (click here)

Comments: Just thought you'd be interested in this. Imagine taking a certain medication and being able to follow along as any complications arise. DM