Thursday, July 24, 2008

Anatomy World

Looks like a cool site....DM

Practice Makes Perfect!!

Practice Makes Perfect!!

Dr. Mark Wright Hiring and Managing Staff
Dr. Graham Erickson How Should I Handle This?
Dr. David Ziegler Creating a Culture of Excellence in Your Practice
Dr. John McGreal Understanding the New Medicare Guidelines: Part II
Dr. Scot Morris Solving the Marketing Mystery: Inside Out!
Dr. Jim Thimons The Medical Model For a Successful Private Eye Care Practice

Join your colleagues for an amazing three day event beginning Friday, January 16, 2009. Navigate through the barriers of managing and growing your practice as our speakers provide you with the secrets to practice success.Don't miss the keynote presentation by H. Morrow Long, Identity Theft and You, Director of the Security Office at Yale University. In addition to a full schedule of lectures and panel discussions.Click here to see our websitefor agenda/speakers and registration form

Comments: I have no $$$$ interest in this program....I know most of the folks involved...and it just sounds wonderful! DM

Full-Day Kindergarteners' Reading, Math Gains Fade By 3rd Grade

...Children in full-day kindergarten have slightly better reading and math skills than children in part-day kindergarten, but these initial academic benefits diminish soon after the children leave kindergarten. This loss is due, in part, to issues related to poverty and the quality of children's home environments...

Increased Risk For Disabilities After Preterm Birth

...Premature birth is associated with various life-long problems. Still, many premature children seem to function very well as adults according to a new large and comprehensive study from Norway...

Dartmouth Research Reveals Passive Learning Imprints On The Brain Just Like Active Learning

..It's conventional wisdom that practice makes perfect. But if practicing only consists of watching, rather than doing, does that advance proficiency? Yes, according to a study by Dartmouth researchers. ...

Comments: Call me skeptical....but you have to do REALLY learn it!! DM

Latest Findings Presented By Researcher Helping To Pioneer Medical Therapy For Fragile X

...Rush's Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, will be leading a number of discussions at the conference including a plenary session on promising new treatments and clinical sessions on stem cell research, seizures and psychopharmacology. In addition, she will be presenting research on the use of lithium to target the underlying defect in Fragile X Syndrome. Dr. Berry-Kravis runs the only Fragile X clinic in Chicago and one of the few in the Midwest. Her research program also includes studies of fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), a degenerative neurological condition which occurs in fragile X mutation carriers, and she will be presenting research on development of new methods for evaluating risk for FXTAS using a state-of-the-art imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging. ...

Comments: I have worked with Dr. Kravis and our Fragile X kids conducting research. She is an awesome researcher, physician, and person! Check out some of our articles by clicking:

Effect of CX516, an AMPA-modulating compound, on cognition and behavior in fragile X syndrome: a controlled trial.

Cognitive and visual processing skills and their relationship to mutation size in full and premutation female fragile X carriers. DM

Lazy Eye Discovery: How An Old Gene Learns New Tricks

...Researchers have made a discovery which could lead the way for new treatments into a rare eye disorder which if not treated can result in permanent blindness in childhood. An eye disorder which leads to "lazy eye" (strabismus) first described in early 1900, and a gene known since 1990 to be widely expressed within the nervous system, have now been linked together. Mutations of the CHN1 gene give rise to a hyperactive gene product called a2 chimerin that in turn affects the normal eye development...

Further Evidence For Genetic Contribution To Autism Discovered By Caltech And UNC Research

...Some parents of children with autism evaluate facial expressions differently than the rest of us--and in a way that is strikingly similar to autistic patients themselves, according to new research by neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs of the California Institute of Technology and psychiatrist Joe Piven at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. ...

Autism's social struggles due to disrupted communication networks in brain

Faulty brain connections conceal intentions of others in autism

Picking up on innuendo and social cues is a central component of engaging in conversation, but people with autism often struggle to determine another person's intentions in a social interaction. New research from Carnegie Mellon University sheds light on the neural mechanisms that are responsible for such social difficulties in autism, and on the workings of these social brain mechanisms in all of us. ...

Clinical trial of patching versus atropine penalization for the treatment of anisometropic amblyopia in older children

In patients aged 8-20 years with anisometropic amblyopia, both patching and atropine therapy improved visual acuity. Although recovery was faster with patching, the 2 modalities of treatment appeared to be equally effective.

Comments: I and other optometrists have been saying for decades....amblyopia can be treated at any age!! Yes. Remember though...patching and atropine may not be enough to get the best optometric vision therapy may be required as well. DM

Occlusion properties of prosthetic contact lenses for the treatment of amblyopia

Sufficient vision penalization can be achieved to make occlusion with prosthetic contact lenses a viable therapy for amblyopia. The degree of penalization can be varied and different iris print patterns and pupil sizes, using peripheral fusion can be preserved with some lenses. Prosthetic contact lenses can be more cosmetically appealing and more tolerable than other amblyopia treatment modalities. These factors may improve compliance in occlusion therapy

Performance of the PlusOptix vision screener for the detection of amblyopia risk factors in children

The PlusOptix vision screener is a useful tool for the detection of amblyopia risk factors in pediatric populations. Our study shows that the referral criteria can be internally modified to improve both the specificity and positive predictive value of the device without reducing sensitivity in this study group. The PlusOptix vision screener provides an accurate, fast, user-friendly, and portable way to detect amblyopia risk factors. Because the software automatically evaluates the refractive error and ocular alignment and gives a simple referral grade, the PlusOptix screener may offer a reasonable way of providing large-scale vision screenings at relatively low costs.

Comments: I'm glad that this device "with internal modifications" can be a good screener for amblyopia. However, it's time to stop this obssession with vision screening. Every child deserves a full and comprehensive eye examination. This is the best way to determine the presence of amblyopia. C'mon should really be working with optometry on this one. DM

'August is Children's Vision and Learning Month' Public Awareness

Current research shows that vision problems afflict millions of American children and thereby impact their ability to learn:-- One in four school-age children have vision problems, according to the American Foundation in Vision Awareness;

-- 18 million children will not have had eye examinations by a Doctor of Optometry or other certified vision care professional prior to enteringschool;

-- 60 percent of students identified as "problem learners" have undetectedvision problems, according to the American Optometric Association.

"Vision disorders are one of the leading impediments to successfullearning in children," said Dr. Drusilla Grant, Immediate Past President ofthe College of Optometrists in Vision Development. "Many vision problems goundetected because a child is told he or she has 20/20 vision and healthyeyes. This can be misleading because their visual skills like tracking, eyeteaming, and focusing may not have been evaluated and this is really where theproblem lies."Exams using only the eye chart do not measure how well a child can see atnear distances, nor do they evaluate depth perception, eye coordination ornumerous other visual skills required in the learning process. They also don't evaluate the visual abilities that are needed to extract information off of apage.

According to Dr. Dan L. Fortenbacher, COVD President, "We're dealing withfar more than just 'eyesight.' Our concern and primary focus is withidentifying and treating a delay in the patient's ability to access andprocess visual information in ways that are the necessary prerequisites fordevelopmental learning. These issues can be treated through vision therapy,but particularly when diagnosed early."While "August is Children's Vision and Learning Month" is concentrated onthe month of August, the goal of the campaign is to broaden awarenessyear-round that vision is more than 20/20. The 20/20 test does not test howwell you see at reading distance. In fact, the 20/20 test fails to evaluatemany other important aspects of normal vision such as:

-- Eye focusing
-- Eye coordination
-- Eye teaming (binocular vision)
-- Eye movement
-- Visual perceptual skills
-- Color vision

At the center of its national "August is Children's Vision and LearningMonth" public awareness campaign, COVD urges parents, teachers, and all other decision-makers involved in the health and welfare of children to learn moreabout how vision impacts children's ability to learn. Two articles recentlypublished in the COVD journal, Optometry & Vision Development, found that children with vision problems have a hard time learning basic mathematical skills and that if the appropriate vision therapy is given, math skills improve. Parents and teachers are encouraged to make a comprehensive eye examination part of their preparations for the new school year and to look forthe following indications that vision problems may be contributing to learning challenges of their children and students:

-- Frequent loss of place when reading
-- Poor reading comprehension
-- Sloppy handwriting
-- Confusing similar looking words
-- Failure to recognize the same word in sequential sentences
-- Complaints of eyes hurting or headaches after reading
-- Avoidance of close work (such as reading)
-- Attention problems

Any of the above symptoms may be a sign that your child may be strugglingwith a learning-related vision problem. Fortunately, through vision therapy,many learning-related vision problems can be corrected. Protocols typicallyinvolve a prescribed program aimed at eliminating faulty vision skill patternsand rebuilding them correctly.

For an in-depth checklist of symptoms,information on vision therapy and the critical link between vision andlearning or to find a doctor near you, visit our website,"

I also evaluate and treat the vision disorders noted here either in my office or at the Illinois Eye Institute. DM

About COVDThe College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is aninternational, non-profit optometric membership organization that provideseducation, evaluation and board certification programs in behavioral anddevelopmental vision care, vision therapy and visual rehabilitation. Theorganization is comprised of doctors of optometry, vision therapists and othervision specialists. For more information on learning-related vision problems,vision therapy and COVD, please visit or call 888.268.3770.

SOURCE The College of Optometrists in Vision Development

Refractive errors and ocular findings in children with intellectual disability: A controlled study

From a public health perspective, evaluation and treatment of ocular and refractive findings in children with moderate, severe, and syndromic intellectual disability categories is urgently needed and likely to be highly effective in alleviating future health and social care costs, as well as improving the productive lives of individuals with intellectual disability


Comments: They noted that when compared to the control group...that those with intellectual disability had signficantly more oculo-visual problems....we must make a concerted effort to provide high quality eye and vision care for those with special needs. DM

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MRI of the fetal eyes: morphologic and biometric assessment for abnormal development with ultrasonographic and clinicopathologic correlation

...Normal growth charts were derived from a cohort of 111 normal fetuses. Because the margins of the vitreous are inside the bony orbit, at the same gestational age measurements of the BOD and OD are always less than the corresponding measurements by US, and those of the IOD are always more. Normal growth charts for MRI can now be used to support suspected diagnoses of orbital and ocular pathologies and the syndromes that give rise to them, and many examples are demonstrated. ...

Illinois Eye Institute's Glaucoma Van Project

Providing Glaucoma Screenings and Education

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve and can lead to blindness. The most common form of glaucoma affects about 3,000,000 Americans. It is important to realize that glaucoma often has no symptoms, until vision has been permanently decreased.

Will the Glaucoma Van be in your Chicago neighborhood? Click here to see the schedule for the van.

Topomax associated with birth defects

...Pregnant women who use the epilepsy drug topiramate alone or in combination with other epilepsy drugs may be increasing their risk of birth defects, ...Topiramate (brand name Topamax) is a common anti-seizure medication used by many with epilepsy. It's also used to treat migraine headaches. Many similar drugs also increase the risk of birth defects, but until this report, the link between birth defects and topiramate had not been well studied....

Comments: I work with a group of patients known as the dually diagnosed: Those with Intellectural Disability and Mental Illness. Many of these individuals are on Topomax. One ocular side affect is increase myopia and an associated narrow angle glaucoma attack. Patients with migraine headache are also being rx'd this drug frequently. Please warn all about the many adverse side affects. Go to to learn more about this (and many other drugs). DM

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mapping Dinosaur Vision

How did the T-Rex see? Take a look at this video. DM

Transcranial magnetic stimulation may temporarily improve amblyopia

From AOA First Look...

Researchers say transcranial magnetic stimulation may temporarily improve amblyopia may temporarily improve amblyopia in adults.

In continuing coverage from the July 18 edition of First Look, HealthDay (7/18, Edelson) reported that although "[c]orrecting lazy eye in adults is supposed to be impossible,...researchers report they have been able to do that -- at least partially and temporarily -- by beaming magnetic pulses into the brain," according to a study published in the July 22 issue of Current Biology. Benjamin Thompson, Ph.D., of Canada's McGill University, and colleagues, used transcranial magnetic stimulation "on nine adults with amblyopia." The researchers found that "15 minutes of magnetic stimulation improved the sensitivity of the weaker eye temporarily," allowing the participants "to see finer details than before the treatment." The vision improvements in the amblyopic eye lasted for "at least 20 minutes" after the procedure. The investigators will now "exploit the finding" by "us[ing] multiple bouts of transcranial stimulation" to see if repeated doses have an effect. They also plan to "use magnetic stimulation to prime the brain for a rehabilitation program." Recently, "studies have indicated that such a perceptual training program can improve vision in amblyopic eyes."
Amblyopia is the "most prevalent cause of visual impairment in a single eye, affecting about six million people in the United States alone,"
Medical News Today (7/20) added. "Current treatments for children with amblyopia emphasize patching...their 'good' eye before the age of twelve." Thus, "[b]y forcing the use of the amblyopic eye, children can often recover some function." Still, "after that critical window in childhood, no treatment has been widely available."

Comment: It is not impossible to improve amblyopia in adults. You can improve amblyopia at any age! I wish the news media....and the ophthalmic media would finally get that straight! Now having said that, any additional research to support this is most welcome. Click on the title above to get a PDF of the paper. DM

Vaccine-autism link unsupported by science

..."Scientific data overwhelmingly shows that there is no connection between vaccines and autism," said AMA Trustee Edward L. Langston, MD. "Autism is a heart-wrenching condition, and the upheaval felt by parents whose children have been diagnosed with autism is understandable -- as is their search for answers. We need more research to investigate the actual causes of autism."...

Internet Can Be a Dangerous Pharmacy

...The sale of medications over the Internet involves thousands of vendors and continues to grow, fuelled by low prices, lack of need for a medical prescription and a supposed guarantee of anonymity. But the medicine that is purchased this way may be adulterated, it may have been stolen, it may be contraband, or may simply have passed its expiration date, and in the worst case may contain dangerous or even deadly compounds...

Comments: Be careful what you buy and where you buy it from. DM

Sunday, July 20, 2008

FDA Requests Boxed Warnings on Fluoroquinolone Antimicrobial Drugs

...The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified manufacturers of fluoroquinolone antimicrobial drugs that a Boxed Warning in the product labeling concerning the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture is necessary. Through its new authority under the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA), the agency also determined that it is necessary for manufacturers of the drugs to provide a Medication Guide to patients about possible side effects....

Comments: This warning does not apply to topical ophthalmic use....however, since more and more optometrists can now Rx oral medications, we should be aware of this Boxed Warning. Click on the title to read more about it. DM