Friday, August 15, 2008

Optometrist's column explains how children's eye examinations may help learning.

From AOA First Look:

In the Eye Man column appearing in California's Redwood City Daily News (8/14), optometrist Andrew C. Soss, O.D., FAAO, responded to a reader who had enrolled her child in a private school that requires students to undergo eye examinations performed by an eye doctor prior to the start of the school year. The reader had already taken her son to the family physician for a physical, during which the child's eyes were checked. She now wanted to know "what make[s]" who performs the eye examination. Dr. Soss replied that "there is a lot more to vision than just seeing 20/20." For example, "[c]hildren's eyes are different than adults." Specifically, "the constant adjustments to continuous changes associated with development of these growing eyes and formulating brain centers devoted to vision can create challenges." In addition, "the amount of reading and learning that goes on in a classroom and during homework duties can cause a lot of stress to these young students." During "a comprehensive examination" performed by an eye expert, tests "can predict what visual stimuli may impair a student's ability to learn."

Chicago Tribune Story:Kindergartners now must get eye exam,

...A new law requires that kindergartners and students new to Illinois schools receive a complete eye exam—to check for everything from astigmatism to glaucoma—performed by an optometrist or physician licensed to perform those tests. Schools may withhold report cards of students who do not show evidence of the exam by Oct. 15....

...Some doctors and medical associations contend a mandated exam is excessive and expensive when many pediatricians include vision screening as part of the annual physical....

...Janet Hughes took her daughter for an eye exam and learned Amy was severely farsighted and had astigmatism. That Amy's condition passed undetected in routine screenings alarmed Hughes, who campaigned for eye exams and founded the Vision First Foundation...

Comments: I quoted several "bits" of the Tribune story here....but make sure you read the full story by clicking on the title above. (ABC News Channel 7 also did a story on this topic) I will comment on several aspects of this story however....those pediatricians or other MDs who say comprehensive eye examinations are not needed because the pediatrician offers an in office screening or that the school does a screening really do a major disservice to those children that they are suppose to noted above by Mrs Hughes, who has a daughter that was 'screened' but ended up with major eye problems, ...screenings are NOT enough. Any argument against conducting a full comprehensive eye examination is just wrong....Screenings miss many major eye problems.

...I suppose that I could use an argument against well baby screenings that many pediatricians perform....most babies most of the time do just fine....they show no problems....and the costs to the nation are tremendous. If you would do a risk/benefit ratio analysis you would probably find that diagnosing a child at risk is relatively small when compared to the overal financial cost of providing well baby examinations.....I'm willing to bet that no pediatrician would want to stop these evaluations....however.

Before school dental examinations may also be quite costly....yet our children's dental health is important as well...even though this might be thought "expensive".

When you consider the personal cost to a child with high refractive error, amblyopia, strabismus or other eye problems and the adverse affect these eye problems have on the child's quality of life....I am very concerned that our MD colleagues and others who believe these complete eye examinations are too costly or are not needed actually have other agendas they are trying to push forward to the detriment of their patients. Shame on them.

If you are a parent....take your child for their dental check up, take your child for their school physical and take your child to your eye doctor for a complete eye examination. Aren't they worth it? Isn't it worth it to know your child is truly ready for the demands placed upon them within the academic environment? Isn't it worth it to know your children are healthy? Do it.

BTW I have placed a link to Janet Hughes' blog so you can stay current with her Vision First program and all she is doing and has done to improve the health of Illinios' children.

As always.... this is JIMMHO and may not reflect the views of any institution or organization to which I may be affiliated. DM

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Complete Neandertal Mitochondrial Genome Sequenced From 38,000-Year-Old Bone

...A study reported in the August 8th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, reveals the complete mitochondrial genome of a 38,000-year-old Neandertal. The findings open a window into the Neandertals' past and helps answer lingering questions about our relationship to them....

Comments: This has little to do with's just cool! DM

Remedial Instruction Rewires Dyslexic Brains, Provides Lasting Results, Carnegie Mellon Study Shows

...A new Carnegie Mellon University brain imaging study of dyslexic students and other poor readers shows that the brain can permanently rewire itself and overcome reading deficits, if students are given 100 hours of intensive remedial instruction....

ADHD - The Essential Guide, New Bood

Published by Need2Know - the imprint of Forward Press that focuses on overcoming real life situations, ADHD - The Essential Guide is the twelfth in the series, and is available from the Need2Know website or by calling 01733 898103 or emailing Also available from Amazon and bookshops.

Fish oil found to deter Alzheimer's the current issue of Journal of Neuroscience, Greg Cole, professor of medicine and neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and associate director of UCLA’s Alzheimer Disease Research Center, and his colleagues report that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil increases the production of LR11, a protein found at reduced levels in Alzheimer’s patients and which is known to destroy the protein that forms the “plaques” associated with the disease....

Usher syndrome, Part I: an introduction to sensory perception

...Usher syndrome is a genetically recessive condition characterized by hearing impairment, usually from birth, which is due to the degeneration of sensory neurons in the inner ear, and blindness due to retinal degeneration, which begins to occur in childhood or adolescence and progresses through several decades. Additionally, some Usher patients have balance problems associated with the sensory cell loss in the ear. There is a great deal of variation in the clinical presentation of the disease, and three clinical subtypes can be classified by the severity and age of onset of the symptoms. Usher syndrome affects about 1 in 17,000 Americans, and there are a number of populations around the world where the incidence is higher due to founder effects or intermarriage....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Korean Optometrists Visit Dr. Maino

Korean optometrists, Jae-Do Kim, MSc, PhD (far right) School of Optometry Kyongbuk University of Science and his colleagues Oh Yeon Shik, Neon Mok Kwon, Hyun Young Kim all came to the United States to meet and study with Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A (second from right) (Professor of Pediatrics/Binocular Vision at the Illinois College of Optometry/Illinois Eye Institute, Chicago, Il USA). Drs. Maino, Kim and President of the Illinois College of Optometry, Dr. Arol Augsburger (photo)

Dr. Jae-Do Kim had an opportunity to spend a week with Dr. Maino in the IEI Peds/BV Service, the Neumann Association clinic for those with mental illness and intellectual disability and in his private office (Northwest Optometric Association) in Harwood Heights, Il.

Dr. Jae-Do Kim will be spending the rest of August alongside Dr. Maino, observing and learning pediatrics, binocular vision and vision therapy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Robot playmates offer "doorway" into minds of kids with autism: Researchers

...Bubblebot, a colourful bubble-blowing robot, has a fun, but important job. Not only is it a playmate to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), it's also giving crucial insight into their minds. ... (see movie of robot).

Grouping similar traits in autism uncovers new genetic culprits

...Sorting diverse autism cases into subgroups that share similar traits — such as language delay or intelligence quotient (IQ) — reveals two genomic regions associated with the disorder, researchers have found...The study, published online in July, is the second from the Autism Genome Project, a multisite effort to identify autism-related genes1. The group’s first study implicated several chromosomal regions by looking across the spectrum of autism disorders in 976 ‘multiplex’ families that have two or more children diagnosed with autism....

Hubel's Eye, Vision & Brain Online

....I've just discovered that the book Eye, Vision and Brain, by Nobel Prize winner David Hubel, is available online in its entirety....Hubel is a neurophysiologist who performed some classic experiments with Torsten Wiesel, beginning in the late 1950s, on the development and functional properties of the visual system.....

Comments: I found this at NeuroPhiliosophy. DM

Ninety percent of school-age children do not receive yearly comprehensive eye exams, California Optometric Association says.

From AOA First Look...

Both on the air and on its website, California ABC affiliate KABC-TV (8/8, Dador) reported in its Health Living segment that "[u]ndetected vision problems could be the cause of trouble focusing in school." Optometrist Hilary Hawthorne, O.D., gave "parents eye-care tips for kids," and explained that "the signs and symptoms of visual problems appear long before a child attends school." According to the California Optometric Association, "90 percent of school-age children do not receive yearly comprehensive eye exams." While "[p]ediatricians perform eye exams during routine checkups," optometrists maintain that "it's not enough." The segment urges parents who suspect their "child has a vision problem" to "talk to [their] pediatrician. Medi-Cal and many health insurance companies cover optometric eye exams, but the California Optometric Association has a list of local eye doctors who will perform this service for free or low cost."

Why don't doctors wash their hands? A correlational study of thinking styles and hand hygiene

......Hand hygiene is more experiential than rational. Findings suggest that certain promotional strategies appealing to the experiential thinking mode may improve compliance, and that traditional approaches based on logic and reasoning alone probably will not work....

Harnessing nature's health warnings

...It has long been recognised that the weather and health are linked. ... We know that when the weather changes we are more vulnerable to colds and sniffles, or headaches. ...And the phrase "under the weather" has even become part of our language. ... more serious conditions are also affected by the weather. ...Asthma is one. One stormy day in the summer of 2002, more than 100 extra people went to hospital in the UK with asthma symptoms compared to a normal day. ... Heart attacks and strokes also increase a few days after a fall in temperature, because cold causes stress to the vascular system. ...The lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in which the bronchial tubes are damaged making it harder to breathe, is also affected by the weather. ...
Comments: OK....I'm convinced....if it's hot...I'm staying home.....if it's cold....I'm staying it's stormy....well, you get the picture. Do you think the Illinois College of Optometry would mind if I didn't show up to work because of 'weather'? DM

Risk factors of ophthalmic disorders in children with developmental delay

...The RR [relative risks] of ophthalmic disorders in developmentally delayed children is increased if the child has CP, epilepsy, verified cerebral abnormalities or a genetic syndrome; referral for ophthalmological [optometric] evaluation should be performed on suspicion of these conditions.

Older drivers can improve their skills

...Research shows that, as we age, we experience a slow decline of perceptual, cognitive and motor skills. This may affect everything that we do from remembering a phone number to driving safely....Driving really is a complicated visual-motor-perceptual task. We have to do many things all at once. We observe traffic, decide exactly what's "out there" and think about making a choice, not only of whether to respond to what we see but of how to respond. All this, while simultaneously paying attention to the driving ... There are at least two bright spots, however. First, there are classes that can help older folks compensate for their reduced visual perceptual abilities. Second, vision therapy actually helps restore and replenish those aging abilities. Both will help reduce the tragic carnage on our highways....

Crossed eyes a common vision condition in children

... Tyrone Hospital received a vision health grant from the National Institute of Health, National Eye Institute. The grant is being used to provide vision screenings for preschool-age children. As part of the grant project, information about children’s vision health is being provided to the community through a series of news articles made possible through the cooperative efforts of Tyrone Hospital, Heimer Eye Care Associates and The Daily Herald....