Saturday, August 23, 2008

Need to know....

I need to know how many readers I have....I can do this several different ways....but the best way is to have you email me at right now. Let me know what you like and how I can improve this this soonest...I need the data...

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

Researchers Urge Backpack Safety Over Style For Kids

School children across the world may speak different languages but there is one experience an estimated 90 percent of all students share: wearing a backpack. Researchers from the University of San Diego, California School of Medicine say those students also share a common problem: low back pain due to overloaded backpacks.........

Sound Adds Speed To Visual Perception

The traditional view of individual brain areas involved in perception of different sensory stimuli i.e., one brain region involved in hearing and another involved in seeing has been thrown into doubt in recent years. A new study published in the online open access journal BMC Neuroscience, shows that, in monkeys, the region involved in hearing can directly improve perception in the visual region, without the involvement of other structures to integrate the senses.

For abstract/full text of article:

Robot With A Biological Brain: New Research Provides Insights Into How The Brain Works

A multidisciplinary team at the University of Reading has developed a robot which is controlled by a biological brain formed from cultured neurons. This cutting edge research is the first step to examine how memories manifest themselves in the brain, and how a brain stores specific pieces of data. The key aim is that eventually this will lead to a better understanding of development and of diseases and disorders which affect the brain such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, stoke and brain injury.

Model For Angelman Syndrome Developed By University Of Texas At Austin Biologists

A model for studying the genetics of Angelman syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes mental retardation and other symptoms in one out of 15,000 births, has been developed by biologists at The University of Texas at Austin. ...Their research demonstrates that when a particular fruit fly gene, dube3a, is altered, the mutant flies show behavioral dysfunctions similar to those experienced by humans whose UBE3A gene doesn't function normally.

Cocoa Flavanols Linked To Improved Brain Blood Flow

...Cocoa flavanols, the unique compounds found naturally in cocoa, may increase blood flow to the brain, according to new research published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal. The researchers suggest that long-term improvements in brain blood flow could impact cognitive behavior, offering future potential for debilitating brain conditions including dementia and participants who regularly drank a cocoa flavanol-rich beverage made using the Mars, Incorporated Cocoapro® process had an eight percent increase in brain blood flow after one week, and 10 percent increase after two weeks....

Sorond FA, Lipsitz LA, Hollenberg NK, Fisher NDL. Cerebral blood flow response to flavanol-rich cocoa in healthy elderly humans. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2008;4:433-440.

Comments: At last! Now when I eat those hot fudge sundaes I don't have to feel quite so guilty! DM

Prevalence of Refractive Error in the United States, 1999-2004

...clinically important refractive error affects half of the US population 20 years or older....

Comments: If you are an adult....have your eyes examined now! I mentioned this earlier...but this is a link to the abstract of the study. DM

CDC says number of U.S. measles cases is increasing.

From AOA First Look:

The CBS Evening News (8/21, story 9, 2:15, Rodriguez) reported that measles, "a childhood disease, is making a comeback in this country, and doctors are worried." In addition, health officials are concerned "about what these numbers say about parents'" attitudes towards vaccinations, NBC Nightly News (8/21, story 5, 2:00, Williams) noted.

The New York Times (8/22, A16, Harris) reports that "more people had measles infections in the first seven months of this year than during any comparable period since 1996, and public health officials blamed growing numbers of parents who refuse to vaccinate their children," according to findings published Aug. 22 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A number "of these parents say they believe vaccines cause autism, even though multiple studies have found no reputable evidence to support such a claim." The CDC received reports of "131 measles cases...from 15 states and the District of Columbia" between January and July of this year. Of these, "15 people, including four infants, were hospitalized. There were no deaths."

The AP (8/22, Stobbe) notes that measles "is no longer endemic to the United States, but every year, cases enter the country through foreign visitors or Americans returning from abroad. Measles epidemics have exploded in Israel, Switzerland, and some other countries." In the past, "high U.S. childhood vaccination rates have prevented major outbreaks," such that "in a typical year, only one outbreak occurs in the United States, infecting perhaps 10 to 20 people. So far this year through July 30, the country has seen seven outbreaks, including one in Illinois with 30 cases." Yet, while the measles "vaccine is considered highly effective," it is "not perfect; 11 of this year's cases had at least one dose of the vaccine."

According to the CDC, the "cases included 95 children eligible to receive the measles vaccine who had not gotten it, two-thirds of them because of parents' objections," Bloomberg (8/22, Olmos, Nussbaum) adds. Such "refusals, tied in part to fears the vaccinations can trigger autism, put children at greater risk for a disease that can cause itchy skin rashes, fever, pneumonia and, in extreme cases, death, said Ari Brown, M.D., an Austin, Texas, pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics."

HealthDay (8/21, Gardner) reported that "before the measles vaccine became available in the mid-1960s, the disease caused an estimated 450 deaths and 4,000 cases of measles encephalitis annually, some 1,000 of which resulted in chronic disability. In the decade before the vaccination was introduced, an estimated four million people were infected each year." The disease "is highly contagious, and requires high vaccination rates."

WebMD (8/21, DeNoon) noted that the CDC recommends the measles vaccination "for all healthy children, with one dose at age 12 to 15 months, and a second dose at the time of school entry." But, children should be vaccinated "as early as age six months" if they are "traveling abroad, or during community outbreaks." New Jersey's Star-Ledger (8/22), MedPage Today (8/21, Peck), and AHN (8/21, Young) also covered the story.

Measles outbreaks may be linked to vaccine fears

...Measles cases in the U.S. are at the highest level in more than a decade, with nearly half of those involving children whose parents rejected vaccination, health officials reported Thursday. ...Kids who are home-schooled or have exemptions don't have to get vaccinations....Worried doctors say they are troubled by the trend fueled by unfounded fears that vaccines may cause autism. The number of cases is still small, just 131, but that's only for the first seven months of the year. There were only 42 cases for all of last year...

Comments: I have mentioned many, many times that the "fear" of having your children vaccinated because of potential side affects of the vaccination are minimal.....however, the threat of extremely adverse consequences if you do not have your child vaccinated are predictable and significant. Have your child vaccinated today! (Always consult your physician when if comes to your family before making any decisions....!)

An 11-year-old Male with Recurrent Orbital Swelling

Comments: I don't often post info here about pediatric ocular pathology because that is not the main purpose of this blog....but this case grabbed my interest...... DM
(for full pdf of article click title above)

From: PEDIATRIC ANNALS Case Challenges

An 11-year-old Male with Recurrent Orbital Swelling
Judith Ugale, MD; Chokechai Rongkavilit, MD

An 11-year-old African American boy presented with four episodes of periorbital swelling. The first episode was characterized by 3 days of right periorbital swelling, blurring of vision, pain on eye movement, and frontal headache. Physical findings showed photophobia, right periorbital swelling, and conjunctival injection, with no limitation of extraocular movements or proptosis. Computed tomography (CT) showed extensive soft tissue swelling anterior to the right orbit with a post-septal, intraconal component surrounding the globe, opacification of the right ethmoid air cells and the right maxillary sinus, and mucosal thickening of the sphenoid sinus. He was started on intravenous ceftriaxone and clindamycin with a presumptive diagnosis of orbital cellulitis, and he improved.

Five weeks later, he complained of right periorbital swelling associated with severe eye pain and headache. Eye movements became limited because of the swelling and pain. Right eye showed proptosis and periorbital edema (see Figure 1) with pain on movement and photophobia. He was started on intravenous ceftriaxone and clindamycin. CT of the orbits showed mild proptosis of the right eye globe and pre-septal soft tissue swelling extending into the intraconal fat around the posterior aspect of the globe. A small rim of fluid covered by ill-defined soft tissue mass extending along the posterior wall of the orbit was identified. Interval improvement of the sinus opacification was noted (see Figure 2). Despite 48 hours of antibiotic therapy, there was no clinical improvement. Re-evaluation by an ophthalmologist revealed decreased visual acuity of 20/40 (distance vision) and 20/25 (near vision), with limitation of eye movement. A cranial magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance angiography (MRI/MRA) performed after 3 days of antibiotic therapy showed decreased proptosis of the right orbit. There was no evidence of retrobulbar, intraconal, or extraconal post-septal pathology, abscess formation, or carotid cavernous fistula. He was started on prednisone 80 mg daily and showed significant improvement in 48 hours.

He subsequently developed two similar episodes. An orbital biopsy was performed. The histopathologic examination showed adipose tissue with prominent small to large blood vessels without any vasculogenic or inflammatory lesion, lymphoid tumor, granulomas, or malignancy.

Optometric Nutrition Society

From the Optcom email mailing list:

The Optometric Nutrition Society will hold its first annual education
meeting on October 21, 2008 from 9:00AM to 4:00 PM in Anaheim, CA.
This will be one day before the beginning of the American Academy of
Optometry meeting.

The agenda is now complete and we have the following speakers lined up:

Ellen Troyer MT, MA: "Current Thoughts on Nutrition: The latest from A-Z"

The primary care optometrist needs to become familiar with the latest
data on individual micronutrient function. This presentation will
familiarize primary care practitioners with current micronutrient
RDA/DRI and the consensus safe upper level (UL) established by the
food and nutrition board of the Institute of Medicine. The information
will distinguish between evidence-based nutrition science and
marketing hype.

Steve Whiting, PhD: "Understanding the Importance and Concepts of Full
Spectrum Nutrition"

Supplements have been used for decades as part of an overall support
for various health challenges. Unfortunately, many of the potential
benefits, which may be derived from supplementation, have been missed
due to the fragmentation of certain nutrients over others. This
program will illustrate the pitfalls of fragmented nutrition and
explain how to utilize the concept of "full spectrum" supplements. By
providing the body with the widest range of nutrients, in easy to take
delivery systems, we can enhance the overall benefits to the patient.

Stuart Richer, OD, FAAO: "Inflammation and the Retina"

Over the past several years, it has become increasingly apparent that
chronic inflammation is the source of many common diseases. The retina
of the eye is no exception. Recent evidence points to the level of
inflammatory markers in serum corresponding to the level of
degeneration of the retina. This presentation will review the process
of inflammation and how it affects retinal tissue and what nutritional
support can help to alleviate this situation.

Bruce Ames, PhD: "Nutrients and Mitochondrial Health"

Mitochondrial decay with age due to oxidation of RNA/DNA, proteins,
and lipids, is a major contributor to aging and the degenerative
diseases of aging. Inadequate intakes of vitamins and minerals from
food can lead to DNA damage, mitochondrial decay, and other
pathologies. Dr. Ames will discuss how an optimum intake of
micronutrients and metabolites, which varies with age and genetics,
should tune up metabolism and markedly increase health at little cost,
particularly for the poor, obese, and elderly.

Larry Alexander, OD, FAAO: "Nutrients and Neuroprotection"

Neuroprotection is a hot topic in all phases of healthcare at this
point. The concept is intimately tied to inflammation and suppression
of inflammation and as such is significantly influenced by diet and
nutrition. This discussion outlines the relationship as it applies
primarily to conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Jeffrey Anshel, OD: "The Role of Nutrition in the Primary Care Practice"

Recent studies show that consumers spend over $12 Billion a year on
nutritional supplements. Many patients prefer the "natural" approach
to their eye condition. This course will review the role of nutrition
counseling in the care and prevention of many of the eye conditions
that present to the office on a daily basis.

Registration is open to all members of the Society (non-members can
join on the website). Find out all details at:

Contact: Jeffrey Anshel, OD President at 800-383-1202;

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beloit College Mindset List

I graduated from Beloit College....and they always come up with this cool listing..

This month, almost 2 million first-year students will head off to college campuses around the country. Most of them will be about 18 years old, born in 1990 when headlines sounded oddly familiar to those of today: Rising fuel costs were causing airlines to cut staff and flight schedules; Big Three car companies were facing declining sales and profits; and a president named Bush was increasing the number of troops in the Middle East in the hopes of securing peace. However, the mindset of this new generation of college students is quite different from that of the faculty about to prepare them to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Each August for the past 11 years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. The List is shared with faculty and with thousands who request it each year as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation.

The class of 2012 has grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, and colleges no longer trumpet the fact that residence halls are “wired” and equipped with the latest hardware. These students will hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence. They will continue to live on their cell phones and communicate via texting. Roommates, few of whom have ever shared a bedroom, have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.

It is a multicultural, politically correct and “green” generation that has hardly noticed the threats to their privacy and has never feared the Russians and the Warsaw Pact.

Students entering college for the first time this fall were generally born in 1990.

For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

  1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
  2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
  3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
  4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
  5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
  6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
  7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
  8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce “tax revenue increases.”
  9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
  10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
  11. All have had a relative--or known about a friend's relative--who died comfortably at home with Hospice.
  12. As a precursor to “whatever,” they have recognized that some people “just don’t get it.”
  13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
  14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
  15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
  16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
  17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
  18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
  19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
  20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
  21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote.”
  22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
  23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
  24. We have always known that “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
  25. There have always been gay rabbis.
  26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
  27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
  28. IBM has never made typewriters.
  29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National Anthem again.
  30. McDonald’s and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
  31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
  32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
  33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
  34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
  35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.
  36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
  37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
  38. Lenin’s name has never been on a major city in Russia.
  39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
  40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.
  41. Macaulay Culkin has always been Home Alone.
  42. Their parents may have watched The American Gladiators on TV the day they were born.
  43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
  44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
  45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
  46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
  47. They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”
  48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
  49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
  50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about “nothing.”
  51. Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
  52. Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.
  53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
  54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
  55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
  56. Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
  57. Off-shore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
  58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
  59. There have always been charter schools.
  60. Students always had Goosebumps.

Alert over ADHD guidelines in schools

GUIDELINES for managing attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder have alarmed leading education researchers, who warn they will cause an exponential increase in children being labelled as having ADHD by schools chasing funding.

A Randomized Trial of Atropine vs Patching for Treatment of Moderate Amblyopia

...At age 10 years, the improvement of the amblyopic eye is maintained, although residual amblyopia is common after treatment initiated at age 3 years to younger than 7 years. The outcome is similar regardless of initial treatment with atropine or patching....

Monocular Oral Reading Performance After Amblyopia Treatment in Children

...The monocular oral reading ability when measured with the GORT-4 was slightly worse when reading with previously treated amblyopic eyes compared with fellow eyes in terms of rate, accuracy, and fluency, but reading comprehension testing was similar....

Comments: You cannot just improve VA with must also improve accommodation, vergence, oculomotor skills and achieve better performance. DM

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Brain's counting skill 'built-in'

...Humans have an in-built ability to do mathematics even if they do not have the language to express it...

Adults 'easily fooled' by children

...Adults are easily fooled when a child denies that an actual event has taken place. However they are slightly more adept at detecting when a child makes up information about something that never happened, the results of a new study indicate...

Comments: Kids are crafty!! DM

MU Researchers Study Facial Structures, Brain Abnormalities to Reveal Formula for Earlier Detection of Autism

...Recently, Harvard researchers reported that children with autism have a wide range of genetic defects, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple genetic test to identify the disorder. Now, University of Missouri researchers are studying 3-D imaging to reveal correlations in the facial features and brain structures of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which will enable them to develop a formula for earlier detection of the disorder...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Refractive errors affect half of U.S. adults, survey says

...The investigators reported a 3.6% age-standardized prevalence of hyperopia, a 33.1% prevalence of myopia and a 36.2% prevalence of astigmatism. ...

Comments: Refractive care continues to be an important service for our patients. DM

Playing video games offers learning across life span, say studies

...Certain types of video games can have beneficial effects, improving gamers' dexterity as well as their ability to problem-solve – attributes that have proven useful not only to students but to surgeons, according to research discussed Sunday at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association...

Comments: Oh you can tell your significant others why it is so very important you get to level 4358 when playing the Omega Monster from Zagreb video game!!! DM

AOA estimates 125 million Americans may suffer from computer-vision syndrome.

From AOA First Look:

In continuing coverage from a previous edition of First Look, the San Diego Union-Tribune (8/17, Somers) reported that, according to the American Optometric Association, "An estimated 125 million Americans suffer from what is now commonly referred to syndrome." Optometrist Jeffrey Anschel, O.D., pointed out that while "[t]he eye focuses on the hard edge of an image, images don't have a clean edge." Therefore, "the focus drifts forward and back, causing eye fatigue." In addition, when "people spend long periods focusing on something close to their face," the muscles of the eye tend "to lock into that one position, which is tiring, and can push the eye down the path to becoming farsighted." At the same time, "[t]here's also glare from the light shining into the eyes." In addition, "the angle of view for the computer screen, which is straight ahead, isn't desirable. People tend to focus better at objects when looking down," Dr. Anschel explained. Gunnar Optiks is now "launching a line of computer glasses that aim to prevent the dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches that can be caused by" computer use.

Start kids early with eye exams

Vision Therapy story in newspaper article.

That's why it's important to get eye exams every year," she said. "Eighty percent of a child's learning is done through the eyes. It's the most important tool for children through age 12. Vision leads all the other senses."

Evidence-based spectacle prescribing for infants and children

...Prescribing for refractive errors in infants and young children often presents a greater challenge to the optometrist than in the case of older children and adults. ...This article identifies the current evidence from basic research in ocular development as well as the results from clinical trials pertaining to the outcomes of early spectacle interventions. From this evidence, age specific guidelines are developed.

The success rate of wearing bifocals in children with Down's syndrome

...Using bifocals not only improves the children's accuracy of focusing on near objects through the bifocals, but also `trains' their accommodative ability, with a success rate of 62.16% so far. For some children at least, bifocal wear can be a temporary management strategy. ...

Comments: Using bifocals with patients with Down Syndrome is extremely ALL ages. DM

Visual processing characteristics of children with Meares-Irlen syndrome

...Concurrent performance on standardized visual processing tests showed that while a positive diagnosis of MISViS is not indicative of reading ability.... MISViS can indicate visual processing difficulties potentially related to visual attention inefficiency. ..

Comments: Which means...MISViS is not a separate syndrome but a perceptual anomaly....or as other research has shown....just a misdiagnosis of a binocular vision problem. DM

The effect of retinal defocus on golf putting

...For a fixed putting distance, factors other than quality of the retinal image, such as blur adaptation and motor learning, appeared to be sufficient to maintain a high level of motor performance. ...

A pilot study of anisometropic amblyopia improved in adults and children by perceptual learning: an alternative treatment to patching

...Visual acuity can be improved with perceptual learning and patching in older children and adult patients with anisometropic amblyopia. The improvements in visual acuity achieved with patching were one line better than those achieved with perceptual learning. Perceptual learning might provide an alternative treatment in patients with anisometropic amblyopia. ...

...This paper is a review of the literature on the sVEP technique: stimulus parameters, threshold determination, validity and reliability of sVEP are discussed. Different studies using the sVEP to study the development of visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and vernier acuity are presented. Studies have demonstrated that the sVEP is a potentially important tool for assessing visual acuity and contrast sensitivity in non-verbal individuals with disorders affecting their visual system. ...