Saturday, September 20, 2008

Commentary promotes AOA's InfantSEE program.

From AOAs First Look:


In a commentary in Washington's Nisqually Valley News (9/12), Dave Pratt explained that in order for children "to be able to learn how to see, their eyes must be in good shape from day one." But, for babies who "cannot communicate" a vision problem, "InfantSEE is a program that is sponsored by the American Optometric Association (AOA), which diagnoses eyesight disorders in children as young as a few months old. According to InfantSEE, one in 10 children is at risk from undiagnosed vision problems," and one child in 30 "will be affected by amblyopia," which is the "leading cause of vision loss in people younger than 45 years." Other vision problems "that often go undiagnosed in children include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism," or even "eye diseases, such as glaucoma and...retinoblastoma (intraocular cancer)." Optometrists "donate their time to the" InfantSEE program, and perform these services "at no cost." Pratt concluded that parents should "check out the InfantSEE program on the Internet," or "visit an InfantSEE doctor in" their "town. It's free, and can make a big difference in a child's life."

Autism 'may be missed in girls'

....Researchers examined 493 boys and 100 girls with autistic spectrum disorders...They found the girls showed different symptoms, and fewer signs of symptoms traditionally associated with autism, such as repetitive behaviour....

House approves bill expanding protections for people with disabilities.

From AOA First Look:

The New York Times (9/18, A21, Pear) reports, "Congress gave final approval on Wednesday to a major civil rights bill, expanding protections for people with disabilities, and overturning several recent Supreme Court decisions." The House of Representatives voice vote "clears the bill for President Bush," who indicated that he would sign it. The legislation "expands the definition of disability, and makes it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It explicitly rejects the strict standards used by the Supreme Court to determine who is disabled." It also "declares that the court went wrong by 'eliminating protection for many individuals whom Congress intended to protect' under" the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Lawmakers claimed "that people with epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments had been improperly denied protection because their conditions could be controlled by medications or other measures." Therefore, "in deciding whether a person is disabled, the bill says, courts should not consider the effects of 'mitigating measures' like prescription drugs, hearing aids, and artificial limbs." Furthermore, "it says, 'an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.'"

The AP (9/18, Abrams) adds, "The bill directs the courts toward a more generous application of the ADA's definition of disability, making it clear that Congress intended the ADA's coverage to be broad, and to cover anyone facing discrimination because of a disability." CQ (9/18, Wayne, Demirjian) also covers the story, as does Minnesota's Star Tribune (9/18) in its Congress Roundup.

AOA recommends comprehensive eye examinations for children.

From AOA First Look:


In continuing coverage from previous editions of First Look, Virginia's Roanoke Times (9/19) reports that even though young children "generally don't complain about their eyes...parents need to be aware of symptoms that may indicate a vision problem." According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), "even though a child may have 20/20 vision," losing "his or her place while reading," frequent headaches, poor hand-eye coordination, avoiding close work, rubbing the eyes, and holding "reading material closer than normal" can all "signal less obvious vision problems." Although many schools perform "simple vision screening," such vision-related problems can be overlooked. Therefore, the AOA "recommends that children receive comprehensive eye exams -- beyond a brief screening -- beginning at six months, three years, and again when a child enters school."

Vaccination Is the Only Way to Prevent Meningitis

....There are about 3000 cases of meningococcal disease every year in the U.S. affecting all age groups. The disease is a serious, potentially fatal bacterial infection. Left untreated, it can progress rapidly, often within hours of the first symptoms, and can lead to shock, and serious complications. Knowing the symptoms can save lives. Prompt action can make the difference between life and death. The symptoms of meningitis include high fever, rash, headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, vomiting and exhaustion....he majority of cases among adolescents are potentially vaccine preventable so it is important to know about meningococcal meningitis. Since it is difficult to recognize, understand and diagnose in those first crucial hours after onset, vaccination is the only prevention....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Debunking a theory on the cause of autism

...Ten years ago, a clinical research paper triggered widespread and persistent fears that a combined vaccine that prevents measles, mumps and rubella - the so-called MMR vaccine - causes autism in young children. That theory has been soundly refuted by a variety of other research over the years, and now a new study that tried to replicate the original study has provided further evidence that it was a false alarm....

Prolonged computer use appears to have no permanent effect on children's eye health, optometrist says.

Canada's Ottawa Citizen (9/15, Duffy) reported that the Internet "abounds with articles allegedly written by eye-care professionals stating that" some eye doctors "believe increased computer use by children puts them at risk for early development of...myopia." But, "these same articles draw little or no difference between myopia...and a temporary condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS)," which is "temporary discomfort caused by prolonged computer use. Eye strain, headaches, temporary blurred vision, and other complaints make up the symptoms of CVS, but, in general, they are not considered that serious." Optometrist Denise Roy, O.D., explained that "working on a computer for long periods forces the eyes to work hard, which tires them." She warned that "parents should be aware that if their child complains about CVS or other eye strains, it may be symptomatic of more serious problems, and regular eye checkups are important." For now, however, Dr. Roy reassured parents that "the evidence suggests prolonged computer use has no permanent effect on children's eye health."

Comments: If you "hurt" when you use a computer, this IS serious. See your eye doctor or check out an optometrist a the College of Optometrists in Vision Development

Researchers Test First Universal Newborn Screening For Fragile X Syndrome - Rush University Medical Center

...For the first time, a blood test has been developed that can identify the fragile X mutation using small drops of blood collected from infants after birth. ..."The study will allow families to learn in early infancy whether their child will have the disorder," said Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, one of the world's leading experts on fragile X and related conditions, pediatric neurologist at Rush and study co-investigator. "This new test could potentially pave the way for early identification and intervention for all children diagnosed with fragile X." ...

Comments: I have worked with Dr. Berry-Kravis on other Fra X projects in the past. I hope this one has important outcomes so that Fragile X can be diagnosed early....

Berry-Kravis E, Krause SE, Block SS, Guter S, Wuu J, Leurgans S, Decle P, Potanos K, Cook E, Salt J, Maino D, Weinberg D, Lara R, Jardini T, Cogswell J, Johnson SA, Hagerman R.Effect of CX516, an AMPA-modulating compound, on cognition and behavior in fragile X syndrome: a controlled trial. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2006 Oct;16(5):525-40.

Block SS, Brusca-Vega R, Pizzi WJ, Berry-Kravis E, Maino DM, Treitman TM. Cognitive and visual processing skills and their relationship to mutation size in full and premutation female fragile X carriers. Optom Vis Sci. 2000 Nov;77(11):592-9.

DM

How Memories Are Made, And Recalled

...What makes a memory? Single cells in the brain, for one thing. For the first time, scientists at UCLA and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have recorded individual brain cells in the act of calling up a memory, thus revealing where in the brain a specific memory is stored, and how it is able to recreate it. ...

Sports-Cheat Drug Enhances Memory

...A drug used to increase blood production in both medical treatments and athletic doping scandals seems also to improve memory in those using it. New research published in the open access journal BMC Biology shows that the memory enhancing effects of erythropoietin (EPO) are not related to its effects on blood production but due to direct influences on neurons in the brain. The findings may prove useful in the treatment of diseases affecting brain function, such as schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer's. ...

Basil Holds The Key To Anti-Ageing

...Holy basil, (Latin name Ocimum sanctum), is a close relative of the herb commonly used in Western cooking. Native to India, its extract has long been used in the ancient system of Ayurvedic medicine practiced in India and other parts of Asia as a rejuvenation drug, to promote a youthful state of physical and mental health. In the first formal study of the herb, pharmacy researchers found that holy basil extract was effective at actively searching for and eliminating harmful molecules and protecting against damage caused by some free radicals in key organs such as the heart, liver and brain....

Addrenex Pharmaceuticals Announces Positive Phase III Clinical Results For Clonicel To Treat ADHD

...A drug, Clonicel, that diminishes the body's hyper-reactivity to stress has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, according to a phase 3 clinical trial...

High Technology for Low Vision

I don' t usually post information related to Low Vision....but if the Wall Street Journal can pay attention to this...well so can I.... DM

....Even if you can read this, chances are you know somebody who can't. More than 16 million Americans report some form of visual impairment even when wearing glasses or contacts. That number is expected to double by 2030 as the aging population brings rising rates of macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases.... But "low vision" (technically, worse than 20/60 in the better eye) doesn't have to mean darkness and dependence. An ever-growing array of devices can help people maximize their remaining vision and in many cases, compensate for what they've lost. Some of the new offerings: free software that can tailor the text on any Web site to your personal visual needs, and a cellphone that can snap photos of text -- like signs and restaurant menus -- and read it back to you.....

More About Sarah Palin's Glasses

More and more people have been asking about soon to be VPs glasses...check out http://www.italee.com/index.html at Italee to see what they look like. DM