Friday, March 27, 2009

Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight

...All the patients were better able to identify colored shapes and red lights in their depleted side of vision when they listened to music they liked, compared with music they didn't like or silence....

Man's Best Friend?

I'm only putting this here because I own both a dog and cat. I know both are out to get me! DM

Furry Companions Account for 87,000 Fall-Related Injuries

...If dogs and cats are man's best friends, they can also be health hazards: almost 87,000 American humans wind up in emergency rooms with injuries from falls related to these domestic pets each year, the CDC reported. ...

Injuries from cat-and-dog-related falls accounted for 1% of the nearly 8 million fall-related injuries treated in emergency departments in 2006, according to Judy Stevens, Ph.D., of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and colleagues. ...

Postoperative outcomes in children with intermittent exotropia from a population-based cohort

...In this population-based study of surgery in children with intermittent exotropia, although only 1 in 5 received a second surgery, after a mean follow-up of 8 years, approximately half were successfully aligned and 45% had high-grade stereopsis....

Comments: This is outrageous! An intermittent exotropia should probably NOT have surgery....and then to submit 20% of these patients to a second surgery is a crime. Only 45% had stereo and 50% of the subjects were surgical failures! The authors believe that this is successful? All intermittent exotropes should have a program of optometric vision therapy (OVT). The CITT NEI funded study showed how successful this can be. Use OVT for your patients. DM

Free Concerts

If you live in or around the Chicagoland area you should check this out!

Tired of the cold, damp weather? Need something to lift your spirits....and is FREE? Then come to the...

Wartburg College Choir Concert
Friday, April 24, 2009 7:00 P.M.

Come and enjoy this 80 voice choir from Waverly, Iowa as they sing in the wonderful acoustics at St. Bartholomew Church (Addison 3600 N & Lavergne 5000 W) in Chicago.

To listen to some of their stellar performances, visit the web site

Jay Peterson, Organist in Concert
Saturday, June 6, 2009 6:00 P.M.

Come and hear great music performed by a virtuoso on our 1928 Kilgen Organ. Dr. Peterson has performed in the United States and abroad to critical acclaim.

The St. Bartholomew Adult and Children's Choirs will perform at the 5:00 P.M. Mass, and the Concert will begin with the recessional at Mass. The Choir will join Dr. Peterson during the concert on some selections

For more information call 773-286-7871, ext. 119 or go to

'Miracle' brings Pothier back to the ice

Hockey player returns to the game after treatment of his multiple concussions by an optometrist who specializes in optometric vision therapy...

Brian Pothier is all smiles on this day. As he sits down for an interview with in a downtown Toronto hotel, he's oblivious to the ruckus around us in a busy lobby that's undergoing renovations.

......Despite numerous visits to different doctors and specialists, he had no real answers as to why he was seemingly still feeling the effects of a concussion suffered such a long time ago....

"The typical concussion symptoms subsided after two or three months," said Pothier, a native of New Bedford, Mass. "But something was still off. My spatial awareness was off. It was almost like vertigo, like I was seasick all the time."...

..."I was like, 'Wow,'" said Smith, recalling the excitement of a possible breakthrough. Cullen had been helped greatly by a vision therapy specialist in North Carolina, Dr. Susan Durham.....

Comments: No matter what sport you may be at risk for multiple head traumas that over time can result in significant impairment in how you function. You should contact the specialists at the Neuro-Optometric Rehabiliation Association and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development for information on how traumatic brain injury can be treated so that you can function better. DM

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cognitive Decline Begins In Late 20s, U.Va. Study Suggests

...A new study indicates that some aspects of peoples' cognitive skills - such as the ability to make rapid comparisons, remember unrelated information and detect relationships - peak at about the age of 22, and then begin a slow decline starting around age 27. "This research suggests that some aspects of age-related cognitive decline begin in healthy, educated adults when they are in their 20s and 30s," said Timothy Salthouse, a University of Virginia professor of psychology and the study's lead investigator. ...

Why We Have Difficulty Recognizing Faces In Photo Negatives: Work Could Impact Computer Vision, Autism Studies

....A new study from MIT looks at a particularly striking instance of failure: our impaired ability to recognize faces in photographic negatives. The study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, suggests that a large part of the answer might lie in the brain's reliance on a certain kind of image feature. The work could potentially lead to computer vision systems, for settings as diverse as industrial quality control or object and face detection. On a different front, the results and methodologies could help researchers probe face-perception skills in children with autism, who are often reported to experience difficulties analyzing facial information. ....

Favorite Tunes Increase Attention in Neuro Patients

......Patients had better visual awareness when completing tasks while listening to music of their choice compared with unpreferred music or silence, David Soto, M.D., of Imperial College London, and colleagues reported online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"A pleasant tune was able to reduce contralesional neglect even in chronic patients," the researchers said. "Positive emotional responses and optimum arousal induced by pleasant music listening may aid the engagement of the neuroplastic systems that support flexible attention control." ....

Squints and diplopia seen after brain damage


The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of squint after brain damage. We performed an observational study on 239 consecutive patients admitted to a specialist neurological rehabilitation unit: 129 with stroke, 84 with head injury and 26 with other conditions. Standard orthoptic measures, including visual acuity, cover test, eye movement recording and tests of binocular function were performed. Of all the patients, 89 (37%), were found to have squints, but only 32 of these (36%) experienced double vision. Brain stem lesions causing peripheral ocular motor impairment were found in a high proportion of patients after head injury (56%). Squints were found in 27 of 95 (28%) patients with cortical strokes, many with no other signs of brain stem involvement. Left was just as likely as right hemisphere damage to be associated with squint, but right-sided lesions seemed to protect against diplopia. We conclude that squint is common after brain damage, even if the brain stem is not obviously affected, but only a minority of these patients with acquired squint suffer diplopia

Effects of maternal and paternal smoking on attentional control in children with and without ADHD

Full Text is available:


Maternal smoking during pregnancy is a risk
factor for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
but data on its adverse effects on cognitive functioning are
sparse and inconsistent. Since the effect of maternal
smoking during pregnancy may be due to correlated
genetic risk factors rather than being a pure environmental
effect, we examined the effect of prenatal exposure to
smoking on attentional control, taking into account the
effects of both maternal and paternal smoking, and examined
whether these effects were genetically mediated by
parental genotypes. We further examined whether the
effect of prenatal exposure to smoking on attentional
control interacted with genotypes of the child. Participants
were 79 children with ADHD, ascertained for the International
Multi-centre ADHD Gene project (IMAGE), and
105 normal controls. Attentional control was assessed by a
visual continuous performance task. Three genetic risk
factors for ADHD (DRD4 7-repeat allele of the exon 3
variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR), DAT1 10/10
genotype of the VNTR located in the 30 untranslated
region, and the DAT1 6/6 genotype of the intron 8 VNTR)
were included in the analyses. Paternal smoking had a
negative effect on attentional control in children with
ADHD and this effect appeared to be mediated by genetic
risk factors. The prenatal smoking effect did not interact
with genotypes of the child. Maternal smoking had no main
effect on attentional control, which may be due to lower
smoking rates. This study suggests that the effects of
paternal smoking on attentional control in children with
ADHD should be considered a proxy for ADHD and/or
smoking risk genes. Future studies should examine if the
results can be generalized to other cognitive domains

Visual Perceptual Worksheets for your Patients

If you need worksheets for patients with vision perception anomalies, check out Visual Learning for Life. Worksheets for visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relationships and more can be found here. I have no financial interest in any of these products. DM

5.3 million in U.S. have Alzheimer's

...An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's, and each patient on average costs Medicare three times more than patients without the disease, the Alzheimer's Association reported on Tuesday.
In its annual report on the brain-wasting illness, the group projected that by 2010, nearly a half-million new cases of Alzheimer's will develop each year as the population ages and by 2050 a million new cases will be diagnosed annually....

Anesthesia Exposure Linked To Learning Disabilities In Children

...researchers have found that children who require multiple surgeries under anesthesia during their first three years of life are at higher risk of developing learning disabilities later. Several studies have suggested that anesthetic drugs may cause abnormalities in the brains of young animals. This is the first study in humans to suggest that exposure of children to anesthesia may have similar consequences....

Levodopa/Carbidopa in the Treatment of Amblyopia

...Levodopa/carbidopa improves visual acuity in patients with amblyopia and maintains improved visual acuity, especially in patients younger than 8 years...

Levodopa/Carbidopa in the Treatment of Amblyopia

...Levodopa/carbidopa improves visual acuity in patients with amblyopia and maintains improved visual acuity, especially in patients younger than 8 years...



Saturday May 16tth
3:00 – 3:30 pm Registration and Welcome
3:30 – 6:20 pm Dr. Jerome Sherman Amblyopia Masqueraders
Lecture includes 20-minute break
6:30 – 8:30 pm COVD Regional Study Groups
Topic: Modifying testing and training for Children with Special Needs
Light dinner planned

Sunday May 17tth
8:00 – 8:15 am Registration
8:30 – 12:20pm Dr. John Abbondanza Visualization and the Reading Process
Lecture includes 30-minute break
12:30 – 1:30pm Lunch (included)
1:30 – 1:50 Exhibit hall
1:50 - 4:20pm Dr. Samantha Slotnick Strabismus Training

This program qualifies for 10 credit hours toward Continuing Education requirements. It has been submitted and is pending COPE approval.
Study group participation can be applied towards 2 hours COVD membership education requirements.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Precision of speed discrimination and smooth pursuit eye movements

...Several studies have shown that the precision of smooth pursuit eye speed can match perceptual speed discrimination thresholds during the steady-state phase of pursuit ...

Paradoxical fusion of two images and depth perception with a squinting eye

Some strabismic patients with inconstant squint can fuse two images in a single eye, and experience lustre and depth. One of these images is foveal and the other extrafoveal. Depth perception was tested on 30 such subjects. Relief was perceived mostly on the fixated image. Camouflaged continuous surfaces (hemispheres, cylinders) were perceived as bumps or hollows, without detail. Camouflaged rectangles could not be separated in depth from the background, while their explicit counterparts could. Slanted bars were mostly interpreted as frontoparallel near or remote bars. Depth responses were more frequent with stimuli involving inward rather than outward disparities, and were then heavily biased towards “near” judgements. All monocular fusion effects were markedly reduced after the recovery of normal stereoscopic vision following an orthoptic treatment. The depth effects reported here may provide clues on what stereoscopic pathways may or may not accomplish with incomplete retinal and misleading vergence information.

Antibiotics and Allergic Disorders in Childhood

Abstract: Aim: This paper explores the possible association between antibiotics prescribed in infancy and allergic disorders, mainly eczema and asthma, in childhood.

Background: No-one fully understands why childhood asthma and eczema have become so common. Some authorities suggest that there may be an association between eczema and asthma and antibiotics prescribed in childhood; however, others disagree.

Method/Evaluation: The available literature was reviewed to examine the links between prescribed antibiotics and childhood eczema and asthma.

Findings/Key Issue: Some, but not all, research indicates that antibiotic administration in pregnancy, childbirth or infancy may be linked to childhood asthma and eczema, but much uncertainty remains. None of the papers identified stated the doses of antibiotics prescribed. In addition, we were unable to locate studies reporting the interactions between antibiotics
and the developing immune system.

Conclusion: Health care professionals should be selective when prescribing antibiotics. Further prospective work is needed to guide the prescribing of antibiotics in childbirth and infancy.

Brain Injury Awareness Month – Get the Facts

March has been designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month, a critical time when the Brain Injury Association of America and its partners strive to build public awareness and education. Only by raising public awareness of the “silent epidemic” of brain injury will we begin to see a decrease in the alarming number of injuries sustained every year, an increase in the number of individuals practicing preventative behaviors while at work or play, and a change in the public’s attitude toward individuals with brain injury.
For free, downloadable resources created for Brain Injury Awareness Month 2009, please
click here. To learn about awareness events taking place in your state throughout the month of March, or to learn more about how to get involved please contact your chartered state affiliate office.

Drug Being Used To Improve Cognition Affects Dopamine, Suggesting Potential For Abuse

Preliminary research in healthy men suggests that the narcolepsy drug modafinil, increasingly being used to enhance cognitive abilities, affects the activity of dopamine in the brain in a way that may create the potential for abuse and dependence, according to a study in the March 18 issue of JAMA.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Give me liberty or give me death

Today is the 234th anniversary of Patrick Henry’s 1775 speech to the Virginia Convention. His parting words were, “Give me liberty or give me death!”

Read the whole (short) speech by clicking on the title. DM
...On February 25, after a five-year probe, the U.S. Justice Department accused Forest of wrongly attempting to sway pediatricians to prescribe Celexa and Lexapro, including inducements like spa visits, fishing trips and tickets to sporting events and Broadway shows. Neither drug had been approved for kids until Lexapro won the FDA's nod on Friday....

Childhood sight impairment: a 10-year picture

...The yearly rates of registration increased slowly over the 10 years. The most common underlying cause for registration remains CVI, with the yearly proportion of registrations because of CVI not altering. The average age of registration was 6.3 years. A significant proportion of the cases of visual impairment, are because of potentially modifiable causes....

European Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium on Vision

The 15th European Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium on Vision
Kobæk Strand Conference Center
Kobækvej 85
DK-4230 Skælskør, Denmark

2009. May 2nd + 3rd + 4th

Dear colleague:
I am pleased to invite you to attend and participate in the 15th Annual European Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium on Vision. As announced already at the meeting last year, the Symposium will be held
on Saturday, Sunday & Monday, May 2nd + 3rd + 4th - 2009 at:
Kobæk Strand Conferece Center, Kobækvej 85, DK-4230 Skælskør, Denmark
Phone: +45 58 19 45 15 E-Mail: – Homepage:

Please go to this homepage to find a map of the location or take a virtual tour.

You are invited to prepare and present a paper on vision and / or visual training, clinical or theoretical, although this is not a necessary requisite for attendance.

If you would like to present a paper, please let me know. Please send me the title and a short outline of your paper no later than the 6th of April. 2009. The Paper does not have to be long – 10 minutes is fine – An interesting case presentation can sometimes call
for a discussion lasting hours and lead to important Optometric insights.
You are also invited, if you don’t have a paper this year – the symposium will always provide you with the newest insight into our profession.
There will be all necessary AV equipment available for your presentation including video-projection, so if you have your presentation on Power Point or similar programs, we can support you.

The Symposium will begin PROMPTLY at 13:00 Saturday, and conclude no later than 15:00 Monday. Evening hours will be scheduled on Saturday and Sunday evening.

Moderators: Steen Aalberg, FCOVD and Steen Saust, FCOVD
All DOKS/NSO/SSO/OEP/COVD associates will receive a membership benefit reduction of DKK 300.00/

Please complete the registration form on the following page and mail it to me no later than the 6th of April. 2009

Cordially Yours,
Steen Saust, Optometrist, FCOVD


The 15th European Kraskin Invitational Skeffington Symposium On Vision
Kobæk Strand Conference Center, Kobækvej Under the auspices of 85, DK-4230 Skælskør, Denmark
OEP-F 2009. May 2+3+4
Please complete this form and return to: OEP-Scandinavia – Attn.: Steen Saust - Byvangen 14 - DK-3550 Slangerup,
Denmark – Phone: +45 7020 9998 Fax: +45 7020 9999

Professional Title:________________________________________________________________________________________________
Last name:___________________________________ First name:______________________________________________
Postal code:__________City:____________________Country:_________________________________________________
Voice Phone:___________________________Fax:__________________________________________________________
Accompanying person/s:________________________________________________________________________________

Arrival date: ________ at ______ hours. Departure date: _________ at _______ hours.
Single room_______ Double room _________

REGISTRATION & accommodation at Kobaek Strand Conference Center : BEFORE April 6. 2009

Registration fee giving a paper …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1.500.- DKK________
Registration fee not giving a paper …………………… ………………………………………………………………………… 1.850.- DKK________
Accommodation for 1 person in single room: at the conference center - 2 nights/all meals ..............................................3.200.- DKK________
Accommodation for 2 persons in shared double room: at the conference center - 2 nights/all meals ...............................5.800.- DKK________
Extra night: ... single/double room incl. breakfast.......................................................................................................885-/1.275.- DKK________
Accompanying person in shared double room for 2 nights incl. breakfast .........................................................................1.600.- DKK________
DOKS/NSO/SSO/OEP membership reduction ......................................................................................................... Deduct 300.- DKK________
Total............................................................................................................................................................................................... DKK________

All payments must be made in DKK (Danish Kroner) or € (Euro) payable to: E-KISS.2009
Please mark payment clearly with your name.
Please indicate your means of payment:
_______Banker’s draft (Personal checks and Euro-checks is not accepted)
_______ I will send my payment to KSI Bank account at:
Dans ke Bank ac count #: 9570-1306014. .Swi f t -BIC addres s : DABADKKK. . IBAN no. : DK9630000001306014

Registration will be accepted only when full payment is received.
The attendee must pay all expenses associated with transferring registration fee.

Accommodation fee includes:
(2 nights accommodation at Kobaek Strand Conference Center / all meals. Includes the following:
Saturday: Sandwich/coffee & tea during registration - coffee & tea, sweets and fruit during all breaks. Dinner incl. wine as well as after dinner
coffee & tea, snacks and drinks.
Sunday: Breakfast. Coffee & tea, sweets and fruit during all breaks. Lunch buffet incl. beer / soft drink and coffee & tea. Dinner incl. wine as
well as after dinner coffee & tea, snacks and drinks.
Monday: Breakfast. Coffee & tea, sweets and fruit during all breaks. Lunch buffet incl. beer / soft drink and coffee & tea.
Please notice that dinner is included Saturday and Sunday