Thursday, April 30, 2009

Could Autism Be Caused by Lack of Vitamin D?

...Could autism be caused by low levels of vitamin D? That’s a new idea that’s just starting to emerge, sparked by the large number of autism cases among children of Somali immigrants living in Sweden and Minnesota.
The mothers and young children are exposed to much less sunshine in their new homes than they were back in Somalia. Lighter-skinned people make more vitamin D than dark-skinned people do when exposed to sunshine, so it’s easy to imagine that the Somalis are getting relatively little vitamin D. And because most of the Somali immigrants are Muslim, they cover themselves when going outside, reducing their sun exposure even more. But there’s as yet no clear connection to autism....

SPEEDY Babies A New Behavioural Syndrome

....Children's speech and language disorders caused by unknown factors are common. The disorders vary in type and manifest themselves differently in different ages. Delayed motor development is widely known to coexist with speech and language disorders. However, hardly any attention has been paid to children in whom delayed speech development is associated with learning to walk unassisted at an early stage....

Over the past decade, the influence of music on cognitive development, learning, and emotional well-being has emerged as a hot field of scientific stu

......Over the past decade, the influence of music on cognitive development, learning, and emotional well-being has emerged as a hot field of scientific study. To explore music's potential relevance to emergency response, the Dept of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) has begun a study into a form of neurotraining called "Brain Music" that uses music created in advance from listeners' own brain waves to help them deal with common ailments like insomnia, fatigue, and headaches stemming from stressful environments. The concept of Brain Music is to use the frequency, amplitude, and duration of musical sounds to move the brain from an anxious state to a more relaxed state. ....

Autism-Related Genes Identified in Three Studies

...Variants in neuronal cell-adhesion molecules may form at least part of the genetic basis of autism and related disorders...

Protect Yourself Against Swine Flu

...Dozens of cases of swine influenza have been confirmed across the United States over the past few days, making many people wonder if they're next in line. What can you do to protect yourself?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the disease's threat lies in its contagious nature. Swine flu is thought to spread in a manner similar to that of the common flu, through human contact such as coughing or sneezing. The disease also spreads through contact on surfaces, most commonly cafeteria tables, doorknobs or desks. One with swine flu is contagious one day prior to becoming sick and up to seven or more days after...
...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dr. Michael W. Rouse Passes Away


Dr. Michael W. Rouse was a colleague and friend of mine for many years. He received his Doctor of Optometry degree from ICO one year before I did. I got to know him well when I worked as a student in our vision therapy department. We also frequently interacted as our paths crossed as educators, members of AAO and other organiztions.

He was a member of the American Academy of Optometry and achieved Diplomate status in the Binocular Vision and Perception Section of the American Academy of Optometry in 1981. He had served as the Chair of the Binocular Vision and Perception Section. Dr. Rouse had also served on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry as a member and Chair of the Patient Management Problem section of the Clinical Skills Examination. He was also a member of the American Optometric Association, California Optometric Association, and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. He became the Chief of the Vision Therapy Service at the Eye Care Clinic/Optometric Center of Fullerton in 1982. Dr. Rouse was a tenured Professor of Optometry at SCCO.

This tells you alot about this fine gentleman...but of course it leaves out the best parts...like his sense of humor, his dedication to helping children and the love he had for his family and friends. I will miss him.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made toward an SCCO vision therapy fund in memory of Michael Rouse.

Send this donation to:
Southern California College of Optometry
Attention: Advancement Office, Michael Rouse Memorial Fund
2575 Yorba Linda Boulevard
Fullerton, CA 92831
(714) 870 - 7226

Gains beyond cosmesis: Recovery of fusion and stereopsis in adults with longstanding strabismus following successful surgical realignment

We evaluated recovery of binocularity in 15 chronically strabismic, non-fusing (with neutralizing prisms) adults following successful surgical alignment. We included ≥12-year-olds, with best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) ≥20/60, and excluded those with: anisoacuity >2 lines-Snellen; failed realignment judged by >10 prism diopters (PD) horizontal and >4 PD vertical. Six-week outcomes were: fusion by Worth Four-Dots (WFDT) and Bagolini striated glasses (BSG) and stereopsis by Titmus test and the Netherlands organisation for applied scientific research (TNO) test. Baseline data in medians (range): age 18 (12-40) years, strabismus 45 (19-95) PD, duration 14 (0.5-24) years, 12 females; 12 exotropes, three esotropes; visual acuity was 20/20 in 10, while none had BCVA <20/60.>

Crowding, reading, and developmental dyslexia

We tested the hypothesis that crowding effects are responsible for the reading slowness characteristic of developmental dyslexia. A total of twenty-nine Italian dyslexics and thirty-three age-matched controls participated in various parts of the study. In Experiment 1, we measured contrast thresholds for identifying letters and words as a function of stimulus duration. Thresholds were higher in dyslexics than controls for words (at a limited time exposure) but not for single letters. Adding noise to the stimuli produced comparable effects in dyslexics and controls. At the long time exposure thresholds were comparable in the two groups. In Experiment 2, we measured the spacing between a target letter and two flankers at a fixed level of performance as a function of eccentricity and size. With eccentricity, the critical spacing (CS) scaled in the control group with 0.62 proportionality (a value of b close to Bouma's law, 0.50) and with a greater proportionality (0.95) in the dyslexic group. CS was independent of size in both groups. In Experiment 3, we examined the critical print size (CPS), that is, the increase in reading rate up to a critical character size (S. T. Chung, J. S. Mansfield, & G. E. Legge, 1998). CPS of dyslexic children was greater than that of controls. Individual maximal reading speed was predicted by individual bs (from Experiment 2). The maximal reading rate achieved by dyslexics at CPS (and also for larger print sizes) was below the values observed in controls. We conclude that word analysis in dyslexics is slowed because of greater crowding effects, which limit letter identification in multi-letter arrays across the visual field. We propose that the peripheral reading of normal readers might constitute a model for dyslexic reading. The periphery model accounts for 60% of dyslexics' slowness. After compensating for crowding, the dyslexics' reading rate remains slower than that of proficient readers. This failure is discussed in terms of a developmental learning effect.

Comment: Full text of this article is available by clicking on the title above. DM

Crowding, reading, and developmental dyslexia

We tested the hypothesis that crowding effects are responsible for the reading slowness characteristic of developmental dyslexia. A total of twenty-nine Italian dyslexics and thirty-three age-matched controls participated in various parts of the study. In Experiment 1, we measured contrast thresholds for identifying letters and words as a function of stimulus duration. Thresholds were higher in dyslexics than controls for words (at a limited time exposure) but not for single letters. Adding noise to the stimuli produced comparable effects in dyslexics and controls. At the long time exposure thresholds were comparable in the two groups. In Experiment 2, we measured the spacing between a target letter and two flankers at a fixed level of performance as a function of eccentricity and size. With eccentricity, the critical spacing (CS) scaled in the control group with 0.62 proportionality (a value of b close to Bouma's law, 0.50) and with a greater proportionality (0.95) in the dyslexic group. CS was independent of size in both groups. In Experiment 3, we examined the critical print size (CPS), that is, the increase in reading rate up to a critical character size (S. T. Chung, J. S. Mansfield, & G. E. Legge, 1998). CPS of dyslexic children was greater than that of controls. Individual maximal reading speed was predicted by individual bs (from Experiment 2). The maximal reading rate achieved by dyslexics at CPS (and also for larger print sizes) was below the values observed in controls. We conclude that word analysis in dyslexics is slowed because of greater crowding effects, which limit letter identification in multi-letter arrays across the visual field. We propose that the peripheral reading of normal readers might constitute a model for dyslexic reading. The periphery model accounts for 60% of dyslexics' slowness. After compensating for crowding, the dyslexics' reading rate remains slower than that of proficient readers. This failure is discussed in terms of a developmental learning effect.
Comment: Full text of this article is available by clicking on the title above. DM

Development of Visual Acuity and Contrast Sensitivity in Children

ABSTRACT PURPOSE: Most studies of visual development have concentrated on visual development of infants. Only a few studies have extended this to children and determined the point at which visual function becomes truly adult-like. Yet from a clinical and research perspective it is important to know this. This review paper is a discussion of the development of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity into childhood.
METHODS:The literature on subjective (measured with preferential looking or psychophysical methods) and objective (visually-evoked potential) measures of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity was examined with particular emphasis on studies of children over the age of 5 years and those articles that compared different age groups and those that made a comparison with adults.RESULTS: Visual acuity was found to be fully mature between the ages of 5 and the mid teenage years, while contrast sensitivity was found to mature fully between the ages of 8 to 19 years. Thus, there is still no clear answer to the fundamental question of when these basic aspects of visual function mature, but it may be later than previously thought.
CONCLUSIONS: AFurther studies are needed to answer this basic question more precisely and objective measures, such as VEP, may be able to answer this question better than psychophysical methods. (J Optom 2009;2:19-26 ©2009 Spanish Council of Optometry)

Preventing falls in older multifocal glasses wearers by providing single-lens distance glasses: the protocol for the VISIBLE randomised controlled tri

...The study will determine the impact of providing single-lens glasses, with advice about appropriate use, on preventing falls in older regular wearers of multifocal glasses. This pragmatic intervention, if found to be effective, will guide practitioners with regard to recommending appropriate glasses for minimising the risk of falls in older people....

Outcome of retinopathy of prematurity patients following adoption

...After the ETROP [Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity] guidelines were implemented, there was a decrease from 10.3% to 1.9% of eyes developing Stage 5 retinal detachment, despite this group having a lower average EGA and lower average birth weight. These results underscore the importance of adoption of the Revised Indications...

Comments: Read the full paper by clicking the title above. DM

The 30 Best Careers for 2009

...U.S. News has plowed through hundreds of careers, looking for the jobs with the best outlook in this recessionary economy (and beyond), the highest rates of job satisfaction, the least difficult training necessary, the most prestige, and the highest pay. These careers have staying power: They're smart moves now, and they'll be smart moves for years to come....

Comments: US News & World Report once agains picks optometry in the top 30. Our median income is $99,000+ (about on par with pharmacy) and out job satisfaction is given an A+ rating (actually I added the "+"). So if you want a great career that helps people and allows you to make a good living....check out http://www.ico.edu This is where I currently teach and where I received an outstanding OD education (I could be a bit biased)! DM

Diplopia following cataract surgery: a review of 150 patients.

...Double vision is a troublesome complication of otherwise successful cataract surgery. The use of topical anaesthesia does not abolish this surgical risk....

Comments: Approximately 3 out of every 100 cataract patients will experience diplopia after surgery. We need to let our patients know that this could happen and it if does what we can do about it! DM

Treatment of Convergence Insufficiency in Childhood: A Current Perspective.

...Recent clinical [National Eye Institute] trials showed that office-based vision therapy was successful in about 75% of patients (resulting in normal or significantly improved symptoms and signs) and was the only treatment studied which was more effective than placebo treatments for children with symptomatic CI. Eye care providers who do not currently offer this treatment may consider referring these patients to a doctor who provides this treatment or consider expanding the treatment options available within their practice to manage this condition.

Comments: Ths most effective treatment for convergence insufficiency is in-office optometric vision therapy. Use it! DM

Sensory processing in adults with autism spectrum disorders.

...These results suggest that unusual sensory processing in ASD extends across the lifespan and have implications regarding both the treatment and the diagnosis of ASD in adulthood....

Comments: This could mean that as our children with autism age...we should continue to look for, diagnose and treat the various sensory processing problems present. DM

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Symptom or Syndrome?

...The results of our study reveal a high phenotypical overlap between ASD and ADHD. The two identified subtypes, inattentive-stereotyped and hyperactive-communication impaired, reflect the DSM classification and may theoretically be a sign of two different neurochemical pathways, a dopaminergic and a serotonergic....

bWare Speed Reading Exercises: Eye Muscle Exercise 101

Comments: More saccadic reading therapy on YouTube. This one mores quite fast! DM

More Eye Exercises for Speed Readers Level 2

YouTube Video Saccadic therapy

Eye Exercises for Speed Reading Level 1

YouTube Vision Therapy

Comments: A few "eye exercises" on video for eye relaxation. DM

Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses

...Although child vaccination rates remain high, some parental concern persists that vaccines might cause autism. Three specific
hypotheses have been proposed: (1) the combination measles-mumps-rubella vaccine causes autism by damaging the intestinal
lining, which allows the entrance of encephalopathic proteins; (2) thimerosal, an ethylmercury-containing preservative in
some vaccines, is toxic to the central nervous system; and (3) the simultaneous administration of multiple vaccines overwhelms
or weakens the immune system. We will discuss the genesis of each of these theories and review the relevant epidemiological
evidence....


Comments:The PDF of this paper is available by clicking on title. DM

Testing tool to better detect preemie eye disease

...the OCT images are uncovering damage that specialists who examine the babies' eyes using standard magnifying lenses couldn't see...

New hope for treatment of neurodegenerative disorder

...Researchers from the University of Southern California have taken an important first step toward protecting against Huntington disease using gene therapy...Huntington Disease is an incurable neurological disorder characterized by uncontrolled movements, emotional instability and loss of intellectual faculties. It affects about 30,000 people in the United States, and children of parents with the disease have a 50 percent chance of inheriting it themselves....

Autism Child with CI

A blog entry about a child with autism and convergence insufficiency. DM

Exposure to secondhand smoke and cognitive impairment in non-smokers: national cross sectional study with cotinine measurement

...Exposure to secondhand smoke may be associated with increased odds of cognitive impairment. Prospective nationally representative studies relating biomarkers of exposure to cognitive decline and risk of dementia are needed. ...

Comments: See complete article by clicking title above. DM

Therapy for eyes: Could that learning disability be a vision problem?

...she met Dr. David Dalesio, an optometrist with Fort Myers Eye Associates. He discovered that when Amanda read a word, she saw 10 other words on the page before getting to the second word she was supposed to read. While her vision was fine, her eyes weren't tracking correctly....

Dr. Sue Barry's New book

Coming soon:

Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions Susan R. Barry. Basic, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-465-00913-8

Barry, a neuroscientist at Mount Holyoke College, was born with her eyes crossed and literally couldn't see in all three dimensions. Barry underwent several surgeries as a child, but it wasn't until she was in college that she realized she wasn't seeing in 3-D. The medical profession has believed that the visual center of the brain can't rewire itself after a critical cutoff point in a child's development, but in her 40s, with the help of optometric vision therapy, Barry showed that previously neglected neurons could be nudged back into action. The author tells a poignant story of her gradual discovery of the shapes in flowers in a vase, snowflakes falling, even the folds in coats hanging on a peg. After Barry's story was written up in the New Yorker by Oliver Sacks, she heard from many others who had successfully learned to correct their vision as adults, challenging accepted wisdom about the plasticity of the brain. Recommended for all readers who cheer stories with a triumph over seemingly insuperable odds. Photos, illus. (June)

Validity of the Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey: A Confirmatory Study.

...Examiner bias did not affect the CISS scores for subjects with NBV in our prior study. The CISS continues to be a valid instrument for quantifying symptoms in 9 to <18-year-old>=16 in distinguishing children with symptomatic CI from those with NBV....

http://www.optvissci.com/pt/re/ovs/abstract.00006324-200904000-00003.htm;jsessionid=J3dQhMjp6D1g4DM5957yM4JsnBJbLkXg8rT8v01Q1HjJGWpvcn85!928310026!181

.....Many sunglass tints currently permitted for drivers and riders cause a measurable decrement in the ability of color deficient observers to detect and recognize traffic signals. In general, combinations of signals and sunglasses of similar colors are of particular concern. This is prima facie evidence of a risk in the use of these tints for driving and cautions against the relaxation of coloration limits in sunglasses beyond those represented in the study....

Brain works best when cells keep right rhythms

...It is said that each of us marches to the beat of a different drum, but new Stanford University research suggests that brain cells need to follow specific rhythms that must be kept for proper brain functioning. These rhythms don't appear to be working correctly in such diseases as schizophrenia and autism, and now two papers due to be published online this week by the journals Nature and Science demonstrate that precisely tuning the oscillation frequencies of certain neurons can affect how the brain processes information and implements feelings of reward....

Even Low Lead Levels Affect Children

... Even low lead levels in children could predispose them to future health problems, including heart disease, a new study found. ...
Researchers said their study shows that almost any level of lead exposure negatively affects how a child's cardiovascular system responds to stress, which could lead to high blood pressure if it continues over time. ...

Answers to Your Questions About Swine Flu

Comments: WebMD answers your questions about Swine Flu. SM

The swine flu virus in the U.S. is the same one causing a deadly epidemic in Mexico. What is swine flu? What can we do about it? WebMD answers your questions.
What is swine flu?
What are swine flu symptoms?
If I think I have swine flu, what should I do?
How does swine flu spread?
How is swine flu treated?
Is there a vaccine against the new swine flu virus?
I had a flu vaccine this season. Am I protected against swine flu?
How can I prevent swine flu infection?
Can I still eat pork?
What else should I be doing?
How severe is swine flu?
Why has the swine flu infection been deadlier in Mexico than in the U.S.?
Have there been previous swine flu outbreaks?
I was vaccinated against the 1976 swine flu virus. Am I still protected?
How many people have swine flu?
How serious is the public health threat of a swine flu epidemic?