Friday, July 17, 2009

Hyperbaric treatment for children with autism: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial

...Children with autism who received hyperbaric treatment at 1.3 atm and 24% oxygen for 40 hourly sessions had significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact, and sensory/cognitive awareness compared to children who received slightly pressurized room air....

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is complex illness of unknown etiology. Among the broad range of symptoms, many patients report disturbances in the emotional realm, the most frequent of which is anxiety. ..... In this pilot study, 39 CFS patients were randomized to receive either 24 billion colony forming units of Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS) or a placebo daily for two months. ...results lend further support to the presence of a gut-brain interface, one that may be mediated by microbes that reside or pass through the intestinal tract.

Genetic and environmental pathways to complex diseases

...Identification of key regulatory pathways that integrate genetic and environmental modulators define disease associated targets that will allow for efficient screening of large numbers of environmental factors, screening that could set priorities for further research and guide public health decisions....

Television viewing in Thai infants and toddlers: impacts to language development and parental perceptions

...Thai children commenced watching television at an early age and the amount of television viewing time increased by age. Most parents had positive perceptions to television viewing. The study found no association between time spent on television viewing (≥ 2 hours per day) and delayed language development at the age of 2 years....Gender (male) was the only variable associated with delayed language development....

Comments: Parents are not going to like the outcomes of this study!! DM

Psychiatric and psychosocial problems in adults with normal-intelligence autism spectrum disorders

...ASDs are clinical syndromes characterized by impaired social interaction and non-verbal communication in adulthood as well as in childhood. They also carry a high risk for co-existing mental health problems from a broad spectrum of disorders and for unfavourable psychosocial life circumstances. For the next revision of DSM, our findings especially stress the importance of careful examination of the exclusion criterion for adult patients with ASDs....

Comments:This is a BIOMed Central journal. If you sign up, you get free access to the full length article. DM

How autism symptoms could develop at the neuron level: an information management perspective

...It is likely that autism and other mental disorders are primarily an information management matter, whereby capacity bottlenecks provide the primary cause....

Comments: This should be an interesting read! DM

Interested in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy Click Here

Cataract surgery and primary intraocular lens implantation in children <=2 years old in the United Kingdom and Ireland: findings of national surveys

...Primary IOL implantation in children ≤2 has been widely adopted in the UK & Ireland. There is concordance of practice with regards to surgical technique and choice of IOL model. However, variation exists in eligibility criteria for primary IOLs: this may reflect a lack of consensus on which children are most likely to benefit. Thus there is a need for systematic studies of the outcomes of primary IOL implantation in younger children....

Comments: Here we have once again an example of medicine doing what it accuses optometry of doing...that is providing care for patients without clinical trials to back it up! (We -optometry- now have the clinical trials, by the way). Surgery should have strong evidence to back up the techniques used and which of these techniques are best practices so that the best outcomes can be achieved. This is especially true for patients under 2 years of age. As they state in this paper, "Whilst primary IOL implantation is being increasingly undertaken in children in the first 2 years of life the long term benefits and the factors associated with positive and negative outcomes are unclear." For the full text of this article click the title above. DM

A Data-Driven Approach to the Management of Accommodative Esotropia

...Significant differences exist in the clinical presentations of children who achieve functional orthotropia with single-vision spectacles and those who require bifocals or surgery. An evidence-based algorithm may help practitioners predict which intervention is most likely to benefit an individual child....

Autism Theme Issue

As editor of Optometry & Vision Development I am putting the final touches on a theme issue on Autism that I know you will find most interesting.

The theme issue's primary editor was Dr. Stacy Coulter who is a Diplomate in Binocular Vision and Perception, Board Certified in Vision Therapy by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, Chair of the Children's Vision Committee for the Florida Optometric Association, Vice Chair of the Clinical Diplomates of the Pediatric Optometry and Binocular Vision Section of the American Academy of Optometry, and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Optometric Sciences, residency supervisor for the Pediatric Optometry residency, and course instructor for the Pediatric Optometry and Optometric Management of Learning-Related Vision Problems courses at NOVA Southeastern College of Optometry

The articles in this theme issue will be:

Coulter RA. Serving the needs of the patient with autism.

Press LJ, Richman J. The role of optometry in early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Maino DM. Viola, SG, Donati R. The Etiology of Autism.

Viola SG, Maino DM. Brain anatomy, electrophysiology and visual function/perception in children within the autism spectrum disorder.

Coulter RA. Understanding the visual symptoms of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Torgerson NG. Insights into optometric evaluations of patients on the autism spectrum:A patient's story.

Also included in this issue are reviews of the literature by Dr. David Goss, book reviews, and the NewsMaker colmn and more!

Watch for an announcement in the coming weeks regarding this issue's availablitity.

Optometry & Vision Development is an open access journal and can be found at

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In the News from the Illinois College of Optometry


“One of our key principles is to extend the role of the Illinois College of Optometry through community service.”

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn joined ICO’s Dr. Arol Augsburger at a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Chicago. Also in attendance were Stephanie Augsburger, Drs. Conrad and Brandys, John Budzynski, and Laura Rounce. Dr. Augsburger just completed his term as president for the organization, which is dedicated to promoting ethical leadership, professional success and friendship among Club members through service in the community and around the world.

ICO Hosted Special Summer Program for Minority Students

Twenty-four college students from across the country came to campus last week to learn about the profession of optometry during ICO’s “Focus on Your Future” summer program. This week-long program, now in its second year, is designed to introduce underrepresented minority undergrads to the profession of optometry.

A press release was distributed to Chicago media, including minority media outlets; outreach was also conducted with trade publications. Read the full press release

Through Her Vision Work, Neurobiologist Finds Way To Retrain The Adult Brain
The Hartford Courant, July 7, 2009

In a development that could have vast impact on everything from learning disabilities to soldiers returning from war with traumatic brain injuries, Susan Barry has debunked the scientific and medical community and proven that the adult brain is considerably more flexible than originally thought. Read the full story.

Larry Fitzgerald Offers Advice for Parents With Struggling Readers
PR Newswire (press release), July 13, 2009

Arizona Cardinals 2008 NFC West Champions' wide-receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, is helping eye doctors spread the word to parents that vision problems can interfere with a child's ability to pay attention, read and learn. Fitzgerald, explained that one of the keys to his success was having vision therapy as a child. He had a vision problem that was making it difficult to pay attention in school and his grandfather, Dr. Robert Johnson, a developmental optometrist in Chicago, Illinois, diagnosed the vision problem and the appropriate treatment. The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) has launched their annual campaign to educate the public on the steps they can take to ensure their children aren't struggling with reading and learning because of undiagnosed vision problems. Fitzgerald is joining COVD this year to help spread the word that 20/20 is NOT perfect vision and that if your children are struggling with reading you need to take them to see a developmental optometrist. You can visit COVD's website to find a developmental optometrist near you.

Vistakon’s Pat Cummings, OD, Former AOA President, Dies in Florida Plane Crash Vision Monday, July 16, 2009

PolyU scholar heads World Council of Optometry PRLog (Press Release), July 15, 2009

Professor George Woo, internationally renowned Optometry expert and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), has recently taken the helm of the World Council of Optometry (WCO) for a term of two years. Being the first ethnic Chinese academic elected to the key post, Professor Woo will strive to develop Optometry as a profession and as a vital dimension of primary health care around the world.

10 Ways Universities Share Information Using Social Media, July 15, 2009

Instead of focusing their attention on promoting information to mainstream media, some university public affairs offices are using the power of social media to engage the community directly. In many cases, social media tools like Facebook Pages have given universities an opportunity to reach thousands of people interested in keeping up with news at the school and connecting with others on the social network. Read the full article which includes 10 highlights of how universities are using social media for public affairs

Foundation gives Western U $150,000 to equip new clinic
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, July 15, 2009
Western University of Health Sciences has been awarded a $150,000 gift from The Ahmanson Foundation to help equip the WesternU CARES Clinic which opens in January. The gift will help supply the six-chair CARES clinic that will provide low-cost dental care and oral health care screenings, diagnostics, and urgent care services by faculty and students. The College of Dental Medicine is one of four new colleges that Western is launching during the 2009-10 academic year. The College of Podiatric Medicine and the College of Optometry also will open this fall.

Eyemaginations Partners with SoloHealth to Enhance Public Eye Health Education with EyeSite(TM) Vision Kiosks
PRNewswire (press release), July 14, 2009
SoloHealth, maker of EyeSite(TM) self-service vision testing kiosks, announced today it will team with Eyemaginations to enhance the educational experience featured in the kiosks. The EyeSite kiosks contribute to eye care industry growth by offering free, simple and quick vision assessments and driving consumers to local eye care professionals for comprehensive eye exams.
Initial kiosks are being sponsored by Transitions Optical, Inc., Optos, and other leading eye care companies who demonstrate a mission to educate consumers on the importance of eye health. EyeSite kiosks are not a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam. Rather, prospective patients answer a series of lifestyle questions on a touch screen, and are presented with various-sized letters to determine near and far distance acuity, all in less than five minutes. They are then given a printout with basic results (not a prescription) and are encouraged to schedule a full, comprehensive examination with a local eye care provider who is listed in the system or located via zipcode. The EyeSite system can advise the selected eyecare practice to follow up with the prospective patient, or the consumer can contact the practice directly.

Fund-Raising Offices Make People a Priority as Budgets Are Cut
The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 13, 2009
In the face of declining revenue and institutional budget cuts, college advancement chiefs are working to protect their most-valuable assets: frontline fund raisers. To do so, they are reshuffling resources, streamlining operations, and learning to do without — something many have not had to do for a while.

For eye health, eat spinach like Popeye
Deseret News, July 12, 2009
Popeye might not be real, but the link between nutrition and eye health is. Research indicates key nutrients help slow two leading causes of vision loss and blindness — cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, according to the American Optometric Association.
And the eye-healthiest foods are leafy green vegetables — such as spinach. The best foods for improving eye health are those with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc, according to eye experts. The optometric association recommends 10 milligrams of lutein each day. You can get that much in about half a cup of spinach or three-quarters of a cup of collards or turnip greens.

Walman Awards Scholarships to Post-Grad Optometric Students VisionMonday, July 9, 2009 Walman Optical recently awarded scholarships totaling $70,000 to 40 post-graduate optometric students (including several ICO students) under Walman’s ongoing Eyecare Professional Scholarship Program. This scholarship program has awarded over $400,000 in scholarships to almost 300 optometric students since its inception in 2002.

American Optometric Association Supports New Federal Health Report Findings: Vision Screening Methods for Seniors are Lacking
PRNewswire (press release), July 8, 2009
A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) indicates that vision screenings, using standard methods of assessing visual acuity in older adults, a practice common in the primary care setting, is insufficient for use as a secondary prevention or screening method. The American Optometric Association (AOA) highlights the significance of the report as an important, evidence-based analysis that health care providers and aging Americans should carefully consider.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How should I be judged?

"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers."


Comments: I'm the fella who usually asks the tough, sometimes annoying and occasionally unwanted questions. I only hope my questions tell you that I am a seeker of knowledge....that I am not the Devil's advocate, but rather his worst foe....for when the answers to good questions are within the light for all to see...there is no room for evil ... there is room only for growth and understanding. (not sure why I am so philosophical today) DM

Monday, July 13, 2009

How to make an eye patch for kids with amblyopia

...Every parent of a child that has to wear an eye patch as vision therapy knows how much of a pain adhesive patches can be, let alone expensive. My daughter has to patch for six hours a day to make her amblyopic eye stronger. It has been a few months of trial and error to figure out a patch that she will actually wear. This is the solution that we came up with, and it just so happens to be the easiest and cheapest....

Comments: Moms are just the coolest! Gotta love 'em! DM

Autism tied to autoimmune diseases in immediate family

...In a study of children born in Denmark from 1993 to 2004, doctors found that many children with autism or related disorders also had a family history of autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, develop when antibodies that normally fight infectious organisms instead attack the body itself....

Comments:This is just in time for a paper I'm writing on autism's etiology. Will let you know the cause of autism when I'm done writing the paper (actually if I do discover the cause of autism...I will no doubt win the Nobel Prize in Medicine)DM

Autism as Academic Paradigm

...A lot of people at colleges are aware of dealing with autism (and Asperger's syndrome; I will refer generally to the autism spectrum) in their "special needs" programs. The more complex reality is that there is a lot more autism in higher education than most of us realize. It's not just "special needs" students but also our valedictorians, our faculty members, and yes — sometimes — our administrators....
That last sentence is not some kind of cheap laugh line about the many dysfunctional features of higher education

Comments: Great article. How biased are you against folks with special needs? Yes, I do sometimes think, however, that some of our "higher ups" in academia are within the ASD range somewhere! DM

Hello ICO Alumni!

From Connie M. Scavuzzo, ICO's Alumni Guru:

On May 16, 2009, the Illinois College of Optometry was pleased to graduate 148 members of the Class of 2009, representing 23 states and nine Canadian provinces. Commencement speaker Dr. Peter Kehoe, then president of the AOA, encouraged the graduates to make a difference locally and nationally by providing excellent care and becoming involved in optometric associations. Dr. Kehoe was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Science (DOS) in optometry during the ceremony.

“Optometry matters, we matter, we change and we save lives,” said Dr. Kehoe, a 1984 graduate of ICO. “We make a difference, and we are an incredible profession in health care where patient outcomes are everything.”

Twenty percent of the class graduated with high honors, and 61 scholarships and awards amounting to $250,000 were recognized during the ceremony.

Click on the link below to hear the ICO Faculty and Graduate Choir sing "Alma Mater" in Rockefeller Chapel during the 2009 Commencement Ceremony. Directed by faculty member Dominick Maino, OD '78, MEd, the choir consists of faculty members and members of the graduating class. Thank you Dr. Maino for providing us with this footage!


Hope to see you at ICO's Alumni Weekend, September 11-13th, to relive more memories. The schedule and registration form are attached for your reference.

Kind regards,


Connie M. Scavuzzo, M.A.

Director of Alumni Development
Illinois College of Optometry
3241 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
ph 312-949-7080
fx 312-949-7683