Saturday, November 21, 2009

Easter Seals on WLS AM: Autism Marathon

Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago will team up with WLS-AM Radio to host a radio-thon on Friday, December 18, 2009 to raise money and awareness for children with autism. The 13-hour event will begin at 5:00 a.m. on the Don Wade & Roma Show, continue with Mancow & Cassidy from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and go on into the early evening with the Roe Conn Show from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

During this time, WLS-AM radio listeners will hear award-winning host Pat Cassidy emcee the event live from the Hotel InterContinental Starbucks store located at 505 North Michigan Avenue. The broadcast will feature interviews with local TV, sports and political celebrities, including Actor Joe Mantegna, Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen and others. In addition, WLS-AM will air features about autism, interviews with ESMC families and offer facts about autism throughout the day.

Please tune into 890AM radio throughout the day to hear interviews, news and ways to help this cause.

Topiramate induced acute transient myopia: a case report

Introduction: Topiramate is a sulfamate-substituted monosaccharide mainly used to treat epilepsy in children and adults and for prophylaxis of migraine. This article describes a case of topiramate induced acute transient myopia. The underlying mechanism and management is discussed.
Case presentation: A 34-year-old female complained of sudden onset of blurred vision, 9 days prior to this she had commenced topiramate therapy for migraine prophylaxis. Visual acuity was reduced to 6/36 right eye and 2/60 left eye. Examination revealed ocular anatomical and myopic refractive changes which resolved quickly following discontinuation of the drug.
Conclusion: Ophthalmologists need to be aware of the potential ocular side effects of topiramate. Although relatively rare prompt recognition is key so appropriate management can be instituted.

Comments: I work with many patients who take Topomax (Topiramate) for many different reasons....besides myopia, watch out for narrow angle glaucoma. Click on the title to get the full article. DM

Mercury exposure, nutritional deficiencies and metabolic disruptions may affect learning in children

Among dietary factors, learning and behavior are influenced not only by nutrients, but also by exposure to toxic food contaminants such as mercury that can disrupt metabolic processes and alter neuronal plasticity. Neurons lacking in plasticity are a factor in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and mental retardation. Essential nutrients help maintain normal neuronal plasticity. Nutritional deficiencies, including deficiencies in the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the amino acid methionine, and the trace minerals zinc and selenium, have been shown to influence neuronal function and produce defects in neuronal plasticity, as well as impact behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nutritional deficiencies and mercury exposure have been shown to alter neuronal function and increase oxidative stress among children with autism. These dietary factors may be directly related
to the development of behavior disorders and learning disabilities. Mercury, either individually or in concert with other factors, may be harmful if ingested in above average amounts or by sensitive individuals. High fructose corn syrup has been shown to contain trace amounts of mercury as a result of some manufacturing processes, and its consumption can also lead to zinc loss. Consumption of certain artificial food color additives has also been shown to lead to zinc deficiency. Dietary zinc is essential for maintaining the metabolic processes required for mercury
elimination. Since high fructose corn syrup and artificial food color additives are common ingredients in many foodstuffs, their consumption should be considered in those individuals with nutritional deficits such as zinc deficiency or who are allergic or sensitive to the effects of mercury or unable to effectively metabolize and eliminate it from the body.

Comments: Click on title above for full text of article. DM

Neural plasticity in adults with amblyopia

...Amblyopia is a neuronal abnormality of vision
that is often considered irreversible in adults. We found
strong and significant improvement of Vernier acuity in
human adults with naturally occurring amblyopia following
practice. Learning was strongest at the trained orientation
and did not transfer to an untrained task (detection), but it
did transfer partially to the untrained eye (primarily at the
trained orientation). We conclude that this perceptual learning
reflects alterations in early neural processes that are
localized beyond the site of convergence of the two eyes. Our
results suggest a significant degree of plasticity in the visual
system of adults with amblyopia....

Comments: Click on title for full text of article. DM

Amblyopia: is visual loss permanent?

...Older people with a history of amblyopia who develop visual loss in the previously normal eye can experience recovery of visual function in the amblyopic eye over a period of time. This recovery in visual function occurs in the wake of visual loss in the fellow eye and the improvement appears to be sustained.

Comments: The more I look at neuroplasticity the more I'm surprised that my OMD and some OD colleges still insists that you cannot treat amblyopia after a certain can treat amblyopia at any age! Click on the title above for full text of the article. DM

Plasticity and restoration of vision after visual system damage

Sabel BA. Plasticity and restoration of vision after visual system damage: an update. Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2008;26(4-5):243-7.

The traditional view that visual system damage is permanent has given way to a more optimistic view. Visual loss does not remain unchanged but it can recover spontaneously to some extent. Even when the period of spontaneous recovery has ended there is still additional potential for plasticity and regeneration, even months or years after the lesion. There are two fundamental approaches to harvest this plasticity potential: (i) to rescue dying cells or induce axonal regeneration of visual system neurons through biological (pharmacological) means and (ii) to capture the residual vision capacities and improve their functions by behavioural training. Visual training can be used to activate residual visual neurons either in the blind sectors of the visual field through alternative pathways or it can be used to activate partially damaged regions in the border zone near the lesion site. Another example of post-lesion neuroplasticity is the ability of the intact visual field sectors to (spontaneously) take over functions and this is seen, for example, in macular degeneration and even in developmental disorders, such as amblyopia who benefit from training even many years beyond the critical period. Just as plasticity after brain damage is well recognized in other functional systems (motor, somatosensory), plasticity of the visual system is now gradually being recognized as a useful mechanism whereby the brain compensates for its functional loss, either spontaneously or by repetitive visual stimulation.

Drug Combo Effective in Allergic Eye Symptoms

...In a randomized double-blind trial, the combination of azelastine (Astelin or Astepro) and fluticasone propionate (Flonase) gave significantly better nasal symptom relief than placebo or either drug alone...and the two drugs delivered together -- a combination dubbed MP29-02 -- were significantly better than placebo and fluticasone -- but not azelastine -- for ocular symptoms, he said in an oral presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology....

Friday, November 20, 2009

6th International Congress of Behavioral Optometry

Mouse Study Points to Possible Down Syndrome Treatment

..Drugs that stimulate norepinephrine signaling might allow for normal cognitive development in children with Down syndrome, said researchers who tested the hypothesis in mice.

In animals with three copies of chromosome 16 -- a model of the chromosome 21 trisomy responsible for human Down syndrome -- an oral prodrug for norepinephrine called droxidopa almost normalized the mice's performance on standardized cognitive function tests, reported Ahmad Salehi, MD, PhD, of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, Calif., and colleagues online in Science Translational Medicine...

Prevalence of Myopia and Hyperopia in 6- to 72-Month-Old African American and Hispanic Children

...Prevalence of myopia was higher in African American (6.6%) compared with Hispanic children (3.7%; P<0.001). Hispanics showed a higher prevalence of hyperopia than African American children (26.9% vs. 20.8% respectively, P<0.001). The prevalence of myopia showed a significant decreasing trend with age (P<0.001). Hyperopia prevalence reached a low point at approximately 24 months of age but increased and remained higher than that thereafter. No significant gender differences were found in the prevalence of refractive error for either ethnic group....

Ophthalmic surgery complications to H1N1 vaccine reported

The H1N1 vaccine may have immune-related ophthalmic consequences in specific cases, according to anecdotal reports.

"Recently, graft rejection occurred in two of my patients who received the vaccination 2 weeks before. I had the opportunity to discuss this issue in public at the AAO meeting, and other surgeons said they had similar cases," Jorge L. Alió, MD, PhD, of Vissum Corporation in Alicante, Spain, said in an interview with Ocular Surgery News.

Advanced Cell Technology seeks to test embryonic stem cells to treat blindness.

From AOA First Look:

AFP (11/19, Oberman) reported that "embryonic stem cell therapy got a step closer to the clinic Thursday after" researchers from Advanced Cell Technology "said they filed a request for" Food and Drug Administration "approval of human trials" involving "a single injection of retinal cells derived from embryonic stem cells" to treat Stargardt's disease, a common type of "juvenile blindness." The technique "works by replacing lost" retinal pigment epithelium cells "which maintain the photoreceptors needed for vision," explained Robert Lanza, MD, the company's chief scientific officer.

Reuters (11/20, Fox) reports that if the agency approves the application, a human phase I/II trial would take place in 12 patients to prove safety and efficacy.

The UK's Independent (11/20) reports that Advanced Cell Technology plans "to follow this with an application to treat age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness." In animal tests, "transplants of the human cells into rats with macular degeneration resulted in a '100 percent improvement' in vision with no side-effects, Dr. Lanza said."

The Los Angeles Times (11/19, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reported that Stargardt's disease "is a childhood version of macular degeneration and affects about one in 10,000 kids. Patients typically begin to lose their central vision between the ages of six and 20," with "about half of victims" becoming "legally blind by age 50." In most cases of the disease, which has no cure, "children inherent a faulty version of the ABCA4 gene or the CNGB3 gene from both parents," which causes "photoreceptor cells in the retina" not to "get enough fuel," so "they atrophy." The UK's Telegraph (11/20, Moore) also covers the story.

Sounds During Sleep Boost Memory

...Researchers are learning more and more about how our senses aid memory and learning while we sleep.

Several years ago, scientists reported that scents smelled during sleep could help trigger learning by boosting the brain's ability to retain new memories.

Now a new study suggests sound can do the same thing.

Study participants were better able to recall a newly learned memory when they were exposed to sound cues for the memory while they napped, even though they did not remember hearing the sounds upon awaking....

ICO In The News

ICO doctors achieve Fellow status
ICO makes an impact at Academy
Download the NEW ICO Matters: Fall 2009 (Don't forget to take the ICO Matters Readership Survey!)
ICO professor quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution

There is no evidence that radiation from televisions has resulted in human injury, according to the Federal Drug Administration. When used under normal conditions, TVs do not pose a radiation hazard, it says. In 1969, the FDA set a standard to limit X-ray emissions from TV receivers, which still applies. To avoid eyestrain, studies recommend sitting 18 to more than 30 inches from monitors and TV sets, depending on the viewer’s existing visual issues, and other factors such as lighting, says Kent M. Daum, a professor in the Illinois College of Optometry and member of the American Optometric Association.

UAB Researcher Aims to Build a Better Gunsight

Comments: Matt Windsor the Editor of UAB Magazine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham alerted me to this story....take a will find it of interest! Click on the title above to see Dr. Kraft's slide presentation. DM

....Timothy Kraft,PhD an investigator in UAB’s Vision Science Research Center, is developing a new kind of gunsight that relies on a trick of the eye to improve a shooter’s aim. In this slideshow, he explains how the secret to better marksmanship may be to let the mind fill in the blanks....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ICO Reception

Binocular Vision/Perceptual Educators' ASCO SIG

The Binocular Vision/Perceptual Educators' ASCO SIG has a new listserv, being hosted by SCO and administered by Dr. Marc Taub. Everyone who teaches in this area is welcome to join. The purpose is to allow better communication among BVPE folks.

Email Dr. Taub to join at .

Join now!

Great Lakes Congress: Autism



March 14 and 15, 2010

Hilton Chicago/Northbrook
13 Credit Hours
Held under the auspices of the OEP Foundation
Co-sponsored by
The Ophthalmic Education Institute

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Central Corneal Thickness in Children With Diabetes

...Diabetic patients have a significantly increased (~55 µm) central corneal thickness compared with healthy controls. Current HbA1C value, which is the marker of metabolic control of the disease, is the only disease-related variable that predicts a higher central corneal thickness...

Comments: Full text of article available by clicking on title above. DM

Iron deficiency anemia in infancy and reach and grasp development

This study assessed 9 kinematic characteristics of infants’ reach and grasp to test the hypothesis that iron deficiency anemia (IDA) delays upper extremity motor development. Reach and grasp movements, recorded with a 3D-motion capture system, were compared in 9- to 10-month-old infants (4 IDA vs. 5 iron-sufficient [IS]). Based on normative motor development data available for 6 characteristics, the results indicated poorer upper extremity control in IDA infants: 2 characteristics showed statistically significant group differences despite small n, and the other 4 had strong indications for such results (effect sizes [Cohen's d] > 1.2). The remaining 3 measures, for which normative studies do not show developmental changes in this age period, showed significant or moderate-to-large effect differences. Poorer upper-extremity control in IDA infants in the short-term in this study and in the long-term despite iron therapy in other studies suggests that a motor intervention may be warranted when IDA is detected in infancy.

Babies With Moderately Low Birthweight Are At Risk Of Neurological Immaturity

...Low-birthweight babies, until now considered at low risk, have less sharp reflexes, diminished responses to visual and auditory stimuli and other neurological impairments such as attention deficit, difficulty adapting to their environment and reduced motor skills compared with normal-birthweight babies. ...

Preschoolers Demand Explanations

...Curiosity plays a big part in preschoolers' lives. A new study that explored why young children ask so many "why" questions concludes that children are motivated by a desire for explanation. ...

How Modernization Affects Children's Cognitive Development

...Children in communities with more modern resources performed better in some areas of cognitive functioning, such as certain types of memory and pattern recognition, and they took part in more complex sequences of play. The researchers note that these differences don't mean that children from more modern communities are more advanced intellectually; rather, the findings reflect the cognitive skills that are valued and promoted in the communities where the children live. ...

Making Memories Means New Neurons Must Erase Older Ones

Short-term memory may depend in a surprising way on the ability of newly formed neurons to erase older connections. That's the conclusion of a report in the November 13th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, that provides some of the first evidence in mice and rats that new neurons sprouted in the hippocampus cause the decay of short-term fear memories in that brain region, without an overall memory loss.

Presbyopia Video

Presbyopia options for treatment

What Is Double Vision? What Is Diplopia? What Causes Double Vision?

...Double vision, also known as Diplopia, is the simultaneous perception of two images of a single object - the patient sees two images of a single thing either all the time, or some of the time. The displacement may be horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Diagonal double displacement (double vision) means both the horizontal lines and vertical lines are being perceived as doubled - also known as oblique separation. ...

New Brain Findings On Dyslexic Children

...The vast majority of school-aged children can focus on the voice of a teacher amid the cacophony of the typical classroom thanks to a brain that automatically focuses on relevant, predictable and repeating auditory information, according to new research from Northwestern University. ...But for children with developmental dyslexia, the teacher's voice may get lost in the background noise of banging lockers, whispering children, playground screams and scraping chairs....

Center For Autism And Related Disorders Study Finds Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Ineffective Treatment For Children With Autism

...Research conducted by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD), shines new light on the effects of a popular form of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatment for children with autism and related disorders. The "Randomized Trial of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Children with Autism" study reveals that HBOT, consisting of 24% oxygen delivered at 1.3 atmospheres of pressure, does not have a significant effect on symptoms of autism....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Celebrating the Lifetime Achievements of Dr. Michael Rouse

Celebrating the Lifetime Achievements of Dr. Michael Rouse

Michael W. Rouse, O.D., M.S.Ed.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, SCCO
Coordinator, Pediatric Optometry and
Vision Therapy Residency
Chief of VT Service 25 Years
Faculty Member from 1978–2009

Sunday, February 14, 2010 7 Hours of CE Credit

Scheduled Presentations
Neuro Tic-Tac-Toe, Dr. Richard London•
Evidence-Based Treatment of Convergence Insufficiency, Dr. Mitchel Scheiman•
Evolving Eye Care for Children, Dr. Susan Cotter•
Rouse House Jeopardy, Dr. David Sendrowski•
Monovision Meets Binocular Vision, Dr. Timothy Edrington•
Treating Common Eye Diseases in Children, Dr. Lance Siegel

Register or donate online click here

The proceeds from this CE Event will help to endow a memorial scholarship
for future residents in honor of Dr. Rouse’s lifetime achievements

Sunday, November 15, 2009

American Academy of Optometry 2009 Photogaphic Slideshow

When this was uploaded to YouTube, YouTude significantly degraded the images. If you go to you can download nice clear images. DM

Going swimmingly in Rosemount

...After a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, it was determined that her troubles were instead a result of Convergence Insufficiency Disorder. Though Coltyn had 20/20 vision, she had double vision or saw words jump from line to line on a page, rather than seeing words clearly, because of a neuromuscular block....

Does your child dislike reading?

...Reading is one of the most fundamental skills, and being a good reader is directly related to getting good grades in school. In fact, it has been estimated that 80 percent of what we learn involves vision and reading....

Cool Optical Illusion/Perception Video

Updated Photos on Facebook

I updated photos from both the recent American Academy of Optometry meeting and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development meeting....go to

AAO photo update

COVD photo update

to see all the pictures!

Photos of the ICO Reception at the AAO meeting

The American Academy of Optometry meeting provided an opportunity for all ICO friends, faculty, students, residents and administration to come together during the ICO Reception on Friday. Here are a few photos ofmyself with friends, classmates and colleagues...

Vision Symptoms Illuminate Early Alzheimer's Variant

...When vision centers in the brain fall prey to an uncommon type of Alzheimer's disease, the early symptoms that stump a standard eye exam can be caught with a few simple tests, researchers found.

One-sided defects on visual field testing were a giveaway in 80% of cases with the visual variant of Alzheimer's disease...

The Thinking Mom

...In former installments in this series I discussed my older son’s diagnosis of an eye tracking problem, convergence insufficiency, which limited his ability to read and learn from written text. During the time before the diagnosis and before the treatment began he learned a lot from hearing me read aloud or by listening to audio books for both our academic homeschooling lessons and for fiction pleasure reading....

Comments: Check out this mom's experiences....DM

Autism fears fuel measles outbreak

...Eleven years ago British doctor Andrew Wakefield made a startling, and unscientific, claim that a standard measles vaccination could cause autism. Now, more than a decade later, South Africa is experiencing a measles outbreak - partly because parents decided not to give their children the protective jab....

Comments: Do not let a flu, measles or other potential killer happen. Vaccines save lives. DM

Study confirms higher incidence of autism among identitical twins

...there is a substantially higher risk of autism in identical twins as compared to fraternal twins. In 88 percent of the time, if one identical twin develops autism, the other does, as well. In fraternal twins, the rate is 31 percent.

Identical twins also had similar levels of day-to-day functioning and cognitive deficits as well as similarities in the form of autism they developed....

Effectiveness of Photon Stimulation on Pain, Sensation, and Quality of Life in Patients

...Four treatments with photon stimulation resulted in significant improvements in some pain qualities, sensation, and QOL outcomes in a sample of patients with a significant amount of pain and disability from their diabetes...

Research Finds Words, Gestures Are Translated By Same Brain Regions

Your ability to make sense of Groucho's words and Harpo's pantomimes in an old Marx Brothers movie takes place in the same regions of your brain,.....

Comment: That's why Italians are so much easier to understand than other folks! We use words and gestures simultaneously! DM

New Study Challenges Established Ideas About Long And Short Term Memory

...Researchers in the UK are challenging the long-established idea that our brains use different mechanisms for making long and short term memories: they suggest that while some mechanisms are separate, other mechanisms are shared....

Commonly Abused Prescription and OTC Drugs

Drug abuse isn't just about illicit drugs like marijuana or cocaine. Legal medicines with legitimate uses can be abused -- meaning they're taken by someone other than the patient or in a manner or dose other than what's recommended. Here you'll find pictures of commonly abused prescription drugs (depressants, pain relievers, and stimulants) and some nonprescription (over-the-counter) drugs. Because drugs come in many forms, not all pills and tablets are shown; drug pictures are not to scale.

Comments: As health care professionals it is important to know what drugs our patients may be taking in an inappropriate fashion....DM

Mirror image congenital esotropia and concordant hypermetropia in identical twins

...We describe the first reported case of mirror image congenital esotropia with concordant hypermetropia in monozygotic twins....

Conversion visual loss: a differential diagnosis in infant amblyopia

...Conversion disorders should be considered as an additional etiology of visual loss in children. In these cases, the analysis and multidisciplinary treatment is crucial for a successful outcome...

Language support in schools vital for children with autism

..Teachers and parents must be vigilant in observing difficulties with language comprehension, reading and spelling in children and young people with autism, Asperger's syndrome and ADHD....

Children With Autism Show Slower Pupil Responses

....Autism affects an estimated 1 in 150 children today, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. Despite its widespread effect, autism is not well understood and there are no objective medical tests to diagnose it. Recently, University of Missouri researchers have developed a pupil response test that is 92.5 percent accurate in separating children with autism from those with typical development. In the study, MU scientists found that children with autism have slower pupil responses to light change....

Autistic Kids Struggle With Handwriting

...A new study suggests children with autism lag behind their classmates in the area of handwriting and can benefit from targeted therapies to improve those skills.The study, conducted in Minnesota, involved 28 children between the ages of 8 and 13. Half of the children had autism, and half had no developmental, psychiatric or brain disorders. All children scored within a normal IQ range....

Vaccination Link to Health Problems Discounted

Vaccination does not appear to cause autism or other health problems in children with inborn errors of metabolism, a researcher said here.

In a retrospective analysis, children with such conditions were not more likely than normal children to visit emergency rooms or need hospital care after vaccination.....

2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Safety

...Many people are just getting up to speed on the 2009 H1N1 monovalent vaccines, and it's quite natural to have questions about them, including about safety. It's confusing enough just to keep up with the recommendations for seasonal flu vaccine and all the other things that are recommended to promote good health....

Dr. Susan Barry PodCasts and more!

Comment; Dr. Susan Barry, author of Fixing My Gaze and neuroscience professor, experienced 3D vision for the first time after finishing a program of optometric vision therapy. Here experiences are noted below. DM

Audio Podcast Interview with Susan Barry

Print Q&A with Sue from the New Scientist, June 6, 2009

Sue’s Psychology Today Blog, Eyes on the Brain

Los Angeles Times OpEd

Interview with Susan Barry, Ph.D., Author of “Fixing My Gaze”

As many readers already know, there is an exciting book that has recently been published by woman who achieved great success with vision therapy at age 48. It is called “Fixing My Gaze” by Susan Barry, Ph.D. The book has been very popular and at one point was the 367th most sold book on

When the book was released, I pre-ordered copies for my office. I read it and had the staff read it. I loved the way Dr. Barry writes and her accessibility. In fact, I liked it so much that I recently held an online contest to give a copy away.

Well, the contest caught the attention of “Stereo Sue”, as she is nicknamed, and she graciously agreed to an online interview.

-Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD (“Dr.B”)

Comment: The interview was conducted by my colleague and friend Dr. Bonilla-Warfor...Click on the title to read the interview. DM