Saturday, October 22, 2011

Low Weight Babies Five Times More Likely To Have Autism Spectrum Disorder

Low Weight Babies Five Times More Likely To Have Autism Spectrum Disorder

 ...Babies born with low birth weight have a considerably greater chance of being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, compared to those born with normal weight, .... The authors considered a baby born weighing less than 2 kg (4.4 lbs) to be of low birth weight....



Researchers have a new weapon in their arsenal to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among military service members and civilians. The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center began imaging patients last week on a first-of-its-kind, whole-body simultaneous positron emission topography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) device. The Biograph mMR offers a more complete picture of abnormal metabolic activity in a shorter time frame than separate MRI and PET scans, two tests many patients undergo.

The purchase of the Biograph mMR was made possible through the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM), a Department of Defense-funded collaboration between the NIH and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The CNRM carries out research in TBI and PTSD that would benefit servicemen and women at Walter Reed National Navy Medical Center, near the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. Researchers at the NIH Clinical Center will also use the Biograph mMR in studies with patients with other brain disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

"This scanner combines the two most powerful imaging tools," said David Bluemke, M.D., Ph.D., director of NIH Clinical Center Radiology and Imaging Sciences. "The MRI points us to abnormalities in the body, and the PET tells us the metabolic activity of that abnormality, be it a damaged part of the brain or a tumor. This will be a major change for many patients."

The new device makes patient care swifter and safer. The faster turnaround time and more comprehensive results will help diagnose patients at an earlier stage of disease, leading to better outcomes, Bluemke said. Additionally, traditional PET scanners combine computed tomography imaging, which uses radiation, while the MRI and PET technology of the new Biograph mMR does not. The risk of exposure to low doses of medical radiation from diagnostic medical-imaging tests is not known, but very high radiation doses have the potential to cause cancer.

The CNRM works to develop innovative approaches to diagnosis and intervene for the prevention of long-term consequences resulting from TBI. Under the CNRM Diagnostics and Imaging Program, researchers characterize each patient's injury to optimize diagnosis and inform the plan of treatment from among the available options.

"A major challenge in the diagnosis and treatment of both military and civilian brain injury patients is the lack of sufficient tools to evaluate the type and extent of injury in a given patient," said Regina C. Armstrong, Ph.D., director of the CNRM. "We expect the NIH investigators have the expertise to take maximal advantage of this technology by designing novel neuroimaging protocols and molecular probes that can significantly improve how TBI research is performed."

For more information on CNRM research, visit <>.

This NIH News Release is available online at:

Leaving Flatland

Check out "Leaving Flatland" on the COVD Blog.

You Can Help Your Patients See 3-D!

I recently had this article published by the Review of Optometry . It is a valuable adjunct to my lectures on the topic of 3D Vision Syndrome and related areas. If you attended my lecture at the American Academy of Optometry or if you are going to attend my lecture at the Vision Institute of Canada the first weekend in Novemember, this paper gives a great deal of information on the topic. DM

Friday, October 21, 2011

Improving Detection of Blindness in Childhood: The British Childhood Vision Impairment Study

Improving Detection of Blindness in Childhood: The British Childhood Vision Impairment Study

....The “patient journey” of children with visual impairment is markedly influenced by the presence of additional impairments/chronic diseases. Parents' understanding of normal visual development needs to be improved. Increasingly, new evidence-based formal programs of clinical (ophthalmic) surveillance are needed in response to the changing population of children who are at risk for blinding eye disease.....

 Comments: The full PDF is available by clicking on the title above. DM 

NIKE SPARQ Vapor Strobe: Sports Vision Training

NIKE SPARQ Vapor Strobe: Sports Vision Training

These seem quite interesting. A literature search on PubMed and Google Scholar turns up no research supporting any claims of improved athletic ability, however. DM

Vision therapy can help those unable to watch 3D

Vision therapy can help those unable to watch 3D

The See-Sick Syndrome…when visual dysfunction causes motion sickness

The See-Sick Syndrome…when visual dysfunction causes motion sickness

Neuro-Ocular Vestibular Dysfunction (NOVD) or the See-Sick Syndrome (SSS) is discussed on the VisionHelpblog.. ..

Neuronal Rhythms Impact Memory

Neuronal Rhythms Impact Memory

Provocative new research suggests the brain has an optimal rhythm or frequency that influences how we remember things. ....The brain learns through changes in the strength of its synapses — the connections between neurons — in response to stimuli. Now, in a discovery that challenges conventional wisdom on the brain mechanisms of learning, UCLA neurophysicists have found there is an optimal brain “rhythm,” or frequency, for changing synaptic strength....


Thursday, October 20, 2011

 This is a news story about how my friend and colleague, Dr. John Abondanzza, an optometrist who specializes in those with binocular vision and learning related vision problems. It tells the story of how Dr. Abondanzza helped a child finally be able to read after struggling for years.

Of course, the news folks then called in an ophthalmologist, who has no training in vision therapy...and certainly no training in learning related vision problems to dispute the effectiveness of optometric vision therapy. How sad. Very sad.

The title of this story is "Unusual Therapy Helps Kids Struggling In School".... Optometric vision therapy is not unusual at all. It has been around since the 1800's when a French ophthalmologist used it to treat strabismus and amblyopia (they called it orthoptics). 

There are National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute randomized clinical trials that show how effective vision therapy is....

(Scheiman M, Mitchell GL, Cotter S et al. A Randomized Clinical Trial of Vision Therapy Orthoptics versus Pencil Pushups for the treatment of Convergence Insufficiency in Young Adults. Optometry Vis Sci; 82:583‐95. 2005;Granet DB, Gomi CF, Ventura R et al. The Relationship Between Convergence Insufficiency and ADHD. Strabismus. 13:163‐68.; Scheiman M, Cotter S, Rouse M, et. al. Randomised clinical trial of the effectiveness of basein prism reading glasses for symptomatic convergence insufficiency in children. BJ Ophthalmol 2005: 89, 1318‐23; CITT. Long‐term effectiveness of treatments for symptomatic convergence insuffiency in children. Optom Vis Sci 2009, 86: 1096‐103)

and other RCTs show it's effectiveness in helping those with reading problems 

(Atzmon D, Nemet P, Ishay A, Karni E. A randomized prospective masked and matched comparative study of orthoptic treatment versus conventional reading tutoring treatment for reading disabilities in 62 Children. Binocular Vision and Eye Muscle Surgery Quarterly 8 (2): 91-106, 1993.) well as other studies (Vidyasagar TR, Pammer K. Dyslexia: a deficit in visuo‐spatial attention, not in phonological processing. Trends Cognitive Science;2009; 14: 57‐63; Shin HS, Park SC, Park CM. Relationship between accommodative and vergence dysfunctions and academic achievement for primary school children. Ophthal Physiol Opt. 2009; 59: 615)

Play the video below. Ignore the misinformed opinion of a health care professional who has not been trained in the area of optometric vision therapy. Pay close attention to how grateful mom is that finally someone was able to help her son. Pay attention to her son achieving! When the ophthalmologist begins to speak.... Stop the video.... Nothing there worth hearing. DM


American Optometric Association's InfantSee Program Wants to See Your Little One