Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How music alters the teenage brain

How music alters the teenage brain

  • Music enhances the teenage brain's response to sound; sharpens language skills
  • Band class had larger effect on brain than fitness-based ROTC training
  • Results highlight music's place in the high school curriculum
  •  'Music may engender what educators refer to as learning to learn'
Comment: So why are music and the arts the first to get cut from school programs? Makes no sense does it? Support the arts in school, in the community, in your life! DM

Sunday, July 19, 2015

King-Devick Test Accurately Detects Concussions in Youth Athletes

King-Devick Test Accurately Detects Concussions in Youth Athletes 

Oakbrook Terrace, IL - A quick, accurate screening tool for concussion detection which can be easily performed on the sidelines has been further validated in a two recent studies published in the peer reviewed Journal of the Neurological Sciences on June 13, 2015 and July 2, 2015 respectively.  These studies evaluate sideline/pitch side screening of concussions in adolescent football and youth rugby. The King-Devick Test, a concussion tool screens for the often subtle signs of brain injury that disrupt the eyes' ability to accurately and efficiently move across a page upon the brain's command. Athletes are asked to read aloud single-digit numbers displayed on standardized test cards available electronically via mobile iPad and Android devices. The King-Devick in association with Mayo Clinic, requires smooth and precise eye movements between number targets, concentration, attention, recognition and rapid language ability, all of which can be affected during concussion.

In the study of high school football, researchers baseline tested over 300 student athletes across Southeast Michigan high school football teams. During the study, nine athletes were diagnosed with concussion. In all concussed athletes, King-Devick test performance was significantly worse than their baseline indicating the simple sideline tool is highly accurate in detecting concussion. 

More than 8000 miles away in New Zealand, a study of youth rugby, tested athletes with the King-Devick Test after matches to screen for unwitnessed, unreported concussions. In their previous work, researchers found unwitnessed concussion to have a nearly 6 times greater incidence than witnessed, reported concussions when regular post-match screening with King-Devick Test was used. The findings were similar in this group of 9 and 10 year old athletes. There were 7 instances of worse King-Devick Test performance after a match and all were medically identified concussions. Also similar to previous studies, an examination of the reliability of retest or tests conducted by different testers showed that the King-Devick test has high reliability. 

These studies further validate the King-Devick test as an accurate and easy to administer sideline screening tool for concussion which is particularly useful in younger athletes that are at higher risk of concussive injury and are not always afforded health care professionals on the sidelines. There have been more than 50 peer reviewed studies regarding the King-Devick Test which have been recently released.

More information is available here: http://www.kingdevicktest.com/

Friday, July 17, 2015

Stereopsis and Amblyopia

Stereopsis and Amblyopia: Expert Comments from my Friend and Colleague Susan Barry, PhD


This paper by Levi and colleagues challenges two assumptions that have persisted in the medical literature for the past 2 centuries. The first is that the principal deficit in amblyopia is reduced visual acuity in the affected eye so that the optimal treatment is occlusion of the non-amblyopic eye. However, current research suggests that amblyopia results from poor binocular cooperation between the two eyes, leading, not only to reduced visual acuity in the affected eye, but also to reduced or absent stereopsis. Accordingly, the authors reviewed the impact of amblyopia on stereopsis and the consequences of reduced or absent stereopsis on visuomotor skills, career opportunities, and self-image. Occlusion therapy, even if it results in enhanced visual acuity in the amblyopic eye, produces only modest improvements in stereopsis.
Treatment for amblyopia has traditionally been applied only to children because it was generally assumed that the visual system is malleable only during a critical period in early childhood. However, as the authors point out, a large degree of plasticity in the very young brain does not imply that plasticity comes to an end after childhood. Indeed, the authors review 21 experimental treatments involving 259 individuals, mostly adults. These studies involved monocular and dichoptic perceptual learning protocols, monocular and dichoptic videogame play, and direct stereo training. Across all treatments, 55% of anisometropic amblyopes and 26% of strabismic amblyopes showed substantial improvement in stereoacuity after training, with the dichoptic and direct stereo training protocols proving the most effective.
In summary, Levi and colleagues provide evidence that amblyopia can be treated in adulthood. Limited recovery from amblyopia to date may result from the narrow scope of treatments standardly available and an overly pessimistic view of adult visual plasticity.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Return to Learn: A Guide to Visual Recovery from Concussion

Children and adults are vulnerable to concussion if they play sports or were involved in an accident. Current research suggests the following approach for the vision problems noted to be present after injury.

To find a doctor who can help go to http://www.COVD.org




Sunday, July 12, 2015

Photorefractive keratectomy on purely refractive accommodative esotropia

Photorefractive keratectomy on purely refractive accommodative esotropia


"....this ...study comprised patients with purely accommodative hyperopic esotropia. Patients underwent a ... ophthalmologic examination that included pre-operative and post-operative best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and uncorrected visual acuity....A two-year follow-up showed that photorefractive keratectomy was an effective treatment for esotropia associated with mild to moderate hyperopia in young adults with purely refractive accommodative esotropia......"

Comment: If the subjects were "pure accommodative esotropes," why do surgery when a simple pair of glasses would correct the problem especially since they had moderate hyperopia?  DM

Friday, July 10, 2015

Slanted medial rectus recession is effective in the treatment of convergence excess esotropia.

Slanted medial rectus recession is effective in the treatment of convergence excess esotropia.


"...Near-distance disparity of 10 PD or less was obtained in 14 patients after surgery (87.5%), except 2 patients who had 16 PD of disparity. The authors did not encounter overcorrection except in 1 patient in whom minimal exophoria at distance and near with the glasses was observed and reduced the prescription....."

Comment: The outcome numbers for this study tend to be a bit better than the 20-30% fail rate for other papers that look at strabismus surgery outcome. I wonder what the success rate would be if these patients had vision therapy prior to and after surgery? Maybe one day this will be the standard approach by all to ensure better outcomes. DM


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Viewing cat videos boosts energy and positive emotions

Viewing cat videos boosts energy and positive emotions


"....If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cute cat videos online, the effect may be more profound than you think.
Lil' Bub
Bloomington, Ind.'s own Lil Bub is one of the more popular felines on the Internet.
Credit: Photo by Mike Bridavsky / http://www.lilbub.com
The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, does more than simply entertain; it boosts viewers' energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings, according to a new study by an Indiana University Media School researcher...."


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Soccer is hard on the brain: heading the ball may impair the player's memory

Soccer is hard on the brain: heading the ball may impair the player's memory


"...Heading the ball is not good for the brain. Even when the heads of soccer players are exposed to collisions or blows too frequently, these slight, but recurring concussions result in attention deficit in the long term. This is suggested by a Croatian study which was presented at the 1st Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Berlin..."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Quantifying naturalistic social gaze in fragile X syndrome using a novel eye tracking paradigm.

Quantifying naturalistic social gaze in fragile X syndrome using a novel eye tracking paradigm.

"....A hallmark behavioral feature of fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the propensity for individuals with the syndrome to exhibit significant impairments in social gaze during interactions with others. ....To improve upon previous studies, we used a customized eye tracking configuration to quantify the social gaze..... Results showed that participants with FXS spent significantly less time looking at the face and had shorter episodes (and longer inter-episodes) of social gaze than controls. Regression analyses indicated that communication ability predicted higher levels of social gaze in individuals with FXS, but not in controls. Conversely, degree of autistic symptoms predicted lower levels of social gaze in controls, but not in individuals with FXS. Taken together, these data indicate that naturalistic social gaze in FXS can be measured objectively using existing eye tracking technology during face-to-face social interactions. Given that impairments in social gaze were specific to FXS, this paradigm could be employed as an objective and ecologically valid outcome measure in ongoing Phase II/Phase III clinical trials of FXS-specific interventions.....


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Enhanced Visual Search in Infancy Predicts Emerging Autism Symptoms.

Enhanced Visual Search in Infancy Predicts Emerging Autism Symptoms.

"....Enhanced visual search performance at 9 months predicted a higher level of autism symptoms at 15 months and at 2 years. Infant perceptual atypicalities are thus intrinsically linked to the emerging autism phenotype...."

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Children with Down syndrome benefit from bifocals as evidenced by increased compliance with spectacle wear.

Children with Down syndrome benefit from bifocals as evidenced by increased compliance with spectacle wear.

"....In the 27 bifocal children, all had poor accommodation on dynamic retinoscopy. ....the addition of bifocal segments improved compliance with spectacle wear in children with Down syndrome....


Comments: All children with Down syndrome should have an assessment of accommodation as a basic part of any eye examination. The majority of children with Down syndrome will require a bifocal. This study clearly shows acceptance of a multifocal design by those with this syndrome. Many other studies have demonstrated a significant accommodative  problem within those who have Down syndrome, it is important to prescribe a bifocal for the majority of these individuals. 

See Woodhouse M. Maino D. Down Syndrome. In Taub M, Bartuccio M, Maino D. (Eds) Visual Diagnosis and Care of the Patient with Special Needs; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. New York, NY;2012:31-40.  for a complete review.

DM

Numerical and area comparison abilities in Down syndrome.

Numerical and area comparison abilities in Down syndrome.

"...Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have great difficulty in learning mathematics. In recent years, research has focused on investigating whether precursors of later mathematical competence, such as estimating and comparing numerosities, are preserved in DS. Although studies have suggested a strong relationship between the ability to compare continuous quantities (e.g., area of an object) and that of comparing numerosities, it is still unknown whether this ability is preserved in DS. ..... All participants performed two eye-tracking tasks: an Area Comparison Task (ACT) and a Number Comparison Task (NCT)..... in general, the performance of the three groups was better in the ACT than in the NCT. Critically, performance of individuals with DS in both tasks was consistent with that of individuals with the same Memtal Age. The study shows that the abilities to compare area and numerosity are both preserved in DS, and that individuals with this syndrome,... show better performance in comparing area than number...."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Vestibulo-ocular dysfunction in pediatric sports-related concussion

Vestibulo-ocular dysfunction in pediatric sports-related concussion





Evidence of Vestibulo-Ocular Dysfuntion was detected in a significant proportion of children and adolescents with acute 
 sports-related concussion and  postconcussion syndrome who were referred to a multidisciplinary pediatric concussion program. This clinical feature was a significant risk factor for the subsequent development of  postconcussion syndrome in this pediatric acute sports-related concussion cohort.

Comments: Numerous visual and vestibular problems are present after a concussion. Make sure you see a functional optometrist to diagnose and treat and visual problems that may affect vestibular function. The College of Optoemtrists in Vision Development provides special educaiton in the area of brain injury. To find an eye doctor who can help go to http://www.OVD.ORG  

Click on the title above for the full article.   DM

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Comparison of Whole Eye versus First-Surface Astigmatism in Down Syndrome.

Comparison of Whole Eye versus First-Surface Astigmatism in Down Syndrome.


".....This study demonstrates that corneal astigmatism is predictive of overall refractive astigmatism in subjects with Down syndrome, as it is in the general population. The greater magnitudes of astigmatism and wider variation of astigmatism orientation in subjects with Down syndrome for refractive, corneal, and calculated internal astigmatism are likely attributable to previously reported differences in the structure of the cornea and internal optical components of the eye from that of the general population....


Also see: Woodhouse M. Maino D. Down Syndrome. In Taub M, Bartuccio M, Maino D. (Eds) Visual Diagnosis and Care of the Patient with Special Needs; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. New York, NY;2012:31-40.

Click on the title above for more information. DM

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Clinical profile and main comorbidities of Spanish adults with Down syndrome.

Clinical profile and main comorbidities of Spanish adults with Down syndrome.


I see numerous patients with Down Syndrome and it is important to keep up to date on all aspects of this genetic anomaly so that we can better serve our patients. Here's the results of the latest research.

Also see: Woodhouse M. Maino D. Down Syndrome. In Taub M, Bartuccio M, Maino D. (Eds) Visual Diagnosis and Care of the Patient with Special Needs; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. New York, NY;2012:31-40.

"...Each subject presented an average of 5±2 clinical problems. Eye (117 adults, 81%), skin (86, 60%), thyroid (81, 56%), gastrointestinal (73, 51%), and psychopathological disorders (58, 40%) were amongst the most frequent clinical conditions of adults with DS. Cataracts (14, 61%), keratoconus (4, 17%), dementia (11, 48%), and seizures (6, 26%) were more frequent amongst individuals with DS over 50years . No relevant differences were found between genders. The medications most frequently prescribed were levothyroxine (70 subjects, 48.6%), vitamin D (50, 34.7%), antidepressants (32, 22%), and antipsychotics (31, 21.5%)....."

Click on the title above for more information about this important group of individuals with special needs. DM

Monday, June 1, 2015

Comparison of lateral rectus muscle re-recession and medial rectus muscle resection for treatment of postoperative exotropia

I have noted time and again that surgical intervention of strabismus remains as much an art as a science and that most studies show about 1/3 need a second or third surgery. This study also notes this. The results were:

...Unsuccessful outcomes were achieved in 36%) treated with medial rectus muscle resection and 27% treated with lateral rectus muscle re-recession.....

Read more about it here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25634535


Thursday, May 14, 2015

OPTOMETRY COLLEGE PAINTING GIVES A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

OPTOMETRY COLLEGE PAINTING GIVES A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE



....The Illinois College of Optometry unveiled a painting Wednesday morning that tricks the eyes and gives a new perspective.

The wall art, called "Our favorite space," is a 3-dimensional "reverspective" created by Sepideh Omidghaemi, an optometry student, and her twin Saeideh Omidghaemi, a Los Angeles-based artist.

"It is a painting in perspective but the perspective fools you," said Sepideh, who will graduate from the college this week. "So it tricks the mind. You think what you're seeing but it isn't exactly what you're seeing."....

Click link to see the video and learn much more!

Reverspective Art and Optometry

My student's art!! 

Sepideh Omidghaemi and fellow student Chido Munjangaja and Sepideh's twin sister...an artists as well....saeideh Omidghaemi


 Watch the picture carefully, as WGN’s camera shoots down the canvas. The seemingly flat surface appears to shift and sway, accentuating the picture’s depth, tricking the mind with an optical illusion.
Step in a little closer. That view is actually made possible with three pyramids, wedges of varying size sticking out a foot from the canvas.
It is called “reverspective.”



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Quality of life in adults with strabismus.

Quality of life in adults with strabismus.


"....Strabismus impacts quality of life through both functional and psychosocial factors. Physicians treating strabismic patients should recognize these quality-of-life issues and address them accordingly....."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Near heterophoria in early childhood.

Near heterophoria in early childhood.


"....Despite developmental maturation of interpupillary distance, refractive error, and AC/A, in a typical sample of young children the predominant dissociated position is one of exophoria....."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Increased onset of vergence adaptation reduces excessive accommodation during the orthoptic treatment of convergence insufficiency.

Increased onset of vergence adaptation reduces excessive accommodation during the orthoptic treatment of convergence insufficiency.


"....This research tested the hypothesis that the successful treatment of convergence insufficiency (CI) with vision-training (VT) procedures, leads to an increased capacity of vergence adaptation (VAdapt) allowing a more rapid downward adjustment of the convergence accommodation cross-link. ..... CI clinical findings reached normal levels between 4 and 7weeks of training but symptoms, VAdapt, and CA output remained significantly different from the controls until 12-14weeks. ....."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Levodopa for Residual Amblyopia in Older Children

Levodopa for Residual Amblyopia in Older Children


Dr. Kathy Freeman notes:



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Contributions of Visuo-oculomotor Abilities to Interceptive Skills in Sports.

Contributions of Visuo-oculomotor Abilities to Interceptive Skills in Sports.


Athletes in interceptive sports are superior to nonathletes in their visuomotor skills. They also have broader access to various visual and complex visuo-oculomotor abilities than nonathletes. This likely allows athletes to more effectively coordinate visual and oculomotor abilities under demanding conditions when some visual cues are degraded. The present findings are consistent with a pyramid of sports vision and suggest a top-down process for athlete screening and training.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

MMR vaccine and autism: study finds 'no harmful association'

MMR vaccine and autism: study finds 'no harmful association'

"Lower vaccination levels threaten public health by reducing both individual and herd immunity and have been associated with several recent outbreaks of measles," note the authors, "with most cases occurring among unvaccinated individuals."

No harmful link between MMR vaccine and ASD, regardless of risk status

Sunday, May 3, 2015

New insight into how brain makes memories

New insight into how brain makes memories

"Alterations in dendritic spines are associated with many neurological and developmental disorders, such as autism,Alzheimer's disease and Down Syndrome," said Webb. "However, the formation and maintenance of spines is a very complex process that we are just beginning to understand."

Comment: Rad about this research by clicking the title above. DM

Friday, May 1, 2015

Visual motion processing and visual sensorimotor control in autism.

Visual motion processing and visual sensorimotor control in autism.


Impairments in visual motion perception and use of visual motion information to guide behavior have been reported in autism, but the brain alterations underlying these abnormalities are not well characterized. .... These results suggest that both local intrinsic abnormalities in V5 and more widely distributed network level abnormalities are associated with visual motion processing in autism

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Boosting older adults' vision through training

Boosting older adults' vision through training

"...."Our research indicates that the visual system of older adults maintains a high degree of plasticity and demonstrates that training methods can be used to improve visual function," explains psychological scientist G. John Andersen of the University of California, Riverside who co-authored the study with graduate student Denton DeLoss and colleague Takeo Watanabe of Brown University........The data showed that visual training effectively eliminated the age deficit in contrast sensitivity. At the beginning of the experiment, younger adults outperformed older adults on the task; but the older adults improved with training, showing performance similar to that of their younger peers by the end of the 7 days.
Further analyses confirmed that these improvements stemmed from changes in visual processing in the brain and not changes in the eye......"
Comments: Once it has taken science/medicine decades to catch up with an approach that functional/behavioral optometry has taken since the early 1900's. The brain can be changed for the better at ANY age! Click on the title above for more info. DM

Binocular vision in amblyopia: structure, suppression and plasticity

Binocular vision in amblyopia: structure, suppression and plasticity

The amblyopic visual system was once considered to be structurally monocular. However, it now evident that the capacity for binocular vision is present in many observers with amblyopia. .... new treatments are emerging that directly target suppressive interactions within the visual cortex and, on the basis of initial data, appear to improve both binocular and monocular visual function, even in adults with amblyopia. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of recent studies that have investigated the structure, measurement and treatment of binocular vision in observers with strabismic, anisometropic and mixed amblyopia....

Comments: Click on the title above to read the complete article. DM
The amblyopic visual system was once considered to be structurally monocular.
However, it now evident that the capacity for binocular vision is present in many
observers with amblyopia. This has led to new techniques for quantifying suppres-
sion that have provided insights into the relationship between suppression and
the monocular and binocular visual deficits experienced by amblyopes. Further-
more, new treatments are emerging that directly target suppressive interactions
within the visual cortex and, on the basis of initial data, appear to improve both
binocular and monocular visual function, even in adults with amblyopia. The aim
of this review is to provide an overview of recent studies that have investigated
the structure, measurement and treatment of binocular vision in observers with
strabismic, anisometropic and mixed amblyopia
The amblyopic visual system was once considered to be structurally monocular.
However, it now evident that the capacity for binocular vision is present in many
observers with amblyopia. This has led to new techniques for quantifying suppres-
sion that have provided insights into the relationship between suppression and
the monocular and binocular visual deficits experienced by amblyopes. Further-
more, new treatments are emerging that directly target suppressive interactions
within the visual cortex and, on the basis of initial data, appear to improve both
binocular and monocular visual function, even in adults with amblyopia. The aim
of this review is to provide an overview of recent studies that have investigated
the structure, measurement and treatment of binocular vision in observers with
strabismic, anisometropic and mixed amblyopia