Friday, June 6, 2008

A Cocktail Now and Then Lowers Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis

...Drinking a few alcoholic beverages a week reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers here said. ...Note that in two Scandinavian studies, drinking alcohol was associated, in a dose-dependent fashion, with a lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
And the more consumed, the lower the risk Henrik Kallberg, M.Sc., of the Karolinska Institute here, and colleagues reported online in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Comments: Well, since I am developing a touch of arthritis,perhaps I can persuade my wife that a good glass of single Malt Scotch (I like McCallen 18 yr if possible....12's OK too!) is a very good least occassionally! DM

Experimental stem cell therapy improves child's vision.

From AOA First Look...

On its website, FOX News (6/5) reported, "When he was a baby, two-year-old Tre Burgos was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia," the cause of which is not known, although "it is more prevalent in people with albinism." Burgos underwent "an experimental stem cell treatment" that included "four stem cell injections through an I.V., and a catheter through the spine." Three weeks after the treatment, his vision went from 20/1200 to 20/200. Although "[p]eople with a vision of 20/200 are seriously impaired, [they] have mobility, and can read with low-vision aids."

Study suggests vitamin D3 may help prevent type 1 diabetes in children.

From AOA First Look...

The UPI (6/6) reports that according to a study published in the journal Diabetologia, "[s]un exposure and vitamin D levels may play a strong role in risk of type 1 diabetes in children." Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues, found that children "living at or near the equator, where there is abundant sunshine, have low incidence rates of type 1 diabetes."
But, "children who live in countries at higher latitudes, such as Canada, where there is less sunlight for much of the year, are far more likely to develop juvenile diabetes,"
AHN (6/5, Sharma) added. The authors said that their findings lend "new support to the concept of a role of vitamin D in reducing risk of this disease."
HealthDay (6/5, Preidt) quoted Garland as saying, "This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that higher serum levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced incidence rates of type 1 diabetes worldwide." For the study, the researchers "analyzed type 1 diabetes incidence rates" worldwide. Based on their results, they "suggest[ed] that childhood type 1 diabetes may be preventable with a modest intake of vitamin D3 (1,000 IU/day), ideally with five to 10 minutes of sunlight around noontime, when good weather allows." But, Garland cautioned that "[i]nfants less than a year old should not be given more than 400 IU per day without consulting a doctor. Hats and dark glasses are a good idea to wear when in the sun at any age, and can be used if the child will tolerate them."
WebMD (6/5, Boyles) reported that the authors "attempt[ed] to control for confounding factors such as the level of medical care," in the 51 regions where they examined type 1 diabetes rates. But, "[t]hey confirmed that incidence rates were generally highest in high latitude regions, independent of per capita health expenditures." For instance, in Finland, which has high per capita health expenditures, the study showed that "about 37 out of 100,000 boys under the age of 14 develop type 1 diabetes." Conversely, in Cuba, which has lower per capita health expenditures, "the rate is closer to two in 100,000."
Still, the researchers noted the possibility that "UVB [ultraviolet B] exposure prevents type 1 diabetes by mechanisms unrelated to vitamin D,"
MedPage Today (6/5, Gever) explained. They pointed out that other "studies have suggested that the disease is caused by viral pathogens such as Coxsackie virus, which can be killed on surfaces by exposure to sunlight."
...For the past five years, lead researchers Dr. StevenM. Silverstein, ofMetuchen, and Dr. Stephanie Marcello, of Princeton, with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)- University Behavioral Healthcare, Newark, have been applying a reward-based learning and attention-shaping method to enhance skills training in schizophrenia patients. ...

Comments: Hmmm, attention therapy. Optometrists often do this with optometric vision therapy. DM

Possible Risk From Dental Fillings

...Mercury from amalgam dental fillings may be toxic to children and developing fetuses, the FDA now admits.Experts say there's no proof that dental fillings cause harm to consumers. But they also say there's no proof that the fillings -- which are half mercury by weight -- are entirely safe....

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Group Urges FDA Food Coloring Ban

A consumer advocacy group called on the Food and Drug Administration Tuesday to ban the use of eight artificial colorings in food because the additives may cause hyperactivity and behavior problems in some children. Controlled studies conducted over three decades have shown that children's behavior can be worsened by some artificial dyes, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest. .... Over the years, the FDA has consistently disputed the center's assertion. The agency's Web site contains a 2004 brochure that asks the question: "Do additives cause childhood hyperactivity?" "No. Although this hypothesis was popularized in the 1970's, well-controlled studies conducted since then have produced no evidence that food additives cause hyperactivity or learning disabilities in children," the agency said.

Comment: The Center for Science in the Public Interest, as far as I can tell, just want to tell you want you should/should not eat or do....the "real" science can be ignored if it suits their agenda. This is very sad. For the most part pay very little attention to anything this group says. For some reason they seem to have the ear/eye of the media....usually because they say such outrages things...All of this is JIMMHOO.... DM

New report shows locomotor training restores walking function in child with spinal cord injury

...A new report shows that a non-ambulatory (unable to walk or stand) child with a cervical spinal cord injury was able to restore basic walking function after intensive locomotor training. The case study, published in Physical Therapy (May 2008), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), evaluated the effects of locomotor training in a 4 year-old-boy, who had no ability to walk following a gunshot wound sixteen months earlier....

Comments: So for decades OMDs have said you couldn't treat amblyopia after a certain age (actually current clinical trials have debunked that myth...the latest clinical trial says you can treat amblyopia at least up to age 17....those of us in practice know you can treat amblyopia at ANY age! This case report just shows how incredible the human organism is....and with the right diagnosis and treatment almost anything is possible. DM

Substance in red wine found to keep hearts young

...How do the French get away with a clean bill of heart health despite a diet loaded with saturated fats? Scientists have long suspected that the answer to the so-called "French paradox" lies in red wine. Now, the results of a new study bring them closer to understanding why....

Comment: I'm not French....I am I love red wine. Now I have another good reason to have a glass or 2 with dinner! DM

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Healing Damaged Brains

...The study, which was conducted on rats, found the growth of these newly born neurons was significantly decreased by mild hypothermia, or cooling. The finding tells scientists the cells can be regulated, which suggests they may one day be used to treat brain injured patients....

New method of managing risk in pregnancy leads to healthier newborns, better outcomes for moms

...The findings of this study suggest that the AMOR-IPAT approach to obstetric risk lead to healthier babies and better birth outcomes for mothers. In addition, the results challenge the current belief that a greater use of labor induction necessarily leads to higher rates of cesarean delivery. In order to further explore the potential benefits of the AMOR-IPAT method of care, further research involving larger randomized clinical trials in more diverse populations is needed. ...(Active Management of Risk in Pregnancy at Term, or AMOR-IPAT)

Medical Veritas:A peer-reviewed journal free from the conflicts of interests of the pharmaceutical industry

Medical Veritas® (2004-2008)
A peer-reviewed journal free from the conflicts of interests of the pharmaceutical industry

Description: MEDICAL VERITAS® is the pre-eminent journal that serves as an interface between academics, scientists, researchers, medical practitioners, and concerned patients and parents. Relevant topics range from basic research, general medical practice, vaccines, treatments, bias and other conflicts of interest in research, to immunology, vaccine injury, and infectious diseases.

Comments: Interesting! Just how much influence does big Pharm have over medicine? DM

Orthoptic Findings and Asthenopia in a Population of Swedish Schoolchildren Aged 6 to 16 Years

...Asthenopia was significantly associated with uncorrected visual acuity ≤ 0.65 and with myopia (spherical equivalent -0.50 D or less) among Swedish school children. ...

Experimental audio/visual therapies help some schools teach students to focus

...That fall, Gordon Parks began regular lessons in visual skills. Therapist Cheryl Steffenella says dangerous neighborhoods and the ubiquity of TV and video games means many of her students "aren't doing kid things" — climbing trees, jumping and running — that help develop visual and motor skills. Even playing video games that require a lot of eye movement exercises children's vision minimally, she says...

Comments: For decades developmental/behavioral/functional optometrists have been saying the same things....recommending "real world" experiences to aid developmental growth and have even established optometric vision therapy procedures to help children when needed. NOW non-ODs are recommending some of the same types of activities/therapy! Why are they re-inventing the wheel? Why don't they seek out optometrists to help out, guide and provide appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic services for these children? What should optometry do to get the word out? The AOA, AAO, state associations, COVD, OEP....all have much to do. JIMMHOO......DM

AOA recommends children should wear sunglasses

From AOA First Looks...

In continuing coverage from previous editions of First Look, the Chicago Tribune (6/3) reported that "[o]verexposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays has been linked to a number of eye problems, such as age-related cataracts, pterygium, photokeratitis, and corneal degenerative changes, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA)." Because they spend far more time outside, youngsters are "particularly susceptible." Therefore, the AOA "recommends sunglasses that block 99 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation, and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light," not just for adults, but for children, too.

Illinois Mandatory School Eye Exam For Illinois ODs

Mandatory School Eye Exam

The State of Illinois now requires all children, beginning kindergarten or first grade for the first time, or children who are transferring into Illinois from out of state, to have a comprehensive eye examination prior to starting school. The examination must be done by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The results must be submitted to the school by the parents, on a form approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health, prior to October 15, 2008. The examination may be done within one year prior to beginning school. This requirement begins with the 2008 school year and applies to all future years.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the Eye Exam Form.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the Children's Vision Letter that was sent to all Illinois School Administrators.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the Teachers' Guide regarding school eye exams.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the Children's Vision Newsletter Template for Illinois School Administrators.

For Illinois Optometrists

Illinois Required Oral Therapeutic Agent Update Course

July 19-20, 2008
Hilton Garden Inn
Effingham, Il

July 22-23, 2008
Drury Lane
Oak Brook, Il

Click here to download the July registration brochure (pdf).
Click here to register for either of the July Orals courses.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Articles about computers, vision therapy, cognitive development and reading.

Articles about computers, vision therapy, cognitive development and reading.

The Effects of HTS Vision Therapy Conducted in a School Setting on Reading Skills in Third and Fourth Grade Students by David Goss, O.D., Ph.D., FAAO, FCOVD-A, et. al.

A Study of the Effectiveness of Cognitive Skill Therapy Delivered in a Video Game Format by Don Helms, O.D., and Sara M. Sawtelle, Ph.D.

Training Direction-Discrimination Sensitivity Remediates a Wide Spectrum of Reading Skills by Teri Lawton, Ph.D.


A Randomized Clinical Trial of Treatments for Convergence Insufficiency in Children therapy/orthoptics was more effective than pencil push-ups or placebo vision therapy/orthoptics in reducing symptoms and improving signs of convergence insufficiency in children 9 to 18 years of age. Neither pencil push-ups nor placebo vision therapy/orthoptics was effective in improving either symptoms or signs associated with convergence insufficiency....

Visual factors that significantly impact academic performance

...Visual factors are significantly better predictors of academic success as measured by the ITBS than is race or socio-economics. Visual motor activities are better predictors of ITBS scores than are binocularity or accommodation. These latter skills were significant predictors also, but to a
lesser degree....

The scientific basis for and efficacy of optometric vision therapy in nonstrabismic accommodative and vergence disorders

...The findings clearly support the validity of optometric vision therapy. Furthermore, the results are consistent with the tenets of general motor learning....

Learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision

...The AAP/AAO/AAPOS paper contains errors and internal inconsistencies. Through highly selective reference choices, it misrepresents the great body of evidence from the l i t e r a t u re that supports a relationship between visual and perceptual problems as they contribute to classroom diff i c u l t i e s . The 1998 paper should be retracted because of the errors, bias, and disinformation it presents. The public assigns great tru s t to authorities for accurate, intellectually honest guidance, which is lacking in this AAP/AAO/AAPOS position paper....

Autism Linked to Low Birth Weight

...Low birth weight and preterm birth increase the risk of autism in infants by about twofold, but more so for girls than for boys, according to a new study....

Comments: There are now, officially, 5432 etiologies of autism. We still have a long way to go before a definitive cause of autism is known. DM

Surgical management of large-angle incomitant strabismus in patients with oculomotor nerve palsy

...By choosing the appropriate surgical procedure, eye alignment in the primary position was achieved, but recurrence of the exotropia was unavoidable, and a residual exotropia of 10Δ to 20Δ remained in most patients....

Comments: Recurrence of the exotropia was unavoidable? Why? DM

Preverbal photoscreening for amblyogenic factors and outcomes in amblyopia treatment: early objective screening and visual acuities.

From: Arch Ophthalmol. 2008 Apr;126(4):489-92.

Preverbal photoscreening for amblyogenic factors and outcomes in amblyopia treatment: early objective screening and visual acuities.Kirk VG, Clausen MM, Armitage MD, Arnold RW.

... Very early photoscreening yields better visual outcomes in amblyopia treatment compared with later photoscreening in preschool-aged children....

Comment: Stop it already! Screening is a bandaid solution to a major problem. If you want to erradicate amblyopia in our lifetime...stop the screening (all screening MISS kids) and work with the American Optometric Association to provide comprehensive eye examinations for all young children. See the InfantSee program for more info. DM

Binocularity and Severe Uniocular Trauma

... A good monocular visual outcome does not necessarily result in a satisfactory binocular visual outcome and a poor monocular visual outcome does not prevent severe binocular symptoms. Patients need to be counselled regarding this risk, which is an under-recognised problem. We also recommend that all such patients be referred promptly for a thorough orthoptic assessment. ...

Comments: Couldn't agree more....the proability that that referral will occur? All refractive surgery patients should have a comprehensive BV work up....all uniocular severe post trauma patietns should have a work up as well. DM

Parents Advised On How To Detect Communications Disorders In Their Children

...Speech and language problems can occur at any time in a child's life. They can be caused by accidental injury, illness, or inherited by birth. Child speech and language problems include: - Stuttering - Articulation problems ("wabbit" instead of "rabbit") - Language disorders such as the slow development of vocabulary, concepts, and grammar. - Voice disorders (nasal, breathy, or horse voice and speech that is too high or low) ...

Study Examines Cold Medication Use In Young Children

...Cough and cold medication use in young children has been linked to a significant number of adverse effects and several deaths, leading the FDA to recommend against their use for children less than two years old...

Computer Model Reveals How Brain Represents Meaning

...Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have taken an important step toward understanding how the human brain codes the meanings of words by creating the first computational model that can predict the unique brain activation patterns associated with names for things that you can see, hear, feel, taste or smell...

I Do Not See It, But My Brain Knows What It Means

...Patients suffering from "hemineglect" cannot attend to, and hence cannot see, things presented to their left side. However, sometimes these ignored stimuli may be processed without awareness...

Spelling Difficulties And Handedness Explored

...Children who can read and have good phonetic skills - the ability to recognize the individual sounds within words - may still be poor spellers....

Greater Awareness Of Genetic Testing For Impaired Fetal Movement Can Save Babies' Lives

...New genetic mutations responsible for impaired fetal movement, which leads to a multitude or problems in later life as well as early spontaneous abortion, have been identified by a group of scientists...

Children's Diet Not The Main Cause Of ADHD

...Food may not be the major cause of hyperactivity in children. Genetics, brain function and parental actions such as smoking may be just as important. ...

Vitamin D Deficiency Common in Infants and Toddlers

...Many healthy infants and toddlers have low levels of vitamin D, and about one-third of these have x-ray evidence of demineralization, a cross-sectional study found. ...

Optometrist explains how new high-tech eyeglasses would correct presbyopia.

From AOA First Look..

Virginia's Roanoke Times (6/2, Adams) reported that according to optometrist and inventor Ron Blum, O.D., new "high-tech, electro-active eyeglasses" may "revolutionize vision correction for presbyopia, an age-related condition that makes close objects blurry for many people who are middle-aged and older." Dr. Blum explained how the eyeglasses would work. Inside of "a refractive lens, which bends light as traditional eyeglass lenses do, is a thin layer of liquid crystal. A sensor communicates with a microprocessor to automatically adjust focus, depending on where a user looks." Next, "[a] controller changes the refractive index of the liquid crystal in the lens," thereby "providing a focus that is appropriate for objects near or far." Dr. Blum said that the "focus will change faster than the eye can blink," and the "electro-active lenses promise far less 'unwanted astigmatism' and distortion than conventional eyeglasses correcting for presbyopia."

Assessment of Amplitude and Control of the Distance Deviation in Intermittent Exotropia

...The patch test may be avoided if control over the distance deviation is poor....

The Use of Levodopa in the Treatment of Bilateral Amblyopia Secondary to Uncorrected High Hypermetropia

...This report suggests that dopamine may play a role in the pathophysiology of bilateral amblyopia secondary to uncorrected high bilateral hypermetropia....

Relationships of Retinal Vessel Diameters with Optic Disc, Macular and Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Parameters in 6-Year-Old Children

...Children’s eyes with a smaller optic disc, thinner macula, and thinner retinal nerve fiber layer have narrower retinal vessels. These anatomic relationships may provide new insights into the vascular etiology of various ocular diseases....

Monday, June 2, 2008

For People With Down Syndrome, Longer Life Has Complications

...Doctors had predicted that Mr. Thomas, born with Down syndrome, would be lucky to reach his 10th birthday. His longevity has come at a price, though. ..Two years ago, it was determined that Mr. Thomas, at 48, had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, adding new challenges of dementia to his already significant disabilities...

Is the Prevalence of Low Functioning Autism Among the Amish Actually Lower Than Expected?

...The prevalence of low functioning autism among 2-9 year-old Amish children in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has a lower bound of 14.2 in 10,000. This is in line with the prevalence of reported autism with mental retardation in the California DDS system (at most 13.1 in 10,000) for the same age cohort. Additionally, it is not too far away from the prevalence of low functioning autism as ascertained by more methodologically rigorous epidemiological studies....

Secondhand Smoke Sends Children to Hospital

...In a recent study researchers assessed the relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and first admission to the hospital. The study was done in Hong Kong and included 7,402 children ranging in age from newborn to eight years old. Researchers found children who lived in the same house of someone who smoked within three meters of them during their first months of life were the most at risk for being admitted to the hospital with illnesses like meningococcal disease. Children born with a low birth weight were 75 percent more likely to be admitted to the hospital with an infectious disease during the eight years, and those born prematurely were twice as likely....

Mom's behavior key to dad's involvement in child care

...Mothers play an important role in determining how much fathers get involved in taking care of their infants, according to new research....A study of 97 couples found that fathers were more involved in the day-to-day care of their infants when they received active encouragement from their wife or partner....In fact, this encouragement was important even after taking into account fathers’ and mothers’ views about how involved dads should be, the overall quality of the couple’s parenting relationship, and how much mothers worked outside the home....

Practice Improves Vision in the Cortically Blind

...The term "blindsight" may sound like an oxymoron, but it's actually a bizarre effect in which people who have lost some of their vision from brain damage are still able to react to stimuli hidden in their blind spots. Researchers report that repeatedly stimulating the blind spots of partially blind people for several months can improve their ability to use blindsight in laboratory tests, suggesting that larger trials of the technique are warranted. ...

Comments: Besides reading this article, you should also check out

Alesterlund L, Maino D. That the blind may see: A review: Blindsight and its implications for optometrists. J Optom Vis Dev 1999;30(2):86-93. DM

Is There Really an Autism Epidemic?

...If the statistic “one in 166” has a familiar ring, perhaps that’s because you recently heard it on a television commercial or read it in a magazine. According to widely publicized estimates, one in 166 is now the proportion of children who suffer from autism. This proportion is astonishingly high compared with the figure of one in 2,500 that autism researchers had accepted for decades. Across a mere 10-year period—1993 to 2003—statistics from the U.S. Department of Education revealed a 657 percent increase in the nationwide rate of autism....

The Neuroscience of Illusion

...It’s a fact of neuroscience that everything we experience is actually a figment of our imagination. Although our sensations feel accurate and truthful, they do not necessarily reproduce the physical reality of the outside world. Of course, many experiences in daily life reflect the physical stimuli that enter the brain. But the same neural machinery that interprets actual sensory inputs is also responsible for our dreams, delusions and failings of memory. In other words, the real and the imagined share a physical source in the brain. So take a lesson from Socrates: “All I know is that I know nothing.”...

View a slide show of illusions

What Dictionaries and Optical Illusions Say About Our Brains

...Although many neuroscientists are trying to figure out how the brain works, Mark Changizi is bent on determining why it works that way...