Friday, June 13, 2008

Babies' Sleep Patterns Vary Sharply from Country to Country

...In general...the data show that children in Asian countries: Sleep fewer hours,
Have later bedtimes,Share rooms with siblings or parents more often, Are seen by parents to have more sleep problems ...

'Faulty' brain connections may be responsible for social impairments in autism

...Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, a team of researchers ... found that the most severely socially impaired subjects in the study exhibited the most abnormal pattern of connectivity among a network of brain regions involved in face processing....."This study shows that these brain regions are failing to work together efficiently," ... "Our work seems to indicate that the brain pathways of people with autism are not completely disconnected, but they are not as strong as in people without autism."...

Warnings over body piercing boom

...The British Medical Journal study found one in 10 people - and nearly half of all younger women - had a body piercing other than on the earlobe. ...Just over a quarter of people reported complications, including swelling, infection and bleeding...

Comments: Many of my high school aged patients are coming in with "body art and piercings". These piercings/art are often located around the eye....we should let them know about the potential for harm when they punch holes in their bodies....and that it is important to have a licensed professional do this. DM

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prospective Long-term Evaluation of the Efficacy, Safety, and Stability of the Phakic Intraocular Lens for High Myopia

...Placement of the Artisan lens is predictable, stable, and effective at reducing high and extreme myopia 5 years after implantation. The rate of endothelial cell loss was significantly higher than has been reported in previous studies. ...

Severe retinopathy of prematurity and visual outcomes in British Columbia: a 10-year analysis

..During the 10-year study period, a significant increase in rates of stages 3 to 4 or laser-treated ROP was not associated with increases in visual impairment rates...

U.S. life expectancy reaches record high, data indicate.

From AOA First Looks...

NBC Nightly News (6/11, story 8, 2:15, Williams) reported that life expectancy in the U.S. has reached "a new milestone." According to ABC World News (6/11, story 9, 0:40, Gibson), "Government figures say a baby born in 2006 will live four months longer than babies born a year earlier."
Washington Post (6/12, A4, Brown) reports that "Americans' life expectancy reached a record high of 78.1 years in 2006, with disparities among ethnic groups and between the sexes generally narrowing," according to findings published in the Jun. 11 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Vital Statistics Reports. Notably, the "death rates from most diseases went down, with influenza mortality falling steeply, and AIDS mortality marking its 10th straight year of decline." Furthermore, "[i]nfant mortality in 2006 also fell from the previous year, continuing a trend stretching back nearly 50 years." Melonie P. Heron, Ph.D., a demographer at the National Center for Health Statistics, said, "This report has a lot of good news."
In spite of "the good news, the USA ranks 29th in life expectancy among the United Nations' member nations,"
USA Today (6/12, 6D, Sternberg) adds. Andorra ranks highest in the world, with "an average life expectancy of 83, followed closely by Japan, Sweden, Australia, and Switzerland." According to University of Pennsylvania demographer Samuel Preston, "We're two to three years behind most Western countries at this point. ... We may be gaining, or not, depending on the rate at which their life expectancy is increasing."
The increase to 78.1 years "is due mainly to falling mortality rates in almost all the leading causes of death," the
AP (6/12, Stobbe) explains. CDC researchers found "declines of more than six percent in stroke and chronic lower respiratory disease (including bronchitis and emphysema), and a drop of more than five percent in heart disease and diabetes deaths." In fact, "the drop in diabetes deaths was steep enough to allow Alzheimer's disease -- which held about steady -- to pass diabetes to become the nation's sixth leading cause of death."
Yet, the "largest decline in death rates between 2005 and 2006 occurred for influenza and pneumonia (12.8 percent)," the
AFP (6/12) reports. Investigators also noted declines for "hypertension (5.0 percent), chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (3.3 percent), suicide (2.8 percent), septicemia or blood poisoning (2.7 percent), cancer (1.6 percent), and accidents (1.5 percent)." The UPI (6/12), Bloomberg (6/12, Cortez), Minnesota's Star Tribune (6/12), and WebMD (6/11, Hitti) also covered the story, as did the Chicago Tribune's (6/11, Graham) Triage blog.

Comments: Isn't about time that those of us active in BV and functional vision start taking a life cycle approach to what we do? I'm sure those approaching seniorhood and becoming chronologically enhanced need optometic vision therapy too!! DM

Refractive surgery for children: excimer laser, phakic intraocular lens, and clear lens extraction

...The majority of children with ametropia - unilateral or bilateral - do well with glasses or contact lenses, but a minority do not. Pediatric refractive surgery meets an important need for this minority...

Comments: What happens to these children when they are 30, 40, 90 years old? Will their corneas crumble? Will their corneas perforate? We don't know. Consider refractive surgery for kids with great caution. DM

ADHD 'behind 20% of school suspensions'

About 20% of children suspended from school suffer from the disorder, according to Professor of Psychiatry Philip Asherson.

Delay School, Sleep More

...Delaying the start of school may help kids stay awake during class. A new study reveals 40 extra minutes could make children more productive in class....

Consider ECG for children prescribed attention-deficit/hyperactivity meds

...Due to the possibility of sudden cardiac death or other serious cardiac events, the American Heart Association recently issued a statement that states it is “reasonable to consider adding an electrocardiogram to the history and physical examination” for children before prescribing stimulant medication to treat their attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eating Fatty Fish Can Help Aging Eyes

...Eating fish at least twice a week may help protect your eyes as you age. A review of studies shows that eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps ward off macular degeneration....

Children enjoy wide variety of eyewear options.

From AOA First Look...

CNN (6/10, Landau) reported that "[w]ith puppets, cartoons, and celebrities wearing glasses and patches, children today can see that eyewear doesn't have to look scary or ugly." Youngsters "enjoy a wide variety of options for their eye correction, including glasses of many colors and styles." Florida optometrist Barry Kay, O.D., "has seen a lot of kids faking eye problems over the past 15 years because they want glasses, particularly between the ages of five and 10." Some children "think frames are cool because their friends have them, while others want attention," Dr. Kay explained. California optometrist Karen Griffith, O.D., pointed out that it is "important for a child to pick his or her own glasses, even if the style is not what the parent prefers." And, because good vision is important in order for babies and toddlers to learn physical and developmental skills, "[o]ptometrists also promote InfantSEE, a public health program through which an infant can get a free eye exam between age six months and 12 months. The program has been run by the American Optometric Association and Johnson & Johnson since 2005."
Optometrists volunteer nationwide to provide visual assessments for children in first year of life. In a letter to the editor of the
Des Moines Register (6/10), Larry Van Daalen, O.D., president of the Iowa Optometric Association, pointed out that "[f]or the past three years, 240 doctors of optometry in Iowa and over 8,000 nationwide have volunteered their time to provide a free one-time visual assessment for a child in the first year of life. This assessment does not cost parents, insurance, or the government one dime."

Hay fever affects exam performance

...A new survey has found that as many as 85% of Irish students with hay fever experience a deterioration in their exam performance as a result of allergy symptoms...

Comments: Do your young patients have hayfever besides learning related vision problems? Perhaps we need to treat both to get the best results for out patients. DM

Light therapy 'can slow dementia'

...Dementia could be slowed significantly by treatments which reset the body's natural clock, researchers have said. ...The Dutch team used brighter daytime lighting - with or without the drug melatonin - to improve patients' sleep, mood and cut aggressive behaviour. ...

Comments: My colleagues who use Syntonics should find this most interesting. DM

St. John's Wort No Help for ADHD

...A popular herbal remedy for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children actually does little to improve symptoms of the disease, according to a new study. Researchers at Bastyr University in Washington state report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that St. John's wort, a commonly used botanical to treat depression, does not help children with ADHD to concentrate or curb hyperactivity any more than a rice-protein placebo over an eight-week period. It's the first such study to tackle the question of St. John's wort's effectiveness against ADHD in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial....

Bipolar Depression Signs and Symptoms

...Bipolar disorder involves periods of elevated mood, or mania, alternating with periods of depression. A person with bipolar disorder typically cycles between these two extremes, often with periods of normal mood in between. The pattern of symptoms differs from person. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others experience equal numbers of manic and depressive episodes....

Comments: I've been seeing more and more children diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I think both awareness of this mental illness....and perhaps a desire to too quickly come up with a diagnosis may be the cause for the increase. In any case....if you are seeing more and more patients who are Bipolar this should help. DM

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Visual evoked potentials in infants exposed to methadone in utero

...Flash VEPs differ between maternal drug-exposed and non drug-exposed newborns. Future research should address specific effects of maternal methadone and/or other illicit drug misuse on infant VEPs, and associations between neonatal VEPs and subsequent visual development....

Midlife Smoking Causes Memory Problems

...Smoking in midlife results in poor memory and makes it harder to think and learn, according to research published in the June 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. What's more, developing cognitive problems in your 30s, 40s, and 50s may speed the onset of dementia. Smoking damages blood vessels, including those in the brain. Scientists recently concluded that smoking is a risk factor for dementia...

Comments: If you smoke .... quit. If your kids smoke....tell them to quit. DM (a reformed sinner whose memory is still awful!!)

InfantSee makes the news

...Bourdeau is one of three eye doctors at Dr. Gordon A. Price & Associates who works with the InfantSEE, a program that gives free eye exams to children between the ages of six months and 1 year old. Bourdeau estimates that the office does about two such examinations every month....

Vision screenings required for incoming kindergartners

— It applies to all children entering kindergarten and other children entering Illinois schools for the first time, beginning with the 2008-09 school year.
— The exam must be done by an eye doctor - an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
— The deadline is Oct. 15.
— Children won't be kept out of school for noncompliance, but schools may withhold a student's report card.

Deletion 22q13.3 syndrome

...Common physical traits include long eye lashes, large or unusual ears, relatively large hands, dysplastic toenails, full brow, dolicocephaly, full cheeks, bulbous nose, and pointed chin. Behavior is autistic-like with decreased perception of pain and habitual chewing or mouthing....

Sad Children Out-Perform Happy Children In Attention-To-Detail Tasks

...Psychologists at the University of Virginia and the University of Plymouth (United Kingdom) have conducted experimental research that contrasts with the belief that happy children are the best learners. The findings, which currently appear online in the journal Developmental Science and will be printed in the June issue, show that where attention to detail is required, happy children may be at a disadvantage. ...

Using Gaze Aversion To Tell When Children Are Learning

...People use eye contact in a variety of ways every minute of every day but how often do you find yourself staring into space with concentrating on an issue or problem? Psychologists now know that people who are carrying out a complex task tend to look away from anyone else who is nearby. They refer to it as 'gaze aversion'...

A Computer That Can 'Read' Your Mind

...For centuries, the concept of mind readers was strictly the domain of folklore and science fiction. But according to new research published in the journal Science, scientists are closer to knowing how specific thoughts activate our brains. The findings demonstrate the power of computational modeling to improve our understanding of how the brain processes information and thoughts. ...

Game Your Brain To Peak Performance With Fit Brains

...Vivity Labs announced the official launch of its all-new brain fitness platform available at Fit Brains hosts a variety of fun, casual games developed by brain health experts, proven to improve brain function while targeting the five major cognitive brain functions - memory, concentration, language, executive functions (logic and reasoning), and visual-spatial skills. Research has shown that the brain begins to slow down as early as age 25 but with regular brain exercise, it can create new neural connections and pathways at any age. ...

Comments: Optometry has been involved in "brain fitness" for decades....only we call it "optometric vision therapy". Now everyone wants to get into the act. C'mon optometry, we should be leading the charge on this one not only within our own profession but for the lay and health care communities as well. DM

Training Can Increase Fluid Intelligence, Once Thought To Be Fixed At Birth

...Can human beings rev up their intelligence quotients, or are they stuck with IQs set by their genes at birth? Until recently, nature seemed to be the clear winner over nurture. ....[research] suggests that at least one aspect of a person's IQ can be improved by training a certain type of memory. ...

Comments: We can learn. We can any age. We can alter vision function....which is really largely brain any age also! DM

Awakening Brain Stem Cells

...Scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute have identified specific molecules in the brain that are responsible for awakening and putting to sleep brain stem cells, which, when activated, can transform into neurons (nerve cells) and repair damaged brain tissue....

Origins Of The Brain - Complex Synapses Drove Brain Evolution

One of the great scientific challenges is to understand the design principles and origins of the human brain. New research has shed light on the evolutionary origins of the brain and how it evolved into the remarkably complex structure found in humans...

Personal Genomes May Lead To Personalized Vitamin Supplements

...University of California, Berkeley, scientists, however, have found a welcome reason to delve into your genetic heritage: to find the slight genetic flaws that can be fixed with remedies as simple as vitamin or mineral supplements. ...

Allergan Announces Intent To File New Drug Application For Bimatoprost As Novel Treatment To Stimulate Natural Eyelash Growth

...Allergan has completed its clinical trial program demonstrating that its patented formulation of bimatoprost, when applied directly to the base of the eyelashes, results in significant eyelash growth...

Comments: I just had a girl patient who could benefit from this. I will watch this one closely. DM

Autism Risk Higher For Preterm And Low Birthweight Girls

...Research from the US suggests that compared to other developmental disabilities, low birthweight and premature birth was linked to a higher risk of autism, especially for girls....

AOA suggests enjoying professional fireworks displays to protect, preserve eyesight.

From AOA First Look...

Medical News Today (6/10) reports, "This year for the 4th of July celebrations, the American Optometric Association (AOA) suggests that families and friends stay away from private firework use, and instead enjoy professional displays to protect and preserve eyesight." That is because "thousands of adults and children are seriously injured" each Independence Day "as a result of fireworks and pyrotechnic devices. Many burns and injuries affect eyesight, permanently damaging and in some cases blinding the victims." Figures from Consumer Product Safety Commission indicated that in 2005, "fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,800 injuries that were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments." Approximately 1,600 of these "cases were eye injuries," including "contusions and lacerations." Sparklers, in particular, are the main "cause of fireworks injuries requiring trips to the emergency room." And, even "bystanders are not safe from injury. Data from the United States Eye Injury Registry shows that bystanders are injured by fireworks one-half of the time."

Comments: Kids and fireworks never mix well. Do not loose an eye or other apendage we usually need....go to professional displays....keep eye killer fireworks out of kids hands. DM

Monday, June 9, 2008

U.S. InfantSee program gains among ODs

...We do believe improving a child’s quality of life starts with vision, and it starts within the first year of life,” Dr. Alexander told a group gathered for the World Conference on Optometric Globalization meeting. ... About 8,000 optometrists so far have joined InfantSee, a program in which optometrists volunteer to check a child’s eyes at no cost in the first year of life, Dr. Alexander said. The latest data shows that close to 20,000 assessment forms have been entered for tracking. ...

Health Information from NLM/NIH
Provides the public information about clinical trials and opportunities to participate in the evaluation of new treatments and drugs. More about (Fact Sheet) FAQs Also see: Clinical Alerts and Advisories

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Tox Town
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Household Products Database
Information on the health effects of common household products under your sink, in the garage, in the bathroom and on the laundry room shelf.

Genetics Home Reference (GHR)
Information about genetic conditions and the genes responsible for those conditions. Includes descriptions of the symptoms, diagnostic process, and treatment options.More about GHR (Fact Sheet) Help Me Understand Genetics

MEDLINE/PubMed - Biomedical Journal Literature
Provides access to over 12 million references from 4600 biomedical journals. Many of these references link to abstracts and in some cases, the full text of articles.MEDLINE Fact Sheet PubMed Fact Sheet Tutorial FAQs

A central resource for current information on clinical trials for AIDS patients, federally approved HIV treatment and prevention guidelines.

Abnormal functional connectivity in autism spectrum disorders during face processing.

...Abnormalities in the interactions between functionally linked brain regions have been suggested to be associated with the clinical impairments observed in autism spectrum disorders (ASD)...

Audiovisual speech perception in children with autism spectrum disorders and typical development.

...For typically developing perceivers, visual speech information influences what listeners hear. When the place of articulation of visual and auditory speech tokens are incongruent, perceivers often report hearing a visually influenced response ...

Vision Therapy May Help Cure Learning Disabilities

... For some children, reading is a frustrating experience. Tutors and extra help at home can make a difference, but a growing number of kids are getting help in an unconventional way. ...

Comments: I'm not sure I've "cured" any learning disabilities....I have remediated many learning related vision problems, however! DM

Brainy Babies

...Studies show up to 20 percent of a child’s IQ is influenced by prenatal and postnatal experience. ...

Comments: This story does not give the references....but talks about 90 sec news spots..... I'd like to see the references listed myself....DM