Friday, October 3, 2008

Prefrontal social cognition network dysfunction underlying face encoding and social anxiety in fragile X syndrome

...Results indicate that compared to the control group, individuals with FXS exhibited decreased activation of prefrontal regions associated with complex social cognition, including the medial and superior frontal cortex, during successful face encoding. Further, the FXS and control groups showed significantly different relationships between measures of social anxiety (including gaze-fixation) and brain activity during face encoding. These data indicate that social anxiety in FXS may be related to the inability to successfully recruit higher level social cognition regions during the initial phases of memory formation....

Vision problems in children can affect development, learning.

AOA First Look:

In continuing coverage from previous editions of First Look, the Des Moines Register (10/1, Sagario) reported that "vision problems in children can delay their development, affecting walking, learning in school, and socializing with other kids." Therefore, "health professionals say it's important that parents have their child's vision checked by a professional to catch diseases early -- shortly after birth, at six months, before kindergarten, and periodically during the school years." Jeanne Burmeister, executive director of Prevent Blindness Iowa, emphasized that correcting eye problems "matters, because vision is vital to learning. Eighty percent of what a child learns before age 12 is through seeing." Currently, "Prevent Blindness Iowa performs about 20,000 vision screenings statewide every year for free, using certified volunteers. The majority of screenings take place at child care centers because of the high number of kids under age five." Parents of children who need further care are recommended to take their youngsters "to an eye doctor." The Register also noted that "amblyopia, or 'lazy eye,' is the most common cause of vision loss in children." Early diagnosis and treatment of amblyopia "before age eight" is essential "to get the best results."

Gene link to poor reading skills

...In the latest study, the Oxford team examined the link between this haplotype and reading abilility in a sample of 6,000 seven to nine-year old children taking part in a major long-term study known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
Lead researcher Dr Silvia Paracchini said: "On average, people carrying this common genetic variant tended to perform poorly on tests of reading ability. ...

Researchers say standard eye test to detect amblyopia in infants may be unreliable.

From AOA First Look:

MedPage Today (10/2, Gever) reported that "the standard eye test for detecting amblyopia in infants and toddlers, fixation preference testing, is unreliable, and its clinical use should be reconsidered," according to a study published in the October issue of Ophthalmology. Researchers "canvassed households in Baltimore, offering eye tests for children younger than six years old. Their main purpose was to determine the prevalence of visual-acuity problems in this age group, which had not previously been well studied." The investigators found that, "of the 53 children with amblyopia with at least two line differences in HOTV testing, only seven were identified as having momentary or no fixation with the non-verbal test, for a sensitivity of 13.2 percent." In addition, "among 487 children 30 to 47 months old, two were identified as amblyopic by fixation preference testing. Both had interocular differences of zero or one HOTV line." But, "of 13 children in this age group with at least two lines of difference in HOTV testing, all were graded as normal in fixation preference testing."

Comments: Children should have a comprehensive eye examination. We do them a major disservice if we only "screen" them. No screening is perfect. No screening catches every disorder. Have your child examined today. DM

Optometry & Vision Development Vol 39 #3 Now Available

Optometry and Vision Development
Volume 39, No. 3, 2008

The Airlines’ Manual of Practice Management for Optometry
by Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A, Editor

Filtered Text and Direction Discrimination Training Improved Reading Fluency for Both Dyslexic and Normal Readers
by Teri Lawton, PhD

Assessing the Assessment: Learning Related Vision Problems Test Scores Revisited
by JT Tassinari, OD FCOVD

The Correlation between Primitive Reflexes and Saccadic Eye Movements in 5th Grade Children with Teacher-Reported Reading Problems
by Sergio Ramírez González, MS, Kenneth J Ciuffreda, OD, PhD, FAAO, FCOVD-A, Luís Castillo Hernández, PhD, Jaime Bernal Escalante, MS

Literature Review
Current Eye & Vision Science Literature
by David A. Goss, OD, PhD, FAAO, FCOVD-A

Book Review
The Pediatric Glaucomas
Review by Patrick Kwong, OD, FAAO

Practice Management
Four Misunderstood Concepts of the 92000 Comprehensive Exam Code Definition
by Mark R. Wright, OD, FCOVD

Financial Management - Planning for a 30-Year Retirement
by Richard Rizzardi


Guidelines for Authors

Call for Papers, Call for Photographs

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"The Airlines’ Manual of Practice Management for Optometry"

Have you ever wondered how to get so many patients into your office, that you'd have to hope some of them would no show?

If you follow "The Airlines’ Manual of Practice Management for Optometry" you will see a significant change in the number of patients in your office....

Please note that this information is provided to you absolutely free (no courses to attend or CDs/DVDs to purchase) by Optometry & Vision Development, the official journal of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (who suggests you follow these practice management strategies at your own risk...and that you should consult with your practice advisor before making any radical changes that could adversely affect your office. Remember past history is no guarantee of future success).

Complementary Therapies for Neuropathic and Neuralgic Pain: Systematic Review

...the evidence is not fully convincing for most complementary and alternative medicine modalities in relieving neuropathic or neuralgic pain. However, for topically applied capsaicin there is evidence of effectiveness beyond placebo. The evidence can be classified as encouraging and warrants further study for cannabis extract, magnets, carnitine, and electrostimulation....

Optometrist provides tips to avoid eyestrain.

From AOA's First Look:

Michigan's Grand Rapids Press (9/30, Kopenkoskey) reported that "poring through textbooks and writing umpteen term papers without taking breaks can overwork the eyes," according to optometrist Gary Anderson, O.D. Dr. Anderson pointed out that symptoms, "such as fatigue, red eyes, pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, or headaches," are temporary, and "can be caused by prolonged reading, computer work, or other activities that involve tedious visual tasks." Dr. Anderson pointed out that, "without regular breaks from close-vision reading," the eyes' ciliary muscles "don't relax soon enough." In fact, holding those muscles "in one position too long will strain...the eyes," and could lead to myopia "over time." He suggested "following the 20/20 rule: Look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds after about 20 minutes of close-up work to give the eye muscles a break." Dr. Anderson also explained that "computer screens, personal digital assistants, and laptops tend to make eyes feel tired and dry because users don't blink as much when using them." Blinking is essential "to resurfacing the eyes with natural lubricant."

Comment: Dr. Anderson is a graduate of the Illinois College of Optometry, a friend of a friend of mine....and my friend as well. Way to go Gary!! DM

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Association of Schools and Colleges Publications

Here are the latest publications from ASCO...

Optometric Education Journal

ASCO News Letter

Practice Opportunities at the COVD 38th Annual Meeting

Don't miss out on the opportunity to attend the Practice Opportunities Meeting at the COVD 38th Annual Meeting.

Practice Opportunities Meeting Friday, October 17, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

This meeting brings together optometrists offering practice opportunities and graduating or practicing optometrists seeking to join or purchase an existing practice. If you are an optometrist that has an opportunity available, please complete the Practice Opportunities Provider Form and return it to the Maura Massucci, OD, National Resident Liaison. Please send your opportunity information in advance so that it may be compiled and distributed to interested opportunity seekers.

If you are a student, resident, or practicing optometrist seeking an opportunity and are not able to attend the meeting, please complete the Practice Opportunities Seeker Form. You can also forward a brief letter describing the opportunity for which you are looking, along with a copy of your resume. The information will then be distributed at the meeting to opportunity providers.

All materials can be submitted by email or regular mail to the address below.
Maura E. Massucci, OD
SUNY State College of OptometryVision Therapy Resident3
3 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
[email protected]

The opportunity submission deadline is October 5, 2008

Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development

I recently found out that the Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development is available free online....if you are into rehabilitation...check out these issues...

Volume 45, Number 5, 2008

Volume 45, Number 4, 2008

Volume 45, Number 3, 2008

Volume 45, Number 2, 2008

Volume 45, Number 1, 2008

Got Autism? PETA unveils new billboard in Newark

...The animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has put up a billboard in Newark claiming there is a link between cow's milk and autism...

Comments: At first glance this sounds so stupid....PETA saying milk causes autism. Go to

and read the abstract of: Polymorphism of bovine beta-casein and its potential effect on human health. They note that: BCM-7 may play a role in the aetiology of human diseases. Epidemiological evidence from New Zealand claims that consumption of beta-casein A1 is associated with higher national mortality rates from ischaemic heart disease. It seems that the populations that consume milk containing high levels of beta-casein A2 have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 1 diabetes. BCM-7 has also been suggested as a possible cause of sudden infant death syndrome. In addition, neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, seem to be associated with milk consumption and a higher level of BCM-7. ....

Please note however, this study does not say autism is caused by milk...but rather milk consumpion with higher levels of BCM-7 SEEM to be associated with autism. This is one of those examples where an organization uses a research article to push its own agenda....I am still skeptical. DM

We Learn Differently From 12 Years Onward

...Eight-year-old children have a radically different learning strategy from twelve-year-olds and adults. Eight-year-olds learn primarily from positive feedback ('Well done!'), whereas negative feedback ('Got it wrong this time') scarcely causes any alarm bells to ring. Twelve-year-olds are better able to process negative feedback, and use it to learn from their mistakes. Adults do the same, but more efficiently. ...

In Visual Recognition, Spacing, Not Size, Matters

...You might think that the farthest distance at which you can hold a book and still read it quickly is determined by the size of the letters. However, New York University neuroscientists have concluded that it's the spacing between letters, not their size, that matters. In general, objects, such as letters, can be recognized only if they are separated by enough space, the "critical spacing." Objects closer than that spacing are "crowded" and cannot be identified...

'Math Dyslexia' Unravelled

...Research shows that many children who experience mathematical difficulties have developmental dyscalculia - a syndrome that is similar to dyslexia, a learning disability that affects a child's ability to read. Children with dyscalculia often have difficulty understanding numerical quantity. For example, they find it difficult to connect abstract symbols, such as a number, to the numerical magnitude it represents. They can't see the connection, for instance, between five fingers and the number '5'. This is similar to children with dyslexia who have difficulty connecting sounds with letters. In a recent study Ansari and graduate student Ian Holloway showed that children who are better at connecting numerical symbols and magnitudes are also those who have higher math scores...

The Neuron-Behavior Link In Rett Syndrome

...A link between certain behaviors and the lack of the protein associated with Rett Syndrome - a devastating autism spectrum disorder - demonstrates the importance of MeCP2 (the protein) and reveals never-before recognized functions associated with aggression and obesity...

Selective Deletion Of Rett Syndrome Gene Provides Insight Into Origin Of Complex Behaviors

...A new study describes an exciting approach for mapping the specific neuronal origins of complex and varied behaviors characteristic of Rett syndrome (RTT), an autism spectrum disorder....RTT is a devastating neurological disorder associated with a broad array of abnormalities that impact almost every part of the nervous system. The majority of RTT cases are caused by mutations in the methyl-CpG-binding protein (MECP2) gene, which encodes MeCP2, a protein widely expressed throughout the brain. In addition to classic RTT, patients with MECP2 mutations exhibit a wide variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including autism, juvenile onset schizophrenia, and bipolar disease with mental retardation. ...

National Survey Reveals Impact Of ADHD In Adults

...Adults diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) say that having ADHD significantly impacts their ability to focus at work, as well as their responsibilities at home and their relationships. These findings were according to a national survey including more than 1,000 adults across the United States diagnosed with the condition. ...

Comments: Don't forget...adults can have ADHD as well as children. As health care professionals...when we see a child with ADHD, we should ask about the parents as well. If help is needed for the parent....we should make appropriate referrals and consultations. DM

Study Finds People With Fragile X, Carriers Likely To Have Additional Conditions

...People with fragile X syndrome, as well as those who carry the gene, are likely to have additional conditions that include attention problems and anxiety...researchers found that most boys and many girls with the syndrome experience attention problems, anxiety and hyperactivity, in addition to developmental delay...the study showed that carriers, those who have the altered gene but generally do not show signs of the disease, also had an increased prevalence of co-occurring conditions. Boys who carried the gene were more likely than typical children to have been diagnosed or treated for developmental delay, attention problems, aggression, seizures, autism, and anxiety.Girls who carried the gene were more likely than typical children to have been diagnosed or treated for attention problems, anxiety, depression, and developmental delay. ...

Comments: Individuals with many different causes of developmental disability often display multiple co-mobid conditions. Many have psychiatric disorders, for instance, that should be diagnosed and treated as well. DM

Stereopsis in Children with Unilateral Pseudophakia

...Stereopsis was better in children with later manifesting cataracts, absence of strabismus and in cases with a good postoperative visual acuity. The postoperative visual acuity was the most important factor affecting the outcome of stereopsis in children with unilateral pseudophakia....

Monday, September 29, 2008

How's your child's vision?

...How's your child’s eyes sight? Is it 20-20? Even if your child’s vision 20-20 that's great and they can see clearly, but how is their visual system? ... “We do something here called developmental behavioral optometry, that means we are especially tuned into tracking focusing other issues that can make reading learning much more challenging for children,” said Dr. Rob Fox, an optometrist...

Epilepsy, Autism, Schizophrenia: Master Switch That 'Balances The Brain' Found

...Neuroscientists at Children's Hospital Boston have identified the first known "master switch" in brain cells to orchestrate the formation and maintenance of inhibitory synapses, essential for proper brain function. The factor, called Npas4, regulates more than 200 genes that act in various ways to calm down over-excited cells, restoring a balance that is thought to go askew in some neurologic disorders.....

Strabismus and Nystagmus in a 4 y/o

Take a look at this case. Can you diagnose the problem? DM

Video on Vision Therapy

Fishy Diet Protects Babies from Eczema?

...Fish is often a forbidden food when it comes to infants because of its allergenic properties; but now, experts say a diet that includes fish may protect babies from developing a common skin condition....

Game consoles can help patient rehabilitation

...Research from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey suggests that 11 training sessions, of around 60-90 minutes long, led to improvements in visual perception processing, postural control and functional mobility....