Friday, February 12, 2010

Picture It On Canvas

I know that I usually have science "stuff" posted here, but I just saw some of my brothers photos printed on gallery quality canvas. at Picture It On Canvas. Click on the title above to learn more. My brothers photos were awesome! DM

Retinopathy of Prematurity and Maternal Age

..Older maternal age is a newly identified risk factor for the development of ROP in premature babies....

Risk of autism connected to maternal age

..The odds of having a child with autism for mothers aged 30 years or older rose by 18% for every five-year increase in age, indicating a link between advanced maternal age and risk of autism, according to a recently published study. ...

Mumps Outbreak

..More than 1,500 cases of mumps were reported from several counties in New York and New Jersey from June 28, 2009 through Jan. 29, 2010. All but 44 cases involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community. Almost half of the cases came from New York City, primarily Brooklyn....

Analysis: Chocolate may reduce stroke risk

..One study they looked at found that 44,489 people who ate one serving of chocolate per week were 22% less likely to have a stroke than people who ate no chocolate. Another study found that 1,169 people who ate 50 grams of chocolate once a week were 46% less likely to die following a stroke than people who didn't eat chocolate....

Developmental Delay in Brain Provides Clue to Sensory Hypersensitivity in Autism

..New research provides insight into why fragile X syndrome, the most common known cause of autism and mental retardation, is associated with an extreme hypersensitivity to sounds, touch, smells, and visual stimuli that causes sensory overload and results in social withdrawal, hyperarousal, and anxiety....

Chocolate & Stroke

...Chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which may have a protective effect against stroke.....

Incidence of Cerebral Palsy on Rise...

..Cerebral palsy (CP) has increased in infants born prematurely in the United States,...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Avatar 3D Syndrome affects the Heart!

A pilot study on pupillary and cardiovascular changes induced by stereoscopic video movies

Parameters of pupillary and cardiovascular reflexes changed differently after subjects watched three different video movies. Amplitudes of the pupillary light reflex, CR, increased when subjects watched two CG movies (movies A and D), while they did not change after watching a movie with the real scenery (movie R). The ρmax was significantly larger after presentation of the movie D. Scores of the questionnaire for subjective evaluation of physical condition increased after presentation of all movies, but their relationship with changes in CR and ρmax was different in three
movies. Possible causes of these biomedical differences are discussed.

Comments: So my new syndrome involves not only the eyes and brain but the heart as well! Perhaps I can get some NIH funding for research for this new syndrome? Click on title to read full pdf of article. DM

Avatar 3D Syndrome: Part II

On a Qualitative Method to Evaluate Motion Sickness Induced by Stereoscopic Images on Liquid Crystal Displays

...Visually induced motion sickness (VIMS) is known to be caused by sensory conflict, which is the disagreement between vergence and visual accommodation while observing stereoscopic images....

Comments: Even though I just made up the name "Avatar 3D Syndrome" looks as if others have been researching the interplay between accommodation and vergence (focusing and eye teaming) for a while now. If your binocular vision system (eye teaming, eye movement and focusing) is not working should get checked out by a doc who specializes in this area. Go to for docs who can help. DM

"Avatar 3D Syndrome"

Well, I've finally done it! I have named a new syndrome after a movie. This syndrome is now officially known (at least by me) as the AVATAR 3D SYNDROME !

The symptoms include possible:
Blurred vision
Double vision
Eye strain

The etiology may include problems with an individual's vestibular optical reflex (balance and vision system) and/or binocular vision dysfunction (BVD). BVDs include convergence insufficiency, convergence excess, divergence insufficiency, divergence excess and disorders associated with eye movement (pursuits/saccades) and focusing (accommodation. Uncorrected refractive error (nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism may play a role as well.

So the next time you go to a 3D movie and do not feel so good after seeing the may have AVATAR 3D me...perhaps I can help! ([email protected]).

Comments on my comments: As you probably guessed I'm somewhat making this up...however, individuals do suffer the symptoms noted above...and the eyes may indeed play a role. If you refer to this as AVATAR 3D know I said it here first! DM

What makes children’s hospitals different from a normal hospital?

...Just as it is important to find a pediatrician to specially care for your children, finding a children’s hospital that fits you is also important in maintaining the health of your children. Finding the right hospital may seem like a daunting task at first glance, but the truth is, you only need to do your research. When finding the right hospital, you should keep a few things in mind....

Comments: Click on title to learn more. DM

5 Tips For Your Child’s Hospital Visit

...1. Pack the necessary items

2. Be on time for appointments

3. Keep a journal of your child’s medical history

4. Be your child’s health advocate

5. Be a parent!

Comments: Read more about this by clicking on the title. DM

Brain Scan Gives Vegetative State Patient The Power To Say "Yes" And "No"

...A patient presumed to be in a vegetative state for five years can communicate 'yes' and 'no' using just his thoughts, according to new research from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Liège....

Brain Development And Toxic Chemicals

...The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) released the first-ever biomonitoring report identifying toxic chemical pollution in people from the learning and developmental disability community. Mind, Disrupted: How toxic chemicals may affect how we think and who we are examines 61 toxic chemicals present in project participants in the context of rising rates of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning and developmental disabilities....

Children's Learning May Be Influenced By Length Of Time In Institutional Care

...The amount of time children spend in institutional care may affect how their brains develop....

Special Focus On Epigenetics In GEN Feb. 1 Issue

"Scientists have shown that non-DNA-sequence-changing epigenetic phenomena such as histone modification, DNA methylation, and imprinting play an important role in the evolution of the variation and complexity found in the living world," says John Sterling, Editor in Chief of GEN. "Our February 1st issue will give readers up-to-date coverage of what's actually taking place in this exciting biological arena."

One article, "Epigenetics Offers Strategies for New Drugs" (, discusses how scientists are using epigenetics to better understand how internal and external factors lead to cellular malfunctioning and impact the progression of human diseases.

"Epigenetic Research Surges on Many Fronts" ( provides an overview of the key technologies involved in epigenetics' research, while "Insights Accrue on Epigenetic Modification" ( details the latest scientific advances in laboratories studying epigenetics.

In addition, the February 2010 issue of Cellular Reprogramming (formerly Cloning and Stem Cells), which is also published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is a special collection of articles focusing on epigenetic reprogramming. The entire issue is free online (

Comments: I know as much about epigenetics as the next person (which is almost nothing) but something tells me this is going to be very important to functional optometry and the patients we serve. DM

Expert Comments On Lancet Retracting Major Autism Study

Alterations In The Brain's Reward System Related To Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

...Until now, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was related to alterations in the brain affecting attention and cognitive processes. Researchers at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital for the first time have discovered anomalies in the brain's reward system related to the neural circuits of motivation and gratification. In children with ADHD, the degree of motivation when carrying out an activity is related to the immediacy with which the objectives of the activity are met. This would explain why their attention and hyperactivity levels differ depending on the tasks being carried out. ...

DSM-V Draft Promises Big Changes in Some Psychiatric Diagnoses

... members of the APA team leading the DSM revision highlighted several substantial innovations they are proposing:

* Recategorizing learning disorders, including creation of a single diagnostic category for autism and other socialization disorders, and replacing the controversial term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability"
* Eliminating "substance abuse" and "substance dependence" as disorders, to be replaced with a single "addiction and related disorders" category
* Creating a "behavioral addictions" category that will include addictions to gambling but not to the Internet or sex
* Offering a new assessment tool for suicide risk
* Including a category of "risk syndromes" for psychosis and cognitive impairment, intended to capture mild versions of these conditions that do not always progress to full-blown psychotic disorders or dementia, but often do
* Adding a new disorder in children, "temper dysregulation with dysphoria," for persistent negative mood with bursts of rage
* Revising criteria for some eating disorders, including creation of a separate "binge eating disorder" distinct from bulimia
* Using "dimensional assessments" to account for severity of symptoms, especially those that appear in multiple diagnostic categories...

New frontiers of cognitive rehabilitation in geriatric age: the Mozart Effect (ME)

The ME was described for the first time in 1993. Subsequently other studies with similar designs were performed. The present study, therefore, proposes: (i) to verify the existence of the benefits of exposure to music in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (ii) to explore whether it is possible to find any lasting improvement after training, conducted for a long period of time, with such musical pieces, in the measurable cognitive performances. The study we conducted showed that the ME is present in geriatric patients with MCI; the influence on spatial-temporal abilities remains constant in time if the stimulation is maintained. The continuation of our study will consist of increasing the number of individuals examined and in having them listen to music during the study of ECG rhythms and during the acquisition of cerebral functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and, at the same time, testing them by neuropsychometric methods.

College of Optometrists in Vision Development Research Grants

There is one hitch, you must be a COVD member to apply for a research grant. Hence, the information is located on the COVD's members section. Here’s the direct link:

COVD also has travel grants for our student and resident members. Here’s the info page for that:

Questions? Contact Pamela Happ, Executive Director of COVD [email protected]

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

ICO Alumni Be Proud!

The results just arrived today and the ICO passing rate on Part 2 PAM was 97.9% compared to the national passing rate of 95.4% (first timers - like you all), and 90.6% for all takers nationally (includes repeaters).