Saturday, March 27, 2010

Link Between Learning Deficits In Adolescence And Novel Brain Receptor

..."These findings suggest that intrinsic brain mechanisms alter learning during adolescence, but that mild stress may be one factor that can reverse this decline in learning proficiency during the teenage years," says Dr. Smith. "They also suggest that different strategies for learning and motivation may be helpful in middle school. And it is within the realm of possibility that a drug could be developed that would increase learning ability post-puberty, one that might be especially useful for adolescents with learning disabilities."...

New Journals in PubMed

Journal of Ophthalmology
ISSN: 2090-004X (print) 2090-0058 (electronic)
Archive includes: v. 2009(2009).
Note: There is no embargo delay for this title.

Journal of Tropical Medicine
ISSN: 1687-9686 (print) 1687-9694 (electronic)
Archive includes: v. 2009(2009) - v. 2010(2010).
Note: There is no embargo delay for this title.

International Journal of Dentistry
ISSN: 1687-8728 (print) 1687-8736 (electronic)
Archive includes: v. 2009(2009) - v. 2010(2010).
Note: There is no embargo delay for this title.

Prevalence of and Early-Life Influences on Childhood Strabismus

...Three hundred forty-three children had strabismus .... In multivariable analysis, the risk of isolated strabismus was reduced in children of nonwhite maternal ethnicity and was increased in those born after an assisted or cesarean delivery and in those who were of low birth weight and preterm (in particular, late preterm). An increased risk of neurodevelopmental strabismus was independently associated with maternal smoking into later pregnancy, maternal illnesses in pregnancy, and decreasing birth weight for gestational age and sex. Socioeconomic status was associated with isolated (inverse relationship) and neurodevelopmental... strabismus....

In-Utero Exposure to Smoking, Alcohol, Coffee, and Tea and Risk of Strabismus

....The authors identified 1,321 cases of strabismus in a cohort of 96,842 Danish children born between 1996 and 2003. Maternal smoking was associated with a significantly elevated risk of strabismus in the child, increasing with number of cigarettes smoked per day ..... Nicotine replacement therapy was not associated with strabismus risk . Light maternal alcohol consumption was inversely associated with strabismus risk, whereas maternal coffee and tea drinking were not associated with strabismus risk.....

Children/Teens shouldn'use Tanning Beds: Duh!

Children and Teens Would Need Parental Consent in Proposed Regulation
-- The FDA should keep children and teens from using tanning beds -- or at least make sure their parents have signed a consent form warning of tanning-bed dangers, an FDA advisory panel today recommended....The panel also appeared likely to recommend that the FDA further restrict tanning beds and tanning lamps. At press time -- 10 hours after the meeting began -- panel deliberations continued.....Tanning beds and tanning lamps are listed as FDA Class 1 devices -- those least likely to cause harm. Elastic bandages are an example of Class 1 devices....The 16-member panel seemed likely to advise the FDA to list tanning beds as Class 2 devices, which require special assurances, such as labeling requirements or mandatory performance standards, that they will not cause harm. Class 2 devices include X-ray machines and powered wheelchairs....The panel did not directly vote on its recommendations, but instead will present a consensus opinion to the federal regulatory agency.

Comments: Kids should be outside getting tanned by the sun...naturally! It's cheaper. It's healthier. It's fun. DM

Boredom may lead to heart disease, stroke death

...Psychological factors can play a big part in heart disease. A new study, from researchers the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, London, now finds a link between being bored at work and death from heart disease and other causes. They surveyed over 7,500 civil servants, aged between 35 and 55, between 1985 and 1988 about their boredom levels. In April 2009, they noted how many of their participants had died, including heart disease deaths....

Comments: Don't be bored. Read MainosMemos today! Save a life....yours!! DM

Special Passenger

On Friday, I left Dallas after a meeting and headed home to Chicago via an American Airlines flight. The flight was packed to the gills.....and all the typical indignities that the airlines force upon you were in full swing ($$$ to check bags, not enough room for carry on luggage, flight attendants in bad moods, etc). The flight was uneventful..... until we landed.

We approached the gate. We stopped at the gate. No sounds could be heard, no cell phones ringing, no cell phone sound on the plane except for the humming of the air filtration system.

Not a single passenger jumped up out of his/her seat. Not a single passenger opened an overhead bin. Not a single passenger moved.

Just moments before we came to a full stop at the gate, the captain told us we had a very special passenger on board. This passenger was returning home from fighting on foreign soil. This passenger gave his life during the completion of his duties.

As the casket was off loaded, all the airport police and firemen with their car and truck lights flashing were there on the tarmac. They saluted the returning soldier. About 50 other men and women were there as well. They wore vests with badges noting their service to the country in wars past. They wore caps with special insignia that represented their armed service units...they wore a knowing look, a tired look....a look that indicated they had participated in this type of activity too often. They saluted.

My fellow passengers craned their necks to see our honored passenger leaving the plane. A few stood quietly to get a better look. More than one, male and female, struggled to hold back tears.

The Americans I saw on this plane were not divided over political agendas. They were not tea party folks or liberals. They were not to the right or left. They were all in agreement. We had lost someone dear to us ... even if we did not know him. We had lost someone important to us....even if we did not know his family.

For one all too brief moment, we were united. We prayed.

We understood the importance of life. We understood the fragility of life.

...and when it was all over....We all seemed to breathe in simultaneously....slowly.... as we moved to retrieve our bags in the over head we stood in the aisle to deplane....quietly...ever so quietly.

A tear, if not upon our face, within our minds and hearts. DM

Ophthalmology Supports Vision Therapy!

In a recent article in the Review of Ophthalmology: "Multifocal Neuroadaptation: Can Training Help the Brain? Is Vision Training a Scam?", ophthalmology finally sees the light when it comes to vision therapy! It's about time! Excerpts below. DM

“The idea that neuroadaptive training is unnecessary or ineffective is absolute hogwash,” says Dr. Kershner. “You don’t have to take it on faith that training the brain, at any age, can have a substantial impact on a patient’s successful rehabilitation following surgery. Just look at what’s being done with occupational therapy and stroke patients, or cognitive therapy training and Alzheimer’s patients. [ I would add optometric vision therapy....look at the CITT studies!! DM] The neurophysiology literature is loaded with clinical studies that demonstrate overwhelming success with these training processes. It’s disingenuous to think that ophthalmology would be any different.

“We know that the brain is not a static organism that stops changing at adulthood,” he continues. “The brain is incredibly plastic and is constantly changing and redirecting neural networks throughout life. [See my article in the Review of Optometry:
Neuroplasticity: Teaching an Old Brain New Tricks] If a patient has a stroke and has lost a portion of his brain to ischemic injury, every indication is that the brain will correct the deficit as best as it can by redirecting interconnections from surviving neurons so they assume the role that the damaged area used to manage. And when it comes to training the brain, every study has shown that if you provide additional input to the brain during this repair process, the sprouting of new dendrites and new pathways is greatly enhanced. Therapy drives it. I’m always astonished when someone insists that visual neuroadaptation doesn’t occur; or that if it occurs you can’t influence it; or that you can influence it but a given approach couldn’t possibly work. Our profession is stubbornly resistant to new ideas.”

More comments: You are absolutely right about the profession of ophthalmology being resistant to new are also resistant to old ideas and any ideas held by optometry. Shame on your profession! Even when the clinical trials show optometry is right you insist on nah saying. Shame on your profession! DM

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dyslexia: a deficit in visuo-spatial attention, not in phonological processing.

Developmental dyslexia affects up to 10 per cent of the population and it is important to understand its causes. It is widely assumed that phonological deficits, that is, deficits in how words are sounded out, cause the reading difficulties in dyslexia. However, there is emerging evidence that phonological problems and the reading impairment both arise from poor visual (i.e., orthographic) coding. We argue that attentional mechanisms controlled by the dorsal visual stream help in serial scanning of letters and any deficits in this process will cause a cascade of effects, including impairments in visual processing of graphemes, their translation into phonemes and the development of phonemic awareness. This view of dyslexia localizes the core deficit within the visual system and paves the way for new strategies for early diagnosis and treatment

Comments: So vision DOES have something to do with reading!? Quick tell all those who do not think so....well, they just may be wrong!! DM

The Functional Significance of Stereopsis.

...Performance on motor skills tasks was related to stereoacuity, subjects with normal stereoacuity performing best on all tests. This quantifiable degradation in performance on some motor skill tasks supports the need to implement management strategies to maximise development of high grade stereoacuity....

Comments: Optometrists have been saying this forever. Optometric vision therapy improves stereopsis.....and if this research is true....motor skills! DM

Treating Amblyopia Using Liquid Crystal Glasses: A Pilot Study.

...The use of LCG in patients with amblyopia, yielded an improvements in VA for near and distance and in stereopsis. Treatment was well accepted by children and parents....

Comments: It took 9 months of therapy....optometric vision therapy takes the same/less amount of time with not only VA and stereo improving....but also accommodation, oculomotor skills, and fusional vergence improving as well. DM

Termination of Amblyopia Treatment: When to Stop Follow-Up Visits and Risk Factors for Recurrence.

...A clinically important risk of deterioration of visual acuity was found during the first 2 years after cessation of amblyopia treatment. Follow-up time longer than 2 years is recommended in the presence of a developing risk factor such as increasing anisometropia. With prompt re-treatment and good compliance, deterioration can be stopped and visual acuity can be restored....

Comments: Yes! Watch those amblyopes closely. I'm interested as to what would have happened if they treated the binocular vision dysfunction besides just the visual acuity? DM

Is Your Child Ready for 'How to Train Your Dragon' 3D Movie?

Tips for Parents If you are planning on taking your kids to see Dreamworks' "How to Train Your Dragon," you need to know how to determine if they can see 3D and then prepare them for what will happen during a 3D movie if they have never seen one before.

"While 'How to Train Your Dragon' promises to make James Cameron jealous with certain 3D effects, many children may miss out on all the excitement if they can't see 3D," says Dr. Brad Habermehl, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. "Unfortunately, most parents have no idea how their children see their world and children don't complain if they can't see 3D." The top three signs that your child may not be able to see 3D are: Clumsy: Spills milk when pouring, trips while walking, bumps into things Scared of escalators, going down stairs, climbing play structures or avoids them all together Has difficulty hitting or catching a ball If your child has been diagnosed with Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) or an eye turn (Strabismus), they will not be able to see the full 3D effects. Most 3D movies provide visual clues, such as objects appearing smaller the further away they are, which anyone can see whether they are using both eyes or just one. However, there are special effects which do require that you use both of your eyes at the same time. If your child doesn't have 3D vision, he won't be able to see these special 3D effects.

There are some scenes in "How to Train Your Dragon" which can make you feel as if you are on a rollercoaster ride. When a child has never seen a 3D movie before it's best to prepare them beforehand for what they will see. If you can, draw a picture to show your child how with most movies the picture stays on the movie screen. But in this movie the picture will look as if it is filling the whole theater and they may feel like they can reach out and touch the characters. Also be sure to tell your kids ahead of time that if they don't like what they are seeing or feel uncomfortable, they can close their eyes and you will let them know when they can open them again.

During the movie keep an eye out for any signs of a headache, nausea or dizziness during or shortly afterwards. In addition, watch to see how your child responds to the special effects to see if he responds the same way as the other kids do; for example, as the hero of the story, Hiccup, flies through the air with his dragon, Toothless. If not, it's possible that he isn't seeing the special effects. These are signs that your child may have a vision problem and you should schedule an eye exam to have it fully checked.

Is your child's 3D vision draggin'? If your child has trouble with 3D vision, has any of the problems listed above or has a lazy eye or eye turn, it is possible to teach them how to see 3D.

As technology quickly advances to provide us with 3D ready TVs and 3D video games, this is just the beginning. "It is our mission to educate the public on the fact that you and your children can become 3D ready. Optometric vision therapy has helped thousands of people across the world to be able to see 3D," Habermehl states.

To find out more about 3D vision and optometric vision therapy, visit the website for the College of Optometrists in Vision Development,

About COVD and our member doctors The College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) is an international, non-profit optometric membership organization that provides education, evaluation and board certification programs in functional, behavioral, and developmental vision care, optometric vision therapy and vision rehabilitation.

The organization is comprised of doctors of optometry, vision therapists and other vision specialists. For more information on learning-related vision problems, vision therapy, COVD and our open access journal, Optometry & Vision Development, please visit

Developmental optometrists are eye care practitioners who specialize in visual development, the prevention of vision problems, enhancement of visual skills, the rehabilitation of various functional vision problems, and provide optometric vision therapy for children and adults. Optometric vision therapy is a program of prescribed procedures to change and improve visual performance, which in turn helps our eyes and brain work together more effectively for reading and other learning tasks as well as seeing 3D.

For more information, please contact:


Ms. Pamela Happ, CAE, Executive Director

College of Optometrists in Vision Development

215 West Garfield Road, Suite 200

Aurora, OH 44202

P 330-995-0718 | 888-268-3770

F 330-995-0719

Email [email protected] SOURCE College of Optometrists in Vision Development

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Children with autistic traits remain undiagnosed

...Fifty-five percent of children with autistic traits at the same levels as those who had an autism diagnosis had not been identified as needing extra support from education or specialised health services. Of those who were identified as having special needs, 37.5% had been formally diagnosed with an ASD. For children with impairment at the same level as that associated with Asperger's syndrome, 57% had no special provision at school, and were not accessing specialised health services. Twenty-six percent of those who did have special provision at school had an ASD diagnosis...

Sickle Cell Disease Linked To Increased Chances Of Other Health Issues In Children

From AOA First Look

The Los Angeles Times (3/24, Maugh) reports that patients with sickle cell disease "are at least four times as likely as similar children without it to have fair or poor health status," according to a CDC study of black children in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Alongside "hearing and vision deficits," those "with the disorder were seven times more likely to suffer anemia...50% more likely to suffer hay fever, 80% more likely to have food allergies, 120% more likely to have frequent diarrhea, 150% more likely to have headaches and migraines," and "230% more likely to have some intellectual disability." In addition, "their parents reported that they had more difficulties getting medical appointments when crises happened and waited too long in doctor's offices." CQ HealthBeat (3/23, Reichard) also covered the story.

Reshaping Vision

Following are some of the symptoms of learning-related vision problems that can go undetected standard 20/20vision examinations....Intermittent blurred vision. Double vision, especially when reading Headaches after reading Tired, strained eyes Loss of place, skipping or omitting words while reading Excessive blinking or rubbing of the eyes Longer than normal time to do Homework or related study activities Avoidance of reading or studying ....

Beloit College Alumni Magazine Publishes 100th Edition!

My undergraduate institution, Beloit College, published its 100th edition of its alumni magazine. Beloit is a small liberal arts educational institution (Often referred to as the "Yale of the Midwest") with a highly diverse student body, a new 3 million dollar science building, and a faculty that cares. If you are looking for a great school, look here!

Look Deep Into the Mind's Eye

...Scientists have long speculated that the act of seeing things in our mind’s eye employs some of the same brain circuits that we use when seeing with our physical eyes. A number of brain scan studies have supported this view. When you look at a person up close, for example, a particular network of brain regions becomes active, including areas that process raw signals from your eyes as well as more sophisticated regions that recognize individual faces. When you close your eyes and conjure up a face, the parts of the brain that receive signals from the eyes are dormant, but the regions that recognize the features defining an individual again light up....

News from the Gesell Institute

Happy Spring! As the buds have begun to pop on the trees around us here in New Haven, Gesell Institute staff has been hard at work on our national study, as well as finalizing our Spring/Summer catalog, our latest booklet for parents and teachers, and more!

First and foremost, we would like to bring your attention to the statement we released last week in response to the Common Core Standards Initiative -- this is such an important issue for educators and parents of young children! Please be sure to review our statement on our website at to learn more.

Also just released was our March GDO Study Newsletter. Download the newsletter update and learn more about our national study by visiting our Research page at

Hitting the presses this week is our latest Catalog of Parenting and Professional Development Resources including our Spring and Summer workshop offerings and our latest booklet, Gesell's Guide for Parents and Teachers: Understanding the Relationship Between Families and Schools. Download a copy of our catalog at and order your copy of this brand new booklet today!

Planning for our October Early Childhood Leadership Conference is well underway, and we are excited to be continually adding big names to our list of speakers. Visit us on the web at to learn more, and sign up for e-mail updates specific to the conference. Conference registration will be live very soon -- keep an eye out for an announcement of the launch of our new conference web site as well.

Don't forget that we want to hear from our Gesell Alumni, including a wide variety of individuals who visited Gesell Institute as a child for medical or developmental observation purposes, attended or taught at the Gesell Nursery School, fulfilled a medical fellowship or internship, or participated in one of Dr. Gesell's research studies. To learn more and to register as a Gesell Alum, please visit you for joining our mailing list and for supporting our important work. If you are on Facebook, please visit us there at, become a Fan of our page, and look for updates from us in your News Feed each week!

The Staff at Gesell Institute

AOA Wins Historic Patient Access Victory for Optometry in National Health Care Battle

This is a battle the American Optometric Association won for patients everywhere! Way to go AOA! DM

... Included in the more than 2000-page measure is a landmark provision sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and backed by the 36,000-member American Optometric Association (AOA) during a year-long grassroots campaign, that is designed to outlaw discrimination against optometrists and other providers by health plans, including self-insured ERISA plans.....
...“The approval of the Harkin Amendment is a tremendous victory for optometry and will likely prove to be one of the most historic advances in patient access to optometric care since the 1986 recognition of optometrists as physicians under Medicare,” said AOA President Randolph Brooks, O.D. “AOA’s top priority in Washington, D.C. throughout this process has been to expand patient access and put a stop to the health plan discrimination we have faced for too long. Today, thanks to Senator Harkin and other “access-to-care” leaders in Congress, organized medicine and every health plan in America, including ERISA plans, are on notice that their unfair restrictions to the full scope of eye health care we provide are ending.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3-D television hitting area stores, but prices are high

...An estimated 5 percent to 10 percent of people have "stereo blindness" -- they can't see 3-D video as three-dimensional -- and up to 56 percent of people 18 to 38 have problems with binocular vision and have difficulty seeing 3-D, according to the College of Optometrists in Vision Development....

Undiagnosed vision problem can spoil 3-D fun

...Research shows that more than 50 percent of the population will have difficulty experiencing 3-D movies due to poor binocular vision skills. Up to 5 percent of the population will not be able to experience 3-D at all due to either strabismus (crossed eyes), which is the inability to align both eyes simultaneously, or amblyopia (lazy eye), which is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye. For these people, the images that others see jumping off the screen will simply look flat. ...

Help for motion-sick movie-buffs

...Motion-sick movie buffs might find themselves battling 3-D-induced queasiness more often this spring, since a dizzying array of 3-D flicks is on the horizon. Alice in Wonderland in 3-D just opened, and Clash of the Titans and the new Harry Potter epic also will employ the shape-shifting visual technology. You can't escape it at home, either, as 3-D technology now is available on DVD and Blu-ray....