Saturday, August 7, 2010

FDA MedWatch:tramadol hydrochloride

Ultram (tramadol hydrochloride), Ultracet (tramadol hydrochloride/acetaminophen): Label Change

Ortho-McNeil-Janssen and FDA notified healthcare professionals of changes to the Warnings section of the prescribing information for tramadol, a centrally acting synthetic opioid analgesic indicated for the management of moderate to moderately severe chronic pain. The strengthened Warnings information emphasizes the risk of suicide for patients who are addiction-prone, taking tranquilizers or antidepressant drugs and also warns of the risk of overdosage. Tramadol-related deaths have occurred in patients with previous histories of emotional disturbances or suicidal ideation or attempts, as well as histories of misuse of tranquilizers, alcohol, and other CNS-active drugs. Tramadol may be expected to have additive effects when used in conjunction with alcohol, other opioids or illicit drugs that cause central nervous system depression. Serious potential consequences of overdosage with tramadol are central nervous system depression, respiratory depression and death. Tramadol has mu-opioid agonist activity, can be abused and may be subject to criminal diversion.

AMA report: 95 medical liability claims filed for every 100 physicians

...On average, 95 medical liability claims were filed for every 100 physicians who participated in a national survey, ....The eight-page report, which drew from a sample of 5,825 respondents to the AMA's 2007-2008 Physician Practice Information survey, made a compelling argument in favor of national and state-level medical liability reform,...According to the report, 65% of claims were dropped or dismissed, 25.7% were settled, 4.5% were resolved through an alternate dispute mechanism, and 5% were decided by trial. While physicians win in 90% of medical liability cases that go to trial, claims still increase medical costs, according to the AMA release. ...

Young children with autism spectrum disorder use predictive eye movements in action observation.

Falck-Ytter T.Young children with autism spectrum disorder use predictive eye movements in action observation.Biol Lett. 2010 Jun 23;6(3):375-8. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Does a dysfunction in the mirror neuron system (MNS) underlie the social symptoms defining autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? .... This study does not support the view that ASD is characterized by a global dysfunction in the MNS.

Coherent motion processing in autism spectrum disorder (ASD): an fMRI study.

Brieber S, Herpertz-Dahlmann B, Fink GR, Kamp-Becker I, Remschmidt H, Konrad K.Coherent motion processing in autism spectrum disorder (ASD): an fMRI study.Neuropsychologia. 2010 May;48(6):1644-51. Epub 2010 Feb 12.

...A deficit in global motion processing caused by a specific dysfunction of the visual dorsal pathway has been suggested to underlie perceptual abnormalities in subjects with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). .... The data suggest that motion processing in ASD results in deviant activations in both the lower and higher processing stages of the dorsal pathway. This might reflect differences in the perception of visual stimuli in ASD, which possibly result in impaired integration of motion signals....

Family Members of Autistic Have Abnormal Eye Movements

...According to The Centers for Control and Prevention, one in every 110 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism....Those with autism also display rapid eye movements that move between multiple objects in the same field of vision, or smooth eye movements where the eyes focus on a slowly moving object..... family members tended to perform more slowly and less accurately on eye movement tasks, including those assessing saccades and smooth-pursuit eye movements. .... Abnormalities were associated with several brain pathways, some of which are important for language skills, motor control and executive function, or the control and regulation of behavior...

Comments: So not only should we examine children with autism....but all their relatives as well! DM

The Lingering Effects of Lost Sleep

...In the largest laboratory-based sleep-study restriction experiment, researchers found while behavioral and alertness improves significantly after a night of recovery sleep, with more sleep generating more improvement, some impairments lingered even after the maximum dose of 10 hours in bed. Neurobehavioral impairments like low attention span and delayed reaction times accumulated when a person received less than four hours of sleep over a five-day period....

Comments: Yawnnnnn! DM

Our Brain Can Be Taught to Control Cravings

...Standard therapeutic techniques decrease cravings of cigarette smokers by regulating activity in two separate but related areas of the brain...

Comments: Don't want cigarette. Want chocolate. Now, please! DM

How bi-polar disorder is often misdiagnosed as ADHD

...Bi-Polar Disorder is a separate and much more severe disorder than ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) yet the two are often misdiagnosed as being the other disorder. The common misdiagnosis could potentially be dangerous for someone who actually has bi-polar disorder. The problem with diagnosing properly between these two disorders is that they are so closely linked when it comes to symptoms. That is why is utterly important that doctors do extensive testing along with interviews with people that the patient has a lot of contact with...

Strabismus surgery outcome among children and young adults with Down syndrome.

Yahalom C, Mechoulam H, Cohen E, Anteby I.Strabismus surgery outcome among children and young adults with Down syndrome.J AAPOS. 2010 Apr;14(2):117-9.

...purpose was to evaluate postoperative alignment after strabismus surgery in children with Down syndrome. ... Good surgical motor outcomes were achieved in children with Down syndrome after strabismus surgery following standard surgical tables. The tendency toward overcorrection reported in children with central nervous system disorders was not observed in our study....

Comments: Please note that in this abstract there was no mention of "sensory outcomes". Also note that the esoptropia seen in individuals with Down Syndrome tend to be functional in the use of bifocals and optometric vision therapy should be your first line of treatment before surgery. DM

Comprehension of the communicative intent behind pointing and gazing gestures by young children with williams syndrome or down syndrome.

John AE, Mervis CB.Comprehension of the communicative intent behind pointing and gazing gestures by young children with williams syndrome or down syndrome.
J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2010 Aug;53(4):950-60. Epub 2010 Jul 6.

...the authors examined the ability of preschoolers with Williams syndrome (WS) or Down syndrome (DS) to infer communicative intent as expressed through gestures (pointing and eye-gaze shift). ... preschoolers with WS or DS were able to comprehend the communicative intent expressed by pointing and gazing gestures in a tabletop task. Children with DS evidenced significantly stronger pragmatic skills than did children with WS...

Illinois College of Optometry Faculty Achievements

Publications and other Awesome Activities

Sanghera NK, Newman TL. Cytomegaloviral retinitis from chronic Immunosuppression following solid organ transplant surgery. Clin Exp Optom 2010;93:4:261-263.

Skorin L, Keith J. Management of Elevated Intraocular Pressure Following Cataract Surgery Clinical & Surgical Ophthalmology 2010; 28(1): 23-26.

Dr. Keith also completed nine sections of a retina chapter accepted for publication in Onofrey BE, Skorin L, Holdeman NR. Ocular Therapeutics Handbook - A Clinical Manual, 3rd ed. Lippincott Raven, 2010.

Maino DM, Goodfellow GW. ASCOTech: Yoda and Mr. Clean on TV and in a digital universe. Optom Ed 2010;35(3):92-5.

Dr. Renee Reeder received a research grant from Metro Optics on the project: A Retrospective Study of the Performance of the ComfortKone Lens in a Keratoconic Population.

Dr. Maino was extensively quoted in Optometric Management June's issue on the topic of 3D Media Can Usher in New Patients ( ).

ICO adjunct faculty member Dr. Tom Stelmack was recognized in Newcomb RA, History of Optometry in the VA. “The nation’s first optometry VA resident, Thomas Stelmack, completed his one-year post-graduate program at the Kansas City VA hospital in 1976.”

A number of ICO faculty and staff will be taking part in a Transitions Think Tank/ Brainstorming meeting. ICO participants include: President Augsburger; Vice President for Student, Alumni and College Development, Dr. Mark Colip; Optics faculty member, Dr. Geoffrey Goodfellow; Optics faculty member, Dr. Neil Hodur; Senior Practice Management faculty member, Dr. Jan Jurkus; Executive Director of the Illinois Eye Institute, Dr. Len Messner; and, Fait Family Eyewear Center Manager, Ms. Nancy DeMaso.

ICO student Ms. Karina Nikogosian received a scholarship from the National Optometric Association. The College also received the school of the year award from the NOA.

Dr. Natividad Alcon Gargallo is visiting ICO during July to September. Her professional degree is Ph.D. in Pharmacy and a Doctorate in Optometry. She splits her time between the University of Valencia (teaching Optometry and Ophthalmic Optics) and the Technological Institute of Optics-AIDO (Director of Ophthalmic Optics Department), both in Valencia, Spain. Dr. Gargallo is interested in low vision and observing at the IEI's Low Vision Rehabilitation Service and at the Chicago Lighthouse.

Drs. Goodfellow and Hodur attended the ASCO Ophthalmic Optics Special Interest Group Meeting at Transitions, Inc. headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida. G. Goodfellow served his last year on the SIG Program Committee as Immediate Past President.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The 17 Visual Skills You Need to Suceed!

Most people don’t realize that you need 17 visual skills to succeed in reading, learning, sports, and in life. Seeing ‘20/20’ is just one of those visual skills. Here is the complete list:

1. Eye Movement Control
2. Simultaneous Focus at Far
3. Sustaining Focus at Far
4. Simultaneous Focus at Near
5. Sustaining Focus at Near
6. Simultaneous Alignment at Far
7. Sustaining Alignment at Far
8. Simultaneous Alignment at Near
9. Sustaining Alignment at Near
10. Central Vision (Visual Acuity)
11. Peripheral Vision
12. Depth Awareness
13. Color Perception
14. Gross Visual-Motor
15. Fine Visual-Motor
16. Visual Perception
17. Visual Integration

Comments: Ask your Doctor of Optometry if he/she evaluates all of the above. DM

Most Back to School Shopping Lists Are Missing 17 Critical Items

Most Back to School Shopping Lists Are Missing 17 Critical Items -
Doctors offer advice to parents to ensure academic success

Millions of children are heading back to their classrooms without the visual skills required to succeed in school. One of the reasons for this is that most people assume if you can see the letters on the eye chart your vision is fine, yet being able to see the letters on the eye chart is just one of 17 visual skills necessary for academic success.

“The myth that ‘20/20’ means you have perfect vision started in the 1800’s when the eye chart was created,” states Dr. Brad Habermehl, President of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

“This August marks the 15th year we have been observing August as National Children’s Vision and Learning Month. The purpose of this observance is to educate parents and educators that vision plays a critical role in our children’s education.”

Dr. Katherine Donovan, a psychiatrist from Charleston, S.C. is joining the campaign this year to share her story in the hopes that it will help other families with children who are struggling.

"It wasn't until my own child had problems with reading that I discovered that my medical training was missing a very valuable piece of information which turned out to be the key to helping my daughter, Lily. While I had taken Lily to many ophthalmologists and learning specialists, desperate to understand why this very bright child still could not read well, or write legibly at age 12, I always got the same answers: 'her vision's fine' and 'she's dyslexic.'"

"As a physician, I had been taught that vision therapy was controversial and could not treat learning disabilities. However, my personal experience with my daughter proved to me that vision therapy worked, when nothing else did," Dr. Donovan shares. "While vision therapy cannot treat learning disabilities, per se, it absolutely corrected a vision problem which was blocking Lily from being able to learn. After a visit with a developmental optometrist who tested over 15 visual skills critical to reading and learning, I was shocked to learn that Lily was seeing double out to three FEET—which meant that when she tried to read, the words were double. No wonder she hated to read!"

Following optometric vision therapy, "Lily now reads 300 pages a day, in her free time; she puts down 'reading' as her favorite hobby; and she has a 95-average at Buist Academy with NO help from me on her homework! Prior to this, I'd been spending three to four hours each night, for many years, tutoring Lily," Dr. Donovan shares with delight.

Optometric vision therapy treats vision problems that make reading and learning difficult. While vision therapy does not treat dyslexia, vision problems can often be misdiagnosed as learning disabilities such as dyslexia or even ADHD. According to the American Optometric Association, studies indicate that 60 percent of children identified as "problem learners" actually suffer from undetected vision problems, and in some cases have been inaccurately diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

According to Dr. Habermehl, "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that if a child is seeing double, ghosty or unstable texts it will be hard to read. Yet, if you assume vision is fine, the only possible conclusion one can reach is the child has a learning disability such as ADHD or dyslexia." According to the American Optometric Association, studies indicate that 60 percent of children identified as "problem learners" actually suffer from undetected vision problems.

A local developmental optometrist, Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A, who has an office in Harwood Heights, Il (Northwest Optometric Associates) explains, "When students understand the lesson when it is read to them yet struggle to read it (silently to themselves or out loud) this can a very strong sign that a vision problem may be contributing to their difficulties." Dr. Maino is a Professor of Pediatrics/Binocular Vision at the Illinois College of Optometry/Illinois Eye Institute and has a blog (MainosMemos)that emphasizes getting the word out concerning childrens vision.

Not all eye doctors test for learning-related vision problems, so it is important for parents to ask the right questions. Call your eye doctor's office and ask the following two questions:
1. Do you test for learning-related vision problems?
2. Do you provide an in-office vision therapy program when indicated, or will you refer me to someone who does?

If the answer is no to either one or both of these questions, visit COVD's website,, to find a developmental optometrist near you.
About COVD

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 behavioral and developmental vision care, vision therapy and visual 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 and COVD, please visit or call 888.268.3770.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Artists of Casa Italia Present ConNeXxions

The Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia presents its 21st art exhibition featuring a score of Chicago’s most talented Italian American artists August 6-16, 2010 in the Chandelier Room, 3800 Division St., Stone Park, IL. After our gala opening at 6 pm on August 6, the exhibit will be open 1pm-8 pm on Saturdays and Sundays and will be available on weekdays 10 am - 5 pm by phoning the Casa Italia office at 708 345-5933.

ConNeXxions: Inspired by Forebearers

We sent out a request to artists to reflect on the Italian American experience and to connect with their Forebearers. The result is a show filled with color and emotion, surprises, and fantasy. Join us for the Opening Reception (wine and cheese) at 6 pm on Friday August 6 . To reserve your place at this free event, call Casa Italia at 708-345-5933. For more information on Casa Italia’s location
etc. visit

Among the artists in the Show:

Thomas Amato, Walter Arnold, Horacio Baggio, Laura Baggio, Gino Bartucci presenting sculptures by Armani, Wayne Bertola, John Bucci, Mary Jo Bruno, Christine Caruso, Lenice Colangelo, Franco DeMonte, Giovanna Hopkins, Dominick Maino, Louis Mustari, Tom Palazzolo, Gloria Rigoni,and others to be Announced