Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oliver Sacks MD Radio Interview

The Leonard Lopate Show
Oliver Sacks
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Neurologist Oliver Sacks tells stories of people who manage to navigate the world and communicate, despite losing what many consider indispensable senses and abilities: the power of speech, the ability to recognize faces, the sense of three-dimensional space, the ability to read, and to see. In The Mind’s Eye he considers the fundamental questions: How do we see? How do we think?

Dr. Sacks wrote the story, StereoSue, in the New Yorker which led to Dr. Susan Barry's book, Fixing My Gaze.

ICO Featured in the AOA News: Chicago Vision Outreach

Optometric Vision Therapy in the News!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Patching Requires Tough Love

Patching Requires Tough Love
October 29, 2010 by Dr. Rochelle Mozlin

On Monday I examined 2 children, both of whom are amblyopic. Amblyopia (also called lazy eye) is a condition where one eye sees poorly, even with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Amblyopia can develop in childhood due to:

An obstruction of vision within one eye due to injury or disease; (deprivation amblyopia)
Significant differences between the clearness of the images seen by each eye due to farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism; (refractive amblyopia)
Misaligned eyes or crossed eyes (Strabismus) (strabismic amblyopia).......

Magnetic Test Reveals Hyperactive Brain Network Responsible for Involuntary Flashbacks

...Scientists have found a correlation between increased circuit activity in the right side of the brain and the suffering of involuntary flashbacks by Scientists have found a correlation between increased circuit activity in the right side of the brain and the suffering of involuntary flashbacks by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferers.....

Halloween Safety: Improper Use of Decorative Contact Lenses May Haunt You

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid!

Halloween can not only be scary....but can lead to blindness if you choose to wear "scary" contacts without an optometrist's prescription. Be careful this Halloween so you can see all the wonderful/horrible/scary things out there...

Treat kids with nut allergies to safe Halloween

...For most kids, Halloween parties and trick-or-treating can be a mixture of fun and fright, but for children with a nut allergy, the day can actually be dangerous, ....This type of allergy “can be a life-or-death situation. Just because a child only had a rash the first time exposed doesn't mean it won't be more serious the next time....

Optometry: The AOA Journal Volume 81 • Issue 11 November 2010

In this issue Volume 81 • Issue 11 November 2010

Editor's Perspective


Endorsement of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program
Paul B. Freeman

Guest Editorial


Choose prevention
Rochelle Mozlin

Health Notes


Corneal transplants
Byron Y. Newman

Medical Abstracts


Infliximab therapy is well tolerated and effective in treating refractory noninfectious scleritis
Stephen Hess

Treating a large population at a high risk for trachomatous blindness
Stephen Hess

Guidelines for Authors


Guidelines for Authors

Issue Highlight


Validity of the VERA visual skills screening
Michael Gallaway, G. Lynn Mitchell

Clinical Care


Retinopathy associated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment for chronic hepatitis C
Shelly Adams, Mark Ostermeier

Two presentations of nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy
Kiersten Nelson, Gurjit Singh, Stephen Boyer, Dax Gay

Clinical Research


Compliance with soft contact lens replacement schedules and associated contact lens-related ocular complications: The UCLA Contact Lens Study
Karen K. Yeung, Julie F.Y. Forister, Eric F. Forister, Marisa Y. Chung, Silvia Han, Barry A. Weissman

Practice Strategies


Holding a staff meeting on electronic health records

Many social media options exist for optometrists
Nathan Bonilla-Warford

Time to choose: Preparation and education or huge repayments to insurers
Charles B. Brownlow

Getting started as a Medicare provider

Start thinking like a CEO
Gary Gerber

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nearly One-Third Of Patients May Suffer From Digital Device-Related Vision Problems.

From AOA First Look:

The Orange County Register (10/26, Haas) reported, "Smartphones and similar devices might cause vision concerns," Dr. Roger Phelps, spokesman for VSP Vision Care, explained. In fact, "according to recent research with VSP eye doctors, 33 percent" of respondents "reported that nearly one-third or more of their patients suffer from digital device-related vision problems. The most common include eye strain (82 percent), dry or irritated eyes (74 percent), fatigue (70 percent) and headaches (61 percent)." Dr. Phelps recommended that people using such devices take frequent breaks, get computer vision glasses, and undergo regular eye examinations.

Younger Brains Are Easier To Rewire

.... new findings, described in the Oct. 14 issue of the journal Current Biology, shed light on how the brain wires itself during the first few years of life, and could help scientists understand how to optimize the brain's ability to be rewired later in life. That could become increasingly important as medical advances make it possible for congenitally blind people to have their sight restored, said MIT postdoctoral associate Marina Bedny, lead author of the paper. ...



NIH-funded research shows that digital images can be manipulated with the mind

Move over, touchpad screens: New research funded in part by the National Institutes of Health shows that it is possible to manipulate complex visual images on a computer screen using only the mind.

The study, published in Nature, found that when research subjects had their brains connected to a computer displaying two merged images, they could force the computer to display one of the images and discard the other. The signals transmitted from each subject's brain to the computer were derived from just a handful of brain cells.

"The subjects were able to use their thoughts to override the images they saw on the computer screen," said the study's lead author, Itzhak Fried, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles. The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), both part of NIH.

The study reflects progress in the development of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), devices that allow people to control computers or other devices with their thoughts. BCIs hold promise for helping paralyzed individuals to communicate or control prosthetic limbs. But in this study, BCI technology was used mostly as a tool to understand how the brain processes information, and especially to understand how thoughts and decisions are shaped by the collective activity of single brain cells.

"This is a novel and elegant use of a brain-computer interface to explore how the brain directs attention and makes choices," said Debra Babcock, M.D., Ph.D., a program director at NINDS.

The study involved 12 people with epilepsy who had fine wires implanted in their brains to record seizure activity. Recordings like these are routinely used to locate areas of the brain that are responsible for seizures. In this study, the wires were inserted in the medial temporal lobe, a brain region important for memory and the ability to recognize complex images, including faces.

While the recordings from their brains were transmitted to a computer, the research subjects viewed two pictures superimposed on a computer screen, each picture showing a familiar object, place, animal or person. They were told to select one image as a target and to focus their thoughts on it until that image was fully visible and the other image faded away. The monitor was updated every one-tenth of one second based on the input from the brain recordings.

As a group, the subjects attempted this game nearly 900 times in total, and were able to force the monitor to display the target image in 70 percent of these attempts. Subjects tended to learn the task very quickly, and often were successful on the first try.

The brain recordings and the input to the computer were based on the activity of just four cells in the temporal lobe. Prior research has shown that individual cells in this part of the brain respond preferentially - firing impulses at a higher rate - to specific images. For instance, one cell in the temporal lobe might respond to seeing a picture of Marilyn Monroe, while another might respond to Michael Jackson. Both were among the celebrity faces used in the study.

Dr. Fried's team first identified four brain cells with preferences for celebrities or familiar objects, animals or landmarks, and then targeted the recording electrodes to those cells. The team found that when subjects played the image-switching game, their success appeared to depend on their ability to power up cells that preferred the target image and suppress cells that preferred the non-target image.

"The remarkable aspects of this study are that we can concentrate our attention to make a choice by modulating so few brain cells and that we can learn to control those cells very quickly," said Dr. Babcock.

Prior studies on BCIs have shown that it is possible to perform other tasks, such as controlling a computer cursor, with just a few brain cells. However, the task here was more complex and might have been expected to involve legions of cells in diverse brain areas needed for vision, attention, memory and decision-making.">

Expert Warns Of Eye Injuries, Infections Resulting From Bobbing For Apples.

From AOA First Look:

The UK's Telegraph (10/27, Smith) reported that "the traditional" Halloween party game of bobbing for apples "can lead to scratches of the surfaces of the eye and infections from dirty water," according to eye expert Parwez Hossain of the UK's Southampton General Hospital's eye unit. He explained that "children and adults can pick up scratches, infections and other eye injuries from the blow of hitting an apple at force when dunking their heads into a bowl of water to take a bite." What's more, "serious corneal infections from dirty water or residue of liquids" can result if "bowls aren't cleaned properly."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition

If you are into might want to check this out! DM

Use of mobile phones and changes in cognitive function in adolescents

.... 236 students participated in both examinations. The proportion of mobile phone owners and the number of voice calls and short message services (SMS) per week increased from baseline to follow-up. Participants with more voice calls and SMS at baseline showed less reductions in response times over the 1-year period in various computerised tasks. Furthermore, those with increased voice calls and SMS exposure over the 1-year period showed changes in response time in a simple reaction and a working memory task. No associations were seen between mobile phone exposure and the Stroop test. ....

Two Hours At TV Or Computer Screen Linked To Psychological Problems In Kids

...A child who spends at least two hours a day in front of a TV screen or computer monitor has a significantly higher risk of developing psychological problems, no matter how much physical activity they do, ..... The more physically active children who were in front of a screen for at least two hours a day appeared to do better than their sedentary peers in emotional and peer problems, but fared worse in behavioral areas, including hyperactivity.....

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience: New Journal Launched By Elsevier

....Elsevier, ... is pleased to announce the launch of a new journal, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Published quarterly, print copies of the first issue will be available at the Society for Neuroscience 40th Annual Meeting, to take place in San Diego in November 2010.

....Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience will publish theoretical and research papers on cognitive brain development, from infancy through childhood and adolescence to old age. It will cover neurocognitive development and neurocognitive processing in both typical and atypical development, including social and affective aspects. Appropriate methodologies for the journal will include, but are not limited to, functional neuroimaging (fMRI and MEG), electrophysiology (EEG and ERP), NIRS and transcranial magnetic stimulation, as well as other neuroscience approaches which are applied in animal studies, patient studies, case studies, post-mortem studies and pharmacological studies.

....Original research articles, review papers, opinion pieces and perspectives, and short communications will be accessible through ScienceDirect. Authors are encouraged to submit contributions on all types of neuroscience approaches which are applied in animal, patient, case, post-mortem and pharmacological studies.

The first Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience articles are now available on SciVerse ScienceDirect, as well as the first issue's Foreword and Editorial. ...

How Deaf People's Brains Change To Boost Sight

...After studying the brains of congenitally deaf cats, the only animal apart from humans that can be born deaf, researchers proposed that the part of the brain normally used for hearing is reorganized to boost sight in deaf people, thus explaining their reported capacity for "supersight"....
Comments: Read more about this interesting topic by clicking on the title above. DM

“Be Seen. Be Safe.” this Halloween

....As October 31 approaches, the B.C. Association of Optometrists reminds parents to pick up free “Be Seen. Be Safe.” reflective stickers for their children’s Halloween costumes.

“We want to help keep kids safe this Halloween, and that includes being visible to motorists,” says Dr. Meghan Ashton, a B.C. optometrist.

The reflective stickers are available to parents across the province at BCAO optometrists’ offices, which are listed at In rural areas where there are no optometry offices, the reflective stickers are provided to the local RCMP detachments....

Physicians Increasingly Using iPad As A Clinical Tool.

From AOA First Look:

The Chicago Sun-Times (10/26, Thomas) reports that since "Apple's iPad hit the market in April, doctors at Chicago area hospitals are increasingly using the hot-selling tablet as a clinical tool." The article adds that emergency department "doctors are using iPads to order lab tests and medication," plastic "surgeons are using them to show patients what they might look like after surgery," and "medical residents are using them as a quick reference to look up drug interactions and medical conditions." The article notes that "the University of Chicago Medical Center plans to provide iPads to all of its internal medicine residents, expanding on a pilot program launched earlier this year" and that "Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood has given iPads to all of its orthopedic residents as part of a pilot program."

The Miami Herald (10/26, Hardy) reports that the "genius of the iPad is that it uses inexpensive apps -- tools that carry out a specific task -- to perform functions," and it is "a universal machine that can be anything you want it to be."

Comments: Have any of you used your IPad while conducting an eye examination? If so I would like to hear from you. DM

Visual Activity Prior to and Following the Onset of Juvenile Myopia

....Before myopia onset, future myopic children's near work activities did not differ from emmetropes. Those who became myopic performed fewer outdoor/sports activity hours than emmetropes prior to, at, and after myopia onset. Myopia onset may influence children's near work behavior, but the lack of difference prior to onset argues against near work playing a major causative role. Less outdoor/sports activity prior to myopia onset may exert a stronger influence on development than near work. ....

Comments: Near work may not be causative to myopia's initial development, but may be very important to myopia's progression because those who spend less time outdoors do develop more myopia... If you are indoors you tend to do more close activities. Maybe it is not the amount of near work prior to the development of myopia that is important, but rather how the pre-myope indivdiual reacts to the nearwork. Nearwork then could still be, at least in part, a cause of the myopia development.

It looked like they did not determine if Nearpoint Induced Transient Myopia was noted in this population or if they even assessed its presence. They only looked at the development of the nearsightedness....and not other potential myopiogenic factors. Go to;=en&as;_sdt=0&as;_vis=1&oi;=scholart for more info on this topic. DM

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Single Most Important Thing You Need to Know Before Putting Your Practice on Facebook

Are you confused between FaceBook Accounts (for people) and FaceBook Pages (for businesses)? If so this article by my friend and colleague, Dr. Nate Bonilla-Warford should make it all clear to you! Click on the title above for more information. DM

South Carolina Optometrists Partner with State Legislators and Local Mayors in Improving Infant Eye and Vision Care

No-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments provided by InfantSEE® Program

-- Due to the overwhelming number of children with eye and vision problems across the United States, South Carolina optometrists are devoting appointments to no-cost, comprehensive eye and vision assessments for infants between six to 12 months of age through InfantSEE®.

InfantSEE®, a public health program developed by Optometry Cares - The AOA Foundation and Vistakon®, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., was designed to provide professional eye care for infants nationwide at no-cost, regardless of family income or number of eligible children. ....

Comments: Read more by clicking the title above. DM

Vonnegut’s Counter-Vigilance: When Doctors Err on the Side of Caution

From Dr. Len Press's blog....if you don't read his "stuff" often you are missing a great deal! Click on the title above to read more... DM

....Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness, Only More So is a memoir that celebrates the improbable odyssey of an individual with bipolar disorder who battles his mental imbalance well enough to graduate from Harvard Medical School and subsequently serve on their admissions committee. Regarding his curious book title, Dr. Vonnegut shares that when he fielded questions at the end of a talk to a patient support group, he was asked: “What’s the difference between yourself and someone without mental illness.....

Supporting Siblings of People with Disabilities: The Forgotten Family Members

Please join us for this exciting and important sibling conference. Feel free to spread the word to others. The information brochure is attached and at the following link:;=0&mitemid;=27&mprice;=0&nitemid;=28&nprice;=0.

Supporting Siblings of People with Disabilities: The Forgotten Family Members

November 15th, 2010 9:30am-4pm College of DuPage Glen Ellyn, IL

Sponsored by the Arc of Illinois. In partnership with the Institute on Disability and Human Development at UIC and Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters (SIBS).

Katie Arnold, MS
Director of Community Education
Institute on Disability and Human Development
University of Illinois at Chicago
1640 W. Roosevelt Rd, Rm#251B
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 996-1002 (312) 413-0453 TTY (312) 413-4098 Fax