Friday, November 26, 2010

Vaccines, Thimerosal and Autism

Vaccines and Thimerosal

Related Research

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendations regarding the use of vaccines that contain thimerosal as a preservative. MMWR 1999:48(43);996-998.
McMahon AW, Iskander JK, Haber P, Braun MM, Ball R. Inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) in children < 2 years of age: Examination of selected adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after thimerosal-free or thimerosal-containing vaccine.External Web Site Icon Vaccine 2008;26(3):427-429.
Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, Shay DK, Benson P, Hinrichsen VL, Lewis E, Eriksen E, Ray P, Marcy SM, Dunn J, Jackson LA, Lieu TA, Black S, Stewart G, Weintraub ES, Davis RL, DeStefano F; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team. Early thimerosal exposure and neuropsychological outcomes at 7 to 10 years.External Web Site Icon New England Journal of Medicine 2007;357(13):1281-1292.

QuickStats: Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-Related Death Rates, by Age Group --- United States, 2006*

.....In 2006, nearly one third of all injury deaths involved TBI. Overall injury and TBI-related death rates vary across age groups. Peak injury and TBI-related mortality rates occurred among persons aged 20--24 years (76.9 per 100,000 and 24.1 per 100,000, respectively) and among persons aged ≥75 years (173.2 per 100,000 and 58.4 per 100,000, respectively).....

A good place to start learning about Traumatic Brain Injury

...Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States.  Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. Recent data shows that, on average, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually....

Learning Disability: Who Has LD?

...Among youths aged 5--17 years, during 2006--2009, boys were twice as likely as girls (18.2% versus 9.2%) to have been diagnosed with either a learning disability or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Approximately 5.7% of boys had a learning disability without ADHD, compared with 3.9% of girls, 7.0% of boys had ADHD without a learning disability compared with 2.8% of girls, and 5.5% of boys had both a learning disability and ADHD compared with 2.5% of girls....


Some great info on eye movement problems and strabismus. Every optometry student should look at this.(So should all optometrists!) DM

More Effective Treatment Identified for Common Childhood Vision Disorder

......While the majority of eye care professionals treat children diagnosed with CI using some form of home-based therapy, a new study concludes that office-based treatment by a trained therapist along with at-home reinforcement is more effective......

One stop shop for all things Amblyopia (lazy eye)


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  • Video of Amblyopia
    A child with amblyopia is sending unequal signals from each eye to the brain.

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Workplace and Environmental Health and Safety Films

Arc eye (keratoconjunctivitis photoelectrica), also known as welder's flash, bake eyes, corneal flash burns, or flash burns, is a painful ocular condition sometimes experienced by welders who have failed to use adequate eye protection. It is also referred to as arc flash, though this can also refer to an electrical explosion. It can also occur due to using tanning beds without proper eyewear. Although not caused by an arc, the identical syndrome of ultraviolet keratitis can be caused by UV from excessive sun exposure, light reflected from snow (known as snow blindness), water or sand. The intense ultraviolet light absorbed by the eye causes a superficial and painful keratitis. Symptoms tend to occur a number of hours after exposure and typically resolve spontaneously within 36 hours. The sensation has been described as like having sand poured into the eyes or ground glass in the eyes. For more on eye safety and preventing eye injuries, go to the NIOSH website at . This is clipped from the 1942 Dept of Defense training film, Ski Safely. The entire film has been digitized by the nonprofit Public.Resource.Org ( ) in a cooperative agreement with the National Technical Information ( ) ....

Open Access Journals

Open access is gaining on the more traditional print only or access delayed journals. Check out these open access journals ....

Springer Open


I think you will find that in the very near future all journals will be open access with immediate access and ongoing publication of articles. DM

Preparing raw clinical data for publication: guidance for journal editors, authors, and peer reviewers

As someone who frequently writes and is a peer reviewer for various journals and is the editor of a journal, it is important to know data...where it came from, how it was used, and if the raw data is available for review and use by others. This article gives information for all who write, review of edit journals. DM

In recognition of the benefits of transparent reporting, many peer-reviewed journals require that their authors be prepared to share their raw, unprocessed data with other scientists and/or state the availability of raw data in published articles. But little information on how data should be prepared for publication - or sharing - has emerged. In clinical research patient privacy and consent for use of personal health information are key considerations, but agreed-upon definitions of what constitutes anonymised patient information do not appear to have been established. We aim to address this issue by providing practical guidance for those involved in the publication process, by proposing a minimum standard for de-identifying datasets for the purposes of publication in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal, or sharing with other researchers. Basic advice on file preparation is provided along with procedural guidance on prospective and retrospective publication of raw data, with an emphasis on randomised controlled trials.

In order to encourage its wide dissemination this article is freely accessible on the BMJ and Trials journal web sites.  Please click on the title above for a pdf of the article. DM

Reporting bias in medical research - a narrative

...In conclusion, reporting bias is a widespread phenomenon in the medical literature. Mandatory prospective registration of trials and public access to study data via results databases need to be introduced on a worldwide scale. This will allow for an independent review of research data, help fulfil ethical obligations towards patients, and ensure a basis for fully-informed decision making in the health care system....

Comments: These days all of us read scientific article with a somewhat jaundiced eye....even clinical trials. We must remain sceptical....but open. We must evaluate the data......and the conclusions. We must use and accept the research....but be ready to adjust our approach as needed as our understanding of the problem and its solution become apparent...and we cannot let dependence upon  waiting for just the right evidence based medicine before providing treatments we know have a high potential for success when we measure risks vs benefits. Download the complete article by clicking the title above. DM

Dr. Len Press and the Brilliance of Dr. Brock and his Marvelous String

My friend and colleague, Dr. Len Press is a Renaissance optometrist. He knows more than any one individual I call friend. He often shares his knowledge using his wit and wisdom to bring you into his "story" and leaves you wanting more. This discussion of Dr. Frederick Brock and his simple but magnificent optometric diagnostic and therapy tool the Brock String is such a "story". Read it. Watch the video and marvel how one man could devise such an incredible device. For more information on Dr. Brock go to

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Young Children Sensitive To Others' Behaviors And Intentions

...Young children's helpfulness is tempered when they see that the person they intend to help has harmed another person. But it also diminishes when they see that the object of their attention meant to harm another, even if no harm was done. ...

Caffeine and Glucose Combined Improves the Efficiency of Brain Activity

The researchers of this study noted that: "Our main finding is that the combination of the two substances improves cognitive performance in terms of sustained attention and working memory by increasing the efficiency of the areas of the brain responsible for these two functions,....the team found that individuals who consumed caffeine and glucose in combination showed reduced brain activation associated with the task in the bilateral parietal cortex and the left prefrontal cortex -- ...."

Comments: So....when I say "I run on Dunkin" it's true!! DM

MainosMemos Featured in ICO Matters

The Fall issue of ICO Matters (the Illinois College of Optometry's Alumni Magazine) featured a story on MainosMemos. Click above to read it or enlarge the image above. DM

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Do 3-D Movies Cause Motion Sickness

ICO president talks about why optometry is an attractive profession

AOA Contact Lens Hygiene and Compliance

Computer Vision Syndrome II

Computer Vision Syndrome

What is an Optometrist and What do We Do?

AOA Radio PSA's

Great Photos by America's Primary Eye Care Providers: Optometrists

Vision and School & Behavior Problems

Cognitive Impairments in Adolescent Cannabis Users are Related to THC Levels

...The high THC group made significantly more disadvantageous choices on the decision-making task and also performed less accurately on a task of sustained attention compared with the low THC group....

Comments: With medical marijuana legal in some 13 states, our adolescent patients may have an increased access to pot. This could affect many areas including their cognitive ability and development. DM

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Think about it!

If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

To steal an idea from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

For more of the same....and then some go to

Monday, November 22, 2010

Do We Need Evidence for Everything

Just read an article, Do We Need Evidence for Everything? by David G. Hunter, M.D., Ph.D. in the American Orthoptic Journal, Volume 60, 2010. In this paper he states that:

"For my patient with acquired esotropia,I needed to make a decision. Despite the lack of evidence or guidance, I integrated my previous experience, my understanding of the prognosis and the potential for harm, and the specifics of this case to make a decision. I decided to inject each medial rectus muscle with fi ve units of botulinum toxin."

In this article's abstract he goes on to say: "There is no randomized, controlled trial ... supporting the contention that evidence-based medicine is beneficial, and “evidence” is more than the information that can be obtained from RCTs. Systematic reviews have severe limitations .... RCTs can lead to false or contradictory conclusions. ... controlled studies enroll ..highly selected groups ..., yet real patients bring with them an abundance of messy heterogeneity. ... we should not withhold potentially beneficial treatment just because we lack randomized controlled trials. The frequent lack of solid clinical evidence requires clinicians to invoke critical thinking, communication, judgment, and even intuition on behalf of their patients. Medical training is as much an apprenticeship as it is an education, and medicine as much a craft as it is an art."

Finally... a medical colleague, who putting politics and professional jealousy aside, states what we health care providers know to be true. Having RCTs back up what we do is awesome. Withholding treatment because of a lack of RCTs not a good idea. We all want science to support our diagnosis and treatment but lacking this support we always should do what Dr. Hunter recommends. He recommends that by integrating our previous experience, using our understanding of the prognosis and the potential for harm, and paying attention to the specifics of the case before us we make a decision on how we are going to treat the presenting disorder.

At least this fine gentleman is not being hypocritical (See: An Open Letter to David K Wallace, MD, MPH (and other disbelievers and holders of outdated and biased opinions and beliefs) at ) Thank you Dr. Hunter. DM

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Interest in 3D and Associated Eye Problems Still High

Comments: This ABC video (that featured a very handsome fellow that I know quite well), was offered to ABC viewers some time ago...but interest in this topic continues to build. I will be speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show this January on a panel that will feature many of the shakers and movers of 3D hardware, software and soon as I know more...I will let you know...DM

ICO Graduate and Faculty Featured on ABC TV

Friends and colleagues, Dr. Mary Lou French and Dr. Renee Reeder were feaured in this report.

Brain's ability to selectively focus/pay attention diminishes with age

....visual attention -- the brain's ability to selectively filter unattended or unwanted information from reaching awareness -- diminishes with age, leaving older adults less capable of filtering out distracting or irrelevant information. ...

Comments: Dear Sylvia (my lovely spouse)...It is not that I am not paying attention to you. I am really....but it's the fact that I am now so chronologically enhanced that this is the reason why it may appear as if I am not paying attention to you! I am paying attention really! Now, what did you say? DM

TBI Common Among Young Motorcyclists

....Almost a third of young motorcycle riders who have a crash sustain a traumatic brain injury....

Comments: During undergrad and as an optometry student I worked in a hospital emergency room. One reason I never got into motorcycles were the number of busted up individuals I saw in the ER. Scary. DM


This is a review in the Lancet. For Free open access articles on the same topic check out:

Optometry and Vision Development Volume 40, No. 3, 2009

Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
by Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A, Editor

Serving the Needs of the Patient with Autism
by Rachel A. Coulter, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

The Role of Optometry in Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders
by Leonard J. Press, OD, FAAO, FCOVD; Jack E. Richman, OD, FAAO, FCOVD

The Etiology of Autism
by Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A; Stephen G. Viola, PhD; Robert Donati, PhD

Brain Anatomy, Electrophysiology and Visual Function/Perception in Children within the Autism Spectrum Disorder
by Stephen G. Viola, PhD; Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A

Understanding the Visual Symptoms of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
by Rachel A Coulter, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

Insights into the Diagnosis and Treatment of Patients within the Autism Spectrum: A Patient’s Story
by Nancy G. Torgerson, OD, FCOVD

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

Book Review
Eye Power: A Cutting Edge Report on Vision Therapy
Review by Leonard J. Press, OD, FCOVD, FAAO

Autism Frontiers: Clinical Issues and Innovations
Review by Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A

Cheating Scandal: 200 Students Caught

.... When 200 students recently were caught cheating on a midterm exam, their professor gave them an ultimatum. Does his punishment fit the crime? ...

Comments: I teach....those who are about to become health care professionals....I would like to believe that my students are a bit above all others...even when it comes to ethics and morals. I also know we are all human. Read Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) on how even the best of us could go astray.... Do not cheat. DM

Vapor Rub Relieves Cold Symptoms For Children,

....Applying a vapor rub is effective for treating children with night-time cough and congestion and improves sleep for children with cold symptoms,....

Comments: So my mom did know what she was talking about after all! I think the love
helped too! DM

Children With Learning Difficulties Can Benefit From Being Encouraged To Find Their Own Way To Solve Arithmetic Problems

.......children deal better with arithmetical problems if they can use their own intuitive strategies such as using number blocks, drawings or breaking an equation up into smaller, simpler parts- rather than being instructed in arithmetical facts and procedures. ....

Important Period For Learning Is Before Preschool

....The amount of time parents spend talking about numbers has a much bigger impact on how young children learn mathematics than was previously known...

City Life Is Hard On The Brain

In the city where.....the need continuously to process multitudes of fleeting but compelling stimuli can impair mental processes like memory and attention and leave us mentally exhausted.....

Comments: I live in Chicago. I love Chicago. It is a great city. DM

Study Reveals Children Recover From Autism With Intensive Three-Year Behavioral Therapy

....The three-year study, ....using a version of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that blends structured teaching with play-based behavioral intervention. Today, 43 percent of the study's participants no longer display clinical symptoms of autism and most of the participants demonstrate significant improvements in functioning.....

21.8% Increase In ADHD Diagnoses In Kids In 4 Years In USA

....9.7% of children aged between 4 and 17 years had at some time been diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 2007, up from 7.8% in 2003, a 21.8% increase, according to data published today in the CDC's (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). ....

Do Handwriting Problems in Autistic Children Continue into Teen Years?

....A new study suggests that the handwriting problems that affect children with autism are likely to continue into their teenage years. The research is published in the November 16, 2010, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.....