Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dry eye symptoms show improvement after omega-3 fatty acid supplement

...Tear production and volume increased in patients with dry eye following treatment with an omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplement, .... there were no significant changes in meibum lipid composition or aqueous tear evaporation....

Learning Causes Structural Changes In Affected Neurons

....the acquired knowledge significantly alters the structure of the specific brain cells involved, which sprout a whopping 22 percent more dendritic spines connecting them to other motor neurons....

Expectations Speed Up Conscious Perception

...The human brain works incredibly fast. However, visual impressions are so complex that their processing takes several hundred milliseconds before they enter our consciousness. Scientists ... have now shown that this delay may vary in length. When the brain possesses some prior information - that is, when it already knows what it is about to see - conscious recognition occurs faster. Until now, neuroscientists assumed that the processes leading up to conscious perception were rather rigid and that their timing did not vary....

How The Brain Knows What The Nose Smells

...a new technique that makes it possible to map long-distance nerve connections in the brain. The scientists used the technique to map for the first time the path that the scent signals take from the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain that first receives signals from odor receptors in the nose, to higher centers of the mouse brain where the processing is done.....

The Tragedy Of The Fraudulent MMR Autism Link, A Personal Story

Genetic mental ability suppressed by socioeconomic disadvantage

...The key findings of the study, ... were that socioeconomic status was unrelated to mental ability at 10 months of age, but was related to mental ability changes between 10 months and 2 years of age; that at the population level, genes’ influence on mental abilities are in the ascendant between 10 months and 2 years of age; and that genetic influence on mental development is attenuated by disadvantaged socioeconomic status....

Friday, February 11, 2011

Common Insecticide Used in Homes Associated With Delayed Mental Development of Young Children

ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2011) — When the EPA phased out the widespread residential use of chlorpyrifos and other organophosphorus (OP) insecticides in 2000-2001 because of risks to child neurodevelopment, these compounds were largely replaced with pyrethroid insecticides. But the safety of these replacement insecticides remained unclear, as they had never been evaluated for long-term neurotoxic effects after low-level exposure. In the first study to examine the effects of these compounds on humans and the first evaluation of their potential toxicity to the developing fetal brain.....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

3D: The not so new technology

As reported in The Lance:

....Some 3D moviegoers have reportedly experienced nausea, double vision, headache, blurred vision, and eye strain. In fact, a study by The American Optometric Association found that roughly 25 per cent of 3D filmgoers experience one more symptoms of what is now being called 3D  [Vision] syndrome.

“When viewing 3D content, your eye movement, eye focusing, and eye coordination system all have to work together,” said Dr. Dominick Maino, a specialist of binocular vision at the Illinois College of Optometry. “What we are seeing are those individuals who do not have this are the ones who are experiencing the symptoms of 3D [Vision] syndrome.”

Dr. Maino warns that people suffering from a lazy eye will also have trouble noticing the 3D effect. And if you are prone to bouts of car sickness, the same nausea will occur in the movie theater. There are steps you can take to minimize the symptoms, however, such as sitting as centered to the screen as possible - and not too close.

These symptoms appear to be a major stumbling block against the 3D film industry. There is, however, a positive side. While most eye problems related to 3D [Vision] syndrome often go undiagnosed, they are all correctable.

For some suffers, it took a negative experience at a 3D film to realize that they had a problem at all. Thus, optometrists are hopeful that 3D technology will eventually be used as a worldwide screening device.

“Where 3D media companies could really help the consumer is to establish what they do as a global public health vision screening. Because many of these problems we can fix with Optometric vision therapy, more people can appreciate 3D movies without the headaches,” said Dr. Maino....

Comments: To read the whole article click on the title above. Paul Breschuk, the Features Editor of The Lance was a great reporter. He asked probing questions and knew his topic area well. The Lance is the second-largest newspaper in Windsor, Ontario with more than 10,000 copies being printed each week. I want to point out just a couple of corrections. The problems associated with watching 3D content is now being referred to as 3 D Vision Syndrome (a phrase I happily coined several months ago) and although optometric vision therapy can correct many of the binocular vision problems associated with this syndrome, I would hesitate to say we can correct ALL of the problems.

I would like the 3D industry to take to heart the idea that what they do could serve a greater good. They should embrace and not ignore those who cannot appreciate their products. By refering these individuals to optometrists who are members of the American Optometric Association or the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, we can indeed help many consumers appreciate the wonders of 3D technology. So here's a shout out to Sony, Disney, and all makers of 3D content and technology...use this technology as a massive public health binocular vision screening....and for those consumers having problems ... send them to Doctors of Optometry who can help. By the way, I'm sure the Canadian Association of Optometrists have a find group of doctors who can help as well! Canadian members of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development can be located by clicking here. DM

Illinois College of Optometry Update!

Nobody in the ICO community is likely to forget where they were when the Blizzard of 2011 blew into Chicago. Hopefully, you were somewhere warm and safe as 20-plus inches of snow and 50 mph winds swirled outside. All of us owe a huge shovel full of thanks to the staff members who stayed on campus from Tuesday, Feb. 1, when the blizzard first blew in, until late Thursday, Feb. 3, when ICO was able to reopen for business. They are: Hank Bertucci, Anthony Barone, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Maurice Taylor, Jack Ruppaner, Danny Sullivan, Roy Mendoza, Pedro Mata and Irma Mata.All of them stayed on duty for 55 straight hours, with only a few naps here and there. So give them a pat on the back and a big "thank you!" when you see them!


ICO President Arol Augsburger, OD, recently attended the 2011 National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. While in the nation's capital, Dr. Augsburger had the opportunity to meet with Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois

ICO takes on the Chicago Fire!
Dr. Stephen Beckerman (center) organized the sports vision screening for ICO students. The purpose of the screening was to determine if problems within the visual system were limiting athletic performance.ICO students Jessica Albers (front left) and Angie Spartz (back right) help conduct a sports vision screening for members of the Chicago Fire soccer team.

New Scholarship for Fourth-Year Students

The Illinois College of Optometry Alumni Association is pleased to offer a new $500 scholarship specifically for a fourth-year student. To be eligible, candidates must:
1) Be a full-time student at ICO and enrolled in his/her 4th year.
2) Remain in good academic standing (minimum GPA).
3) Demonstrate financial need.
4) Complete a 500-word essay describing his/her past and present role serving ICO as a student as well as plans to further that service as an alumnus.

ICO Makes News

Just days before the Super Bowl, the journal Neurology published a study online that has major implications for detecting concussions in athletes - and has major ties to ICO. ICO's Drs. Leonard Messner and Megan Allen co-authored the study on the "King-Devick" vision test. The "King-Devick" test was developed at ICO as part of a research project by Drs. Al King and Steve Devick.

The test is based on ... saccadic movements, which allow them to focus on specific spots. A problem with the eyes' ability to track and focus suggests impairment involving brain pathways. To administer the test, a person reads rows of single-digit numbers arrayed in various ways on a page. The time it takes a person to recite the numbers after a head trauma could show whether he or she has suffered a concussion.

The study was picked up by numerous media outlets, including: CNN, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Fox News, Science Daily and many others.

ICO Faculty in the News!

ICO Professor Dominick Maino is quoted in EyeWorld, the magazine of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery's magazine. Dr. Maino talks about the role optometry and ophthalmology should play in an integrated practice. Read the article. Dr. Maino also continued his media appearances on the issue of 3D Vision Syndrome, speaking to The Lance, the second-largest newspaper in Windsor, Ontario, and also doing an interview for an FM radio station in Birmingham, Ala. His poster presentation at the American Academy of Optometry meeting this past fall was also pointed out as being "one of the interesting and most timely" presented at the AAO by the Review of Optometry. He also published an article on the Internet read by thousands of occupational therapists around the country.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

USPSTF Children's Vision Screening Recommendations Will Harm Ongoing Efforts to Reverse High Rates of Preventable Vision Loss

Doctors of Optometry Troubled by Disregard for Vision and Eye Health Needs of Children under 3 and Reliance on Failed Vision Screening System for Preschoolers

The American Optometric Association (AOA), the voice of America's family eye doctors, today warned that if a set of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations are adopted as policy, significant harm will be caused to the ongoing efforts of eye doctors nationwide to reverse the high rates of preventable vision loss in children across America, from the first year of life through age 5. Recognized as a public health emergency, high rates of undetected and untreated eye disorders continue to plague the nation's children and impair their ability to learn, grow and function normally; and even higher rates of disability exist among disadvantaged populations.

"This nation's Doctors of Optometry are extremely concerned that the USPSTF Children's Vision Screening Recommendations will hamper ongoing efforts to combat unacceptably high rates of preventable vision loss in children - especially among vulnerable and at-risk children in communities across America," said AOA President Joe E. Ellis, O.D. "With nearly one in four school-aged children now suffering from preventable vision loss which directly impacts their ability to learn, grow and function normally; ensuring that our children receive early and periodic comprehensive vision and eye health examinations will prove both cost-effective for our country and the key to fully confronting and potentially solving this continuing crisis." The recommendations, which were recently updated and released by the federally-funded committee without adequately consulting with optometrists, who provide the majority of children's vision and eye health care in the United States, disregard the vision and eye health needs of America's children under the age of 3 - the most critical stage of visual development - apparently "due to the child's inability to cooperate." AOA believes that this approach is flawed and questions if cooperation were the criteria by which to determine the benefits of intervention, whether the USPSTF should recommend against immunizations by needles since children are loathe cooperating with shots.

Despite this misconception, optometrists and pediatric ophthalmologists alike are well trained and have access to specialized equipment and procedures that enable comprehensive and cooperative evaluation of children's vision and eye health at less than 3 years of age.

For children ages 3 to 5, the USPSTF recommends continued reliance on a failed vision screening methodology and a broken screening system as a means of identifying visual impairment in preschool-age children, a critical developmental stage during which undiagnosed and untreated vision problems can have a massive impact on a child's ability to succeed in school and later in life. The USPSTF claims "false positives" are a drawback to vision screening asserting that "false positive screening results may lead to over prescribing corrective lenses." The AOA feels that the panel misses the true failing of most children's vision screenings: "false negatives." Giving parents and educators a false sense of security, the vast majority of children's vision screenings have high rates of "false negatives" (telling the child that no problem exists), failing to adequately detect signs of significant vision problems in children chronically burdened by these difficulties.

"These ill-advised USPSTF recommendations seem to ignore mountains of scientific data showing that the vast majority of vision screenings for children demonstrate an unacceptably high rate of error," said AOA President-Elect Dori Carlson, O.D. "To make matters worse, for those children lucky enough to have been told they have failed a screening, numerous studies have also clearly shown that the overwhelming majority of those kids do not receive proper diagnosis and follow-up care. High error rates found in most children's vision screening programs coupled with little or no assurances of proper diagnosis or follow-up care are the very reasons we find ourselves facing this crisis today. We simply can't expect to repeat the mistakes of the past and somehow produce any level of improved results for our children's future." Doctors of Optometry are now urging the Task Force to join the AOA in calling for the flawed screening recommendations to be immediately withdrawn and for the convening, on an emergency basis, a collaborative inter-professional dialog aimed at strengthening, rather than undermining, the most effective risk reduction and health promotion policies and recommendations on eye disease and vision.

About the American Optometric Association American Optometric Association (AOA) doctors of optometry are highly qualified, trained doctors, on the frontline of eye health and vision care, who examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. In addition to providing eye and vision care, optometrists play a major role in an individual's overall health and well-being by detecting systemic diseases. Doctors of optometry have the skills and training to provide more than two-thirds of all primary eye care in the United States. The AOA represents more than 36,000 doctors of optometry, optometry students and paraoptometric assistants and technicians in nearly 6,500 communities across the country. For more information, visit (Boldfaced added by me for emphasis.)

Comments: I have taken a very strong stance in the past against vision screenings for our children. I have noted many studies that show how terrible screenings are at proctecting the sight of our children. (See below). This statement by the AOA is a strong committment by this nation's Doctors of Optometry to the visual welfare of our children and their future. Optometry provides the InfantSee program that will evaluate children 6-12 months at no cost! Optometry has groups such as the College of Optometrists in Vision Development that are composed of eye doctors trained and certified in the examination, diagnosis and treatment of those eye problems most frequently seen in our children. It is now time for all organizations with an interest in this area to take a stand and to say our children deserve full, complete and comprehensive eye and vision examinations. It is past the time for our ophthalmology colleagues to stop saying vision screenings are adequate when it is obvious that they are not. It is past the time for this nations pediatricians to acknowledge that what they may do in their office as an assessment of vision is not adequate. Our children are our future. We need to invest in that future....and as the reseach shows below...comprehensive eye examinations and appropriate treatment of the problems diagnosed are a worthy investiment with about a 10:1 return (see Evidence-based medicine: the value of vision screening. below). Stop the wasted time, effort and money associated with vision screenings. Support full, complete and comprehensive eye and vision examinations for our children. It is the right thing to do. It is supported by evidence based research. What are we waiting for? Do it. Do it now. (Please post this blog to your website, Facebook page, and where ever you believe it is important to help get this message out to those who need to hear it.) DM

Research and comments from past MainosMemos blog posts:

Effectiveness of screening systematic review

Population based preschool vision screening programmes cannot be sufficiently assessed by the literature currently available. However, it is most likely that the present systematic review contains the most detailed description of the main limitations in current available literature evaluating these programmes. Therefore, future research work should be guided by the findings of this publication.

Comments: I don't get it...this paper says there is NO evidence that consistently supports vision screening....why isn't optometry and InfantSee shouting this from the roof tops?DM (Looks like they are!!!)

Evidence-based medicine: the value of vision screening.

This paper answers a couple of questions about the value of vision screening. The questions were:

(1) Is vision valuable (an inherent good)?; (1) yes
(2) Is screening effective (finding amblyopia)?; (2) no;
(3) Is amblyopia detection beneficial? (3) economic productive values are likely very high, with returns of investment on the order of 10:1,

The Impact of Pediatric Vision Disorders in Adulthood

The Economic Value Added (EVA) Resulting from Medical Care of Functional Amblyopia, Strabismus, (Pathologies of Binocular Vision) and Asthma

Teen Eye Chart Screening Misses Some Problems

Monday, February 7, 2011

EyeWorld and the Integrative Practice: Optometry + Ophthalmology

The American Society of Caract and Refractive Surgery's magazine, EyeWorld quoted Dr. Dominick Maino extensively on his views concerning the role optometry and ophthalmology should play in the integrated practice.

Critical Flicker Frequency (CFF) is Reduced in Children with Suspected Reading Disability

...Mean CFF threshold discriminated well between children with a chief complaint of reading problems and those with no history or report of reading problems. This agrees with earlier studies demonstrating reduced temporal processing reflecting visual magnocellular impairment in individuals with reading disability. We suggest that the CFF threshold test, which is both simple and rapid, be considered for inclusion in the clinical vision testing for children presenting with reading problems.....

Comments: This study was done by my colleagues Barry Tannen, Kenneth J. Ciuffreda, & Noah M. Tannen. Dr. Tannen noted that: "In this study, the critical flicker frequency threshold (CFF) of children who had a history of reading disability were compared to age matched normal readers. CFF threshold discriminated well between reading disabled and normal readers. CFF threshold is a test that measures visual magnocellular function and adds further evidence to the growing body of evidence that shows reduced temporal processing in individuals with reading disability. CFF threshold is a simple test to perform and hopefully will be commercially available within the next year as a clinical test for optometrists and other health professionals to perform. (NOTE: I have no financial interest in this device)."

 This research will be presented as a Poster Presentation at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2011 Annual Meeting DM

Review of Optometry Academy 2010 San Francisco Roundup

The Review of Optometry was kind enough to make note of the poster I presented at the recent American Academy of Optometry meeting in San Francisco this past fall. This was the first ever presentation describing a patient with 3 D Vision Syndrome and the post optometric vision therapy outcomes.

Optometry Students . Com! is your #1 resource for pre-optometry and optometry student information! Our website is run entirely by motivated optometry students who are dedicated to learning and sharing knowledge. The website is a long term project and has big plans to improve the current state of optometry by making valuable information available to all optometry students. ....

Distracted Child? It Might Be His Eyes

...Not long ago Eva Phelps wouldn't focus on what was right in front of her. Teachers noticed the 5th grader looking out windows instead of her books. Some even wondered if she had attention deficit disorder. "It would just be normal but then it would start to blur, and I would see like two of the word or it would be like smudged." Turns out the problem was her eyes. ...

See video at

Long-term results of the surgical management of intermittent exotropia

...Long-term surgical results in intermittent exotropia are less encouraging when sensory status is added to the evaluation. Patients with anisometropia, lateral incomitance, and immediate postoperative undercorrection are at increased risk for poor outcomes and to require reoperations....

Comments: Long term results of surgical correction of strabismus is not very good from most of the studies I've seen (type in strabismus outcomes in the search box upper left). Why is this all too often the first thing done? Optometric vision therapy should probably be attempted prior to surgery for most forms of strabismus...especially if the strabismus is intermittent. DM

Understanding Acupuncture

...Acupuncture is a traditional medicine that’s been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. Its proponents say it can do everything from relieving pain to bringing a general sense of wellness. Others think the only benefits you get from acupuncture are in your head. Recent studies have found that both sides may have a point. Acupuncture can be effective for certain health problems, such as some types of chronic pain. But how it works is something of a mystery....

Adult ADHD Significantly Increases Risk of Common Form of Dementia

...Adults who suffer from attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more than three times as likely to develop a common form of degenerative dementia than those without...

Should Your Kid Be on Statins or GERD Medicine?

...The patient was overweight and had Type 2 diabetes. He was on Crestor for cholesterol, Atacand for hypertension; the proton pump inhibitor Protonix for GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease), Axert for migraines and Singulair for asthma. The patient was eight years old....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Transcranial Magnetic Brain Stimulation

...What sounds like science fiction is actually possible: thanks to magnetic stimulation, the activity of certain brain nerve cells can be deliberately influenced. ... various stimulus patterns changed the activity of distinct neuronal cell types. ...certain stimulus patterns led to ... learning more easily. The knowledge obtained could contribute to cerebral stimulation being used more purposefully in future to treat functional disorders of the brain....

Learning Causes Structural Changes In Affected Neurons

Learning.....significantly alters the structure of the specific brain cells involved, which sprout a whopping 22 percent more dendritic spines connecting them to other motor neurons. ..... The finding.... underscores the brain's remarkable ability to physically change as it learns .... but also reveals that the effect is surprisingly restricted to the network of neurons actually involved in the learning.....

Importance Of Vision Screening For 3- To 5-Year-Olds Reaffirmed

....The importance of vision screening for children 3 to 5 years old was confirmed today with the publishing of the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force ... statement in Pediatrics. This new statement is an update to the 2004 statement on vision screening and says, "There is adequate evidence that early treatment of amblyopia in children ages 3 to 5 years leads to improved visual outcomes."....

Comments: This does not confirm the importance of vision does confirm the importance of having each and every child undergo a comprehensive eye and vision evaluation. Vision screenings miss too many children with vision problems.... DM

More Americans Turn To Lower-Cost Alternative Meds

....The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies experienced a significant growth in the United States in the last decade, and a new analysis finds that CAM use becomes more likely when access to conventional care has been restricted.....

How do children learn to follow gaze, share joint attention, imitate their teachers, and use tools during social interactions?

Grossberg S, Vladusich T.How do children learn to follow gaze, share joint attention, imitate their teachers, and use tools during social interactions?Neural Netw. 2010 Oct-Nov;23(8-9):940-65. Epub 2010 Aug 5.

...The article proposes how intra-personal circular reactions create a foundation for inter-personal circular reactions when infants and other learners interact with external teachers in space. Both types of circular reactions involve learned coordinate transformations between body-centered arm movement commands and retinotopic visual feedback, and coordination of processes within and between the What and Where cortical processing streams. ....

Comments: This is sounding very much like what a developmental optometrist would say. DM

Echan el ojo al 3D

I was recently quoted in a Spanish internet story:

..."Ver programas en 3D puede desenmascarar cuestiones tales como ojo perezoso, insuficiencia de convergencia, problemas de concentración y otros problemas visuales de los que los consumidores desconocían su existencia", dice el doctor Dominick Maino, del Instituto de Optometría de la Universidad de Illinois....

I want to thank my colleague, Dr. Angel Romero for bringing this to my attention! DM