Saturday, June 25, 2011


......Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered that the innate ability to estimate quantities is impaired in children who have a math learning disability. ...The link between difficulty estimating quantities and math difficulties was seen only in children who had a math learning disability, and not in those who did poorly in math but were not considered to be learning disabled.

"The findings suggest that students may struggle with math for very different reasons," said Kathy Mann Koepke, Ph.D., director of the Mathematics and Science Cognition and Learning program at the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which funded the study.  "Research to identify these reasons may lead to new ways of identifying those at risk, and developing the means to help them."....Math learning disability is also referred to as dyscalculia....

Comment: Check out the following for additional info:

Fischer B, Gebhardt C, Hartnegg K. Subitizing and VisualCounting inChildren with Problems in Acquiring Basic Arithmetic Skills. OptomVis Dev 2008:39(1):24-29.

Fischer B, Köngeter A, Hartnegg K. Effects of Daily Practice onSubitizing, Visual Counting, and Basic Arithmetic Skills. Optom VisDev 2008:39(1):30-34.

Autism and Prenatal Vitamins

....Science has found no evidence that vaccines cause autism; but the true cause(s) of autism have not yet been determined. So far the available evidence has pointed towards a largely genetic cause with possible interaction with environmental factors. A new study supports that interpretation. It also supports previous evidence that autism is triggered prior to birth, rather than at the time of vaccinations.....

BRAIN INJURY RADIO - Hidden Talents - Hosted by Kevin Phillips

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Optometric Vision Therapy Success Story!

10 Interesting Facts about IQ Tests

....Since the 19th century, IQ tests have been the primary source for measuring human intelligence. Throughout the years, this standardized test has been used by psychologists and educators to predict an individual’s academic performance and career success, as well as diagnose mental retardation and learning disabilities. Even though its accuracy and reliability have been criticized over the past few decades, the IQ test continues to be the most widely used test for assessing mental ability. Here are 10 interesting facts about IQ tests:....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

From covd:

How Vision Problems Can Interfere with Learning
  • “25% of students in grades K-6 have visual problems that are serious enough to impede learning.”  - American Public Health Association
  • “When vision problems go undetected, children almost invariably have trouble reading and doing their schoolwork. They often display fatigue, fidgeting, and frustrations in the classroom—traits that can lead to a misdiagnosis of dyslexia or other learning disabilities.”  - American Optometric Association
  • “It is estimated that 80% of children with a learning disability have an undiagnosed vision problem.”  - Vision Council of America
  • “Early diagnosis and treatment of children’s vision problems is a necessary component to school readiness and academic learning; and that vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor.  Comprehensive eye and vision examinations ... are important for all children first entering school and regularly throughout their school-aged years to ensure healthy eyes and adequate visual skills essential for successful academic achievement.”  - National PTA Policy Statement 2005, Elements of Comprehensive Health Programs
  • "Early testing for vision problems is key to preventing learning disabilities or, in some cases, significant visual impairment in children."  -  Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, Task Force Chairman, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
  • “A three year study of 540 children found that those children who had visual perceptual and eye movement difficulties did poorly on standardized tests.”  - Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, FAAO, FCOVD, Developmental Optometrist and Past President of COVD.

L'Ordine Figli d'Italia in America

If you are should find out more about the OSIA!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Advances in understanding and treating ADHD

Attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a neurocognitive behavioural developmental disorder most commonly seen in childhood and adolescence, which often extends to the adult years. Relative to a decade ago, there has been extensive research into understanding the factors underlying ADHD leading to far more treatment options available for both youths and adults with this disorder. Novel stimulant formulations have made it possible to tailor treatment to the duration of efficacy required by patients and to help mitigate the potential for abuse, misuse and diversion. Several new non-stimulant options have also emerged in the past few years. Amongst these, cognitive behavioral interventions have proven popular in the treatment of adult ADHD, especially within the adult population who cannot or will not use medications along with the many medication treated patients who continue to show residual disability. 

Comments: Unfortunately no where is it mentioned in this article the role vision may play in attentional issues. This is quite sad.....that these authors overlook such an obvious association and attention. The full PDF is available by clicking on the title above. DM


Dr. Sandy Block and Dr. Christine Allison accepted the award on behalf of ICO at a reception held on June 10 before the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Illinois State University in Normal.
           The Outstanding Organization Award recognizes a club, business or organization whose efforts have significantly improved the Special Olympics Illinois athletes’ experiences either locally or statewide.
           ICO has volunteered its time and efforts to Special Olympics Illinois (SO ILL) for the past 11 years. It is because of ICO that the Opening Eyes program has become a part of SO ILL. The organization provides free eye screenings to an average of 240 athletes each year. They have handed out over 2,520 prescription glasses and 630 sports goggles so far.

          The Opening Eyes program is invaluable to the athletes and their families. Many of the athletes have struggled with vision problems for years due to lack of good medical care and because of the unique challenges that accompany providing accurate vision screenings for various athletes.
           Many doctors who attend the Summer Games bring their students, not only to encourage their participation with Opening Eyes, but to increase their knowledge on screening athletes with disabilities. “This is the first time some of the athletes have seen clearly in years,” according to Jeremy Davidson, nominator of this organization.
          SO ILL Summer Games is not the only event ICO supports. They also do screenings at Chicago MedFest and worked in conjunction with the Lions International conference in 2007. ICO has worked with Special Olympics programs in other states to make the Opening Eyes program a reality for them too.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for nearly 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 6,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call             800-394-0562       or visit our website at

Quick Facts About ICO

  • Established in 1872, ICO is one of the oldest and largest colleges of optometry in the United States
  • ICO offers several degree programs, including OD, OD/BSVS, OD/MS, and OD/PhD. (MS and PhD offered in conjunction with the University of Chicago)
  • Approximately 20% of practicing OD’s in the country are ICO alumni
  • More than 600 students:
    • Student body: 639
    • Female: 414
    • Male: 225
    • Minority: 224
  • All full-time teaching faculty hold an OD, MS/MA, MD, or PhD
  • Faculty (on campus): 49 full-time and 35 part-time
  • Student/faculty ratio:
    • Clinic: 5:1
    • Lectures: 165:1
    • Labs: 25-35:2 (plus teaching assistants)
    • Academic: 7:1
  • Diverse clinical experience. Broad patient base both numerically and pathologically
  • Over 150 externship sites in the United States, including international sites
  • 25% of the 2010 graduating class graduated with honors
  • 20% of the 2010 graduating class went on to do post-doctoral programs
  • ICO students perform well above the national average on NBEO examinations. ICO's Class of 2010 had a 100% pass rate on NBEO Part III - Clinical Skills. The class as a whole had a pass rate of 98.6% for all the NBEO exams, highest ICO pass rate in the last 15 years.

ICO Class of 2010 Pass Rate
National Pass Rate
NBEO Part 1 Basic Science
NBEO Part 2 Clinical Science
NBEO Part 3 Patient Care

Asthenopia: A Technology Driven Visual Impairment

If you have symptoms related to an eye problem....this article may tell you why...and how to diagnose and treat these problems. DM

The Impact Parents Can Have On Their Children's Understanding Of Mathematics

..... exposure to language related to numbers improves mathematics comprehension; the latest paper ..... shows that children who are exposed to number words from four through 10, in addition to the number words from one through three, acquire an understanding of the cardinal principle before children who have little exposure to these higher number words.....

Techlicious says...

My friend for Techlicious, Suzanne Kantera says "Ugh, just the other day I was tricked into clicking a spam link on Facebook from one of my friends for a free Starbucks coffee. And once I clicked on it, it posted the same spam on my Facebook page. And that offer for a free coffee was just a scam to get me to sign up for overpriced credit protection offers.

The last thing I want to do is promote some sleazy service to my friends. So as soon as I realized what happened, I immediately went to my profile and deleted the post. The best way to do it is to over your mouse over the message until you see a small “x” in the upper right corner. Click it and hit “Mark as spam.” That will both remove the message from your feed and alert Facebook to the problem.

After removing the message, make sure you haven’t accidentally installed a rogue app that will keep using your Facebook account without permission, which you can do through your Account Setting page.
Read our Facebook scam article for full instructions how to do this. We'll also give you great tips and a couple of useful tools for avoiding Facebook spam and scam in the first place."

I have also been caught by these scams.....maybe Facebook should do something about it? Yes. DM

The Negative Effects Of Federal Welfare Programs

.....The United States federal government supports many welfare and entitlement programs that attempt to eliminate poverty by providing financial assistance to families in need. Now, a researcher at the University of Missouri has found that requirements for some of these welfare programs can create stress on families, which can have a negative effect on young children.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brain Imaging Study Of Preschoolers With ADHD Detects Brain Differences Linked To Symptoms

....Results showed the region of the brain important for cognitive and motor control was smaller in these children than in typically developing children. Novel for its use of neuroimaging in very young, preschool age children with early symptoms of ADHD, this study's examination of brain differences may offer new insights into potential early interventions for the disorder.....

Brain Structure Adapts To Environmental Change

....Scientists have known for years that neurogenesis takes place throughout adulthood in the hippocampus of the mammalian brain. Now Columbia researchers have found that under stressful conditions, neural stem cells in the adult hippocampus can produce not only neurons, but also new stem cells. The brain stockpiles the neural stem cells, which later may produce neurons when conditions become favorable. This response to environmental conditions represents a novel form of brain plasticity.....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Memory Recall Affected By Brain State

....Theta waves are associated with a brain that is actively monitoring something, ....For example, rats show high theta waves while exploring a maze. .... In the memory test, the volunteers had to memorize a series of words with a related context. They later had to recall whether they had seen the word previously and the context in which the word was seen. ..... High theta waves immediately before being prompted to remember an item were associated with better performance.....

New Open Access Journal

Cell & Bioscience ISSN: 2045-3701 (electronic)

Archive includes 1(2011) to the present
Note: There is no embargo delay for this journal

Down Syndrome and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

.....Clinicians might minimize the prevalence of behavioral disorders among mentally retarded people. ..... In this study, the prevalence of ADHD among Down syndrome children was very high, reaching 43.9%. .... We conclude that children with Down syndrome are at increased risk for ADHD. When evaluating children with Down syndrome for attention deficits, psychiatric comorbidity as well as medical problems should be carefully taken into consideration.....

Comments: Just a couple of "wake up" nudges for the authors. Although I am not all that PC most of the time, mental retardation is not longer the preferred term. You might want to use intellectual disability (ID) instead. ....and it's not "Down Syndrome children".....but rather "children with Down Syndrome" (DS) . The individual first then the disability. Those with ID often have psychiatric problems. This is not new. You are right. We must start paying attention to the whole individual....not just the disability. Folks with DS may indeed also have other problems like ADHD. DM

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rapid, High-Accuracy Detection of Strabismus and Amblyopia Using the Pediatric Vision Scanner

....The Pediatric Vision Scanner (PVS) detects strabismus by identifying ocular fixation in both eyes simultaneously. This study was undertaken to assess the ability of the PVS to identify patients with amblyopia or strabismus, particularly anisometropic amblyopia with no measurable strabismus. ....

Autism's Tangled Genetics Full of Rare and Varied Mutations

.....The underpinnings of autism are turning out to be even more varied than the disease's diverse manifestations. In four new studies and an analysis published June 8 researchers have added some major landmarks in the complex landscape of the disease, uncovering clues as to why the disease is so much more prevalent in male children and how such varied genetic mutations can lead to similar symptoms.....

New MRSA strain detected among humans, cows in UK, Denmark

....Researchers have discovered a new strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a mecA homologue that is genetically different compared with existing strains, in both human and bovine populations in the UK and Denmark. ....