Saturday, July 9, 2011

Genes Influence Memory And Sense Of Orientation

...How do our brains process memory and sense of orientation? Scientists are gaining insight by studying rats with implanted genes that prompt neurons to fire on command....

Comments: Just a reminder, that if you click on the title, it will take you to the full article. DM

Leap of Faith

Dr. Kevin M. Chauvette is a colleague of mine who provides eye and vision care for children and adults at the Merrimack Vision Center that includes optometric vision therapy. He is also a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and is currently the Director of vision clinics at various rehabilitation facilities including: Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Concord, NH, Northeast Rehabilitation Hospitals in Salem and Nashua, NH, and Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In his spare time he is an awesome award winning singer and guitar player....check out his latest album and his group Leap of Faith by clicking on the title above.

Leap of Fate is a collaboration of NH award winning singer songwriter, Kevin Chauvette and NH Hall of Fame guitar player, John Paul. Putting their skills together in this project of pop, jazz and contemporary Christian music has resulted in their first CD, "Off the Beaten Path".

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sight Requires Exact Pattern Of Neural Activity To Be Wired In The Womb

...The precise wiring of our visual system depends upon the pattern of spontaneous activity within the brain that occurs well before birth, a new study by Yale researchers shows....

Comments: While genetics and experiences in the womb play an important part in the development of vision, the environment can also play a major role. DM

Responses to: Angie’s List: Listing towards the Wrong Side

The recent open letter on MainosMemos to Angie's List regarding their biased article about optometry is starting to generate feedback from my let's see if Angie's List responds... DM

Thank you for your well-written defense of optometry in your letter to the editor. I've just left Oklahoma as I finished my residency and can tell you that we can, did, and continue to do surgery there safely and efficiently for patients who may not otherwise receive such care. I'm proud to be an optometrist and proud to be certified in anterior segment laser surgical procedures! ... Dr. Lindsay Sicks

Thank you for representing our profession so eloquently! I truly appreciate your service! ... Dr. Kelley Dasinger

Nicely done, Dom..... Dr. Samantha Slotnick

I read your response to the Angie's List article, and I wanted to thank you as a fellow OD for such a well written response..... Dr. Muna Hindi 

Well done Dom. ... Dr. Brenda Montecalvo

From the NIH: Autism, Genetics and Environment

Non-inherited genetic factors also in the mix -- NIH-funded science

The largest and most rigorous twin study of its kind to date has found that shared environment influences susceptibility to autism more than previously thought.

The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that shared environmental factors - experiences and exposures common to both twin individuals - accounted for 55 percent of strict autism and 58 percent of more broadly defined autism spectrum disorders (ASD) ( Genetic heritability accounted for 37 percent of autism and 38 percent of ASD. Random environmental factors not shared among twins play a much smaller role.

Earlier twin studies had estimated the genetic heritability of autism to be as high as 90 percent, due to much lower estimates of concordance - both members of a twin pair having the disorder - in fraternal twins. The new study found such concordance to be four to five times higher.

"High fraternal twin concordance relative to identical twin concordance underscores the importance of both the environment and moderate genetic heritability in predisposing for autism," explained Joachim Hallmayer, M.D., of Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. a grantee of the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health. "Both types of twin pairs are more often concordant than what would be expected from the frequency of autism in the general population. However, the high concordance among individuals who share only half their genes relative to those who share all of their genes implies a bigger role for shared environmental factors."

Hallmayer, senior co-investigator Neil Risch, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues report on findings of the California Autism Twins Study (CATS) in the July 2011 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"These new findings are in line with other recent observations supporting both environmental and genetic contributions to ASD, with the environmental factors likely prenatal and the genetic factors highly complex and sometimes not inherited (," said NIMH director Thomas R. Insel, M.D.

Studies are under way to determine if autism may be traceable, in part, to environmental exposures ( early during pregnancy.

The new study is the first to analyze a large sample of twins drawn from the general population; previous twin studies have been based on more limited samples, such as patients in treatment. It is also the first to employ the latest standard in diagnosing autism, which requires structured clinical assessments based on interviews with the parents as well as direct observation of the child.

Drawing upon state records, the researchers initially identified 1,156 twin pairs, with at least one member affected by an ASD, born to California mothers between 1987 and 2004. The children were all at least 4 years old, an age when autism can be reliably diagnosed. Ultimately, this group was winnowed to 192 twin pairs - 54 identical and 138 fraternal - for genetic analysis. Since autism disproportionately affects males, males outnumbered females by four to five times, with 80 of the pairs including both sexes.

Concordance for ASD was 77 percent among identical male pairs, and 31 percent among fraternal male pairs. In females, concordance for ASD was more closely spaced - 50 percent for identical and 36 percent for fraternal pairs. By contrast, previous studies had found concordance rates for fraternal twins that were much lower, ranging only in the single digits.

"Spectrum disorders traditionally thought to have less genetic loading turn out to stem from a similar mix of environmental and genetic heritability as narrowly defined autism," noted Thomas Lehner, Ph.D., chief of the NIMH Genomics Research Branch.

Yet, there can also be genetic influences that are not inherited from parents. New evidence ( emerged last month that rare, spontaneous mutations ( occur at abnormally high rates in autism.

"Such non-inherited genetic changes were proposed as a major mechanism of autism susceptibility, based on the very low concordance among fraternal twins found in earlier studies and evidence of increased risk associated with older parental age," explained Risch. "In light of the high fraternal twin concordance observed in our study, such new mutations may play a more limited role, since they would primarily occur in only one member of a fraternal pair, which would not lead to concordance."

Also participating in the research were investigators at: Autism Genetic Resource Exchange; California Department of Public Health; Kaiser Permanente; University of California, Davis. The research was also funded by Autism Speaks.

The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit the NIMH website (

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit <>.

Genetic heritability and shared environmental factors among twin pairs with autism. Hallmayer J, Cleveland S, Torres A, Phillips J, Cohen B, Torigoe T, Miller J, Fedele A, Collins J, Smith K, Lotspeich L, Croen LA, Ozonoff S, Lajonchere C, Grether JK, Risch N. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2011 July.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Susan Barry, PhD featured in BBC Program about Oliver Sacks, MD

The Man Who Forgot How to Read and Other Stories

This BBC special looks at several of Dr. Sack's patients...including StereoSue (Dr. Susan Barry) and her story about finally experiencing 3D vision after years of being told it was impossible.

Hepatitis C: Diagnosis and Treatment

Hepatitis C, a common chronic bloodborne infection, is found in approximately 2 percent of adults in the United States. Chronic infection is associated with serious morbidity and mortality (e.g., cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma). .... The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against routine screening for hepatitis C virus infection in asymptomatic adults who are not at increased risk of infection (general population). ..... Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent hepatitis C virus infection; however, persons infected with hepatitis C virus should be vaccinated for hepatitis A and B. .....

Comments: Click on the title above to access the full article. Hep C can be a serious infection. You should now about about it here. DM

Angie’s List: Listing towards the Wrong Side

Angie’s List: Listing towards the Wrong Side
An Open Letter to Angie Hicks Founder of Angie’s List

 Dear Angie, 

I knew optometry was going to be in for a rough time when I read the first sentence. In a recent Angie’s List magazine article, “Can’t See Eye to Eye”[a] (written by Michael Schroeder) the very first sentence set the tone when the author used the following quote: “Even though I love my optometrist, I would never ever let him do surgery.”

Dear, dear Angie, for an organization that prides itself on solid, truthful reviews of services and products, this article does your business and your readers a major disservice. It is obvious that the author does not understand the profession or Optometry, nor the issues involved between Optometry and ophthalmology.
As the American Optometric Association notes, Doctors of Optometry (ODs) are the primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye. We are America’s eye doctors. We serve more people in more communities than any other eye care professional. And we do this with fiscal restraint. Optometrists are the only eye care provider in more than 3,500 communities across the United States. The bottom line is that our patients receive outstanding care at a reasonable cost.

Please note that ophthalmologists are not optometrists. They do not go to optometry school. They do not receive the well rounded education a primary care optometrist receives. They are narrow in scope and practice. 

Undergraduates, who wish to have a career in optometry, often participate in the same pre-med/pre-denistry/pre-optometry programs that all who wish a career in health care pursue. After completing their undergraduate study, they then apply to optometry school. Competition for these doctoral positions is stiff. At the Illinois College of Optometry, where I am a Professor of Pediatrics and Binocular Vision, the graduating class of 2011 had 144 members receiving diplomas and were chosen from a pool of 912 applicants. This graduating class was comprised of 67% women with representation from 26 states, 6 Canadian Provinces and several foreign countries. 

Our students take the same anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and disease courses that MDs, DOs (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine) and other health care providers take. In fact future MDs, DOs and ODs often take these courses side by side at many schools and colleges of Optometry. Optometrists often have more hours in pharmacology than most of those individuals studying medicine.

Clinically our students work with a wide variety of patients. These patients often have hypertension, diabetes, and other serious chronic and acute systemic and ocular diseases. They often work side by side with MDs while diagnosing and treating these patients. At the Illinois Eye Institute (IEI), the clinical arm of the Illinois College of Optometry, we see almost 100,000 patient visits a year. In the Pediatrics/Binocular Vision Service, where I spend most of my time, we see up to 14,000 patient visits per year. Our patients range in age from infants to those who even seniors would consider senior. 

After examining patients at the IEI, we send our students around the world for additional experience. Our future Doctors of Optometry receive education and clinical training in China and Australia, in Dubai and all over the United States. They work alongside other health care professionals in hospitals, secondary and tertiary health care centers and even in large group practices. Optometrists and optometry students from Spain and Australia often spend several weeks at the IEI to increase their clinical skills as well.

Before graduation all students must pass vigorous state and national board written and clinical examinations. I’m proud to say that the graduates of the Illinois College of Optometry in 2010 had a NBEO Part 1 Basic Science Pass Rate of 97.16%, Part 2 Clinical Science Pass Rate of 96.5% and a Part 3 Patient Care Pass Rates of 100%! This year we also had one of our students receive the highest score on the NBEO Part 1 of all those taking the test around the country.

Although the Doctor of Optometry is a terminal degree and no additional training is required before the graduate can practice, more than 15% of the Class of 2011 went on to participate in residency programs. These programs include specialized education and clinical training in primary care, eye disease, pediatrics, binocular vision, and vision therapy, as well as, cornea and contact lens, refractive surgery, vision rehabilitation and several other areas. This advanced training is conducted at various Veterans’ Affairs Medical Centers across the country, secondary and tertiary health care centers, various schools and colleges of Optometry and other similar facilities. All of these residencies are associated with a college or school of Optometry and are accredited by one or more organizations.

Optometrists have earned the title of Doctor. 

All health care professions use education to advance their scope of practice to serve patients better and to make affordable access to care possible. Optometry is not different in this regard. I do not know of a single doctor who would use any procedure, non-medical, medical or surgical, if they were not thoroughly trained in its application. Medicine does this. Optometry does this.

Now back to your article. The author uses “scare tactics” by telling stories of optometrists who perhaps did not provide the best care. How sad that the author stopped at just telling these stories about optometrists. I have very sad stories to tell you of where ophthalmology failed their patients and their patients suffered serious visual impairment because of this. I could tell you the story about the refractive surgeon who used an old microtome blade during surgery and bits of metal chipped off this worn blade and to this day are embedded in the patient’s cornea. I could tell you about another refractive surgery mishap, where with glasses the patient saw 20/20 and unfortunately after surgery the best the patient could see was 20/40 with halos and glare.

All doctors make mistakes no matter what their training. We are human after all. And there are some doctors of any variety (MD, DO, OD, PhD, DDS) who should not be in practice. You did your readers and subscribers a major disservice by using such yellow journalism. I thought your standards were higher than this.

The author takes another dig at Optometry when he states, “…post optometry school education can amount to weekend courses at the Holiday Inn to learn surgery.” Where do you think our MD colleagues receive their post-graduate education? Yes, MDs sometimes learn new surgical procedures at the Holiday Inn as well. It is not where we learn, but how well we learn it that matters. Too bad Mr. Schroeder doesn’t realize this. Most of my colleagues receive their post graduate education during the annual meetings of such prestigious organizations as the American Academy of Optometry, the American Optometric Association, and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. 

By the way, did you know that our OMD colleagues are so frightened by Optometry’s ability to successfully increase their scope of practice through education that they do not allow optometrists to attend their meetings! If ophthalmology really cared about their patients more than their pocket books, wouldn’t you think they would want any who treat patients to have the best education possible from as many sources as possible? Obviously, this is not true for organized ophthalmology.

And now…it’s time to educate Mr. Schroeder about our legislative system. His article comes across as if Optometry pulled some fast political maneuvers that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. What Optometry did was to make it quite clear to the law makers that Doctors of Optometry provide excellent, accessible and affordable medical/surgical care to their patients. Ophthalmology could not counter this with any rationale argument. It’s a shame that Mr. Schroeder didn’t take the time to find out how many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of dollars MDs have available to ensure access to law makers throughout the states and nationally. This is just one more example of sloppy, incomplete and just plain bad reporting.

If Angie’s List magazine was called the National Enquirer, I could understand how such an article could be published. We expect more from you. You let us down.

One of the best ways Americans have available to us to show displeasure with a product or service is to not buy the product or use the service. Until you can restore my faith in what otherwise appears to be a solid organization, I am seriously considering canceling my subscription to Angie’s List. I am also recommending that all Optometrists, their families and our patients re-evaluate the benefits of subscribing to Angie’s List as well.

We all want Angie’s List to be an organization that provides information we can trust. You failed to do this by publishing this biased article.


Dominick M. Maino, OD, MEd, FAAO, FCOVD-A
Professor, Pediatrics/Binocular Vision Illinois Eye Institute/Illinois College of Optometry

[a] Schroeder M.  Can’s see eye to eye. Angie’s List. 2011, July; Chicago edition:20-27.

Attention All ICO Alumni: A message from Connie Scavuzzo, Director Alumni Affairs

Greetings Illinois College of Optometry Alumni!

Come celebrate with your classmates and colleagues during ICO's Homecoming (formerly Alumni Weekend) held September 9-11, 2011. Check out the complete schedule and registration form on the attachment and see all of the new and exciting social and educational events planned.  Based on your feedback from the post-event survey last year, we've made some changes that will make your visit to campus and to Chicago even more enjoyable.  And, this year we have incorporated some family-friendly programming that will make it more feasible to bring the whole family.

Here are some things you should know:

The Homecoming Schedule....
The class reunion and awards celebration dinner will be held at the Shedd Aquarium on Friday, September 9th.  Starting at 6:30 pm, attendees will be given exclusive access to the entire Aquarium for the evening.  Child care services are available at no charge Friday evening at the Hilton Chicago (host hotel) and a shuttle will be provided to the Shedd from the Hilton. 
On Saturday, September 10th, there will be a special 50 Year Club Breakfast honoring alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago; activities on campus that include a Student/Alumni Mingle featuring networking, exhibitors and raffle prizes; 2 hours of CE; the Grand Opening of our newly renovated Lecture Center; and a family-friendly Blindspot Carnival, with carnival food & beverages, games of skill, Who's Who Bingo, and raffle prizes.  A special discount is provided for children under 12.  Chicago Explorer Passes, offering admission discounts for many Chicago attractions, are available for those wish to do some sight-seeing during their stay.
Sunday, September 11th, includes 4 more hours of CE starting at 9:00 am.  ICO Alumni receive a discounted rate on all Homecoming CE. 
(All CE is non-tested.) 
Registration materials are attached.  You may also register online at, and you will find a hard copy available in the summer issue of ICO MattersRegister by July 30th and you may win an iPad2!
Hotel Information....
A limited number of rooms will be held until September 1st at the historic Hilton Chicago hotel, located at 720 S. Michigan Avenue.  To make reservations, call 877-865-5320 and identify yourself with the "Illinois College of Optometry Guest Room Block" to receive the special discounted rates of $169.00 and $229.00 per night.  A shuttle between the Hilton and campus will be provided all day Saturday.
Special Networking Event....Alums Wanted
You are invited to participate in a special networking event on September 10th from 4-6 pm, during the Student/Alumni Mingle.  We would like alumni practicing in different practice settings to talk informally with students about their experiences in practice.  For those alums who participate, ICO will offer complimentary CE for Saturday's 2 hour program from 2-4 pm.  If you are interested in participating, please contact me at [email protected] now.

If you have any questions, or if you would like to contact your classmates to encourage their attendance, please contact me at 312-949-7080 or email me at [email protected] or [email protected] for assistance. 

Hope to see you in September!

Best regards,


Connie M. Scavuzzo, M.A.
Director of Alumni Development
Illinois College of Optometry
3241 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL  60616
ph 312-949-7080
fx  312-949-7683
Leave a Legacy ~ Participate in ICO's Name a Seat Campaign

Disruption Of Neural Activity In Autistic Toddlers

....A new study provides valuable insight into the neuropathology of early autism development by imaging the brains of naturally sleeping toddlers. The research, published by Cell Press in the June 24 issue of the journal Neuron, identifies a brain abnormality observed at the very beginning stages of autism that may aid in early diagnosis of autism and shed light on its underlying biology.....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

MenC vaccine booster advocated

Two studies published this month suggest the need for a meningitis C vaccine booster in early adolescence to maintain long-term protection.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oxytocin Promises Hope In Prader-Willi Syndrome

....Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare genetic disorder which affects one child in 25,000. Children born with this syndrome have a range of complex neurological and developmental problems which continue into adult life. These can manifest as cognitive and behavioral difficulties, weight gain, problems in controlling their temper and attendant difficulties in socialization. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, demonstrates that the hormone oxytocin is able to positively affect patients by improving trust, mood, and reducing disruptive behavior.....

Comments: I've had the opportunity to work with several children and adults with Prader-Willi syndrome and they have always been a pleasure to examine. Any intervention that improves the lives of those with PWS should be welcome. (See Libov A, Maino D. Prader-Willi syndrome. J Am Optom Assoc 1994;65:355-59). A genetic disorder that involves the same gene is also interesting. See
Schneider B, Maino D. Angelman syndrome. J Am Optom Assoc 1993;64:502-6.)

3D in the Classroom: See Well, Learn Well

Omega-3 Research

Omega-3s: Next Wonder Drug? Check out these studies:

Matsuoka Y, Nishi D, Yonemoto N, Hamazaki K, Hamazaki T, Hashimoto K.
Psychother Psychosom. 2011 Jun 30;80(5):310-312. [Epub ahead of print]

Salisbury AC, Amin AP, Harris WS, Chan PS, Gosch KL, Rich MW, O'Keefe JH Jr, Spertus JA.
Mayo Clin Proc. 2011 Jul;86(7):626-32.

Meldrum SJ, D'Vaz N, Dunstan J, Mori TA, Prescott SL.
Contemp Clin Trials. 2011 Jun 22. [Epub ahead of print]

Keen D, Hadijikoumi I.
Clin Evid (Online). 2011 Feb 4;2011. pii: 0312.

Luxwolda MF, Kuipers RS, Smit EN, Velzing-Aarts FV, Janneke Dijck-Brouwer DA, Muskiet FA.
Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2011 Jun 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Agouridis AP, Tsimihodimos V, Filippatos TD, Dimitriou AA, Tellis CC, Elisaf MS, Mikhailidis DP, Tselepis AD.
Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2011 Jun 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Serebruany VL, Miller M, Pokov AN, Lynch D, Jensen JK, Hallén J, Atar D.
Cardiology. 2011;118(3):187-94. Epub 2011 Jun 22.

Mourek J, Mourek J Jr.
Prague Med Rep. 2011;112(2):81-92.

Mozurkewich E, Chilimigras J, Klemens C, Keeton K, Allbaugh L, Hamilton S, Berman D, Vazquez D, Marcus S, Djuric Z, Vahratian A.
BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2011 Jun 22;11(1):46. [Epub ahead of print]

Comment: click on the title above for additional research.DM

Monday, July 4, 2011

Learning Disabilities Linked to Progressive Aphasia

CHICAGO, Jan. 11 -- Learning disabilities may be a precursor of later language loss in patients with primary progressive aphasia. Learning disorders were more common among such patients and their family members than among healthy controls or those with other dementias. However, the researchers cautioned, the findings do not suggest that all patients with dyslexia are at elevated risk of the neurodegenerative condition.
Action Points
Explain to interested patients that this study suggests that learning disabilities may be a risk factor for primary progressive aphasia.
Caution that the study does not suggest that all patients with learning disabilities are at risk for neurodegenerative disease.
"This relationship may exist in only a small subgroup of persons with dyslexia," they wrote.
Primary progressive aphasia is characterized by the progressive loss of language functioning over time with relative preservation of other cognitive domains within the first 2 years of symptom onset. Neuroanatomically, the pathological changes are frequently asymmetric and most severe in the hemisphere dominant for language, usually the left.
As a follow-up to observations of learning disabilities among a small set of patients, the researchers studied prevalence of self-reported learning disabilities among participants in the Northwestern Alzheimer's Disease Center registry.
The analysis included 699 individuals in the registry who responded to questions about learning disabilities.
Among the participants, 108 met criteria for primary progressive aphasia, 154 had typical amnestic Alzheimer's disease, and 84 had the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia. These clinical diagnoses were made by consensus of a neurologist and a neuropsychologist at the single center.
Patients with primary progressive aphasia were significantly more likely than those with Alzheimer's disease, the behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia, or healthy controls to have a personal history of learning disability (14.8% versus 4.5%, 7.1%, and 1.4%, respectively, P0.001 for all).
First-degree family members (parents, siblings, and children) of patients with primary progressive aphasia also had a significantly higher prevalence of learning disabilities compared with the other participants (29.6% versus 10.4% of those with Alzheimer's, 14.3% of those with the variant of frontotemporal dementia, and 6.8% of healthy controls, P0.001 for all).
Based on their initial results, the researchers also retrospectively reviewed medical records of the 23 primary progressive aphasia patients who reported personal or family history of learning disabilities.
They found "unusual familial concentrations of learning disabilities in these families," especially dyslexia.
In three families, nearly all of the children of the primary progressive aphasia patients were reported to have language-specific learning disabilities.
In one case, the primary progressive aphasia patient did not learn to read until about age 10, always had poor spelling, and was unable to learn a foreign language despite attempts to do so. All three of his children and both of his granddaughters were reported to have dyslexia. Only one of his sons was able to graduate from high school.
In another case, all three of the primary progressive aphasia patient's children had learning disabilities related to speech, reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, and learning language.
In the third case, the patient struggled with English, literature, and spelling, and received speech therapy early in life despite doing well in math and science. Of the patient's four children, two sons and a daughter were reported to have difficulty with spelling and one of the sons also had difficulty with reading.
All five siblings of another primary progressive aphasia patient were reported to have persistent difficulty with reading and spelling.
"These results suggest that learning disabilities may constitute a risk factor for primary progressive aphasia," the researchers said, "providing additional clues concerning the selective vulnerability in this syndrome."
Learning disabilities in these patients, they said, may be a marker for pre-existing developmental or acquired susceptibilities in language areas of the brain that are neurologically compensated but eventually become a focal point for degenerative disease that would have struck elsewhere if they had different susceptibilities.
Since the association was found for both personal and family history of learning disabilities, this risk factor may have "a genetic component that is developmentally expressed as dyslexia in some individuals and as a neurodegenerative disease, also affecting language, in others."
The findings may underestimate the frequency of learning disabilities in these patients because family and even personal history in this complex are likely to be incomplete, the researchers noted.
"In our clinical practice," they wrote, "we encounter many patients with primary progressive aphasia who report that spelling was never their 'strong suit' or that they could not learn new languages, but who would not have identified themselves as having a learning disorder."
The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging, the Alzheimer's Disease Core Center, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
The researchers reported no conflicts of interest.
Primary source: Archives of NeurologySource reference:Rogalski E, et al "Increased frequency of learning disability in patients with primary progressive aphasia and their first-degree relatives"Arch Neurol 2008; 65: 244-248.

College of Optometrists in Vision Development 42st Annual Meeting: Las Vegas

COVD 41st Annual Meeting October 25-29, 2011

Tropicana   Las Vegas, Nevada

Preliminary Program
Abstract Submissions
Abstract submission deadline is June 10, 2011.


Join us in Las Vegas for some networking and socializing.

Hotel Reservations
Online hotel reservations are available now.

ATTENTION: Students & Residents
A discounted rate is available for students & residents . Discounted rooms require double occupancy. Since student rooms are limited, please try to share a room with another student. To receive the student rate, you must contact COVD.

Student & Resident Travel Grants
This year up to 35 $200 grants are available for residents and students.

General Education Highlights

Session topic to be announced
Allen Cohen, OD, FCOVD

Myopia: Current Theories of Treatment and Treatment; and Intermittent Exotropia Based Upon Sensory Motor Findings
Jeffrey Cooper, MS, OD

Optometric Management of Patients who have Autism
Rachel (Stacey) Coulter, OD, FCOVD

Saccade Vergence Eye Movements: Development, Aging, and Dysfunction
Zoi Kapoula, PhD

Clinical Pearls in Development
W.C. Maples, OD, FCOVD

Learning Disabilities
Deborah Waber, PhD

Clinical Discussion Forum
Kellye Knueppel, OD, FCOVD
Brenda Montecalvo, OD, FCOVD

Applied Concepts - October 25 & 26, 2011

Acquired Brain Injury
Dr. Allen Cohen; Dr. Ken Ciuffreda, Dr. Neera Kapoor

Visual Information Acquisition
Dr. Carl Hillier

Therapy Techniques
Dr. W.C. Maples; Dr. Wanda Vaughn

Strabismus & Amblyopia
Dr. Robert Sanet

Learning Related Vision Problems
Dr. Nancy Torgerson

Annual Meeting Highlights

NEW - Social Media Workshop - October 26, 2011
Dr. Nate Bonilla Warford & Ruth Villeneuve

Joint COVD/OEP Symposium

19 Hours of Clinical Education Available

Vision Therapist Education Session
Dr. Sue Lowe & Lauri Atencio

Are Pediatricians Screening For Developmental Delays?

.... approximately half of the pediatricians reported that they do not routinely use the recommended screening tools for patients younger than 36 months. With growing evidence of the benefits of treatment, early screening is crucial to the identification of autism and other developmental disorders and intervention for these disorders....

Strength Of Synapses Prove Critical In The Process Of Learning And Memory

....ave a tough time remembering where you put your keys, learning a new language or recalling names at a cocktail party? New research from the Lisman Laboratory points to a molecule that is central to the process by which memories are stored in the brain. A paper published in the June 22 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience describes the new findings. ....

Predictors of Omega-3 Index in Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction

This article noted that: "The proportion of patients with a low omega-3 index increased with more frequent fast food intake..... In contrast, a low omega-3 index was less common among patients with more frequent fish intake ..... Fish intake, older age, race other than white, and omega-3 supplementation were independently associated with a higher omega-3 index, whereas frequent fast food intake, smoking, and diabetes mellitus were associated with a lower omega-3 index."

Comments: Omega-3s seem to be the next wonder drug....if you do not have enough...trouble in several areas seem to follow. Did you take your Omega-3s today? DM

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Parents' Summer Safety Survival Kit

....Summer fun is in full swing, which coincides with an increase in bumps, bruises, scrapes and possibly worse. To keep kids safe, prevention and first-aid should be at the forefront of parents' minds this summer....

Brain Rhythm Associated With Learning Also Linked To Running Speed

...Rhythms in the brain that are associated with learning become stronger as the body moves faster, UCLA neurophysicists report in a new study.....

Comments: Optometrists, neuro-scientists, and others have recognized the importance of motor activity for neuroplasticity (learning) for decades. DM

Estimated Deaths Attributable to Social Factors in the United States

The researchers found that: "Approximately 245000 deaths in the United States in 2000 were attributable to low education, 176000 to racial segregation, 162000 to low social support, 133000 to individual-level poverty, 119000 to income inequality, and 39000 to area-level poverty."

Comment: I have not read the full article yet, just the abstract. I'm wondering how they determined "deaths" as caused by these various social factors. Can you die from being dumb? I am getting this article now for a full read through....stay tuned! DM