Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It’s all in the eyes: Heather Nuske on tracking emotional processing in autism

It’s all in the eyes: Heather Nuske on tracking emotional processing in autism

".............Reading and understanding emotion is a skill most people begin to develop during infancy, such that by adulthood they are better equipped to deal with social interactions. However individuals with autism are often found to struggle with processing emotions expressed by others, though familiarity is suggested to help mitigate this. In a recent study in the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Heather Nuske, Giacomo Vivanti and Cheryl Dissanayake from La Trobe University, Australia, set about measuring the effect of familiarity on emotion processing in autism. Utilising eye-tracking pupillometry they investigate how autistic children respond to expressions of fear in familiar versus unfamiliar people. Here Nuske explains what their findings suggest about the neurological basis of autism, and how this may aid clinical assessment and management......"

Comments: Interesting! Anyone else out there using this technology? Read full article by clicking here:     DM

Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study

Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study 

"...........This study of Autism Spectrum Disorders strengthens the evidence linking neurodevelopmental disorders with gestational pesticide exposures, and particularly, organophosphates and provides novel results of ASD and DD associations with, respectively, pyrethroids and carbamates. ...."

Comments: Autism is much more mystery than fact....this NIH sponsored study helps to gather facts so that we can better diagnose and treat this significant disorder. For more information about the etiology of autism please see:

Maino DM. Viola, SG, Donati R. The Etiology of Autism. Opt Vis Dev 2009:(40)3:150-156.

Viola SG, Maino DM.  Brain anatomy, electrophysiology and visual function/perception inchildren within the autism spectrum disorder. Opt Vis Dev 2009;40(3):157-163. 

Other resources: Optometry & Visual Development: Autism

Click on the title above to download the full article. DM

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why Strabismus Surgery Should Probably Not be Your First Option for Treatment

Richard Bruenech, PhD
During the 2014 International Congress of Behavioral Optometry, Jan Richard Bruenech PhD (Director of the Biomedical Research Unit and professor in ocular anatomy at Buskerud University College in Norway) noted that:

 " since the proprioceptors in the muscle tendons play a role in feedback to the brain of where the eyes are pointing, we may want to do something OTHER than surgery to treat strabismus, because these fibers are right where [the ophthalmic surgeons] make the cut.   Cutting the proprioceptors may hinder the straightening of the eye because the brain does not know where the eye is."

There are many reasons why the patient should not consider eye surgery as the first option for strabismus

(Please see: The Number of Placebo Controlled, Double Blind, Prospective, and 

Randomized Strabismus Surgery Outcome Clinical Trials: None!  and Strabsmus Surgery Outcomes ).

Current and ongoing oculomotor muscle research like that of Dr. Bruenech  suggests even more reasons for using optometric vision therapy before any surgical intervention.

I noted in the above paper that:

It is the standard of care in medicine in many specialty areas to conduct one or more non-surgical interventions prior to determining the actual need for surgery and all of its associated risks. Why is this not the standard of care when it comes to strabismus surgery?

Anytime anyone recommends strabismus surgery to you as the first option when it comes to treating strabismus, ask them why.

For doctors who can help you arrive at informed and perhaps better decisions when it comes to strabismus surgery and other concerns of functional
vision problems diagnosis and treatment, go to The College of Optometrists in Vision Development, and The Optometric Extension Program Foundation.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Doctor Game: Children’s vision problems mimic ADHD

The Doctor Game: Children’s vision problems mimic ADHD

My friend and colleague was quoted in this news story in the Times Colonist  about the link between vision problems and attentional anomalies. If you or your child has suspecyed ADHD, a comprehensive, vision examination that includes the determination of oculomotor, accommodative and vergence abilities (and more!) is essential. You should also ask your eye doctor if they have the assessment tools available (like the TOVA [Test of Variables Attention] to help determine if ADHD or other problems with attention are present.

".....Dr. Patrick Quaid, an expert in double vision, is head of the Guelph Vision Therapy Centre. He says that double vision must be taken seriously because its causes can range from brain tumour, concussion or inflammation of an artery to simple dysfunction of ocular muscles. Fortunately, when adults notice DV, they know something is wrong and demand quick attention.
But Quaid says children with ADHD often get either a delayed diagnosis or no diagnosis of ocular disorder. Doctors treating a child with ADHD rarely consider arranging for an eye examination to detect ocular malfunction.
The most commonly encountered abnormality is “convergence insufficiency,” or difficulty keeping the eyes tuned when reading. These kids’ eyes do not work in unison due to an imbalance of muscle control. Consequently, they see double when reading, frequently lose their place, find reading frustrating and shy away from it, which affects their learning......"
- See more at:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Speed of Trust

The Speed of Trust

".....Drs. Lenart and Torgerson urge us all to to find common ground, to begin to build a foundation of TRUST, and break down barriers between professions.  For the sake of your patients, keep an open mind.  Imagine what we could do if things were different…… how many lives could be changed if we focus on building TRUST......"

Comment: The COVD blog is always a great read. Check it out!

Getting Enough Vitamin D? Signs & Symptoms You're Not

Getting Enough Vitamin D? Signs & Symptoms You're Not

Have you been experiencing muscle weakness, fatigue, bone pain and mood swings? If so, you could have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is classified as both a vitamin and a hormone. As a vitamin, it appears in fortified foods and in supplements. Once ingested, however, the vitamin is stored in your fat cells until it is ready to be used by your body. When your body is ready to use the vitamin, it activates the vitamin’s compounds, allowing it to act as a hormone that assists in the intestinal absorption of iron, magnesium, phosphate, calcium and zinc. It is through absorption that the body is able to perform a variety of functions that aid in your health, especially bone health. Therefore, vitamin D is essential to your well-being. If your body is not getting enough of it, complications like osteoporosis and rickets can arise. Read further to learn more about vitamin D, the signs and causes of vitamin D deficiency, and how you can boost your levels and improve your health......."

I tend to be very vampire-like when it comes to sun exposure (of course like most vampires I am incredibly handsome and have a mesmerizing personality too!!!) so taking a bit more Vit D for me makes about you?
Read more: Getting Enough Vitamin D? Signs & Symptoms You're Not by eHealthGuide