Friday, October 30, 2009

Master Regulator Found For Regenerating Nerve Fibers

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2009) — Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston report that an enzyme known as Mst3b, previously identified in their lab, is essential for regenerating damaged axons (nerve fibers) in a live animal model, in both the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Their findings, published online by Nature Neuroscience on October 25, suggest Mst3b -- or agents that stimulate it -- as a possible means of treating stroke, spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injury. Normally, neurons in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) cannot regenerate injured nerve fibers, limiting people's ability to recover from brain or spinal cord injuries.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is It A Visual Problem Or Alzheimer's? New Data Helps Doctors Make The Diagnosis

ScienceDaily (Oct. 27, 2009) — Sometimes when a patient tells his ophthalmologist that he "can't see," what he really means is "I can see, but I can no longer read or write." In a minority of Alzheimer's patients the disease shows up first as problems with vision rather than memory or other cognitive functions. But diagnosis can be difficult because standard eye exams are often inconclusive for these patients.

Neuro-ophthalmologists Pierre-Francois Kaeser, MD, and Francois-Xavier Borruat, MD, Jules Gonin Eye Hospital, Switzerland, examined and followed 10 patients with unexplained vision loss who were ultimately diagnosed with the visual variant of Alzheimer's disease (VVAD). Their study -- presented at the 2009 Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology (PAAO) -- describes clinical clues that may improve ophthalmologists' ability to detect VVAD and refer patients for further tests. When patients receive neurological assessment, treatment and family counseling early in the disease, outcomes may be better for all concerned.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cochlear Implants Reduce Delay Suffered By Deaf Children In Language Acquisition, Study Shows

clip art of children playing
ScienceDaily (Oct. 19, 2009) — A multidisciplinary group at Malaga University, headed by Ignacio Moreno-Torres, is collecting information on the milestones that mark the development of deaf children fitted with a Cochlear Implant (CI) and studying to what extent the social and family environment affects this development. This research is funded with 101,000 euro by the Andalusian Regional Ministry of Innovation.

The researchers have observed in this first year of the study that, three months after receiving the implant all the children showed improvement in their perception and ability to detect sounds around them. Children quickly learn that the CI is a device that allows them to hear and if it is deactivated they protest or make gestures asking that it be switched back on.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fine-tuning Treatments For Depression

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2009) — New research clarifies how neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, are regulated -- a finding that may help fine-tune therapies for depression.

Current drugs for depression target the regulatory process for neurotransmitters, and while effective in some cases, do not appear to work in other cases.

Recent findings suggest that synucleins, a family of small proteins in the brain, are key players in the management of neurotransmitters -- specifically, alpha- and gamma-synuclein. Additionally, researchers have found elevated levels of gamma-synuclein in the brains of both depressed animals and humans.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mercury Levels In Children With Autism And Those Developing Typically Are The Same, Study Finds

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 20, 2009) — In a large population-based study published online today, researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute report that after adjusting for a number of factors, typically developing children and children with autism have similar levels of mercury in their blood streams. Mercury is a heavy metal found in other studies to adversely affect the developing nervous system.

The study, appearing in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, is the most rigorous examination to date of blood-mercury levels in children with autism. The researchers cautioned, however, that the study is not an examination of whether mercury plays a role in causing the disorder.

"We looked at blood-mercury levels in children who had autism and children who did not have autism," said lead study author Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an internationally known MIND Institute researcher and professor of environmental and occupational health. "The bottom line is that blood-mercury levels in both populations were essentially the same. However, this analysis did not address a causal role, because we measured mercury after the diagnosis was made."

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Popular Antidepressant Associated With A Dramatic Increase In Suicidal Thoughts Amongst Men, Study Finds

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 15, 2009) — Nortriptyline has been found to cause a ten-fold increase in suicidal thoughts in men when compared to its competitor escitalopram. These findings are published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

The research was carried out by Dr. Nader Perroud from the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, who headed up GENDEP, an international team. Dr Perroud said "Suicidal thoughts and behaviours during antidepressant treatment have prompted warnings by regulatory bodies". He continued "the aim of our study was to investigate the emergence and worsening of suicidal thoughts during treatment with two different types of antidepressant."

Both escitalopram and nortriptyline have their effect through the mood modulating neurotransmitter systems. The former is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), preventing serotonin from re-entering the cell and thereby prolonging its effect on nerve synapses. The latter is a tricyclic antidepressant that inhibits the reuptake of noradrenaline, and to a lesser extent, that of serotonin.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

STAR equipment pickups coming up in South Carolina

The STAR Re-Use network inventory and pickup schedule can be found at:

Please call Walton Options or one of our STAR partners if you want to be a part of these routes. More information can be found at:

STAR partners can be found at:

Redefining Dementia as a Terminal Illness

photo of holding hands

Time (Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009) -- Dementia is most often thought of as a memory disorder, an illness of the aging mind. In its initial stages, that's true — memory loss is an early hallmark of dementia. But experts in the field say dementia is more accurately defined as fatal brain failure: a terminal disease, like cancer, that physically kills patients, not simply a mental ailment that accompanies older age.

That distinction is largely unfamiliar both to the general public and within the medical field, yet it is a crucial one when it comes to treatment decisions for end-stage dementia patients. Dr. Greg Sachs at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research says a lack of appreciation of the nature of dementia leads to misguided and often overly aggressive end-stage treatment. Five years ago, Sachs wrote a paper on such barriers to palliative end-of-life care for dementia patients, but he ran into difficulty explaining the findings to the editors of the major medical journal that published it. "The editors kept coming back to me and saying, 'But what do the patients die of? You don't die from dementia.' And I kept saying, 'Yes, they do. That's the whole point of the paper,' " says Sachs.

Now, a large, prospective study to be published in the Oct. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine goes a long way toward identifying the true course of the slow-progressing disease, which affects some 5 million Americans — a number that is expected to triple by 2050. "This is the first large study to show what specialists have been arguing for years. Dementia is a terminal illness, and patients warrant palliative care," says Sachs, who wrote an editorial that appears in the same issue of the journal.

By Catherine Elton

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

'ECG For The Mind' Could Diagnose Depression In An Hour

brain scan for depression
Diagnostic technique being applied in practice. (Credit: Image courtesy of Monash University)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2009) — An innovative diagnostic technique invented by a Monash University researcher could dramatically fast-track the detection of mental and neurological illnesses.

Monash biomedical engineer Brian Lithgow has developed electrovestibulography which is something akin to an 'ECG for the mind'. Patterns of electrical activity in the brain's vestibular (or balance) system are measured against distinct response patterns found in depression, schizophrenia and other Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders.

The vestibular system is closely connected to the primitive regions of the brain that relate to emotions and behaviour, so Lithgow saw the diagnostic potential of measuring and comparing different patterns of electrovestibular activity.

Working with psychiatry researchers at Monash University's Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) in Melbourne, Australia, he tested volunteers and found distinct response patterns, or "biomarkers", that distinguished different CNS diseases from each other and from regular electrovestibular activity.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scientists Remove Amyloid Plaques From Brains Of Live Animals With Alzheimer's Disease

photo of a mouse
Research in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease points to a possible new treatment that actually removes amyloid plaques from patients' brains. (Credit: iStockphoto)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2009) — A breakthrough discovery by scientists from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, may lead to a new treatment for Alzheimer's Disease that actually removes amyloid plaques — considered a hallmark of the disease — from patients' brains.

This discovery, published online in The FASEB Journal, is based on the unexpected finding that when the brain's immune cells (microglia) are activated by the interleukin-6 protein (IL-6), they actually remove plaques instead of causing them or making them worse. The research was performed in a model of Alzheimer's disease established in mice.

"Our study highlights the notion that manipulating the brain's immune response could be translated into clinically tolerated regimens for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases," said Pritam Das, co-author of the study, from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stroke Rehabilitation Technology That's Fun And Can Be Used At Home

photo of man using technology
Using tracking tasks to assess movement problems in the arm after a stroke. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Southampton)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2009) — Stroke rehabilitation technology which patients can operate in their own homes while playing computer games, is being developed by academics at the University of Southampton.

Therapists, doctors, engineers and psychologists at the University have come together to set up ARM (Assessment, Rehabilitation, Movement) – a unique initiative that is using ideas from industrial robots to help patients regain and control movement of the arm and hand after a stroke.

"We felt it was important for people to have fun while they recovered," said Professor Jane Burridge of the University of Southampton’s School of Health Sciences. "In fact we find it’s often difficult to get them to stop playing the computer games!"

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What ideas and actions can increase access to affordable and reliable transportation services for people with disabilities, older adults, and people w

United We Ride -- What ideas and actions can increase access to affordable and reliable transportation services for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with limited incomes?

The Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM) invites you to participate in the United We Ride National Dialogue. This groundbreaking, web-based interactive dialogue is designed to allow a broader range of opinions and ideas to inform future policies, the CCAM Strategic Plan and to strengthen the CCAM's relationship with is vast array of partners and stakeholders, including state, local, and tribal governments, transportation agencies, human service agencies, healthcare providers, employment specialists, educators, and consumers.

In order to capture this critical feedback, the CCAM is seeking your participation in a 2 week long, web-based dialogue. This dialogue will allow participants to submit, comment, and rate ideas on how to increase access to affordable and reliable transportation services for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with limited incomes.

Your invaluable participation will directly inform the work of the CCAM on future policy decisions and the Strategic Plan.

The United We Ride National Dialogue will take place from November 2-13, 2009.

To view the entire article. please click on the link above.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Studies See a Higher Rate of Autism: Is the Jump Real?

clip art chart with rising numbers
Time (Oct. 05, 2009) -- One in a hundred American children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). That stunning new statistic was released on Monday by the Federal Government, officially revising the 2007 federal estimate of 1 in 150 children. The new number puts U.S. prevalence on par with reported rates in England, Japan, Sweden and Canada. It is based on two separate and very different government-funded research studies: a telephone survey of 78,037 parents by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and a rigorous national surveillance study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In an unusual show of attention and concern, top officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health and the CDC held a press conference on Oct. 2 in which they attempted to explain the new numbers, allay concerns and assure the public that substantial government resources are being devoted to understanding autism.

"We are extremely concerned about the apparent increase in estimated prevalence of autism spectrum disorders," said Ileana Arias of the CDC. "However, we urge extreme caution in interpreting this change. An increase in diagnosis does not necessarily mean that more children actually have ASD. Unfortunately, the information that we currently have doesn't allow us to give a true account of whether the apparent increase is an actual increase or the result of changes in the way we describe and diagnose ASDs."

By Claudia Wallis

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SC AT Exchange - Big Ticket Items for Sale

SC AT Exchange logoBig Ticket Items Available NOW on the South Carolina Assistive Technology Exchange. Drastically lower than Retail!

Wheelchair accessible homes, power wheelchairs, specialty mattresses, aug com., lifts, vans.

Go to and check them out! You can easily become a member, sign in, and view the items needed and those that are free or for sale.

House - Wheelchair accessible $160000

Winsford Feeder $800 or Best Offer

Ceiling Track Lift $900

High Low Chair $400 or Best Offer

Jazzy Power Chair 1120 $850 or Best Offer

Jazzy Pride 1121 Power Wheelchair Best Offer

Merits P182 Power Wheelchair $3000 or Best Offer

Mini Jazzy 1103 Power Wheelchair Free

Hoyer Deluxe Lifter HPL402 $700 or Best Offer

Merius Power Wheelchair $900 or Best Offer

Jazzy 1120/2000 Power Wheelchair $1000 or Best Offer

Permobil C300 $11000 or Best Offer

Pride Jet 2 Heavy Duty Scooter $400 or Best Offer

Pride LX 12 Power Wheelchair $4000 or Best Offer

Therapy Air Mattress APM2 $770 or Best Offer

Youth caregiver operated Quickie Wheelchair Best Offer

Invacare 2005 hydraulic patient lift device $600 or Best Offer

Guldman GH2 Power patient lift device $1500 or Best Offer

Freedom Designs Libre small youth wheelchair Best Offer

Rifton Adaptive Tricycle $750 or Best Offer

Assistive Tech Mercury II Communicator $4500 or Best Offer

ERICA Eye Gaze Speech Generating Device $6800

Dodge 2500 Wheelchair Access $8500

Harmar AL500 wheelchair lift $1700 or Best Offer

1990 GMC Vandura with Crow River lift $6000 or Best Offer

2005 Toyota Sienna LE Rampvan $35000 or Best Offer

2006 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT w/Braun $29500

Wheelchair lift, vannator /2000 $800 or Best Offer

To view the SC AT Exchange website, please click on the link above.

Mechanism That Constructs Key Brain Structure Discovered

neuron columns
Neurons in green are over expressing a key gene that abnormally segregates them from other neurons (red and blue) within a developing column in the cerebral cortex. (Credit: Image courtesy of Yale University)

ScienceDaily (Sep. 17, 2009) — Yale University researchers have found a molecular mechanism that allows the proper mixing of neurons during the formation of columns essential for the operation of the cerebral cortex, they report in the Sept. 16 online issue of the journal Nature.

Scientists have known for years that information processing in the cerebral cortex depends upon groupings of neurons that assemble in the shape of vertical columns. If the number and mix of neurons in the column are wrong, severe cognitive problems can result. For instance, malformations of these columns have been implicated in some forms of autism and mental retardation. Scientists, however, have not been able to find the molecular mechanism responsible for this intermixing.

In the Nature paper, a team led by Pasko Rakic, professor and chairman of the Department of Neurobiology and head of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, describes one of the molecular mechanisms essential to the organizations of these key structures.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Enzyme May Be A Key To Alzheimer's-related Cell Death

photo of Sandra Rossi
Sandra Rossie found that an enzyme blocks a mechanism that can lead to neural cell death. (Credit: Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 12, 2009) — A Purdue University researcher has discovered that the amount of an enzyme present in neurons can affect the mechanism thought to cause cell death in Alzheimer's disease patients and may have applications for other diseases such as stroke and heart attack.

Sandra Rossie, a professor of biochemistry, found that increasing the amount of protein phosphatase 5, or PP5, in rat neural cells resulted in less cell death associated with reactive oxygen species, which chemically damage cell molecules. Conversely, decreasing PP5 caused greater cell death. The results of Rossie's study are published in the early online version of The Journal of Neurochemistry.

Alzheimer's, a degenerative neurological disease affecting around 5 million people, results in memory loss and dementia. One theory on the cause of Alzheimer's is that overproduction of certain forms of amyloid beta protein by neurons leads to the generation of reactive oxygen species, which activate stress pathways.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Men Nearly Three Times As Likely To Develop Noise-induced Hearing Loss

ear clip artScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2009) — A comprehensive study of the prevalence and risk factors for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) show that men, especially those who are white and married, are significantly more at risk than women, according to new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego, CA.

The study, which analyzed the audiometric testing data from 5,290 people between the ages of 20 and 69 years indicates that more than 13 percent of subjects suffer from NIHL, which would correspond with approximately 24 million Americans suffering from the ailment. The strongest association was of gender, where men are 2.5 times more likely to develop NIHL than women. Among that group, married white (non-Hispanic) men represent the highest risk group for developing NIHL.

NIHL is a preventable and increasingly prevalent disorder that results from exposure to high-intensity sound, especially over a long period of time.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Telephone Depression Program Offers Benefits At A Moderate Cost

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ScienceDaily (Oct. 5, 2009) — Patients who participate in a structured telephone program to manage their depression appear to experience significant benefits and only a moderate increase in health care costs when compared with those who receive usual care, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Organized treatment programs for depression in primary care have been proven effective across a wide range of patient populations and health care systems, according to background information in the article. "Broad implementation of improved depression care programs will depend on the balance of benefits and added costs," the authors write. "Depression has large economic effects outside the health care system, including disability, lost work productivity, reduced educational attainment and relationship disruption. Ideally, decisions about the value of depression care programs should consider these broader economic effects."

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

AAIDD F.Y.I. October 2009

Dear AAIDD Friends and Colleagues:

*The new definition and classification manual of Intellectual
Disability by the American Association on Intellectual and
Developmental Disabilities is here.

Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and Systems of
Supports, the new 11th edition of the definition and classification system by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental
Disabilities (AAIDD) is now published. This is the first official AAIDD
definition manual with the terminology Intellectual Disability
(formerly mental retardation). To learn more about this progressive
system of diagnosing and classifying the condition of intellectual
disability, visit To
purchase the Manual, visit

Written by a committee of 18 experts over seven years, the AAIDD definition system is based on the global notion that intellectualdisability is not a static life-long trait, but a condition that can beenhanced with the provision of proper supports. The 11th edition of themanual was based on a synthesis of current information and best practices regarding intellectual disability; numerous reviews and critiques of the 10th edition of the AAIDD definition manual; and feedback from the field regarding a series of articles published by the Committee.

*Nearly two-thirds of the 36 children who have died due to the H1N1 flu between April and August experienced a form of developmental
disability, CDC report says

CDC reported that of the 36 children died due to the H1N1 flu betweenApril 2009 to the first week in August, 22 had neurodevelopmentalconditions such as developmental delay or cerebral palsy. Thirteen ofthose children had more than one neurodevelopmental diagnosis, and ninehad both neurodevelopmental and chronic pulmonary conditions. Read more: mortality figure has since risen. By mid-September, CDC reported atotal of 49 children had died from H1N1 flu, four of those since August30. CDC posts weekly flu surveillance reports on

*The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
presents for public comment a report highlighting among other
issues, areas of future expansion in the field of intellectual and
developmental disability research.

In this report by an expert panel on the current work and futuredirections of the NICHD's IDD Branch, the group supported a paradigmshift in IDD research to integrate the IDD field more broadly, ratherthan focus on individual, rare disorders. The panel felt this shiftcould encourage investigators to rethink the IDD field from theperspective of shared paths of investigation, systems approaches, andinterrelated networks, "with the goal of developing interventions thatmay generalize across many conditions. This would promote development of interventions for a wider population of individuals with IDD.The comment period ends October 16.The panel supported work in several directions:Research on therapeutic interventions for IDDEarly identification and diagnosis via newborn screeningResearch on adolescent brain developmentHealth disparities and health promotion research related to IDDTraining initiatives in the IDD fieldThe draft is available at

*Join a series of free aging and end-of-life webinars from experts around the country through February 2010.

AAIDD Executive Director Doreen Croser moderates this month's webinar,Competence and Compassion: Critical Qualities in Effective Supports forIndividuals with Dementia, on Wednesday, October 21 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern time. This is the second in a free webinar series on aging and end-of-life. Speaker Genny Pugh, MA, LPA, FAAIDD, Executive Director, Turning Point Services, will explore practical approaches to creating environments, individual supports, and relationships aimed at preserving functional skills and promoting wellness and quality of life for those with dementia.The series is hosted by AAIDD and the RRTC on Aging and DevelopmentalDisabilities at the University of Illinois at Chicago.Each webinar is free, but For more about future topics and speakers, go to

*A National Standards Report provides comprehensive overview of the scientific evidence in support of the many education and behavioral
treatments currently available for people with Autism Spectrum

The National Autism Center has released its National Standards Report,which it describes as the most comprehensive analysis of treatments ofchildren and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders ever published.The report identifies 11 established treatments that are known to beeffective for individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as 22emerging treatments that have shown some evidence of effectiveness, butnot enough to be confident they are truly effective. Finally, the reportdescribes five unestablished treatments for which there is no soundevidence of effectiveness [and] no way to rule out the possibility thesetreatments are ineffective or harmful.The goal of the survey is to give families and professionals better tools for making treatment decisions to meet the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Read more in National Autism Center's news release at HTTP://NEWS.PRNEWSWIRE.COM/DISPLAYRELEASECONTENT.ASPX?ACCT=104&STORY=/WWW/STORY/09-22-2009/0005098108&EDATE For information on downloading the report, go to

Brain-Computer Interface Allows Person-to-person Communication Through Power Of Thought

picture of demonstration of technology
Dr. Chris James demonstrating brain to brain communication using BCI to transmit thoughts, translated as a series of binary digits, over the Internet to another person whose computer receives the digits. (Credit: University of Southampton)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2009) — New research from the University of Southampton has demonstrated that it is possible for communication from person to person through the power of thought -- with the help of electrodes, a computer and Internet connection.

Brain-Computer Interfacing (BCI) can be used for capturing brain signals and translating them into commands that allow humans to control (just by thinking) devices such as computers, robots, rehabilitation technology and virtual reality environments.

This experiment goes a step further and was conducted by Dr Christopher James from the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. The aim was to expand the current limits of this technology and show that brain-to-brain (B2B) communication is possible.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Difficulties With Daily Activities Associated With Progression To Dementia

ScienceDaily (Oct. 4, 2009) — Among individuals with mild cognitive impairment, often considered a transitional state between normal cognitive function and Alzheimer's dementia, those who have more difficulties performing routine activities appear more likely to progress quickly to dementia, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Mild cognitive impairment is recognized as a risk factor for dementia and an important public health issue, according to background information in the article. "Annual conversion rates [from mild cognitive impairment to dementia] often range from 10 percent to 15 percent in clinic samples. Conversion rates in community-based studies are often substantially lower (i.e., 3.8 percent to 6.3 percent per year)," the authors write. "Clearly patients with mild cognitive impairment compose a heterogeneous group, of whom not all rapidly convert to dementia. As such, it is important to identify risk factors for progressing rapidly among individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment."

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Non-coding RNA Called Evf2 Is Important For Gene Regulation

ScienceDaily (Sep. 1, 2009) — Can mental disorders result from altered non-coding RNA-dependent gene regulation during embryonic development? This is a question posed by Jhumku Kohtz, PhD, of Children's Memorial Research Center. Kohtz, along with her laboratory and colleagues at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, has published research in the August issue of Nature Neuroscience that finds for the first time that a non-coding RNA (ncRNA) called Evf2 is important for gene regulation and the development of interneurons that produce GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.

The absence or reduction of GABA is implicated in different psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, Tourette's syndrome, epilepsy, and Rett syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

Until this paper, it had not been known how long ncRNAs function during neural development, or whether subtle effects on gene regulation in the embryo could last through adulthood. Kohtz and colleagues show that the Evf2 RNA controls gene expression in a region of the developing brain that is the source of GABAergic interneurons, which are known to migrate to adult brain regions involved in higher functions like learning and memory.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Upcoming Trainings at SCATP

SCATP logo
The following workshops offered by SCATP still have vacancies:

  • Accessible and Usable Web Pages Using CSS – October 6
  • Trash to AT Treasures - October 21
  • "What's New in Text-to-Speech?" - October 27
  • Building or Updating Your Home for Accessibility - October 28
  • "AMPLIFY ! LIFE" - Grab Life by the Phone. How to get specialized phone equipment FREE - November
  • AAC Assessment - November 12, 2009
  • Accessible and Usable Web Pages Using CSS – December 1
  • AAC Implementation - December 10

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Accessible and Usable Web Pages Using CSS
Time: 9 am - 12 pm

Location: The Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology
1951 Pisgah Rd., Florence, SC 29502
Room 149 (Located behind Florence Darlington Technical College.
You can find further info on the SMIT Location page.

Description: Beginning web layout using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Basic ideas, practices, tools and resources for designing a tableless web site using CSS. How CSS affects a site's accessibility and usability. Attendees should have a basic knowledge of html and/or web design layout.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Trash to AT Treasures
Time: 9:00am - Noon

Presenters: Dr. Carol Page, Speech-Language Pathologist SCATP and Val Gioia, Assistive Technology Specialist, SC Department of Education
Location: SC Assistive Technology Resource Center, Poplar Building, Midlands Center, 8301 Farrow Road, Columbia, SC

Description: Many assistive technology devices are available for communication, switch access, computer access, activities of daily living, and literacy. Assistive technology devices can be very expensive, but they don’t always have to be. Many examples of how to make assistive technology devices using common objects around the home will be demonstrated. The fundamentals of appropriately selecting and using various assistive technology devices will also be reviewed. The workshop will conclude with a make-and-take opportunity for participants to choose from different projects to construct and then take the finished product home with them. This workshop has a maximum of 16 participants.

This training is in the Assistive Technology Resource Center, so no food or drink please.

Cost: $20.00, payable to the University of South Carolina. Send checks or purchase orders to:
Sally Young
SC Assistive Technology Program
USC Center for Disability Resources
Columbia, SC 29208

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
“What’s New in Text-to-Speech?”
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Location: Poplar Conference Room, Midlands Center, 8301 Farrow Road, Columbia
Presenter: Edna Beard, Quintex of Asheville, Special Needs Technology

Several text-to-speech options will be demonstrated at this presentation. Quintex of Asheville is the distributor of the Kurzweil 3000 software, Kurzweil 1000 software, the knfbReader Mobile, kReader Mobile, and the HumanWare ClassMate and Victor Reader Stream. Each of these options has unique features and benefits, all of which will be explored. The following is a brief description of each product:

Kurzweil 3000 software is a reading, writing, and studying software program for students or individuals with reading/learning difficulties. It provides multi-sensory access to virtually any text or curriculum, including print, electronic, and web-based documents. Kurzweil 3000 supports the principles of Universal Design for Learning, enabling multiple ways for users of all abilities to engage with digital text.

Kurzweil 1000 is award-winning software that makes printed or electronic text accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. It incorporates communication and productivity tools to ease and enhance their reading, writing, and learning experience. The software speaks text aloud in a variety of natural-sounding voices that can be modified to individual preferences. The software gives users the ability to write and edit documents, and to complete simple forms independently, and includes features for note taking, summarizing content, and outlining text.

Kurzweil 1000 delivers quick access to virtually any content, including online books, magazines, dictionaries, and encyclopedias, so readers can pursue the interests they want. They can also take their reading wherever they go by sending files to Braille note takers and embossers, and portable devices such as DAISY and MP3 audio players.

knfbReader Mobile is a phone that reads to you – a truly pocket-size solution to reading on the go. This is a major advancement in portability and functionality of print access for people who are blind or visually impaired, and those with reading difficulties. The knfbReader Mobile and kReader Mobile software packages run on a multifunction cell phone which allows the user to read mail, receipts, handouts, and many other documents wherever the user happens to be. The knfbReader Mobile software has a feature set which is designed for use by blind or low-vision users. The kReader Mobile is designed for users who have difficulty reading due to learning or language problems.

ClassMate Reader is a portable digital audio book player that helps students increase their reading speed, comprehension, and vocabulary, wherever they go. The audio and highlighted text is synchronized using high quality natural speech. There is an interactive color touch screen with a dictionary and study tools to assist in the learning process. The unit plays DAISY, MP3, MIMAS, text, BookShare, and RFB&D formats.

Victor Reader Stream is a powerful, compact, DAISY/MP3 player that comfortably fits in the palm of your hand. Designed to be used by people who are blind and visually impaired, the Stream plays DAISY, BookShare, RFB&D, NIMAS, BRF, text, WAV, MP3, as well as popular commercial books. It also plays digital talking NLS downloadable books. It can be used as a digital recorder for lectures and class notes and has audio and highlight bookmarks.

Join us on Tuesday, October 27th and learn a little about each of these unique and varied products.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Building or Updating Your Home for Accessibility
Time: 9:00am–11:00am

Location: Conference Center, Richland Medical Park 2, 2 Medical Park Road, Columbia, SC
Instructors: Wesley Farnum and Michael Reed with MyHome Builders, LLC;
Catherine Leigh Graham with the University of South Carolina’s Interagency Office of Disability and Health.

Description: Wesley and Michael are local builders, business owners and realtors. Catherine is a rehabilitation engineer who has been a wheelchair user for over 20 years. They, in conjunction with the SC Assistive Technology Program, are offering this free seminar.

Wesley, Michael, and Catherine will discuss a variety of home design features that can improve accessibility for people with disabilities or those wishing to remain in their homes as they age. The design features covered are common to all homes and are available without sacrificing aesthetics and style. The objective of this seminar is to educate participants on room design, features and products that can make a home more accessible and enjoyable. Listed below are a few of the topics that will be discussed:

Exterior features for accessibility and curb appeal
Kitchen design
Electrical items for safety and comfort
Bath and shower design and products
Flooring that works
Funding options
After the presentation is completed, the presenters will be available for one-on-one questions.
Registration and Cost: Free! There is no fee to register for this seminar, but pre-registration is required.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
“AMPLIFY ! LIFE” – Grab Life by the Phone. How to get specialized phone equipment FREE
Time: 9:00am – 12:30pm

Location: Assistive Technology Resource Center, Midlands Center, 8301 Farrow Road, Columbia (you can find more information on our directions page)
Presenter: Anne G. Bader, Outreach Coordinator for the South Carolina Equipment Distribution Program (SCEDP)
Workshop Description: SCEDP is a state supported program managed by the S. C. Office of Regulatory Staff and administered by the S. C. School for the Deaf and the Blind.

SCEDP is aware of the daily challenges facing individuals who are hearing or speech impaired. Telecommunications equipment distributed by SCEDP is carefully chosen to cover their various needs, and is distributed at no cost to qualifying South Carolinians. Qualifying disabilities are: hard-of-hearing, deaf, deaf-blind, blind/low vision with hearing loss, or speech impaired.

Class Objectives:

Educate attendees on the procedure to apply for telecommunications equipment available through SCEDP.
Present a hands-on program that allows attendees to use various pieces of telecommunications equipment distributed by SCEDP.
Provide statistics on hearing loss and how it affects everyone involved in that individual’s life.
Emphasis is placed on helping individuals become more independent through use of this free, state supported program. SCEDP classes are presented on PowerPoint to facilitate a stress-free learning environment for attendees who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. ALS interpreters are available upon request.

Registration and Cost: There is no fee to register for this class, but pre-registration is required. Attendance is limited to 18.

Thursday, November 12, 2009
AAC Assessment
Time: 8:30am – 11:30am

Presenters: Dr. Carol Page, Speech-Language Pathologist, SCATP and Val Gioia, Assistive Technology Specialist, SC Department of Education
Location: Lower Level Lecture Hall, 2 Medical Park, 2 Medical Park Road, Columbia, SC

Description: Augmentative and Alternative communication (AAC) is a complex issue for many SLPs. Selecting a functional AAC system involves identification of need and personal preferences, team assessment for a symbol system, access to the AAC device, choosing motivating messages and facilitating strategies, providing an appropriate level of technology, report writing, implementation and follow-up. Protocols for performing AAC assessments will be reviewed. Strategies for symbol system assessment across a continuum will be demonstrated to address communication needs of people with low-to-high cognitive abilities. Basic elements of a report for AAC will be identified and discussed.

Cost: There is no cost for this workshop, but pre-registration is required. This workshop is limited to a maximum of 60 participants.


Tuesday, December 1 – Columbia
Accessible and Usable Web Pages Using CSS
Time: 9 am - 12 pm

Description: Beginning web layout using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Basic ideas, practices, tools and resources for designing a tableless web site using CSS. How CSS affects a site's accessibility and usability. Attendees should have a basic knowledge of html and/or web design layout.

Presenter: CB Averitt, Webmaster, Florence-Darlington Technical College. CB Averitt is the Webmaster at Florence-Darlington Technical College. He is a part of a team of four that is responsible for eleven websites. His responsibilities include web server maintenance, SQL server maintenance, programming, designing and layout. He also works with media such as closed captioning for Adobe Flash Media. His passion is building tableless designs using Cascading Style Sheets. CB also owns and manages Cats Productions, Inc., located in Florence, SC where he designs, builds and maintains several website for local businesses and

December 1 Location:
Midlands Technical College Northeast Campus/Center of Excellence for Technology
151 Powell Road

Thursday, December 10, 2009
AAC Implementation
Time: 8:30am – 11:30am

Presenters: Dr. Carol Page, Speech-Language Pathologist, SCATP and Val Gioia, Assistive Technology Specialist, SC Department of Education
Location: Lower Level Lecture Hall, 2 Medical Park, 2 Medical Park Road, Columbia, SC

Description: Speech-language pathologists recommend augmentative and alternative communication systems without a complete understanding of the capabilities of the devices or how to maximize a child’s use of the device. This training will look at what skills to target for the child and good traits of facilitating communication partners. Communication devices will be discussed regarding how to use them to maximize their capabilities for promoting functional communication. Participants will receive handouts they can use for ideas for therapy objectives.

Cost: There is no cost for this workshop, but pre-registration is required. This workshop is limited to a maximum of 60 participants.

To view the training schedule on the SCATP webpage, please click on the link above.

Walton Options HubScrub Event - Anderson - Oct 16

walton options logo
Walton Options for Independent Living, Inc. announces a new cleaning service to benefit the general public, people with disabilities, seniors, and other users of durable medical equipment (DME). In addition, this new service can also assist the local schools and daycare providers by disinfecting and sanitizing desks, chairs, toys, etc, helping to decrease … the spread of germs during this flu season. As a partner with the Southeastern Technology Access and Reuse Network (STAR), Walton Options accepts donated used equipment. The equipment is then cleaned, sanitized, and redistributed throughout South Carolina. This innovative program saves dollars, benefits the uninsured/underinsured, and promotes a greener alternative to landfill disposal by recycling the components.

To bring awareness to your community about the Cleaning Services of Walton Options and the STAR program, Walton Options will be providing cleaning services to the general public at the Disability Fair: Access Anderson - hosted by the Anderson Mayor's Committee on Disabilities on Friday, October 16, 2009 at the Anderson County Farmer's Market from 9 am-3pm.

Users and providers of durable medical equipment will have an opportunity to have their equipment inspected, cleaned and sanitized for a donation. This will allow the community a great opportunity to see the benefits of utilizing the service. We use a Hub Scrub machine designed to sanitize large items and large quantity of items. Some items that are typically sanitized are manual wheelchairs, walkers, shower chairs, toys, desks, and student chairs just to name few (no electronic devices). This is a win-win situation for everyone. It helps foster safe, clean equipment to benefit the overall well-being of all involved.

Bring your items to be cleaned.

Donate any unused durable medical equipment to help others in your community and state. We look forward to seeing you at the fair.

For more information, contact at Walton Options, 706-724-6262.

New school in east Orange built on 'inclusion' of kids with disabilities

photo of dedication ceremony
UCF President John Hitt delivers remarks during the dedication ceremony of the new East Orange/Bailes Campus of UCP of Central Florida. (Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel / September 30, 2009

Orlando Sentinel (Oct. 1, 2009) -- Suzanne Snyder is raising three children with developmental disabilities. She's used to feeling like an outsider in a school system where her kids have bounced from one class to the next trying to find a teacher who understands them and has the time and experience to deal with their special needs.

So the other day, as she stood on the campus of an innovative new school in east Orange County, watching her 8-year-old son join in song and sit happily with his peers, she couldn't help but cry. "It is finally reality," she said. "And it's just so wonderful."

The $9.6 million East Orange/Bailes campus of UCP of Central Florida, named after the family whose donation helped make it possible, is one of the few schools in the country built for "inclusion" -- the buzzword educators use for mixing kids with and without disabilities in the same classes. The idea is that disabled kids will model their behavior after their more typical counterparts, and kids without disabilities will develop empathy and understanding.

Kate Santich
Sentinel Staff Writer

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Employment group broadens how disabilities are defined

Bob McGarry, executive director of the Disability Resource Center, talks about a computer program that magnifies text for people with visual disabilities.
TOM REED (The Times)

Gainesville Times (Sept. 27, 2009) -- A year after the Americans with Disabilities Act was updated, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is looking to bring its regulations in line with the changes.

Last September, then-President George W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act. The main goal of the changes was to broaden the definition of "disability."

For Bob McGarry, executive director of the Disability Resource Center in Gainesville, the changes were a welcome update.

"When most people think about disabilities, they about someone who is physically disabled, but there are some (disabilities) that you can’t see by looking at someone," McGarry said.

By Brandee A. Thomas

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Anderson Disability Fair - Free To All - October 16, 2009

Mayor's Committee on Disabilities

2009 Disability Fair - "Access Anderson"

  • Find out what services, programs, equipment, funding, education and employment opportunities exists for people with disabilities of all ages in the greater Anderson area.

  • Get answers to your questions, sign up for benefits and check out some of the latest in equipment. Join the celebration including live music, other events and concessions.

Please join us:

Date: Friday, October 16th

Time: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Where: Anderson County Farmer's Market, 402 North Murray Ave.


Gammaglobulin Treatment For Alzheimer's Disease To Be Tested

blood clip artScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — Researchers from the Memory and Cognition Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center will begin testing an intriguing new approach to slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) using Intravenous Immune Globulin (IGIV), also known as gammaglobulin. IGIV is traditionally used to treat primary immunodeficiency disorders, but is not currently approved for treating AD, which is one of the leading causes of dementia in the elderly.

Initial research in experimental models and patients suggests that immunotherapy targeting beta amyloid (the protein that forms the core of plaques in the brain) may provide a more effective way to treat AD. Antibodies that bind to beta amyloid are present in IGIV, which is made from the blood of several thousand healthy adults.

To view the entire article, please click on the link above.