Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gene Mutations Offer Clues to Autoimmune Disorders


WEDNESDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that rare gene variations are more common in people with disorders in which the immune system attacks the body. These autoimmune disorders include rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.

Researchers report that the findings could lead to better treatments -- although that's not guaranteed -- and pave the way for scientists to link uncommon genetic variations to other diseases.

The research is focused on mutations in the gene coding an enzyme in charge of a crucial cell in the immune system. The enzyme, called sialic acid acetylesterase, controls the immune system's B cells -- white cells that produce antibodies to fight the foreign proteins of viruses, bacteria and other invaders. If the enzyme fails to rein in the B cells, they may attack the body's healthy cells by mistake.

To view the full article, click the link in this post's title.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prognosis Good for Most Children With Epilepsy: Study

picture of neurons firing

THURSDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Children with new-onset epilepsy of unknown origin have a much higher rate of remission than those with symptomatic epilepsy, caused by underlying brain damage or disease.

That's the finding of a new study by researchers in The Netherlands who evaluated the course and outcome of childhood epilepsy in 413 children over a 15-year period. The children were ages 1 month to 16 years (mean age at onset was 5.5 years) when they were diagnosed with epilepsy. They were followed for five years and contacted again 10 years later.

By the end of the study, 70.9 percent (293) of the participants had been in remission for at least five years, while 30 percent still had active epilepsy that became intractable in one out of 10 of them. The majority of patients in remission had been diagnosed with epilepsy of unknown origin, also known as idiopathic epilepsy.

To view the full article, click the link in this post's title.

June 2010 Newsletter

newsletter clipartThe June 2010 newsletter is up! We had 28 checkouts this month, several new patrons, and almost 100 articles sent out, along with several exciting new additions to the library.

To view the newsletter, click the link in this post's title.

May 2010 Newsletter

newsletter clipart

The May newsletter is out! We had eleven new patrons and over thirty checkouts this month, with over 100 articles sent out to patrons!

To view the newsletter, click the link in this post's title.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Imaging Reveals How Brain Fails to Tune out Phantom Sounds of Tinnitus

clipart of a human ear

ScienceDaily (June 23, 2010) — About 40 million people in the U.S. today suffer from tinnitus, an irritating and sometimes debilitating auditory disorder in which a person "hears" sounds, such as ringing, that don't actually exist. There isn't a cure for what has long been a mysterious ailment, but new research suggests there may, someday, be a way to alleviate the sensation of this sound, says a neuroscientist from Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC)

In a Perspective piece in the June 24 issue of Neuron, Josef P. Rauschecker, PhD, says that tinnitus should be thought of as a disorder akin to the "phantom pain" felt in an amputated limb.

Tinnitus starts with damage to hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. This damage forces neurons in the brain's auditory areas, which normally receive input from that part of the cochlea, to become overactive to fill in the missing sound, he says. That extra, unreal noise is normally inhibited -- or tuned out -- by a corrective feedback loop from the brain's limbic system to the thalamus, where all sensory information is regulated, before it reaches the cerebral cortex, where a person becomes conscious of the senses. But that doesn't happen in tinnitus patients due to compromised brain structures in the limbic system.

The full article may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Fight Against Autism Goes High Tech

ipod touch

FRIDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- From iPods to robots to avatars, people with autism are increasingly taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies to improve their social skills and, in the process, break the isolation of their condition.

"We use them as a bridge to develop communication skills people with autism don't have, like social referencing [for example, making eye contact]," explained Katharina Boser, president of Individual Differences in Learning of Howard County, Maryland, and co-chair of the Innovative Technology for Autism (ITA) committee at one of the nation's leading autism advocacy groups, Autism Speaks. "There are a range of devices that can support people at different levels," she said.

Several of these technologies were demonstrated recently at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in Philadelphia, which was sponsored by Autism Speaks and the International Society for Autism Research.

Among other things, the very predictability of robots, toys and computer-generated avatars are a low-threat way for autistic children to learn new skills, Boser explained.

NOTE: Click on the title above to read the full article.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In South Carolina, Advocacy Overturns Governor's Library Vetoes

photo of old booksBy Norman Oder Jun 22, 2010 (Library Journal)

In less than a week, South Carolina library advocates and their allies not only got Governor Mark Sanford's veto of state aid to libraries overturned, but did so at margins State Library Director David Goble told LJ were greater than any other override vote--thanks to legislators' recognition that library Internet access is a key to the economic recovery.

Last week, Sanford vetoed $4,653,933 in state aid to public libraries and $1,172,758 in stimulus funds to public libraries, a decision that "is immediately catastrophic to the citizens who use our public libraries," Goble warned. Librarians and advocates got on the phone and the computer, contacting their legislators via the state's version of CapWiz, an application provided by the American Library Association.

The full article may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Researchers Report New Autism Genes Discovered

image of a gene

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers are part of an international consortium working with Autism Speaks, the world's largest autism science and advocacy organization, which today reports new autism genetic discoveries.

The new report shows that individuals with autism tend to carry more sub-microscopic insertions and deletions called copy-number variants (CNV) in their genome than nonautistic people do. Some of these CNV appeared to be inherited, while others are considered new because they are found only in affected offspring and not in the parents. Taken together, more of the CNVs disrupt genes previously reported to be implicated in intellectual disability without autism or in autism than expected by chance.

These findings further support an emerging consensus within the scientific community that autism is caused in part by many "rare variants" or genetic changes found in less than 1 percent of the population. While each of these variants may only account for a small fraction of the cases, collectively they are starting to account for a greater percentage of individuals in the autism community, as well as providing insights into possible common pathogenic mechanisms.

The full article may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Visual System Interprets Sign Languages

sign language clipart

ScienceDaily (June 2, 2010) — Spanish sign language is used by over 100,000 people with hearing impairments and is made up of hundreds of signs. CVC-UAB researchers Sergio Escalera, Petia Radeva and Jordi VitriĆ  selected over twenty of these signs to develop a new visual interpretation system which allows deaf people to carry out consultations in the language they commonly use.

Signs can vary slightly depending on each user. Project researchers took this into account during the trials carried out with different people to help the system "become familiarised" with this variability. The signs recognised by the system were programmed to allow deaf people to maintain a basic conversation, including asking for help or directions. "For them it is a non artificial way of communicating and at the same time they can engage with people who do not speak sign language since the system translates the symbols into words in real time," Sergio Escalera said.

The hardware includes a video camera which records image sequences when it detects the presence of a user wanting to make a consultation. A computer vision and automatic learning system detects face, hand and arm movements, as well as any screen scrolling, and incorporates these into a classification system which identifies each movement with the word associated with the sign.

The full article may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mannitol Boosts Effectiveness of Potential Cord Blood Treatment for Cerebral Palsy in Lab Animals, Study Finds

clipart of lab glassware

ScienceDaily (June 1, 2010) — The sugar-alcohol compound mannitol improved the therapeutic effectiveness of human umbilical cord blood cells injected into neonatal rat models of cerebral palsy, reports a new international study led by the University of South Florida. The mannitol opened the blood-brain barrier by temporarily shrinking the tight endothelial cells that make up the barrier.

Intravenously-delivered human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) may offer therapeutic benefits to those suffering from cerebral palsy if the blood cells can get past the blood-brain barrier to the site of injury, the research team suggests. Their findings were recently published online in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (14:4).

The mannitol treatment did not increase the survival of human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) grafts, but by elevating the trophic factors HUBC combined with mannitol "could mediate robust functional improvement," according to Dr. Borlongan and his co-authors.

"Intravenous delivery of human umbilical cord blood alone promoted behavioral recovery in neonatal animal models of cerebral palsy, but their functional improvement was more pronounced when human umbilical cord blood transplantation was combined with mannitol," commented Dr. Borlongan.

The full article may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Autism Finding Could Lead to Simple Urine Test for the Condition

photo of a stethoscope

ScienceDaily (June 5, 2010) — Children with autism have a different chemical fingerprint in their urine than non-autistic children, according to new research published tomorrow in the print edition of the Journal of Proteome Research.

The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London and the University of South Australia, suggest that their findings could ultimately lead to a simple urine test to determine whether or not a young child has autism.

The distinctive urinary metabolic fingerprint for autism identified in today's study could form the basis of a non-invasive test that might help diagnose autism earlier. This would enable autistic children to receive assistance, such as advanced behavioural therapy, earlier in their development than is currently possible.

At present, children are assessed for autism through a lengthy process involving a range of tests that explore the child's social interaction, communication and imaginative skills.

The full article maybe viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

World's Largest DNA Scan Reveals Rare Variants That Disrupt Gene Activity in Autistic Children

photo of a DNA model

ScienceDaily (June 10, 2010) — The world's largest DNA scan for familial autism has uncovered new genetic changes in autistic children that are often not present in their parents. Identified in less than 1 percent of the population, these rare variants occur nearly 20 percent more in autistic children.

Using blood samples from 996 elementary school-age children diagnosed on the autism spectrum from the United States, Canada, and Europe, the scientific teams combed the children's DNA for rare deletions and duplications. In particular, they hunted for changes in the genetic information that a child inherits from each parent. The families consisted of parents with one autistic child.

"We discovered two striking things. First, the rare variants interfered nearly 20 percent more in the genes of autistic children than in the healthy children," said Dr. Daniel Geschwind, Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics and UCLA professor of neurology and psychiatry. "Second, we found a number of disruptions that are new, or de novo. The autistic child is the first in their family to carry that variant. The parents do not have it.

"This suggests that tiny genetic errors may occur during formation of the parents' eggs and sperm, and these variations are copied during creation of their child's DNA," added Geschwind, who is also director of the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment. "The finding parallels what takes place in chromosomal disorders like Down's syndrome."

The full article may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Work Incentive Seminar Event - 6/30/2010

WISE logo

Seminar: SSI and DI

Below are the details for this meeting.

Meeting Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Meeting Type & Time: 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Meeting Name: West Columbia, SC 6/30/10
Meeting Location: Babcock Center
Street Address: 2725 Banny Jones Avenue
City, State and Zip: West Columbia, SC 29170
Contact: CJ Bilka
Contact's Phone: 803-935-5202
Contact's Email:
Hosting organization: South Carolina Pathways To Employment
Meeting Directions: Located off of Platt Springs Rd. between NCR and the Airport Midlands Technical School.

Registration information and the full info page for this conference may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Targeted Molecules Play Only Minor Role in Axon Repair

picture of the cervical spine

ScienceDaily (June 9, 2010) — Neuroscientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that removing three key inhibitory molecules from myelin -- the insulating material that surrounds nerve cell fibers -- does not significantly boost the ability of injured spinal axons to regenerate and restore themselves to full function.

"I think this just shows how incredibly complicated the challenge is to induce axon regeneration and functional recovery after central nervous system (CNS) injuries," said Binhai Zheng, PhD, assistant professor of neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study. "It's not going to be one gene or one approach that proves to be the answer. Successful regeneration will likely require a combination of many approaches and techniques."

The findings, to be published by Zheng and colleagues in the June 10 issue of the journal Neuron, run contrary to a popular and enduring hypothesis that the elimination of key inhibitory molecules in myelin should measurably boost axon regeneration in CNS injuries.

To view the full article, click the link in this post's title.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Helping Hearts, Spinal Cords and Tendons Heal Themselves

clipart of bandaged heart

ScienceDaily (June 8, 2010) — Queen's University researcher Brian Amsden is hoping that in about 10 years a tendon, spinal cord or heart valve will be able to regenerate itself after an injury or disease.

The chemical engineering professor, along with scientists from the University of Western Ontario and University of Toronto, is currently trying to develop microscopic polymer fibers to help rebuild human tissue and speed the healing process.

While using polymers to help grow muscles may sound like something out of Frankenstein, it's actually quite natural. Dr. Amsden is trying to develop the technique where stem cells from fat are placed on a polymer prosthetic that stimulates cell growth and that is later implanted it into a person's body.

The full article may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Basic Family Support Training: A Culturally Competent Training Series

photo of a familyThe Center for Disability Resources (UCEDD)
in collaboration with
The SC Commission for Minority Affairs



9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
June 26 – 27, 2010
Midlands Center Training Center
8301 Farrow Road
Columbia, SC 29203

For registration and additional information contact:
Karen Irick - 803.935.5222
Marcy Hayden - 803.333.9621 ext. 23
Stipends are provided to all participants. Seats are limited.

Flyer available in alternative format.

The TASH Family Support Training Project is supported by a grant (#90DN0266) from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Consistent Bedtime May Give Kids Developmental Boost

clipart of sleeping child

MONDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Sticking to a regular bedtime and getting enough sleep may help young children score higher on tests of development, a new study suggests.

Kids who had a consistent bedtime at the age of 4 scored higher on a number of tests, including some that measured literacy and math abilities. Earlier bedtimes and parental rules about keeping bedtime routines also were associated with higher scores on developmental measures.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that preschool children get at least 11 hours of sleep each night. Kids who got less than that had lower test scores, according to study author Erika Gaylor, a researcher with SRI International, a research institute in Menlo Park, Calif., and colleagues.

The study is based on responses from phone interviews with the parents of about 8,000 kids. The parents were interviewed when the children were 9 months old and again when they were 4 years old.

The full article may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Writing for the Web - Good Resources

photo of pen and pencil on paper

Below are some good resources for writing for the web. Each title is a hot link, and I've tried to give you some idea of what each resource contains.

WebAIM’s Writing Clearly and Simply - WebAIM is a highly respected resource in all areas of accessible web design. Their site has many tutorials and articles, as well as an email discussion list.

Is it Possible to Write Clearly and Simply?

General Guidelines

Additional Considerations for Users with Reading Disorders and Cognitive Disabilities

Readability tests

Writing for the Jakob Nielsen's Website with many resources and an alertbox column.

How little do users read?

Low-literacy users

Microcontent: writing headlines, page titles, and email subject lines

Information pollution

Colorado State's Writing Guide for Email - Note: this link is to the "print-friendly" page for the information. When you click on the hot links on that page, it takes you to a non-print friendly page that's a bit cumbersome. All the information is on this page, so it's best not to use the hot links.

Content & usability: Web writing - Webcredible is a commercial company based in the UK. They offer many free resources on web accessibility and usability, including a newsletter.

Tips on Writing Web Sites and Web page Optimization - Web Copy writing TipsThe Web Content Cafe's suggestions focus on commercial web sites. Some topics include:
How to Format Long Copy on Web Pages
Place Links in the Line of Sight
Too Many Choices Reduces Conversion Rates

Monday, June 07, 2010

The SC Statewide Brain Injury Conference

The SC Statewide Brain Injury Conference
Life with Brain Injury
July 15 - 16, 2010
Columbia Conference Center, 169 Laurelhurst Avenue, Columbia, SC 29210.
Sponsored by the Brain Injury Alliance of South Carolina and South Carolina Brain Injury Leadership Council

The Complete Conference Brochure is now available. Many session topics are offered including Assistive Technology Aids and Reutilization for People with Brain Injury, Brain Injury Basics, Preventing Caregiver Burnout, Recreation, Transitioning to or Returning to Work, Independent Living Services, Current Research, Support Groups, and more!

Keynote Speakers are Kevin W. Kopera, MD, Medical Director, Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, Greenville, SC
and Mickey Plyler, Radio Sports Talk Show Host, Clemson, SC.

For More Information contact the Brain Injury Alliance of SC at (803)731-9823 or (877)TBI-FACT(in-state) or e-mail or

Hope to see you there!
Joyce Davis, CBIS, CTRS, Executive Director, Brain Injury Alliance of South Carolina
Tel. (803)731-9823, (877)TBI-FACT (in-state), Fax: (803)731-4804

NOTE: To read more about the event, click on the title above.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Natural Self-Repair Mechanisms That Kick in After Spinal Cord Injury Identified

picture of spinal cord structure

ScienceDaily (May 31, 2010) — Researchers in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine have made an important discovery that could lead to more effective treatments for spinal-cord injuries. Karim Fouad and David Bennett have identified one of the body's natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after injury.

When someone suffers a spinal-cord injury they can lose almost all serotonin projections, so it was previously thought that the serotonin receptors were inactive. But the U of A researchers found that serotonin receptors are spontaneously active after spinal-cord injury, despite the absence of serotonin. Their study shows that this receptor activity is an essential factor in the recovery of functions like walking. Fouad and Bennett say this significant discovery provides important insight into how the spinal cord responds and changes after an injury, which is essential to developing meaningful treatments.

The article's full text may be viewed by clicking the link in this post's title.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Check Out our "Be Healthy…Read Healthy" Project!

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Library has received funds from the South Carolina Legislature for the Be Healthy…Read Healthy project, which aims to increase access to health information for underserved individuals in rural and urban communities throughout South Carolina. Access to quality consumer health information empowers patients and their families by increasing knowledge and improving decision-making. As part of this project, the School of Medicine Library selected consumer health and disability information resources, ten books and one DVD, to distribute to each county library system in the state.

CDR Librarian, Steven Wilson,
striking the all-powerful "Librarian Pose"

Assistant Director, Roz McConnaughy,
failing to escape the all-seeing camera

Beginning to unload the university van

Workin' hard... (Roz is the one taking the pictures...)

Job well done! Thanks for helping deliver the books, Betty! Curtis, too!
(And thanks to my graduate student assistant, Emily Boney, for stamping all of the books! )

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

SC Independent Living Council Events: Quarterly Meeting

SC Independent Living Council Events
SCILC Quarterly Meeting
SCILC June Meeting
DATE: June 11, 2010
TIME: 2:00pm-5:00pm
LOCATION: 1410 Boston Ave.
P Charles LaRosa Bldg
MORE: call (803) 731-1607

Join Our Mailing List!
810 Dutch Square Blvd, Ste 214
Columbia, South Carolina 29210