Archive for the ‘hearing and vision’ Category

Progress in Identifying Infants with Hearing Loss — United States, 2006–2012

April 10, 2015 Comments off

Progress in Identifying Infants with Hearing Loss — United States, 2006–2012
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Congenital hearing loss affects one to three of every 1,000 live born infants (1) and negatively impacts children through delayed speech, language, social, and emotional development when undetected (2,3). To address this public health issue, jurisdiction-based Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs are working to ensure all newborns are screened for hearing loss, receive follow-up diagnostic testing (DX) if they do not pass the screening, and are enrolled in early intervention (EI) services if diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss. Although substantial progress has been made in the provision and documentation of services, challenges remain because, unlike screening results, diagnostic test results and enrollment in EI are not consistently reported to the EHDI programs. Therefore, it is difficult for states and territories to know if infants received recommended follow-up services (diagnostic testing and/or EI services), often resulting in infants being classified at either stage as lost to follow-up (LFU)/lost to documentation (LTD). To assess progress toward identifying children with hearing loss and reducing LFU/LTD for DX (LFU/LTD-DX) and EI enrollment (LFU/LTD-EI*), CDC analyzed EHDI surveillance data for 2006–2012. Results indicated that the number of jurisdictions reporting data increased from 49 to 57, rates of screening increased from 95.2% to 96.6%, rates of referral from screening decreased from 2.3% to 1.6%, rates of diagnosis among infants not passing their final screening increased from 4.8% to 10.3%, and enrollment in EI among children diagnosed with hearing loss increased from 55.4% to 61.7%, whereas rates for both LFU/LTD-DX and LFU/LTD-EI declined. These findings show sustained progress toward screening, identification, and enrollment in EI as well as highlighting the need for continued improvements in the provision and documentation of EHDI services.

PDF Accessibility: Regulations, Risks, Solutions for Compliance

December 9, 2014 Comments off

PDF Accessibility: Regulations, Risks, Solutions for Compliance
Source: American Banker

Financial and other institutions are required to provide customer documents in accessible formats. This white paper, co-authored with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), discusses applicable legislation and recent litigation cases. It also suggests best practices for compliance and for providing accessible account statements and other electronic documents to customers with vision loss. In conclusion, the paper focuses on a solution for overcoming the challenges associated with meeting document accessibility requirements.

Free registration required.

Estimated Burden of Keratitis — United States, 2010

November 17, 2014 Comments off

Estimated Burden of Keratitis — United States, 2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Keratitis, inflammation of the cornea, can result in partial or total loss of vision and can result from infectious agents (e.g., microbes including bacteria, fungi, amebae, and viruses) or from noninfectious causes (e.g., eye trauma, chemical exposure, and ultraviolet exposure). Contact lens wear is the major risk factor for microbial keratitis (1–3); outbreaks of Fusarium and Acanthamoeba keratitis have been associated with contact lens multipurpose solution use (4,5), and poor contact lens hygiene is a major risk factor for a spectrum of eye complications, including microbial keratitis and other contact lens–related inflammation (3,6,7). However, the overall burden and the epidemiology of keratitis in the United States have not been well described. To estimate the incidence and cost of keratitis, national ambulatory-care and emergency department databases were analyzed. The results of this analysis showed that an estimated 930,000 doctor’s office and outpatient clinic visits and 58,000 emergency department visits for keratitis or contact lens disorders occur annually; 76.5% of keratitis visits result in antimicrobial prescriptions. Episodes of keratitis and contact lens disorders cost an estimated $175 million in direct health care expenditures, including $58 million for Medicare patients and $12 million for Medicaid patients each year. Office and outpatient clinic visits occupied over 250,000 hours of clinician time annually. Developing effective prevention messages that are disseminated to contact lens users and investigation of additional preventive efforts are important measures to reduce the national incidence of microbial keratitis.

What’s on TV? Detecting age-related neurodegenerative eye disease using eye movement scanpaths

November 16, 2014 Comments off

What’s on TV? Detecting age-related neurodegenerative eye disease using eye movement scanpaths
Source: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience

We test the hypothesis that age-related neurodegenerative eye disease can be detected by examining patterns of eye movement recorded whilst a person naturally watches a movie.

Thirty-two elderly people with healthy vision (median age: 70, interquartile range [IQR] 64–75 years) and 44 patients with a clinical diagnosis of glaucoma (median age: 69, IQR 63–77 years) had standard vision examinations including automated perimetry. Disease severity was measured using a standard clinical measure (visual field mean deviation; MD). All study participants viewed three unmodified TV and film clips on a computer set up incorporating the Eyelink 1000 eyetracker (SR Research, Ontario, Canada). Eye movement scanpaths were plotted using novel methods that first filtered the data and then generated saccade density maps. Maps were then subjected to a feature extraction analysis using kernel principal component analysis (KPCA). Features from the KPCA were then classified using a standard machine based classifier trained and tested by a 10-fold cross validation which was repeated 100 times to estimate the confidence interval (CI) of classification sensitivity and specificity.

Patients had a range of disease severity from early to advanced (median [IQR] right eye and left eye MD was −7 [−13 to −5] dB and −9 [−15 to −4] dB, respectively). Average sensitivity for correctly identifying a glaucoma patient at a fixed specificity of 90% was 79% (95% CI: 58–86%). The area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve was 0.84 (95% CI: 0.82–0.87).

Huge data from scanpaths of eye movements recorded whilst people freely watch TV type films can be processed into maps that contain a signature of vision loss. In this proof of principle study we have demonstrated that a group of patients with age-related neurodegenerative eye disease can be reasonably well separated from a group of healthy peers by considering these eye movement signatures alone.

New From the GAO

September 29, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Disabled Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries: Integration of Medicare and Medicaid Benefits May Not Lead to Expected Medicare Savings. GAO-14-523, August 29.
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2. Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act: Largest Issuers of Health Coverage Participated in Most Exchanges, and Number of Plans Available Varied.
GAO-14-657, August 29.
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3. Freight Transportation: Developing National Strategy Would Benefit from Added Focus on Community Congestion Impacts. GAO-14-740, September 19.
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4. Managing for Results: Agencies’ Trends in the Use of Performance Information to Make Decisions. GAO-14-747, September 26.
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5. U.S. Currency: Reader Program Should Be Evaluated While Other Accessibility Features for Visually Impaired Persons Are Developed. GAO-14-823, September 26.
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Cost of Vision Problems to Reach $717 Billion by 2050

September 19, 2014 Comments off

Cost of Vision Problems to Reach $717 Billion by 2050
Source: Prevent Blindness

As the U.S. population ages, the number of those with eye disease and vision problems will continue to spiral upward. A new report released by Prevent Blindness, “The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems,” predicts more than $384 billion in 2032 and $717 billion in 2050 in nominal costs related to eye disease and vision problems.

Risky Music Listening, Permanent Tinnitus and Depression, Anxiety, Thoughts about Suicide and Adverse General Health

June 11, 2014 Comments off

Risky Music Listening, Permanent Tinnitus and Depression, Anxiety, Thoughts about Suicide and Adverse General Health
Source: PLoS ONE

To estimate the extent to which exposure to music through earphones or headphones with MP3 players or at discotheques and pop/rock concerts exceeded current occupational safety standards for noise exposure, to examine the extent to which temporary and permanent hearing-related symptoms were reported, and to examine whether the experience of permanent symptoms was associated with adverse perceived general and mental health, symptoms of depression, and thoughts about suicide.

A total of 943 students in Dutch inner-city senior-secondary vocational schools completed questionnaires about their sociodemographics, music listening behaviors and health. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to examine associations.

About 60% exceeded safety standards for occupational noise exposure; about one third as a result of listening to MP3 players. About 10% of the participants experienced permanent hearing-related symptoms. Temporary hearing symptoms that occurred after using an MP3 player or going to a discotheque or pop/rock concert were associated with exposure to high-volume music. However, compared to participants not experiencing permanent hearing-related symptoms, those experiencing permanent symptoms were less often exposed to high volume music. Furthermore, they reported at least two times more often symptoms of depression, thoughts about suicide and adverse self-assessed general and mental health.

Risky music-listening behaviors continue up to at least the age of 25 years. Permanent hearing-related symptoms are associated with people’s health and wellbeing. Participants experiencing such symptoms appeared to have changed their behavior to be less risky. In order to induce behavior change before permanent and irreversible hearing-related symptoms occur, preventive measurements concerning hearing health are needed.


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