Archive for the ‘hearing and vision’ Category

UK — Ofcom publishes third report on quality of live TV subtitles

June 4, 2015 Comments off

Ofcom publishes third report on quality of live TV subtitles
Source: Ofcom

Ofcom today published its third report measuring the quality of live subtitles in UK TV programmes.

Ofcom requires the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky to measure the quality of their live TV subtitles, helping to identify improvements that could benefit the millions1 of viewers who use subtitles.

Today’s report shows that broadcasters are improving several aspects of subtitling.

These include making extensive use of easier to read ‘block subtitles’, which show several words as a single block of text; cutting the number of pre-recorded programmes that have to be subtitled live; and reducing the number and duration of subtitle ‘outages’.

In October-November 2014, broadcasters delivered good accuracy rates (98% and above) across 77% of their programmes, compared to 76% in October-November 2013 and 74% in April-May 2014.

Chronic Stress Induces a Hyporeactivity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Response to Acute Mental Stressor and Impairs Cognitive Performance in Business Executives

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Chronic Stress Induces a Hyporeactivity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Response to Acute Mental Stressor and Impairs Cognitive Performance in Business Executives
Source: PLoS ONE

The present study examined the incidence of chronic stress in business executives (109 subjects: 75 male and 34 female) and its relationship with cortisol levels, cognitive performance, and autonomic nervous system (ANS) reactivity after an acute mental stressor. Blood samples were collected from the subjects to measure cortisol concentration. After the sample collection, the subjects completed the Lipp Inventory of Stress Symptoms for Adults and the Stroop Color-Word Test to evaluate stress and cognitive performance levels, respectively. Saliva samples were collected prior to, immediately after, and five minutes after the test. The results revealed that 90.1% of the stressed subjects experienced stress phases that are considered chronic stress. At rest, the subjects with chronic stress showed higher cortisol levels, and no gender differences were observed. No differences were found between the stressed and non-stressed subjects regarding salivary amylase activity prior to test. Chronic stress also impaired performance on the Stroop test, which revealed higher rates of error and longer reaction times in the incongruent stimulus task independently of gender. For the congruent stimulus task of the Stroop test, the stressed males presented a higher rate of errors than the non-stressed males and a longer reaction time than the stressed females. After the acute mental stressor, the non-stressed male group showed an increase in salivary alpha-amylase activity, which returned to the initial values five minutes after the test; this ANS reactivity was not observed in the chronically stressed male subjects. The ANS responses of the non-stressed vs stressed female groups were not different prior to or after the Stroop test. This study is the first to demonstrate a blunted reactivity of the ANS when male subjects with chronic psychological stress were subjected to an acute mental stressor, and this change could contribute to impairments in cognitive performance.

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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