Search This Blog

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Retinitis pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa awareness month

February is retinitis pigmentosa awareness month.
Learn more about this potentially disabling condition characterised by night blindness and "tunnel vision”.

What is Retinitis pigmentosa?

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an eye condition characterised

by progressive loss of visual field, diminished dark adaptation (night blindness)

and damage to the retina. In patients with retinitis pigmentosa, peripheral

(side) vision is lost, making moving around safely difficult. Thirty million people

worldwide are afflicted with age-related macular degeneration

and retinitis pigmentosa.

What causes Retinitis pigmentosa?

Retinitis pigmentosa is caused by mutations in genes that are

active in retinal cells. Gene mutations are programmed into cells at the

time of conception. Retinitis pigmentosa is not caused by injury, infection or

exposure to any toxic substance.

What Are the symptoms of Retinitis pigmentosa?

Many people with retinitis pigmentosa disease retain some sight all their lives. Others may go completely blind from Retinitis pigmentosa, in some cases as early as childhood. Patients with Retinitis pigmentosa have trouble adjusting well to dark and dimly-lit environments. They often experience vision loss in their mid-periphery with some vision in their very far periphery.

In some forms of Retinitis pigmentosa, prolonged, unprotected exposure to sunlight may accelerate vision loss.

However, since Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disorder and runs in families, the disease is not preventable. Therefore, if someone in a family is diagnosed with retinal degeneration, it is strongly advised that all members of the family contact an eye care professional. There is no known cure at present.

What Are the Symptoms of Retinitis pigmentosa?

Normal visual acuity in early stages, possibly progressing to no light perception

Visual field loss progressing to loss of peripheral vision

Night blindness

Decreased response to magnification

Need for more light

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Aspergers Syndrome


What is Asperger Syndrome?

Asperger syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder. It is an Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), one of a distinct group of neurological conditions characterized by a greater or lesser degree of impairment in language and communication skills, as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior.

The most distinguishing symptom of Aspergers Syndrome is a child’s obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Children with Aspergers Syndrome want to know everything about their topic of interest and their conversations with others will be about little else. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors. Other characteristics of AS include repetitive routines or rituals; peculiarities in speech and language; socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers; problems with non-verbal communication; and clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements.

Children with AS are isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow interests. They may approach other people, but make normal conversation impossible by inappropriate or eccentric behavior, or by wanting only to talk about their singular interest.

Children with AS usually have a history of developmental delays in motor skills such as pedaling a bike, catching a ball, or climbing outdoor play equipment. They are often awkward and poorly coordinated with a walk that can appear either stilted or bouncy.

An effective treatment program builds on the child’s interests, offers a predictable schedule, teaches tasks as a series of simple steps, actively engages the child’s attention in highly structured activities, and provides regular reinforcement of behavior. It may include social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy

With effective treatment, children with Aspergers Syndrome can learn to cope with their disabilities, but they may still find social situations and personal relationships challenging. Many adults with AS are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs, although they may continue to need encouragement and moral support to maintain an independent life.