Vision Failure Leads to Wrong Diagnosis: Posterior Cortical Atrophy, Not Depression

She began having difficulty reading memos a few months earlier. She thought perhaps her glasses needed adjustment. A trip to the optometrist led to a new pair of glasses, only slightly different than before.


The new glasses didn’t help.

She still had trouble reading memos, even those she created and wrote herself. As a result, she couldn’t correct typos and other errors. The spell checker highlighted so many words, and it was so hard for her to understand the problem, that she turned it off.

Her adult daughter urged her to go to an ophthalmologist, who had more training in vision disorders than the optometrist. The ophthalmologist ordered a CT scan of her brain. Nothing unusual was found.

Going to the office became so uncomfortable she came up with excuses to stay home. It became hard for her to read menus, even signs, so she stayed away from all her social activities as well.

 

Because her job caused her frustration and sadness, and she withdrew socially, and the ophthalmologist found no abnormality, her physician thought the problem was psychosomatic, the result of depression. She prescribed an antidepressant for her patient.

The antidepressant didn’t help.

In the next months, she had developed a number of signs.

  • Visual agnosia (the inability to recognize familiar objects)
  • Visual apraxia (the inability to perform movements that depended closely on vision, such as passing an object through a ring)
  • Simultanagnosia (while recognizing individual objects, the person cannot integrate the objects into a whole image, so doesn’t recognize or identify the image)
  • Prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces, probably because the whole face image is not perceived due to simultanagnosia, so it can’t be compared to known images)
  • Acalculia (inability to perform arithmetic)
  • Inability to put her clothes on
  • Inability to recognize highway signs
  • Hallucinations occur in about 25%

By this time, she did have some short term memory loss, but the visual signs were much more prominent. A local neurologist who examined her said she had Alzheimer’s dementia, and prescribed Aricept, a drug for Alzheimer’s.

The Aricept didn’t help.

Her family took her to a specialist center. A PET study of her brain was done. (PET studies are similar to CTs, but provide not only information about structure, but also about function.) The PET study was consistent with the center’s clinical diagnosis, posterior cortical atrophy. (It’s also sometimes called Benson’s Syndrome.)

What is Posterior Cortical Atrophy?

Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) is a brain condition in which cells in a part of the brain die and that part shrinks (atrophies). The part of the brain affected is in the back (posterior) and is responsible for visual processing.

Visual processing is tying images to memories to make sense of them. It is a process that is separate from simply registering an image. Registering an image is transferring its representation from the retina in the eye to the occipital cortex in the back of the brain. Visual processing takes place through at least two main streams from the occipital cortex, and can include over half the entire brain cortex.

An example of visual processing is putting letters together to make understandable words. Another is prosopagnosia. In this case, the patient developed a problem recognizing her daughter, except by voice. She could see parts of her daughter’s face, but could not integrate the image to match it with images in her memory. Sometimes she would ask where her daughter was, when her daughter was standing in the room with her.

What Causes PCA?

Any of the conditions that can cause dementia can cause PCA. The most common appears to be Alzheimer’s. Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Creutzfeldt Jacobs disease have also been implicated.

Treatment

There is no cure for PCA. An understanding of the condition and support for the affected person is recommended. Memory loss usually appears, and planning for that is important.

The Big E!

Today we are going to discuss the biggest taboo in Lhasadom…ear cleaning. Any Lhasa will tell you that this subject is absolutely forbidden, even for discussion, never mind actual participation. They are dead wrong!


 
 

One of the biggest problems for Lhasas, as with any dog whose ears lay down, is ear infections. In order to prevent ear infections, ears have to be kept clean. In Lhasas, the hair inside the ear cannel has to be removed regularly. If you have never performed this procedure, or if you do not have steady hands, or if you do have a very uncooperative Lhasa, as is common with this matter, have your vet clean ears.

If your hands are steady and you have been instructed in the proper procedure by your vet, and if you feel up to the task and you can get your fur baby to hold still for you, you can do this yourself. It is very helpful if you can do this yourself since ears really need to be cleaned once a week. If you have to make a visit to your vet for this procedure, check with him for an acceptable schedule for your fur kid. Some fur kids have to endure this activity more often than others.
Tiffany, my little lady, does not roll in the dirt or grass and is very proper, so her ears do not get as dirty as the youngsters or her siblings who are more rambunctious. You need to check ears frequently and clean them or have them cleaned promptly whenever the need arises.

Black, oily discharge can be an indication of ear mites, so always have your kid examined by his vet if this condition develops. Ear infections can also cause a discharge and frequently are accompanied by an unpleasant aroma and red, sore ears. Any indication or ear problems needs immediate attention.

Now, do-it-yourself. If you can meet the above mentioned criteria, you can take care of the fur kid ears yourself, but be very, very careful with this procedure, one slip can cause severe pain the to the fur kid at best and deafness at worst. Forceps, which are available from your vet or a vet supply are essential tools of the trade, so to speak. A flashlight is another necessary tool. Fold the ear back so that you can see into the cannel. Clean the outer portion of the ear with a cotton ball soaked in ear cleaning solution. Gently, but throughly remove any dirt or debris from the outer ear flap and exposed areas. With the forceps, carefully grasp the hair withing the cannel, lock the forceps and wind the hair around them to remove the hair. Repeat this step and all the hair inside the ear cannel is removed. Very carefully grasp any large pieces of debris with the forceps and remove them, be very careful not to push any debris further into the ear cannel or pinch the inner ear. Do not try to remove deep debris. Remove only what is easily visible in the upper portion of the ear. Once you have removed the hair and large particles, use a good, professional ear wash to clean the inner portion of the ear. Fill the ear cannel with the cleaner and massage the ear gently at the bottom where it connects to the head. Repeat this process two or three times, allowing the fur kid to shake his/her head between application to help dislodge deep seated dirt and debris. Clean the outer ear again to remove dirt dislodged by the cleaner and apply a good, professional drying product to help dry out the ears. Allow the ears to dry throughly and then apply a medicated powder to help keep ears dry and healthy.

Being Silly

Sometimes I like being silly. I do all kinds of silly things. Mary and Dwight laugh when I lay with my head on the door frame. It might look uncomfortable to them, but it gives me a pillow. Yes, it is a hard one, but I’m not like people. I often just lay my head on the floor.


I like playing with Brandon and Jordan. Jordan is little and can run like the wind. Brandon is bigger, but he and I still have lots of fun. The last time he was here, he took my stuffed moose and hid it. He thought I didn’t know where it was, but I know how to have a good game. First, he hid it in the closet. I pretended to not know where it was. When he wasn’t looking, I went and got it. Then, he put it in a basket, thinking I wouldn’t be able to get it out. I sure fooled him. He couldn’t believe it when I took it out of that basket. Whooo!! That game was lots of fun. By the time he left, I was wore out. I laid around the rest of the evening, sleeping.

Jordan likes to run with me. Yes, he is fast, but I’m a lot faster. He runs and I stay behind until we almost get where we are going. Then, I dash ahead. He takes it all in good sport. Once in a while I let him win.

There’s one thing the boys and I like to do that makes Mary a bit perturbed. We run and jump on the bed. If Mary is in a good mood, she turns a blind eye. If Dwight is around, we have to be careful. He doesn’t like us jumping on the bed. Mary told me that she just likes to see us having fun, so lets us get away with it. Whoooo!

Well, it’s time to get Dwight up to go for our . Mary’s been sick and it’s raining, so she can’t take me. Strep throat is no fun, she says. She is getting over it, but doesn’t want a relapse.

Take care, boys and girls. Stay safe and listen to your parents. They love you and only have your best interests at heart.

I’ll be back soon with another story about me and my life here.

Flights Resume as New Volcanic Ash Cloud Appears

According to Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, 8,700 flights took place in European airspace on April 19, 2019. This was within the 8,000 to 9,000 flights that were predicted. On the same day, European transport ministers reached an agreement to divide European airspace into three distinct zones.


The first zone; the area immediately surrounding Iceland is the danger zone where aircraft will be prohibited. The second, a cautious zone, will allow only some planes to fly while the third zone, labeled as safe, will allow normal flights.

Early Tuesday morning, NATS, the British air traffic control agency issued a statement advising that the volcano near the Eyjafjallajokull glacier had strengthened. A new cloud of volcanic ash has formed and is making its way towards the U.K. and northern Europe. While many airports have re-opened, they may be forced to close again when the cloud hits.

According to the New York Times, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Britain were due to re-open Tuesday morning. But in the U.K. only Scotland is expected to see limited service because of the strengthening of the volcano. British Airways is not expected to operate any European flights but international flights may go ahead this afternoon depending on the opening of airspace. And Qantas Airlines in Australia has announced that Friday will be the earliest that flights to Europe will resume.

The Danger of Flying Through Volcanic Ash

When a jet aircraft flies through a cloud of ash, the particles are sucked into the engines. As well, the ash can collect on the windshield, limiting the flight crew’s ability to see. Particles that are taken into the aircraft can damage the engines and the plane’s electrical system. In a worst case scenario, all of the engines will cut out.

 

According to the Wall Street Journal, a zero tolerance for volcanic ash has been in place between 1982 and now. In 1982, a Boeing 747 lost power in all of its engines after flying through ash and dropped 24,000 feet before the pilot was able to restart the engines. According to Boeing there have been at least 90 jet aircraft that have experienced difficulties after flying through clouds containing volcanic particles. Should a plane’s engines begin to fail, the aircraft manufacturer suggests the pilot attempt to restart the engines after the plane has dropped below the cloud. Clean air rushing into the engines can clean out the ash and allow the engines to be restarted.

Since the last eruption of the Icelandic volcano, European fighter jets have remained in the air. While all were able to land safely, damage to the engines and other parts of the aircraft has been reported.

There is no scientific answer to how much ash can be present in the atmosphere in order for a plane to experience no difficulties. It is not known how the European transport ministers will define the cautious zone.

The EU is trying to balance airline safety with the human and financial cost of grounded planes. With the new cloud on the horizon, some flights that are scheduled will likely be cancelled.

Using Carpal Tunnel Wrist Braces: Wrist Supports Offer Wrist Pain Relief

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of inflammation in the wrist, and sometimes requires a wrist support, or carpal tunnel wrist brace, to improve. The carpal tunnel consists of a combination of the carpal ligament, and bone, and provides a passage for the median nerve and tendons in the wrist.


When someone, such as an assembly line worker, repeats identical wrist movements, the carpal tunnel sometimes becomes irritated and inflamed. Inflammation of the carpal tunnel results in compression of the , which causes symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as pain, tingling, and numbness. These symptoms can either be prevented or alleviated by the use of carpal tunnel wrist braces.

Correctly Fitted Carpal Tunnel Brace

When using carpal tunnel wrist braces, it is important to make sure that it fits correctly. If the brace is too tight, it can rub and chafe, or even compress the wrist further, resulting in additional symptoms. If the brace is too loose, it won’t work effectively. Carpal tunnel wrist supports should be fitted individually by a doctor, and patients should pay attention to certain aspects of the brace’s fit to ensure that they won’t cause problems later.

The area of carpal tunnel wrist braces that sit at the base of the thumb should be comfortable, and should not press into the skin when the brace is fully adjusted. The patient should wear the brace for at least 10 minutes during the fitting, to ensure that it does not press or chafe in any areas. The carpal tunnel wrist support should have adjustable velcro straps, allowing the patient to adjust the fit as needed.

Wearing a Wrist Brace to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Pain

Carpal tunnel wrist braces can be used to prevent flare-ups of symptoms. In order to prevent symptoms, the carpal tunnel wrist support should be worn when doing any activity that can cause repetitive stress on the wrist. Work activities are a common culprit, but for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, many other activities can result in a flare up, including driving a car and using a manual screwdriver. Wearing the carpal tunnel wrist braces at night can also help to prevent symptoms, since many people flex their wrists during sleep, resulting in carpal tunnel irritation.

Using a Carpal Tunnel Brace for Pain Relief

Keeping carpal tunnel wrist braces in the freezer can help relieve painful carpal tunnel symptoms when they occur. The metal in the wrist brace retains the cold of the freezer, while the cloth covering the metal will keep it from being too cold on the skin. In addition, immobilizing the wrist with a carpal tunnel wrist support will help the carpal tunnel to recover from the irritation sooner, resulting in relief from the symptoms.

Mobile Barcode Technology Trend Booms During Holidays

A new tech trend is on the surge and nowhere is it more prevalent than during this holiday season.


Mobile barcodes have fast become an advertising staple, as companies now imprint barcodes in their advertisements. Consumers, using their smartphones and an appropriate app, can scan the barcodes in order to receive incentives such as coupons or other promotional items.

Scanbuy, one of the largest mobile barcode product manufacturers, just released a more recent study for the holiday season showing that there is an increasing interest from the consumer sector. Of those surveyed, over half had already scanned a barcode. For those parties who had never tried it, they at least expressed an interest in doing so in the future. That’s because nearly all of the individuals polled felt like mobile barcodes were useful.

As per Mike Wehrs, CEO and president of Scanbuy, “The fact that 40 percent of those surveyed scanned a barcode five or more times, with an additional 40 percent interested in scanning in the future, shows the immediate interest and long-term potential that mobile barcodes have in the field of retail. They can be utilized by consumers and retailers both to make for a truly valuable shopping experience. These results also show that there is a wide variety of useful content we can provide that will help educate a shopper and assist in closing a sale wherever the shopper may be.”

So which companies are hopping onto the mobile barcode advertising bandwagon? MasterCard, Virgin, Apple and Nokia are among the innovators harnessing this potential. And Scanbuy has been going a step further by tracking the adaption of mobile barcodes in its periodical trend report. Currently the top three most popular categories for mobile barcode scans are beauty products, grocery items and books.

But the buck doesn’t stop there. Heineken, the beer manufacturer, launched a widespread “Plug Into Summer” campaign that featured a sweepstakes powered by mobile barcodes. Heineken placed Scanbuy’s 2D codes onto the packaging of its 6- and 12-pack offerings.

Those interested in participating in the sweepstakes scanned the barcodes with their smartphones for a chance to win prizes. The winnings ranged from free app or music downloads to t-shirts and guitars.

As companies are constantly trying to forge connections with consumers, this is a trend we can continue to see well into the future, especially as smartphone popularity booms and users become more tech-savvy.

Gift Ideas for Your Valentine

I’ve never been that much of a fan of Valentine’s Day. Even now that I have a steady boyfriend I’m not that crazy about it. It has always seemed a bit too commercial for me, but I always loved the story of how Valentine’s Day came to exist. The most prominent myth is that a priest named Valentine defied the decree of the Holy Roman Emperor Claudius II that soldiers could not marry. Valentine, it is said, believed the law was unjust and secretly performed marriage ceremonies between soldiers and the women they loved. Ultimately, Valentine was caught and imprisoned, but even then he would marry any young couple that clandestinely visited his cell. Valentine was a man who believed that nothing could stand in the way of love and he eventually gained sainthood for his beliefs. It is such a romantic story, and the special day to celebrate St. Valentine was supposed to truly be about the celebration of love, but what started out as a simple holiday has changed, drastically. Is it still possible to enjoy this holiday without it feeling forced?


 

St. Valentine’s Day has turned love into something of a national commercial, but I still think women want to enjoy it. We all want to be pampered, I know, but I also know we girls have to protect ourselves. Protect us from what, you ask? Protect us from the cruelest part of this holiday–the chocolate. Good God, the chocolate! Valentine’s Day comes so close after the major food-stuffing holidays, and just when we are starting to take off the ten pounds we put on, along comes our guy presenting us with a five-pound box of chocolates he bought at the mall.

And how often has a woman received a nicely wrapped box from her boyfriend, picked it up and heard herself internally say, “Uh-oh.” The box is light. Too light and it can only mean one thing: lingerie. Without even opening it she can already envision the contents. Images of red underwear with an attached bustier designed to “lift and separate” invade her thoughts. Her palms sweat as she opens up the box to reveal the lacy nightmare that surely was concocted as more of a gift for him than for her. Most often these gifts are not vindictive so much as most poor guys have no idea what else to get. Don’t let this happen to you.

Gift Ideas for Your Valentine

I’ve never been that much of a fan of Valentine’s Day. Even now that I have a steady boyfriend I’m not that crazy about it. It has always seemed a bit too commercial for me, but I always loved the story of how Valentine’s Day came to exist. The most prominent myth is that a priest named Valentine defied the decree of the that soldiers could not marry. Valentine, it is said, believed the law was unjust and secretly performed marriage ceremonies between soldiers and the women they loved. Ultimately, Valentine was caught and imprisoned, but even then he would marry any young couple that clandestinely visited his cell. Valentine was a man who believed that nothing could stand in the way of love and he eventually gained sainthood for his beliefs. It is such a romantic story, and the special day to celebrate St. Valentine was supposed to truly be about the celebration of love, but what started out as a simple holiday has changed, drastically. Is it still possible to enjoy this holiday without it feeling forced?


St. Valentine’s Day has turned love into something of a national commercial, but I still think women want to enjoy it. We all want to be pampered, I know, but I also know we girls have to protect ourselves. Protect us from what, you ask? Protect us from the cruelest part of this holiday–the chocolate. Good God, the chocolate! Valentine’s Day comes so close after the major food-stuffing holidays, and just when we are starting to take off the ten pounds we put on, along comes our guy presenting us with a five-pound box of chocolates he bought at the mall.

And how often has a woman received a nicely wrapped box from her boyfriend, picked it up and heard herself internally say, “Uh-oh.” The box is light. Too light and it can only mean one thing: lingerie. Without even opening it she can already envision the contents. Images of red underwear with an attached bustier designed to “lift and separate” invade her thoughts. Her palms sweat as she opens up the box to reveal the lacy nightmare that surely was concocted as more of a gift for him than for her. Most often these gifts are not vindictive so much as most poor guys have no idea what else to get. Don’t let this happen to you.

Why Life and Critical Illness Insurance Matters: Level Term Life Insurance is Not Enough to Protect Your Family

Why is a Life and Critical Illness Insurance Policy Necessary?

Research by Bupa (a leading provider of health insurance coverage) showed that a 35-year old male was five times more likely to make a claim under a critical illness policy than level term life insurance. This means that it is essential for those with a young family, unpaid debts and/or a mortgage. A sudden loss of income can be financially catastrophic, particularly if that person is the sole bread winner.


The Cost of Critical Illness Policies

It doesn’t take a professional actuary to determine that the likelihood of developing a life-threatening health problem increases with each passing year. Although a combined life and critical illness insurance policy is always more expensive, it is cheaper to take out coverage when younger. It is generally cheaper to take out coverage for women than it is for men, although this will be affected by the individual’s choice of lifestyle. Those who drink heavily or smoke will need to pay a higher premium.

Be Honest About Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Although premiums won’t be reduced, it is essential that the insured is completely honest when answering questions about previous health problems and their choice of lifestyle. Whilst admitting to being a smoker will increase monthly premiums, failing to do so will invalidate the policy. The insurer is able to perform a series of checks to ascertain the validity of the data they have been provided. Any pre-existing medical conditions will be specifically excluded from the coverage.

When Will Critical Illness Protection Pay Out?

Following the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, a life and critical illness insurance policy will pay out once the insured has survived for a period of not less than 15 days. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) requires that each insurer should pay out upon diagnosis of one of 23 different life-threatening illnesses. Whilst many providers will compensate the insured upon the diagnosis of a number of other conditions, these are the bare minimum criteria that the ABI specifies.

Level Term Life Insurance is Not Enough

The likelihood of a term life policy paying out is less than 1%, but the figure is far higher for those with critical illness policies. The reality is that a lot of people will survive following a life-threatening illness. Don’t forget that a weak heart is unlikely to be aided by unpaid debts and collection agency activity. How will medical bills and subsequent care be paid for as well? The cost of a combined life and critical illness insurance policy is higher, but it is a price that is well worth paying.