Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, August 4 – Friday, August 8

Numerical learning disability: Dyscalculia linked to difficulties in reading and spelling (Science Daily)
Between three and six percent of schoolchildren have an arithmetic-related learning disability, known as dyscalculia. Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich, Germany, now show that these children are also more likely to exhibit deficits in reading and spelling than had been previously suspected. And while deficits in spelling are more prevalent among boys, girls are more likely to display dyscalculia. Reading difficulties, on the other hand, appear to be equally prevalent in both sexes.

$8 million in grants available to provide adaptive sports for disabled vets (Rehab Management)
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the availability of up to $8 million in grant funding intended to provide adaptive sports opportunities for veterans and members of the Armed Forces with disabilities. Funding may be used for training, program development, equipment, recreation therapists, coaches, sports equipment, supplies, program evaluation, and other activities linked to program implementation and operation.

Audiology Patient Choice Bill (HR 5304) introduced by Representatives Jenkins and Cartwright (The Hearing Review)
Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) have introduced legislation for the Audiology Patient Choice Act (HR 5304). The legislation, if enacted, will amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for treatment of audiologists as physicians for purposes of furnishing audiology services under the Medicare program. This will improve access to qualified, licensed Medicare providers by allowing seniors with suspected hearing or balance disorders to seek treatment directly rather than through medical doctor referrals.

Promising new approach helps curb early schizophrenia in teens, young adults (The Washington Post)
A new approach, pioneered in Portland, Maine, is being used around the country to find and treat teens and young adults with very early signs of schizophrenia. The program involves an intensive two-year course of socialization, family therapy, job and school assistance, and, in some cases, antipsychotic medication. What makes the treatment unique is that it focuses deeply on family relationships and occurs early in the disease, often before a diagnosis. So far, the results have been striking, with hospitalization rates for first psychotic episodes in Portland falling by 34 percent over a six-year period.

New prosthetic arm controlled by neural messages (Science Daily)
Controlling a prosthetic arm by just imagining a motion may be possible through the work of Mexican scientists at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV). First, it is necessary to know if there is a memory pattern in the user’s brain of how the amputated arm moved. This pattern is then translated into an electric signal for moving the prosthesis. The prosthesis is provided with a mechanical and electronic system, the elements necessary to activate it, and a section that interprets the brain signals.

Coaching may help diabetics battle depression, disease better (HealthDay News)
Mental-health coaching may help diabetes patients with depression and with lowering their blood sugar levels, a new study suggests. For the study, researchers referred 182 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and depression to a diabetes educator and also to a mental health coach. After three months, the patients’ anxiety and depression scores fell by an average of 49 percent, while their average blood sugar levels dropped from an average of 8.8 to 7.7 percent.

Autism service dogs: Green Chimneys studies their effects (The Journal News – White Plains, NY)
Researchers at the non-profit Green Chimneys center for children and youth use animals for a variety of therapeutic roles. Now, they are studying what happens when certified therapy dogs are placed in therapy sessions with groups of children who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The study includes 32 Green Chimneys students with ASD aged 8 to 15 years, half of whom attend traditional social-skills sessions while the other half attend sessions with a pair of therapy dogs. The researchers are watching to see how behaviors between the groups differ.

Talkitt app clears garbled speech of people with disabilities (Medgadget)
The Israeli company Talkitt is working to release an app that can translate unintelligible talking into clear speech. Talkitt claims the app will work with any language, including French and Klingon, because the technology is not language dependent but, rather, user focused. The article includes a video demonstrating the software.

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