Monday, September 28, 2009

How do you make a book?

I just liked this letter and thought I would share. It's from a share enewsletter on downloading books for the visually impaired. One types in a question and it is broadcast via email to all subscribers. This one came today.

I have recorded files using studio recorder. I marked the chapters and so fourth using three levels. level 1 2 and 3.
How do I get them to import in to book wizard producer?
I'm Stumped.
Can someone tell me using words of less then 6 letters? I used all the 4-letter
words up already.

Sincerely Yours:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

family fights for children inflicted with fatal disease

In 33 years I have had about 6 students with this degenrative disease. ~K

Local family fights for children inflicted with fatal disease


By Noah VanHoutan was diagnosed in March with Batten Disease, a rare
genetically inherited condition. Last month, Noah's sister, Laine,
(standing) also was diagnosed with the disease. Her fraternal twin,
Emily, tested negatively for the disease. The children's parents, Tracy
and Jennifer, are hoping a fundraiser set for Oct. 10 in Woodridge will
help raise awareness of the disease.Photos

By Natalie Morera,
Downers Grove Reporter
Wed Sep 23, 2009, 11:07 AM CDT

Downers Grove, IL -
Every so often, there's a glimpse of Noah being a regular 5-year-old.

"He'll ask constantly to go to the train," said Jennifer Farnaus
VanHoutan, Noah's mother.

After seeing multiple doctors and specialists for about a year, Noah was
diagnosed in March with Batten Disease, a rare genetically-inherited
disease that is fatal.

"We were almost relieved to find out Noah's diagnosis even though it was
the worst thing in the world," said Jennifer.

Knowing what the diagnosis was relieved the family — now they have to
become proactive, treating the disease that has no cure.

"We were told, 'Enjoy your kid and good luck,'" Jennifer said.

The disease is similar to Alzheimer's. It causes mental impairment,
seizures and a loss of sight and motor skills. Eventually, those
affected will be bedridden, blind and non-communicative. The life
expectancy for Late Infantile Batten Disease, the kind that Noah has, is
8 to 12 years old.

The news continued to get worse. One month ago, Noah's 3-year-old
sister, Laine, was diagnosed with the same disease. Laine never showed
signs before her diagnosis, and to date has had one seizure.

The family had decided to test Laine and Emily, fraternal twins, as a
precaution. Emily does not have the disease.

Help battle Batten
WHAT A fatal disease affecting two Downers Grove children
WHO Noah, 5, and Laine, 3
NEEDED Funds to increase awareness about the disease, and to cover
medical expenses
HOW Visit, click on donations
Noah's father, Tracy, has researched different ways to slow down the
disease. The family has tried different diets, vitamins, medications and
physical therapy — but so far no drastic changes have occurred.

The family has been working to raise money not only for research, but
also to raise awareness and to help offset medical costs.

Tonie Harrington, a family friend for 35 years, said when she found out
about Noah's and Laine's disease, she needed to do something.

"They have three gorgeous children and now they're being told they're
losing two of them," Harrington said. "I can't imagine what they're
going through."

So to do her part, Harrington volunteered to have garage sales at her
home to raise money. After two weekends of sales, she raised $6,000 for
the Noah VanHoutan Family Trust Fund.

The money can help the family pay for medical expenses that are not
covered by insurance. Noah uses a walker that costs the family about
$3,000. It has been recommended by his physical therapist to use a
special feeding chair, which is about $6,000, but the family has put it
off due to costs.

They also have a foundation set up through the DuPage Medical Foundation
specifically to raise money for research.

Harrington said she got an unbelievable response from people who donated
their items and time. She said she had some people handing her $20 for a
$3 item.

Harrington said she keeps her hopes high.

If you go
WHAT "Notes for Noah" karaoke fundraiser
WHEN 5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 10
WHERE Shanahan's Pint House, 75th Street and Woodward Avenue, Woodridge
WHY Proceeds raised will go to a foundation set up in Noah's name to
assist the family and to aid in medical research fo"I keep expecting someone with a million dollars to come in and say,
'Let's save these children,'" Harrington said.

Harrington refers to the disease as "an orphan disease" since it is not
well known.

"There's not enough people dying from it, so it's not important,"
Harrington said.

Jennifer said that each time they see a new doctor they must explain the
disease because no one knows about it. She said there are about 200 Late
Infantile cases in the country, and her children are two of those cases.

The family will be putting up billboards in Chicago and will continue to
try and raise awareness wherever possible.

Two people running the New York City Marathon will be raising money for
the cause as will another two people in an Iowa half marathon.

Mrs. Kathy, Visual Impairments Specialist
W Elementary School

Stimulating sight

Stimulating sight.

Led by electrical engineering professor John Wyatt, team develops retinal
implant that could help restore useful level of vision to certain groups of
blind people

Anne Trafton, MIT News Office, September 23, 2009.

Inspired by the success of cochlear implants that can restore hearing to some
deaf people, researchers at MIT are working on a retinal implant that could one
day help blind people regain a useful level of vision.

The eye implant is designed for people who have lost their vision from retinitis
pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration, two of the leading causes of
blindness. The retinal prosthesis would take over the function of lost retinal
cells by electrically stimulating the nerve cells that normally carry visual
input from the retina to the brain.

Such a chip would not restore normal vision but it could help blind people more
easily navigate a room or walk down a sidewalk.

"Anything that could help them see a little better and let them identify objects
and move around a room would be an enormous help," says Shawn Kelly, a
researcher in MIT's Research Laboratory for Electronics and member of the Boston
Retinal Implant Project.

The research team, which includes scientists, engineers and ophthalmologists
from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, the Boston VA Medical Center and
Cornell as well as MIT, has been working on the retinal implant for 20 years.
The research is funded by the VA Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation,
the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Catalyst
Foundation and the MOSIS microchip fabrication service.

Led by John Wyatt, MIT professor of electrical engineering, the team recently
reported a new prototype that they hope to start testing in blind patients
within the next three years.

Electrical stimulation.

Patients who received the implant would wear a pair of glasses with a camera
that sends images to a microchip attached to the eyeball. The glasses also
contain a coil that wirelessly transmits power to receiving coils surrounding
the eyeball.

When the microchip receives visual information, it activates electrodes that
stimulate nerve cells in the areas of the retina corresponding to the features
of the visual scene. The electrodes directly activate optical nerves that carry
signals to the brain, bypassing the damaged layers of retina.

One question that remains is what kind of vision this direct electrical
stimulation actually produces. About 10 years ago, the research team started to
answer that by attaching electrodes to the retinas of six blind patients for
several hours.

When the electrodes were activated, patients reported seeing a small number of
"clouds" or "drops of blood" in their field of vision, and the number of clouds
or blood drops they reported corresponded to the number of electrodes that were
stimulated. When there was no stimulus, patients accurately reported seeing
nothing. Those tests confirmed that retinal stimulation can produce some kind of
organized vision in blind patients, though further testing is needed to
determine how useful that vision can be.

After those initial tests, with grants from the Boston Veteran's Administration
Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health, the researchers started to
build an implantable chip, which would allow them to do more long-term tests.
Their goal is to produce a chip that can be implanted for at least 10 years.

One of the biggest challenges the researchers face is designing a surgical
procedure and implant that won't damage the eye. In their initial prototypes,
the electrodes were attached directly atop the retina from inside the eye, which
carries more risk of damaging the delicate retina. In the latest version,
described in the October issue of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering,
the implant is attached to the outside of the eye, and the electrodes are
implanted behind the retina.

That subretinal location, which reduces the risk of tearing the retina and
requires a less invasive surgical procedure, is one of the key differences
between the MIT implant and retinal prostheses being developed by other research

Another feature of the new MIT prototype is that the chip is now contained in a
hermetically sealed titanium case. Previous versions were encased in silicone,
which would eventually allow water to seep in and damage the circuitry.

While they have not yet begun any long-term tests on humans, the researchers
have tested the device in Yucatan miniature pigs, which have roughly the same
size eyeballs as humans. Those tests are only meant to determine whether the
implants remain functional and safe and are not designed to observe whether the
pigs respond to stimuli to their optic nerves.

So far, the prototypes have been successfully implanted in pigs for up to 10
months, but further safety refinements need to be made before clinical trials
in humans can begin.

Wyatt and Kelly say they hope that once human trials begin and blind patients
can offer feedback on what they're seeing, they will learn much more about how
to configure the algorithm implemented by the chip to produce useful vision.

Patients have told them that what they would like most is the ability to
recognize faces. "If they can recognize faces of people in a room, that brings
them into the social environment as opposed to sitting there waiting for someone
to talk to them," says Kelly.

Source URL:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Device finds early eye disease in preemies

United Press International

Device finds early eye disease in preemies
Device finds early eye disease in preemies

Please click on the link below to view on

Friday, September 18, 2009

Human Body Parts Do Not Create Wealth

This has been an area of concern for me for quite some time. It has to do with the maiming and killing of people with albinism on the African continent. So sad! ~K

The following page link has been sent to you by one
of our readers.AllAfrica offers this facility as a
service to our users. We do not host email accounts
or store email information in our database. To respond
to the person who sent this, use the REPLY button on
your email program, or use the address on the "Email:"
line below.

If you have questions about this service please visit: To read
up-to-date coverage of politics, business, sport and
entertainment news throughout Africa, visit:

From: KNL
Email: Ms. Kathy

Headline: Human Body Parts Don't Create Wealth

Introducing Nokia Braille Reader: SMS for the visually impaired

and further described as

Introducing Nokia Braille Reader: SMS for the visually impaired.

Hi all! Let me introduce you to the Nokia Braille Reader. We here at Nokia,
and our partners as well, have been thinking of how to do something
concrete about accessibility for quite some while. And now, our new Nokia
Braille Reader application gives SMS for the blind and visually impaired. It
captures received SMS messages and brings them to the foreground for reading
using Braille and tactile feedback. The application was concepted together
with actual users and researchers focusing on the topic, and we are now
happy to show the first experimental version of the concept. We hope to get
your comments and feedback so this application could be truly optimized
to your use. We also want to share our enthusiasm in creating innovations
for you and with you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

National Federation of the Blind and Motorola to Cooperate on MakingCell,Phones Accessible to the Blind

National Federation of the Blind and Motorola to Cooperate on Making

Cell Phones Accessible to the Blind.

BALTIMORE, and LIBERTYVILLE, Ill., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The
National Federation of the Blind, the nation's oldest and largest organization
of blind people and the leading advocate for making mainstream devices
accessible to the blind, and Motorola Inc., a leading manufacturer of cell
phones and other mobile communications devices, announced today that they have
entered into a cooperation agreement to promote technologies that improve the
accessibility of cell phones to blind consumers.

Certain future Motorola cell phones will provide verbal readouts of
information such as the time and date, battery level, signal strength, user's
phone number, caller ID information for incoming calls, missed and received
calls, and voice mail alerts. Blind users will also be able to take advantage
of verbal readouts and voice-command features for ring tone status, inputting
and accessing contacts, and various other settings. Motorola expects these
cell phones to be available in 2010. The parties have also agreed to work
together to make additional phones and features accessible to blind users.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "In
an age where productivity and success increasingly depend on access to mobile
technology such as cellular telephones, it is critical that blind Americans
have equal access to today's cell phones through user interfaces that do not
require vision. The National Federation of the Blind appreciates Motorola's
commitment to making the features of its cell phone products accessible to
blind users without the need for third-party software, and we look forward to
working together with Motorola to make future improvements to the
accessibility of telecommunication technology."

SOURCE: National Federation of the Blind.

Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations, National Federation of the
Blind, +1-410-659-9314, extension 2330, cell: +1-410-262-1281,; or Jennifer Erickson, Motorola, Inc., +1-847-435-5320,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Prayer Vigil Notification-- Louisiana State Penitentiary - Angola

Great news! Our prayer chain has finally shown up on "3day on line." Seems it sometimes takes a month for it to show after information is submitted.

Please forward to your friends and family and ask them to join our prayer chain at the link below. YAY!


MsKathyssLogo2.gif picture by mskathy0724

--- On Tue, 9/8/09, Prayer Vigil Processing wrote:

From: Prayer Vigil Processing
Subject: [Prayer Vigil Notification] - Louisiana State Penitentiary - Angola
To: mskathy0724
Date: Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 4:36 PM

Thank you for your using the Prayer Vigil request system on the 3 Day Weekend On-line Website. I pray that it fills abundantly.

The following weekend has been posted:

Community Name: Louisiana State Penitentiary - Angola
Weekend Description: Men's Kairos Inside #47
Weekend Dates: 12-15 November 2009 (CST:GMT-6)
Timezone Offset from GMT: -6.00
Prayer Vigil Coordinator: Kathy Michael
Prayer Vigil Coordinator E-Mail: mskathy
Comments: Thanks for volunteering to pray for our 3/1/2-day weekend for the 42 prison residents who will attend this spiritually uplifting workshop. Our members are finding that Kairos makes a difference as evidenced in the supportive efforts of warden, Burl Cain. He sees the difference Kairos has made on his campus.

This URL will take people directly to this Prayer Vigil:


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mat Art

I made this for our Kairos placemats. I meant to send this to my art and photography blog