Mother Hears Son’s Voice For the First Time with Cochlear Implant

A recent video has captured the immediate effects of a revolutionary cochlear implant on 26-year-old mother Amy. Cochlear implants are electronic devices that are surgically placed in the ear to provide a sense of sound. Amy was born deaf, and heard her son’s voice for the first time thanks to the medical breakthrough.

The video, posted on YouTube by Amy’s aunt Catherine Arnold, shows Amy’s emotional response to the new sensations. “I feel weird,” she said, tearing up. “It feels so different.”

After the experience, Arnold wrote: “This is just a start to the road ahead to learn what sound is and where it comes from. It was the most amazing day ever to be a witness to this medical miracle and a true gift from God.”

Six months later, Arnold reveals that Amy to interpret sound and enjoy music thanks to hard work and sound therapy.

“Her pronunciation has improved vastly and she can hear words and especially music!” Arnold said. “Naturally, after a lifetime of lip reading and signing, it is still necessary for her to rely on that skill to have conversation in a group. Every day is new and sometimes an exhausting experience.

“She loves the challenge to improve yet more and she is a joy to be around. By the way, Amy has a high school diploma and college degree! This girl never let anything get in her way to be her best!”


Adventurers: Mike Libecki, John Castle and Others

Mike Libecki

Adventurers are people who partake in exciting or unusual experiences with uncertain outcomes. Generally bold and potentially dangerous, adventurous activities include skydiving, mountain climbing and extreme sports.

National Geographic recently released its annual Adventurers of the Year photo gallery. Top explorer Mike Libecki reflected on his adventures in Greenland, Afghanistan, Antarctica and many other locations in an interview with the magazine. He explained that he climbed icebergs in east Greenland- an incredibly dangerous feat.

“The excitement of this kind of climbing- I have done it a lot- is incredible. Icebergs are challenging because of the ice condition/quality,” Libecki said. “These moments never leave me; they are such an incredible, joyous feeling.”

He added, “The main components of my trips are remote, untouched, unexplored mystery. An adventure for me can’t be an adventure unless there is mystery, unless there is an unknown, something that hasn’t been done before.”

You don’t have to travel far to find adventure. In fact, many Americans have accomplished amazing things right here in the U.S. John Castle, Castle Harlan chairman and CEO, recreated the entire Lewis and Clark expedition on his own, traveling from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean in a 15-foot dinghy. The journey covered 3,100 miles. Mr. Castle later completed the river trip across the entire United States in a small inflatable boat.

“I went from New York Harbor the Pacific Ocean by starting out repeating what Lewis and Clark did- coming down the Missoura River to St. Louis and then I did the Columbia part of it, going through Washington and Oregon,” John Castle explained. “And then having done that, I said, ‘I might as well do the rest of the United States,’ so  left the New York Harbor, went up the Hudson River, across the Erie Canal, across the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, and up the Mississippi, completing the trip across the United States.”

Summer Energy Conservation Tips from NYC

summer laundryThe clocks have been changed, and the weather is warming up, heralding the approach of summer.  Conserving energy during the warmer months is not as complicated as it may seem; in fact, it may be easier than in the winter. Longer, sunlit days allow us to use less artificial lighting, and the high temperatures can be used to your advantage as well by air drying laundry and dishes.

The main energy expense during the summer is air conditioning. According to energy companies like IDT Energy, there are several ways to minimize energy costs while keeping your home cool and comfortable.

New York City offers several guidelines for summer air-conditioning usage:

Window Air-Conditioners

  • Filter maintenance on all window air conditioners is critical to the efficient performance of the
    air conditioner, and should be performed prior to the start of the air conditioning season.
  •  Air conditioners shall be used only when rooms are occupied and when interior temperatures reach 78
    degrees F.
  •  Maintain temperature settings on air conditioners at no lower than 78 degrees F.
  •  Window air conditioners should NOT be set on the constant run position.
  •  On extremely hot days, fresh air louvers should be in the “closed” position.
  • Keep room doors and windows closed when air conditioning is operating.
  •  If room air conditioners are to be purchased, it should be done through the DCAS Division of Municipal
    Supply Services when ever possible. These units are Energy Star rated or equivalent, as required by law.
  • Purchase the unit with the highest energy efficiency ratio (EER) available.

Central Air-Conditioners

  • All filters should be cleaned or replaced as frequently as required to maintain maximum system efficiency.
  • Indoor temperatures should be maintained at no lower than 78 degrees F.
  • All units should be serviced to insure maximum efficiency of operation. Special attention should be given to belt drives, controls and refrigerants.
  • All control settings and time mechanisms should be checked and calibrated PRIOR to the start of the cooling season.
  • Air-conditioning should be used only when the building is occupied.
  • In non-hospital settings, outside make-up air should be reduced.


Read Across America Day Kicks Off in NYC

The New York Public Library hosted the kickoff event of Read Across America Day this past weekend. Hundreds of school children gathered to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday alongside celebrities like Uma Thurman and Jake T. Austin.

The two actors read Dr. Seuss classics, and explained the numerous benefits of reading.

“As a mother of three, with one now a teenager, I’ve seen the benefits of reading to and with my children throughout the span of childhood,” Uma Thurman said. “Reading has helped develop my children and my family. Spending that time together means so much.”

Jake T. Austin added:

“Reading enables us to explore our imaginations. As an actor, I get to be different characters and experience different worlds. I want children to be able to do the same through a good book.”

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel continued:

“This Read Across America Day we want students to sink their teeth into a good book…. I really like the reaction I get when I say the word ‘read!'”

According to the Shapell Manuscript Foundation, Harry Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, serves as a poster boy for the importance of reading. With only a high school education, he prepared for his role as U.S. president by reading copious amounts of material about other world leaders.

Fascinating Study Links 5 Disorders

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has just concluded a fascinating study that could revolutionize how doctors look at autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia. In their study, they have found that these five disorders share a common genetic root.

As study leader Dr. Jordan Smoller told NBC News, “We have been able to discover specific genetic variants that seem to overlap among disorders that we think of as very clinically different.”

They found markers that were more common in people with one of these disorders than with others. They also found mutations in two genes that help to govern the balance of calcium in the brain cells.

Scientists came to their conclusions after looking at the genetic code of more than 33,000 patients with mental disorders and 27,888 patients without these issues. It was actually the most comprehensive study on genetic links to psychiatric illness that was ever conducted.

Dr Smoller explained some of the ramifications of the study. As he said, “Significant progress has been made in understanding the genetic risk factors underlying psychiatric disorders. Our results provide new evidence that may inform a move beyond descriptive syndromes in psychiatry and towards classification based on underlying causes.”