The Center for Teaching & Learning welcomes Dr. Tino Unlap.

Tino UnlapTino Unlap, PhD (Biotechnology Program, Clinical & Diagnostic Sciences Dept., School of Health Professions) joined the Center for Teaching & Learning on August 25 in a part-time role. Dr. Unlap will be working to expand faculty enrichment opportunities. 

Dr. Unlap is a geneticist/biochemist with considerable experience teaching STEM undergraduate and graduate students.  He has received multiple teaching and mentoring awards, the most recent being a recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Faculty News

Taub’s original CI Therapy paper the most cited in rehab journals over past 30 years
Taub’s original CI Therapy paper the most cited in rehab journals over past 30 years
A 1993 UAB scientific paper describing CI Therapy has been named the most cited article in major rehabilitation journals over the past 30 years.

taub dalaiEdward Taub and the Dalai LamaA landmark study published in 1993 by investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham describing Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy is the most cited scientific article published within the last three decades in the three most prominent rehabilitation journals, according to a review just presented in PM&R, the official scientific journal of theAmerican Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

CI Therapy, developed by Edward Taub, Ph.D., University Professor and professor in the Department of Psychology at UAB, is a family of techniques that has been shown to be effective in improving the rehabilitation of movement after stroke and other neurological injuries.

The 1993 article, titled “Technique to improve chronic motor deficit after stroke,” written by Taub, Neal Miller, Thomas Novack and others, has been cited 739 times in research studies published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation or PM&R.

The authors of the PM&R review contend that citation count is a useful metric of scientific impact and is the most common method for analyzing the magnitude of scientific recognition of an individual article.

CI Therapy, which incorporates and helps prove the concept that the adult brain is plastic and has the ability to re-model itself after injury, was also recently the focus of a dialogue on neuroplasticity between scientists and the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism and a Nobel laureate. The dialogue, on Oct. 25, 2014, at UAB, featured Taub, Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., and Norman Doidge, M.D., in a lively discussion with the Dalai Lama, who is keenly interested in the ability of the brain to heal.

Complex contact lenses from UAB Ophthalmology keep disabled vet rolling
Complex contact lenses from UAB Ophthalmology keep disabled vet rolling
One eye, two contact lenses and a veteran’s life is changed forever.

Jeff Henson has been riding bikes for years. In 2012, he rode a bike coast to coast across the United States. Before that, the Army veteran did a long bike ride in France, and several in the American Northwest, always on a tandem bike and always from the back seat. He was not allowed to ride on the front seat, the steering seat.

Jeff Henson was legally blind during those rides.

Henson, a native of Heflin, Alabama, who served as a demolition specialist in the Army for nine years, developed vision issues caused by arthritis and inflammation that first struck his right eye in 2000.

“I woke up one morning and I had this really bad headache,” Henson recalled. “My eye was watering so much that I couldn’t control the tears running down my face, and my head was hurting so bad I couldn’t stand for my wife to walk on the floor. Every time she took a step, I felt like my head was going to explode.”

His vision rapidly deteriorated. About a month later, the same thing happened to his left eye. In short order, Henson lost all vision in the right eye, while his left eye fell to 20/200.

“I didn’t have any vision at all,” he said. “I was at the point where I was running into doors; I couldn’t see steps and would just run into walls. It was pretty life-changing.”

Henson went through rehabilitation for the blind and received mobility training. He got a white cane and Chauncey, a service dog. And he started riding bikes. He rode with veterans groups that held rides for disabled servicemen and women. But he had to ride tandem, on the back seat.

“I always wanted to ride by myself, but of course I couldn’t,” he said.

Then in 2013, during a routine visit at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Birmingham, things changed. Henson’s physicians told him they were sending him to a special eye doctor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Carol Rosenstiel, O.D., is an optometrist who is the chief of the contact lens service in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology. Rosenstiel specializes in using contact lenses to correct severe vision issues, particularly in cases like Henson’s, where surgery or eyeglasses are not an option.

“We went through multiple trials of different contact lenses before I was able to determine that he actually had very, very good visual potential,” said Rosenstiel. “I remember asking him if he was ready for his life to change. And he said, ‘Absolutely.’”

Henson’s cornea was badly scarred from inflammation. Light entering the eye scattered and did not focus on the retina properly. Rosenstiel prescribed a hard, gas-permeable lens which created a new spherical refractive surface on the front of the eye which allowed light rays to focus accurately on the retina. It worked. Henson could see, but the hard contact on his damaged cornea hurt.

“She put the hard lens in and I could actually see the lines on my hand,” said Henson. “But it hurt so bad I couldn’t wear it. She told me don’t worry about it, she would fix that, too.”

Rosenstiel added a second contact lens, a soft lens that Henson would wear underneath the hard lens.

“We put a soft lens on the cornea first, and then placed the rigid lens on top of that,” she said. “We use that piggyback approach when the patient needs the hard lens for the optical correction, but we are unable to achieve an adequate fit and/or comfort with just the rigid lens. We use the soft lens as a bandage to help with fit and comfort.”

The two-lens combination did the trick. Henson could see, and the lenses were comfortable.

“She had told me she was going to change my life, and I thought, ‘Right, I’ve heard this before,’” said Henson. “I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, to be honest with you. But she really did change my life.”

With his contacts, Henson’s vision in his left eye is nearly normal. And now, Jeff Henson has a solo bike. With 12 other veterans with disability, he rode his solo bike from Ottawa, Canada, to Washington, D.C., in the CanAm Veterans Challenge ride from World T.E.A.M. Sports this past summer.

“The other rides were great, but I couldn’t see anything as we rode,” said Henson. “I rode across country but didn’t know what it looked like. On the CanAm ride, I was able to see everything.”

Henson dedicated the CanAm to the person who made it possible: Dr. Carol Rosenstiel.

“I call her my hero,” said Henson.

He still has a tandem bike, and he’s still going to use it. But now, he’ll be the guy in the front seat, helping a less fortunate rider.

“I think of where I came from to where I am today,” said Henson. “I’m just going to enjoy the vision I have and use it. And try to encourage other people. You could be down, but sometimes you are not out.”  

Dentistry’s Kinderknecht elected to Board of Directors of The American Equilibration Society
Dentistry’s Kinderknecht elected to Board of Directors of The American Equilibration Society
The AES is the largest organization in the world to investigate and study proper diagnoses and treatments of diseases that cause bite problems and TMJ.

kinderknechtKeith Kinderknecht, standing, instructs his prosthodontic residents.Keith Kinderknect, DMD, professor in the Department of Prosthodontics in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry, has been elected to the Board of Directors of The American Equilibration Society.

Kinderknecht, who joined UAB’s faculty in 2006 and has more than 40 years of experience in academics and clinical care, also is the director of the Advanced Education Program in prosthodontics. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics and a Fellow of the American College of Prosthodontists. He also is a consultant to the National Naval Dental Center Postgraduate Dental School and is active in providing continuing education courses on all aspects of prosthodontics care and Temporomandibular Disorders.

The AES is the largest organization in the world to investigate and study the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of dental occlusion (bite problems) and disorders of the temporomandibular joint and associated muscles. The AES is international in scope and encompasses general dentists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, prosthodontists, orthodontists and allied health care professionals.

The AES is the pre-eminent society recognized as the source of excellence in the pursuit and sharing of knowledge related to the form, function, and pathology of the masticatory system.

It sponsors education and research that focuses on the evaluation, diagnosis, management, and restoration of the oral health and function embracing all the disciplines of dentistry.


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