The Pulse

Host Dave Brown along with guest contributors brings us closer to issues currently impacting the disabled community across Canada and the world. Listen weekdays at 12 p.m. Eastern.

On The Pulse

Welcome to On The Pulse, a space where our host, Dave Brown, reflects on topics discussed during the show and place to get more information about resources discussed. 

Improving our resources to literacy

An open book rest on a tabletop with two closed books beside it. In the distance out of focus is a shelf full of books.

On today’s show we marked National Volunteer Week by talking about the Montreal Children’s Library. Bailey Levine is a Co-Chair of the Board and part of the fundraising committee.

We came at this conversation from a few different perspectives. The first was about the importance of literacy.  Bailey made an exceptional point about how literacy isn’t just about reading conventional novels or non-fiction books.  We can appreciate audio books, e-books, graphic novels, magazines, newspapers, and any number of content formats. It’s about sparking the mind and inspiring the imagination.

The other prong of the conversation was that libraries are not just about physical books. They are a place of social gathering and knowledge sharing. They can be the backbone to an active and engaged community. Particularly in areas where families may not have unlimited resources, libraries serve a purpose to giving children, young people, and adults the opportunity to maximize their potential.

A team of runners will be raising funds for the Montreal Children’s Library this weekend as part of the Scotia Bank charity challenge.  If you want to support the team, visit here

To learn more about the Montreal Children’s Library you can visit their webpage here

Or connect with them on Facebook here

Improving vision through stem cells

In the foreground out of focus is the back of a man's head. In the background in focus is an eye chart with rows of letters varying in size.

On today’s show we talked about how stem cell therapy could mitigate the damage or even restore vision for those living with wet age related macular degeneration.  Professor Pete Coffey was part of a study in collaboration with the London Project to Cure Blindness.

The scientific method by its nature is one that fosters cautious optimism.  This breakthrough using stem cell therapy is tremendously exciting, but it is important to bare in mind that we are in early days still.  Regardless, successful human testing and restored vision in 2 subjects is noteworthy.  This therapy appears to have not just restored some vision, but a substantial amount of vision. 

We also know that wet AMD is just one condition on the spectrum of vision loss, but a victory is a victory none the less.  So long as we continue to understand more about the retina and how the cells within the eye interact, we can continue to make progress on the scientific front that could impact other conditions.

Professor Coffey mentioned that catalyzing the stem cells to become RPE cells was ‘embarrassingly easy’, so armed with that chemical information, it could be a very interesting to see where the research goes from here.

To learn more about this stem cell breakthrough visit here

And to learn more about the London Project to Cure Blindness visit here

An accessibility portal for gaming

An animated image of a football player with black lines under his eyes. In the distance is a football stadium. There are words in the middle that read "EA Sports. Madden NFL 18."

On today’s show we revisited accessible video games with Karen Stevens of EA Sports.  Karen is the Accessibility Lead for EA.

This is a significant step for one of the biggest game developers in the world to be keeping accessibility front of mind and bringing in the voice of community members who have concerns.  The EA Sports Accessibility Portal seems like a great way to foster discussion and solutions on how games can continue to be developed to include more users.

I’m from the video game generation.  I was 7 years old when my parents got us a Nintendo.  I played the heck out of that thing.  It didn’t matter that I couldn’t see everything on screen, the games made sense and they were fun.  I evolved as a human and games evolved right alongside me.  They got faster, more elaborate and complicated.  With every new edition, icons were getting smaller, there was more text on screen, and the gameplay was reaching all new highs.  It was simultaneously thrilling and frustrating.  These games were getting so good, but were gradually phasing me out.  That is rather conflicting.  That said, I found the games that I loved and made them work for me.  I still play modern sports games and love all the intricate modes, but my number one complaint is that in menu intensive modes with tons of text on screen, the font gets smaller and smaller.  I’m glad to hear that menus are one of the things that EA is already improving.  And who knows, if enough progress is made, maybe I’ll just have to spring for an XBOX One.

To learn more about the EA Sports Accessibility Portal visit here