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Rewriting Life

Rainbow Remedy

Kindergarteners are expected to know their hues-they use them to complete innumerable color-coded lessons. This makes life a challenge for children who cannot distinguish between certain colors. A husband-and-wife team at the Eye Institute of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee is developing a two-part screening program to better identify these children. Standard color-vision testing requires one-on-one consultation with an expert. Researchers Jay and Maureen Neitz devised an inexpensive, paper-and-pencil test that kids can take in minutes and that teachers can easily score. Then, by running a simple DNA test on cheek swabs from kids who test abnormally, the Neitzes detect genetic patterns that correspond to the nature of each child’s impairment. The researchers have licensed the paper exam to Western Psychological Services, a California test publisher; they don’t have a partner for the genetic component of the screening.

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