Re-Opening a Prior Social Security Disability Benefits Claim

There are a number of reasons why a claimant should hire a Social Security disability attorney to help with a disability benefits claim. The more common reasons include but are not limited to: no up front fees, free consultations, gathering medical records, dealing with Social Security, and arguing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. One of the rarely talked about, yet very important reasons for hiring a disability lawyer is their ability to “re-open” prior claims.

What does it mean to re-open a prior claim?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) routinely denies disability claims. In fact, at the initial application level it can seem as though SSA is only approving claimants that are on the verge of death. Since so many people are denied, many claimants are second, third, or fourth time applicants. If your claim was denied at the Disability Determination Services (DDS) level (where the initial determination is made) and was not appealed, a disability lawyer may be able to “re-open” your prior denial without having to start from square one. The advantages of this specific method are plentiful. Re-opening a prior claim can result in more benefits, speeding up the process, and less documents back and forth.

Re-opening prior Social Security disability claims is governed by 20 C.F.R. 404.988, which can be found on the government website. While there are a number of ways a disability attorney can re-open a prior claim, one of the more straight-forward options is to do so within 12 months of the date listed on the initial determination, for any reason. There should be an emphasis on for any reason.

The second way a prior claim can be re-opened is if it is within four years of the date of notice of the initial determination and if there is “good case”. Good cause is defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.989:

1) New and material evidence is furnished

2) A clerical error in the computation or recomputation of benefits was made; or

3) The evidence that was considered in making the determination or decision clearly shows on its face an error was made

Good cause for re-opening a case does not exist when the only reason is a change of legal interpretation or administrative ruling upon which the determination or decision was made.

There are many other ways that a case can get re-opened. If you have previously been denied disability benefits, you may have the option of re-opening the case rather then starting a new. It should also be noted that it is important to know whether you had originally applied for SSDI or SSI when you speak with a disability lawyer. Re-opening prior claims is one overlooked yet very important way a disability attorney can help you with your claim

Why Choose Sermorelin Acetate Therapy?

With increasing life expectancies and more technology at our fingertips it is only expectedly natural that people everywhere are searching for a healthy but effective way to feel and live better. Sermorelin acetate is a safe avenue in an emerging world of natural age remedies. The purpose of Sermorelin Acetate Therapy is to cause the pituitary gland to increase growth hormone production in humans. The purpose of adult Sermorelin growth hormone therapy is to reverse the effects of aging. This revolutionary hormone therapy is a biological active analog of growth hormone releasing factor (GRF 1-44) which is a growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) that is naturally produced by the human brain to stimulate production and secretion of human growth hormone (HGH) by the pituitary gland. Sermorelin stimulates the pituitary gland by binding to specific receptors to increase the production and secretion of HGH. With GHRH therapy, the pituitary gland increases its growth hormone production which is converted by the liver into IGF-1 and released into the blood stream. This means increased metabolism and the growth of new cells within the body’s organs and bones. New cells equal healthy young tissue and chance to greatly improve your quality of life.

As a youth, ample amounts of GHRH are produced so that the pituitary gland is able to provide the body with sufficient growth hormone to sustain health, vitality and otherwise normal aspects of human form and function. In some people, GHRH stops working and does not release the signal like it should. When this happens, premature aging sets in. During aging, a decline in GHRH causes reduced production of pituitary HGH and thereby increasing growth hormone insufficiencies that erode health, stamina and vitality during later life.

Sermorelin acetate is approved for use in children and is considered safe for use in adults with deficient growth hormone. The FDA has recently approved Sermorelin treatment in adults who experience premature aging. Typically injected at bedtime, Sermorelin dosing is based on gender and the severity of the hormone deficiency. As always, it is imperative that adults seeking this (keyword) first have their blood test results reviewed by the supervising physician working with the organization offering the treatment.

What are the benefits?

Sermorelin has been proven to increase energy and endurance, break down body fat, improve heart function, increase lean muscle mass, enhance the immune system, accelerate healing from surgery or wounds, promote non-REM restful slow wave sleep, and increase calcium retention which strengthens and increases bone density. It has also been shown to reduce liver uptake of glucose, play a role in fuel homeostasis, increase protein synthesis and stimulate the growth of internal organs (except the brain) and contribute to the maintenance and function of pancreatic islets.

Memory and kidney function is often improved during Sermorelin therapy. Anyone who has had high blood pressure in the past can expect to find blood pressure at a more accepted level. The immune system is often enhanced and balding patients can expect to grow some hair back. Other benefits include fewer wrinkles and more elasticity to the skin. Improvements to the sexual drive and the renewed ability to have intercourse are touted as some of the more fantastic benefits.

Along with the benefits are several side effects that may or may not occur they vary in nature and are rare. The most common side effects are pain or swelling where the injection was given, it is a small shot so you can expect an experience similar to a vaccine. More severe effects are itching or slight discomfort when swallowing; should this occur your physician should be called immediately. Other side effects that should be reported to a doctor, but that tend to be rare, are dizziness, headache, hyperactivity, and vomiting and again can be quickly addressed by contacting your supervising physician.

Those on Sermorelin therapy are expected to be under a doctor’s direction and care. There are several choices with clinics that provide the therapy and many doctors who are certified to use Sermorelin in treating patients with Adult Onset Hormone Deficiency. These clinics and doctors’ monitor the effects of the therapy by way of testing blood and reviewing your lab results. Prescriptions must be written in order to get Sermorelin and costs can run into the thousands if patients do not give their diligence to seek out the most trusted sources for these revolutionary youthful solutions.

Sermorelin is the synthetic version of the Human Growth Hormone. GHRH, or growth hormone releasing hormone, is produced in the brain and gives a signal to the pituitary gland to release the growth hormone. In some people, GHRH stops working or malfunctions and does not release the signal as it should. A malfunctioning GHRH can cause an adult to start to age prematurely. Injections of Sermorelin will help them to keep a more youthful look longer thus giving this treatment a reputation for being the fountain of youth. This therapy has been long touted as a viable solution to stunted growth in children and young adults. Recently the FDA allowed Sermorelin to be given to people who are experiencing the aging process prematurely. It also is given to those that have HIV as it alleviates some of the symptoms of that disease.

With all the added benefits and few negative side effects there is little left to decide but there may still be questions. Find the physician or clinic nearest you that you can trust and do your homework to make sure that you are choosing the one that’s right for you. The Sermorelin Hormone treatment protocol is only as effective as the one administering it. Once you find the clinic that’s right for you, you will soon learn for yourself how much better and alive you can look and feel.

Anal Cancer and Kerry’s Story: Beware of HPV

KERRY’S STORY
Kerry was a 42-year old female executive who was in excellent health. She was married but had no children and had never been pregnant. She was a non-smoker with no past medical history and no family history of cancer. Specifically, Kerry had no history of sexually transmitted diseases and she was HIV negative. When she noticed blood on the toilet paper after her bowel movements, she first thought that the problem was due to hemorrhoids. However, after two weeks, the bleeding increased and was accompanied by pain and itching around the anus. She went to her primary doctor whose exam revealed a 2 x 2 inch mass at the anal sphincter. Her doctor did not feel any abnormal lymph nodes in her groin. He referred her to a colorectal surgeon who performed a colonoscopy. That examination confirmed the mass seen by her primary doctor but no other lesions. Biopsy revealed a squamous cell carcinoma, anal cancer.

After her diagnosis, Kerry’s surgeon sent her for a PET/CT scan which revealed abnormality only at the anal mass. There was no distant activity to suggest metastatic (distant, incurable) spread of her cancer. Her surgeon referred her to a radiation oncologist and medical oncologist. They recommended radiation therapy (RT) and chemotherapy delivered together (concurrent chemoRT) which she underwent over a period of 6 weeks. Kerry was treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in order to minimize RT dose to critical organs including the small bowel and bladder, while treating potential microscopic cancer cells within the lymph nodes in her pelvis and groin and the anal tumor. She received concurrent mitomycin and fluorouracial chemotherapy by IV infusion as an outpatient. Kerry had expected side effects of treatment including severe irritation and redness of the skin in the groin and anus, but she did not require a break during IMRT. She had significant fatigue that kept her out of work during most of her chemoRT. She had some loose bowels which were well controlled after adjusting her diet. Near completion of her treatment, there was no evidence of any tumor remaining. She recovered from the side effects of treatment over about six weeks. Kerry has seen one of her cancer doctors every three to six months for the past five years and she remains cancer free!

BASICS
Although it’s one of the least common cancers of the GI tract, there are still about 5000 cases of anal cancer diagnosed in the U.S. each year. There are more women than men diagnosed. The average age at diagnosis is around 60 years old, but it can occur in patients in their 30s and 40s. If the disease is localized, which is the case for 50% of patients, then the cure rate is roughly 80%.

RISKS & CAUSES
The majority of patients who are diagnosed with anal cancer don’t have a clearly defined risk factor. However, factors that increase the risk of developing anal cancer are associated with the risk of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This virus is the same kind that causes genital warts. Certain strains of the HPV virus are associated with a high risk of developing anal cancer as well as cervical cancer and some types of throat cancer. Activities that put people at risk for HPV, like receptive anal intercourse, also put them at risk of later developing anal cancer.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Patients often present to their doctors with complaints of anal pain or bleeding. Many patients ignore or downplay the symptoms, often initially attributing them to hemorrhoids. While most people who have these symptoms don’t have anal cancer, persistent pain or bleeding should always prompt medical attention. Less commonly, patients will complain of itching or a painless mass in the groin. A lump can develop in the groin as a result of anal cancer spreading to lymph nodes and causing them to enlarge.

DIAGNOSIS
The diagnosis of anal cancer is usually made by biopsy of the anal mass or area of ulceration. Generally, this procedure is performed by a medical GI specialist or surgeon. These doctors are able to directly look into the anal canal and rectum by proctoscopy (or the entire colon by colonoscopy) with special instruments after they deliver medications to minimize discomfort. Biopsies are performed during these procedures, after sedation and/or injection of numbing medicine. Most anal cancers (80%) are squamous cell carcinomas. A thorough evaluation of someone suspected of having anal cancer should also include examination of the pelvis, particularly both groins. If lymph nodes are enlarged, then they may also be biopsied. Many enlarged lymph nodes are only inflamed, with no evidence of cancer. Blood tests that may be ordered include complete blood count, tests of kidney function, and possibly HIV testing, depending on the patients’ risk factors for the virus.

STAGING
The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM staging system is used to determine if anal cancer is localized (early stage) or has spread to other sites (advanced or late stage). Early stage disease is limited to the anus, while advanced disease refers to cancers that have invaded nearby organs or lymph nodes in the pelvis or groins. Imaging studies should include CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis and a chest X-ray at minimum. Staging may also include a PET/CT scan. This imaging test allows the radiologist as well as the treating cancer specialists to see if the anal cancer has spread to involve lymph nodes in the groin or pelvis, or metastasized to other sites in the body such as the liver or lungs.

TREATMENT
The standard treatment for anal cancer doesn’t involve surgery, which comes as both a surprise and a relief to many patients. Since most anal cancers invade the sphincter that controls defecation, surgery to remove such a cancer would require removal of the sphincter and creation of a colostomy. Therefore, surgery is generally avoided in favor of treatment that will keep the anal sphincter intact. An exception would be very early cancers of the anal margin, on the skin outside the anus.

Concurrent chemoRT is the standard treatment for the majority of patients with anal cancer, to obtain the best chance of cure with sphincter preservation. RT delivered over roughly 6 weeks with concurrent IV fluorouracil (5FU) and mitomycin-C (MMC) chemotherapy provides patients the best chance for cure. RT is delivered in daily fractions using either 3D conformal RT or IMRT. The latter technique may be used in order to minimize the amount of normal bowel and/or genitalia receiving full-dose RT (& therefore minimize side effects).

The main side effects that are possible during RT to the anus and pelvis include skin reaction that may be severe around the anus and creases of skin at the groins, as well as bowel irritation and diarrhea. Most patients will have these acute symptoms resolve within 1-2 months following completion of treatment. Extremely rare (<1%) but serious side effects include bowel obstruction or fistula (a hole between the anus and bladder or urethra). 5FU may also cause bowel irritation, diarrhea, irritation in the mouth or lips, poor appetite, and fatigue. Uncommonly, skin or nail discoloration or severe peeling of the hands and feet (hand foot syndrome) or other major side effects can happen. In rare cases, heart problems including heart attack can occur. MMC may cause decrease in blood counts, mouth sores, poor appetite, and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting, and urinary irritation may also occur. Rarely, life-threatening lung or kidney damage can occur.

Book Review of the Recipe For Living Without Disease by Aajonus Vonderplanitz

Aajonus Vonderplanitz is known to be an eccentric healer who suggests a lot of raw meat, raw fat and some stinky raw rotten meats for healing. This book enlightens the reader about the science and the lengthy experience behind those recommendations. At the end of reading this book, you will want to experiment with the Primal Diet yourself.

In volume 1, Aajonus begins by giving a colorful background of how he had learned about these things by experience in curing his own diseases and with that of his patients. He then moves on to explain the true causes of disease, toxicity and how to reverse it. Aajonus tweaks your curiousity on why you eat cooked food and processed food and the seemingly funny but often asked question is can we digest raw food? Then there are the questions of bacteria, sleep and bowel movements.

In volume 2, Aajonus explains about taste and explains more about the best raw foods and food combining for proper digestion and assimilation. Aajonus moves on to optimizing his raw food diet in a recipe for removing deep tissue toxicity, for weight loss, for travel and baby food. Next are the all important recipes, how to make them and what they are good at addressing which health conditions. Read, re-read, print out this section and have a bound copy in your kitchen.

In volume 3, Aajonus explains more about the science of nutrition, the cholesterol myth and why real raw food is better than processed supplements.

In volume 4, Aajonus exposes the wayward direction of modern western medicine, how their false concepts of disease, germs and parasites have brought detriment millions of people around the world.

This book belongs to your small library of must-read and must-keep books for reference. Aajonus’ experiences as not just a long time raw foodist’s but as a long time healer of many people is a treasure that must be documented and preserved. It is unfortunate that I found myself lactose intolerant and cannot consume raw dairy. But besides my intolerance to dairy, I find that the principles laid out by Aajonus are all solid.

The book The Recipe for Living Without Disease is Aajonus Vonderplanitz’ second book after he wrote his first book, The Primal Diet: We Want to Live. It is available at http://storesonline.com/site/811618/page/1840437

NLP Variables – A Complete List Of Kinesthetic Sub-Modalities

When you learn NLP, authors and readers often speak of a primary representational system. Many NLP novices mistakenly label people with a representational system. “Oh, he’s auditory.” “Oh, she’s kinesthetic.” Don’t make this mistake. Keep your sensory channels open and notice people’s shifts in representational system from moment to moment and state to state.

Today, we’ll talk about sub-modalities of the kinesthetic representational system.

In NLP, we consider sub-modalities to be the particular characteristics or qualities of a specific representational system. For instance, kinesthetic sub-modalities include temperature, texture, weight, pressure and balance.

I find it harder to identify a useful analogy for manipulating kinesthetic sub-modalities. For visual sub-modalities, you can compare it to manipulating the image on your television or DVD player. For auditory sub-modalities, you can compare it to playing with the sound on your stereo. For kinesthetic, it’s not that simple or obvious, because kinesthetics tend to be very associated.

To find a useful analogy, you might have to imagine several experiences. For instance, being under the shower and turning water temperature up or down. Or, to understand kinesthetic rhythm, imagine being in a loud disco and feeling the techno beat in your chest.

So, what are some of the kinesthetic sub-modalities that you can adjust to change your reaction to the feelings you hallucinate?

1. Temperature (Hot vs. cold)

2. Texture (rough vs. smooth)

3. Vibration

4. Pressure

5. Weight (Heavy vs. light)

6. Location

7. Rhythm

8. Steady or intermittent

9. Facial expression

10. Body position

11. Eye positions

12. Gestures

13. Mass – how big is it?

14. intensity

15. density

16. movement (motion, spinning in which direction)

17. balance

18. Strong or Weak

19. Constant or Intermittent

20. Shape of sensation

Now, to the most important part of the article (and of NLP practice). Print out this list and find a buddy to play with. Now, close your eyes and feel a neutral sensation in your mind. You might hallucinate someone pulling lightly on your arm, a handshake, or lying on the sand of a sunny beach.

Then, ask your buddy to guide you into transforming that sensation. They should simply say: “now, make the feeling heavier.” Then: “now, bring it back to normal weight.” And then move on to the next item.

Practice and please post your comments and questions on the blog to stimulate one another.

Remember to always refer to this article and the previous two whenever you need to work with visual, auditory or kinesthetic sub-modalities.

KSM-66 Ashwagandha – Health Benefits

Ashwagandha, a herb, finds extensive usage in Ayurvedic medicine. It is popularly known as Indian Ginseng. However, KSM-66 Ashwagandha is not related to ginseng in any way. Ashwagandha is comprised of two Sanskrit words, “ashwa” meaning “horse” and “gandha” meaning “smell”. These words throw light on the properties of the herb. It works as a sedative and calms the mind.

What is KSM-66 Ashwagandha?

KSM-66 is a specialized extract of Ashwagandha, where the active ingredients of the herb (Withanolides) are sourced from only the root. In other extracts, the active ingredients have been sourced from both the leaf and the root. The latter extracts go against the practices of traditional Ayurveda.

Health Benefits of KSM-66 Ashwagandha

  • In recent years, Ashwagandha has been the topic of much research. Many studies have shown that the herb has a rich content of steroidal lactones and alkaloids. Besides, it is rich in amino acids, fatty acids, and choline.
  • Ashwagandha has myriad health benefits that can be used to treat several diseases and disorders.
  • KSM-66 Ashwagandha works like an adaptogen. This means that it effectively combats daily stress and tension. Ashwagandha, when taken in regular amounts, increases the body’s resistance to stress, simultaneously increasing energy levels.
  • It gives a tremendous boost to the immune system. This could reduce the onset of various ailments and disorders.
  • Ashwagandha has proven benefits on the functioning of the brain, ensuring enhanced thinking and betterment in decision making. The herb has positive effects on memory and concentration, which can be used for the benefits of students.
  • KSM-66 Ashwagandha functions like an anti-anxiety agent, which can reduce anxiety levels as well as depression. It has a soothing effect on the brain, and due to its sedative effects, it can help treat insomnia.
  • This herb prevents brain cell degeneration, which could prevent or delay the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • A known aphrodisiac, Ashwagandha alleviates fertility problems in women and men. In addition, it can give a boost to your libido.
  • This herb alleviates pain and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it supremely useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Ashwagandha is known to regulate blood sugar levels; thus helping those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
  • Some studies have shown that Ashwagandha can lower levels of LDL or bad cholesterol. Thus it can prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases.
  • This herb inhibits cancer cell growth in the colon, breast, and lungs with no effect on normal cells. These properties make it ideal for use an anti-cancer herb.
  • Because it plays the role of an adaptogen, it can be used in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Besides, it can help treat wounds and reduce back pain.
  • Other disorders where Ashwagandha has known positive effects include tuberculosis, asthma, fibromyalgia, bronchitis, chronic liver disease, and menstrual problems.
  • KSM-66 Ashwagandha also has numerous benefits for the skin. It demonstrates anti-ageing properties, which delays the onset of wrinkles and gives you a youthful appearance. It can effectively treat leucoderma and other skin conditions and infections.

Now that you know the health benefits of this wonder herb, waste no time in procuring it and reaping its positive effects.

Early Church Persecution

The Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church. -Tertullian

INTRODUCTION

This article is an introductory look at the persecution of the early church. The Jewish social setting and subsequent persecution of the Christians by the Jews will be looked at first, followed by the Roman social setting and persecution of the Christians by the Romans.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS BY JEWS – IN JERUSALEM

SOCIAL SETTING

Jewish Scholars point to the rejection of the Torah as the basis of the conflict between Christians and Jews, while many Christian scholars have pointed to the rejection of the Messiah as the basis of the conflict.1 A closer look at the complex social setting of Jerusalem during the first century will reveal a much more complex set of events.

Judaism of the first century was composed of eight very different groups of Jews. In the same way that it would be a gross misrepresentation to lump Mormons, Muslims and Atheists in the same category, so it would be likewise inaccurate to lump Jews of this time period into one category, simply based on their national or ethnic identity. Here is a brief overview of the various groups, focusing on the political aspects of their identity, since politics were at a fever pitch in this complex and struggling nation:

Sadducees: This was a group of wealthy Jews who controlled the Temple, which enabled them to continuously generate the financial resources to remain in power. While not completely embracing their Roman occupiers, they sided with the Romans to help themselves remain in power over the temple.

Am Ha- ‘aretz: The people of the land. These were the segment of the common peasant population, which paid little attention to the observance of the Torah and seemed to shun the study of the Torah.2 This group would have included any Jews who proclaimed atheism and by and large held little political power.

Scribes: Literally translated as one who can write. These were the scholars of their day.

Essences: A sect which separated themselves from the cities, observing extreme purity and piety in the deserts, awaiting a sure eschaton to come in their generation, which would remove the foreign invaders from Judah and establish a new order.

Zealots and Sicarii: The Sicarii were the terrorists of their day. They would hide small knives under their garments and in the midst of busy crowds stab specific offenders. Politically they served to stir up sentiments of war against those they opposed.3

Hellenized Jews: An ever-growing population of Jews who were embracing the new order of Hellenism to the exclusion of Judaism. The reasons for this transformation were numerous, chief of which were financial and political gains that came with embracing and trading in Hellenized areas.

Pharisees: The people who were most focused on Torah worship and observing with rigid detail not only the laws of the Torah, but also the laws created to build a fence around the Torah. This group of people felt great pressure from multiple directions. They had the Sadducees controlling the temple, the Hellenized world enticing Jews to view Judaism as the old way, Hellenism as the wave of the future and the Roman government oppressing them. They were holding on to a belief that seemed to be fading away in this complex and changing world.

Going back to the initial arguments of why the Jews persecuted the Christians, Jewish scholars who point to the lack of Torah worship as the basis for the conflict discount the fact that many groups in this world were not observing the Torah, with little to no persecution being directed at them. Paul was said to have observed the Torah worship when in the company of Jews, but he still faced persecution.4 In addition, records found in the Dead Sea Scrolls speak of an anti-ritualistic sentiment within the Jewish population. Christian scholars who point to the rejection of the Messiah as the basis of the conflict fail to recognize than the Essences and other obscure sects used messiah language and some even claimed to be a messiah, yet there is no record of directed persecutions among those groups. To better understand what could have caused the persecution of the Christians within Jerusalem, the record of Christian activity in Acts must be observed.

In the first seven chapters of Acts, during the Apostles’ witness to Jerusalem, the Apostles were found in the temple preaching. Those in attendance of such sermons would have been the Sadducees and Pharisees. The message of a new kingdom reserved only for those who professed Christ would have angered the Sadducees by threatening their power hold on the temple. As much as they would have desired freedom from foreign invaders their link with the Romans helped to keep them in power and thus the Christian message was an affront to their capital. Likewise, the same message would have been even more distasteful to the Pharisees. It would have struck the same already raw nerve of the invading Hellenism in that Christianity, like Hellenism, demoted the very symbols of their ethic solidarity of purity, food laws, Sabbath and circumcision. Judaism was once again being portrayed as obsolete by yet another new philosophy in the new, enlightened world.

It was not merely the message of the Christians that resulted in persecution, but the combination of the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time. Had the Christians been preaching their message to groups such as the Hellenized Jews or the Am Ha- ‘aretz they would have probably been met with either acceptance or at worst disinterest. However, their choice of groups and venues ignited a powder keg that was already set to explode. Josephus observed this great hatred and unrest poised to strike back at the Hellenistic and Roman threats. In his autobiography he talks about his effort to defuse an impending revolt:

I perceived that innovations had already begun, and that there were a great many very much elevated in hopes of a revolt from the Romans…. [I] Persuaded them to change their minds…and this I said with vehenement exhortation, because I foresaw that the end of such a war would be most unfortunate to us. But I could not persuade them; for the madness of desperate men was quite too hard for me.5

Needless to say, “loving your enemies” was not met with the greatest enthusiasm.

So the motivation for the persecution of the Jews in Jerusalem changes, based on which group is being addressed. The Sadducees were fighting to maintain the established order, the Pharisees were fighting against the degeneration of the Torah worship and many others were poised to invoke a revolution against the Roman invaders. There was no one reason for the persecution, but rather a complex web of cause and effect relationships.

RESULTING PERSECUTION

In the eyes of the Roman government Christianity, which at this time had no official title, was seen as merely another religious segment within Judaism. With so many sects within the Jewish community, it is easy to see how Romans viewed Christians as merely one more peculiarity in a nation of peculiar people and religious beliefs. So the Jews had very little recourse in turning to the Romans to persecute Christians. This resulted in the trial and stoning of Stephen without help from the Roman authorities.6 While it was unusual for Jews to execute capital punishment under the Roman governance, it was not unheard of. In John’s account of the trial before Pilot, Pilot tells the Jews to judge him themselves. They respond that it is not lawful for them to put anyone to death.7 However, in the context of them demanding Jesus be put to death, the comment by Pilot seems to suggest they were known for doing just such a thing, on occasion.

Before the stoning of Stephen, the Christians were living in Jerusalem, worshiping and praying in the temple daily. After the beginning of the Christian persecution in Jerusalem, they were forced out and subsequently began to travel to other cities, spreading the gospel to the Diaspora Jews first and the Gentiles second. It must also be noted here that the persecution of Christians by the Jews was not a unified effort. It was largely the Pharisees and the Sadducees who pressed for the persecutions.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS BY JEWS – IN THE ROMAN WORLD

SOCIAL SETTING

Unlike the Jews of Jerusalem who viewed the Romans solely in terms of an enemy occupation, the Jews of the Diaspora had learned to co-exist with the Romans in a tense truce, having lived in many of the Roman cities for generations. The Roman Pagans had accepted the Jewish people as a reality and each group had their own butchers and did their own separate sacrifices for their meats to be sold in the marketplace. The Jews in the Roman Diaspora had also attained a measure of wealth and influence in the Roman world.8

RESULTING PERSECUTION

When Paul would arrive at a new city he would first go to the synagogue and preach to the Diaspora Jews. The Jews who rejected his message were often the ones who would go to the Roman authorities to incite them against Paul. This union of Roman and Jewish persecution of Christians is seen in Acts 14. In that story, the Jews go to the Roman authorities to seek Roman action, subsequently resulting in the punishment of stoning, which was the Jewish form of capital punishment.9

Jews who rejected the message of Paul, desired both to disassociate themselves and to prejudice authorities, portraying Christians as dangerous revolutionaries. It was a mass-conversion in Antioch when Christians first received a nickname differentiating themselves from their Jewish counterparts.10 This differentiation opened a new era of persecution from a Roman world that gave no such religious immunities to Christians, as it had for the Jews.

ROMAN PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

SOCIAL SETTING

It was not long before Christians became a recognizable and particularly detested segment of the Roman world. By 64 AD they were already so set that Nero was able to use them as a likely scapegoat in his Smokey the Bear campaign, which will be discussed in the next section.11

The problem with converted Christians is the way in which they broke from the social norms that were vastly important in the Roman world. From arranged marriages to well prepared dinner banquets for select guests, political positioning of families was key to survival in this world. However, when friends or political acquaintances converted to Christianity they would withdraw almost entirely from the political structure. They refused to partake in the festivals and games, rejecting the gods, which they felt kept their nation strong for so long. They rejected the divinity of the Emperor–a sin that the gods would not allow go unpunished for long. They even refused to partake in joyous sexual ritual prostitution and lively drinking bouts. In addition, some of the Christians refused the meat from the markets, because it was routine for the cuts to be part of the sacrificial system. And most personal, they refused invitations to dine with other long time friends and families. These kill-joys were shunning their former political alliances and beginning to make enemies out of one time allies and friends.12

The difficulty for Christians only compounded as the tensions leading to the persecutions grew. For Jewish Christians the temptation to fall back to their safe Jewish roots in which they were raised also held the lure of being able to once again claim Jewish religious legal immunity. Gentile Christians had no natural link to this religion with its’ roots in Judaism and no political power to protect or aid them or their families. The fact that the Christian church was able to survive was nothing short of a miracle.13

RESULTING PERSECUTIONS

And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast…having…ten horns…drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.14

The ten persecutions of the Christians spanning from 64 AD to 313 AD was ascribed by the fourth century Christian church as the ten horns of the beast in Revelation and by the ten plagues seen in Egypt.15 The persecutions, each with varying motives and reasons, all share the same peculiar markings in that while the persecutions were historically verifiable, no recorded laws have survived that specify reasons for the persecutions. As the persecutions evolved from one generation to the next, the subsequent generation seemed to use the past persecutions as edict enough for continuing or reigniting them. For example, in response to Pliny on how to deal with and prosecute Christians, Emperor Trajan writes, “No general rule can be laid out in fixed terms.” However, he does say unequivocally, “Certain accusations published anonymously should not be entertained on any charge. For they both set a very bad precedence and are alien to the spirit of our age.” Pliny was content in sentencing Christians to death for simply being too stubborn in their holding to Christianity in the face of certain death.16

Stemming from the second persecution under Domitian, the charge of refusing to worship the Imperial Cult seemed to be the first and great charge against the Christians. Some have argued that atheism was the charge against Christians; however, atheism in and of itself was not a crime in the Roman Empire. If, though, Christianity was held to with such stubbornness that one refused to pay alms to the Imperial Cult, then the subject was in violation of law. However, the worship of the Imperial Cult was not an issue until the reign of Domitian who, unlike his predecessors, forced the people to address him as their “Lord and their God” during his lifetime, and not after–when Caesars ascended to the level of a god. Domitian even had coins made bearing his likeness that read “father of the gods.”17

THE TEN PERSECUTIONS

1. Persecution under Nero 67 AD — Nero burned a great portion of Rome in a fire that lasted nine days. When word got out that Nero started the fire an uproar forced him to find a scapegoat and so he blamed Christians. During this first great persecution of the Christians Nero started a trend that lasted throughout all ten of the persecutions in that he devised new and increasingly gruesome punishments, including sewing animal skins to Christians and releasing wild dogs to eat them alive. He also put shirts dipped in wax on some of the Christians and then lit them on fire, using them to illuminate his gardens for his invited guests. His acts were so heinous that even the Romans felt sorrow toward the Christians. Paul and Peter died in this first round of persecution.18

2. Persecution under Domitian 81 AD — Known for cruelty, he killed his brother and many senators, some due to his hatred of them and others to simply confiscate their lands. He also ordered the death of the entire lineage of David. His persecution of Christians stemmed from their refusal to worship him as a god, something most emperors up to this point refused to accept. Among those killed during this persecution was Simeon, the Bishop of Jerusalem. He tried to boil John alive, but when he miraculously survived he was banished to Patmos. Timothy was beaten by a crowd of people on their way to celebrate a pagan feast. He was beaten so badly that he died from his wounds two days later. During the persecution, if any famine pestilence or earthquake happened, the blame was laid on the Christians.19

3. Persecution under Trajan 108 AD — Much the same continued regarding Imperial Cult worship during Trajan’s reign. Ignatius was the most famous of the martyrs of this persecution.20

4. Persecution under Marcus Aurelius Antonius 162 AD — So brutal were the means by which these martyrs were persecuted that it is said the Pagan onlookers would shutter with horror at the sights and some became converts at, “A faith which inspired such fortitude.” Polycarp and Justin Martyr were given crowns of martyrdom during this persecution.21

5. Persecution commencing with Severus 192 AD — The age of Tertullian, who said that if the Christians removed themselves from Rome at this time, it would have suffered a great depopulation. In a reversal of the source of the persecutions a Christian healed Emperor Severus of a sickness, but the multitudes demanded the execution of Christians and the reapplication of the defunct Imperial Cult laws to apply to Christians. Many who suffered martyrdom under this persecution fell during games at the amphitheaters. Leonidus, father of Origen was beheaded during this persecution.22

6. Persecution under Maximus 235 AD — In Cappadocia the president Seremianus did all he could to exterminate the Christians from that province. During this time Christians were martyred without trial and their bodies were cast into pits as many as 50 or 60 at a time.23

7. Persecution under Decius 249 AD — There were two causes of this persecution. First, Decius hated his predecessor Philip, who was deemed a Christian and second he was jealous of the rampant growth of Christianity, causing the heathen temples to decrease in attendance. By this time many schisms in the Church body had formed and the persecution was met by a divided Church. Fabian, Bishop of Rome was entrusted by Philip to care for his treasure. When Decius seized it and found less than he expected he had Fabian decapitated–the first martyrdom of this persecution. Many soon followed with yet another new set of imaginative deaths to befall those refusing to renounce Christ. Of note, Origen, like his father before him, was sentenced to death. He was thrown in prison where his feet were pierced and his legs were stretched for several days. He was threatened by fire and tortured with long, slow pains such as these for days upon days. However, before any death could befall him, Emperor Decius died and his successor Gallus engaged in a war with the Goths, leaving the Christians with a respite. Origen, having been given a release, retired to his home and died of natural causes five years later. During the reign of Gallus a plague broke out in the empire. So Gallus ordered sacrifices be made by all in the empire. When Christians refused the magistrates had many of them put to death.24

8. Persecution under Valerian 257 AD — This emperor likewise invented new and distasteful ways of persecuting Christians. Most interesting, however, was the turn of events that marked the end of this, one of the greatest persecutions of the church. Sapor, the King of Persia, captured Valerian and literally used him as a footstool when he mounted his horses. After subjecting him to be a slave in his kingdom for eight years the Persian king then had Valerian’s eyes put out. Still seeking more gruesome ways to torment him, he had Valerian flayed alive and then rubbed with salt until he died.25

9. Persecution under Aurelian 274 AD — The reign of Aurelian, though not this persecution, was short-lived as his own servants put him to death. However, the following emperors who replaced him (and subsequently were likewise met with quick ends) continued the persecution.26

10. Persecution under Diocletian 303 AD — Commonly called the Era of martyrs. Christians were increasing and becoming wealthy. On February 23, 303 Diocletian set forth his work to extinguish Christianity in one day. Watching on from on high the churches were raided, razed to the ground, and the documents burned. Not satisfied with just this, he purposely burned a portion of the city so that he could blame the Christians and further his cause. Countless Christians were martyred in an endless number of ways. The entire city of Phrygia, known for all of its inhabitants being Christian, was burned to the ground with all the people of the city dying in the fire. The torture and martyrdom was so severe that several pagan governors accused the Imperial Court with impropriety. Because of this, some Christians escaped death, but not before having their ears cut off, right eyes poked out, noses slit, limbs dislocated with such severity that they were rendered useless, and finally branded with red-hot irons.27

One final item of note: The persecution of the Christians was not a continuing event in the Roman Empire. With some expected exceptions, the time in between these distinct persecutions was rather peaceful for the Church. With each new emperor however, they were met with new uncertainties.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the reasons for the various persecutions of the Christians were as varied and complex as the world in which the early church lived. It is a mistake to oversimplify the issue in an effort to categorize it. As has been documented, Christians suffered persecution from both Jews and Gentiles. The reasons for the persecutions varied with each group, as well as from within each group. There is much speculation as to the motives and reasons behind the persecutions. However, there are very few surviving documents, legal or otherwise, which express the grounds for such persecutions, other than the fact that they were simply, “Christians.”

WORKS CITED

Fox, John. Fox’ Book of Martyrs. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962.

Hare, Douglas R. A. The Theme of Jewish persecution of the Christians in the Gospel According to St. Matthew. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967.

Josephus, Flavius. The Works of Flavius Josephus, Translated by William Whiston. Philadelphia, PA: Henry T. Coates & CO.

Roetzel, Calvin. The World That Shaped the New Testament. London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.

Whittaker, Molly. Jews & Christians: Graeco-Roman Views. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

Workman, Herbert. Persecution in the Early Church. London: The Epworth Press, 1923.

APPENDIX

Christian and Pagan Primary Sources Speaking of the Persecution

This information is taken largely from Molly Whittaker’s Jews and Christians: Graeco-Roman Views. See the Works Cited Page for more details. This is not intended as an exhaustive list.

New Testament:

Mark 15:39

Matthew 27:54

Luke 23:47

Acts 11:19-26

Acts 13:42-50

Acts 14:1-6

Acts 14:18-20

Acts 16:13-40

Acts 17:1-9

Acts 17:10-14

Acts 17:17-21

Acts 17:32-33

Acts 18:12-18

Acts 19:23ff

Acts 19:40

Acts 22:25-9

Acts 23:26-33

Acts 24:22-7

Romans 13:1-6

I Peter 4:12-16

Hebrews 10:32-4

Revelation 2:13ff

Early Christian Sources:

Ignatius Letter to Romans 5.1

Martydom of Polycarp 1-19

Justin martyr Apology 2.9-20

Acts of Justin

Letter of the Gallican Church

Octavius 8.3-5

Octavius 9.1-6

Octavius 10.1-4

Octavius 31.1-2

Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs

Origen Celsum 1.9

Origen Celsum 1.28

Origen Celsum 2.55

Origen Celsum 3.12

Origen Celsum 3.55

Origen Celsum 5.14

Origen Celsum 7.9

Origen Celsum 8.24

Origen Celsum 8.67-9

Origen Celsum 1.28

Galen Reference 6 (Pg. 15)

Epictetus 4.7.6

Lucian On the Death of Peregrinus 333-8; 341

Alexander the False Prophet 232.25; 244.38-245

Tertullian Apology 50

Pagan Sources:

Tacitus Ann. 13.32.3-5

Tacitus Ann. 15.44.2-8

Life of Nero 16

Pliny Letter 10.96.1-10

Pliny Letter 10.97

FOOTNOTES

1. Douglas R. A. Hare, The Theme of Jewish persecution of the Christians in the Gospel According to St. Matthew (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), 2.

2. Calvin J. Roetzel, The World That Shaped the New Testament, (London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 59f.

3. Ibid, 57ff.

4. Hare, 6f.

5. Flavius Josephus, The Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. William Whiston (Philadelphia, PA: Henry T. Coates & CO.), 3.

6. Molly Whittaker, Jews & Christians: Graeco-Roman Views, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 133.

7. John 18:31

8. Whittaker, 133

9. Whittaker also notes similar incidents in 13:42-50, 17:1-9, 10-14, (Whittaker, 133).

10. Acts 11:19-26

11. Whittaker, 134.

12. Ibid, 133f.

13. Ibid, 133.

14. Revelations 17:3, 6.

15. Herbert B. Workman, Persecution in the Early Church, (London: The Epworth Press, 1923), 9.

16. Wittaker, 134.

17. Roetzel, 113f.

18. John Fox, Fox’ Book of Martyrs, (New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962), 5f.

19. Ibid, 6f.

20. Ibid, 7f.

21. Ibid, 8ff.

22. Ibid, 12f.

23. Ibid, 14.

24. Ibid, 14ff.

25. Ibid, 18ff.

26. Ibid, 22ff.

27. Ibid, 24ff.

Gearbox Maintenance Tips

Simple observations regarding gearbox repairs can help you discover what is wrong with your power transmission equipment. Here are some tips to troubleshooting certain mechanical transmission product problems.

Gear Drives

Power transmission equipment provides a rotary motion and torque between equipment and a primary mover. If there is a problem in the support, maintenance, loading, alignment or installation of a mechanical power transmission product, this can lead to gearbox repairs. In addition, distress to gearbox equipment can be caused by missing components, such as gears and shafts. All of these issues can cause a mechanical power transmission product to run less efficiently. To keep your gearbox equipment running smoothly, plan for preventive maintenance, lubrication and regular visual inspections.

Ununiform Loads

Misalignment of gears often causes gear tooth fracture or surface distress. Using AGMA ratings to guide you, ensure that there are no abnormal elastic deflections in the supporting structure of power transmission equipment, thereby reducing the risk of gear tooth damage.

Gear Failure Classifications

There are four main classifications of failures regarding gearbox repairs: plastic flow, pitting or surface fatigue, breakage and wear. A visual inspection of the gearbox will show you the differences.

Plastic flow wear. Plastic flow wear creates a depression on the contact area of a gear tooth, or gives its ends a fin-like appearance. This wear generally occurs with soft gear materials in gearbox equipment. To prevent plastic flow wear decrease contact stress, use harder surface and sub-surface materials and increase the spacing accuracy between the teeth.

Pitting and surface fatigue. Repeated surface or sub-surface stresses can cause surface fatigue in power transmission equipment. A high amount of stress being placed on the surface of a gear tooth causes pitting. In a mechanical power transmission product, pitting can happen quickly and occurs mainly through-hardened gearing. While some pitting is normal, reduce its occurrence by minimizing speed and load weights when breaking in gears, and use a quality lubricant.

Breakage. Breakage is the most significant failure in regards to gearbox repairs. Breakage occurs in power transmission equipment when the stresses exceed the endurance of a gear’s tooth. This occurs at areas of distress on a shaft, the more tensile side of a tooth, or the tooth root fillet. Prevent breakage by controlling torque, installing resilient couplings, using lubricants and reducing the amount of bending stress and transient loads on a mechanical power transmission product.

Spalling. In gearbox repairs terminology, spalling is when a large area of surface material breaks away from a gear tooth. Spalling looks like overlapping or interconnected pits in one location, or like longitudinal cracks on a tooth’s surface. Spalling is usually caused by insufficient core hardness/case depth, high-contact stress, too high of a load and improper heat treatment.

Wear on power transmission equipment. It shouldn’t be a surprise that moderate to heavy wear of an industrial gearbox impairs performance, causing cracks in gear teeth, changing its shape and can result in breakage. Proper maintenance of the machinery will reduce the effect of wear – conduct regular lube changes, use a quality lubricant and filter present contaminates.

Natural Herbal Remedies – Eliminate Excessive Drooling Naturally

If you notice that the degree of your drooling has been drastically different for the past days, then perhaps you should take natural herbal remedies for this right now. Drooling is a normal reaction happening inside the mouth when our salivary glands are active. The production of saliva in our mouth is actually taking place in regular patterns and in a precise amount. However, there are instances when your mouth will produce more saliva than it should. For example, you are very hungry and then you see delicious-looking food. You salivary glands will respond to the desire of your body to eat and so it produces more saliva. Sometimes excessive saliva can also be caused by a food that you ate. Just as when you intake hot and chilly foods, your tongue will provoke your glands to produce saliva in order to aid the burning sensation in your mouth.

And although it is still normal when your mouth over-produces saliva for these situations, experiencing the same over-flowing amount of saliva in your mouth when it is not needed is indicative of a possible serious health problem. Examples of this are stroke, rabies, facial paralysis, Bell’s palsy, Parkinson’s disease, and poisoning. So, like I said in the beginning, if you do not want to face complications in your health that might cause your untimely death, check out the possible natural herbal remedies that you can use.

The Pollen Typhae from Typha angustifolia L., family Typhaceae is a good remedy if you have a feeling that your excessive drooling might have something to do with your heart condition or your blood. This particular herb targets the bloodstream and cleanses all possible impurity in the circulatory system. The Radix Astragali seu Hedysari or the Root of Astragalus membranaceus is the one that you should take if you believe that the cause of your excessive drooling comes from your digestive tract. In case of poisoning and unwanted food intake, this will help solve the problem by targeting mainly your spleen.

There are actually more natural herbal remedies for excessive drooling like the Cortex Mori Radicis and the Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae. But the best and safest solution is still to consult an expert. Herbal medicines can only aid the immediate causes of your drooling, but if the problem happens to be worse, you should not fully rely on natural herbal remedies alone.

3 Ways to Improve Audio Dialog on Your TV

You just bought that brand new 50 inch state of the art LED TV. The picture is fantastic and it includes all the newest Smart TV features. You get it home, plug it in and go through all the set up in the manual. You turn it on to watch one of your favorite shows or movies. The picture looks wonderful, but the sound is awful. The audio is garbled and the dialog is virtually impossible to make out. After fiddling with all the built-in audio settings you finally give up and either take it back or decide to live with it.

There are alternatives, some cheap and some not so cheap, which I will discuss in a bit but first, let’s take a look at the root cause of the problem.

Why is TV Audio so bad

There are 4 main reasons for bad audio quality on today’s TVs. Most of these have to do with what makes these TVs attractive in the first place. One of the marvels of today’s LED TVs is how thin and light weight they are. Can you imagine hanging a 50in CRT TV on the wall? However, the thinness of the TV forces some major compromises in the quality and design of the speaker subsystem.

Small Speakers

First, the speakers are much smaller in today’s TVs than in the older CRT TVs. The elements are typically rectangular (1inch x 3inches) with very small displacements. Sound is made by moving a speaker element back and forth (pushing the air). This is called displacement. Displacement is especially important for generating the low frequencies. The more displacement a speaker has, the lower the frequency it can generate. A male voice has a fundamental frequency between 85 Hz and 180 Hz, while a female voice has a fundamental frequency between 165 Hz and 255 Hz. Because of the physical size of the speakers and their limited displacement, the natural frequency response of a TV speaker cuts off somewhere around 200 Hz. Thus, you are not hearing or barely hearing the voice fundamental frequency. What you do hear are the harmonics (multiples of the fundamental frequency) which are lower in amplitude and decay away; and the only reason you hear any dialog at all is because of these harmonics. When your ear hears these harmonics, your brain believes it also hears the fundamental though at a lower volume. Which is why the dialog sounds muted.

Speaker Placement

Not only are modern TV’s thin, but they also have very thin bezels (the picture frame around the display portion of the TV). Because the bezels are so thin, there is no room to place the speakers, so the speakers are either placed in the back of the TV, or they are placed facing downward along the thickness dimension of the TV. This directs the sound away from the viewer and either bounces it off the wall or off the TV stand. During these bounces, the frequencies can cancel themselves, reinforce themselves or interact in ways that cause the audio to be distorted. In the old days, the TV design had an extended bezel below the picture tube where generally the speakers were placed. The speakers were placed so they faced the viewer, thus minimizing the reflections (bounces) giving much clearer audio.

Low Power Drivers

Because of speaker size, cost, and power dissipation considerations, the output power of the speakers in today’s TVs is generally between 5Watts to 10Watts per channel (stereo channel). How loud this is will depend upon the speaker efficiency, and how far away the viewer is. The recommended viewing distance for a 50in HDTV is around 8-10 feet. Considering the typical TV speaker and the recommended viewing distance, the maximum loudness would be about equivalent to a loud radio in an average room. However, that is with the speakers pointing at you. With the speakers pointing down or away from you, the loudness would be less and the audio in the TV would appear to you to be underpowered.

Bad Audio Algorithms

The TV manufacturers try to address some of these issues by using sophisticated audio processors to compensate for the deficiencies in their speaker designs. The algorithms executed by these processors are used to provide bass enhancement or virtual surround sound and even voice band enhancement. However, the algorithms that are being used are far from optimal. The algorithms being used do not compensate for changes in the source material, so that things may sound great on one TV channel or show, but sound terrible on another. The algorithms are static when they need to be dynamic so they can respond to changes in the source content. Some of the algorithms are just pieced together. Rather than looking at the whole audio experience, each algorithm is optimized for it’s own performance. Optimizing the components of a subsystem rarely leads to the optimization of the entire system. For example, if you optimize for bass enhancement, you wind up compromising the surround sound algorithm and conversely, if you optimize the surround sound algorithm, you will compromise the bass. Unless these algorithms are tuned so that the entire result is optimized, the audio will not improve. Thus, in the end, unless properly tuned (which rarely happens) these algorithms do little to solve the problem.

What solutions are available?

There are several solutions available ranging from free to expensive. Each has varying degrees of affect on the problem.

The Free Solution

The free solution is to adjust the audio settings in your TV. Go into the setup menu on your TV and select the audio setting panel. Then turn off as many of the settings as possible. For example, turn off surround sound, turn off bass enhancement, turn off Dolby, etc. If there are bass and treble controls, make sure each is set exactly the same typically around 50% but you could go as high as 100% each. Turn off any thing that says level sound and night mode or commercial mode. If the TV has any kind of an equalizer, set it for flat. This gets your TV into a baseline setting. If the dialog is still not to your liking, then chances are none of the other settings will help it. If it improves, then you can go back into the settings and adjust the bass and treble. Turning on the other effects will not do anything for the dialog, so you should leave them off.

The Sound Bar

If none of this works and you have downward or rearward facing speakers, then the next solution will cost you money. It is a sound bar. A sound bar is exactly what the name says, a bar with multiple speakers to the left and right. The bar gets it audio from the TV through a variety of connections. The speakers are generally of better quality than a typical TV speaker and the bar has it’s own power supply and internal amplifier so that it can get louder than your normal TV. Best of all, the speakers are forward mounted; pointed directly at you.

There is much variety in sound bars, some with subwoofers, some without. Some that are multichannel and some that are not. The best bang for the buck, however, are either the 2 channel (2.0) or 2 channel with subwoofer (2.1) sound bars. Multichannel sound bars really do not give you the same results as a full multichannel home theater system. The reason is that in a multichannel home theater, you place the speakers around you so that you get the full sense of sound placement. A multichannel sound bar, however, still has all the speakers in front of you, so that while you get all the channels, you lose the sense of placement. One thing to consider is that very few broadcasts are multichannel. They are predominately 2 channel. So if your primary use of the TV is broadcast, then a multichannel system won’t do much good.

The 2 channel or 2.1 channel sound bars all come with various software algorithms that enable enhancements (bass enhancement, simulated surround sound, etc). If you are primarily interested in dialog, then in the sound bar set up panels, disable all of these for the same reasons I mentioned above for your TV. The processed audio, while better than in a TV, can still be muddy. Once you have acceptable dialog, then you can make adjustments with the other settings if you so desire.

Using a subwoofer can be good and bad. Proper use of the subwoofer gives more richness to the audio. Your ear expects to hear these frequencies and if they are not there or are muted, it almost feels like there is a hole that needs filling in. Be cautious, however. The subwoofer typically has it’s own amplifier and volume control so that you can adjust it separately from the main speakers. You need to keep the subwoofer volume down fairly low (remember it is just filler). If the sub-woofer volume is set too high it will dominate the other frequencies and will sound horrible. If you want to be knocked out of your chair with that special effect explosion, then be prepared to lose the dialog. Adjust the volume in small steps until you achieve the desired effects.

The Home Theater

There is a third option to improve the audio on your TV, but it is typically more expensive and involves much more setup. That option is the home theater system. Because of it’s complexity and expense, I won’t delve into that discussion here.

Conclusion

The audio from today’s TVs is substandard because of the use of small underpowered speakers, their placement (away from the listener), and the use of sub-optimal audio algorithms. To improve the quality (especially of the dialog), the consumer can adjust the TV itself; removing any audio special effects, buy a sound bar (also removing any audio special effects), or buy a home theater system. The sound bar represents the best cost/performance/complexity tradeoff for the consumer.

A Guide to Teachers: Spotting Drug Abuse

Substance abuse, or drug abuse is excessively and repeatedly using chemicals to change perception or achieve a different state of mind. Substance abuse has many causes, the most common ones include, peer pressure, academic stress, teenage depression or other untreated emotional or physical causes. Being a teacher, it is important to understand and help your students, even the ones abusing substances, and noticing the signs of drug abuse is the first step toward a positive change.

Teachers and students interact on a daily basis, this makes it easy for a teacher to notice subtle behavioral changes and signs of drug abuse in a student. With close observation one can easily spot the signs of substance abuse among your students and help them take appropriate action for finding help. Importantly, remember that many signs of drug abuse exist, and its a cardinal sin to presume without being sure.

All students are at a risk of coming under the kind of influence that encourages drug use. Pretty much any student might abuse drugs, no matter what the student’s background is. There are some symptoms though, that make it more likely for a student to try drugs. These include a family history of drug abuse, depression and other mental illnesses, a low self esteem and antisocial behavior.

A student who is abusing drugs, is likely express disinterest in any extracurricular activities that might happen in the school. Such students will lack the enthusiasm to partake in school work, hobbies, sports or even making new friends or maintaining old ones. Its quite likely for them to develop a rebellious and unfriendly attitude, be unhygienic, display improper grooming and isolate themselves from everyone else.

The physical signs of drug abuse are also quite noticeable. Some of the physical symptoms of drug abuse include, bloodshot red eyes, dark circles, coughing, wheezing, runny nose, sore throat and pale skin. While any unwell student can display these symptoms, a drug user will always have, all or some of these symptoms.

The most obvious of all signs of drug abuse among students is the change in academic performance. Here are some generally accepted indicators of a student abusing drugs.

1) Quality of homework and other schoolwork decreases significantly.

2) Daydreaming or sleeping during lessons and displaying an intense lack of interest.

3) Almost always late, takes long breaks and leaves for home early.

4) Is often absent from classes.

5) Appears confused and cannot concentrate.

6) Doesn’t care for anyone’s, including their own, safety.

7) Makes basic errors in judgement and has trouble performing easy tasks.

8) Avoids all other students.

9) Makes excuses and blames other for own mistakes.

10) Claims that things are perfect and nothing has changed.

11) Is suddenly losing or gaining weight.

When looking for the above signs do keep in mind that the above symptoms can be caused by issues that are not drug induced. Sometimes a depressed child, or one with a mental illness or problems at home can behave quite similarly to a child abusing drugs. It is important to do your research and not accuse a student blindly.

Type 2 Diabetes – What Are Those Cravings All About?

Cravings are triggered by biological properties of the foods themselves, in other words some foods have a chemical makeup that cause us to crave them in much the same was as drugs, alcohol and tobacco which have an addictive component. Only some foods though lend themselves to cravings and these foods are enticing to most people, not just people with type 2 diabetes.

Many people with type 2 diabetes crave sugar and chocolate … now these do trigger a biochemical effect similar to those of addictive drugs. They are certainly not as strong or as dangerous as drugs but the addiction chemistry seems to be at work here!

1. Sugar does not just taste sweet, it also has a very mild drug like effect. It affects your brain in a similar way to the opiate drugs … morphine and heroin. Sugar does not contain opiates, the taste triggers the release of opiates in your brain and then another chemical dopamine, which is the key to your brain’s pleasure center, is released. So the effect of sugar on your brain is it eases pain and discomfort and gives you a boost.

You don’t have to crave sugar itself; you can crave fresh white bread or bagels, crackers, or potatoes … high-GI foods that turn to sugar very quickly. You don’t normally crave low-GI foods.

2. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine and phenylethylamine which are all stimulants, as well as sugar. So the attraction to chocolate is not just due to sweetness. Unfortunately chocolate also contains a considerable amount of fat.

These substitutes will help give you the taste:

If your crave sugar:

  • in recipes: maple syrup, molasses, sucanat may help. These are certainly not healthy foods but the idea is to replace refined sugar with a smaller amount of syrup or juice.
  • stevia is a herbal sweetener and is available in health food stores

If you crave chocolate:

  • cocoa powered is defatted chocolate and can be used in cooking and for beverages
  • if you like chocolate ice-cream why not try low-fat frozen ice cream substitutes

The general rule for these two cravings which contain sugar is:

  • the more refined sugar you eat, the more you crave
  • the easiest way not to crave is to not eat ANY sweets or refined sugars, including white flour, potatoes, etc. The best idea is to not buy them or keep any of them in your house

Many people with type 2 diabetes have found simply adding more protein to their diet often cuts down their sugar cravings.

Allowing Students to Choose Physical Education Activities: The New And Advantageous Way To Teach

Imagine, it’s 11 AM and you are in high school. You just finished your second class of the day and you are heading towards the gymnasium. During this three minute walk towards the gymnasium you stop and talk to your friends, say hi to an old teacher, and try and come up with a good excuse to get out of playing softball today. You hate softball and are even more upset because you are forced to play this game by your teacher. You arrive to class with a poor excuse and are forced to change for class. You go into the locker room, change for class, and walk into the gym dismayed at the fact that yet another day in physical education is spent doing something you don’t enjoy.

This is a thought running through many average teenager’s minds on an every day basis. Many students do not like what they are learning in physical education and refuse to participate in something they have no interest in. Many teachers are content with allowing students to sit out or just stand around during class and let it affect their grade. Is this doing any good? Is the job of a teacher really getting done? Absolutely not, the job of a teacher, specifically a Physical education teacher, is to teach students different healthy and active things they can do as a part of their lifetime fitness. Of course they are their to get their “required fitness time” in, but are they really doing anything about their fitness as they sit and watch half the class play a game they do not like? Are teachers helping fight the growing obesity rates by allowing students to not participate and let their grade suffer?

The solution to fighting the plague of students sitting out of physical education is adopting the style of Elective Physical Education. Elective Physical Education is exactly what it sounds like it is, Elective. The students get to choose which activity they want to participate in for that specific unit. The teachers get together and lay out a certain amount of different activities that the students can choose from to participate in during that time period. Then on the first day of each unit, the activities are all explained and the students choose which activity they will participate in. Now instead of students feeling forced into participating in something they do not enjoy, they have a choice of what they want to do, and what they will actively participate in.

There is a concern about how to make sure a broad variety of activities are covered by each student and to make sure they get proper exposure to different skills, athletic events, and fitness techniques. Each unit should have a specific theme such as team sports, individual sports, lifetime fitness, cardiovascular fitness, leisure activities and much more. By laying out multiple choices within each unit allows for teachers to maximize time on task. Students will be more involved in the lesson, and teachers will spend less time trying to get everyone involved.

A major emphasis should be put on allowing the student to find something he or she likes and getting them involved. This is especially important when talking about lifetime fitness activities because this is where our teaching is going to affect the student the most. If every student can attend a class that they enjoy participating in and gain a new found love for a lifetime fitness activity, then as Physical Education teachers we have done our job in helping to keep our population healthy and active.

Social figure heads, such as First Lady Michelle Obama, have taken it into their own hands to help fight obesity in the United States. The first lady conducted a fitness day in which hundreds of students joined her in participating in a physical activity to help fight obesity. It is in using Elective Physical education that this can really make an impact on fighting obesity. We want every student to learn about how to stay healthy and how activity can help burn calories and keep them in a healthy physical shape. For one specific unit each activity can focus on checking one’s heart rate, calculating calories burned per class, and measuring other health factors that are important to our physical fitness. Many students think that the only way to burn calories is to walk or run around the block. They need to be shown that while playing tennis they burn so many calories, or while they participate in expressive dance their heart rate reaches eighty percent of their maximum heart rate. Showing students that while participating in a variety of activities can be beneficial to their health is very important. Allowing the students to choose the activity is even more important because they will then have an interest in this subject area and will hopefully continue to participate int his activity outside of the gymnasium at their high school.

Now imagine its 3 PM, you are getting into your moms car on the way home from school and she asks you how your day was. You tell her about the A you got back on your math test, and the project you have due in history, then you tell her about how much fun you had in physical education. You tell her it is because you got to choose the activity you are going to do for the whole week and in doing that you learned how beneficial this activity is to your health. You tell her how you can’t wait to walk to class tomorrow at 11 AM and go right back to were you left off today.

Ringworm Disease – Who Can Be Affected?

Who can be affected by ringworm? Actually, anyone can be infected by ringworm disease. Even if you are rich, you can be infected. There are no exceptions for ringworm. But what really is ringworm? What is it like? How can it spread? And most importantly, how can you prevent it?

Ringworm is a fungal infection. The specific causative agents for ringworm are dermatophytes. These are a type of fungi that are keratinophilic and keratinolytic. In a short explanation, they are fungi that feed on and digest the keratin component of the skin.

You can say that it is ringworm if it is an itchy rash with edges that are red in color and elevated. Sometimes crust is formed on the edges. The center of the rash can appear to be normal, shiny, or scaly. But these are not the only signs of ringworm.

Some types of ringworm have a distinct set of characteristics. For example, ringworm of face, hair, and beard is associated with hair loss. Ringworm of the body and groin have the classic signs of the disease plus the rashes can increase in size. Meanwhile, ringworm of hands and feet are scaly. It also causes the skin on the hands and feet to thicken. And the ringworm of the nail causes the nails to be yellow. The nails can possibly be detached to the nail bed painlessly.

Ringworm disease can be spread easily. It is a contagious disease so you have to know its modes of transmission. Skin to skin contact is usually the most common spread of ringworm. It happens when the skin of an infected person comes in contact directly to your skin. Animal to pet transmission is also possible. Usually, pets like dogs and cats transfer the fungi to human through direct contact. Fomites can also spread the infection. These are objects that are contaminated by the ringworm. Examples of fomites are towels, socks, slippers, combs, and hats.

Now, who are at risk from getting the ringworm disease? As I have said earlier, anyone is at risk. But there are people who have a higher risk of contacting ringworm infection. In general,

some of them are:

– People living in warm and moist places. These people have a high risk for fungal infections because fungi best thrives in these kinds of places.

– People who have suppressed immune system. People who have HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc. are some example. Their fighting mechanism is not that good enough to combat fungal infection.

More specific examples are:

– Wrestlers. They can be at risk in acquiring ringworm because the sports require a close contact with the other player. In addition, wrestlers usually play with minimal clothes on and they can sweat heavily when playing.

– Athletes. Athletes can get ringworm. Hence, ringworm of the feet is called athlete’s foot. Fungi love to thrive on their skin because they swear excessively.

– Children. Ringworm of the scalp is common in children. Children may have passed the infection through sharing of combs and hats.

– Laundrywomen and other jobs that require to their hands and feet to get wet. Ringworm thrives in moist environment. If your skin is moist or wet most of the time, you will more likely get ringworm.

– Farmers. You can get the ringworm disease from soil. Handling of soil can increase your risk of infection.

– People who wear ill-fitting jeans. Ill-fitting clothing does not allow air to pass on the skin. If this happens, your skin will be the best environment for fungi causing ringworm.

Ringworm is easily treated by antifungal creams. They are usually applied topically once or twice a ay. The treatment for ringworm can last up to eight weeks. Yes, it’s a long treatment process, but you have to complete it for you to be 100% ringworm-free. Some examples of antifungal cream your doctor might prescribe are Selenium Sulfide, Ketoconazole, and Miconzole.

Ringworm is really an irritating disease. Why go though all these when you can prevent it. Right?

The 10 Most Mysterious Diseases in the World

Despite significant breakthroughs in medicine and health over the past few decades there are still many long-standing unknowns in the medical community. While there are many sicknesses doctors can cure with a pen and a prescription pad, there are even more that still stump the pros, confound the public and rage on uncontested.

10) Morgellons Disease

This very odd disease has sufferers complaining of an intense crawling or stinging sensations on their skin, fibrous strands protruding from open wounds, and persistent skin lesions. Patients have also reported formication (the feeling of insects crawling under one’s skin), musculoskeletal pain, disabling fatigue and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although it was classified as “Morgellons” in 2002, most doctors regard Morgellons as a manifestation of other diseases such as delusional parasitosis leading to a widespread debate about the nature of the disease. Many dermatologists refute the assertion that Morgellons is an actual disease and attribute symptoms to psychological problems or a confluence of other skin conditions. An analysis of strands of fiber taken from some patients’ open sores show no biological organisms present adding fuel to the debate on the etiology of the disease.

9) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

CFS is commonly associated with debilitating disorders characterized by constant fatigue regardless of exertion that cannot be relieved by rest. Symptoms can include muscle and joint pain, cognitive difficulties, depression, poor immune response, and severe mental and physical exhaustion. For unknown reasons, CFS occurs most often in people in their 40s and 50s and in more women than men. Many patients do not fully recover from CFS even with treatment and laboratory testing is not used for direct diagnosis. While there is no doubt about the health, happiness and productivity costs from CFS, there has been little effort to develop a unified nomenclature and etiologic hypothesis and treatment.

8) Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD

Commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) is a broader neurological disorder that is quick-acting, incurable and potentially fatal. CJD is a type of prion disease (an bit abnormal protein) is progressively destroys brain and nerve cells. A CJD prion promotes misfolded proteins that cannot digest and disrupts cell function in a self-sustaining feedback loop. This causes its symptoms of dementia, memory loss, personality changes, speech impairment, myoclonus, ataxia, and seizures. Clinical testing has always been an issue as diagnosis has primarily been based on clinical and physical examination of symptoms. As a prion disease, experts hope that studying these conditions could aid in research towards cancer, melanoma, and lymphoma.

7) Schizophrenia

One of the most puzzling mental disorders, schizophrenia blurs the distinction between fantasy and reality that could render the patient disabled. Symptoms include delusion, hallucinations, paranoia, disorganized speech, and a lack of emotions. Diagnosis relies on the patient’s subjective and self-reported experiences and observed behaviour since there are no laboratory tests available. The hypothesized causes vary from genetic, prenatal, social and environmental factors People with schizophrenia are likely to have additional comorbid conditions such as depression and anxiety while the average life expectancy is 10 to 12 years less than those without. Current psychiatric research is focused on the role of neurobiology however no organic cause has been discovered. Some believe that schizophrenia does not represent a single disorder but rather a number of discrete syndromes.

6) Autoimmune Disorders

There are currently at least 80 known autoimmune disorders including Lupus, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease on top of the many other immune-system-related illness. With these disorders, the immune systems turns on its own body as begins to view muscles, joints, tissues and organs as enemies upsetting entire bodily systems. Since the immune system is so complex, the cause is difficult to identify while others believe that it is dormant within genes and can be triggered by certain factors. With 23.5 million affected in the U.S. alone, autoimmune disorders are the second leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. and top ten cause of death of women under 65. An accurate diagnosis is difficult because there are so many types of the disease that range across many different specializations and disciplines.

5) Pica

One of the more bizarre diseases, people with Pica have an insatiable urge to eat non-nutritive substances like dirt, paper, glue, and clay or food ingredients like flour, starch and salt. Although more common in children aged 1-6 (10-32% prevalence), Pica does affect adults especially pregnant women and those with developmental disabilities. The dangers of Pica come from ingesting harmful substances such as lead, feces and gasoline as well as the greater risk for stomach tearing. Many believe that Pica is caused by deficiencies in minerals such as iron and zinc while others place it on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum. Though incurable, Pica can naturally disappear on its own over time however it may persist throughout the adult years, especially when coinciding with developmental disorders.

4) Avian Flu

The Avian Flu, also known as Avian Influenza A or H5N1, is a very deadly and infectious disease that comes from a variety of viruses found in birds. Nearly 60% of people who contract the Avian Flu die from the disease regardless of their age and health status. Many experts have been warning the pandemic potential of the Avian Flu even through it is still unclear whether human-to-human transmission is possible. The flu has killed millions of poultry worldwide and there are fears that species-specific viruses will exchange genetic material to create a virulent and deadly flu strain for humans. As of late 2009, 262 humans have died from the Avian Flu in 12 countries centered particularly in Asia and Eastern Europe.

3) Common Cold

The common cold, responsible for 30-50% of adult colds, is the most frequent infectious disease for humans with an estimated one billion cases annually in North America alone. It is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system caused primarily by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses that can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The symptoms – sore throat, runny nose, and fever – seem relatively harmless however its prevalence has inflicted a massive cost to society. Efforts to develop a vaccine against the common cold have been unsuccessful because colds are produced by a large variety of rapidly mutating viruses making the successful creation of a broadly effective vaccine highly improbable.

2) Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disorder, gradually destroys a person’s ability to memorize, learn, make judgments, and communicate. As Alzheimer’s progresses, patients can experience a change in personality and increased anxiety, agitation, and delusion as well as a much greater risk for dementia. As many as 5.3 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s and it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States (Source: Alzheimer’s Association). Those with Alzheimer’s tend to have more developed “plaques” and “tangles” in their brains which block communication among nerve cells and disrupt normal cell function. These plaques and tangles typically begin in the areas of the brain that are important to learning and memory and spread from there. While there is no cure, scientists are hoping to understand the disease better in order to do a better job of preventing its onset or treating it in the early stages.

1) AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has devastated society since the early 1980s, particularly in developing countries, reaching pandemic status with an estimated 33.2 million people living with AIDS worldwide. In 2008, 2 million people worldwide died from AIDS with three-quarters of that coming from Africa. AIDS is caused by a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that slowly wears down one’s immune system. As the immune system deteriorates, it is less able to combat viruses, fungi, and bacteria that are considered non-serious for those without HIV. These are known as “opportunistic infections” such as pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) and Kaposi’s syndrome and indicate the presence of AIDS. Although there is no vaccine or cure available, antiretroviral treatment has been able to slow down and control the infection however the treatment is often too costly and inaccessible to most of the people infected. Currently, the focus has been placed on cost-effective prevention and promoting safe-sex and safe needle exchanges.