Could Swine Flu Affect Our Pets?

All birds and mammals can be infected with a form of influenza virus, of which there are three types (A, B and C). Humans can be infected by forms of all three, but most flu varieties in animals and humans that cause serious health concerns are Influenza Type A. Viruses can mutate rapidly, and because hosts' immune systems do not initially protect against new mutations, new strains can subsequently cause widespread infection. Often new strains result from the spread of an existing flu virus from one species to another, which provides the virus with the necessary tools to transmit between members of a different species to it's usual host.

Swine Flu

The latest flu strain to hit the headlines (H1N1) – commonly known as "Swine Flu" is a strain of Influenza Type A. While the normal version of "Swine Flu" causes outbreaks of influenza with low mortality rates in pigs, the strain which is currently causing human deaths is not the same virus. The new strain combines genes from human, pig, and bird flu and is similar to the strain that caused "Spanish Flu", responsible for a human pandemic in 1918. "Swine Flu" is an entirely different virus to the "Bird Flu" which was widely talked about last year, and among the most important differences is that "Bird Flu" infected humans who had direct contact with infected birds, where as "Swine Flu" is being transmitted from human to human.

Flu in Horses

Influenza is widespread in horses and is believed to have a nearly 100% infection rate in unvaccinated populations. Flu in horses is primarily caused by the H7N7 and H3N8 strains. In 2007, an outbreak caused the Sydney Races in Australia to be suspended.

Flu in Cats

An avian strain (H5N1) of Influenza Type A, which was given the popular name "Bird Flu", had until recently posed the greatest risk for a new pandemic pandemic since it first killed humans in Asia in the 1990s, but it did not mutate into a form that spreads easily among people. H5N1 is unusual in being deadly to many species, including domestic cats which were never previously susceptible to any influenza virus. Aside from when infected with H5N1, the term "Feline Flu" does not actually refer to infection by influencing, but instead generally refers to the symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection. Because cats have little exposure to influenza viruses, any case of flu which was able to transmit between humans or dogs and cats would probably lead to a widespread infection, since cats have no natural immunity to any influenza virus.

Flu in Dogs

Type A Influenza viruses also include equine influenza (H3N8), which in 2004 was discovered to be responsible for Canine Influenza. Because of the lack of previous exposure to this virus, dogs have no natural immunity to this virus.

Flu in Pigs

Although this new influence is being called "Swine Flu," it is being spread from person to person, not from pigs to people. None of the infected humans in North America have had contact with pigs, and no pigs in North America have been found to be infected with this strain. Pet pigs are there before not known to be able to contract the strain of "Swine Flu" which is being talked about in the news, however they are able to contract normal "Swine Flu", which does not normally have any more serious consequences than seasonal flu does for humans.

Conclusions

In general, influenza viruses are not transmitted from one species to another. For example, dogs and cat do not develop flu after exposure to owners with a seasonal flu virus. While it is theoretically possible for a new influenza strain to be visible between humans and other domestic animals, it is likely that such a strain would be transmissible between only humans and one other animal. Because the "Swine Flu" virus contains genetic elements of human, pig and avian flu viruses, it would seem very unquestionably that this strain would have the ability to infect hosts which are not humans, pigs or birds. And, according to the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), "there is no evidence that pets are susceptible to this new strain of influenza; it appears to be transmitted solely from person to person".

Health Is Wealth – A Conceptual Critique

People have different preferences towards available life options. Same is true for the statement “health is wealth”. What exactly is it? A simple preference that signifies health is superior to wealth? Or a comprehensive statement that indicates health and wealth are linked with each other, systematically and dynamically?

Health is a comprehensive concept, it includes physical strength, mental power and spiritual-wellness of a person. On the other hand, wealth is the richness of a person i.e. abundance of money and worldly items. “Health is Wealth” is a simple statement but its meaning is so fabulous when deeply thought. People now a days refer the statement as when a person is healthy, he is capable of making wealth. On the contrary, if one is not healthy he/she cannot work productively, and hence won’t be able to generate income for independent living. This explanation is true but the deep meaning of this claim can be understood by the words of Virgil: “The greatest wealth is health.” Mr. Virgil is trying to enlighten the concept that the greatest wealth is health, not money or worldly items. There is nothing more valuable in our life than having a good health.

Patrick Meagher said: “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.” Nowadays people are influenced by wealth improperly that they don’t even care about their health, the greatest wealth. They don’t understand that without health there is no real happiness and enviable success. A person with poor health is unable to enjoy the pleasures of life. I think such people are foolish enough because they do not care about their health. Our first priority should be to maintain our health in the best way.

There are multiple methods and practices by which a person can stay healthy; Spending time in natural environment i.e. visiting parks and gardens. Physical exercise is also essential e.g. morning walks, playing sports, etc., it keeps a person smart and healthy. Water is the cure for all types of illness, so drink water to stay healthy and fit. Eating a balanced diet keeps people away from different illness and diseases. It is said that: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Abandon unhealthy practices and habits e.g. smoking, drinking and taking drugs because it harms internal parts of our body. Always be optimistic and cheerful because: “Laughter/smile is the best medicine.” On the contrary, an unhappy person is more prone to fatigue and other illness.

Remember, living a healthy life can be the greatest gift you can give yourself because one cannot enjoy life if he/she is unhealthy. In addition, we must not harm our health by running madly behind wealth. I would like to conclude my essay on the nice words of Mae West: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Why Fertility Doctors Now Recommend Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. It has successfully treated infertility, gynecological, male factor, and many other illnesses and health problems facing couples for 5,000 years. Western medicine as we know it is just over 200 years old. TCM protocols differ from the procedures used in Western medicine-but their use offers hope for many for whom Western medicine is trying to or who has not yet helped. Several studies prove that your chances of conception, pregnancy and take home baby rates are increased when using acupuncture wherever you are trying naturally or in conjunction with IUI or IVF. Some reports indicate a 40-60% improvement rate when used concurrently. Unexplained infertility is increasing rapidly for both men and women. The benefits of acupuncture in treating infertility have proven to be significant and many couples may be helped sooner on this journey by exploring TCM.

So how does it work?

TCM treats holistically, balancing, nourishing and supporting your blood and organ systems. A balanced body system is necessary for a male to have an adequate sperm count, motility and morphology and for a woman to make good follicles, good eggs, sufficient uterine lining and to help prevent miscarriage. Our body becomes "out of sync" with chronic stress, overwork, poor nutrition, long term use of medicines, exposure to toxins and chemicals, smoking, alcohol use, etc. Your body is like a "circuit board connecting with your brain". Life is busy and stressful for most of us … so it is easy for our bodies to "shut down" and be unbalanced. It is like some of the switches on our "circuit board" have been turned off creating blockages causing physical or emotional imbalances. TCM restores balance and blood flow and opens up our "circuit boards" so that the body better functions without stress or duress. The body and endocrine system feel safe and in better working order to conceive, carry and deliver!

TCM allows your body to function more efficiently and optimally and can:

• Improve and support your immune system.
• Reduce stress, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and worry.
• Create calmness and a more "grounded" feeling.
• Reduce toxic effects of medicines.
• Regulate the menstrual cycle.
• Help normalize reproductive hormones.
• Promote blood blow to the uterus and ovaries.
• Improve ovarian function which includes substance and egg quantity and quality.
• Reduce uterine contractions after IVF assisting implantation.
• Reduce miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL).
• Assist in thickening the uterine lining.
• Improve sperm count, motility and morphology.

Does it hurt?
No, acupuncture is a very gentle and relaxing protocol! The needles are very thin -hairline. You may feel a tiny pinch or nothing. It is safe with little or no side effects. In fact, TCM practitioners treat children. Women can be treated all the way through pregnancy in high risk cases, or to counter the effects of morning sickness, fatigue, headaches, edema, back pain, etc.

What can I expect at my first visit?

The acupuncturist will go through your medical history and discuss your signs and symptoms. They look at your tongue and check your pulse and explain how they can best help you based on your symptoms and your fertility goals. Nutrition, diet and lifestyle are also important part of becoming pregnant and are discussed. She will explain an appropriate treatment plan for you. TCM practitioners work closely with fertility specialists and are an important part of an IUI or IVF cycle.

If you have unexplained infertility, male factor issues, are trying naturally or have had a poor response to IVF do not be discouraged – conception, pregnancy and delivery is a journey and TCM is here to help each and everyone of you succeed.

"He, who has health, has hope, and he who has hope, has everything." –Chinese Proverb

The Three Types of Female Alopecia

Alopecia is the medical terminology used to describe hair loss. It is an especially disturbing condition in women, since it is less publicized and socially accepted than male alopecia. There are three major types of female alopecia: androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata and Telogen Effluvium.

The most common type of female alopecia is androgenetic alopecia, which is when women have thinning or diffuse hair loss at the top of the head while keeping their front bangs. What happens in this particular type of female alopecia is that hair follicles become sensitive to hormones and there before the follicles produce less hair. The growing cycle of the hair is shortened and, because of this, the production of hair moves slower (and can, at some point, stop in the area).

Causes for androgenetic alopecia are commonly hormonal. While it is not a single cause, stress can aggravate this type of female alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia by definition means related to hormones and genetics, since there seems to be some pattern of heredity (although this is widely disputed). The most common treatments are the popular Rogaine, Tricomin Therapy Spray and Nizoral. Also, antiandrogens are popular among those concretely diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia rather than any other kind of female alopecia. These drugs reverse the actions of the hormones in the body and can help stop hair loss.

When alopecia in women presents with patchy hair loss it is called alopecia areata. Aside from the hairless patches, this type also has "exclamation point hairs" that narrow closer to the scalp, hence the name. This type of hair loss can happen quickly or slowly. Alopecia areata happens due to inflammation of the hair follicles which then lose their supply of nutrients and therefore go into the shedding stage prematurely.

Causes of alopecia areata are mostly unknown, but it is thought generally that this female alopecia subtype is caused by stress, allergies, infection, genetics, poisoning by environmental exposure to toxins or trauma. The treatment for mild cases includes corticosteroid injections and treatment for intensive cases including topical contact sensitization therapy (chemical creams that may reverse the process). There is also an ointment called Anthralin. It is important to mention that it is rare for this specific type of female alopecia to be reversed.

The third and most typically harmless variation of female alopecia is telogen effluvium which is rapid, but temporary hair loss. It can get dangerous, however, when telogen effluvium triggers another subtype that lay dormant in the body and ends up being a permanent condition. With telogen effluvium, instead of the usual loss of 100 hairs per day, it can go up to 400 lost daily. Apart from hair loss, telogen effluvium can also be accompanied by pain in the scalp similar to the pain of hair being ripped out (this is called trichodynia).

Telogen effluvium usually happens because of stress, illness, recent childbirth or crash dieting. The causes for this alopecia in women can be divided into physiologic, injury / stress and drugs. Physiologic causes include postpartum hair loss, which is a natural condition. Typical stress factors include eating disorders, nutrient deficiencies, recent surgery or illness, infection or just plain stress. Drugs that are commonly associated with temporary female alopecia are anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, heavy metals, birth control pills, thyroid medications and antikeratinazing agents. Treatment of usually involves removing the underlying cause for the temporary hair loss which should solve the problem.

It is important to understand that female alopecia is a versatile condition with many types with different symptoms and causes for each one. Going to a doctor for a solid diagnosis is advisable and female alopecia is usually treatable with the affected female being able to lead on a healthy and normal life.

Natural Treatment For Hair Loss and Baldness

Let me start out by saying that this is a topic that is very near and dear to me as I have been on a journey to find out what actually works to stop hair loss and grow hair. I'm fairly young and my hair has been steadily "receding". As you may know this is not something one looks forward too! What I found was a couple of natural ways to grow hair and the primary cause. I found that Alopecia Areata to be a hair loss condition that causes someone to have round patches of baldness very quickly. Even though the actual cause of alopecia areata is not currently known in some cases it can be linked to people who suffer from autoimmune diseases. However, even people that are in good health can suffer from it. Approximately 20% that develop it will be because of family history. Luckily for most people that suffer with alopecia areata there hair will normally grow itself back in a year or so without it ever having to be treated. In this article we will go over some of the natural treatment for hair loss and baldness which have been shown to be effective in treating the problems in the studies being carried out.

A few essential oils

In the double blind place controlled study that was transported the team examined the use of a combination of assorted essential oils and placebo oil on 86 individuals who were suffering from alopecia areata. The mixture was made of thyme, rosemary, lavender and cedarwood essential oils which were mixed with carrier oils of jojoba and grapeseed. The mixture would then be applied to the scalp daily and it was the control group who only used the carrier oil for their daily massage.

The test went on for a total of 7 months and after this time 19 of the 43 people (44%) who had been using the essential oil blend showed any improvement to the hair on their scalps compared to only 6 of the 41 people (15 %) who were in the control group.

Onion Juice?

In this study which was published in the Journal of Dermatology they Intensely studied the effectiveness of onion juice compared to a placebo on a test group of people with alopecia areata. Of the individuals being studied 23 of them were asked to apply on juice to the scalp two times daily for two months while the other 15 were asked to just apply regular water twice daily for two months.

The study showed that people who were in the occasion juice test group began to see some form of hair growth after using the treatment for two weeks and by the time 4 weeks had passed 17 of them (73.9%) had begun to experience some hair growth . Then by the sixth week a total of 20 of the people (86.9%) in the onion juice group were now experiencing some form of hair growth. Also improvement was significantly higher in the men in the group than the women and during the whole 8 week (two month) trial only two people in the tap water group not any hair growth.

Treatment For Shingles is Available

You may be experiencing an itchy rash, a painful rash with blisters and bumps on one half of your body. You could be dealing with pain and discomfort that may be debilitating. If you are dealing with these things, you might be one of the many sufferers of a disease called shingles. Shingles can be pure torture for those who have it – and many are at their wits end trying to figure out what they can do about it. For those who suffer daily from the effects of shingles, treatment for shingles is a necessity they can not afford to ignore. People do not want shingles to define their lives, and want to break free from this cycle of pain.

Shingles is an affliction that is the result of a childhood illness: chicken pox. Chicken pox is a virus called varicella zoster , and it does not actually go away once you recover from chicken pox. Rather, it lies dormant in the body for many years, mostly causing no harm at all. But when you get older, and your immune system may weaken for various reasons, this virus may be triggered to reawaken and reemerge, traveling the body to find itself at the end of our nerves, literally. This is what leads to the pain and discomfort that shingles sufferers experience. If you are having pain with shingles, it will usually only last for three to five weeks – but in some instances, the illness becomes a condition known as posttherpetic neuralgia, and is accompanied by more debilitating, chronic pain. If you wish to avoid the hardship that can come from neuralgia, you will want to seek treatment for shingles as soon as you possibly can. Having shingles is very difficult for many people to deal with both physically and psychologically – so getting rented right away is a huge help.

If you have shingles, you are likely suffering from symptoms that can mimic common illnesses, such as stomach aches, fever, chills, headaches, and the like. If you develop the rash – and most people do – then it will help determine whether or not you have shingles, for those who can not tell if you have it or not. When coming down with shingles, you will likely get red spots that blister and become yellowed scar tissue.

Getting treatment for shingles is very important – but it can actually be lifesaving for people who are going through other ordeals which weaken and compromise their immune systems. Some of these include suffering from HIV, undergoing a transplant, and getting chemotherapy or radiation treatments. For these individuals, shingles can be more than just a debilitating illness – it can be fatal.

Now that you know what shingles looks like, you can begin the process of treating it. Topical creams, ointments, and anti-inflammatory medications are good treatment options for shingle. In addition, people may also use natural remedies to help with pain. Keep in mind that many natural remedies may not be FDA-approved.

No matter the level of pain and discomfort you may be feeling, there is hope in treatment for shingles.

Optical Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that are characterized by pressure that is too high for the optic nerve to withstand. The optic nerve is crucial in sight, as it is the nerve that sends all of the images created by the eye to the brain. Given its cruciality, damage to the nerve from glaucoma results first the loss of peripheral vision, and then central vision. Glaucoma can be treated in many different fashions with medication and often times surgery is required to stop it from completely damaging the optic nerve.

Glaucoma develops at a different rate for every individual, meaning that one individual might experience nerve damage from a relatively low amount of pressure, while another individual might have noticeably higher pressure and yet be able to withstand it for years without developing any damage.

There is several different types of glaucoma with the most commong type being: primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). POAG is dubbed the "sneak thief of sight" because it typically has no symptoms. Another type of glaucoma is acute angle-closure glaucoma, which is commonly characterized by an acute rise in the intraocular pressure. Acute angle-closure glaucoma occurs in eyes that are vulernible as the pupil dilates, thus blocking the flow of fluid through it. Acute angle-closure glaucoma will generally cause pain and blurred vision, and in more extreme cases leads to irreversible visual loss within a short time. In such cases immediate treatment is required.

Some symptoms of the disease are: halos around bright lights as well as the loss of sight (slowly or rapidly). If you suspect that you or someone you know is affected with glaucoma it is extremely important to have it checked out by an eye doctor immediately because untreated glaucoma can result in total loss of sight.

Arthritis in Pets

Lameness and loss of mobility in pets can be taken as symptoms of an arthritic condition. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritic ailment in both humans and animals but consulting with a veterinarian may introduce you to other forms of arthritis that your pet may be suffering from.

Types of Arthritis in Pets

Osteoarthritis – The most prevalent form of arthritis, osteoarthritis is associated with a reduction of cartilage in the joints often due to aging and normal wear and tear from strenuous and repetitive activities as well as traumatic injuries involving the joints. Affected joints are usually the weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips but may affect other bodily joints as well.

Auto-immune Arthritis – This is a type of arthritis commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis where the animal's immune system wrongly attacks the body's joints causing the inflammation of the joints' synovial membrane.

Acute Traumatic Arthritis – Unlike osteoarthritis which is often a slow progressive joint disease occurs as a consequence of traumatic injuries to the joints. Loss of mobility due to pain and inflammation is often taken as a symptom. In most cases, surgical therapy is suggested or required to prevent the onset of permanent osteoarthritis.

Hypertrophic Arthritis – Generally a result of traumatic injuries or osteoarthritis, hypertrophic arthritis is signified by the formation of bone spurs in the animal's joints as a result of eroded cartilages. Bone spurs affects the animal's mobility because of pain which results from the friction produced as bones rub one another.

Shoulder Degeneration – Sluggishness in pets in performing usual and easy activities may be signs of shoulder degeneration. This type of arthritis affects the sliding joints of the shoulder and has multiple causes but is often due to joint injuries or the proliferation of infectious agents eroding the cartilage of the joints in the shoulders

Hip Dysplasia – A common derivative of osteoarthritis, the condition affects the hip joints of the animal requiring to injury, wear and tear or infection.

Knee Stifle and Knee Dislocation – Lameness signals these two conditions. The former is caused by an injury in the animal's knee joints due to torn ligaments causing the body part to weakened with continuous use. Lack of treatment may result in the dislocation of the kneecap or malformation that leads to the second condition and will severely impair the animal from moving with usual ease.

Common Treatments of Arthritis in Animals

The most ordinary treatments have to do with palliative drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that swiftly reduces and relieved pain. Although widespread use of NSAIDs along with corticosteroids is believed to alleviate the signs of arthritis in both pets and humans, it does little to no help in treating the ailment and is more often than not coupled with gastrointestinal side effects.

Modern scientific research introduced sufferers of arthritis to dietary supplements that have glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in its formulation. An example is Flexicose Liquid JointCare for Pets that combines the two ingredients. Anecdotal evidences and some clinical trials have shown the efficacy of Flexicose's dietary supplement. Glucosamine has been known to aid in the building and repairing of joint cartilages with the help of chondroitin. Moreover, Flexicose Liquid Glucosamine also relieves pain and inflammation with its anti-inflammatory ingredients such as yucca and bromelain.

Try Flexicose Liquid JointCare for Pets for healthy joints in your pet:

http://www.flexicose-usa.com

Acoustic Neuroma Hearing Loss – Strategies For Coping With One Sided Deafness

Often one of the symptoms of acoustic neuroma is single sided hearing loss. Depending on the tumor size, type of treatment and other factors, single sided deafness or near deafness can be one of the outcomes of treatment.  

If you are living with one sided hearing loss or deafness, you may be familiar with some of the following scenarios.

You are walking down the street, or across campus, or through a parking lot. A friendly voice is calling your name. Your look around but can’t see who it is. They continue to cheerfully call out, “Over here!” Each time you ask where, they again call out, “Over here!”

You are in a noisy restaurant at a work related meeting. You can’t hear the person beside you on the side of your deaf ear. You can hear some of what the person on your other side is saying. You can hear some of what the person across from you is saying. You can’t hear your boss, who called the meeting. You hope you aren’t missing any important information

You are at a social get together. Not everyone there knows you well or knows about your single sided deafness. You are doing your best to participate and to fit in. You are picking up the gist of the conversation with those right across from you or right next to your hearing ear. In fact, you are doing a bit of grinning and nodding, and making a few comments here and there, which you hope are relevant.  You happen to look to the side of your deaf ear, and see that the person sitting beside you is moving their lips. They seem to be talking to you. You have no idea how long they have been speaking. They do not seem to notice that you have not heard a single word.  

The following tips are being offered to help you cope:

*Use visual cues and knowledge of your environment to figure out where a voice is coming from.

*Use seating arrangements to your advantage. With experimenting, you will eventually figure out the best places to sit in a group setting.

*Turn to face a person sitting on your deaf side, even though it feels awkward at first.

*Communicate your needs to others. Be easy on them if they forget. Just tell them again.

*Be easy on yourself. It is not your fault this happened. You owe it to yourself to speak up so others can help to include you.

*Have a sense of humor. The best laid plans are bound to go wrong, and it would behoove you to learn to laugh about it.

*Relax! In most social settings, most people won’t hear most of what is said. You can always catch up with people one on one, later.

*Have a daily relaxation routine, such as breathing exercises, yoga, or walking. It will go a long way toward helping you cope and put things in perspective.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you. I wish you the best on your acoustic neuroma journey.

How To Write More Powerful Reports

There is one key difference between reports and most other forms of business writing, and we get a hint of that in the word, “report.” Whereas with many other forms of written comms you can be a little creative and put your own slant on your words, in a report you must not. Not in theory, anyway.

In a report, you’re supposed to report – not embellish, embroider, influence, etc. Just the facts and nothing but the facts.

This does not, however, mean that reports need to be dull and boring. It does, however, mean that you can’t make the content more interesting than it really is. Impossible? No, it just takes some good organization and clear writing.

Before we go any further, there are numerous books and training courses on the market that teach you the formalities and practicalities of report writing. Some are more long-winded than others. Most of them are good.

Here in this article I can’t do what other writers do in a book, so if you need to write reports a lot, I recommend that you buy one or two of the most popular books and study them. What I’m doing here then, is to highlight the points I think are most important to help you make your reports more readable, and the information in them come across more vividly.

If you work in a larger organization, there will probably be set formats for reports, at least for the internal variety. Whether you like them or not you’re normally obliged to stick to them. However the way you roll out and write your content is still up to you.

So what are the key points to focus on?

1. Write for your reader

Don’t allow yourself to fall into “business” jargon and phrasing no matter how much you or other people may feel it’s more appropriate. It isn’t. Use language and tone of voice that your key readers will feel comfortable with. If you don’t know what they feel comfortable with, find out. It’s well worth taking the trouble, because it will make the report much more enjoyable for them to read – a good reflection on you.

If your report is to be read by a wide variety of different audiences, focus your language on the most important groups. Ensure that less topic-literate readers are catered for by using discreet explanations of technical terms or perhaps a short glossary of terms as an appendix within the report.

2. Organize your information sensibly

Start by writing yourself out a list of headings which start at the beginning and finish with the conclusions of your information. If you must include a lot of background information before you get into the “meat” of the information, section it off clearly with headings that say that it’s background (“Research Project Objectives,” “Research Methods Used To Collate Information,” “Personnel Involved In Questionnaire,” etc.) so those who know it all already can skip straight to the important stuff.

Make sure your headings “tell the story” so someone glancing through those alone will get the basic messages. (You’ll find that busy executives will thank you for doing this, especially when they have 16 other, similar reports to read in a crowded commuter train on the way into a meeting to discuss all of them.) Then fill in the details under each heading as concisely as you can.

3. Use an “executive summary” to tell it in a nutshell

Depending on the nature of your report you may be expected to include an executive summary, or at least an introduction that captures the key points of your information. The objective of this is to give the reader the key issues as quickly as possible. Write this after you’ve done the body of the report, not before. Use your list of headings as a guide.

Keep strictly to the facts – this is still part of the report, not your interpretation of it. Strip each sentence down to bare bones with minimal adjectives and adverbs. Use short words and sentences. Don’t just get to the point – start with it and stick to it.

4. If your interpretation is called for, keep it separate

If part of your remit is to comment on the report and/or its conclusions, keep this separate from the main body of information. (Blocked off in a box or under a clearly separated heading will do.)

Naturally as you’re professional you will be as objective as possible. But if you do feel strongly one way or another, ensure that your argument is put as reasonably as possible without going on for pages and pages. Remember, brief is beautiful, although it’s harder to write briefly (and include all the important points) than it is to produce words in abundance.

5. Don’t get carried away with illustrations

Graphs and charts are great to illustrate important issues and like the man said, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” However ensure that those you use are of a level of complexity that will be understood by the least topic-literate of your readers. There’s nothing more irritating than a graph that takes you 20 minutes to decipher. It’s not so much a case that readers are too stupid to understand a complex graph, as it is that they don’t want to spend too much time working it out. The easier/quicker you make it for readers to understand and assimilate your information, the more successful your report.

Try, also, to keep graphs and charts physically adjacent to the text that talks about the same thing. There’s nothing more irritating for the reader if they have to keep flipping from front to back of a document. (When in doubt, think of someone reading your report on that crowded commuter train.)

6. Cut the clutter

Still on that topic, try to avoid including too many diverse elements in your report, no matter how long and involved it is. If you do need to include appendices and various bits of background material, research statistics, etc., make sure they’re neatly labeled and contained at the back of your document.

As I suggested earlier, don’t ask readers to skip back and forth, directing them with asterisks and other reference directing symbols. If you’re writing a medical report or paper then you’re obliged to include these when quoting references from other papers, but please keep even these to a minimum. They’re very distracting and can break your reader’s concentration.

7. Take some trouble to make it look nice

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but people do. Like it or not. According to UK Image consultant Tessa S, when you walk into a meeting, 55% of your first impression of someone is reflected exclusively in the way you’re dressed. Documents fall into the same hole. So how your document looks goes a long way to creating the right impression of your work, and of you.

Obviously if a report is due to go outside your organization and particularly to clients or customers, you will be careful to ensure it’s polished and clearly branded with your corporate identity and all that. However, how an internal report looks is important, too, although your Head of Finance might have apoplexy if you bind it in expensive glossy card. Be sensible with the internal variety – neat, understated, groomed looks don’t have to cost much but they “say” a lot about the value of your report (and you.)

8. A minute on minutes

I think minute-taking is a horrible job, having done so for 6 years while on a charity fundraising committee. And being useless at handwriting (thanks to decades of computers and typewriters) never mind shorthand (was thrown out of secretarial school after 3 weeks) I struggled for months to scribble everything down to price later, until I realized that my brain was a far more efficient filter of information.

At the end of each agenda item, I asked myself the classic reporter questions of “who, what, where, when, why, how and how much.” All I had to do was jot down a few words and when I got home to my trusty PC, I could expand those into realistic summaries of what went on. As much of the dialogue in meetings is either unnecessary, repetitive, or both, simply use your brain as a filter. That’s what it’s trained to do for you in your day-to-day life, so it works for meetings too.

One word of warning though; don’t wait too long before your work up your minutes. Another trick the brain does is to forget after a few hours or a day or so at most…

Occupational Therapy For Children With Epilepsy

The Effect of Epilepsy on Development

Epilepsy is the name of a group of conditions where there are electrical disturbances in the brain. Children with epilepsy have the same range of intelligence and abilities as other children. However, learning disabilities, emotional problems, and motor impairments commonly accompany seizures and may be exacerbated by the medications used to assist with seizure control. These complications in the child with epilepsy frequently lead to poor school performance, depression, low self-esteem, and withdrawal, drowsiness or hyperactivity) and behavioural disturbances.

Occupational Therapy Intervention:

  • Doctor referral
  • Evaluation and diagnostic process when seizures are suspected
  • Work with relevant health care staff (speech pathologists, physiotherapists, psychologists), family and teachers for seizure control and modification of lifestyle and activity
  • Look specifically at any problem areas such as using a knife and fork, getting dressed, writing etc. This may involve recommending specialist equipment like adapted cutlery, kitchen equipment, specialist seating, bathing and showering equipment
  • Coping skills for dealing with social and psychological stresses of seizures and unanticipated vocational change
  • Compensatory techniques for long term difficulties and to reduce the risk of injuries
  • Modify work or home environment that will support the child and the seizures
  • Set up supportive environment that facilitates and promotes autonomy and independence
  • Encourage and assist with organisation and preparation for participation in sporting and social activities
  • Consider providing protective helmets or pad aspects of the environment, if required.

    For more information:

  • Epilepsy Helpline Tel. 1300 852 853
  • Children’s Epilepsy Program, Royal Children’s Hospital Tel. (03) 9345 5661

Treating Rose Fungus

There is more than once ailment that can beset a rose and each one is considered a fungal infection. Mildew, Rose Rust and Black Spot are common fungal infections that can easily be treated with fungicides.

Rose fungus, or fungal infections are rampant at the start of hot or humid weather and prevention is perhaps the most important part of care for roses. There are some precautions one can take to prevent rose fungus yet at times prevention is not possible and these instances rose fungus must be treated.

Precautions
Providing plenty of water is the first step in promoting healthy plants along with good air circulation and fertilizers. Keep roses pruned and avoid wetting their leaves as this can encourage disease. Pick off all old stems and leaves.

If other plants in your garden show signs of disease this may be spread to roses through insects. Insects on their own are carriers of disease. Once you have spotted fungus in your garden start treatment without haste.

Planting roses in sunny areas and providing lots of water will go a long way to preventing rose fungus taking hold.

Treating Rose fungus
A good quality fungicide is normally an effective rose fungus
treatment if done early. If the fungus is left to fester it can be hard to control and hard to eliminate. Rose fungus will weakened plants as the effort taken to fight against disease makes it harder for them to grow and produce flowers. Fungicides that contain sulphur are good for the control of fungus.

If you find fungus on your plants start with removing all dead leaves as this will provide a smaller area that the rose has to fight against disease. It can then concentrate on new growth.

Rose Powdery Mildew
Powdery mildew grows on the surface of any green areas such as leaves and stems. It can only survive on healthy plants as it demands nutrients and feeds off the host plant. At the first sign of mildew treat your roses with a fungicide according to the directions.

Young leaves will start to curl up and die and may not grow to their full size.

Rose Black Spot
Black spot is a common disease among causes caused by a fungus called diplocarpon rosae. It is distinguished by black spots on the under side of the leaf. Around these black spots the leaf will turn yellow and ever fall off and if left untreated every single leaf will drop off. The rose will become very weak and will most likely die.

It is important to remove each diseased leaf off the ground and burn it. Do not put them into the mulch pile. Treating black spot should be done in Spring with the aid of a fungicide that is specifically formulated. The treatment should continue through the growing season until the first frost.

Rose Rust or Rusty Spots
Rose Rust is caused by a fungus from the Phragmidium family. Fungus rust is able to survive winter on a host plant and infect the plant in spring. Rose Rust spores are air borne and are spread by the wind.

Rose Rust first shows on the underside of the leaf and creates bright orange pustules. As it spreads and develops the top of the leaf begins producing yellowish to orange spots.

It is as important to remove all fallen and infected leaves from your garden completely. Treatment is needed for the entire rose bush with a specially formulated fungicide.

Botrytis Blight
This type of fungus mainly affects flower buds which deceay and then die. It is greyish to black in color and grows just below the head of the bloom. In order to prevent this fungus from spreading it is necessary to remove the blooms.

Brown Canker Fungus
This fungus has the ability to attach to any part of the rose bush that is above ground. It has the power to kill a rose plant if not treated. Brown Canker produces purple or red lesions on new rose stems and in older rose stems These lesions are grayish white.

Fungicides that are specially formulated for Brown Canker Fungus work well, but should be administratively strict according to directions.

It is also feasible to treat roses with homemade solutions such as a mixture of water and baking soda or dish washing liquid diluted in water. Place in a spray bottle and spray the infected areas well. Repeat this process until you see results.

Toenail Fungus Treatments – How to Cure

Toenail fungal infection is a relatively common condition. It is becoming more and more common for several reasons. If someone has a toenail fungus they know just how disgusting toenails can become. If left untreated the condition usually worsens.

It makes sense then to get rid of the fungus as soon as you can. Even once treated, toenail fungus can reoccur and must be regularly monitored and preventive measures taken at every corner. Fortunately there are reliably easy ways to prevent further infection.

It is important to first identify the source of your toenail fungal infection. Possible sources are many. Do you workout at the gym and take public showers? Do you go to a public swimming pool? If you walk around barefoot in the locker room this could be a problem as well. Sweaty sneakers could be a cause as well. The best advice to prevent further infection is to wear sandals consistently as any of these places. If you have sweaty feet make sure you have absorbent socks.

An extreme measure to treat toenail fungus is to have the nail surgical removed. Another extreme measure is to take heavy drugs such as Lamasil. These and other heavy drugs have very severe side effects and can result in liver disease or possible death.

Over the counter topical solutions and creams are often expensive and rarely treat anything beyond the most mildest fungus infection. They are usually pretty expensive as well. I've tried numerous of these remedies with little success.

Warning Signs Of A Stroke

There are some warning signs of a stroke that you should know about. I will try to cover at least the ones I experienced and hopefully more. I was very lucky and had minimal damage. You have to be careful and realize that you may not be completely safe from having a stroke and even though you are healthy, you might be at risk. You would not believe what the risk factor are for a stroke and how easy it is for even healthy people to have one. You have to make sure that you are taking the right precautions so that you are not putting yourself at risk for having the devastation of a stroke happened to you.

There are warning signs of a stroke that you have to know about. If you think that you are having any of these symptoms, you need to seek medical attention at once. It is better to be safe than sorry later on down the road. Pay attention and make sure that you think hard about these signs so that you or anyone that you know can get the attention that they need fast. I want to stress that it is with fast intervention, that the seriousnous of a stroke can be minimized. I was lucky enough to have mine occur while I was at a hospital for an outpatient visit with my cardiologist. I was put into a wheel chair and taken to emergency right away, which really helped minimize my after effects.

* Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body only.

* Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding when others talk around you.

* Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

* Problems with walking or being dizzy or losing your balance or coordination.

* Sudden or severe headaches with no reason that you can think of.

You should call 911 immediately if you or someone that you know has these symptoms. You need to make sure that you are doing what you can so that you are able to keep yourself or your friends or family living as long as you can. A stroke is a very serious problem and anyone that thinks that they may have signs of having one need to pay attention and keep in mind that this is your life and body and you should not take it too lightly. My gosh man, YOUR LIFE!

When I had my stroke I was visiting with my cardiologist and my wife and the cardiologist both recognized my speech was really baddly slurred. Being diabetic, they thought maybe I had high blood sugar (which causes similar effects) and just needed to take a shot of insulin.

We left the cardiologist annd walked down the hall to the elevator. I walked a good 50 yards and then my legs, mostly the left, got really heavy and I could barely lift it. I knew something was wrong and called my wife's name. We were 10 feet away from the elevator. I do not remember taking that last 10 foot walk, but I did it and fell into my wife's arms. Good thing she was strong enough to catch me or I would've gone down. My wife "carried" me out of the elevator into a chir right beside the elevator. She ran to get my cardiologist and they tested my blood suger. It was high, but not enough to cause what was happening to me.

At this point, I passed out again and do not remember the trip to the emergency room, the time in the emergency room or travel to my bed there in the hospital. This memory will never come back and I feel a great void in my life because of just that. A stroke is so scary it is not unusual for a full grown man to cry, knowing he could have just lost his life or been seriously handicapped. I was very lucky. Minimal damage but a very very big warning sign.

There are many sources that you can find out more about a stroke. Learn about strokes BEFORE one occurs to you or a loved one. I can not emphasize how important it is to help the strike victim recover. Talk to your doctor and find the facts out. You can also go online and find more about this terrible problem and what leads up to the disease. The more that you know means that you can protect yourself better and put your mind at rest about a stroke interrupting your life when you least expect. No time is right for a stroke but location can make a big difference. Treating stroke within 2 hours of it happening is critical to minimizing the damage a stroke can cause.

Babel – A Review

You might expect a film titled "Babel" (referring to the Biblical Tower of Babel) to explore language barriers, miscommunications, and lack of communication. But would you expect a movie about communication to take an uncomfortably long 142 minutes to get the point across?

Paramount Vantage's "Babel" is the latest film from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who also served as co-producer with Steve Golin and Jon Kilik. The story begins in a desolate region in the Moroccan desert where two braless boys decide to see how far a new rifle can fire by using a tour bus full of people as target practice. One bullet critically injures an American woman (Cate Blanchett) who along with her husband (Brad Pitt) is recovering from the death of their infant. This new tragedy follows a series of earlier tragedies (including the suicide of a Japanese woman) and begins another series of tragedies (including the deportation of the couple's illegal immigrant nanny, played beautifully by Adriana Barraza).

With the loud, abrasive action jumping back and forth through time, and from place to place (Morocco, Japan, America, and Mexico), and from one story to another, this is an exhausting film to follow. In one story, the two Moroccan boys and their dysfunctional family try to escape justice. In a related, but separate story, the American couple (depicted with great sincerity and passion by Pitt and Blanchett) struggle in a life-or-death situation aided by the incompetent, though sympathetic, locales in a nearby village. Meanwhile in California, the couple of children are being taken care of by a loving Mexican nanny who foolishly takes the children with her nephew (Gael Garcia Bernal) to a wild wedding party across the border. In yet another story, with the most tenuous of thematic threads to link them, a teenaged deaf-mute Japanese girl (Rinko Kikuchi) runs around the city without panties trying to lose her virginity.

Each story reveals characters with communication problems: The American couple can not talk about the baby's death or the husband's earlier desertion; the boys have never told their parents about their sister's incestuous peep shows, the nanny is not only ignorant of the English language, but of American laws; the Japanese girl, who including having difficulty communicating with anyone who's not deaf, has a strange and strained relationship with her father.

It takes a very long time to connect all the stories – at least 20 minutes easily could have been edited out – and the payoff may not be worth the wait for some people. The acting is terrific through the film, although (particularly scenes with the American couple after the shooting, and any scene involving the nanny). This raw, depressing drama earns its R rating by providing in-your-face depictions of violence, nudity, survival, desperation, fear, and isolation.