Playing Guitar and the Wound 3rd String

We all know that guitar strings come in many flavors. They can initially be separated into categories according to what types of guitars they are made for.

There are strings that are designed for acoustic guitars, electric guitars and classical guitars. Within those categories they can be further separated according to thickness (gauge), material, and brand.

Furthermore, each set of strings can be separated into categories of "wound" and "un-wound" strings.

Wound strings are manufactured by "winding" a material around a central core. The result is a "thicker" string capable of producing lower bass tones.

Two common materials that wound strings are made of are "bronze wound" strings, typically found on acoustic guitars – and "nickel wound" strings typically found on electric guitars.

Quite often, the main difference between a set of acoustic guitar strings, and a set of electric guitar strings (other than material); is that an acoustic set contains a wound 3rd string. On an electric set of guitar strings the 3rd string is often un-wound.

A typical set of acoustic guitar strings will usually look like this:

1st (E) – un-wound

2nd (B) – un-wound

3rd (G) – wound

4th (D) – wound

5th (A) – wound

6th (E) – wound

The extra thickness of the wound 3rd on a set of acoustic guitar strings helps add a "fullness" to the tone of an acoustic guitar by increasing the "bottom end" of the sound.

From the perspective of a lead guitarist that plays electric guitar, a wound third string can have a down side. A wound string is much harder to "bend" than an un-wound string.

To prove this to yourself, pick up an acoustic guitar with a wound third and attempt to bend the string. It can be done, but will require a lot of extra finger pressure, and the string will not have as much "give".

This is why most electric guitar sets come with an un-wound 3rd, because so many string bends, when playing lead guitar, take place on the 3rd string.

But ironically there are electric guitar strings available with a wound 3rd string.

Why? Because some electric guitarists that typically play rhythm guitar, prefer the extra "meat" in tone that the wound 3rd string produces.

Which one is best for you? It's hard to say and greatly depends on your personal preference and playing style.

But for the time being, just be aware of the differences between string sets with wound 3rd strings and un-wound 3rd strings, and play around with each until you find the one that works best for you.

Important Updates Regarding the H1N1 Flu

A presidential advisory panel recently informed that the H1N1 virus, formerly known as swine flu, could cause up to 90,000 deaths in the US this year, which is a substantial increase from the 64,000 individuals who usually die during flu season. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has also reported that the H1N1 flu could infect between 30 and 50 percent of the US population this fall and winter, and the government is urging the American population to take this threat seriously.

While health officials ensure us a vaccine for the H1N1 flu is being tested, one is not likely to become available until mid-October, which leaves us particularly vulnerable as we head into flu season this year. The following tips are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to reduce your risk of illness and help prevent the spread of H1N1 flu.

Wash hands periodically through the day with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time

Alcohol-based hand cleaners can be an effective way to ward off germs as well

Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose

Always cough and sneeze into a tissue and then immediately throw the tissue away

Stay at least six feet away from people who are sick, and if you're sick, limit your contact with others

If you become ill, stay home and stay there for at least 24 fever-free hours without the aid of medications

Improve your immune system by eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly

Keep updated on the availability of the H1N1 vaccine, and get your seasonal flu vaccination as soon as it's available

H1N1 flu symptoms are much like other flu viruses: fever, cough, sore throat, runny / stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have also reported diarhea and vomiting. It's important to remember that the H1N1 flu is still the flu and panicking will not help anyone. No, you can not catch it from eating pork and no, racing to the nearest emergency room is not necessary. As a matter of fact, a visit to the emergency room could have exposed you to the very germs you should avoid. If you are seriously worried, always call your doctor's office first and listen to their instructions. You should especially call your doctor if your fever is unusually high or has lasted longer than three days, if you're having difficulties breathing or producing fluid, if your fever returns after a few days, or if you've developed dark spots on your hands or mouth.

Health Benefits of Propolis

Propolis is a natural antibiotic that is fast gaining in popularity in the application of home remedies! It’s one of those bee products that really cause me to wow at the wonder of nature and marvel at the ability of the highly organised insect – honey bee. Now, let me tell you what exactly propolis is.

Some trees and conifers produce sticky resins as part of their immune system to defend themselves against disease. Honey bees collect these substances that ooze from the buds of these plants. After chewing them and mixing them with their saliva and other substances, propolis is formed. This nutrient-rich substance is of vital importance for the survival of the honey bees in the beehive. It is created to sterilize the hive and protect it against diseases and infection. Not only does it help to inhibit the spread of bacteria, virus, and fungi that would otherwise pose a significant threat in the closely-knit quarters, it also and help fight against climatic changes, such as wind and cold. It is also used as a “putty” to seal cracks and openings in the hive and to strengthen and repair honeycombs, and for this reason is also known as ‘bee glue’. Another fact that amazes me is that honey bees also use this sticky substance to embalm or “mummify” the carcasses of larger insects that invade the hive. Such intruders are immediately stung to death but because the defending bees can’t transport such heavy corpse away from the hive, they embalm them rather than allowing them to decay. The ancient Eygptians observed this and used propolis as one of the embalming agents for their exquisite mummies!

Propolis contains approximately 50-70% resins, 30% wax, 10% etheric oils and 5% pollen. It is especially rich in amino acids, important for immune system function. It has a high vitamin content (Vitamin A (carotene), Vitamin B1, B2, B3, biotin) and is extremely rich in bioflavonoids (Vitamin P) which are believed to have numerous immune building properties and health benefits. Bioflavonoids are the natural pigments in fruits and vegetables and are found in abundance in oranges. This bee glue contains almost 500 times more bioflavonoids than is found in oranges! It also contains an array of albumin, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Like Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen, it contains a number of unidentified compounds which work together synergistically to create a balanced, nutritive substance.

Propolis can be purchased completely raw and unprocessed, but it in its natural state is a sticky substance and is very difficult to handle. Some beekeepers will package the raw propolis and freeze it in small portions. It can then be added to a coffee grinder in its frozen state and ground for easy consumption. Most producers utilize a process where the active ingredients are ‘leached’ into water or alcohol, then either packaged in liquid form or dried and capsulated.

Because of its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, this precious substance has been used as a healing agent for many centuries. It has the ability to provide protection against infectious invaders, promote healing and regeneration of tissue, and provides a superior source of energy and stamina. It has been used as ointments for healing cuts and wounds and shown to have outstanding value for a wide variety of illnesses. It is also used as a natural alternative to penicillin and other antibiotics. It is said to be particularly safe and effective and inhibits the resistance-building effect that is a negative factor with prescription antibiotics. In the former Eastern Bloc countries, antibiotics have never been widely available, but beekeeping is widely practised. To help prevent many diseases, hospitals and clinics recommended washing, gargling or irrigating the sinuses with propolis rinses, as well as taking propolis internally. This bee product is certainly a good weapon against bacteria when used topically. It can clearly prevent infections, and can also help heal infections that have already begun.

Do you know that now even toothpastes contain natural ingredients related to honey bees. Propolis has become a healthy alternative to synthetic brands of toothpastes as it is especially useful in mouth and gum disorders. Our mouth is one of the most sensitive spots of our body. This is the place where the synesthesia of senses starts and the food we visualize develops its full smell and taste. The mouth is the starting point of the food digestion. A healthy mouth cavity is certainly one of the elements contributing to the appetite and good mood in general. If the mouth develops sore spots, thrush or gum disease, it causes the whole system to disrupt, resulting in pain and tormenting feeling. Published clinical research demonstrates that propolis fights bacteria, prevents tooth decay, enhances oral hygiene, heals bleeding gums, and prevents gums receding. Manufacturers of propolis toothpastes and mouth sprays claim that their products leave teeth clean, gums feeling healthy, taste great without artificial ingredients, and produce no negative side effects. The salesperson at a honey shop which I often frequent explained that propolis toothpaste are very suitable for young children’s use as even if it’s accidentally swallowed, it’s extremely safe. Such products are easily applied, and have increasingly become part of the everyday dental hygiene of people who are especially interested in natural remedies. My latest discovery while shopping for honey products : propolis extract now even comes in the form of sprays and candies. The spray claims that it is effective against flu, cuts, burns, gum and mouth infections, throat discomforsts and intestinal discomfort, while the candy is sold as a good therapeutic substitute to the traditional throat lozenges and an aid to curing flu, colds, throat discomfort, cough and bad breath.

Note of Caution: Propolis is generally non-toxic, though allergic reactions such as skin rashes, swelling, redness, eczema or fever have been reported. As the effects of propolis during pregnancy and breast-feeding have not been sufficiently evaluated, women should not use it during these times unless directed to do so by a physician.

Source: www.benefits-of-honey.com/propolis.html

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

Epilepsy Symptoms

The symptoms of epilepsy vary depending on what kind of seizure the person has. Possibly the simplest way of explaining this is to give an overview of what the different kinds of seizure would look like to an observer and feel like to the person experiencing them.

Partial seizures are often called ‘petit mal’. To the outside observer, the signs of this are not obvious ones. In the simple partial seizure the person first has what is famously called an ‘aura’. This is actually the first part of the seizure activity. There is no loss of awareness however, which can make it seem like a separate phenomenon. The aura is not necessarily a set of lights shimmering in front of the person. It is equally likely to involve a sense of numbness or tingling in some part of the body. Alternatively, there may be a compulsive twitching start in the face of some other familiar part of the body. It can be very unpleasant, like nausea or increased heart rate. However, the aura has also been described as ecstatic and may come in the form of hallucinations that are considered by the person to be worth the pain of the seizure that will inevitably follow.

The next type of epileptic seizure is the complex partial seizure. To the observer, the epilepsy symptoms are obvious and disturbing. In this type of seizure the person does lose consciousness and they can proceed to behavior that is so odd and out of character that they can be a danger to themselves and others. This behavior can involve taking off clothes, doing strange random actions, walking around and mumbling. The variety is endless and quite individual and these seizures can last from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

The more common conception of an epileptic seizure is of someone having a ‘fit’. This is the generalized tonic-clonic seizure, or ‘grand mal’ beginning with a sudden cry and a fall. The stiffening of the body that starts the process is called the tonic, the spasms and jerking that follow is called the clonic. This can look quite alarming, especially if the person manages to bite their tongue and blood appears. It usually lasts for only about 2 minutes, which can feel like an eternity if you are the onlooker. The person usually needs some care and reassurance when they come around as they are likely to feel confused and extremely tired after the epilepsy symptoms pass.

Finally there is a general group of tonic and myclonic seizures. The myoclonics involve significant muscle jerks, causing the person to spill what they are holding or even to fall off the chair. Among the tonic disorders here are two types of ‘drop’ attack, so called because they cause the person to fall to the ground if they happen to be standing. The ‘tonic’ causes the person to go rigid, while the ‘atonic’ predictably causes the person to lose all tone and also fall for that reason. In none of these last seizures is there any noticeable loss of consciousness.

Equine Flu – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Introduction: Equine influenza ('flu') is probably the main respiratory infection affecting horses. It has a worldwide distribution, and can cause a severe illness in some cases. Fortunately, prevention is possible with current vaccinations. This is a very current topic, with a recent outbreak in Australia in August to October 2007. This continent had previously been unaffected by equine flu, and the outbreak appeared to have spread from imported Japanese stallions.

What is Equine Influenza? This is a severe respiratory viral infection, with a short incubation period of 3-4 days, and a rapid worsening of symptoms. It is particularly likely to spread rapidly in overstocked situations.

The virus is spread by inhalation of water droplets via the nose, and then causes damage to tissues lining the respiratory tract. It can cause death of large areas of the lining tissue or mucosa.

Symptoms: These include high temperature, clear nasal discharge, dry cough, and swollen submental lymph nodes (under the jaw). In addition, you may notice that your horse has depression & lethargy, a clear eye discharge, a poor appetite, and a referral to drink There may even be a degree of swelling of the limbs, with a resultant referance to move. Occidentally secondary pneumonia can occur, especially in the very old and the very young; this can lead to death.

Causative Agent: The Equine-1 (H7N7) and equine-2 (H3N8); influenza A is a subtype of the latter. Unlike the human influenza virus, which changes every year, equine flu virus has more stable subtypes. Horse flu viruses were only isolated in 1956.

Occidentally carrier status occurs in equines, when an incomplete immune response to infection has occurred and the virus has not been eliminated. Such horses are shedding virus and infectious despite appearing well.

Current Western Treatments: Affected horses need complete rest for at least 6 weeks. It takes 1 week to recover at best, but 6 weeks for any mucosal damage to be reversed, because the need for a longer period of rest. During recovery, it is important that any stable used must have good ventilation, with minimal dust levels. Mucolytic agents & antibiotics may be necessary if secondary infection occurs.

Complementary Therapies: Supportive care can help, such as reiki, spiritual healing, crystal healing, acupressure, shiatsu, and aromatics. These can help the horse's immune system and ability to heal itself. The aromatics (animal aromatherapy, whereby the animal picks remedies on the basis of scent and taste from a selection offered) may have specific effects on resistance to infection and the release of supportive hormones.

Prevention: Influenza vaccines have been available for many years, and initially only provided protection for a few months. Current improved vaccines protect for 10-15 months. Vaccination is given as a primary course of 2 doses, 3-6 weeks apart, followed by boosters at 6-12 month intervals. Side effects are rare, and may be due to inflammation at the injection site, occasional allergy, or general poor well – being.

Certification of flu vaccination may be needed for horses that travel or compete

Homeopathic nosodes may be helpful in preventing influenza. Nosodes are created from the equine virus by diluting many times in water. The water then holds the memory of the molecule, which may be enough to stimulate an immune response. There tend to be a lower side effect rate with nosodes, but there is limited evidence of their efficiency.

Basic Postoperative Wound Care

You've just come from the dermatologist's office where you had a skin biopsy to remove a suspicious mole and check it for cancer. How should you care for the biopsy site to have an optimal result and the smallest possible?

First, start taking some extra vitamin C. Surgeons have known for many years that vitamin C is a co-factor in collagen synthesis, helping to make the skin heal more quickly with a smaller scar. This should be continued for at least 3 months for best results.

Next, avoid removing the bandage for the first 24 hours as the area is more likely to bleed if it is disturbed. After the first day, you can usually remove the Band-Aid and shower, allowing the water to gently cleanse the area. Wash cloths, soaps or detergents should not be used on the biopsy site.

Make sure to follow all instructions you have been given and return at the appointed time to have your sutures removed. Removing sutures before the site is cured can result in opening of the skin and a large scar. Leaving sutures in too long can leave unsightly "railroad tracks" at the biopsy site.

Usually a topical antibiotic cream and a Band-Aid are all that are needed for small biopsies. Sometimes an allergic reaction can occur either from the Band-Aid adhesive or the antiseptic. If the skin become red and itches, you might try doing without the Band-Aid or the cream for a day to give the surrounding skin a rest ..

If the site itches, avoid scratching as this can dislodge the sutures and cause the scar to widen. If you experience pain at the site after the first day, especially if you notice redness or drain from the site, you should call your doctor to make sure it's not infected. Infection can delay healing and result in a less than optimal result.

Healing occurs more quickly after biopsies on the face while those on the trunk, arms or legs can take up to three weeks or longer to heal. During the healing phase, excessive use of that part of the body, can cause breakage of the sutures with widening of the scar. It's best to be patient and not rush back into an exercise program while your biopsy site is healing.

Application of topical vitamin C or vitamin E serums or creams can speed wound healing and keep the site hydrated and less dry. Newer remedies for minimizing scarring such as silicone sheets placed over the healing wound are showing promise, however the cost may be quite high. These are especially effective in persons predisposed to forming hypertrophic scars or keloids.

Complete healing may take several months while the redness of the site fades. This is absolutely normal. Best results are seen after 3-6 months. If you have questions be sure to call your physician.

Low Back Pain And Sciatica – Functional Limitations

The problem with low back pain and sciatica, is that the lower back itself and surrounding area is so important with regards to any movement or activity you become involved in. It is not like when you have injured an arm or a leg, where you can rest the arm in a sling or use some crutches for your leg in order to allow healing to take place, with low back pain you are not afforded that luxury.

With regards to functional activities, the first thing which needs to be addressed is to divide them into two categories:

i) Those which cause or aggravate your low back pain or sciatica.

ii) Those which cause you no pain or do not increase your pain at all.

The chances are that there is a common factor linking the components of each of these two groups.

For example, let’s say sitting down aggravates your low back pain yet keeping upright and a small amount of walking eases your pain. We are going to be thinking along the lines of flexion activities being the aggravating factor for your low back pain and extension type activities being the easing factor.

With this above example, first and foremost we need to modify or temporarily avoid the aggravating factor i.e. sitting down. Now I am not suggesting you do not sit down at all during the day, but rather you try and sit in a more upright chair, with say a rolled up towel for some support for your lower back. In addition to this, I would also recommend that you spend no longer than a maximum of 15-20 minutes sitting down without break i.e. getting up out of the chair.

Moving on to encouraging the easing factors, and once again using the above example, I would suggest you try to have a little walk a few times during the day. This can be anything from a few minutes to say 20 or 30 minutes, depending upon the severity of your pain. The important thing is your low back likes this activity and therefore it is important to provide it with it, as it will be providing you low back with the optimum conditions for it to heal itself.

NB. You can get too much of a good thing, therefore do not just walk for the sake of it. For example, if your low back pain eases after 5 minutes walking, but becomes aggravated after 10 minutes, feel free to walk for 5 minutes, but not too much longer (otherwise you will be simply interfering with the healing process again).

With regards to aggravating and easing factors, it is important to be as specific as possible. Therefore,using the example I have just given, walking for 5 minutes is an easing factor, yet walking for 10 minutes is an aggravating factor.

The main principle is little and often throughout the day. Tying in the above two, the logical thing to do with regards to sitting, is every 15 minutes or so stand yourself up and have a walk up and down the living room. By taking on board the above principle, it will result in less stress being placed across the structures responsible for your low back pain and therefore give your body a chance to heal itself. As healing takes place, the structures responsible for your pain will become stronger, and if they are stronger you will find you can begin to do more and more.

A positive cycle will now result, whereby encouraging the easing factors will promote more healing, which itself will result in your low back becoming stronger and therefore less easily aggravated. If it is less aggravated, it means more healing will take place and therefore you can become more active and your back will become stronger…. and so on.

Sound too simple?

Well there is no doubt I have simplified things a little just to highlight a point. However, it is not too difficult either as the underlying principle is the same. The all important aspect is firstly analysing your day-to-day activities and then dividing them into aggravating and easing ones. When you have established this, begin by temporarily avoiding/modifying the aggravating activities and encouraging the easing ones. As you do this, your low back pain or sciatica will begin to ease and you will be able to become more active.

At this stage, it will be important to consider addressing any muscle imbalances which are present (as it will almost be certain there are some). A simple but effective exercise programme to strengthen any weak muscles and stretch any tight ones will soon have you performing those functional activities you are finding difficult at the moment pain-free…

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…

What is Areata Alopecia?

Alopecia Areata is the name given to a condition where round bald spots appear on your skin and scalp. The hair loss is very sudden and quite often drastic. Alopecia is a disorder that causes a patient's immune cells to attack their own hair-growing tissue for unknown reasons. Usually a trigger is needed to start the process (often in the form of a virus)

There are three basic stages of Alopecia Areata:

1. Sudden hair loss. The patient will notice a bald spot. Which may appear minimal at first.

2. The bald area will enlarge; hair loss will increase in the immediate area of ​​sighted balding.

3. New hair will grow in place of the lost hair. This process is different for everyone. Hair may start growing in a matter of weeks, months, sometimes more than one year. Neverheless, it's very rare that hair does not grow back.

Not Just the Scalp

Patients who start losing hair from their body (including eyebrows and eyelashes) are very wrinkled. They have every reason to feel this way. Alopecia Areata acts in such a way that it's very unnatural. But these patients are not alone in their experiences. Most patients do not realize that the symptoms that they're experiencing are all attributes of Alopecia-a temporary condition.

Common Misconceptions:

While many patients blame stress, medication, and poor diet; there is not any clinical proof that these claims coincide with the balding disorder. Unfortunately, doctors do not know why a patient's immune cells turn on the body and cause this condition. Despite this lack of information, studies do show that Alopecia Areata commonly occurs in patients who family members have had the condition. Alopecia Areata is not contagious.

Treatment:

While patience is an important asset with this condition, your physician may suggest cortisone shots (which promote and stimulate hair growth). Although Cortisone shots have been very successful with Alopecia patients, these shots are very painful. The average patient who opts for this treatment receives twenty to thirty shots into each patch, once per month. This treatment is only effective for the immediate area that has been injected. It does not assist hair growth in other bald areas.

Unfortunately, doctors can not predict if this treatment will work for you. There are no guaranteed results. A prescription cortisone cream is another solution, which can be applied to the bald area. Cortisone cream is not painful and can be easily applied in the privacy of your home.

Golf Strategy – How to Break 90

Most people who play golf have never broken 90 in their golf careers.

This is obviously a major goal for these folks and a source of major frustration …

When I talk and play with these golfers, there is one common observation that I can make about their games that is creating a serious mental barrier to their progress … and that is an intense desire for "more distance".

The other common observation I can make about their game is that they are passionate about golf and will do whatever it takes to improve.

The golf industry thrives on these desires:

"buy this driver and add 10 extra yards to your game"
"buy this ball for extra distance"
"Learn to swing like the pros"
"Turn more for more distance"

Whenever you look in golf magazines or watch infomercials on TV these headlines are everywhere …. its no wonder that this distance message has rubbed off on the struggling golfer.

Yet, when you do the math on what distances you require to break 90 off the standard white tees on the typical golf course, the numbers will surprise you …

Understand the Numbers

Golf is all about numbers and making smart decisions. If you can understand the numbers that are necessary to meet your scoring goals, you will begin to make smarter decisions that will quickly lead to lower scores.

I say this because it is this lack of understanding of the numbers involved in the game that leads golfers to make bad decisions both on and off the course:

"I need this new $ 600 driver to get my drives to 230 yards …. that will make a huge difference to may scores"

"If only I could get my irons to go further, what a difference that would make"

Yet, talk to these same people 6 months after their purchase and many of them have made little difference to their scores …

This push for distance is a huge mental barrier. Those golfers who progress faster with their games are those who have discovered how to overcome this mental obstruction.

What they need to do is make mental shift away from distance, to one of "consistency" …

If you can make that change, you will find your game will accelerate quickly to lower scoring.

That process begins by knowing your numbers ….

Understand the Distance Numbers

Golf is all about making smart decisions around distance. If you can understand the numbers that are necessary to meet your scoring goals, you will begin to make smarter decisions that will quickly lead to lower scores.

I say this because it is this lack of understanding of the distances involved in the game that lead golfers to make bad decisions both on and off the course:

"I need this new $ 600 driver to get my drives to 230 yards … that will make a huge difference to may scores"

"If only I could get my irons to go further, what a difference that would make"

Yet, talk to these same people 6 months after their purchase and many of them have made little difference to their scores …

This push for distance is a huge mental barrier. Those golfers who progress faster with their games are those who have discovered how to overcome this mental obstruction.

Make this mental shift, and you will find your game will accelerate quickly to lower scoring.

That process begins by knowing your numbers …

Average distances to Break 90

Let's assume you play on an average length course of 6,100 yards. I am going to throw some average distance requirements per stroke out there to break 90 that is based on different putting abilities …

45 putts / round – average distance / stroke to shoot 89 = 138 yards
40 putts / round – average distance / stroke to shoot 89 = 124 yards
36 putts / round – average distance / stroke to shoot 89 = 115 yards
(average distance = 6,100 ((89 – # of putts / round))

For ladies on a 5,500 yard course the yards are less:

45 putts / round – average distance / stroke to shoot 89 = 128 yards
40 putts / round – average distance / stroke to shoot 89 = 115 yards
36 putts / round – average distance / stroke to shoot 89 = 104 yards

As you look at these numbers, even some absolute beginners using a set of old clubs can reach these distances!

So where is the need for distance?

If you are any good at putting you could probably get round the course in 89 using only a 9/8 iron and a putter …

"Ah, but that is not how the game is played …" some say.

That is certainly true. But then I would ask "how should you play the game and what are you trying to achieve?" …

Change of Thinking

In showing you these distances and prodding these questions I am not trying to be critical of those who play in the 90's or above …

I am simply trying to help you clarify the numbers to encourage you think a little more about how you may be approaching your own game.

Of course I would not suggest you go around the course with nothing but an 8 iron and a putter. That is silly. However, these numbers clearly suggest that you do not need a 230 yard drive either.

So what can we learn from just studying these distances?

1. For starters, if you are able to average a 2 putt on every green for your round, you remove a huge distance requirement from your game.

This then should be your top priority for breaking 90 … practice putting at home to get your putting average down to 36 or less per round.

2. The second observation that jumps out at us is that distance is not an issue if you are able to execute every shot cleanly during the round without a miss hit or duff shot.

Swing consistency becomes key, not distance.

Here is how your thinking and mental approach to your swing has to change …

It does not matter how far you hit the ball, but it is vital that you hit every shot with some level of consistency.

Consistency comes with a lot of practice, but it can also come from making smart decisions with your shot making …

Operating at the Top End of your Swing Capability Curve

Your judgment calls on distance and club selection can seriously affect your swing consistency … this is all a "mental process" and has nothing to do with your physical capability.

Let me show you an example …

Let's say that you are faced with an approach shot to the green of 140 yards. What are your choices?

Well, on the range you know that you can reach 140 yards with an 8 iron …. in most cases you might have a go with that decision.

How confident do you feel at executing that shot? What are the likely outcomes if you do not pull it off?

Here is what I observe with many high handicap golfers when making decisions of this nature …

9 times out of 10 they are always short of the green. This is because of either a complete miss hit duff shot or they did not catch the ball cleanly at contact.

On top of this the accuracy of the shot is off as well.

The reason for this is that they are swinging at the high end of their swing capability curve trying to execute a "full turn", because that is what they have read, or were told will give them the "most distance".

If they adopt this same mental approach to swinging with a full turn during their practice sessions with all their clubs, their decisions on distance ability with each club are going to be influenced by the results they achieve on the range.

The shots they remember are the shots they hit well that go a mile, but do they remember how far they hit the balls that did not go so well? …. probably not.

Whenever you try to run a "system" at the high of it capability it is going to experience some failure.

The same can be said of your golf swing. Try to swing with a full turn on every shot, and you will experience failure more times than not.

That is because with a full backswing extension you are more likely to experience:
o Balance problems
o Breakdowns of the left arm
o Excessive tension in the arms that leads to a prerelease of the hands from the top of the swing and poor timing

to mention but a few …

OK. Now I want you to consider your chances of reaching the same 140 yards with either a 7 iron or even a 6 iron. Are you likely to be short with either of these two clubs?

The answer is, "no, only if I miss hit the shot completely. If anything I may overshoot the target …"

Choose a Club Down for better Swing Consistency

Here is how you can immediately improve your swing consistency on the course …

I want you to ask yourself why you put yourself under distance pressure for this 140 yard shot?

Why do you need to operate your swing at the high end of your capacity curve and push the extremes of your swing limits with an 8 iron, knowing that you are likely to experience a miss hit?

This is totally unnecessary. You have the option of selecting down a club that you know you will reach the distance with a much higher degree of certainty.

This same thought process can be applied to every swing decision you make with every iron you have in the bag.

The only time you reach a point where you have to make a full turn to increase distance comes with clubs at the low end such as a 3 iron, 3 wood and driver where you no longer have the option to choose down a club.

Going to club down for all of your distance decisions changes your mental approach from one of going for distance, to one of going for consistency.

The first reaction you have when you make this decision is worrying about over shooting the target.

This thought process forces you to shorten your backswing so that you take some "heat" out of the shot.

When you shorten your backswing:

o Your balance is better and your swing is much easier to time.

o With improved balance also comes improved accuracy.

So, club down and shorten your backswing for improved consistency …

Set a scoring goal for each hole

You can reduce the pressure to swing for distance from your swing even further by accurately knowing what distance you need to achieve your scoring goal for every hole to break 90.

On a par 72 hole course you need to score 17 over par in order to achieve an 89.

You can break that down to a scoring goal for every hole of a 1 over par, only needing a single par on any one hole somewhere during the round.

Now let's look at how this information affects your decision making and club selection on the course …

For those of you who feel you need to add more distance to your game but have yet to break 90, I want to try and dispel this mental obstacle once and for all with this following example …

Let's put you under a pressure for distance scenario on the course by imaging you are standing on the tee of a 410 yard par 4. Does this intimidate you? You bet!

"I need to have a long drive so that I can give myself every chance of getting on or near the green with my approach shot …"

"It is holes like this that bring out the need for that 230 yard drive! Even with that drive I still have 180 yards to go with the next shot."

How do you rate your chances of pulling off consistent shots under this amount of pressure?

Not very high is my guess … "

Before you reach into the bag for the heavy artillery and psych yourself up for a monster drive, step back for a minute and think about what you are trying to achieve on this hole.

You are not trying to play for par, you are trying to play for a one over par because that is your goal for this hole.

Come to think of it, even a 5 handicap golfer does not need to go for par on this hole because horses of this nature usually have a handicap index of 5 or less!

Knowing you have 5 strokes to meet your goal, how can you best use those strokes to make each shot as simple as possible?

The trick lies in working your way back from the green to the tee, not from the tee to the green in your club selection …

Work backwards from the green for shot simplicity and improved consistency

First of all, I am going to assume you took note of my first observation and have practiced your putting at home and feel pretty good at averaging 2 putts per green.

That leaves you with 3 shots with which to work your way back to the tee to cover the 410 yards.

The first decision you need to make is at what distance and with what club can I feel confident at getting anywhere on the green 9 times out of 10, remembering that there is no need to push your swing to it's high limits for distance.

Let's say that a 65 yard pitching wedge comes to mind.

Ok, now let's work back a little further and decide what would be a reasonable shot that you feel pretty confident at getting you within that 65 yard approach shot range even from light rough.

Maybe a 160 yard iron or hybrid club.

What's left for your drive …. 185 yards, which for some of you may be a 3 wood distance.

What this exercise does for you is reduce the pressure to swing for distance completely from every shot tee to green. You will be able to swing well within your distance capability … especially if you also club down.

Your chances of implementing this strategy with reasonable consistency compared to the "conventional approach" is going to be much higher because you are not swinging at the high end of your swing range.

On top of this, if you successfully land your third shot on the green, you give yourself a one putt chance of a par!

Now compare that opportunity to the "conventional approach" where you would probably be satisfied with a one or even a two over par ….

Adding the Extra Shot and Shorten your Approach Shot

The one over scoring goal on every hole but one to break 90 allows you to design your tee to green play with an "extra shot" compared to a regulation strategy.

That extra shot on all the par 4's and par 5's brings the distance you require for every shot considerably.

Knowing this allows you to back off and swing well within your distance capability by clubbing down.

The extra shot also allows you to select a shooter approach shot on every hole which improves your changes of getting on the green.

This helps you avoid many wasted short game shots from around the green which are wonderful shot consumers for high handicap players who have not developed a short game.

Breaking 90

As I have shown you in this article, knowing the distance numbers to break 90 takes away the pressure to operate at the high end of your swing capability on every shot

Making smart club choices by clubbing down, also eliminates this distance pressure.

The strategy of adding the extra shot from tee to green to shorten your approach shots on every hole, not only reduced wasted shots from around the green, you also give yourself more par opportunities for a one putt par.

The desire to add more distance to your game can be a major mental barrier that is preventing you from lowering your scores and reaching your goal of 89.

Make the mental shift to thinking more on how to improve consistency by swinging well within you distance capabilities and your scores will drop significantly in a short period of time …

Good luck and good scoring!

God, the Supernatural Healer

A missionary lady was sitting by her window as she opened her mail. In one letter she found a crisp, new, ten-dollar bill. She was pleasantly surprised, but then she noticed a poorly dressed stranger leaning on a post by her window. She could not get him off her mind. Thinking that he might be in greater need than her, she slipped the bill into an envelope and wrote "Do not despair". She handed the envelope through the window to the man. He read the note, smiled, tipped his hat and walked away.

The next day she heard a knock at the door. There the same man handed her a roll of bills. When she asked what they were, he said, "That's your sixty bucks, lady! 'Do not despair" paid five to one! "

The Old Testament reading from 2 Kings 5: 1-14 is a classic example of the conflict between man's way of doing things and God's way of doing things. Naaman wanted to be healed, but in his own way. He wanted Elisha to come out and perform some sort of healing ritual. He wanted to wash in rivers of his own choosing. When he did not get his way, he reacted like a small child does when it does not get its own way-he had a temper tantrum. It took the words of someone insignificant to convince Naaman to humble himself and submit to God's plan. All of us are lepers who need God's healing touch, but sometimes we can not see beyond our successes and shortcomings and realize that we need to be healed.

Leprosy was significant in the Bible for several reasons:

1. The leper was considered to be unclean and had to be isolated form the rest of society. Whenever he went out, he had to cry "unclean", and he had to wear black with a hood covering his face. He also had to live outside the city walls.

2. Leprosy was incurable in Bible times just as sin is incurable by man.

3. When Jesus healed a leper he always pronounced the person cleansed, not healed.

4. The rite of purification in the Old Testament only recognized the fact that a leper was clean. It did not cure the leper.

5. Leprosy begins on the outside and then erupts on the skin. Sin also begins with what we are and then erupts on the surface.

6. The priest was to examine the leper and pronounce the person clean or unclean depending on his observation of the facts. Since Christ has provided cleansing from sin, every believer as a believer priest is to detect sin in their own life and pronounce it as sin when it first appears.

7. The pain of leprosy was not severe because it also killed the nerves in the affected area. Portions of the body became numb, muscles wasted away and fingers and toes developed ulcers. Sin is like that. We are dead spiritually, so we do not feel the pain of our sin.

8. The leper was often considered to be dead, and people without Christ are nothing more than spiritual zombies.

9. Leprosy and sin occurs regardless of one's position, power, honor, possessions or wealth.

10. The restoration of the leper is a metaphor for the restoration of us to God when we accept him in faith.

11. Leprosy destroys the body, and sin destroys our relationship with Christ.

God does not work according to our ideas or plans. In fact, there is an old joke that goes, "How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans". When we let God tell us what to do, we will be cleansed from our sins. When we follow God's plan for our lives instead of our own plans, we will be cleansed from our sins.

Believe it or not, God gave Naaman his victories. It was part of the greater purpose to reveal God's power and mercy to Naaman the foreigner. It shows that God is for everyone- both Jews and Gentiles. It foreshadows the opening of the Gospel to the Gentiles in the Book of Acts.

God often speaks through humble people. He used the Israeli slave girl to lead Naaman to Elisha-the first step in his healing. He used the soldier to convince Naaman to obey Elisha's orders-the second step in his healing. Elisha was also humble. He did not use any of his powers to heal Naaman-God did. Elisha did not even leave his house to meet Naaman in person. Humble people are used by God at any time and in any place he chooses and in any way he chooses.

God also acts through simple acts of obedience that do not seem to be related to the problem. For example, washing seven times in the Jordan River might not seem to be related to Naaman's leprosy. The solution called for faith. The faith began with the little servant girl when she innocently assumed God's power. Because of the girl's faith, Naaman's wife told her husband, and he told the king. Naaman had his doubts, but he went. His servants had more faith, because they convinced Naaman to try Elisha's remedy.

This story also shows how our intentions can be misunderstood by others. Naaman introduced himself to the king of Israel as both a courtesy and the belief that the king had the power to heal Naaman. The king knew that he did not have the power to heal anyone and saw Naaman's request as an excuse to start war between Israel and Syria. You see, according to the custom at that time, the main object of a letter was the only item mentioned in letters that were delivered in person. Other issues were discussed in person. There was also a belief that if a king or other sacred person touched or washed his hand over a sore, the sore would be healed. (Pause)

The story of Naaman the leper is a story of salvation. Naaman's healing led him to believe in God and worship God. It is a picture of what God would do later on through Jesus Christ. It is a picture of what man was like before sin took its toll. Elisha knew that it was God's power that owed Naaman, not Elisha's.

Today, we, like Naaman, will do anything spectacular to ensure our salvation. We suffer, build churches, give money, or sacrifice privileges when all we have to do is wash in the blood of Jesus and receive his gift of eternal life. Because the plan is so simple, many of us turn away as Naaman did and refuse the greatest of all gifts.

Naaman's healing ritual was a step down for him in more ways than one. It was a step down from toxic success to new health and life. Naaman's skin became like the skin of a little child, and his heart found new life. Some of us probably know people who have been victims of their own success. Perhaps we have been victims of our own success. These people have gone from the top of the ladder to the bottom, sometimes yanked down a step, sometimes moving more or less at will.

Elisha was a wise man. He knew that Naaman's healing was not simply a cure for his leprosy. Naaman needed to submit, know his weakness and dependence on others, expand his view of who was connected to his life, get naked and humble, and let go and die to his old self. God's free grace is for everyone. It's too simple to deal with our sin and guilt (or so we think), so we punish ourselves. We, like Naaman, are at times due to accept God's free gift. We, like Naaman, must be committed to see our cleaning through.

Being made whole is something else. It is to be changed or transformed. It is to know that God is at work in our lives. It is to be welcomed by joy. It is to be enveloped by a peace that passes all understanding. It is to know an uncontrollable joy. It is to know the power of God's grace in our lives. It is to respond with thanks, gratitude and laughter.

Naaman was healed of his leprosy, but he was also healed of his identity as a warrior. When he accepted his weakness and dependency on someone else, when he realized that he could not live his whole life by only trusting in himself, when he met the God who is well beyond his control and manipulation, Naaman discovered his true healing and his transformation into a whole man who can let go and trust others and God.

God overturns our human expectations and imposed limitations and breaks into our world with healing and new life. God chooses to make all things clean. It involves clearing pride, dignity and authority from the path. There is little room for things as they should be or for those whose self-adequacy closes them off to God's healing help. That may be surprising, upsetting and world changing for us. It is also a little threatening as it involves radical personal and social changes.

How do we respond to people who come to us for help? Do we ignore them? Do we listen to them and then send them on their way instead of helping them? Do we just throw money at the problem by making a donation or do we lower ourselves like Naaman did and actually do something to help them? If we actively receive them like Elisha received Naaman, we will have responded with God's love and we will have received a gift to us through them where we can fulfill his call to show love, mercy and forgiveness to all.

If we obey God, that does not mean he will pay off five to one like the horse in the story at the beginning of my sermon, but he will bless us with many blessings, he will not be in debt to us for long, he will return even greater gifts and he will reward us.

How To Prevent Atrophy And Death In Your LEAN Project

Developing a LEAN culture with a LEAN Management system developed in parallel with the LEAN process system ensures that the roles, processes, standards, and procedures are documented and followed. Although we are not discussing physics, the law of entropy applies. It states "Organized systems tend to move toward disorganization". LEAN involves the adoption of new processes, work habits, and the use of new tools. Everyone must learn new habits and, as psychologists say, extinguish the old habits. It is so easy to fall back into old habits. They lurk in the back of our mind waiting for the opportunity to resurface. This propensity of old habits to re-occurs is the reason why a management system must be developed and implemented in parallel with the LEAN process system.

A LEAN management system will provide the tools and processes to maintain and support the LEAN process system. It will sustain the integrity of your system and ensure you realize the benefits of LEAN. A management system will close the loop on processes and allow employees to make continuous improvements. A LEAN production system and a LEAN management system are interrelated.

For example, a company instituted LEAN and standardized processes in a major area. They developed a flow for the work and cross trained employees and immediate supervisors so that flow could be maintained. The implementation rejected in less wait time for customers, reduction in time and costs, and an increase in quality. But then, employees in the LEAN area were transferred to new areas, management changed their focus to the latest new technology, and new employees were not cross trained. LEAN tools to document abnormalities stacked up and were not reviewed and no one acted on them. The result was a return to old habits and business as usual, which affected customer relations and profits. When management tried to reinstate LEAN, there was resistance and many felt it was a failure because it did not last, so why try again?

Actually, LEAN had worked but it was not sustained because there was not a parallel management system developed. Another contributing factor was the lack of discipline in completing, reviewing, and acting upon LEAN tools. LEAN is not a one-time fix but a journey to continuous improvement.

The tools in LEAN make sense and are easy to use. The challenge is to actually employ the discipline to complete the charts, interpret data, and make the improvements. Let's take a small scale example of what can happen when the tools are not used and the processes in not followed. In a manufacturing plant, an employee on the line had a call for the production of a number of units of a product not produced every day. The employee was considered very knowledgeable about the product and had a standard of work document. His team leader also had a standard of work document for the inspection of the process. The employee took a quick look at the steps in the standard of work and began producing the product. Unfortunately, he skipped an important step that ensured quality and eliminated customer complaints. This would have been noticed on the first unit or at least in the first hour of production if the team leader had inspected as required in her standard of work. But, she relied on the skill of the employee and turned her attention to another area of ​​responsibility. The result was the shipment of a below-standard product and customer complaints.

Had the employee and the manager followed the standard of work and both used their LEAN tools, no sub-standard product would have been shipped and one or the other may have found another opportunity for improvement as they would have a fresh look at the process.

The objective is to develop a LEAN culture that includes everyone; that means executives, managers, team leaders, and employees. LEAN includes new work habits and like the development of personal habits, you must have a license to employ the new habit.

It is the development of a culture. It is something that evolves as the employees and executives change. It is the result of experience. It results from the implementation of the two LEAN systems. It also results from a new way of approaching things. It includes respect for the brain power, capabilities, and experience of the employees. They are closest to the work and can provide valuable insights and innovative ideas.

Many people think that technology alone will ensure quality and improve production, but that is not true. Alex Warren, a former Executive Vice President of Toyota, tells how the technology alerts to defects but the employee has the power to stop the production line and fix the problem. He says it puts power into the hands of the employees and they know they count and feel both the responsibility and the power.

In many companies, executives sit in their office and either read reports or attend briefing sessions. However, going to see for yourself provides a different level of understanding. In one of the Success CDs that came with my copy of the magazine, Darren Hardy told of how he was brought in to do a turnaround for a company. One of his first recommendations was for the owner to take a walk around the building at least one or two times a week for 30 minutes and find an employee doing something right and compliment that person. He also recommended asking employees what were their challenges and what would help overcome the challenge. Darren said to ask questions so you understand what you observe and what the employee is telling you. The owner was impressed with the success of this change. Employees began to feel valued and make recommendations. Production and quality improved. Of course there were other changes as well, but this is an example of a change in habit and how cultures are developed.

Antibody Therapy For Prostate Cancer

Scientists in the US led by Dr. Mark Greene of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has developed a monoclonal antibody that they hope will become a successful pharmaceutical agent against prostate cancer. Every year thousands of men die from aggressive forms of this disease. This research holds out hope for those affected although it will be some time before clinical trials will be carried out.

When we become infected by foreign cells such as bacteria or viruses or cancer cells one very important means of defense that we can utilize is to produce antibodies. All cells have proteins on their surfaces known as antigens. When foreign cells enter our bodies the antigens are recognized as foreign by our immune system and B Lymphocytes are prompted to produce antibodies. Once antibodies are formed they act by attaching and binding to the antigens on the surface of the invading cell. This absolutely leads to the destruction of the cell and the removal of the infection or cancer cells. Antibodies are a very powerful weapon in our fight against disease.

There are two significant characteristics of antibodies that we can exploit in the treatment of disease. One is that antibodies are totally specific. For example if we contract an infection such as rubella we will produce an antibody specifically targeted to the rubella virus. The second character is that antibodies remain in our bodies after an infection has been cleared thereby conferring protection into the future against that disease.

It is these characteristics that have led to the development of vaccine technology. Pharmaceutical companies take pathological organizations and treat them so that they can not cause infection. These inactive organisms make up the main component of a vaccine. When a vaccine is administered our immune system recognizes the antigen, antibody is produced and we become immune to future infection.

The cells which produce antibodies are B lymphocytes, which are white blood cells. Scientists can isolate and clone B lymphocytes to produce antibodies in laboratory conditions. These antibodies can then be used to treat infection or cancer. The antibodies produced will be either polyclonal or monoclonal. Polyclonal antibodies are produced from several cell lines. Monoclonal antibodies are produced from just one cell line. To produce a monoclonal antibody a B Lymphocyte is fused with a tumor cell. The fused cell is known as a hybridoma and it has the capability of reproducing endlessly. This technology allows scientists to create unlimited and large quantities of very specific antibody which can be used to treat disease very effectively. One of the major advantages of the use of monoclonal antibodies is its absolute specificity. It targets a cancer cell directly with with very few side effects for the patient.

Antibodies are already being used to tackle diseases such as lymphoma and breast cancer. Up to now there has been no successful antibody therapy for prostate cancer. Dr Greenes research team has produced an antibody called F77 which looks very promising. Despite the research being at a very early stage, it raises the prospect of an effective treatment for advanced prostate cancer for the first time.

What To Do About That Pain In Your Back

It seems like all we do is work. We work to earn money to pay for all the things we need and want in life. We work so much we can sometimes forget about the stresses and strains on our bodies.

How many times has your back started hurting and you can not figure out why? Or what about that sudden stabbing pain that occurs if we move the wrong way?

The sad truth is, back pain can have many sources: nerves, muscles, bones, or other structures in the column column. Lower back pain (lumbago) is very common in adults. Lumbago can be just a dull ache or a pain severe enough to make us cry out.

Back pain comes in two different categories. Acute back pain normally lasts less than three months. Chronic back pain last more than three week and normally gives people many more problems.

Many symptoms are noticeable when suffering from lower back pain. It is not just a pain that can center anywhere from the bottom of the mountains to the tops of the legs. Other symptoms may occur, as well.

  • Fever
  • Swelling on the back
  • Persistent pain
  • Pain in the chest or high on the back
  • Pain that is down legs and below the knees
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Difficulty in passing urine
  • Numbness

If any of these symptoms occurs, it is best to consult your doctor immediately.

The causes of back pain are many:

  • Slouching in chairs
  • Bending and twisting at the same time
  • Lifting heavy object improperly
  • Standing too long
  • Bending over too long
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Over-stretching
  • Driving for long hours
  • Arthritis
  • Pregnancy
  • Viral infections
  • Trip and fall
  • Obesity
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Injury
  • Lack of exercise

If you have back pain, it is recommended that you visit a doctor or chiropractor as soon as possible or you may inadvertently aggravate the problem. Your doctor may prescribe proven methods of exercise to ease that aching back.

You can also help alleviate back pain by staying cool and comfortable. The ClimaCushion is designed to help you maintain your level of comfort while sitting for longer periods of time by keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.