Plan Your Home Improvements

When we purchase our homes and visualize our beloveds in the space, it looks there is a place for everything and more space than we had before. After we move in, we find there are a few things that can be improved.

Almost everyone has had at least one home improvement project since they moved into their home or apartment. Home improvement is a worthwhile venture that has a number of advantages.

Most people undertake a project for one of two reasons. The main one is to add new elements that improve the physical aspect of the dwelling. This benefits the whole family. The second reason is to increase the value of the home to make it more saleable, increasing the profit that can be realized.

A home improvement project generally arises from a need such as an additional bathroom. This type of project adds value to the home. Other improvements center on family needs such as adding a deck or patio. You may see an increase in value for these types of additions, but mainly it will provide a better lifestyle for your family. If your home is more than ten years old, an improvement project may be an upgrade to electrical systems or upgrading the kitchen and its appliances.

Before you tackle any improvement project, you should plan it. These projects require time and money. Careful planning helps you to make sure that both of your resources, time and money, are used wisely to achieve the desired results.

It is important to take into consideration every aspect of the project. Do not begin a project without determining the advantages and disadvantages involved. If you do not, you will waste time, energy, and money.

There are a number of resources you can utilize when you decide to undertake a project. The Internet has many websites devoted to home improvement. In your local area, you are probably familiar with hardware stores as well as the major home stores. Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears can be found in most cities across the country.

Another good resource is the home improvement shows on television. Cable networks such as HGTV, DIY, and Fine Living have shows that run almost 24 hours a day. These shows provide a way to visually see changes that you may be contemplating for your home

Major home improvement projects such as redesigning kitchens and bathrooms and additions are not completely stress-free. However, you can keep your costs down with planning.

Flintlock Musket Loading and Firing – 12 "Easy" Steps

If you think modern weapons are complicated, consider the frontiersman of the 17th and early 18th century whose survival often depended upon his ability to load and fire a flintlock rifle quickly. Loading and firing a flintlock was a twelve-step process that didn’t always succeed. (Flintlocks were notoriously unreliable about firing.) Since Daniel Boone had a reputation as a crack shot with his Kentucky rifle, he must have been a world-class rifleman, because just getting it loaded and ready to fire–much less actually hitting anything with it–was a lengthy and involved process!

Here are the twelve steps it takes to load and fire a flintlock rifle or musket:

1. Bite down on the paper cartridge and tear it open with your teeth.

2. Push the striker (called a frissen) forward and pour a small amount of powder into the flash pan.

The powder in the pan was intended to ignite the main powder charge inside the firing chamber of the barrel, which would then propel the lead ball out of the barrel. However, the spark struck from the flint often caused a quick explosion in the pan which failed to ignite the main charge. This is where we get our expression, a “flash in the pan.”

3. Push the frissen back into position to cover the flash pan.

4. Hold the musket with the muzzle pointing up.

5. Pour the rest of the powder into the barrel from the muzzle.

6. Insert a lead ball into the barrel.

7. Push the cartridge paper into the barrel (called the “wadding”).

8. Remove the ramrod from its storage pipe beneath the barrel and use it to push the wadding and the ball down the barrel.

This was easier to do with a musket than with a rifle. The musket barrel had a slightly larger diameter, and its interior surface was polished smooth. A rifle had spiral grooves cut into the metal inside the barrel, which made the ball spin as it exited the barrel, thus increasing the accuracy of its flight. The fit of the bullet inside the barrel had to be tighter to impart the spin, so the grooves and smaller diameter made it more difficult to ram the wadding and ball all the way down to the firing chamber.

Rifles would shoot farther and more accurately, but their slower rate of fire was the primary reason muskets continued to be used by military units until the late 1800s. In a battle, where the time to reload and fire was a matter of life and death, rate of fire was an important consideration. The invention of metal cartridges and breech loading (loading the bullet through an opening at the rear of the barrel near the firing chamber) finally put an end to the musket’s dominance in military use.

9. Replace the ramrod in the storage pipe.

10. Raise the musket to a firing position, bracing the butt against the shoulder.

11. Pull back the hammer.

12. Aim and fire.

We’ve all seen scenes in movies where an intrepid early frontiersman, pressed for time by an approaching danger, simply left the ramrod in the barrel and fired,rather than taking the precious extra seconds to remove it from the barrel and replace it in the storage pipe. The ramrod then became part of the ammunition propelled out of the barrel when the charge fired.

In an extreme situation where those extra few seconds were a matter of life or death, this may well have been done. But unless you had time to recover the ramrod from wherever it flew, the loss of it would render the weapon useless, and a replacement would be hard to come by on the frontier, so it seems unlikely frontiersmen made a habit of the practice, unless it really was a matter of life and death.

Whatever became of the ramrod once it was used, though, it is clear from the steps above that loading and firing a flintlock was far from a simple proposition. Daniel Boone with his Kentucky Rifle and countless other frontiersmen and soldiers who used flintlock weapons certainly deserve our admiration for being able to do it with such a high degree of dexterity and skill!

What to Look For When Shopping For a Purple Martin House

We’ve all seen the fancy Purple Martin houses all over the internet. Some install on the peak of your roof, some are huge wooden plantation replicas that hearken back to lazy days on the veranda. Unfortunately for Purple Martins they don’t care one bit for sipping lemonade on the porch and care less for how outwardly glamorous that martin house appears to our eyes.

Many purple martin houses available commercially just won’t work well when it comes to martins. Not that you can’t attract lots of sparrows in these houses but there are a lot better housing options out there.

What makes for a purple martin friendly martin house?

1. If it refers to being easy to open for “yearly” clean outs, BEWARE! Most Purple Martin landlords and the PMCA (Purple Martin Conservation Association) agree that martin nests need to be checked weekly. Being able to access the nest once a year is just not good enough. Besides being difficult to access, if trapping of non native and invasive birds is needed, you might as well seal the house up. English House Sparrows and European Starlings will easily over run and even kill your martins.

2. If it has round holes only and no option for Starling Resistant Entrance Holes (SREH) then you may just be setting your martins up for a starling take over of the violent and deadly kind. Martins have no defense for the non native and invasive starling that has over run most cities. Once a starling has decided to use that nest, it doesn’t matter who is in the nest. They easily take over.

3. If it makes NO mention of how to lower the housing (via a telescopic pole, pulley or winch) then you must assume that it is meant to stay put. Remember that martins preferred height of 10 to 15 feet up will make it quite difficult to access that house without using a ladder. So save yourself and your local trauma hospital the trouble and buy a house that can be lowered vertically by one of those methods.

After becoming almost completely dependent on humans for housing, martins have thrived under our care. That care is easy to provide by following a few simple rules when selecting a martin house.

1. Make sure the house refers to being able to access for “”nest checks”, not just “clean outs”.

2. Plan for the worst and make sure it has SREH (starling resistant entrance holes) as an option. Housing manufacturers that give that option usually know a few things about martins and it shows they are thinking about the birds, not a profit margin.

3. It is essential that the housing is easily lowered so look at the pole system used to mount the house. The popular plantation houses and cupola houses are designed to mount either directly on a 4×4 wooden post or on your roof and are more for show than for housing purple martins.

There are a wide variety of martin houses that you can find that DO follow these important points. Made with a wide variety of materials to fit any budget and many (like Sunset Inn houses and Trendsetter houses) made by active Amish purple martin landlords that have perfected the purple martin house into an attractive yet easy to maintain way to bring conservation into your backyard.

Ceiling Fans Are So Necessary

Homes without ceiling fans can lack character. There is so much of a family's personality that comes with the different styles chosen. Whereas before, you had only a couple of brands to choose from, what is offered today can feel endless. Indoors or outdoors, a well chosen, properly mounted ceiling fan can bundle lighting and energy savings into one.

The first thing you will want to do is measure the rooms in which you'll place your ceiling fans. The smallest room will take a small fan blade size of about 36 inches. Your largest room may take one that is 52 inches in blade size or it may also need two fans. Your local hardware and home improvement stores are more than happy to show you variety in styles or brands such as Harbor Breeze or Monte Carlo. Bring your room measurements to insure you get the correct size. Most fans come with reversible blades. If the one you are looking at does not offer this, you may want to look for a similar style that does. What the blades of the fan are constructed of is important as well. The wooden blades that look lovely in your living room, may not hold up so well in a damper environment such as your bathroom. Do not forget to ask any mounting questions. Installation is based on whether your fan is a flush mount version or not and if your bedroom room has an existing overhead light fixture, you're halfway there.

Once you get home and read the instructions on installation, take stock of the tools you already have at home. There is usually no need to purchase anything special. If you do not have one, an electric current tester is recommended. It is a good idea to highlight or circle the customer service number in the manual before you get started, in case you have questions during the installation.

Maintenance is key, so keep your fan dust free. If you find that your ceiling fans are wobbly, you usually need to check the support brackets. If those feel loose, make sure you tighten the bolts. If the fan is not flush mounted, the drop rod from which it hangs can also be a source of extra movement. Check and tighten this as well. If the blades are warped or broken, call the manufacturer's customer service for assistance. Follow these steps and after you have chosen and installed your ceiling fan, you should be able to enjoy years of enjoyment.

Visualizing Density By Julie Campoli and Alex S. MacLean

Visualizing Density By Julie Campoli and Alex S. MacLean, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 113 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, ISBN 1-55844171-9 , 978-1-55844-171-2, $39.95, 160 Pages, 2007

Planners and designers must make room in their reference library for this engaging new book that explores land density in the United States. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a think tank, in conjunction with the authors, Julie Campoli whose focus is landscape change, sprawl, and density and Alex MacLean, an aerial photographer, have produced an authoritative book for both professionals and the layperson. Green building and design is more than a trend and this in-depth book outlines the current density problem and as well as offers solutions to uninspired sprawl and urban housing concentrations that strain infrastructure and residents.

Content covers: Growing Closer: The Count, The Coming Boom, Spreading Out or Growing In, Crosscurrents, The Benefits, Why We Hate Density, How We Can Love Density and Patterns of Density: Planning for Density, Designing for Density The Density Catalog features aerial photos of density of Less Than 1 Unit Per Acre to More Than 200 Units Per Acre . Additional features include a forward, references, acknowledgements, about the authors and background information about the Lincoln Land Institute. Also included is a handy CD-Rom for educational use.

The aerial photography tells a compelling story of how many cities and suburbs can learn and visualize density patterns, which Mr. MacLean does in a impressive way, with crisp, clean and interesting photographs. Highly recommended for urban, suburban and ex-urban planners, designers, city and village administrators, smart growth advocates and residents of areas around the country looking for a birds-eye-view of their community.

Electric Patio Cooler

An electric patio cooler is simply a small and portable version of a conventional refrigerator. The only difference being that an electric cooler would be a deep freeze in its entity. However, you can change the temperature levels with most coolers. Here, if you do not need too cold a setting, you can easily keep your beverages as cool or as chilled as you want.

The coolers have become a common add on in thousands of houses. The greatest advantage of an electric patio cooler is that your party or the get together can stay right where it has to be. In normal cases, the host or the hostess has to make a million trips to the kitchen, dining area and also to the freezer for a wide range of items, ranging from the cork opener to the nuggets. It offers you the luxury to have things right out there for easy grabbing. Most coolers also have spaces on top which can be used to keep things and some models have racks benefit the cooler which can double up as mounting areas for glasses or anything that you may desire.

It is a must if you are a kind of person who hosts friends and families over certain regularities. Apart from being very helpful with its portability, an electric cooler gives you the luxury to avoid overburdening your refrigerator. Stacking too much is never a good idea and if you are throwing a party in the summer, you would have to buy a lot of ice to keep those beverages cool. With these coolers, you can simply plug it in and your beverages would do just fine all night. This is also where an electric patio cooler is better than a normal patio cooler bar. The latter in most cases act as an insulator is slowing down the heating of the beverages. The ice is also not capable always to keep the beverages chilled. With an electric cooler such problems are absolutely done away with.

Electric patio coolers are of various capacities, designs and makes. You can browse through several types online and get yourself the ideal one for your home. With these coolers, you should opt for larger capacities with bodies of stainless steel despite industrial plastic fiber body also works great due to its light weight. I hope this article was useful in selecting the right Patio Cooler and enhancing your outdoor experience.

Finding Hotels That Are A Home Away From Home

Marvin Gaye once sang, "Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home". Well, it's easy enough for anyone to lay their hat (or luggage) anywhere in the world nowdays, but you'll find that laying your hat down in a hotel which provides all the conveniences and comforts of home makes for a much more enjoyable experience .

What Makes A Hotel A Home

Whilst hotels, even the most top-end hotels, can not offer you your own 'pipe and slippers', you may be surprised at how homely even the most generic chain hotels can be. Forget about the pipe, but fluffy towing rods and matching slippers may not be out of the question.

Here are a few of the things to look for before you book a hotel in an unknown destination.

  • Location – When buying a property, the first priority is invariably location, location, location. Although you're not buying your hotel room or apartment, it's still a top consideration for your new 'hotel home'. Being close to all the facilities and attractions you want can save you a whole lot of time and money, as well as being convenient. By choosing city-center hotels, you may even find that everything you want to see and do is within easy walking distance. This avoids the expense and hassle of using taxis, public transport or rental cars. In most modern hotels, double-glazed windows, insulation and sound-proofing ensure that the noise of the city does not disturb your sleep.
  • Price – The beauty of booking your hotel online is being able to find great hotel deals quickly and easily and being able to compare prices for similar-style accommodation. After all, there is no point in blowing your budget on your hotel, if you can not afford to leave it.
  • Recommendations – Look to the online community to see which hotels they review positively before you book. If enough 'friends' liked it and felt at home there, the chances are that you will too.
  • Hotel Services & Facilities – These can really make the difference between which hotels feel like home and which ones do not:
  • Friendly staff – Welcoming staff can make the difference as to how you feel about a hotel as soon as you step inside. If you experience a particular warm or frosty welcome, why not write a review about it, so you can give other people the heads-up or heads-down. Check to see if the reception is staffed 24/7 – great for security as well as convenience.
  • Catering – Every decent hotel room should offer you at least a basic tea or coffee making facility as nothing says home like having a decent brew whenever you want it. However, many hotels will also offer apartments or studios with kitchenettes that you can use to cook up almost anything from the Sunday roast to a full-cooked breakfast. If you do not cook at home and do not want to start when you're away from home, check to see if your hotel has a restaurant on-site and what opening hours it has.
  • Internet – If you need to log onto the Internet, make sure your hotel offers high-speed, Internet access from its rooms, or can provide computers and access for its guests (preferably in a comfortable lounge).
  • Laundry – If the dirty laundry starts to pile up, it can be very depressing. Keep on top of your traveling holiday or business wardrobe by ensuring your hotel offers laundry and ironing services.
  • Fitness – If you're staying a while, look for a hotel that caters for body as well as soul. The best hotels offer guests free use of on-site gyms, fitness centers or swimming pools.
  • Room service – If you want to take it easy, make sure your hotel offers a room service which can deliver food and drink to your door. To make your reservation at the hotel, please check in to make a reservation.

The Challenges of Hotel Conversions

The challenges that a hotel conversion presents can be wide-ranging depending on the ideas that you have for the space. Everyone has different idea about what can be done with a particular building, and you have to think practically if you want your new project to get off the ground. Investing in, renovating and the financing of a hotel conversion is a big job that requires a great deal of thought.

Getting funding

When you are thinking about taking an existing hotel and converting it, you will have to find a way to finance the project. This means that you need investors to help you along. This could mean borrowing money from the bank to purchase the property. However, you must remember that because this is a hotel conversion, you are going to have to make additions and renovations to the building. Therefore, you will need to apply for a construction loan.

Conversion types

In the case of opening new apartments, you will already have most of necessary components in the room, but the room will still require some renovation. The rooms will need to have kitchens installed and slight configurations made to the existing structure. You will have to hire a contractor to complete the job. The contractor can tell you what it will cost to convert each room and give you a timely as well.

If you are thinking of starting a senior living community, you may have to make the same renovations, but there will be other considerations as well. If the facility does not have an elevator, then this must be installed.

When you are thinking of making each room into an office suite, the room is going to have to be completely renovated. You might even have to move the bathrooms to offer more space. Moreover, you will have to completely remodel the lobby of the hotel to make it look more like an office building. This requires yet more quotes from a contractor.

When you take this information to the bank or to an investor, you will have to go with a business plan as well. The easiest way to get a loan approved or to get a capital infusion is to show the people who are giving you the money that your business can turn a profit. This means you need to have consulted with some professionals who already work in the industry you're getting into your business plan. Then, and only then, can you go to a bank or an investor for the money you need to make this project work.

How to avoid any problems

You will run into pitfalls with any hotel conversion, but some planning and consultation can make any project possible. All of that planning is what you show to the bank or your investors in order to procure the funding you need. After you are fully funded, you can convert the hotel into your new vision for the property.

Custom Boxes Give Your Packaging a Little Style With Custom Boxes

We are all familiar with that person who refuses to throw away package boxes because it is ‘just too beautiful to throw away.’ They lovingly caress the box gushing about how sleek and lavish it looks.

Well, you want your packaging to evoke a similar emotion. The customer must fall in love with the product before they even open it. There are lots of custom packaging companies that can give that and more. From simple merchandise bags to high-end fabric bags and gourmet creations that exude sophistication and style. Custom boxes ensure your products arrive in style.

While many use the word ‘box’ to describe custom packaging, it is by no means only restricted to a box. There are many options for the typical ‘box.’ Customizing packaging usually involves picking up a shape unique to your brand, adding a design or logo. Some brands even go as far as adding a name for their exclusive clients.

There are three printing methods normally used printing custom packaging

• Flexographic Printing: This works like a really big rubber stamp- a printing plate with your packaging’s design acts a huge ink pad that picks up ink and then stamps it onto your box. It is the cheaper of the two options

• Digital Printing: Digital printing is usually used for smaller sized orders. It is similar to the laser jet printer you use at home. It mixes the inks and then directly applies color and the design onto the custom box

• Litho Label Printing: Derived from lithography, it provides a much cleaner, greater resolution printing. Here the printing happens onto a paper sheet, treated, cut, and then attached to the box with an adhesive.

Custom boxes come in various sizes including but not limited to;

• 5-13/16″ X 5-3/4″ X 1-15/16″ – ideal for jewelry and other small items

• 7″ X 7-1/8″ X 2-1/4″ a great size for pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals and packaging for shipping

• 9″ X 6-1/2″ X 2-3/4″ – a very popular size for subscription boxes of all types

• 12-1/4″ X 9-1/4″ X 4″ – our new large capacity lock front, ideal for shipping anything from full size snack foods to pet toys.

Custom boxes are made from different kinds of materials including Eco-friendly and renewable resources; if that sort of thing matters to you. Most suppliers are happy to add trimmings such as crinkle-cut fillers, tissue paper, ribbons, bow and much more to complete the whole look.

Have an uncommon design? Have no fear. There are companies that are always on the lookout for unique designs to add to their ever-growing collection of cutting die and stock mailer inventory. You just have to spend a little more time looking for them.

If you have a cause you care about, there a lot of room on a custom box to highlight that cause. Customers love brands with a conscience. Only add a little message on what you stand for to side or top. It could be a story, poem or paragraph; it doesn’t matter, as long as it passes on your message.

So, go forth; get an impressive custom box to give your product an upper edge.

What Is Crossfit Training?

Many of you have heard the buzz about Crossfit training and how great it is. But what are Crossfit training workouts really? Crossfit training is simply optimizing general fitness over a broad area of ​​physical activity. Basically it is a combination of many exercises which tax the aerobic and muscular systems simultaneously.

So what do the workouts consist of? What is the benefit of a Crossfit work out? Is it any different from circuit training workouts? Good questions. I am glad you asked!

Crossfit WOD
The Crossfit workout of the day, known as Crossfit WOD, is the staple component of Crossfit training workouts. Without the Crossfit WOD, Crossfit training would be no different from general circuit training. While very similar in many ways, a Crossfit work out is different in one distinct way.

Circuit training consists of completing a group of exercises back to back without resting in between, since a "circuit" of exercises, after which a brief rest period is taken when the exercises in the circuit are completed. A Crossfit WOD differs in that there are no scheduled rest periods at all. Crazy right ?! Instead, the goal of a Crossfit WOD is to complete the prescribed amount of exercises and repetitions as quickly as possible or "for time". For avid Crossfit members, there is a Crossfit website that allows each of them to post the Crossfit WOD completed and the time it was completed in. In a sense, it is a sort of competition.

What's unique about each Crossfit training workout is that they are all named. For example, there is a Crossfit WOD named "Fran." The "Fran" Crossfit WOD consists of 21 push presses followed by 21 pull-ups, 15 push presses followed by 15 pull-ups, and 9 push presses followed by 9 pull-ups. Complete 3 rounds of "Fran" without resting as fast as possible and you have completed a Crossfit WOD!

So what are the benefits of Crossfit training? How can a Crossfit workout help me lose weight? Can it help me perform better in sports as well? These are excellent questions and I intend on answering them!

Benefits of Crossfit Training
There are many benefits of a Crossfit training workout. First and foremost, Crossfit training allows you to train in multiple areas of fitness including strength, endurance, power, agility, and speed. Why is it important to training in all areas of fitness?

First off, nearly every competitive sport involves a few of the fitness components listed above. Take a running back for example. Not only must a running back be able to run fast to outrun defenders, but he must also be agile to quickly change directions and have endurance to continue running through the course of the game and strength to break through tackles and power to explode out of the backfield. Getting the picture? Additionally, a Crossfit work out typically consist of compound exercises which train nearly every muscle in the body in a coordinated fashion.

Secondly, a Crossfit work out typically burns many more calories per session than traditional weight training. So if losing fat and looking good is your goal, Crossfit training can definitely help you accomplish that (as long as you are counting calories to lose weight). For example, an average 150 pound woman can burn over 300 calories for just 30 minutes of Crossfit training. For that same woman to lose over 300 calories during a traditional weight lifting session she had to work out for approximately 60 minutes. Double the time!

Final Note
If you're looking for an exercise program that effectively works both the cardiovascular system and muscular system, this type of training is for you. It is an exercise concept in which all areas of fitness are worked through various cardiovascular, strength, and explosive exercises. Do not think it is just for athletes. People of all fitness levels can participate in Crossfit training, although some Crossfit WOD may have to be modified slightly for less fit individuals.

There are many benefits of Crossfit training workouts, which include:

  • increases all around fitness
  • shorter workouts
  • burns more calories than traditional strength training and slow, long distance cardiovascular exercise
  • works major muscles of the body in a coordinate fashion
  • utilizes functional training which makes real life physical activities easier

So, now that you know how amazing Crossfit training is, go out and do it! Start out slowly and build yourself up. Do not be discouraged if you can not complete a Crossfit WOD. Most of them are extremely difficult. Stick with it and do not give up.

As always, you should always consult your physician before starting any type of exercise program.

How to Plan For a Craft Show

If you love making craft items, you've probably got a problem that affects all craft people. You probably find that your crafts are piling up around you. Well, if you're making them faster than you can find something to do with them, you might consider considering participating in a craft show.

Craft shows are a lot of fun and they can be profitable, too, if you know how to handle them. The first thing you need to know is what to bring to the craft show. Well, that all depends on the venue.

If you're going to an indoor craft show, the chances are good that you'll be given a set amount of space and maybe even provided with a table. Be sure to ask, though, since you may be required to bring your own table. Indoor craft shows are reliably easy, as far as preparation goes.

All you need for basics is a comfortable folding chair, a table if it's required and, of course, your craft items. Remember, though, that you may also want to bring a lunch, you should bring price tags, pens, marks and, of course, a cash box with change, too. In addition, it would not hurt to bring an unfinished craft to work on to pass the time and to show people who walk by exactly what it is that you do. Also, do not forget to bring your business cards or brochures, if you have any.

For an outdoor show, prep gets a little more complicated. You should bring all of the above things. However, you should also bring tarps, some sort of awning or tent and pack your crafts in water-tight containers that you can quickly re-pack, in case it rains. Also, you usually have some flexibility with setup in outdoor spaces. So, you may want to bring a coat rack, quilt rack or other type of display, depending on what sort of craft you do.

Finally, you may not only want to rely on the crowd that is going to come to the craft show anyway. There are plenty of ways that you can market to a wider audience and make sure they show up to your space at the fair as well. If you have a website, you should make a section for appearances where your products will be sold locally. Also, you can alert your Facebook friends and fans that you'll be selling at the local craft show, providing relevant dates for them to come by and check out your items.

How to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

In 1906 Dr. Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915) a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist described the first case of the form of dementia during a lecture at the German Psychiatrists conference in Tubingen, which is a traditional university town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. He was describing one of his patients, whose symptoms were memory loss, language problems and unpredictable behavior. After her death, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in her brain tissue, abnormal clumps and tangled bundles of fibers. Since then, this disease is one of the most common dementia in the aging population, bearing Alzheimer’s name.

Alzheimer disease is a neurodegenerative disorder which shows progressive dementia and it is the fourth most common cause of death. There are clear pathological hallmarks of the disease, mainly in the form of plaques and tangles. Plaques are abnormal clusters and fragments of protein, which build up between nerve cells. Dying nerve cells contain tangles, which are made up of another protein. These plaques and tangles might be the reason for cell death and tissue loss in the Alzheimer’s brain.

Our brain has three major parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem. The cerebrum is the major content of our skull. Its main function is in the areas of remembering, problem solving, thinking, feeling and controlling our movement. The cerebellum located at the back of our head, under the cerebrum and it controls our coordination and balance. The brain stem is located beneath the cerebrum in front of the cerebellum. It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls functions which are automatic, such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure.

The brain is nourished by networks of blood vessels comprised of arteries, veins and capillaries. The arteries carry blood to fuel our brain with each heartbeat.

The unique outer layer of our brain is called the cortex, which is quite clearly mapped according to specific functions. Among the major functions we can notice our sight, sound and smell, thoughts, problem solving, memory storing and retrieving and controlling certain movements.

Our brain is divided into two hemispheres; the left half controls the right body’s side and the right half controls the left side. The speech-language area is on the left side in most people. The brain contains over 100 billion neurons or nerve cells, which branches and generates connections at more than 100 trillion connection points. Brain signals are traveling via the network of neurons involving our memories, thoughts, and feelings. Nerve cells are connected to one another at synapses. A burst of chemicals called neurotransmitters are released at the synapses when triggered by the appropriate electric charge and so the ‘message’ is carried to other cells.

Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for the destructions of those neurons and to the disruption of the activity of the neurotransmitters. We also know that Alzheimer’s disease leads to nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. Over time, the brain shrinks dramatically, affecting nearly all its functions. Shrinkage is especially severe in the hippocampus, which is an area of the cortex that plays a major role in formation of new memories.

Early symptoms are in the area of learning and memory, thinking and planning, which may interfere with work or social life. At this stage people may get confused and have problems expressing themselves, organizing and handling money.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals may experience changes in personality and behavior and have trouble recognizing friends and family members. People with Alzheimer may live an average of eight years. In certain cases it maybe more depends on other health conditions and other factors like genetics.

What causes Alzheimer?

It is assumed that the cause is a complex sequence of events comprising of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. We do not understand the exact cause or the contributions of those factors and it varies from case to case.

What diagnostic tools are available?

Until today, there are no effective therapies to cure, to halt or to slow down the progression of Alzheimer disease. At the same time there are many diagnostic tools to identify the disease, such as non-invasive imaging techniques to assess the aspects of neuro-anatomy, chemistry, physiology, and pathology of the disease and its evolutionary status.

One of the popular examinations is using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), mainly because it enables the visualization of the brain structures in three dimensions. Computed Tomography (CT) is another visualization tool used for the diagnosis and evaluation of dementia, especially for cases at early stages. The Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan shows brain activity in real-time associated with functions such as: reading, hearing, thinking and saying words. High activity areas are marked with red and they decrease in colors as activity level decreased. PET scan is also used to detect alterations in regional brain metabolism. This metabolic over activity is reflected as “red-hot-spots” on PET images, enabling doctors to confirm the status of suspected tumor area and assess whether they have spread. Recently, new devices combining multi-modalities are being developed such as MRI/PET. This is a hybrid imaging technology that utilizes MRI soft tissue morphological capabilities with PET functional imaging, which is effective for tumor detection.

What parts of the brain are affected?

Alzheimer eventually affects most parts of the brain. However, each person is affected differently as the disease progresses. The main brain regions affected by Alzheimer are the frontal, temporal and the parietal lobes.

The frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain and controls a range of functions such as intelligence, making decisions, solving problems and other mental and social functions.

Damage to this area causes decrease in quality of life and generates severe problems for patients to take care of themselves.

The temporal lobe is located at both temples and ears and they are responsible for the long and the short term memories. Episodic memory helps us to remember events such as where we parked our car or where are our house keys. Remembering such events requires the storing and retrieving processes located at our temporal lobe. The Ability to learn is located in these regions, so damage to these areas may lead to memory loss. This loss causes the inability to register new information and retrieve it later when needed.

Speech ability is located behind the temporal lobe at the parietal lobe. This region is also responsible for the visual system and enables visual analysis and stimuli. Damage to this area may cause abnormal speech and visual problems.

Alzheimer first affects the hippocampus which is located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain. It is the area of the brain in which new memories are formed. It then moves to other areas affecting different functions such as reasoning or emotions. The cerebellum and the brain stem are the last areas of the brain to be affected. This is when we lose control of basic functions such as breathing, heart-rate and blood pressure. This is Alzheimer’s final stage leading to death.

What medications are available to treat Alzheimer?

There are four FDA approved medications to treat Alzheimer. Donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine are used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer and moderate to severe Alzheimer is treated by memantine and also donepezil. These drugs are regulating neurotransmitters. They may assist in memory improvement, speaking and help with certain behavioral problems. The problem with these drugs is that their efficacy is limited to certain group of patients and for a limited period.

What do we know about the statistics of Alzheimer’s disease?

  • More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer.
  • The number of Alzheimer’s cases doubles every five years after age 65 and the risk is about 50 percent after age 85. About 10 percent of all Alzheimer cases are at age around 30.
  • More women than men develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012. It is estimated that the total cost of Alzheimer’s is $604 billion worldwide.
  • High glucose levels can double our lifetime risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
  • Stroke and Alzheimer’s share many risk factors and the likelihood of dementia is doubled after a stroke.

What are the risk factors?

There are uncontrollable risk factors such as genetics and aging and risk factors that we may control such as our life habits.

The known and established risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are genetics and aging; both uncontrollable. Alzheimer in our close family in most cases will increase our risk probability for Alzheimer’s disease. However, even in those cases we still may not get the disease. So currently we don’t have solutions, but it is assumed that adopting healthy brain life habits might delay or even prevent the appearance of Alzheimer’s disease in certain cases.

What can we do to reduce the risk?

Healthy brain life habits are not only keeping fit from the neck down, but in addition to perform certain daily exercises. Recent emerging evidence suggests there are certain steps we can take to help keep our brain healthier as we age. Some of these steps might also reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

  • Maintaining good blood flow – Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain. This is critical also for the generation of new brain cells. It also can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, this step may reduce the risk by 50 percent.
  • Low cholesterol diet – Low fat, low cholesterol diet with dark vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, may help protect brain cells. We know that high cholesterol may contribute to stroke and brain cell damage.
  • Reducing stress – Social activity not only makes physical and mental activity more enjoyable, it can reduce stress levels, which helps maintain healthy connections among brain cells. Studies show that the more connected we are, the better are our memory and cognition.
  • Sleeping well – Nightly sleep deprivation may slow our thinking and affecting our mood. We may be at greater risk of developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep apnea has long been recognized as a cause of decreased daytime alertness, but recent studies suggest it may also increase the risk of dementia.
  • Stop smoking – Smoking will increase the risk factor and may reduce the age of Alzheimer’s onset by seven years. Smoking has an extremely harmful effect on the heart, lungs and vascular system, including the blood vessels in the brain. There is a significant improvement in blood circulation when smoking habits are abandoned.
  • Stop drinking alcohol – Brain changes from alcohol abuse can only be reversed in their early stages. Drinking above recommended levels of alcohol significantly increases the risk of developing dementias such as Alzheimer’s, vascular and other alcohol-related dementias.
  • Brain cells stimulation“Use it or lose it” – Mentally stimulating activities such as crossword puzzles, reading, learning and interactive computer games may create new nerve cells and at the same time strengthen brain cells and the connections between them. It is believed that mentally active brain can better cope with the disease and may enable the delay of the dementia symptoms. Moreover, people who continue learning new things are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The best way to reduce the risk is to be involved in activities requiring interaction, communication and new learning skills.

Is there a Mind-Body connection?

We acknowledge a strong mind-body connection. Recent studies associate spirituality with better brain health. Meditating, praying and religious practice may immunize against the damaging effects of stress. Our immune system is built to protect us from many external threats; however it fails when emotion and stress are involved.

If we permit ‘bad energy’ to enter our brain, we are flooded by bad emotions that can affect our physical body. This is the negative power of belief.

The link of mind-spirit and body is obvious. We should realize that the power of belief can also work against us and may be a destructive force.Therefore, we should avoid negativism and seek positivism. Above all, we have to believe in ourselves.

Willpower is one of the significant human driving forces. We know that there is a power in our will, as in the saying: ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’.

This willpower helps us to overcome the many difficulties and obstacles in our life. It is one of the major components needed for success.

A healthy soul requires a healthy body, as the Latin has it: anima sanain corpore sano, and in Hebrew: “Nefesh bria beguf bari”.

We know that mind and body are connected. Our health is strongly dependent on how we deal emotionally and physically with various situations and conditions. Our immune system is affected when we suffer continuous stress. General illnesses can be largely stress-related. Stress is not always negative, however. Stress is a predictable, normal and sometimes desirable human response. Stress is activated in various circumstances, such as feelings of danger or urgency. In such cases stress protects us by alerting us to danger and keeping us focused.

When stress is continuous and unrelenting, this is the point at which it starts to be harmful. It can have a negative effect in both physical and psychological terms. There is a link between stress and life expectancy. Most researchers believe that stress is a major factor in reducing life expectancy.

The author, however, believes that a certain amount of stress in reaction to certain activities can have the opposite effect. Both ends of the spectrum, namely, no stress at all and extensive stress, are negative factors which influence our way and quality of life. Some stress in a multi-tasking environment, however, can have a positive effect on our life expectancy.

Being active in multi-disciplinary areas not only gives us positive emotions and satisfaction but could also extend our life expectancy.

This assumption is partly supported by the fact that diverse activities mean we activate different brain areas.

Research has shown that negative emotions such as anger and unhappiness have a significant impact on our nervous and immune systems and are probably the cause of certain diseases. On the other hand, positive emotions such as happiness and harmony are elements which have a positive influence on our health.

In neurobiology, the material functions of the mind could be a representation of certain mechanistic properties of the brain. The brain essentially shuts down the area which generates conscious thought during deep sleep and reactivates it on dreaming or waking.

The relationship of the brain with the mind is similar to that of computer hardware with software. This analogy of the mind as software is debated by scientists, who claim correctly that the human mind has powers beyond any artificial software.

Future proposed studies and methodologies

Accumulations of new databases (NDB) of Alzheimer patients are required. NDB should also contain genetic independent cases, above 50 years old, with their detailed history of activity or inactivity, during their last decade prior being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, a correlation imaging database using MRI/PET should be created.

We should concentrate in detecting the specific location where Alzheimer’s disease may begin. This is probably a specific vulnerable area of the brain, from where the damage is spread to other areas of the brain.

We already know that Alzheimer first affects the hippocampus, which is the area where new memories are formed. We also know that the memory cells or circuit which is essential for generating and storing new memories is in the entorhinal cortex. The entorhinal cortex is an area of the brain located in the medial temporal lobe. It is functioning as a hub in a network for memory and navigation.

The entorhinal cortex is one of the first areas to be affected in Alzheimer’s disease. It would be interesting to follow the assumption that people with less or no physical activities especially after the age of 50, tend statistically to be more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease than those who are active physically and mentally. Accordingly, studies focusing in this area of the brain may lead to better understanding our brain system for enhancing memory.

Future gene research may lead to better understanding of the mechanisms of the disease, which hopefully will lead to the appropriate preventing treatment.

A promising research area is using stem cells for treating Alzheimer. There are many ways to approach this option. Among the various possibilities we may suggest to re-grow diseased parts, to heal rather than replace neurons or to use stem cells as drug delivery agents.

Adult stem cells have a positive effect on those who already have Alzheimer’s disease. In future they may even prevent the disease.

Conclusion

I believe that mentally stimulating activities in conjunction with enhancing our mind-body connections, could lead not only to improvement in our way of life, but also to significantly reduce the risk involved with Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Eat a Girl Out The Right Way

Girls just love the idea of getting their vagina licked by their male partner. And once you know how to eat a girl out properly, you will be able to give her a fantastic orgasm every time you go down on her. In terms of satisfaction, cunnilingus beats the full intercourse experience hands down. But most men do not know the art of oral sex and fail to make the girl orgasm, some even end up giving her extreme pain.

This article will teach you how you can make your girl go mad with sheer pleasure using just your tongue:

Hygiene: One of the most important thing to remember is hygiene. Make sure that her vagina is clean, taking a bath together before you both indulge in oral sex is a good idea. If she is suffering from any genital diseases then please consult a doctor immediately.

Start slow: Don’t jump onto her vagina directly, girls like it slow and steady. Moreover, it will be easy for you lick her out when she is wet down there. Indulge in a lot of foreplay action. Kiss her neck and shoulders, fondle her breasts and play with her hair. Kissing, licking and fondling with her thighs will turn her on big time since it is very close to her vagina.

Clitoral stimulation: Now that she is sufficiently wet its time for you to go for her clitoris. Clitoris is a pink, pea-shaped piece of flesh present right above her vaginal opening. It is very sensitive and I would suggest that you use a flat tongue instead of a hard pointed one. Lick her in circles, move up and down or simply flick her clitoris gently with your tongue.

Enter her: After you are done stimulating her clitoris, its time for you to enter her vagina. Penetrate her with your pointed tongue and try licking the upper wall of her vagina. This is where the G-spot lies, the holy grail. Licking her G-spot will send shivers down her spine and make her go wild and crazy.

Bonus Tip 1: Most girls like the wet squishy noise that you make when you lick the clitoris with a wet tongue. But don’t overdo it and make loud noises as it might turn her off. Remember, moderation is the key.

Bonus Tip 2: While you are stimulating her g-spot with your tongue, you will find that her clitoris is right below your nose. Breathing down upon it will double up the pleasure factor.