Spring Tips for Car Maintenance

After a long winter cooped up indoors, you’re probably ready to trade hibernating for some sunshine and traveling. Whatever you choose, chances are you’re going to hit the road. Before revving up your engine, make sure you get to your destination safely and efficiently with our tips for spring car maintenance. Winter can be harsh on vehicles both interior and exterior so it’s imperative to bring your car in for a full checkup to detect minor issues before they become major problems.

Oil Filter
To keep your engine running smoothly, change your oil filter at the intervals recommended in your owner’s manual. Neglecting to do so can result in poor engine performance, higher fuel consumption, and severe engine damage.

While changing your oil and filter, it’s essential to check your fluid levels for the power steering, brakes, transmission, windshield washer, and coolant. If the levels are inadequate, flush and replace them as recommended per the vehicles manual.

After the winter, wiper blades typically get torn, cracked, or dried from excessive salt. Ensure you have the best visibility possible by replacing your blades in the spring.

Plummeting winter temperatures can affect the battery, so be sure to have it tested. While you’re there, make sure the mounting brackets are secure, the connections are clean, tight, and corrosion-free.

With the fluctuating temperatures between summer, fall, winter, and spring, your windshield might need some TLC. Smaller, barely-noticeable cracks in the summer can turn into huge lines that span the width of the glass in the winter season due to expansion and contraction. Windshield damage can decrease the effectiveness of airbags, seatbelts, roof stability, and your safety in an accident.

Ensure your exterior and interior lights work correctly. If motorists don’t notice you breaking, turning, or heading their way, the results could be dangerous.

Cold temperatures can harden and damage rubber, so check all of your belts, hoses, and tires for damage. Look for hardening, softening, leaking, cracks, blistering, looseness, frays, or glazing. Check the pressure on your tires monthly, and maintain the optimal pressure recommended by your owner’s manual. Make sure the tread is raised, and rotate your tires regularly.

Check your engine air filter, cabin air filter, and your fuel filter for damage or clogs and replace if necessary.

To prolong the life of your vehicle, bring it to the experts at Team CAMC today.

Team CAMC is your Complete Auto Maintenance Center. For over 20 years, we have followed a single guiding principle: we never push or sell services a vehicle doesn’t need. Our team of trained technicians welcome you like family and discuss all types of oil and fluid changes offered. Critical points are reviewed through a 13-point inspection to ensure your vehicle is ready for the next adventure on the road ahead. Contact us today to schedule the professional service you deserve from a team you trust.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

FDA Authorizes New Device That Protects Athletes’ Brains During Impact

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently authorized a novel product that recent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) shows might protect athletes’ brains from traumatic injury.

A c-shaped, non-invasive device dubbed the “Q-Collar” goes around the neck and applies compression, which increases blood volume, therefore reducing brain movement.  

Several FDA studies proved the effectiveness and safety. One such study included a long-term analysis of 284 participants, age 13 and older. A total of 139 athletes wore the collars, and 145 did not; both underwent head MRI before and after the season.

To compare structural changes after a season of play, researchers also generated diffusion tensor imaging of the brain. Significant differences were noted in the deep tissue involved in transmitting electrical nerve signals in 73 percent of the collarless group. Those who were equipped with the Q-Collar showed no change in white matter throughout 77 percent of the group.

“These differences appear to indicate protection of the brain associated with the device use. No significant adverse events were associated with device use,” The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health reported.

An estimated 3.8 million sports-related traumatic brain injuries occur in the United States yearly, according to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Along with the Q-Collar manufacturer Q30 Sports Science, FDA officials hope the device will lower this number, reducing “slosh” by creating a tighter fit of the brain in the skull through increased blood volume.

The Q-Collar should not be used in place of helmets or other protective devices. Athletes with a history of seizure disorders, brain blood clots, or problems with blood clotting, in general, should not use the device.

For more information, read the full FDA report.

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Researchers Better Understand Sleep Patterns with MRI

Stages of deep sleep can significantly change our consciousness, just as it does in a coma or under anesthesia. Scientists have hypothesized that brain activity declines when we sleep, using research conducted with electroencephalography (EEG), a process that uses electrodes placed along a patient’s scalp to measure brain activity.

Anjali Tarun, a doctoral assistant at EPFL’s Medical Image Processing Laboratory within the School of Engineering, decided to investigate brain activity during sleep using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI.) Dimitri Van De Ville, lab lead, said, “MRI scans measure neural activity by providing important information in addition to EEGs.” Tarun used EEG to identify when study patients fell asleep, pinpointing the individual sleep stages. The MRI images were later used to produce spatial maps of neural activity, specifying brain states.

Deep sleep is reasonably challenging to achieve while undergoing an MRI, as the machines are quite noisy. Despite the hurdle, Tarun was able to leverage simultaneous MRI and EEG data from roughly thirty people. “Two hours is a relatively long time, meaning we were able to obtain a set of rare, reliable data,” she said. “MRIs carried out while a patient is performing a cognitive task usually last around 10 to 30 minutes.”

The data Tarun collected was surprising. “We calculated exactly how many times networks made up of different parts of the brain became active during each stage of sleep. We discovered that during light stages of sleep – that is, between when you fall asleep and when you enter a state of deep sleep – overall brain activity decreases. But communication among different parts of the brain becomes much more dynamic. We think that’s due to the instability of brain states during this phase.”

Van De Ville said, “What really surprised us in all of this was the resulting paradox. During the transition phase from light to deep sleep, local brain activity increased and mutual interaction decreased. This indicates the inability of brain networks to synchronize.”

Neural networks might be linked to our introspection process, memory, and spontaneous thoughts, all associated with consciousness. “We saw that the network between the anterior and posterior regions broke down, and this became increasingly pronounced with increasing sleep depth. A similar breakdown in neural networks was also observed in the cerebellum, which is typically associated with motor control.” At this point, the researchers aren’t sure why this happens; their findings are a novel step toward a better understanding of our sleep consciousness.

“Our findings show that consciousness is the result of interactions between different brain regions, and not in localized brain activity. By studying how our state of consciousness is altered during different stages of sleep, and what that means in terms of brain network activity, we can better understand and account for the wide range of brain functions that characterize us as human beings,” said Tarun.

For further reading, find the original article from EPFL.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.  

Brain Tumor Visibility Doubled with New MRI Technique

When compared to existing visualization methods, a new 3D technique with MRI scans doubles the visibility of brain tumors. Since a large number of tumors are discernable, the new process has the potential to make it easier to treat them earlier and at smaller, more manageable stages.

Robert Edelman, M.D., is an inventor, lead author, and clinical professor of radiology. His work was shared in the Science Advances journal. He said, “Our goal is for the new technique – T1RESS – to help thousands of patients by allowing malignant tumors to be detected at an earlier, more curable stage.”

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, 700,000 Americans are living with brain tumors and 16,000 will die this year. The new MRI technique can catch the tiny malignant tumors that often escape notice, potentially saving lives and improving outcomes. 

The hope is that those patients undergoing surgery or radiotherapy will receive better clinical outcomes by making the tumor margins on contrast-enhanced scans more visible.

Edelman and his colleagues studied brain tumors in 54 patients to determine how well T1RESS works. He applied magnetic fields and radio waves used to generate MRI signals differently from existing imaging techniques. The new technique uniquely manipulates brain tissue signals to produce images that offer significantly improved tumor visibility. This application makes T1RESS highly sensitive to the T1 shortening effects of paramagnetic contrast agents, but it also reduces the signal intensity of non-enhancing background issues, both improve tumor visualization.

Experimental results showed that the new technique provided a two-fold improvement over existing MRI methods in regards to the contrast between tumors and normal brain tissue. Edelman compared the visualization to seeing more stars: “There just isn’t enough contrast between the stars and the sunlit sky to make them visible. In the case of brain tumors, T1RESS doubles the contrast between tumors and normal brain, so the tumors are more easily detected. It’s like looking at the stars on a dark night instead of a sunny day,” Edelman said. 

A larger, multi-site trial will need to be performed in order to confirm the findings, but the plan is to apply this technique to both prostate and breast cancers as well. If the benefits are confirmed, widespread use will be as simple as the installation of a specialized software package.

Visit the Science Advances website to read the full journal article. For more information about CT Scanners, Linear Accelerators, and the like, contact Acceletronics today.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Combined Study Results Indicate Possibilities for Lung Cancer Screening in New Zealand

Lung cancer screening might be one step closer to fruition in New Zealand thanks to newly discovered results by the University of Otago, published by medical journal BMJ Open. The indigenous Māori people of New Zealand are particularly susceptible to lung cancer, as their mortality rates are between three and four times higher than other ethnic groups. Around 450 Māori are diagnosed with lung cancer, and approximately 300 die from it yearly. If caught in the early stages, health outcomes for the Māori and other ethnic groups will undoubtedly improve.

To assess whether low-dose computerized tomography (LDCT) might be a cost-effective way to screen for lung cancer, Waitematā and Auckland DHBs collaborated with University of Otago researchers. Led by Associate Professor Sue Crengle (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha) from the University of Otago, the researchers used scientific modeling to estimate the benefits and costs of LDCT screening when it comes to a high-risk population. LDCT uses a small amount of radiation to produce an extremely clear three-dimensional image from a computerized x-ray.

“Having clarity about the cost-effectiveness of lung cancer screening provides further impetus to get this work started,” Associate Professor Crengle says. “If this works for Māori, then it will work for everyone else as well.”

Study findings suggested a national biennial lung cancer screening program is likely beneficial in terms of cost-effectiveness for not only the Māori but also the entire population of New Zealand. With early screening, the number of deaths will be reduced among the indigenous people. Countries with screening trials have seen a 20 to 26 percent reduction in lung cancer deaths.

For further reading, check out the original article by News Medical Life Sciences or the journal reference by BMJ Open.

Acceletronics is an industry leader in delivering the best equipment performance and service reliability from CT Scanners and Linear Accelerators across all major brands and models. Call 610-524-3300 or visit our website: https://www.acceletronics.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

Effects of COVID-19 Set to Change Packaging Design

According to a news article by Packaging Digest, shifted buying patterns, heightened health and safety concerns, and sustainability outlooks are presenting packaging design challenges to the post-pandemic realm. With increased packaging demand due to shelter-at-home orders, food delivery and e-commerce became a necessity. Additionally, concerns regarding surface contamination altered the way consumers interacted with packaging.

In the post-pandemic world, these trends will most likely continue. Hence, product packaging designers are ready to respond by adapting to shifting buying patterns, designing packaging with sustainability in mind, and meeting heightened health and safety standards.

Coronavirus has altered the way in which people purchase items. Online shopping has become the safest choice for most, as store trips risk the chance of coming into contact with the virus. E-commerce traffic has spiked exponentially from 16.07 billion visits to sites in January to 21.96 in June. This translates to an ever-increasing importance for packaging design to accommodate shipping and unboxing accordingly. Adapting to these shifting buying patterns is imperative for product packaging designers.

An article published by Scientific American states that the ocean pollution plastic problem has worsened due to COVID-19. As an increasing number of humans utilize plastic gloves, wear plastic masks, and order takeout, recycling programs are declining. Researcher projections claim that by 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish. To counteract the damage being done, environmental awareness is re-emerging. For the foreseeable future, food delivery services and online shopping will be at the forefront of e-commerce. More sustainable packaging is not only desired by consumers, but will be in high demand in the coming months and years.

As health and safety concerns rise, so too must the packaging associated with those expectations. People worldwide question the safety of various products purchased and brought into their homes. Countless people disinfect packages or quarantine them in order to bypass the chances of contracting coronavirus. Physical and psychological health must both be prioritized in packaging design.  

To read more information, check out the original article by Packaging Digest. For any packaging measurement needs, contact Apex Measurement systems. At Apex, we measure in coat weight, coating thickness, lamination, and moisture to ensure repeatable production results.

Apex Measurement Systems brings clients to measurement success by optimizing their control processes. We are a global company with an expert team of scientists and engineers. Our area of expertise is vast; we handle materials, applications, data analysis, and calibrations. If you can’t measure it, you can’t make it. Contact us by phone at (810) 220-6084 or e-mail us at info@apexmarketing.com to learn more about our products and services.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

How to Create an Event Budget

Budget: the dreadful word that defines most of our lives is also an imperative factor when planning an event. Maintaining a budget while preparing to host a special occasion can be tricky, but not impossible. Consider the following before you blow through your entire financial plan on those swanky cocktails or entertainment ideas.

Have you hosted a similar event in the past, or perhaps you took a peek at recent trends relating to the occasion? Set specific goals and clarify your event budget strategy. Think critically about what you will be spending your money on. Create spreadsheets chocked with information that will be vital to outlining the social get-together. By having your finances and wish list documented, your overall plan will be mapped and easier to digest.

Some questions to help you create a budget include:

  • What are you budgeting for? (Clarify your major spending categories.)
  • What are the exact costs? (Mentally walk through the event lifecycle and note expenses.)
  • What is the projected revenue? (Estimate the monetary income in all aspects.)
  • Are there unknown variables? (What’s your “Plan B” or contingency plan?)
  • Are specific prices dependent on others? (If this, then that…how will things coincide?)

Sometimes, sly attempts to reduce overall budget appearances by making the number lower than actuality (to present better on paper) can backfire. Ultimately, this can be devastating for your expenses, so try to avoid doing this if possible.

An event planner will help you when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty of budgeting, but it is always a good idea to have some sort of budget prepared before you meet with the professionals.

Have your budget ready and need to start planning your next event? At Event Planning DC, we specialize in helping clients throw the best party while still being mindful of their budget. Contact us today for more information.

Event Planning DC offers precise planning and captivating event design inspired by your unique vision, exclusive style, and the things that matter to you most. We provide comprehensive event planning of all types within the DC, MD, and VA area. Call us at 301-742-6322 or email michele@eventplanningdc.com to start planning your future…today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Most Popular Web Browsers as of September

Web browsers play an integral role in supporting many peoples’ daily activities. These programs allow access to the World Wide Web. Websites host different types of information; web browsers retrieve that information from the web server, displaying the content on the device used by the user. Devices include smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets, etc. Approximately 4.3 billion people used a browser in 2019. The most popular browser is Google Chrome, followed by Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and others.

Data shows Google Chrome’s September market share dropped to 66.3 percent, the first time it reached below 70 percent since May. The one-point drop was the first since October 2019 when Chrome decreased by 1.1 points. Apple’s Safari represented 16.73 percent of worldwide users, Mozilla Firefox stayed steady at 4.09 percent. The browser leader, Chrome, has fallen for two straight months, which is uncharacteristic of the behemoth.

Microsoft’s browsers Edge and Explorer both recovered nearly a fifth of previous losses from August, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point combined. While Internet Explorer stayed steady, Edge increased three-tenths of a point. Microsoft is due to release Windows 10 20H2, which will come with Chromium Edge, and will be an opportunity for a market share bump. Microsoft has a difficult road ahead in its attempt to replace users’ main web browser, Chrome, with Edge. Chrome gained the majority market share after Microsoft abandoned several versions of Internet Explorer during 2016, which enabled Google’s web browser to jump ahead. Without another catastrophic event, it seems unlikely any other browser will compete with Google Chrome’s market share.

At Creative Programs and Systems, we are familiar with all browsers and can service most devices. Have a question or want to learn more about browsers, safety, and market share? Contact CPS or read this article to learn more.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Microsoft Achieves Positive Results with Experimental Underwater Datacenter

In 2018, Microsoft deployed a datacenter 117 feet deep in the seafloor off Scotland’s Orkney Islands. For two years, Microsoft team members analyzed and monitored the servers’ operation and dependability. Now covered in algae, barnacles, and sea anemones, the datacenter is back on land.

The underwater datacenter was deployed in an effort to remedy equipment failure and provide a solution to internet availability throughout the globe. Microsoft team members were also aiming to improve the overall quality of datacenters in terms of reliability and function. Oftentimes, datacenters on land are susceptible to corrosion due to elemental factors such as humidity, oxygen, and temperature changes. After analyzing the underwater datacenter, the Microsoft team found that it performed exceptionally well.

Prior to the Orkney Islands datacenter deployment, the same Microsoft team proved the underwater datacenter concept was feasible in 2015 by deploying a different datacenter in the Pacific Ocean for roughly four months. Piggybacking off the Pacific Ocean datacenter’s success, the Microsoft team decided to test their concept even more in 2018.

Datacenters are a main pillar in cloud computing, containing networks of powerful computers that perform intricate tasks such as storing, processing, and transferring or allocating immense amounts of data. Datacenter proximity is a factor in speed and a reduced lag time for those who access the internet. The closer the datacenter, the quicker downloads, games, and Web browsers function.

Another factor in deploying the datacenters was to highlight environmental sustainability. The Orkney Islands were selected, in part, due to their renewable energy technologies. Their electrical grid is supplied 100 percent by wind and solar energy. “We have been able to run really well on what most land-based datacenters consider an unreliable grid, said Spencer Fowers, an integral member of technical staff for Microsoft’s Special Project research group. “We are hopeful that we can look at our findings and say maybe we don’t need to have quite as much infrastructure focused on power and reliability,” he continued.

To read more about the underwater datacenter, check out this Microsoft article. Want to improve your cloud setup or do you have a Microsoft product that needs a refresher? Contact Creative Programs & Systems today – we can help with all of your technical questions.

Founded in 1994, CPS provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Healthy Cardiovascular Health Also Promotes Good Eye Health

In a new study published by the American Journal of Medicine, investigators found that a healthy lifestyle – typically associated with cardiovascular health benefits – also lowered ocular diseases, particularly diabetic retinopathy. The conclusions suggest that attempts to prevent cardiovascular diseases might potentially counteract ocular ones as well.

Nearly 2.2 billion people worldwide suffer from ocular diseases. The consequences of these diseases are vision impairment and blindness. About half of these cases are preventable; the leading causes of eye issues include age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma.

“Earlier studies have observed associations between eye diseases and individual lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, or hypertension,” said lead investigator Duke Appiah, Ph.D., MPH, Department of Public Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, USA. “It is known that these metrics of ideal cardiovascular health do not work alone and may interact additively to result in diseases. However, prior to our research, no other studies have comprehensively evaluated the association of all of the metrics of ideal cardiovascular health with ocular diseases.”

The findings show that practicing a healthy lifestyle and implementing beneficial habits are both factors in achieving cardiovascular strength. Age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and glaucoma can all be minimized by having an active, healthy lifestyle. Those with optimal cardiovascular health had 97 percent lower odds for diabetic retinopathy than individuals who did not.

“Overall, we believe that primary prevention and early detection approaches of ocular diseases are important, considering that over half of all deaths from ocular diseases and cardiovascular diseases are known to be preventable,” commented co-investigators Noah De La Cruz, MPH, and Obadeh Shabaneh, MPH, both from the Department of Public Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX, USA.

At Rohr Eye & Laser Center, we strive to provide excellent customer service. We specialize in assisting patients with ocular diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataract by means of laser vision correction. Contact us today for more information.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.