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Do You Like Reading Ghost Stories?

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Autism Begins in the Womb

Researchers say intervention in early childhood may help the developing brain compensate by rewiring to work around the trouble spots.
The symptoms of autism may not be obvious until a child is a toddler, but the disorder itself appears to begin well before birth.
Brain tissue taken from children who died and also happened to have autism revealed patches of disorganization in the cortex, a thin sheet of cells that's critical for learning and memory, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Tissue samples from children without autism didn't have those characteristic patches.
Organization of the cortex begins in the second trimester of pregnancy. "So something must have gone wrong at or before that time," says Eric Courchesne, an author of the paper and director of the Autism Center of Excellence at the University of California, San Diego.
The finding should bolster efforts to understand how genes control brain development and lead to autism. It also suggests that treatment should start early in childhood, when the brain is capable of rewiring to work around damaged areas.
The study grew out of research by Courchesne on development of the cortex in children with autism. In typical kids, the cortex is "like a layer cake," he says. "There are six layers, one on top of the other, and in each layer there are different types of brain cells."
Courchesne suspected that these layers might be altered in the brains of children with autism. So he and a team of researchers studied samples of cortex from 11 children with autism and an equal number of typical kids. The cortex came from areas known to be associated with the symptoms of autism.
In the brain tissue from typical children, the cortex had six distinct layers, each made up of a specific type of cell. But in the children with autism, "there are patches in which specific cells in specific layers seem to be missing," Courchesne says. So instead of distinct layers, there are disorganized collections of brain cells.
These patches of disorganized cortex would have different effects on the brain depending on where they occur and how many there are, Courchesne says. That could help explain why the symptoms of autism vary so much.
And finding that the damage isn't everywhere suggests how a child's brain might compensate by rewiring to avoid the trouble spots, Courchesne says. "That's one of our guesses about how it is that autistic children, with treatment, very commonly get better," he says.
The new study appears to confirm research from the University of California, Los Angeles showing that people with autism tend to have genetic changes that could disturb the formation of layers in the cortex.
And it adds to the already considerable evidence that autism starts in the womb, says Dr. Stanley Nelson, a geneticist at UCLA. "The overwhelming set of data is that the problems are existing during brain development, probably as an embryo or fetus," he says.
But some of the new study's findings are surprising and even a bit perplexing, Nelson says. For example, it's odd that only certain bits of brain tissue contain these disorganized cells. "Why is the whole cortex not disorganized?" he says.
It's also odd that 10 of the 11 children with autism had the same sort of disorganized patches of cortex, Nelson says. That's not what you would expect with a disorder known to involve many different genes, presumably affecting many different aspects of brain development.
So he'd like to know what researchers would find if they looked at hundreds of brains instead of just a few. "What fraction of all the kids with autism are going to have these small patches?" he says. "I think the jury's out on that."
Nelson is right that there's no clear answer yet, says Ed Lein, one of the paper's authors and an investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. But it's possible that many different combinations of genes involved in autism could lead to the same patches of disorganization in the layers of cortex.
Finding out whether that's the case will be difficult because there is a shortage of brains from children available to researchers. Parents of children who die — with and without autism — rarely agree to donate their child's brain to science.
Scientific and advocacy groups are trying to change that with a program that informs families about tissue donation and a website that encourages people with autism and their families to get involved in research projects.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Reiki Healing and Mental Health See what the Research Shows

I wanted to share this wonderful article written by Deborah Beir, PhD at PsychCentral



 Reiki Healing and Mental Health: What the Research Shows

Saturday, April 5, 2014

10 Useful Steps to Using Hashtags to Gain Followers

Hey Everyone,

Everywhere I look online, I am reading posts regarding the use of hashtags to increase traffic to blogs, products, and services. I have never used hashtags in any post. So, do they work? Has any of you used them and seen an increase in traffic or sales?

You may have noticed that many #tweets from twitter will contain hashtags and so will pertinent words in posts that are put up on Google Plus.

Do you even know what a #hashtag is?

Well, it is a word or phrase that is mixed with the # symbol. It is just a metadata tag. Hashtags make it possible to group words together so users can search for a specific hashtag and get all the other relevant information regarding the tag.
The hash # has been around since forever and was used back in the 70's. It wasn't until it showed up on twitter did the hashtag take meaning for tweets and blog posts.
Now every tweet you read may have hashtags to help reach a broader audience of people searching the internet for information. If a user searches for the hashtag he, or, she can get the rest of the information found with the tag.
So have you all jumped on the bandwagon and began using hashtags to get more attention to your posts? On twitter the most popular searched, hashtags will pop up in the trending area. Everyone wants his or her post to end up going viral. Well folks in order for this to happen you will need to become comfortable with the use of hashtags and begin using them in all your blogs and tweets.
Do you even know where to start? Or what words or phrases you should be using the hashtag to increase #traffic? Here are 10 steps to follow when using hashtags.
  1. The number one rule to follow when using hashtags, do not overuse them ever. The rule of thumb is to use only two in relevant twitter tweets, and no more than three in blogs. We all know that Google does not like spam and if you use too many hash symbols you can be penalized for spamming both on Twitter and Google.
  2. Hashtags are used to categorize relevant words in tweets and posts. All you have to do is put the hash symbol # before the word with no spaces.
  3. When users click on hash tagged words he or she may find the rest of the tweet or post.
  4. When users search for an hashtag word he or she will come across tweets and posts that he or she may not have come across with just a regular search.
  5. Now this is very important. Hashtagged words usually do end in the trending section of twitter. So if you want your post to go viral you need to use the hash symbol before those words that are most likely to be searched for in the search box.
  6. It is important that the hash only be used with relevant information.
  7. If you want to gain more followers and improve your reputation you better get used to using the hash symbol on each and every relevant post or tweet.
  8. All relevant phrases should be short. It is best to just hashtag one word, as opposed to the whole phrase. Users searching are more likely to be searching for the hashtag word.
  9. Always try to use relevant words to hashtag. You can do a quick search for words that have been tagged with search.twitter.com. If you notice that there are relevant words and conversations that come up, you may want to use the word to tag similar to the one used.
  10. Be careful of how you use hashtags. Make sure you are not offending anyone and not making erroneous mistakes online. Twitter will not tolerate any hashtag abuse. Here are the rules about using hashtags from twitter. You can find this at http://www.hashtags.org/platforms/twitter/why-use-hashtags-guide-to-the-micro-blogging-universe/
"The following behaviors and others like them could cause your account to be filtered from search, or even suspended: Adding one or more topic/hashtag to an unrelated tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search. Repeatedly tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending/trending higher.
Tweeting about each trending topic in turn in order to drive traffic to your profile, especially when mixed with advertising. Listing the trending topics in combination with a request to be followed.
Tweeting about a trending topic and posting a misleading link to something unrelated."
Want to learn more about hashtags and how to use them? Go here http://www.hashtags.org/

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

65 Interesting Ways to Increase Blog Traffic

65 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

This post is by Satrap of BlogStash.com.
Here are 65 simple and (mostly) free ways to generate traffic to your site.
  1. Turn your articles and blog posts into PDFs using free PDF converters like OpenOffice. Then submit your PDFs to document sharing sites like Scribd and DocStoc.
  2. Write truly informative and useful articles related to your niche, and publish them on WikiPedia.
  3. Hold a contest and give prizes to your readers. Use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to let people know about the contest. A good contest with good prizes will attract a lot of people.
  4. Build a wiki page for your blog. To ensure your page doesn’t get deleted, create an article that is educational, informational, and not self-promoting.
  5. Write list posts like the one you are reading. Readers love posts like “10 ways to make money” or “6 ways to drive traffic to your blog”. List posts are amongst the most popular kinds of posts, and people tend to share list posts with others more often than other posts.
  6. Make flyers with a catchy title and a description of your blog, and post them on bulletin boards in the entrance to supermarkets and other community buildings.
  7. Post frequently, but don’t sacrifice quantity for quality. Both search engines and visitors like to see fresh, quality content. The more content you have, the more chances you have for ranking for variety of keywords, which will mean more organic traffic for your blog.
  8. Make a lens (or more) using Squidoo and in it, place a few links back to your blog.
  9. Submit your blog to directories relevant to your niche, like InsLink.com (an SEO/webmaster directory).
  10. Make it easy for non-technical readers to link to your blog or share your links with other people by making a “How to link to us” page. Here, give readers easy instructions on how to link to your blog with your keywords as anchor text.
  11. Submit your blog to search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Or simply use AdMe.com to submit your site to over 25 search engines for free.
  12. Use sites like Odiogo to turn your blog into a podcast, then submit your podcast to podcast websites.
  13. Answer questions related to your niche on YahooAnswers and other Q & A sites. Include a link to your blog in the resource box.
  14. Submit your blog to social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon.
  15. Write and submit articles to article directories like EzineArticles and ArticleDashboard.
  16. Turn your articles to videos using free video creation services like Animoto, and submit them to video directories such as YouTube and DailyMotion.
  17. Build a Facebook fan page for your blog.
  18. Make use of plugins like Tell-a-Friend to let your readers quickly share your posts with their friends and family vie email.
  19. Use Hi5 to build a page for your blog and create a community around it.
  20. Don’t clutter your blog with too many pictures, ads, and so on. Keep it clean and easy to navigate. This will help both search engines and visitors to navigate around your blog easily and quickly.
  21. Join BlogEngage to submit your blog and create a community around it.
  22. Ping your blog posts using free ping services such as Pingler and Pingoat.
  23. Create a hub about your blog on HubPages.
  24. Register with few good niche-related forums and use your signature to place links pointing to your blog. Participate in discussions and contribute as much as you can.
  25. Make it easy for your readers to share your posts by installing social bookmarking plugins like SocialMarker and Digg Buttons.
  26. Readers like to read other people’s comments, especially those who responded to their comments. So, take advantage of that by using a plug-in like Comment Notifier to automatically let your readers know of new comments posted on your blog.
  27. Make your blog more search engine friendly by using SEO plug-ins such as Platinum SEO Pack.
  28. Target long-tail keywords with low competition and try to rank for them. Such keywords are easier to rank for in search engines and give you much more targeted traffic.
  29. Make a MySpace page for your blog.
  30. Make business cards with your blog info on them, hand them to friends and family, and ask them to pass them on. Mall parking lots are good place to pass your cards around. In some states you can even put your business card on windshields. You can get up to 250 free business cards using sites like VistaPrint (although you do have to pay $5 shipping).
  31. Submit your blog to the free directories like DMOZ (hard to get into, but well worth the effort!).
  32. Write a good press release, or hire a professional to do it for you (you can get a pretty decent press release written for you for $5 on Fiverr.com), and submit them to free press release distribution sites like PR.com.
  33. Write creative and attention-grabbing ads about your blog, and publish them on free classified ads sites such as CraigsList and UsFreeAds.
  34. Controversial posts attract visitors. Write a controversial post. Be creative and bold, but be careful not to cross the boundaries.
  35. Ask an expert or a trusted, well-known person in your niche for an interview. Then post the entire interview on your blog, either as a text post or as a video.
  36. Leave quality comments on blogs that are related to your niche. Make sure your comments add value to the blog. Don’t just spam-comment and hope for the best. It never works, and your links will get deleted. Worst of all, you might get blacklisted from the site. If you leave a useful comment, people will be more likely to visit your blog.
  37. Use free banner-making tools like BannerFans to make an interesting banner for your blog. Then find other bloggers in your niche and exchange banners with them.
  38. Exchange links with other blogs in your niche. Don’t go overboard with this technique, or exchange links with each and every blog you find—be selective and make sure the context for your link is appropriate. Most people use their main keyword as the anchor text for their link, that’s good for SEO. But, if you want to get more traffic from those links, instead use attention-grabbing text as your anchor text. Don’t use “Make Money Online” for your link text—people are used to seeing those links all over the web. Instead use something like “10 ways to make $10 in 10 minutes.”
  39. If you find interesting posts on other blogs, write a post about them and link to them. The other bloggers will notice and might do the same for you.
  40. Find good blogs in your niche that accept guest posts. You can either search manually or make it easy for yourself by registering for free with MyBlogGuest, which matches guest bloggers with blogs that accept guest posts. Write and submit your best articles to get the maximum exposure. Don’t just submit the article and leave. Make sure you follow up and respond to comments and questions that readers of those blogs ask.
  41. Submit your site to review sites that write reviews on other websites and blogs, like CoolSiteOfTheDay.
  42. Submit your blog to BlogCatalog.
  43. People love free stuff, so give out freebies that are related to your niche. If you are in “online money making” niche, a free ebook that teaches people who to make money on Twitter might make an appropriate freebie.
  44. Write a page on 43things.com about your blog and what you want to do with it.
  45. Use your keywords in the title of your posts. Having your keyword in the title makes it easier for you to rank for that keyword, thus bringing you more organic traffic.
  46. Use your blog’s name as your username on forums, social networking sites, and other places like YahooAnswers. People are curious by nature, so they may check out your blog out of curiosity and if you have good compelling content, they may become your loyal readers.
  47. Make a bumper sticker with your blog address on it, and place it on your car’s bumper. You can even ask your friends and family to do the same for you!
  48. Make a Twitter profile for your blog and tweet each and every post you publish on your blog.
  49. Register with EntreCard and start dropping your card on other blogs. You will be amazed how much traffic you can get from EntreCard.
  50. Register with ComLUV.com and download their plugin.Then use the Global CommentLuv Search to find blogs related to your niche and comment on them. It will return up to ten (recent) posts that will be sent back when you comment on a CommentLuv enabled site. Most are dofollow blogs, and you will get dofollow links back to your most recent posts. This is good for link building and getting some traffic.
  51. Make a free ebook with a link back to your site in it, and submit it to free ebook sites like GetFreeEbooks.com.
  52. Buy .info domains with long-tail keywords in them and use a redirect to send the traffic they receive to your main site.
  53. Rent a mailing list and send high-quality content with a link back to your site to all the subscribers. Take care with this technique so that you’re not blacklisted as a spammer, though. Find a reputable list broker—or, if in doubt, why not start your own?
  54. Post a classified ad on eBayClassified with a link to your site.
  55. When you eat out, leave a good tip along with a business card with your site info on it.
  56. Create a short report with resell rights and and include your links in the report. Give it to people for free: those people can sell the report to others as their own, so long as they don’t remove your links. The results of this technique will surprise you.
  57. Come up with a really crazy but buzz-worthy post and submit it to NowPublic.com (Previously known as Truemors). If it’s good enough, it might just go viral!
  58. Go to YouTube, find popular videos related to your niche and start commenting on those videos with a link back to your blog. Youtube videos get thousands of views, and since most people are sociable creatures, they will read the comments no matter how far down the list your comment is.
  59. Create a page (personal or business) at LookUpPage.com. You can add as many links to your blog as you like. Write a short “about” post about yourself or your blog, and make sure to link to your Twitter and other social networking sites as well. After creating the page, bookmark it using SocialMarker and ping it with Pingler (or any other tools you like).
  60. Register with Visible.me for free, and add links and information about your blog. Its a great way to build your brand and get a few backlinks from a high-PR (6) dofollow site.
  61. Submit your RSS feed to RSS aggregators. Here, I don’t mean just your blog’s RSS feed: grab the RSS url of every site you have a link on (example: if you submit articles to ezine.com, you will have your own “author RSS” URL), and go to RssMix.com. It will let you make a custom RSS feed. Take that and submit it to RSS directories and aggregators. This will put your RSS feed on steroids—and will give you many more backlinks.
  62. Make a few (yard) signs with your blog’s URL and a good title related to your niche, and place them on highway exit ramps, at busy intersections, and so on. Make sure you abide by the laws in your own state or country if you try this approach.
  63. Put an ad in your local newspaper. If you live in a small town, it may not be very expensive to have an ad on your local newspaper—or on TV or radio, for that matter.
  64. Order some T-shirts with your blog URL and title printed on them and give them away. People will check out your URL!
  65. This is just for fun, so enjoy it! Make a big and I mean big sandal (or flip flop) with your blog’s URL engraved on the bottom, go to a busy beach, and start walking all over the sand! Leave your mark for others to see.
Do you have any tips to share? Please tell us which tips you have tried. I look forward to reading your input.