What is Vasculitis?

If untreated, the vast majority of patients can die within a year. Current treatments improve prognosis, but affected patients remain at a substantially higher risk of death and adverse outcomes.

Since the discovery of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) in 1982, enormous progress has been made in the understanding of the associated diseases and their treatment. From a diagnostic viewpoint, the elucidation of proteinase 3 (PR3) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) as the relevant antigenic specificities of ANCA in the ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV) has strongly improved early diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.

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Treatment of AAV follows type- and activity-adapted regimens according to evidence from controlled trials which have been summarized in the EULAR (European League against Rheumatism) recommendations published in 2009.

In general, a period of remission induction using highly-potent immunosuppression (e.g. with cyclophosphamide, Cyc plus glucocorticoids, GC) for 3–4 months is followed by maintenance therapy (e.g. azathioprine plus low-dose GC) which is supposed to be kept for at least 1.5–2 years. Induction therapy with a combination of high-dose steroids and cyclophosphamide has been the standard therapy for over 30 years and greatly improves survival among patients with AAV. Current research is focused on improving efficacy and reducing side effects of the medications used to induce remission.

For EGPA, the current approach to disease management is primarily based on reduction of active inflammation and suppression of the immune response through the use of corticosteroids and concomitant immunosuppressive therapy (e.g., methotrexate, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil) and/or cytotoxic agents (e.g. cyclophosphamide). Although the use of these treatments can be effective for establishing remission, patients remain vulnerable to either the complications of the long-term use of these therapies and to the risk of relapse, particularly if the dose of corticosteroid is reduced.

Closing a Sale Through a Successful PowerPoint Presentation

Presentations are the way many products and services are sold. The effectiveness of your presentation determines your success. Yes, you also need to find a lead, set an appointment and follow-up, but the presentation is key.

Below are some thoughts about the components of a successful sales presentation:

You have the solution to your potential customer’s problem. If you can’t meet your potential customer’s need, you can give the greatest presentation, but you probably won’t get the sale. Of course, it isn’t ethical to con him/her into thinking you have a solution when you don’t. You clearly explain how your offering can solve the problem of your potential customer If you don’t explain clearly, you may have a solution, but you won’t get far. This is why presentation preparation is so important. When you prepare, check that your message is organized and clear. State the problem simply and completely, based on questions you asked earlier or o questions you ask during the presentation. Then show how your product or service can solve your potential customer’s needs.

Be sure to provide supporting data to validate your solution. Even with a great solution, how do you ensure that people believe you? This is the important art of persuasion. As you show your solution, you must connect all that you say to their problem and back it up with both hard — facts and figures – and soft data — testimonials, your experience, and current customer names they might know., Be sure to convey how your solution will make them feel. Relieved? Less stressed out? Happy to reduce costs or increase profit? A positive emotion is a requirement for making a decision.

Your visuals are clear. Your slides must be crystal clear. Did you know that people can’t read and listen at the same time? So, if you use slides full of text, they’ll read them while you’re talking and won’t hear what you’re saying-that isn’t clear communication! Diagrams and charts should be easy to understand and not contain irrelevant content. If you have to provide highly detailed data in a spreadsheet, have a handout so your audience can follow along easily. Don’t provide unnecessary data during the presentation. Instead, leave supplemental content as a handout, if your potential client wants to review it before making a decision. Make sure that all text is legible and use animation only if shows a process. Use only high-quality photos and. avoid loud backgrounds. Put one point on a slide and backs up that point with a photo, diagram, or chart-this is called the Tell ‘n’ Show Method.

You connect with your audience. Think of your presentation as a two-way conversation, especially if you are speaking to a small group. Meet their eyes, ask and answer questions, be friendly and natural-think of it as an interactive presentation. Your potential customer will buy from you as a person not a presenter.

Influence the Future by Improving the Odds in the Present

The new year is well under way and I will try and avoid the usual discussions, posts, and tweets about resolutions. This article relates to a belief I have that there is more to life than just randomness as many of the quantum theorists will tell us. It is not that I don’t believe in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle or Chaos Theory but I have lived and breathed long enough on this planet to have witnessed and experienced events that suggest to me that there must be some ability to affect the quanta of the present to influence the future. Of course, most of us want to believe that not everything in life is just random as experiments in quantum physics have shown us. Most of us want to believe that if we put effort into the system we can tip the odds in our favour. I firmly believe that not only is this possible but it is what makes some people seem more “lucky” than us.

Let’s take the example of health for a moment. When you look at a disease like cancer it appears to be quite random. Everyone knows of that person who lived a very healthy life by not drinking and not smoking and exercising everyday but still developed cancer at a young age. Even more horrifying is when young children develop cancer – it just appears so random and it most cases, it is. There is however significant reams of research which demonstrates that through our efforts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we can turn the odds in our favour. It certainly does not mean that you have ultimate control over your fate, it just means that you can improve your odds.

If we accept that our intentions can improve our odds in health, it begs the question of whether our efforts can affect other measurable indicators such as prosperity. Once again it is clear that at its base, randomness is at play. Whether you were born into affluence or not was (depending upon your belief) a random fluke. As with health, there are numerous examples of people who were born into abject poverty but through sheer will and determination influenced the odds of the future and dramatically improved their state of affluence. When you take a look at anything life, any goals you might have or anything you might desire, at its base starts randomness. I believe we must accept the randomness but get better at playing the odds. While I don’t play poker, I know enough about the game to know that by learning the rules, a few tricks, and a bit about probability, you can become a better poker player. Randomness is inherent in the game of poker as it is in life but learning how to work with the odds can affect the future.

When things in your life seem to be not going well, know that your time will come – much like the wave which is in the trough, it will rise again. Also know that you can influence when that wave will rise. Believe in your ability to affect the odds of anything in your life. Learn the rules of the game and understand the odds and what you can do to improve them. If it works in games of chance, it can work for anything. The variables for your goal might be different and more complex than a game of cards but with intention and effort, the rules can be learned and you can gain confidence in your ability to influence the future by playing the odds of the present.