Category Archives: Health

Early signs of alzheimer’s disease

Quick signs of Alzheimer’s disease, from an article in the UK Telegraph online magazine. In case I forget:

1: The earliest detectable change is a drop in spinal fluid level of the key ingredient of Alzheimer’s brain plaques. This can be detected up to 25 years before the age of onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

2: The Alzheimer’s plaques in the brain can be seen on a modern brain scan 15 years before memory issues become apparent.

3: Increases in levels of Tau protein in the spinal fluid at 15 years prior to onset of Alzheimer’s.

4: Shrinkage in parts of the brain becomes apparent 15 years prior to Alzheimer’s.

5: The patients brains use of glucose is reduced (which could be linked to the size reduction) and memory issues surface. These can be detected up to 10 years before full onset.

Knowing the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is great and all, but how do we stop it?! or even just slow it down. Also, what causes it? These are the questions i’d like an answer to.

Nap During All Nighter

Trying to pull an all nighter? Need to take a powernap? Here’s how I take a nap without falling asleep.

Before we start, set a quick alarm to alert you that your time is up. Loud alarm or quiet alarm, the choice is yours. All set? Good, let us move on to the napping.

Lie down on your back at your favorite napping location. Even your bed is suitable for this technique because it’s practically impossible to fall asleep while napping with this nap trick.

Now place your hand over your face. Lift your hand up a few inches. You want enough distance so it hurts when it falls, but not too much so it misses your napping face. About 4 inches should be more than enough.

Now close your eyes and enjoy your nap. If you do fall asleep while napping your hand will land on your face and wake you up. If you stay conscious it won’t. nature will handle the rest.

And that kids is what I learned at college – how to nap without falling asleep.

If you want to expand on this further, have a glass of cold water before napping. The cold will stop your metabolism from shutting down and keep you from sleeping even more.

After your nap, you can get back to your all nighter refreshed and ready to own it.

How long should a nap take? 20 minutes is recommended but I would argue 15 minutes is the sweet spot for the perfect napping experience.

Why Hackers Need to Get More Sleep: You are Not a Machine

The zone has a certain magic around it.  Once in, we don’t leave until the project is done, even if that means days and sometimes weeks (or 7 YEARS in the case of that guy who built his own 64-bit operating system because Jesus told him too [I wish I was kidding – check Youtube]).  Unfortunately, staying up all night hacking together a masterpiece leads to flexible modification of our natural evolutionary sleep cycles.  And this is bad.  Bad for our health, bad for those around us and bad for productivity in the days that follow.

Here’s why it’s a good idea to get some f’n sleep before you get that SDF keys permanently imprinted on your face:

Affect of lack of sleep on the following day’s productivity:


  • Procrastination.
  • Poor decision making.
  • Inability to think clearly.
  • Decreased comprehension.
  • More likely to “time-waste” and stare into space.
  • Reduced mental focus.
  • You make more mistakes.


  • Muscle weakness.
  • Headaches.
  • Lethargy.
  • Increased likelihood of poor food choices (junk food).
  • Weight gain.
  • Poor posture leading to unusual fat deposits.


  • Irritability.
  • Mood swings.


  • Let’ sbe honest, once you exit the zone, you aren’t getting anything done for a few days.


Of course it’s fun, else you wouldn’t stay up all night coding an OCR engine for solitaire using Java.  But be mindful of the costs associated with doing all nighters without sleep for that masterpiece.  Ask yourself regularly if rest and recuperation would lead to better long term productivity, health and wellbeing.

Take regular breaks, breath deep and sleep if you feel you need it.

I’d add to lay off coffee binges, single units, at well timed intervals work best.

Hot tips for dealing with the morning after? Drop a comment.