How to Detect If Someone Put a GPS Tracking Device on My Car?

If you’re like many people, you may be wondering how to detect if someone has placed a GPS tracking device on your vehicle. GPS Tracking devices have gotten so small, they are commonly the size of a pack of cigarettes, and some are even as small as a quarter! With devices that small, they can be hard to detect, especially if you’ve got a large vehicle.

The first thing you need to know is that there are two different types GPS tracking devices:

GPS “Loggers”

A GPS Logger is a passive device, meaning that it doesn’t actively transmit your GPS location. This means whoever put a GPS logger on your car will have to place it on your car, and then retrieve it later in order to view the driving data, which is stored on the device. A popular example of this is the Sleuthgear iTrail GPS Logger, which is only 1.5″X1.5″ big.

GPS “Trackers”

A GPS Tracker is an active device, meaning that it actively transmits your location “live”, usually to a secure website, where the person who placed it there can view your location and driving information via a web browser or special program. Once they put it on there, they do not have to retrieve it, they can just view the information online. They will likely come back later though, because the battery life on active tracker is usually less than 30 days.

Here’s where knowing the difference between the two types of tracking devices is important. A GPS Logger (like the iTrail GPS) can only be detected manually – meaning you’ll have to physically search for it. The reason for this is because since they don’t actively transmit a signal (they just store data to the device), then a bug detector or bug sweeper won’t be able to pick up any kind of transmission or signal. If you suspect that you might have a GPS logger on your vehicle, the first place to look for it is UNDER THE VEHICLE. This is the most popular place to hide a GPS tracking device, and is accomplished by placing the device inside a magnetic case, which securely attaches to the metal on the underside of your vehicle. Other places to look are in the glove box, center console, and the truck (including under the spare tire).

If you suspect that you might have an active GPS Tracker on your car, a manual search is always the first step. Look under the vehicle, in the glove box, and in the trunk. These type of units are usually bigger than GPS Loggers because they need a bigger battery in order to actively transmit a signal. If you don’t have time to do a manual search, you’re in luck, because active GPS Trackers can be easily detected by a GPS Detector.

A GPS Detector is a handheld device that is usually battery powered that allows you to “sweep” your vehicle (or wherever else you want to locate a GPS Tracker) and will alert you when it detects a transmitting GPS signal that is sending out your location. There is an adjustable sensitivity knob that allows you to hone in on the exact location of the tracker, so you can remove it from your vehicle.

A GPS detection device will also detect cell phone signals, because cell phones are commonly used as makeshift GPS tracking devices, since owners of cell phones can often use a “locate” feature of their phone to find out where it is at.

So if you want to find out if someone has placed a GPS tracking device on your car, first conduct a manual search, and for a quicker and easier search, use a GPS Detector.

Beauty is Everywhere

As I look out into the world, I see so much to be grateful for. Surrounded by beauty, I am left in no doubt that we live in a spirit filled world that is becoming more authentic in the beauty that it is able to appreciate. For so long we have come to define beauty on a superficial level, but as we grow, so will our ability to appreciate beauty grow within us.

With this, understand that only can we recognize and appreciate what is truly beautiful when we have unified with the essence of our own beauty within ourselves. So many struggle to find the beauty in the world when they look outside. Fearful of what they will encounter, they see a world filled with anger, hostility and ugliness, and because this is what they see, this is what becomes real for them, and they continue to live as their self fulfilling prophecy would have it be.

Neglecting their own beauty, they have swallowed a nightmare pill which alters dramatically the world in which they see. Turning away from the spirit, they have chosen to embrace the ego, which sees things always in a distorted light. With power and strength to gain for itself, the ego is devoted not to searching for beauty, but to finding that which can build it up in the eyes of the world. Concerned with the physical world and pleasing those within it, it is not at all interested in the wisdom of the spirit.

Not wanting to be the protagonist in its own demise, the ego has a vested interest in keeping the true source of beauty from your eyes. Not wanting you to experience the awe that beauty inspires, it seeks to keep you in a state of boredom where you ask no questions of life. Asking no questions, you cease to interact with life, and you deprive yourself of the answers that God wants to give to you. This is what it means to be reactive to life, and to suffer in the process.

Called to be proactive, we do not grow in our experience of life, if we have closed ourselves off to what it seeks to teach us. Wanting to show us the beauty in the world and in ourselves, it is a willing teacher, but a teacher has no role to occupy without a student in attendance. This is why we must be open-minded in beauty’s presence. With much to give, there is much to learn about the beauty of God which manifests itself in all things.

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What this means to me is that each of us has the capacity to find beauty in different things. What some label beautiful, others might label ugly, and vice versa. But does it really matter what verdict is passed on whether something is pleasing to the eye or not? What matters absolutely is the seed of beauty to be found in all things that God has created. With the beauty of the creator pervading each of his creations, that beauty is definitely there to see. The question then becomes what is the quality of the vision of the observer?

Many are capable of seeing the beauty in all that surrounds them, but even more are not. Selective in what they ascribe the label ‘beautiful’ to, these people have chosen to honour the mind above the heart, which is all to discriminating. Seeing more than the mind is capable of seeing, the heart knows that it is futile to judge, because it realizes that judgment passed on that which appears in a diminished light is falsely condemned. Seeing only a portion of the whole, much is misunderstood; and embracing only a part, much is rejected as irrelevant. See in this, the dangerous game that we play when we choose to have the ego’s eyes be the filter with which we view the world.

Seeing only fragments of beauty that it has contaminated through its own judgment, much is discarded, and even less honoured, for God cannot be seen by that which despises his presence. Wanting you not to see him, the ego will lead you to label as ugly, much that is beautiful in appearance and substance.

Intense in its loathing, the ego is not always rational in its judgment, and even in its certainty, it misses much to be appreciated. See in this how the ego’s arrogance often leads it to abandon that which could otherwise serve it. Cursed in its blindness, it makes not for wise counsel to the one who searches for a deeper experience of life.

Wanting to experience love, one must consult the heart, being the centre of beauty inside the self. Being not separate from God, it is the gift that God has given us to enjoy the world. Blessed with much, we can find much joy when we look upon the world with spiritual eyes. Hindered not by that which are the ego’s shortcomings, we can see the love behind the barriers, and the distinctions which make the miraculous commonplace.

Blessed in spirit, we must not take for granted that which is capable of teaching us who we truly are. Endowed with wisdom, all of God’s creations are capable teachers, and assuming not a separate identity from him, they are models to be emulated. With this, learn that beauty is distorted as the separation is affected. So as you travel far from him, so will your ability to experience beauty diminish in strength.

Concerned primarily with attaching labels in the moment, what eludes you is the beauty inherent in entering the moment. To enter the moment, is to join with God in your heart, and see what he sees in the physical world. With all that he created being good, you are then able to see the love that pervades everything in the light of the spirit. Appreciating everything just as it is, you understand that it is enough and that the ego does not have to be invited to enhance what is complete in itself.

Complete, the gifts of God are holy in what they hold and what they deliver. Endowed with beauty, they bring to the lost man, much that is invaluable. Longing for God, those who are lost, suffer in their desperation. Convinced of their own ugliness, the memories of their eternal beauty slip into the past. But the past is not lost forever, for every illusion stands to be corrected, and as a partner with eternity, it will not fail to reveal itself in a touch that the moment has in store, for the child who sees clearly now, not yearning for more.

One of the most memorable times that I recall beauty touching me deeply was in Florence when I went to see Michelangelo’s David. I had heard from many people how wonderful this classical piece of sculpture was, but hearing a second hand account doesn’t really prepare you for the effect that it has on the soul, when you see it in person. To say that I was taken aback by its beauty would be an understatement. I was left absolutely speechless! To think that one man saw this masterpiece in that block of marble and saw it as his purpose to bring it to life for all to enjoy is awe inspiring to me.

But as I was standing there, just gazing up at the masterwork, I knew not the distraction of thought that attempted to persuade my mind to intellectualize how the work was brought to life. This allowed me to centre myself and let the profound beauty that emanated from the shiny white surface, move my spirit powerfully in the moment. And as I just allowed the moment to touch me, I felt for a moment just how Michelangelo must have felt with the chisel in his hand and the spirit in his heart, for as I am not alone with my pen, he was not alone with his tools, for with every incision had God’s hand revealed itself so gently and lovingly.

All in all, I spent about an hour in the company of David, listening only to the silence which was my teacher. And as I meditated on what had greeted my senses, I felt a deep sense of appreciation begin to emerge, and as my eyes began to well up with tears, my constant companion placated my fears that I would miss something, a moment, which taught me who I am, not alone in war, but beautiful and fair.

To know Michelangelo must have been to be in the company of a great lover. Here was a man who made it his life’s purpose to serve the world by making manifest in physical form, the love that he carried inside. How else can you explain it? To look into the eyes of David is to know without a shadow of a doubt that he was conceived in love, and because it was this love that filled Michelangelo’s heart, the conception was inevitable.

With this, understand that love never leaves beauty unexpressed, for that is not love’s way. And in the same way that love will never leave beauty unexpressed, so will it never leave the witnesses to that beauty untouched, for the heart that was inspired to bring the beauty to life, is in no way separate from the heart of the witness who has seen in that beauty a clear image of themself revealed.

See in this, how all embodiments of beauty carry a reflection that is not one dimensional. If you were to observe a rose, you would be moved by the beauty of that rose, but what has moved you is not limited to the petals, stem and thorns which make up that rose. What you receive from that rose is an experience of the beauty of nature which is in no way separate from all that the rose is, because nature is the essence of its being. And as it is with the rose, so it is with you, because nature is the very essence of who you are. As God has breathed life into the rose, so has God breathed life into you, and in it you get a glimpse of not only its glory, but your glory as well, which is a stranger not to the glory of God.

Endowed with all that is beautiful, do not doubt what is yours to give, and as you awake from your slumber, so will your brothers and sisters enjoy a more peaceful rest. Not tormented by their hideous nightmares, a new joy will emerge in the form of a dream that is not isolated in how it comes to bless them. As beauty multiplies, so does its visions, in the mind that has unified itself with the heart.

Filled with this love, joy replaces sorrow and gratitude replaces judgment, for as the Lord has spoken, you need not open your mouth to speak. Speaking in glorious tongues, you are left in no doubt that what he has to say is real. Beautiful in its composition, it is undeniably powerful in its resonance. Teaching your heart, the mind finds rest, subsumed by the grace that has cradled it, and when it awakes, immense beauty awaits it, in both its relationship to the physical and the infinite which know no divide. Being what beauty has conquered, love has done its work, through the eye of the spirit that cannot be blinded to the world’s worth.

Homework Organization For Students (And Their Parents)

I spend a lot of time at my seminars and workshops, on the phone and via email discussing the subject of homework organization. Actually, I spend a lot of time listening to parents complain that their children’s homework disorganization is driving everybody crazy!

Many students have such a hard time getting it together that by the time they finally sit down to do their homework, they are exhausted. No wonder they don’t want to do it! Getting organized will help alleviate exhaustion, bad attitudes, procrastination and rebelliousness.

Homework organization just makes life easier for everyone.

These are the homework organization tips that I use as a student, teacher and parent. Print this list and read it with your children. Then, post it on the fridge and refer to it often so that everybody (parents, kids, babysitters, grandparents) will be on the same organized page.

At School:

  • Write down every, single homework assignment in one place. I strongly recommend using a bound or wire notebook- definitely NOT a loose leaf binder. I don’t care how careful you are, pages will fall out, and then what? You won’t know what to do nor when to do it! A plain notebook is fine, but a datebook or calendar is the best. Some schools even provide these to students. Use it.
  • Write down homework assignments as you get them. This is mostly for older students that change classes and teachers, but it is a good habit for everyone. If the teacher says, “Oh, tonight I want you to read Chapter 4,” write that down in your notebook.
  • Write down every, single due date for a project or paper- even if you have a handout or syllabus. Handouts disappear (I think they hang out with loose socks), but you will still know what to do and when to do it if you have everything written down in your homework notebook.
  • Keep ALL of the day’s homework assignments together in one place. Don’t have a special place or page for math, another for writing, etc. You want to see everything in one spot.
  • Check your homework notebook Three (3) Times A Day: Before you leave school (or each class), double check to make certain that you have everything (books, paper, materials, etc.) that you will need later.

At Home:

  • Before you start doing your homework, look at your notebook and make sure that you are doing the right assignment, the right page, etc.
  • Before you put everything away, take one more quick look. Did you do everything? Good!
  • Make a decision about where you will put your completed homework: into a binder pocket, a special homework folder, etc. You may decide to have a color-coded folder for each class. If you choose to use folders, I strongly recommend using 3-hole punched folders and keeping them together in a 3-ring binder. Whatever you choose, stick to it! Don’t put your homework in your a binder today, a folder tomorrow… And, never, ever fold your homework into a book or throw it loose into your backpack! Shudder!
  • Use your Magic Homework Box. You do have one, don’t you? The Magic Homework Box is a box with all of the homework supplies and materials a student needs on a regular basis. These supplies only come out of the Magic Homework Box during homework time, so you always have what you need. Now, that’s magic!
  • Clean up as soon as you are finished with your homework. Now, not later! Put completed pages in your homework folder, then put the folder and homework notebook in your backpack. Not only will mornings will be less crazy, you won’t have to sit in class knowing that you did your homework and forgot it at home (doh!). Don’t forget to put away the dictionary and any other books you may have used.
  • Remember to put everything back into your Magic Homework Box. In my house, homework is not “done” until everything is cleaned up and put away.
  • Keep your backpack organized. Throw away all of those candy wrappers and random pieces of paper. Keep one area or pocket filled with a few items (pencils, a sharpener, maybe a calculator) so that you can do your homework anywhere- maybe even before you get home! Remove any graded test, project, report or paper that your teacher has taken the time to return to you. Why? You might need it to study for a test, for a portfolio or for a project. You can throw everything away at the end of the semester or the school year, but until then put each item in its own subject file, but NOT in the homework folder. Remember, homework folders are ONLY for completed homework that is ready to be turned in!
  • Don’t give up! They say it takes 21 days to form a good habit. If you forget to do something on this list, don’t stop trying. Hey, maybe if you remember to write down all of your homework or clean up for 21 days in a row, your mom or dad will do something extra nice for you! (Parents, that was a hint!)

A Note to Parents about Homework Organization

Please remember that your job is to give your children organizational tools and show them how to use them. Your job is NOT to organize your child’s homework! So, in the beginning, you might check your son’s homework notebook to make sure that he is writing down all of his assignments in one place, but you would never dream of calling the teacher and checking. You might watch as your daughter copies the science project due dates into her homework notebook; you will not do it for her.

Yes, I know that it is hard to let go- I’ve been there! But, we want our children to be organized and independent learners, right?

You can do it!

(For more information about recommended homework organization products and The Magic Homework Box, please see site information below.)

The Advantages of Booking YMCA Classes Online

Several times a year I spend time trying to figure out which activities I am going to sign my kids up for at the YMCA. I spend hours poring over their booklet trying to match available activity times with the kids’ home and school schedule.

My first step is to try to remember the name of the last Ballet, gymnastics, basketball or swim class that they had finished so that I don’t mistakenly schedule them for a class they had previously taken. When I finally feel confident that I have figured that out I highlight the classes I need to sign the kids up for in the YMCA booklet and head for the YMCA, with kids in tow, to schedule their appointments. I had tried doing this over the phone in the past but was disappointed when they had scheduled my daughter for the wrong swimming class and the one I wanted her in was filled up by the time I noticed the error. So I opt for reserving the classes in person to avoid these types of mistakes, even though it is a hassle having to make this extra trip.

On the first day of my sons swimming class I noticed that the class my son was in had 12 children and one swimming instructor. This was okay, but a class at the other end of the pool had only 4 children with one instructor so they were receiving a more individualized instruction. I mentioned this observation to the woman next to me and she said that the YMCA provides a way to view the class sizes online. She went on to tell me that she views each class she is interested in and chooses the one that is least filled. It turns out that her daughter does not do well in large group settings and the online service allows her to choose a class that is better suited for her child.

I was very much intrigued by this and inquired at the front desk about viewing the YMCA class availability online. The YMCA gave me all the information I needed to log on from home and view all the classes and class sizes from home. I also found out that I could utilize the online service to view the history of which classes each of my children had completed, schedule the classes and pay for them all from home. This turned out to be a huge time saver for me and also gave me the peace of mind that the correct classes were scheduled.

I can say without a doubt that the best way to find and reserve the correct classes at the YMCA is to book them online.

Heartburn Can Be Easily Cured

Do you suffer from heartburn, reflux or burping? Perhaps you rely on a medicine to help settle your tummy. I have written on digestive disorders on several occasions previously, but this time I would like to write specifically on a little bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection is recognised as the most prevalent bacteria to infect the human population in the entire world. You may well identify the following problem, and if you do, don’t despair. It actually is possible to free from heartburn, reflux or a low grade queasiness, which affects so many people.

Helicobacter is a clever little bug

In 1982, when Australian Dr. Barry Marshall identified a new bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (HP) as an infectious agent responsible for peptic ulcer disease, it completely transformed medicine’s understanding of the microbiology and disease of the human stomach. Your stomach is protected from its own gastric juice by a thick layer of mucous that covers the stomach lining. HP takes advantage of this protection by actually living in the mucous lining. Once this clever little bug is safe in this mucous, it is able to fight the stomach acid that does reach it with an enzyme it possesses called urease. Urease converts urea, of which there is an abundant supply in the stomach (from saliva and gastric juices), into bicarbonate and ammonia, which are strong (alkaline) bases. This creates a cloud of acid-neutralizing chemicals around the H. pylori, protecting it from the acid in the stomach. This cloud is also part of the reflux and burping process that occurs, which many HP people complain of.

Contributing to the protection of HP is the fact that the body’s natural defenses cannot reach these bugs in this mucous lining of the stomach. The immune system will respond to an HP infection by sending “killer T-cells”, (white blood cells), and other infection-fighting agents. However, these potential H. pylori eradicators cannot reach the infection, because they cannot easily get through stomach lining. They do not go away – the immune response just grows and grows over time. White cells die and spill their destructive compounds onto cells lining the stomach lining. More nutrients are sent to reinforce the white cells, and the H. pylori can feed on this. Within a few days, gastritis and perhaps eventually a peptic ulcer results in the lining of your tummy. And of course, the person who suffers is often blissfully unaware, takes an antacid or an acid-blocking drug long-term, and continues to eat and drink foods which only aggravate the healing process long term. So they go back to the doctor, only to be told to stay on the medicine. After a few years, the person resigns themselves to the fact that they will always require this “medicine” to cure their condition. Yeah right, and Alice lived happily after in Wonderland.

To confirm that HP caused the gastritis and peptic ulceration, Marshall swallowed cultures of the bacteria and contracted gastritis (inflammation of the mucus membrane of the stomach). He then underwent endoscopy (internal examination of the stomach), and provided biopsies from which the suspected bug was re-isolated.

Changing medical belief and practice takes time. For nearly 100 years, scientists and doctors thought that ulcers were caused by lots of stress, spicy foods, and copious alcohol. Treatment involved bed rest and a bland and boring diet. Later, researchers added stomach acid to the list of causes and began treating ulcers with antacids when they became fashionable.Unfortunate for poor Barry, nobody believed him. In fact, he was actually treated with ridicule and disdain when he first proposed the idea that a bacteria actually lived the hostile environment of the stomach. Before 1982, the accepted medical paradigm was “no acid, no ulcer”, and that stomach ulcers only occurred when excess acid damaged the stomach wall and that all treatment should be aimed at reducing or neutralising all that bad acid. Surely you remember the advertisements on TV with the man drawing on his tummy with a felt tipped pen, telling you that the acid has to “stay down there”. These commercials generally came on after dinner, the time when your tummy is most likely to play up, I can’t help but thinking how many of those sufferers possibly have an undetected H.pylori infection. There is still a lot of drug promotion regarding this acid reflux problem. Unfortunately, many such patients today are still seen as having “too much stomach acid”, and treated with antacids or stomach-acid blockers as front-line therapy, when in my clinical experience actually the opposite applies, they don’t have enough or have an infection which needs sorting. Gastric juice is composed of digestive enzymes and concentrated hydrochloric acid, which can readily digest food or kill microorganisms. Low levels of stomach acid increase the chance an organism’s survival. It used to be thought that the stomach contained no bacteria and was actually sterile, and it took an Aussie GP to prove all the world’s experts wrong.

It seems pretty silly to treat the acid problem perpetually, without enquiring into actually why this burping, reflux and upper abdominal discomfort is occurring in the first place. Albert Szent Györgyi, (1937 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine) said that: “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Today it is an established fact that most cases of peptic ulcers and gastritis, diseases that affect millions of humans worldwide, result from this HP infection, and not “too much acid” in the stomach at all.

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent Györgyi

HP infection and prevalence

H. pylori is believed to be transmitted orally. Did you wash your hands? Many researchers believe that HP is transmitted orally by means of fecal matter through the ingestion of tainted food or water. In addition, it is possible that H. pylori could be transmitted from the stomach to the mouth through gastro-esophageal reflux or belching, all common symptoms of gastritis. The bacterium could then be transmitted through oral contact.

HP infection remains a huge problem, is extremely common and infecting more than a billion people worldwide. It is estimated that half of the American population older than age 60 has been infected with H. pylori at some stage and the economic effect of ulcer disease in the US (as measured back in a study of 1989 data) showed that the illness cost then nearly $6 billion annually. ($2.66 billion for hospitalisation, not including doctor ‘s fees), outpatient care ($1.62 billion), and loss in work productivity ($1.37 billion).

One in five Aussies and Kiwis have HP, according to Dr. Barry Marshal, infection usually persists for many years, leading to ulcer disease in 10 % to 15% of those infected. H. pylori is found in more than 80% of patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers. You can imagine what this common complaint in NZ and Australia is costing, in terms of medication, doctor’s visits and lost productivity at work. Early research on HP characterised much of the work to come, the data that emerged from the study of all these samples was quite unexpected. It showed that HP is actually a common bacterial agent and that an amazing 30-50% of the world’s population are colonised with it.

How do you know if you have the HP bug?

The infection manifests differently in different individuals. In some people, it produces more acid in the stomach, and ulcers may result. In others, stomach acid suppression or complete lack (which we call achlorhydria) may result, and these people may be at a greater risk of gastric cancer. It is unclear why some people respond one way or the other.

Typical manifestations of a Helicobacter pylori infection:

· Nausea, or a low-grade feeling of being queasy. Could be vomiting.

· Avoidance of chilli, garlic or a specific food which “does not agree” with your tummy.

· Bloating worse after meals. Feeling worse after meals or certain foods.

· Recurring abdominal pain, intestinal cramps.

· Peptic or duodenal ulcers (over 90% of all cases have HP)

· Burping, this can be pretty bad. The person may have developed a reputation!

· Heartburn, and perhaps reliant on Quick-Eze or Gavascon, Losec, etc.

· Diarrhea or constipation after several years of infection.

· Disturbed sleep, perhaps waking up with a hollow feeling or heartburn. I have known some patients to prop up the head of the bed with a few bricks even.

· Symptoms worse at night, or worse lying down.

· Vitamin B12 deficiency. Have your practitioner test for this, you may well be deficient.

· Altered appetite, some times you may feel like eating, other times you don’t.

· After being infected for several years, you may have develop mineral deficiencies which can lead to a myriad of health problems.

· Helicobacter pylori is implicated in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

· Migraine headaches (40% of migraine sufferers are positive, and eradication subsides the headaches).

· Acne rosacea. Helicobacter pylori is suspected of causing rosacea (eradication of HP often results in a significant reduction in rosacea symptoms).

Is it any wonder how an ailing stomach is supposed to do its job, i.e., digesting and absorbing foods efficiently when a bacterial infection is causing such dysfunction? Your doctor may have initially prescribed a medicine such as Losec, Gavascon or Mylanta for your stomach, serving to block acid or dilute it. How is your tummy supposed to work at all now? Then you go back and complain that the symptoms are unchanged. What then? You can see what I mean, after many years of this infection you can feel quite unwell. I see one person or more each week like this, and have done so for many years. When I wrote an article to our local newspaper several years ago regarding HP, I received nearly ten calls. And almost al these patients had a HP infection, all were on either Losec, Quick-Eze, Gavascon or Mylanta.

Conventional HP Therapy

Please note that it is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before trying to find a cure of your heartburn or reflux. Many stomach or digestive diseases and conditions share common symptoms: if you treat yourself for the wrong illness or a specific symptom of a complex disease, you may delay legitimate treatment of a serious underlying problem, yes even stomach cancer. In other words, the greatest danger in self-treatment may actually be self-diagnosis. Always work with your health-care professional, preferably one who is experienced in gastrointestinal disorders. If you do not know what you really have, you simply can not treat it!

I have always had a great concern regarding the extensive use of antibiotic drugs required to treat HP infected individuals. The conventional medical clearing of HP from the stomach requires therapy from 10 to 14 days with multiple drugs. My concern is that prolonged or recurrent antibiotic treatment alters the normal microbial population of the entire gastrointestinal tract, eliminating many beneficial bacteria as well as HP, allowing the sufferer to develop a gut environment which may contain bugs like Candida albicans, proteus, or a whole host of other undesirables. You get rid of one problem, only to create yet another.

Triple Therapy

The use of only one medication to treatH. pylori was never recommended by Dr. Marshall. At this time, the most conventional treatment is a 2-week course of treatment called “triple therapy”. It involves taking two antibiotics to kill the bacteria and either an acid suppressor or stomach-lining shielding drug. Two-week triple therapy reduces ulcer symptoms, kills the bacteria, and prevents ulcer recurrence in many patients – but the recurrence can be as high as 75%. Complete eradication is difficult, I have had many patients who have come to me after having had triple therapy many years ago with average to poor results, and were placed on an acid blocker for many years after.I do recommend this for some resistant cases, and have been know to send some patients to a GP for triple therapy, then follow-up with natural treatment for 6 weeks. I have found that some patients may find triple therapy complicated because it involves taking 3 kinds of drugs, and as many as 20 pills a day. Also, the antibiotics and bismuth drugs used in triple therapy may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, metallic taste in the mouth, dizziness, headache, and yeast infections, particularly in women.

HP Testing

The diagnosis of H. pylori infection has traditionally involved endoscopy with biopsies of the stomach’s mucosa. There are three ways to test for HP currently in NZ. To be honest, I only occasionally authorise a HP test these days, and generally have a “gut feeling” a person has this bug once they come into my room and complain of the above mentioned symptoms. Common sense – the patient will soon tell you if they are or are not improving, and it only takes about three to four weeks to really know what is going on. Just because the test results come back negative, you could still have this bug. You know me by now, please don’t get paralysis from analysis! If you feel significantly better after a HP treatment whether it be pharmaceutical or natural – you probably have HP regardless of what the test results say. Remember – up to one in five New Zealanders have this infection, so the odds are reasonably high you have it.

· The Urea Breath Test method of diagnosis relies on the Urea reaction being present, as mentioned earlier. This is a sound test – 90 – 95% successful in picking up the HP bug.

· Blood tests measuring HP antibody levels have been developed. However, these tests have suboptimal sensitivity and specificity (85% and 79%).

· Stool tests for antibodies – again, many factors can affect the outcome of this test, stay with breath testing. Many experts say that the fecal antigen test is bullet proof, but in my experience I have seen many “false negatives” with testing. That is, the results come back all ok, but the patient responds dramatically after HP treatment.

Natural HP Eradication

No clear indications exist for specific treatment of each and every individual case of HP associated gastritis. I have found the following treatments to be effective, and employed many different therapies over the years. Here are some treatments which I have found to work in various HP cases. Remember, recurrence rates are quite high, so you may want to persist with treatment until you feel much better, then hang in there for a few more months (lower grade treatment) to be absolutely sure. I recommend treatment in blocks of 6 weeks, then wait 2 -3 weeks, then another 6 week period of treatment. A good clinical tip for you: always treat this infection by taking something with meals, and also something in-between, or away from foods. This is designed to really drive the “kill” treatment home, and lets the treatment have access to the HP bugs in the gut with as well as away to some extent from foods and gastric juice involvement. I have a saying in my clinic: persistence breaks resistance. Remember Winston Churchill? – never give in, never give in, never give in.

· Manuka honey, which has high levels of hydrogen peroxide and has been shown in studies to be active against H. pylori. Go for the Comvita high UMF factor Manuka honey.

· Propolis works really well for some, but is dismal for others.

· Vitamin B12 – get this checked in your blood! You may well be deficient here.

· After antibiotic treatment is finished, (triple therapy) it makes sense to rebuild the gut flora with lactobacillus species. They won’t cure the condition, however. (A 2002 trial demonstrated that a mixed acidophilus preparation failed to eradicate the H. pylori infection in the patients upon whom it was tried).

· DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) – you can get this in capsules or liquid.

· Aloe Vera helps to heal the mucous lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

· Berberine is found in the herb Goldenseal, and it may be used as a natural herbal antibiotic.

· Eat grapefruit seeds, for some this is very effective long term. The extract is even better.

· Digestive enzymes may also be useful – especially with achlorhydria (low stomach acid)

· Gum mastic is a natural substance from the sap of the Mediterranean evergreen tree, Pistacia lemniscuses. Mastic gum has been shown to be effective in protecting the digestive system, healing peptic and duodenal ulcers, and eradicating H. pylori from the gut. I use this a lot, and give two capsules twice daily in between meals.

· Bismuth. It displays anti-inflammatory action (due to salicylic acid) and also acts as an antacid and mild antibiotic. Don’t freak out – It can also cause a black tongue and black stools in some people who take it, when it combines with trace amounts of sulfur in their saliva and gastrointestinal tract. This discoloration is temporary and absolutely harmless.

My favourite HP treatment regime? I would have to say gum mastica between meals, and with meals a preparation of Bismuth,deglycyrrhizinated licorice, grapefruit seed extract and goldenseal. I often recommend aloe vera and activated charcoal as well.

Do you get that annoying heartburn, and want to try and find a cause and ultimately a cure? Consult your naturopath or nutritional-friendly doctor who can check you out carefully and thoroughly and who will actually treat the cause, not the symptom. They should generally recommend a course of treatment and a specific diet designed for the individual, with promising results for many patients. And what a relief, to be free of heartburn, bloating and that “awful feeling in the tummy” again!

Windscreen Wiper Water May Cause Pneumonia and Here’s How to Prevent It

Legionnaires’ disease, a rare disease, is a severe bacterial infection affecting respiratory tract (pneumonia). The organism involved in this condition is Legionella pneumophila that usually founds in mist from hot tubs, air-conditioning units and showers. Transmission occurs by breathing in mist from water that contains these bacteria. General symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle pain and headaches.

Windscreen wiper may cause Legionnaires disease A recent study found that “Windscreen wiper water may be the cause of 20% of cases of Legionnaires’ disease and adding screen-wash to wiper fluids could save lives”. This finding is based on a case-control study which surveyed the driving habits and known risk factors of the Legionnaires’ disease. They study was conducted after an unusual high number of cases were reported in England and Wales and around this time it was well established that professional drivers were five times more likely to get Legionnaires’ than people from other lines of work. The study was aimed to further explore the possible reasons for the difference between the occupations.

The researchers contacted the 75 surviving cases who had acquired Legionnaires’ disease and also included 67 control people without the disease. The participants were provided with a questionnaire asking about their driving habits, other recognized risk factors and possible illness sources in the vehicles. They were asked what kind of vehicle they drove, its age, car service history, content of the wiper fluid tank and whether their driving was for societal or occupation reasons.

The results showed that two factors were associated with a high likelihood of being infected: driving all the way through industrial areas and driving or being a traveler in a motor vehicle that used windscreen wiper fluid with no screen-wash. The researchers calculated that about 22% of infections in people could be due to driving or being a traveler in a car that did not use screen-wash in the windscreen wiper fluid. The detected a firm link between people who do not use screen-wash and the danger of Legionnaires’ disease. Although because of case-control nature of study it cannot confirm causation, the investigators state there is a reasonable biological connection. They believe it is plausible that the bacteria grow in the sluggish water of the wiper’s fluid tank that can become an aerosol when it is sprayed onto the windshield.

Though not proved causal relation, until more conclusive results comes, it is advisable to add screen-wash to your car’s wiper fluid as it can limit the transmission of bacterial causing Legionnaires’ disease.

Investing – How To Choose The Best Option

Investors are increasingly forced to choose from a proliferation of investment options. They also have to deal with contradictory advice on how to achieve their financial goals and how to invest the savings they have accumulated during their lifetime. If you consider that there are more than 7000 mutual funds available in the United States alone, and thousands of insurance products worldwide, making the choice that will satisfy them ever after is daunting, to say the least.

No wonder people so often ask the rather general question: Which investment is best? The first part of the answer is easy: No single investment is ‘the best’ under all circumstances for all investors. Personal circumstances, goals and different people’s needs differ, as do the characteristics of different investments. Secondly, one asset class’s strength in certain circumstances could be another’s weakness. It is therefore important to compare investments according to relevant criteria. The art is to find the appropriate investment for each objective and need.

The following are the most important criteria:

  • the goal of the investment
  • the risk the investor can handle
  • liquidity required
  • taxability of the investment
  • the period until the financial goal is reached
  • last but not least, the cost of the investment.

THE GOAL

Goals determine the characteristics sought in an investment. You will be in a position to choose the most appropriate investment only when you have decided on your short-, medium- and long-term goals. The following generic goals are normally involved:

Emergency fund

Emergency fund money should be readily available when needed, and the value of the fund should be equal to about six months’ income. Money market funds are excellent for this purpose. While these funds do not perform much higher than inflation, their benefit is that capital is saved and is easily accessible.

If you already have a ready emergency fund covering more than six months’ income, you could consider a more aggressive mutual fund

Capital protection

If your primary aim is capital protection, you will have to be satisfied with a lower growth rate on the investment. Those above 50 are normally advised to be conservative in their investment approach. While this may for the most part be sound advice, you should also keep an eye on the risk of inflation, so that the purchasing power of your money does not depreciate. It is not the nominal value of the capital that should be protected, but the inflation-adjusted one. At an annual inflation rate of 6%, $1 million today will buy the same as $174 110 in 30 years’ time. A 50 year-old with $1 million would therefore have to lower his living standard substantially if he only retains the $1 million until he was 80.

Conservative investments like those listed above should form the normal basis for providing an income. Because of inflation risk, investments should be structured so that they can at least keep up with inflation. This means that at least a percentage of the investment source providing the income should be made up of other asset classes like property and equity mutual funds. The percentage would differ according to individual and economic circumstances.

Investors fortunate enough to have their basic budget provided for by a conservative fund could consider increasing their income with commercial property funds and tax-free income from dividends paid out by listed shares.

Capital growth

If an investor’s primary goal is to achieve capital growth, the real rate of return should be higher than inflation. This implies greater risk to capital in the short term. Investors aiming at capital growth should not be apprehensive, as they will reap the rewards in the long term.

The history of equity prices over the past 100 years proves equity investments to be the best performer, followed by property. This does not mean you should buy either of these investments blindfolded. Wait until the quality shares in which you are interested are trading at inexpensive price levels.

RISK

The investment with a history of the highest growth is not necessarily the one to choose. The Standard Bank’s Gold Fund increased by 178% during the period 13 August 2001 – 24 May 2002 (284 days). Judging only on the growth of the fund during this period, it performed exceptionally well. But would it be the right investment for a retiree? During the 805 days following this, the same fund experienced a negative growth rate of 44%! The problem with an investment that decreases by this percentage is that it will not reach its previous peak by increasing again by 44%. This is because the growth this time will take place from a lower base, so in fact the investment would have to increase by approximately 80%.

LIQUIDITY

Hard assets like Persian carpets, works of art and antique furniture may be good investments in the long term, but unfortunately they are not very liquid. The same is true of certain shares in smaller companies. Money market funds, on the other hand, are very liquid, but the returns may not always be as good as those from other investments. The need to liquidise the investment quickly is therefore also a criterion to consider when evaluating investments.

TAXABILITY

The taxability of an investment has a considerable impact on its value to the investor. When comparing the returns on different investments, the return after tax has been deducted should be used. The investor should always ask what will be left in his pocket after tax deduction.

PERIOD

Conservative investments with no potential for high returns are suitable for shorter periods, while investment-objectives with longer time horizons aspire to achieving higher returns. Money market funds are suitable for periods of one or two years. Income and conservative asset allocation funds for three or four years and flexible asset allocation funds, commercial property funds and value equity funds may be chosen for longer periods, dependent on the economic and interest cycle and the propensity of the investor to accept risk.

COSTS

The costs involved in an investment are normally things like administrative cost and commission. The percentage of the costs to the investment amount directly affects the value of the investment. Many of the currently available investment products are structured in such a way that investors can negotiate commission.

CONCLUSION

No investment strategy blueprint is going to be perfect for everyone’s circumstances. Investment opportunities should therefore be examined critically before any decision is made. It should also be kept in mind that there are different companies managing specific funds under the investment categories referred to above. Some are more effectively managed than others. Investors should therefore research investments as well as the managers thoroughly before investing. Otherwise, they could appoint professional asset managers to do so on their behalf. Time spent determining the type of investment you really need is time invested in your future financial well-being.

Is Out-Of-State Real Estate Investing Right for You?

Have you made up your mind to start investing in real estate, but you’re torn in deciding where to invest?

Are you thinking about making a local investment, but wondering if an out-of-state investment might be better?

This is one of the first of many choices you’ll have to make when you decide to invest in real estate: the simple question of where you should invest your hard-earned dollars. While there are definite benefits to investing in your area, there are also some potentially profit-limiting downsides.

That’s not to say investing in outside areas doesn’t have its own pros and cons. Let’s take a look at both and see why out-of-state real estate investing might be a profitable option you have not yet explored.

Investing Locally

This is the most obvious choice for many real estate investors, but is it really right for you?

If you choose to buy a property local to you, you’ll rest easier about your investment since you know the market. First, you know your competition. You might know the names of professionals you can trust and you’ll have an intimate understanding of what the cost of living is for that area and how to make things more affordable.

Second, if you like to be hands-on, it will be much easier for you since you’re right there. If you want to see the property, it’s just a short drive away. If you want to talk to the property manager face-to-face, you just put it on your calendar for the end of the day.

Drawbacks to Local Investments

On the other hand, investing solely local can narrow your options. Not every market has the inventory of good investment opportunities that you can avail yourself of if you invest out-of-state. The local inventory of available properties may or may not be big enough or well-suited for investment opportunities.

You also run into the problem of whether your local market is the one you want. The recession made a huge impact on housing markets throughout the country and some areas have recovered at different paces than others. You might find yourself out-priced in your current market, but even if you aren’t, you might not be able to see a favorable future where you’re at.

Investing Out-of-State

If you decide to invest out-of-state, you can greatly increase your options. You can literally choose any location, any market and invest in properties there. Whether you want to invest in Florida vacation homes and coastal villas or homes in the suburbs of Detroit, the sky’s the limit. You can make your investment fit your price point and interests.

By investing out-of-state, you can put your money to work in markets with high ROI. You pick and choose which markets you’re interested in, and which ones are rising stars in the real estate investment scene, ignoring your own market’s changes.

Investing out-of-state also allows you to scale based on your needs. For many would-be investors, their local market is priced too extravagantly to make real estate investment prudent. The cost of living in a different state, just a few borders east or west, might be considerably lower. That means you can snatch up excellent properties at a much lower cost than you might in your own market.

Even better, you can snag those investment deals on excellent properties that would go for three to four times as much, if not more, in your own local market. Your purchasing power becomes much stronger in other markets, because everything’s relative.

Challenges of Out-of-State Investments

There are still some challenges to these remote investments. First of all, you have to learn who you can trust and maintain the peace of mind that comes from having easy local access to your investment. You also have to be able to trust that the property you’re investing in is what it’s advertised as.

The property is also more difficult to visit if you like to be hands on. You might have to fly out to visit the property, which some people enjoy but others are seriously bothered by. If you are the type of investor who prefers the more passive turn-key approach, this is an excellent opportunity.

Finally, the market won’t be what you’re used to. Nothing will be quite the same as being there and immersing yourself in the market, but you can learn and study. You just have to rely on someone else to have knowledge of the nuances of the market.

Doing Out-of-State Right

There is a solution to all of the challenges of real estate investing outside your state. When you find a reputable, proven company to handle your turn-key real estate transaction, you have someone you can count on to know the market you’re investing in. Here are the main reasons you should find a partner to work with you on your out-of-state investments.

  • They can keep a more educated eye on the market, since they know all of the nuances of that area.
  • They’ll serve as your presence near your investment, keeping everything on track, so you don’t have to make numerous trips to the property.
  • If the turn-key real estate investment firm is reputable, they want you to succeed. This means they’ll do anything they can to make sure you do succeed.

The question becomes, whom can you trust? You want to make sure you engage in a partnership with a firm who is reputable, knowledgeable and engaged in your market. Referrals from other investors are key, so be on the lookout for like-minded people who have been there and done that.

You should also investigate what the turn-key operation offers you, and what their fee or cut of your profit is. Ideally, you’ll want a partner who can help you throughout your investment lifecycle, from acquiring the property to managing it.

Getting Started

We’ve gone over the benefits and drawbacks of out-of-state investing, so now the decision is yours to make. Do you still want to invest locally or have you realized that the time is ripe to diversify your portfolio and invest in out-of-state properties? The benefits of out-of-state real estate investment are huge and the drawbacks can easily be mitigated by partnering with someone in the area in which you’re investing.

Communication in Today’s Corrections (Part One)

Anyone that has ever worked as either a Police Officer or a Corrections Officer knows the following: It’s either brawn or brain that will get you through the day. They also know that you have to use both (on occasion) if you are going to be successful at your job.

Those of us in the Correctional Profession know that most of the time, and not all the time, the physical confrontations that we encounter are the result of our actions. Now, I understand that some people might disagree with this, but it’s a hard reality to face. Where do we go wrong that leads to this type of confrontation? Communication.

There are really just two ways in which we communicate with people: Verbal and Non-Verbal. Most of our communication (roughly 85-87%) is done through body language. We can all tell when someone is upset, happy, mad, angry, indifferent, you get the point. When our body language says one thing and our mouth says another we tend to run into problems. Inside of a correctional facility we do not have the luxury of firearms, Tasers, or any other type of intermediate weapons on a regular basis. If you do, trust me when I tell you that the rest of us are extremely jealous of you! What does that leave the rest of us? Our mouth/brain combination and our hands.

True, some people have lost that all important connection between their brains and their mouths (also known as verbal diarrhea) but for the most part, the rest of us still have it intact. As an instructor, I always ask my classes the same question: “What’s the difference between a Correctional Officer and an Offender?” As expected, the answers I get are varied: “We go home at the end of the day!” “We didn’t kill anyone!” “We didn’t rape anyone” and the list goes on. I then pause and ask question again.

By this point they are looking at me with confused looks on their faces. I reply back to them “Although you are correct that we didn’t rape or kill anyone, and we do go home at the end of the day, the only difference between them and us is that they got caught and we didn’t.” I then go on to ask “Who in this classroom has never, in their entire life, done anything that someone is not currently doing time in a local, county, state, or federal correctional facility?” No hands go up….

Now keep in mind that I said “never, in their entire life, done anything…” We all have. Whether it was steal something as a kid or adult (office supplies anyone?) it’s still larceny. Got home after going out with friends and saying “I shouldn’t have driven home!” (We’ve heard the slogan “Buzzed driving is drunk driving”) You get the point.

Now that we have established that they are just like us, let’s establish another all important fact: Not everyone that is incarcerated will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. They are going to get out and become our neighbors.

Correctional Departments throughout the country have moved their old way of doing business into the modern era: Rehabilitation and Re-Integration. If we look their Mission Statements, we will likely see a common theme: Public Safety, Pro-social behavior, Re-integration and rehabilitation.

In order to effectively re-integrate and rehabilitate, we must do one thing: Communicate. Communication in a correctional facility can be broken down into 4 main categories:

1. No communication

2. Operational Communication

3. Human-Respectful Communication

4. Cognitive Reflective Communication

No Communication

Easy enough: we don’t talk, they don’t talk, we point, they do as told and we go on our merry way. Officers are separated from the offenders and there is almost no interaction.

Operational Communication

We say the bare minimum in order to get the job done and maintain control (“Come here!” “Go there!” “Chow time” “Do this!” “Don’t do that!” etc, etc, etc). Although there is still a separation between Officers and Offenders, there is more interaction than there is with no communication.

Human-Respectful Communication

This involves talking to offenders like a person, just like you would to anybody else you meet in public. Pro-social communication is effectively done at this stage. Although the use of “please” and “thank you” towards an offender would insult many Correctional Officers, it is part of being respectful and communicating effectively within a correctional facility. (More on this in Communication in Today’s Corrections Part Two).

Cognitive Reflective Communication

This is THE hardest form of communication to achieve. It involves a person to be willing to think about, and change, their behavior, thought process, and accept the consequences of their actions. And what’s the thing most of us hate the most? Change! And that is the reason why it’s the hardest form of communication/thought process that we have.

Once we learn how to communicate effectively, we can reduce the amount of problems that we face on the job every day and increase our “safety factor” exponentially. The proof is in the pudding…