Thomas Nagel And His Article On Death

Thomas Nagel begins his collection of essays with a most intriguing discussion about death. Death being one of the most obviously important subjects of contemplation, Nagel takes an interesting approach as he tries to define the truth as to whether death is, or is not, a harm for that individual. Nagel does a brilliant job in attacking this issue from all sides and viewpoints, and it only makes sense that he does it this way in order to make his own observations more credible.

He begins by looking at the very common views of death that are held by most people in the world, and tells us that he will talk of death as the “unequivocal and permanent end to our existence” and look directly at the nature of death itself (1). The first view that Nagel decides to discuss is the view that death is bad for us because it deprives us of more life. Most people are in the view that life is good; even though some experiences in life can be bad, and sometimes tragic, the nature of life itself is a very positive state. Nagel also adds that when the experiences of life are put aside, this state is still positive, and not simply “neutral” (2).

Nagel goes further to point out some important observations about the value of life. Mere “organic survival” cannot be said to be a component of value (2). Nagel gives the example of death and being in a coma before dying. Both of these situations would be equally bad situations. Another observation is that “like most goods” the value can become greater with time (2).

Looking now at what is bad about death instead of what is good about life, Nagel presents some obvious thoughts regarding this point. Life is good because we have the conscious ability to experience and appreciate all that life has to offer. So death is bad because it deprives us of these experiences, not because the actual state of death is bad for us.

The next point that Nagel makes is that there are certain indications that show how people do not object to death simply because it “involves long periods of nonexistence” (3). It is said that people would not look at the temporary “suspension” of life as a terrible misfortune, because the fact that it is temporary tells us that this will ultimately bring the state back to that of conscious life. Also, we do not look at the state being before we are born as a misfortune, or deprivation of life, because that life has not yet begun and, (as Nagel states later), he refutes the possible argument that the person could have been born earlier and had more life, with the fact that if that person was born substantially earlier, he would cease to be that person, but instead someone else entirely.

Nagel discusses next three problems. The first is a view that there are no evils that are not rooted in a person consciously “minding” those evils. Nagel puts this view in to easier terms by saying that this is the same as saying “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” (4). There are several examples that can illustrate this theory. People who think this way would say that it is not a harm for a person to be ridiculed behind his back, if he doesn’t know about it. If he doesn’t experience the evil, it is not bad for him. Nagel thinks this view is wrong. The natural discovery here is that it is bad to be betrayed, this is what makes the whole situation unfortunate; not because the discovery of this betrayal makes us unhappy.

The second problem is that which has to do with who the subject of harm caused by death is, and when exactly this occurs. Harm can be experienced by a person before death, nothing can be experienced after death, so when is death itself experienced as a harm? The third problem deals with posthumous and prenatal existence.

Contemplating the good or bad aspects of death, Nagel observes that we must look at the possible circumstances surrounding a death, and the pertinent history of the person who dies. This is important because we miss a lot that is important to the argument if what we take into consideration is exclusively the state of the person at the moment of death. Nagel gives an example of a very intelligent man sustaining an injury that causes him to regress to the mental capacity of an infant. His needs can be fulfilled like those of an infant and be kept happy as long as simple needs are met. His family and friends would look at this as a terrible misfortune, even though the man himself is not aware of his loss. This situation is unfortunate because of the deprivation of what might have been had he not been injured in this way. He could have gone on to accomplish great things for the world and his family, and live out his life through old age as an accomplished and acclaimed individual. This would have lead him to great happiness, but it can be observed that this same man in a state of mental capacity to match that of a child is also happy, but Nagel agrees that what happened to this man is a tragedy because of the terrible loss of the life the intelligent man could have led. This situation can relate to death in this way of thinking about deprivation. Death is bad because it robs you of what could have been.

After making these observations, Nagel states that “This case should convince us that it is arbitrary to restrict the goods and evils that can befall a man to non-relational properties ascribable to him at particular times” (6). There are endless circumstances and happenings going on that affect a person’s fortune or misfortune. Many of these never coincide directly to the person’s life. We must consider that there is no way to pinpoint the exact position of a misfortune in a person’s life, nor a way to define the origin. People have dreams and goals in life that may or may not be fulfilled. There is no way to find all of the circumstances and possibilities that go into whether or not these hopes and dreams are eventually fulfilled, but Nagel tells us that we must simply accept that “If death is an evil, it must be accounted for in these terms, and the impossibility of locating it within life should not trouble us” (7).

There are some who view the time before birth and the time after death as the same. We exist in neither, though Nagel argues that there is a difference. This whole essay has expressed exactly his view that though we do not exist in either case, death deprives us of time that we could have been living our lives.

Nagel makes an interesting observation about whether we can assign as a misfortune an event or aspect of life which is normal to all humans in general. We all know that we all will die and that the maximum amount of life is somewhere around 100 years. So is it still plausible to say this is a misfortune? He also gives the example of moles, which are blind. It is not a misfortune for a mole to be blind because they are all blind, and they will never know sight and be able to appreciate it. But Nagel also presents the example of a situation in which everyone goes through six months of pain and anguish before dying. Everyone knows that this is going to happen, but does that make the event any less of an event to dread and fear?

We are brought into this world and brought up with aspects of our lives that we appreciate. The deprivation of these things that we learn to appreciate is a misfortune, because we have learned to live with these privileges. It is unfathomable for a human being to grasp the concept of a finite life, in the truest meaning of understanding. We do not think of our lives right now as a set out plan or a finite sequence of events. We do not live day to day thinking of what we should do according to how much time we have left. Our lives are essentially an open-ended sequence of good and bad circumstances and possibilities. Death is the abrupt interruption of this sequence that we cannot help but be in the mindset will never end. This is how death is a deprivation, and ultimately, a bad thing for a person.

In conclusion, Nagel offers a good argument in his essay on death about death itself being a harm. Whether a person believes in the immortal life or not, it must still be considered that dying deprives you of the goods and experiences of life. This view seems unavoidable. A person who dies at age 92 has lived a full life to the best of his ability and has experienced more than someone who dies at age 32. The person dying at age 32 had many things that he wished to accomplish and experience in his life, and since the event of death has taken away all possibility of any of these goals coming to pass, and undermines all the work that he has put forth up to that point in pursuit of his goals, death is a terrible tragedy for him.

Work Cited

Nagel, Thomas. Mortal Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1979.

Impotence, Infertility, and Sterility (Part 2)

Excessive ejaculation is very detrimental to overall optimal male health. Sperm contains the elixir of life (vitality) and constant loss of this special elixir causes a man to age prematurely. His hair thins, balds and turns grey, his teeth begin to fall out, his hearing and sight becomes bad, he’s constantly fatigued or feeling lethargic, and prone to many sicknesses that claim his health.

Celibacy or temporary periods of sexual (or ejaculatory) fasting allows the spark plugs of the genitals to recharge (rejuvenate and revitalize), in addition to allowing sperm count and production to increase. Celibacy is also warranted to help heal from STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), which is the number one cause of chronic degeneracy of the male sex gland and reproductive system. Chronic sores, bumps, blisters, inflammation, discharges, and rashes debilitate the physical makeup of the male (and female) sex glands or organs and entire reproductive system and are greatly implicated in sterility and infertility.

Most STDs are contracted from recreational sex. God, Biblically speaking, instructed us to have “procreational” sex, but as hypocrites (to God) and loyal imps of the Adversary and his Matrix, we love to pursue and engage in recreational sex. Recreational sex is “wreck creational” (to wreck creation) and that’s exactly what we are and have been foolishly doing – WRECKING God’s creation, especially when you women and girls get pregnant and run to the butcher shop and get an abortion (infanticide), that many of us males are the cause (and financiers) of. I’ll cover abortions and miscarriages in detail in a future article. However, you pay a hidden price for these government-approved acts of legalized murder euphemistically called “abortion” that I will pull your coat tail to (expose, bring to light).

The Adversary’s Matrix keeps us ignorant and unconscious to our lower nature and manipulates us through the imbalances of our lower charkas, especially the root chakra (located at the genitals) and the sacral chakra (located under the belly button). Why do you think its high fashion today for women to wear shirts (blouses) that reveal their belly buttons? By all means am not I telling any woman to stop wearing blouses or even the most revealing clothes. Djehuty is pro freedom, liberation and choice. You do what you want to do. I’m just asking the question “do you know why you’re doing what you do?” Do you know the science behind your fashion, styles, and habits? Do you know why you are piercing your belly buttons today? Do you know what the metals (gold, silver) do to your energy (including your sexual energy) and your sacral chakra? I’m simply asking a question!

Concurring with Author Stewart A. Swerdlow, blatant sexuality is all around us, from fashion to media to everyday speech. This sexuality is a deep, bright red that essentially pulls on your sexual charkas and opens them up. Using color, tone, and archetype (or symbol), these sexual chakras are systematically opened, fed, and energized, expanding them out of proportion until they have control over you. Then you are controlled and manipulated through these chakras.” But when certain people like myself suggest the use of earth’s crystals and gemstones that are naturally red in color and substance which balances and protects the sexual charkas, I’m called a diviner or a practitioner of divination, an occultist, etc.

Your religious leaders and institutions and the public fool (school) system have failed to teach you the metaphysics and metaphysical aspects of life that the Adversary uses against you. Do you deny the sexual perversity, decadence, immorality (fornication and adultery) that takes place in your religious institution or settings, even amongst the officials and leaders? Why do you think sex is so out of control today, but at the same time it’s used to control society (fear of contracting AIDS or STDs, fear of getting pregnant, etc.)?

Sex is connected to fear and fear is the greatest weapon of control on the masses of the people today. But moving along with our topic…

Healing Impotence

To combat or reverse impotence, eat a more vegan-vegetarian based diet and/or consume only sparse amounts of meat (white meat only). Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, raw and organic fruit, plenty of seeds and nuts (think about it, male sperm is commonly known as “seed” i.e. “to plant seed in a woman”; and ejaculation is commonly referred to as a “nut” or “nutting”, i.e. to bust a nut). The best seeds for a man to eat are pumpkin seeds (papitas) and sunflower seeds due to their rich zinc content. The male prostate gland is chiefly comprised of zinc and with every ejaculation, a man losses vital zinc.

There are a plethora of male-specific hormonal herbs that greatly help heal impotence and degeneracy of the male organ and reproductive system. Yohimbe bark, a powerful African aphrodisiac herb, greatly helps to counteract impotence by its power of increasing and enhancing blood flow to the penis greatly enhancing girth and hang time of the penis. Lycii berry invigorates the blood and can help to increase sperm count and reproductive secretions. Epimedium (Horny Goat weed), a powerful Chinese herb, counteracts premature ejaculation and improves circulation to the penis by its action of dilating the capillaries and larger blood vessels (just like Yohimbe). They don’t call this herb Horny Goat weed for nothing. Epimedium has an effect that makes a man (and a woman) horny and lustful like a goat. Muira Puama, a South American herb commonly known as “potency wood”, is probably the best herb in counteracting im(potence). It has a libido enhancing effect and greatly supports organ regeneration.

Ashwagandha, a powerful Indian or Ayurvedic herb, promotes sexual organ health and regeneration and also has a libido enhancing affect. Damiana, a Mexican aphrodisiac herb, greatly enhances circulation to the penis and energizes the penis. Sarsaparilla nourishes the male sex gland and system and greatly helps reverse conditions of impotence and degeneracy. I could never forget about Stiffcock Strongback. The name says it all for this West Caribbean herb! It is great for a stiff “cock” (penis) in cases of impotence and also strengthens the back which becomes degenerate from a lot of humping. Ever wanted to know why a man was said to be “sowing his oats” in regards to having sex with a woman? This saying has to do with the herb Oat or Oatstraw. Goats are very sexual and lusty creatures, and what do goats in America eat? Oatstraw (grass)! Oatstraw is excellent for the improvement of the male regenerative system.

From time to time (every 4-6 months), I make a tea with all of the foregoing herbs and some other herbs not mentioned, for maintenance of my reproductive system (and one day is all I need). It actually takes control over your body and you almost have no control over your sex organ. The penis does have a mind all of its own. God’s herbs are far more effective than man’s pharmaceutical drugs’ (Cialis and Viagra).

I concocted an herbal compound that we sell at DHERBS called Jackrabbit to serve as a safer and saner alternative to these harmful pharmaceutical sex enhancing drugs. If you really want to conceive a child or just improve your sex life, start messing around these herbs and herbal concoctions (Jackrabbit, Male Hormonal Formula, Prostate Formula). Your impotence will be gone in a matter of days. You will become a hound dog and a lusty goat, hopefully under the right circumstances (like being in a monogamous relationship or married). You’ll read the Song of Solomon in the Bible and become aroused at all of its sexual innuendos.

After all, God made the herbs for the service of man (Psalms 104:14) and instructed man to be fruitful and to multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28). Now if God instructed us to be fruitful and to multiply and replenish the earth, and today we cannot do such because we are impotent as men (and sterile or infertile as women), what does this imply? Somewhere along the line we have deviated from God’s path and ordained way of life for us. The proof is in the pudding! Our sexual disorders are preventing us from adhering to God’s commandment. Could our modern day high meat, dairy and starch-filled diets and fast-paced and technological-based lifestyles have something to do with this?

It’s interesting in that after God instructed man and woman to be fruitful and to multiply and replenish the earth in Genesis 1:28, God comes behind this with an ordained diet for man and woman in Genesis 1:29 that is a fruitarian (fruit-based) diet:

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”

Now if God instructed us to eat fruit that contains seed, how come we are eating seedless fruit today, such as seedless watermelon, seedless grapes, seedless oranges, etc.? Again, we talk and profess God, but we are the most loyal imps of the Devil or Adversary and are too blind and self-righteous to know it, but are perplexed at our modern day pathologies and disorders. I truly understand how the devil came to God walking amongst the sons of God without the sons of God having a clue that the devil was with them:

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” JOB 1:6

So getting back to our Genesis-based fruit-based diet, the terms “fruitful” and “seed” have to do with sexual reproduction. Does a man not have “seed”? Is not a woman “fruitful”? The term “infertility” derives from the Latin word infertilis, meaning “not fruitful” [in “not” and fertilis “fruitful”]. A woman who is not fruitful is said to be infertile which brings us to the topic of female infertility.

What is infertility?

Infertility (or infertile) is defined as: “The inability to produce offspring. This condition may be present in one or both sex partners and may be temporary and reversible. The cause may be physical, including immature sexual organs, abnormalities of the reproductive system, hormonal imbalance, and dysfunction or anomalies in other organ systems, or may result from psychological or emotional problems. The condition is classified as primary, in which pregnancy has never occurred, and secondary, when there have been one or more pregnancies.” SOURCE: Mosby’s Dictionary, 3rd Edition (1990)

Eat plenty of artichokes and asparagus (steam them). Eat plenty of pomegranates, berries (raspberries, Lycii, vitex or chaste tree, blueberries, Goji, etc.). Eat plenty of sunflower and pumpkin seeds (uterus food). These are your fertility enhancing foods.

Women, do you know how to bless your wombs? Do you know how to prevent the psychic attacks on your womb?

Your womb is a potential internal nursery for a Rosemary’s Baby which means your womb is used to produce a baby for the Devil (Adversary, Matrix). In the 1966 Roman Polanski movie “Rosemary’s Baby”, actress Mia Farrow unsuspectedly and unknowingly carried a baby for the Devil. These murderers, serial killers, drive-by shooters, cut-throats, and natural born killers, where did they come from? Answer: from the womb of a female!

Healing for Infertility (Frigidity)

Herbs that help a woman to heal from infertility include SQUAWVINE, DAMIANA, ASHOKA, FALSE UNICORN, SAW PALMETTO BERRIES, CHASTE TREE BERRIES, MACA MACA and BALA.

The following essential oils may be burned in a diffuser, added to bath water, or inhaled throughout to help enhance fertility: CLARY SAGE, JASMINE, YLANG YLAND COMBAVA, ROSE ABSOLUTE and TUBEROSE.

Crystals and gemstones such as ROSE QUARTZ, CARNELIAN, CHRYSOPRASE, MOLDAVITE, ZINCITE, MOONSTONE, CINNABAR (DRAGON’S BLOOD), RHODOLITE GARNET, JADE, THULITE, RHODONITE, RHODOCHROSITE and PEARL all enhance fertility

Formulas that will aid and assist in impotence and infertility include: JACKRABBIT, FEMALE HORMONAL, MALE HORMONAL, YONI, STD-RID, AND PROSTATE.

Auto Mechanics Curriculum – Preparing for the Job of the Future

While taking driver’s education class in high school, for part of the curriculum, a man insisted his daughter take a basic auto mechanics class. They fought for weeks about this class. It was unnecessary. It was ridiculous. After all, she was a girl. After much verbal sparring, she took the class and enjoyed it, using her knowledge many times.

Years later, it became clear why the man wanted his daughter to take this class. Someday, her car would break down. The auto club would not always be able to come to her aid. Roadside assistance is not always available. Especially when the breakdown occurs in the middle of the desert. A person could wait hours for help. That could be dangerous. It was important to know how to fix the basics on her own.

When she became a parent, and her teenage daughter was ready to learn to drive, it was their turn to fight about taking the class. The mother insisted and her daughter relented. As it turns out, after much arguing, the student really enjoyed it. Since she did not have a “head” for business, or fashion, or mathematics, or English, or any other subject for that matter, it seems the one thing she excelled at was fixing cars.

After taking all of the basic classes the school had to offer, the student’s instructor suggested a transfer to the local high school that offered full vocational technical programs. The transfer took place, and for the next two years she took a number of classes like basic tune-ups and trouble-shooting, tire rotation and balancing, transmission repair, engine repair, fluid transfers for oil changes and transmission fluid, and air conditioning, among others. Upon graduation from high school, the student became a licensed auto mechanic.

For this young lady, that was not enough. She wanted to specialize in foreign cars. That required a whole new set of classes. Thus began her enrollment in the local college vo-tech. Another two years and she earned her A.S. Degree in Auto Mechanics. She was able to fix anything on wheels. However, as with any industry, evolution takes place. The new hybrid vehicles are already on the market, and the electric car is just around the corner. She continues with her education to maintain the high level of expertise necessary for the cars of the future.

Auto mechanic classes can help a student with their future. To become a mechanic, one must learn problem-solving skills. Mechanics is a process. So is life. One cannot put gas in a car that has no engine. Such is the same with life. One step at a time.

For students that struggle in school, vo-tech classes and auto mechanic classes have historically been extremely challenging. Their opportunities for success were once unlike the mother and daughter that both took auto mechanics classes and flourished.

Mononucleosis Explained

Mononucleosis is a viral illness that is common among young adults but can affect people of almost any age. Severe sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, fever and extreme fatigue are the recognizable hallmarks of this condition. Why the disease is more common in teens remains unclear. It may have something to do with the lifestyle, poor diet, not enough rest and stress, all of which lowers the resistance of the immune system. The underlying culprit is the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This virus, a member of the herpes virus family, is so common that 95% of all adults test positive for exposure to it. The EBV has been implicated as playing a role in some uncommon malignancies later in life or another condition chronic fatigue syndrome. However, keep in mind that the virus is very common. Even though exposed some time in their life by adulthood, most people do not manifest any clinical symptoms of mononucleosis. Viral transmission occurs through intimate contact with saliva or blood of the infected person. Hence, the antiquated name of the “kissing disease”. The virus is not airborne. The risk to others in the family or friends is very low unless there is intimate contact.

Severe sore throat, extreme fatigue, swollen glands and lymph nodes characterize the typical symptoms. The inflammatory process usually affects the liver and spleen resulting in some enlargement. In a small number of severe cases, abdominal pain or difficulty swallowing may be an issue. Twenty percent of people with mono develop a fine red rash resembling measles. Some medications in particular amoxicillin based antibiotics can also trigger the rash. The incubation period from time of exposure to onset ranges from 14 to 45 days. The average illness lasts 4 weeks. The first two weeks are most difficult because of the intensity of the symptoms including a severe sore throat that makes it awkward to maintain an adequate diet. The fatigue makes people want to sleep a lot. People usually miss two weeks of school or work during this time. The second two weeks are usually quite a bit better but energy levels are still waning. Getting up in the morning feeling good and somewhat energetic, but running out of gas after a few hours is characteristic. Some modification of activities with a limited schedule during the second two weeks is to be expected. A specific blood test can confirm the diagnosis in the doctor’s office. An exam to rule out other similar conditions is prudent.

Since it is a viral illness it will run its own course, there is no specific treatment. The majority of cases improve with rest and a balanced diet. In the rare severe case, other medications such as a steroid or an anti-viral drug may be used. There are a few instances when a second bacterial infection such as strep throat may occur at the same time. Appropriate tests can easily determine whether an antibiotic is necessary to treat a secondary infection. Symptomatic treatment is helpful just like treating the flu. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever or muscle aches, plenty of clear liquids and trying to maintain a healthy balanced diet are nonetheless important. Avoiding alcohol for six weeks is suggested while the liver inflammation subsides spontaneously. The biggest frustration for people is simply the lack of energy and fatigue. It can usually take 4 to 6 weeks or more before normal stamina returns.

In With the Nu

AS YOU sit in one of the small and scruffy departure lounges at Kunming Airport, waiting for the connecting flight to Xishuangbanna in the southwest, you turn your attention to two large billboards situated prominently near the windows facing the cluttered airstrip. The posters, with glossy defiance, celebrate the ongoing construction of two large hydropower stations on the Jinsha River, the western branch of the Yangtze. The plants, built also to reduce the siltation pressures on the Three Gorges Dam further downstream, are airbrushed in clean and shiny whites and greys, and the water around them remains a perfect and implausible blue.

They are among many such construction projects currently being considered in Yunnan, where economic development has been given the priority above almost everything else, and where power corporations from the east have been rushing to take advantage. A project that will eventually submerge the celebrated Tiger Leaping Gorge – on the section of the Jinsha north of Dali – is also underway, arousing significant international opposition. The International Rivers Network says that the damage caused by the flooding of the valley to the local ‘cultural heritage sites’ will be ‘irreplaceable’. They are also concerned by the irreversible changes to a unique ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the provincial capital of Kunming continues to grow. The train station, renowned as the most unbearable in the whole of China, is still surrounded by rubble and temporary wooden partitions marking some new road or building. The entire city, cowed by roadblocks and scaffolds, picked at by cranes, seems – like many others in China – to be on the verge of an explosion. As the government slogan announces, peremptory and beyond refute, ‘Development is inevitable’.

In the far west of Yunnan, the untouched Nu River seemed to have been given something of a reprieve a few months ago. China’s single remaining virgin waterway, which winds north through some of the province’s most beautiful landscape, was about to be given a big seeing-to by the nation’s energy-mad authorities. Earlier this year, Premier Wen Jiabao was said to have intervened personally, asking developers to reconsider their plans. Still, one imagines that the ‘rape’ of the Nu is just a question of time.

The philosopher, Martin Heidegger, chose to illustrate the two different approaches to nature by comparing the construction of a bridge with the construction of a hydroelectric dam. Modern technology, he wrote, was ‘a manner of unprotecting’ nature. A bridge, connecting up the two banks, shows ‘respect’ for the river, but a hydropower station actually turns nature into part of its own ‘inventory’. The power plant is not built into the river, but the river is built into the power plant.

To illustrate the difference in perspectives, Heidegger compared the Rhine as part of the inventory of modern technology with the Rhine described in a poem by Holderlin. After it has been devastated by technology, the river remains as ‘a provided object of inspection by a party of tourists sent there by a vacation industry’. Such a description seems appropriate in modern Yunnan. While the power companies work their way through the region’s rivers, foreign and domestic tourists have transformed old cities such as Dali and Lijiang, and plans to improve the transportation infrastructure to the west and to the south will see the character of prefectures such as Xishuangbanna and the Nu River changed beyond recognition.

There are a number of small bridges connecting the banks of the Nu, but the favoured means of crossing by the local farmers seems even purer than that. Hooking themselves into a harness consisting of a rope and a piece of flat canvas, they sweep back and forth at massive speeds on a cable attached to a couple of trees, and carry bags of cement, grain and sometimes even livestock between their knees as they do so. One farmer agreed to carry me. Slung across the grey autumn waters and into a patch of worn grass on the Nu River’s left bank, the bowel-shaking fear quickly gave way to a sense of exhilaration.

I was taking a long ride from Dali with an incompetent local tour guide to the town of Liuku in western Yunnan, right on the bank of the Nu River. The area is a picture of health, ruddy and rugged and robustly green. Farmers spin past on motorbikes, trading chunks of meat with local guest houses and restaurants. At one stop along the way, situated on a bend on a country road, a three-legged horse skipped past – cheerfully enough, considering the circumstances. The half-whistle, half-bleat of the local birds could be heard everywhere. Tiny communities lived in wooden shacks on the hills, emerging on Tuesdays to trade at the local markets.

It was tempting to call the place quaint, and worthy of any preservation order that might be made to stick. It was, however, dirt-poor, and though much better and much more lively than a decade or so ago (according to our guide), most of the people living here would love to replace their stilted huts, their latrines, their drafty outhouses, with new buildings and indoor plumbing.

Usually, it is only outsiders who get sentimental. We, after all, can go home somewhere else. One isn’t entirely sure that the life of the poor throughout China would be improved by any degree were their barns, their slums, their shanty towns to become ‘heritage sites’. On the other hand, it is clear that the mass destruction caused by economic growth is not of much benefit to the communities affected. It is also clear that the ecology of Yunnan – one of the most varied and vibrant in China – is being put under threat.

Still, crossing the upper reaches of the Mekong, watching the silt-filled, chocolate-coloured waves and negotiating the old van past the piles of rocks cast down during a recent landslide, one cannot fail to be impressed somehow. I have been bruised, stupefied and generally thrown about by hundreds of poor-quality roads throughout China. Here, the biggest challenge was the occasional ford cutting across a narrow but mostly impeccable mountain pass. In harsh conditions, the road builders had performed well.

Roads are the big thing in Yunnan. Plans are underway to complete a regional high-speed road network that will connect Kunming with Singapore. Coming back from the wild elephant park in Xishuangbanna, we were halted by a fleet of trucks and steamrollers inching along to assist a team of miscellaneously-dressed labourers spreading grit across the tracks. Above us was the skeleton of an overpass, its bare stanchions planted in the fields nearby. The old road will eventually become superfluous for the majority of freight traffic surging through the region and into southeast Asia. Things will change, we thought, and Jinghong, the region’s major city but run at a painfully slow pace, will no doubt be brought up to speed by an opportunistic migrant population from Sichuan or the northeast.

LIUKU is a small urban centre and trading spot for the hundreds of small counties and villages scattered throughout the area, several hundred kilometres west of Dali. Whatever purists might think, the locals would love it if streams of tourists were suddenly to pour in from the more fashionable areas further east, but apart from the way it nestles comfortably – if a little chaotically – in the mountains running along the banks of the Nu, there is little to distinguish the place. Its greatest advantage is its location, and visitors note the great potential of the riverfront, where a couple of cafes now provide much of the town’s nightlife.

As one enters the town, an old Ming Dynasty temple lies on the mountain above the intersection of the Yagoujia River and the Nu River itself. As is customary, the temple appears as if it was built out of papier mache and painted yesterday morning by industrious local schoolkids. A huge laughing Buddha decked out in gold paint seems to dominate the gaff from his little stage. Dogs patrol the high steps, and spiders, each two inches long, nest in the frames of doors and in the overhead lights.

Across on the other side of the river, the effects of the previous night’s rain storm were clear to see, with policemen knee-deep in mud and the road – the only route north – blocked by piles of displaced rock.

The foreigners, so prevalent in Dali, and less so in Jinghong further south, were nowhere to be seen. Hardcore travellers head north to see the enclaves of Tibetans, or the old ethnic ways of the Lisu, the Nu and the Drang nationalities. Some come to see the immense volume of indigenous butterflies, with a couple of Japanese collectors even managing to steal a few rare specimens under the noses of the local authorities a few years ago. There were also stories of a pair of American travellers crossbowed in the back by Lisu hunters after trying to abscond with some significant local religious icon – the man with the story wasn’t quite sure what the object was. The rest of the local legends about foreigners involve them being attacked by Tibetan dogs and carried out of the forests, bleeding. Still, foreigners here are once again the objects of fascination, rather than the sort of seen-it-all-before scorn one gets in Shanghai, or the dollar-sign gazes in Dali and Lijiang.

Guidebooks such as Lonely Planet abhor the current pace of Chinese development, of course, and as the years pass and the new editions enter print, the laments about the high-rises and highways seem to get longer and longer. China is losing its character.

We can understand this. And yet, after a week on the road along the Nu River, speaking no English and staying in the dingiest of guest houses, we still longed for the pizzas, banana pancakes and foreign influences in Dali. Many agreed, and many long-hatched tour plans are thwarted by the magnetism of the town’s bars and cafes. Some foreigners on year-long tours find themselves stuck, unable to leave, trapped in a perpetual marijuana haze and remaining lucid enough just to teach a few classes in the main city and pay for their lodgings.

Travelling further north from Liuku on the way to Fugong the following day, rain clouds lingered like smoke on the mountains, and dozens of blue, three-wheel buggies chugged down the slope on the only road out. We drove through building sites, where workers squatted on dunes of mud, and through villages in which cattle and old nags wandered wearily past, and where tiny, friendly little dogs lounged on almost every stoop. Streams of water, bloated by a heavy rain storm the previous evening, cascaded into the rough Nu waters.

We stopped off in a small market village called Gudeng, close to the Binuo Snow Mountain, and watched the local farmers manhandling a couple of disobedient black pigs. Another offered us a glass of warm corn liquor he had just produced at a makeshift stove attached to a dirty plastic pipe. The dominant presence in the town was the family planning centre, where government slogans about improving the quality of the population were pumped out from a pair of loud speakers, drowning out the Chinese disco beats emerging from the market itself. Apart from the family planning centres, there are other things that seem ubiquitous throughout China, from Xinjiang to Shanghai and from Guangdong to Yunnan. One of them is the pool table. Another is the bill poster advertising cures for sexually-transmitted diseases.

WE CAME to understand that in the pretty little town of Fugong, where we spent Mid-Autumn festival, the local residents – mainly of Lisu minority – would also have longed for the sort of opportunities afforded to Dali. Cafes, restaurants, and a place on the tourist trail would revitalize the place, and would ultimately be of far more value than a hydropower station. Can the two be disconnected? Some of the villages along the banks of the Nu River didn’t even have a watt of electricity until the last decade. It is a fact of life that further development – including the tourist industry – requires more power.

Purists are unlikely to consider the contradiction, and may indeed prefer to slum it – for a week in any case – in tents or in the dingy, second-rate guest houses available en route. Still, the woman at the reception of the guest house in Gongshan seemed apologetic. ‘Are you sure you want to stay here?’ she said.

Heading across the river, we came across a large wooden public house built on an old water mill. Wheels driven by the Nu River itself churned away beneath a section of rooms lined with soggy woven carpets and old Lisu paraphernalia – the traditional costumes and weaponry of the bulk of the local people. A dozen girls from a local hair salon were dancing in the middle of one of the stages on the upper tier of the building, moving two steps forward and two steps back, hand in hand. They greeted us favourably, encouraging us to join in their drinking games. We had a ‘one-heart drink’ (tongxinjiu) – where two people drink from the same glass, their cheeks and mouths touching – with every one of them, the sweet local liquor dripping onto our clothes.

Hours later, after crossing the bridge again and singing Lisu songs as we parted company with our new friends, we managed to stumble through a tunnel and into the grounds of the local Public Security Bureau, where the Fugong police were also celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with a form of dance which, by the time we started to participate, seemed to involve running at top speed while kicking our legs as high as possible in the air. Local police chiefs, conforming to the stereotypes of drunkenness that seem more or less international, told us that national boundaries didn’t matter, and that friendship transcended all countries. We agreed.

The next morning, driving out of the town and past a long row of old wooden buildings with red sliding doors and a range of shoddy garages that serve as shops and diners, we headed for Gongshan along a spectacular stretch of scenery, part of a 300-km gorge lined with waterfalls, brooks and white cloud pierced by the mountains on both banks. Houses seemed to balance precariously on the plateau, only a storm away from complete collapse. Women carried large squares of corrugated iron along the slopes, their children following.

The whole Gongshan region, an old man in the guest house told me, has now been renamed the ‘Three Rivers Gongshan Region’. ‘They are creating a trademark,’ the man said, shrugging his thin shoulders. The Mekong, the Nu, and the Jinsha all pass through before reaching their source, and the local government are trying to draw in the trade.

The town itself, another sleepy cluster of apartments, restaurants and trading posts all piled up in layers along the slopes leading from the river to the mountain, was actually far from untouched. As was the case in Liuku, the missionaries had already been and gone, leaving a curious legacy of Roman Catholicism among the local minority communities. Mothers sat weaving on the steps of a church – a square, squat one-storey affair with a bright red cross built on the mountain – waiting for evening prayer. Prayer notices on the wrought-iron door of the church were transcribed in a romanized version of the local Lisu language. Some hours later, an implausible disco beat pounded out from a wooden house further up the hill, and the church was empty.

A Tibetan girl, working in a curious entertainment complex close to another Catholic church further down in the valley, asked us if we were fellow believers. She answered to her Catholic name of Mary, and was from Dimaluo, an ethnic mishmash of Tibetans, Lisu, Drong, and others some way further north along the river. There was a sadness to her as she told us her life story, about her stalled education, about the death of her father after a sudden and inexplicable ‘infection’, and about her preference for the countryside from which she hailed.

In the stores nearby, posters of Zhou Enlai, Sun Yatsen and the Panchen Lama swayed slightly in the wind, and beneath them lay the usual clutter of mooncakes, cigarettes and cheap, defective batteries.

What worried us about ‘untouched’ places like Fugong or Gongshan was not so much the prospect of development, and the ‘exploitation’ or ‘despoliation’ or ‘swamping’ of the local culture and character, but the thousands of local residents, educated to a degree, certainly aspirational, but cut off even from the possibility of ambition, marooned in a remote town that is linked to the nearest city only through a single mountain pass that requires two days to traverse. As we did at the Three Gorges, we started to wonder whether the sacrifice of the local scenery could somehow be made worthwhile, if it could allow these people a way out. After all, it might be more appropriate to judge the vitality of a culture by its porousness, and more pertinently, by the opportunities it gives its members to escape and try something new.

Heidegger hated the way the Rhine had become an object of the tourism industry as well as the hydropower industry, but on the Nu River, we had to allow for the fact that the proposed construction of an airport in remote Gongshan, the construction of highways, and the development of local industry might actually be good for the area, in the absence of any other options. Heidegger hated TV and spent most of his final, disgraced decades in a wooden shack in the Black Forest, but he had choice. The local residents in Fugong and Gongshan have TV, and they see the glitter of wealth and opportunity. But they have no wealth. And no opportunity.

And yet, the ‘current mode of development’ is all about exploitation, and the further enrichment of China’s east coast at the expense of the west. The scenery is ruined, the ecology is damaged, and old farming communities are moved to nearby urban slums, where they have little prospect of work or prosperity. Here, as in the Three Gorges and other regions, one imagines that the local people will reap little of the rewards of ‘opening up’.

Angina – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Angina is a term generally used to refer a kind of tightening sensation. However, there are many sub classes of angina and it all depends on the area, which is suffering from this kind of tightening discomfort. One of the well-known sub classes of angina are like Bowelgina, which is also called abdominal angina. There are also sub classes of angina, which are a threat to life. One such sub class is called Ludwig’s angina, which is caused when the floor of the mouth is exposed to some sort of infection or in other words, dental infections. However, although angina has many sub classes when looked in scientifically, generally, the term angina is commonly used to denote a sub class called angina pectoris. Angina pectoris is a serious pain that is experienced in the torso area or chest.

Symptoms of Angina

The symptoms associated with this disorder are quite difficult to distinguish, as it could range from heartburn or other kind normal chest pain to heavy heart attack. However, the good news here is that there are certain signs, which could be very much helpful in realizing the angina attack. Some people will have to face a big deal of discomfort although they are not subjected to face heavy pain. In common words, angina can be defined as burning or squeezing of torso area, torso tightening, heaviness of chest and choking sensation etc. Usually, these feelings may last not more than five minutes. However, getting an ECG is the best option to identify angina pectoris.

Looking deeper into angina, there are basically two types. The first type is called stable angina, which actually refers to symptoms demonstration after one has worked out his body with some exercises like lifting heavy weight and jogging etc. Of course, the second type is called Unstable Angina. Unstable Angina could be quite dangerous as it occurs without any kind of provocation. It is because of blood clots, which will be released from the blood vessels. In fact, angina itself is a kind of symptom of a heart disorder called myocardial ischemia. It is actually regarding the blocking, narrowing as well as tightening of the blood vessels. To be more specific, it is all about the arteries, which are busy in supplying the oxygenated blood to human heart. When the arteries are narrowed, the blood flow will be quite difficult. In fact, fat is said to be the main culprit usually causing these problems.

Treatment for Angina

The most preferred way of treating angina is aspirin. Aspirin has some blood thinning qualities, which will in turn make the blood flow easy and fast. Hence, the blood will reach all parts of human body. In addition, aspirin will also help to dissolve little blood clots, which are the reason behind angina pains. On the other hand, there are also some other treating methods like magnesium administration, which is usually recommended for mild angina. Magnesium injections are also used to treat severe angina cases. It is strictly advised to consult the family physician before going with any kind of treatment.

Home Theater Sound Systems

When you get a home theater, you are probably really excited about your new TV. But a lot of people over look that maybe getting a sound system in addition to the speakers that come with the TV is a good idea. You can get surround sound, or just large speakers to attach to the TV. Getting clear sound along with the new flat screen clear picture helps to make for the ultimate movie experience. Whatever you decide to do, you can be sure that you are going to be getting the best movie experience possible when you combine a new TV with a new sound system. Surround sound is most popular for when people buy Home Theaters, and they are perfect to replicate that movie like room. In a movie theater, speakers are located all around you, not just in front of you. Duplicate that feeling with better speaker quality and surround sound!

Surround sound comes in a lot of different kinds of features, from stand alone speakers that you can put anywhere in the room, or wall mounts that you put in each corner of the room. Whatever you decide to do with your speakers, you will find that you can get great sound quality, from even the cheapest of surround sound systems you buy. You do not need to worry about blowing huge amounts of money, and you can find a sound system that fits your budget and all of your movie watching needs.

If you do not want to get surround sound, then additional, high quality speakers are also available that plug right into your TV. This is the best way to get great sound and not have to worry about installing a sound system. Speakers are relatively inexpensive, and you can get them easily at any store, whether it’s the local sound store or just at Wal-Mart. Speakers just plug right into your TV, and you do not need to worry about lots of complicated wires. The only thing you have to do is to install and get ready to watch your favorite movie in your Home Theater!

Rohan Online Half Elf Ranger Class Build (PvP-PvE)

Half Elf Ranger Class Build (PvP/PvE)

The half elf ranger build in my opinion is the king of solo. This build is designed to bombard enemies from an insane attack range. The Ranger has a decent critical rate and some great rooting spells.

Stat Build: Your leveling points should be distributed as 1VIT – 3 DEX or This ranger build has no psyche so you are gonna rely on pots for your mana so you must be careful not to deplete it too soon.. You will have some decent HP with 130 points of VIT just in case someone might be lucky enough to get close to you.

This build has a large distribution of DEX to boost your ranged attack quite a bit. You will have great damage and a long range to do it in.

PvE: The easiest class to solo with by far and one of the fasted classes to level also. Most mobs won’t even get close enough to you to do any damage since you have long attack range and have the ability to slow your target mobility speed. Only ranged mobs will have that chance to get a few shots off before they hit the ground bleeding. You only really need to cast one skill per mob before they die since you will be doing some nasty normal ranged attack damage. You will also have an easy time when in a high level mob grind party. You don’t really have to move around much just let tankers tank and do a little pulling here and there.

PvP: The ranger class i one of the few classes that do well against ranged and melee based classes in PvP. You take down magic type classes pretty easily and melee classes can be stunned and slowed down to a crawl before they can get to you. You can do some powerful critical damage at a long range using Critical Shot. The ranger has some great PvP skill at their disposal including Luxury Shot and Premium Shot leaving enemies with missed parts of their HP bar lol. A nice spell to initiate your PvP sequence is Speed Wind which boosts your attack speed to an insane rate that lasts 10 seconds. When a melee class finally does get to you, hit them with Brandish Kick which has a 70% chance to stun target for 9 seconds. You can kite away from enemies easily since you have increased mobility skills.

Conclusion: This ranger build is balanced and you will have extended use of your skills and will be able to solo and pvp well. You don’t have a whole lot of mana so be careful. Remember that range is your advantage, don’t let melee get to close or they will rip you up 馃檪

Stat Point Build at Level 99

The recommended spell upgrades:

(Half Elf Archer Tree)

1. Darkness-Level 5: Increase dark dmg 100%, res50% 8% chance decrease target’s 30% atk spd for 7 sec.

2. Psychic Pierce-Level 1: 160% of normal dmg.

3. Long Shot-Level 5: Increase 50% of attacking range for 9 min.

4. Enchanted Arrow-Level 5: Increase arrow damage by 30 for 30 min.

5. Fainting Pierce-Level 5: 35% chance decrease target movement speed by 50% for 10 sec, last 18 min.

6. Bleeding Shot-Level 1: Effect ‘bleed’ dealt 70% of normal dmg every 3 seconds, occur 5 times.

7. Nimble-Level 5: Increase dex by 30%, lasts 30 min.

8. Brandish Kick-Level 5: 70% chance stun the target that last 9 second.

9. Feeble Arrow-Level 1: Decrease target 3% of str last 30 seconds.

10. Fatal-Level 5: Critical dmg increases by dex * 3.0, last 15 min.

11. Sprint-Level 4: Increase movement speed by 80% in 27 seconds.

12. Evade-Level 1: Increase evasion rate by 10% last 18 min.

13. Piercing Root-Level 4: Normal attacks 130%, 50% chance hold the target in place for 5 second.

14. Double Strike-Level 1: Increase 20% of normal dmg, attack target twice.

The recommended spell upgrades:

(Half Elf RangerTree)

1. Crossbow Mastery-Level 5: Increase X-bow’s atk by 25%, last 30 min.

2. Open Eyes-Level 1: Instantly removes root status.

3. Trick-Level 1: Wouldn’t get attack by npc guard during gvg and during red-name period, last 5 min.

4. Detect-Level 1: Detect hidden target within the range of 10m, last 30 sec.

5. Dissapear-Level 1: 50% chance become hidden, last 30min. moving, atking or using item will expose.

6. Siege Shot-Level 5: Unable to move for 10 sec, mean while atk + 90%.

7. Murder Shot-Level 5: Increase atk dmg by murder count * 90.

8. Speed Wind-Level 5: Increase atk spd by 160%, last 10 sec.

9. Kael’s Arrow-Level 2: Create 100 bolts with dmg of 120.

10. Alacrity Blow-Level 5: Increase dex by 15%, last 30 min.

11. Strip Shot-evel 5: Ignore defense, increase dmg by 70%

12. Rank Shot-Level 1: Total damage = weapon’s rank * 50.

13. Critical Shot-Level 5: When hit the target, 90% chance occur critical hit.

14. Premium Shot-Level 1: Increases weapon’s atk by 200%.

15. Magic Guard-Level 1: Do not affect by magics for 10 seconds.

16. Luxury Shot-Level 1: Increases weapon’s atk by 200%.

17. Winged Foot-Level 5: 18 mp per sec, party member increase movement spd by 100%.

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 Gy枚rgyi, (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 Gy枚rgyi

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:

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

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

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

路 Recurring abdominal pain, intestinal cramps.

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

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

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

路 Diarrhea or constipation after several years of infection.

路 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.

路 Symptoms worse at night, or worse lying down.

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

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

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

路 Helicobacter pylori is implicated in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

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

路 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.

路 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.

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

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

路 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).

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

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

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

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

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

路 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.

路 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!

The Best Investment Funds for 2014 and Beyond?

Here we go one step beyond the basics and suggest that the best investment funds for 2014 and beyond could be funds that invest money in alternative investments. You can debate whether diversified stock funds or bond funds will be the best funds to invest money in, but your best investment could be funds that invest money in alternative investments like gold, oil, and maybe even real estate stocks.

Informed investors know that you should invest money in more than one area in order to have a diversified portfolio. Most investors think that the best investment strategy is to own the best funds, and that your only choices are diversified stock funds and bond funds. Few have a handle on the arena called “alternative investments”. Where do you think the smart investors will invest money when neither stocks (in general) nor bonds look attractive and safe investments are paying record low interest rates?

The top dogs look around for opportunities that are “outside of the box” in search of their best investment alternatives. Welcome to the world of alternative investments. As an average investor trying to find the best funds you might want to broaden your horizons as well. If our economy continues to be lackluster and interest rates rise in 2014 and beyond both diversified stock funds and bond funds could take a hit. So, where can you invest money for higher returns if things turn sour in 2014 and/or 2015?

Gold is not cheap anymore but it is well below its highs as I write this. Gold funds invest money in stocks in the gold and silver mining industry, and they took a major hit in 2013. Historically, gold has been one of the best investment alternatives in times of high uncertainty and crisis. Gold funds might be one of the best funds if things get ugly in 2014 and beyond. They may or may not be your best investment, but adding them to your portfolio at this time to add more diversification could be a good idea just in case.

Another alternative investment that’s a candidate for best investment ideas: oil and other natural resources. Your best funds to invest money in here and keep things simple are called natural resources funds. They too have proven to be good performers when the stock market in general is having a rough time. You might think that gasoline prices at the pump (and oil prices) are high now, but think back a few years. Prices can always go higher, even in a bad economy.

And then there’s real estate as an alternative investment. This industry has recovered from the financial crisis lows, in no small part due to low interest rates. What will happen if rates climb as the economy sputters? Investors usually invest money in real estate with borrowed money. The truth of the matter is that interest rates are still low by historical standards. Real estate funds can be one of your best investment alternatives as investors rush in to buy before rates climb further. The best funds here invest money in real estate investment trusts and other companies in the real estate sector, like home builders. Caution: when rates rise significantly the real estate industry can sputter.

Why do I suggest that the best funds in 2014 and beyond could be those that invest money in specialized sectors like gold, natural resources and perhaps real estate? Historically, in bad times for the economy and stock market in general these industries can attract money as investors search for the best investment alternatives to invest money in. Both stocks (in general) and bonds are selling near historical highs. Bonds have been on a thirty year roll, and stocks have climbed 150% in less than five years. Neither looks cheap by any standard.

In your search for the best investment alternatives to make your money grow, sometimes you need to look outside of the box. You need to invest money so that some of it is safe and available for future opportunities. And in times like 2014 and beyond it’s a good idea to further diversify into alternative investments. The simplest and best investment vehicle for the average investor is mutual funds. The best funds to add to your portfolio are those that can swim against the tide when it goes out.