Interactive Technology in Healthcare Education

Healthcare professionals are under pressure to remember, utilize and absorb vast amounts of new or changing information in increasing volume. This surge has led to new and improved computer-based tools for many healthcare activities and to an explosion in the marketplace of tools used in instruction and education of healthcare workers. This article explains the use of interactive technology in healthcare and how this benefits instruction and education of healthcare professionals.

Digital systems that capture images from documents, 35-mm slides, physical samples or specimens, or virtually anything that the camera lens can see, is found in interactive technology. In healthcare, transmitting these images to computers with simple devices or software that will allow the display and integration of educational material into the training environment is easily accommodated.

The method for delivering these images or documents, usually via PowerPoint presentations, photography, videotape or audio presentations can turn a standard Windows PC into a dynamic, interactive, teaching tool. Depending on the type of training environment needed, interactive presentations can be found in the use of liquid crystal displays, large plasma displays, rear projection systems or even whiteboards. Educators can now tailor their courses to their audience’s expectations and needs using any number of these presentation forms.

Effectiveness of interactive learning systems is largely dependent upon the type or form of delivery used in combination with software that is easily used by both novice and expert users. Smaller systems will use a pen or stylus vs. a computer and a mouse where larger systems may use elaborate videoconferencing systems where many participants can be in the virtual classroom at the same time. Many healthcare organizations already utilize small and large types of communication systems routinely in the delivery of quality, high-tech healthcare to patients and their community. Adapting this equipment or having it serve dual purposes is an easy and cost-effective transition.

The era of the blackboards and chalk dust is now a memory for most of us. Interactive technology tools permit the educator to draw on, write on, and annotate data right on the screen as part of their dynamic presentation. In addition, the educator can now annotate their presentation and then save, print and even distribute by email, the contents of the class session to all participants.

The mobility that interactive technology gives the educator in the virtual classroom lends itself to unlimited types of uses and methods for delivery of high quality, interactive, sessions. Participants, too, benefit from easy access to the sessions, improved and more accurate note-taking that can be used later for study and reference. This all leads to greater retention of the learning objectives and enhanced or improved application in the field once the participant returns to the office or department.

Healthcare professionals should look for educators and learning systems that combine ergonomics with interactive technologies that integrate use the user of free text, annotation, images and video clips with the traditional printed materials. Transitions between screens or programs, linking to the Internet and class sessions, downloading or printing of the course materials and saving of files or information for future classes or reference use should be easy and simple to use. The presentation and delivery of the educational material should be efficient and easy to use and tailored to use by both healthcare professionals that have varying levels of technological skills.

Regardless of whether healthcare workers are new to the workplace or seasoned professionals, the learning systems used should assist them with learning new skills, procedures, diagnostic techniques and terminology. Communication between healthcare workers in both local and distant communities is on the rise and the use of interactive technology enables the participants to collaborate and share critical data and information.

Interactive technology can also benefit the bottom line and reduce costs formerly associated with travel or staffing and resources to send workers to local, regional or national meetings. Interactive presentations and systems can also attract and hold the participants interest and attention, enhancing their learning and retention gained from the course(s).

It is no wonder, then, that interactive technology has gained such a strong and prominent position in the education of healthcare workers. Healthcare workers looking for either online, distance or local training should evaluate the presentation and delivery systems used in order to maximize their learning experience.

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You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print, in your e-book or on your website, free of charge, as long as the author’s information and web link are included at the bottom of the article and the article is not changed, modified or altered in any way. The web link should be active when the article is reprinted on a web site or in an email. The author would appreciate an email indicating you wish to post this article to a website, and the link to where it is posted.

Copyright 2005, M. A. Webb. All Rights Reserved

AIDS – What Really is AIDS and How Can it Be Prevented?

AIDS is a disease of the immune system which is caused by HIV which is otherwise known as “human immunodeficiency virus” a diagnosis of HIV can be devastating news for anyone. The condition is prolonged and takes time to weaken the immune system leaving sufferers of the illness susceptible to other illnesses such as the common cold, which due to the weakened immune system of AIDS sufferers can be deadly. An individual suffering from AIDS or HIV is also more susceptible to tumors meaning routine checkups are needed after a diagnosis, leading to a life of hospital appointments.

HIV can be transmitted through full on contact of the mucus membrane, such as mouths, lips and genitals and can also be transmitted through full on contact with an infected bodily fluid. These fluids can be blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk meaning that HIV and AIDS can be passed through to a child throughout pregnancy and throughout breast feeding. The contact of these fluids can happen throughout different activities including anal, vaginal or oral sex, a blood transfusion or the exchange of infected needles, which would commonly be more associated with drug use.

AIDS symptoms often lie dormant until the disease is in its more advanced stages meaning that a diagnosis of AIDS can be even more devastating when the time left is short. Sufferers from AIDS have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer in female sufferers and cancers of the immune system such as Lymphoma. AIDS in its more advanced stage with come with symptoms such as fevers, sweats, swollen glands and weakness. Weight loss is also a common symptom of an AIDS sufferer. AIDS sufferers are also more susceptible to pneumonia as well due to the weakened immune system. AIDS is truly a life wrecking illness for everybody involved.

Since there is no cure for AIDS, the best way to decrease the spread of it and stop others contracting it is with prevention methods. Some of these methods include safe sex, being responsible and using a condom. Sexual relations are one of the main causes of AIDS transmission and a condom could save lives. It is proven that unprotected sex is responsible for the AIDS pandemic all over the world. A male or female condom would suffice.

People working in the health care industry also can do their bit in stopping the transmission of AIDS and HIV by following precautions and using the appropriate safety equipment to keep the illness from spreading. Also, it has now been said that mothers who are suffering from HIV or AIDS should avoid breast feeding their child as to prevent the child from contracting the illness as well. This is what any reasonable parent would do for their child if they knew it could save their life.

Overall, AIDS is a life wrecking disease and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Yet the prevention of it is so simple that people don’t need to be dying every day from this disease. AIDS doesn’t only affect one person; it spreads like a fire and can affect thousands. So think, and use precautions so you don’t become a sufferer too.

The Best Investment Portfolio for 2014 and Beyond

If you have an investment portfolio (like in a 401k plan) take a good look at it, because it might not really be the best investment portfolio for 2014 and beyond. If you are a new investor, don’t start investing money until you are familiar with the best funds to include in your portfolio in 2014.

Your investment portfolio is simply a list showing where your money is, and for most average investors consists primarily of mutual funds: stock funds, bond funds and money market funds. Here we discuss the best funds and asset allocation to achieve the best investment portfolio in the event that 2014 and beyond becomes a tough environment for investors. You may need to make changes in your existing portfolio; and you should also be aware of the following as a new investor before you start investing money.

As an investor you should receive statements periodically which show you where your money is. The problem is that many investors do not give these statements, which clearly show you your asset allocation and your investment portfolio, the attention they deserve. That can be a problem. For example, if you had 50% of your portfolio allocated to stock funds in early 2009, you could have two-thirds of your money in these funds now. If the stock market takes a big hit, you stand to take a big loss. Let’s take a look at stock funds and the best funds for investing money there first.

The stock market and many diversified stock funds have gone UP in value about 150% in less than 5 years, and numerous financial analysts expect a correction (stock prices to go DOWN) in 2014. If your investment portfolio shows that more than half of your assets are invested in stock funds consider cutting back to 50% or less. If you are a new investor ready to start investing, allocate no more than 50% to diversified stock funds. The best funds: those that invest in high quality, dividend paying stocks vs. growth funds that pay little in the form of dividends. This is your first step in putting together the best investment portfolio for 2014, because it cuts your potential losses.

The best investment portfolio also includes bond funds, which have been good solid investments for over 30 years. Why? Interest rates have been falling, which sends bond prices and bond fund values higher. Problem: interest rates have hit all-time lows and appear to be heading higher. Higher interest rates create losses for bond fund investors. Many investors have an investment portfolio loaded with bond funds and are totally unaware of the risk involved if rates go up. If you are getting ready to start investing money you need to know this as well. When interest rates go UP, bonds and bond fund values go DOWN. That’s about the only iron-clad rule in the investment world.

Allocate no more than 25% to 30% of your total investment portfolio to bond funds to cut your risk. The best bond funds are categorized as intermediate-term funds, where the investment portfolio of the fund invests in bonds that mature (on average) in 5 to 10 years. These are the best funds now because they pay a respectable dividend with only moderate risk. The worst funds to hold now: long-term funds that hold bonds maturing (on average) in 15, 20 years or more. When you review your investment portfolio, get rid of these because they will be big losers if (when) interest rates shoot upward. New investors who want to start investing money: avoid them and allocate about 25% of your money to intermediate-term bond funds to avoid heavy risk.

Sometimes the best investment portfolio is loaded with aggressive stock funds and includes longer-term bond funds. Now, looking at 2014 and beyond, is probably not one of those times. For many years now losses in stock funds have been offset by gains in bond funds. Today the problem for investors is that even the best funds of both varieties could get hit if the economy falters and interest rates rise significantly. That makes investing money today a real challenge… one that few investors are prepared for.

So, let’s say that you start investing money with less than 50% going to the best funds in the stock department and about 25% allocated to the best funds in the bond universe… or you adjust your existing investment portfolio to these levels… where do you invest the rest of it? Even though interest rates are still historically low, you bite the bullet and invest it for safety to earn interest. In a 401k plan your best safe investment is likely the stable account, if your plan has one. Otherwise, the best fund for safety is a money market fund (even though they presently pay almost no interest). When rates go up, they should pay more. Or you can shop the banks for the best rates on short-term CDs, or savings accounts.

I expect that 2014 and beyond will be a challenging time to start investing money or to manage an existing investment portfolio. On the other hand, now you should have a handle on the best funds to consider when putting together the best investment portfolio possible. Remember, you must stay in the game in order to get ahead over the long term; but sometimes moderation is your best course of action.

A Buyer’s Guide to Kids ATV

Buying a kids ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) could be a confusing task. Often, most people do not know how to go about buying the ATV. There are so many factors to consider. Size, make, price and safety are examples of factors that must be taken into account. Of course, looks too play an important part. After all, your child will not accept a kids ATV that doesn’t look cool! So, how do you buy the right bike?

Size: When it comes to size, most parents make big mistakes. It is common for them to buy a kids ATV that is one size bigger so that their child can grow into the bike gradually. But, buying a quad bike that is bigger than the required size is dangerous. Your child should have comfortable access to the handle bars, brake and accelerator. If they cannot reach these parts comfortably, it could be dangerous. Parents must also consider the size of the engine. If the engine is too powerful, it could go out of control. 50cc engines are best suited for young children.

Quality: When you buy kids ATV, it is important to consider the quality of the bike. A quality bike equates to lesser number of break-downs, repairs and low maintenance costs. Reputed brands are highly conscious of the quality of their machines. Also, since kids grow out their ATVs pretty fast, you need to consider your re-selling options. A reputed brand fetches much more when you want to resell. If you are about to buy a brand that sounds new, find out more about warranties, guarantees and so on.

Safety: Kids ATV must keep to high safety standards. High quality quads have a large number of safety features. Some even have safety features that may not be present in adult ATVs. Examples include kill switches which help kill the engine in case of trouble. Remote controls allow parents to control the ATVs, in case of necessity. A safe engine keeps your child safe.

The ATV is also known as the quad or four wheeler. According to the ANSI (American National Standards Institute), the ATV is a vehicle that is equipped to travel on all terrains. It has four low pressure tires and a handlebar. The vehicle is legal in some countries and not allowed on the roads in other countries. Regardless, kids need to learn how to be safe on the kids ATV before they can graduate to more powerful ATVs.

Kids between the ages of 6 and 12 must always ride a kids ATV with a 70cc engine or lesser. As age and experience increase, they can opt for more advanced models. It is necessary to buy the ATV that suits your child’s physical make up. In this regard, you cannot accept any industry norms. The only way to find out is to take your child for a test drive. Your child must be able to shift gears if you intend to buy manual   transmission . Otherwise, go for the automatic ATVs.

Sex Education: Its Importance and Need in the Society

Sex Education, as the term clearly indicates, refers to education which is based on human sexual behavior. Parents, schools or caretakers offer it in some parts of the world to educate the children, who are stepping into their adolescence. If formally received, sex education is either taught as a full course at high school or junior high school level or in biology, health, home economics classes. Teaching sex education is rather a controversial issue; debates have been going on for several decades discussing if it should be taught formally in schools or not. Sex education in schools should exist without any doubts and apprehensions as it offers many benefits.

Adolescence is called the “age of storm and stress”. The young teenagers, during this phase of life are under deep psychological pressure. Mainly, this psychological pressure is the result of one’s growing sexual needs and the biological changes and hormonal effects on the individuals. During this time, most of the children are observed to become easily irritable. They find it difficult in most situations to deal with the family members. They might not want to talk to them about the natural changes taking place in their body and mind. In such circumstances, one highly suitable option is that of the teachers who are able to teach them to control their urges until a proper age. In schools, trained teachers would help the students to know how to deal with their sexual impulses. This role can not be replaced by parents or other entities. A classroom discussion and lesson would make them feel it is natural, and they would also feel that they are being understood by someone. However, taking them individually to psychologists or other trained educators would not help. In such a situation they might consider themselves to be different and misunderstood by family and people around them. Therefore, it becomes crystal clear that the best way to offer sex education is always in school.

It is a psychological phenomenon that children at young age are under an immense peer pressure. Something that they learn in the class with their peer group is what makes a better impression on their minds than otherwise. They are more focused in the lessons that teachers offer and are more eager asking question to clear their ambiguities. They might feel embarrassed and uneasy questioning their parents about it, but it always differs in case of the teacher in the class. This is because everyone in the class is going through the same stage. A class discussion becomes healthy source of learning as it helps in enhancing the knowledge on the subject.

Many people advocate that sex education should only be restricted to families, that is, that parents should personally educate their children. This view is totally illogical and holds complications and questions. The first point is that not all the parents would be willing to do it or would be able to do it. Secondly, this education needs a proper channel through which it should reach its required learners. There could be many possible problems in the families so they might not be able to take the role of a teacher in educating their children regarding sex. The demand of annulment of sex education from the schools is highly conservative.

Most importantly, there are many single parents, how would they take up this challenge of educating their children on their own? Parents can not properly educate their children about sex also because they lack details that qualified sex educators convey in schools. Thus, the stance of abolishing sex education in school is not a favorable thought. In many observed cases where parents or children are embarrassed about talking over sexual matters with each other, it is most likely to be uneasy situation at both the ends. This keeps the children from learning the answers to the questions they might have in their minds. This can be a great flaw of shifting the duty of sexual education from teachers to the parents. It will leave the children only half or less educated about the issue and as they say “Little knowledge is a dangerous thing”, this might end up in grave situations.

According to research, most of the parents also feel uneasy because they know that they are not equipped to provide the apt sexual information to their children. They also fail to comprehend what details and information should be concealed and what should be revealed, keeping in mind their children’s age. On the other hand, there might also be parents who would feel comfortable talking to their children about sexual matters, but only when the children bring the matter up.

Most parents, around the world, may also lack role models to look up to as they would not have talked over sexual issues with their own parents in their adolescent. This makes them inefficient to trigger their roles of educating their children in an effective way as the assigned teachers are able to do in schools.

Sex education is not limited to only a single branch of knowledge. This education focuses on a number of significant sexual matters that are offered with especially designed courses and programs. Sex education covers the education of relationships, sexual abstinence at a certain level and teaching to practice safe sex to the level of children who are thought to be sexually active. Therefore, its claim for being appropriate and guiding holds strong base.

At a certain age of adolescence, growing children have problems facing relationships and controlling their personal emotions. Conflicts related to such matters persuade many youngsters to commit suicides or take part in other immoral activities. Proper sex education in schools also concentrates in making the youngsters emotionally stronger and in educating ways to cope with relationship problems. This argument strongly shows the immense benefit of sex education in schools.

Sex education is an important health strategy and this cannot be denied. AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases can only be controlled if people are aware of precautions and have a vast knowledge in this case. This knowledge is conveyed through sex education, and if sex education is banned in schools and if parents have to educate their children, then it would not be as beneficial to the individuals and the society on the whole as teaching in school could be.

Sex education does not exist in all parts of the world. Asians are commonly regarded conservative when compared to westerners. It is not a part of their course in schools; this does not in any way mean that their teenage pregnancy rate is any lower if they are not exposed to sexual matters openly. In fact, this is one way how peers can mislead most of the youngsters and persuade them to bask in young age sexual relationships without any attempts for safety. This has resulted in serious problems such as the spread of fatal diseases like AIDS and has also increased rate of illegitimate births.

Researches have shown that the cause for ramification of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) in the eras of 80s and 90s in the US and the UK is the lack of knowledge and information provided about sex in schools or home. Home and family has never and will never play an integral part in conveying sex education to teenagers, therefore to rely on the option of home, is to deceive your own self from the expected exigency in the future.

Some conservative groups assert that to discuss sexual issues openly is to devalue religion. No religion in the world abstain its followers from spreading the information that is so essential for human lives. Sexual behavior is natural and takes place through biological changes and this cannot be questioned as this is a part of human life. Thus people who take refuge under the religious shelter, to make their arguments strong, are misinterpreting religious ideas and laws.

Modern time is the time of internet and powerful media. Teenagers are exposed to Hollywood, TV and internet. These sources offer demonstration of sex which is highly thoughtless and casual; in this situation it is almost illogical to leave the teenagers on their sexual choices. They are young and fully excited; therefore they can not make a favorable choice. Sex education in school offers the information and knowledge they need to understand to know the responsibility that is accompanied by sexual relationships. The teacher in school helps the students to know the difference between a thoughtless and thoughtful sex. Having an urge for sex is not a problem; it is a natural process showing that the young people are developing to become adults; however the problem is having unsafe sex and hurting people through sexual choices.

People who claim that sex education in schools have more cons than pros, often come up with the statements suggesting that sex education in classroom should be avoided because the most effective tool for offering sex education, according to them is TV, films, magazines and media. Such people fail to understand that trained sex educators under especially designed programs teach sex education to children in schools. They are thus able to handle children’s problems and clear their ambiguities in the best possible way, whereas magazines, films, TV and other channels and mediums of providing sex education are be reliable. They are most of the times urging the young people by encouraging their sexual promiscuity rather than effectively teaching and educating them. This wrong approach damages the society and the individuals in disguise of ameliorating them.

People contradicting the notion insist that sex education always makes the learners have sex and experience it personally, once they learn about it in school. The reality is that sexual urge for any human being is a natural occurrence. When children reach to a certain age, whether they find people to educated them about sex or not, they do have natural instincts about it, and therefore if provided a chance they would surely want to satisfy their urge. This natural reaction can not in any way be related to the outcome of sex education in schools. In fact, the best time for letting sex education play its role is when the sexual urge increases and the teenagers want to find a source for its satisfaction. It offers individuals with the required knowledge so that they are careful. It is only then that they understand the consequences of sex leading to child birth as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Thus sex education is basically a warning and a caution for such children who are stepping into the phase of life where they would need to know all this.

Some people who go against the topic also argue that even though sex education exists, it has still not decreased the rate of teenage pregnancies. I would rather not go deep in to the moral issue of the topic, but it is important here to discuss and point out the shortcomings of our society. Social values that insist that being single, pregnant and teenagers is fine, is what has to be changed. Through educating the children and making them aware that it is just not ‘cool’ to be pregnant when single or teenager, and just because ‘others are also doing it’ does not in any way justify their actions, this change can be achieved. There are many sexual education programs that teach the learners about the grave consequences that can result in having early sex. This type of sex education in schools is helpful and makes the learners responsible and mature enough to understand the difference between morality and immorality.

People, who are against the notion, repeatedly state the question that why sex education is given so much importance when there are also many other issues connected with juvenile delinquencies such as drugs, drinking and aggressive bullying. No doubt, there are also many other issues to consider important enough to be taught in school for awareness but psychological researches show that behind most of the juvenile behavioral problems, one main reason is always the active sexual urge which drives the young people to indulge themselves in harmful activities like drug abuse and alcoholism. It is also commonly observed that young teenagers who indulge into such activities are unaware of proper sex education. Once they are given a true picture of sex and its consequences their mental status relaxes and they are easily able to cope with other social taboos.

Parents, who believe that sex education pollutes the minds of their children, have in large number taken their children out of schools promoting sex education. In this process of instilling in their minds their religious and family values, they forget that the media, their children are largely exposed to can also lead them astray. Sex education in schools does not in any way offers them an invitation to have open sex by making them aware of the risks; it just educates them about the matter in the best way.

Apart from educating the students about safe sex, sex education in schools is also helpful as it helps students to learn proper terminology for reproductive system, STDs and birth contraceptives rather than the street lingo that is commonly used by laymen. Sex education classes are gender based and that is why the young learners are not embarrassed and are only taught what is related to their gender. Early inclusion of classes also helps the teenagers to either become abstinent for some time or to become responsible if they are already active. Therefore, many sexual problems that occur in adulthood can be controlled if effective and apt sex education is given at the right time.

A proper sex education which is holistic, nonjudgmental and comprehensive never misleads or misguides the teenagers. Such a curriculum should be imposed in all schools around the nation; it is an answer to many social problems and conflicts. Would any parent leave their kindergarten kids to walk alone on the streets without letting them know how to walk safely? No parent would actually do that, in the same way, letting your teenager children socialize with their peers and fellows without any proper sexual education is nothing contrary to the analogy mentioned above. It is hazardous and risky for their lives. Thus, proper sex education in schools should be encouraged so that they learn all the significant facts through trained teachers, who help and supports them in these matters of highly crucial value. Sex education should be taken as a positive aspect which promises healthier and better life for the youngsters. It therefore should be taken as a subject taught in schools to enhance knowledge on the subject matter; something merely as human anatomy or biology class. Sex education should be given in all schools to educate the children for their betterment, avoiding it will only result in emotional, social and health problems.

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.

How to Have Clutch Power

The key to your motocross bike’s performance lies in the clutch. You may be an ace as a motocross player but if your clutch is not doing its part, you may find your engine difficult to control. The following are some tips for an excellent clutch.

First of all, take out those Factory Clutch Springs and substitute them with stiffer ones. Bike factories never use maximum performance parts when assembling the clutch. High performance parts usually cost more money than those being used by factories. But keep in mind that you don’t have to change every spring. Usually two or three will do but you can experiment on what works for you.

Do not neglect your   transmission  oil. It’s not the same as cars and trucks wherein you can change the oil once a year only. Ideally, your oil must be replaced every two or three races. It may sound too much for you, but changing the oil is cheaper than a  transmission  overhaul. Remember that the crud that you pick up on the track accumulates and will put early stress on your clutch plates.

Always carry extra shims for emergencies. You’ll never know when you’re going to need these things. It might happen in the middle of a race and you won’t be able to remedy the situation. You can simply insert the right washer under the bolt. The added thickness will preload your springs and take away that spongy feeling in your clutch.

You can top off your  transmission  to the proper level with Automatic  Transmission  Fluid, that is, if it is GM compatible. But don’t use a Ford type fluid. The difference between the two is GM fluid grips better than a Ford fluid which is slick as molasses.

Never use factory-installed aluminum clutch plates. These plates are suitable only for regular use but not tough enough for extended motocross use. They don’t hold up as well as steel plates which are heavier but more durable. There are two drawbacks for aluminum plates. One, they wear more quickly than steel leaving metallic deposits in the oil, thus, hastening mechanical wear. Two, aluminum warps easily when subjected to extreme heat generated in motocross.

Aging plates build up a glaze layer on the surface which makes them slip more noticeably. When this slippage is noticed, take out your fiber clutch plates and sand the surface to remove the slippery glaze. Reinstall after cleaning.

Make sure your clutch lever isn’t set too tight. Set it so that a quarter can slide between the lever perch and the lever without catching the clutch cable.

Investing Basics for Beginners

Investing money is a way for individuals to save toward their goals, whether it be retirement, a child’s college education, or some other financial goal. Beginning investors need to take time to determine their goals and learn some basic concepts of investing before jumping right into making an investment. Successful investing takes much research, time, and patience. As beginning investors start to have some success in making money through investments, they will develop a degree of skill. However, there is still a degree of risk involved even the most seasoned and skilled investors. Finding the answers to some basic investing questions will help make the efforts of beginning investors more successful.

How much money do I need to make an investment?

One common misconception by beginning investors is that they must have a large sum of money to make an investment. The truth is, many investments can be made for as little as hundreds or perhaps a few thousand dollars. One way to begin investing small is through dividend reinvestment plans or direct stock purchase options. Investors may be able to invest in a company’s stock options by paying a minimal start-up fee, often as little as $25 or $50 and making an initial investment. Once the money begins adding up, it can then be transferred to a brokerage account, where the investor will be able to begin investing larger sums of money.

What are the different types of investing?

Once investors determine that they have enough money to make an investment, the difficult part is often deciding where to invest their money. There are many different options for investors; some of the most common investment options are mutual funds, bonds, futures, and real estate.

  • Mutual funds – A way for individuals to invest without having to manage their investment “hands-on” is through investing in mutual funds. Mutual funds are investments that are handled by a fund manager. This fund manager invests the pool of money, contributed to by several individual investors, in the financial marketplace. The funds may be invested through closed or open-ended funds. Closed funds have a set number of shares that are distributed to the public and are traded on the open market; whereas open-ended funds to do not a set number of shares. The trader will re-invest into new shares for the investor. The shares are overseen by a professional money manager who is trained to select investments that will provide the largest returns to the investor.
  • Exchange traded funds – These funds, known as ETFs, are pools of investor money that is invested in similar ways to mutual funds. However, since ETFs are designed only to track certain indexes and much of their management is computerized, their maintenance costs and fees are generally much lower.
  • Bonds – When investors purchase bonds, they are buying an interest in a company or corporation. The companies issues bonds, which is a loan from an investor. In turn, the company agrees to pay this investor back at determined intervals with interest. Investing in bonds can be a fairly secure investment. Unless the company goes bankrupt, the investor is almost certain to receive back at least the minimum amount of his investment. These interest payments at set intervals can be a source of steady income for retired couples or others wishing to create a type of investment where they can generate consistent returns. The interest earned on bonds can be tax exempt with some types of bonds.
  • Real Estate – Real estate can a good investment when the timing is right but often requires a lot of work. One easy way for investors to enter the real estate market is through a real estate investment trust, or REIT. Investors become part owners in the investments of the REIT such as malls, park garages, hotels, or other real estate ventures. REITs often pay out high cash dividends to investors because the REIT pays no federal income tax in return for paying out 90 percent or more of their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends. Another way of making money through investing in real estate is through purchasing properties, improving the properties through repairing them or adding amenities, then selling them at a profit; or renting the houses to tenants and receiving a monthly income from the payments.
  • Futures – Futures trading is the marketplace where buyers from around the world buy and sell futures contracts. A futures contract is an agreement to receive a product at a future date with a set price. Once the price is agreed upon, the price is secure for the next year regardless of the changes in the market. Some common futures markets include commodities, currencies, stock indexes, interest rates, and other alternative investments such as economic indicators. The rewards of this kind of investing can be great but so are the risks. Therefore, futures should be left to the most experienced investors.

Should I diversify or stick with one investment?

Most professional investment advisors will confirm that diversification is the key to a successful investment portfolio. Investors who spread their investments out through several avenues reduce their risk of losing all of their assets should the investment fail. While it may be tempting to dive right in and start investing large sums or money, beginning investors should balance the potential profit against the risks they are exposing themselves to in the investment marketplace.

Using the services of a professional investment advisor

A professional investment advisor can provide beginning investors with the basic information needed to start an investment portfolio. An investment advisor sometimes is also a financial planner and can help with all financial matters. Some investment advisors are paid a percentage of the value of the assets managed, while others charge an hourly fee or are paid on a commission basis.

For investors who would like to avoid these fees, the best strategy is to do some study and start with mutual funds or ETFs offered by reputable companies.

Hemorrhoids and Anal Warts

It’s pretty bad when you find out you’ve got hemorrhoids, but it can be a lot worse if you get hemorrhoids confused with another health issue. I mean, the pain, anxiety and embarrassment of discovering something wrong in the anal area is bad enough, much less not knowing exactly what you’ve got. On the bright side, there aren’t too many health conditions that can come up in that area. One of the most common health conditions confused with hemorrhoids is anal warts. While neither is very much fun, they stem from entirely different causes and are treated in very different ways.

Anal warts, also known as condyloma acuminata, are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus is highly contagious and most often transmitted through sexual intercourse. Some strains of HPV can lead to increased risk of cervical cancer, but these are not the same strains as the ones that cause anal warts. The virus gets into the skin or mucous tissue cells and starts making them grow in the distinctive wart pattern. HPV infection does not lead to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids originate from weak points in hemorrhoidal veins below the skin or mucous tissue. As the weak point gives way, it stretches out and takes surrounding tissue with it. Traumatized hemorrhoids may get infected with a variety of bacteria and/or viruses, but infection does not lead to hemorrhoids. That would be like putting the cart before the horse.

Anal warts and hemorrhoids can both feel like lumps or masses of tissue around the anal area. However, there are several differences that can lead to a proper identification upon close inspection. While doing a close inspection may not sound like fun, it’s much better than trying unsuccessfully to treat the wrong thing. Upon said close inspection, anal warts have a distinctive “rough” texture and range in size from the head of a pin to about the size of a pea and are rather hard to the touch. They occur in clusters around the anal opening and may sometimes continue up towards the genital area. They almost never occur alone. Hemorrhoids, on the other hand, have a smooth texture that’s identical to the tissue they originate from, whether that’s external skin or internal mucous membrane. They are often soft or “squishy” to the touch, and they range in size from the size of a pea to the size of a grape. You’ll never find them anywhere except right around the anal opening. In addition, warts almost never hurt, though they may itch a bit. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, often hurt quite a lot.

Hemorrhoids are usually best treated at home through a high-fiber diet, a healthy amount of exercise, and easily obtained over the counter relief. Home remedies often work well on hemorrhoids and surgery is only rarely needed. Anal warts, on the other hand, always have to be treated surgically, usually on an outpatient basis. The warts will not go away on their own. Instead, a physician has to use liquid nitrogen to freeze them off. In addition, hemorrhoids can often be kept away by keeping the lifestyle changes that were made to help cure them. Anal warts will often come back for no reason under your control, because the virus can live dormant in your skin cells for a long time. One day that virus can wake up and bam, you’ve got anal warts again.

So, as you can see, getting anal warts confused with hemorrhoids can lead to some serious problems. At the least you’ll be stuck trying to treat a problem you don’t have for a while. Why waste all that time and discomfort? If you can’t figure out what you’ve got on your own, make a doctor’s appointment and get your diagnosis confirmed. It’ll save you a lot of trouble, pain and grief in the long run.

Compromised Immune System – 7 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Immune Deficiency

Most of us never really think about what a strong immune system does for quality of life until something happens to weaken it. A compromised immune system means that germs that in the past have been pretty harmless now have the potential to be life threatening. Here are 7 answers to frequently asked questions about an immune system that is no longer functioning the way it should.  

1. What causes the immune system to become weakened?  Some people are born with the condition because of an abnormality in one or more cells, and this is called primary immune deficiency. Others acquire the condition because of poor diet, prolonged stress, consistent lack of sleep, lengthy use of steroids and/or antibiotics, certain types of cancers, and chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer.  

2. What are the symptoms? Frequent illness, recurring illness, and difficulty in getting completely better are some of the most common symptoms. If this becomes a pattern for any length of time, seek medical advice to determine the cause. Seeking professional help promptly gives you the best chance of restoring your health.  

3. Is there an effective cure? The answer to this question hinges on the cause of the problem. Many times an aggressive change in lifestyle can boost the immune system. By eating a healthier diet, eliminating chronic stress by changing jobs, career, or personal relationships, you can strengthen your body’s ability to stay well. For more serious causes medication is almost always involved and only your doctor can evaluate your specific condition and provide an accurate answer for your chances of a cure.  

4. Are there certain diseases that leave the immune system weaker? Many of the childhood disease can diminish the body’s capabilities to stay healthy such as Chicken Pox and Measles. Luckily there are immunizations that prevent many more children from ever contracting these diseases. Tuberculosis and Hepatitis can also cause problems.  

5. Is this disease based on age or gender? No it is not. Infants can be born with immunodeficiency, and given the wrong set of circumstances anyone’s immune system can become compromised.       

6. Are there natural remedies that help? There are a number of things you practice daily that will help. The importance of clean hands can not be underestimated. Frequent washing of hands greatly reduces the amount of germs you contract. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the car, at the office, and with you all the time in a pocket or purse. Avoid large gatherings where exposure to germs increases exponentially. Don’t be too proud to wear a mask if you know you can’t avoid contact with someone who is contagious. Use an air purifier to remove airborne germs before they can cause problems.  

7. What kind of air purifier will help the most? A high efficiency particle arresting air (or HEPA) purifier is most effective. Designed to eliminate particulates as small as .3 microns it is a non-invasive way to keep your air clean. HEPA technology is the same technology used in hospitals to insure clean air. And with a compromised immune system, clean air is one of the most important things you can have.