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05/13/2010
IconI was at first stunned - then not - to read that research from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health points toward white, middle aged women as being particularly prone to depression leading to suicides.' I'm a middle aged, white, female baby-boomer, so this caught my attention, especially since the researchers seemed clueless as to what would be behind this spike.Having talked to women for over thirty years on the radio, I think I know.' We middle-aged, white females from the sixties were sold a bill of goods by the originally well-meaning women's movement.' The bits about equal pay for equal experience and competence were kind of a no-brainer.' The bits about men, marriage, sex, babies, and home-making being negatives in our lives - because, of course, they were oppressive and demeaning - also seemed obvious at the time.' So, with the introduction of consciousness raising (that is, learning to mistrust, not need, and even loathe men) and women's studies programs (which conceived of elevating women by making them perpetually angry victims), we were on our way to a collision course to today: depression and suicide.Women who dared to buck the feminista trend and actually marry and make babies, kept close to the sisterhood by not being very sexual, loving, or sensitive to their husbands - or just kept them as shack-up studs - and put their babies in day-care.' They did all of that so they could work at their careers full-time and have financial power.' The thinking was, what if "he" took off with some bimbo or died on them?' Money is power and safety!' They also did all of that so they could feel like "somebody."' I still have women tell me today that they only allow themselves to feel good when they have a successful career; the loving appreciation of a husband and children are swept aside like so much emotional dandruff.'These white, middle-aged, female baby-boomers starved themselves of the fulfilling emotional meal of actually being a hands-on mom in addition to being their husband's girlfriend.' Many of them are now divorced, and their adult children hardly spend time any time with them.' The kids learned how to spend time without Mom because she was so "busy, busy, busy" while they were growing up.I'm not surprised that so many of these women are depressed and suicidal.' Feministas lied to them that they could and would "have it all:" they only had to sacrifice the loveliest parts of their womanhood.I'm not among them, because I caught myself entering that depressive state.' I've been there...done that.' Saved by a marriage and a child! More >>

Tags: ChildrenFeminismHealthMarriageMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingSocial IssuesWomen's Point of View
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Tags: DepressionEthicsHealthMental HealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesQuote of the Week
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Tags: CancerHealthResponse To A Comment
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05/13/2010
IconAccording to a study being released in November's American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry , Internet web searching may just enhance brain activity and keep your elderly (55-75 years of age) brain working at top function.The study compared 24 subjects between the ages of 55 and 75, and discovered using MRI scans that reading a book helped stimulate certain areas of the brain that had to do with language, memory, and visuals.' They also found that searching the Internet created these same stimulations, but activated more of the frontal, temporal, and cingulated areas of the brain - areas that have a lot to do with decision-making skills. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreFitnessHealthInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconA recent female caller wondered if she should stay with and even marry a guy who spent the full first year of their relationship being violent.I immediately said, "You're a grown woman.' If you want to play Russian Roulette with your life you have the right to do that.' Please, though, have your Fallopian tubes tied so that you can't bring any babies into this situation to either be hurt directly or indirectly by a messed up, violent home-life."She wanted to know if people can change.' Well, the correct answer is....YES!' Of course people can change.' When people are motivated and disciplined and committed to being, thinking, and doing things differently, they can most definitely evolve in a positive direction.' It does take time and simply acknowledging the need for change is not (contrary to popular thought) 50% of the problem.' You all know that's true because every one of you remembers making a New Year's Resolution - which clearly acknowledges a need for change - and even a plan....which just evaporated with time and ennui.Therefore, in the context of this woman's call, a person prone to violence is not one who is going to make a quick change.' The caller wanted to know if there was hope that in the future...no matter how distant...that he could be different.' Well, sure - IF he makes the commitment and is committed long term to whatever it takes to change his way of looking at the world, intimate relationships, and his own identity.An interesting fact is that when people do make such profound changes, they rarely are interested in the people who wanted them when they were less positively functional, as they recognize that it takes a less functional person to be attracted to same.' Said in a bit 'o different way: emotionally healthy people, even though they may protest love and compassion, just don't commit their lives to a recalcitrant, unwilling to change, difficult, or dangerous person.' It is because of their own sad inner dynamics that they find solace in being involved with an unhealthy person...it makes them feel needed or puts the responsibility for their unhappiness somewhere else or is simply a place to hide from the threat of not being capable of a good life.This particular caller thanked me for my advice...I asked her to tell me what my advice was; she said, "I don't want to play roulette with my life."' I gave her kudos for making a healthy and good choice.' I also told her that she'd feel stupid for the time already spent, lonely for the company, scared of being alone, and more...but that this decision was still a healthy and good choice.You see...she is the one in her life she had the power and the necessity to change; focusing on him was just a way to hide from that.I love the beginning of happy endings...and that call was one of those. More >>

Tags: ChildrenDatingHealthParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRelationshipsResponse To A Comment
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Tags: Bad Childhood - Good LifeBad Childhood-Good LifeHealthSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconI never gave a second thought to the flu or prophylactic vaccines until that one day the symptoms hit like a sledge hammer.' I was in the middle of a counseling session, when my joints spontaneously began hurting.' All of a sudden, I started to feel so weak that I couldn't believe it, and got a bit frightened.' I had to tell my client "I'm so sorry - I'm not feeling well.' We'll have to finish this session some other time." I then called my husband to come and get me.' By the time I got home, the total body pain was so great I could barely tolerate getting my street clothes off and my p.j.'s on.' After that experience, I started getting my flu shots every year, and never had a recurrence.Well, I'm here to nag you!' The flu-shot season has officially begun, and according to Dr. William Schaffner, President-elect of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, "People should start getting vaccinated now...yesterday, actually." There's an ample supply of vaccine this year - somewhere between 143 to 146 million doses (more than ever before manufactured).' As you probably remember, last year's vaccine was somewhat inadequate, because a surprise new influenza strain emerged.' The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)' has checked around the world where the flu virus is already circulating, however, and has found that this year's vaccine is a good match.For those of you who are stubborn about getting these shots, you should know that flu hospitalizes about 200,000 people a year, and kills about 36,000.'You have a choice in vaccines.' The old fashioned flu shot is good for all ages, and the nasal vaccine FluMist can be used in healthy people aged 2 to 49.'The CDC says that 261 million Americans qualify for the shot.' For the first time, the CDC is recommending that every child, age 6 months to 18 years, be inoculated, unless they have a serious egg allergy.' Any child under 9 years of age who is being vaccinated for the first time will need two doses, a month apart.' A single dose suffices for everyone else.There are scads of local places to get flu shots, and you can find out where at www.findaflushot.com . More >>

Tags: Health
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05/13/2010
IconFriday, September 19, 2008, I was reading the last page of the "Weekend Journal" in The Wall Street Journal .' It was adapted from a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College.' Mr. Wallace, 46, died'recently, an apparent suicide.I thought it odd that an entire page of The Wall Street Journal was dedicated to the musings of a man who opted out of life after giving advice to young people just beginning their adult foray into the trials and tribulations of existence.The main focus of his presentation to the students seemed to be on the issue of self-centeredness: "It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth.' Think about it:' there is no experience you've had that you were not at the absolute center of.' The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever.' Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real - you get the idea.' But please don't worry that I'm getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called 'virtues.'' This is not a matter of virtue - it is a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self." First, he is "right on" with the hard-wiring of self-centeredness.' I remember my mother telling me once that when, as a teenager, she experienced the death of her mother from breast cancer, and was consumed with grief, that she looked out her window to see people outside driving, walking, talking, and going about their business as though nothing had happened.' She related feeling shocked that, somehow, the whole world did not stand still as did her own heart.It is obvious that, of course, we are the most absorbed by our immediate environment and experiences....which pretty much means ourselves.' However, Mr. Wallace's consistent dismissal of virtues is perhaps what was missing from his life. Seeing, acknowledging, and caring about others does not necessarily come naturally.' It is a virtue taught by parents and community as well as by religious teachings.' One of the most central aspects of religious training is to "love thy neighbor."' Why?' Just because it's "nice?"' No, although it is nice.' It is because caring for those outside yourself gives you a connectedness that minimized loneliness and a purpose which minimizes despair.Towards the end of his speech, he points out: "The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little un-sexy ways, every day.' That is real freedom." He then asks the audience to "please don't dismiss it as some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon.' None of this is about morality, or religion, or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death.' It is about making it to 30 or maybe 50, without wanting to shoot yourself in the head." So, in attempting to enlighten the young people about a bigger value in life - commitment and obligation to others - he came back to his essential hard-wiring:' it is all about living in a way which makes you not want to kill yourself.' Ironically, his thought process came all the way back to being self-centered.In eschewing morality, religion, dogma, considerations of eternity - all of which he assembled under "finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon[s]," he disconnected himself from the kind of motivation, identification, support and spiritual reward which may have kept him from committing suicide.' Sad, really. More >>

Tags: AttitudeFeminismHealthMental HealthPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeSocial IssuesSuicideValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhile it should come as no surprise that psychological, social and academic functioning are impacted negatively by children raised in family chaos, or in situations of profound change and stress, Dr. Kathryn Harker Tillman from Florida State University reports that, on average, adolescents living with half- or step-siblings have lower grades and more school-related behavior problems, and these problems may not improve over time. "These findings imply that family formation patterns that bring together children who have different sets of biological parents may not be in the best interests of the children involved.' Yet half of all American step-families include children from previous relationships of both partners, and the majority of parents in step-families go on to have additional children together. ("Non-traditional" Siblngs and the Academic Outcomes of Adolescents, Social Science Research, 37(1) More >>

Tags: Bad Childhood - Good LifeBad Childhood-Good LifeEducationFamily/Relationships - FamilyHealthRelativesSchool
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05/13/2010
IconAnybody who knows anything knows that stem cells are useful tools in the treatment of certain specific diseases.' Anybody who knows anything also knows that the argument about using embryonic stem cells is an argument that doesn't have to happen.Stem cells are found in a wide variety of places, including body fat, umbilical cord blood, and now, Japanese scientists report that they have derived stem cells from....wisdom teeth!Researchers at the government-backed National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology said they created stem cells of the type found in human embryos using the removed wisdom teeth of a 10 year old girl.Stem cells, which can develop into various organs or nerves, are seen as having the potential to save lives by helping find cures for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, and many others.' People who give up their wisdom teeth in their youth could use the stem cells later in life if they need treatment.Japan is the largest spender on scientific research after the United States.' In December, they announced a $92 million plan to advance stem cell research over five years. More >>

Tags: Health
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