Category Archives: Health and wellness

Happy No Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a day dads across the world are celebrated and children and moms give gifts to dad, eat and go out in family. A joyous day, Father’s Day is exploited by the media all over the world. For children and adults, for those without a father, it can be an awkward day that occurs annually among the other holidays where emotions run high from the constant reminder that the family is incomplete.  If unresolved emotions exist, it may be time to seek counseling or even medical and psychiatric intervention.

According to GroundSpark (formerly Women’s Educational Media) which company has produced and distributed films, educational resources and campaigns on issues ranging from environmental concerns to affordable housing to preventing prejudice, the following is what American families look like today:

“Single Parents

  • Single parents account for 27 percent of family households with children under 18.
  • More than two million fathers are the primary caregivers of children under 18, a 62 percent increase since 1990.
  • One in two children will live in a single-parent family at some point in childhood.
  • One in three children is born to unmarried parents.
  • Between 1978 and 1996, the number of babies born to unmarried women per year quadrupled from 500,000 to more than two million.
  • The number of single mothers increased from three million to 10 million between 1970 and 2000.

Divorced Parents

  • Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.
  • More than one million children have parents who separate or divorce each year. More than half of Americans today have been, are or will be in one or more stepfamily situations.

Guardians/Foster Care

  • One child out of 25 lives with neither parent.
  • An estimated 550,000 children were in foster care as of March 31, 1999, a 35 percent increase since 1990. About 120,000 of these children were waiting for permanent adoptive families.
  • The number of children in foster care who are being cared for by members of their extended family—grandparents, aunts, uncles—continues to increase. In 1993 (the last year national statistics are available), kinship providers cared for about a third of the foster children in New York, 40 percent of foster children in California and nearly half of foster children in Illinois.
  • In 1999, adoptions were finalized for more than 17,000 foster children; another 18,000 children were living in foster homes, waiting for adoptions to be completed, and about 20,000 foster children were legally available for adoption but had not yet been placed in their new homes.
  • The 2000 US Census found that 2.4 million grandparents are the primary caregivers for the children in their families.

Adoption

  • In the United States, 1.6 million children under the age of 18 live with their adoptive parents.
  • More than 100,000 children are adopted each year.
  • From 1992 to 1999, the number of children adopted from abroad more than doubled from 6,720 to 16,396.
  • In 1996, more than 5.2 million children lived with one biological parent and either a stepparent or adoptive parent, up from 4.5 million in 1991.

Mixed-Race Families

  • Interracial families are an ever-growing part of our national landscape. The 2000 Census showed that 2.8 million children under age 18 and nearly 7 million Americans of all ages identify as more than one race.
  • There are more than 4.5 million married and unmarried couples in the United States who are mixed racially or ethnically.

Gay-and Lesbian-Headed/Unmarried Partner Households

  • Estimates show that approximately 2 million American children under the age of 18 are being raised by their lesbian and gay parents
  • The number of unmarried partner households has increased by 72 percent in the last decade from three million in 1990 to more than five million in 2000. These figures include both same-sex and different-sex couples.
  • One-third of lesbian households and one-fifth of gay male households have children.
  • The Census Bureau reports that New York has 46,490 same-sex households, Ohio has 18,937 same-sex households and Missouri has 9,428 same-sex households.During the past decade, the number of same-sex households “grew significantly” in 10 states for which figures have been released: more than 700 percent in Delaware and Nevada; more than 400 percent in Vermont, Indiana, Louisiana and Nebraska; and more than 200 percent in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and Montana.”

People without fathers, for whatever reason (this author’s included who was lost to metastatic abdominal cancer), the numbers evidence the need for a Happy No Father’s Day. As such, may we celebrate ourselves, our differences and may we overcome and understand our feelings. “HAPPY NO FATHER’S DAY.”

[This article can also be found at allvoices.com.]

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Treatment Breakthroughs For Skin Cancer Patients

YervoyResearchers reported Sunday on the clinical trials of two new drugs that can greatly increase the survival rate in patients that suffer from metastatic melanoma. In one of the clinical trials, the results were so dramatic the trial was halted early.

The two new drugs are Yervoy, manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb, and vemurafenib, manufactured by Roche and Plexxikon, Inc., a biotechnology company in Berkeley.

Dr. Marc E. Ernstoff of Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H. is quoted in a report in the Los Angeles Times while writing an editorial about vemurafenib "that the development of the drug is a major defining moment that will have an important effect on survival and quality of life," although the mutation the drug targets, the V600E mutation in a gene called BRAF which is involved in cell growth, occurs in only about 47% of melanoma patients, and vemurafenib only helps about half of of the 47%.

Still, many metastatic melanoma patients who do not obtain benefits from vemurafenib may benefit from Yervoy, which stimulates the immune system to fight off tumors. Yervoy was approved by the FDA in March based on earlier results that showed it was more effective than a vaccine used to treat melanoma. The recent results now show that Yervoy may be more effective than conventional chemotherapy.

The manufacturers of vemurafenib and Yervoy are in the planning stages of clinical trials where both medications will be used together to see if the drug combination improves outcomes.

Dr. Sylvia Adams of the New York University School of Medicine and spokeswoman for ASCO stated to the Times that the new findings are "absolutely a major breakthrough for patients who have metastatic or unresectable melanoma."

The chief drawback of the drugs is cost. Yervoy costs $120,000 for a course of treatment. In addition, the manufacturers of vemurafenib are expected to apply to the FDA shortly for approval to market the drug but they have not yet announced a price.

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Chinese Health Authorities Campaign Against Antibiotic Overuse

The World Health Organisation on Friday called on health authorities around the globe to monitor a superbug

A special national campaign is being launched by China’s top health authorities to reduce widespread overuse of antibiotics as they fear, and with reason, that it could develop and leave its people at risk of drug-resistant superbugs.

Provincial health authorities will be required to review hospitals unannounced and at random and immediately correct findings of abuse. Ma Xiaowei, Vice-Minister of Health, said the Ministry of Health will organize special inspection teams to visit medical institutions across the country and that hospitals that are found to be guilty will be named and shamed and its senior managers and doctors will get warnings or face administrative punishment. The Vice-Minister also said the Ministry is drafting a regulation on how to manage the use of antibiotics in medical institutions.

Read the entire article at allvoices.com here.

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