Tag 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.


  • 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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Problems Sleeping? How Feng Shui Can Help

SleepFeng Shui to some is a science.  Literally translated in English as “wind water,” amongst its practitioners Feng Shui deals with basic scientific principles of energy and balance.  To others, Feng Shui is considered more of an art form as it deals with artistic principles like “harmony.”   Whether an art or a science, Feng Shui is the arrangement of objects and space within an environment which has the objective of there being sufficient “chi,” which is considered the essence of life, energy flow within the environment.  Chi has two components: (1) the “yang” which is like fire and energy, and (2) the “yin” which is passive, stationary and soothing.

Feng Shui is also composed of 5 elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.  These Feng Shui elements interact between themselves in certain ways, generally defined as the Productive and Destructive cycles. Each Feng Shui element is represented by a specific color, and color is the easiest way to use the five elements principle to bring more harmony into your space with Feng Shui.  So when taken in the context of creating an environment to promote better sleep, utilize principles of Feng Shui with sufficient chi to help you meet your objective.

Feng Shui suggests that bedrooms should be designed with more yin, creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere, and the placement of the bed is of crucial importance. Feng Shui dictates that the bed one sleeps in must be diagonal from the doorway so that person who sleeps in the bed can see anyone who wants to enter into the room, and yet is not directly in the pathway of the door. In addition, the bed cannot be placed directly under a window since bad chi can enter through the window and disrupt sleep or one could lose good chi through it during the night.  The bed should also not have been owned by anyone else since bad chi can remain in the mattress.  King sizes beds, plants and flowers should not be in a bedroom shared by a couple as king sized beds are not good for couples and plants and flowers in the bedroom not good for romance. This can cause multiple problems and potentially disrupt many a nights rest.

Additionally, Feng Shui dictates that bedrooms to be slept in are not to be beneath a toilet on the upper floor as it flushes unhappy chi down from above (which is definitely not recommendable since it is 365 nights out of the year the potential exists for bad chi to be flushed downward thereby causing many restless nights of sleep).  Televisions and mirrors or anything that may reflect a couple in bed are to be covered when not in use since it could foster infidelity or third-party interference.  Do not store anything under the bed or place mattresses directly on the floor and finally, avoid bright reds in the bedroom.

Utilizing Feng Shui in the bedroom can make the difference between having a good night’s rest and a restless night. Put in simpler terms, Feng Shui to promote better sleep just makes good sense.

First published at Helium.com

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