December 31, 2006

Honey, Now I Know Why I’m Fat

Do kids make parents fat, or is it just an excuse?

I was fat when I was a child. I am fat as an adult. So, technically, my parents made me fat as a child, and now my children are making me fat.

Ok, all that “fat” talk has gotten me hungry – let me go get a bowl of ice-cream from the frig, and blame my kids, while you check this article out.

Kids make parents fat

From the BBC story: “Kids may make parents overweight: Eating habits can affect the whole family Overweight adults may be able to blame their offspring after a US study found adults living with children eat more fat than others.”

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Post-partum Blues

In Charlotte Perkins-Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” which is written and set in the late 1800s (1892), the central figure is sequestered to a top floor bedroom where she is forced to “rest” for days on end. By being suppressed, oppressed, and depressed, the woman goes mad. One contemporary theory is that the woman, who it is implied has recently given birth, is not mad but suffering from the very real malaise of postpartum depression, or what we today call postpartum blues.

While women’s feelings or emotions have been discounted for centuries—From Hippocrates to Traturo of Salerno to with Freud, and his term, “hysteria”, for example, denoting only those emotions of a woman with a hyster, a womb, modern science has finally acknowledged (though still poo-pooed or dismissed too often) that postpartum blues are real and in some cases quite devastating.

Evidently, there are three stages of post-birthing depression, with postpartum blues—also called the “baby blues” or “maternity blues”—at the milder end. At the furthest extreme is what specialists at define as puerperal psychosis. At this level the malady manifests itself in hallucinations, delusions that the baby is a demon a saint or dying, and tendencies toward suicide or infanticide.

Was this what Medea was experiencing when she slaughtered her three children? Was this (to use a real-life example) what Susan Smith was experiencing when she drowned her two boys in the back of a car she sunk in John D. Long Lake? Can fathers get a form of postpartum blues? If so, can we account for postpartum blues of one Garrett Wilson, who murdered his five-month old whom he had with one wife, after, evidently, murdering his two-month old years earlier, a baby whom he had had with a different wife.

Than again, the motives in this man go beyond any kind of temporary insanity—to greed. But I ask the question to have us consider that postpartum blues are real, and are possibly the cause of many problems as well as the results of many non-birth related events. I know teachers, for example, who, though they adore their classes and work intensely to give them the best all semester (or year), and who though they are relieved to get a break at semester’s end, get a strange form of depression…as if they have just given birth (to multiple children!) and are now feeling the gaping void. In any case or any extreme, the important thing is to make appointments for consultation with one who believe, believes in, and honors, as well as has solutions for postpartum blues.

– Ravi Jayagopal / Indian Baby Names

December 20, 2006

DUI: The $10,000 ride home

It is not uncommon for people to think that it’s ok to have a beer or two and drive home. After all, it’s only a beer or two, right?

Read this article, and you will change your opinion about “a beer or two” in a hurry. If you have children, then it is more important that you read this, as it can affect not just your life, but theirs too.

“A fine is just the start of what you’ll pay for a drunken-driving conviction. Insurance-rate increases, legal bills, alcohol treatment and licensing fees can push the cost into five figures.”

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December 19, 2006

Child Circumcision Must be Voluntary

Doctors and Children’s Groups Say Male Circumcision Must be Voluntary, Consensual

National Institutes of Health’s endorsement of adult male circumcision leaves the question of infant circumcision unanswered.

San Diego, CA (PRWeb) December 15, 2006 — Physicians and children’s rights advocates are calling on the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to formulate a clear policy on male circumcision so that minors are protected from being circumcised for medically unnecessary reasons. The plea follows Wednesday’s NIH announcement that findings from two new African clinical trials show that adult male circumcision helped protect men from acquiring the HIV/AIDS virus over a 15 month period.

The first trial in Kisumu, Kenya, of 2,784 HIV-negative men showed a 53 percent reduction of HIV acquisition in circumcised men relative to uncircumcised men, while the second trial of 4,996 HIV-negative men in Rakai, Uganda, showed that HIV acquisition was reduced by 48 percent in circumcised men. The trials were originally scheduled to continue until mid-2007, but the NIAID Data and Safety Monitoring Board halted them early after deeming the interim data sufficient enough to draw conclusions.

“The only complete protection against HIV is safe sex and any decision to circumcise should be made by the owner of the foreskin when he is able to give informed consent,” says David Smith, who is General Manager of NORM-UK, a UK based foreskin health charity. “The British Medical Association (BMA) has recently revised their 2003 guidance on the law and ethics of male circumcision. The revised guidance dated June 2006 reaffirms the statement ‘to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate'”.

In the UK, non-therapeutic male circumcision is not available on the National Health Service, and a Korean study by DaiSik Kim and Myung-Geol Pang, published in the online edition of British Journal of Urology earlier this month, found that “circumcision adversely affects sexual function in many men, possibly because of complications of the surgery and a loss of nerve endings”. The study confirms widespread reports from men who claim that circumcision has damaged their sex lives.

Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH, a Los Angeles pediatrician and author of the book “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision”, said that the male foreskin has sensory and protective functions that are lost after circumcision. “The foreskin contains a rich concentration of blood vessels and nerve endings that are designed to enhance sexual pleasure,” said Fleiss. “And just as the eyelids protect the eyes, the foreskin protects the glans and keeps its surface soft, moist, and sensitive. These functions make it ethically imperative that circumcision only be performed on adults who have given their consent.”

Dr. Dean Edell, syndicated radio host of “The Dr. Dean Edell Show” and anchor of “Medical Minutes”, a series of ten weekly radio medical reports, said that using routine male circumcision to prevent AIDS is flawed logic. “AIDS is caused by a virus, not by the foreskin,” said Edell. “The foreskin is one of several possible entrance points for the AIDS virus to infect the body, but that does not mean that you should cut the entrance off. It means that you should protect the entrance, either by using condoms or by practicing safe sex. If some men want to undergo circumcision because they feel it will make them safer, then they should be free to do so. But we need to draw the line when it comes to circumcision of children, which is done without consent of the patient. The common sense thing to do here is to make circumcision an option for adults only.”

Although female circumcision of minors was outlawed by Congress in 1996, a similar law does not exist to protect males. As a result, circumcision is still performed on nearly 60% of infant boys, either because the parents request it or because a doctor or religious advisor recommends it.

Matthew Hess, President of San Diego based, said that a consent law for male circumcision should be enacted by Congress to give men the same choices that women have when it comes to elective surgery. “The new NIH suggestion that adult male circumcision may be used as a tool to protect against AIDS is going to tempt many physicians to circumcise children as well. But removal of healthy, non-diseased tissue is elective surgery that should be the choice of the person who owns the body, not the choice of parents or physicians.” has authored proposed federal and state legislation that would require men to be 18 years old before undergoing circumcision. The legislation is endorsed by 16 health and human rights groups, but has yet to be enacted into law.

December 13, 2006

Lindsay Lohan’s Mom, Kids and Alcohol

What Can Lindsay Lohan’s Mom Teach Us About Kids and Alcohol?

Dr. Marc F. Kern has researched and developed a non-confrontational, positive approach to substance abuse called H.A.L.O. (Helping a Love One).

(PRWeb) December 12, 2006 — Most parents of teens and young adults face the same parenting problem. Research suggests more and more kids are partying to excess (including binge drinking) while still in high school and living at home, away at college or in the armed services.

Lindsay Lohan has been in the news lately and appears to understand she is drinking too much.

She and her mom have agreed that she needs to do something, but what? Their current solution is to have Lindsay attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, which is an abstinence only program.

Yet it has been reported that Lindsay is still drinking.

What can a mother a do? A new poll (12/06) by The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) shows that most parents have difficulty getting through to their teens about important subjects, especially drug use.

Millions of people around the world still believe that the only choice for someone like Lindsay is AA. But is it? Does it really work? Does it really change a young person’s drinking behavior or does it only foster black and white notions that become self-fulfilling prophecies?

Or do you use the “Tough Love” method where you must make ultimatums and conceptualize your son or daughter as a diseased person, and you have to kick them out into the street to help them?

Beverly Hills addictions expert Dr. Marc F. Kern recommends a non-confrontational approach for dealing with a loved one. “As a father and a husband, I can’t imagine kicking my child out on the street. That’s why I have researched and developed a non-confrontational, positive approach called H.A.L.O. (Helping a Love One).

“With the H.A.L.O. approach,” Dr. Kern continues, “you can learn that when you make small changes in your own behavior, strategically planned and precisely timed, you can help your loved one begin to change their habit of excessive drinking and start down the road to recovery.”

With this innovative approach, Dr. Kern explains, people learn how to “tip the balance of the status quo” of their relationship and change the behaviors that have actually fed the addictive behavior.

“Relationships are like dancing the tango,” Dr. Kern explains, “You both get used to a predictable pattern of steps ­ which is the ‘status quo’ of your relationship. If you suddenly move to the left instead of the right, your partner or child has no choice but to change what he or she does next as a result of your action. This is the core idea of H.A.L.O. and the main reason it is an effective way to motivate problem drinkers out of their rut and start taking positive actions toward their own recovery.”

Dr. Kern’s non-confrontational H.A.L.O. approach helps parents and spouses:

* Learn what triggers your loved one to use alcohol or drugs.
* Know what to say and do to support non-using, pro-social behaviors and entry into treatment.
* Improve communication with the substance user.
* Keep your sanity while your loved one is making you feel insane.
* Use positive and negative reinforcement effectively to discourage a loved one’s harmful alcohol or other using behaviors.
* Learn about effective approaches for moderating substance use, instead of complete abstinence.

Dr. Kern is one of a growing number of psychologists, therapists, and counselors who are taking their message to the Internet to reach areas of the country where people do not have local access to experienced specialists.

A popular guest expert on radio and TV shows, including 20/20 and Larry King Live, Dr. Kern will be featured on New Year’s Day on “Resolutions” a one-hour program on the Learning Channel that illustrates four methods of quitting smoking.

He will also be presenting his workshop, “How to Cut your Drinking Down Now so You Don’t Have to Go to AA Later” in January at Los Angeles’ Learning Annex. He is the author of “Take Control Now!” and co-author of “Responsible Drinking.”

Marc F. Kern, Ph.D., Addiction Alternatives, Inc.