Mental Health

text therapyHelping Men and Their Families: Is Text Therapy the Next Best Thing?

On November 21, 1969 I welcomed my son, Jemal, into the world. I vowed I would be a different kind of father than my father could be for me and I would do my best to create a world that was supportive of men, women, and children. That was birth of MenAlive. But the roots of my desire to help men go back to 1948 following my father’s overdose of sleeping pills.

As a child of five, I wanted to understand what happened to my father, why his manic anger and his agitated depression, led to his being committed to Camarillo State Hospital north of Los Angeles. I wanted to understand why he was unable to make a living doing the work he loved and how his beliefs about manhood caused debilitating shame when he couldn’t find a job and my mother was forced to go out to work. And underneath it all, I wondered what would happen to me. Would I follow in my father’s footsteps and end up in the “nut house?”
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Fatherhood, Parenting, Sports

When Losing Is Actually Winning

Dear Mr. Dad: My kids are 9 and 11 and they’re fortunate enough to be good at almost everything they do. But if something comes up that they don’t pick up immediately—whether it’s a sport, a board game, an art project, or something else—they tend to get frustrated and quit. How can I get them to understand that losing—or at least not being perfect at everything—is part of life?

A: You’ve just put your finger on one of the biggest challenges facing parents today: how to teach our children not only to accept failure but to embrace it. Unfortunately, too many children and young adults have spent most of their life in a world where they’re told every day that they’re amazing and fantastic, and where they get trophies and awards for just showing up. The message is clear: If you’re going to get the same reward whether you work hard or not, why trouble yourself?

At the same time, we live in a world where we’re obsessed with performance—whether that’s good grades and high test scores, playing on an elite sports team and leading the league in home runs or touchdowns, or landing a high-paying job. The message there is also clear: You have to be the best. If you’re not, you’re nothing. Or, as Cam Newton, quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, who lost Superbowl L (50) put it, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”

Together, those two messages have created the situation your kids, and millions of others, are in: If they can do something extremely well right off the bat, they’ll do it. If not, they’ll quit in a hurry rather than risk being seen as a loser. At the same time, in order to keep being seen as winners—and to keep the “you’re amazing” comments and awards coming in—they gravitate towards activities they know they can excel at.

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Other Cancers

The Ultimate Liquid Biopsy for Fertility

If you’re around my age (not telling), you’ve probably had your blood drawn, maybe even regularly. Electrolytes, sugars, cholesterol, liver and kidney stuff, HIV testing and the like. But imagine that that same blood sample could tell you whether or not you have any one of 40 cancers? The future is upon us.

Written in Blood

Welcome to the age of “liquid biopsies.” These are “tests done on a sample of blood to look for cancer cells…or for pieces of DNA from tumor cells.” It’s subtle biology, but when normal cells die, their contents spill into the bloodstream, loaded with all sorts of genetic material. There are cells in the blood whose job it is to clear up this debris quickly. When cancer cells die, because there are so many of them, the amount of debris is larger and it takes longer to mop up. This lets us detect small amounts cancer tumor DNA (ctDNA) and other genomic fragments with next gen technology. Add to this a little genomic crunching, and this new breed of blood tests can now find cancers, tell you if treatments are working, and help us to better understand how cancers change.

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Health, Health, Nutrition

Could Drinking Coffee Help You Live Longer?

For years studies have speculated that those who drink coffee may live longer. It appears that researchers may have pinpointed the discovery of why those cups of coffee could hold a key to longevity.

New research published in the journal Nature Medicine has discovered an inflammatory process possibly driving the development of cardiovascular disease and how caffeine found in coffee could counter the inflammatory process. Caffeine is well-known for providing an early morning energy boost but it is being discovered more and more through other research that coffee drinkers who consume one to five cups each day have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than people who abstain.  Continue Reading

Family Issues, Health, Health, Lifestyle, Other Cancers, Well-being

How To Reduce Your Exposure To This Silent Killer

You may be living in a home that could be raising your risk of developing lung cancer even if you are not a smoker or live with someone who does. What is the cause? An odorless, colorless, radioactive gas called radon. Radon gas has been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General’s Office as the second leading cause of lung cancer.  It is estimated that as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year are caused by this dangerous gas that could be a problem in your home. Continue Reading

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