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Archive for March, 2008

Get Motivated To Stick To Your Diet With SkinnySongs

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 29, 2008

Get Motivated With SkinnySongs — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

heidi3.jpgMotivation is the number one thing we all need if we are going to be successful at losing weight. But, it’s also the number one thing that tends to slip through our fingers and land us back in the cookie jar. Now, thanks to venture capitalist Heidi Roizen, staying motivated is as easy as popping a disk into our CD player. That’s because, when Heidi couldn’t find music to help her stay excited about dieting and getting back into her skinny jeans, she decided to write her own. She began to write motivational lyrics on losing weight and getting in shape…And that is when the idea for “SkinnySongs” was born.

Last week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Heidi a couple of questions about SkinnySongs…

1. How did you come up with the idea for SkinnySongs? What was your inspiration?

I got on the scale one morning, after a big night out, and much to my horror I had hit an all time high — at 190 pounds I was 45 pounds more than I was when I got married, and I weighed more than my husband, who is a pretty big guy! I was facing my 50th birthday a few months off, and knew I did not want to enter the ‘back 50’ feeling or looking like that. Unfortunately, I knew I would be facing a challenge ( a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, to be exact) at the first meeting I was going to. I got in my car to head to the meeting, mentally steeling myself for resisting the cookies, and the CD player came on. It was then I thought, that there must be great music to pump you up about taking care of yourself and sticking to a plan, like “I will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor got me through a few breakups, or more recently, “18 Wheeler” by Pink got me through a few tough work situations. So I went looking for it… But I couldn’t find what I wanted. I found weight loss meditation, podcasts, audio books — but what I wanted was fun, upbeat, current music, that sounds just like what I listen to on the radio — but with lyrics that would speak to me and reinforce my goals. I didn’t find it, so got inspired to do it myself!

2. How long did it take you to get from idea to realization?

I thought of the idea in May and we had the CD mastered just two weeks before the end of the year. For the first few months, I was experimenting with writing lyrics (I ended up writing over 40 songs to get to the 10 on the CD) and of course doing the most important thing, pitching the idea to the peole whose involvement was critical — the producers George Daly and David Malloy. I knew that in order for the music to work, it had to be just as good as top quality hits, or people would chose to listen to other things instead. Both George and David are longtime music industry execs, leaders in their fields, with tons of music awards, gold and platinum records, and hits to their names as both producers and songwriters. They were the ones who took my lyrics and worked with me to turn the ideas into reality.

3. Were shirts part of your original plan?

Actually, I had made up the ‘do not feed’ shirt years before this, as well as one that says ‘kick my a**’ (not in the lineup!) that I wear when I work out with a trainer. So the shirts seemed a natural extension once I got going. Just like it surprised me there is no music for this topic, it surprised me that there is so little choice for shirts to wear when exercising that reinforce the message you’re trying to stick with. All the shirts in the SkinnySongs lineup are intended to be fun reminders of what you are doing and why, and in the case of “Do Not Feed”, it usually gets a laugh from your friends, but maybe also, they won’t try to force that second piece of pie in your direction.

4. You created Skinnysongs as a motivator for your weight-loss. Have you met your goals?

It has been a great motivator for me. I have lost over thirty pounds as well as increasing my muscle mass. It took me six months to reach my goal, but I went from a size 14 to a size 8 and am back in my skinny jeans. I really do listen to the music every day, it puts me in a great mood and gives me the positive reinforcement about sticking to the plan and not letting food control my life.

5. What advice do you have for other women who are looking to begin a weight-loss plan?

I wish all you had to do was listen to SkinnySongs and you’d reach your goals, but sadly that isn’t the case! It is, of course, all about diet and exercise. For me, it was also about making a series of small but important, permanent lifestyle changes — I didn’t gain 40+ pounds because I had a bad week, and I wouldn’t have taken it off either (nor kept it off) by just ‘going on a diet.’ I committed to getting control over my emotional eating by following a schedule of eating five small meals a day, three hours apart, and not touching food in between, just because it smelled good or I was having an emotional moment. I incorporated strength training and walking into my DAILY routine, I do at least one of these things every single day. I keep myself motivated through celebrating my successes with a nice clothing item here or there, that I couldn’t have worn a year ago. And I read about other success stories as well as listen to SkinnySongs to keep the motivation up, since this is not something you do and then be done with, rather it is a part of how you live your life going forward from here on. I’m happy to say I turned 50 a few weeks ago and I look better and feel better than I did at my 40th birthday!

Heidi also has a great website for SkinnySongs. Where you can listen to samples of each of the songs, learn about the artists involved in the making of SkinnySongs, and even get some really cool shirts to workout in. There is also a clip of Heidi’s appearance on the Martha Stewart show. It’s a great site, you should really check it out.

Anyway, the music on this CD is great, and just what the motivation doctor ordered. I imagine the only thing missing, would be subliminal messages telling us that cookies taste like cardboard and dieting is fun. But, if you’re not having any fun with your current weight-loss and workout plan, or you just need more motivation to stay on track, then you might want to give SkinnySongs a try…Because, Doesn’t music always make everything a little better?

Also see posts from…

Jacki at That’s Fit

Amy at Diabetes Mine

Heather at The Well Mom

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Posted in BlogHer, body image, dieting, food, Health, life, music, self-help, weight loss, Women | 1 Comment »

Women Political Bloggers Are Changing The Face Of Politics

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 27, 2008

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Political Voices of over 375 Women Bloggers — by Catherine Morgan

When I first published this list back in October, we had links to 100 women blogging about politics. Today, the count is at 375, and still growing. Are you a woman blogging about politics? Are you on the list? If not, please leave me your link in comments, so I can add your blog. And, if you would like to be a guest blogger on The Political Voices of Women with a guest post, please join our community.

I hope you’ll take some time and check out the women on the list…and if you blog about politics, consider adding some of these women to your blogroll, or linking to them in a post.

Now, in alphabetical order – links to 375 women blogging about politics…

Click Here to go to the list at The Political Voices of Women.

Posted in bloggers, blogging, feminism, life, media, news, opinion, political, Politics, Women, women blogging, writing | 2 Comments »

What Women Need To Know About Environmental Causes of Cancer

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 25, 2008

What Women Need To Know About Environmental Causes of Cancer — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

Last week the Breast Cancer Fund released it’s State of the Evidence Report for 2008. The 2008 report, provides the most comprehensive listing to-date of chemicals linked to breast cancer. It also provides a much more complex picture of breast cancer causation than traditionally accepted, one in which timing, mixtures and dose of environmental exposures interact with genes and lifestyle factors.

In conjunction with the release of this report, they also held a blogger-only telephone conference to discuss the report. The informative conference featured Janet Gray, Ph.D., and Breast Cancer Fund Executive Director Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., and for an hour they took questions from bloggers on the latest studies linking environmental exposures to breast cancer.

Findings…

While each study, chemical and exposure source alone doesn’t tell the whole story, looking at them together allows us to better understand how to prevent the disease. Learn more about major emerging themes in breast cancer causation through the links below.

Sources of Exposure…

Learn more about where and how we come into contact with chemicals and radiation linked to increased breast cancer risk. Then learn what can be done to reduce those exposures.

Chemicals of Concern by Type…

The evidence is divided into three main sections, examining the scientific links to breast cancer within each category. Click on each category for an overview and list of chemical fact sheets.

There is also a Moving Forward section that outlines state and federal policy recommendations…

Together with other breast cancer prevention, women’s health, environmental health and environmental justice advocates, the Breast Cancer Fund seeks to make policy changes—in states and nationally—that will mean less breast cancer for our children and grandchildren.

If you would like to listen to the one hour conference call discussing these new findings, it was made into a podcast at Ready Talk.

Here is some of what other participants in the conference are blogging about…

From Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog

According to Dr. Gray and Ms. Rizzo, two themes emerged in examining the evidence related to environmental risks and breast cancer:

  • Mixtures: In real life, we are not exposed to single chemicals but chemical cocktails. There is growing evidence that supports the need to further study the interaction between chemicals, radiation, and genes.
  • Timing of exposure. Scientists now know that the timing, duration, and pattern of exposure are at least as important as the dose. Mammary cells are more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of hormones, chemicals, and radiation during early stages of development, from the prenatal period through puberty and adolescence, and on until the first full-term pregnancy.

From Frances Ellen SpeaksAt Your Own Risk

A good place to start would be to throw away those plastic containers you use for warming up foods in the microwave. Switch to glass containers. It’s a proven fact that toxic chemicals contained in plastic leach into food during the warming process.

And if you’ve been using plastic baby bottles–STOP.

Following is a small section of the report regarding plastics.

The three plastics that have been shown to leach toxic chemicals when heated, worn or put under pressure are polycarbonate (leaches bisphenol A), polystyrene (leaches styrene) and PVC (leaches phthalates).

Bisphenol A is used in the linings of cans, baby bottles, sports water bottles and dental sealants. The evidence about bisphenol A and its many effects on human health is convincing and growing. Studies funded by the chemical industry say it’s harmless; non-industry studies show it’s a powerful hormone-disruptor linked to breast cancer.

From The Breast Cancer Fund Blog

Equipped with this strong foundation of science, together we have much work to do. This release is really a beginning, not an end. We’ll keep you posted on the reach and impact of State of the Evidence 2008.

Also See:

Nina’s Interview with Dr. Susan Love

When Olivia’s “Cruise for Our Cause” heads to the Caribbean on March 30, 2008 it will be the first cruise experience dedicated to breast cancer, women’s health awareness and research funding. So it’s timely that we catch up with Dr. Susan Love, President and Medical Director of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. Her name and life work is synonymous with the breast cancer advocacy movement and it’s an absolute honor to have her participate in our money talk.

And, my previous post on environmental causes of breast cancer.

Posted in BlogHer, breast cancer, cancer, chronic illness, Health, life, news, opinion, parenting, political, thoughts, Women, women's health | 1 Comment »

Bloggers: Take A Minute To Tell BlogHer About Your Blogging

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 16, 2008

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Blogging? Take This Quick Survey For Bloggers.

If you are a blogger or reader of blogs, please take a minute to fill out this BlogHer survey. In appreciation you will be entered into a drawing where you could win a FREE PASS to any BlogHer event you like.

Posted in blog, bloggers, blogging, BlogHer, feminism, life, opinion, personal, thoughts, Women, women blogging, women's issues, writing | 1 Comment »

Top Three Tips For Eating Healthy

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 15, 2008

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Top Three Tips For Eating Healthy — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at Qvisory)

I am a firm believer that the number one thing any of us can do to promote good health…Is to eat a healthy, well balanced diet. Regardless of your weight (even if you are thin or at an ideal weight), it’s important that we all try to eat healthy. Unfortunately, that is sometimes the hardest thing for many of us to do.

It can be overwhelming for someone with “questionable” eating habits to make the changes necessary for good health. But, it’s also the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and chronic illness. So, what can we do? Well, I recommend you take it slow, and not put too much pressure on yourself.

Don’t decide today to make radical changes in your eating habits. If you do that you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead, let’s look at what I believe are the top three changes you can make that won’t be hard for you to stick to. Once you have conquered these three things, you will become empowered to continue taking a step at a time toward healthier eating habits and a healthier life. So, let’s give it a try.

#1 Increase your water intake. It’s amazing how easy it is to get busy with our work day, and totally forget that we haven’t had a glass of water all day. More than likely, even if you drink water, you are not drinking enough. Here is a great Hydration Calculator from About.com, that can help you pinpoint just how much water you should be drinking.

Hydration Challenge: If you already drink enough water, then take healthy hydration to it’s next level. Stop drinking soda (even diet soda is bad for you). I know that may sound radical to many people who are soda junkies, but aside from drinking pure fructose syrup, soda is just about the worse thing you can drink. Sorry about that. So, if you only drink soda occasionally, stop cold turkey right now. If you drink several cans of soda a day, then start cutting back gradually.

#2 Cut back on cookies, candy, and ice-cream. We need sugar for good health, but not the kind of sugar that is in these yummy dessert treats. And this type of sugar really is addicting…the more you eat it, the more you want it. Even if your preferred dessert has no fat, it is still fattening, and that is because unused sugar in our bodies turns to fat. I know it’s a bummer, but it’s true.

So, how do we cut back on desserts when they are soooo yummy? Try starting a list (nothing fancy), and write down what and when you eat one of these sugar filled treats. Now go back to your list…Is there any way you could consider replacing one of those items with a healthier sweet treat? Make one change at a time, with your goal being, to eventually change to healthy sweets altogether.

High Fructose Challenge: If you already turn your nose up to cookies, and candy (good for you), now take it to the next level. Make a conscious effort to monitor your intake of sugar and high fructose syrup, by always checking labels. You would be surprised how much of this stuff is sneaking into our diets. For example, you may think eating canned or jarred fruit is good for you, but many (for reasons I can not understand, considering fruit is naturally sweet), add tons of sugar and fructose. Always check and try to get only fruit without added sugar. Other items that seem healthy but you should check the ingredients before you buy are…cereal, yogurt, and all packaged treats that claim to be low in fat and/or calories.

#3 Cut back on high fat snacks and fast food. Use the same method I have mentioned above for sugar, and do the same thing with your high fat intake. Figure out what you are eating, and then gradually make changes. Just noticing what areas you could make changes in, will make it easier for you to find ways to eliminate or reduce the amount of fatty foods you ingest.

High Fat Challenge: If you already eat very little high fat junk foods, then try taking it to the next level. As with sugar, fat is sneaking into foods in greater numbers than you may realize. Try to make it a habit to check labels and compare. Make choices that have zero trans-fat (as this is the fat that is the worst for you), and lower in fat.

So, there you have it. Don’t be overwhelmed. Just make a commitment to yourself that you will be aware of what you are putting into your body, and gradually make changes. Once you have been successful with one change make another, and so on, and so on. Before you know it, you will be eating healthy. As you make these changes, you will also begin to notice that you feel better and have more energy, making it easier for you to continue replacing unhealthy foods for healthy ones.

I hope I’ve given you something to think about. 🙂

Posted in coaching, dieting, family, food, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, opinion, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health | 4 Comments »

BlogHer Health & Wellness Blog Roundup

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 15, 2008

BlogHer

BlogHer Health & Wellness Blog Roundup — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

Tonight I am surfing the BlogHer Health and Wellness Blogroll. So many great blogs, I wish I could tell you about every one…But you could always do a little surfing yourself.

So, in no particular order, here are eleven blogs that are new to me.

Delicious Wisdom

Delicious Wisdom was created by a person who wants to help you get processed food out of your diet. And,because it brings about such good things, keep it out of her own.

About Nicole…

Nicole deVries, HHC is a natural foods chef, non-practicing artist and certified Holistic Health Counselor. After eating this way–with the more than occasional cookie or Waffle House break–for over a decade, she’s figured out how to turn basically any unhealthy, processed food recipe into a whole food one. Follow along and you’ll be able to do it too.

Eat, Pray, Run

The title of this blog is inspired by the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Eat, Pray, Love is Gilbert’s story of how she found contentment during her journey across Italy, India and, Indonesia.

This blog is my first Elizabeth Gilbert-esque step toward discovering, and rediscovering, myself — someone who I seemed to have lost touch with a bit somewhere along the way. Join me in discussions about health and nutrition, inspiration, fitness and, of course, good food to eat!

Mirror Image – Healing The World From The Inside Out…

What’s wrong with the world is what’s wrong with me. That’s why “there are no accidents” and “everything happens for a reason.” Instead of judging external problems, it’s my job to see them as a reflection of the internal me, and act accordingly.

Family In Shape

Are you looking for new ways to get your family in shape? This blog is to inspire families, like yours, with ideas that will get you on the right path to a healthier lifestyle. I am a military spouse and busy mom of four and a Certified Group and Personal Fitness Trainer, but you can call me Spin Diva. Finding the time to exercise, energize and revitalize is not easy, but we can do it together. I am passionate about teaching others how to reach their fitness goals and bring the kids along with them.

Get on board and spin along with me. Turn your wheels my way again soon and see what new ideas are cycling through this site!

We Are One World Healing

To help individual heal their own immediate world first, this blog covers alternative health therapies, such as aromatherapy, chakra balancing, crystals, healing energy, reiki, wicca, etc; spiritual topics, inspirational healing stories and healing ‘how to’s.

Nicole’s Weight Watchers Journey

Join me as I get healthy, lose weight, overcome depression, nurture my family, open my mind and generally try to do my part to make the world a better place.

Weight 1 Day – Fabulous @ 50

Sharing my story of weight loss, and gain, and loss… as I work my way through a 200 lb weight loss on my way to becoming and fabulous at 50.

Taking Care of Ourselves – A Small Person;s Guide To Self Defense…

We can take care of ourselves. Self defense isn’t limited to those with the talent and fortitude for mastering the martial arts, nor is it the sole domain of certified “tough guys.” Anyone can learn the basic skills of self protection.

And while learning a few strikes or blocks can be useful, self defense rarely requires a fight. By paying attention and trusting their instincts, most people can protect themselves without punching someone out.

This blog challenges the myths that leave far too many people scared and helpless and provides information to those interested in practical self defense.

Non-Toxic Kids – Helping Your Kids Stay Safe, Healthy, and Smart…

Americans make the assumption that all products on our store shelves have been tested by someone, somewhere. Well, obviously in light of the recent recalls, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. We here at Non-Toxic kids are researching products, data and information that will help you make your consumer choices healthier for your kids, families, and our environment. From sippy cups and baby bottles, to baby carriers and sleepers, we will give you a summary of an issue or concern, product reviews and recommendations, and where to go for further information. From my family to yours, in good health.

The Body Chronic

Life, love and laughter with insulin resistance, PCOS, pelvic floor dysfunction and everything else my body cooks up. Daily inspiration and new insights.

Autismville

I’m the happily-married, forty-something, retired CPA/mom of one drama-queen/second-grader and a preschooler with autism. I write a blog for Parents.com about parenting a child with autism. The view here in Autismville is guaranteed to refocus your perspective in ways you never imagined. Stop by and take a peek.

Thanks for taking this stroll down the Health and Wellness Blogroll. Have a great weekend. 🙂

Posted in autism, BlogHer, children, chronic illness, dieting, family, food, Health, kids, life, weight loss, Women, women blogging, women's health | 1 Comment »

Is Money Making You Stressed? It Could Be Making You Sick Too.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 11, 2008

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Stressing Over Money Can Make You Sick — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

Do you stress over money? I do. With the way the economy is going, if you’re not stressing over money now, you sure could be in the near future. Gas prices are going up, home values are going down, and what money we do have is buying less and less. The thing about stressing over money is…It doesn’t pay the bills. What it can do is make you sick.

Yes, stressing over money (or anything for that matter) can and does make you sick. How sick? Here is an excerpt from an article at About.com, that addresses Health Problems Associated With Stress

Science is constantly learning about the impact that stress has on your overall health. Stress is or may be a contributing factor in everything from backaches and insomnia to cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (many people believe that CFS and fibromyalgia are the same illness).

Stress is often a key factor when women experience either absence of menstruation or abnormal bleeding. Hormonal imbalances caused by stress may proliferate the symptoms of fibroid tumors and endometriosis, as well as make pregnancy difficult to achieve for couples with fertility problems.

Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. High blood pressure, heart attacks, heart palpitations, and stroke may be stress related cardiovascular conditions. Some women experience changes in their sexuality and encounter various sexual dysfunctions such as loss of desire and vaginal dryness as a result of stress.

Often people feel the effects of stress as fatigue, various aches and pains, headaches, or as emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. Stress affects others by causing gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers, lower abdominal cramps, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Frequently people under the effects of over stress will have more colds and infections due to lowered immune system responses. Stress can initiate dermatological conditions such as itchy skin and rashes.

Wow. That’s a lot of problems. So, what is a person to do? Well, learning to control the things we can control, and letting go of the rest, is a good first step…and potentially, the hardest step. Maybe we can find something that will help…

Here is a post from ChEsKa’S pRiDe — The 10 Essentials for Relieving Stress

Also check out WebMD’s Letting Go of Stess.

Everyone feels stressed these days. But do you really know what that means? Do you understand what daily stress does to your body, mind and spirit? Over the next four weeks, you’ll learn to identify exactly what causes you stress. Equally important, you’ll find out how to manage your stress and become more relaxed.

From About.comMoney, Stress, and Happiness

If you stress about money, you’re not alone: a significant amount of Americans are deeply in debt, living beyond their means, don’t have a clear plan to solve their financial problems, and stress about it quite a bit. The fear, stress and conflict associated with money issues can also impact your personal happiness. The following resources can help you to create a plan for yourself to get out of debt, if necessary, make your money go further, and plan for your future. Once you have a plan, you should feel significantly less stressed about money. When money is less of an issue, rather than being enslaved by it, you can use it to do the things that make you truly happy.

Also See:

Your 6 Biggest Money Problems, Solved.

Are you stressing over money? Is it making you sick? Is there something special you do that helps reduce your stress?

Posted in BlogHer, blood pressure, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic illness, depression, family, Health, heart disease, life, opinion, thoughts, Women, women's health | 2 Comments »

Health News: Autism, Mastectomies, and HPV Vaccine

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 8, 2008

In Health News: Autism Debate, Drive-Thru Mastectomies, and the HPV Vaccine (Gardasil).

When I heard this story, about a family with a child who appeared to developed Autism after her childhood immunizations, I wondered how this might affect other families dealing with this devastating disease. Also in the blogs, is a petition that women can sign, supporting an end to drive-thru mastectomies. And end they should, this practice is a disgrace, as well as a travesty against women. And, my pet-peeve issue (Gardasil) is also in the news.

Autism

From Revolution HealthThe Autism Debate Continues

This week news spread of results of a Georgia court case in November, which states that the parents of 9-year old Hannah Poling will receive compensation because multiple vaccines contributed to her symptoms of autism. Not all the details are known, as the court case has been “sealed,” but it appears that Hannah has an underlying mitochondrial disorder. After she received five shots in July 2000, at the age of 19 months, she developed a high fever and inconsolable crying within 48 hours. Within three months after receiving the vaccine, she went from being a normal, verbal toddler to one who showed signs of autism and, for a while, lost her ability to speak. She now requires one-on-one care at all times.

See Video of Katie Couric on Autism

Also See: Autism symptoms, Autism Speaks, Video Glossary , and Children With Invisible Special Needs.

Stop Drive Thru Mastectomies….

From SportsMomma and WriteChic PressEnding Drive-Thru Mastectomies

“Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross joined Lifetime, Senator Landrieu (D-LA) and Representatives DeLauro (D-CT) and Moran (R-KS), at a Capitol Hill press conference to give voice to the 20 million signatures collected on myLifetime.com urging Congress to end the practice of “drive-through” mastectomies, when women are forced to leave the hospital following their physically and emotionally difficult breast cancer surgeries before they and their doctors may feel they are ready to go home.

Be My Bra!

Caught your attention, didn’t I? “Be My Support, Be My Strength, Be My Bra” is Lifetime Television‘s saying/blurb/catch phrase in for the fight against breast cancer. I just love it.

I also came across this blog…The On Going Life of Just a Gal with Breast Cancer

The HPV Vaccine

Then we have my number one pet-peeve health and wellness issue…The HPV Vaccine. Touted as the Cervical Cancer Vaccine (Gardasil)…it is really an HPV prevention medication, using our children as mandatory test subjects. This is a vaccine that would be a life saver to people in developing countries, who have little access to PAP tests for prevention. But Merck’s only concern is with the money they can make by convincing our government to make this vaccine mandatory.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines hold great promise for preventing cervical cancer, but 93 percent of mortality worldwide occurs in low- and middle-income countries, where high vaccine costs can restrict dissemination.

Screening Could End Cervical Cancer

The man who pioneered the first cancer vaccine says cervical cancer deaths in Australia could be negligible if all Australian women took part in pap smear programs.

Professor Ian Frazer was named Australian of the Year in 2006 in recognition of his work with the vaccine, which has a success rate of up to 70 per cent.

But Professor Frazer says women should no longer feel anxious about cervical cancer.

“In this country cervical cancer is well down the list of cancer deaths now because we have such an effective pap smear program and indeed if all women in Australia took part in the pap smear program according to the government recommendations we’d hardly have a death from cervical cancer,” he said.

“Worldwide, cervical cancer is actually increasing and is the second commonest or commonest cause of cancer death in women in most countries in the world.”

HPV Vaccine Researchers Criticizes Marketing

A researcher who has spent 20 years studying human papillomavirus (HPV) and did the bulk of the work that was used to develop a vaccine for several strains of the virus has warned that mandating the vaccine for girls under the age of 18 may actually backfire, causing cervical cancer rates to go up.

Twenty-six states are considering some form of mandatory HPV vaccination for school-age girls.

Diane M. Harper, director of Dartmouth Medical School’s Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in New Hampshire, warned that there have been no tests of the vaccine’s effectiveness on girls under the age of 15. The drug may not be effective on younger girls, and it may have unforeseen side effects or interactions with other vaccines given at that age. Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended it for ages 9-26.

“Giving it to 11-year-olds is a great big public health experiment,” Harper said. “To mandate now is simply to Merck’s benefit, and only to Merck’s benefit.”

The HPV vaccine produced by Merck protects against two strains of the virus that have been identified as responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. But with the way the drug is being marketed, Harper is concerned that vaccinated women may decide that they are immune, and forego their yearly Pap smear testing.

Harper also warned that the vaccine is ineffective if given to someone who is already infected — and because HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact, a person does not have to be sexually active to contract it. For this reason, Harper suggests giving the vaccine only to those who test negative for the targeted HPV strains.

The HPV test is conducted by vaginal swab, which Harper says is inappropriate for children.

Finally, Harper warned that not enough research has been done to know how long the vaccine lasts, or at what age a booster may be needed. This means that even if the vaccine is effective in young girls, it may have worn off by the age at which they are most susceptible to cervical cancer.

“The push for mandatory vaccination is based on marketing, not science,” added Mike Adams, author of numerous articles that oppose mandatory vaccination policies. “It’s nothing but a clever Big Pharma scheme to sell more drugs to yet more people who don’t need them.”

Posted in autism, blogging, BlogHer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, chronic illness, Gardasil, Health, hpv vaccine, news, opinion, Women | 8 Comments »

Breaking Autism News – See YouTube CBS Video with Katie Couric

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 6, 2008

ALSO SEE:

Autism: The Disease, The Debate, and the Devastated Families

Posted in autism, blogging, children, chronic illness, current events, family, Health, kids, life, news, parenting, political, vaccines, Women, YouTube | 6 Comments »

March Forth For Child Care and Head Start

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 4, 2008

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March 4th For Child Care and Head Start – Posted by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at the Care2 Election Blog)

Today is March Forth For Child Care and Head Start day, and you can help make a difference by calling or emailing your members of Congress. All day today, advocates for children will be joining-in to voice their support of an increase in funding for the Head Start program. This is such an important issue, and I hope you will consider taking action to support our children.

Earlier today, I wrote about my personal experience with this program, in a post at BlogHerBush’s War on the Single Mother. Here is an excerpt from a comment by Suzanne Reisman

Head Start is one of the most cost-effective programs we have in this country. We need more Head Start, and we need full day Head Start programs (much of the funding only pays for a few hours of services) so that low income working parents can take advantage of the enormous benefits Head Start offers children and families. It is a comprehensive early learning program that supports the total well-being of children.

. . .

Further, study after study shows that quality early childhood programs like Head Start significantly reduce the incidences of teen pregnancy, juvenile crime, being held back in school, and other social ills that develop later in life. Every $1 we invest today in these programs saves taxpayers somewhere between $7 and $17 in future costs due to negative consequences of poverty.

From Womenstake: March Forth For Child Care and Head Start

Today, all across the country, thousands of advocates are joining together to March Forth in support of increased funding for child care and Head Start by calling or e-mailing their Members of Congress.

We are joining together because our children deserve a better and brighter future. Under the President’s budget, 200,000 low-income children and their families will lose child care assistance, and 14,000 children will lose Head Start.

Please add your voice by calling or e-mailing your Members of Congress today.

Here is how you can take action and help…

To call your representatives, use the script below and dial toll-free at 1-888-460-0813. The operator who answers the phone will ask which Senator or Representative you would like to speak to. To find out who your Senators and Representative are, search our directory before you call.

Tell the staffers who answer the phone in your representatives’ offices:

  • Hi, my name is (INSERT NAME.) I’m a constituent. (If you are also a parent, child care provider, community leader, etc., feel free to mention that as well.)
  • I am calling because I believe that child care and Head Start are essential programs for children and families. I urge Senator/ Representative (INSERT NAME) to support an increase of $874 million for child care and $1 billion for Head Start in this year’s budget.

I found this interesting statistic in a New York Times Op-Ed by Bob Herbert — The $2 Trillion Nightmare

And he cited the committee’s own calculations from last fall that showed that the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year,

Also See:

State Aide Helps Head Start

The national Head Start program, which was a legacy of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” offers preschool to families unable to afford a private program. We don’t know how it functions elsewhere in the country, but in Morris County, Head Start is as refreshingly bipartisan as can be. Republicans and Democrats are on its board, and Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, R-Harding, long has been a supporter.

and

Children from poor families need a head start

I hope you will consider taking a moment today, to take action on this important issue.

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