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  • midlifelove 11:53 pm on March 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bored, Boredom, dangerous to health, , heart risk, raise blood pressure   

    Bored To Death 

    My Grandma used to say boring people are bored people – but sometimes a touch of the old ennui is unavoidable.

    Waiting for web pages to load, getting stuck in traffic, watching someone play video games – they come high on most people’s Top Five Most Boring Things to do list.

    They’re all things that test your patience, but they’re not terminal you say.  Until now, that is, because according to new research, you really can be bored to death.

    Boredom Bad For Heart

    It seems the more bored you are, the more likely you are to die early, although scientists caution it’s probably not the boredom alone that will kill you, but the risky behaviour – drinking, eating, inhaling the wrong things – that often accompanies it.

    It doesn’t hurt to be just occasionally bored – that happens to everyone. It’s the chronic kind of boredom that’s dangerous.

    In the study 7500 London civil servants aged 35 – 55 were questioned about how bored they were at work the previous month, and then those who were still alive were followed up 20 years later.

    University College London researchers Annie Britton and Martin Shipley found that those who reported they had been very bored were two and a half times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who hadn’t reported being bored.

    But when the authors made a statistical adjustment for other potential risk factors, like physical activity levels and employment grade, the effect was reduced.

    Boredom As Dangerous As Stress

    Researchers point out someone who is bored may not be motivated to eat well or exercise, and boredom is often linked to depression, which has long been recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

    Others said boredom was potentially as dangerous as stress.

    “Boredom is not innocuous,” said Sandi Mann, a senior lecturer in occupational psychology at the University of Central Lancashire who studies boredom.

    She said boredom is linked to anger suppression, which can raise blood pressure and suppress the body’s natural immunity. “People who are bored also tend to eat and drink more, and they’re probably not eating carrots and celery sticks,” she said.

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  • midlifelove 3:55 am on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: believe in Santa Claus, BMW used car ads, Greece, womens groups outraged   

    BMW’s Used Cars – Sleazy or Virginal? 

    If you’re in the market for a second-hand BMW in the US, you’re a fatherly type who wants his innocent little blonde daughter to believe in Santa Claus.

    If on the other hand you’re living in Greece, forget the virginal. You’ll be enticed by sleazy innuendo which equates a “used” car to a beautiful woman in a come-hither pose and asks “You know you’re not the first. But do you really care?”

    That’s the only conclusion to be drawn from ads which infuriated women’s groups when they first surfaced a couple of years ago, and are now being circulated again.

    Women’s blogging networks ran hot with outrage at this BMW ad for Greece:

    However if you lived in the US you would have seen this almost ludicrously sentimental

    It is fascinating how an international brand marketer like BMW, spending a lot of time, money and research on its messages, can come up with two such different versions of the same theme: “BMW’s premium used cars are so beautiful, it won’t matter if you’re not the first driver.”

    And how one culture could get lathered up about seeing a young girl as “used” while another doesn’t even see it as something worth commenting on.

    What do you think?

     
  • midlifelove 11:35 am on January 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Air New Zealand, cougar promotion, Grabaseat, predatory sex OK?   

    Predatory Sex OK? 

    Is it funny when an airline sells seats around predatory sexual behaviour? It seems award winning airline Air New Zealand thinks so – if it’s older women stalking young men.

    Only a week after New Zealand’s national carrier won Airline of the Year from a global airline magazine, its attracted criticism for a Grabaseat website promotion encouraging women over 35 to fly to the Sevens Rugby tournament in Wellington.

    The so-called cougars can’t be too bright if they fall for the promotion, which requires them to pay all their own transport and accommodation costs. (Or as the promotion cutely describes it “find their own dens”.) They get “cougar costumes and equipment to make noise to attract the attention of young males.” Wow. Irresistible.

    It’s funny that the unfortunately named “Grabaseat” promotion  comes ten days after former All Black Robin Brook made headlines – and  reportedly faces legal action – after it is alleged he did just that – grabbed a 15-year-old’s buttocks while partying at a Fijian resort.

    It kind of highlights the confusion there is over what’s OK behaviour doesn’t it? So what do you think?  Is the Air NZ promotion a “light-hearted” joke that shouldn’t be taken too seriously? And in that case, has the 15-year-old got anything to complain about, even if an older man did allegedly give her an appreciative “pinch” as he passed by?

     
  • midlifelove 11:13 am on January 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Sleeping Your Weight Away 

    If you are one of the millions of people who are resolving to lose weight in the New Year, you might like to also think about getting more sleep.

    That’s because studies just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet suggest that sleep loss may increase hunger and affect the body’s metabolism, making it more difficult to maintain or lose weight.

    Losing Weight No 1 New Year’s Resolution

    Weight loss is the number-one New Year’s resolution in America, with approximately 40% of the population promising to diet. A nationwide survey found that more than 75% of women between the ages of 25 and 54 make diet resolutions each year or most years.

    Unfortunately, nearly 90% of the respondents reported either occasional or no success, with almost half losing little weight or actually gaining weight instead.

    How Sleep Affects Weight Loss

    Specifically, sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite.

    As a result, individuals who lose sleep may continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake.

    Additionally, sleep loss may interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and cause high blood levels of glucose, a basic sugar.

    Hormone Levels Affected

    xcess glucose promotes the overproduction of insulin, which can promote the storage of body fat, and can also lead to insulin resistance, a critical feature of adult-onset diabetes.

    “Sleep loss is associated with striking alterations in hormone levels that regulate the appetite and may be a contributing factor to obesity,” said Michael Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

    “Anyone making a resolution to lose weight in the New Year should probably consider a parallel commitment for getting more sleep.”

    Useful Tips to Lose Weight

    Experts recommend that people who vow to lose weight in the New Year should adjust their sleep habits as well as their eating habits.

    The following are useful tips to help keep your resolution on track:

    • Don’t go to bed feeling hungry, but don’t eat a big meal right before bedtime.
    • Exercise regularly. However, do so at least 3 hours before bedtime.
    • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening.
    • If you have trouble sleeping at night, don’t nap during the day.
    • Establish relaxing pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading.
    • Create a pleasant sleep environment. Make it as dark and quiet as possible.
    • If you can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed fretting. After 30 minutes, go to another room and involve yourself in a relaxing activity until you feel sleepy.
    • If you have trouble sleeping for more than a few weeks, or if sleep problems interfere with daily functioning, speak with your doctor.
     
  • midlifelove 10:53 am on December 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: banish busyness, Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins, , Stop Doing List, time precious   

    $20 Million, No Strings 

    Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached.

    The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?

    That’s the scenario internationally acclaimed business author Jim Collins (Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall) sets each New Year, as he sits down to do his annual resolutions.

    Time Most Precious Resource

    Being the sort of ambitious, organised guy he is, he’d always set himself Big Hairy Goals (BHAGs) but it wasn’t till he was in his 20s that a teacher at Stanford Graduate School of Business challenged him to “banish busyness” and streamline his life.

    Jim Collins describes the “stop doing” list as a turning point in his life – “a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time,” he says.

    The start of the New Year is a perfect time to start a stop doing list and to make this the cornerstone of your New Year resolutions, he says, whether it’s for your company, your family or yourself.

    What’s Most Important To You?

    Ask yourself:

    1) What are you deeply passionate about?
    2) What are you are genetically encoded for — what activities do you feel just “made to do”?
    3) What makes economic sense — what can you make a living at?

    Then take an inventory of the activities which fall within this realm – and those that don’t. If you are spending more than 50% of your time on things that fall outside you these three realms then the “stop doing” list is a must for you.

    Says Collins: “It’s a discipline to discard what does not fit — to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort — that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company or, most important of all, a life.”

     
  • midlifelove 10:22 am on December 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Perfect Gift for A Man, Gavin Heaton, Inspire 2009, making a difference, male suicide, Mark Pollard,   

    Perfect Gift for A Man 

    Sydney ad agency man Mark Pollard is a man of many parts. Strategy director, Dad, and now author, with mate Gavin Heaton he has produced The Perfect Gift For A Man – a compilation of first-person stories about men’s lives that’s just a great way to get oriented for 2010.

    Subtitled 30 stories about reinventing manhood, A Perfect Gift aims to get men talking about their feelings in a bid to help prevent male suicide in Australia. All proceeds go to Inspire 2009, an organisation delivering innovative and practical online programs to prevent youth suicide.

    Failure An Opportunity To Learn

    The stories in A Perfect Gift come from failure and struggle, Mark Pollard says.

    “What the people who contributed to the book have in common is bravery and a desire to somehow use their failures and experiences as ammunition to spark change in the world – and they’ve put themselves out there hoping that other people draw some strength and can do the same.

    “Failure only breaks you if you don’t do something about it next time.”

    Making A Difference

    Mark is the Strategy Director at McCann Sydney (the lovechild of McCann Erickson and MRM Worldwide) and he does brand and digital planning for clients like Xbox, Mastercard, ALP, Kleenex, Melbourne Central, and a whole lot more.

    He’s been a magazine editor, blogger, he’s hosted a radio show, and done a lot of thinking about what it is like being a man in the second decade of the 21st century.  He says his “biggest fear in life… is not making a difference. Life’s too short to not matter.”

    He says the biggest challenge for men is understanding what “strength’ means. “It doesn’t have to mean ‘strength over others’ but ‘strength with others”, he says.

    Lost Rituals of Manhood

    He hopes the book will encourage men to share their stories. We’ve lost a lot of the rituals of manhood, he says.

    “I know this is flippant, but the men of the village initiating a teenage boy as an adult of the tribe has been replaced by pub crawls during O-Week at uni.

    There’s a free version of the book downloadable as a PDF file – already down loaded by more than 3000 people – available at http://www.theperfectgiftforaman.com.au

    If you want to share your story, you can do it at http://www.facebook.com/perfectgiftforaman

     
  • midlifelove 10:37 am on December 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: baldness, baldness cure, , DHT, female-pattern baldness, finasteride, , male-pattern baldness, ,   

    Saw Palmetto for Hair Loss 

    saw palmetto quupSaw palmetto has had good clinical trial results as a remedy for men’s prostate problems for years now, but lately it’s been getting a lot of attention for another reason entirely – and that’s as a remedy for hair loss.

    It’s being used with success for a particular type of baldness called androgenic alopecia, or male- and female-pattern baldness, which shows typically the greatest at the top of the head or around the temples.

    Similarly to finasteride (the active ingredient in the pharmaceutical hair loss products Propecia and Proscar), studies have shown that when taken orally saw palmetto is believed to block the production of the hormone or DHT (dihydrotestosterone).

    DHT is a common factor in causing both hair loss and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

    Hair Loss Trial Results

    A small preliminary study in 2002 was performed as reported by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2002;8:143-52) that shows a select group of 19 men between the ages of 23 and 64 taking either (400mg of saw palmetto and 100mg of Beta-sitosterol) or a placebo orally.

    Those who took the herbal combination had 60% improved hair growth over those who took the placebo.  There have been no studies to date indicating the efficacy of saw palmetto applied topically for male pattern baldness, female hair loss, or anything to date.

    Although promising, the study was too small to provide meaningful evidence.

    Many popular hair loss treatment options today such as Provillus, Procerin, and Avacor contain the “active” ingredient saw palmetto.  It can also be purchased as a standalone supplement in most nutritional stores.

    Saw Palmetto Dosage

    Clinical studies on Benign Prostrate Hyperplasia (BPH) have used a dosage of 320mg of the berry extract daily (either one 320mg pill or 2 X 160 mg pill).

    A daily dosage of 480 mg of saw palmetto berry extract was not found to be any more effective in a six-month study.  If the entire berry was used, up to 1000mg or 2000mg would be required to reach the same goal.

    The theory therefore is that if saw palmetto can successfully treat an enlarged prostate similarly to finasteride, it can effectively treat hair loss with a similar dosage.

    Many popular “baldness cure” products contain approximately 1500mg of the berry which is equivalent to approximately 240-320mg of the berry extract.

    Saw Palmetto Side Effects

    Avoid If…
    No known medical conditions preclude the use of Saw Palmetto. However, because of the herb’s hormonal effects, caution is advisable if you have any form of cancer that’s stimulated by hormones.

    Special Cautions
    At recommended dosage levels, side effects are rare. A few stomach complaints have been reported.

    Possible Drug Interactions
    Check with your doctor if you are taking any hormonal medications or adrenergic drugs such as the asthma medications Alupent, Brethine, Proventil, and Ventolin. Your dosage may need adjustment.

    People with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications (“blood-thinners”)–such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, or clopidogrel (Plavix)–should avoid taking saw palmetto unless under medical supervision. It should also be avoided at least two weeks before and after surgery.

    Saw Palmetto Herbal Supplement

    Quup Herbal supplement containing saw palmetto, lycopene from tomatoes, selenium and zinc is an excellent nutritional support for hair loss and men’s prostate health. If your sleep is regularly interrupted by midnight trips to the bathroom, if you find you have an urge to urinate and then when you get there you can’t start the flow, Saw Palmetto in Quup is likely to be of benefit.  See the Quup website for more information and to order.

     
  • midlifelove 7:42 am on November 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: basketball, cricket, gift ideas for men, , power tools, race car, rally car, rugby, , Super 14 tickets, ,   

    Five Great Gift Ideas For Men 

    Get smart this year. Take the stress out of Christmas. Shop early and shop online. To help your deliberations we asked our man about the place Sam (late 20s and about to be married,)  to tell us what he wants. It might inspire you too.

    1.       Anything Top Gear. I love Top Gear, and I don’t mind watching them again and again. Whether it is a t-shirt saying “I am the Stig”, or the 4 DVD Stig helmet collection or the Top Gear top tunes CD. I just can’t have enough Top Gear just like 350 million other men around the globe.  http://www.officialproducts.co.uk/

    2.       Adventure activities. I was over the moon when I got a flight training voucher on my birthday from my fiancée.  In addition to that I would be equally delighted to get a voucher to drive a race car or a rally car. Anything that makes memorable memories is highly recommended. http://www.freemanx.co.nz

    3.       Rugby / cricket /basketball tickets. With Christmas being in middle of summer there is always a cricket match going on in some part of New Zealand or Australia. Also you can purchase Rugby League or Super 14 tickets in advance. Aussi NBL tickets can also be highly appreciated. http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/

    4. Tools/ Power tools. Depending on your budget, you can find a tool or a power fitting in your budget. Choices vary from a Swiss Army knife to Makita power drills and air compressors for Nail guns. https://www.toolking.com/

    5. Apple products /accessories. If you have a geek in your family or friends, then the ideal gift to give them is an Apple product. If your budget forbids you from spending bucket loads of money on Iphone or MacBook, then go for fancy accessories that bling your Iphone. http://www.gadgetgear.com.au

    PS For the man who has everything, Herbal Ignite will give a little zest to his love life. http://www.herbalignite.com

     
  • midlifelove 8:54 am on October 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bob Hope, Dave Carroll, lost luggage, luggage claim, Taylor guitar, United Breaks Guitars, YouTube   

    When Airlines Mess Up 

    lost luggageIf you’ve ever had an airline lose or damage your luggage you’ll have plenty of sympathy for Canadian musician Dave Carroll, who’s found a creative way to vent his frustration after (he says) United Airlines smashed his $3500 Taylor guitar and refused him compensation.

    His first YouTube video ‘United Breaks Guitars’ has gathered five million views since it was posted in July and he has just lodged the second video of a promised trio, devoted to Miss Irlwig, the last United employee to rebuff him.

    Along the way he’s given thousands of disgruntled United Airlines customers an avenue to publicly air their gripes, magnifying the public relations nightmare for the airline.

    Early Morning Chorus

    One recent business blogger noted he’d boarded an early morning shuttle bus from his hotel at JFK airport. “Barely awake, I heard the driver call for airlines and terminals. Someone piped up “United” and the immediate rejoinder from the rest of the passengers was a chorus of the song ‘United Breaks Guitars’”.

    After the song began racking up YouTube views United caved and offered to pay up. Carroll declined and suggested that United give the money to charity.

    The thousands of comments Dave’s posting has drawn underlines how common the experience of lost or damage bags is.

    As globe-trotting comedian Bob Hope once quipped “I’ve been to almost as many places as my luggage.”

    Tips to Avoid Claim Problems

    Dave acknowledges he made his “broken guitar” claim late – days after he’d found the damage – and Traveller magazine notes the key for a traveller with lost or damaged luggage is simple: don’t leave the airport without making a claim. Waiting as little as three days can sometimes invalidate your rights.

    If you’ve waited fruitlessly at the baggage carousel for suitcases which never arrive, before you leave the baggage reclamation area ensure you report the loss, and insist on filing the complaint even if you are told that your bag will be arriving on the next flight.
    You will be given a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) to fill in. Do this on the spot and ask for a copy. This form, together with the baggage receipt you were given at check-in, (the assistant usually sticks this to the ticket or onto your passport) are essential if you want to make a compensation claim from the airline or from your travel insurance. Your PIR is not a claim in itself, so you must still make a claim in writing within seven days.

    Compensation for delayed arrival of luggage
    If you are on your outward journey, be sure to ask for some cash for immediate supplies. The airline may suggest you buy the supplies and they will refund on receipt.

    Agree to the spending limit in advance and don’t expect too much generosity as airlines take the view that once your bag has turned up you will have future use of its contents.

    On your homebound journey, the airline will not be so forthcoming since they will assume you have everything you need at home. At best, when the bag does finally turn up the airline will deliver the bag to you at their own expense.

    At worst, it will take up to twenty-one days before the airline admits that your bag is lost. In this case, you are eligible for compensation, but you will have to write in again.

    Follow these guidelines and you shouldn’t need to repeat Dave Carroll’s experience. Then again, those millions of YouTube viewers would also have missed out on the fun.

     
  • midlifelove 10:13 am on October 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alprostadil injections, , , , nerve-sparing technique, , prostactectomy, , prostate surgery, , risk factors, , , sildenafil, treatments and risks, tumor,   

    Prostate Cancer – the Most Risky Treatments 

    treatmentIt’s a topic that has made it into the story lines of 30 Rock and Boston Legal, but it’s still a “touchy” subject men are reluctant to talk about. That’s the risk of temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction from prostate cancer treatment.

    Temporary or permanent impotence can affect up to 70 per cent of men with prostate cancer, and only a few high profile men – among them Rudy Guiliani in the US and broadcaster Paul Holmes in New Zealand  – are willing to publicly acknowledge the issue, even when they talk about prostate cancer.

    Whether a man retains good sexual function very much depends on a range of factors, including the size and aggressiveness of the tumor, the patient’s age, lifestyle, and overall health, and the treatment option chosen.

    It’s impossible for a doctor to predict ahead of treatment what the outcome for an individual is likely to be.

    Risk Factors Assessed

    But here is a rundown on the treatment options and the risk factors involved:

    Surgery (Radical Prostatectomy)

    The first US nationally representative study to evaluate long-term outcomes after radical prostatectomy concluded that impotence occurs far more frequently than previously reported.

    Those who have so-called nerve-sparing surgeries have better results than those whose surgeries affect the nerves around the prostate. Some evidence also suggests that sexual function rates might improve if the nerve-sparing prostate surgeries also spare the ducts that carry semen.

    • Some degree of erectile dysfunction occurs right after surgery to remove the prostate, regardless of whether the technique that tries to spare the nerve that controls erections is performed or not.
    • If the nerve-sparing technique is used, recovery from erectile dysfunction may occur within the first year following the procedure. Recovery of erectile function after a non-nerve-sparing surgery is unlikely, but possible.
    • One study shows erectile dysfunction rates of 66% for nerve-sparing prostatectomy versus 75% for non-nerve sparing surgery at one year after the surgery. The use of vacuum devices or drugs such as Viagra after surgery once the body has healed may improve the quality of erections and speed the return of normal sexual function.
    • Some studies suggest that impotence after prostate surgery may in part be due to injury to the smooth muscles in the blood vessels. Early treatments to maintain penile blood flow, particularly alprostadil injections, may helpful in restoring erectile function. In one study, men administered injections every other night for six months. They then started taking sildenafil (Viagra) three months after surgery. At six months, 82% of these men achieved penetration compared to only 52% of men who took Viagra only. The vacuum pump may serve a similar purpose as the injections.

    Radiation

    Loss of erectile function is the most common long-term complication of radiation therapy.

    • The onset of erectile dysfunction following radiation therapy is gradual and usually begins about six months following the treatment.
    • Although it is generally believed that radiation poses a lower risk for impotence than does surgery, studies have reported similar rates after three years. Experts suggest radiation injures the blood vessels and so leads to erectile dysfunction over time.
    • Some studies report a lower risk for impotence from brachytherapy, a radiation technique that involves the implantation of radioactive seeds compared to external-beam radiation. Still, there have been very few studies that have lasted more than two years. One five-year study reported a high long-term rate of impotence (53%) with brachytherapy, which is close to that of standard externally administered radiation. Early use of alprostadil injections and Viagra may help these men as well as those who had surgery.

    Drug Treatments

    Prostate cancer medical treatments commonly employ androgen-suppressive treatments, which cause erectile dysfunction.

    • When hormone therapy is used, erectile dysfunction may occur approximately two to four weeks after the start of therapy. A decreased desire for sex also occurs.
     
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