Posts Tagged "News"


What is gout? What you need to know about this painful disease – National

by BBG Hub

If you have gout, you’ll know it.

Shannon Youn, a chiropodist at Feet First Clinic in Toronto, tells Global News gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that is caused by hyperuricemia — high levels of uric acid in the blood.

“Chronically-elevated levels of uric acid can lead to the formation of crystals which deposit into a joint, resulting in the joint becoming red, hot, swollen, and painful,” she said.

“Hyperuricemia can develop if your body either produces too much uric acid or does not excrete enough through the kidneys.”

Assia Abibsi, a doctor of podiatric medicine and chiropodist at the Ottawa Foot Clinic, adds uric acid is a compound that appears in our bodies after eating certain foods. These can include red meat, seafood and the consumption of alcohol.

READ MORE: ‘Some days it’s debilitating’: When joint pain takes over your life

“Like any chemistry concept, if there is too much of something in a given quantity of liquid, it becomes too concentrated,” Abibsi said.

Gout has been seen as a “man’s disease” or one that only effects people who drink too much alcohol or consume too much meat. But it is also on the rise, experts add.

Dr. Debra Dye-Torrington, who works in the rheumatology department at Scarborough Health Network in Scarborough, Ont., added this reflects changes in demographic factors.

“These changes affect both modifiable and non-modifiable factors,” she said.

“Examples of modifiable rise factors are obesity, alcohol consumption and diet. Examples of non-modifiable factors are increasing longevity and age-associated diseases.”

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Queen will no longer wear real fur: Buckingham Palace – National

by BBG Hub

Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II will no longer wear new outfits made with real fur.

The palace made the announcement on Wednesday, adding that this doesn’t imply the Queen will get rid of her current fur pieces.

“The queen will continue to re-wear existing outfits in her wardrobe,” the palace said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

READ MORE: Girl who lost toy monkey at Buckingham Palace visit has it returned by the Queen

Angela Kelly, a former senior dresser with the royal household for 25 years, recently published her book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.

In one section, she noted that the monarch stopped wearing real fur in 2019, CNN reported.

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“If Her Majesty is due to attend an engagement in particularly cold weather, from 2019 onwards, fake fur will be used to make sure she stays warm,” Kelly wrote.

READ MORE: Who pays for the Royal Family’s lavish lifestyle?

While the switch to faux fur wasn’t based on animal rights — the palace didn’t give an exact reasoning — many animal rights activists were happy with the decision.

In the past, CNN added, the Queen had been criticized for her fur looks by animal rights organizations like PETA.

Fashion world adopts Queen Elizabeth II’s style

Fashion world adopts Queen Elizabeth II’s style

“Queen Elizabeth’s decision to ‘go faux’ is the perfect reflection of the mood of the British public, the vast majority of whom detest cruel fur and want nothing to do with it,” said Claire Bass, director of the Humane Society International/U.K. in a statement to the U.K.’s PA news agency.

READ MORE:  Meghan Markle, Prince Harry split from joint charity with Prince William, Kate Middleton

She added the switch sends “a powerful message that fur is firmly out of fashion.”

Ethical decisions in the Royal Family

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, also enjoys wearing fur, the Telegraph reported, as long as it comes from ethical sources.

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“One of her favourite items, in which she has been seen multiple times, is a brown hat made from the pelts of alpacas which died of natural causes,” the site added.

The U.K. became the first country to ban fur farming based on ethical grounds.

The Queen’s news comes months after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they plan to only have two children “maximum” over concerns about climate change.

Harry shared the news in an interview with renowned primatologist Jane Goodall for the September issue of British Vogue.

He said becoming a father to baby Archie Harrison changed his point of view.

“I view it differently now, without question,” the Duke of Sussex said.

— With files from the Associated Press and Global News’ Meghan Collie 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Single by choice: Why these Canadians don’t date – National

by BBG Hub

Actor Emma Watson recently opened up to British Vogue about being happily single.

The 29-year-old acknowledged the social pressure to be partnered up by her age, but told the outlet she’s come to a place of self-acceptance.

“I never believed the whole ‘I’m happy single’ spiel,” she said. “I was like, ‘This is totally spiel.’ It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single].

“I call it being self-partnered.”

Watson’s remarks sparked debate online, with some taking issue with the term “self-partnered.” Jezebel even published an article questioning why Watson simply can’t call herself single.

READ MORE: The millennials who have never been in a relationship

In the piece, writer Hazel Cills argues the term “self-partnered” stigmatizes the idea “that a woman could be alone forever and be okay with it.”

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Others applauded Watson for her comments and said they, too, will co-opt the term.

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When being single is a choice

But for some Canadians, being happily single is not only a mindset — it’s a deliberate choice.

“I’m 100 per cent honestly not dating because I don’t want to at all,” said Vanessa Vakharia, founder of the Toronto-based tutoring service The Math Guru.

“I have no interest in being in a relationship whatsoever.”

Dating apps can exacerbate unhealthy habits

Dating apps can exacerbate unhealthy habits

Vakharia, who is in her 30s, says she is happy focusing on her career and genuinely enjoys spending time doing things that matter to her most. Between work, hosting a podcast and being in a band, Vakharia carefully considers what she puts her energy into.

Dating is not high on her priority list.

“Any time I evaluate whether I want to take on a new project or not, one of the main questions I ask is, ‘Do I have time?’” she said.

“I have made the decision not to take on a relationship because I know that to be a good partner, that means diverting the time I spend on the current projects that fill my schedule to that relationship.”

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READ MORE: Why some people have sex even when they aren’t in the mood

While Vakharia is happy with her lifestyle, she says others often have a hard time believing she is OK with her single status. Whenever people ask her about her love life, she often feels pressure to justify her situation.

“People make you to feel like you should be on the defensive, like you’re supposed to be like, ‘Oh, I’m not dating, but I’m fine!’ or, ‘I’m not dating but I just met this [person],’” she said.

“We act like our goal [in society] is to meet this dream person and have this fairy-tale ending and settle down — especially at my age.”

According to Laura Bilotta, a Toronto-based dating coach at Single in the City and host of The Dating and Relationship Show on Global News radio, there’s many reasons why people opt not to date.

These reasons can include wanting to spend time on themselves, focus on their careers or because they feel exhausted from a previous break-up.

The current landscape of online dating isn’t always appealing, either.

Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

Are you digitally cheating? Here’s what an online dating expert has to say

“In the online dating world, so many people play games and that gets really annoying and frustrating,” Bilotta said.

“And eventually you just take a break and say, ‘You know what? I’m better off being single right now.’”

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Twenty-nine-year-old Sasha Ruddock says women are often raised to believe that happiness is directly linked to marriage and kids.

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The Toronto-based body-positivity activist believes this can cause people to spend less time on themselves, and more time looking for a relationship.

“I believe it’s normal to want companionship, but we have to question our need for it,” Ruddock said.

“Do you know yourself? Do you like yourself? What are your heart’s desires? We weren’t taught self-love.”

READ MORE: Own a house with your partner? Here’s what happens if you break up

Despite all the valid reasons for staying single, the societal expectation that people should be in relationships by a certain age still harms single folks, Bilotta said.

One of the first questions people ask is, “Why are you single?” Bilotta said, which can make people feel like they should date, even if they don’t want to.

Carolyn Van, 34, has experienced this first-hand.

The Toronto-based educator and business consultant says she loves her life and happily chooses to be single. She is grateful for her life and feels no void.

When it comes to others accepting her situation, however, it’s often a different story.

“People have a tough time believing that I’m happy  — and then I’m treated like a lab subject,” she said.

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Lack of friendships impacts men’s mental health — here’s how to deal with it

Lack of friendships impacts men’s mental health — here’s how to deal with it

“I get a lot of questions. A lot of skepticism. A lot of assumptions of my life experiences.

“If anything, I think this reveals much more about those who ask these questions, so I mostly observe and take it as an opportunity to learn about people.”

Sometimes Van says she will challenge people and ask them questions back about their decisions to be in a relationship. Some folks get the hint.

“I say cheeky things like, ‘Maybe one day, you learn that you don’t want to be a partner or parent anymore. You should just keep your options open!’” she said.

“They aren’t used to getting these questions and comments. It’s my way of putting a mirror in front of them.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Consent may not be ‘truly possible’ in some office romances: experts – National

by BBG Hub

Workplace couples are often romanticized — think Bill and Melinda Gates or Michelle and Barack Obama. But when the relationship involves two people with unequal power, it can also be fraught with peril, especially in the #MeToo era.

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is only the latest chief executive to be ousted over a consensual relationship with an employee. Increasingly, U.S. companies are adopting policies addressing workplace romances, a trend that began well before the #MeToo movement galvanized a national conversation surrounding sexual misconduct.

Addressing workplace romance can be complicated, but many companies remove any grey areas by forbidding managers, especially C-suite executives, from having relationships with subordinates given the potential for favouritism or lawsuits if the relationship sours.

READ MORE: Second McDonald’s exec leaves after CEO was fired over consensual relationship with employee

There are questions about whether consent is truly possible when the power imbalance is especially great. Many women who have come forward to share their #MeToo stories have said that they feared the consequences of saying no to a powerful person who could influence their careers.

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“That power difference can create a dynamic where the relationship can never truly be consensual,” said Debra Katz, a founder partner of the law firm Katz, Marshall & Banks who has represented women in several prominent sexual harassment cases.

“The #MeToo movement has shown how quickly it can go from consensual in the beginning to a huge problem when the relationship goes awry.”

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Easterbrook’s departure comes as McDonald’s steps up its efforts to stop sexual harassment after dozens of employee complaints.

McDonald’s CEO parts ways with company after breaking policy

McDonald’s CEO parts ways with company after breaking policy

A timeline for McDonald’s

Over the last three years, more than 50 McDonald’s employees have filed cases alleging sexual harassment with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or in state courts, according to Fight for $15, a labour advocacy group.

In August, the hamburger chain unveiled a program to teach its 850,000 U.S. employees how to recognize and report harassment and bullying. Franchisees — who own 95 per cent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants — aren’t required to offer the training, but the company expects them to provide it.

READ MORE: McDonald’s CEO resigns over consensual relationship with employee

McDonald’s said Easterbrook violated company policy forbidding managers from having romantic relationships with direct or indirect subordinates. In an email to employees, Easterbrook said the relationship was a mistake and he agreed “it is time for me to move on.” He was replaced by Chris Kempczinski, who recently served as president of McDonald’s USA.

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Time’s Up, a group that fights harassment and has been supporting workers’ legal cases, said Easterbrook’s departure should provide an opportunity for McDonald’s to do more, including making sexual harassment training mandatory.

“Under the new leadership of Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s has an opportunity, and obligation, to act to ensure that all of its locations are safe and equitable for all,” said Jennifer Klein, chief strategy and policy officer at Time’s Up.

Complications around policy

Easterbrook followed in the footsteps of Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich, who resigned last year after the chipmaker found he engaged in a relationship that violated a “non-fraternization” policy that applies to all managers.

Other CEOs who have been pushed out over consensual relationships include Darren Huston of online travel company Priceline, Brian Dunn of Best Buy and Harry Stonecipher of aerospace company Boeing.

READ MORE: The ins and outs of dating a co-worker

In 2005 — the year Stonecipher was pushed out — just a quarter of U.S. workplaces had policies addressing consensual relationships, according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the world’s largest group of human resources professionals.

By 2013, the number had jumped to 42 per cent, according to an SHRM survey that year of 384 of its members. Of those workplaces, 99 per cent prohibited romance between a supervisor and a direct report.

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SHRM has not conducted a more recent survey on the issue, but other research suggests such policies are even more common now. In a 2018 survey of 150 human resources executives, the executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that 78 per cent of companies had policies discouraging dating between subordinates and managers.

Much more complicated is how far to go with such policies. Not all policies pertain just to bosses and their underlings.

The SHRM study found that 45 per cent of employers with workplace romance policies forbid relationships between employees of significant rank differences, while 35 per cent prohibited them between employees who report to the same supervisor.

Many human resources professionals, however, believe it’s unrealistic to adopt a blanket ban on workplace romance.

Office holiday parties in the #MeToo era

Office holiday parties in the #MeToo era

An SHRM survey from January 2019 found that one-third of American adults have been in a romantic relationship with someone at work.

“People meet at work. It’s not an uncommon place for romantic relationships to start,” said John Gannon, an employment law attorney with Skoler Abbott in Springfield, Mass.

A growing trend among small companies is to sponsor happy hours for their staffers to increase camaraderie, said David Lewis, CEO of HR provider OperationsInc, based in Norwalk, Conn. Those events can be fertile ground for romantic relationships so it’s hard for a business owner to then tell staffers to break up or quit, he said.

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Some companies have what are known as “love contract,” which require disclosing relationships to the company and agreeing to act appropriately.

Lewis said he has seen a big increase in business owners asking for on-site training sessions for employees to raise their awareness on what constitutes harassment. Those sessions discuss relationships between staffers and warn that both partners in a relationship must act professionally with no public displays of affection. And they’re expected to remain professional if they break up.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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Sweeteners can be ‘hidden’ in your kids’ food — and parents may not even know – National

by BBG Hub

Allidina says these sweeteners can be found in a variety of products children consume, including everything from Jell-O to some juices like Sunny D to ice cream. Other items include pop, cereal bars, yogurt and more.

She says anytime you see labels like “low sugar,” “reduced sugar” or “no sugar” should be a red flag.

“Technically, artificial sweeteners are not sugar and sometimes food companies mix them with real sugar to decrease the total sugar in the food.”

When your child loves sweetness

But some children just love sugar and sweet-flavoured food and often, parents struggle to remove it from their diet. And when sugar or sweetness is hidden, it can be even harder to monitor what your child eats.

“Navigating sugar with kids is tricky, but not impossible,” Allidina said.

“Skip the artificial stuff — especially for kids. We get the sweetness but with 0 calories, which can lead to more sugar cravings to fill the void.”

Parents should also focus on introducing whole foods without packaging or wrappers.

“These foods include, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and lean protein as much as possible.”

READ MORE: What happens to your body when you stop eating sugar?

And besides carefully reading labels, look at the ingredient list.

“Try to stay clear of foods that have sugar listed as the first three ingredients – sugar has many names,” Allidina continued. “If these foods are your kid’s favourite, you can still offer it but less frequently.”

When you can, be a role model yourself.  “If your child sees you consuming soft drinks and sugary foods daily, then you need to change,” she stressed.

“Remember, kids learn by example. So make sure you are doing your part.”

Sometimes, though, you can’t escape sugar. Children end up consuming sugar at school or at birthday parties with friends. It’s important to look at a child’s diet overall, Allidina said.

“Start with simple swaps such as replacing or diluting juice for water or milk and cut back on the frequency of sugary treats.”

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What it’s like to get cancer as a parent: ‘I began planning out my next 5 years’ – National

by BBG Hub

When Fiona Kingsley Boyer was six months pregnant, she started to notice bruising on her legs.

She was also very itchy, symptoms she thought were normal for someone carrying a child.

That February of 2018, the 32-year-old woman from Scarborough, Ont. says doctors noticed a lump on her neck.

READ MORE: Cancer can severely damage your mental health. Why don’t we talk about it?

She went to the ER to get an X-ray on a Sunday night and by Monday, she got the grim news: she had cancer.

“I was like, ‘What about the baby? Because all you think about is the baby… you don’t care about yourself.’”

Kingsley Boyer was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She was induced a month early before her due date and started chemotherapy two weeks after giving birth.

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Fiona Kingsley Boyer pregnant. Photo courtesy of Fiona Kingsley Boyer. Art by Laura Whelan. 

Doctors told her the cancer wouldn’t impact her unborn child, but Kingsley Boyer panicked.

“For days I thought I had days to live,” she said. “I began planning out my next five years with my kids.”

Getting a cancer diagnosis is one hurdle to jump over on your own, but when you have kids, it can add another layer of guilt, fear and anxiety. Some parents are separated from their children during chemotherapy, while others have a hard time explaining the diagnosis to their child.

Telling your kids about the ‘C’ word

Erlanger A. Turner, a licenced psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, tells Global News most parents struggle to tell their children about their diagnosis.

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“It is important to be honest; most children will notice changes in their environment,” he explained.

“Be prepared to openly discuss your chronic illness but keep the conversations age-appropriate for your child.”

You can start with a conversation about what cancer is or offer reading material to older children.

“Having a cancer diagnosis also comes with some uncertainty,” he continued. “It is OK to talk with your child about what is involved in treatment. Finally, be prepared for your child to be anxious or worried about your health.”

5 ways cancer can impact mental health

5 ways cancer can impact mental health

Some children will think your cancer diagnosis is their fault. Open communication about what the cancer is and where it came from can help clear up confusion.

Kingsley Boyer and her husband didn’t tell their three-year-old right away. The two waited to find out if Kingsley Boyer would lose her hair or not, because she knew it would bring up questions. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treatable, especially when it’s detected early.

“We told her mommy was ‘very sick,’ but she was going to get better,” she continued. “We made sure it was clear I was going to get better.”

Fiona Kingsley Boyer with her daughters. Photos courtesy of Fiona Kingsley Boyer. Art by Laura Whelan. 

How your outlook on life can change

Just trying to be a parent can be tough as well.

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“This may be the result of your body being exhausted from treatment or wanting to make sure they your child have an enjoyable time with you,” Turner said.

READ MORE: Southern Alberta mom uses art to help her cope with breast cancer

Some parenting styles also changes, he notes, and parents become more laid back. But it is still important for parents to discipline their child for inappropriate behaviour or breaking rules.

“Children may exhibit different behaviour to cope with their parent’s cancer such as anxiety, anger, or behavioural problems at school,” he explained.

“If you feel that you are struggling with finding effective behaviour management strategies, you should consider working with a licenced mental health professional or psychologist that can work with you and your family to help you cope with your diagnosis and improve your relationship with your child.”

Terri Mah’s outlook on life in general changed when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in May, 2017. Mah had noticed pain on the left side of his body after his family moved from Saskatoon to Calgary that year.

Terri Mah and his family. Photo courtesy of Terri Mah. Art by Laura Whelan

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The 47-year-old told Global News he was already stressed about moving, helping his two kids adapt to a new city and being a caregiver for his father-in-law, who also had cancer.

“It was such a hard thing to deal with because we had brought my father-in-law here and one month before I got diagnosed he passed away,” he said.

“Taking my kids to the hospice and saying goodbye… it was such a hard thing for me. That’s all I could picture… laying there and saying goodbye to my kids.”

Mah is now cancer-free and his children played a huge part of his healing. They motivated him, kept him going and today, he realizes his outlook on parenting and is quite different.

“[Cancer] made me stop and think,’You know what? Family is the most important to me… I am going to stop take that time and spend it with them.”

Some parents feel guilty after their diagnosis

For others, there is a sense of guilt. A cancer diagnosis could mean extra hospital visits, chemotherapy or extended bed rest — all of which takes time away from a child.

“Talk with your family about expectations and create a new plan for how to enjoy time together,” Turner said.

“For example, maybe you can’t play outside with your child but instead can play a board game or read a book together. The most important thing is that you are maintaining a good connection and making memories.”

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For others, it becomes a loss of identity.

Mary Yusep, 27, is a single mom based in Edmonton. Yusep was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in fall 2018. Her son was five at that time and she didn’t tell him about the diagnosis at first.

Mary Yusep at the hospital. Photo courtesy of Mary Yusep. Art by Laura Whelan

There were some moments during her treatment where Yusep also had to be in isolation. She couldn’t speak with her son or even be in the same room with him.

“It was really heartbreaking,” she says. “It was a bit of a loss of identity. I have a cancer identity and it’s peeling away my motherhood.”

Today she has told her son the details of her diagnosis as well as her healing process. “He [would say], ‘mom don’t forget your medicine.’ It’s a journey that we’re on together.”

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Mary Yusep and her son. Photo: Mimi Siffledeen. Art by Laura Whelan

Parents need more support

Julie Michaud, 38, was first diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in September 2010. By May 2015, her cancer progressed to Stage 4.

“It returned in my sternum and lung,” she told Global News. “Last year it spread to my lungs and liver and a mass on my chest on top of remaining in my sternum.

“I am currently on my fifth round of chemotherapy.”

The Halifax-based woman was devastated. She was 40 weeks pregnant and felt a bump in her breastbone. “All I could think about was I would not see my three children grow up.”

Julie Michaud and her family. Photo courtesy of Julie Michaud. Art by Laura Whelan. 

She finds herself holding onto hope by continuing treatments, but she says the options for parents with terminal cancer get fewer and fewer.

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“We cannot find any immunotherapy options for me within Canada that I can apply for,” she explained.

She says cancer patients need more support, especially those who are parents.

“Treatments exhaust you, appointments take up a lot of time, you get hospitalized, you don’t get to be a normal parent,” she says.

“Fear that this will be the last birthday I see or the last holiday I’ll be a part of is constant, especially with the dwindling options for treatment.”

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Michaud says support is needed for partners, as well.

“We’ve had to rely on friends and family to make everything work,” she continued. “There’s no assistance for partners supporting cancer patients and their children, causing the possibility of burnout. We need more support available for parents with young children.”

For Kingsley Boyer, support also happens when we are honest about our cancer journey. She started documenting her story on social media for other parents to relate.

READ MORE: The stigma of more children after one is sick — Why some parents feel guilty

And growing up in a Sri Lankan and Tamil community, Kingsley Boyer also knows how hush-hush her own family would be if they found out about a family cancer diagnosis. For some communities, cancer is still seen as tucked away or a taboo.

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“We wanted to be as open as possible.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Men struggle to keep friends — and it’s hurting their mental health – National

by BBG Hub

Friendships are an important part of a healthy life, but research shows men struggle to keep them.

Men often have fewer close friends as they age, experts say, which directly impacts their mental well-being.

According to a 2016 survey by U.K.’s Movember organization, men lack “social connectedness.” The survey found one in 10 men couldn’t recall the last time they made contact with their friends, and older men were at greater risk of social isolation.

What’s more, over half of the men surveyed reported having two or less friends they would discuss “a serious topic” with, and 19 per cent of men over 55 said they lacked a close friend — period.

READ MORE: 28 per cent of men believe they could lose their job if they discuss mental health at work

“Men tend to not have deep friendships in the way that many women do, which denies them the opportunity to share deeply personal and emotionally sensitive information with others,” said John Ogrodniczuk, the director of the University of British Columbia’s psychotherapy program and founder of men’s depression resource HeadsUpGuy.

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“Because of this, many men can end up feeling lonely, even though they may indicate that they have friends in their lives. In fact, after surveying more than 5,000 men who had visited HeadsUpGuys, we learned that loneliness is one of the most frequent stressors in men’s lives.”

Why friends are important

A lack of close friendships can negatively affect not only men’s mental health, but overall well-being, says Dr. Ari Zaretsky, the psychiatrist-in-chief at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

“Having a social support system has been shown to promote resilience, not only for mental illness but even for physical illness,” Zaretsky said.

How to help take care of your mental health while in school

How to help take care of your mental health while in school

Research also shows that social interactions have a positive effect on life satisfaction.

A recent study on the role of friends found that good-quality friendships help people feel supported. When people have less frequent social interactions, researchers found, they reported lower life satisfaction.

Joshua Beharry, a B.C.-based mental health advocate and project coordinator at HeadsUpGuys, experienced this first-hand. When he was dealing with severe depression 10 years ago, he hid his symptoms from his friends.

He believed he could handle his mental health issues on his own, even as his condition worsened.

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“This led me to basically waiting until I was so sick that I couldn’t hide my symptoms anymore,” Beharry said.

Beharry says his friends realized something was wrong when he kept cancelling plans and became increasingly withdrawn. Once he admitted he was struggling with depression and sought treatment, his friends were supportive.

READ MORE: Cancer can severely damage your mental health. Why don’t we talk about it?

“Instead of having to continue to hide how sick I was from my friends, I could finally be open with them,” Beharry said.

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“They were much more supportive and understanding than I had expected, asking lots of questions about what I was going through and what they could do to help.”

This is not surprising to Zaretsky, who says social support is key to dealing with mental health issues like depression.

While Zaretsky believes in a comprehensive approach when it comes to tackling mental health issues — which can include medication and psychotherapy — friendships are an integral part of the recovery process.

Focusing on men’s mental health

Focusing on men’s mental health

And you don’t need a large group of friends to notice the benefits, Ogrodniczuk points out. The amount of friends one has is less important than the quality of those friendships.

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“Strength is demonstrated by actually allowing yourself to be vulnerable,” Ogrodniczuk said.

“It’s often a very scary thing for many men, but when they actually do open up to others, they find that they deepen their relationships and have a stronger sense of self.”

Why men may have fewer friends

There are a few reasons men may have fewer friendships — especially as they age.

When men get into romantic partnerships, they often become inclined to lean on their spouse for emotional support and therefore put less emphasis on maintaining outside friendships.

READ MORE: Vast majority of workers with mental health issues keep it secret from their boss

“A lot of guys recognize that friendships are important, but don’t make the maintenance of such relationships a priority in their lives, instead prioritizing other things like work and family,” Ogrodniczuk said.

Men may also rely on their partner’s social network, meaning should a separation occur, they are left with fewer close relationships.

Notions of masculinity are also factors. Experts say it’s common for men to view mental health struggles as signs of weakness, and avoid talking to friends about problems as a result.

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Ogrodniczuk says the influence of “masculine socialization” can cause men to doubt what is “permissible” in friendships. For example, men may question whether or not it is OK to tell a friend they need help or open up to them about something serious.

This can lead to more surface-level friendships or acquaintances rather than deep, meaningful friendships. Casual friendships may be harder to maintain, too, experts say.

New study says more men are working themselves to an early grave

New study says more men are working themselves to an early grave

Zaretsky echoes this, adding when men do speak about their issues with others, they’re often self-conscious.

“They sometimes do it reluctantly,” he explained, “and I think that they have difficulty many times with talking about feelings and thoughts.”

How can men improve friendships

So how can more men move past these factors and develop meaningful connections? In order to improve and maintain friendships, men need to recognize the importance of close relationships and make them a priority, Ogrodniczuk said.

If a man is struggling with mental health issues, Ogrodniczuk suggests starting a conversation with someone they trust.

READ MORE: ‘It feels like failure’: Why Canadian workplaces should offer stress leave

“Sometimes it’s as simple as saying something like, ‘I’ve been feeling like sh-t lately and I’m not really sure what’s going on. Can I run some things by you to get your take on them?’” he said.

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Plus, Beharry says stigma around mental health issues is slowly eroding, and there’s less taboo around talking about struggles today than there was 10 years ago.

“There are a lot of male celebrities and athletes who have spoken out about depression as well, which I think goes a long way in opening up important conversations and helping to shed ideas that associate mental health issues with weakness,” he added.

Beharry now understands the benefit of opening up.

Becoming a dad can take a toll on men’s mental health

Becoming a dad can take a toll on men’s mental health

He says since being upfront about his mental health struggles, more men have reached out to him with similar experiences, too.

“Some people are better at listening and others are better at helping you out with tasks and keeping up with life,” he said.

“If the first person you talk to doesn’t really help, don’t get discouraged and shut down more; keep reaching out and building supports.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Cursing helps you crush your workout, experts say – National

by BBG Hub

Do you feel like swearing whenever you’re on a stair climber? If so, it may be a good idea to let those F-bombs out.

Research from the U.K.’s Keele University and Long Island University Brooklyn has found that swearing during exercise can improve performance and even help you deal with pain. The findings, recently published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, say cussing can boost both physical power and strength.

During one experiment, researchers asked participants on a stationary bike to swear while peddling. They found that using foul language produced a 4.6 per cent increase in initial power during a 30-second cycling test compared to those who didn’t curse.

READ MORE: New to working out? Here’s how to overcome exercise anxiety

In a separate test, swearing also resulted in an eight per cent increase in maximum handgrip strength over non-swearing subjects.

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“Swearing appears to be able to bring about improvements in physical performance that may not be solely dependent on a stress response arising out of the shock value of the swearing,” Richard Stephens, the study’s co-author and professor of psychology at Keele University, said in a statement.

“We know that swearing appears to be handled in brain regions not usually associated with language processing. It is possible that activation of these areas by swearing could produce performance improvements across many different domains.”

Wait, so how does swearing boost workouts?

One reason why swearing can improve workouts is because it raises our pain threshold, research suggests.

Previous research done by Stephens found that cursing can have a “pain-lessening effect.”

How exercise can help students get better grades

How exercise can help students get better grades

In one study, Stephens and his research team asked some participants to stick their hand in ice-cold water and cuss, then do it again using non-offensive words.

The team found that “swearing increased pain tolerance, increased heart rate and decreased perceived pain compared with not swearing.”

Researchers aren’t entirely sure why bad words are linked to a reduction in pain but think swearing can trigger humans’ “fight-or-flight” response.

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When our bodies are in this heightened mode, certain hormones are released that help the body react to possible danger. This state can help us perform in tough situations.

READ MORE: Here’s why you might ‘black out’ when you’re anxious

Researchers suggest the accelerated heart rates of the volunteers who swore indicate an increase in aggression, which reflects the common fight-or-flight response of “downplaying feebleness” to appear stronger and more pain-tolerant.

“What is clear is that swearing triggers not only an emotional response but a physical one, too, which may explain why the centuries-old practice of cursing developed and still persists today,” researchers wrote.

Swearing may also be a distraction method.

If obesity runs in your family, you may want to start jogging

If obesity runs in your family, you may want to start jogging

According to David Spierer, the co-author of the swearing and exercise study and a professor health science at Long Island University, using curse words during exercise might divert your attention.

“Cursing may allow people to shut down their inhibitions and somewhat veil the effort and the pain of this really difficult task,” Spierer said in a statement.

“Using swear words might be helpful in any circumstance where muscle strength and a sudden burst of force or speed is required.”

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So next time you’re at the gym, try letting out a few curse words — just be sure you don’t scream them.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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More pregnant women are using cannabis despite its dangers: study – National

by BBG Hub

More pregnant women are using cannabis, research shows, despite warnings of its danger from health officials.

According to a recent U.S. study, the number of women who use cannabis while expecting has increased, and the number of women who use cannabis in the year before pregnancy has nearly doubled.

Researchers surveyed 276,991 expectant mothers in northern California and found the number of women who said they used cannabis in the year before their pregnancy grew from 6.8 per cent in 2009 to 12.5 per cent in 2017.

READ MORE: More Ontario women using cannabis while pregnant despite warnings

While the number of women who reported using the drug while pregnant was smaller, it still increased from 1.9 per cent to 3.4 per cent during the same time.

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Among the women who reported using the drug while expecting, daily cannabis use increased from 15 per cent in 2009 to 21 per cent in 2017.

The findings, published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, suggest that increased acceptance of cannabis use and a lack of awareness around fetal harm are factors in the uptick.

The researchers point out that evidence suggests heavier cannabis use might be “associated with worse neonatal health outcomes.”

“Despite this risk, however, U.S. data suggest that 71 per cent of pregnant women who used cannabis in the past year perceive no or slight risk in using cannabis once or twice a week,” the researchers wrote.

One year of legal cannabis

One year of legal cannabis

Another study by the U.S.’s National Institute on Drug Abuse yielded similar results.

Data collected from 467,100 pregnant women across the U.S. showed past-month cannabis use, daily cannabis use, and occurrence of cannabis use had all increased over the last 15 years.

Between 2002 to 2003 and 2016 to 2017, past-month cannabis use increased from 3.4 per cent to seven per cent among pregnant women overall.

During their first trimester, 12 per cent of women reported using the drug as of 2017, up from just under six per cent in 2003.

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What are the risks of using cannabis while pregnant?

The FDA recently released a warning about women using cannabis while expecting or breastfeeding, saying that “marijuana use during pregnancy may affect fetal brain development.”

If a woman uses the drug while pregnant, THC — a cannabinoid found in cannabis — can enter the fetal brain from the mother’s bloodstream, the FDA says.

READ MORE: Cannabis during pregnancy linked to higher risk of pre-term birth

The government agency also said if a mother uses cannabis while breastfeeding, it can remain in breast milk. This exposure can affect a newborn’s brain development and “result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences.”

The U.S.’s National Institutes of Health also raised concern around expectant moms and cannabis.

“Cannabis use during pregnancy has been associated with effects on fetal growth, including low birth weight and length, and these outcomes may be more likely among women who consume marijuana frequently during pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters,” the NIH wrote.

A recent study out of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute found that cannabis use in pregnancy was associated with “significant increases in the rate of preterm birth.”

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Why are women using cannabis while pregnant?

Canadian researchers say more women are using cannabis during pregnancy because they are not informed of its risks.

Study shows students driving after consuming cannabis

Study shows students driving after consuming cannabis

Research out of the University of British Columbia found that around one-third of pregnant women think it’s safe to use cannabis while expecting and are unaware of potential health risks to their child.

The findings, published earlier this year in the journal Preventive Medicine, looked at data from six U.S. studies and found that “more women seem to be using cannabis during pregnancy than ever before, even though evidence of its safety is limited and conflicting.”

The UBC researchers found that one of the main reasons women may think cannabis is safe is because there’s not enough communication between patients and doctors when it comes to the drug.

READ MORE: Study finds ‘scarce evidence’ to support cannabis as a treatment for mental health disorders

“We know that from other types of research that when there’s no communication and there is lots of uncertainty in literature — which is true for cannabis use — then it is very important that health-care providers … educate [patients] about risk,” Hamideh Bayrampour, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at UBC’s Department of Family Practice, previously told Global News.

“When there’s no communication, women may feel like [cannabis use] is not significant or important.”

Bayrampour added that her findings also indicate that many women don’t consider cannabis to be a drug, or that it’s a harmful one.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Black actors frustrated with lack of Hollywood stylists who can do their hair – National

by BBG Hub

Tiffany Haddish recalls leaving the set of a big-budget movie in tears in search of someone who could properly do her hair. Lorraine Toussaint blithely recounts the times her tresses have been damaged by stylists inexperienced with managing Black hair. And Tia Mowry-Hardrict recalls breaking down on set after seeing what was done to her locks.

“It’s mind-blowing to me that we still have to — meaning Black actresses — have to fight to have Black hairdressers on set for us. There was one time in particular I was doing this movie and, my God, I was the lead. And after this person did my hair, I cried. I was like, ‘I cannot go out there looking like this,’” said Mowry-Hardrict, star of the Netflix sitcom Family Reunion.

“I just don’t understand why you have to fight to get someone to understand the importance of that.”

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From Oscar winners to stars on the rise, many African-American actresses have similar stories about hair struggles in Hollywood. In an industry known for its glamour and beauty, some say the lack of diversity behind the scenes has led to challenging situations for women of colour.

READ MORE: Moms furious over strangers touching Black children’s hair — ‘It’s awkward and uncomfortable’

While Black hair comes in different textures, it is generally defined by its curls ranging from wavy to very tight coils. For years, racism and segregation typically dictated that Black people exclusively worked on Black hair. Today, that tradition remains as many non-Black stylists, for the most part, have not learned how to successfully work with African-American hair.

Halle Berry exploded on the Hollywood scene in the early 1990s with a short, pixie hairstyle that would become her signature. Others heavily copied the style, but the Oscar-winner didn’t set out to start a trend — it was a result of previous experiences with some Hollywood stylists.

Halle Berry (AP Photo)

“That’s why I had short hair,” laughed the actress. ”(Maintaining) it was easy. I think as people of colour, especially in the business, we haven’t always had people that know how to manage our hair. Those days are different now — that’s when I started.”

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Others say the lack of Hollywood stylists able to properly manage their hair remains a problem.

“I can relate to that 100 per cent,” said Sierra Capri, the 20-year-old star of On My Block, Netflix’s most-binged original show of 2018. Capri, who says she’s multi-racial but identifies as Black, said it’s a relief when an actress finds a stylist who understands Black hair.

#BlackWomenAtWork trends online after Bill O’Reilly jabs black Congress woman’s hair

#BlackWomenAtWork trends online after Bill O’Reilly jabs black Congress woman’s hair

“We want to look and feel good and we want to feel our best,” she said.

“If we feel that we have someone that understands us and understands what we want and what we need, then we’re gonna feel great and we can do what we came to do.”

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Queen Latifah said she encountered stylists who didn’t know what to do with her hair, particularly early in her career.

“It’s not because their heart wasn’t in the right place — they just didn’t have the skillset to do Black hair,” said Latifah, who recently worked with Proctor & Gamble to form The Queen Collective to promote racial and gender equality in filmmaking.

“As African-Americans, we have all different shapes, sizes, colours, textures, and you got to be able to work with that. We are always in a position to be able to work with what white people do. That’s just how it’s been, but it has to be reversed. It has to be some respect over here and figuring out what to do with our hair. So we just really need to add more people to the industry.”

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Queen Latifah said she encountered stylists who didn’t know what to do with her hair. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

To work in a wide range of entertainment areas, from films to talk shows, hairstylists must be in a union. Local 706 is the union for hairstylists in Los Angeles; Local 798 is based in New York. Joining a union requires a licence and experience on a production.

Local 706 doesn’t keep records on the race and ethnicity of its stylists but is aware of the frustrations and is trying to find solutions. Randy Sayer, the business representative for Local 706, hopes that changes in the industry do take place. Sayer says the union has no control over which stylists are hired for a production, that decision belongs to producers, studios and other employers.

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“I agree with every woman of colour or every actor who says ‘we need more.’ I want to be the person who’s helping us achieve that.”

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Legendary hairstylist Robert Stevenson, who was honoured by 706 last year with a lifetime achievement award, says it’s hard for anyone to join the union, regardless of ethnicity: “It’s no joke.”

READ MORE: What to know about laser hair removal as a woman of colour

The Emmy-winner began his career in the 1960s when he says the government forced Hollywood to hire people of colour for all entertainment unions. He was the first Black male hairstylist the union accepted.

Stevenson, who’s styled stars like Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson and Eddie Murphy, said with more opportunities for Black actors, unions are playing catch up.

“When I came in, we didn’t have many Black actresses. I mean, Pam Grier was like one of the biggest stars,” Stevenson said. “But now it’s changed so much. There’s so many more Black actresses. And the few Black hairstylists that are in (the union) are working, so (the actresses) can’t seem to get who they want. But Viola Davis can get whatever she wants.”

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And while it’s true that the Oscar, Tony and Emmy award winner may be able to get whoever she wants, Davis has been vocal about her past hair chronicles. As recently as May, she said she would no longer work with stylists who don’t respect the craft of styling Black hair.

It’s deeper than “just someone not being able to do your hair,” said DeWanda Wise, who starred in Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It and is currently in post-production for Sony’s comedy-drama Fatherhood, along with Kevin Hart. “It’s people touching this texture with a certain level of trepidation and disgust.”

Andrea Pezzillo, a celebrity stylist who has groomed a wide range of clients such as Jhene Aiko, Chanel Iman, Jeff Bridges and Omari Hardwick, understands why many Black actresses are wary of white hair stylists.

“I always say this: it could take five years to grow your hair, and it could take one flat iron to break it all off,” said the Los Angeles-based Pezzillo, who is white.

READ MORE: Woman stops shaving to embrace ‘natural beauty,’ but body hair is still taboo

Pezzillo says she began styling women of colour after attending beauty school and becoming close with an Eritrean classmate. They’d often braid and explore each other’s hair, and eventually, a Black instructor took Pezzillo under her wing.

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“When I started doing African-American hair, I didn’t look at it different. I just looked at it like hair,” she said. “I was never intimidated and I learned through my mistakes.”

However, actresses say white stylists like Pezzillo who are proficient with many hair textures are few and far between.

“I would be a lie if I said it hasn’t been a problem. And it’s been tough-going for many years,” Toussaint said.

“Our hair is way more complicated,” the veteran actress explained. “If I’ve been told I have a not-Black hair person, the first question I say is, “Can they do a ’press-and-curl?” If you can do a press-and-curl, we can work together. If you don’t know what a press-and-curl is, we’ve got to start from scratch. But it is a challenge.”

Lorraine Toussaint recounts the times her tresses have been damaged by stylists inexperienced with managing Black hair. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

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Haddish said when she shot the movie Keanu, there was no one on set who could braid the cornrows she sported in the film.

“So then I had to go outside of the movie to find people in New Orleans to braid my hair,” she said.

“And I cried about it because it was a lot of extra time, and I could have been resting or learning my lines or just making sure I was on point.”

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Sanaa Lathan says she’s worn wigs to protect her tresses.

“I’ve worked in London, I’ve worked all over the world and sometimes you don’t know if you’re going to have somebody who’s familiar with Black hair,” she said.

For Mowry-Hardrict, it’s about more than just making an actress feel prepared for her job.

“If your hair is all over the place, it will be noticed,” she said.

“When you have someone look at you on television, you want to make sure that you are represented in the correct way,” the former Sister, Sister actress said. “Our hair is really important. So we got to represent, and we need someone who knows how to help us represent.”

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© 2019 The Canadian Press

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