My husband and I feel it’s important to teach our boys early on so they grow up knowing how to be respectful and kind people.
I always think, I want my boys to be the type of men that I would want my daughter (if I had one) to marry.


After a long day of shopping at three stores with two kids, I was beat! As we got home, the rain starting coming down heavy (just my luck) and I still had to carry all of the groceries inside.
“Mom, I will hold the door for you,” my four-year-old said.
I carried in the packages then headed back outside for more. What I saw next made me stop in my tracks.
My wet seven-year-old was walking up to the house carrying bags of groceries.
“I know there’s a lot of bags and since it’s raining I wanted to help you.”
Right then I knew I was doing something right. I felt so proud at that moment – my little boys were learning to become men.
Here are 8 ways I try to teach my boys to be little gentlemen:
1. Lead by example. Boys need a role model, someone in their life they can look up to and learn from. Both my husband and Dad always take the time to teach the boys new things. Not only is it important to be an example but it’s also important to explain things to them so they understand. I’m thankful to have two great men in their lives to help guide them.
2. Make eye contact. I want my boys to walk into a room with confidence, shake someone’s hand, and look them in the eye. Making eye contact helps build self-confidence.
3. Be Polite. Every gentleman uses the words “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”, “Can I help you?” and they even know when to say “I’m sorry.” If my boys demand something, I tell them to ask again nicely. It’s all in the tone and I never let them get away with talking nasty.
4. Give up your seat. A few months ago, we were on a Disney bus headed back to our hotel. A pregnant women got onto the bus and my husband (who was standing) asked my oldest to let the woman sit in his seat. He eagerly got up so she could sit down. When we got off the bus, my husband explained to him why it’s important to think of others.
5. Acknowledge their actions. I make sure when I see my boys doing something nice or polite to tell them how proud I am of them. I want them to know what they did was good and that this is the type of behavior my husband and I expect.
6. Help others. I tell my boys that even though someone may seem like they don’t need help, it’s always nice to offer it.  Just like when my boys helped me carry in groceries and opened the door for me, I made sure to tell them that I appreciated their help.
7. Table manners. We always make sure our boys sit straight in their chairs, don’t use their hands to eat, and keep their elbows off the table. This is still a work in progress, but we aren’t going to give up!
8. Good work ethic. Of course my boys think money grows on trees, so we try to show them that you need to work hard to earn money. I’m proud to say they are always eager to grab their tools and help my husband around the house. We do reward them for their hard work and this keeps them excited for the next project they can help with.
My husband and I feel it’s important to teach our boys early on so they grow up knowing how to be respectful and kind people.
I always think, I want my boys to be the type of men that I would want my daughter (if I had one) to marry.
From: Babycenter.com

My husband and I feel it’s important to teach our boys early on so they grow up knowing how to be respectful and kind people.

I always think, I want my boys to be the type of men that I would want my daughter (if I had one) to marry.

After a long day of shopping at three stores with two kids, I was beat! As we got home, the rain starting coming down heavy (just my luck) and I still had to carry all of the groceries inside.

“Mom, I will hold the door for you,” my four-year-old said.

I carried in the packages then headed back outside for more. What I saw next made me stop in my tracks.

My wet seven-year-old was walking up to the house carrying bags of groceries.

“I know there’s a lot of bags and since it’s raining I wanted to help you.”

Right then I knew I was doing something right. I felt so proud at that moment – my little boys were learning to become men.

Here are 8 ways I try to teach my boys to be little gentlemen:

1. Lead by example. Boys need a role model, someone in their life they can look up to and learn from. Both my husband and Dad always take the time to teach the boys new things. Not only is it important to be an example but it’s also important to explain things to them so they understand. I’m thankful to have two great men in their lives to help guide them.

2. Make eye contact. I want my boys to walk into a room with confidence, shake someone’s hand, and look them in the eye. Making eye contact helps build self-confidence.

3. Be Polite. Every gentleman uses the words “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me”, “Can I help you?” and they even know when to say “I’m sorry.” If my boys demand something, I tell them to ask again nicely. It’s all in the tone and I never let them get away with talking nasty.

4. Give up your seat. A few months ago, we were on a Disney bus headed back to our hotel. A pregnant women got onto the bus and my husband (who was standing) asked my oldest to let the woman sit in his seat. He eagerly got up so she could sit down. When we got off the bus, my husband explained to him why it’s important to think of others.

5. Acknowledge their actions. I make sure when I see my boys doing something nice or polite to tell them how proud I am of them. I want them to know what they did was good and that this is the type of behavior my husband and I expect.

6. Help others. I tell my boys that even though someone may seem like they don’t need help, it’s always nice to offer it.  Just like when my boys helped me carry in groceries and opened the door for me, I made sure to tell them that I appreciated their help.

7. Table manners. We always make sure our boys sit straight in their chairs, don’t use their hands to eat, and keep their elbows off the table. This is still a work in progress, but we aren’t going to give up!

8. Good work ethic. Of course my boys think money grows on trees, so we try to show them that you need to work hard to earn money. I’m proud to say they are always eager to grab their tools and help my husband around the house. We do reward them for their hard work and this keeps them excited for the next project they can help with.

My husband and I feel it’s important to teach our boys early on so they grow up knowing how to be respectful and kind people.

I always think, I want my boys to be the type of men that I would want my daughter (if I had one) to marry.

From: Babycenter.com


Over the years, and in a variety of situations, I have held my children’s hands gently, safely, respectfully, kindly, lovingly, firmly, and habitually.




I remember when my children were newborns, they used to grasp my finger when I laid it in their tiny palms. A tight little grasp that seemed to say, “This is what I need. I want you here with me, and I’m not letting go.”
I know it wasn’t cognitive; it was reflex. A sign of normal brain functioning that slowly disappeared as they matured.
Though the reflex faded, the hand holding didn’t. I continued to put my hand in theirs every opportunity I could. Maybe I was checking to see if the reflex was still there. In some way, I think it was. You put your hand into a child’s hand and they can’t seem to help holding it back.
I held my kids’ hands when I bounced them on my lap, and when we toddled around the yard. I held their hands during doctor appointments, going to various classes, and meeting new people. I even held their hands when they didn’t need to be held. Like when they’d ride on my back in the soft carrier and I’d criss-cross my arms to grasp their little hands around my sides. Or when we were just sitting next to each other on the couch reading, or watching a movie, or sometimes when we’d sit across from each other in a restaurant. There was never a time when I didn’t enjoy having their hands in mine.

Over the years, and in a variety of situations, I have held my children’s hands gently, safely, respectfully, kindly, lovingly, firmly, and habitually.
Above all, purposefully. A mother’s touch provides children with an instant sense of belonging. Our embraces say, “You are here with me, and this is exactly where you belong.”
Most recently, I held my kids’ hands as we navigated the parks at Disney World. In these busy parks, I never worried about where they were or that they might run off and disappear into the sea of bodies that filled park walkways. Because my kids never stopped seeking my hands. My hand-hold with each of them was their point of security in an extremely stimulating, constantly noisy, constantly busy environment. My hand, as it always has been, was their connection to safety. It was where they belonged, and it was where theywanted to be. Walking hand in hand.
From: Attachment Parenting.org

Over the years, and in a variety of situations, I have held my children’s hands gently, safely, respectfully, kindly, lovingly, firmly, and habitually.

grasp

I remember when my children were newborns, they used to grasp my finger when I laid it in their tiny palms. A tight little grasp that seemed to say, “This is what I need. I want you here with me, and I’m not letting go.”

I know it wasn’t cognitive; it was reflex. A sign of normal brain functioning that slowly disappeared as they matured.

Though the reflex faded, the hand holding didn’t. I continued to put my hand in theirs every opportunity I could. Maybe I was checking to see if the reflex was still there. In some way, I think it was. You put your hand into a child’s hand and they can’t seem to help holding it back.

I held my kids’ hands when I bounced them on my lap, and when we toddled around the yard. I held their hands during doctor appointments, going to various classes, and meeting new people. I even held their hands when they didn’t need to be held. Like when they’d ride on my back in the soft carrier and I’d criss-cross my arms to grasp their little hands around my sides. Or when we were just sitting next to each other on the couch reading, or watching a movie, or sometimes when we’d sit across from each other in a restaurant. There was never a time when I didn’t enjoy having their hands in mine.

littlehands1

Over the years, and in a variety of situations, I have held my children’s hands gently, safely, respectfully, kindly, lovingly, firmly, and habitually.

Above all, purposefully. A mother’s touch provides children with an instant sense of belonging. Our embraces say, “You are here with me, and this is exactly where you belong.”

Most recently, I held my kids’ hands as we navigated the parks at Disney World. In these busy parks, I never worried about where they were or that they might run off and disappear into the sea of bodies that filled park walkways. Because my kids never stopped seeking my hands. My hand-hold with each of them was their point of security in an extremely stimulating, constantly noisy, constantly busy environment. My hand, as it always has been, was their connection to safety. It was where they belonged, and it was where theywanted to be. Walking hand in hand.

From: Attachment Parenting.org


In a powerful new book, ‘Malcolm Is A Little Unwell’, veteran BBC correspondent Malcolm Brabant outlines his catastrophic descent into psychosis after a routine immunisation.
Glenda Cooper reports on his battle for compensation, and his efforts to rebuild his life and career.


New Year’s Eve 2011, and a psychedelic blaze of colour and sound erupted as a fireworks display heralded the start of the evening’s celebrations in the centre of Copenhagen. In his hospital room in the outskirts of the capital, the veteran BBC correspondent Malcolm Brabant calmly removed the belt from his trousers and tied one end around his neck, and the other to the end of his bed. He was convinced that he was the Devil and unless he killed himself by midnight, the apocalypse would be unleashed.

”That night I was absolutely convinced that the only way to stop the end of the world was for me to commit suicide,” says Brabant, 57, wryly. It was the latest of several troubling delusions that had haunted the award-winning reporter ever since a sudden illness in April 2011. At that time he was the Beeb’s “Man in Athens”, reporting on the Greek economic implosion. He, his Danish wife, Trine, and young son, Lukas, were enjoying an enviable lifestyle in a five-bedroom, three-bathroom villa. Yet less than a year later Brabant was unemployed and detained in a secure psychiatric ward, his family uprooted to a tiny two-bedroomed apartment in Copenhagen.


The reason, Brabant believes, for the catastrophic events that overtook him, was a dose of Stamaril, a yellow fever vaccine, which he had received on April 15 2011. Since then he and Trine, 53, have sought answers about why he should have so quickly descended into a series of psychotic episodes after a routine jab. Now Malcolm has written a brutally honest – and often darkly funny – account of his breakdown:Malcolm is a Little Unwell.


Sitting in their cramped but spotless apartment (paid for by Trine’s mother), looking at photographs of past assignments in trouble spots across the world, the toll of the past two years is evident. No longer the dapper, besuited correspondent, he is dressed in crumpled shorts and shirts. Medication has affected his thyroid so that he has gained a significant amount of weight. There are huge gaps in his memory and for a man with a famously outgoing personality, he appears muted. Trine pats his arm continually and gently corrects him as we share a meal of Greek salad – made by Brabant, in a poignant nod to their past life.


Before April 2011, Brabant was a familiar face and voice to many via the BBC, for whom he was a regular ”stringer’’ – a freelance reporter. He had covered the siege of Sarajevo in 1993 (it was there that he met Trine, a journalist for Danish television), and Grozny during the Chechen war in 1995, before moving to Miami and then Athens. In the spring of 2011 he had agreed to go to the Ivory Coast on a non-BBC assignment to make a film for Unicef. A yellow fever certificate was required to enter the country as evidence of vaccination against a disease which kills 30,000 of the 200,000 who get it each year in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.



Pressured for time, Brabant did not see his usual doctor, but went to a municipal clinic instead. “It was a clinic run under World Health Organisation guidelines,” he says. “There was nothing sinister about it. The woman administering the vaccine couldn’t speak English and my Greek isn’t good, so I rang up my translator, who interpreted for me. The side effects seemed to amount to the possibility of a headache and raised temperature.”
On Friday afternoon, Brabant was given Stamaril. By Saturday morning it was clear something was wrong. “When I got up, Malcolm had not made my coffee,” says Trine. “It sounds ridiculous but he made it every day of our marriage. I went downstairs and he was sitting at the table motionless, lobster red and burning up.”
When she guided him back to bed he sat down and started shivering so violently that the headboard banged against the wall. He was admitted to hospital and antiviral drugs administered, but it was only when he was given steroids, nearly two weeks after he fell ill, that his temperature came down. By then his behaviour had become increasingly bizarre.
While watching the royal wedding on April 29 — a treat for Trine who had written two books on the Danish royal family – Brabant began to display an excess of patriotism. Every time someone in uniform appeared on screen, he would jump up and salute; he burst into tears of joy on merely seeing the Duke of Edinburgh on camera. It was amusing but unnerving. Then the next day Brabant rang Trine to pass on some important news: “I told her I was the Messiah and I was here to save the world,” he recalls.
He is able to make a joke of his delusions now: he tried to use his new powers as the Son of God to make his Kindle fly across the room; wrote to a couple of BBC bosses to “forgive” them for their sins and loudly complained to the nurses that his four-bed ward wasn’t suitable for a senior member of the Holy family. But there were serious consequences for him professionally. He sent a completely incoherent email to an important contact, Bob Traa, then permanent head of the International Monetary Fund mission in Athens. Later he rang the BBC’s Rome correspondent, David Willey, to ask him to inform Pope Benedict that he, Brabant, was the new Jesus.
It was a month before Brabant recovered, but what the family hoped had been a one-off episode turned into a succession of relapses and trips around the world to find effective treatment. When the Greek health service seemed unable to help, and the family’s health insurance had lapsed, Brabant went back to Ipswich, where he grew up and his mother still lives, to get treatment on the NHS. But psychiatrists here also found it difficult to make a clear diagnosis, or get his drug treatment right.
On one occasion he escaped from hospital and made his way to BBC Television Centre where, in full Messianic mode, he attempted to “heal” Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, who had been paralysed after being shot in Saudi Arabia in 2004 by al-Qaeda sympathisers. Humiliatingly, in full view of his former colleagues, the police arrived to return him to the secure ward in Ipswich. But even after that – in Trine’s view – Brabant was released before he was really well.
Brabant and Trine decided then to move to Trine’s native Denmark. But the impact of the move saw a further deterioration in his health when the realisation that he was no longer able to provide for his family as he once had hit home. “In Greece I’d had the sunny side of psychosis,” he says. “I thought Denmark would be a place of safety, but suddenly it didn’t seem so safe after all.”
Within days of arriving, Brabant was committed to Ward 811, in Brondby, a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Copenhagen, convinced this time that he was the Devil. “I said over and over to Trine, ‘We’re cursed and doomed … You are going to die. I am going to kill you,’” says Brabant.
Yet Trine never thought of leaving him. “I take my marriage vows very seriously. You don’t give up,” she says. But it was an unimaginably painful time for her. Her own father had been treated some years previously on the same ward before later taking his life. “I remember walking down the hallway and thinking ‘this is not happening,’” she says.
Following Brabant’s failed New Year’s Eve suicide attempt — a nurse discovered him before he could harm himself — he was given lithium and his illness stabilised. He has been out of hospital for a year now with no relapses.
There is still a question over his official diagnosis — whether it is organic psychosis or bipolar disorder – and whether the yellow fever vaccine could in any way be implicated. While the vaccine has been linked to neurotropic disease (disorders of the nervous system) and viscerotropic disease (a severe muscle and liver disorder), there is no established link between the vaccine and mental health problems.
However, Brabant and Trine remain convinced that the vaccine is to blame and are determined to pursue the manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, for compensation. On Tuesday Trine will launch their campaign at the Frontline Club [for foreign correspondents] in London, while a petition calling on the company to reveal their detailed findings into Brabant’s case has so far reached 1,600 signatures.
Life for the couple and their 14-year-old son remains tough. Trine has not yet managed to find a job and they are living on benefits. Lukas has had difficulty settling into a new life in Denmark, while Brabant fears that people will not want to employ him again.
“The funny thing is that when you see your spouse being so vulnerable, it makes you love them even more,” says Trine. “And what’s kept me going is my anger. This should never have happened. No one should suffer the way my husband has.”
Diary of despair
On April 29 2011, Trine returned to the hospital. I was sitting up in a chair watching the television; it was the day of Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton. “This is the best of Britain,” I said. “There are so many brave people there,” and then I burst into tears.
The royal wedding was supposed to be Trine’s treat. She is an expert on the Danish royal family. But my extremely emotional state ruined the occasion. I was gripped by a severe bout of patriotism.
Every element of the ceremony seemed to provoke tears, even the appearance at Westminster Abbey of the no-nonsense Princess Royal. I stood up weeping and saluted the Duke of Edinburgh. “Such a remarkable man,” I blubbed. “He’s been such a support to the Queen.” Trine ordered me back to bed. We even missed the part where the bride and groom declared “I do”.
I began talking about guardian angels, journalist friends who had been killed or died prematurely.
They included Danny McGrory, a reporter with The Times; Kurt Schork, a Reuters war correspondent; Terry Lloyd, the ITN reporter shot dead near Basra in 2003; and Bill Frost, a journalist at The Times. The bond that cemented my friendship with them was the Bosnian War, which we all covered.
I was not hearing voices, but every time I thought one of the angels was getting in touch, it was like a mild electric current coursing through my brain.
Sanofi Pasteur’s response:
The yellow fever vaccine offers protection against a lethal disease. As of today, more than 300 million doses have been distributed worldwide. The yellow fever vaccine, as an active substance, may cause side effects in certain individuals. These side effects are scrupulously documented with health authorities and shared with healthcare professionals. Less than 10 cases relating mental disorders, including Mr Brabant’s, have been reported. None of them have resulted in a complaint.
We have no data that leads us to believe that the batch may have been contaminated. The batch [that Malcolm Brabant’s came from] had passed the numerous quality controls both with the manufacturer and the competent authorities prior to release. The batch had met all release specifications and none of the tests have shown any signal of a quality issue.
‘Malcolm is a Little Unwell’ by Malcolm Brabant is available via Kindle for £6.70 at Amazon
Malcolm Brabant’s e-petition can be found here

In a powerful new book, ‘Malcolm Is A Little Unwell’, veteran BBC correspondent Malcolm Brabant outlines his catastrophic descent into psychosis after a routine immunisation.

Glenda Cooper reports on his battle for compensation, and his efforts to rebuild his life and career.

malcolm_2571096b

New Year’s Eve 2011, and a psychedelic blaze of colour and sound erupted as a fireworks display heralded the start of the evening’s celebrations in the centre of Copenhagen. In his hospital room in the outskirts of the capital, the veteran BBC correspondent Malcolm Brabant calmly removed the belt from his trousers and tied one end around his neck, and the other to the end of his bed. He was convinced that he was the Devil and unless he killed himself by midnight, the apocalypse would be unleashed.

”That night I was absolutely convinced that the only way to stop the end of the world was for me to commit suicide,” says Brabant, 57, wryly. It was the latest of several troubling delusions that had haunted the award-winning reporter ever since a sudden illness in April 2011. At that time he was the Beeb’s “Man in Athens”, reporting on the Greek economic implosion. He, his Danish wife, Trine, and young son, Lukas, were enjoying an enviable lifestyle in a five-bedroom, three-bathroom villa. Yet less than a year later Brabant was unemployed and detained in a secure psychiatric ward, his family uprooted to a tiny two-bedroomed apartment in Copenhagen.

The reason, Brabant believes, for the catastrophic events that overtook him, was a dose of Stamaril, a yellow fever vaccine, which he had received on April 15 2011. Since then he and Trine, 53, have sought answers about why he should have so quickly descended into a series of psychotic episodes after a routine jab. Now Malcolm has written a brutally honest – and often darkly funny – account of his breakdown:Malcolm is a Little Unwell.

Sitting in their cramped but spotless apartment (paid for by Trine’s mother), looking at photographs of past assignments in trouble spots across the world, the toll of the past two years is evident. No longer the dapper, besuited correspondent, he is dressed in crumpled shorts and shirts. Medication has affected his thyroid so that he has gained a significant amount of weight. There are huge gaps in his memory and for a man with a famously outgoing personality, he appears muted. Trine pats his arm continually and gently corrects him as we share a meal of Greek salad – made by Brabant, in a poignant nod to their past life.

Before April 2011, Brabant was a familiar face and voice to many via the BBC, for whom he was a regular ”stringer’’ – a freelance reporter. He had covered the siege of Sarajevo in 1993 (it was there that he met Trine, a journalist for Danish television), and Grozny during the Chechen war in 1995, before moving to Miami and then Athens. In the spring of 2011 he had agreed to go to the Ivory Coast on a non-BBC assignment to make a film for Unicef. A yellow fever certificate was required to enter the country as evidence of vaccination against a disease which kills 30,000 of the 200,000 who get it each year in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Pressured for time, Brabant did not see his usual doctor, but went to a municipal clinic instead. “It was a clinic run under World Health Organisation guidelines,” he says. “There was nothing sinister about it. The woman administering the vaccine couldn’t speak English and my Greek isn’t good, so I rang up my translator, who interpreted for me. The side effects seemed to amount to the possibility of a headache and raised temperature.”

STAMARIL_VACCINE_FOR_YELLOW_FEVER_On Friday afternoon, Brabant was given Stamaril. By Saturday morning it was clear something was wrong. “When I got up, Malcolm had not made my coffee,” says Trine. “It sounds ridiculous but he made it every day of our marriage. I went downstairs and he was sitting at the table motionless, lobster red and burning up.”

When she guided him back to bed he sat down and started shivering so violently that the headboard banged against the wall. He was admitted to hospital and antiviral drugs administered, but it was only when he was given steroids, nearly two weeks after he fell ill, that his temperature came down. By then his behaviour had become increasingly bizarre.

While watching the royal wedding on April 29 — a treat for Trine who had written two books on the Danish royal family – Brabant began to display an excess of patriotism. Every time someone in uniform appeared on screen, he would jump up and salute; he burst into tears of joy on merely seeing the Duke of Edinburgh on camera. It was amusing but unnerving. Then the next day Brabant rang Trine to pass on some important news: “I told her I was the Messiah and I was here to save the world,” he recalls.

He is able to make a joke of his delusions now: he tried to use his new powers as the Son of God to make his Kindle fly across the room; wrote to a couple of BBC bosses to “forgive” them for their sins and loudly complained to the nurses that his four-bed ward wasn’t suitable for a senior member of the Holy family. But there were serious consequences for him professionally. He sent a completely incoherent email to an important contact, Bob Traa, then permanent head of the International Monetary Fund mission in Athens. Later he rang the BBC’s Rome correspondent, David Willey, to ask him to inform Pope Benedict that he, Brabant, was the new Jesus.

It was a month before Brabant recovered, but what the family hoped had been a one-off episode turned into a succession of relapses and trips around the world to find effective treatment. When the Greek health service seemed unable to help, and the family’s health insurance had lapsed, Brabant went back to Ipswich, where he grew up and his mother still lives, to get treatment on the NHS. But psychiatrists here also found it difficult to make a clear diagnosis, or get his drug treatment right.

On one occasion he escaped from hospital and made his way to BBC Television Centre where, in full Messianic mode, he attempted to “heal” Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, who had been paralysed after being shot in Saudi Arabia in 2004 by al-Qaeda sympathisers. Humiliatingly, in full view of his former colleagues, the police arrived to return him to the secure ward in Ipswich. But even after that – in Trine’s view – Brabant was released before he was really well.

Brabant and Trine decided then to move to Trine’s native Denmark. But the impact of the move saw a further deterioration in his health when the realisation that he was no longer able to provide for his family as he once had hit home. “In Greece I’d had the sunny side of psychosis,” he says. “I thought Denmark would be a place of safety, but suddenly it didn’t seem so safe after all.”

Within days of arriving, Brabant was committed to Ward 811, in Brondby, a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Copenhagen, convinced this time that he was the Devil. “I said over and over to Trine, ‘We’re cursed and doomed … You are going to die. I am going to kill you,’” says Brabant.

Yet Trine never thought of leaving him. “I take my marriage vows very seriously. You don’t give up,” she says. But it was an unimaginably painful time for her. Her own father had been treated some years previously on the same ward before later taking his life. “I remember walking down the hallway and thinking ‘this is not happening,’” she says.

Following Brabant’s failed New Year’s Eve suicide attempt — a nurse discovered him before he could harm himself — he was given lithium and his illness stabilised. He has been out of hospital for a year now with no relapses.

There is still a question over his official diagnosis — whether it is organic psychosis or bipolar disorder – and whether the yellow fever vaccine could in any way be implicated. While the vaccine has been linked to neurotropic disease (disorders of the nervous system) and viscerotropic disease (a severe muscle and liver disorder), there is no established link between the vaccine and mental health problems.

However, Brabant and Trine remain convinced that the vaccine is to blame and are determined to pursue the manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, for compensation. On Tuesday Trine will launch their campaign at the Frontline Club [for foreign correspondents] in London, while a petition calling on the company to reveal their detailed findings into Brabant’s case has so far reached 1,600 signatures.

Life for the couple and their 14-year-old son remains tough. Trine has not yet managed to find a job and they are living on benefits. Lukas has had difficulty settling into a new life in Denmark, while Brabant fears that people will not want to employ him again.

“The funny thing is that when you see your spouse being so vulnerable, it makes you love them even more,” says Trine. “And what’s kept me going is my anger. This should never have happened. No one should suffer the way my husband has.”

Diary of despair

MalcolmOn April 29 2011, Trine returned to the hospital. I was sitting up in a chair watching the television; it was the day of Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton. “This is the best of Britain,” I said. “There are so many brave people there,” and then I burst into tears.

The royal wedding was supposed to be Trine’s treat. She is an expert on the Danish royal family. But my extremely emotional state ruined the occasion. I was gripped by a severe bout of patriotism.

Every element of the ceremony seemed to provoke tears, even the appearance at Westminster Abbey of the no-nonsense Princess Royal. I stood up weeping and saluted the Duke of Edinburgh. “Such a remarkable man,” I blubbed. “He’s been such a support to the Queen.” Trine ordered me back to bed. We even missed the part where the bride and groom declared “I do”.

I began talking about guardian angels, journalist friends who had been killed or died prematurely.

They included Danny McGrory, a reporter with The Times; Kurt Schork, a Reuters war correspondent; Terry Lloyd, the ITN reporter shot dead near Basra in 2003; and Bill Frost, a journalist at The Times. The bond that cemented my friendship with them was the Bosnian War, which we all covered.

I was not hearing voices, but every time I thought one of the angels was getting in touch, it was like a mild electric current coursing through my brain.

Sanofi Pasteur’s response:

The yellow fever vaccine offers protection against a lethal disease. As of today, more than 300 million doses have been distributed worldwide. The yellow fever vaccine, as an active substance, may cause side effects in certain individuals. These side effects are scrupulously documented with health authorities and shared with healthcare professionals. Less than 10 cases relating mental disorders, including Mr Brabant’s, have been reported. None of them have resulted in a complaint.

We have no data that leads us to believe that the batch may have been contaminated. The batch [that Malcolm Brabant’s came from] had passed the numerous quality controls both with the manufacturer and the competent authorities prior to release. The batch had met all release specifications and none of the tests have shown any signal of a quality issue.

‘Malcolm is a Little Unwell’ by Malcolm Brabant is available via Kindle for £6.70 at Amazon

Malcolm Brabant’s e-petition can be found here


Findings from a new study suggest that the scent of the essential oil rosemary could boost brain performance and even help boost a person’s health.

A new study conducted by researchers in Northumbria, Great Britain discovered that the smell of rosemary did improve the ability of individuals to remember events as well as the tasks they need to complete at a particular time. In a study conducted on 66 people, the researchers wanted to find out if the smell of rosemary can enhance memory. In addition, the essential oil has a lot of great therapeutic effects on different systems in the human body.
New study by Northumbrian researchers prove memory-boosting claim
Researchers from Northumbria concluded that people who smelled rosemary experienced improvements in their memory. Dr. Mark Moss, the author of the research, said that his team focused more on prospective memory, the kind of memory that involves people’s ability to remember events that would happen in the future as well as their ability to remember tasks that they would have to complete at particular times. His co-author, Jemma McCready, added that the findings of their study could have significant implications for treating people with memory impairment.
In their study, participants were asked to perform memory tasks. One group worked in a room with the rosemary scent while another group worked in a separate room without the scent. Results show that those who smelled the essential oil performed better on tasks that involved prospective memory than those who did not smell the scent.
Previous research and tradition tell of the benefits of rosemary
A number of previous researches have suggested that the scent of rosemary could improve cognition in healthy adults and enhance their ability to remember events as well as the tasks they have to accomplish. In ancient times, the essential oil was used in occasions such as weddings and funerals and was burned in schools to keep students protected from dizziness as well as brain weakness.
Other therapeutic benefits of rosemary
Aside from boosting prospective memory, rosemary had a number of other health-boosting benefits. For instance, some use it in massage and in bathing as it has antiseptic, antioxidant and astringent properties. It can also help dry and mature skin produce more natural oils of its own. Likewise, it can help people who are losing hair and have problems with dandruff.
Similarly, the essential oil could also ease muscle and rheumatism pain and improve poor circulation. It could also aid in digestion and improve appetite.
For those who experience lung congestion or sore throat, they could either add rosemary to a vapor balm or inhale it to relieve themselves of such problems.
This essential oil can also boost a person’s energy and stimulate his nervous system. Rosemary can also help in getting rid of canker sores.

Findings from a new study suggest that the scent of the essential oil rosemary could boost brain performance and even help boost a person’s health.

A new study conducted by researchers in Northumbria, Great Britain discovered that the smell of rosemary did improve the ability of individuals to remember events as well as the tasks they need to complete at a particular time. In a study conducted on 66 people, the researchers wanted to find out if the smell of rosemary can enhance memory. In addition, the essential oil has a lot of great therapeutic effects on different systems in the human body.

New study by Northumbrian researchers prove memory-boosting claim


Researchers from Northumbria concluded that people who smelled rosemary experienced improvements in their memory. Dr. Mark Moss, the author of the research, said that his team focused more on prospective memory, the kind of memory that involves people’s ability to remember events that would happen in the future as well as their ability to remember tasks that they would have to complete at particular times. His co-author, Jemma McCready, added that the findings of their study could have significant implications for treating people with memory impairment.

In their study, participants were asked to perform memory tasks. One group worked in a room with the rosemary scent while another group worked in a separate room without the scent. Results show that those who smelled the essential oil performed better on tasks that involved prospective memory than those who did not smell the scent.

Previous research and tradition tell of the benefits of rosemary

A number of previous researches have suggested that the scent of rosemary could improve cognition in healthy adults and enhance their ability to remember events as well as the tasks they have to accomplish. In ancient times, the essential oil was used in occasions such as weddings and funerals and was burned in schools to keep students protected from dizziness as well as brain weakness.


Other therapeutic benefits of rosemary

Aside from boosting prospective memory, rosemary had a number of other health-boosting benefits. For instance, some use it in massage and in bathing as it has antiseptic, antioxidant and astringent properties. It can also help dry and mature skin produce more natural oils of its own. Likewise, it can help people who are losing hair and have problems with dandruff.

Similarly, the essential oil could also ease muscle and rheumatism pain and improve poor circulation. It could also aid in digestion and improve appetite.

For those who experience lung congestion or sore throat, they could either add rosemary to a vapor balm or inhale it to relieve themselves of such problems.

This essential oil can also boost a person’s energy and stimulate his nervous system. Rosemary can also help in getting rid of canker sores.


My son isn’t going to be great at everything, but he’s going to try his damndest. Because every attempt ends in failure until it doesn’t. Every fall builds determination to finish. Every setback is a lesson learned that gets you one step closer to your goal.


Will loves the playground. And not just because it’s a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but also because it’s challenging.
The one by our house has a cool plastic climbing structure that really makes Will work. It starts off vertical with holes throughout for hands and feet, before it twists down horizontally and then back up again before reaching the platform on the other side. It not only forces Will to think about where his hands and feet go, but also whether he wants to traverse the top portion or go underneath.
The result is many attempts that fail spectacularly.
As you can see in the picture, slips and falls are guaranteed as he learns the best ways to make his way along the structure. When we went yesterday, he fell off close to a dozen times before he finally made it. As you can see, the highest distance he can fall from is roughly 4 feet, and the entire ground is soft mulch that makes for a cushioned landing. So while I offer him plenty of cheerleading and advice when he asks for it, that’s the extent of my involvement. Because as long as you make sure they’re safe (which Will was), I think it’s important for parents to let kids find their own way without babying them.
Today there were a bunch of kids there with their parents. One mother of a boy who looked to be about 2 years old caught my eye, mainly because she couldn’t take her eyes off Will. Each time he fell she winced and looked disapprovingly in my direction. I’m used to that, as overprotective “playground moms” are unfortunately pretty common. But I did not expect what happened next.
Will tried to go on the left side to climb, got halfway there, and thought twice about his decision. So he attempted to go back to the platform to start over, then slipped but caught himself. The end result was him hanging from the top with one tippy-toe on the platform as he struggled to make it back to where he started. He whimpered a little bit and called out for me, but I told him he was doing great and he could figure out on his own if he stayed calm.
And that’s when “Playground Mom” decided she had enough because she walked briskly over to him and said “You need help sweetie? Give me your hand.”
I was furious but not exactly shocked since I had seen it building to that point for the previous 10 minutes. But I still wasn’t about to let it go without addressing it.
“Excuse me, but he doesn’t need your help and he’s fine. I’m his dad and I’m right here.”
“Well clearly he does need help because he’s about to fall,” she said in full condescending mommy tone.
“Maybe, maybe not. But either way he’ll be fine. I can parent my own kid.”
Then, just as she looked like she would blow her top, my boy came through big time and shut her up in the best way possible. Still hanging there, he politely said “No thanks, I can do it myself!” and proceeded to climb his way back to the platform without help from anyone.
“Imagine that,” I muttered with a victorious smirk as Mrs. Know-it-all Mommy McMommerson huffed away, no doubt to get more bubble wrap to insulate her poor son from every bump and bruise on the horizon.
Look, you can parent however you want but I have multiple problems with what happened. First of all, it’s just another in a long list of examples that show some moms think they know everything — especially compared to dads. To openly step in and insert herself with me — the kid’s actual parent — right there? Maybe she would’ve done the same to another mom, but I doubt it. It’s a shitty attitude and I’m unbelievably sick of it.
Second, we are raising a generation of kids who know nothing about taking risks. Even on the monkey bars and playgrounds of America, the minute they hit some turbulence and adversity mommy and daddy are there to rescue them — and give them a trophy in the process. It makes me ill. My son won’t be great at everything, but he’s going to try his damndest. Because every attempt ends in failure until it doesn’t. Every fall builds determination to finish. Every setback is a lesson learned that gets you one step closer to your goal.
I let my son fall — and fail — so his future accomplishments will be that much sweeter and well-deserved.

My son isn’t going to be great at everything, but he’s going to try his damndest. Because every attempt ends in failure until it doesn’t. Every fall builds determination to finish. Every setback is a lesson learned that gets you one step closer to your goal.

Will loves the playground. And not just because it’s a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but also because it’s challenging.

The one by our house has a cool plastic climbing structure that really makes Will work. It starts off vertical with holes throughout for hands and feet, before it twists down horizontally and then back up again before reaching the platform on the other side. It not only forces Will to think about where his hands and feet go, but also whether he wants to traverse the top portion or go underneath.

The result is many attempts that fail spectacularly.


As you can see in the picture, slips and falls are guaranteed as he learns the best ways to make his way along the structure. When we went yesterday, he fell off close to a dozen times before he finally made it. As you can see, the highest distance he can fall from is roughly 4 feet, and the entire ground is soft mulch that makes for a cushioned landing. So while I offer him plenty of cheerleading and advice when he asks for it, that’s the extent of my involvement. Because as long as you make sure they’re safe (which Will was), I think it’s important for parents to let kids find their own way without babying them.

Today there were a bunch of kids there with their parents. One mother of a boy who looked to be about 2 years old caught my eye, mainly because she couldn’t take her eyes off Will. Each time he fell she winced and looked disapprovingly in my direction. I’m used to that, as overprotective “playground moms” are unfortunately pretty common. But I did not expect what happened next.

Will tried to go on the left side to climb, got halfway there, and thought twice about his decision. So he attempted to go back to the platform to start over, then slipped but caught himself. The end result was him hanging from the top with one tippy-toe on the platform as he struggled to make it back to where he started. He whimpered a little bit and called out for me, but I told him he was doing great and he could figure out on his own if he stayed calm.

And that’s when “Playground Mom” decided she had enough because she walked briskly over to him and said “You need help sweetie? Give me your hand.”

I was furious but not exactly shocked since I had seen it building to that point for the previous 10 minutes. But I still wasn’t about to let it go without addressing it.

“Excuse me, but he doesn’t need your help and he’s fine. I’m his dad and I’m right here.”

“Well clearly he does need help because he’s about to fall,” she said in full condescending mommy tone.

“Maybe, maybe not. But either way he’ll be fine. I can parent my own kid.”

Then, just as she looked like she would blow her top, my boy came through big time and shut her up in the best way possible. Still hanging there, he politely said “No thanks, I can do it myself!” and proceeded to climb his way back to the platform without help from anyone.

“Imagine that,” I muttered with a victorious smirk as Mrs. Know-it-all Mommy McMommerson huffed away, no doubt to get more bubble wrap to insulate her poor son from every bump and bruise on the horizon.


Look, you can parent however you want but I have multiple problems with what happened. First of all, it’s just another in a long list of examples that show some moms think they know everything — especially compared to dads. To openly step in and insert herself with me — the kid’s actual parent — right there? Maybe she would’ve done the same to another mom, but I doubt it. It’s a shitty attitude and I’m unbelievably sick of it.

Second, we are raising a generation of kids who know nothing about taking risks. Even on the monkey bars and playgrounds of America, the minute they hit some turbulence and adversity mommy and daddy are there to rescue them — and give them a trophy in the process. It makes me ill. My son won’t be great at everything, but he’s going to try his damndest. Because every attempt ends in failure until it doesn’t. Every fall builds determination to finish. Every setback is a lesson learned that gets you one step closer to your goal.

I let my son fall — and fail — so his future accomplishments will be that much sweeter and well-deserved.

'Chicks Dig Vegans', printed on 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.

'Chicks Dig Vegans', printed on 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.


“Cherish this. Enjoy every moment. It goes so fast.”  How many new mamas have heard these words said, over and over? They were words I resented.

I’d silently seethe at the way that age had made mothers nostalgic, knowing that cherishing every moment was simply impossible. I’d had two babies in two years. Most of my moments in the day-to-day involved at least one person crying (me, as often as not) and body fluids of one sort or another on my clothing or in my hair. Exhaustion was a constant; so was laundry. I had a non-stop toddler with food allergies that necessitated making every bite he ate from scratch. I had an infant who had only two modes – screaming, or asleep from having exhausted himself screaming. The highlight of my day was walking to the mailbox. Cherish every moment? You’ve gotta be kidding. What I would really cherish is a nap, by myself, for three hours, without waking up having been peed on.
My mantra for survival was “this too shall pass.” The endless diapers, the toddler tantrums, the sleep deprivation, the toys on the floor from one end of the house to the other, the laundry, the soaked bathroom floor – all parts of my daily life that were merely tolerated. Knowing that they would one day end was the only thought that would get me through without screaming at anyone – most of the time, anyway.
There were memorable sweet things, to be sure.  I captured all I could in pictures. Occasionally I wrote them down in journals that my sons now treasure.  I knew that the time would come when all I that I could now recall so easily would be far enough into the past that I’d appreciate the reminder. I could see in my boys, even then, the personalities that would emerge as who I know now. Zack, whose daily challenge is finding patience, ran before he walked. Cole, whose scientific mind finds the endless wonder in the details, chose “Wow!” as his first word after “Mama”.
I remember the firsts – the car ride home from the hospital, the teeth, the steps, the holidays. I remember the milestones – the potty training, and riding a two-wheeler, the tying of shoes, and writing of names, and making goalie on the soccer team. The goldfish and hamster funerals, followed by the passing of great-grandparents,  opened the doors for conversations about God and lifetimes and energy and spirit.  Even amidst the noise and chaos that was the everyday, those were are the moments when I reminded myself to stop. Notice this. Pay attention. This is new. You’ll want to remember this.
As I marvel at the young men they have become, I recognize now the moments that have slipped by me. As we went through the good days, and the bad days, and the days that just passed with the rhythm of meals and laundry and playgroups and bedtime, it’s the final times that have vanished with the subtlety and slowness that comes with the changing of time, unrecorded.
When was the last time that Zack called me into his bedroom to sing Puff the Magic Dragon just one more time? When was the last time he could fit in my lap? I recall the endless stories of “Freddy the Squirrel” – made up tales of a little rascal rodent who coincidentally faced the same obstacles in his life as my boys found in theirs – Mama’s way of offering social skill advice without lecture. When did Freddy face his last challenge, to be tucked away as a memory? When was I last asked if I had time to play a game? When did I last have to kneel down to look a boy in the eye? When was the last “Just one more chapter, Mama, please?”  When did that last little baby tooth fall out? When was the last time I kissed a smooth cheek without noticing stubble or having to stand on my toes?
These moments I cherished dearly, and the lasts passed unnoticed anyway. The constants of the seemingly endless days of childhood have come to pass, their final times unremembered.   It isn’t so true that “it goes so fast” – it’s not like the grandmothers warn it will be. In the deep of it all, the moments seem like hours, and the days pass so slowly. It’s the lull of the sameness that makes the realization of change come as a shock. The transformation from boy to man happened right under my nose, right in front of my own eyes, such a little bit at a time that I didn’t even know it was happening until it already had.  The house is clean. Their laundry is done, and I didn’t lift a finger. There are no toys to be picked up.  The yard, once full of holes and fairy houses,  is beautifully landscaped – Cole’s proud handiwork. The afternoons pass in silence as they study, or read, or text with friends. I find myself alone in the kitchen when dinner is being made.
Firsts happen still. I remember now the past summer that Cole’s voice deepened from a little boy’s soprano to a booming bass so suddenly that he had to learn volume control all over again. Learning to tie a tie and the first “real date” with a girl are both  in the recent rearview of the past few weeks, and the first jobs are on the horizon for the summer.  The first “here’s how to use the day planner in your phone” has happened, teaching the skills of organization and efficiency. I know that more firsts will come – borrowing the car keys, and college applications, and voting, and falling in love, and broken hearts. Where the firsts were once the milestones that I anticipated and rejoiced in, wrote down, and committed to heart, they are now moments of bittersweet.
With each first,  I witness their changing, so proud of who they are becoming, so in awe of the young men of character that they already are, and knowing daily that each “be home before dinner” brings us closer to our last. I remember daily that the journey of parenting is, indeed, the longest goodbye. I give thanks, daily, for just one more day, for one more time to call them to the table, and one more time to kiss them goodnight while they are still here under my roof. I give thanks for this day to teach them the skills that they will need to be men of power and compassion and grace in the world. I find myself now saying, “Hey, bud, got time to go for a walk with me?”  I initiate the conversations that I want to be sure I’ve made time to fit in – wisdom that I want to be sure they’ve heard before they venture into the world, continuing their life lessons on their own. I remind them now, “In this life, know two things for sure – there is a God, and your mother loves you.”
Soon will come the time when it will have to suffice to know that I’ve done the best I can, and the rest will have to happen on its own.  I cherish, now, this season of lasts, knowing that one day this, too, will pass.

“Cherish this. Enjoy every moment. It goes so fast.”  How many new mamas have heard these words said, over and over? They were words I resented.

I’d silently seethe at the way that age had made mothers nostalgic, knowing that cherishing every moment was simply impossible. I’d had two babies in two years. Most of my moments in the day-to-day involved at least one person crying (me, as often as not) and body fluids of one sort or another on my clothing or in my hair. Exhaustion was a constant; so was laundry. I had a non-stop toddler with food allergies that necessitated making every bite he ate from scratch. I had an infant who had only two modes – screaming, or asleep from having exhausted himself screaming. The highlight of my day was walking to the mailbox. Cherish every moment? You’ve gotta be kidding. What I would really cherish is a nap, by myself, for three hours, without waking up having been peed on.

My mantra for survival was “this too shall pass.” The endless diapers, the toddler tantrums, the sleep deprivation, the toys on the floor from one end of the house to the other, the laundry, the soaked bathroom floor – all parts of my daily life that were merely tolerated. Knowing that they would one day end was the only thought that would get me through without screaming at anyone – most of the time, anyway.


There were memorable sweet things, to be sure.  I captured all I could in pictures. Occasionally I wrote them down in journals that my sons now treasure.  I knew that the time would come when all I that I could now recall so easily would be far enough into the past that I’d appreciate the reminder. I could see in my boys, even then, the personalities that would emerge as who I know now. Zack, whose daily challenge is finding patience, ran before he walked. Cole, whose scientific mind finds the endless wonder in the details, chose “Wow!” as his first word after “Mama”.

I remember the firsts – the car ride home from the hospital, the teeth, the steps, the holidays. I remember the milestones – the potty training, and riding a two-wheeler, the tying of shoes, and writing of names, and making goalie on the soccer team. The goldfish and hamster funerals, followed by the passing of great-grandparents,  opened the doors for conversations about God and lifetimes and energy and spirit.  Even amidst the noise and chaos that was the everyday, those were are the moments when I reminded myself to stop. Notice this. Pay attention. This is new. You’ll want to remember this.

As I marvel at the young men they have become, I recognize now the moments that have slipped by me. As we went through the good days, and the bad days, and the days that just passed with the rhythm of meals and laundry and playgroups and bedtime, it’s the final times that have vanished with the subtlety and slowness that comes with the changing of time, unrecorded.

When was the last time that Zack called me into his bedroom to sing Puff the Magic Dragon just one more time? When was the last time he could fit in my lap? I recall the endless stories of “Freddy the Squirrel” – made up tales of a little rascal rodent who coincidentally faced the same obstacles in his life as my boys found in theirs – Mama’s way of offering social skill advice without lecture. When did Freddy face his last challenge, to be tucked away as a memory? When was I last asked if I had time to play a game? When did I last have to kneel down to look a boy in the eye? When was the last “Just one more chapter, Mama, please?”  When did that last little baby tooth fall out? When was the last time I kissed a smooth cheek without noticing stubble or having to stand on my toes?

These moments I cherished dearly, and the lasts passed unnoticed anyway. The constants of the seemingly endless days of childhood have come to pass, their final times unremembered.   It isn’t so true that “it goes so fast” – it’s not like the grandmothers warn it will be. In the deep of it all, the moments seem like hours, and the days pass so slowly. It’s the lull of the sameness that makes the realization of change come as a shock. The transformation from boy to man happened right under my nose, right in front of my own eyes, such a little bit at a time that I didn’t even know it was happening until it already had.  The house is clean. Their laundry is done, and I didn’t lift a finger. There are no toys to be picked up.  The yard, once full of holes and fairy houses,  is beautifully landscaped – Cole’s proud handiwork. The afternoons pass in silence as they study, or read, or text with friends. I find myself alone in the kitchen when dinner is being made.

College-Application-ProcessFirsts happen still. I remember now the past summer that Cole’s voice deepened from a little boy’s soprano to a booming bass so suddenly that he had to learn volume control all over again. Learning to tie a tie and the first “real date” with a girl are both  in the recent rearview of the past few weeks, and the first jobs are on the horizon for the summer.  The first “here’s how to use the day planner in your phone” has happened, teaching the skills of organization and efficiency. I know that more firsts will come – borrowing the car keys, and college applications, and voting, and falling in love, and broken hearts. Where the firsts were once the milestones that I anticipated and rejoiced in, wrote down, and committed to heart, they are now moments of bittersweet.

With each first,  I witness their changing, so proud of who they are becoming, so in awe of the young men of character that they already are, and knowing daily that each “be home before dinner” brings us closer to our last. I remember daily that the journey of parenting is, indeed, the longest goodbye. I give thanks, daily, for just one more day, for one more time to call them to the table, and one more time to kiss them goodnight while they are still here under my roof. I give thanks for this day to teach them the skills that they will need to be men of power and compassion and grace in the world. I find myself now saying, “Hey, bud, got time to go for a walk with me?”  I initiate the conversations that I want to be sure I’ve made time to fit in – wisdom that I want to be sure they’ve heard before they venture into the world, continuing their life lessons on their own. I remind them now, “In this life, know two things for sure – there is a God, and your mother loves you.”

Soon will come the time when it will have to suffice to know that I’ve done the best I can, and the rest will have to happen on its own.  I cherish, now, this season of lasts, knowing that one day this, too, will pass.


Millions of women enjoy a nice manicure and pedicure, but a new study shows that gel manicures could be increasing their risk of skin cancer.

CBS New York reports that gel manicures are popular because the manner in which they are applied prevents nails from chipping. That process incorporates a polymer-containing polish that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light, CBS 2‘s Dr. Max Gomez said.
But that is the same ultraviolet light which is used in tanning beds and which is thought to cause skin cancer, including melanoma, which can be deadly. And that fact raises the question as to whether the ultraviolet lights used in gel manicures might pose a skin cancer risk as well.

Are longer nails really worth the skin cancer risk?
In addition to the cancer risk, UV light can cause a number of other skin-related problems as well, say health experts. That includes premature wrinkles, as well as dark and light spots, said Dr. Chris Adigun of New York University’s Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, who wrote the report detailing the potential manicure-skin cancer risks.
“You can also develop dry, brittle nails from the gel manicures, especially people that are doing them on a regular basis,” he told radio station 1010 WINS.
Adds Adigun, regarding the study: “In a study that was analyzing the strength of these lamps and comparing them with tanning beds, the conclusion was the actual risk of inducing skin cancer by using these lamps is actually quite low. It’s not zero, but it’s quite low.”
Still, there is an additional risk that otherwise would not exist, save for the added UV exposure.
Adigun said that if you still insist on getting a gel manicure, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk and damage.
“Wear sun protective gloves and just snip the fingertips off of the gloves, or use a sun-protective cloth to lay on top of their hands,” he suggested. “Or at the very least, apply sunscreen.”
“Artificial UV light does elevate your risk for developing skin cancer” and for premature aging of the skin, Anna M. Bender, a dermatologist at Johns Hopkins University, told The Washington Post. “So people could use a sunscreen to try to block the UV from their surrounding skin.”
The paper said that during a gel manicure, wearers’ hands are exposed to UV light for as long as 10 minutes.
There are other concerns as well. A bigger problem, Adigun said, is the chemicals contained in the polish, as well as what it takes to remove the long-lasting application.
Those chemicals “can induce certain types of contact dermatitis or allergy, allergic contact dermatitis in people, as well as the dryness that can happen from the removal process and exposure to the acetone. That can be very problematic,” she said.
Previous study linked skin cancer and UV nail lights
A 2009 study examined two women who developed skin cancer after repeated exposure to UV light during nail treatments.
“Two healthy middle-aged women with no personal or family history of skin cancer developed nonmelanoma skin cancers on the dorsum of their hands. Both women report previous exposure to UV nail lights,” said the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA.
One 55-year-old woman had a 15-year history of twice-monthly UV nail light exposure to dry her nail polish and set her acrylic nails, the study said. The second woman, who was 48, was found to have had repeated UV nail light exposure, had developed squamous cell cancers on the dorsum of both hands on at least two occasions.
“It appears that exposure to UV nail lights is a risk factor for the development of skin cancer; however, this observation warrants further investigation,” the 2009 study concluded. “In addition, awareness of this possible association may help physicians identify more skin cancers and better educate their patients.”

Millions of women enjoy a nice manicure and pedicure, but a new study shows that gel manicures could be increasing their risk of skin cancer.

CBS New York reports that gel manicures are popular because the manner in which they are applied prevents nails from chipping. That process incorporates a polymer-containing polish that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light, CBS 2‘s Dr. Max Gomez said.

But that is the same ultraviolet light which is used in tanning beds and which is thought to cause skin cancer, including melanoma, which can be deadly. And that fact raises the question as to whether the ultraviolet lights used in gel manicures might pose a skin cancer risk as well.

Are longer nails really worth the skin cancer risk?

In addition to the cancer risk, UV light can cause a number of other skin-related problems as well, say health experts. That includes premature wrinkles, as well as dark and light spots, said Dr. Chris Adigun of New York University’s Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, who wrote the report detailing the potential manicure-skin cancer risks.

“You can also develop dry, brittle nails from the gel manicures, especially people that are doing them on a regular basis,” he told radio station 1010 WINS.

Adds Adigun, regarding the study: “In a study that was analyzing the strength of these lamps and comparing them with tanning beds, the conclusion was the actual risk of inducing skin cancer by using these lamps is actually quite low. It’s not zero, but it’s quite low.”

Still, there is an additional risk that otherwise would not exist, save for the added UV exposure.

Adigun said that if you still insist on getting a gel manicure, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk and damage.

“Wear sun protective gloves and just snip the fingertips off of the gloves, or use a sun-protective cloth to lay on top of their hands,” he suggested. “Or at the very least, apply sunscreen.”

“Artificial UV light does elevate your risk for developing skin cancer” and for premature aging of the skin, Anna M. Bender, a dermatologist at Johns Hopkins University, told The Washington Post. “So people could use a sunscreen to try to block the UV from their surrounding skin.”

The paper said that during a gel manicure, wearers’ hands are exposed to UV light for as long as 10 minutes.

There are other concerns as well. A bigger problem, Adigun said, is the chemicals contained in the polish, as well as what it takes to remove the long-lasting application.

Those chemicals “can induce certain types of contact dermatitis or allergy, allergic contact dermatitis in people, as well as the dryness that can happen from the removal process and exposure to the acetone. That can be very problematic,” she said.

Previous study linked skin cancer and UV nail lights

A 2009 study examined two women who developed skin cancer after repeated exposure to UV light during nail treatments.

“Two healthy middle-aged women with no personal or family history of skin cancer developed nonmelanoma skin cancers on the dorsum of their hands. Both women report previous exposure to UV nail lights,” said the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA.

One 55-year-old woman had a 15-year history of twice-monthly UV nail light exposure to dry her nail polish and set her acrylic nails, the study said. The second woman, who was 48, was found to have had repeated UV nail light exposure, had developed squamous cell cancers on the dorsum of both hands on at least two occasions.

“It appears that exposure to UV nail lights is a risk factor for the development of skin cancer; however, this observation warrants further investigation,” the 2009 study concluded. “In addition, awareness of this possible association may help physicians identify more skin cancers and better educate their patients.”


When Connie Feda’s 13 year old daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome, wanted a doll that looked like her, Connie was inspired to make her own!

When your child is disabled, it is almost impossible to find a doll that represents them. With some struggle, it is possible to find glasses, doll-sized hearing aids or a wheelchair. But a doll that reflects the facial and physical appearances of Downs Syndrome has yet to be produced.

One girl had waited long enough! According to WPXI.com, Connie Feda’s 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who has Downs Syndrome, was flipping through a toy catalogue when she said to her mom, “None of these dolls look like me. Not one of them.” Feda was inspired to make a doll that represented her.
Feda designed the doll, not just to look like a child with Downs, but to be stimulating and sympathetic to Downs children in other ways too. The doll’s clothes have zippers that are easier to grip and can be special ordered with a “badge of courage” scar painted on to the chest to indicate the heart surgery common to Downs children. For all these reasons, the doll is perfect for a child with Downs or a friend or sibling.
Feda is taking pre-orders now for her Dolls for Downs. She advertizes them with this smart tagline: “My doll has more chromosomes than your doll.” It’s this attitude – that she is unashamedly proud and shrugs aside any notion that there is something lacking in a child with a disability – that I respect about her project.
There are many restrictions on children with disabilities – but play should never be one of them.

When Connie Feda’s 13 year old daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome, wanted a doll that looked like her, Connie was inspired to make her own!

When your child is disabled, it is almost impossible to find a doll that represents them. With some struggle, it is possible to find glasses, doll-sized hearing aids or a wheelchair. But a doll that reflects the facial and physical appearances of Downs Syndrome has yet to be produced.

One girl had waited long enough! According to WPXI.com, Connie Feda’s 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who has Downs Syndrome, was flipping through a toy catalogue when she said to her mom, “None of these dolls look like me. Not one of them.” Feda was inspired to make a doll that represented her.

Feda designed the doll, not just to look like a child with Downs, but to be stimulating and sympathetic to Downs children in other ways too. The doll’s clothes have zippers that are easier to grip and can be special ordered with a “badge of courage” scar painted on to the chest to indicate the heart surgery common to Downs children. For all these reasons, the doll is perfect for a child with Downs or a friend or sibling.

Feda is taking pre-orders now for her Dolls for Downs. She advertizes them with this smart tagline: “My doll has more chromosomes than your doll.” It’s this attitude – that she is unashamedly proud and shrugs aside any notion that there is something lacking in a child with a disability – that I respect about her project.

There are many restrictions on children with disabilities – but play should never be one of them.


The first part of making the switch from packaged, processed food to whole organic food is you need to make some things from scratch.


Moms are the gatekeepers of their children’s bodies. As a new mom, one thing was very clear from the start, these little bodies are as delicate as they are resilient. One day I happened upon an article that explained the science behind our children’s behavior and the artificial ingredients they eat everyday. It wasn’t an overwhelming list, so I printed it and took it with me to my next grocery visit.  We were just starting to experience the terrible two’s and she was now fully transitioned to the same food my husband and I eat, so I thought it would be a good test to see how the behavior was affected when these ingredients were removed.
The troubling part was that every single item I picked up (excluding fruits and vegetables) had these ingredients. I left the market feeling defeated, wondering how was I going to eliminate these ingredients if all the food we consume contains them.
I went back to the Internet and learned a wealth of information about GMO’s, organic food, preservatives, food coloring and artificial flavorings.  I found myself more determined than ever to make the switch from these ingredients.
As I found replacements for all the food we used to eat, I found myself excited and scared all at the same time. How was I going to get my daughter to like this new food? The packaging isn’t the same and they simply don’t taste the same. It was, in my mind, going to be a challenge.

I don’t know about anyone else’s 3 year old but mine, and I can say confidently that she will pick something off the floor and immediately put it in her mouth, but put grandma’s casserole on her plate for dinner and just try to get her to even taste it. It’s crazy logic, but I gave up trying to understand the mind of a three year old when I realized I could not match the mind of a two year old.
The first part of making the switch from packaged, processed food to whole organic food is you need to make some things from scratch. There are short cuts and simple recipes, but if you want that flavor or that meal you always loved from the box, you need to make it.
So I pulled out all the ingredients, cleared some space and pulled a chair up to the counter. I asked my daughter if she wanted to help mommy make dinner and as I expected, she screamed, “YES”.  She wanted to know what everything was and she wanted to taste everything. She would say, “Can I have some”? She ate raw kale, broccoli, onion and garlic. And to my surprise, she loved them all?
This turned out to be one of the best moves I ever made as a mom. She loves to help me prepare the meals and is much more open to trying things she helped make. I would have never expected my daughter to enjoy munching on raw kale, who knew?
It reminded me that my eating habits are not her eating habits. To that end, I have committed myself to cooking things that I would not make for myself, but that my daughter might like.  It’s fun and it worked!
The next time I went to the store, I took my daughter with me and she helped me pick out new products to try. She learned during that trip why we don’t buy the food we used to and she was part of the process of finding healthy substitutes.
Sometimes I am weak, and treat myself to some old packaged food. One of my favorite weaknesses is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I made it the other night and put a bowl in front of my daughter. She pushed the bowl away and said, “Mommy, I can’t eat this”. I asked, “Why”? She said, “Because it’s not healthy food”.
Kids love to learn at all ages. If you are a mom facing the same change in your kitchen, involve your child in the process and follow these helpful tips for picky eaters. You will find them excited and open to trying new foods, all while teaching them why it’s important to know what’s in the food they put in and on their body.

The first part of making the switch from packaged, processed food to whole organic food is you need to make some things from scratch.

Moms are the gatekeepers of their children’s bodies. As a new mom, one thing was very clear from the start, these little bodies are as delicate as they are resilient. One day I happened upon an article that explained the science behind our children’s behavior and the artificial ingredients they eat everyday. It wasn’t an overwhelming list, so I printed it and took it with me to my next grocery visit.  We were just starting to experience the terrible two’s and she was now fully transitioned to the same food my husband and I eat, so I thought it would be a good test to see how the behavior was affected when these ingredients were removed.

The troubling part was that every single item I picked up (excluding fruits and vegetables) had these ingredients. I left the market feeling defeated, wondering how was I going to eliminate these ingredients if all the food we consume contains them.

I went back to the Internet and learned a wealth of information about GMO’s, organic food, preservatives, food coloring and artificial flavorings.  I found myself more determined than ever to make the switch from these ingredients.

As I found replacements for all the food we used to eat, I found myself excited and scared all at the same time. How was I going to get my daughter to like this new food? The packaging isn’t the same and they simply don’t taste the same. It was, in my mind, going to be a challenge.

I don’t know about anyone else’s 3 year old but mine, and I can say confidently that she will pick something off the floor and immediately put it in her mouth, but put grandma’s casserole on her plate for dinner and just try to get her to even taste it. It’s crazy logic, but I gave up trying to understand the mind of a three year old when I realized I could not match the mind of a two year old.

The first part of making the switch from packaged, processed food to whole organic food is you need to make some things from scratch. There are short cuts and simple recipes, but if you want that flavor or that meal you always loved from the box, you need to make it.

So I pulled out all the ingredients, cleared some space and pulled a chair up to the counter. I asked my daughter if she wanted to help mommy make dinner and as I expected, she screamed, “YES”.  She wanted to know what everything was and she wanted to taste everything. She would say, “Can I have some”? She ate raw kale, broccoli, onion and garlic. And to my surprise, she loved them all?

This turned out to be one of the best moves I ever made as a mom. She loves to help me prepare the meals and is much more open to trying things she helped make. I would have never expected my daughter to enjoy munching on raw kale, who knew?

It reminded me that my eating habits are not her eating habits. To that end, I have committed myself to cooking things that I would not make for myself, but that my daughter might like.  It’s fun and it worked!

The next time I went to the store, I took my daughter with me and she helped me pick out new products to try. She learned during that trip why we don’t buy the food we used to and she was part of the process of finding healthy substitutes.

Sometimes I am weak, and treat myself to some old packaged food. One of my favorite weaknesses is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I made it the other night and put a bowl in front of my daughter. She pushed the bowl away and said, “Mommy, I can’t eat this”. I asked, “Why”? She said, “Because it’s not healthy food”.

Kids love to learn at all ages. If you are a mom facing the same change in your kitchen, involve your child in the process and follow these helpful tips for picky eaters. You will find them excited and open to trying new foods, all while teaching them why it’s important to know what’s in the food they put in and on their body.