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Do You Have A Road Not Taken
June 30, 2007
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Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #085, June 30, 2007

=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========

· Pomegranates and Your Prostate

· Protecting Your Hearing

· A Road Not Taken

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Written by Noel McNaughton Midlife-Men.com (c) copyright 2007 midlife-men.com

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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

Do you have an MP3 player? Do you play it loud to cover the background noise when you listen to it? Maybe it is TOO loud. See the article below.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, between 1970 and 1990, incidence of cancer of the prostate increased steadily in Canada at an average annual rate of approximately 3%. Because of this increase, in 1990 prostate cancer became the most frequently diagnosed cancer in Canadian men, surpassing lung cancer.

The figures are probably the same for most industrialized countries. Death from prostate cancer only increased at 1% per year, but that's still pretty high. Maybe pomegranate juice can reduce that number.

And finally... have you encountered a road not taken lately? As you are now in midlife, chances are you will! There are about 1350 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take you about four and a half minutes to read.

Blessings,

Noel

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Pomegranates and Your Prostate

Here is an excerpt from an article by Dr. Andrew Weil (www.drweil.com) that I thought you might find useful.

In 2005, researchers at the University of Wisconsin tested various doses of pomegranate extract on human prostate cancer cells in the lab. The higher the dose of the extract, the more cancer cells died.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) tested it on a group of 46 men whose PSA levels were rising after treatment for prostate cancer - usually a bad sign. While surgery or radiation cures two out of every three cases of early prostate cancer, the disease lingers among patients in the other third, and within 15 years, may progress to deadly metastatic cancer.

Patients with detectable PSA levels after surgery or radiation usually are treated with hormone therapy to remove testosterone from the system. This can bring on severe side-effects including hot flashes, osteoporosis, fatigue, depression and muscle wasting, as well as loss of libido.

Instead, the men participating in the UCLA study drank eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily. Of the 46 patients, PSA levels declined in 16 and, in four of them, dropped by half. The researchers reported that some of the men in the study have continued drinking pomegranate juice and their PSA levels have remained stable for more than three years.

Pomegranate juice didn't work on everyone in the study and certainly isn't a cure, but the results were sufficiently striking to prompt the launch of a larger clinical trial to be conducted at 10 medical centres around the United States.

The hope is that the juice will turn out to be powerful enough to keep prostate cancer in check.

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Protecting Your Hearing

I wear hearing aids. I got them a couple of years ago. People (especially my grandchildren) don't mumble half as much as they used to!

I got hearing aids because when I was young, invincible, and working on the farm and in the oil patch, I was too tough to use hearing protection. Only wimps wore safety stuff. Now I wish I had have been a little more careful.

A while back I read an article saying that 25% of people who listen to MP3 players such as iPods, are in danger of causing permanent hearing damage because they have the volume turned too high. Any sound above 90 decibels (db) could cause some hearing loss if the exposure is prolonged. Most portable music players can produce sounds up to 120 db, which is louder than a lawn mower or a chain saw and equivalent to an ambulance siren.

The problem is that MP3 player headsets can be turned up loud without distorting the sound the way the headsets in the old Walkmans did. But they don't drown out background noise, so people turn them up. And because the sound is still good, they tend to listen longer.

How do you know if your MP3 player is too loud?

I got this from the Mayo Clinic's website:

  • Your MP3 player volume is set higher than 60 percent of the maximum
  • You can't hear conversations going on around you
  • People near you can hear your music
  • You find yourself shouting instead of talking when you respond to people nearby
Noise Cancelling Headphones

I am reading more and more these days about the benefits of noise-canceling headphones. The idea is that these headphones read the background noise, and produce the exact opposite sound waves, so the background sound is cancelled.

"These headphones work most efficiently and effectively if you're in an environment that has that low-frequency steady state noise," says Pam Mason, MEd, director of the Audiology Professional Practices Unit for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). This can be a boon for commuters, frequent flyers and city dwellers who are exposed to the constant low-frequency rumble of traffic, jet engines or tire noise. But they don't block everything. "You'll still hear that baby crying two rows back," Mason says.

Most noise-canceling headphones allow you to attach an MP3 player, but they still protect your hearing because you don't need to turn the player up to overcome background noise.

There are other, substantial health benefits as well.

"Noise is a stressor," explains Mason. "It can increase gastric secretions in your stomach and disrupt sleep and elevate blood pressure. So if you reduce the noise, you can reduce those negative effects."

Jodi Cook, Ph.D., director of the hearing aid program at Mayo Clinic, says you don't need one of these expensive headsets if you keep the volume on your normal headset at a level where you can still comfortably carry on a conversation. And you won't need to limit the amount of time you listen to your music either. You can listen at 80 db forever and never hurt your hearing.

I got hearing aids because I didn't protect my hearing. Maybe you didn't either, but then again, maybe you didn't work in a loud place when you were young, but play your MP3 player too loudly now. If so, turn it down. It takes quite a while for hearing loss to show up, but when it does, it's permanent. And believe me, it is better to have good hearing, than to wear hearing aids.

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"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.

"Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

"But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it." --Buddha

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A Road Not Taken

One of Robert Frost's most famous poems is "A Road Not Taken":

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

When I read this poem, it reminds me of the choices we make all the time. Frost couldn't see where either road led, but one was less travelled, and he took it, "And that has made all the difference."

My interpretation is that he took the road his soul called him on. The poet's road. His right livelihood. We often decide to take the main road of the safety of "real" jobs, even though we don't know where that road is taking us either. We think if everybody is going on it, or our parents, or teachers, or guidance counsellors think it is good, it must be right.

But we are middle-aged adults now, and perhaps we are disillusioned with the decision a 17-year-old made on the advice of those who "knew better", but didn't really know him.

And now we come to another intersection, when we must again decide which road to take.

It can be unsettling, frightening, exhilarating, and challenging to take "the road less travelled by". But my experience is if we choose the road we are called to, our life will be fuller and more satisfying than we can imagine.

I chose my "road less travelled" when at age 42 I quit my job as a TV news reporter and went back to university to study what came to be called "sustainable agriculture". It led me to learn a whole new way of making decisions, called Holistic Management™, and to teaching hundreds of farm and ranch families how to take better care of their land, while making more profit and enjoying higher quality of life.

Yes the transition was financially frightening, but once I was up and running, it was rewarding in every way.

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When my three-year-old son opened the birthday gift from his grandmother, he discovered a water pistol. He squealed with delight and headed for the nearest sink.
I was not so pleased. I turned to my mother and said, "I'm surprised at you. Don't you remember how we used to drive you crazy with water guns?"
My mother smiled and replied..."Oh, I remember."

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Enjoy!

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I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to noel@midlife-men.com . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.

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Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.

All the best, Noel

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