Blog Posts by Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine

  • How much would you pay for a safe pregnancy?

    Thanks to modern medicine and a certain miracle drug for high-risk pregnancies, millions of babies who would have died at or before birth are able to live healthy lives.

    Thanks to capitalism and the pharmaceutical industry, this week the price of that miracle drug went from $10 to $20 per injection to $1,500 per dose.

    The free marketplace at its finest? Or preying on pregnant women?

    The drug is a form of the hormone progesterone, and it's been prescribed for decades as a weekly injection to help prevent premature births. Until now, it was made in special compounding pharmacies and, though perfectly safe, was not federally approved, so the amount of hormone in each shot could vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.

    KV Pharmaceutical of Bridgeton, Missouri, won government approval to exclusively sell the drug, which they're calling Makena. Since some women need as many as 20 doses during their pregnancies, treatment with Makena could cost as much as $30,000, instead of the $200 to $400 it

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  • Kate's parents plan to spend "six figures" on Royal Wedding

    Carole and Michael Middleton outside their home near the village of Bucklebury, England, in November 2010, on the day their daughter's engagement to Prince William was announced. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/AP)Carole and Michael Middleton outside their home near the village of Bucklebury, England, in November 2010, on the day their daughter's engagement to Prince William was announced. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau/AP)Kate Middleton's parents have decided to contribute a "six-figure sum" toward their daughter's Royal wedding expenses, agreeing to shell out at least $160,000 for the celebration.

    "It is something they absolutely wanted to do, and William graciously accepted," a senior aide told Vanity Fair.

    An average wedding in the United States costs about $30,000, according to The Knot. In comparison, "six figures" sounds like a lot, but when the wedding cake alone could cost about $80,000 (£50,000), the bride's custom-designed dress has a price tag of at least $65,000 (£40,000), and flowers to decorate the Abbey and Buckingham palace could cost upwards of $320,000 (£200,000), $160,000-or even five times that-doesn't take you very far.

    Traditionally, the Royal Family picks up the entire tab and, in November, they announced that they would do the same for Will and Kate's wedding, "following the precedents set by the marriages of The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981 and Princess Elizabeth and

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  • The 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami: Were you affected? Please check in! Also: how you can help

    Photo: ReutersPhoto: ReutersIf you live in an area that's been affected by Friday's earthquake and tsunami, please check in by leaving a comment below. Your friends in the Shine community are worried about you!

    The 8.9 magnitude earthquake is thought to be the largest in Japan's history. More than 80 aftershocks followed, rattling the area with jolts that were magnitude 6.0 or greater. The main quake triggered a 23-foot tsunami that swept away cars, boats, and homes and left hundreds of people dead; Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in a northeastern coastal area already. The pictures and video of the damage are shocking, and recent eye-witness reports are devestating.

    "A big area of Sendai city near the coast, is flooded. We are hearing that people who were evacuated are stranded," said Rie Sugimoto, a reporter for NHK television in Sendai, in a Reuters report. "About 140 people, including children, were rushed to an elementary school and are on the rooftop but they are surrounded by

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  • President Obama: Bullying is not a "harmless rite of passage"

    President Barack Obama and the First Lady met with students, teachers, and policy makers during the White House Conference for Bullying Prevention on March 10. Photo: Getty ImagesPresident Barack Obama and the First Lady met with students, teachers, and policy makers during the White House Conference for Bullying Prevention on March 10. Photo: Getty ImagesEven President Barack Obama was bullied as a kid.

    "With big ears and the name that I have, I wasn't immune," he said at the White House yesterday. "I didn't emerge unscathed."

    About 150 students, parents, policy-makers, teachers, and non-profit leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. for the White House Conference for Bullying Prevention, to discuss anti-bullying measures in schools and communities across the country.

    "Bullying isn't a problem that makes headlines every day. But every day it touches the lives of young people all across this country," the president said. "But because it's something that happens a lot, and it's something that's always been around, sometimes we've turned a blind eye to the problem. We've said, 'Kids will be kids.' And so sometimes we overlook the real damage that bullying can do, especially when young people face harassment day after day, week after week."



    A third of middle-school and high-school students say they have been bullied during the school

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  • A new mom at 60: How did this bird do it?

    Photo: Glen Tepke for the National Audubon SocietyPhoto: Glen Tepke for the National Audubon SocietyGood thing birds of a feather flock together and all that: A 60-year-old Laysan albatross named Wisdom became a mommy for the umpteenth time two weeks ago, when she hatched a chick on Sand Island in the Midway Atoll, a tiny U.S. territory halfway between Honolulu and Tokyo.

    Mom and baby are doing fine, reports say. But since a Laysan albatross mates for with one partner for life and typically lives for about 30 years, the hatching is raising plenty of questions in the scientific community. Questions like: Did Wisdom have more than one mate? How did she manage to double the average lifespan? And: Do birds go through menopause?

    We don't know if they have hot flashes but, since their bones are hollow, declining bone density isn't an issue. And raging hormones? Not so much. Over at Slate, Brian Palmer points out: "Many experts reserve the word "menopause" for human females, because it represents a variety of physiological changes-declining levels of certain hormones, anatomical

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  • Taking justice into their own hands: India's "Pink Gang" (video)

    Sampat Pal Devi, the leader of India's Sampat Pal Devi, the leader of India's "Nobody comes to our help in these parts. The officials and the police are corrupt and anti-poor," Sampat Pal Devi told the BBC as she taught a village woman how to defend herself using a long stick. "So sometimes we have to take the law into our hands."

    Married at 9, living with her husband at 12, and a mother at 13, Devi taught herself how to read and write after her parents were reluctant to send her to school. Now in her early 50s, Devi is a former government health worker and mother of five who is the force behind the Gulabi Gang, an all-woman vigilante group dedicated to protecting and fighting on the behalf of poor women in Uttar Pradesh, India.

    "Gulabi" means "pink," and the 20,000 members who patrol the villages in Northern India wear bright pink saris as they make their rounds. Also known as the Pink Gang, they've "stormed police stations when officers have refused to register complaints of abuse against women, attacked men who have abused their wives, stopped child

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  • Shine Essay Contest: In honor of Women's History Month, who's the most inspiring woman in your life?

    March is Women's History Month, and, while we here at Shine celebrate women and their accomplishments every day, in honor of this special annual event, and of International Women's Day* (which is today, March 8!), we'd like you to tell us about the amazing females in your lives.

    Here's how it'll work:
    In the next two weeks, write a blog post on Shine about the woman who inspires you the most (if YOU inspire you, tell us about a triumphant and fabulous recent moment of womanhood).

    Submit your post to Shine's Manage Your Life section, tag it "Shine essay contest," and hit the "Post This Entry" button. Then come back here to the comments section and let us know your essay is up. (Never written a post at Shine before? It's super-easy. Click here to get started.)

    On March 22, we'll share links to our top 10 posts so readers can vote on their favorite. The winner will have her essay featured on the Shine homepage AND receive a prize of fashion and beauty goodies worth 300 bucks! (See the

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  • Celebrating the strength of women in Afghanistan in "The Dressmaker of Khair Khana"

    Gayle Tzemach LemmonGayle Tzemach LemmonWhen we think of women in Afghanistan, we think of burkas and oppression, of being forced by law and by convention to stay hidden, to forgo an education, to give up freedom. But journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon looks at them and sees strength.

    "By the 1960s and 70s, there were women in Kabul universities and in medical school, and it wasn't even that exceptional," she says. "They were studying abroad, working as teachers, as professors. It's not as if we're trying to give them rights that they never had."

    One of the biggest misconceptions we have about women in Afghanistan is that they've never played a major role in Afghan society. "The image is always the one of the woman in the burka who is at home and deprived of every right she has," Lemmon says, "instead of the one who is struggling within the confines to contribute as much as she can."

    Lemmon's new book, "The Dressmaker of Khair Khana," is the true story of such women.

    A former journalist, Lemmon worked for 10 years covering

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  • Japan suspends use of two vaccines after 4 children die

    Japan's health ministry on Monday suspended the use of two common vaccines, Prevnar and ActHIB, after four children between the ages of six months and 2 years old died within three days of getting the shots.

    A medical panel is investigating the deaths; results are expected tomorrow (March 8), and both sides of the vaccine debate are watching the investigation closely. (Note: Updated below.)

    According to the health ministry, some of the children received the vaccines separately; others got them in combination with other inoculations, the ministry said in a statement. Some of the children died the same day the vaccine was administered; the deaths were reported to the ministry between March 2 and March 4.

    On Monday, a spokesperson for Pfizer, which manufactures the Prevnar vaccine, said in a statement that the company "thoroughly evaluates all reported cases and works closely with health authorities to determine if there is any association with the use of our medicines and vaccines."

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  • Are teens really holding off on having sex?

    Among teens, it seems, virginity may be making a comeback. But why?

    A new study released yesterday by the National Center for Health Statistics reports that 27 percent of males and 29 percent of females between the ages of 15 and 24 say that they've never had any kind of sexual experience. That's slightly higher than the 22 percent reported for the same age group in 2005.

    Younger respondents were less likely to have had sex, according to USA Today and MSNBC.

    The new results are from data collected between 2006 and 2008; 13,495 people ages 15 to 44 were surveyed for the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth, including 5,082 people ages 15 to 24.

    In the new study, 58 percent of girls and 53 percent of boys age 15 to 17 reported never having experienced any kind of sex. That's up from 48.6 percent of girls and 46.1 percent of boys in that same age group in 2002. Predictably, the numbers of those abstaining from sexual contact dwindled as their ages rose: Among 20- to

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Pagination

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