Tuesday

16 Laws of Psychological Power

CC™ VideoScope

Monday

10 key leadership skills for successful cross-functional team management

Editor-in-Chief

An organization's cross-functional team provides many benefits and can be a veritable asset in helping to ward off divergent obstacles, that naturally arise in the workplace. 

Management is key to determining whether your cross-functional team either delivers on a consistent basis or itself becomes an impediment to its effectiveness. A well organized, transparent and flexible management structure is crucial in ensuring the success of a cross-functional team.

The following represent some key leadership characteristics of a successful cross-functional team.....

a) Effective Organization - To manage a team of such diversity and complexity, you’ll need a system for organizing deadlines, files, notes, data, research, and whatever else you bring to the project.

b) Equally Effective Communication - Without a clear but concise strategy for effective communication, your cross-functional team doesn’t stand a chance. This is the first and most crucial component of your team’s success and should not be taken lightly.

c) Unified Objectives - It is extremely vital that every one of your team members understands the importance of the task(s) at hand. Keep in mind that the responsibilities of the cross-functional team are often in addition to your team members’ already established duties. If they don’t value the cross-functional team’s objective, they won’t put in the time or effort you require. Help them understand why the team’s objectives should matter to them.

d) Clarity of Purpose - When working with a cross-functional team, conflict and misunderstandings that result in a lack of accountability are commonplace.You can prevent potentially frustrating situations by instituting clearly-stated goals and expectations, not only for the team but on an individual level as well.

e) Conflict Resolution - As should be expected, when a team is comprised of people from different functional areas of any organization, you are going to experience some conflict. It’s important to be prepared to handle this naturally-evolving conflict effectively. Many industry experts suggest you provide your cross-functional team with conflict-resolution training before bringing them together.

f) Be Flexible - One of the greatest benefits of a cross-functional team is that it fosters innovation. By bringing several different areas of expertise together into a positively enabling work environment, you’re creating fertile ground for fresh ideas and new, game-changing insights to flourish. To take advantage of these ideas and help the company improve, you must be flexible, open-minded, and allow these opportunities to manifest. The worst thing you can do to your cross-functional team is to stifle it with narrow thinking.

g) Only The Best (OTB) - Before assembling your "A-Team", it is advisable to spend some time defining the team’s goals, while making a list of the strengths and skills required to accomplish those goals. You will then be able to put together the "perfect team" according to your predefined list of required skills and qualifications.

h) Requisite Cohesion - Provide ample opportunities for your team members to get to know each other better through team-building exercises (both indoor and outdoor). This will foster a spirit of mutual trust and engender a unanimity of purpose and direction.

i) BEFA (Build Each For ALL) - It is important to get to know each member of the cross-functional team with a view to ensuring that the sum of each person's individual strengths is commensurate with the PIE (Professional, Intellectual and Emotional) Capacity needed for the team to achieve its defined objectives.

j) Individual Accolades - Even though at the end of the day, it is all about achieving something tangible for the team/organization, remember to acknowledge the contributions of each member of the team towards realizing the desired goal of the project.

© 2023 2CG MEDIA. Coker Confidential™

Sunday

Saturday

7 best practices to keep you ahead in the workplace

CC™ Introspective - By Remi DaCosta

As a working adult, you spend more time at work than you do with your family, so it’s easy to then see your co-workers to an extent, as an extension of your family. 

Always have this in mind though; since they are colleagues, try to draw a line between normal and intimate conversations which you might regret spilling later. How professional you want to keep your relationship all depends on you. 

In order not to create problems for yourself professionally in the future, here are some things never to do with your colleagues.


1) Discussing your sex life. From experiences to escapades, it will land you in trouble if it gets to the wrong ears.

2) Telling your superior how you spent your weekend is an absolute no-go area, unless it is necessary and related to work. 

3) Gossiping about another colleague. It diminishes your integrity and credibility as a person and besides earning you negative marks on the character side of things, it ultimately does not encourage those you work with to confide in you or trust you. After all, if you would gossip about another person, they would expect you to do the same to them. Steer clear of office politics, gossip and chattercrawl altogether! 

4) Don’t form unnecessary cliques or sideline some people at work. People are really sensitive to issues like this. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. 

5) Revealing big secrets to another co-worker. Talking about big mistakes you made in the past with a colleague or your superior could come back to haunt you. 

6) Be careful about whom you trust and confide in. Watch, learn, verify and document. 

7) Find at least one or two people that you can use as either references or resources from both a professional and personal standpoint, and do not pre-judge anyone until you have had the opportunity to get to know them, within reason. 

At the end of the day, always use your best judgement and understand that life continually evolves and is not determined by just one event, but a series of them. Make sure that at every turn, you are exhibiting the commensurate level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) needed to ensure you are always at least one step ahead.

In closing, while the aforementioned steps are intended to help you navigate the slippery slopes of the work place, the best approach to staying ahead is to understand the underlying culture of your organization. That basic understanding will help you best ensure the preservation of both your (personal) brand and your career.

Friday

Ten things we've learnt about identity politics in the United States

CC™ Editor-in-Chief
--- Boyejo A. Coker

a) Racism is an institution not an event, statement or action, as evident by the silence and acquiescence of the Republican members of Congress to the dangerous and highly-charged statements, and actions of former President Donald Trump for 4 years, that ultimately culminated in the violent insurrection by White Supremacist supporters of his, against the Congress of the United States on January 6th, 2021.

b) Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually instigated the singling out (in 2019) of the women of color in the U.S. House by referring to them as "just four people with no following". That was all Donald Trump needed to strike at the time, against those women. 

c) Donald Trump "is not a racist". The power structure that enabled him become the POTUS (still incredibly threatens to bring him back in 2024), and continues to facilitate his trampling upon the Constitution with impunity, is racist, and was set up to be that way by the founding fathers, who enslaved the Africans that were brought to America and saw them as less than human.

d) President Barack Obama would not have been elected to office if he had bragged about sexually assaulting women, and he would definitely have been impeached, and removed from office, if he had conducted himself in office as Trump did.

e) Imagine what would have happened if Barack Obama had asked those that criticized his administration to leave the country, if they did not like the way things were being done. Or worse still, if he (Obama) had threatened to unleash the U.S. military on American citizens, protesting in the streets. Lastly, I am confident Barack Obama would have been impeached and convicted within a week (at most) if he had instigated an insurrection against a co-equal branch of government.

f) Gratitude is not a requirement of citizenship. Furthermore, all U.S. citizens (naturalized or natural born) have equal rights, or do they.......?

g) The old order of the Democratic party is completely out of touch and the treatment of the four women Representatives of color by former Speaker Pelosi four years ago, serves to buttress that point.

h) The Republican party has always had a playbook steeped in identity politics. Anyone remember the Willie Horton ads? Trump is not doing anything new. He simply took it to another level.

i) The palpable silence of the so-called religious leaders (especially the white religious leaders) in the United States tells you all you need to know about them.

j) The silence of most top American CEOs and business leaders (until recently) also tells you all you need to know about them and their organizations. The ones that have 'spoken out' are not only late to the game (about five years late at least), but are speaking out merely to 'sanitize' their brand, as well as clear whatever is left of their conscience (assuming most of them actually have one).

Wednesday

Liverpool take it on the chin again, fall apart at Anfield to Madrid after taking a 2-0 lead......


CC™ Sports

By Tom Gott 

Liverpool fell to their heaviest European home defeat on Tuesday as they were mauled 5-2 by Real Madrid at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah both scored early on to put Liverpool 2-0 up in a first half which was defined by goalkeeper errors, but Real fired back and doubles from Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema, with an Eder Militao header sandwiched in between, sealed a famous comeback for Los Blancos.

A high-intensity press from Liverpool forced a handful of errors from Real in the opening seconds and Cody Gakpo could have easily done better with a half-chance that came from one of those mistakes.

It didn't matter, however, as Nunez flicked Liverpool ahead after just three minutes, running onto Salah's cross and flexing his confidence with an audacious touch to convert past Thibaut Courtois.

Salah then struck wide ten minutes later, before Courtois handed him an absolute gift. The Belgian got his feet all wrong in possession and kneed the ball right to Salah, who could not miss.

There was nothing fortunate about Vinicius' strike soon after. The Brazilian cut inside and curled a glorious strike into the bottom corner of Alisson's net, giving Real a much-needed boost after a chaotic start to the game.

Vinicius equalized just after the half-hour mark, and this time, it was a howler from Alisson, who passed the ball right at his international teammate and could only watch on as the ricochet bounced into the back of his net.

Two minutes into the second half, Real's comeback was complete as Militao powered home a header from a Luka Modric free-kick. About as simple as they come.

Benzema was wheeling away in celebration soon after as his strike took a cruel deflection off Joe Gomez and left Alisson on his backside as it trickled into the net.

Real Madrid began to take control of proceedings and dominated possession, and they grabbed a fifth goal as Benzema sat Alisson down and picked his spot beyond three defenders into an unguarded net.

That fifth strike appeared to knock the stuffing out of proceedings, and while neither side slowed down, you could feel a sense of acceptance from both teams as Liverpool's focus switched to preserving their already-hurt reputation.

Indeed, there were just the seven goals for fans to enjoy on one of the most famous nights in the Champions League's recent history.

90min.com

Monday

"Woke" Companies Push Transgender Agenda

CC™ Opinion Monday

By Dr. James Dobson

Defying common sense, biological reality, and the beliefs of most Americans, senior leaders at companies including Mars, Inc., and Nestle USA, have gone all in on the LGBTQ agenda.

These companies are pledging to "us[e] our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act."

What this really means is that these companies support gender mutilation of children through "gender reassignment" surgeries, believe that the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment is inconsistent with a "progressive" America, and believe that Americans who think differently are bigots who should be silenced and expelled from society.

The question is, will conservatives and people of faith fight back? They should! Here is what Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said about this corporate posturing:

“With that much activism, who has time to sell candy? And in this heated climate, who will buy it? Considering the backlash against Coke, Delta, Major League Baseball, and Patagonia, this is an incredibly tone-deaf move for the makers of Twix, Starburst, and M&Ms. The American people have made it quite clear that they're fed up with corporations picking sides in politics. Just this week, three-quarters of the country said companies should stay out of politics, and a solid majority (64 percent) said they'd consider walking away from the ones who didn't. Obviously, that message didn't make it to Kit-Kat headquarters."

Maybe it's time that message did make it to headquarters. Stand with us—and for America—by contacting Mars, Inc. and Nestle, USA and let them know what you think about corporate activism.

Learn More

Sunday

Afro-Argentines: Black but invisible in Argentina

CC™ VideoScope

Saturday

Turkey Earthquake: Ghana legend and former Chelsea and Newcastle United star Christian Atsu found dead

Christian Atsu - Getty Images
CC™ Global News

By Deji Komolafe - Deputy Editor

“What makes this news even more tragic is that Atsu had cancelled his flight scheduled to leave Turkey at 11pm after he scored a dramatic late goal to help his team Hatayspor win their Turkish Super Lig match against Kasimpasa, the night before the earthquake.

He cancelled his 11pm flight and then at 4am, the deadly earthquake struck. Absolute tragedy!”

According to reports, the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria and left the country in ruins claimed around 41,000 lives. Despite the fact that rescue operations are still looking, the number of those who are still missing has not been announced. Meanwhile, the Ghanaian star’s death has been made public knowledge. 

Noteworthy that the Turkish Süper Lig challengers Hatayspor first claimed Atsu had been rescued with injuries after the catastrophe, but the club quickly reversed its stance and then claimed the former Everton player was still missing.  

Days later, the player’s agent, Nana Sechere, publicly stated that his client had passed away, claiming that the corpse was found beneath the wreckage of his house over two weeks after the Turkey earthquake. It was confirmed on Saturday morning that Atsu was killed by the earthquake, which has claimed more than 45,000 lives and injured thousands more.

Millions of people have been left without water, electricity and heating in southern Turkey and northern Syria.

The 31-year-old has played 64 times for Ghana since making his debut under Kwesi Appiah in 2012, tallying 10 goals and 9 assists.

May his soul rest in peace.

Friday

Eating Fufu (a Yoruba delicacy) helped me score against Chelsea – Karim Adeyemi

Karim Adeyemi - Getty Images

CC™ - Editor-in-Chief

Borussia Dortmund winger Karim Adeyemi revealed that the reason for his remarkable pace is his consumption of the Nigerian (Yoruba) dish, Fufu.

He disclosed this information in the post-match interview against Chelsea on Wednesday night.

Adeyemi said, “I eat a lot of African food! It’s called Fufu, and it’s a Nigerian (Yoruba) food which is very good. I also have good genetics from my Nigerian dad!” 

The 21-year-old scored the only goal in the game, taking on a solo run against an uninspiring Chelsea defense to show the world how much of a deadly attacker he is.

Consequently, his goal awarded him the Man of the match.

Despite representing the German senior team, he still carries his African heritage with him as footage emerged of him devouring “Fufu’ with his father.

He joined Dortmund from RB Salzburg in July 2022 for €38 million and has scored five goals in 23 appearances for the German side who believe it was a good investment

BVB will now carry their single-goal advantage handed by Adeyemi to face the Blues at Stamford Bridge on the 7th of March.

Thursday

Sex Change: Physically Impossible, Psychosocially Unhelpful, and Philosophically Misguided

CC™ ViewPoint

By Ryan T. Anderson

Modern medicine can’t reassign sex physically, and attempting to do so doesn’t produce good outcomes psychosocially. Here is the evidence.

Contrary to the claims of activists, sex isn’t “assigned” at birth—and that’s why it can’t be “reassigned.” As I explain in my book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, sex is a bodily reality that can be recognized well before birth with ultrasound imaging. The sex of an organism is defined and identified by the way in which it (he or she) is organized for sexual reproduction.

This is just one manifestation of the fact that natural organization is “the defining feature of an organism,” as neuroscientist Maureen Condic and her philosopher brother Samuel Condic explain. In organisms, “the various parts … are organized to cooperatively interact for the welfare of the entity as a whole. Organisms can exist at various levels, from microscopic single cells to sperm whales weighing many tons, yet they are all characterized by the integrated function of parts for the sake of the whole.”

Male and female organisms have different parts that are functionally integrated for the sake of their whole, and for the sake of a larger whole—their sexual union and reproduction. So an organism’s sex—as male or female—is identified by its organization for sexually reproductive acts. Sex as a status—male or female—is a recognition of the organization of a body that can engage in sex as an act.

That organization isn’t just the best way to figure out which sex you are; it’s the only way to make sense of the concepts of male and female at all. What else could “maleness” or “femaleness” even refer to, if not your basic physical capacity for one of two functions in sexual reproduction?

The conceptual distinction between male and female based on reproductive organization provides the only coherent way to classify the two sexes. Apart from that, all we have are stereotypes.

This shouldn’t be controversial. Sex is understood this way across sexually reproducing species. No one finds it particularly difficult—let alone controversial—to identify male and female members of the bovine species or the canine species. Farmers and breeders rely on this easy distinction for their livelihoods. It’s only recently, and only with respect to the human species, that the very concept of sex has become controversial.

And yet, in an expert declaration to a federal district court in North Carolina concerning H.B. 2 (a state law governing access to sex-specific restrooms), Dr. Deanna Adkins stated, “From a medical perspective, the appropriate determinant of sex is gender identity.” Adkins is a professor at Duke University School of Medicine and the director of the Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care (which opened in 2015).

Adkins argues that gender identity is not only the preferred basis for determining sex, but “the only medically supported determinant of sex.” Every other method is bad science, she claims: “It is counter to medical science to use chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, external genitalia, or secondary sex characteristics to override gender identity for purposes of classifying someone as male or female.”

In her sworn declaration to the federal court, Dr. Deanna Adkins called the standard account of sex—an organism’s sexual organization—“an extremely outdated view of biological sex.” Dr. Lawrence Mayer responded in his rebuttal declaration: “This statement is stunning. I have searched dozens of references in biology, medicine and genetics—even Wiki!—and can find no alternative scientific definition. In fact the only references to a more fluid definition of biological sex are in the social policy literature.” Just so. Dr. Mayer is a scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University.

Modern science shows that our sexual organization begins with our DNA and development in the womb, and that sex differences manifest themselves in many bodily systems and organs, all the way down to the molecular level. In other words, our physical organization for one of two functions in reproduction shapes us organically, from the beginning of life, at every level of our being.

Cosmetic surgery and cross-sex hormones can’t change us into the opposite sex. They can affect appearances. They can stunt or damage some outward expressions of our reproductive organization. But they can’t transform it. They can’t turn us from one sex into the other.

“Scientifically speaking, transgender men are not biological men and transgender women are not biological women. The claims to the contrary are not supported by a scintilla of scientific evidence,” explains Dr. Mayer.

Or, as Princeton philosopher Robert P. George put it, “Changing sexes is a metaphysical impossibility because it is a biological impossibility.”

Psychosocial Outcomes

Sadly, just as “sex reassignment” fails to reassign sex biologically, it also fails to bring wholeness socially and psychologically. As I demonstrate in When Harry Became Sally, the medical evidence suggests that it does not adequately address the psychosocial difficulties faced by people who identify as transgender.

Even when the procedures are successful technically and cosmetically, and even in cultures that are relatively “trans-friendly,” transitioners still face poor outcomes.

Dr. Paul McHugh, the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explains:

Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they “identify.” In that lies their problematic future.

When “the tumult and shouting dies,” it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.

Dr. McHugh points to the reality that because sex change is physically impossible, it frequently does not provide the long-term wholeness and happiness that people seek.

Indeed, the best scientific research supports McHugh’s caution and concern.

Here’s how the Guardian summarized the results of a review of “more than 100 follow-up studies of post-operative transsexuals” by Birmingham University’s Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility (Arif):

Arif, which conducts reviews of healthcare treatments for the NHS, concludes that none of the studies provides conclusive evidence that gender reassignment is beneficial for patients. It found that most research was poorly designed, which skewed the results in favour of physically changing sex. There was no evaluation of whether other treatments, such as long-term counselling, might help transsexuals, or whether their gender confusion might lessen over time.

“There is huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing,” said Chris Hyde, the director of Arif. Even if doctors are careful to perform these procedures only on “appropriate patients,” Hyde continued, “there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized—often to the point of committing suicide.”

Of particular concern are the people these studies “lost track of.” As the Guardian noted, “the results of many gender reassignment studies are unsound because researchers lost track of more than half of the participants.” Indeed, “Dr. Hyde said the high drop out rate could reflect high levels of dissatisfaction or even suicide among post-operative transsexuals.” Dr. Hyde concluded: “The bottom line is that although it’s clear that some people do well with gender reassignment surgery, the available research does little to reassure about how many patients do badly and, if so, how badly.”

Arif conducted its review back in 2004, so perhaps things have changed in the past decade? Not so. In 2014, a new review of the scientific literature was done by Hayes, Inc., a research and consulting firm that evaluates the safety and health outcomes of medical technologies. Hayes found that the evidence on long-term results of sex reassignment was too sparse to support meaningful conclusions and gave these studies its lowest rating for quality:

Statistically significant improvements have not been consistently demonstrated by multiple studies for most outcomes. … Evidence regarding quality of life and function in male-to-female (MtF) adults was very sparse. Evidence for less comprehensive measures of well-being in adult recipients of cross-sex hormone therapy was directly applicable to GD patients but was sparse and/or conflicting. The study designs do not permit conclusions of causality and studies generally had weaknesses associated with study execution as well. There are potentially long-term safety risks associated with hormone therapy but none have been proven or conclusively ruled out.

The Obama administration came to similar conclusions. In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid revisited the question whether sex reassignment surgery would have to be covered by Medicare plans. Despite receiving a request that its coverage be mandated, they refused, on the ground that we lack evidence that it benefits patients. Here’s how the June 2016 “Proposed Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery” put it:

Based on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria. There were conflicting (inconsistent) study results—of the best designed studies, some reported benefits while others reported harms. The quality and strength of evidence were low due to the mostly observational study designs with no comparison groups, potential confounding and small sample sizes. Many studies that reported positive outcomes were exploratory type studies (case-series and case-control) with no confirmatory follow-up.

The final August 2016 “Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery” was even more blunt. It pointed out that “Overall, the quality and strength of evidence were low due to mostly observational study designs with no comparison groups, subjective endpoints, potential confounding (a situation where the association between the intervention and outcome is influenced by another factor such as a co-intervention), small sample sizes, lack of validated assessment tools, and considerable lost to follow-up.” That “lost to follow-up,” remember, could be pointing to people who committed suicide.

And when it comes to the best studies, there is no evidence of “clinically significant changes” after sex reassignment:

The majority of studies were non-longitudinal, exploratory type studies (i.e., in a preliminary state of investigation or hypothesis generating), or did not include concurrent controls or testing prior to and after surgery. Several reported positive results but the potential issues noted above reduced strength and confidence. After careful assessment, we identified six studies that could provide useful information. Of these, the four best designed and conducted studies that assessed quality of life before and after surgery using validated (albeit non-specific) psychometric studies did not demonstrate clinically significant changes or differences in psychometric test results after GRS [gender reassignment surgery].

In a discussion of the largest and most robust study—the study from Sweden that Dr. McHugh mentioned in the quote above—the Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid pointed out the nineteen-times-greater likelihood for death by suicide, and a host of other poor outcomes:

The study identified increased mortality and psychiatric hospitalization compared to the matched controls. The mortality was primarily due to completed suicides (19.1-fold greater than in control Swedes), but death due to neoplasm and cardiovascular disease was increased 2 to 2.5 times as well. We note, mortality from this patient population did not become apparent until after 10 years. The risk for psychiatric hospitalization was 2.8 times greater than in controls even after adjustment for prior psychiatric disease (18%). The risk for attempted suicide was greater in male-to-female patients regardless of the gender of the control. Further, we cannot exclude therapeutic interventions as a cause of the observed excess morbidity and mortality. The study, however, was not constructed to assess the impact of gender reassignment surgery per se.

These results are tragic. And they directly contradict the most popular media narratives, as well as many of the snapshot studies that do not track people over time. As the Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid pointed out, “mortality from this patient population did not become apparent until after 10 years.” So when the media tout studies that only track outcomes for a few years, and claim that reassignment is a stunning success, there are good grounds for skepticism.

As I explain in my book, these outcomes should be enough to stop the headlong rush into sex-reassignment procedures. They should prompt us to develop better therapies for helping people who struggle with their gender identity. And none of this even begins to address the radical, entirely experimental therapies that are being directed at the bodies of children to transition them.

The Purpose of Medicine, Emotions, and the Mind

Behind the debates over therapies for people with gender dysphoria are two related questions: How do we define mental health and human flourishing? And what is the purpose of medicine, particularly psychiatry?

Those general questions encompass more specific ones: If a man has an internal sense that he is a woman, is that just a variety of normal human functioning, or is it a psychopathology? Should we be concerned about the disconnection between feeling and reality, or only about the emotional distress or functional difficulties it may cause? What is the best way to help people with gender dysphoria manage their symptoms: by accepting their insistence that they are the opposite sex and supporting a surgical transition, or by encouraging them to recognize that their feelings are out of line with reality and learn how to identify with their bodies? All of these questions require philosophical analysis and worldview judgments about what “normal human functioning” looks like and what the purpose of medicine is.

Settling the debates over the proper response to gender dysphoria requires more than scientific and medical evidence. Medical science alone cannot tell us what the purpose of medicine is. Science cannot answer questions about meaning or purpose in a moral sense. It can tell us about the function of this or that bodily system, but it can’t tell us what to do with that knowledge. It cannot tell us how human beings ought to act. Those are philosophical questions, as I explain in When Harry Became Sally.

While medical science does not answer philosophical questions, every medical practitioner has a philosophical worldview, explicit or not. Some doctors may regard feelings and beliefs that are disconnected from reality as a part of normal human functioning and not a source of concern unless they cause distress. Other doctors will regard those feelings and beliefs as dysfunctional in themselves, even if the patient does not find them distressing, because they indicate a defect in mental processes. But the assumptions made by this or that psychiatrist for purposes of diagnosis and treatment cannot settle the philosophical questions: Is it good or bad or neutral to harbor feelings and beliefs that are at odds with reality? Should we accept them as the last word, or try to understand their causes and correct them, or at least mitigate their effects?

While the current findings of medical science, as shown above, reveal poor psychosocial outcomes for people who have had sex-reassignment therapies, that conclusion should not be where we stop. We must also look deeper for philosophical wisdom, starting with some basic truths about human well-being and healthy functioning. We should begin by recognizing that sex reassignment is physically impossible. Our minds and senses function properly when they reveal reality to us and lead us to knowledge of truth. And we flourish as human beings when we embrace the truth and live in accordance with it. A person might find some emotional relief in embracing a falsehood, but doing so would not make him or her objectively better off. Living by a falsehood keeps us from flourishing fully, whether or not it also causes distress.

This philosophical view of human well-being is the foundation of a sound medical practice. Dr. Michelle Cretella, the president of the American College of Pediatricians—a group of doctors who formed their own professional guild in response to the politicization of the American Academy of Pediatrics—emphasizes that mental health care should be guided by norms grounded in reality, including the reality of the bodily self. “The norm for human development is for one’s thoughts to align with physical reality, and for one’s gender identity to align with one’s biologic sex,” she says. For human beings to flourish, they need to feel comfortable in their own bodies, readily identify with their sex, and believe that they are who they actually are. For children especially, normal development and functioning require accepting their physical being and understanding their embodied selves as male or female.

Unfortunately, many professionals now view health care—including mental health care—primarily as a means of fulfilling patients’ desires, whatever those are. In the words of Leon Kass, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, today a doctor is often seen as nothing more than “a highly competent hired syringe”:

The implicit (and sometimes explicit) model of the doctor-patient relationship is one of contract: the physician—a highly competent hired syringe, as it were—sells his services on demand, restrained only by the law (though he is free to refuse his services if the patient is unwilling or unable to meet his fee). Here’s the deal: for the patient, autonomy and service; for the doctor, money, graced by the pleasure of giving the patient what he wants. If a patient wants to fix her nose or change his gender, determine the sex of unborn children, or take euphoriant drugs just for kicks, the physician can and will go to work—provided that the price is right and that the contract is explicit about what happens if the customer isn’t satisfied.

This modern vision of medicine and medical professionals gets it wrong, says Dr. Kass. Professionals ought to profess their devotion to the purposes and ideals they serve. Teachers should be devoted to learning, lawyers to justice, clergy to things divine, and physicians to “healing the sick, looking up to health and wholeness.” Healing is “the central core of medicine,” Kass writes; “to heal, to make whole, is the doctor’s primary business.”

To provide the best possible care, serving the patient’s medical interests, requires an understanding of human wholeness and well-being. Mental health care must be guided by a sound concept of human flourishing. The minimal standard of care should begin with a standard of normality. Dr. Cretella explains how this standard applies to mental health:

One of the chief functions of the brain is to perceive physical reality. Thoughts that are in accordance with physical reality are normal. Thoughts that deviate from physical reality are abnormal—as well as potentially harmful to the individual or to others. This is true whether or not the individual who possesses the abnormal thoughts feels distress.

Our brains and senses are designed to bring us into contact with reality, connecting us with the outside world and with the reality of ourselves. Thoughts that disguise or distort reality are misguided—and can cause harm. In When Harry Became Sally, I argue that we need to do a better job of helping people who face these struggles.

SOURCE: THE PUBLIC DISCOURSE 

                 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan T. Anderson is Founding Editor of Public Discourse. He is also President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is the author of When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment and Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.

Wednesday

Discovery: Scientists ‘switch off’ autism symptoms using $3 epilepsy drug

CC™ HealthWatch

By Adriana Diaz

Scientists are reporting a breakthrough discovery: A $3-per-pill epilepsy drug may be used to “switch off” autism symptoms in mice, according to a new peer-reviewed study published Tuesday in Molecular Psychiatry journal.

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex developmental condition that impacts how an estimated 5.4 million (2.2% of) adults — and one in 44 children — in the United States perceives and socializes with others. It is often accompanied by abnormalities such as epilepsy or hyperactivity, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

A team of experts at Germany’s Hector Institute for Translational Brain Researchfound that the medication lamotrigine — an anti-seizure drug first approved for use in the US in 1994 — was able to curb behavioral and social problems linked to the disorder.

Now, their findings are being hyped as the closest thing yet to a potential cure for humans.

“Apparently, drug treatment in adulthood can alleviate brain cell dysfunction and thus counteract the behavioral abnormalities typical of autism,” lead researcher and cellular biologist Moritz Mall said in a statement. “[This occurs] even after the absence of MYT1L has already impaired brain development during the developmental phase of the organism.”

Lamotrigine, which is sold under the brand name Lamictal, among others, is a medication used to treat epilepsy and stabilize mood in those who suffer from bipolar disorder.

The drug, which typically sells for just under $3 per pill, works by reversing changes to brain cells caused by a genetic mutation.

Scientists have spent years searching forthe molecular abnormalities that contribute to ASD and have identified MYT1L protein as one that plays a role in various neuronal diseases. 

The protein is a so-called transcription factor produced by almost all the nerve cells in the body that decides which genes are or are not active in the cell. It also “protects the identity of nerve cells by suppressing other developmental pathways that program a cell towards muscle or connective tissue.”

Mutations of the protein have previously been linked to other neurological diseases and brain malformations. 

To test impact of the protein on autism symptoms, researchers at HITBR genetically “switched off” MYT1L in mice and human nerve cells. They found that this led to electrophysiological hyperactivation in the mouse and human neurons impairing nerve function. 

The mice lacking MYT1L suffered from brain abnormalities and showed several behavioral changes typical to ASD, such as social deficits or hyperactivity.

Researchers noted that the most “striking” reaction was the discovery that the MYT1L-deficient neurons produced extra sodium channels that are typically restricted to cells in the heart muscle. 

These proteins are critical for electrical conductivity and cell function as they allow sodium ions to travel through the cell membrane. Nerve cells that overproduce these sodium channels can result in electrophysiological hyperactivation — a common symptom of autism.

“When MYT1L-deficient nerve cells were treated with lamotrigine, their electrophysiological activity returned to normal. In mice, the drug was even able to curb ASD-associated behaviors such as hyperactivity,” the statement continued.

These promising results come as autism rates have skyrocketed in the NYC metro area. Autism diagnoses have tripled in the New York-New Jersey metro area: from 1% of the population in 2000 to 3% in 2016

It is believed that part of the drastic increase of these diagnoses is due to the growing number of diagnoses of children without intellectual disabilities, which are therefore less likely to have been identified previously.

But earlier, more accurate diagnoses don’t completely explain the upward trend, which was based on estimates from the CDC. Experts have warned that the growing trend of women giving birth later in life may be partly responsible for the rise. 

Meanwhile, clinical human trials studying lamotrigine’s impact on MYT1L are being planned — and while the research is currently limited to mice, the results are promising, researchers stressed.

SOURCE:  NYP

Tuesday

Bola Tinubu's Islamist running-mate urges northern voters to reject Abubakar Atiku of the PDP for opposing Sharia rule


CC™ Global News

Political Staff

The vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Kashim Shettima, said northerners should reject the Peoples Democratic Party, flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, for opposing the enactment of Sharia rule across the region.

Shettima, a hardline Islamic fundamentalist and reputed Boko Haram sponsor, urged the northern voters to reject Atiku at the February 25 polls because he fought against the Islamic legal system in the North.

He stated these while addressing the party faithful at an APC local government conference.

“This person you call your own says you should not call him ‘Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, but rather Atiku Abubakar,” Shettima told his audience in the Hausa language. “Your person says he is the only person that fights against Sharia in the north. Is that your person?”

Shettima’s remarks is his latest attempt to whip up ethno-religious rhetoric against the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate.

Recall that Shettima at the Emir's Palace in Daura, Katsina, publicly challenged Atiku to come out and mention eight people he has mentored in the North; or the capital projects he executed in the North while he served as vice president between 1999 to 2007.

The APC vice presidential candidate told his audience that Atiku’s presidency would not serve the North’s ethno-religious interests.

Monday

2023 Election: Nigerian military responds to ‘Atiku meeting, coup plot’


CC™ Politico News

By Wale Odunsi

The Armed Forces of Nigeria has condemned the allegation that some of its officers met with a presidential candidate over the 2023 election.

Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode alleged that the Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and top military personnel met.

A rebuttal Saturday evening by Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, Acting Director Defence Information, denied the military was involved in a plan to disrupt the general polls.

The spokesperson said the “wicked and very malicious propaganda indicated that a so-called Thursday meeting plotted a Coup d’etat to establish unconstitutional order”.

The Armed Forces expressed dismantled that “politically exposed persons can denigrate themselves into joining agents of destabilization and violence in making false claims just to heighten tension in the polity”.

SOURCE: VANGUARD

Sunday

The 7 habits of highly successful organizations

Editor's Corner 
                               
As organizations seek ways to improve functional output and operational effectiveness, it becomes incumbent upon business leaders to understand what best practices to adopt, in their quest to achieve sustainable growth and brand stability.

Many are quick to point to the "successes" of some of the world's biggest brands such as GE, Microsoft, Disney, Walmart, Apple and Google, among others. The truth however lies somewhere in between as to what exactly constitutes success beyond just the bottom-line.

A "healthy bottom-line" does not necessarily translate into being an attractive brand or ensure sustainable growth.

What organizations such as Google and more lately Apple have in fact shown, is that there are other mitigating factors that go towards determining the long-term success and brand equity of an organization.

In this piece, a prelude to a more in-depth analysis to come, we explore and profess the key habits that would seem to characterize truly successful organizations.

a) Hire well - As organizations such as Google, Microsoft and Apple (much lately) have learnt, hiring the right talent goes a long way towards building your Intellectual Capital portfolio.

b) Invest in your employees and thus your organization's future - While some of the better known brands are able to attract some of the best talent initially, holding on to that talent pool becomes even more critical. It is not enough to just pay well; in addition to that, organizations that have managed to hold on to their prized talent base, have invested heavily by way of benefits and other quality-of-life perks that are essential to keeping the poachers at bay.

c) Encourage independent thought within your organization - In conversations with peers in the business community, most believe this is one of the areas where Microsoft in particular "went wrong" (the current CEO Satya Nadella has since righted that ship). It's main competitors are said to have seized on a culture (supposedly) within the organization at the time, that did not encourage or value independent thinking.
Organizations that frown on the idea of "thinking-outside-the-box" ultimately leave little room for their business units to procreate. A resulting dearth of unique ideas will ultimately result in the natural death of the said organization.

d) Reward independent thought within your organization - In addition to encouraging a "think-outside-the-box culture within your organization, it is also equally important to acknowledge those with unique and creative ideas. Promotions, raises, bonuses and other forms of recognition should reflect this, as it will only augur well for the continued growth and development of the organization, its brand and of course, its people.

e) Be true to your founding ideals and core corporate principles - Make taking care of your customers/clients a guiding business principle. It is the best practice you could ever indulge in as it engenders brand affinity through credibility.

f) Seek strategic partnerships that complement your business model and strategy - It is important that you align yourself with organizations that share your ideals, beliefs and ideas and subsequently provide a synergistic nirvana.

g) Manage your growth while continuing to innovate - Maintain your identity and stick to a working strategy. Adapt to the pervading business climate in your own unique way and continue to deliver consistently. 

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