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Top hearing aids of 2019: Best features, invisibility and more

<p>Getting older comes with great wisdom, and sometimes (unfortunately) a whole host of new health ailments. The good news is, many of them can be effectively treated or managed, including hearing loss.</p> <p>If you’re tired of saying “pardon?”, distracting yourself from the buzzing in your ear, or having to ask your family members to turn up the TV volume, know that you don’t have to suffer in silence any longer.</p> <p>Poor hearing is not your new normal. It can be fixed with the help of a quality hearing aid. And don’t worry—hearing aids aren’t the clunky devices they used to be. Many of today’s modern versions sit just inside the ear, making them practically invisible.</p> <p>If the cost of fixing your hearing is an issue, Sydney-based service <span><a href="https://hearingaidcomparison.com.au/edm/?utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=hac-november&amp;utm_content=top-hearing-aids">Hearing Aid Comparison</a></span> can book you in for a free hearing screening with an audiologist near you. They’ll test your hearing and show you a range of devices based on your unique needs and budget. Better yet—you can try before you buy, to ensure your hearing aid is a good fit for you and your lifestyle.</p> <p><strong>Get your free hearing test today</strong></p> <p>Step 1: Select your state below.</p> <p>Step 2: After answering a few questions, you will have the opportunity to compare hearing aids in your area and could be eligible for significant savings.</p> <p><a href="https://hearingaidcomparison.com.au/edm/?utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=hac-november&amp;utm_content=top-hearing-aids"><img style="width: 500px; height: 158.984375px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832127/o60_hac_selectyourstate_1280-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e3995c525c144f589fde27598536d7b1" /></a></p> <p>Noticing that your hearing has started to slip can be jarring. But you don’t have to live a life of shouting and asking people to repeat themselves. You simply need to find the hearing aid that best fits your needs, and if cost is an issue, your budget. But where to start? The following list of hearing aids are from some of the top providers in Australia and can help you get started on your search for a quality hearing aid.</p> <p><strong>Best Features: Widex Evoke</strong></p> <p>The Widex Evoke is the world’s first smart hearing aid, and the only hearing aid on the market that can truly evolve through frequent use.</p> <p>The Evoke lets you customise your settings—like most modern hearing aids do—but allows you more freedom and relaxation than some others on the market.</p> <p>Your hearing aids are learning as you use them. They make automatic adjustments to fit your surroundings based on the other environments you’ve visited in the past. On top of that, they’re some of the most comfortable hearing aids on the market.</p> <p><strong>Best Invisible: Starkey CIC with Muse iQ</strong></p> <p>Starkey is another top name in the hearing aid industry, and make one of the better invisible hearing aids out there.</p> <p>These hearing aids won’t be best for everyone, but those who have mild to moderate hearing loss can keep their hearing aids hidden without losing features.</p> <p>The Muse iQ delivers high-quality speech recognition in even the busiest of environments, as well as the ability to stream calls, TV, and music directly to the hearing aids.</p> <p><strong>ReSound LiNX 3D</strong></p> <p>The LiNX 3D is one of the newer hearing aid options from ReSound. It delivers some of the best directional sound features on the market, which is sometimes difficult to find in hearing aids.</p> <p>This hearing aid does everything well. It’s comfortable, discreet, and powerful enough to service the needs of those with severe hearing loss.</p> <p>As the name suggests, the real selling point of these hearing aids is the directional sound. It makes incoming sounds a lot more natural than some of the other devices we’ve seen.</p> <p><strong>Eargo Neo</strong></p> <p>The Eargo Neo presents as one of the better values for hearing aids. The invisible hearing aid sits comfortably in your ear and delivers reliable sound profiles that make the hearing aids feel more natural.</p> <p>These hearing aids aren’t the most powerful on the market, but they’re excellent value for those who want invisible hearing aids with reliable sound.</p> <p><strong>Starkey Livio Ai</strong></p> <p>The Livio AI is more than just a hearing aid. The device also tracks the health of your brain and body. The sensors can even detect if you’ve fallen and in need of assistance.</p> <p>Of course, the Livio is also a top-notch hearing aid that interfaces with your phone. It can perform well in noisy environments and is barely noticeable sitting on your ear.</p> <p><strong>Widex Beyond</strong></p> <p>iPhone lovers will enjoy the Widex Beyond. Although the hearing aid is compatible with Android, it’s designed to work in tandem with Apple devices.</p> <p>These behind-the-ear hearing aids are affordable and comfortable. They make setting adjustments easy through the intuitive app, and let you stream music, TV, and phone calls.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the streaming features aren’t available for Android just yet, but iPhone users will be more than happy with this pick.</p> <p><strong>Oticon Opn S</strong></p> <p>The Oticon Opn S is a discreet hearing aid that doesn’t compromise on sound quality. It provides 360-degree sound to make listening feel more natural. A lot of other invisible hearing aids need to compromise on directional sound, but the Opn S does not.</p> <p>Another great feature of these hearing aids is the ability to detect and eliminate the whistling sound that is common in other small devices. All of this for an affordable price as well.</p> <p>With all these different brands, styles, and features, finding a suitable hearing aid comes down to what you’re looking for. Need a hand?</p> <p><strong>Connect with an audiologist near you</strong></p> <p>Step 1: Select your state below.</p> <p>Step 2: Answer a few questions to book in a free hearing test in your area and compare hearing aids.</p> <p><a href="https://hearingaidcomparison.com.au/edm/?utm_medium=sponsoredarticle&amp;utm_source=over60&amp;utm_campaign=hac-november&amp;utm_content=top-hearing-aids"><img style="width: 493.82716049382714px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832126/o60_hac_map_1280.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7919353ebc0f4774beac9cd41c0ef154" /></a></p> <p><em>This article is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.</em></p>

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What is rheumatoid arthritis?

<p>Arthritis is a broad term to describe inflammation of the joints which become swollen and painful. There are many <a href="https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/what-is-arthritis/types-of-arthritis/">different kinds</a>. <a href="https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/types-of-arthritis/osteoarthritis/">Osteoarthritis</a>, the most common, is caused by wear and tear.</p> <p>This is <a href="https://painhealth.csse.uwa.edu.au/pain-module/rheumatoid-arthritis/">followed by</a> rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition where the person’s immune system mistakenly attacks and damages its own joints and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1568997211001923">other organs</a>.</p> <p>Rheumatoid arthritis is relatively common, affecting around <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673616301738">one in 100 people</a>, including young people and even children.</p> <p>Twenty-nine-year-old Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-26/caroline-wozniacki-diagnosed-with-rheumatoid-arthritis/10432300">told fans last year she was diagnosed with this condition</a>. Earlier in 2018, she had won the Australian Open, then struggled with unexplained symptoms.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">"I got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and it was something I'd been battling with, I wasn't really sure what was going on" - <a href="https://twitter.com/CaroWozniacki?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@carowozniacki</a> <a href="https://t.co/frqBS9GFBw">pic.twitter.com/frqBS9GFBw</a></p> — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) <a href="https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/status/1083496377559076864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 10, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Researchers do not fully know what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but suspect certain genes may trigger it when combined with environmental and lifestyle <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673616301738">factors</a> such as smoking or infections.</p> <p><strong>How does it feel?</strong></p> <p>People commonly experience joint pain, but it is particularly bad in the mornings and when they rest. Joints in the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles may be stiff for hours at a time. But unlike osteoarthritis, the pain can actually get better with movement.</p> <p>If the inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is not controlled, people experience joint pain, stiffness, fatigue and can almost feel like they have the flu.</p> <p>The inflammation can lead to damage to the bones and cartilage (cushion) in joints causing deformity and disability. This can affect work, and social and family life.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1568997211001923">18% to 41% of patients</a>, the condition can cause inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the lungs (this may cause a condition called interstitial lung disease) and the blood vessels (leading to a condition called vasculitis).</p> <p>People with severe rheumatoid arthritis also have an <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hon.2525">increased risk of developing lymphoma</a>, a type of cancer of the lymphatic system, which helps rid the body of toxic waste.</p> <p><strong>How is it diagnosed?</strong></p> <p>When a GP suspects someone has rheumatoid arthritis, the patient is referred to a rheumatologist for a detailed physical examination focusing on joint pain, tenderness, swelling and stiffness.</p> <p>The patient will have some routine blood tests to look for signs of inflammation and “autoimmunity” – <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6287017/">antibodies directed against the patient’s own tissues</a>.</p> <p>The person may also have an x-ray of the affected joints (if the symptoms have been present for more than three months) to look for signs of cartilage thinning and bone erosion (small bites out of the bone).</p> <p>Ultrasound and MRI are less useful for <a href="https://advancesinrheumatology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42358-018-0023-y">diagnosis</a>, but can sometimes be used to monitor the condition.</p> <p><strong>How is it treated?</strong></p> <p>While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, medicines can effectively control the condition and stop visible signs of damage.</p> <p>With good treatment, it’s now very rare to see deformed joints or people in wheel chairs.</p> <p>Treatments should start as early as possible and will vary according to how active and severe the condition is. Some people need only a small amount of medicine whereas others will try many different medicines, sometimes in combination.</p> <p>Because the immune system is overactive and mistaken in its target, the treatment approach is to dampen the immune response.</p> <p>Initial treatment may include a low dose of steroids called prednisolone, as well as an immune-suppressing drug such as <a href="https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/medication/drug-types/disease-modifying-drugs/methotrexate-side-effects.php">methotrexate</a> or <a href="https://rheumatology.org.au/patients/documents/Leflunomide_2016_Oct2016_000.pdf">leflunomide</a>, to control the inflammation.</p> <p>If the condition is not controlled by these drugs, then other medicines, mostly injections, called “<a href="https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/things-to-consider-when-taking-a-biologic/">biological</a>” drugs, can be added. These mimic substances naturally produced by the body and block specific substances in the immune system. Very recently, some newer tablets have been approved for rheumatoid arthritis.</p> <p>Pain management may also be needed with medicines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.</p> <p>Inflamed, swollen joints can also periodically be treated by local joint injection of steroids.</p> <p>People with rheumatoid arthritis will also greatly benefit from physiotherapy and occupational therapy. They will learn exercises to maintain joint flexibility, as well as alternative ways to perform daily tasks that may be difficult or painful.</p> <p>But the fatigue is very difficult to treat. Gentle graduated exercise programs, a good healthy diet, understanding of the condition and its treatment, as well as psychological support, can help with fatigue.</p> <p>Most people with rheumatoid arthritis can no longer be distinguished from people without the condition and live full and active lives. However, for a small percentage of unlucky patients who have aggressive disease or cannot tolerate any of the medicines, the course can be more difficult.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Fabien B. Vincent, Research Fellow; Rheumatology Research Group, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Monash University and Michelle Leech, Rheumatologist, Professor/Director Monash Medical Course/ Deputy Dean Health Faculty, Monash University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-rheumatoid-arthritis-the-condition-tennis-champion-caroline-wozniacki-lives-with-119537" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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How running may help you live longer

<p>It’s free, requires no equipment and the scenery can be stunning – it’s no wonder running is among the world’s most popular sports.</p> <p>The number of recreational runners in Australia has doubled from <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/subscriber.nsf/log?openagent&amp;41770_2005-06.pdf&amp;4177.0&amp;Publication&amp;A36EC2C4EAD3937BCA257281001ADA51&amp;0&amp;2005-06&amp;14.02.2007&amp;Latest">2006</a> to <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/subscriber.nsf/log?openagent&amp;41770do001_201314.xls&amp;4177.0&amp;Data%20Cubes&amp;C7DF0B6E60E19B6FCA257DEF001141C2&amp;0&amp;2013-14&amp;18.02.2015&amp;Latest">2014</a>. Now more than 1.35 million <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/subscriber.nsf/log?openagent&amp;41770do001_201314.xls&amp;4177.0&amp;Data%20Cubes&amp;C7DF0B6E60E19B6FCA257DEF001141C2&amp;0&amp;2013-14&amp;18.02.2015&amp;Latest">Australians</a> (7.4%) run for fun and exercise.</p> <p>Our study, published today in the <a href="http://bjsm.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/bjsports-2018-100493">British Journal of Sports Medicine</a>, suggests running can significantly improve your health and reduce the risk of death at a given point in time.</p> <p>And you don’t have to run fast or far to reap the benefits.</p> <p><strong>Our study</strong></p> <p>Past research has found running <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(15)00621-7/fulltext">reduces the risk</a> of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, disability, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.</p> <p>It also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25568330">improves</a> aerobic endurance, heart function, balance and metabolism.</p> <p>These are important components of your overall health status. So, it would be reasonable to assume participation in running increases longevity. But the previous scientific evidence on this has been inconsistent.</p> <p>Our review summarised the results of 14 individual studies on the association between running or jogging and the risk of death from all causes, heart disease and cancer.</p> <p>Our pooled sample included more than 230,000 participants, 10% of whom were runners. The studies tracked participants’ health for between 5.5 and 35 years. During this time, 25,951 of the participants died.</p> <p>When we pooled the data from the studies, we found runners had a 27% lower risk of dying during the study period from any cause compared with non-runners.</p> <p>Specifically, running was associated with a 30% lower risk of death from heart disease and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer.</p> <p><strong>More isn’t necessarily better</strong></p> <p>We found running just once a week, or for 50 minutes a week, reduces the risk of death at a given point in time. The benefits don’t seem to increase or decrease with higher amounts of running.</p> <p>This is good news for those who don’t have much time on their hands for exercise. But it shouldn’t discourage those who enjoy running longer and more often. We found even “hardcore” running (for example, every day or four hours a week) is beneficial for health.</p> <p>Nor do the benefits necessarily increase by running at high speeds. We found similar benefits for running at any speed between 8 and 13 km/h. It might be that running at your own “most comfortable pace” is the best for your health.</p> <p><strong>But keep in mind there are risks as well</strong></p> <p>Running may lead to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15126720">overuse injuries</a>. These occur as a consequence of repeated mechanical stress on the tissue without sufficient time for recovery.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24809248">history of injury</a> and a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11479190">longer duration of activity</a> increase the risk of overuse injuries.</p> <p>You can <a href="http://sma.org.au/resources-advice/injury-fact-sheets/">minimise the risk</a> by avoiding uneven or hard surfaces, wearing appropriate footwear, and trying not to suddenly increase the pace or duration of running.</p> <p>There is always the risk of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21788587">sudden death during exercise</a>, but this occurs very rarely.</p> <p>Importantly, we found the overall benefit of running far outweighs the associated risks. Shorter duration and lower pace of running will further reduce the risks.</p> <p><strong>Tips for beginners</strong></p> <p>Start slow and gradually increase the pace, duration and weekly frequency. Set your aim at 50 minutes a week or more, and run at a comfortable speed. Be persistent, but don’t let yourself run out of steam.</p> <p>The benefits will be similar, regardless of whether you do it in one go or in multiple sessions spread across the week.</p> <p>If you don’t like running alone, consider joining a running group or an organised event such as <a href="https://www.parkrun.com/">parkrun</a>. Running in a group can increase your motivation and provide a fun social experience.</p> <p>It can be hard to start running, but it shouldn’t be too hard. If you don’t like running, don’t force it; there are more than 800 other <a href="https://www.topendsports.com/sport/list/index.htm">interesting sports</a> to choose from. The benefits of <a href="https://theconversation.com/which-sports-are-best-for-health-and-long-life-67636">many other sports</a> (such as swimming, tennis, cycling and aerobics) are comparable to the ones we found for running.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/120578/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Željko Pedišić, Associate Professor, Victoria University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/running-may-help-you-live-longer-but-more-isnt-necessarily-better-120578" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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“Does this look like a murderer”: The photo that shows the end of a 60-year love story

<p>It’s the end of a 60-year-old love story that involves a couple making a pact to end their lives together.</p> <p>Mavis and her husband Dennis Eccleston made a pact after Dennis was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer and asked for help ending his own life.</p> <p>Neither one wanted to live in this world without the other and Mavis wrote a 14-page note before both husband and wife drank a cocktail of prescription drugs.</p> <p>Shortly after ingesting the drugs, the couple were rushed to hospital after being found unconscious by their daughter and granddaughter.</p> <p>Dennis had a ‘do not resuscitate’ order on his record and died soon after arriving at the hospital.</p> <p>He passed away holding hands with his wife in adjoining hospital beds.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Does this look like a murderer? Our mom got charged with murder for trying to commit suicide with our cancer riddled dad, so he would be out of pain. This was the end of a 60 year love story, NOT MURDER!!! <a href="https://twitter.com/dignityindying?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dignityindying</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BBCNews</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ITV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ITV</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/davidgold?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@davidgold</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MeacherMolly?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MeacherMolly</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/kevinwwfc666?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kevinwwfc666</a> <a href="https://t.co/oZb3FwmXqY">pic.twitter.com/oZb3FwmXqY</a></p> — Joy Munns (@JoyMunns) <a href="https://twitter.com/JoyMunns/status/1191398735114383361?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">4 November 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Mavis, however, was saved.</p> <p>The following day, she was arrested and held in a cell for 30 hours. According to Mavis’ family, Mavis left the hospital in tears after a nurse callously told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/09/22/family-80-year-old-cleared-murdering-husband-mercy-killing-claim/" target="_blank">her</a>:</p> <p>“We have got to wait for the police because you have murdered your husband and you are going to prison for a long, long time.”</p> <p>Mavis and Dennis’ daughter Joy told<span> </span><em>BBC Breakfast<span> </span></em>about the horrific ordeal.</p> <p>“I was holding onto her and I didn’t want them to take her,” she said.</p> <p>“You could see that [the police] didn’t want to take her but they had to because it was their job.”</p> <p>In April 2019, Mavis was told she was to be charged with the murder of her husband.</p> <p>“When you hear that someone’s been murdered, you think of something horrific,” Joy explained.</p> <p>“This was my mum and dad we’re talking about.”</p> <p>However, after a three-week trial in September, Mavis was found not guilty by a jury.</p> <p>Mavis spoke to the media after her trial, saying that she was “annoyed” when she woke up in hospital.</p> <p>“I wanted to be with my husband. You wouldn’t let an animal suffer the way Dennis was suffering,” she said.</p> <p>“I don’t regret what I did and wouldn’t change what happened. I live with a very contented family and I am happy for them – but I would still rather be with Dennis.”</p>

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How difficulty in identifying emotions could be affecting your weight

<p>Most of us have turned to food to make ourselves feel better at some point. Whether it is snuggling up with a pot of ice cream following a break up (channelling an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfEC5zA-q1U">inner Bridget Jones</a> perhaps) or turning to chocolate and biscuits to keep us going through a difficult day at work. This is known as <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-some-people-overeat-when-theyre-upset-105872">emotional eating</a>, consuming food in response to emotions. But while it may make us feel better initially, in the long run, it can have a negative impact on our health.</p> <p>We are all aware that obesity is a major societal issue with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32129-3">rates still increasing</a>. Overeating in response to emotions is just one of <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/causes/">the many factors</a> thought to drive weight gain and increase body mass index (BMI). However, while other factors do come into play, it is important to understand how emotions may influence weight gain to help aid weight loss and management.</p> <p>So, why do we turn to food when we’re feeling emotional? <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2012.05.006">Some researchers</a> argue that emotional eating is a strategy used when we are unable to effectively regulate our emotions. This “emotional dysregulation” can be broken down into three aspects – understanding emotions, regulating emotions, and behaviours (what we do in response to a given situation).</p> <p>Understanding our emotions involves being able to identify them and describe them to others. Being unable to do this is part of a personality trait called alexithymia, which literally means having “no words for emotions”. Varying degrees of alexithymia occur from person to person. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-3999(98)00053-1">Around 13%</a> of the population could be classed as alexithymic, with the rest of us falling somewhere along a continuum.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/emotions-how-humans-regulate-them-and-why-some-people-cant-104713">Emotional regulation</a>, meanwhile, encompasses the strategies we use to reduce (negative emotions) and manage our emotions generally. It can include exercising, breathing or meditation, as well as eating.</p> <p>A number of things influence how we regulate emotions. This includes personality factors such as negative affect (general levels of depression and anxiety) and negative urgency (acting rashly in response to negative emotions). When experiencing upsetting emotions, impulsive people may act without thinking. For example when feeling upset during an argument with a loved one, you may say something in the spur of the moment which you later regret. If a person cannot appropriately regulate their emotions, it can lead to the use of ineffective strategies, such as emotional eating.</p> <p><strong>Effects on BMI</strong></p> <p>To date, the links between emotional dysregulation, emotional eating and BMI/weight gain have not really been understood. But in <a href="https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1Y8jGiVKTPRiv">our latest research</a>, we propose a new model of emotional eating, and in turn, BMI.</p> <p>For the study we used difficulty understanding emotions (alexithymia) as a way of characterising emotional dysregulation. As can be seen in the figure below, we propose that alexithymia, negative affect (general levels of depression and anxiety), negative urgency (acting rashly in response to negative emotions), and emotional eating may all play a role in increasing BMI.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/252891/original/file-20190108-32151-wnlrwd.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">Emotional dysregulation model of BMI.</span></p> <p>We tested this model in a student sample (aged 18 to 36) as well as a more representative sample (18-64). Within the student sample, we found a direct link (where one factor, “X”, directly influences another, “Y”) between difficulty identifying emotions and increased BMI. Independent of other factors, individuals who were unable to identify their own emotions generally had a higher BMI.</p> <p>We also found that difficulty identifying emotions indirectly (X influences Y but via one or more additional factors) predicted BMI via depression, negative urgency (rash emotional responses) and emotional eating in the student sample. And that difficulty describing emotions indirectly predicted BMI via anxiety alone, as well as via anxiety, negative urgency and emotional eating. In other words, being unable to identify and describe emotions increases vulnerability to depression and anxiety respectively. In turn, this depression and anxiety increases the likelihood of a person reacting without thinking. This means they are more likely to turn to food to alleviate their negative feelings, experiencing increased weight and BMI as a result.</p> <p>In the more representative sample only indirect links between difficulty identifying emotions and increased BMI were found. But here depression and negative urgency play a stronger role. Specifically, difficulty identifying emotions was indirectly linked to BMI via an increased tendency to experience depression alone. Meanwhile, difficulty describing emotions via an increased tendency to act rashly in response to negative emotions was linked to BMI when anxiety was included in the model.</p> <p>While the precise mechanism by which emotions drive emotional eating and its impact on BMI remains unclear, our study is the first step in developing a model of BMI which is inclusive of multiple factors. Because emotional eating is a coping strategy for emotions, it’s important to consider how emotional regulation relates to weight loss and management programmes. For example, improving the ability to identify and describe emotions may reduce a person’s tendency to turn to food, which can lead to positive effects on their health.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105917/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Aimee Pink, Research Officer, Swansea University; Claire Williams, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Swansea University; Menna Price, Lecturer in Psychology, Swansea University, and Michelle Lee, Professor of Psychology, Swansea University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/how-difficulty-in-identifying-emotions-could-be-affecting-your-weight-105917" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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What time of day should I take my medicine?

<p>Whether you need to take a drug at a specific time of day depends on the medication and the condition you are treating. For some medicines, it doesn’t matter what time you take it. And for others, the pharmacist may recommend you take it at the same time each day.</p> <p>But we estimate that for around 30% of all medicines, the time of day you take it <em>does</em> matter. And a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/advance-article/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz754/5602478">recent study</a> shows blood pressure medications are more effective if you take them at night.</p> <p>So, how do you know if the timing of your medication is critical?</p> <p><strong>When timing doesn’t matter</strong></p> <p>In most cases, it’s not important when you take your medicine. For instance, you can take non-drowsy antihistamines for hay fever, or analgesics for pain when you need them. It doesn’t matter if it is morning, noon or night.</p> <p>What is more important is the time interval between each dose. For instance, paracetamol needs to be taken at least four hours apart, any closer and you run the risk of taking a toxic dose.</p> <p>Even when a medication <em>doesn’t need</em> to be taken at a particular time, the pharmacist may still recommend you take it at the same time every day anyway.</p> <p>This daily pattern helps remind you to take it. An example is taking the oral contraceptive at the same time each day, simply out of habit.</p> <p>For the <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/microlut-tablets">mini pill</a>, taking it at the same time is actually necessary. But the actual time of day can be whatever works best for you.</p> <p><strong>When does it matter?</strong></p> <p>It may seem fairly obvious to take some medicines at particular times. For example, it makes sense to taking sleeping medications, such as <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/temazepam">temazepam</a>, at night before you go to bed.</p> <p>Some antidepressants, such as <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/endep-tablets">amitryptyline</a> or <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/avanza-tablets">mirtazapine</a>, have drowsy side effects. So it also makes sense to take them at night.</p> <p>For other medicines, taking them in the morning is more logical. This is true for diuretics, such as <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/lasix-tablets">furosemide</a>, which helps you get rid of excess fluid via your urine; you don’t want to be getting up in the night for this.</p> <p>For other medications, it’s not obvious why they have to be taken at a particular time of day. To understand why, we have to understand our circadian rhythm, our own internal body clock. Some systems in our body work at different times of day within that rhythm.</p> <p>For instance, the enzymes controlling cholesterol production in your liver are most active at night. So there may be some benefit to taking lipid (cholesterol) lowering drugs, such as <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/zocor-tablets">simvastatin</a>, at night.</p> <p>Finally, sometimes it’s important to take medications only on particular days. <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/dbl-methotrexate-tablets">Methotrexate</a> is a medicine used for rheumatoid arthritis and severe psoriasis, and the timing of this medication is critical.</p> <p>You should only take it on the same day once a week, and when taken this way it is quite safe. But if you mistakenly take it daily, as happened recently with <a href="https://www.meridianlawyers.com.au/insights/medication-misadventure-methotrexate-reminder-pharmacists-exercise-independent-judgment-safety-prescribed-medicine/">a patient in Victoria</a>, then it can cause serious illness or even <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/healthcare/worrying-rise-in-accidental-overdose-of-prescription-drug-methotrexate-20160606-gpcaz3.html">death</a>.</p> <p><strong>What about blood pressure medicines?</strong></p> <p>One of the ways the body regulates blood pressure is through a pathway of hormones known as the <a href="http://pharma.bayer.com/en/innovation-partnering/research-and-development-areas/cardiovascular/the-raas-system/#targetText=The%20renin%2Dangiotensin%2Daldosterone%20system%20(RAAS)%20is%20a,release%20an%20enzyme%20called%20renin">renin, angiotensin and aldosterone system</a>.</p> <p>This system responds to various signals, like low blood pressure or stressful events, and controls blood volume and the constriction of blood vessels to regulate your blood pressure.</p> <p>Importantly, this system is more active while you’re asleep at night. And a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/advance-article/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz754/5602478">recent study</a>, which found blood pressure medication is more effective at night, may change the way we use medicines to treat high blood pressure.</p> <p>Two types of drugs typically prescribed to lower blood pressure are <a href="http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Medicines/Medicinetypes/ACEInhibitors">angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors</a>, such as <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/apo-perindopril-arginine-tablets">perindopril</a>, and <a href="http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Medicines/Medicinetypes/ARBs">angiotensin receptor blockers</a> (known as ARBs), such as <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/irbesartan-an-tablets">irbesartan</a>. These drugs dilate blood vessels (make them wider) to reduce your blood pressure.</p> <p>Until now, doctors and pharmacists have often advised patients to take these medications in the morning, assuming it’s good to have a hit of the drugs when you’re up and about.</p> <p>But this study found taking blood pressure medications at night produced a significant reduction (45%) in heart disease, including fewer strokes, heart attacks and heart failure compared to taking them in the morning.</p> <p>Taking them at night also meant people’s blood pressure was better controlled and their kidneys were healthier.</p> <p>So if you take one of these drugs to control your blood pressure and aren’t sure what you should do, talk to your pharmacist or doctor. While evidence is building to support taking them at night, this might not be appropriate for you.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Nial Wheate, Associate Professor | Program Director, Undergraduate Pharmacy, University of Sydney and Andrew Bartlett, Associate Lecturer Pharmacy Practice, University of Sydney</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/what-time-of-day-should-i-take-my-medicine-125809" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Do we have to clean out our pores?

<p>Many of us would have seen, if not tried, various products claiming to clean the dirt out of our pores. From scrubs to cleansers to plasters that stick to our faces, there are many tools at our disposal.</p> <p>But do we actually need to clean out our pores? Or are the little black stems on the other side of the sticky plaster or mask fine where they are?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tTXHoN3jkM8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">There are many products on the market to clean out pores.</span></p> <p>The pores on our face, just like our ear canals, are designed to clean themselves. So for most people, leaving them to their own devices is fine, and just cleansing the face is enough. But there are a variety of reasons why pores can become blocked, causing blackheads to form under the skin. These blackheads are made up mostly of dead skin, and some dirt.</p> <p>Hormones, bacteria or sometimes too much cleansing (because this can irritate the skin, causing it to thicken) can cause pores to block. This is a common cause of acne. This is because when the pore blocks there is back pressure in the oil gland which can then rupture, releasing very irritating oils. It’s these that cause the red lesions known as acne.</p> <p>It’s important to never squeeze a blackhead too much because you might cause the oil glands to rupture back into the skin, causing an even worse reaction. You can buy a special blackhead removing tool from the chemist and this avoids breaking a blackhead under the skin. There are also medical prescription gels that can clear pores. Vitamin A products stop the skin lining the pores from thickening, so they don’t block the oil glands, leading to acne.</p> <p>Some people have genetically bigger and more noticeable pores, and pores get bigger as we age. This doesn’t mean they’re more likely to fill up with dirt. The only issue is some people don’t like the way this looks and can feel self-conscious about their bigger pores.</p> <p><strong>What are you trying to achieve?</strong></p> <p>There are a few different ways to think about your pores. Some people have normal skin and just want to clean their face. In some people pores are blocked with a condition such as acne. And some have normal skin and just want their pores to appear smaller.</p> <p>If your skin is normal (no acne and the pores are not prominent) and you just want to clean your face, just wash your face gently to avoid irritating your skin, which can cause your pores to appear bigger. Using hot water can inflame your face and dry it out, so stick with lukewarm or cool water. Use a gentle cleanser, but if your skin is on the dry side, you don’t need to use a cleanser.</p> <p>If you want to use one, make sure it’s non-abrasive and doesn’t contain chemicals that will dry out your face. Pat your face dry with a soft towel and don’t rub it or scrub it. This can irritate the pores and cause them to swell and block.</p> <p>If you have acne, using a chemical exfoliant such as alpha hydroxy and or beta hydroxy acid will exfoliate your skin without having to scrub it. This means there is no damage to the pore. The longer you leave the cleanser on the more it works.</p> <p>If you overdo it, the skin will dry and start to flake and scale. Importantly, a break from the cleanser is better than just putting on moisturiser, which could add to the pore blockage.</p> <p>If your aim is cosmetic and you want to make your pores appear smaller, many opt for micro-dermabrasion. This is a process that many dermal technicians perform with an abrasive device and suction to wear away the very top layer of the skin (the epidermis). The process is usually performed with the aid of a strong cleanser.</p> <p>This treatment is not something to try yourself. The suction can help unblock the pores, but too much friction can irritate them. So you have to ensure you’re not getting worse after these treatments. This treatment should be used no more than once a month, since it can damage your skin if it’s done too often.</p> <p><strong>What can be harmful?</strong></p> <p><strong>Steaming</strong>: heating the face can make the blood vessels stand out and cause rosacea (a red rash) in those who are prone to it. The oils are dissolved more readily and stripped from the face, which means, unless you really have very oily skin, it will dry out. <a href="https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-540-89656-2_42">We now know heat ages the skin</a> so it makes sense to avoid this type of treatment for most people.</p> <p><strong>Facial brush</strong>: while a facial brush will exfoliate your skin, the risk is that the pore will swell due to the irritation, causing more blockage.</p> <p><strong>Facial scrub</strong>: gels, creams, cleansers and scrubs containing tiny particles that exfoliate your face can also cause swelling and block the pores.</p> <p><strong>Pore strips</strong>: clay masks and pore-strips pull out the substances that accumulate in pores. They do remove the pore contents faster than nature intended, but they are relatively gentle on the pore compared to the scrubs. They can, however, leave the skin more sensitive to anything applied shorty after.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/75288/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Michael Freeman, Dermatologist, Associate Professor, Bond University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-do-we-have-to-clean-out-our-pores-75288" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Child hospitalised after ingesting unexpected object while trick or treating

<p>A pre-school age child has been rushed to hospital in Victoria after she ate a drug that was mixed in with lollies while out trick or treating.</p> <p>The child was enjoying Halloween festivities in Bacchus Marsh when the incident occurred.</p> <p>Victoria Police spoke to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/national/victoria/news/bacchus-marsh-child-hospitalised-after-ingesting-unexpected-object-while-out-trick-or-treating/news-story/f30013300a87cb5ec46641d2fb6dee5c" target="_blank">news.com.au</a></em><span> </span>about the incident.</p> <p>“Investigators have been told that the child may have ingested a prescription medication and are currently making inquiries as to how this happened,” police said in a statement.</p> <p>The child became ill while trick or treating just after 8 pm yesterday and the child’s mother noticed that she was not well. The mother quickly called an ambulance and the child was taken to hospital for observation.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">A little girl has been rushed to hospital after falling ill while trick or treating in Bacchus Marsh. Police say the child appears to have swallowed prescription medication which may have been mixed in with her lollies while out door knocking. <a href="https://t.co/fiL2O99hCo">https://t.co/fiL2O99hCo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/7NEWS?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#7NEWS</a> <a href="https://t.co/aKcnA3ilFU">pic.twitter.com/aKcnA3ilFU</a></p> — 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) <a href="https://twitter.com/7NewsMelbourne/status/1189996166504538112?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">31 October 2019</a></blockquote> <p>The drug ingested has reportedly been used to treat psychosis and may have become mixed up with other sweet that were collected by the girl.</p> <p>Police are investigating but currently do not have reports of similar incidents.</p> <p>The girl’s parents told<em> <a rel="noopener" href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/health-wellbeing/halloween-fright-as-preschool-aged-girl-is-rushed-to-hospital-while-trick-or-treating-c-534560" target="_blank">Channel 7</a></em><span> </span>that they’re using the incident as a warning to other parents who went trick or treating in the same area.</p>

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“Felt like acid”: ALDI forced to defend sunscreen after customer’s horror stories

<p>ALDI has been forced to defend a heavily criticised sunscreen range known as Ombra SPF 50+ as there have been several accusations from unhappy customers who were left with horrific sunburn.</p> <p>Shoppers who bought the product have said that they were left with burns and skin irritations, but ALDI said that the sunscreen has passed industry testing and is safe to use.</p> <p>Complaints have emerged, with many customers giving the product a one-star rating.</p> <p>“Used this once and would never use it or recommend ever. Face felt like I had acid on it. My face was red and burned for hours after. Very, very itchy.”</p> <p>“The Ombra 50+ spray is horrendous,” one woman said.</p> <p>“I reapplied twice and was in the sun for a few hours at most (I am very pale), and I got absolutely roasted. It’s criminal to sell this product with the intensity of the Australian sun.”</p> <p>A father from Queensland was also left with a nasty surprise after using the sunscreen.</p> <p><br /><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="post_image_group" src="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/47446003/big-ALDI-sunscreen-ombra.jpg" alt="" data-asset_id="47446003" data-url-thumb="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/47446003/thumb-ALDI-sunscreen-ombra.jpg" data-url-thumb-small="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/47446003/thumb_small-ALDI-sunscreen-ombra.jpg" data-url-thumb-big-scaled="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/47446003/thumb_big_scaled-ALDI-sunscreen-ombra.jpg" data-url-large="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/47446003/large-ALDI-sunscreen-ombra.jpg" data-url-big="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/47446003/big-ALDI-sunscreen-ombra.jpg" data-url-original="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/47446003/ALDI-sunscreen-ombra.jpg" data-filename="ALDI-sunscreen-ombra.jpg" data-is-gif="false" data-post-id="501854464&quot;" /><span> </span><span> </span><br /><br /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Photo credit: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.canstarblue.com.au/health-beauty/brands/aldi-sunscreen/" target="_blank">Canstar Review</a></em></p> <p><span>"We went for a swim 15 to 30 minutes after applying, dried and immediately applied again," Tate told </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://7news.com.au/weather/aldi-ombra-sunscreen-slammed-as-acid-after-queensland-family-burns-c-526973" target="_blank">7NEWS.com.au</a></em><span>.</span></p> <p>"People refer to it as acid. You may as well cover yourself in vegetable oil," he said.</p> <p>However, some customers have said that the horrific reactions are just different types of skin reacting to the active ingredients in the sunscreen.</p> <p>“It’s not the actual sunscreen it’s how different individuals react to the active ingredients in it,” a woman said.</p> <p>“It’s the same with every type of sunscreen. It’s why you should always patch test...”</p> <p>An ALDI spokesperson told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/felt-like-acid-customers-reveal-aldi-sunscreen-horror-stories-050459767.html" target="_blank">Yahoo News Australia</a><span> </span></em>that the sunscreen meets industry standards, but they will investigate complaints.</p> <p>“We are always concerned to hear if a customer has experienced issues with our products and we will thoroughly investigate any complaints,” ALDI said.</p> <p>“We can confirm ALDI Ombra sunscreens are extensively tested to ensure they meet best practice, safety and industry standards before they become available to customers.</p> <p>“They are regulated by the TGA (Therapeutic Good Administration Australia) and ALDI adheres to all their requirements.</p> <p>“As outlined on the product labels, ALDI Australia recommends customers carefully follow application instructions to achieve optimum protection including reapplying often enough and using the adequate thickness.”</p>

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How being part of a social group improves your health

<p>It’s well established that people who feel socially isolated, or as though they don’t belong, have worse mental health than those who feel socially connected. But in a study recently published in the <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004867417723990">Australian &amp; New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry</a>, we’ve shown that increasing your level of social connection can protect your future mental health.</p> <p>Previous research has found “social connectedness” is at least as <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316">good for your health</a> as quitting smoking or exercise. It aids recovery from physical and mental illness, and provides resilience for stressful life events and transitions. So what is social connectedness, and how can we get more of it?</p> <h2>What is social connectedness?</h2> <p>Social connectedness isn’t about being popular, or having a lot of friends. Although it can come from the personal relationships you have with other individuals, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953614005632">research finds</a> it’s belonging to groups that’s most important for your health.</p> <p>When we feel we truly belong to a group – like being part of “the Marsh family” or “us Stanley Street residents” – we benefit from both the bonds we share with other group members, and how belonging to that group tells us something about who we are.</p> <p>Social connectedness is crucial to physical and mental health. A 2010 <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316">review of 148 studies</a> found that people who felt less socially connected had more risk of early death than those who smoked, drank or were obese.</p> <p>Therapeutic programs that focus on <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00127-017-1372-2">building social connectedness</a> are effective in treating depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. But improving someone’s social connectedness can also support and protect the health of people in their everyday lives.</p> <p>For example, people who make new social group connections are <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953613005194">less likely to develop</a> depression. And people who maintain and build their social group connections have greater well-being during the transition to <a href="http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/2/e010164.short">retirement</a> or <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1348/014466608X397628/full">university</a>.</p> <p>Social connectedness has also been positively associated with mental health in large, population-based studies of <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953615000301">Australian</a>, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953615300563">British</a> and <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953612000275">American</a> adults.</p> <h2>What our study means</h2> <p>Our <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004867417723990">latest study</a> investigated the link between social connectedness and mental health in 25,000 New Zealand adults over four years using the longitudinal <a href="https://www.psych.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/our-research/research-groups/new-zealand-attitudes-and-values-study.html">New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS)</a>. We asked people about their personal feelings of belonging with others in their community and found when a person’s level of social connection goes down, they experience worse mental health a year later.</p> <p>The relationship also went the other way: people with good mental health were more socially connected a year later. But, importantly, the influence of social connectedness on mental health over time was about three times stronger than the other way around.</p> <p>Despite all this knowledge, there’s been little change in health care, public policy, or individual behaviour. Government <a href="http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/healthyliving/Pages/improving_your_health.aspx">health departments</a> specifically <a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/health/staying-healthy">recommend healthy eating</a>, exercise and quitting smoking to improve health, yet tend to omit any mention of social connection. One reason might be that it’s unclear how social connection works to promote health, compared to other factors like smoking.</p> <p>The best way to understand this measure is to see it as a psychological resource. Just like money in the bank means you can absorb financial shocks, a broad network of social group memberships means you can better navigate the physical and mental stresses of life.</p> <p>Social connectedness can act as a resource by providing a sense of <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.2169/abstract">shared meaning</a> and purpose. Weeding a community garden each Saturday is about more than earning your share of zucchinis, for instance. It’s also about recognising the garden cannot flourish without the efforts of many people, and taking part in something larger than yourself.</p> <p>Having an important role to play in the garden’s success means that the group’s purpose becomes your purpose. Another way being socially connected is like a resource is it provides access to <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0898264315589578">material and emotional support</a> which helps during stressful events and difficult life transitions. If one member of a church group is in grief, others may step in to provide food, or help the grieving member speak about their feelings.</p> <p>Such expression of other group members’ commitment reinforces the feelings of belonging and security that the grieving person finds in their church group.</p> <h2>How to improve your social connectedness</h2> <p>How can we harness the power of social connection to improve our health and the health of our communities? Remember that social connectedness is more than mere contact with other people, or even merely being a member of social groups. It is about feeling that you belong to that group; that you trust others and they trust you in a shared purpose, and that group members can rely on each other.</p> <p>At a personal level, you could take stock of your existing relationships and group memberships, and make a change if these relationships are not trusting, mutually supportive, or have a shared meaning and purpose.</p> <p>At a community level, you could join or lead initiatives that will build trust and psychological bonds between community members. Local fetes and festivals are popular, but one-off events are not by <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953609007345">themselves sufficient</a> to promote social connectedness. But these events could be a starting point for community members to discover and join ongoing, supportive social groups with their own shared purposes.</p> <p>This might include finding a shared purpose for existing social groups, such as the <a href="http://mensshed.org/what-is-a-mens-shed/">“men’s sheds” movement</a>, which sets up places for men to come together and work on meaningful projects in the company of other men. Or it could include joining new groups like the <a href="http://www.parkrun.com.au/">popular parkrun</a> held weekly in public parks across Australia, which brings together the dual benefits of social connection and exercise.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/81996/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Alexander Saeri, Postdoctoral Fellow, UNSW; Chris G. Sibley, Professor, University of Auckland; Fiona Kate Barlow, Senior Research Fellow, The University of Queensland; Sam Stronge, PhD Candidate, University of Auckland, and Tegan Cruwys, Australian Research Council Fellow: Discovery Early Career Research Award, The University of Queensland</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/are-you-part-of-a-social-group-making-sure-you-are-will-improve-your-health-81996" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Why do we get dark circles under our eyes?

<p><strong>I’ve always wondered why we get dark circles under our eyes, and whether anything can be done about them - Fran, 34, Melbourne</strong></p> <p>Many people have an appearance of dark circles on the lower eyelids, and they have many different causes.</p> <p>Dark rings under the eyes are worsened by general fatigue, especially lack of sleep. The daily fluctuation is due to swelling of the skin, leading to a change in light diffusion, which looks like increased darkness of the skin.</p> <p>For some people, all we can say is that their parents had dark circles under their eyes and therefore they do too. This trait can <a href="http://www.pigmentinternational.com/article.asp?issn=2349-5847;year=2018;volume=5;issue=1;spage=1;epage=3;aulast=Daroach">run in families</a>, and is more pronounced in certain ethnic groups.</p> <p>Sun exposure can also create dark circles under the eyes, by increasing the melanin content. The skin in this region can pigment more than the surrounding skin because it’s more sensitive.</p> <p>Because the skin is thinnest under the eyes, the blood vessels here will be closer to the surface, meaning they look darker. As we age, our skin gets thinner and we lose collagen (the main structural protein in skin) and elastin (a highly elastic protein in connective tissue), which is why we get wrinkles. This often makes the blood vessels (which are dark in colour) under our eyes stand out more.</p> <p>The tear trough (the depression below the eye) also deepens with age because of movement of fat under the eye forwards, creating shadowing below it.</p> <p>The dark circles could also be a mere shadow from tired, puffy eyelids, or just from the anatomical shape of someone’s eye sockets: some are hollowed more than others.</p> <p>People with this appearance could be suffering from a skin condition of the eyelid skin such as eczema or allergic contact dermatitis. Inflammation from dry and sore skin, and also rubbing, cause melanin production.</p> <p>Some people may not always have dark circles, but may have been rubbing their eyes from fatigue or itchiness caused by hayfever. In these cases, the dark rings will simply go away after a while.</p> <p><strong>Can dark circles under the eyes be treated?</strong></p> <p>Darker skin under the eyes is a perfectly normal and natural appearance. But if it bothers you, there are a few options. Treatment will depend on what causes the dark circles, and these causes need to be addressed. In some cases, only an improvement may be possible.</p> <p>Removing the cause of inflammation of the eyelids will stop the melanin factory from overproducing. Then a fading cream can be used to reduce the colour. Be careful to use a cream without hydroquinone, which is a bleach that can harm our skin if used for too long, as it will be necessary to treat for a very long time.</p> <p>Ideally a fading cream would contain <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3663177/">licorice root extract</a>, as there is some evidence this inhibits the melanin factory in the cells without causing toxicity to the cells. Uva-Ursi plant leaf extract and a type of nanopeptide (Nanopeptide-1) are also commonly used. But while we know they are safe to use their effectiveness hasn’t been tested.<!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Michael Freeman, Dermatologist, Associate Professor, Bond University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/ive-always-wondered-why-do-we-get-dark-circles-under-our-eyes-90172" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Adele shows off incredible weight loss transformation

<p>Adele showed off her incredible weight loss as she attended celebrity friend Drake’s birthday party, shortly after her recent marriage split.</p> <p>The 31-year-old partied at the do in Goya studios, Hollywood looking sensational in chic off-the-shoulder dress and her hair tied back in a slick ponytail.</p> <p>The star was accompanied by several other celebrities, including Diddy, Chris Brown, and Future.</p> <p>Although, her new beau Skepta, who she reportedly began dating last month, was nowhere to be seen.</p> <p>The singer separated from 45-year-old Simon Konecki in April after eight years together, with the pair sharing a seven-year-old son Angelo together.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4AnJMaAkhk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4AnJMaAkhk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">ADELE LOOKING GORGEOUS at Drake’s Birthday Party | this is giving me the kylie jenner vibes skdbskdks [#adele #officialadelefanpage | #adeleph #adelephilippines]</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/officialadelefanpage/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Adele</a> (@officialadelefanpage) on Oct 24, 2019 at 10:36am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Following her split, Adele has been slowly losing weight, crediting her new figure to Reformer pilates with friend Ayda Field.</p> <p>A source close to star told<span> </span><em>The Sun</em><span> </span>at the time: “Adele has been out enjoying herself and she sees that as her priority at the moment, along with being a mum to Angelo.</p> <p>“She has been loving her new workout regimen and it really works for her.</p> <p>“It’s a bonus that she has shifted some weight.</p> <p>“Her mates are glad she’s letting loose and there’s nothing but good feelings towards her. She’s got a new lease of life.”</p>

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Why do I have stretch marks and what can I do about them?

<p>Most women get them. Some men get them. Few people welcome them. Stretch marks, or <em>stria distensae</em> as they are known medically, are scars that appear when the skin is stretched beyond its <a href="http://physicsnet.co.uk/a-level-physics-as-a2/materials/hookes-law/">elastic limit</a>.</p> <p>Physicists define the elastic limit as the maximum force that can be applied to solid material before the onset of permanent deformation. In dermatology, when stresses up to the elastic limit are removed, the skin resumes its original size and shape. When forces beyond the elastic limit are removed, the skin remains permanently stretch-marked.</p> <p>The younger you are, the firmer your skin. The firmer your skin, the lower your elastic limit and the more likely you are to develop stretch marks. Stretch marks occur most frequently during adolescent or pregnancy growth.</p> <p>The primary cause is <a href="http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/41348/1/striae.pdf">mechanical</a> stretching of the skin due to underlying tissue expansion. Parallel inflammatory streaks appear and align perpendicular to the direction of skin tension. Microscopically, the skin is initially swollen, inflamed and elastin bundles in the inner layer of skin (the dermis) are disrupted.</p> <p>Over time, the inflammation eventually fades and is replaced by scar tissue. This produces a thinned outer layer of skin (the epidermis), loss of dermal elastin, and a replacement of the dermis by abnormally dense collagen fibres.</p> <p><strong>Risk factors</strong></p> <p>Adolescent stretch marks may appear on the lower abdomen, lower part of the back, buttocks, thighs and female breasts. They are most common on the thighs of girls and on the knees of boys.</p> <p>Hormonal and genetic factors are also involved in the development of pregnancy stretch marks. Girls who develop adolescent stretch marks on their breasts are more likely to develop abdominal stretch marks during pregnancy. Younger women, women who gain more weight during pregnancy, women with twins or large babies and women who go post-term are all <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1913631/">more likely</a> to get stretch marks.</p> <p>Weightlifters are more susceptible to stretch marks, especially those who use anabolic <a href="http://example.com/http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Steroids">steroids</a>. Stretch marks can also occur in <a href="http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Cushing's_syndrome">Cushing’s syndrome</a> or following the administration of oral and topical <a href="http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Hormones_-_cortisol_and_corticosteroids">corticosteroids</a>.</p> <p><strong>Prevention and treatment</strong></p> <p>Creams and lotions can’t prevent stretch marks. While not all preventative treatments have been evaluated, and some treatments have shown promise in individual studies, a <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000066.pub2/abstract#leftBorder">Cochrane review</a> in 2012 concluded there is:</p> <blockquote> <p>no high-quality evidence to support the use of any of the topical preparations in the prevention of stretch marks during pregnancy.</p> </blockquote> <p>People with stretch marks have four options:</p> <p><strong>1) Learn to love them</strong>: Embrace stretch marks. Show them off. Post them on <a href="http://example.com/http://news.yahoo.com/viral-social-media-campaign-promotes-stretch-mark-acceptance-160825898.html">social media</a>. Wear them as a badge of honour.</p> <p><strong>2) Wait for them to fade</strong>: Most stretch marks begin red (stria rubra) and become white (stria alba) and less conspicuous over the course of a year or two. For people concerned by their stretch marks, reassurance is usually all that’s required.</p> <p><strong>3) Use creams to fade them</strong>: While creams won’t prevent stretch marks, they may help fade them, according to a recent comprehensive <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjd.12681/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&amp;userIsAuthenticated=false">review</a>.</p> <p>Topical retinoid creams such as <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/tretinoin-topical-route/description/drg-20066521">tretinoin</a> are thought to work through induction of collagen synthesis and should be applied once daily for six months. Tretinoin works better on early red stretch marks, while white stretch marks respond poorly.</p> <p>Skin irritation is a common side effect of tretinoin, so it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. Cocoa butter is less irritating, but also less effective. Newer silicone gels seem to be more effective.</p> <p><strong>4) Laser</strong>: While pulsed dye vascular lasers or <a href="http://www.scfa.edu.au/skin-conditions/laser-treatments/intense-pulsed-light-ipl">intense pulse light</a> (IPL) treatments can fade red stretch marks, this is unnecessary, as most will fade naturally within six to 12 months.</p> <p>After a number of false starts, lasers have finally come of age for white stretch marks. The <a href="http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cdrh_docs/pdf11/k110907.pdf">fractionated laser</a> works by burning tiny pin-prick-sized holes in the skin. The wounds are not visible to the naked eye, but microscopic wound healing to repair these tiny holes promotes new collagen formation and improves the skin thickness and appearance of the stretch marks.</p> <p>Responses vary but most people require four treatments, spaced four to six weeks apart, to achieve on average a 50 per cent improvement. Inflammation is common after treatment and generally lasts 24 to 48 hours.</p> <p>But for the vast majority of stretch marks, active treatment is not necessary. Most stretch marks naturally fade and become less conspicuous over time.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/36779/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Rodney Sinclair, Professor Dermatology, Honorary, Epworth Hospital, University of Melbourne</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-why-do-i-have-stretch-marks-and-what-can-i-do-about-them-36779" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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“It’s something that I never thought I would do”: Emma Watkins opens up about surgery battle

<p>Emma Watkins has opened up about her struggle with endometriosis, sharing why she had been reluctant to have a surgery for the debilitating condition.</p> <p>Endometriosis, which affects more than one in 10 Australian women, is a disease in which a tissue similar to the womb lining grows in locations outside the uterus.</p> <p>The Yellow Wiggle was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 28 after experiencing years of pain she assumed to be normal.</p> <p>“I think there is definitely that element of fear, women are really scared to talk about it,” she told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://honey.nine.com.au/latest/emma-watkins-yellow-wiggle-endometriosis-surgery-update/396a0ad6-d52e-41a7-be29-bab4a28b5c04" target="_blank"><em>9Honey</em></a>.</p> <p>Last year, she sat out the Wiggles’ Australian tour to undergo surgery, a decision that she said she did not take lightly.</p> <p>“It’s something that I never thought I would do,” the 30-year-old said.</p> <p>At the time, she told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/wiggles-star-endometriosis-freaked-surgery-042516154.html" target="_blank"><em>The Herald Sun Weekend</em></a><span> </span>that her condition was worsening in the lead up to going under the knife.</p> <p>“What was freaking me out leading up to the surgery was I was starting to feel not great doing lots of shows,” she said then.</p> <p>“I lost so much blood I had an infusion, and that’s when it started to hit me.</p> <p>“I had had really bad periods since school pretty much, but when the doctors are actually in there, they can see the severity.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BhvMvJ0HAo6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BhvMvJ0HAo6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Emma_Wiggle (@emma_wiggle)</a> on Apr 18, 2018 at 8:47pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>She said of the procedure, “I try to be nice to my body and I didn’t really want the surgery in the first place, but now I can see it’s really helped me and my body – it’s so different than it was two years ago.”</p> <p>While the procedure improved her symptoms, she said she still needs to manage her condition with pilates, yoga and a balanced diet.</p> <p>Watkins said since she went public with her diagnosis, she had been approached by other women, including young mums, who said they started seeking help for their symptoms because of her.</p> <p>“So many people have reached out and it’s something that has really affected a lot of people in a positive way,” she said.</p> <p>The entertainer is encouraging people to see a health professional if they are experiencing pain.</p> <p>“Even if your symptoms don’t sound right, it doesn’t mean you don’t have it,” she told<span> </span><em>9Honey</em>.</p> <p>“It’s really about listening to your body, and if you don’t feel that something is right it is best to find someone you can talk to.”</p>

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Man awarded $11.8 billion for bizarre side effects to Johnson & Johnson medication

<p>US pharmaceutical giant Johnson &amp; Johnson has been ordered to pay a hefty AU$11.8 billion in damages after they failed to warn that its drug, Risperdal, could cause bizarre breast growth in men. </p> <p>Nicholas Murray told a court in Philadelphia the psychiatric medication, normally prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, had made him grow breasts. </p> <p>His attorneys, Tom Kline and Jason Itkine, argued the drug had links to gynecomastia, an incurable condition - and accused Johnson &amp; Johnson of making billions of dollars while illegally marketing and promoting the drug. </p> <p>“(Johnson &amp; Johnson is) a corporation that valued profits over safety and profits over patients,” they said in a<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.jnj.com/our-company/johnson-johnson-statement-on-todays-risperdal-verdict" target="_blank">statement.</a></p> <p>However Johnson &amp; Johnson immediately challenged the ruling, explaining the damages as “grossly disproportionate” in a statement. </p> <p>“The company is confident (the ruling) will be overturned,” it said. “We will be immediately moving to set aside this excessive and unfounded verdict.”</p> <p>The company said the courts exclusions of key evidence left it unable to present a meaningful defence, including what they described was on the drug label that “clearly and appropriately outlined the risks associated with the medicine” or Risperdal’s benefits for patients with serious mental illness.</p> <p>“Further, the plaintiff’s attorneys failed to present any evidence that the plaintiff was actually harmed by the alleged conduct,” the company added.</p> <p>Thousands of lawsuits have been filed over the drug, including in Pennsylvania, California and Missouri.</p> <p>Mr Kline and Mr Itkin said this was the first time a jury had made the decision to award punitive damages and had come up with an amount. </p> <p>Risperdal was approved for the treatment of adults by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1993 and brought in about A$1 billion in sales in 2018.</p>

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How your body image can change in two minutes

<p>Have you ever looked at yourself in a full-length mirror and wished you looked more like the beautiful people who grace the covers of glossy magazines? If so, you are by no means alone.</p> <p>Body dissatisfaction is so prevalent that some academics have referred to it as <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232553767_Women_and_weight_A_normative_discontent">“normative discontent”</a>. Many of those affected not only feel dissatisfied with their bodies, they actually believe they are heavier than they really are – a phenomenon known as body size misperception.</p> <p>Our <a href="http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnins.2016.00334/full">recent study</a> found that people’s perception of their own and others’ body weight could change in as little as two minutes.</p> <p>Participants were asked to view images of people that had been digitally manipulated to appear lighter or heavier than they actually were and decide whether these images looked fatter or thinner than “normal”.</p> <p>After 120 seconds of exposure to manipulated thin bodies, the original-sized body images looked abnormally large to participants while the thinner images were rated as normal.</p> <p>The opposite was also true: exposure to heavier bodies made participants see original body sizes as skinny.</p> <p><strong>Chasing the thin ideal</strong></p> <p>It is hardly news that many are negatively affected by the thin, supposedly ideal images propagated by the media.</p> <p>The connection between social pressure to be thin exerted by these images and feelings of body dissatisfaction – a risk factor for developing eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa – was first made by <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Eating_Disorders.html?id=xM7x05fvUHAC&amp;redir_esc=y">German psychologist Hilde Bruch</a> in the 1970s.</p> <p>Then, in 1980, a study showed that the measurements of <a href="http://river-centre.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/1980-Garner-Sociocultural-Playboy.pdf">Miss America contestants and Playboy centrefold models</a> between 1959 and 1979 were decreasing, supporting claims that the media’s “thin is beautiful” message was spreading.</p> <p>Although many studies in the intervening decades have confirmed this link, there is still relatively little understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying the perception of our own bodies in relation to what we see on TV and in magazines.</p> <p><strong>Retuning the brain</strong></p> <p>Since the time of Aristotle, it has been known that prolonged viewing of certain stimuli can cause after-effects that alter the perception of subsequently viewed objects. Often, the after-effect produces an appearance that neutral stimuli are in a sense opposite to the original stimulus to which the observer was overexposed.</p> <p>One famous example is the <a href="http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/mot-adapt/index.html">motion after-effect</a> – also known as the waterfall illusion. Here, exposure to movement in a particular direction, such as the downward motion of a waterfall, can cause stationary rocks beside the waterfall to appear to move in the opposite direction, that is upwards.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EyWT9IIXV3s?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">Keep staring at the dot in the middle to experience the motion after-effect.</span></p> <p>Similar effects can be seen for <a href="http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(08)01346-8">other object properties</a>, such as <a href="https://freudforthought.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/colour-after-effects/">colour</a>. As these phenomena have been studied for centuries, their physiological basis is pretty well understood. After-effects are accompanied by a reduction in responsiveness of neurons in the visual areas of the brain.</p> <p>These reductions were once assumed to be the result of tiredness of the overworked cells, but more modern theories propose that the change in brain activity serves to <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/fitting-the-mind-to-the-world-9780198529699?cc=au&amp;lang=en&amp;">tune our perceptual systems</a> to the environmental conditions. This gives us a frame of reference for what is normal or expected as determined by our visual diet throughout our lives.</p> <p>Although early studies concentrated on simple stimuli, such as motion or colour, our recent investigations have shown that higher-level properties, such as body size and shape, can cause similar after-effects.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/132905/original/image-20160803-12196-rlv82n.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/132905/original/image-20160803-12196-rlv82n.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">Stare at the cross on the left for around 30 seconds without moving your eyes. Then transfer your gaze to the cross on the right. You should see an after-effect of the complementary colour in the circles even though they are actually white. As they are opposite colours, the positions of the red and green circles will swap, as will the positions of the blue and yellow circles.</span> <em><span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></em></p> <p>It is likely that the neural adaptation associated with these after-effects is the underlying physiological basis of body-size misperception.</p> <p>Our recent study showed that after-effects could actually transfer from others’ bodies to the perception of one’s own. That is, viewing abnormally thin versions of other people’s bodies caused participants to see themselves as heavier than they actually were and vice versa.</p> <p>While this observation fits nicely with the narrative connecting media exposure with body-size misperception in the real world, it also suggests that mechanisms mediating the perception of one’s own and others’ body size and shape are overlapping.</p> <p><strong>Variety is the spice of life</strong></p> <p>Body image is a complex construct, but a better understanding of these mechanisms opens new avenues for a fuller understanding of body size misperception, including how best to manage severe forms of this problem.</p> <p>To give one example, group treatment of people with anorexia nervosa, as commonly occurs in specialist treatment facilities, may be inadvisable given that exposure to extreme body shapes of other sufferers can exacerbate the misperception of one’s own body size.</p> <p>But what should be the advice for us, the dissatisfied mirror-gazers in the general population? While a healthy lifestyle brings many benefits, a strict diet will not correct the misperception of one’s own body size.</p> <p>Instead, the over-sized person you see in the mirror may be more effectively beautified by changing your visual diet. In visual stimuli, as in food, moderation (of skinny celebrities) is key. And, of course, variety (in terms of shape and size) is the spice of life.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/62428/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Kevin Brooks, Associate Professor in Human Visual Perception, Macquarie University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/size-is-largely-in-the-mind-how-your-body-image-can-change-in-two-minutes-62428" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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“Dream come true”: Olivia Newton-John wants more people to have access to medicinal cannabis

<p>Olivia Newton-John believes Australia is “on its way” to making medicinal cannabis legal to those who need it thanks to a $3 million research pledge from the federal government.</p> <p>The<span> </span><em>Grease<span> </span></em>actress and singer is a firm believer in medicinal cannabis in cancer treatment, which she credits to helping her wean off morphine during her third breast cancer battle.</p> <p>“I’m right here, right now, alive and healthy,” she said on Sunday at the annual Wellness Walk and Research Run.</p> <p>“Last year, I was flat on my back in the centre [the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness &amp; Research Centre] and this year, through treatment and medicinal cannabis, I am feeling fantastic.</p> <p>“I hope to be able to soon offer that to everyone – that’s my dream.”</p> <p>Now, that dream is inching closer to becoming reality as the federal government has pledged three million dollars to medicinal cannabis research.</p> <p>“It’s a dream come true. We’re on our way,” said the star.</p> <p>Health Minister Greg Hunt stood beside Newton-John on stage, as he announced the funding will go towards examining how cannabis can be used to help alleviate cancer pain, symptoms and other side effects.</p> <p>He said the government is committed to ensure a “safe, quality supply” of medicinal cannabis to Australian patients, “but only when it is prescribed by a medical professional”.</p> <p>Medicinal cannabis is legal in Australia, but doctors very rarely prescribe it.</p> <p>According to the government, over 11,000 Australians have been approved to use the drug medicinally – mostly this year.</p> <p>“Given the increase in prescribed medicinal cannabis, the Government has supported the nation’s medicinal cannabis industry, and cut red tape to help meet demand,” said Hunt.</p> <p>The Aussie actress said while the funding was a step in the right direction, the amount of Australians with access to the drug is “frustrating”.</p> <p>She wants Australia to follow in the footsteps of the United States where “they’ve discovered it hasn’t caused all the problems that people are afraid of”.</p> <p>“People need to let go of that old hipping thing [about the drug],” she said.</p> <p>“It has helped me incredibly, with pain, with sleep, with anxiety – particularly when I had to wean myself off morphine.”</p> <p>“And I used cannabis.”</p> <p>According to Hunt, there are not enough well-designed clinical studies on medicinal cannabis, and further research is needed to support doctors on their decisions.</p>

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8 early Parkinson’s disease symptoms that are too easy to miss

<p>This movement disorder is more treatable when caught early, but Parkinson’s disease symptoms can appear quite differently from one person to another. Talk to your doctor if you’re worried about any of these signs.</p> <p><strong>Changed handwriting</strong></p> <p>If your handwriting starts to go from big and loopy to small and cramped, this could be one of the earliest Parkinson’s disease symptoms. “Teachers with Parkinson’s will notice students complaining that they can’t read their handwriting when they write on the blackboard,” says Deborah Hall, MD, a neurologist. Look for letters getting smaller and words crowding together. Many patients have slower movement and trouble with repetitive tasks, like handwriting.</p> <p><strong>Reduced sense of smell</strong></p> <p>If you’re having trouble smelling pungent foods or no longer pick up your favourite scents, see a doctor. It’s not the most common symptom of Parkinson’s, but Dr. Hall says patients who suffer a loss of smell report it being the earliest sign they experience. The link between reduced sense of smell and Parkinson’s isn’t clear, but one theory is that the clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein, found in the brains of all Parkinson’s patients, may form in the part of the brain responsible for smell before migrating to other areas and affecting motor function.</p> <p><strong>Trouble sleeping</strong></p> <p>If you were once a peaceful sleeper, but now toss and turn, flail your limbs, or even fall out of bed, those sleep problems could be Parkinson’s disease symptoms. It’s normal to have an occasional restless night, but talk to your doctor if you or your partner notices extra movement when you’re in a deep sleep, or if you start sleep-talking. More research is needed to discover why disturbed sleep and Parkinson’s are related, but one theory is that the degeneration of specific regions of the brain stem that can cause disordered sleeping may play a role in other Parkinson’s disease symptoms.</p> <p><strong>Constipation</strong></p> <p>If you’re not moving your bowels every day, or are increasingly straining, this can be an early sign of Parkinson’s. The disease alters the body’s autonomic nervous system, which controls processes like digestion and bowel function. Constipation on its own isn’t unusual, but if you’re experiencing other symptoms like difficulty sleeping and trouble moving or walking, talk to your doctor.</p> <p><strong>Depression</strong></p> <p>Sometimes patients can develop depression after learning they have Parkinson’s, but it’s also common for people to be depressed years before they start to exhibit physical symptoms, says Michele Tagliati, MD, director of the Movement Disorders Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California.</p> <p>“Parkinson’s is characterised as a movement disorder because of a lack of dopamine in the brain, but there are also low levels of other neurotransmitters like serotonin, which are intimately related to depression,” he says.</p> <p>Parkinson’s patients who are depressed tend to feel apathetic and generally disinterested in things they used to enjoy, compared to feeling intensely sad or helpless, as is common in primary depression. “They lose pleasure in the simple things of life, like waking up in the morning and buying the paper,” says Dr. Tagliati. Treatment for depression includes counselling, antidepressant medication, and in the most extreme cases, electric shock therapy.</p> <p><strong>Tremors or shaking when relaxed</strong></p> <p>Shaking can be normal after lots of exercise or if you’re anxious, or as a side effect of some medications. But a slight shake in your finger, thumb, hand, chin, lip, or limbs when your body is at rest and your muscles are relaxed could signal Parkinson’s disease symptoms, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. About 70 percent of people with the disease experience a resting tremor, and it can become more noticeable during stress or excitement. These are the most common symptoms and often tip people off to the disease, but when Parkinson’s patients think back they realise they experienced loss of smell, disturbed sleep, or anxiety before the tremors began.</p> <p><strong>Stiffness and slowed movements</strong></p> <p>Watch for an abnormal stiffness in your joints along with muscle weakness that doesn’t go away and makes everyday tasks like walking, teeth brushing, buttoning shirts, or cutting food difficult. If you no longer swing your arms when walking, your feet feel “stuck to the floor” (causing you to hesitate before taking a step), or people comment that you look stiff when you haven’t been injured, the National Parkinson Foundation suggests seeing a doctor.</p> <p><strong>Softer voice, or masked face</strong></p> <p>Doctors say that a softer voice or masked, expressionless face is a common sign of the disease. Some patients with Parkinson’s disease symptoms may also talk softer without noticing or have excessively fast speech or rapid stammering. Parkinson’s causes disruption of movement, including facial muscles.</p> <p><em>Written by Alyssa Jung. This article first appeared in </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/8-early-parkinsons-disease-symptoms-that-are-too-easy-to-miss/" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Why loneliness is contagious

<p>Loneliness is a <a href="https://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/sites/default/files/pdfs/Science-2011-Miller-138-401.pdf">common condition affecting around one in three adults</a>. It damages your brain, immune system, and can lead to depression and suicide. Loneliness can also increase your risk of dying prematurely as much as smoking can – and even more so than obesity. If you feel lonely, you tend to feel more stressed in situations that others cope better in, and even though you might get sufficient sleep, you don’t feel rested during the day.</p> <p>Loneliness has also increased <a href="http://science.sciencemag.org/content/331/6014/138.full?sid=6039e2dc-1bcf-4622-ae54-1e5b2816a98d">over the past few decades</a>. Compared to the 1980s, the number of people living alone in the US has increased by about one-third. When Americans were asked about the number of people that they can confide in, the number dropped from three in 1985 to two in 2004.</p> <p>In the UK, 21 to 31 per cent of people report that they feel lonely some of the time, and surveys in other parts of the world report <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391342/">similarly high estimates</a>. And it’s not just adults who feel lonely. Over a tenth of kindergarteners and first graders report feeling lonely in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3865701/">school environment</a>.</p> <p>So many people feel lonely these days. But loneliness is a tricky condition, because it doesn’t necessarily refer to the number of people you talk to or the number of acquaintances you have. You can have many people around you and still feel lonely. As the comedian <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1262981/quotes">Robin Williams</a> put it in the film World’s Greatest Dad:</p> <blockquote> <p>I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>What is loneliness?</strong></p> <p>Loneliness refers to the discrepancy between the number and quality of the relationships that you desire and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391342/">those you actually have</a>. You can have only two friends, but if you get along really well with them and feel that they meet your needs, you’re not lonely. Or you can be in a crowd and feel all alone.</p> <p>But loneliness is not just about how you feel. Being in this state can make you <a href="https://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/sites/default/files/pdfs/Science-2011-Miller-138-401.pdf">behave differently</a>, too, because you have less control over yourself – for example, you’re more likely to eat that chocolate cake for lunch instead of a meal or order take-out for dinner and you will also feel less motivated to exercise, which is important for mental and physical health. You’re also more likely to act aggressively towards others.</p> <p>Sometimes people think that the only way out of loneliness is to simply talk to a few more people. But while that can help, loneliness is less about the number of contacts that you make and more about how you see the world. When you become lonely, you start to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874845/">act and see the world differently</a>. You begin noticing the threats in your environment more readily, you expect to be rejected more often, and become more judgemental of the people you interact with. People that you talk to can feel this, and as a result, start moving away from you, which perpetuates your loneliness cycle.</p> <p><a href="https://tinkering.exploratorium.edu/sites/default/files/pdfs/Science-2011-Miller-138-401.pdf">Studies have shown</a> that (non-lonely) people who hang out with lonely people are more likely to become lonely themselves. So loneliness is contagious, just as happiness is – when you hang out with happy people, you are more likely to become happy.</p> <p>There is also a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3865701/">loneliness gene</a> that can be passed down and, while inheriting this gene doesn’t mean you will end up alone, it does affect how distressed you feel from social disconnection. If you have this gene, you are more likely to feel the pain of not having the kinds of relationships that you want.</p> <p>It’s particularly <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190033&amp;type=printable">bad news for men</a>. Loneliness more often results in death for men than for women. Lonely men are also less resilient and tend to be more depressed than lonely women. This is because men are typically discouraged from expressing their emotions in society and if they do they are judged harshly for it. As such, they might not even admit it to themselves that they’re feeling lonely and tend to wait a long time before seeking help. This can have serious consequences for their mental health.</p> <p><strong>How to escape it</strong></p> <p>To overcome loneliness and improve our mental health, there are certain things we can do. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874845/">Research has looked</a> at the different ways of combating this condition, such as increasing the number of people you talk to, improving your social skills, and learning how to compliment others. But it seems the number one thing is to change your perceptions of the world around you.</p> <p>It’s realising that sometimes people aren’t able to meet up with you, not because there is something inherently wrong with you, but because of other things going on in their lives. Maybe the person that you wanted to have dinner with wasn’t able to accept your invitation because it was too short notice for them and they had already promised someone else they would have drinks. People who aren’t lonely realise this and, as a consequence, don’t get down or start beating themselves up when someone says no to their invitations. When you don’t attribute “failures” to yourself, but rather to circumstances, you become much more resilient in life and can keep going.</p> <p>Getting rid of loneliness is also about letting go of cynicism and mistrust of others. So next time you meet someone new, try to lose that protective shield and really allow them in, even though you don’t know what the outcome will be.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/94376/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Olivia Remes, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/loneliness-is-contagious-and-heres-how-to-beat-it-94376" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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