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I’m taking antibiotics – how do I know I’ve been prescribed the right ones?

<p>In the days before antibiotics, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/34866829/life-before-antibiotics-and-maybe-life-after-an-antibiotic-apocalypse">deaths from bacterial infections</a> were common. Seemingly minor illnesses could escalate in severity, becoming deadly in a matter of hours or days.</p> <p>These days, antibiotics can be life-savers. In the community, they’re <a href="https://theconversation.com/when-should-you-take-antibiotics-42751">commonly used</a> to treat bacterial infections of the lung, urinary tract, eye, throat, skin and gut.</p> <p>But they’re not needed for <em>all</em> bacterial infections – many infections will resolve on their own without treatment.</p> <p>And of course, antibiotics <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/features/antibioticuse/index.html">don’t treat viral infections</a> such as colds and flus, or fungal infections such as tinea or thrush.</p> <p>Even when antibiotics are necessary, they’re not a one-size-fits-all treatment: not all antibiotics kill all types of bacteria.</p> <p><strong>What type of bacteria is causing the infection?</strong></p> <p>If your doctor suspects you have a serious bacterial infection, they will often take a urine or blood test, or a swab to send to the pathologist.</p> <p>At the lab, these tests aim to detect and identify the bacteria causing the infection.</p> <p>Some methods only need to detect bacterial DNA. These DNA-based approaches are called “genotypic methods” and are quick and highly sensitive.</p> <p>Other methods involve attempting to culture and isolate bacteria from the sample. This can take one to four days.</p> <p><strong>What antibiotic can fight the infection?</strong></p> <p>If antibiotic treatment is necessary, the isolated bacteria can be used in a second series of tests to help determine the right antibiotic for your infection. These are called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627445/">antimicrobial susceptibility tests</a>.</p> <p>Like the tests that first detected the bacterium causing your infection, they can be done using DNA-based (genotypic) methods or by culturing the bacterium in the presence of various antibiotics and assessing what happens (phenotypic methods).</p> <p>Genotypic tests tend to identify which antibiotics won’t work so they can be ruled out as treatment options; ruling out the ones that won’t work leaves the ones that <em>should</em> work.</p> <p>For phenotypic tests, the bacterium is regrown in the presence of a range of antibiotics to see which one stops its growth. A range of concentrations of each antibiotic are often used in these tests.</p> <p><strong>Why you sometimes get a script without testing</strong></p> <p>Whichever tests are done, the results may not be available for a couple of days. In the meantime, your doctor will probably get you started on an antibiotic that is <em>most likely</em> to be effective. This is called empiric therapy and is the “best guess” treatment while they wait for test results.</p> <p>Empiric antibiotic choice is based on the doctor’s prior experience with that type of infection, as well as clinical guidelines developed from evidence about that infection type, and ongoing surveillance data from the pathology lab about the types of bacteria generally causing that infection, and which antibiotics those bacteria are susceptible to.</p> <p>When available, the test results will either confirm the initial choice, or influence the doctor’s decision to prescribe a different antibiotic.</p> <p>Take urinary tract infections (UTIs), for example. Most are caused by <em>E. coli</em> and there are antibiotics that reliably treat these infections.</p> <p>Data from the thousands of pathology tests performed each year on the <em>E. coli</em>from other people’s UTIs helps inform the doctor’s choice of empiric antibiotic for you, as do the clinical guidelines.</p> <p>The doctor can therefore be reasonably confident in prescribing that antibiotic while you wait for the test results from your urine sample. You’ll either get better and need no further intervention, or you’ll come back to the doctor, by which time your test results should be available to fine-tune the choice of antibiotic.</p> <p><strong>Why it’s important to get the right antibiotic</strong></p> <p>Naturally, you want to receive an antibiotic that will effectively treat your infection. But what’s wrong with taking an antibiotic that does the job too well or, conversely, is ineffective?</p> <p>Antibiotics that are too strong will not only clear your infection but will also kill other good bacteria, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d42859-019-00019-x">disrupting your microbiome</a> and possibly causing other knock-on effects.</p> <p>On the other hand, an ineffective antibiotic will not only fail to treat the infection adequately, it can still cause side effects and disrupt your microbiome.</p> <p>A broader consideration for the judicious use of antibiotics is that overuse, or ineffective use, contributes unnecessarily to the development of antibiotic resistance. All antibiotic use <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sara_Hernando-Amado/publication/335337005_Defining_and_combating_antibiotic_resistance_from_One_Health_and_Global-Health_perspectives/links/5d7123f4299bf1cb8088bd73/Defining-and-combating-antibiotic-resistance-from-One-Health-and-Global-Health-perspectives.pdf">promotes resistance</a> in other bacteria they come in contact with, so minimising and optimising their targeted use is important.</p> <p>The right antibiotic choice for your infection is a complex decision that must often be made before key additional evidence to support the decision is available.</p> <p>As test results become available, the treatment antibiotics may be refined, changed or even stopped.</p> <p><em>Written by Christine Carson. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/im-taking-antibiotics-how-do-i-know-ive-been-prescribed-the-right-ones-122868"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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“Ball of flames”: Firefighter’s distress call after watching waterbomber plane crash

<p>An audio clip has emerged of a ground staff member calling for help following the crash of an aerial water tanker in southern NSW.</p> <p>In the distress call aired on the <em>Today</em> show, the staff could be heard calling the Rural Fire Service (RFS) command after witnessing the plane plummet in Eurobodalla on Thursday afternoon.</p> <p>“Fire comms… message red, speak to your captain. Message this is red,” the person could be heard saying.</p> <p>“Yeah fire comms... It's just a ball of flames... over.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Three fire fighters have tragically been killed, their water-bombing aircraft crashing in New South Wales. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9Today?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9Today</a> <a href="https://t.co/F2dprzAU0H">pic.twitter.com/F2dprzAU0H</a></p> — The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheTodayShow/status/1220416053613879296?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 23, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>All three US aerial firefighting specialists on the Lockheed C-130 Hercules tanker died in the incident. The plane was fighting the Clyde Mountain fire when it crashed to the ground and exploded in a “large fireball”, NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.</p> <p>“Three remarkable men, coming down here to Australia once again this season, helping us to save and protect people but tragically this year, they won’t be going home to the United States,” said Commissioner Fitzsimmons.</p> <p>The Commissioner said while the aircraft’s explosion was “absolutely a loss to the aviation capabilities”, the RFS could “adapt and accommodate the loss of [this asset] as we have a number of others operating in NSW”.</p> <p>Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) are set to visit the crash site to collect evidence.</p> <p>“Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant stakeholders so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken,” the bureau said in a statement.</p>

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​Royal Proposal: Prince William's romantic reflection with Duchess Kate

<p>The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hosted a special reception on behalf of the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Monday evening to mark the UK-Africa summit.</p> <p>The couple were joined by Prince Edward and his wife, the Countess of Wessex along with Princess Anne.</p> <p>During the event, Prince William spoke candidly about his own love for the African continent, and included a sweet anecdote about his proposal to Duchess Catherine that took place almost a decade ago.</p> <p>"The African continent holds a very special place in my heart,” the Duke began.</p> <p>"It was the place my father took my brother and me shortly after my mother died.</p> <p>"And when deciding where best to propose to Catherine, I could think of no more fitting place than Kenya to get down on one knee," he said with a smile.</p> <p>At the time he proposed to his then-girlfriend with his late mother’s famous blue Ceylon sapphire and diamond ring.</p> <p>He continued, "Throughout my life, I have been lucky enough to spend time in many other parts of Africa.</p> <p>"I'm also honoured to be the Patron of the Royal African Society and as Catherine and I have said to several of you here tonight we hope to have a chance to visit man more countries in the future and share our mutual love of your continent with our children."</p> <p>Duchess Catherine was a picture of ruby red perfection in a sheer and sequinned gown by Needle &amp; Thread, which she paired with matching suede pumps and elegant waves.</p> <p>Countess Sophie, who was also in the midst of celebrating her 55th birthday, also opted for stunning red Alaia dress with capped sleeves.</p> <p>Just like his younger brother Prince Harry, the Duke of Cambridge holds Africa incredibly close to his heart.</p> <p>The Duke of Sussex said visiting Africa allowed him to heal after the tragic loss of his mother, calling the place his “second home”.</p> <p>It has also been recently revealed, that years before meeting Duchess Meghan, he reportedly confessed to royal reporter Rebecca English about wishing he could walk away from royal life, move to Africa and become a tour guide.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the Duchess of Cambridge in her stunning red ball gown.</p>

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Tributes flow in upon the passing of Monty Python's Terry Jones

<p>Monty Python stars Michael Palin and John Cleese have led the tributes to Terry Jones, who has died at the age of 77.</p> <p>The actor and writer died at his North London home on Tuesday evening, four years after he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.</p> <p>“His work with Monty Python, his books, films, television programs, poems and other work will live on forever, a fitting legacy to a true polymath,” Jones’ family said in a statement.</p> <p>“We, his wife Anna, children Bill, Sally, Siri and extended family would like to thank Terry’s wonderful medical professionals and carers for making the past few years not only bearable but often joyful. We hope that this disease will one day be eradicated entirely.”</p> <p>Tributes have flowed for the late Python, with fellow <em>Flying Circus </em>stars leading the remembrance.</p> <p>“It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away,” John Cleese wrote.</p> <p>“Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of <em>Life of Brian</em>. Perfection.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Just heard about Terry J<br /><br />It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away...<br /><br />Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of 'Life of Brian'. Perfection<br /><br />Two down, four to go</p> — John Cleese (@JohnCleese) <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnCleese/status/1219979583719690241?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 22, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>“It’s too sad if you knew him, but if you didn’t you will always smile at the many wonderfully funny moments he gave us,” said Eric Idle.</p> <p>Co-writer Sir Michael Palin told PA news agency: “He was kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full.</p> <p>“He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian – writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children’s author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have.”</p> <p>Other celebrities and comedy figures also honoured Jones on social media.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Farewell, Terry Jones. The great foot has come down to stamp on you. My god what pleasure you gave, what untrammelled joy and delight. What a wonderful talent, heart and mind</p> — Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) <a href="https://twitter.com/stephenfry/status/1219968120686813184?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 22, 2020</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">May the dear, great Terry Jones find eternal peace in the loving embrace of Jesus Christ. Or more likely of Brian.</p> — Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) <a href="https://twitter.com/rustyrockets/status/1220026467070832640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 22, 2020</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">May the dear, great Terry Jones find eternal peace in the loving embrace of Jesus Christ. Or more likely of Brian.</p> — Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) <a href="https://twitter.com/rustyrockets/status/1220026467070832640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 22, 2020</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">💔 <a href="https://t.co/GRiFTZXztV">pic.twitter.com/GRiFTZXztV</a></p> — Pegg News (@simonpegg) <a href="https://twitter.com/simonpegg/status/1219971220801753089?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 22, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Jones’ comedy series <em>Monty Python’s Flying Circus </em>first aired in October 1969. The show propelled the Monty Python group’s popularity and was followed by a number of films, including <em>Monty Python and the Holy Grail</em> (1975), <em>Life of Brian</em> (1979) and <em>The Meaning of Life</em> (1983).</p>

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Heath Ledger: A life in pictures

<p>Iconic Australian film star Heath Ledger passed away today at the age of 28 due to an accidental mixture of prescription drugs.</p> <p>Ledger’s career first started in the early 90s with smaller roles, but he quickly shot to fame after appearing in the hit 1999 American romantic comedy<span> </span><em>10 Things I Hate About You</em>. This role, where he broke hearts as bad boy Patrick Verona, earned him several awards and brought him directly into the public eye.</p> <p>Ledger went on to star in 2001’s<span> </span><em>A Knight’s Tale</em>, which developed a cult following in later years despite not being popular at the time.</p> <p>It was only once he appeared in 2005’s controversial film<span> </span><em>Brokeback Mountain</em>, which saw Ledger fall in love with another shepherd, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, that he received critical acclaim for his role as the film showed his diverse acting range.</p> <p>It was also while filming<span> </span><em>Brokeback Mountain </em>where Ledger met his partner Michelle Williams and their love resulted in a daughter called Matilda.</p> <p>Long-time friend Matt Amato told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://people.com/celebrity/heath-ledger-documentary-natural-dad-to-matilda/" target="_blank">People</a></em><span> </span>that Ledger was a “natural dad”.</p> <p>“I met Matilda three days after she was born and they were just a beautiful painting together,” he said.</p> <p>“He just held her and would wrap her in her blanket.</p> <p>He wasn’t treating her in any precious way, he was just natural and just trusted the whole thing, and I was really struck by that. And that’s kind of how it always was.”</p> <p>In 2008, Ledger appeared in his iconic role as the Joker in<span> </span><em>The Dark Knight</em>, which was a role he received widespread acclaim for.</p> <p>After his passing, Ledger was posthumously awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. He also won a Screen Actors Guild award for Male Actor in a Supporting Role in<span> </span><em>The Dark Knight</em>.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see Ledger throughout the years.</p>

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Michael Schumacher is “very altered, deteriorated and not how we remember him”

<p>Michael Schumacher is “very altered” six years on from the horror ski accident which left him with a shocking brain injury, according to a leading neurosurgeon.</p> <p>The Formula One champion was close to death when a skiing accident saw him fall and hit his head on a rock in the French Alps in December 2013.</p> <p>Despite the iconic racer coming out of his long-term coma, surgeon Nicola Acciari claims he won't be the man his millions of adoring fans remember.</p> <p>“We must imagine a person very different from the one we remember on the track, with a very altered and deteriorated organic, muscular and skeletal structure,” Dr Acciari told Italian newspaper Contro Copertina.</p> <p>“All as a result of the brain trauma he suffered.”</p> <p>Dr Acciari has not treated the sporting star herself.</p> <p>Schumacher’s former boss at Ferrari revealed last year that the 51-year-old is making progress in his recovery and enjoys watching F1 races on TV.</p> <p>Jean Todt, one of Schumacher’s closest friends, gave a rare insight during an interview with Radio Monte-Carlo (RMC).</p> <p>Speaking to the station, Todt said he had been making good progress, with the pair watching the races on TV together.</p> <p>He added: “I’m always been careful with such statements, but it’s true. I saw the race together with Michael Schumacher at his home in Switzerland.”</p> <p>While declining to provide too much detail on Schumacher’s health, out of respect for his family, Todt said: “Michael is in the best hands and is well looked after in his house.</p> <p>“He does not give up and keeps fighting.”</p>

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Six million hectares of threatened species habitat up in smoke

<p>More than <a href="https://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2020/01/08/australian-bushfires-more-than-one-billion-animals-impacted.html">one billion mammals, birds, and reptiles</a> across eastern Australia are estimated to have been affected by the current fire catastrophe.</p> <p>Many animals and plants have been incinerated or suffocated by smoke and ash. Others may have escaped the blaze only to die of exhaustion or starvation, or be picked off by predators.</p> <p>But even these huge losses of individual animals and plants do not reveal the full scale of impact that the recent fires have had on biodiversity.</p> <p>Plants, <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-bushfires-could-drive-more-than-700-animal-species-to-extinction-check-the-numbers-for-yourself-129773">invertebrates</a>, freshwater fish, and frogs have also been affected, and the impact of the fires is likely to be disproportionately greater for <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-season-in-hell-bushfires-push-at-least-20-threatened-species-closer-to-extinction-129533">threatened species</a>.</p> <p>To delve deeper into the conservation impact, we used publicly available satellite imagery to look at the burnt areas (up to January 7, 2020) and see how they overlapped with the approximate distributions of all the threatened animals and plants listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.</p> <p>We restricted our analysis to the mediterranean and temperate zone of south-east and south-west Australia.</p> <p><strong>The bad news</strong></p> <p>We found that 99% of the area burned in the current fires contains potential habitat for at least one nationally listed threatened species. We conservatively estimate that six million hectares of threatened species habitat has been burned.</p> <p>Given that many fires are still burning and it is not yet clear how severe the burning has been in many areas, the number of species affected and the extent of the impact may yet change.</p> <p>What we do know is that these species are already on the brink of extinction due to other threats, such as <a href="https://theconversation.com/environment-laws-have-failed-to-tackle-the-extinction-emergency-heres-the-proof-122936">land clearing</a>, invasive species, climate change, disease, or previous fires.</p> <p>Approximately 70 nationally threatened species have had at least 50% of their range burnt, while nearly 160 threatened species have had more than 20% of their range burnt.</p> <p>More threatened plants have been affected than other groups: 209 threatened plant species have had more than 5% of their range burnt compared to 16 mammals, ten frogs, six birds, four reptiles, and four freshwater fish.</p> <p>Twenty-nine of the 30 species that have had more than 80% of their range burnt are plants. Several species have had their entire range consumed by the fires, such as the Mountain Trachymene, a <a href="http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/9367-conservation-advice.pdf">fire-sensitive</a> plant found in only four locations in the South Eastern Highlands of NSW.</p> <p>Other species that have been severely impacted include the Kangaroo Island dunnart and the Kangaroo Island glossy black cockatoo. These species’ entire populations numbered only in the hundreds prior to these bushfires that have burned more than 50% of their habitat.</p> <p>Glossy black cockatoos have a highly specialised diet. They eat the seeds of the drooping sheoak <a href="https://ecos.csiro.au/glossy-black-cockatoos/">(<em>Allocasuarina verticillata</em>).</a> These trees may take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to recover enough to produce sufficient food for the black cockatoos.</p> <p>The populations of many species will need careful management and protection to give their habitats enough time to recover and re-supply critical resources.</p> <p>The figures above do not account for cumulative impacts of previous fires. For example, the critically endangered western ground parrot had around 6,000 hectares of potential habitat burnt in these fires, which exacerbates the impact of earlier extensive fires in 2015 and early 2019.</p> <p>Threatened species vary in their ability to cope with fire. For fire-sensitive species, almost every individual dies or is displaced. The long-term consequences are likely to be dire, particularly if vegetation composition is irrevocably changed by severe fire or the area is subject to repeat fires.</p> <p>More than 50% of the habitat of several species known to be susceptible to fire has been burnt – these include the long-footed potoroo and Littlejohn’s tree frog.</p> <p>Some species are likely to thrive after fire. Indeed, of the top 30 most impacted species on our list, almost 20% will likely flourish due to low competition in their burnt environments – these are all re-sprouting plants. Others will do well if they are not burnt again before they can set seed.</p> <p><strong>Rising from the ashes</strong></p> <p>For fire-sensitive threatened species, these fires could have substantially increased the probability of extinction by virtue of direct mortality in the fires or reducing the amount of suitable habitat. However, after the embers settle, with enough investment and conservation actions, guided by evidence-based science, it may be possible to help threatened species recover.</p> <p>Protection and conservation-focussed management of areas that have not burned will be the single most important action if threatened species are to have any chance of persistence and eventual recovery.</p> <p>Management of threatening processes (such as weeds, feral predators, <a href="https://theconversation.com/double-trouble-as-feral-horse-numbers-gallop-past-25-000-in-the-australian-alps-128852">introduced herbivores</a>, and habitat loss through logging or thinning) must occur not just at key sites, but across the landscapes they sit in. Maintaining only small pockets of habitat in a landscape of destruction will lock many species on the pathway to extinction.</p> <p>In some cases, rigorous post-fire restoration will be necessary to allow species to re-colonise burnt areas. This may include intensive weed control and assisted regeneration of threatened flora and specific food sources for fauna, installing nest boxes and artificial cover, or even targeted <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/massive-food-drop-to-help-save-endangered-wallabies-in-fire-affected-areas-20200112-p53qss.html">supplementary feeding</a>.</p> <p>Unconventional recovery actions will be needed because this unique situation calls for outside-the-box thinking.</p> <p><strong>Playing the long game</strong></p> <p>These fires were made larger and more severe by <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/">record hot, dry conditions</a>. Global temperatures have so far risen by approximately 1°C from pre-industrial levels.</p> <p><a href="https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2865/a-degree-of-concern-why-global-temperatures-matter/">Current projections indicate that we are on track for a 3°C increase.</a> What will that look like?</p> <p>We are in a moment of collective grief for what has been lost. A species lost is not just a word on a page, but an entire world of unique traits, behaviours, connections to other living things, and beauty.</p> <p>These losses do not need to be in vain. We have an opportunity to transform our collective grief into collective action.</p> <p>Australians are now personally experiencing climate impacts in an unprecedented way. We must use this moment to galvanise our leaders to act on climate change, here in Australia and on the world stage.</p> <p>The futures of our beloved plants and animals, and our own, depend on it.</p> <p><em>Written by Michelle Ward, Aaron Greenville, April Reside, Ayesha Tulloch, Brooke Williams, Emily Massingham, Helen Mayfield, Hugh Possingham, James Watson, Jim Radford and Laura Sonter. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/six-million-hectares-of-threatened-species-habitat-up-in-smoke-129438">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Think twice before shouting your virtues online – moral grandstanding is toxic

<p>In an era of <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/topics/political-polarization/">bitter partisanship</a>, political infighting and ostracization of those with unpopular views, Americans actually agree on one thing: 85% say political discourse has <a href="https://www.people-press.org/2019/06/19/public-highly-critical-of-state-of-political-discourse-in-the-u-s/">gotten worse</a> over the last several years, according to Pew Research.</p> <p>The polarization plays out everywhere in society, from private <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/1020.abstract?casa_token=Yb133_AzCpMAAAAA:ZMcbATlk9eAcLsb2E9fao5vWNeyHOIk9FrD3lp90VfABSuLotEGksH6dYkof1oG_g8bLbPraifH6bw">holiday gatherings</a>to very public <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0213-3">conversations on social media</a>, where debate is particularly toxic and aggressive.</p> <p>For <a href="https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=gCnmj3kAAAAJ&amp;hl=en">psychologists like myself</a>, who study human behavior, this widespread nastiness is both a social problem and a research opportunity. My colleagues and I have zeroed in on one specific aspect that might help explain America’s dysfunctional discourse: moral grandstanding.</p> <p><strong>Moral grandstanding</strong></p> <p>The term may be unfamiliar, but most people have experienced <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/papa.12075">moral grandstanding</a>.</p> <p>Examples of moral grandstanding include when a friend makes grand and extreme proclamations on Twitter about their deepest held values regarding climate change, for instance, and when a campaigning politician makes bold – but clearly untrue – ideological claims about immigration.</p> <p>Philosophers coined the phrase to describe the <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/grandstanding-9780190900151?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">abuse of so-called “moral talk”</a> – an <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00382019">umbrella term</a> encompassing all conversations humans have about our politics, beliefs, values and morals.</p> <p>Usually, people engage in moral talk to learn from, connect with or <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/grandstanding-9780190900151">persuade</a> someone else. They might say of their decision not to eat any animal products, for example, “I am vegan for environmental and animal rights reasons.”</p> <p>Moral grandstanding occurs when people use moral talk, instead, to promote themselves or seek status. So a moral grandstander might say, “I am vegan because it is the only moral decision. If you care about the planet, you can’t eat animal products.”</p> <p>For moral grandstanders, conversation is a means to an end – not a free exchange of ideas.</p> <p>A desire for respect from our peers is <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2015-11715-001.html">normal in humans</a>, as are the desires for safety, love and belonging. <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/1943-03751-001.pdf">Social scientists</a> have traced the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090513800000714">evolutionary origins</a> of status seeking to prehistoric times.</p> <p>Moral grandstanding, however, is a special kind of status seeking. It implies that someone is using conversations about important or controversial topics solely to get attention or impress others.</p> <p><strong>Severed ties and broken relationships</strong></p> <p>Just because someone touts their virtues – whether on Twitter or in conversation – does not mean they are morally superior to everyone else.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223749">recently published study</a> conducted with a team of other psychologists and philosophers, we asked 6,000 Americans a series of questions about who and why they share their deepest moral and political beliefs with. People who reported sharing beliefs to gain respect, admiration or status were identified as grandstanders.</p> <p>Almost everyone indicated they had some history of grandstanding, but only a few – 2% to 5% – indicated they primarily used their moral talk to promote themselves.</p> <p>We found that moral grandstanders were more likely to experience discord in their personal lives. People who reported grandstanding more often also reported more experiences arguing with loved ones and severing ties with friends or family members over political or moral disagreements.</p> <p>People who indicated using their deepest held beliefs to boost their own status in real life also reported more toxic social media behaviors, picking fights over politics on Facebook, for example, and berating strangers on Twitter for having the “wrong” opinions.</p> <p><a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/grandstanding-9780190900151?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">Philosophical accounts of grandstanding</a> strongly suggest that moral grandstanders behave less morally than other people in other ways, too. They are more likely to rudely call others out for not being virtuous enough, systematically disparage entire groups of people and hijack important conversations to serve their own purposes.</p> <p>When the natural human desire for respect leads people to seek status in situations when they would be better served by listening, it seems, this behavior can drive friends, family and communities apart.</p> <p><strong>Other reasons for discord</strong></p> <p>The rise of moral grandstanding isn’t the only reason discourse in the United States has taken a turn for the worse.</p> <p>Politics have grown extraordinarily <a href="https://academic.oup.com/poq/article/80/S1/272/2223255">polarized</a>, which is both a cause and effect of social polarization. Politically active people feel <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051117-073034">more animosity</a> and <a href="https://democracy.psu.edu/research/mood-of-the-nation-poll-1/americans-not-only-divided-but-baffled-by-what-motivates-their-opponents">less trust</a> toward “the other side” than they have in generations.</p> <p>Social media itself seems to <a href="https://psyarxiv.com/pz9g6">accelerate conflict</a>, creating <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-social-media-fires-peoples-passions-and-builds-extremist-divisions-86909">echo chambers</a> of likeminded people that are galvanized against others and driving <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0213-3">cycles of outrage</a> that quickly escalate and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661318302638?via%3Dihub">stifle public participation</a> in important conversations.</p> <p>So ending moral grandstanding won’t magically fix the public debate in the United States. But tamping it down would lead the country in a more productive direction.</p> <p><strong>How to handle moral grandstanding</strong></p> <p>Consider assessing your own conversation style, reflecting about what you say to others and why. When you enter into contentious territory with someone who differs in opinion, ask whether you’re doing so because you’re genuinely interested in communicating and connecting with your fellow human – or are you just trying to score points?</p> <p>Thinking honestly about your engagement on social media – ground zero for moral grandstanding – is particularly important.</p> <p>Do you post controversial material just for likes and retweets? Do you share social media posts of people you disagree with just to publicly mock them? Do you find yourself trying to one-up the good deeds of someone else to make yourself look good to people whose respect you crave?</p> <p>If so, then you may be a moral grandstander.</p> <p>If not, you can still fight moral grandstanding by recognizing and dissuading these behaviors in others. Given that moral grandstanders crave status, respect and esteem from others, depriving them of the attention they seek is probably the best deterrent.</p> <p><em>Written by Joshua B. Grubbs. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/think-twice-before-shouting-your-virtues-online-moral-grandstanding-is-toxic-128493">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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“I watch the tv and I cry”: Erin Molan shares emotional letter from young boy heart stricken over bushfires

<p>TV presenter Erin Molan has shared an absolutely beautiful piece of fan mail she received via social media, to the world.</p> <p>The heart-warming letter revealed a young Australian boy by the name of Ryder who is going to make a worthwhile donation in response to the bushfires that are currently plaguing the nation.</p> <p>The anonymous child had said his family were willing to donate their new campervan they had purchased for themselves to those impacted by the fires, and also mentioned his own personal donation.</p> <p>"What a beautiful soul. Received this msg tonight from a beautiful boy called Ryder. My faith in this beautiful country is greater than ever after the outpouring of support for those affected by fires," Molan tweeted.</p> <p>“Dear Mrs Molan,” the letter began.</p> <p>“My dad brought us a camper van about 1 y ago. I would like to donate it to the fire people. It does not have registered, but we did get it checked and they said it’s fine.</p> <p>“All we need is a truck to take it to the peoples. Dad said it’s fine but need your help to give it to them. I’m ok with not using it to go on holiday.”</p> <p>The post continued: “Just just get upset to see the people crying and have nowhere to live.</p> <p>“I watch the tv and I cry that there is no where for the homeless. I have also been through my room and wanted to give my toys and clothing for the little kids too.</p> <p>“I have saved $56.70 from doing house jobs around the house to (sic).”</p> <p>The heart-warming letter from the young boy received over 272 likes on Twitter and a flood of support from users online.</p> <p>The post has since been deleted by Molan who mistakenly left a part of the anonymous child’s details uncovered.</p> <p>Donations continue to pour into comedian Celeste Barber's DIY Facebook fundraiser, which last week hit an astonishing $50 million dollars.</p>

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You’re not the only one feeling helpless: Eco-anxiety can reach far beyond bushfire communities

<p>You’re scrolling through your phone and transfixed by yet more images of streets reduced to burnt debris, injured wildlife, and maps showing the scale of the fires continuing to burn. On the television in the background, a woman who has lost her home breaks down, while news of another life lost flashes across the screen.</p> <p>You can’t bear to watch anymore, but at the same time, you can’t tear yourself away. Sound familiar?</p> <p>We’ve now been confronted with these tragic images and stories for months. Even if you haven’t been directly affected by the bushfires, it’s completely normal to feel sad, helpless, and even anxious.</p> <p>Beyond despairing about the devastation so many Australians are facing, some of these emotions are likely to be symptoms of “<a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/b2e7ee32-ad28-4ec4-89aa-a8b8c98f95a5">eco-anxiety</a>”.</p> <p><strong>If you’re feeling down, you’re not alone</strong></p> <p>Research on <a href="https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/black-saturday-the-hidden-costs">previous bushfire disasters</a> shows people directly affected are more likely to suffer mental health consequences than those who have not been directly affected.</p> <p>After Black Saturday, about one in five people living in highly affected communities experienced persistent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or psychological distress.</p> <p>Recognising this as a critical issue, the Australian government has announced funding to deliver <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/emergency-health-management/bushfire-information-and-support/australian-government-mental-health-response-to-bushfire-trauma">mental health support</a> to affected people and communities.</p> <p>Government of Victoria</p> <p>But living in an unaffected area doesn’t mean you’re immune. In addition to contending with rolling images and stories of devastation, we’ve seen flow-on effects of the bushfires reach far beyond affected areas.</p> <p>For example, schools and workplaces have been closed, people have been forced to cancel their summer holidays, and sports matches and community events have been called off. This disruption to normal activities can result in uncertainty and distress, particularly for children and young people.</p> <p><strong>What is eco-anxiety?</strong></p> <p>Distress around the current fires may be compounded by – and intertwined with – a pervasive sense of fear and anxiety in relation to climate change-related events.</p> <p>The American Psychological Association defines <a href="https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/03/mental-health-climate.pdf">eco-anxiety</a> as “a chronic fear of environmental doom”.</p> <p>While concern and anxiety around climate change are normal, eco-anxiety describes a state of being overwhelmed by the sheer scale, complexity and seriousness of the problems we’re facing. It can be accompanied by guilt for personal contributions to the problem.</p> <p>The Australian bushfires may have signalled a “tipping point” for many people who held a passive attitude towards climate change, and even many who have held a more active view of climate denialism. In the face of current circumstances, the crisis of climate change now becomes almost impossible to ignore.</p> <p>While eco-anxiety is not a diagnosable mental disorder, it can have significant impacts on a person’s well-being.</p> <p>Whether you think you’re suffering from eco-anxiety or more general stress and depression about the bushfires, here are some things you can do.</p> <p><strong>We’re pretty resilient, but support helps</strong></p> <p>We’re now living with the environmental consequences of a changing climate, and this requires people to adapt. Fortunately, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0004867417714337">most of us are innately resilient</a>and are able to overcome stress and losses and to live with uncertainty.</p> <p>We can enhance this resilience by connecting with friends and family and positively engaging in our communities. Making healthy choices around things like diet, exercise and sleep can also help.</p> <p>Further, supporting those who are vulnerable has benefits for both the person giving and receiving assistance. For example, parents have a critical role in listening to their children’s concerns and providing appropriate guidance.</p> <p><strong>Become part of the solution</strong></p> <p>Seeking to reduce your own carbon footprint can help alleviate feelings of guilt and helplessness – in addition to the positive difference these small actions make to the environment.</p> <p>This might include walking, cycling and taking public transport to get around, and making sustainability a factor in day-to-day decisions like what you buy and what you eat.</p> <p>Joining one of the many groups advocating for the environment also provides a voice for people concerned about the changing climate.</p> <p>Finally, there are many ways you can provide assistance to bushfire relief efforts. The generosity shown by Australians and others internationally has provided a sense of hope at a time when many are facing enormous hardship.</p> <p><strong>Seeking professional help</strong></p> <p>Some people, particularly those living with unrelated psychological distress, will find it harder to adapt to increased stress. Where their emotional resources are already depleted, it becomes more difficult to accommodate change.</p> <p>Although we don’t yet have research on this, it’s likely people with pre-existing mental health problems will be more vulnerable to eco-anxiety.</p> <p>If this is you, it’s worthwhile seeking professional help if you feel your mental health is deteriorating at this time.</p> <p>Whether or not you have a pre-existing mental health disorder, if you’re feeling depressed or anxious to a degree it’s affecting your work, education or social functioning, you should seek advice from a health professional.</p> <p>Evidence-based psychological interventions like cognitive behavioural therapy <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23870719">reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression</a>, improving mental health and well-being.</p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Fiona Charlson and James Graham Scott. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/youre-not-the-only-one-feeling-helpless-eco-anxiety-can-reach-far-beyond-bushfire-communities-129453"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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Pete Evans’ most dangerous health claims

<p><span>Pete Evans has recently caught flak for <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/leave-vaccinations-alone-pete-evans-condemned-over-links-to-anti-vaccine-movement">promoting the work of prominent anti-vaxxer Robert F Kennedy</a>.</span></p> <p><span>This is not the first health-related controversy that Evans has had. Over the years, the celebrity chef has been criticised for spreading misinformation. Evans, who has no qualifications in medicine or nutrition, has been accused of endangering the lives of his fans by giving unscientific dietary and medical advice through his books, media appearances and social media pages.</span></p> <p><span>Here are some of his health claims, busted by experts and medical professionals.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Claim: Dairy removes calcium from bones</span></strong></p> <p><span>In a 2016 Facebook Q&amp;A session, the <em>My Kitchen Rules </em>judge advised a woman with osteoporosis to remove dairy from her diet. He said he would “strongly suggest removing dairy … as calcium from dairy can remove the calcium from your bones”, and that “most doctors do not know this information”.</span></p> <p><span>Evans was quoting old data which said calcium might be acidic and caused bone resorption, said Professor Peter Ebeling, medical director of Osteoporosis Australia and head of medicine at Monash University.</span></p> <p><span>“We know that’s not true … He’s absolutely wrong in this regard,” Dr Ebeling told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-29/pete-evans-slammed-for-advice-to-osteoporosis-sufferer/7793572">ABC</a></em>. “It is important to get calcium from your diet. Dairy products are the richest sources of calcium in our diet.”</span></p> <p><span>Other healthy sources of calcium include nuts, sardines and green leafy vegetables.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Claim: Sunscreen is toxic</span></strong></p> <p><span>Evans has claimed that sunscreen is full of “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-11/pete-evans-says-sunscreen-is-poisonous/7585050">poisonous chemicals</a>” and said he does not use any sun protection. “The silly thing is people put on normal chemical sunscreen then lay out in the sun for hours on end and think that they are safe because they have covered themselves in poisonous chemicals, which is a recipe for disaster as we are witnessing these days,” he said. He has also advocated <a href="https://www.pedestrian.tv/health/pete-evans-stare-at-the-sun/">staring into the sun or sungazing</a>, which could lead to <a href="https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2012/08/why-staring-at-the-sun-makes-your-eyes-taste-like-burning/">UV damage, macular degeneration and permanent blindness</a>.</span></p> <p><span>The Therapeutic Goods Association, which regulates sunscreens sold in Australia, confirmed that nano-sized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide particles commonly found in the products do not penetrate the skin and are unlikely to “<a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/literature-review-safety-titanium-dioxide-and-zinc-oxide-nanoparticles-sunscreens">cause harm when used as ingredients in sunscreens</a>”.</span></p> <p><span>Cancer Council Australia has slammed Evans’ statement as <a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2016/07/10/pete-evans-sunscreen/">“irresponsible” and “dangerous”.</a> “Australia is the world’s skin cancer capital, yet skin cancer is the most preventable of all common cancer types,” Ian Olver, CEO of Cancer Council Australia wrote on <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/mondays-medical-myth-were-not-getting-enough-sun-10205">The Conversation</a></em>. “Sun protection can reduce your risk of skin cancer at any age.” </span></p> <p><span>A <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071157/">comprehensive study</a> monitoring 1,600 adults in Queensland found that people regularly applying sunscreen developed significantly fewer squamous cell carninomas over four-and-a-half years, and half as many melanomas as those not applying sunscreen over ten years. Sunscreen users were also found to develop.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Claim: Bone broth is an alternative to breast milk</span></strong></p> <p><span>Evans co-authored the e-cookbook <em>Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way For New Mums, Babies and Toddlers</em>, which included a recommendation to feed infants bone broth as a baby formula. The recipe, titled “Baby Building Broth”, uses chicken bones, liver and apple cider vinegar among others to create a “homemade formula” which he claimed could be given for babies up to six months of age “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/27/ama-accuses-pete-evans-of-endangering-lives-with-unscientific-health-advice">who can’t take human milk</a>”.</span></p> <p><span>Professor Heather Yeatman of the Public Health Association warned that the formula could be dangerous for babies. “There appears to be recommendations not to use either breast milk or an approved infant formula, but to provide other foods to infants under six months of age and that really is a big health risk,” she told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-12/paleo-diet-cookbook-for-babies-under-investigation-pete-evans/6309452">ABC</a></em>.</span></p> <p><span>Dietitians pointed out that the recipe contained 10 times <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/aug/17/paleo-diet-pete-evans-controversial-baby-broth-never-hurt-anyone">the maximum safe daily intake of vitamin A for infants</a>, and consumption could lead to overdose.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Claim: Drinking water with fluoride during pregnancy lowers the baby’s IQ</span></strong></p> <p><span>The chef claimed that fluoride is a “neurotoxin” and a “major contributor for thyroid, brain and degenerative diseases”. He also advised his fans to protect their dental health by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/paleochefpeteevans/posts/i-will-say-it-again-and-again-fluoride-must-not-be-added-to-our-water-supplyever/2467815513311820/">converting to a paleo diet</a> instead. He claimed to have been consuming fluoride-free water for nearly 30 years.</span></p> <p><span>In Australia, <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/pete-evans-provides-evidence-for-his-fluoride-claims-20170329-gv8naf.html">water fluoridation began in the 1956</a>. Sydney and Melbourne have been fluoridated since 1968 and 1977 respectively.</span></p> <p><span>The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) analysis of over 60 years of scientific research and 3,000 studies has confirmed that adding fluoride to public drinking water supplies is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/sep/14/fluoride-in-water-safe-tooth-decay-iq-cancer">a safe and effective measure for preventing tooth decay</a>, reducing the incidence in children, teenagers and adults by 26 to 44 per cent. </span></p> <p><span>It also found that fluoridated water consumption had no link with IQ, cognitive function, cancer, mortality and Down’s syndrome. The <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/dentalfluoridation">Department of Health</a> also stated there was no evidence that water fluoridation at Australian levels is associated with thyroid dysfunction.</span></p> <p><span>“By preventing tooth decay and all of its associated pain and suffering, community water fluoridation saves money both for individuals, including dental treatments and time off work or school, and the healthcare system,” NHMRC fluoride reference group member Professor Clive Wright told <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/sep/14/fluoride-in-water-safe-tooth-decay-iq-cancer">The Guardian</a></em>.</span></p>

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What you should do before bed so you get ahead in life

<p><strong>Make a prioritised to-do list</strong></p> <p>Writing out a to-do list each night is a great way to streamline your morning and get you off to a good start, but you can supercharge your to-do list by making one little tweak, according to Jeff Petro, CEO of Cool Beauty Consulting. “Each night, I draft a to-do list for the next morning, and then I prioritise the top three items that must get done,” he says. “This keeps me focused on what’s really important without getting side-tracked by smaller tasks.” And resist the urge to mark everything as a top priority. Sticking to just three will help keep you from getting overwhelmed, and you’ll still feel like you’ve accomplished a lot at the end of the day.</p> <p><strong>Take some deep breaths</strong></p> <p>Bedtime meditation has a slew of powerful health benefits, including better sleep – so it’s no surprise that it’s a habit practised not just by CEOs but also professional athletes, celebrities, scientists and other people at the top of their fields. But it’s all too easy to forget or to brush off at the end of a long day, which is why Keith Cushner, CEO of Tuck, keeps his meditation practical and simple. “I spend 10 to 20 minutes using one of a few different meditation techniques, including guided meditations and breathing exercises on my own,” he says. “Using apps like Headspace and Buddhify make it easy. I just have to follow the directions.”</p> <p><strong>Spend one-on-one time with their partner</strong></p> <p>Raise your hand if you’ve ever laid in bed with your partner, playing on your phones or watching movies, side-by-side but not interacting? (That’s everyone, right?) You’ll sleep better and have a better relationship if you follow the lead of Rachel Pedersen, CEO of the Viral Touch. “Every night before bed, I make sure to have a little flirty time with my husband,” she says. This could mean talking about your day, snuggling, or any other activity (ahem) that helps you bond. “This keeps us connected daily throughout the challenges of our work and personal lives,” she adds.</p> <p><strong>Use a smart plug to shut off all screens</strong></p> <p> “I shut down my phone, laptop, TV and tablet at least two hours before bed, which is tough when you have a lot to do or are in the habit of checking email and other notifications,” says Michael Alexis, CEO of Team Building Hero. “My pro tip for making the no-screens effort easier: I have my Wi-Fi router connected to a smart plug that shuts off at 10pm and turns itself back on at 8am when I wake up. When the Wi-Fi stops, so does my access to the Internet.”</p> <p><strong>Block out all noise and light</strong></p> <p>You never realise how loud your refrigerator is or how bright your neighbour’s porch light is until you’re trying to fall asleep. Eliminate these distractions simply by using ear plugs and a sleep mask, like Alexis does. “This combination is, of course, helpful for blocking out light and noise, but I find it helpful even in quiet dark rooms,” he explains. “Putting the sleep mask on feels like a trigger to go to sleep, and I usually fall asleep within five minutes or so.”</p> <p><em>Written by Charlotte Hilton Anderson. This article first appeared in </em><em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/16-things-ceos-always-do-before-bed?pages=2">Reader’s Digest.</a> 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=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a><span><em> , </em></span></p>

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The essential guide to a deeper and better sleep

<p>You’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. You pour your last cup of coffee for the day approximately five minutes after you get up in the morning, and your bedtime routine is so calming, it could put a wired four year old into a coma. You banish worries by writing them down in a special notebook you keep by the bed, right next to your warm milk and drug-free, homeopathic, fragrance-based sleep aids. So why do you still find yourself staring at the ceiling?</p> <p>It’s time to listen to what some unexpected experts have to say. Their jobs don’t necessarily include long hours in a laboratory studying sleep problems, but what they know about a multitude of other irritants – stomach ills and back pain and windows in need of shades – just might put you out for the night.</p> <p><strong>Learn to share</strong></p> <p> “If you like a firmer mattress and [your partner] likes a softer one, you don’t have to compromise. Get two singles, push them together, and use king sheets. Or you can buy a strap that attaches the mattresses to each other.”</p> <p><em>Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics</em></p> <p>“One of the biggest disrupters of sleep is the pulling and tugging of sheets and blankets. I tell couples that each person should have a sheet and blanket. If you pull a big comforter or duvet over the top when you make the bed, you really can’t tell. Couples call me after I suggest that and say, ‘Wow – you changed our marriage.’”</p> <p><em>Chiropractor and sleep expert Robert Oexman</em></p> <p><strong>Go to bed angry</strong></p> <p> “The classic line is that you shouldn’t go to bed angry, but that’s sometimes impossible. If you’re lying in the same bed but mentally throwing darts at each other, go to sleep on the couch.”</p> <p><em>Psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber</em></p> <p><strong>Nod off with the right scent</strong></p> <p> “My research has found that any new smell, even one associated with relaxation, such as lavender, can make you feel more alert and vigilant. You’re better off with a scent that makes you feel safe and comfortable. There really is something to cuddling up with your spouse’s undershirt.”</p> <p>Pamela Dalton, odour-perception expert and sensory psychologist</p> <p><strong>Be smart about allergies</strong></p> <p>“Pillows and bed coverings advertised as ‘hypoallergenic’ aren’t necessarily worth buying. That just means a product is made out of a substance you can’t be allergic to, not that it prevents allergies. Instead, get dustmite-proof covers for your pillow, mattress, and box spring.”</p> <p><em>Allergist Dr Jacqueline Eghari-Sabet</em></p> <p><strong>Heat up to keep your cool</strong></p> <p> “A hot bath will increase your skin temperature, which eventually decreases your core body temperature. Do the same thing for yourself that you’d do for a young child – make sure you take a bath a half hour or so before bed time.”</p> <p><em>Robert Oexman</em></p> <p><strong>Tamp down hot flashes</strong></p> <p> “If you wake up with hot flashes, of course you should keep the room cool and wear layered sleep clothing. But also keep a glass of ice water by the bed; sipping it will help lower your body temperature so you can get back to sleep.”</p> <p><em>Dr Becky Wang-Cheng, coeditor of Menopause</em></p> <p><strong>Reduce use of technology</strong></p> <p> “The cooler white and blue light emitted by a computer monitor stimulates brain activity and makes it difficult for your brain to wind down. Download the software at stereopsis.com/flux. It gradually dims your screen at sundown, shifting your monitor’s colours to warmer red hues.”</p> <p><em>Time-management coach Colin Grey</em></p> <p>“Watching TV at night may seem relaxing, but it beams light into your eyes, which is an ‘alert’ signal for the brain. Read a book before bed instead.”</p> <p><em>Psychiatrist Dr Tara Brass</em></p> <p><strong>Avoid ‘anti-sleeping’ pills containing caffeine</strong></p> <p> “A lot of people take bedtime pain relievers that contain caffeine and don’t even realise it. Check the label: caffeine is always listed as an active ingredient.”</p> <p>Jan Engle, professor of pharmacy</p> <p>“An oral decongestant might help you breathe better, but it can increase your heart rate, which makes it hard to sleep. A nasal decongestant can rev you up too. At night, try a saline spray or wash instead.”</p> <p><em>Pharmacist Eric Alvarez</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/news-articles/the-essential-guide-to-a-deeper-sleep">Reader’s Digest.</a> 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=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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“Leave vaccinations alone”: Pete Evans condemned over links to anti-vaccine movement

<p>Controversial celebrity chef Pete Evans has been condemned for promoting the work of an anti-vaccination campaigner and his organisation.</p> <p>On Saturday, the <em>My Kitchen Rules </em>judge took to Instagram to share a picture of him with Robert F Kennedy Jr, nephew of former US president John F Kennedy and founder of anti-vaccine lobby group Children’s Health Defense.</p> <p>In the post, Evans tagged the account of the group and said he learned “more about the important work [Kennedy Jr] is doing for our planet and for the coming generations”.</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/B7JtN9PBE8_/?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/B7JtN9PBE8_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Great to spend some time with @robertfkennedyjr and learning more about the important work he is doing for our planet and for the coming generations. ✌️❤️ @waterkeeperalliance @childrenshealthdefense</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/chefpeteevans/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Pete Evans</a> (@chefpeteevans) on Jan 10, 2020 at 11:56am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Harry Nespolon said Evans should “stick to talking about ‘activated almonds’ and leave vaccinations alone”.</p> <p>“Vaccinations save lives and it is intensely frustrating that individuals like Pete Evans are trying so hard to cause so much harm,” Dr Nespolon told <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/celebrity-chef-pete-evans-sparks-fury-for-dangerous-selfie-with-antivaccination-voice/news-story/4198eefc2a479c02916cc4e3c846c3e9">news.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p>“Vaccines are one of the great success stories of modern medicine but the rise of the anti-vaxxer trend has eroded some of these gains and lead to needless death and suffering.</p> <p>“Robert F Kennedy is not doing ‘important work’ for coming generations; he is perpetuating dangerous, anti-scientific myths which are causing tremendous harm in countries including the United States and Australia.”</p> <p>Dr Nespolon said the chef should be careful due to his influence as a celebrity and TV star. “I hope that he rethinks the company he keeps and books an appointment with his local GP to learn about the damage he is doing promoting the ‘Children’s Health Defense’,” he said.</p> <p>This is not the first time Evans has received criticism for spreading misinformation about vaccinations. Last year, the Australian Medical Association’s president Dr Tony Bartone slammed Evans for spreading unproven medical advice after the chef promoted an anti-vaccination podcast on his Facebook page.</p> <p>“When it comes to cooking, Pete Evans might be an expert, but his misinformation about vaccination is a recipe for disaster,” Dr Bartone said in a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/14/doctors-warns-pete-evans-to-stick-to-cooking-after-sharing-anti-vaxx-podcast">statement</a>.</p> <p>“He should leave the medical advice to the experts and keep quiet about matters he has no skills, experience or expertise in.”</p> <p>Evans has also been accused of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/27/ama-accuses-pete-evans-of-endangering-lives-with-unscientific-health-advice">putting his fans’ health in danger</a> with his unscientific advice on fluoride, calcium, diet and sunscreen.</p>

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5 things CEOs always do before bed

<p><strong>Start tomorrow right – tonight!</strong></p> <p>Anyone who has ever had to help a child with a school project at midnight or found themselves binge-watching Netflix until the wee hours of the morning knows that what you do at bedtime can have a huge impact on how the next day goes. Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health, yet for too many of us, sleep is the first thing that’s sacrificed when life gets crazy. The second thing to go? Good bedtime habits. Even CEOs have to fight this temptation, but some of them have figured out how to do it successfully and consistently. We asked them to share the surprisingly simple night time tricks that help them have a happy, productive day.</p> <p><strong>Set an alarm for bedtime instead of wake time</strong></p> <p>Half the battle of getting a good night’s sleep is getting yourself to bed on time. Douglas Smith, CEO of True Nutrition, has discovered a great hack for making sure he’s consistent with his bedtime. “Most people set an alarm for waking up, but I’ve discovered it should be the other way around,” he says. “I set my alarm for 30 minutes before I should be in bed, and I stick to it. This helps me get to sleep at the same time every night. Once my body adjusted to it, I’ve found that I sleep better and I don’t even need an alarm to wake up. I wake up on my own, feeling well-rested.”</p> <p><strong>Use a light-filtering app</strong></p> <p>Blue light from screens interferes with your natural circadian rhythms, tricking your brain into thinking it’s morning instead of bedtime. Jason McCarthy, CEO of DigiNo, combats this by using apps that moderate the light from device screens. “I use the F.lux app. It gradually decreases the brightness and white light from the screen as bedtime draws closer,” he says. “This leads to much healthier and easier sleep. Plus, it reminds me not to keep working too late!”</p> <p><strong>Sip some vinegar and honey</strong></p> <p>Have trouble falling asleep? McCarthy swears by this bedtime tip courtesy of Tim Ferriss’ <em>The 4-Hour Workweek</em>. “He recommends drinking hot water with a spoonful of organic apple cider vinegar and natural honey as a sleep aid,” McCarthy explains. “No matter how busy my mind is from a stressful day at work, this drink manages to knock me out for a soothing sleep within 20 minutes. And it tastes better than you think it will!”</p> <p><strong>Utilise a “mail butler”</strong></p> <p>Managing email can feel like a full-time job for anyone, CEO or otherwise. And going to bed with a full inbox can make it hard to sleep, thanks to constant notifications or worries about missed items. This is why Billy Goldberg, CEO of the Buckeye Group, swears by Mailbutler, an extension for your email that automates certain tasks. “After dinner but before bedtime, I tidy up my inbox and get it down to zero. I use Mailbutler to ‘snooze’ emails and remind me of them at a set time in the future when I’ll need the information or need to follow up with someone,” he explains. “I use the extra time to hang out with my teenage daughters if they are into me at that moment.”</p> <p><strong>Have a nutritious bedtime snack</strong></p> <p>It’s hard to sleep if your stomach is grumbling, but a full tummy can also cause insomnia. In fact, overeating is one of the common mistakes insomniacs make. For Goldberg, the perfect compromise is a small snack high in fibre and healthy fats. “This may sound strange, but eating a spoonful of almond butter right before bed is the key to getting a good night’s sleep,” Goldberg says. “I wake up energised, and my blood sugar is maintained. Honestly, it’s been a game-changer for me!”</p> <p><strong>Pack a gym bag</strong></p> <p>Exercise can help improve your mood, increase your energy and even make you more creative, helping to set you up for a productive day. The only downside is that it can be hard to remember all of that when you’re dragging yourself out of a warm bed before the sun’s even up. For Joyce Shulman, CEO of Macaroni Kid, the trick is to prep the night before. “I set out my clothes for my morning workout in the bathroom, so when I get up at 5 am., I have no decisions to make – I just do it,” she says. “I also set up my coffee the night before because, well, coffee.”</p> <p><em>Written by Charlotte Hilton Anderson. This article first appeared in<a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/sleep/16-things-ceos-always-do-before-bed?slide=all"> Reader’s Digest</a>. 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=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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Lisa Curry rushed to hospital with terrifying health scare

<p>Lisa Curry hasn’t had the easiest start to 2020 as the former Olympian was rushed to hospital on New Year’s Day after suffering from a severely swollen throat.</p> <p>Taking to Instagram to share the news, the 57-year-old wrote candidly about her most recent health scare as she posted a photo of her on a hospital bed surrounded by medical equipment.</p> <p>“My goal for the year was to slow the heck down … before I even got a chance to slow down, I ended up here in a Melbourne hospital,” she captioned the image.</p> <p>“New Year’s Day lovely lunch with friends, go home for a nana nap, woke up unable to breathe … my throat and tongue swollen and so scary not to be able to get a proper breath,” she added.</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/B7DRSkUhMdy/?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/B7DRSkUhMdy/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">My goal for the year was to slow the heck down ... before I even got a chance to slow down, I ended up here in a Melbourne hospital. New Years Day lovely lunch with friends, go home for a nana nap, woke up unable to breathe... my throat and tongue swollen and so scary not to be able to get a proper breath. Came home, and still sick.😷🤒🤧 We only tend to slow down when we are FORCED to. When we feel ok, we keep pushing and pushing. I’m quite allergic to things in the air and plants but really have no idea why it happened?? Immune system down plus too much stress... Only starting to feel a little human today. Stay strong everyone and remember to rest.</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/lisacurry/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Lisa Curry AO</a> (@lisacurry) on Jan 7, 2020 at 11:57pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Lisa said that the entire experience was a harsh reminder as to why she needed to look after herself.</p> <p>“We only tend to slow down when we are FORCED to. When we feel ok, we keep pushing and pushing,” she wrote.</p> <p>While she admitted that she’s yet to find out what caused the swelling, she explained that she is “quite allergic” to things in the air and plants.</p> <p>“But really have no idea why it happened?? Immune system down plus too much stress,” she told her followers.</p> <p>The three-time Olympic swimming champ is mother to Morgan, Jaimi and Jett with ex-husband Grant Kenny.</p>

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How do magpies detect worms and other food underground?

<p><strong>How do magpies detect worms and other food sources underground? I often see them look or listen, then rapidly hop across the ground and start digging with their beak and extract a worm or bug from the earth – Catherine, age 10, Perth.</strong></p> <p>You have posed a very good question.</p> <p>Foraging for food can involve sight, hearing and even smell. In almost all cases learning is involved. Magpies are ground foragers, setting one foot before the other looking for food while walking, called <a href="http://www.publish.csiro.au/book/7677/" title="Biology and Behaviour of an Unusual Songbird">walk-foraging</a>. It looks like this:</p> <p>Finding food on the ground, such as beetles and other insects, is not as easy as it may sound. The ground can be uneven and covered with leaves, grasses and rocks. Insects may be hiding, camouflaged, or staying so still it is hard for a magpie to notice them.</p> <p>Detecting a small object on the ground requires keen vision and experience, to discriminate between the parts that are important and those that are not.</p> <p>Magpie eyes, as for most birds, are on the side of the head (humans and other birds of prey, by contrast, have eyes that face forward).</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305806/original/file-20191209-90592-eed4d5.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305806/original/file-20191209-90592-eed4d5.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">A magpie’s eyes are at the side of its head and it can only see something with both eyes if that is straight in front of the bird.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock/Webb Photography</span></span></em></p> <p>To see a small area in front of them, close to the ground, birds use both eyes together (scientists call this binocular vision). But birds mostly see via the eyes looking out to the side (which is called monocular vision).</p> <p>This picture gives you an idea of what a magpie can see with its left eye, what it can see with its right eye and what area it can see with both eyes working together (binocular vision).</p> <p>You asked about underground foraging. Some of that foraging can also be done by sight. Worms, for instance, may leave a small mound (called a cast) on the surface and, to the experienced bird, this indicates that a worm is just below.</p> <p>Magpies can also go a huge step further. They can identify big scarab larvae underground without any visual help at all.</p> <p>Scarab larvae look like grubs. They munch on grassroots and can kill entire grazing fields. Once they transform into beetles (commonly called Christmas beetles) they can do even more damage by eating all the leaves off eucalyptus trees.</p> <p>Here is the secret: magpies have such good hearing, they can hear the very faint sound of grass roots being chewed.</p> <p>We know this from <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347281801121" title="Localization of soil dwelling scarab larvae by the black-backed magpie, Gymnorhina tibicen (Latham)">experiments</a> using small speakers under the soil playing back recorded sounds of scarab beetle larvae. Magpies located the speaker every time and dug it up.<span class="attribution"><a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/" class="license"></a></span></p> <p>So how do they do it? Several movements are involved.</p> <p>To make certain that a jab with its beak will hit the exact spot where the juicy grub is, the magpie first walks slowly and scans the ground. It then stops and looks closely at the ground – seemingly with both eyes working together.</p> <p>Then, holding absolutely still, the magpie turns its head so the left side of the head and ear is close to the ground for a final confirming <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318003665_Audition_and_Hemispheric_Specialization_in_Songbirds_and_New_Evidence_from_Australian_Magpies">listen</a>.</p> <p>Finally, the bird straightens up, then executes a powerful jab into the ground before retrieving the grub.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305292/original/file-20191205-70133-1fvy04l.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/305292/original/file-20191205-70133-1fvy04l.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">An Australian magpie digging for food gets a grub.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Australian_Magpie_Digging_Grub.jpg" class="source">Wikimedia/Toby Hudson</a>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-SA</a></span></p> <p>That is very clever of the magpies. Very few animals can extract food they can’t see. Only great apes and humans were thought to have this ability. Clever magpies indeed. And farmers love them for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347281801121" title="Localization of soil dwelling scarab larvae by the black-backed magpie, Gymnorhina tibicen (Latham)">keeping a major pest under control</a>.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gisela-kaplan-2401">Gisela Kaplan</a>, Emeritus Professor in Animal Behaviour, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-new-england-919">University of New England</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/curious-kids-how-do-magpies-detect-worms-and-other-food-underground-125713">original article</a>.</em></p>

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8 expert-approved home remedies for back pain

<p>Back pain is one of the most common complaints that bring patients into doctors’ offices. Although you should always see a doctor if your pain is severe, there are ways to relieve back pain at home.</p> <p><strong>Home remedies for back pain: cold</strong></p> <p>Icing is key when you are experiencing lower back soreness and/or pain, shares Dr Jennifer L. Solomon. “It is also critical post-exercise to reduce inflammation and promote pain control.”  If you are experiencing radiating pain into the lower extremities, continue to ice the lower back rather than the legs, she says.</p> <p><strong>Home remedies for back pain: heat</strong></p> <p>Heat should be your go-to after a weekend warrior move gone wrong, such as over-aggressive mulching in your garden or an injury from moving furniture, says orthopaedic spine surgeon, Dr Justin J. Park. “Strains and pulls respond better to heat.” Heat helps to ease the strained muscle and reduce tension and can help to increase range of motion and reduce pain.  Don’t let the heating pad get too hot and don’t use it for more than an hour or so at a time.</p> <p><strong>Home remedies for back pain: over-the-counter medications</strong></p> <p>Other back pain remedies that work fast are over-the-counter pain medication, Dr Park says.  Paracetamol, or acetaminophen, is really not recommended for muscular strains and sprains. If you’ve hurt your back, the best remedy is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, or NSAID. Common NSAIDs include Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen). These medications help to stem the tide of the blood flow to the area to reduce pain. By keeping inflammation low, your pain is decreased, and you are better able to move.</p> <p><strong>Home remedies for back pain: rest</strong></p> <p>Rest is vital when you are trying to relieve back pain naturally. “We aren’t talking about bed rest though,” Dr Park says. Take two or three days off from your usual activities such as going to the gym, which could make the pain worse and lead to further injury of the musculature of the back.  But gentle stretching and light walking should be okay, he adds. In fact, exercise is thought to be beneficial in terms of preventing and relieving chronic low back pain. For example, a 2018 review of randomised controlled trials, which was published in the <em>American Journal of Epidemiology</em>, found that people who exercised had a 33 per cent lower risk of back pain than those who did not. And in people who did get lower back pain, exercise reduced the severity and disability associated with it. The researchers recommended strengthening with either stretching or aerobic exercise 2 to 3 days per week.</p> <p><strong>Home remedies for back pain: muscle creams and patches</strong></p> <p>Another way to cure back pain at home is to use muscle creams and patches. Many different companies make these products. The medication in the patch or cream works to “confuse” the nerve endings in your back muscles. By making them feel hot or cold, they are distracted from the pain of the muscle tissue. In addition, the heat from these patches goes a long way toward soothing the muscles that have been strained or sprained. Large patches are probably more convenient, but creams may work better if your muscles are strained higher up on the back, to the side, or over a large area.</p> <p><strong>Home remedies for back pain: try a rub</strong></p> <p>There are a host of over-the-counter and prescription pain relieving gels, Dr Park says.  “Over-the-counter rubs provide relief, and prescription strength anti-inflammatory creams are great for people who can’t tolerate taking them by mouth,” he says. Ask a loved one to massage the cream into your back if you can’t reach the sore spot.</p> <p><strong>Home remedies for back pain: know when to call in the doctor</strong></p> <p>Self-treating with home remedies for back pain makes sense to a point, says Dr Park. “Give it a week or two but if after a few weeks, your pain is not getting better, getting worse or is severe at night, see a doctor to find out what else may help.”</p> <p><em>Written by Lynda Lampert. This article first appeared in </em><em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/back/8-expert-approved-home-remedies-for-back-pain?slide=all">Reader’s Digest.</a> 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=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a><span><em> , </em></span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

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Princess Mary pens powerful letter to Scott Morrison about horrific Aussie bushfires

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Aussie favourite Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has expressed her condolences to Australian families who have lost everything due to the bushfires ravaging the country.</p> <p>Mary, who was born in Tasmania, said that she was “proud” of her Australian heritage and expressed her “deepest sympathy” to those who had lost their homes.</p> <p>The 47-year-old wrote the letter of support to Prime Minister Scott Morrison as she has been following the disaster from her home in Denmark.</p> <p>"In this time of great hardship caused by the ruthless bush fires, my husband [Crown Prince Frederik] and I would like to convey our warmest wishes to the Australian people as we enter a new year," Crown Princess Mary wrote in the letter, released by the Danish royal family.</p> <p>"Our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and our deepest sympathy to the many families who have lost their homes - their livelihoods.</p> <p>"When the immediate crisis subsides and people can begin to return from where they have fled, our thoughts and concerns will remain with the affected local communities, as it will undoubtedly take great efforts and time for them to rebuild what has been lost.</p> <p>"The courage and unyielding efforts of the volunteer firefighters have our deepest respect and admiration.</p> <p>"Following from afar, it makes me proud of my Australian heritage to witness the strong sense of community and the Australian spirit of 'never giving up' in the face of such devastation and adversity."</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/B67_r-Vg2J7/?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/B67_r-Vg2J7/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by DET DANSKE KONGEHUS (@detdanskekongehus)</a> on Jan 5, 2020 at 4:08am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Cooler weather and rain has given firefighters a chance to catch their breath as 139 fires continue to burn across the state of NSW. The RFS, according to the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-06/sydney-news-monday-morning-briefing/11843022" target="_blank"><em>ABC</em></a><span> </span>have said that at least 60 properties were lost across the state this weekend, but that number is set to rise. RFS volunteers have been pushed to their absolute limits as they try valiantly to stop the bushfires from impacting more families and taking their homes due to the blazes.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div class="post-actions-component"> <div class="upper-row"><span class="like-bar-component"></span> <div class="watched-bookmark-container"></div> </div> </div> </div>

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