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Ambulance ramping is getting worse in Australia. Here’s why – and what we can do about it

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-karnon-290">Jonathan Karnon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-partington-93821">Andrew Partington</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p>We’ve seen countless <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/ballarat/ambulance-ramping-leaves-paramedics-unable-to-respond-to-emergencies-says-union/news-story/54b6fee380eb7b7f1c9b2784edf3d2cd">media reports</a> in recent days, weeks and months about the <a href="https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/qld-politics/worst-cases-of-ambulance-ramping-at-queensland-hospitals-revealed/news-story/bcf4833b5197774329cf983029d77cb4">ramping of ambulances</a> at <a href="https://thewest.com.au/news/health/ambulance-ramping-reaches-record-levels-in-june-as-hospitals-struggle-with-surging-winter-demand-c-15192504">hospital emergency departments</a> (EDs) around Australia.</p> <p>Ambulance ramping occurs when paramedics are made to wait at the hospital’s entrance and are unable to transfer their patient into the emergency department within an appropriate time frame – defined as <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/our+performance/ambulance+waiting+times">30 minutes</a> in South Australia.</p> <p>Ramping is an indicator of hospital stress. It means patients are waiting longer to receive care in the emergency department, and patients requiring inpatient care are waiting longer to access a hospital bed.</p> <p>Research suggests <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2022/217/5/influence-ambulance-offload-time-30-day-risks-death-and-re-presentation-patients">ambulance ramping</a> and <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1742-6723.13699">having to wait longer</a> for a hospital bed are associated with a greater risk of patients dying up to 30 days after their initial presentation.</p> <p>So why is ambulance ramping still a problem? And what can we do to fix it?</p> <h2>Ramping is getting worse</h2> <p>Available data indicate the problem has become worse over time. In <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/our+performance/ambulance+waiting+times">South Australia</a>, for example, ramping has been steadily increasing since 2017, from around 500 hours “ramped” per month to around 4,000 hours per month in 2024. This is the sum of the time ambulances spend waiting beyond 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.bhi.nsw.gov.au/data-portal">New South Wales</a>, we calculate the numbers of patients being ramped increased from around 44,000 patients per month in early 2022 to more than 50,000 in early 2024.</p> <h2>What’s driving the increase in ramping?</h2> <p>The ambulance ramping bottleneck reflects an imbalance between the number of people presenting at emergency departments and the capacity to treat patients and transfer those requiring inpatient care to a ward.</p> <p>Potential drivers of this imbalance are increased emergency department presentations and reduced availability of inpatient beds. The latter may reflect increased demand for beds, including longer hospital stays.</p> <p>Between the financial years 2018–19 and 2022–23 (the latest period for which figures are available), Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data show the numbers of more serious presentations (triage categories 1 to 3) increased by <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/emergency-department-care">almost 700,000</a> across Australia.</p> <p>Some 100,000 fewer patients who presented to an emergency department were <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">admitted as inpatients</a> during this period, but the additional presentations will nonetheless have contributed to more ramping.</p> <p>In the same period, admissions to inpatient beds that did not come through an emergency department increased by <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">almost 400,000</a> across the country. These include admissions for the management of chronic conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and so on) and infections and viruses (COVID, flu, RSV and others).</p> <p>Further, COVID and other viruses are likely to have contributed to increased hospital stress via <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/workforce/health-workforce">workforce shortages</a>. This has possibly led to delays in seeing patients in the emergency department and in discharging patients from hospital.</p> <p>There has not been a significant increase in <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">patients’ time in hospital</a> receiving required care, but there appear to be increasing numbers of patients waiting for placement in an aged care facility or for home care services after their treatment <a href="https://www.ama.com.au/sites/default/files/2023-02/Hospital%20exit%20block%20-%20a%20symptom%20of%20a%20sick%20health%20system_Final.pdf">has finished</a>.</p> <h2>Many admissions may be preventable</h2> <p>Increased vaccination rates could reduce the impact of viruses. For example, only <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/immunisation-and-vaccination">21% of Australians</a> aged 65 to 74 received the 2023 COVID booster recommended for their age group.</p> <p>We know there were significant increases in people delaying or avoiding seeing a GP <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/more-people-putting-seeing-health-professionals-due-cost">due to cost</a> in 2022–23, which can put extra pressure on hospitals. The government is trying to address this issue by increasing <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/increases-to-bulk-billing-incentive-payments">incentives to GPs</a> to reduce costs to patients.</p> <p>Meanwhile, government health departments may not have been provided with enough funding to meet increasing demand for health care. Year on year the gap between supply and demand grows. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/article/2024/jun/27/victoria-hospitals-recruitment-freeze-cost-cuts-premier-jacinta-allan">Victorian hospitals</a> are reportedly scrambling to reduce spending in light of proposed budget cuts.</p> <h2>What are the solutions?</h2> <p>The creation of new hospital beds is not the only option for increasing capacity. Governments should design, implement and scale up services that free up hospital capacity by providing appropriate and cost-effective out-of-hospital care.</p> <p>For example, there is further scope to care for patients admitted to hospital in their own homes with the support of digital technologies. Programs such as <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/services/hospitals/my+home+hospital/my+home+hospital">My Home Hospital</a> in South Australia aim to provide an alternative to inpatient care.</p> <p>Across Australia, such “hospital in the home” care was provided 150,000 times in 2022–23, compared to <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/admitted-patients">6.8 million episodes of care</a> in public hospitals.</p> <p>Virtual ED services are a growing phenomenon across Australia, using <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-virtual-emergency-department-and-when-should-you-visit-one-228098">virtual consultations</a> to identify patients for whom urgent care can be provided outside hospital. The Victorian virtual ED service is targeting a capacity of <a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/health-and-education/meet-the-two-doctors-revolutionising-emergency-healthcare-20240415-p5fjud">1,000 consults</a> per day.</p> <p>Longer-term solutions require co-operation between state and territory governments and the federal government to prevent and better manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, outside hospital. This includes boosting access to GPs and improving communication between GPs and hospitals.</p> <p>Greater investment in well-designed policies and programs to support healthy ageing would also likely help, as well as improving access to required out-of-hospital aged care and disability services for patients waiting to leave hospital.</p> <p>All these measures could ease the pressure on hospitals and reduce the likelihood of patients waiting in an ambulance, unable to get inside and receive the care they need.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232720/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-karnon-290">Jonathan Karnon</a>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-partington-93821">Andrew Partington</a>, Research Fellow (Health Economics), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/ambulance-ramping-is-getting-worse-in-australia-heres-why-and-what-we-can-do-about-it-232720">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Planning a country escape these school holidays? 4 ways to avoid clogging up the emergency department

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-riley-1499452">Katherine Riley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebekkah-middleton-314433">Rebekkah Middleton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p>Winter school holidays are either here or coming up, depending on where in Australia you live. Maybe you’re planning a <a href="https://www.tra.gov.au/en/domestic/domestic-tourism-results">rural escape</a>.</p> <p>Rural tourism is crucial for job growth and sustainability of small rural towns. However, for rural emergency departments, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/am/holiday-medico-shortages-in-rural-and-remote-australia/103266540">school holidays</a> are often the busiest times.</p> <p>No-one plans a trip to the emergency department on holidays. But if you need health care, there are often other ways of accessing it than turning up at a rural hospital.</p> <p>Here’s why it’s so important to leave rural emergency departments for life-threatening illness or injuries, and some other options for seeking care.</p> <h2>We’re short of doctors and nurses</h2> <p>The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/rural-remote-australians/rural-and-remote-health">reports</a> a significant shortfall of nurses and specialist doctors in rural towns compared with staffing levels in big cities.</p> <p>This means many small rural emergency departments only have nurses on staff, with doctors on call or consulted remotely from a larger hospital.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1755599X2300143X">study</a> published earlier this year, my colleagues and I discovered this dynamic was especially challenging for rural emergency nurses when critically ill patients presented.</p> <p>One nurse told us: "We need more staff. I mean, I look at these emergency TV shows, and you see them in Kings Cross at the big hospitals there or overseas, they get a phone call […] there’s a resus coming in. Everyone’s standing around the bed with all their signs on, the airway/circulation/team leader […] and here, we have two people. It’s just so different. It’s just a false sense of reality. It’s ridiculous."</p> <p>So emergency departments should be used for <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Hospitals/Going_To_hospital/Publications/keep-ed-emergencies.pdf">emergencies only</a>. These include:</p> <ul> <li>sudden collapse</li> <li>chest pain or pressure lasting more than ten minutes</li> <li>breathing difficulty</li> <li>serious mental health condition</li> <li>uncontrollable bleeding.</li> </ul> <p>When emergency departments are used responsibly, this can reduce the pressure on staff. It ensures the most seriously ill receive the care they need promptly.</p> <h2>What are my alternatives?</h2> <p>Here are four ways you and your family can be better prepared for your rural holiday and avoid an unnecessary visit to the emergency department.</p> <p><strong>1. Pack your scripts and medical history summary</strong></p> <p>Bring essential scripts and medications with you. This reduces the need to visit the local emergency department and ensures you have what you need during your stay.</p> <p>Do you have a chronic condition or have had a recent illness or surgery? Make sure you speak to your GP before you go. They can provide a medical health summary that includes your recent treatments and medications. Alternatively, if you have access to <a href="https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/my-health-record">My Health Record</a>, ask your GP to prepare a shared health summary and upload it to your record. If you need medical care, this summary will assist in a timely assessment.</p> <p><strong>2. Call Healthdirect, NURSE-ON-CALL or 13HEALTH depending on where you are</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-healthdirect-can-help-you">Healthdirect</a> is a 24-hour telephone health advice line (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria or 13HEALTH in Queensland). By calling the relevant number, you will be connected to a registered nurse who will ask a series of questions and provide evidence-based advice and guidance. The Healthdirect website also offers an interactive <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/symptom-checker">symptom checker</a> to advise whether you should see a GP, go to an emergency department, or manage your symptoms at home (or in this case, on holidays):</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au">Healthdirect</a> - 1800 022 222</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/nurse-on-call">NURSE-ON-CALL</a> (Vic) - 1300 60 60 24</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/health/contacts/advice/13health">13HEALTH</a> (Qld) - 13 43 25 84.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Need a GP? How about GP telehealth services?</strong></p> <p>For minor health concerns or non-urgent issues, <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/how-emily-took-advantage-of-one-of-the-few-good-things-to-come-out-of-covid-20240507-p5fpg3.html">GP telehealth services</a> are a remote-access option that can be used when away from home. Before you go away, check with your GP to see if they offer a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/health-technologies-and-digital-health/about/telehealth">telehealth service</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Go to an Urgent Care Clinic</strong></p> <p>The Australian government has funded the opening of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/find-a-medicare-ucc/about">Urgent Care Clinics</a> across the country. These clinics provide medical assessment and care for urgent illnesses or injuries. They have been created as a solution to divert people away from busy emergency departments. But these Urgent Care Clinics are not suitable for people experiencing emergency or life-threatening conditions.</p> <p>Urgent Care Clinics are ideal for illnesses and injuries that would require urgent treatment such as gastroenteritis, minor infections, lacerations and back pain. Check <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/find-a-medicare-ucc">here</a> to find your closest clinic.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Please keep the emergency department for life-threatening illnesses or injuries, and if needed, call 000 for an ambulance immediately.</em><!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232262/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-riley-1499452">Katherine Riley</a>, Lecturer, School of Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebekkah-middleton-314433">Rebekkah Middleton</a>, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/planning-a-country-escape-these-school-holidays-4-ways-to-avoid-clogging-up-the-emergency-department-232262">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Domestic Travel

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Sam Armytage in hospital for major surgery

<p>Former <em>Sunrise </em>host Samantha Armytage has undergone major hip replacement surgery following a severe case of osteoarthritis. The 47-year-old TV personality shared her journey on Instagram on Tuesday, posting photos from St Vincent's Private Hospital in Sydney.</p> <p>Armytage revealed in a detailed caption that she had been struggling with osteoarthritis after tearing the cartilage in her right hip. This condition, a degenerative joint disease, causes the tissues in the joint to break down over time and is more prevalent among older individuals.</p> <p>Reflecting on her experience, the host of <em>The Farmer Wants a Wife</em> explained that the hip replacement was necessary to address the bone-on-bone friction and the severe osteoarthritis. Despite the challenges, she reassured her followers that her recovery is progressing well.</p> <p>"Hip, hip hooray. New hip, new me, no worries," she wrote. "A few weeks ago, I had a total hip replacement. After a very active, outdoorsy childhood (& a skiing accident 30 years ago), I'd torn all the cartilage out of my right hip. It was bone-on-bone & then became full of severe osteoarthritis. I'm so proud of how strong my body is & how well I've healed. I'm now truly bionic...& my nearest & dearest are pleased to not have to watch me limp around in pain anymore."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C85u8pqPlGS/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C85u8pqPlGS/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Samantha Armytage (@sam_armytage)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Armytage extended her gratitude to the medical staff and her loved ones, adding a touch of humour by sharing a photo of herself with a bit of Endone, a pain relief medication. She also praised her surgeon, Dr Michael Solomon, highlighting that hip replacements are common in Australia, with approximately 54,000 performed each year.</p> <p>Her post quickly garnered support from friends and fans alike. Presenter Kylie Gillies suggested a celebratory purchase, writing, "I think this deserves a new pair of Jimmy Choos …just to kick up those old heels and new hip! Glad to hear it’s gone well x" Meanwhile, singer Ricki-Lee Coulter expressed her encouragement, saying, "You’ll be dancing in no time. Sending you love xxx"</p> <p>Fans also chimed in with well wishes and supportive messages. One commented, "Good luck with the recovery and welcome to the Hip New Hip Gals Club," while another noted, "Oh a bit young for that Sam. Good luck on your recovery."</p> <p>Recovery from hip replacement surgery can be a lengthy process, often requiring dedicated physiotherapy. However, with her positive outlook and the support of her community, Samantha Armytage is well on her way to a full recovery.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Princess Anne hospitalised

<p>Princess Anne has been hospitalised after being injured at her home in Gloucestershire. </p> <p>The senior royal, 73, is understood to have sustained minor injuries and a concussion on Sunday evening, with the full nature of the incident yet unclear. </p> <p>However, it’s understood that her injuries are consistent with a potential impact from a horse’s head or legs.</p> <p>The incident occurred at her Gatcombe Park estate, where she lives with her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, and her two adult children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, were home at the time.</p> <p>Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Princess had been taken to hospital, where she remains for observation. </p> <p>“She remains in Southmead Hospital, Bristol, as a precautionary measure for observation,” the palace said in a statement on Monday.</p> <p>“On doctors’ advice, Her Royal Highness’s engagements for the week ahead will be postponed.”</p> <p>The statement added: “The King has been kept closely informed and joins the whole Royal Family in sending his fondest love and well-wishes to the Princess for a speedy recovery.”</p> <p>Princess Anne has been forced to cancel official engagements in Canada as a result of the incident, and also had to cancel her attendance at a State banquet in honour of The Emperor and Empress of Japan, who are currently visiting Britain.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Caring

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Oprah Winfrey hospitalised

<p>Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey has been rushed to hospital with severe stomach issues, according to her best friend Gayle King. </p> <p>Oprah had been scheduled to appear on the show <em>CBS Mornings</em>, but was forced to cancel her appearance due to the health issue. </p> <p>On the US morning show, King spoke about her friend's medical episode, confirming she had caught a nasty stomach bug. </p> <p>“She had some kind of stomach thing — stomach flu — stuff was coming out of both ends. I won’t get too graphic. Needless to say, she ended up in the hospital, dehydration, had to get an IV, it was a very serious thing,” King said on CBS Mornings.</p> <p>King later said she was recovering in hospital and assured fans she would be back on her feet in no time, saying, "She will be OK and I hope she's not mad at me for sharing that detail." </p> <p>“But I wanted to make it clear, though, that it mattered to her and that it really bothered her that she couldn’t be here for you today.”</p> <p>A spokesperson told <em><a title="Page Six" href="https://pagesix.com/2024/06/11/entertainment/oprah-winfrey-hospitalized-with-stomach-flu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Page Six</a></em> that Winfrey "is recovering following a stomach flu and received an IV due to dehydration at the recommendation of her doctor".</p> <p>"She is resting and feeling better every day."</p> <p>The health scare comes after the talk show legend admitted to using <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/body/oprah-s-weight-loss-backflip-i-m-done-with-the-shame" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ozempic</a> as a "maintenance tool" after her dramatic weight loss. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p class="css-1n6q21n-StyledParagraph e4e0a020" style="box-sizing: border-box; overflow-wrap: break-word; word-break: break-word; margin: 0px 0px 1.125rem; line-height: 25px; font-size: 1.125rem; font-family: HeyWow, Montserrat, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; caret-color: #292a33; color: #292a33;"> </p>

Caring

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Boomers vs millennials? Free yourself from the phoney generation wars

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bobby-duffy-98570">Bobby Duffy</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p>Generational thinking is a big idea that’s been horribly corrupted and devalued by endless myths and stereotypes. These clichés have fuelled fake battles between “snowflake” millennials and “selfish” baby boomers, with younger generations facing a “war on woke” and older generations accused of “stealing” the future from the young.</p> <p>As I argue in my book, <a href="https://atlantic-books.co.uk/book/generations/">Generations</a>, this is a real shame. A more careful understanding of what’s really different between generations is one of the best tools we have to understand change – and predict the future.</p> <p>Some of the great names in sociology and philosophy saw understanding generational change as central to understanding society overall. <a href="http://dhspriory.org/kenny/PhilTexts/Comte/Philosophy2.pdf">Auguste Comte</a>, for example, identified the generation as a key factor in “the basic speed of human development”.</p> <p>He argued that “we should not hide the fact that our social progress rests essentially upon death; which is to say that the successive steps of humanity necessarily require a continuous renovation … from one generation to the next”. We humans get set in our ways once we’re past our formative years, and we need the constant injection of new participants to keep society moving forward.</p> <p>Understanding whether, and how, generations are different is vital to understanding society. The balance between generations is constantly shifting, as older cohorts die out and are replaced by new entrants. If younger generations truly do have different attitudes or behaviours to older generations, this will reshape society, and we can, to some extent, predict how it will develop if we can identify those differences.</p> <p>But in place of this big thinking, today we get clickbait headlines and bad research on millennials “<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/millennials-hate-napkins-2016-3?r=US&amp;IR=T">killing the napkin industry</a>” or on how baby boomers have “<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/boomers-are-blame-aging-america/592336/">ruined everything</a>”. We’ve fallen a long way.</p> <h2>Myth busting</h2> <p>To see the true value of generational thinking, we need to identify and discard the many myths. For example, as I outline in the book, gen Z and millennials are not lazy at work or disloyal to their employers. They’re also no more materialistic than previous generations of young: a focus on being rich is something we tend to grow out of.</p> <p>Old people are not uncaring or unwilling to act on climate change: in fact, they are more likely than young people to boycott products for social purpose reasons.</p> <p>And our current generation of young are not a particularly unusual group of “culture warriors”. Young people are always at the leading edge of change in cultural norms, around race, immigration, sexuality and gender equality. The issues have changed, but the gap between young and old is not greater now than in the past.</p> <p>Meanwhile, there are real, and vitally important, generational differences hidden in this mess. To see them, we need to separate the three effects that explain all change in societies. Some patterns are simple “lifecycle effects”, where attitudes and behaviours are to do with our age, not which generation we are born into. Some are “period effects” – where everyone is affected, such as in a war, economic crisis or a pandemic.</p> <p>And finally, there are “cohort effects”, which is where a new generation is different from others at the same age, and they stay different. It’s impossible to entirely separate these distinct forces, but we can often get some way towards it – and when we do, we can predict the future in a much more meaningful way.</p> <p>There are many real generational differences, in vitally important areas of life. For example, the probability of you owning your own home is hugely affected by when you were born. Millennials are around half as likely to be a homeowner than generations born only a couple of decades earlier.</p> <p>There is also a real cohort effect in experience of mental health disorders, particularly among recent generations of young women. Our relationship with alcohol and likelihood of smoking is also tied to our cohort, with huge generational declines in very regular drinking and smoking. Each of these point to different futures, from increased strain on mental health services to declining alcohol sales.</p> <p>But lifecycle and period effects are vitally important too. For example, there is truth in the idea that we grow more conservative as we age. One analysis suggests that this ageing effect is worth around <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261379413000875">0.35% to the Conservatives each year</a>, which may not sound like a lot, but is very valuable over the course of a political lifetime.</p> <p>And, of course, the pandemic provides a very powerful example of how period effects can dramatically change things for us all.</p> <h2>Reaching beyond the avocado</h2> <p>When there is such richness in the realities, why are there so many myths? It’s partly down to bad marketing and workplace research – that is, people jumping on the generation bandwagon to get media coverage for their products or to sell consultancy to businesses on how to engage young employees.</p> <p>This has become its own mini-industry. In 2015, US companies spent up to US$70 million (£51 million) on this sort of “advice” <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/helping-bosses-decode-millennialsfor-20-000-an-hour-1463505666">according to the Wall Street Journal</a>, with some experts making as much as US$20,000 an hour. Over 400 LinkedIn users now describe themselves solely as a “millennial expert” or “millennial consultant”.</p> <p>Campaigners and politicians also play to these imagined differences. Our increasing focus on “<a href="https://www.kcl.ac.uk/policy-institute/assets/culture-wars-in-the-uk.pdf">culture wars</a>” often involves picking out particular incidents in universities, such as the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-45717841">banning of clapping</a> at events or the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-57409743">removal of a portrait of the Queen</a> to exaggerate how culturally different young people today are.</p> <p>Maybe less obviously, politicians such as former US President Barack Obama repeatedly lionise coming generations as more focused on equality, when the evidence shows they’re often not that different. These assertions are not only wrong, but create false expectations and divides.</p> <p>Some have had enough, calling on the Pew Research Center in the US, which has been a champion of generational groups, to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/07/generation-labels-mean-nothing-retire-them/&amp;data=04%257C01%257C">stop conducting this type of analysis</a>. I think that misses the point: it’s how it’s applied rather than the idea of generations that’s wrong.</p> <p>We should defend the big idea and call out the myths, not abandon the field to the “millennial consultants”.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/167138/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bobby-duffy-98570">Bobby Duffy</a>, Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Policy Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/boomers-vs-millennials-free-yourself-from-the-phoney-generation-wars-167138">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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After 180 years, new clues are revealing just how general anaesthesia works in the brain

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-d-hines-767066">Adam D Hines</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4773932/pdf/BLT.15.159293.pdf/">Over 350 million surgeries</a> are performed globally each year. For most of us, it’s likely at some point in our lives we’ll have to undergo a procedure that needs general anaesthesia.</p> <p>Even though it is one of the safest medical practices, we still don’t have a complete, thorough understanding of precisely how anaesthetic drugs work in the brain.</p> <p>In fact, it has largely remained a mystery since general anaesthesia was introduced into medicine over <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/08941939.2015.1061826">180 years ago</a>.</p> <p>Our study published <a href="https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0588-23.2024">in The Journal of Neuroscience today</a> provides new clues on the intricacies of the process. General anaesthetic drugs seem to only affect specific parts of the brain responsible for keeping us alert and awake.</p> <h2>Brain cells striking a balance</h2> <p>In a study using fruit flies, we found a potential way that allows anaesthetic drugs to interact with specific types of neurons (brain cells), and it’s all to do with proteins. Your brain has around <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cne.21974">86 billion neurons</a> and not all of them are the same – it’s these differences that allow general anaesthesia to be effective.</p> <p>To be clear, we’re not completely in the dark on <a href="https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0165614719300951">how anaesthetic drugs affect us</a>. We know why general anaesthetics are able to make us lose consciousness so quickly, thanks to a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/367607a0">landmark discovery made in 1994</a>.</p> <p>But to better understand the fine details, we first have to look to the minute differences between the cells in our brains.</p> <p>Broadly speaking, there are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6591655/">two main categories of neurons in the brain</a>.</p> <p>The first are what we call “excitatory” neurons, generally responsible for keeping us alert and awake. The second are “inhibitory” neurons – their job is to regulate and control the excitatory ones.</p> <p>In our day-to-day lives, excitatory and inhibitory neurons are constantly working and balancing one another.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/npp2017294">When we fall asleep</a>, there are inhibitory neurons in the brain that “silence” the excitatory ones keeping us awake. This happens <a href="https://askdruniverse.wsu.edu/2018/01/07/why-do-we-get-tired/">gradually over time</a>, which is why you may feel progressively more tired through the day.</p> <p>General anaesthetics speed up this process by directly silencing these excitatory neurons without any action from the inhibitory ones. This is why your anaesthetist will tell you that they’ll “put you to sleep” for the procedure: <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn2372">it’s essentially the same process</a>.</p> <h2>A special kind of sleep</h2> <p>While we know why anaesthetics put us to sleep, the question then becomes: “why do we <em>stay</em> asleep during surgery?”. If you went to bed tonight, fell asleep and somebody tried to do surgery on you, you’d wake up with quite a shock.</p> <p>To date, there is no strong consensus in the field as to why general anaesthesia causes people to remain unconscious during surgery.</p> <p>Over the last couple of decades, researchers have proposed several potential explanations, but they all seem to point to one root cause. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7709148/#:%7E:text=At%20presynaptic%20part%2C%20voltage%2Dgated,anesthetics%20to%20inhibiting%20neurotransmitter%20release.">Neurons stop talking to each other</a> when exposed to general anaesthetics.</p> <p>While the idea of “cells talking to each other” may sound a little strange, it’s a <a href="https://qbi.uq.edu.au/brain-basics/brain/brain-physiology/action-potentials-and-synapses">fundamental concept in neuroscience</a>. Without this communication, our brains wouldn’t be able to function at all. And it allows the brain to know what’s happening throughout the body.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Two branching structures in orange, green, blue and yellow colours on a black background." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Colourised neurons in the brain of a fly.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Adam Hines</span></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>What did we discover?</h2> <p>Our new study shows that general anaesthetics appear to stop excitatory neurons from communicating, but not inhibitory ones. <a href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/40/21/4103">This concept isn’t new</a>, but we found some compelling evidence as to <em>why</em> only excitatory neurons are affected.</p> <p>For neurons to communicate, proteins have to get involved. One of the jobs these proteins have is to get neurons to release molecules called <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22513-neurotransmitters">neurotransmitters</a>. These chemical messengers are what gets signals across from one neuron to another: dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin are all neurotransmitters, for example.</p> <p>We found that general anaesthetics impair the ability of these proteins to release neurotransmitters, but only in excitatory neurons. To test this, we used <a href="https://www.eneuro.org/content/8/3/ENEURO.0057-21.2021"><em>Drosophila melanogaster</em> fruit flies</a> and <a href="https://imb.uq.edu.au/research/facilities/microscopy/training-manuals/microscopy-online-resources/image-capture/super-resolution-microscopy">super resolution microscopy</a> to directly see what effects a general anaesthetic was having on these proteins at a molecular scale.</p> <p>Part of what makes excitatory and inhibitory neurons different from each other is that they <a href="https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00007.2012">express different types of the same protein</a>. This is kind of like having two cars of the same make and model, but one is green and has a sports package, while the other is just standard and red. They both do the same thing, but one’s just a little bit different.</p> <p>Neurotransmitter release is a complex process involving lots of different proteins. If one piece of the puzzle isn’t exactly right, then general anaesthetics won’t be able to do their job.</p> <p>As a next research step, we will need to figure out which piece of the puzzle is different, to understand why general anaesthetics only stop excitatory communication.</p> <p>Ultimately, our results hint that the drugs used in general anaesthetics cause massive global inhibition in the brain. By silencing excitability in two ways, these drugs put us to sleep and keep it that way.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229713/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-d-hines-767066">Adam D Hines</a>, Research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-180-years-new-clues-are-revealing-just-how-general-anaesthesia-works-in-the-brain-229713">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Are young people smarter than older adults? My research shows cognitive differences between generations are diminishing

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-badham-1531316">Stephen Badham</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/nottingham-trent-university-1338">Nottingham Trent University</a></em></p> <p>We often assume young people are smarter, or at least quicker, than older people. For example, we’ve all heard that scientists, and even more so mathematicians, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/08/07/who-says-scientists-peak-by-age-50/">carry out their most important work</a> when they’re comparatively young.</p> <p>But my new research, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027322972400008X#:%7E:text=Highlights&amp;text=Three%20review%20studies%20measure%20secular,%2C%20education%2C%20and%20overall%20health.">published in Developmental Review</a>, suggests that cognitive differences between the old and young are tapering off over time. This is hugely important as stereotypes about the intelligence of people in their sixties or older may be holding them back – in the workplace and beyond.</p> <p>Cognitive ageing is often measured by comparing young adults, aged 18-30, to older adults, aged 65 and over. There are a variety of tasks that older adults do not perform well on compared to young adults, such as memory, spatial ability and speed of processing, which often form the basis of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-iq-test-wars-why-screening-for-intelligence-is-still-so-controversial-81428">IQ tests</a>. That said, there are a few tasks that older people do better at than younger people, such as reading comprehension and vocabulary.</p> <p>Declines in cognition are driven by a process called <a href="https://www.nature.com/collections/cbjacdabdf">cognitive ageing</a>, which happens to everyone. Surprisingly, age-related cognitive deficits start very early in adulthood, and declines in cognition have been measured as dropping in adults as young as just 25.</p> <p>Often, it is only when people reach older age that these effects add up to a noticeable amount. Common complaints consist of walking into a room and forgetting why you entered, as well as difficulty remembering names and struggling to drive in the dark.</p> <h2>The trouble with comparison</h2> <p>Sometimes, comparing young adults to older adults can be misleading though. The two generations were brought up in different times, with different levels of education, healthcare and nutrition. They also lead different daily lives, with some older people having lived though a world war while the youngest generation is growing up with the internet.</p> <p>Most of these factors favour the younger generation, and this can explain a proportion of their advantage in cognitive tasks.</p> <p>Indeed, much existing research shows that <a href="https://theconversation.com/iq-tests-are-humans-getting-smarter-158837">IQ has been improving</a> globally throughout the 20th century. This means that later-born generations are more cognitively able than those born earlier. This is even found when both generations are tested in the same way at the same age.</p> <p>Currently, there is growing evidence that <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1718793115">increases in IQ are levelling off,</a> such that, in the most recent couple of decades, young adults are no more cognitively able than young adults born shortly beforehand.</p> <p>Together, these factors may underlie the current result, namely that cognitive differences between young and older adults are diminishing over time.</p> <h2>New results</h2> <p>My research began when my team started getting strange results in our lab. We found that often the age differences we were getting between young and older adults was smaller or absent, compared to prior research from early 2000s.</p> <p>This prompted me to start looking at trends in age differences across the psychological literature in this area. I uncovered a variety of data that compared young and older adults from the 1960s up to the current day. I plotted this data against year of publication, and found that age deficits have been getting smaller over the last six decades.</p> <p>Next, I assessed if the average increases in cognitive ability over time seen across all individuals was a result that also applied to older adults specifically. Many large databases exist where groups of individuals are recruited every few years to take part in the same tests. I analysed studies using these data sets to look at older adults.</p> <p>I found that, just like younger people, older adults were indeed becoming more cognitively able with each cohort. But if differences are disappearing, does that mean younger people’s improvements in cognitive ability have slowed down or that older people’s have increased?</p> <p>I analysed data from my own laboratory that I had gathered over a seven-year period to find out. Here, I was able to dissociate the performance of the young from the performance of the older. I found that each cohort of young adults was performing to a similar extent across this seven-year period, but that older adults were showing improvements in both processing speed and vocabulary scores.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="The figure shows data for a speed-based task where higher scores represent better performance." /><figcaption><span class="caption">The figure shows data for a speed-based task where higher scores represent better performance.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>I believe the older adults of today are benefiting from many of the factors previously most applicable to young adults. For example, the number of children who went to school <a href="https://education-uk.org/history/chapter12.html">increased significantly</a> in the 1960s – with the system being more similar to what it is today than what it was at the start of the 20th century.</p> <p>This is being reflected in that cohort’s increased scores today, now they are older adults. At the same time, young adults have hit a ceiling and are no longer improving as much with each cohort.</p> <p>It is not entirely clear why the young generations have stopped improving so much. Some research has <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2016.10.002">explored maternal age, mental health and even evolutionary trends</a>. I favour the opinion that there is just a natural ceiling – a limit to how much factors such as education, nutrition and health can improve cognitive performance.</p> <p>These data have important implications for research into dementia. For example, it is possible that a modern older adult in the early stages of dementia might pass a dementia test that was designed 20 or 30 years ago for the general population at that time.</p> <p>Therefore, as older adults are performing better in general than previous generations, it may be necessary to revise definitions of dementia that depend on an individuals’ expected level of ability.</p> <p>Ultimately, we need to rethink what it means to become older. And there’s finally some good news. Ultimately, we can expect to be more cognitively able than our grandparents were when we reach their age.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229132/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-badham-1531316">Stephen Badham</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/nottingham-trent-university-1338">Nottingham Trent University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-young-people-smarter-than-older-adults-my-research-shows-cognitive-differences-between-generations-are-diminishing-229132">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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Guy Sebastian reveals what happened when Marcia Hines collapsed

<p>Guy Sebastian has revealed what really happened on the set of <em>Australian Idol </em>when Marcia Hines <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/marcia-hines-rushed-to-hospital" target="_blank" rel="noopener">collapsed</a> behind the scenes and was rushed to hospital. </p> <p>Sebastian appeared on <em>Sunrise</em> on Monday morning, explaining how he was meant to perform on the talent show that launched his career, and ended up having to fill in as co-host. </p> <p>The 42-year-old told Nat Barr and Shirvo that he showed up on set to rehearse the performance of his new single <em>Antidote</em> when he was asked to step in to co-host the show in Marcia's absence. </p> <p>"We were just sound checking and when we got there, it was quite a sombre mood," he explained.</p> <p>"Marcia had to leave but from what I know she was ok. And then Kyle [Sandilands] made a joke about them getting me to fill in and I laughed."</p> <p>"And literally at the same time, my manager [walked over] and said 'Guy we need to speak', and then I jumped in to fill in."</p> <p>He went on to say it was a "full circle moment for me, because I will never forget Marcia's reassuring, affirming, beautiful nature when I was on <em>Idol</em>."</p> <p>"I know I don't possess quite the same nurturing energy, but I did my best."</p> <p>The Australian entertainment industry was struck with concern on Sunday night as news broke that Marcia had been rushed to the hospital just before filming for <em>Australian Idol</em> was about to begin. </p> <p>Fortunately, reports indicate that she is now in stable condition, though the precise nature of her illness remains undisclosed.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / Sunrise </em></p>

Caring

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Marcia Hines rushed to hospital

<p>The Australian entertainment industry was struck with concern as news broke that Marcia Hines, renowned host and judge of <em>Australian Idol</em>, had been rushed to the hospital. The incident occurred just before the highly anticipated grand final episode of the hit reality TV show, airing on Channel 7 on Sunday.</p> <p>Hines, a pivotal figure on the show, collapsed in her dressing room at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre in Rooty Hill, sending shockwaves through the production team and fans alike. According to sources close to the production, Hines, who had been a judge on the show, was unable to fulfil her role for the night, leading fellow artist Guy Sebastian to step in as a replacement.</p> <p>The severity of the situation became apparent as it was revealed that Hines, aged 70, had experienced a medical emergency necessitating her immediate transport to the hospital. Fortunately, reports indicate that she is now in stable condition, though the precise nature of her illness remains undisclosed.</p> <p>In an effort to address fans' concerns, Hines took to social media to provide an update on her condition, expressing regret for her absence and assuring her followers that she was receiving proper care and rest.</p> <p>“I’m very sorry that I’m not there with you all tonight,” Hines wrote on Instagram on Sunday night. “It’s been a big few days of work and I was feeling a little unwell. I’m resting up now so I can be back with you all tomorrow night.”</p> <p>Her absence from the show was acknowledged by Australian Idol host Ricki-Lee Coulter, who conveyed the show's support and well-wishes for Hines's speedy recovery. </p> <p>In response to the news, an outpouring of support flooded social media platforms, with fans and colleagues alike expressing their concern and solidarity with Hines.</p> <p>Hines's health journey has been marked by her openness about living with Type 1 diabetes, a condition she has managed since her diagnosis in her 30s. Despite the challenges posed by her health condition, Hines has remained resilient, advocating for awareness and proper management of diabetes while continuing to pursue her passion for music and entertainment.</p> <p>As speculation regarding the cause of Hines's collapse continues, the focus remains on her recovery and well-being. Meanwhile, the show's grand finale, slated to unfold over two nights on Channel 7, will proceed with contestants vying for the coveted 2024 title, albeit with Hines's absence keenly felt by both participants and viewers alike.</p> <p><em>Image: Channel 7</em></p>

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Investigation launched over "major security breach" at Princess Kate's hospital

<p>New reports have claimed that there was an alleged security breach at the hospital where the Princess of Wales was treated, and an internal investigation is currently underway. </p> <p>According to the <em>Daily Mirror's </em>Royal Editor Russell Myers, bosses at The London Clinic have launched a probe into the claims that Kate Middleton's confidentiality was breached by staff.</p> <p>"The reason [for the alleged investigation] is that there is allegations that a member of staff accessed her private medical records," Myers, said on <em>Today </em>this morning.</p> <p>He also described it as "a major security breach," citing an unidentified insider who claims that Kensington Palace was contacted by the hospital bosses  immediately after the alleged incident and "assured the Palace there would be a full investigation."</p> <p>"Kensington Palace and indeed the Princess of Wales have been extremely guarded about the nature of the surgery," he added. </p> <p>"Sources have told me that it's something she may wish to discuss in the future but it is a private medical matter now in the UK."</p> <p>Myers also claimed that he had spoken with London's Metropolitan Police, but said that they "haven't confirmed they are involved" at this stage.</p> <p>Just yesterday, Myers commented on the footage of Princess Kate <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/princess-kate-filmed-in-public-for-the-first-time-since-christmas" target="_blank" rel="noopener">out in public </a>for the first time since Christmas, calling it "the video that everybody had been clambering for."</p> <p>"The main thing is, Kate looks very happy and fully healthy," Myers said on the <em>Today</em> show. </p> <p>Kensington Palace and The London Clinic have not provided a comment on the matter at this stage. </p> <p>The Princess of Wales is expected to return to her royal duties after easter. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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What will aged care look like for the next generation?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>Aged care financing is a vexed problem for the Australian government. It is already underfunded for the quality the community expects, and costs will increase dramatically. There are also significant concerns about the complexity of the system.</p> <p>In 2021–22 the federal government spent <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/final-report-of-the-aged-care-taskforce?language=en">A$25 billion</a> on aged services for around 1.2 million people aged 65 and over. Around 60% went to residential care (<a href="https://www.gen-agedcaredata.gov.au/topics/people-using-aged-care#:%7E:text=On%2030%20June%202022%2C%20approximately,and%203%2C500%20using%20transition%20care.">190,000 people</a>) and one-third to home care (<a href="https://www.gen-agedcaredata.gov.au/topics/people-using-aged-care#:%7E:text=On%2030%20June%202022%2C%20approximately,and%203%2C500%20using%20transition%20care.">one million people</a>).</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/final-report-of-the-aged-care-taskforce?language=en">final report from the government’s Aged Care Taskforce</a>, which has been reviewing funding options, estimates the number of people who will need services is likely to grow to more than two million over the next 20 years. Costs are therefore likely to more than double.</p> <p>The taskforce has considered what aged care services are reasonable and necessary and made recommendations to the government about how they can be paid for. This includes getting aged care users to pay for more of their care.</p> <p>But rather than recommending an alternative financing arrangement that will safeguard Australians’ aged care services into the future, the taskforce largely recommends tidying up existing arrangements and keeping the status quo.</p> <h2>No Medicare-style levy</h2> <p>The taskforce <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/final-report-of-the-aged-care-taskforce?language=en">rejected</a> the aged care royal commission’s recommendation to introduce a levy to meet aged care cost increases. A 1% levy, similar to the Medicare levy, could have raised around <a href="https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/2021/03/03/cost-of-aged-care-levy#:%7E:text=Overall%2C%20a%201%20per%20cent%20levy%20would%20raise,necessary%20to%20provide%20decent%20aged%20care%20for%20all.">$8 billion a year</a>.</p> <p>The taskforce failed to consider the mix of taxation, personal contributions and social insurance which are commonly used to fund aged care systems internationally. The <a href="https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Japan-OECD-EC-Good-Time-in-Old-Age.pdf">Japanese system</a>, for example, is financed by long-term insurance paid by those aged 40 and over, plus general taxation and a small copayment.</p> <p>Instead, the taskforce puts forward a simple, pragmatic argument that older people are becoming wealthier through superannuation, there is a cost of living crisis for younger people and therefore older people should be required to pay more of their aged care costs.</p> <h2>Separating care from other services</h2> <p>In deciding what older people should pay more for, the taskforce divided services into care, everyday living and accommodation.</p> <p>The taskforce thought the most important services were clinical services (including nursing and allied health) and these should be the main responsibility of government funding. Personal care, including showering and dressing were seen as a middle tier that is likely to attract some co-payment, despite these services often being necessary to maintain independence.</p> <p>The task force recommended the costs for everyday living (such as food and utilities) and accommodation expenses (such as rent) should increasingly be a personal responsibility.</p> <h2>Making the system fairer</h2> <p>The taskforce thought it was unfair people in residential care were making substantial contributions for their everyday living expenses (about 25%) and those receiving home care weren’t (about 5%). This is, in part, because home care has always had a muddled set of rules about user co-payments.</p> <p>But the taskforce provided no analysis of accommodation costs (such as utilities and maintenance) people meet at home compared with residential care.</p> <p>To address the inefficiencies of upfront daily fees for packages, the taskforce recommends means testing co-payments for home care packages and basing them on the actual level of service users receive for everyday support (for food, cleaning, and so on) and to a lesser extent for support to maintain independence.</p> <p>It is unclear whether clinical and personal care costs and user contributions will be treated the same for residential and home care.</p> <h2>Making residential aged care sustainable</h2> <p>The taskforce was <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/final-report-of-the-aged-care-taskforce?language=en">concerned</a> residential care operators were losing $4 per resident day on “hotel” (accommodation services) and everyday living costs.</p> <p>The taskforce recommends means tested user contributions for room services and everyday living costs be increased.</p> <p>It also recommends that wealthier older people be given more choice by allowing them to pay more (per resident day) for better amenities. This would allow providers to fully meet the cost of these services.</p> <p>Effectively, this means daily living charges for residents are too low and inflexible and that fees would go up, although the taskforce was clear that low-income residents should be protected.</p> <h2>Moving from buying to renting rooms</h2> <p>Currently older people who need residential care have a choice of making a refundable up-front payment for their room or to pay rent to offset the loans providers take out to build facilities. Providers raise capital to build aged care facilities through equity or loan financing.</p> <p>However, the taskforce did not consider the overall efficiency of the private capital market for financing aged care or alternative solutions.</p> <p>Instead, it recommended capital contributions be streamlined and simplified by phasing out up-front payments and focusing on rental contributions. This echoes the royal commission, which found rent to be a more efficient and less risky method of financing capital for aged care in private capital markets.</p> <p>It’s likely that in a decade or so, once the new home care arrangements are in place, there will be proportionally fewer older people in residential aged care. Those who do go are likely to be more disabled and have greater care needs. And those with more money will pay more for their accommodation and everyday living arrangements. But they may have more choice too.</p> <p>Although the federal government has <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-11/aged-care-task-force-hands-down-recommendations/103573554">ruled out an aged care levy</a> and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-15/no-plan-to-touch-aged-care-asset-test/103470442">changes to assets test on the family home</a>, it has yet to respond to the majority of the recommendations. But given the aged care minister chaired the taskforce, it’s likely to provide a good indication of current thinking.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225551/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, Emeritus Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-will-aged-care-look-like-for-the-next-generation-more-of-the-same-but-higher-out-of-pocket-costs-225551">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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"If you cry, I cry!": Pink's emotional visit to children's hospital

<p>In a world often overshadowed by turmoil and strife, moments of pure compassion and kindness help to remind us of the inherent goodness that resides within humanity. Recently, one such instance unfolded at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, courtesy of the incomparable American singer, Pink.</p> <p>Known for her powerhouse vocals and unwavering commitment to making a difference, Pink, or Alecia Beth Moore, as she's known offstage, graced the hospital corridors with her presence, accompanied by her 12-year-old daughter, Willow. </p> <p>In a heartfelt Instagram post, Pink expressed gratitude for the opportunity to revisit the Royal Children’s Hospital, reflecting on a 22-year journey of shared moments and profound connections.</p> <p>"It’s been 22 years since I first visited families at the Royal Children’s Hospital, and it was a privilege to return to @rchmelbourne this week," she wrote.</p> <p>"Thank you to everyone who spent time with Willow and me. Thank you for sharing your stories and letting us play you a couple of songs. We won’t forget this day 💜</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">"Please visit @rchmelbourne to learn more about the vital work they’re doing to help create a world where all kids thrive 💕🙏"</span></p> <p>The emotional resonance of Pink's visit reverberated through the hospital wards, as she serenaded patients with her soul-stirring melodies and shared intimate moments with families, nurses and staff alike.</p> <p>An incredible rendition of her song "Cover Me in Sunshine" echoed through the rooms, offering comfort and joy to those who have found solace in her music during their darkest hours.</p> <p>Yet, beyond the melodies and harmonies, it was the genuine moments of human connection that truly illuminated the hospital corridors. From tender embraces to shared laughter, Pink's interactions with the children radiated warmth and compassion, leaving an indelible mark on hearts young and old.</p> <p>In the comments, fans and followers alike marvelled at the depth of Pink's compassion. "As a mom who has lost a child to pediatric brain cancer, I can’t tell you how much those moments of sunshine mean, both to the child and to the family," wrote one fan. "Willow was born the year I lost my daughter, and I’ve watched her grow up from afar, wondering what my daughter would have become. It’s obvious the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Thank you for being such gracious, and giving human beings."</p> <p>"If you cry, I cry," wrote another. "Now we we all are crying."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4ZMmK8S6Uv/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4ZMmK8S6Uv/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by P!NK (@pink)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In a world that often seems fraught with division and discord, Pink's visit to the Royal Children’s Hospital serves as a reminder of the profound impact one individual can have when they choose to lead with love and compassion.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Two more infant deaths at Queensland hospital spark coroner's investigation

<p>In the wake of a recent healthcare scandal involving infant fatalities at a Queensland hospital, the state coroner is now delving into two more heartbreaking cases at the same facility, as <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-12/coroner-investigating-more-baby-deaths-at-mackay-base-hospital/103573248" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported by the ABC</a>. This development has reignited concerns about the safety and quality of care provided to expectant mothers and newborns at Mackay Base Hospital.</p> <p>The stories of Chloe Stanley and Jenna McGregor echo a disturbing pattern of maternal distress, dismissal of concerns and tragic outcomes. Stanley's baby girl, Everlee, tragically passed away in her arms just seven days after birth in May 2023, while McGregor lost her son, Hugo, five days after his birth, two months prior. Both infants succumbed to hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, a condition stemming from oxygen or blood flow deprivation during birth.</p> <p>Stanley's harrowing experience sheds light on a systemic issue of young mothers feeling marginalised and ignored by healthcare professionals. At just 19 years old, Stanley expressed her belief that she was being "judged" for her ago, leading to dismissal of her concerns about her baby's well-being, ultimately resulting in devastating consequences. McGregor's ordeal parallels Stanley's, underscoring a troubling lack of responsiveness to maternal distress and the urgent need for systemic reforms.</p> <p>These recent tragedies evoke haunting memories of <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-30/mackay-hospital-health-service-babies-obstetrics-review/101411172" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a similar case a decade ago</a>, involving the loss of Jessica Beazley's newborn son, Nathan. Like Stanley and McGregor, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-30/mackay-base-hospital-obstetrics-harming-mother-and-baby/101485862" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Beazley's concerns </a>appear to have  been disregarded, leading to irreversible harm. An investigation into Mackay Base Hospital's obstetrics and gynaecology service in 2022 revealed a disturbing pattern of inadequate care contributing to infant deaths and maternal suffering, prompting calls for comprehensive reforms.</p> <p>The review uncovered 122 recommendations aimed at improving communication, culture and empathy within the hospital's maternity care system. However, despite assurances of progress, Stanley and McGregor's experiences suggest that critical reforms have yet to be fully implemented, leaving expectant mothers vulnerable to similar tragedies.</p> <p>The Root Cause Analysis conducted by the Mackay Hospital and Health Service (MHHS) following McGregor's loss identified several systemic deficiencies, including delays in care escalation, poor collaboration and communication breakdowns. These findings underscore the urgent need for sustained efforts to address systemic failures and ensure the safety of expectant mothers and their babies.</p> <p>Stanley's and McGregor's accounts of feeling dismissed and unheard by healthcare providers highlight a pervasive culture of neglect and complacency that must be addressed. </p> <p>In response to these tragedies, health authorities have pledged to bolster obstetric care and enhance staff training and empathy initiatives. </p> <p>As the Queensland coroner investigates these heartbreaking cases, it is imperative that lessons are learned, and systemic reforms are swiftly implemented to prevent further loss of innocent lives.</p> <p>Expectant mothers like Chloe Stanley and Jenna McGregor deserve nothing less than the highest standard of care and compassion throughout their pregnancy and childbirth journey.</p> <p><em>Images: Mackay Base Hospital \ Getty Images file photo</em> </p>

Legal

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Nat Bass reveals injury that landed her in hospital

<p>Natalie Bassingthwaighte has shared the details of a gruesome injury that landed her in hospital. </p> <p>The Aussie singer and actress was performing at a music festival in Tasmania, just hours before sustaining the injury. </p> <p>On Sunday night, the 48-year-old took to her Instagram stories to tell her followers what happened, while laying in a hospital bed. </p> <p>"Now I have ended up in here 'cause I have just cut my wrist, I [am] tired, happy Sunday," she said. </p> <p>Later, she gave her followers a further update when she was released from hospital, explaining what happened. </p> <p>"OK I decided to do a little video because I'm getting so many messages asking if I'm OK, I am OK, I'm very tired, but I'm OK, thank you for your concern," she said.</p> <p>"I did end up in emergency because in Byron there's no doctors or anything open on Sunday nights."</p> <p>She went on to share with followers what happened to her, saying, "Cut my wrist on a glass picture frame that had a crack in it."</p> <p>Bassingthwaighte continued, detailing her treatment at the hospital, adding, "Anyway I got straight in [to the hospital] and they put anaesthetic in it which killed."</p> <p>"A lovely doctor cleaned it up, made sure there was no glass in there and put a little glue on it."</p> <p>Recording her update with wet hair, she explained her recovery process. "I can't shower or no I can shower, I can't get it wet for a few days so I just sat in the bath and my daughter washed my hair which was quite lovely."</p> <p>She concluded her explanation with a shout-out to her followers. "But thank you for all your concerns. I'm okay, happy Sunday."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Caring

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Storytelling allows elders to transfer values and meaning to younger generations

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mary-ann-mccoll-704728">Mary Ann McColl</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em></p> <p>If you spent time over the holidays with elderly relatives or friends, you may have heard many of the same stories repeated — perhaps stories you’d heard over the years, or even over the past few hours.</p> <p>Repeated storytelling can sometimes be unnerving for friends and families, raising concerns about a loved one’s potential cognitive decline, memory loss or perhaps even the onset of dementia.</p> <p><a href="https://tenstories.ca/">Our research</a> at Queen’s University suggests there is another way to think about repeated storytelling that makes it easier to listen and engage with the stories. We interviewed 20 middle-aged adults who felt they had heard the same stories over and over from their aging parent. We asked them to tell us those stories and we recorded and transcribed them.</p> <p>We used a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/14439881211248356">narrative inquiry approach</a> to discover that repeated storytelling is a key method for elders to communicate what they believe to be important to their children and loved ones. Narrative inquiry uses the text of stories as research data to explore how people create meaning in their lives.</p> <h2>Transmitting values</h2> <p>Based on nearly 200 collected stories, we found that there are approximately <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/scs.13121">10 stories</a> that older parents repeatedly tell to their adult children.</p> <p>The hypothesis was that repeated storytelling was about inter-generational transmission of values. By exploring the themes of those repeated stories, we could uncover the meaning and messages elders were communicating to their loved ones.</p> <p>The ultimate purpose was to offer a new and more constructive way of thinking about stories that we’ve heard many times before, and that can be otherwise perceived as alarming.</p> <h2>Here’s what we have learned:</h2> <ol> <li> <p>There are typically just 10 stories that people tell repeatedly. While 10 is not a magic number, it does seem to be about the right number to capture the stories that are told over and over. Interviewees felt that a set of approximately 10 allowed them to do justice to their parent’s stories.</p> </li> <li> <p>Among our interviewees, a significant number of their parents’ stories – 87 per cent — took place when they were in their teens or twenties. A person’s second and third decades are a time when they make many of the decisions that shape the rest of their lives; a time when values are consolidated and the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2013.863358">adult identity is formed</a></p> </li> <li> <p>What’s important about the 10 stories is not the factual details, but the lesson that was learned, or the value that was reinforced — values like loyalty toward friends, putting family first, maintaining a sense of humour even in hard times, getting an education, speaking up against injustice, and doing what’s right.</p> </li> <li> <p>Key themes in the stories reflected the significant events and prevailing values of the early to mid-20th century. Many of the stories revolved around the war, and both domestic and overseas experiences that were formative. Many of our interviewees heard stories about immigrating to Canada, starting out with very little, seeking a better life and working hard. Stories often reflected a more formal time when it was important to uphold standards, make a good impression, know one’s place and adhere to the rules.</p> </li> <li> <p>The stories elders tell appear to be curated for the individual receiving them. They would be different if told to another child, a spouse or a friend.</p> </li> </ol> <h2>Tips for listening</h2> <p>Our research offers some tips for listening to stories from elders:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Focus on just 10 stories. It can make the listening seem less overwhelming.</p> </li> <li> <p>Write them down. Writing challenges us to get the story straight.</p> </li> <li> <p>Notice your loved one’s role in the story, as the message is often contained in that role.</p> </li> <li> <p>Be attentive to feelings, sensations, tension and discomfort. These can be signals or clues to the meaning of a story.</p> </li> <li> <p>Finally, remember these stories are for you — selected and told in the context of your relationship with your loved one. As such, they are a gift from a loved one who is running out of time.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>The importance of receiving stories</h2> <p>Storytelling is an <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/cad.20067">essential human process</a> and a universal experience associated with aging. Neuroscientists suggest that storytelling has practical survival value for individuals and communities, <a href="https://www.jonathangottschall.com/storytelling-animal">as well as social and psychological benefits</a>.</p> <p>It may be as powerful as medication or therapy for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/gps.1018">overcoming depression among elders</a>. Storytelling becomes especially important <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2017.1396581">when people become aware of their mortality</a> — when they are ill, suffering or facing death.</p> <p>People don’t necessarily tell the same stories over and over again because they’re losing cognitive function, but because the stories are important, and they feel we need to know them. Telling stories repeatedly isn’t about forgetfulness or dementia. It’s an effort to share what’s important.</p> <p>Our hope is that by better understanding elderly storytelling, caregivers may be able to listen in a different way to those repeated stories and understand the messages they contain. Those 10 stories can help us to know our loved one at a deeper level and assist our parent or grandparent with an important developmental task of old age.</p> <p>This research offers a constructive way for caregivers to hear the repeated stories told by their aging parents, and to offer their loved one the gift of knowing they have been seen and heard.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/197766/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mary-ann-mccoll-704728"><em>Mary Ann McColl</em></a><em>, Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/storytelling-allows-elders-to-transfer-values-and-meaning-to-younger-generations-197766">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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Hughesy gives health update after being rushed to hospital

<p>Dave 'Hughesy' Hughes has shared an update on a dramatic accident he suffered on New Year's Eve, after he was rushed to hospital in the "worst pain of my life". </p> <p>The TV and radio host took to Instagram to admit he had the "least sober NYE in 30+ years", after having to take extensive pain killers to cope with a severe injury. </p> <p>Hughesy shared that he suffered a "shoulder dislocation whilst surfing" while spending time on the Gold Coast over the holiday season, which saw him rushed to hospital for the injury. </p> <p>He shared that he had "morphine and the rest of them" after enduring "two hours of the worst pain of my life", as he shared a series of photos of the dramatic incident.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1iN1RqSLdM/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1iN1RqSLdM/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Dave Hughes (@dhughesy)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The 53-year-old went on to thank his wife, the Surfers Paradise Surf Club and the health professionals who helped him during the accident, while admitting he will "be in a sling for a while". </p> <p>In the days after the incident, Hughesy shared an update on his condition with his followers on Instagram, making light of the painful situation, which now means he can't manage to feed himself properly.</p> <p>Standing over a kitchen bench, the comedian struggled to eat a bowl of cereal, laughing as he tried to get the spoon to his mouth. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1p4C7WyxJp/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1p4C7WyxJp/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Dave Hughes (@dhughesy)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"Four days into my surfing accident and I'm nearly back," he joked.</p> <p>"That’s one way to do a summer shred," one person commented. "I’m so pleased we can hear a little giggle! Wishing you a speedy recovery," another person said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Caring

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Jimmy Barnes hospitalised with major health issue

<p>Iconic Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes has been hospitalised with a severe bacterial infection, compelling him to cancel an eagerly anticipated gig. The 67-year-old music legend took to his official Facebook page on Tuesday to share the distressing news with his fans.</p> <p>"I'm sorry to let you know that I've been receiving intravenous antibiotics over the last 36 hours to treat bacterial pneumonia," Barnes revealed in his Facebook post. The veteran musician expressed regret that the infection had thwarted his plans to travel to Noumea for Rock The Boat 2023, an event fans were eagerly anticipating.</p> <p>Despite the setback, Barnes assured fans that his band, along with his daughter Mahalia and other special guests, would still be performing on board. He sincerely apologised for any inconvenience and disappointment caused, explaining that doctors had confined him to bed for a two-day rest. Barnes, optimistic about a swift recovery, assured fans that he aimed to be back in action for the upcoming performance at By The C in Torquay.</p> <p>'I'd like to apologise sincerely to everyone for the inconvenience and disappointment this has caused," he wrote, "but the doctors have confined me to bed for two days. The timing couldn't be worse. I'm expected to make a full recovery in time to perform live at By The C in Torquay." </p> <p>Bacterial pneumonia, the cause of Barnes' current health predicament, is a serious condition involving inflammation of the lungs following an infection. The infection leads to the air sacs in the lungs filling up with fluid, causing pneumonia. The potential complications of pneumonia include respiratory failure, sepsis, lung abscess and, in extreme cases, death.</p> <p>This recent health setback comes after Barnes underwent emergency hip surgery earlier this year, forcing the cancellation of his summer tour. The rocker had faced years of chronic pain, leading to a major hip operation in late 2022. The surgery required an extended period of bed rest, during which Barnes had to put his live performances on hold.</p> <p>Reflecting on the earlier health challenges, Barnes noted, "We had some (live) things planned, but they fell through because of my surgery." Following the operation, the musician spent several months recovering in Thailand, his second home, alongside his wife Jane. Gradually regaining strength, Barnes, at one point, relied on a cane to walk, but by March, he had made a full recovery.</p> <p>Despite the current setback, Barnes remains resilient, determined to bounce back and deliver the energetic performances that have endeared him to fans worldwide. As the music legend takes the necessary time for recovery, fans are undoubtedly sending their thoughts and well wishes for a speedy return to the stage.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Baby boomers fight back against "self-entitled whingeing generations"

<p>Angry baby boomers have hit back at young Australians for continuing to blame the ageing population for the current housing crisis. </p> <p>A group of disgruntled seniors have shared their thoughts with the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/blaming-baby-boomers-for-your-money-woes-is-unfair-lazy-and-wrong-20231127-p5en21.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em></a> about the "self-entitled" young Australians, who are facing never-before-seen financial and social barriers to break into the housing market. </p> <p>The open letters come in the wake of Census data showing empty-nesters are hanging on to their big homes in inner-city suburbs, while young families are struggling to find suitable housing while also battling mortgage stress and renters are getting relentlessly price-gouged. </p> <p>Despite the current system disproportionately affecting younger Australians, boomers have hit back at universal claims that they had it easier back in the day. </p> <p>"We bought and paid for these homes; it's not our job to house the next generations, it's the government's," explained Kathleen Kyle in a letter to the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>. </p> <p>"Nobody questions people who spend their money on lovely cars or antiques, or suggests that they don't need them any more."</p> <p>In another letter, Kathy Willis from Kew near Port Macquarie wrote, "Boomers have worked very hard to get what they have, having brought up their families in these homes."</p> <p>"I suggest the discourse be directed to people such as town planners, local councils and state governments for their lack of vision in the past, and what the present authorities are going to do about it – and of course, the taxpayers' expense."</p> <p>Suzanne Hopping from Redfern, Sydney, wrote that she could no longer stay silent on "boomer bashing" from "self-entitled whingeing generations".</p> <p>"I bought my first home when I was 39 in an undesirable suburb. Buying a home (at 17.5 per cent interest) was as difficult then as it is today."</p> <p>"When I left home I had no expectations of ever being able to afford to buy a place of my own."</p> <p>"Self-entitled whingeing generations, if you don't like what you see, do something positive about it. Each generation has its unique problems, stop the moralising."</p> <p>Wendy Cousins from Balgownie NSW wrote that "boomer bashing" is futile, adding, "Why encourage resentment of boomers because many choose to stay in their homes? This will not free up any housing."</p> <p>"Many have already downsized and those who haven't, have a variety of reasons why they don't. We have enough division in our society without the constant boomer bashing."</p> <p>Despite the views of many disgruntled boomers, University of Melbourne Professor Allan Fels, an economist and mental health advocate, said figures show beyond a doubt that life is much tougher for the younger generation, and basic economics prove it is much harder for them to buy a house.</p> <p>"We baby boomers have had it a lot easier than the new generation of young people," he told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12793605/Boomers-hit-self-entitled-whingeing-young-Aussies-reveal-theyre-not-blame-housing-crisis.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>.</p> <p>"They face a future of much less home ownership and associated mental health stability. The mere fact they are missing out is a cause of stress."</p> <p>"The trend of rising prices adds to the stress because many used to think that they could buy their own house but they keep missing out because prices are continually rising just beyond their grasp."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

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