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"Rest in love": All Blacks legend and Dancing with the Stars winner dies at 55

<p>The sports and entertainment communities are mourning the loss of former All Blacks hooker and <em>Dancing with the Stars</em> winner Norm Hewitt, who has passed away at the age of 55.</p> <p>Hewitt, a beloved figure both on and off the rugby field, succumbed to a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease, as confirmed by his family in a heartfelt statement.</p> <p>"Although rugby dominated his early life, he established a thriving human relations consultancy after retirement, and his services were much in demand both nationally and internationally," his family shared. "He walked confidently in both Māori and Pākehā worlds and was a particular role model for troubled youth, citing his own background, and offering inspirational teachings that one’s present life need not be one’s future."</p> <p>Hewitt leaves behind his wife Arlene and their two children, Elizabeth and Alexander. Born and raised in Pōrangahau, southern Hawke’s Bay, Hewitt's rugby career was nothing short of illustrious. Over 13 seasons, he played 296 representative matches for Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Wellington, earning 23 caps for the All Blacks. Hewitt was also a pivotal member of the Hurricanes during the formative years of Super Rugby, missing only one match in the first five years.</p> <p>The rugby community has been profoundly affected by Hewitt's passing. Former teammate Ofisa Tonu’u posted a touching tribute on Facebook: "I’m just devastated finding out the news today. I will never forget how you always stuck up for me during the Black Tracker days when no one else would, you always look after all the players and we always followed you into battle. No more pain, brother, you can now rest in Love. Fa’afetai tele lava my uso for having my back as I did yours. I know the other boys will be welcoming you with open arms at the gates. Rest in Love, Normy."</p> <p>Beyond his rugby career, Hewitt transitioned into a public speaker and mentor, focusing heavily on violence prevention programmes and advocacy. He worked with the SPCA as an animal cruelty and anti-violence publicity officer, visiting schools to spread his message. In 2005, Hewitt showcased his versatility by winning the first season of<em> Dancing with the Stars</em> alongside professional dancer Carol-Ann Hickmore.</p> <p>Hewitt's life was not without its struggles. In 1999, he made a public apology for a drunken incident in Queenstown, marking a turning point as he renounced alcohol and dedicated himself to helping others facing similar challenges.</p> <p>The outpouring of tributes was immediate, with The All Blacks expressing their sorrow: “We are saddened by the loss of All Black #938 Norm Hewitt who passed away yesterday in Wellington. Hewitt played 9 Tests and 14 Games between 1993 and 1998. Our thoughts are with Norm’s family and loved ones at this time.”</p> <p>Podcaster Martin Devlin shared his personal experience: “RIP Norm Hewitt. Not a lot of people know how kind & generous this man was. A truly wonderful person. Reached out to me and helped me considerably a long time ago when things were very rough. Love & respect.”</p> <p>Richard Hills echoed the sentiments of many: “This is bloody sad. A sad way to lose a kiwi icon so young. He had a really rough childhood and upbringing and faced it and turned his life around to become not only a rugby legend but also helped others who’d been through similar issues.”</p> <p>Norm Hewitt’s legacy will endure through the lives he touched and the positive change he inspired. His story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the profound impact one individual can have on the world.</p> <p><em>Image: Radio New Zealand</em></p>

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1 in 5 deaths are caused by heart disease, but what else are Australians dying from?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/garry-jennings-5307">Garry Jennings</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Nobody dies in good health, at least in their final moments. But to think the causes of death are easy to count or that there is generally a single reason somebody passes is an oversimplification.</p> <p>In fact, in 2022, four out of five Australians had multiple conditions at the time of death listed on their death certificate, and almost one-quarter had five or more recorded. This is one of many key findings from a <a href="https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-deaths/what-do-australians-die-from/contents/about">new report</a> from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).</p> <p>The report distinguishes between three types of causes of death – underlying, direct, and contributory. An underlying cause is the condition that initiates the chain of events leading to death, such as having coronary heart disease. The direct cause of death is what the person died from (rather than with), like a heart attack. Contributory causes are things that significantly contributed to the chain of events leading to death but are not directly involved, like having high blood pressure. The report also tracks how these three types of causes can overlap in deaths involving multiple causes.</p> <p>In 2022 the top five conditions involved in deaths in Australia were coronary heart disease (20% of deaths), dementia (18%), hypertension, or high blood pressure (12%), cerebrovascular disease such as stroke (11.5%), and diabetes (11.4%).</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="MzQHA" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/MzQHA/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>When the underlying cause of death was examined, the list was similar (coronary heart disease 10%, dementia 9%, cerebrovascular disease 5%, followed by COVID and lung cancer, each 5%). This means coronary heart disease was not just lurking at the time of death but also the major underlying cause.</p> <p>The direct cause of death however was most often a lower respiratory condition (8%), cardiac or respiratory arrest (6.5%), sepsis (6%), pneumonitis, or lung inflammation (4%) or hypertension (4%).</p> <h2>Why is this important?</h2> <p>Without looking at all the contributing causes of death, the role of important factors such as coronary heart disease, sepsis, depression, high blood pressure and alcohol use can be underestimated.</p> <p>Even more importantly, the various causes draw attention to the areas where we should be focusing public health prevention. The report also helps us understand which groups to focus on for prevention and health care. For example, the number one cause of death in women was dementia, whereas in men it was coronary heart disease.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="NosVz" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/NosVz/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>People aged under 55 tended to die from external events such as accidents and violence, whereas older people died against a background of chronic disease.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="1l3OS" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1l3OS/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We cannot prevent death, but we can prevent many diseases and injuries. And this report highlights that many of these causes of death, both for younger Australians and older, are preventable. The top five conditions involved in death (coronary heart disease, dementia, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease and diabetes) all share common risk factors such as tobacco use, high cholesterol, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, or are risk factors themselves, like hypertension or diabetes.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="7Eb8O" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/7Eb8O/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Tobacco use, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese and poor diet were attributable to a combined 44% of all deaths in this report. This suggests a comprehensive approach to health promotion, disease prevention and management is needed.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="2MmGg" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/2MmGg/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This should include strategies and programs encouraging eating a healthy diet, participating in regular physical activity, limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and seeing a doctor for regular health screenings, such as the Medicare-funded <a href="https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/heart-health-checks">Heart Health Checks</a>. Programs directed at accident prevention, mental health and violence, especially gender-related violence, will address untimely deaths in the young.<!-- 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/231598/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/garry-jennings-5307"><em>Garry Jennings</em></a><em>, Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</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/1-in-5-deaths-are-caused-by-heart-disease-but-what-else-are-australians-dying-from-231598">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"I'm a prisoner in my own body": Rob Burrow's heartbreaking last message

<p>An emotional final message from rugby legend Rob Burrow has been released in the days after his death. </p> <p>The former footballer <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/rugby-league-hero-dies-at-just-41" target="_blank" rel="noopener">died</a> at the age of 41 on Sunday after a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease, with his former club, the Leeds Rhinos, sharing the news of his passing. </p> <p>Before he died, Burrow was involved in the making of a documentary about his life by the BBC, titled <em>There's Only One Burrow</em>, only agreeing to appear in the program on the condition it only be used after his death.</p> <p>In the documentary, Burrow spoke of how the cruel disease impacted his life and how he hoped to raise awareness for MND research.</p> <p>"I want to live in a world free of MND. By the time you watch this I will no longer be here," he said in the video.</p> <p>"In a world full of adversity, we must still dare to dream. I'm just a lad from Yorkshire who got to live out his dream of playing rugby league."</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/C7xPgSxM6lY/?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/C7xPgSxM6lY/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by BBC SPORT (@bbcsport)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>His pre-recorded final words were shown to his friends and family on screen, reacting to his words.</p> <p>"I'm a fighter, to be honest. I might not be able to tackle MND but I'll certainly be swinging, I'm not going to give in, not until my last breath," he said.</p> <p>"I'm a prisoner in my own body, that's the way MND gets you. The lights are on but no one is home."</p> <p>Recalling his diagnosis, he said, "My family told me I was slurring my speech a bit but I didn't take notice or believe them."</p> <p>In an emotional segment of the widow, Burrow's wife Lindsey spoke of how she learnt of her husband's devastating disease.</p> <p>"I remember that moment being told it's not good news. Asking how long and them saying two years. Rob said 'thank god it's me and not the kids'. That's all he was bothered about," she recalled.</p> <p>When asked about his children, Burrow became emotional, saying, "I had no idea how my family would cope. They've become a beacon of hope for families in the same situation as ours." </p> <p>"I have had such a great life. I have been gifted with the most incredible wife and three children. I hope they know how much I love them."</p> <p>Burrows finishes the piece, saying. "As a father of three young children, I would never want someone to go through this."</p> <p>"I hope I have left a mark on this disease. I hope you choose to live in the moment. I hope you find inspiration."</p> <p>"My final message to you is whatever your personal battle to be brave and face it."</p> <p>"Every single day is precious. Don't waste a moment. In a world full of adversity we must still dare to dream. Rob Burrow over and out."</p> <p><em>Image credits: BBC</em></p>

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Rugby League hero dies at just 41

<p>Rugby League legend Rob Burrow has passed away at the age of 41 after a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease. </p> <p>The British footballer spent his career with the Leeds Rhinos and helped them win eight Super League titles, and while he never played in Australia, he won the World Club Challenge over NRL opponents three times. </p> <p>Just two years after his retirement in 2017, Burrows was diagnosed with MND. </p> <p>Despite his rapidly progressing condition, Burrows stayed in the public eye to raise money and awareness for MND, and soon became the face of the fight against the disease in the UK. </p> <p>He worked with former teammate Kevin Sinfield to raise millions for a new care centre for MND patients, as the pair competed in <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/terminally-ill-rugby-player-carried-across-marathon-finish-line-by-his-best-mate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">marathons</a> today, with Sinfield often pushing Burrow the entire way.</p> <p>His former football club announced Burrow’s death on Sunday, just one day before the groundbreaking of the new Rob Burrow Centre for MND at Seacroft Hospital, which will go ahead at his request.</p> <p>“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved son, husband, father, brother and friend,” the club said. </p> <p>“Rob has always been a true inspiration throughout his life whether that was on the rugby league field or during his battle with MND. He never allowed others to define what he could achieve and believed in his own ability to do more."</p> <p>“The outpouring of love and support that Rob and the whole Burrow family have received over the last four and a half years meant so much to Rob."</p> <p>“For those who knew Rob throughout his life, his determination and spirit in the face of MND over the last four and a half years came as no surprise. Rob never accepted that he couldn’t do something. He just found his way of doing it better than anyone else."</p> <p>“He will continue to inspire us all every day. In a world full of adversity. We must dare to dream.”</p> <p>Prince William, who awarded Burrow with a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) honour in January 2024, was among those to mourn his death on social media.</p> <p>“A legend of rugby league, Rob Burrow had a huge heart,” he wrote.</p> <p>“He taught us ‘in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream’. Catherine and I send our love."</p> <p>Burrow is survived by wife Lindsey and their three children Macy, Maya and Jackson.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-a2c455fc-7fff-0630-5b08-a5edde63e557">Image credits: SplashNews.com/Matt West/BPI/Phil Noble-Reuters/POOL supplied by Splash News/Shutterstock Editorial</span></em></p>

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Major TV star's 7-year-old undergoes third open heart surgery

<p>Jimmy Kimmel's seven-year-old son has undergone his third, and hopefully final open heart surgery after being born with congenital heart disease. </p> <p>In 2017, Jimmy <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmWWoMcGmo0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">revealed</a> that Billy was only three days old when had to undergo his first open heart surgery, after doctors found “a hole in the wall of the left and right side of his heart” that was preventing enough oxygen from reaching his blood. </p> <p>Billy was only seven months old when he had to undergo his second open heart surgery, and over the weekend he had to undergo his third major surgery at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles. </p> <p>A few days later, the TV host took to Instagram to share an update following his son's successful surgery. </p> <p>"We went into this experience with a lot of optimism and nearly as much fear and came out with a new valve inside a happy, healthy kid," Kimmel wrote, alongside a picture of his youngest son smiling in a hospital bed. </p> <p>He then thanked all the surgeons, doctors and other medical staff who "came through for us with immeasurable kindness and expertise." </p> <p>"Walking around this hospital, meeting parents at their most vulnerable, children in pain and the miracle workers who do everything in their considerable power to save them is a humbling experience," Kimmel continued.</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/p/C7fE-p4S7YN/?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/C7fE-p4S7YN/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>He then highlighted the hospital's dedication to providing help to families "regardless of their ability to pay". </p> <p>Jimmy then extended his thanks to his family and friends and the "loving strangers who took time to pray for and send positive energy to our baby".</p> <p>He gave a special shout out to his wife Molly – for "being stronger than is reasonable for any Mum to be". The pair also share daughter Jane, nine. </p> <p>The late night TV host then praised his son for being "the toughest (and funniest) 7 year-old we know."</p> <p>"There are so many parents and children who aren't fortunate enough to go home after five days," he added and encouraged his followers to send their thoughts and prayers to these families. </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram/ X</em></p> <p> </p>

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Amanda Keller's emotional family update

<p>Amanda Keller has shared an emotional family update while live on-air on the <em>Jonesy and Amanda show </em>on Monday. </p> <p>The radio star has shared an update on how her husband's battle with Parkinson's disease has affected them, as they try to plan their son's 21st birthday party. </p> <p>“It was a hard week for me leading up to it because I wanted to put a slide show together to play throughout the night,” she told her co-host Jonesy. </p> <p>“And normally that is Harley’s domain. He has been the guy who will make the kid’s birthday invitations. He’s very creative. He will work on the computer to do this funky stuff. Normally, he would have done all of that. And with the way things are with Harley at the moment, he’s got Parkinson’s disease and things are just hard.”</p> <p>Keller, who has been married to her husband since 1989, revealed that he had been <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/amanda-keller-shares-heartbreaking-family-news" target="_blank" rel="noopener">privately battling</a> with the disease for seven years, on October 2023. </p> <p>She then went on to share how the disease has affected her husband's ability to perform tasks that he was once good at. </p> <p>“So that kind of skill set isn’t with him anymore. He doesn’t have dementia or any of that stuff, but that stuff’s hard for him to do now.</p> <p>"And so I was going through a whole lot of photos on my phone and seeing photos of when he was well, and it was a very emotional week leading up to the 21st.”</p> <p>She then went on to confess that the situation had made her feel “lonely” and that her heart broke for her husband, who she thought couldn't attend the birthday party. </p> <p>“Leaving the house to go to Jack’s party, I thought, you know, it’s not right that Harley can’t come. Yeah, I really felt lonely thinking it’s our son’s 21st, but how hard it is for Harley and how much he would have loved to have been there,” she continued.</p> <p>But her husband surprised her, and managed to attend the event despite his ill health. </p> <p>“So there we are, having a great time. The speeches are about to start and my friend Kate said to me, There’s Harley. And I looked over. And I know what it cost him to be there.</p> <p>"He and our friend Pam and our driver friend Cole had conspired to get Harley there for the speeches. And it was so moving.”</p> <p>Keller, who was tearing up at this moment, proudly added:  “And a lot of people were shocked because they hadn’t seen Harley for a while. But I know what it cost him to get there. And he said to me, how could I not be here?”</p> <p><em>Image: Jonesy and Amanda show/ news.com.au</em></p>

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Allan Border's desperate plea to PM

<p>Allan Border has joined Parkinson’s Australia chief executive Olivia Nassaris in a plea for the Federal Government to provide more funding and research into the condition. </p> <p>The 68-year-old cricket legend is one of over 150,000 Australians living with Parkinson’s, after being diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder back in 2016. </p> <p>A new report from the organisation revealed that there are 19,500 new cases every year, with one Australian diagnosed with the condition every 27 minutes.</p> <p>“A lot of people know the disease but they don’t know the impact that it has — 150,000 people in Australia have the disease, it does present in different ways,” Border said. </p> <p>“When I was told I was suffering, my first image was of (boxer) Muhammad Ali and the Olympic torch, I just thought people suffered from a tremor.</p> <p>“But there’s about 100,000 different ways of it presenting.”</p> <p>Border joined the Parkinson’s Australia chief executive on April 11 to raise awareness for World Parkinson’s Day.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Nassaris </span>estimated that the number of Australians impacted by Parkinson’s would almost triple by 2050.</p> <p>“At the moment we don’t have a cause or cure, so it is frightening that a disease like this is going to almost triple in numbers,” she said.</p> <p>Responding to the cricketer’s plea, the Prime Minister described Border as a “great Australian” and hinted at a potential boost to government support in providing more resources into the condition. </p> <p>“Our heart goes out to him,” the PM said on Thursday. </p> <p>“I will have a word with the Health Minister about what more we can do. We have contributed over $100m to research into Parkinson’s.</p> <p>“There’s also a pilot program for nurses about people suffering from Parkinson’s at the moment. There’s some $6.5m being used for that pilot program. We want to wait and see what the assessment of that is.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Princess of Wales and King Charles: one in two people develop cancer during their lives – the diseases and treatments explained

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gavin-metcalf-1340598">Gavin Metcalf</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p>The Princess of Wales released a <a href="https://x.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1771235267837321694?s=20">moving video message</a> on March 22 to address speculation about her health. In it, the future queen disclosed that she’d been <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68641710">diagnosed with cancer</a> following tests conducted after she underwent major abdominal surgery at a clinic in London in January.</p> <p>Catherine explained that she was undergoing “preventative chemotherapy” – but emphasised that her surgery had been successful, and that she was “well” and “getting stronger every day”.</p> <p>The message was the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/22/princess-kate-cancer-royal-family-health-annus-horribilis">second announcement</a> of a royal family cancer diagnosis in recent weeks. On February 5, Buckingham Palace <a href="https://www.royal.uk/a-statement-from-buckingham-palace-5Feb24">published a statement</a> that King Charles III had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68208157">cancer, unrelated</a> to the treatment he had been receiving for an enlarged prostate.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3xzKooCaRXU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The statement said that he had begun “regular treatments”. The king postponed all public-facing duties during his treatment, but <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68213383">reportedly continued</a> with his “constitutional role as head of state, including completing paperwork and holding private meetings”.</p> <p>Cancer is the <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer">leading cause of death</a> worldwide. <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/#:%7E:text=The%20cancerous%20cells%20can%20invade,of%20cancer%20during%20their%20lifetime.">One in two</a> people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime – so the condition will affect almost every family. However, many cancers can be cured if, as appears to be the case with the king, the condition is <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68213383">detected early</a> and treated effectively.</p> <h2>What is cancer?</h2> <p>Our bodies are made up of more than 100 billion cells, and cancer typically starts with changes in a small group of cells – or even a single one.</p> <p>We have different cell types depending upon where in the body they are and the function that the cell has. The size, amount and function of each of these cells is normally tightly regulated by genes – groups of codes held within our DNA – that instruct cells how to grow and divide.</p> <p>However, changes (mutations) to DNA can alter the way cells grow and multiply – often forming a lump, or solid tumour. Cancers can also develop in blood cells, such as white blood cell cancer which is known as leukaemia. This type of cancer does not form solid tumours; instead, the cancer builds up in the blood or sometimes the marrow in the core of bones, where blood cells are produced.</p> <p>In all, there are <a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/how-cancer-starts/types-of-cancer#:%7E:text=For%20example%2C%20nerves%20and%20muscles,of%20cell%20they%20start%20in.">more than 200</a> types of cancer, but all start with mutations in the DNA contained within each and every cell.</p> <h2>What exactly are mutations?</h2> <p>Think of your DNA as a big recipe book, and your genes as individual recipes for making different dishes. Mutations are smudges or missing words from this recipe that can result in key ingredients not being added into the mix.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8BJ8_5Gyhg8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Regardless of the type of cancer or the cells from which it develops, mutations in our genes can result in a cell no longer understanding its instructions.</p> <p>These mutations can happen by chance when dividing, but can also be the result of lifestyle choices such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141049/">smoking</a>, <a href="https://www.ndph.ox.ac.uk/news/new-genetic-study-confirms-that-alcohol-is-a-direct-cause-of-cancer#:%7E:text=These%20mutations%20both%20disrupt%20the,aldehyde%20dehydrogenase%202%20(ALDH2).">drinking</a>, and <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet">inactivity</a>.</p> <p>Research has found that in order for a normal cell to turn into a cancerous cell, anywhere from <a href="https://www.sanger.ac.uk/news_item/1-10-mutations-are-needed-drive-cancer-scientists-find/">one to ten different mutations</a> are normally required.</p> <h2>How is cancer treated?</h2> <p>Treatment options for cancer depend on a variety of factors, including where your cancer is, how large it is, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The main treatments for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.</p> <p>Chemotherapy uses drugs to target and kill cells that are rapidly dividing in our bodies. This approach is effective at targeting fast-growing cells in various cancers – but also has negative side effects. It also targets healthy cells that rapidly divide, such as hair and the cells lining our digestive system. This can lead to commonly reported <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chemotherapy/side-effects/">side-effects</a> such as hair loss, nausea and diarrhoea.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/chemotherapy?gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw-_mvBhDwARIsAA-Q0Q6tyQxTuBzU7vVD7SHjQ5dF-fRdqnL7S74-k5LXyTqODydsrPfJVsoaAkgyEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Chemotherapy</a> can be used both preventatively – as in the case of the princess – and therapeutically.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FkZn5u3MIiY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Preventative chemotherapy, also known as <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/adjuvant-therapy">adjuvant chemotherapy</a>, is given after surgery or other primary treatments to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the body. It aims to reduce the risk of the cancer returning (known as recurrence).</p> <p>Therapeutic chemotherapy is used as a treatment option for cancer that has spread or is well established, such as advanced-stage cancers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/surgery/about">Surgery</a> involves the physical removal of cancerous tissues as well as nearby lymph nodes – small glands which act as filters in your body that cancers can spread through – to eliminate the tumour. Surgery is often used to remove localised cancers that haven’t spread throughout the body.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/radiotherapy">Radiotherapy</a> uses high-energy radiation beams that are able to target specific areas where tumour cells are located to destroy or shrink the tumour. Radiotherapy can be applied externally or internally.</p> <p>Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy are often combined in cancer treatment to improve outcomes for patients.</p> <p>Thanks to developments in cancer research over the last 50 years, survival rates have improved greatly – although the rate of improvement has <a href="https://news.cancerresearchuk.org/2024/02/02/world-cancer-day-2024/#:%7E:text=Improvements%20in%20cancer%20survival%20have%20slowed%20in%20recent%20years&amp;text=Survival%20increased%20three%20to%20five,consistently%20lags%20behind%20comparable%20countries.">slowed recently</a>. Cancer survival depends on various factors such as age – people under 40 have a <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/age">greater chance</a> of survival – overall health and fitness, as well as family history.</p> <h2>What you should do</h2> <p>Particular changes in your body or warning symptoms could indicate the presence of cancer. These include, but are not limited to:</p> <ul> <li>Unexplained weight loss;</li> <li>Fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest;</li> <li>Changes in bowel or bladder habits;</li> <li>Persistent cough or coughing up blood;</li> <li>Difficulty swallowing;</li> <li>Persistent pain;</li> <li>Noticing lumps, such as in a breast or testicle.</li> </ul> <p>The symptoms may not necessarily be the result of cancer. But it is important to get checked by a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary or have had persistent symptoms that don’t ease. Early detection and treatment can <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.aay9040">significantly improve</a> outcomes for many types of cancer.<!-- 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/226456/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/gavin-metcalf-1340598">Gavin Metcalf</a>, Cancer Biologist and Lecturer in Biomedical Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin 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/princess-of-wales-and-king-charles-one-in-two-people-develop-cancer-during-their-lives-the-diseases-and-treatments-explained-226456">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Victorian man rides lawn mower for 800km to speak to the PM

<p>You know the saying: mow big or mow home. And one man risked it all in hopes of scoring a meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.</p> <p>In an incredible 11-day journey Warren "Woz" Acott  made the 800km journey from Central Victoria to Canberra to try and speak with the Prime Minister about motor neurone disease (MND). </p> <p>He left his home in  Toolleen in Central Victoria on March 11, with no guarantee that anyone was going to meet him at the end of his journey. But his efforts have been fruitful, because by the time he arrived in Canberra this morning, he had a booking with the PM. </p> <p>"I've shuffled my schedule around to fit him in. I'd better go see him," Woz joked when he was told he had a meeting with the PM</p> <p>Albanese met met Woz in the Prime Minister's courtyard, and a crowd of families affected by MND were also waiting outside parliament to welcome Woz. </p> <p>"I'm overwhelmed. But it's not about me. It's about MND and the families and the carers and everybody else," Woz told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>Woz, who lives with MND, wants the condition to be added to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS). </p> <p>This is because NNDSS conditions "a threat to public health in Australia" and are given additional funding for research." </p> <p>"We'll give consideration to all these things. You're a champion, mate," Albanese said.</p> <p>"It's all over my head. I mean, I'm a truck driver at the end of the day. But I know that if (MND is added to the NNDSS), it's more trackable, more funding, and everything else," Woz said.</p> <p>Robyn Sneddon, who lost her husband Ian to MND, praised Woz for his effort. </p> <p>"The effort he has made has been incredible. He is just a champion," she told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"I'm very proud of him," Snedden added.</p> <p><em>Images: A Current Affair</em></p>

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"What a legend": Michael J Fox receives emotional standing ovation

<p>Michael J Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, made a surprise appearance at the BAFTA Awards in London. </p> <p><em>The Back to the Future</em> actor came onstage in a wheelchair, but he insisted on standing up at the podium to present the Best Film award. </p> <p>The star-studded audience all rose to their feet and gave the actor a standing ovation.  </p> <p>When presenting the award, Fox described cinema as "magic" which can "change your life".</p> <p>"Five films were nominated in this category tonight and all five have something in common. They are the best of what we do," he said. </p> <p>He added that films can bring people together "no matter who you are or where you're from".</p> <p>"There's a reason why they say movies are magic because movies can change your day.</p> <p>"It can change your outlook. Sometimes it can change your life."</p> <p>Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in the 1990s, rarely makes public appearances. </p> <p>Many fans were pleasantly surprised at his appearance as he presented the night’s biggest award, Best Film, to <em>Oppenheimer</em>.</p> <p>"I was in tears the moment Michael J Fox came on the stage," one fan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.</p> <p>"THE MAN IS A LEGEND"</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">i was in tears the moment Michael J Fox came on the stage 😥😥😥</p> <p>THE MAN IS A LEGEND <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BAFTAs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BAFTAs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BAFTA2024?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BAFTA2024</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EEBAFTAs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EEBAFTAs</a> <a href="https://t.co/Uud368S9gb">pic.twitter.com/Uud368S9gb</a></p> <p>— RanaJi🏹 (@RanaTells) <a href="https://twitter.com/RanaTells/status/1759323180060299726?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"Michael J Fox. Absolute hero. What a legend," wrote another. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Michael J Fox. Absolute hero. What a legend. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BAFTAs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BAFTAs</a> <a href="https://t.co/62lxpCy3mn">pic.twitter.com/62lxpCy3mn</a></p> <p>— Jules 🌼 (@JulesItsjules) <a href="https://twitter.com/JulesItsjules/status/1759320058583568638?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"All those stars in the room, and still the biggest and most affectionate reaction is for Michael J Fox, because the man is a legend," added a third. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">All those stars in the room, and still the biggest and most affectionate reaction is for Michael J Fox, because the man is a legend. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EEBAFTAs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EEBAFTAs</a></p> <p>— Declan Cashin (@Tweet_Dec) <a href="https://twitter.com/Tweet_Dec/status/1759319831696855281?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"He's a total legend and wonderful human," wrote a fourth. </p> <p>The actor has spoken <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/i-m-not-gonna-be-80-michael-j-fox-s-tragic-admission" target="_blank" rel="noopener">candidly</a> about his experience with Parkinson's over the years, and has said that he has made peace with the degenerative nature of the disease. </p> <p>In a previous interview with AARP magazine profile, the actor admitted that he did not fear death. </p> <p>“I am genuinely a happy guy. I don’t have a morbid thought in my head — I don’t fear death. At all," he told the publication. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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"I’m not going to be cured". How breast cancer awareness and support sidelines people with metastatic disease

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sophie-lewis-111177">Sophie Lewis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-smith-15431">Andrea Smith</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>There have been incredible <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/research">advances</a> in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in recent years. And stories about celebrities who have “beaten” breast cancer continue to be a source of inspiration for many people.</p> <p>However, this emphasis on fighting, beating and surviving cancer shuts out the voices of those who will not survive. That is, the many people diagnosed with incurable, life-limiting metastatic breast cancer, <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia">which kills nine Australians every day</a> or nearly <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia">3,300 people</a> a year. Yet an <a href="https://www.bcna.org.au/latest-news/bcna-news/making-metastatic-breast-cancer-count/">estimated 10,000</a> Australians are living with the diagnosis.</p> <p>Being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, as one of the authors has been, means ongoing treatment to live as long, and as well, as possible. It also means an ongoing need for emotional and practical support.</p> <p>However, society, health-care professionals, cancer advocacy organisations, even a patient’s closest family and friends, can struggle to understand what it is like to live with an incurable and life-limiting cancer and how best to provide support.</p> <h2>Why is there so little awareness?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.breastcancer.org/types/metastatic">Metastatic breast cancer</a>, also called stage four breast cancer, is the most serious form of breast cancer. Unlike early breast cancer that is contained within the breast or nearby lymph nodes, metastatic breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.</p> <p>There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer despite decades of advocacy, funding and research. Treatment continues for as long as it helps to control the cancer and is tolerated by the patient. Median survival is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.5694/mja2.51687">two to three years</a>, although newer, novel treatments mean some patients are living much longer.</p> <p>As a society, we can be uncomfortable <a href="https://theconversation.com/before-you-go-are-you-in-denial-about-death-34056">talking about and facing death</a>. When it comes to cancer, we usually prefer focusing on good news stories. These narratives are often perceived to be better for fundraising and are reassuring for people newly diagnosed. But they fail to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9566.13704">represent</a> the diversity and reality of cancer experiences.</p> <p>Despite considerable research into people with non-metastatic breast cancer, <a href="https://www.bcna.org.au/latest-news/bcna-news/making-metastatic-breast-cancer-count/">relatively little</a> is known about Australians with metastatic breast cancer.</p> <h2>Feeling silenced and unsupported</h2> <p>Through our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9566.13704">research</a> we wanted to better understand people’s experiences of metastatic breast cancer. We interviewed 38 participants from around Australia with diverse experiences of metastatic breast cancer. Participants were recruited through breast cancer and community organisations.</p> <p>We found messages and public campaigns about cancer survivorship, which emphasise hope and positivity, drowned out the voices of those with metastatic breast cancer. The focus on “success stories” about surviving breast cancer made some people feel like it was their responsibility to “beat” cancer. If they didn’t, it was their own fault. </p> <p>As one interviewee told us: "I react quite badly to all the, ‘we’ve had breast cancer and we beat it and we’ve survived. Aren’t we fantastic.’ There’s almost a feeling if you haven’t beaten your breast cancer you haven’t tried hard enough."</p> <p>Silence around metastatic breast cancer was common in research participants’ experiences. It prevented many from connecting with others and to the support they needed. It even affected relationships with those closest to them leaving them feeling misunderstood: "They don’t realise I’ve got to be on treatment forever. I’m not going to be cured. I think society thinks everything can be fixed; metastatic breast cancer actually can’t be fixed."</p> <p>Sharing deep fears and worries about their life expectancy can leave people with metastatic breast cancer feeling drained rather than supported. Many participants reported having to support and shield family, friends, acquaintances and work colleagues from the reality of their terminal diagnosis.</p> <p>"You hide how you feel because you don’t want to be avoided […] You put on that big, happy face. But like an onion if you peeled the layers away, you’d find out what’s going on."</p> <p>While many participants wanted to join a community of people with metastatic breast cancer, they struggled to know how to find one. Those who did, emphasised how invaluable it had been: "Being able to identify with and know that these people really get me is a huge relief and it reduces the isolation."</p> <p>These findings echo <a href="https://www.bcna.org.au/media/alcjjmm2/bcna_member-survey-report_2017.pdf">previous research</a> demonstrating people with metastatic breast cancer have higher support needs than those with non-metastatic breast cancer. And these needs are <a href="https://www.bcna.org.au/media/alcjjmm2/bcna_member-survey-report_2017.pdf">less likely to be met</a> by <a href="https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-022-08269-8">health care, support services</a>, family or friends.</p> <h2>A new path</h2> <p>Being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer can be terrifying, lonely and create significant support needs. It is essential people with metastatic breast cancer have their <a href="https://ascopubs.org/doi/10.1200/OP.20.00183">voices listened to</a> and their needs met.</p> <p>Next steps should include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://bcna-dxp.azureedge.net/media/d32bhdzf/bcna_making-metastatic-breast-cancer-count_2022.pdf">improving data collection by cancer registries</a> so we know exactly how many people in Australia have metastatic breast cancer</p> </li> <li> <p>increasing representation of people with metastatic breast cancer in advocacy, support organisations and research</p> </li> <li> <p>nationwide access to peer-to-peer programs and professionally led metastatic breast cancer support groups.</p> </li> </ul> <p>We must ensure people with metastatic breast cancer are the ones to speak to their experience and needs. As a colleague with metastatic breast cancer said: "I read an article written by an early-stage breast cancer ‘survivor’. It felt like someone describing winter when they had only ever experienced autumn."</p> <p>If you or someone you know has metastatic breast cancer, these organisations may be able to support you or connect you with others with the same diagnosis:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://www.bcna.org.au">Breast Cancer Network Australia</a> for information and support</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/">McGrath Foundation</a> for information about access to metastatic breast care nurses.</p> </li> </ul> <hr /> <p><em>The authors would like to thank the members of Breast Cancer Network Australia’s Metastatic Breast Cancer Lived Experience Reference Group for their review of this article.</em><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/215458/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sophie-lewis-111177">Sophie Lewis</a>, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-smith-15431">Andrea Smith</a>, Research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</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/im-not-going-to-be-cured-how-breast-cancer-awareness-and-support-sidelines-people-with-metastatic-disease-215458">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Do stress and depression increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease? Here’s why there might be a link

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yen-ying-lim-355185">Yen Ying Lim</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivana-chan-1477100">Ivana Chan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Dementia affects more than <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia">55 million people</a> around the world. A number of factors can increase a person’s risk of developing dementia, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.14283/jpad.2023.119">including</a> high blood pressure, poor sleep, and physical inactivity. Meanwhile, keeping cognitively, physically, and socially active, and limiting alcohol consumption, can <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(20)30367-6/fulltext">reduce the risk</a>.</p> <p>Recently, a <a href="https://alzres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13195-023-01308-4">large Swedish study</a> observed that chronic stress and depression were linked to a higher risk of developing <a href="https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/alz.12638">Alzheimer’s disease</a>, the most common form of dementia. The researchers found people with a history of both chronic stress and depression had an even greater risk of the disease.</p> <p>Globally, around <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression">280 million people</a> have depression, while roughly <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/anxiety-disorders">300 million people</a> experience anxiety. With so many people facing mental health challenges at some stage in their lives, what can we make of this apparent link?</p> <h2>What the study did and found</h2> <p>This study examined the health-care records of more than 1.3 million people in Sweden aged between 18 and 65. Researchers looked at people diagnosed with chronic stress (technically chronic stress-induced exhaustion disorder), depression, or both, between 2012 and 2013. They compared them with people not diagnosed with chronic stress or depression in the same period.</p> <p>Participants were then followed between 2014 and 2022 to determine whether they received a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease. <a href="https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1016/j.jalz.2016.07.151">Mild cognitive impairment</a> is often seen as the precursor to dementia, although not everyone who has mild cognitive impairment will progress to dementia.</p> <p>During the study period, people with a history of either chronic stress or depression were around twice as likely to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. Notably, people with both chronic stress and depression were up to four times more likely to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <h2>Important considerations</h2> <p>In interpreting the results of this study, there are some key things to consider. First, the diagnosis of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9438479/">chronic stress-induced exhaustion disorder</a> is unique to the Swedish medical system. It is characterised by at least six months of intensive stress without adequate recovery. Symptoms include exhaustion, sleep disturbance and concentration difficulties, with a considerable reduction in ability to function. Mild stress may not have the same effect on dementia risk.</p> <p>Second, the number of people diagnosed with dementia in this study (the absolute risk) was very low. Of the 1.3 million people studied, 4,346 were diagnosed with chronic stress, 40,101 with depression, and 1,898 with both. Of these, the number who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease was 14 (0.32%), 148 (0.37%) and 9 (0.47%) respectively.</p> <p>These small numbers may be due to a relatively young age profile. When the study began in 2012–2013, the average age of participants was around 40. This means the average age in 2022 was around 50. Dementia is typically diagnosed in <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/dementia/about-dementia">people aged over 65</a> and diagnosis <a href="https://karger.com/dem/article-abstract/34/5-6/292/99009/Overdiagnosis-of-Dementia-in-Young-Patients-A?redirectedFrom=fulltext">in younger ages</a> may be less reliable.</p> <p>Finally, it’s possible that in some cases stress and depressive symptoms may reflect an awareness of an already declining memory ability, rather than these symptoms constituting a risk factor in themselves.</p> <p>This last consideration speaks to a broader point: the study is observational. This means it can’t tell us one thing caused the other – only that there is an association.</p> <h2>What does other evidence say?</h2> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.14283/jpad.2023.119">Many studies</a> indicate that significant symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress are related to higher dementia risk. However, the nature of this relationship is unclear. For example, are depressive and anxiety symptoms a risk factor for dementia, or are they consequences of a declining cognition? It’s likely to be a bit of both.</p> <p>High <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32082139/">depressive and anxiety symptoms</a> are commonly reported in people with mild cognitive impairment. However, studies in middle-aged or younger adults suggest they’re important dementia risk factors too.</p> <p>For example, similar to the Swedish study, other <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032719323031">studies</a> have suggested people with a history of depression are twice as likely to develop dementia than those without this history. In addition, in middle-aged adults, high anxiety symptoms are associated with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34648818/">poorer cognitive function</a> and <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/4/e019399">greater dementia risk</a> in later life.</p> <h2>Why the link?</h2> <p>There are several potential pathways through which stress, anxiety and depression could increase the risk of dementia.</p> <p>Animal studies suggest cortisol (a hormone produced when we’re stressed) can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease by causing the accumulation of key proteins, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34159699/">amyloid and tau</a>, in the brain. The accumulation of these proteins can result in increased <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/23/18/10572">brain inflammation</a>, which affects the brain’s nerves and supporting cells, and can ultimately lead to brain volume loss and memory decline.</p> <p>Another potential pathway is through <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1087079217300114?via%3Dihub">impaired sleep</a>. Sleep disturbances are common in people with chronic stress and depression. Similarly, people with Alzheimer’s disease commonly report sleep disturbances. Even in people with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34668959/">early Alzheimer’s disease</a>, disturbed sleep is related to poorer memory performance. Animal studies suggest poor sleep can also enhance accumulation of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31408876/">amyloid and tau</a>.</p> <p>We still have a lot to learn about why this link might exist. But evidence-based strategies which target chronic stress, anxiety and depression may also play a role in reducing the risk of dementia.<!-- 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/215065/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/yen-ying-lim-355185"><em>Yen Ying Lim</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivana-chan-1477100">Ivana Chan</a>, PhD candidate, clinical psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash 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/do-stress-and-depression-increase-the-risk-of-alzheimers-disease-heres-why-there-might-be-a-link-215065">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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Demands for "killer product" to be dropped from Bunnings over fatal disease links

<p>Bunnings Warehouse is being urged in the strongest possible terms to pull a popular item off their shelves amid concerns it could be linked to a fatal disease.</p> <p>A particular range of trendy kitchen countertops have been linked to an incurable disease that the national construction union says has been harming tradies.</p> <p>The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) have taken their demands for the recall directly to the hardware giant’s chief executive Michael Schneider, warning it was “unconscionable” to keep the engineered stone benchtops on Bunnings’ product line up.</p> <p>“Bunnings has unique market power and a unique place in Australian society. If you were to remove this killer product from your shelves, it would send a powerful message,” CFMEU boss Zach Smith wrote.</p> <p>The engineered benchtops, which have become a feature in many modern day Australian kitchens and bathrooms, contain a high concentration of crystalline silica.</p> <p>When cutting the benchtops, silica dust is released into the air, which can lead to the potentially deadly and incurable disease of silicosis, as well as lung cancer.</p> <p>In his letter, Mr Smith called for the product to be removed “effective immediately”.</p> <p>“I am disappointed that, despite all this information being in the public sphere, Bunnings is still advertising and selling high-silica engineered stone products in your stores nationwide,” he said.</p> <p>“Conversely, it is unconscionable for Bunnings to continue promoting and selling this killer product when there is no need to do so."</p> <p>“There are many, many alternatives to engineered stone as a benchtop material. The business costs of removing these products are insignificant when we are faced with the prospect of more deaths.”</p> <p>It has been estimated that up to 103,000 tradies will be diagnosed in their lifetime with silicosis as a result of exposure to silica dust at work, while more than 10,000 will develop lung cancer.</p> <p>In response to the concerns raised, Jen Tucker, the Director of Merchandise at Bunnings, acknowledged that the hardware giant is aware of the issue at hand and emphasised their commitment to keeping a close watch on and adhering to guidance from regulatory authorities. However, Ms. Tucker did not explicitly endorse the request made by the CFMEU.</p> <p>She went on to clarify that the majority of benchtops available in their stores are made from laminate or timber materials. However, for the engineered stone benchtops that they offer, these are pre-cut to precise dimensions before reaching a customer's location.</p> <p>Furthermore, these engineered stone benchtops are exclusively supplied and installed by specialist providers who hold valid engineered stone licenses. These providers strictly adhere to rigorous safety standards, prioritising the well-being of their production and installation teams, all in accordance with the stipulations of their licenses.</p> <p>Ms Tucker underscored Bunnings' unwavering commitment to the safety of their staff and customers, underscoring its profound importance to the company. She also acknowledged that safety is a broader concern within the industry and noted that the federal government is presently conducting a review on this matter.</p> <p>In this regard, Bunnings expressed its support for new legislation and the establishment of consistent standards and licensing procedures across various states and territories, all in pursuit of enhancing safety within the industry.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Legal

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Is it okay to kiss your pet? The risk of animal-borne diseases is small, but real

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-mclean-1351935">Sarah McLean</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/enzo-palombo-249510">Enzo Palombo</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Our relationship with pets has changed drastically in recent decades. Pet ownership is at an all-time high, with <a href="https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/media-release/more-than-two-thirds-of-australian-households-now-own-a-pet/">a recent survey</a> finding 69% of Australian households have at least one pet. We spend an estimated A$33 billion every year on caring for our fur babies.</p> <p>While owning a pet is linked to numerous <a href="https://www.onehealth.org/blog/10-mental-physical-health-benefits-of-having-pets">mental and physical health benefits</a>, our pets can also harbour infectious diseases that can sometimes be passed on to us. For most people, the risk is low.</p> <p>But some, such as pregnant people and those with weakened immune systems, are at <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/specific-groups/high-risk/index.html">greater risk</a> of getting sick from animals. So, it’s important to know the risks and take necessary precautions to prevent infections.</p> <h2>What diseases can pets carry?</h2> <p>Infectious diseases that move from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases or <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/basics/zoonotic-diseases.html">zoonoses</a>. More than <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3668296/#B18">70 pathogens</a> of companion animals are known to be transmissible to people.</p> <p>Sometimes, a pet that has a zoonotic pathogen may look sick. But often there may be no visible symptoms, making it easier for you to catch it, because you don’t suspect your pet of harbouring germs.</p> <p>Zoonoses can be transmitted directly from pets to humans, such as through contact with saliva, bodily fluids and faeces, or indirectly, such as through contact with contaminated bedding, soil, food or water.</p> <p>Studies suggest <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4500695/">the prevalence of pet-associated zoonoses is low</a>. However, the true number of infections is likely <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/11/3789">underestimated</a> since many zoonoses are not “<a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/notification-of-illness-and-disease">notifiable</a>”, or may have multiple exposure pathways or generic symptoms.</p> <p>Dogs and cats are major reservoirs of zoonotic infections (meaning the pathogens naturally live in their population) caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. <a href="https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/topics/rabies">In endemic regions in Africa and Asia</a>, dogs are the main source of rabies which is transmitted through saliva.</p> <p>Dogs also commonly carry <em>Capnocytophaga</em> bacteria <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/capnocytophaga/index.html">in their mouths and saliva</a>, which can be transmitted to people through close contact or bites. The vast majority of people won’t get sick, but these bacteria can occasionally cause infections in people with weakened immune systems, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/capnocytophaga/signs-symptoms/index.html">resulting</a> in severe illness and sometimes death. Just last week, such a death <a href="https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/tracy-ridout-perth-mum-dies-11-days-after-rare-bacterial-infection-from-minor-dog-bite-c-11748887">was reported in Western Australia</a>.</p> <p>Cat-associated zoonoses include a number of illnesses spread by the faecal-oral route, such as giardiasis, campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and toxoplasmosis. This means it’s especially important to wash your hands or use gloves whenever handling your cat’s litter tray.</p> <p>Cats can also sometimes transmit infections through bites and scratches, including the aptly named <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/cat-scratch.html#:%7E:text=Cat%20scratch%20disease%20(CSD)%20is,the%20surface%20of%20the%20skin.">cat scratch disease</a>, which is caused by the bacterium <em>Bartonella henselae</em>.</p> <p>Both dogs and cats are also reservoirs for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10122942/">methicillin-resistant bacterium <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em></a> (MRSA), with close contact with pets identified as an important risk factor for zoonotic transmission.</p> <h2>Birds, turtles and fish can also transmit disease</h2> <p>But it’s not just dogs and cats that can spread diseases to humans. Pet birds can occasionally transmit <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/pneumonia/atypical/psittacosis/">psittacosis</a>, a bacterial infection which causes pneumonia. Contact with <a href="https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/pet-turtles-source-germs">pet turtles</a> has been linked to <em>Salmonella</em> infections in humans, particularly in young children. Even pet fish have been linked to a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/fish.html">range of bacterial infections</a> in humans, including vibriosis, mycobacteriosis and salmonellosis.</p> <p>Close contact with animals – and some behaviours in particular – increase the risk of zoonotic transmission. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19398275/">A study from the Netherlands</a> found half of owners allowed pets to lick their faces, and 18% allowed dogs to share their bed. (Sharing a bed increases the duration of exposure to pathogens carried by pets.) The same study found 45% of cat owners allowed their cat to jump onto the kitchen sink.</p> <p>Kissing pets has also been linked to occasional zoonotic infections in pet owners. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3298380/">In one case</a>, a woman in Japan developed meningitis due to <em>Pasteurella multicoda</em> infection, after regularly kissing her dog’s face. These bacteria are often found in the oral cavities of dogs and cats.</p> <p>Young children are also more likely to engage in behaviours which increase their risk of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/specific-groups/high-risk/children.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fhealthypets%2Fspecific-groups%2Fchildren.html">getting sick</a> from animal-borne diseases – such as putting their hands in their mouth after touching pets. Children are also less likely to wash their hands properly after handling pets.</p> <p>Although anybody who comes into contact with a zoonotic pathogen via their pet can become sick, certain people are more likely to suffer from serious illness. These people include the young, old, pregnant and immunosuppressed.</p> <p>For example, while most people infected with the toxoplasmosis parasite will experience only mild illness, it can be life-threatening or <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/what-are-the-risks-of-toxoplasmosis-during-pregnancy/">cause birth defects in foetuses</a>.</p> <h2>What should I do if I’m worried about catching a disease from my pet?</h2> <p>There are a number of good hygiene and pet husbandry practices that can reduce your risk of becoming sick. These include:</p> <ul> <li>washing your hands after playing with your pet and after handling their bedding, toys, or cleaning up faeces</li> <li>not allowing your pets to lick your face or open wounds</li> <li>supervising young children when they are playing with pets and when washing their hands after playing with pets</li> <li>wearing gloves when changing litter trays or cleaning aquariums</li> <li>wetting bird cage surfaces when cleaning to minimise aerosols</li> <li>keeping pets out of the kitchen (especially cats who can jump onto food preparation surfaces)</li> <li>keeping up to date with preventative veterinary care, including vaccinations and worm and tick treatments</li> <li>seeking veterinary care if you think your pet is unwell.</li> </ul> <p>It is especially important for those who are at a higher risk of illness to take precautions to reduce their exposure to zoonotic pathogens. And if you’re thinking about getting a pet, ask your vet which type of animal would best suit your personal circumstances.<!-- 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/210898/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/sarah-mclean-1351935">Sarah McLean</a>, Lecturer in environmental health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/enzo-palombo-249510">Enzo Palombo</a>, Professor of Microbiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>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/is-it-okay-to-kiss-your-pet-the-risk-of-animal-borne-diseases-is-small-but-real-210898">original article</a>.</em></p>

Family & Pets

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“Invisible suffering”: Bella Hadid opens up about painful health battle

<p dir="ltr">Bella Hadid has shared a raw update to her fans, giving them further insight into her “painful” health battle with Lyme disease.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, the model took to Instagram to share a series of photos of her ongoing health battle, including photos of her medical records.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The little me that suffered would be so proud of grown me for not giving up on myself,” she began in the caption.</p> <p dir="ltr">She then thanked her mum, Yolanda Hadid, "for keeping all of my medical records, sticking by me, never leaving my side, protecting, supporting, but most of all, believing me through all of this”.</p> <p dir="ltr">She then continued to say that since contracting Lyme, her symptoms have gotten worse over time and it’s taken a toll on her in ways that are difficult for her to explain, but remained positive despite it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To be that sad and sick with the most blessings/privilege/opportunity/love around me was quite possibly the most confusing thing ever,” she added before reassuring fans not to worry and that she is “okay”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The model also noted that despite her painful health battle, she “wouldn’t change anything for the world” and would go through it all again, as it has shaped who she is.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The universe works in the most painful and beautiful ways but I need to say that if you are struggling- it will get better,” she added.</p> <p dir="ltr">Bella also said that despite “almost 15 years of invisible suffering” she is grateful for the experience, and has so much “gratitude for and perspective on life” that has made her able to spread ”love from a full cup” and “truly” be herself.</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/Cvmz8ilAcxx/?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/Cvmz8ilAcxx/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I tried to pick the most positive pictures I could because as painful as this experience was, the outcome was the most enlightening experience of my life filled with new friends, new visions and a new brain,” she added before thanking everyone who has supported her throughout this journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ll be back when I’m ready, I miss you all so much, I love you all so much,” she concluded.</p> <p dir="ltr">The model shared a few photos of herself getting treatment with IVs sticking out of her arm.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a few other photos, the model can be seen resting on the couch as she gets a blood transfusion, with her loyal pup, “Petunia aka Beans,” never leaving her side.</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/Cvm1ImkA-89/?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/Cvm1ImkA-89/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">This is the model’s first health update after she revealed she was taking time off from modelling due to a flare-up in her Lyme disease.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p dir="ltr"> </p>

Caring

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Why understanding how spiders spin silk may hold clues for treating Alzheimer’s disease

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-landreh-1328287">Michael Landreh</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/karolinska-institutet-1250">Karolinska Institutet</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anna-rising-1440132">Anna Rising</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/karolinska-institutet-1250">Karolinska Institutet</a></em></p> <p>Really, we should envy spiders. Imagine being able to make silk like they do, flinging it around to get from place to place, always having a <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsmacrolett.8b00678">strong-as-steel safety line</a> or spinning a comfy hammock whenever they need a rest.</p> <p>The fascinating properties of spider silk make it no wonder that scientists have been trying to unravel its secrets for decades.</p> <p>If we could understand and recreate the spinning process, we could produce artificial spider silk for a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0141813021021292">range of medical applications</a>. For example, artificial silk can help <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2021.120692">regenerate the nerves that connect our brain and limbs</a>, and can shuttle <a href="https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.0c01138">drug molecules directly into the cells where they are needed</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zNtSAQHNONo?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Spider silk is made of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/spidroins">proteins called spidroins</a>, which the spider stores in a silk gland in its abdomen. There are several types of spidroin for spinning different sorts of silk. Spiders <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7673682/">store them as a liquid</a> that resembles oil droplets.</p> <p>But one of the questions that has eluded scientists so far is how spiders turn these liquid droplets into silk. We decided to investigate why the spidroins form droplets, to get us closer to replicating a spider’s spinning process.</p> <h2>Weaving a web</h2> <p>The trick that spiders use to speed up their spinning process can be used to spin better artificial silk, or even develop new spinning processes.</p> <p>In 2017, we learned to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15504">make synthetic silk fibres</a> by emulating the silk gland, but we did not know how things work inside the spider. Now we know that forming droplets first <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37084706/">speeds up the conversion to these fibres</a>.</p> <p>An important clue to how the droplets and fibres are related came from an unexpected area of our research – on <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23013511/">Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases</a>. Proteins that are involved in these diseases, called <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/alpha-synuclein#:%7E:text=%CE%B1%2DSynuclein%20is%20a%20highly,linked%20to%20familial%20Parkinson%20disease.">alpha-synuclein</a> and <a href="https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-dementia-tau-ts.pdf">tau</a>, can assemble into tiny, oil-like droplets in human cells.</p> <p>Tau is a protein that helps stabilise the internal skeleton of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. This internal skeleton has a tube-like shape through which nutrients and other essential substances travel to reach different parts of the neuron.</p> <p>In Alzheimer’s disease, an abnormal form of tau builds up and clings to the normal tau proteins, creating “tau tangles”.</p> <p>Alpha-synuclein is found in large quantities in <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine">dopamine-producing nerve cells</a>. Abnormal forms of this protein are linked to Parkinson’s disease.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/528217/original/file-20230525-25-p40y48.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/528217/original/file-20230525-25-p40y48.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/528217/original/file-20230525-25-p40y48.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/528217/original/file-20230525-25-p40y48.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/528217/original/file-20230525-25-p40y48.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/528217/original/file-20230525-25-p40y48.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/528217/original/file-20230525-25-p40y48.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/528217/original/file-20230525-25-p40y48.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Beautiful spider web with water drops close-up" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The trick spiders use to speed up their spinning process can be used to spin better artificial silk.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/beautiful-spider-web-water-drops-close-155560781">Aastels/Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Oil droplets of either one of these proteins form in humans when they become entangled, like boiled spaghetti on a plate. At first, the proteins are flexible and elastic, much like spidroin oil droplets.</p> <p>But if the proteins remain entangled, they get stuck together which alters their shape, changing them into rigid fibres. These can be toxic to human cells – for example, in neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.</p> <p>However, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33148640/">spidroins can form droplets</a> too. This left us wondering if the same mechanism that causes neurodegeneration in humans could help the spider to convert liquid spidroins into rigid silk fibres.</p> <p>To find out, we used a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nchembio.2269">synthetic spidroin called NT2RepCT</a>, which can be produced by bacteria. Under the microscope, we could see that this synthetic spidroin formed liquid droplets when it was dissolved in phosphate buffer, a type of salt found in the spider’s silk gland. This allowed us to replicate spider silk spinning conditions in the lab.</p> <h2>Silky science</h2> <p>Next, we studied how the spidroin proteins act when they form droplets. To answer this question, we turned to an analysis technique <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/mass-spectrometry">called mass spectrometry</a>, to measure how the weight of the proteins changed when they formed droplets. To our surprise, we saw that the spidroin proteins, which normally form pairs, instead split into single molecules.</p> <p>We needed to do more work to find out how these protein droplets help spiders spin silk. Previous research has shown spidroins have different parts, called domains, with separate functions.</p> <p>The end part of the spidroin, called c-terminal domain, makes it form pairs. The c-terminal also starts <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1001921">fibre formation when it comes into contact with acid</a>.</p> <p>So, we made a spidroin which contained only the c-terminal domain and tested its ability to form fibres.</p> <p>When we used phosphate buffer to entangle the proteins into droplets, they turned into rigid fibre instantly. When we added acid without first making droplets, fibre formation took much longer.</p> <p>This makes sense since the spidroin molecules must find each other when forming a fibre. Entangling the spidroins like spaghetti helps them rapidly assemble into silk.</p> <p>This finding tells us how the spider can instantly convert its spidroins into a solid thread. It also uncovered how nature uses the same mechanism that can make brain proteins toxic to create some of its most amazing structures.</p> <p>The surprising parallel between spider silk spinning and fibres toxic to humans could one day lead to new clues about how to fight neurodegenerative disorders.</p> <p>Scientists may use spider silk research, including what we have learned about the spider silk domains, to keep human proteins from sticking together – to stop them from becoming toxic. If spiders can learn how to keep their sticky proteins in check, perhaps so can we.<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/205857/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-landreh-1328287">Michael Landreh</a>, Researcher, Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/karolinska-institutet-1250">Karolinska Institutet</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anna-rising-1440132">Anna Rising</a>, Researcher in Veterinary medicine biochemistry, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/karolinska-institutet-1250">Karolinska Institutet</a></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/why-understanding-how-spiders-spin-silk-may-hold-clues-for-treating-alzheimers-disease-205857">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Here’s how a new AI tool may predict early signs of Parkinson’s disease

<p>In 1991, the world was shocked to learn actor <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2023/jan/31/still-a-michael-j-fox-movie-parkinsons-back-to-the-future">Michael J. Fox</a> had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. </p> <p>He was just 29 years old and at the height of Hollywood fame, a year after the release of the blockbuster <em>Back to the Future III</em>. This week, documentary <em><a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt19853258/">Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie</a></em> will be released. It features interviews with Fox, his friends, family and experts. </p> <p>Parkinson’s is a debilitating neurological disease characterised by <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055">motor symptoms</a> including slow movement, body tremors, muscle stiffness, and reduced balance. Fox has already <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/video/michael-j-fox-on-parkinsons-and-maintaining-optimism">broken</a> his arms, elbows, face and hand from multiple falls. </p> <p>It is not genetic, has no specific test and cannot be accurately diagnosed before motor symptoms appear. Its cause is still <a href="https://www.apdaparkinson.org/what-is-parkinsons/causes/">unknown</a>, although Fox is among those who thinks <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/video/michael-j-fox-on-parkinsons-and-maintaining-optimism">chemical exposure may play a central role</a>, speculating that “genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger”.</p> <p>In research published today in <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acscentsci.2c01468">ACS Central Science</a>, we built an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can predict Parkinson’s disease with up to 96% accuracy and up to 15 years before a clinical diagnosis based on the analysis of chemicals in blood. </p> <p>While this AI tool showed promise for accurate early diagnosis, it also revealed chemicals that were strongly linked to a correct prediction.</p> <h2>More common than ever</h2> <p>Parkinson’s is the world’s <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/parkinson-disease">fastest growing neurological disease</a> with <a href="https://shakeitup.org.au/understanding-parkinsons/">38 Australians</a>diagnosed every day.</p> <p>For people over 50, the chance of developing Parkinson’s is <a href="https://www.parkinsonsact.org.au/statistics-about-parkinsons/">higher than many cancers</a> including breast, colorectal, ovarian and pancreatic cancer.</p> <p>Symptoms such as <a href="https://www.apdaparkinson.org/what-is-parkinsons/symptoms/#nonmotor">depression, loss of smell and sleep problems</a> can predate clinical movement or cognitive symptoms by decades. </p> <p>However, the prevalence of such symptoms in many other medical conditions means early signs of Parkinson’s disease can be overlooked and the condition may be mismanaged, contributing to increased hospitalisation rates and ineffective treatment strategies.</p> <h2>Our research</h2> <p>At UNSW we collaborated with experts from Boston University to build an AI tool that can analyse mass spectrometry datasets (a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/mass-spectrometry">technique</a> that detects chemicals) from blood samples.</p> <p>For this study, we looked at the Spanish <a href="https://epic.iarc.fr/">European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition</a> (EPIC) study which involved over 41,000 participants. About 90 of them developed Parkinson’s within 15 years. </p> <p>To train the AI model we used a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41531-021-00216-4">subset of data</a> consisting of a random selection of 39 participants who later developed Parkinson’s. They were matched to 39 control participants who did not. The AI tool was given blood data from participants, all of whom were healthy at the time of blood donation. This meant the blood could provide early signs of the disease. </p> <p>Drawing on blood data from the EPIC study, the AI tool was then used to conduct 100 “experiments” and we assessed the accuracy of 100 different models for predicting Parkinson’s. </p> <p>Overall, AI could detect Parkinson’s disease with up to 96% accuracy. The AI tool was also used to help us identify which chemicals or metabolites were likely linked to those who later developed the disease.</p> <h2>Key metabolites</h2> <p>Metabolites are chemicals produced or used as the body digests and breaks down things like food, drugs, and other substances from environmental exposure. </p> <p>Our bodies can contain thousands of metabolites and their concentrations can differ significantly between healthy people and those affected by disease.</p> <p>Our research identified a chemical, likely a triterpenoid, as a key metabolite that could prevent Parkinson’s disease. It was found the abundance of triterpenoid was lower in the blood of those who developed Parkinson’s compared to those who did not.</p> <p>Triterpenoids are known <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/neuroprotection">neuroprotectants</a> that can regulate <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.10483">oxidative stress</a> – a leading factor implicated in Parkinson’s disease – and prevent cell death in the brain. Many foods such as <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11101-012-9241-9#Sec3">apples and tomatoes</a> are rich sources of triterpenoids.</p> <p>A synthetic chemical (a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/PFAS_FactSheet.html">polyfluorinated alkyl substance</a>) was also linked as something that might increase the risk of the disease. This chemical was found in higher abundances in those who later developed Parkinson’s. </p> <p>More research using different methods and looking at larger populations is needed to further validate these results.</p> <h2>A high financial and personal burden</h2> <p>Every year in Australia, the average person with Parkinson’s spends over <a href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/pd/2017/5932675/">A$14,000</a>in out-of-pocket medical costs.</p> <p>The burden of living with the disease can be intolerable.</p> <p>Fox acknowledges the disease can be a “nightmare” and a “living hell”, but he has also found that “<a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/video/michael-j-fox-on-parkinsons-and-maintaining-optimism">with gratitude, optimism is sustainable</a>”. </p> <p>As researchers, we find hope in the potential use of AI technologies to improve patient quality of life and reduce health-care costs by accurately detecting diseases early.</p> <p>We are excited for the research community to try our AI tool, which is <a href="https://github.com/CRANK-MS/CRANK-MS">publicly available</a>.</p> <p><em>This research was performed with Mr Chonghua Xue and A/Prof Vijaya Kolachalama (Boston University).</em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-how-a-new-ai-tool-may-predict-early-signs-of-parkinsons-disease-205221" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Mind

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Bindi Irwin breaks down on camera about health condition

<p>Bindi Irwin has shown her vulnerable side in an emotional new video shared with fans about a personal ordeal.</p> <p>The 24-year-old spoke candidly to the camera for 15 minutes with guest appearances from husband Chandler Powell and their daughter Grace Warrior.</p> <p>In the video, Irwin recalled the “insurmountable” pain she experienced due to endometriosis before finally <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/how-did-you-live-with-this-much-pain-bindi-irwin-hospitalised" target="_blank" rel="noopener">undergoing surgery</a>.</p> <p>The wildlife warrior announced her diagnosis in March 2023, but the new video explains her symptoms - which started when she was just 14 - that left her with “extreme fatigue, nausea and pain”.</p> <p>“I had pain every single day of my life. No matter where we went, where we were going, I would be falling asleep. I felt like I constantly had the flu,” she said.</p> <p>The conservationist confessed she tried everything to solve the issue, undergoing CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds.</p> <p>“I was always in pain. We tried for a year, and finally a doctor told me it was just part of being a woman.”</p> <p>Irwin said it was that comment from a doctor that led her to suffer in silence.</p> <p>However, after giving birth to her daughter in 2021, the pain “magnified” to a point where it was “out of this world”.</p> <p>“I remember countless times of Grace needing me, and me crawling to her cot at night,” she revealed, becoming emotional.</p> <p>“I can remember being with Grace and lying on the floor in agony. I had a stabbing pain in my side, I couldn’t get up or I would throw up, and I was scared I would pass out.</p> <p>“I was so scared because I was worried if I was alone with Grace, something would happen to me, and she would be on her own.”</p> <p>Irwin dubbed the pain “insurmountable” and something that “would knock me over”.</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/Cr31hQDANTp/?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/Cr31hQDANTp/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>She said that after returning to new doctors, she was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue.</p> <p>It was not until she spoke to a friend, Leslie Mosier, who recently had endometriosis surgery that she realised they shared similar symptoms.</p> <p>“Leslie said the only way to diagnose for sure is through exploratory surgery.”</p> <p>Irwin said she decided to undergo surgery in the US as her daughter would have Powell’s parents, who live in Florida, nearby for support while she recovered.</p> <p>At this point in her video, Grace woke up and joined her mum on camera.</p> <p>“Mama went for surgery and they found 37 lesions and a chocolate cyst on my ovary,” she said in a child-like tone for the sake of her daughter.</p> <p>“Ovary!” Grace chirped.</p> <p>“After surgery mama feels a lot better hey? I had to recover for quite a while, and mama feels so much better, and she can run around with you!”</p> <p>Irwin went on to share what she has learned being a part of the endometriosis community.</p> <p>She revealed that excision surgery is considered the “gold standard” for the disease, where lesions and cysts are removed.</p> <p>“Everyone says we need to educate the public, but there also needs to be a shift in health care. Doctors need more information because endometriosis has myriad symptoms. Doctors need the right tools to diagnose.”</p> <p>She explained that her own endometriosis has been classified as severe, which means she may have to undergo more surgeries in the future to keep symptoms at bay.</p> <p>“I feel like. I got a second chance at life... I feel like a new woman.”</p> <p>In a final message of encouragement, Irwin said, “If you’re in pain, it’s so hard to get up every day and forge ahead.</p> <p>“Keep searching for those answers and never give up on you.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

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“I’m not gonna be 80": Michael J. Fox's tragic admission

<p>Beloved actor Michael J. Fox is acknowledging how difficult his more than 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease has become.</p> <p>“I’m not gonna be 80,” the Back to the Future star said in a preview for an upcoming episode of the American current affairs program <em>CBS Sunday Mornin</em>g, according to <em>Page Six</em>.</p> <p>In the clip, Journalist Jane Pauley tells Fox that he has “not squandered” but that his condition will eventually “make the call” as to when it’s his time to go.</p> <p>“Yeah, it’s, it’s banging on the door,” the actor said.</p> <p>“I’m not gonna lie. It’s gettin’ hard, it’s gettin’ harder. It’s gettin’ tougher. Every day it’s tougher.”</p> <p>Fox revealed that he had surgery to remove a benign tumour on his spine, but the procedure “messed up” his walking and so he started to “break” other parts of his body, including his arm, elbow, face and hand.</p> <p>He added that the “big killer” of Parkinson’s disease is “falling” and can also be “aspirating food and getting pneumonia”, pointing out that it is “all these subtle ways that gets you.”</p> <p>You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s,” he said. “So – so I’ve been – I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it.”</p> <p>The actor was diagnosed with the brain disorder at just 29. He has since become a leading advocate for research on the condition, with the launch of the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000 to help educate the public and fund studies.</p> <p>He has previously revealed that he does not fear death.</p> <p>“I’m really blunt with people about cures. When they ask me if I will be relieved of Parkinson’s in my lifetime, I say, ‘I’m 60 years old, and science is hard. So, no,’” he admitted in an AARP magazine profile in December 2021.</p> <p>“I am genuinely a happy guy. I don’t have a morbid thought in my head — I don’t fear death. At all.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

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“Game-changer”: Michael J Fox shares huge medical news

<p dir="ltr">Michael J Fox has shared news of a medical breakthrough into Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 61-year-old – who was diagnosed with the disease in 1991 – was thrilled to share the news, despite suffering a “terrible year”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Fox told <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2023/04/12/michael-j-fox-parkinsons-biomarker/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Stat News</em></a> that he had broken multiple bones after a fall, including some in his hand and face, but has said that in some ways he is “feeling better”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite his own personal battle, the <em>Back to the Future</em> star was overjoyed to share the breakthrough in Parkinson’s research.</p> <p dir="ltr">The study – funded by Fox’s charity organisation that aims to find a cure for Parkinson’s – found that a key Parkinson's pathology can now be identified by examining spinal fluid from living patients, allowing earlier intervention.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s all changed. It can be known and treated early on. It’s huge,” he said</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is the thing. This is the big reward. This is the big trophy.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The findings, published in <em>The Lancet Neurology</em>, are the result of a 1,123-person study that Fox’s foundation has put hundreds of millions of dollars into since it began in 2010.</p> <p dir="ltr">An editorial in the medical journal has also called this research “a game-changer in Parkinson’s disease diagnostics, research, and treatment trials”.</p> <p dir="ltr">In late 2022 the actor opened up about his struggle with Parkinson’s in his emotional acceptance speech for the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/michael-j-fox-reveals-more-details-about-his-struggle-with-parkinson-s" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jean Hershel Humanitarian Award</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the speech he said that the hardest part “was grappling with the certainty of the diagnosis and the uncertainty of the situation,” but has since felt relieved after an “outpouring of support” from the public and his peers.</p> <p><em>Image: Frazer Harrison for Getty Images</em></p>

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