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Why Ray Martin is planning his own funeral

<p>Ray Martin is planning his own funeral as he prepares for his 'Last Goodbye', as part of an eye-opening new series. </p> <p>The veteran journalist will be planning his memorial service for an upcoming SBS documentary series which explores cultural traditions surrounding death.</p> <p>The three-part series, called <em>Ray Martin: The Last Goodbye</em>, will explore various taboos surrounding death with comedic and witty anecdotes. </p> <p>The series will investigate various funeral trends and rituals around the world and will address some deep questions, including why people choose certain ceremonies, songs and resting places, and how geography, religion and social class impacts these choices. </p> <p>At 79 years old, Ray said in a statement that statistically he is only four years away from his own death and wants to explore the topic with a serious yet funny nature. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9QoU-goAtY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9QoU-goAtY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by SBS Australia (@sbs_australia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Martin will also have a range of special guests on the show, including veteran presenter Gretel Killeen, 61, and comedian Alex Lee.</p> <p>SBS Commissioning Editor Bethan Arwel-Lewis said, "At SBS we aren't scared to tackle those subjects that are sometimes provocative or difficult in our programming."</p> <p>"So an exploration of death – one of our last taboos is the perfect subject for us to lift the lid on, and who better to take us into this world and get us talking and even laughing about death, than Ray Martin."</p> <p>Last year, Martin insisted that he still has a lot of life left in him, as he grows older gracefully and continues to work. </p> <p>"I'm never going to retire. David Attenborough is in his 90s and he's my role model. He says you've got to keep doing what you love," he told <em>Woman's Day</em> magazine.</p> <p><em>Ray Martin: The Last Goodbye</em> will premiere on Wednesday, August 14 at 8.30pm on SBS and SBS On Demand.</p> <p><em>Image credits: SBS</em></p>

TV

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Haunting last pictures of Charlise Mutten revealed

<p>The haunting last photos of nine-year-old Charlise Mutten have been released just hours after her step-father was found guilty of her murder. </p> <p>On Wednesday, Justin Stein was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/jury-decides-fate-of-accused-murderer-justin-stein" target="_blank" rel="noopener">found guilty</a> for the murder of Charlise, who was killed in January 2022 while visiting her mother and step-father for Christmas. </p> <p>The jury reached their conclusion of Stein's guilt in just shy of two weeks following the four week trial, finding that Stein had killed Charlise at a Mount Wilson property owned by his parents before he wrapped her body and dumped it in a barrel down near the Colo River.</p> <p>Following the guilty verdict, a series of photos were released by the court, which document some of the final days of Charlise's life. </p> <p>In the photos, Charlise can be seen holding a pair of dolls and smiling for the camera as her mother, Kallista, snapped the image of her daughter. </p> <p>Kallista then sent the photo to her mother and Charlise's grandmother Deborah on Christmas morning 2021. </p> <p>“Thanks for the present and Merry Christmas from us all,” Kallista said to Deborah via Facebook.“Thanks for the present and Merry Christmas from us all,” Kallista said to Deborah via Facebook.</p> <p>Deborah and her husband Clinton were Charlise's main guardians, as Charlise had been living with them on the Gold Coast.</p> <p>Charlise can also be seen in a picture on January 8th, just days before she was killed, swimming in a pool, and on January 10th, she was photographed by her mother poking a face next to a broken window.</p> <p>The photo was sent to Stein by Kallista along with a message saying, “I’m sorry I’m such a screw up can we still get married”.</p> <p>Just two days later on January 12th, Charlise was killed. </p> <p>Stein will face a sentence hearing in August, where he faced life in prison for murder. </p> <p><em>Image credits: NSW Police / Facebook</em></p>

Caring

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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>

Caring

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The voice in your head may help you recall and process words. But what if you don’t have one?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/derek-arnold-106381">Derek Arnold</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Can you imagine hearing yourself speak? A voice inside your head – perhaps reciting a shopping list or a phone number? What would life be like if you couldn’t?</p> <p>Some people, including me, cannot have imagined visual experiences. We cannot close our eyes and conjure an experience of seeing a loved one’s face, or imagine our lounge room layout – to consider if a new piece of furniture might fit in it. This is called “<a href="https://theconversation.com/a-blind-and-deaf-mind-what-its-like-to-have-no-visual-imagination-or-inner-voice-226134">aphantasia</a>”, from a Greek phrase where the “a” means without, and “phantasia” refers to an image. Colloquially, people like myself are often referred to as having a “blind mind”.</p> <p>While most attention has been given to the inability to have imagined visual sensations, aphantasics can lack other imagined experiences. We might be unable to experience imagined tastes or smells. Some people cannot imagine hearing themselves speak.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/we-used-to-think-everybody-heard-a-voice-inside-their-heads-but-we-were-wrong">recent study</a> has advanced our understanding of people who cannot imagine hearing their own internal monologue. Importantly, the authors have identified some tasks that such people are more likely to find challenging.</p> <h2>What the study found</h2> <p>Researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/09567976241243004">recruited 93 volunteers</a>. They included 46 adults who reported low levels of inner speech and 47 who reported high levels.</p> <p>Both groups were given challenging tasks: judging if the names of objects they had seen would rhyme and recalling words. The group without an inner monologue performed worse. But differences disappeared when everyone could say words aloud.</p> <p>Importantly, people who reported less inner speech were not worse at all tasks. They could recall similar numbers of words when the words had a different appearance to one another. This negates any suggestion that aphants (people with aphantasia) simply weren’t trying or were less capable.</p> <h2>A welcome validation</h2> <p>The study provides some welcome evidence for the lived experiences of some aphants, who are still often told their experiences are not different, but rather that they cannot describe their imagined experiences. Some people feel anxiety when they realise other people can have imagined experiences that they cannot. These feelings may be deepened when others assert they are merely confused or inarticulate.</p> <p>In my own <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1374349/full">aphantasia research</a> I have often quizzed crowds of people on their capacity to have imagined experiences.</p> <p>Questions about the capacity to have imagined visual or audio sensations tend to be excitedly endorsed by a vast majority, but questions about imagined experiences of taste or smell seem to cause more confusion. Some people are adamant they can do this, including a colleague who says he can imagine what combinations of ingredients will taste like when cooked together. But other responses suggest subtypes of aphantasia may prove to be more common than we realise.</p> <p>The authors of the recent study suggest the inability to imagine hearing yourself speak should be referred to as “anendophasia”, meaning without inner speech. Other authors had suggested <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8551557/">anauralia</a> (meaning without auditory imagery). Still other researchers have referred to all types of imagined sensation as being different types of “imagery”.</p> <p>Having <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010945222000417">consistent names</a> is important. It can help scientists “talk” to one another to compare findings. If different authors use different names, important evidence can be missed.</p> <h2>We have more than 5 senses</h2> <p>Debate continues about how many senses humans have, but some scientists reasonably argue for a <a href="https://www.sensorytrust.org.uk/blog/how-many-senses-do-we-have#:%7E:text=Because%20there%20is%20some%20overlap,sensation%20of%20hunger%20or%20thirst.">number greater than 20</a>.</p> <p>In addition to the five senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing, lesser known senses include thermoception (our sense of heat) and proprioception (awareness of the positions of our body parts). Thanks to proprioception, most of us can close our eyes and touch the tip of our index finger to our nose. Thanks to our vestibular sense, we typically have a good idea of which way is up and can maintain balance.</p> <p>It may be tempting to give a new name to each inability to have a given type of imagined sensation. But this could lead to confusion. Another approach would be to adapt phrases that are already widely used. People who are unable to have imagined sensations commonly refer to ourselves as “aphants”. This could be adapted with a prefix, such as “audio aphant”. Time will tell which approach is adopted by most researchers.</p> <h2>Why we should keep investigating</h2> <p>Regardless of the names we use, the study of multiple types of inability to have an imagined sensation is important. These investigations could reveal the essential processes in human brains that bring about a conscious experience of an imagined sensation.</p> <p>In time, this will not only lead to a better understanding of the diversity of humans, but may help uncover how human brains can create any conscious sensation. This question – how and where our conscious feelings are generated – remains one of the great mysteries of science.<!-- 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/230973/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/derek-arnold-106381">Derek Arnold</a>, Professor, School of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</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/the-voice-in-your-head-may-help-you-recall-and-process-words-but-what-if-you-dont-have-one-230973">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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Condolence messages that will help you find the right words

<h2>Condolence messages for every situation</h2> <p>When someone you care about has lost someone they care about, it’s important to reach out and show your love. “We’re hard-wired as human beings to connect with others, especially when we’re grieving,” says Abigail Nathanson, a licensed social worker and professor of grief and trauma at New York University. “Being able to talk about the pain and loss and receive support from others is an essential part of the grieving process.” While you may eventually engage in longer discussions, condolence messages are the first step after any loss.</p> <p>These messages of sympathy are a simple and beautiful way to connect with a grieving loved one. But even though death and grief are universal experiences, it can be hard to find the right things to say to someone who is grieving or know what to write in a condolence card—probably because there aren’t any words that can take away their pain.</p> <p>But it’s proper etiquette to say something rather than to stay silent. Otherwise, the person who’s grieving might think you don’t care.</p> <h2>What can you say to comfort someone who’s lost a loved one?</h2> <p>“Just like there is no one ‘right’ way to grieve, there is no one script for what to say to someone who has experienced a great loss,” Nathanson says. “However we do know that there are some things that many people find comforting and supportive.”</p> <p>When thinking of what to say when someone dies, Nathanson offers these tips:</p> <ul> <li>Lead with sympathy or empathy.</li> <li>Offer to listen (and then listen without interrupting).</li> <li>Don’t offer banal platitudes, like: “Everything will turn out for the best.”</li> <li>Don’t tell them how to feel, like: “Your father wouldn’t want you to be sad.”</li> <li>Reinforce your love and support for them.</li> <li>Offer to help in meaningful ways.</li> <li>Don’t offer advice unless they ask for it.</li> </ul> <h2>How to write a condolence message</h2> <p>“Remember that the goal of a condolence message is not to talk the person out of being sad or to ‘cure’ their grief,” Nathanson says. “It’s to offer love and support during a trying time.”</p> <p>Expressing condolences in person is incredibly powerful, but if you can’t be there with them, sending a condolence message is the next best thing. In this digital age, you have lots of options.</p> <ul> <li>Video messages offer the added bonus of face-to-face connection.</li> <li>Condolence text messages are an immediate way to reach out.</li> <li>Email is a great way to share longer thoughts, including pictures or memories of the loved one. They can also be read at the person’s leisure.</li> <li>Handwritten notes show extra care and are often sentimental keepsakes.</li> <li>Comments on social media show public support and allow you to interact with others who may be grieving the loss as well.</li> </ul> <p>Regardless of which method you choose to convey your love and support, keep your message relatively short. Grief can induce brain fog, making it difficult to concentrate on long messages, Nathanson says. And send your message as soon as you can (but better late than never!), and consider attaching it to one of these beautiful sympathy gifts.</p> <h2>Short condolence messages</h2> <p>To help you find the right words, here’s a list of heartfelt short condolence messages messages. Your kind words will be appreciated more than you know.</p> <ol> <li>I’m so sorry for your loss.</li> <li>My heart breaks for you.</li> <li>This hurts, and it sucks!</li> <li>You are in my prayers.</li> <li>My heart is with you at this time.</li> <li>I love you, and I’m here for you.</li> <li>I’m so sorry you are hurting.</li> <li>Sending love and peace.</li> <li>You are in my thoughts.</li> <li>May you find comfort at this time.</li> <li>Blessings for you and your loved ones.</li> <li>I’m with you during this difficult time.</li> <li>I hope you can feel my love.</li> <li>Love and support for you and yours.</li> <li>I wish I could give you the biggest hug.</li> <li>Sending you peaceful and loving vibes.</li> <li>Praying you feel comforted.</li> <li>You can cry on my shoulder.</li> <li>I’m devastated for you.</li> <li>My heart goes out to you at this difficult time.</li> </ol> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/inspirational/condolence-messages-that-will-help-you-find-the-right-words" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Caring

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"It loses its value": Calls for the Last Post to be canned from Anzac Day footy

<p>A radio host has called for the Last Post to be canned from the majority of Anzac Day football games, saying it has lost its meaning over the years, leaving people with "bugle fatigue". </p> <p>An Anzac Day AFL match has taken place every year at the MCG on Anzac Day since 1995, with Collingwood and Essendon going head to head year after year.</p> <p>It was the brainchild of then Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy who had also served in the Australian Army during his playing days for Richmond.</p> <p>The game started as a one off-match, which quickly snowballed into an entire round of games, while the NRL also joined in and created their own Anzac Day matches.</p> <p>Traditionally, each game starts with a ceremony of recognition of our veterans and a performance of the Last Post. before the game kicks off. </p> <p>The addition of the several extra games, all which begin with the Last Post, prompted radio host Greg 'Marto' Martin from Brisbane's <em>Triple M Breakfast with Marto, Margaux & Dan</em> to call for The Last Post to be scrapped from all matches, except the annual fixture between Essendon and Collingwood. </p> <p>"Football has now turned [The Last Post] into a gimmick," he said.</p> <p>"Back in 1995 when Kevin Sheedy, the coach of Essendon, he said, 'Let's have an Anzac Day clash at the MCG,' I reckon it's the most… spine tingling three minutes or so." </p> <p>"97,000 at the MCG… not one person yelling out while that's being played and, the honour that they give to all serving soldiers and returned soldiers is quite extraordinary."</p> <p>"But now what's happened, as football always does, and I'm not just talking AFL I'm talking rugby league as well, they've taken a wonderful thing and they've gone, 'Oh that's good —'"</p> <p>Margaux interrupted saying: "How can we capitalise!"</p> <p>Marto continued, "So what's going to happen this week in all eight games of the AFL and all eight games of the rugby league… every single one of them will play this [The Last Post] and you'll get ANZAC - you'll get bugle fatigue."</p> <p>"We have to stop it somewhere."</p> <p>Margaux said, "It gets saturated, so it loses its value. They all think they are doing the right thing, but all they are doing is turning it into a mockery."</p> <p>The AFL has confirmed that all nine matches across round seven will hold special Anzac observance ceremonies ahead of each game, with AFL General Manager Commercial Peta Webster saying, "Anzac Day is one of our country's most important national occasions so I'd encourage all fans attending matches throughout the round to arrive early to soak up the atmosphere and pre-match formalities that will no doubt be another moving tribute to the sacrifices of our past and present service men and women."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"Last chance, Mr Banducci": Woolies CEO threatened with jail time

<p>Outgoing Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has been threatened with jail time for refusing to answer questions about price gouging at a fiery Senate enquiry. </p> <p>The parliamentary probe into supermarket prices has seen Banducci be grilled by senators about how the supermarket raked in record-breaking profits during the ongoing cost of living crisis. </p> <p>During the enquiry on Tuesday, Banducci was repeatedly warned by committee chair and Greens senator Nick McKim about giving evasive answers when asked about his company's return on equity.</p> <p>Banducci repeatedly told the committee that return on equity was not his focus, and Woolworths is instead more interested in return on investment, refusing the question and prompting a 15-minute adjournment. </p> <p>When the enquiry resumed, a similar exchange occurred, leading to another warning for the Woolworths chief executive.</p> <p>"Last chance, Mr Banducci," McKim said.</p> <p>"Do you accept that return on equity is an accepted measure of the financial profitability of a company?"</p> <p>When Banducci replied that "we measure return on investment", the committee was suspended.</p> <p>Its return immediately saw another round of the same questions and answers, with McKim warning Banducci about the consequences of not answering questions clearly.</p> <p>"It is open to the Senate to hold you in contempt, and that carries potential sanctions including up to six months imprisonment for you," he said after saying the Woolworths boss could simply say he didn't know the answer and take the question on notice.</p> <p>"That's why this is a critical matter so I'd just ask you to address your mind with absolute clarity, please, to the question I am asking."</p> <p>"I put it to you the reason you don't want to focus on return on equity is because you don't like the story that it's telling, which is that you are basically profiteering and making off with massive profits at the expense of farmers at the expense of your workers and at the expense of Australian shoppers who you are price gouging," Greens senator McKim said.</p> <p>The enquiry is still ongoing, with Coles counterpart Leah Weckert set to address the same Senate committee later on Tuesday as the government continues to probe allegations of price gouging.</p> <p><em>Image Credits: ABC - Four Corners</em></p>

Legal

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"Words fail me": Rod Stewart devastated by passing of iconic rocker

<p>The world of music is mourning the loss of one of its iconic figures as Steve Harley, the frontman of British rock band Cockney Rebel, has passed away at the age of 73. News of his death, reported by BBC, came as a shock to fans and fellow musicians alike.</p> <p>According to reports, Harley's family confirmed that he "passed away peacefully at home". This sad news marks the end of an era for the music industry, as tributes pour in from across the globe.</p> <p>One of the most heartfelt tributes came from Sir Rod Stewart, who expressed his devastation over the loss of his fellow musician. "Absolutely devastated, words fail me," he wrote. "The Cockney Rebel has left us. Loved you and admired you Steve and always will," said Stewart, as reported by the PA news agency.</p> <p>Harley's recent cancellation of tour dates due to cancer treatment had already alerted fans to his health struggles. "Whoever you know him as, his heart exuded only core elements. Passion, kindness, generosity. And much more, in abundance," his family wrote in a statement.</p> <p>"The birdsong from his woodland that he loved so much was singing for him. His home has been filled with the sounds and laughter of his four grandchildren.</p> <p>"We know he will be desperately missed by people all over the world, and we ask that you respectfully allow us privacy to grieve."</p> <p>The announcement of Harley's hiatus from touring, made through his official website, shed light on his ongoing health journey. "Due to ongoing treatment for cancer, Steve cannot commit to any concerts in 2024," the statement read. However, there was a glimmer of hope for the future as it conveyed Harley's optimism for a different outcome in the following year.</p> <p>Born Stephen Malcolm Ronald Nice in Deptford, UK, in 1951, Harley's journey in music began to take shape in the 1970s when he became the frontman of Cockney Rebel. The band, known for its contribution to the glam rock genre, left an indelible mark on the British music scene.</p> <p>Harley's distinctive voice and songwriting prowess, evident in hits like "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)," endeared him to fans and secured his place as a legendary figure in rock history.</p> <p>As fans and the music community come to terms with Harley's loss, his legacy will undoubtedly endure through his timeless music and the memories he created.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram \ Wikimedia</em></p>

Caring

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How long does menopause last? 5 tips for navigating uncertain times

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yvonne-middlewick-1395795">Yvonne Middlewick</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>Around half of the world’s population are women or people who menstruate – yet the way their body works can be a mystery, even to them.</p> <p>Most women will experience periods roughly every month, many will go through childbirth and those who live into midlife will experience menopause.</p> <p>While menopause is a significant time of change, it isn’t talked about much, other than as a punchline. This may contribute to keeping it a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2019/sep/21/breaking-the-menopause-taboo-there-are-vital-stories-we-should-continue-to-pursue">taboo topic</a>.</p> <p>So, what happens during menopause? How do you know when it is happening to you? And – the thing most women want to know – how long will it last?</p> <h2>What is menopause?</h2> <p>Menopause is <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause">defined</a> as the permanent cessation of menstruation, which is medically determined to be one year after the final menstrual period. After this time women are considered to be postmenopausal.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26598775/">average age</a> of “natural menopause” (that is not caused by a medical condition, treatment or surgery) is considered to be around 51 years.</p> <p>However, natural menopause does not occur suddenly. <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Riitta-Luoto/publication/46425690_Prevalence_of_menopause_symptoms_and_their_association_with_lifestyle_among_Finnish_middle-aged_women/links/5c5704ac458515a4c7553c7b/Prevalence-of-menopause-symptoms-and-their-association-with-lifestyle-among-Finnish-middle-aged-women.pdf">Changes can begin</a> a number of years before periods stop and most often occur in a woman’s 40s but they can be earlier. Changes <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25686030/">can continue</a> for 10 years or more after periods have stopped.</p> <p>Using hormones such as the oral contraceptive pill or hormone intrauterine devices may make it more <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31934948/">difficult to determine</a> when changes start.</p> <p>Menopause that occurs <a href="https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-or-premature-menopause#:%7E:text=Menopause%20that%20happens%20before%20age,to%20come%20earlier%20than%20usual.">before 45</a> is called “early menopause”, while menopause before 40 is called “premature menopause”.</p> <h2>What about perimenopause?</h2> <p>Various <a href="https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/glossary-of-terms">terms</a> are used to describe this period of change, including “menopause” or “the menopause”, “menopausal transition”, “perimenopause” or “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12188398/">climacteric</a>”.</p> <p>These terms tend to refer to the period before and after the final menstrual period, when changes are considered to be related to menopause.</p> <p>The difficulty with the definition of menopause is it can only be decided retrospectively. Yet women can experience changes many years before their periods stop (a lead up usually called “perimenopause”). Also, any <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/sdfe/pdf/download/eid/1-s2.0-S0889854518300627/first-page-pdf">changes noticed</a> may not be associated with menopause (because people might not be aware of what to expect) or changes may be associated with a combination of factors such as stress, being busy or other health issues.</p> <h2>So, what is going on?</h2> <p>Through a feminist lens, menopause can be seen as a <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354652248_The_volcano_within_a_study_of_women's_lived_experience_of_the_journey_through_natural_menopause">complex and diverse experience</a>, influenced by biological, psychological, social and cultural aspects of women’s lives.</p> <p>However, it is usually viewed from the biomedical perspective. This sees it as a biological event, marked by the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">decline</a> in ovarian hormone levels leading to a reduction in reproductive function.</p> <p>The female reproductive system operates because of a finely tuned balance of hormones managed by the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466056/#:%7E:text=The%20hypothalamic%2Dpituitary%2Dovarian%20(HPO)%20axis%20must%20be,priming%20the%20endometrium%20for%20implantation.">hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis</a>. International <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3340903/">experts</a> have developed a staging system for female reproductive ageing, with seven stages from “early reproductive” years to “late postmenopause”.</p> <p>However, female reproductive hormones do not just affect the reproductive system but <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">other aspects</a> of the body’s function. These include the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26007613/">neurological system</a>, which is linked to hot flushes and night sweats and disrupted sleep. Hormones may also affect the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp20154">heart and body’s blood circulation</a>, bone health and potentially the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">immune system</a>.</p> <p>Menopausal hormone changes may <a href="https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/menopause-information/menopause-symptoms/">cause</a> hot flushes, night/cold sweats, mood swings, sleep disruption and tiredness, vaginal dryness.</p> <p>Medical confirmation of menopausal changes in women over 45 years is based on two biological indicators: vasomotor symptoms (those hot flushes and night sweats again) and an <a href="https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-or-premature-menopause#:%7E:text=Menopause%20that%20happens%20before%20age,to%20come%20earlier%20than%20usual.">irregular menstrual cycle</a>.</p> <p>In early perimenopause the changes to the menstrual cycle may be subtle. Women may not recognise early indicators, unless they keep a record and know what to watch for.</p> <h2>How long does it last?</h2> <p>The body demonstrates an amazing ability to change over a lifetime. In a similar way to adolescence where long-lasting changes occur, the outcome of menopause is also change.</p> <p>Research suggests it is difficult to give an exact time frame for how long menopausal changes occur – the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085137/">average</a> is between four and eight years.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085137/">Penn Ovarian Ageing Study</a> found 79% of the 259 participants experienced hot flushes starting before the age of 50, most commonly between 45 and 49 years of age.</p> <p>A later report on the same study found one third of women studied experienced <a href="https://womensmidlifehealthjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40695-016-0014-2">moderate to severe hot flushes</a> more than ten years after their periods had stopped. A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2017/03000/Cultural_issues_in_menopause__an_exploratory.11.aspx">2017 study</a> found a small number of women continued to experience hot flushes and other symptoms into their 70s.</p> <p>So overall, the research cannot offer a specific window for perimenopause, and menopause does not appear to mark the end of changes for everyone.</p> <h2>5 tips for uncertain times</h2> <p>Shifts and changes can be recognised early by developing knowledge, paying attention to changes to our bodies and talking about menopause and perimenopause more openly.</p> <p>Here are five tips for moving from uncertainty to certainty:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> talk to people and find out as much information as you can. The experiences of mothers and sisters may help, for some women there are familial similarities</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> notice any changes to your body and make a note of them, this will help you recognise changes earlier. There are <a href="https://www.redonline.co.uk/wellbeing/a36980118/menopause-apps/">menopause tracking apps</a> available</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> keep a note of your menstrual cycle: start date, duration, flow and note any changes. Again, an app might help</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> if you are worried, seek advice from a GP or nurse that specialises in women’s health. They may suggest ways to help with symptoms or refer to a specialist</p> <p><strong>5.</strong> remember changes are the indicator to pay attention to, not time or your age.</p> <p>Menopause is a natural process and although we have focused here on the time frame and “symptoms”, it can also be a time of freedom (particularly from periods!), reflection and a time to focus on yourself.<!-- 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/195211/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> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lhosPUwWhfI?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Women speak about their experiences of menopause.</span></figcaption></figure> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yvonne-middlewick-1395795">Yvonne Middlewick</a>, Nurse &amp; Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan 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/how-long-does-menopause-last-5-tips-for-navigating-uncertain-times-195211">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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An emotional Scott Morrison delivers his last speech to parliament

<p>In a poignant and somewhat unexpected farewell, former Prime Minister Scott Morrison bid adieu to federal parliament, leaving behind a legacy tinged with tears – and a surprising tribute to pop sensation Taylor Swift.</p> <p>As he marked his exit, Morrison delivered a heartfelt address, reflecting on his political journey, acknowledging his colleagues, and offering insights into his future endeavours.</p> <p>Flashing a Swiftie friendship bracelet emblazoned with the nickname "ScoMo" beneath the sleeve of his suit, Morrison's speech was a blend of personal anecdotes, political reflections and nods to popular culture. Surrounded by his family – his mother Marion, wife Jenny, and daughters Abby and Lily – Morrison addressed a gallery that, while not at full capacity, held a significant emotional weight for the departing leader.</p> <p>With a touch of humour, Morrison recounted his daughters' suggestion of incorporating references to Taylor Swift albums into his remarks, a challenge he gamely accepted. Seamlessly weaving Swift's song titles into his speech, Morrison painted a picture of his political journey, acknowledging the challenges he faced and the steadfast support of his loved ones, particularly his wife Jenny, whom he affectionately referred to as his "Lover":</p> <p><em>"It is true that my political opponents have often made me see <strong>Red</strong>.</em></p> <p><em>Often when subjected to the <strong>Tortured Poets</strong> who would rise to attack my Reputation. </em></p> <p><em>In response, I always thought it important to be <strong>Fearless</strong> and <strong>Speak Now</strong>. </em></p> <p><em>Or forever hold my silence and allow those attacks to become <strong>Folklore</strong>. </em></p> <p><em>Ever since leaving university in <strong>1989</strong> this has always been my approach.</em></p> <p><em>My great consolation has always been my <strong>Lover</strong>, Jen, who has always been there for me whenever I needed her from dawn, and beyond the many <strong>Midnights</strong> we have shared together.</em></p> <p><em>See? I'm actually a <strong>True Romantic</strong> after all.</em></p> <p><em>I can assure there is no <strong>Bad Blood</strong>, as I've always been someone who has been able to … <strong>Shake It Off</strong>."</em></p> <p>Reflecting on his tenure as Australia's 30th prime minister from 2018 to 2020, Morrison expressed gratitude to the Indigenous community and the defence personnel, emphasising their contributions to the nation's freedom and prosperity. He cautioned against what he termed a "drift of secularism" and advocated for a reconnection with traditional Christian values, underlining the importance of faith in his own life.</p> <p>Amid tears, Morrison thanked his staff, household personnel and security detail, acknowledging their dedication and sacrifice – particularly recalling two individuals injured while protecting him. “I want to specially mention Travis Ford and Jen McCrae," he said, "who were <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/dangerous-traffic-crash-rocks-scott-morrison" target="_blank" rel="noopener">terribly injured in the line of duty</a> protecting me … in a terrible car accident in Tasmania. I will always be grateful for your sacrifice.”</p> <p>Emotionally addressing his family, Morrison expressed profound gratitude to his wife and daughters, recognising the challenges they endured due to his public role.</p> <p>In a magnanimous gesture, Morrison extended well wishes to his political opponents and congratulated Prime Minister Albanese on his recent engagement. He also expressed appreciation for his party colleagues, including former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton, highlighting their support and camaraderie.</p> <p>Touching upon his role in the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal and Australia's stance against Chinese coercion, Morrison underscored the importance of standing firm in the face of geopolitical challenges. He warned against complacency and urged vigilance in safeguarding national interests against external threats.</p> <p>Closing on a deeply personal note, Morrison reaffirmed his faith in Jesus Christ, acknowledging his own imperfections and the power of forgiveness. Quoting scripture, he embraced his Christian beliefs unapologetically, emphasising the strength derived from his faith.</p> <p>The solemnity of the moment was then relieved somewhat when Morrison ended his speech with the words "And, as always, up, up, Cronulla!", as colleagues from across the political spectrum approached to bid him farewell.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Morrison made a point of highlighting the main lessons he says he's learned during his political career, which we have summarised here:</span></p> <p><strong>1. Without a strong economy, you cannot achieve your goals as a nation</strong></p> <p>He said there have been strong contributions made in this respect by both sides of politics, and Australia must be careful not to "reinstitutionalise our economy" and crush entrepreneurial spirit.</p> <p><strong>2. Threats are out there, and they are real</strong></p> <p>Morrison talked about a new era of strategic competition, in which the old rules-based international order is being challenged by "a new arc of autocracy" ranging from Pyongyang to Beijing to Tehran and Moscow.</p> <p>He cited AUKUS, the Quad and new trading and defence relationships as key achievements of his government in this arena, but said that "continued vigilance and the connection between all spheres of police" is required going forward.</p> <p><strong>3. Judeo-Christian values shouldn't be forgotten in the 'increasing Western embrace of secularism'</strong></p> <p>"Individual liberty, the rule of law, equality of opportunity, responsible citizenship, morality, liberty of speech, thought, religion and association. All of these stem from the core principle of respect for individual human dignity," Morrison said. "So does representative democracy. And even market-based capitalism. This is a unique Judeo-Christian principle."</p> <p><em>Image: ABC News</em></p> <p> </p>

Retirement Life

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How long does back pain last? And how can learning about pain increase the chance of recovery?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-wallwork-1361569">Sarah Wallwork</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lorimer-moseley-1552">Lorimer Moseley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Back pain is common. One in thirteen people have it right now and worldwide a staggering 619 million people will <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186678/">have it this year</a>.</p> <p>Chronic pain, of which back pain is the most common, is the world’s <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186678/">most disabling</a> health problem. Its economic impact <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92510/">dwarfs other health conditions</a>.</p> <p>If you get back pain, how long will it take to go away? We scoured the scientific literature to <a href="https://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/196/2/E29.full.pdf">find out</a>. We found data on almost 20,000 people, from 95 different studies and split them into three groups:</p> <ul> <li>acute – those with back pain that started less than six weeks ago</li> <li>subacute – where it started between six and 12 weeks ago</li> <li>chronic – where it started between three months and one year ago.</li> </ul> <p>We found 70%–95% of people with acute back pain were likely to recover within six months. This dropped to 40%–70% for subacute back pain and to 12%–16% for chronic back pain.</p> <p>Clinical guidelines point to graded return to activity and pain education under the guidance of a health professional as the best ways to promote recovery. Yet these effective interventions are underfunded and hard to access.</p> <h2>More pain doesn’t mean a more serious injury</h2> <p>Most acute back pain episodes are <a href="https://www.racgp.org.au/getattachment/75af0cfd-6182-4328-ad23-04ad8618920f/attachment.aspx">not caused</a> by serious injury or disease.</p> <p>There are rare exceptions, which is why it’s wise to see your doctor or physio, who can check for signs and symptoms that warrant further investigation. But unless you have been in a significant accident or sustained a large blow, you are unlikely to have caused much damage to your spine.</p> <p>Even very minor back injuries can be brutally painful. This is, in part, because of how we are made. If you think of your spinal cord as a very precious asset (which it is), worthy of great protection (which it is), a bit like the crown jewels, then what would be the best way to keep it safe? Lots of protection and a highly sensitive alarm system.</p> <p>The spinal cord is protected by strong bones, thick ligaments, powerful muscles and a highly effective alarm system (your nervous system). This alarm system can trigger pain that is so unpleasant that you cannot possibly think of, let alone do, anything other than seek care or avoid movement.</p> <p>The messy truth is that when pain persists, the pain system becomes more sensitive, so a widening array of things contribute to pain. This pain system hypersensitivity is a result of neuroplasticity – your nervous system is becoming better at making pain.</p> <h2>Reduce your chance of lasting pain</h2> <p>Whether or not your pain resolves is not determined by the extent of injury to your back. We don’t know all the factors involved, but we do know there are things that you can do to reduce chronic back pain:</p> <ul> <li> <p>understand how pain really works. This will involve intentionally learning about modern pain science and care. It will be difficult but rewarding. It will help you work out what you can do to change your pain</p> </li> <li> <p>reduce your pain system sensitivity. With guidance, patience and persistence, you can learn how to gradually retrain your pain system back towards normal.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>How to reduce your pain sensitivity and learn about pain</h2> <p>Learning about “how pain works” provides the most sustainable <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj-2021-067718">improvements in chronic back pain</a>. Programs that combine pain education with graded brain and body exercises (gradual increases in movement) can reduce pain system sensitivity and help you return to the life you want.</p> <p>These programs have been in development for years, but high-quality clinical trials <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2794765">are now emerging</a> and it’s good news: they show most people with chronic back pain improve and many completely recover.</p> <p>But most clinicians aren’t equipped to deliver these effective programs – <a href="https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(23)00618-1/fulltext">good pain education</a> is not taught in most medical and health training degrees. Many patients still receive ineffective and often risky and expensive treatments, or keep seeking temporary pain relief, hoping for a cure.</p> <p>When health professionals don’t have adequate pain education training, they can deliver bad pain education, which leaves patients feeling like they’ve just <a href="https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(23)00618-1/fulltext">been told it’s all in their head</a>.</p> <p>Community-driven not-for-profit organisations such as <a href="https://www.painrevolution.org/">Pain Revolution</a> are training health professionals to be good pain educators and raising awareness among the general public about the modern science of pain and the best treatments. Pain Revolution has partnered with dozens of health services and community agencies to train more than <a href="https://www.painrevolution.org/find-a-lpe">80 local pain educators</a> and supported them to bring greater understanding and improved care to their colleagues and community.</p> <p>But a broader system-wide approach, with government, industry and philanthropic support, is needed to expand these programs and fund good pain education. To solve the massive problem of chronic back pain, effective interventions need to be part of standard care, not as a last resort after years of increasing pain, suffering and disability.<!-- 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/222513/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-wallwork-1361569">Sarah Wallwork</a>, Post-doctoral Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lorimer-moseley-1552">Lorimer Moseley</a>, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Foundation Chair in Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</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/how-long-does-back-pain-last-and-how-can-learning-about-pain-increase-the-chance-of-recovery-222513">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Running or yoga can help beat depression, research shows – even if exercise is the last thing you feel like

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-noetel-147460">Michael Noetel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>At least <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychiatry/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.665019/full">one in ten people</a> have depression at some point in their lives, with some estimates <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379720301793">closer to one in four</a>. It’s one of the worst things for someone’s wellbeing – worse than <a href="https://www.happinessresearchinstitute.com/_files/ugd/928487_4a99b6e23f014f85b38495b7ab1ac24b.pdf">debt, divorce or diabetes</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-so-many-australians-taking-antidepressants-221857">One in seven</a> Australians take antidepressants. Psychologists are in <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-solve-australias-mental-health-emergency-if-we-dont-train-enough-psychologists-here-are-5-fixes-190135">high demand</a>. Still, only <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003901">half</a> of people with depression in high-income countries get treatment.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/384/bmj-2023-075847">new research</a> shows that exercise should be considered alongside therapy and antidepressants. It can be just as impactful in treating depression as therapy, but it matters what type of exercise you do and how you do it.</p> <h2>Walk, run, lift, or dance away depression</h2> <p>We found 218 randomised trials on exercise for depression, with 14,170 participants. We analysed them using a method called a network meta-analysis. This allowed us to see how different types of exercise compared, instead of lumping all types together.</p> <p>We found walking, running, strength training, yoga and mixed aerobic exercise were about as effective as <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-cognitive-behaviour-therapy-37351">cognitive behaviour therapy</a> – one of the <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychiatry/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00004/full">gold-standard treatments</a> for depression. The effects of dancing were also powerful. However, this came from analysing just five studies, mostly involving young women. Other exercise types had more evidence to back them.</p> <p>Walking, running, strength training, yoga and mixed aerobic exercise seemed more effective than antidepressant medication alone, and were about as effective as exercise alongside antidepressants.</p> <p>But of these exercises, people were most likely to stick with strength training and yoga.</p> <p><iframe id="cZaWb" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/cZaWb/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Antidepressants certainly help <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(17)32802-7/fulltext">some people</a>. And of course, anyone getting treatment for depression should talk to their doctor <a href="https://australia.cochrane.org/news/new-cochrane-review-explores-latest-evidence-approaches-stopping-long-term-antidepressants">before changing</a> what they are doing.</p> <p>Still, our evidence shows that if you have depression, you should get a psychologist <em>and</em> an exercise plan, whether or not you’re taking antidepressants.</p> <h2>Join a program and go hard (with support)</h2> <p>Before we analysed the data, we thought people with depression might need to “ease into it” with generic advice, <a href="https://www.who.int/initiatives/behealthy/physical-activity">such as</a> “some physical activity is better than doing none.”</p> <p>But we found it was far better to have a clear program that aimed to push you, at least a little. Programs with clear structure worked better, compared with those that gave people lots of freedom. Exercising by yourself might also make it hard to set the bar at the right level, given low self-esteem is a symptom of depression.</p> <p>We also found it didn’t matter how much people exercised, in terms of sessions or minutes a week. It also didn’t really matter how long the exercise program lasted. What mattered was the intensity of the exercise: the higher the intensity, the better the results.</p> <h2>Yes, it’s hard to keep motivated</h2> <p>We should exercise caution in interpreting the findings. Unlike drug trials, participants in exercise trials know which “treatment” they’ve been randomised to receive, so this may skew the results.</p> <p>Many people with depression have physical, psychological or social barriers to participating in formal exercise programs. And getting support to exercise isn’t free.</p> <p>We also still don’t know the best way to stay motivated to exercise, which can be even harder if you have depression.</p> <p>Our study tried to find out whether things like setting exercise goals helped, but we couldn’t get a clear result.</p> <p>Other reviews found it’s important to have a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31923898/">clear action plan</a> (for example, putting exercise in your calendar) and to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19916637/">track your progress</a> (for example, using an app or smartwatch). But predicting which of these interventions work is notoriously difficult.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04128-4">2021 mega-study</a> of more than 60,000 gym-goers <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04128-4/figures/1">found</a> experts struggled to predict which strategies might get people into the gym more often. Even making workouts fun didn’t seem to motivate people. However, listening to audiobooks while exercising helped a lot, which no experts predicted.</p> <p>Still, we can be confident that people benefit from personalised support and accountability. The support helps overcome the hurdles they’re sure to hit. The accountability keeps people going even when their brains are telling them to avoid it.</p> <p>So, when starting out, it seems wise to avoid going it alone. Instead:</p> <ul> <li> <p>join a fitness group or yoga studio</p> </li> <li> <p>get a trainer or an exercise physiologist</p> </li> <li> <p>ask a friend or family member to go for a walk with you.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Taking a few steps towards getting that support makes it more likely you’ll keep exercising.</p> <h2>Let’s make this official</h2> <p>Some countries see exercise as a backup plan for treating depression. For example, the American Psychological Association only <a href="https://www.apa.org/depression-guideline/">conditionally recommends</a> exercise as a “complementary and alternative treatment” when “psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy is either ineffective or unacceptable”.</p> <p>Based on our research, this recommendation is withholding a potent treatment from many people who need it.</p> <p>In contrast, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists <a href="https://www.ranzcp.org/getmedia/a4678cf4-91f5-4746-99d4-03dc7379ae51/mood-disorders-clinical-practice-guideline-2020.pdf">recommends</a> vigorous aerobic activity at least two to three times a week for all people with depression.</p> <p>Given how common depression is, and the number failing to receive care, other countries should follow suit and recommend exercise alongside front-line treatments for depression.</p> <p><em>I would like to acknowledge my colleagues Taren Sanders, Chris Lonsdale and the rest of the coauthors of the paper on which this article is based.</em></p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.</em><!-- 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/223441/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/michael-noetel-147460">Michael Noetel</a>, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</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/running-or-yoga-can-help-beat-depression-research-shows-even-if-exercise-is-the-last-thing-you-feel-like-223441">original article</a>.</em></p>

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One last chance for grandma on the brink of deportation

<p>Mary Ellis, 74, who has lived in Australia for the last 40 years and is facing deportation, has made a last-ditch bid to stay Down Under. </p> <p>The grandmother recently appeared on <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/grandma-faces-deportation-after-40-years-in-australia" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Current Affair</em></a> and begged the Department of Home Affairs to let her stay in the country. </p> <p>At the time, she refuted the Home Affairs' claim that she had misrepresented her continuous residence in the country, after they alleged that she left Australia three times under an alias between 1983 and 1986, and that her late husband Martin Ellis was actually called Trevor Warren. </p> <p>The crucial qualification for an absorbed citizenship is that she would only be eligible if she was in Australia from April 2, 1984, and had not left the country since. </p> <p>The grandmother claimed that she arrived in Australia in December 1981, and hasn't left since, saying that she had also paid taxes in Australia, held a Medicare card, pension card and an Australian driver's licence.</p> <p>She was also nominated for the NSW Volunteer of the Year award last year, for her charitable acts.</p> <p>The<em> DailyMail</em> reports that there are no "compassionate grounds" on which the Immigration Minister could intervene in her bid to attain an absorbed citizenship. </p> <p>However, under the Migration Act, the minister could decide to intervene in Ellis' case if he thinks "it is in the public interest."</p> <p>Now, Ellis and her migration agent Schneider have requested in writing for the minister to intervene. </p> <p>Requests for Federal Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to intervene must address specific grounds in doing so, and state why her staying would be in the public interest. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram/ Nine</em></p>

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How long does immunity last after a COVID infection?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lara-herrero-1166059">Lara Herrero</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dr-wesley-freppel-1408971">Dr Wesley Freppel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>Nearly four years into the pandemic, Australia, like many other countries, is still seeing large numbers of <a href="https://nindss.health.gov.au/pbi-dashboard/">COVID cases</a>. Some 860,221 infections were recorded around the country in 2023, while 30,283 cases have already been reported in 2024.</p> <p>This is likely to be a significant underestimate, with fewer people testing and reporting than earlier in the pandemic. But the signs suggest parts of Australia are experiencing yet <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-01-23/covid-19-case-numbers-from-australia-states-and-territories/103374656">another COVID surge</a>.</p> <p>While some lucky people claim to have never had COVID, many are facing our second, third or even fourth infection, often despite having been vaccinated. You might be wondering, how long does immunity last after a previous infection or vaccination?</p> <p>Let’s take a look at what the evidence shows.</p> <h2>B cells and T cells</h2> <p>To answer this question, we need to understand a bit about how <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-happens-in-our-body-when-we-encounter-and-fight-off-a-virus-like-the-flu-sars-cov-2-or-rsv-207023">immunity</a> to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID) works.</p> <p>After being infected or vaccinated, the immune system develops specific antibodies that can neutralise SARS-CoV-2. B cells remember the virus for a period of time. In addition, the immune system produces memory T cells that can kill the virus, and remain in the blood for some months after the clearance of the infection or a vaccination.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.abf4063?rfr_dat=cr_pub++0pubmed&amp;url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org">2021 study</a> found 98% of people had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein (a protein on the surface of the virus that allows it to attach to our cells) one month after symptom onset. Six to eight months afterwards, 90% of participants still had these neutralising antibodies in their blood.</p> <p>This means the immune system should have recognised and neutralised the same SARS-CoV-2 variant if challenged within six to eight months (if an infection occurred, it should have resulted in mild to no symptoms).</p> <h2>But what about when the virus mutates?</h2> <p>As we know, SARS-CoV-2 has mutated over time, leading to the emergence of new variants such as alpha, beta, delta and omicron. Each of these variants carries mutations that are new to the immune system, even if the person has been previously infected with an earlier variant.</p> <p>A new variant likely won’t be <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adj0070">perfectly recognised</a> – or even <a href="https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674(21)01578-6.pdf">recognised at all</a> – by the already activated memory T or B cells from a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. This could explain why people can be so readily reinfected with COVID.</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(22)02465-5/fulltext#seccestitle10">review of studies</a> published up to the end of September 2022 looked at the protection conferred by previous SARS-CoV-2 infections.</p> <p>The authors found a previous infection provided protective immunity against reinfection with the ancestral, alpha, beta and delta variants of 85.2% at four weeks. Protection against reinfection with these variants remained high (78.6%) at 40 weeks, or just over nine months, after the previous infection. This protection decreased to 55.5% at 80 weeks (18 months), but the authors noted there was a lack of data at this time point.</p> <p>Notably, an earlier infection provided only 36.1% protection against a reinfection with omicron BA.1 at 40 weeks. Omicron has been described as an <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-022-01143-7">immune escape variant</a>.</p> <p>A prior infection showed a high level of protection against severe disease (above 88%) up to 40 weeks regardless of the variant a person was reinfected with.</p> <h2>What about immunity after vaccination?</h2> <p>So far almost 70 million COVID vaccines <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/covid-19/reporting">have been administered</a> to more than <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-update-12-january-2023?language=en">22 million people</a> in Australia. Scientists estimated COVID vaccines prevented around <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(22)00320-6/fulltext">14.4 million deaths</a> in 185 countries in the first year after they became available.</p> <p>But we know COVID vaccine effectiveness wanes over time. A <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2804451?utm_source=For_The_Media&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=ftm_links&amp;utm_term=050323">2023 review</a> found the original vaccines were 79.6% and 49.7% effective at protecting against symptomatic delta infection at one and nine months after vaccination respectively. They were 60.4% and 13.3% effective against symptomatic omicron at the same time points.</p> <p>This is where booster doses come into the picture. They’re important to keep the immune system ready to fight off the virus, particularly for those who are more vulnerable to the effects of a COVID infection.</p> <p>Plus, regular booster doses can provide immunity against different variants. COVID vaccines are constantly being <a href="https://mvec.mcri.edu.au/references/covid-19/">reviewed and updated</a> to ensure optimal protection against <a href="https://www.who.int/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants">current circulating strains</a>, with the latest shot available designed to target <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-mark-butler-mp/media/new-covid-19-vaccines-available-to-target-current-variants">the omicron variant XBB 1.5</a>. This is similar to how we approach seasonal flu vaccines.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-50335-6">recent study</a> showed a COVID vaccination provides longer protection against reinfection than natural protection alone. The median time from infection to reinfection in non-vaccinated people was only six months, compared with 14 months in people who had received one, two or three doses of vaccine after their first infection. This is called <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abj2258">hybrid immunity</a>, and other research has similarly found it provides better protection than natural infection alone.</p> <p>It also seems timing is important, as receiving a vaccine too soon after an infection (less than six months) appears to be <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-50335-6">less effective</a> than getting vaccinated later.</p> <h2>What now?</h2> <p>Everyone’s immune system is slightly unique, and SARS-CoV-2 continues to mutate, so knowing exactly how long COVID immunity lasts is complicated.</p> <p>Evidence suggests immunity following infection should generally last six months in healthy adults, and can be prolonged with vaccination. But there are exceptions, and all of this assumes the virus has not mutated so much that it “escapes” our immune response.</p> <p>While many people feel the COVID pandemic is over, it’s important we don’t forget the lessons we have learned. Practices such as wearing a mask and staying home when unwell can reduce the spread of many viruses, not only <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj-2021-068302">COVID</a>.</p> <p>Vaccination is not mandatory, but for older adults eligible for a booster under the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/atagi-update-on-the-covid-19-vaccination-program">current guidelines</a>, it’s a very good idea.<!-- 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/221398/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/lara-herrero-1166059"><em>Lara Herrero</em></a><em>, Research Leader in Virology and Infectious Disease, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dr-wesley-freppel-1408971">Dr Wesley Freppel</a>, Research Fellow, Institute for Glycomics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith 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/how-long-does-immunity-last-after-a-covid-infection-221398">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Surprise choice for "Word of the Year"

<p>The Oxford University Press has named its word of the year, and the results are not what you expect. </p> <p>From "Swiftie" (an evid Taylor Swift fan), "situationship" (an informal romantic or sexual relationship)  and "prompt" (an instruction given to an AI program), it's clear that this year's line up was heavily influenced by Gen Z. </p> <p>This year's winner truly speaks volumes about the impact of the younger generation, after results from a public vote reveal that "Rizz" is the word of the year. </p> <p>Rizz is believed to come from the middle of the word charisma, and it is often used to describe someone's ability to attract or seduce someone else. </p> <p>The publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary also said that it can be used as a verb as in to "rizz up"  which means to attract or chat someone up. </p> <p>"It speaks to how younger generations create spaces — online or in person — where they own and define the language they use," the publisher said.</p> <p>"From activism to dating and wider culture, as Gen Z comes to have more impact on society, differences in perspectives and lifestyle play out in language, too."</p> <p>In a news release,  Oxford Languages President Casper Grathwohl said: "Rizz is a term that has boomed on social media, and speaks to how language that enjoys intense popularity and currency within particular social communities — and even in some cases lose their popularity and become passé — can bleed into the mainstream."</p> <p>One of the first instances of a celebrity using it, was when earlier this year <em>Spiderman</em> star Tom Holland said that he had "no rizz whatsoever", during an interview with <em>BuzzFeed</em>. </p> <p>"I have limited rizz," he said at the time, joking about his relationship with co-star Zendaya. </p> <p>Rizz was one of eight words that made it to the shortlist, which included a few other words like: “beige flag”, “parasocial”, “heat dome” and “de-influencing”. </p> <p>Rizz is heavily used online with the hashtag racking up billions of views on TikTok.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

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Chris Dawson's daughter reveals the emotional last texts from her father

<p>Chris Dawson's daughter has revealed the final messages she sent to her dad as the investigation into his wife's murder made mainstream news. </p> <p>In August 2022, Chris Dawson was found guilty of murdering his wife Lynette in January 1982, and is now serving 24 years for the murder, and a three-year sentence for the unlawful carnal knowledge of a 16-year-old pupil.</p> <p>Now, Shanelle has opened up about the conflicting feels she holds for her father in an emotional interview with <a href="https://www.womensweekly.com.au/news/shanelle-dawson-tells-her-story/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Australian Women's Weekly</em></a>. </p> <p>Shanelle spoke candidly about how her life changed when the investigation into her others murder gained so much traction on the award-winning podcast <em>Teacher's Pet</em>. </p> <p>“My inner world [was] playing out for the masses. [I] couldn’t pretend anymore,” the mother-of-one told the publication. </p> <p>In a text to her father, Shanelle told Dawson she loved him, “but I won’t live a life based on lies, nor will I keep subjecting myself to emotional manipulation and control”.</p> <p>“You have dishonoured our mother so terribly,” her message read. </p> <p>“One day, I will forgive you for removing her so selfishly from our lives.” </p> <p>To which Dawson responded, “You’re clearly very lonely and depressed in the life you’ve chosen … It is your adult life, now 41 with a child and without a partner, that has clearly caused this terrible depression.” </p> <p>That same month, she received what would be his final text to her, reading: “Hi Shanelle, hope you and Kialah are both well. Thinking of you constantly xx.”</p> <p>She also recalled in the interview her father telling her when she was 13 that he “wished he had tried harder” to make his marriage with Lynette “work”.</p> <p>It was a throw-away comment that Shanelle said was “possibly” prompted by “the realisation that he’d murdered our mum for no good reason”. </p> <p>Now, she added, “I honestly believe that he’s got some kind of split personality disorder and he doesn’t remember [killing her]”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: 60 Minutes</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Is it normal to forget words while speaking? And when can it spell a problem?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greig-de-zubicaray-1468234">Greig de Zubicaray</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>We’ve all experienced that moment mid-sentence when we just can’t find the word we want to use, even though we’re certain we know it.</p> <p>Why does this universal problem among speakers happen?</p> <p>And when can word-finding difficulties indicate something serious?</p> <p>Everyone will experience an occasional word-finding difficulty, but if they happen very often with a broad range of words, names and numbers, this could be a sign of a neurological disorder.</p> <h2>The steps involved in speaking</h2> <p>Producing spoken words involves several <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190672027.013.19">stages of processing</a>.</p> <p>These include:</p> <ol> <li> <p>identifying the intended meaning</p> </li> <li> <p>selecting the right word from the “mental lexicon” (a mental dictionary of the speaker’s vocabulary)</p> </li> <li> <p>retrieving its sound pattern (called its “form”)</p> </li> <li> <p>executing the movements of the speech organs for articulating it.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Word-finding difficulties can potentially arise at each of these stages of processing.</p> <p>When a healthy speaker can’t retrieve a word from their lexicon despite the feeling of knowing it, this is called a “tip-of-the-tongue” phenomenon by language scientists.</p> <p>Often, the frustrated speaker will try to give a bit of information about their intended word’s meaning, “you know, that thing you hit a nail with”, or its spelling, “it starts with an <em>H</em>!”.</p> <p>Tip-of-the-tongue states are relatively common and are a type of speech error that occurs primarily during retrieval of the sound pattern of a word (step three above).</p> <h2>What can affect word finding?</h2> <p>Word-finding difficulties occur at all ages but they do happen more often as we get older. In older adults, they can cause frustration and anxiety about the possibility of developing dementia. But they’re not always a cause for concern.</p> <p>One way researchers investigate word-finding difficulties is to ask people to keep a diary to record how often and in what context they occur. <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01190/full">Diary studies</a> have shown that some word types, such as names of people and places, concrete nouns (things, such as “dog” or “building”) and abstract nouns (concepts, such as “beauty” or “truth”), are more likely to result in tip-of-the-tongue states compared with verbs and adjectives.</p> <p>Less frequently used words are also more likely to result in tip-of-the-tongue states. It’s thought this is because they have weaker connections between their meanings and their sound patterns than more frequently used words.</p> <p>Laboratory studies have also shown tip-of-the-tongue states are more likely to occur under <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13825585.2019.1641177">socially stressful</a> conditions when speakers are told they are being evaluated, regardless of their age. Many people report having experienced tip-of-the-tongue problems during job interviews.</p> <h2>When could it spell more serious issues?</h2> <p>More frequent failures with a broader range of words, names and numbers are likely to indicate more serious issues.</p> <p>When this happens, language scientists use the terms “anomia” or “<a href="https://www.aphasia.com/aphasia-library/aphasia-types/anomic-aphasia/">anomic aphasia</a>” to describe the condition, which can be associated with brain damage due to stroke, tumours, head injury or dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>Recently, the actor Bruce Willis’s family <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2023/02/16/health/frontotemporal-dementia-definition-symptoms-wellness/index.html">revealed</a> he has been diagnosed with a degenerative disorder known as primary progressive aphasia, for which one of the earliest symptoms is word-finding difficulties rather than memory loss.</p> <p>Primary progressive aphasia is typically associated with frontotemporal or Alzheimer’s dementias, although it can be associated with other <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3637977/">pathologies</a>.</p> <p>Anomic aphasia can arise due to problems occurring at different stages of speech production. An assessment by a clinical neuropsychologist or speech pathologist can help clarify which processing stage is affected and how serious the problem might be.</p> <p>For example, if a person is unable to name a picture of a common object such as a hammer, a clinical neuropsychologist or speech pathologist will ask them to describe what the object is used for (the individual might then say “it’s something you hit things with” or “it’s a tool”).</p> <p>If they can’t, they will be asked to gesture or mime how it’s used. They might also be provided with a cue or prompt, such as the first letter (<em>h</em>) or syllable (<em>ham</em>).</p> <p>Most people with anomic aphasia benefit greatly from being prompted, indicating they are mostly experiencing problems with later stages of retrieving word forms and motor aspects of speech.</p> <p>But if they’re unable to describe or mime the object’s use, and cueing does not help, this is likely to indicate an actual loss of word knowledge or meaning. This is typically a sign of a more serious issue such as primary progressive aphasia.</p> <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroimaging">Imaging studies</a> in healthy adults and people with anomic aphasia have shown different areas of the brain are responsible for their word-finding difficulties.</p> <p>In <a href="https://direct.mit.edu/jocn/article-abstract/35/1/111/113588/Neural-Correlates-of-Naturally-Occurring-Speech">healthy adults</a>, occasional failures to name a picture of a common object are linked with changes in activity in brain regions that control motor aspects of speech, suggesting a spontaneous problem with articulation rather than a loss of word knowledge.</p> <p>In anomia due to primary progressive aphasia, brain regions that process word meanings show a loss of nerve cells and connections or <em><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0148707">atrophy</a></em>.</p> <p>Although anomic aphasia is common after strokes to the left hemisphere of the brain, the associated word-finding difficulties do not appear to be distinguishable by <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010945215003299">specific areas</a>.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02687030244000563">treatments</a> available for anomic aphasia. These will often involve speech pathologists training the individual on naming tasks using different kinds of cues or prompts to help retrieve words. The cues can be various meaningful features of objects and ideas, or sound features of words, or a combination of both. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002199241730014X">Smart tablet</a> and phone apps also show promise when used to complement therapy with home-based practice.</p> <p>The type of cue used for treatment is determined by the nature of the person’s impairment. Successful treatment is associated with changes in activity in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0093934X14000054">brain regions</a> known to support speech production. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for primary progressive aphasia, although <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13607863.2019.1617246">some studies</a> have suggested speech therapy can produce temporary benefits.</p> <p>If you’re concerned about your word-finding difficulties or those of a loved one, you can consult your GP for a referral to a clinical neuropsychologist or a speech pathologist. <!-- 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/212852/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/greig-de-zubicaray-1468234">Greig de Zubicaray</a>, Professor of Neuropsychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland 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-normal-to-forget-words-while-speaking-and-when-can-it-spell-a-problem-212852">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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“If you’re reading this, I have died”: Breast cancer advocate’s powerful last words

<p dir="ltr">Breast cancer advocate Nicky Newman has passed away at the age of 35, leaving a posthumous message to her dedicated followers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The influencer has been documenting her journey battling stage 4 breast cancer with her 300,000 followers on Instagram, sharing the ups and downs of her disease. </p> <p dir="ltr">The British woman’s death was confirmed by her husband Alex, who posted Nicky’s final message to those who supported her through her cancer journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you're reading this it means I have died, I made it 5 & half years though, not bad for a stage 4 breastie hey," the post began.</p> <p dir="ltr">"And none of this 'she fought her battle nonsense', I didn't lose anything, the cancer eventually took over & that's okay, we all knew this would happen."</p> <p dir="ltr">The inspiring woman recalled being told she had breast cancer and how she chose to embrace life during the time she had left.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't think we are ever prepared to hear the words, we think we are indestructible & a magic cure will appear, but the truth is we all live this life day to day (we just knew our days are shorter)," she 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/CxVtBF7Itxy/?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/CxVtBF7Itxy/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Nicky & Mr G - Go Grab Life! (@nicknacklou)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">"So please promise me to cherish those around you and give your friends and loved ones the biggest squeezes! GO GRAB LIFE!</p> <p dir="ltr">"You never truly know what is coming around the corner - so don't take anything for granted."</p> <p dir="ltr">In the hours after Nicky’s last post, Alex shared some thoughts of his own to her Instagram account, explaining why he thought Nicky’s story resonated with so many. </p> <p dir="ltr">He recalled a conversation he had with this wife, saying, "People instantly love and are drawn to you because ever since diagnosis, at the worst time of our lives, we chose not to mourn the time we are losing but rather to celebrate and cherish the time that we have left - however long that may be."</p> <p dir="ltr">"She has created a legacy here, a place where anyone can see that life is for positivity and smiles and happiness. Even through hardship…even if it seems impossible."</p> <p dir="ltr">Both Alex and Nicky’s posts racked up hundreds of thousands of likes, with people flocking to the comments to share how Nicky’s strength had had an impact on their lives. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “Life is so unexplainably cruel at times…and even when it was for you, you still came on here and raised awareness for all of us, and our future generations - of the importance of things that without you educating us, we wouldn’t know without having to go and research ourselves.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Thankyou for putting us first, and for making me see how precious life is, & how important it is to grab it.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Body language expert analyses Hugh Jackman's last public outings with his wife

<p>A body language expert has analysed the last public outings of Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness before they <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/hugh-jackman-devastated-after-marriage-split" target="_blank" rel="noopener">announced their split</a> after 27 years of marriage. </p> <p>The couple were spotted at both the Met Gala in New York and Wimbledon in the UK earlier this year, seemingly looking like a perfect loved-up couple. </p> <p>However, Aussie body language expert Louise Mahler said there could be more than meets the eye at their public outings. </p> <p>“These are two people so well rehearsed at being with each other. They lean in together, they move in unison,” Mahler told <a href="https://7news.com.au/entertainment" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline"><em>7Life</em>.</a></p> <p>Assessing footage from their joint appearance at the Met Gala in May 2023, Mahler noticed that “at one point in the video Hugh goes to walk away and she briefly pulls him back and he stops with no hesitation”.</p> <p>“There is no giveaway whatsoever... and remember, they are both actors."</p> <p>“They are working as a team and showing total harmony.”</p> <p>However, Mahler went on to assess a specific moment from the Met Gala where the couple were gazing at one another head-on.</p> <p>“I’m going to speculate that he has left her because he’s looking at her quickly,” she said.</p> <p>“He still loves her but he’s moving on."</p> <p>“And what I see from her is, ‘I get that you’re moving on, you b******, but I will allow this’,” Mahler speculated about Furness’ body language.</p> <p>Two months after their Met Gala appearance, the couple attended Wimbledon to sit side by side and watch the game. </p> <p>Mahler acknowledged that they looked “a little cranky” but said that they were concentrated on the game and likely had cameras on them “for a long time”.</p> <p>“I don’t see that they’re pulling away from each other in any way,” she said.</p> <p>“In fact, their arms are touching the full length. This is a couple who have been together for 30 years, they know each other. I would say they still love each other, but they’re deciding to go their separate ways.”</p> <p>The Hollywood couple shocked the world on Saturday when they released a statement confirming their separation after being married for 27 years.</p> <p>“We have been blessed to share almost three decades together as husband and wife in a wonderful, loving marriage,” Jackman and Furness told <em><a href="https://people.com/hugh-jackman-and-deborra-lee-jackman-separate-exclusive-7970286" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">People</a></em>.</p> <p>“Our journey now is shifting and we have decided to separate to pursue our individual growth."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Relationships

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7 hacks for retirees to make your money last longer

<p>As Australians continue to live longer, the squeeze is on to make each dollar last longer – and never moreso than in retirement.</p> <p><a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-deaths/deaths-in-australia/contents/life-expectancy">Life expectancies in Australia</a> are now 85.4 years for women and 81.3 years for men. Meanwhile, the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/retirement-and-retirement-intentions-australia/latest-release">average age at retirement</a> for all retirees is 56.3 years. That’s up to 29.1 years of retirement to be paid for without a salaried income.</p> <p>Thankfully, making money last longer is just possible, with the help of a few tips and tricks.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Embrace seniors’ discounts</strong></li> </ol> <p>It was once said that “it’s better to pay full price than to admit you’re a senior citizen”. Really? Who wouldn’t prefer the extra cash!</p> <p>Being “senior” opens the door to numerous discounts and freebies.</p> <p>If you haven’t already, apply for your eligible concession cards, including the <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/commonwealth-seniors-health-card">Commonwealth Seniors Health Card</a> (for discounted healthcare and prescriptions) and state or territory seniors card (for discounted/free vehicle registration, public transport and other services).</p> <p>Additionally, many businesses offer seniors discounts – insurers, retailers, attractions and more. But they may not advertise these discounts widely, so it pays to ask.</p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong>Maintain a plan</strong></li> </ol> <p>Having a plan and keeping it up to date ensures you don’t overdraw from super, losing the income-generating power of those funds and running out prematurely.</p> <p>I prefer a ‘savings and investment plan’, which sounds nicer and is more comprehensive than a ‘budget’.</p> <p>Incorporate your goals, expenses, assets, and incomes – visibility keeps you disciplined and allows you to act quickly if something is amiss.</p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong>Spend points</strong></li> </ol> <p>Many retirees have held their current credit card, store cards and frequent flyer account for years – decades even. How many points are sitting there unused? </p> <p>These points generally aren’t transferable, so can’t be gifted in your will. It’s use them or lose them! </p> <p>Points can pay for everything from groceries to homewares, travel and even your Christmas shopping – conserving your cash and super.</p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong>Get comfortable</strong></li> </ol> <p>Rightsizing your home sooner rather than later has numerous benefits, such as:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/Growing-and-keeping-track-of-your-super/How-to-save-more-in-your-super/Downsizer-super-contributions/">downsizer super contributions tax breaks</a> to boost superannuation earnings.</li> <li>paying less for your new home, since property prices generally track upwards whilst investing the extra equity.</li> <li>avoiding complications of moving later in life when your health or mobility may not be as good.</li> <li>avoiding a mistake - using the time to find exactly what you want, where you want, rather than being under pressure and having to spend stamp duty again</li> </ul> <p>Home ownership is also a major determinant of how comfortable your retirement will be. And given the current state of Australia’s rental market, selling your home to move into rented accommodation could prove costly. </p> <ol start="5"> <li><strong>Retain protections</strong></li> </ol> <p>Protections are typically a cost – insurance premiums, legal fees, memberships etc. However, the cost of not having them in place can be far higher.</p> <p>Plus, in the case of insurances, prices and restrictions increase with age – meaning you pay more but get less value for that spend, compared with the more favourable terms of a long-held policy.</p> <p>By all means adjust your protections to suit your current and future needs. But think twice before trying to save a few dollars by discarding insurances or cancelling sports and social memberships that keep you active.</p> <ol start="6"> <li><strong>Update estate planning</strong></li> </ol> <p>Considerable costs (and heartache) inevitably hit a grieving partner and family where someone dies without having their affairs properly in order:</p> <ul> <li>funeral costs and medical bills pile up if funds haven’t been allocated for them.</li> <li>delayed payouts from insurances and super if those details aren’t readily available. </li> <li>loss of economies of scale (living costs per person are cheaper for couples than singles). </li> <li>unexpected taxes, debts, and liabilities.</li> <li>legal conflicts arise where wills are unclear or outdated.</li> <li>a person’s wishes may go overlooked or be challenged where guardianships and power of attorney were not devised.</li> </ul> <p>In extreme cases, the surviving spouse may be forced to sell their home to pay associated costs or because they can’t afford to maintain it alone. </p> <ol start="7"> <li><strong>Seek good advice</strong></li> </ol> <p>Just like a good doctor helps you stay physically and mentally healthy, a good financial adviser helps your finances stay healthy, tactically smart and use strategies to reduce tax which stretches your money further.</p> <p>Be sure their accreditation is up-to-date, and they have experience working with retirees (not just those planning for it during their working years).</p> <p>Often, the cost of this advice pales in comparison to the tax saved and additional income earned through benefits, structures and plans you never even knew about. What’s not to love about that!</p> <p><strong><em>Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of the new book, On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women (Ventura Press, $32.99). Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a> </em></strong></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Income

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