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7 easy bedtime fixes to help reduce belly bloat while you sleep

<p><strong>What causes belly bloat?</strong></p> <p>Waking up with a bloated stomach is not a good feeling. But before you start blaming your puffy tummy on gas or PMT, you should know that bloating can also be a side effect of other conditions like diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, or a food allergy or intolerance. For persistent belly bloat, seek a physician’s advice to get the help you need.</p> <p><strong>Eat at the dinner table</strong></p> <p>Lounging in bed while snacking is the perfect recipe for morning bloat. “If you lay down at night to munch, that allows gas to go down into your lower abdomen,” says Dr James Reynolds. “You should be sitting upright when you eat so if you do swallow excess air, it encourages the gas to go up and out versus down and in.” You should also eat slowly and avoid gulping your drink during your meals; inhaling your food and drinking while you eat can also increase air intake and up your risk for developing gas later on. Consuming vegetables like asparagus, bok choy and celery throughout the day are great options for keeping your belly bloat-free.</p> <p><strong>Give your belly a massage</strong></p> <p>Mum might have been onto something when she rubbed your belly as a kid to soothe a tummy ache. Sometimes bloating can be caused by constipation or problems in the gut, so gently massaging your stomach in bed may actually help move things along overnight. It increases your motility to move your hands along your gastrointestinal tract,” says gastroenterologist, Dr Judy Nee. Press along your colon, going from the right side of your lower abdomen up into your stomach area and down to the left side; this follows the path of the gastrointestinal tract. Dr Nee tells her patients to write out “I [heart] U” across their stomachs to ensure they massage their gastrointestinal tract in its entirety.</p> <p><strong>Avoid taking vitamins before bed</strong></p> <p>Some vitamin supplements have earned a bad rap for increased belly bloat because of certain ingredients. “Certain vitamin supplements have non-absorbable sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol syrups in them,” says gastroenterologist, Dr Alan Brijbassie. “These are non-digestible.” Since our body has trouble digesting sugar alcohols, additives and fillers found in some supplements, our gut bacteria have more time to feast on them and produce gas. A good ingredient label is typically short and sweet with easy-to-pronounce words that you know – if it looks like gibberish, chances are it contains additives or fillers. Steer clear of vitamins that list sugar alcohols, lactose and gluten as the ingredients (they may disguise them under words like food starch or wheat germ). An even better bet: get your vitamins and minerals from natural sources by eating a well-balanced diet.</p> <p><strong>Do a low-intensity bedtime workout</strong></p> <p>A small dose of light to moderate exercise before bed may just be the ticket to moving things along overnight and quelling any morning belly bloat. “Walking around or doing light exercise for 15 minutes after you eat increases your motility and moves the gastrointestinal tract along to help that feeling of bloating,” says Dr Nee. Try taking a 15-minute stroll around the neighbourhood after dinner or do some light yoga poses to relieve your digestive discomfort.</p> <p><strong>Colour in an adult colouring book</strong></p> <p>Stressing about that upcoming work presentation or job interview can put a real damper on your mood, hair, skin, heart, weight and even your belly. Your gut is extremely vulnerable to stress, which can cause changes in your motility and inflame your intestines, giving you that puffy, uncomfortable sensation in your stomach. Before bed, take a half-hour to decompress and rid your mind of any negativity or worries. Reading a book, writing in a journal, or dumping out the crayons to colour in an adult colouring book are just a few ways to put your mind – and stomach – at ease.</p> <p><strong>Skip the nightcap</strong></p> <p>“Carbonated beverages and beer are the two biggest culprits of bloating,” says Dr Brijbassie. “Stay away from drinking those at least two hours before bed.” Even better? Avoid all alcohol and food at least two hours before bed to give your digestive system a rest. It takes at least two to three hours for your stomach to empty itself out and laying down while your digestive enzymes are at work pulls the gas further into your abdomen.</p> <p><strong>Drink peppermint tea</strong></p> <p>Peppermint isn’t just reserved for minty fresh breath – it may also help relax the gastrointestinal tract and alleviate bloating. “A lot of the proof is anecdotal but it does help some people,” says Dr Brijbassie. “Peppermint oil [mixed with a little water] may also help the digestive enzymes break down food better.” Simply mix two to three drops of peppermint oil with a cup of hot water and drink up! But avoid sucking on peppermint candies or chewing gum because they may be loaded with sugar alcohols, which the bacteria in the small bowel ferments to produce gas and bloating. If you don’t consider yourself a peppermint person, try taking some artichoke leaf extract before bed.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-66a0327c-7fff-c4af-a2e6-bb74192d91ba">Written by Ashley Lewis. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/healthsmart/7-easy-bedtime-fixes-to-help-reduce-belly-bloat-while-you-sleep" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Princess Charlene opens up about her health for the first time

<p dir="ltr">Princess Charlene of Monaco has opened up about her ongoing illness for the first time, describing it as a “long, difficult and very painful” experience.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 44-year-old royal spoke about her health in a candid interview with the newspaper, <em><a href="https://www.monacomatin.mc/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Monaco Matin</a></em>, admitting that she is taking her recovery process slowly.</p> <p dir="ltr">“My state of health is still fragile and I don’t want to go too fast,” she told the publication. “The path has been long, difficult and very painful.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It comes after Princess Charlene has made headlines over the past year for her lengthy absence from public life and separation from her family in Monaco after she suffered an ear, nose and throat infection while in South Africa that saw her undergo several surgeries and stay in her home country for 10 months.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-135a7d9a-7fff-82b6-1b5b-0e89ba673615">She reportedly first fell ill in May 2021 and her 10-day visit became significantly longer, delaying <a href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/caring/princess-charlene-finally-comes-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">her return to Monaco</a> until late 2021.</span></p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CWBjB1EMrWP/?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/p/CWBjB1EMrWP/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by HSH Princess Charlene (@hshprincesscharlene)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">In November, <em><a href="https://pagesix.com/2022/05/01/princess-charlene-makes-first-public-appearance-after-mystery-illness/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Page Six</a></em> reported that Charlene “almost died” after the surgeries and losing an extreme amount of weight, while her husband Albert, Prince of Monaco, told People that her condition was the result of “several factors which are private matters”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“She was clearly exhausted, physically and emotionally,” he told the publication, adding that she was sent to a “treatment facility” within hours of returning. “She was overwhelmed and couldn’t face official duties, life in general or even family life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Page Six also reported that sources connected to friends of the family were concerned Albert was “downplaying” Charlene’s illness while stressing that her condition wasn’t related to her mental or emotional health.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is unfair that she is being portrayed as having some kind of mental or emotional issue,” the source told the outlet. “We don’t know why the palace is downplaying that she almost died in South Africa.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The source said the royal’s weight loss was due to her being unable to eat solid foods and only “take in liquids through a straw”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“She has not been able to eat solid food in over six months because of all the surgeries she has since gone through,” the source added.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-1bcce484-7fff-a529-0c5d-0ea046515305"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Charlene made her first public appearance in May, attending the Monaco E-Prix with her husband and their seven-year-old twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques in early May.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cd87H2WMxdk/?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/p/Cd87H2WMxdk/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by HSH Princess Charlene (@hshprincesscharlene)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">She also appeared at the Monte Carlo Fashion Awards with Gabriella, sharing a behind-the-scenes snap of the pair on her Instagram page.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I loved every moment preparing my Princess for her first official event,” Charlene captioned the photo of the pair dressed in formal wear. “We’re looking forward to a great evening at the fashion awards.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-39d7ccbe-7fff-c43c-d618-5a3e93b38d48"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: @hshprincesscharlene (Instagram)</em></p>

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12 best yoga poses to strengthen bones

<p><strong>A bone-health doctor lists the 12 best yoga poses to strengthen bones</strong></p> <p>If you’re like many yoga lovers, you appreciate how this one physical activity can be so beneficial, while simultaneously so gentle. Few other practises stretch your body, calm your mind or help regulate vitals, such as your heart rate and blood pressure, in quite the way a regular yoga session can do.</p> <p>Researcher and rehabilitation doctor, Dr Loren Fishman has also been a practitioner of yoga for 50 years and is the creator of ‘the Fishman method’ of yoga for osteoporosis. In a conversation with Reader’s Digest, Dr Fishman points out that for all its advantages, yoga can also provide a powerful boost to your long-term bone density. In particular, Dr Fishman published 12 yoga poses in Orthopedic Nursing that are particularly great for strengthening your bones.</p> <p>Of these 12 poses Dr Fishman says: “They all work by putting pressure on the bones of sufficient magnitude and duration.” He says this can “stimulate the osteoblasts to make more bone”, thanks to their placement of “maximum torque, compression or pressure” on particular body parts, as outlined below.</p> <p>So, while a good yoga session is a helpful tool to help you get through the week, its effects are longer-lasting than you realised.</p> <p>Keep reading for the 12 best yoga poses to strengthen your bones. (“With all poses, remember not to round the spine as you go into and out of the poses, and within the poses themselves,” Dr Fishman advises.)</p> <p><strong>1. Tree pose (Vriksasana)</strong></p> <p>Tree pose has a special way of calling you to stillness. Dr Fishman says tree pose also adds pressure that can strengthen the upper femur and hip. He adds that a study at the University of Southern California (USC) showed a 60 per cent increase in pressure, even with the foot placed three-quarters down the calf.</p> <p>Dr Fishman says tree pose is “also extremely valuable for improving balance and avoiding falls,” although he reminds us that the raised foot should always go above or below the knee – never directly on the knee joint.</p> <p><strong>2. Triangle pose (Trikonasana)</strong></p> <p>Triangle pose “puts torque on the lumbar spine, the neck of the femur, the hips and ribs,” Dr Fishman says, adding that this is another pose that will help improve balance.</p> <p><strong>3. Reverse Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasan) </strong></p> <p>Dr Fishman says great pressures develop on the proximal femurs (very top of the femur bone that connects with the hip joint) in this pose, as well as the hip and lower back. Reverse triangle also puts helpful pressure in the ribs and wrists and is “a very powerful balance-improver.”</p> <p><strong>4. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)</strong></p> <p>“Fabulous mechanical disadvantage means great pressure on the entire forward (bent leg) femur,” Dr Fishman says of full warrior pose. He explains that “the straight leg’s rotation works on the head of femur and hip,” helping to strengthen the upper leg and hip. This is yet another pose that he says helps with balance.</p> <p><strong>5. Side angle pose (Parsvakonasana)</strong></p> <p>Another boon for balance, Dr Fishman says side angle pose torques the lower back and the top of the femur – all good things – and stimulates the bone-making cells of the hip, too.</p> <p><strong>6. Locust pose (Salabhasana)</strong></p> <p>Locust pose “raises pressures, which stimulate bone-making in the posterior elements of the spine,” Dr Fishman says, while it also helps balance some the forward focus on the ribs of the earlier poses. Locust pose also strengthens extensor muscles of the back to improve posture and reverse curvature of the spine in the upper back, which can lead to fractures.</p> <p><strong>7. Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana)</strong></p> <p>Dr Fishman says bridge pose can help strengthen the ribs and lower regions of the spine.</p> <p><strong>8. Reclining hand to big toe (Supta Padangusthasana I)</strong></p> <p>Also known to be a good hamstring stretch, this pose facilitates “extreme pressure brought to bear on relevant sections” of the femur, hip, pelvis (specifically the sitz bones) and spine.</p> <p>Seated versions of this and the following pose offer less intensity, but Dr Fishman cautions for both: “The seated versions have the potential to be dangerous. Keep the spine straight and against the back of the chair. Do not round the back.”</p> <p><strong>9. Supine hand to big toe 2 (Supta Padangusthasana II)</strong></p> <p>In the side extension variation of this pose, there is “extreme pressure brought to bear” on the upper femur, hip, pubis, ribs, and spine, he says.</p> <p><strong>10. Straight-legged twist (Marichyasana)</strong></p> <p>This “puts great pressure” on the sitz bones and pelvis, as well as “great but safe pressure” on the spine.</p> <p><strong>11. Bent-leg twist (Matsyendrasana)</strong></p> <p>The bent-leg twist “puts great pressure” on the upper femur and pelvis, plus “great but safe pressure” on the vertebra. Dr Fishman suggests you should hug the leg to ensure a straight spine.</p> <p><strong>12. Corpse pose (Savasana)</strong></p> <p>Truthfully, Dr Fishman says, Savasana is “of little value for the bones per se, but truly important at the end of the session for mental and general physiological health.” That’s good enough for us.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-68140ce3-7fff-bd62-dea6-7b47a6dfe42b">Written by Jennifer Huizen and Kristine Gasbarre. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/healthsmart/12-best-yoga-poses-to-strengthen-bones" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&utm_medium=articles&utm_campaign=RDSUB&keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Losing sleep over climate change: warmer nights are already disrupting our sleep cycles

<p>While we’re familiar with the environmental and economic impacts of climate change, there are some unexpected indirect effects that could dramatically influence our fundamental daily human activities – including sleep. Yes, precious sleep.</p> <p>Sleep is vital in maintaining our mental and physical health. Each night when we lay our heads the pillow, our cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) enters the brain and clears out metabolic waste. Now, in a study published in One Earth, the investigators have found that increasing ambient temperatures brought on my global warming are negatively impacting human sleep worldwide.</p> <p>The team analysed seven million nightly sleeps of more than 47,000 adults across 68 countries. This anonymised global sleep data had been collected from accelerometer-based sleep-tracking wristbands, which tracked quality and quantity of sleep.</p> <p>On very warm nights (greater than 30°C/86°F), sleep declined on average by almost 15 minutes. Sleepers also struggled to get seven hours or more of sleep on these warmer nights. At this rate, by year 2099, we might lose 50-58 hours of sleep per year, equivalent to almost two weeks, with older adults and females being impacted the most.</p> <p>“Our bodies are highly adapted to maintain a stable core body temperature, something that our lives depend on,” says lead author Kelton Minor (@keltonminor) of the University of Copenhagen. “Yet every night they do something remarkable without most of us consciously knowing – they shed heat from our core into the surrounding environment by dilating our blood vessels and increasing blood flow to our hands and feet.”</p> <p>This drop in core body temperature that slows our metabolism in order to go to sleep is triggered by the hormone melatonin. For our bodies to shed heat, the surrounding environment also needs to be cooler than we are. This research also found that people appeared to be better at adapting to colder temperatures outside than hotter.</p> <p>“Across seasons, demographics, and different climate contexts, warmer outside temperatures consistently erode sleep, with the amount of sleep loss progressively increasing as temperatures become hotter,” says Minor.</p> <p>Socioeconomic status also seems to matter, with those in developing countries more strongly affected by temperature change, possibly due to lack of access to insulation and air conditioning. This highlights that the most vulnerable populations live in some of the world’s hottest regions, are they’re also historically some of the poorest.</p> <p>To help save our sleep (along with our planet), the team hope to collaborate with global climate scientists, sleep researchers and tech companies to extend their scope of global sleep and behaviour research to more people and contexts.</p> <p>“In order to make informed climate policy decisions moving forward, we need to better account for the full spectrum of plausible future climate impacts extending from today’s societal greenhouse gas emissions choices,” says Minor.</p> <p><em><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/climate/climate-change-bad-sleep/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by </strong></em><a class="fn" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-family: halyard-text, sans-serif; color: #000000; text-decoration-line: none; background-color: #ffffff;" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/qamariya-nasrullah" rel="author"><em><strong>Qamariya Nasrullah.</strong></em></a></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Misdiagnosis of menopause is more common than you think

<p dir="ltr">Menopause is a life-stage that affects half of the population at a certain point in life, but a lack of attention and awareness of it can result in misdiagnosis and improper care for women.</p> <p dir="ltr">While hot flushes and vaginal dryness are symptoms frequently associated with menopause, others such as mood fluctuations, disturbed sleep, and poorer daily function are less well-known and can be misdiagnosed as symptoms of a mental health condition instead.</p> <p dir="ltr">To address this issue, insurance company AIA Australia has partnered with the Australasian Menopause Society (AMS) to raise awarness and increase the discourse around menopause.</p> <p dir="ltr">“AIA and AMS want to drive awareness and better understanding about the commonly overlooked life stage of menopause,” Stephanie Phillips, the Chief Shared Value and Marketing Officer at AIA Australia, tells <em>OverSixty</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“AIA has a strong belief in the importance of early intervention and considers it crucial that Australian women can access the right treatment in a timely fashion.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Partnering with AMS is an opportunity for us to empower women experiencing menopause so they know that they are not alone, and that there is a wide range of support available if they need it.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Menopause can still affect women over the age of 55</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Women first begin experiencing menopause, the term referring to a woman’s final menstrual period, between the ages of 45 and 60, though some symptoms can begin before then, during a period called perimenopause.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The average age of menopause is 50-51, but some women can continue to have periods up to the age of 55,” gynaecologist Dr Peter Ganter and endocrinologist Dr Christina Jang, of Queensland Health, tell OverSixty.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is less common for women to be having periods after the age of 55,” they add.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though every woman goes through menopause, the symptoms they experience can differ from person to person and can even be experienced for years.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Many women experience symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, sweats, poor sleep while others are fortunate to have no symptoms at all,” Dr Ganter and Dr Jang say.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Women troubled by menopause may continue to experience symptoms into their 60s and sometimes 70s.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Women in the perimenopause and menopause periods are more likely to experience feelings of anxiety and depression due to changes in hormone levels, as reported by <a href="https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-menopause-causing-your-mood-swings-depression-or-anxiety/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cleveland Clinic</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to AIA, the highest rate of suicide in 2020 was among women in the 45-49 age bracket, while those in the 45-55 bracket are 50 percent more likely to experience depression or anxiety than men, which the insurer argues could be to do with menopause.</p> <p dir="ltr">“While deterioration in mood can be diagnosed by a medical practitioner, often it is not considered that a contributing factor could be menopause, meaning that symptoms may be treated pharmacologically with antidepressant medications in the first instance,” AIA said in a statement. </p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Karen Magraith, the President of AMS, says healthcare providers should help women manage their symptoms in a “multi-faceted” way.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For women experiencing symptoms of menopause, a comprehensive assessment and multi-faceted management plan is recommended,” Dr Magraith says.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For women with symptoms of depression and anxiety, this may involve psychological therapies, and attention to healthy lifestyle changes. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Some women may need medication as part of their treatment plan. Whether this should involve menopausal hormone therapy, antidepressant medication, or other treatment is an individual clinical decision depending on the particular circumstances of the woman, and should be a shared decision with her doctor. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Women having treatment need follow up and tailoring of treatment to meet their needs, and generally need several consultations to enable this to occur.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>What should you do if you’re concerned?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Magraith recommends women reach out to their GP if they are experiencing any symptoms during perimenopause or menopause.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In some cases, women may need to seek help from a doctor with a special interest in menopause,” she says.</p> <p dir="ltr">For those women who do need to find a doctor, the AMS website’s <a href="https://www.menopause.org.au/health-info/find-an-ams-doctor" target="_blank" rel="noopener">search function</a> can help them find a doctor in their area.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for women looking for more information about menopause, Dr Magraith says there are several resources women can access, including:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">The <a href="https://www.menopause.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Australasian Menopause Society</a> website</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><a href="https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Jean Hailes for Women’s Health </a></p> </li> </ul> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4b4d7fd4-7fff-24a8-cb74-0e490bbe6561"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Are you a snorer? It could be affecting your quality of life

<p dir="ltr">A new study suggests that people over 70 who have abnormal breathing while they sleep could be more likely to have a lower quality of life in relation to their physical health and lower cognitive function.</p> <p dir="ltr">The research, published in the journal <em><a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/resp.14279" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Respirology</a></em>, saw 1400 people over the age of 70 take part in a sleep study to check for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) - usually related to snoring - followed by a questionnaire assessing their mental and physical health.</p> <p dir="ltr">The team found that 80 percent of participants had some kind of disordered breathing during sleep, with more men having moderate to severe difficulties than women (36 versus 25 percent).</p> <p dir="ltr">Though they didn’t find an association between SDB and depression or daytime sleepiness - which are commonly associated with SDB among middle aged people - an association was found between SDB and lower measures of cognitive function.</p> <p dir="ltr">They also found an association between SDB and obstructive sleep apnoea, along with a lower score for physical health, which the authors say is novel as this link has only been found in people under the age of 70.</p> <p dir="ltr">The link between SDB and dementia was also explored by the team, since SDB causes the brain to be temporarily deprived of oxygen, resulting in an increased heart rate and changes in blood pressure that could cause additional neurodegenerative damage.</p> <p dir="ltr">SDB also disrupts sleep, which helps the body to clear neurotoxins such as beta-amyloid, a  protein that <a href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/mind/alzheimer-s-marker-found-in-the-brain" target="_blank" rel="noopener">can build up between nerve cells</a>,disrupt cell function and cause symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though they did find associations between moderate to severe SDB and delayed recall among men - which they say could “predict incident dementia due to Alzheimer’s Disease” - the researchers note that more data over longer periods of time would be needed to establish this association.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Whether treatment of SDB is a reversible factor towards the development of dementia remains to be seen,” the authors conclude.</p> <p dir="ltr"> As for the quality of life for people over 70, the team suggest that, since SDB is common among this age group, treating SDB can improve quality of life, and that assessments of quality of life and cognitive function could be used to decide how to treat SDB in the first place.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-d5c12fbd-7fff-e6f4-5fbd-a49064e842b4"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Model’s tiny mole turns out to be cancer

<p dir="ltr">A model who completely disregarded what she thought was a mole on her ankle has been diagnosed with cancer. </p> <p dir="ltr">Oceana Strachan would regularly get her skin checked to ensure she was safe from melanoma and was constantly given the green light. </p> <p dir="ltr">But she knew something was wrong when the tiny mark on her ankle was itchy and had risen a bit - raising the alarm as to whether or not it was something else. </p> <p dir="ltr">Doctors dismissed it as a mole but Oceana pushed for a biopsy to be done and it was found to be stage two melanoma. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My melanoma spot looked like a regular mole but I noticed changes like itching that raised a red flag for me,” she told <a href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/health-wellbeing/aussie-model-shares-warning-signs-after-tiny-find-led-to-sinister-diagnosis-c-6840204" target="_blank" rel="noopener">7News</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Going through melanoma, I didn’t know if I was going to survive. I didn’t know the outcome.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CdnQNQ9JBWg/?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/p/CdnQNQ9JBWg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by OCEANA HEGYI 🤍 (@oceanastrachan)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Oceana underwent surgery in May 2021 where the affected skin was removed and saw the then 25-year-old back on her feet not too long after.</p> <p dir="ltr">A year later, Oceana spoke out about how early detection saved her life and cringed at not being sun safe. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I was 25 with olive skin... unfortunately melanoma doesn’t care how old you are or what type of skin you have,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Obviously it sucks that I’ve had to go through this but I am just one out of too many.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Image: Instagram</p>

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Oops! Scientists identify the neurons responsible for learning from mistakes

<p>Have you ever driven past an intersection and registered you should have turned right a street ago, or been in a conversation and, as soon as the words are out of your mouth, realised you really shouldn’t have said that thing you just did?</p> <p>It’s a phenomenon known as performance monitoring; an internal signal produced by the brain that lets you know when you’ve made a mistake.</p> <p>Performance monitoring is a kind of self-generated feedback that’s essential to managing our daily lives. Now, neuroscientists have discovered that signals from <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/brain-pleasers-the-neurons-that-respond-to-singing/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">neurons</a> in the brain’s medial frontal cortex are responsible for it.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abm9922" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">new study</a> published in <em>Science</em> reports that these signals are used to give humans the flexibility to learn new tasks and the focus to develop highly specific skills.</p> <p>“Part of the magic of the human brain is that it is so flexible,” says senior author Ueli Rutishauser, professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Biomedical Sciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, US. “We designed our study to decipher how the brain can generalise and specialise at the same time, both of which are critical for helping us pursue a goal.”</p> <p>They found that the performance monitoring signals help improve future attempts of a particular task by passing information to other areas of the brain. They also help the brain adjust its focus by signalling how much conflict or difficulty was encountered during the task.</p> <p>“An ‘Oops!’ moment might prompt someone to pay closer attention the next time they chat with a friend, or plan to stop at the store on the way home from work,” explains first author Zhongzheng Fu, researcher in the Rutishauser Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai.</p> <p>The team recorded the activity of more than 1000 neurons in the medial frontal cortexes of human epilepsy patients (who had existing electrode brain implants to help locate the focus of their seizures) while they performed complex cognitive tasks.</p> <div class="newsletter-box"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p190553-o1" class="wpcf7" dir="ltr" lang="en-US" role="form"> </div> </div> <p>In the first task, called the Stroop task, participants’ reading- and colour naming skills were tested. Viewing the written name of the colour, such as “red”, printed in the ink of a different colour, such as blue, they were asked to name the ink colour rather than the written word.</p> <p>In the second task – the Multi-Source Interference Task (MSIT) – participants were shown three digits on a screen (two the same number and the other unique) and had to press a button associated with the unique number while resisting the tendency to press the other (because it appears twice).</p> <p>The researchers noted that two types of neurons seemed to be at work: “error” neurons fired strongly after a mistake was made, while “conflict” neurons fired in response to the difficulty of the task.</p> <p>“When we observed the activity of neurons in this brain area, it surprised us that most of them only become active after a decision or an action was completed,” says Fu. “This indicates that this brain area plays a role in evaluating decisions after the fact, rather than making them.”</p> <p>Scientists have known for some time that there are two types of performance monitoring: domain general and domain specific.</p> <p>Domain general performance monitoring tells us <em>when</em> something goes wrong, which allows people to perform new tasks with little instruction. Domain specific monitoring tells them <em>what</em> went wrong, and is one way that people perfect individual skills.</p> <p>Previously it was thought that the different neurons responsible for these two forms were located in distinct parts of the brain, but this research has found that they’re actually intermingled in the medial frontal cortex.</p> <p>According to Rutishauser, understanding the mechanisms behind performance monitoring is critical to perfecting the treatment of certain psychiatric disorders in which it is extreme, for example obsessive compulsive disorder (overactive monitoring) and schizophrenia (underactive).</p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=190553&title=Oops%21+Scientists+identify+the+neurons+responsible+for+learning+from+mistakes." width="1" height="1" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/neurons-performance-monitoring/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/imma-perfetto" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Imma Perfetto</a>. Imma Perfetto is a science writer at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Science Communication from the University of Adelaide.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

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How often should I check my blood pressure?

<p dir="ltr">A new study investigating the role of hypertension in a person’s risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms suggests that the condition may worsen symptoms due to its association with one particular factor.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, affects 1 in 3 Australian adults and 1 in 5 New Zealanders, according to the<a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/taking-the-pressure-off-high-blood-pressure" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> Australian Institute of Health and Welfare</a> and <a href="https://www.southerncross.co.nz/group/medical-library/high-blood-pressure-hypertension#:~:text=Known%20medically%20as%20hypertension%2C%20high,attack%20have%20high%20blood%20pressure." target="_blank" rel="noopener">Southern Cross NZ</a>, with men being more likely to have the condition.</p> <p dir="ltr">The study, published in <em><a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s40292-022-00506-9" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PubMed</a></em>, concluded that hypertension doesn’t play an independent role in the severity of Covid symptoms from current evidence, but that systolic blood pressure, one the measurements used to determine blood pressure, could be a contributing factor. </p> <p dir="ltr">In light of these findings, the theme for this year’s World Hypertension Day, held on May 17, is <em>Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer</em> in a bid to raise awareness of the condition, which can have no immediate symptoms.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-a78284b9-7fff-a9d9-57cc-3ef54e6af508">Andria Aird, a hypertension expert and Blooms the Chemist pharmacist, tells <em>OverSixty </em>that this absence of symptoms - except for headaches in severe cases - is why raising awareness is crucial, and why Blooms the Chemist is promoting free blood pressure checks this month.</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/andria-aird.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Andria Aird says getting our blood pressure checked is key to detecting high blood pressure. Image: Supplied</em></p> <p dir="ltr">“Current surveys estimate that 32 percent of men and 27 percent of women in Australia have hypertension,” she says. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Left untreated, hypertension can increase your risk of life-threatening conditions like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.”</p> <p dir="ltr">This condition is particularly common among older adults, which Aird says is to do with the changes that occur in our blood vessels.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The walls of our arteries become stiffer and we are more at risk of high blood pressure,” she explains.</p> <p dir="ltr">“More mature people are also more at risk of other health conditions which often go hand in hand with hypertension.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Could I have hypertension and not know it?</p> <p dir="ltr">With no obvious symptoms, we can have hypertension without realising - and getting a blood pressure check is one of the ways to determine if we do.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Sometimes people come into our pharmacy to have their blood pressure tested and shown a systolic reading of up to 200 mmHg without even knowing it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410#:~:text=High%20blood%20pressure%20(hypertension)%20is,problems%2C%20such%20as%20heart%20disease." target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mayo Clinic</a>, high blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow (or width) in your arteries.</p> <p dir="ltr">Blood pressure readings, given in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), consist of two numbers: systolic pressure (the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats) and diastolic pressure (the pressure in your arteries in-between beats).</p> <p dir="ltr">A healthy reading is considered to be a systolic pressure of 140 mmHg or less, and a diastolic pressure of less than 90 mmHg, according to the <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure-and-older-adults#:~:text=Normal%20blood%20pressure%20for%20most,pressure%20of%20less%20than%2080" target="_blank" rel="noopener">National Institute of Ageing</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for how often we should be getting checked, Aird suggests over -50s rolling up their sleeves every 3-6 months.</p> <p dir="ltr">“At Blooms the Chemist we recommend all Australian adults have their blood pressure checked,” she says.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Heart Foundation recommends at least every two years from 18 years, although my conservative recommendation for people over 50 would be at least 3 – 6 monthly. “Hypertension is not only a disease of the elderly,  however those over 60 are at a higher risk.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But you don’t always have to go to the GP or chemist to get checked.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Reliable home blood pressure monitors are relatively affordable and easy to use. At Blooms The Chemist we can offer advice to recommend a monitor to suit your needs,” Aird says.</p> <p dir="ltr">As well as getting checked, Aird says there are some things we can do in our day-to-day lives to reduce our chances of developing hypertension.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Fortunately, there are lifestyle options we can take to reduce our risk of high blood pressure, even if there is a family history of the condition,” she says.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-dd7acff1-7fff-c75a-3877-acbbb3b253be"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“It is vital to quit if you are a smoker. A healthy diet, weight control and regular exercise all substantially reduce your risk. Other tips include reducing salt in your diet, managing stress and reducing alcohol intake.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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The benefits of vitamin D – from head to toe

<p><strong>The benefits of vitamin D</strong></p> <p>Is it the magic vitamin? Well, it might be close. Research in recent years has shown that vitamin D may be one of the most powerful supplements to boost your total wellness and even help promote longevity. For years, vitamin D was touted as an ace for stronger bones, shinier hair and as a potential mood-booster. But you might not be aware of the many benefits vitamin D can provide for your whole system.</p> <p><strong>Brain</strong></p> <p>When taken with fish oil, vitamin D is a powerful mood booster, according to a study published in the <em>FASEB </em>journal. The aptly named ‘sunshine vitamin’ improves mood and lowers depression by aiding the conversion of the essential amino acid tryptophan into serotonin – a brain chemical that regulates mood. But that’s not all! Vitamin D improves memory and cognitive functions in older women, according to a separate study published in <em>Journals of Gerontology A</em>. Meanwhile, previous research has found it may also have some protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p><strong>Eyes</strong></p> <p>Laugh lines aside, your eyes themselves undergo signs of ageing that can impair your vision. According to a study published in <em>Neurobiology of Ageing</em>, a daily dose of vitamin D reduced some of the effects of ageing on eyes, reduced inflammation and improved vision in mice. A second study found that it may also help prevent macular degeneration, a common eye disease that can lead to blindness if it goes untreated.</p> <p><strong>Ears</strong></p> <p>What causes vertigo, that disorienting sensation of dizziness and spinning? Vertigo may feel like your head is spinning, but the problem often stems from the structures in your inner ear that are responsible for balance. However, taking vitamin D and calcium twice a day may reduce vertigo and lower your chances of getting vertigo again, according to a study published in <em>Neurology</em>.</p> <p><strong>Teeth</strong></p> <p>Want stronger, whiter teeth and fewer cavities? Taking a daily vitamin D supplement may help, according to a meta-analysis published in <em>Nutrients</em>. Researchers analysed dozens of controlled studies with thousands of participants in several countries to find that that vitamin D was associated with a 50 per cent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay.</p> <p><strong>Gums</strong></p> <p>The same vitamin D supplement that strengthens your teeth can also help protect your gums from bacterial infections that lead to problems like gingivitis and periodontitis, according to the <em>Nutrients </em>study. Periodontitis, a potentially serious infection of the gum tissue, is a major cause of tooth loss and can also contribute to heart disease.</p> <p><strong>Heart</strong></p> <p>One of vitamin D’s most powerful roles is in the cardiovascular system, where there are 200 genes regulated by vitamin D. How does it work? Vitamin D may help stop cholesterol from clogging arteries, regulate blood pressure and improve the function of cells in the heart. Even better, it may also be able to help heal existing heart damage, according to research published in the <em>International Journal of Nanomedicine</em>.</p> <p><strong>Lungs</strong></p> <p>Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and chronic bronchitis affect many people. While it’s not a cure, vitamin D can reduce the number of lung disease flareups by 40 per cent, a study published in <em>The Lancet</em> concluded. The same may be true for asthma, according to a separate study published in <em>Cochrane Review</em>. Researchers found that people who took a daily dose of vitamin D in addition to their asthma medication reduced the number of severe asthma attacks they experienced.</p> <p><strong>Gut</strong></p> <p>People with metabolic syndrome – increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels – are at a high risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Exercise and a healthy diet are important practices to avoid or heal the syndrome, but research has suggested vitamin D may also help. In a study published in <em>Frontiers in Physiology</em>, vitamin D improved signs of metabolic syndrome by boosting healthy gut bacteria in mice.</p> <p><strong>Liver</strong></p> <p>Higher vitamin D levels are linked with lower levels of cancer in general, and less liver cancer specifically, according to a <em>BMJ </em>study. Researchers took samples from over 33,000 adult participants and found that higher levels of the nutrient were associated with a 20 per cent reduction in cancer and a 30-50 per cent reduction in liver cancer.</p> <p><strong>Reproductive system</strong></p> <p>Both men and women show reproductive and fertility benefits from vitamin D. Female participants who had a healthy vitamin D level early in pregnancy were more likely to have a baby with a healthy weight and head size in a study published in the <em>Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp; Metabolism</em>. Similarly, men with higher vitamin D levels had a better fertility potential, particularly through better sperm motility, say researchers in a separate study, published in<em> World Journal of Men’s Health</em>.</p> <p><strong>Bones</strong></p> <p>Think calcium is the best nutrient for bones? Think again. The positive effects of vitamin D on bone health are some of the most documented benefits of the nutrient. Vitamin D is essential for building and maintaining strong bones, while inadequate vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis, a brittle bone disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.</p> <p><strong>Knees</strong></p> <p>Your knees are one of the most-used joints in your body and often one of the first places to experience joint pain as you get older. Research has suggested the most common causes of joint pain are osteoarthritis from joint overuse or injury, and rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease that attacks joints. Vitamin D can help protect against both types of arthritis. People who maintained healthy vitamin D levels were less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study published in <em>Journal of Autoimmunity</em>. Similarly, people with low vitamin D levels reported more symptoms of osteoarthritis, like knee pain and difficulty walking, according to research by the American College of Rheumatology.</p> <p><strong>Feet</strong></p> <p>Stress fractures – microfractures that often occur in small bones due to overuse – are fairly common injuries, particularly in people who participate in high impact activities, like running, or people who are significantly overweight. According to a study published in <em>The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery</em>, vitamin D may reduce stress fractures by helping improve bone density.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-41d08e27-7fff-fd5c-6a8f-fc6514936626">Written by Charlotte Hilton Andersen. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/the-benefits-of-vitamin-d-from-head-to-toe" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Misdiagnosed student learns she has incurable cancer

<p dir="ltr">A young woman who suffered from severe pains was told it was due to her excessive drinking – when actually she had an incurable form of cancer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Georgia Ford would occasionally cough up blood, lose her breath easily and struggle to walk or exercise – but was told it was because of how much alcohol she drank.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 20-year-old was given stomach-lining tablets but over time her condition worsened - this time with weight loss and back pain.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Originally the GP said the sickness was acid reflux from the amount that I was drinking because I was a student,” Georgia told Kennedy News.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, when the law student came back from holiday she limited her drinking. But the pains persisted.</p> <p dir="ltr">She kept going back and forth with her doctor, who told Georgia that the pains she was feeling were all in her head due to anxiety. </p> <p dir="ltr">“They basically said that this was all in my head and I wasn’t ill at all. I said ‘I fail to believe that I’m having this many severe symptoms and it’s all in my head’.</p> <p dir="ltr">For almost a year-and-a-half Georgia searched for answers as to why she was feeling the way she was.</p> <p dir="ltr">It was only in November 2021, after Georgia booked a private appointment, that she was diagnosed with papillary renal cell carcinoma – a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was just so shocked. Just any hope I had of it maybe being something else, it was just the most sinking feeling to be told basically the worst-case scenario and I was just so disappointed in everything,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Honestly it’s not been the same since that; that one moment has literally changed my life.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Doctors explained to the young student that the cancer had started off in her kidneys and spread to her lungs, liver, lymph nodes and bones.</p> <p dir="ltr">And it was then they told the aspiring lawyer that her condition was incurable, forcing her to accept that this is her life now.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s just like this overwhelming sadness that just fills you at the time,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since the shocking diagnosis, Georgia has begun immunotherapy, which involves taking medication every day and having an intravenous drip every two weeks. </p> <p dir="ltr">She is always required to take portable oxygen tanks when she goes out, and when it’s time to sleep she requires an oxygen pipe to help her breathe. </p> <p dir="ltr">Doctors say this treatment will help Georgia’s cancer shrink to the point of having a “normal life” as much as possible. </p> <p dir="ltr">A <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/fightagainstprcc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page has been set up to help Georgia with her treatments. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: 7News/GoFundMe</em></p>

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Genetic discovery may help scientists reverse hearing loss

<p>Neuroscience researchers have found a master gene that controls the development of special sensory cells in the ears – potentially opening the door to reversing hearing loss.</p> <p>A team led by Jaime García-Añoveros of Northwestern University, US, established that a gene called Tbx2 controls the development of ear hair cells in mice. The findings of their study are <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04668-3" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published today in <em>Nature</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><strong>What are hair cells?</strong></p> <p>Hair cells are the sensory cells in our ears that detect sound and then transmit a message to our brains. They are so named because they have tiny hairlike structures called stereocilia.</p> <p>“The ear is a beautiful organ,” says García-Añoveros. “There is no other organ in a mammal where the cells are so precisely positioned.”</p> <p>Hair cells are found in a structure called the organ of Corti, in the cochlea in the inner ear. The organ of Corti sits on top of the basilar membrane.</p> <p>Sound waves are funnelled through our ear canal and cause the eardrum (also known as the tympanic membrane) and ossicles (tiny bones called the malleus, incus and stapes) to vibrate. The vibrations, or waves, are transmitted through fluid in the cochlea, causing the basilar membrane to move as well.</p> <p>When the basilar membrane moves, the stereocilia tilt, causing ion channels in the hair cell membrane to open. This stimulates the hair cell to release neurotransmitter chemicals, which will transmit the sound signal to the brain via the auditory nerve.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio"> <div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <div class="entry-content-asset"> <div class="embed-wrapper"> <div class="inner"><iframe title="2-Minute Neuroscience: The Cochlea" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WeQluId1hnQ?feature=oembed" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> </div> </div> </div> </figure> <h2> </h2> <p><strong>Hair cells and hearing loss</strong></p> <p>There are actually two types of hair cells: inner and outer. We need both types to hear effectively. The outer hair cells change their shape and amplify sound for the inner hair cells, which transmit the vibrations to the brain.</p> <div class="newsletter-box"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p190195-o1" class="wpcf7" dir="ltr" lang="en-US" role="form"> <form class="wpcf7-form mailchimp-ext-0.5.61 init" action="/science/genetic-discovery-reverse-hearing-loss/#wpcf7-f6-p190195-o1" method="post" novalidate="novalidate" data-status="init"> <p style="display: none !important;"><span class="wpcf7-form-control-wrap referer-page"><input class="wpcf7-form-control wpcf7-text referer-page" name="referer-page" type="hidden" value="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/" data-value="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/" aria-invalid="false" /></span></p> <p><!-- Chimpmail extension by Renzo Johnson --></form> </div> </div> <p>“It’s like a ballet,” says García-Añoveros. “The outers crouch and jump and lift the inners further into the ear.”</p> <p>Hair cells develop before we are born and do not typically divide to create new versions of themselves. As we age, our hair cells die, <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/hair-cell-loss-may-explain-hearing-loss/">leading to hearing loss</a>. Loss of outer hair cells is particularly common.</p> <p>According to the US Centers for Disease Control, about 8.5% of adults aged 55-64 in the US experience “disabling” hearing loss, with that number increasing to nearly 25% in people aged 65-74, and 50% in those 75 and older.</p> <p><strong>Could we one day reverse hearing loss?</strong></p> <p>Since hair cells don’t usually divide, we may be able to reverse hearing loss if we can reprogram stem cells or other cells in the ear to become hair cells to replace those that die.</p> <p>Scientists have already produced artificial hair cells, but until now didn’t know how to direct the cell to become an inner or an outer hair cell.</p> <p>The team at Northwestern discovered that a gene called Tbx2 controls the development of both inner and outer hair cells. If Tbx2 is “switched on” to produce the protein TBX2, the cell develops into an inner hair cell. If Tbx2 is “off”, it becomes an outer hair cell.</p> <p>“Our finding gives us the first clear cell switch to make one type versus the other,” García-Añoveros explains.</p> <p>The finding is a step towards learning how we can reprogram the cells that usually provide structural support for the hair cells to become inner or outer hair cells themselves – replacing dead hair cells and preventing or reversing hearing loss.</p> <p>“We can now figure out how to make specifically inner or outer hair cells and identify why the latter are more prone to dying,” García-Añoveros says. “We have overcome a major hurdle.”</p> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=190195&amp;title=Genetic+discovery+may+help+scientists+reverse+hearing+loss" width="1" height="1" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/genetic-discovery-reverse-hearing-loss/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/matilda-handlsey-davis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Matilda Handsley-Davis</a>. Matilda is a science writer at Cosmos. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Adelaide.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

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6 warning signs of kidney stones – and what you can do to prevent them

<p><strong>Who develops kidney stones?</strong></p> <p>Professor of urology, Dr Christopher Coogan, says about 10 to 15 per cent of the population will develop kidney stones in their lifetimes, small hard mineral deposits formed in the kidney that can be painful to pass, with white men ages 40 to 60 the most likely to have kidney stones. Those who already have had a kidney stone have a 50 per cent chance of developing another within 10 years. But how do you know if what you have is a kidney stone opposed to stomach or back pain?</p> <p><strong>Sudden and severe pain</strong></p> <p>Adults are often diagnosed with kidney stones after a trip to the emergency room or visit to their primary physician because of sudden severe abdominal and/or back pain they’ve been experiencing. This sudden and severe pain in the stomach and/or one side of the back is one of the classic symptoms of kidney stones.</p> <p>“Pain associated with kidney stones often comes on suddenly and is sometimes described as excruciating as the pain associated with labour,” says Dr Douglas Propp.</p> <p>Severe pain from which you can find no relief helps differentiate pain associated with kidney stones from a stomach ache or back strain. Pain associated with kidney stones can sometimes be confused with a backache because pain associated with kidney stones can start higher up in the back. As the stone moves closer to the bladder, the location of the pain can move lower. An important difference though: the back pain that accompanies kidney stones is unlike the pain of typical back strains because it is not associated with any movement.</p> <p>“One can usually figure out which side the kidney stone is on because the pain will typically, although not always, be on one side of the stomach versus the other,” says Dr Coogan.</p> <p>Kidney stones can range in size; Dr Coogan notes the average size of a kidney stone is 5 millimetres. However, the size of the stone doesn’t necessarily affect how much pain someone is in. Even a very tiny kidney stone can cause a “whole lot of hurt,” says Dr Coogan. Kidney stones can be so painful that they awaken people from sleep and prevent them from finding a standing, sitting, or lying down position that provides relief.</p> <p>“The pain can come on at any time and is severe, typically preventing the individual from finding a comfortable position, says Dr Propp.</p> <p><strong>Blood in the urine</strong></p> <p>Another possible warning sign of kidney stones is finding blood in one’s urine. Dr Coogan says this occurs in the majority of patients who have kidney stones. Blood in the urine is an abnormal condition and you should get evaluated if you notice this symptom.</p> <p><strong>Other warning signs</strong></p> <p>While sudden and severe stomach and/or back pain and blood in the urine can be key indicators of kidney stones, Dr Propp and Dr Coogan noted other warning signs that patients should look for:</p> <ul> <li>Nausea</li> <li>Vomiting</li> <li>Perspiring</li> <li>Turning very pale because of the pain</li> <li>Certain types of kidney stones can also cause infections, which can lead to fevers.</li> </ul> <p>“When the kidney gets obstructed, it can lead to fever because there can be back up of urine and that can lead to an infection,” says Dr Coogan.</p> <p><strong>How kidney stones are diagnosed and treated</strong></p> <p>Kidney stones can be diagnosed through X-ray, ultrasound, or CAT scan and are typically found after a person visits the emergency room or makes an appointment with their primary care physician because of the pain they’ve been experiencing.</p> <p>Dr Propp says most patients pass their kidney stones, leading to significant relief of their symptoms. But some kidney stones require surgery to remove them. Doctors sometimes prescribe medication to either manage the pain associated with kidney stones or to help the stone pass. “The smaller the stone is the more likely it is to pass on its own, not requiring surgery,” says Dr Coogan.</p> <p><strong>How to prevent kidney stones</strong></p> <p>Dr Coogan says one way people can prevent kidney stones from developing is to drink enough water, as dehydration is considered one of the main causes. Water helps to dilute the substances in urine that lead to kidney stones.</p> <p>You should also watch your sodium intake. A high-sodium diet can increase the amount of calcium in your urine. When calcium combines with oxalate or phosphorus, it creates kidney stones. Keep your sodium intake to no more than 2300 milligrams (mg) a day; if you’ve had kidney stones in the past, reduce that amount to 1500 mg.</p> <p>Limiting your animal protein can also help. Too much animal protein, such as red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood, increases the amount of uric acid in your body. Uric acid is another kidney stone culprit.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-cec75453-7fff-944a-f681-5aefe35065ce">Written by Colette Harris. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/6-warning-signs-of-kidney-stones-and-what-you-can-do-to-prevent-them" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p>

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Mother-of-two fighting to stay alive

<p dir="ltr">A woman who put her exhaustion down to looking after her young children has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Chanelle Moles was first diagnosed with low iron, post-natal depression and hormone imbalance after experiencing months of fatigue.</p> <p dir="ltr">She accepted the diagnosis before sensing that there was something more to the way she was feeling.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Perth mother, 34, pushed doctors to do more tests and scans when it was revealed that she in fact had stage four colon cancer in October 2020.</p> <p dir="ltr">By then, the cancer had spread to Chanelle’s liver and lungs.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the beginning of 2022, Chanelle was told she would have just six to 18 months left to live.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Never in my wildest dreams could I have thought that within five years of becoming a mummy I would be told I don’t have long to live,” Chanelle told 7News.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Every day I wake up, I wish I could just ‘wake up’ from this nightmare and see that it was all just a dream. Unfortunately it is not, this is my reality and the reality for my beautiful children and husband.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t want to leave them, not yet. I love life and I am doing everything I possibly can to fight for mine.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The 34-year-old mother wanted to do anything to see her kids grow up and underwent 13 months of chemotherapy, along with major surgeries and treatments.</p> <p dir="ltr">In July 2021, she was informed that her body wasn’t responding to chemotherapy and was offered the chance to try CyberKnife - a radiation therapy that helps get rid of the spots on the liver.</p> <p dir="ltr">Following the treatment, Chanelle received incredible news that her cancer was in remission.</p> <p dir="ltr">That was short lived until four days before Christmas 2021 when a follow up scan showed that the cancer had in fact spread to the peritoneal cavity, ovaries and the abdominal area.</p> <p dir="ltr">Chanelle was offered another sign of hope when a doctor informed her he could remove all her cancer.</p> <p dir="ltr">But following an intense 16 hour surgery, he told her that it was unsuccessful. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Since then she has been through countless surgeries and endured the most ravaging chemotherapy just to be given a chance to rid her body of this horrible disease and watch her kids grow,” her husband Graham Moles said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Trying their luck one more time, Chanelle was accepted into a life-saving cancer treatment in Houston, US.</p> <p dir="ltr">Unfortunately, the treatment will see them out of pocket a whopping $150,000. </p> <p dir="ltr">After launching a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-our-mummybee-chanelle" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page, $233,036 was raised of the $150,000 goal (number correct at time of publishing).</p> <p dir="ltr">The family were overwhelmed with the support and said any of the leftover money will be donated to the charities of Chanelle’s choice.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

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Does your heart skip a beat? You could be at a higher risk of a stroke

<p dir="ltr">One in three Australians over the age of 50, or <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27798365/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">one in 20 New Zealanders</a> aged 55 or older, will develop Atrial Fibrillation - an irregular or rapid heartbeat which ups their risk of strokes and heart failure.</p> <p dir="ltr">But many, like marriage celebrant Maryann Bawden, will have no idea until something happens.</p> <p dir="ltr">“When the doctors asked me to shift over a little on the bed, I realised I was completely paralysed down my left side,” she said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-b8851d47-7fff-1f46-3531-42bb9c39e40f"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">In Maryanne’s case, she suffered a stroke and was in intensive care for four days, where staff realised she had Atrial Fibrillation (AF).</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/atrial-fib1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Maryanne Bawden (left) had no idea she had Atrial Fibrillation until after she was hospitalised for a stroke. Image: Supplied</em></p> <p dir="ltr">“It was a surreal moment. I had no emotions at the time, just a detached curiosity that my body wasn’t functioning properly,” Maryanne said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It felt very matter of fact, with no correlation between the seriousness and the actual situation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Professor Ben Freedman, the Deputy Director of Cardiovascular Research at the <a href="https://www.hri.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Heart Research Institute</a>, says the number of Australians who will unknowingly suffer from AF is set to increase by 150 percent over the next four decades.</p> <p dir="ltr">“One in three people aged over 50 will develop AF - the issue is, most people have never heard of it, and that’s problematic because it means they don’t know how to ask their doctor to check for it,” Professor Freedman explains.</p> <p dir="ltr">Symptoms include an irregular pulse, heart palpitations or a “fluttering” heartbeat, and feeling tired, dizzy or weak.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-96c09322-7fff-4e6b-ba47-e70456d485d9"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“However, people often have no symptoms at all or only experience symptoms some of the time,” he says.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/atrial-fib2.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Professor Ben Freedman (centre), and two members of his team - Dr Katrina Giskes (left), and Dr Nicole Lowres (right) - hope to prove that regular ECG screening will decrease morbidity from Atrial Fibrillation. Image: Supplied</em></p> <p dir="ltr">“People can live suffering these small, silent strokes and they don’t even know they are having them. But while they might not notice them, over time they cause a cognitive decline.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Professor Freedman also heads - and founded - the <a href="https://www.afscreen.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">AF-SCREEN International Collaboration</a>, a global group of scientists that includes many of the foremost names in AF research.</p> <p dir="ltr">One way to catch AF before a person experiences a stroke or heart failure is by using electrocardiograms (ECGs), and Professor Freedman will be looking to prove that more intensive ECG screening will prevent strokes, morbidity, and death.</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the next five years, Professor Freedman and his team will be measuring AF in Australians over the age of 70 with a handheld device to prove that this screening helps.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We need to increase awareness of AF, as only 11 percent of people over the age of 65 are being regularly screened for AF by their GP despite it being a very simple test,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Almost everyone who turns 65 should be getting a yearly pulse check. Cost isn’t a factor - anyone can afford a pulse check.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-e9d83005-7fff-6692-b959-28309fe982e3"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Though only a doctor can diagnose you with AF, you can keep an eye on your heart health by regularly checking your pulse and keeping a record of your results.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/05/Picture12.png" alt="" width="508" height="508" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Supplied</em></p> <p dir="ltr">A resting heart rate ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, and although a pause or extra beat every now and then is normal, you should speak to your doctor if it is quite irregular.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6cefb02a-7fff-82f4-b132-77e195a3d19f"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Supplied</em></p>

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Three simple ways to cut cancer risk for over-70s

<p dir="ltr">Over-70s could cut their cancer risk by up to 61 percent through a combination of high-dose vitamin D, omega-3s, and a home strength exercise program, according to new research.</p> <p dir="ltr">The study, published in <em><a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fragi.2022.852643/full" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Frontiers in Ageing</a></em>, tested the effect of high daily doses of vitamin D3 (a form of vitamin D used in supplements), daily omega-3 supplements, and at-home exercise when combined with each other and in isolation over three years.</p> <p dir="ltr">2,157 healthy participants over the age of 70 were given either a combination of the supplements and exercise, single supplements, or a placebo between December 2012 and 2017, with the researchers then assessing the impact of the supplements on the risk of invasive cancers.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though each supplement was found to have a slight benefit when taken alone, the team found the combination of exercise and supplements had a significant effect.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is the first randomised controlled trial to show that the combination of daily vitamin D3, supplemental marine omega-3s, and a simple home exercise program may be effective in the prevention of invasive cancer among generally healthy and active adults aged 70 and older,” Dr Heike Bischoff-Ferrari of the University Hospital Zurich, and the study’s first author, <a href="https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/over-70-vitamin-d,-omega-3s,-and-exercise-could-cut-your-cancer-risk-by-61" target="_blank" rel="noopener">said</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our results, although based on multiple comparisons and requiring replication, may prove to be beneficial for reducing the burden of cancer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But Dr Bischoff-Ferrari and her team didn’t pick these supplements by chance.</p> <p dir="ltr">In fact, previous studies have shown that vitamin D stops cancer cells from growing, while omega-3 may prevent normal cells from becoming cancerous.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even exercise has been found to reduce inflammation and improve immune function, which could also help prevent cancer, according to <em><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/950364" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Eureka Alert!</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, there have been few robust clinical studies proving that using these three treatments can prevent cancer - which is why Dr Bischoff-Ferrari and her team came in.</p> <p dir="ltr">With their findings, Dr Bischoff-Ferrari said future studies should try to replicate their findings and continue following up with patients for more than three years to determine how long-term these benefits are.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-95d28c12-7fff-b582-b589-32ae86914c18"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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Detecting skin cancer with a blood test

<p>A team of US researchers have found a way to diagnose skin cancer using blood tests.</p> <p>The researchers have shown in a lab-based study that melanoma cells can be detected in blood and plasma. If the test makes it through clinical trials, the researchers hope that it could one day be used to sidestep the invasive biopsies that are currently required to diagnose melanoma.</p> <p>The test uses melanoma-specific antibodies, and a device designed specifically to react them with blood. The device is called MelanoBean, and it works with microfluidics: manipulating tiny amounts of fluid to do interesting things that they don’t do in larger volumes.</p> <p>The test is described in a <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anbr.202100083" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">paper</a> in <em>Advanced NanoBiomed Research.</em></p> <div class="newsletter-box"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p188890-o1" class="wpcf7" dir="ltr" lang="en-US" role="form"> </div> </div> <p>“This is the first comprehensive study of circulating tumour cells – or CTCs – to evaluate the efficacy of surgery using microfluidic systems in melanoma, including changes in the number of CTCs, CTC cluster configuration, and gene expression profiling,” says first author Dr Yoon-Tae Kang, a researcher at the University of Michigan, US.</p> <p>The researchers found that with their test, melanoma cells (CTCs) could be found in the blood of cancer patients at all stages of the disease – I through to IV.</p> <p>It could also identify whether any CTCs were hanging around in the blood of patients who’d had skin cancer surgery to get their cells removed.</p> <p>“CTCs have the potential to pinpoint treatment resistance and recurrence, and can be a valuable biomarker to non-invasively monitor for disease progression,” says corresponding author Dr Sunitha Nagrath also from the University of Michican.</p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=188890&amp;title=Detecting+skin+cancer+with+a+blood+test" width="1" height="1" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/medicine/detecting-skin-cancer-blood-test/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/ellen-phiddian" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ellen Phiddian</a>. Ellen Phiddian is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a BSc (Honours) in chemistry and science communication, and an MSc in science communication, both from the Australian National University.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

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Basic tips for staying healthier throughout winter

<p dir="ltr">The cooler months are just around the corner and the last thing we want is to not feel our ultimate best.</p> <p dir="ltr">We can all admit that we’d rather be in bed under a warm blanket, watching TV, bingeing on junk food rather than going out to the gym, or making healthy foods because takeout is so much easier.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, it is just as important to stay fit and healthy in winter as it is in summer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Below are the Top Six ways to do just that. </p> <ol> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Eat immune boosting foods</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">To ensure an ultimate healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to stick to foods from the five food groups. </p> <p dir="ltr">Need a refresher? They include: vegetables and legumes/beans, fruit, lean meat, fish, poultry, grains and cereal, milk, cheese and yoghurt. </p> <p dir="ltr">Stay on top of your Vitamin C which is in most fruits and veggies.</p> <p dir="ltr">Zinc is just as important and could be found in most animal products, nuts and seeds.</p> <p dir="ltr">Iron is also one to stay on top of which can be found in meat, beans, lentils and even spinach.</p> <ol start="2"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Drink water</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Water is just as important in the cooler months as it is in the warmer seasons. </p> <p dir="ltr">Stay hydrated however is not just limited to water, you can drink as much soup, tea as you want and it all helps. </p> <ol start="3"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Stay active</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">The weather may not be in your favour but there are many fun indoor activities you can get up to.</p> <p dir="ltr">Indoor rock climbing, obstacle courses, dance class…whatever tickles your fancy.</p> <p dir="ltr">Or just join the gym.</p> <ol start="4"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Limit the alcohol intake</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Alcohol affects our mood, sleep and energy levels which in turn can leave us feeling more stressed and exhausted.</p> <p dir="ltr">It also increases the risk of having a stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease and cancers.</p> <p dir="ltr">We’re not saying to give it up completely, but it will help a lot if you reduce how much you drink.</p> <ol start="5"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Practice good hygiene </strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">After three years of the pandemic this should be second nature. </p> <ol start="6"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Get some Vitamin D</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Take advantage of the good weather whenever it arrives.</p> <p dir="ltr">When you see the sun, pop on some sunscreen, shades and hat and go out for a walk in the park, at the beach or grab a coffee with some friends. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Man accidentally inhales drill bit at the dentist

<p>A run-of-the-mill trip to the dentist for a 60-year-old man from Illinois in the US turned into anything but a normal occasion with the unthinkable happened.</p> <p>Right at a crucial moment during his dental procedure, the man inhaled sharply right before an innocent cough – and accidentally breathed in the dentist’s drill bit, resulting in an emergency trip to the hospital.</p> <p>In recounting the terrifying incident, Tom Jozsi said that he was at the dentist getting a tooth filed when he was told he had "swallowed" the tool. However, doctors later determined that he had "inhaled" it right before he coughed, sending the 2.5cm drill bit deep into the lung.</p> <p>“I didn’t really even feel it going down. All I felt was a cough. When they did the CT scan they realised, ‘You didn’t swallow it. You inhaled it,’” he said.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/04/Drill-bit.jpg" alt="" width="572" height="370" /></p> <p>Dr Abdul Alraiyes, at Aurora Medical Center-Kenosha in Wisconsin, said the bit was so deep that normal scopes couldn’t reach it. Jozsi said he was told that if it couldn’t be taken out, part of his lung would have to be removed.</p> <p>Alraiyes and his medical team decided to try a newer device to remove the object – one that’s designed for early detection of cancer. They were able to pull out the drill piece without harm.</p> <p>“I was never so happy as when I opened my eyes, and I saw him with a smile under that mask shaking a little plastic container with the tool in it,” Jozsi said.</p> <p>Joszki said he now keeps the drill bit on a shelf at home.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty & NBC</em></p>

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