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Podcast hosts slammed for disgusting remarks about women's postpartum bodies

<p><em>Image: Getty </em></p> <p>The male hosts of a concerning new podcast have received major backlash over comments made claiming they’d leave their future wife if she didn’t lose weight after giving birth.</p> <p>Brothers Anthony Casasanta and Nick Casasanta launched “The No Filter Pod” earlier this month with friend Jason Girratano – describing it as “the most blunt podcast in the world”.</p> <p>While their show is deliberately “controversial”, many are condemning the show over comments made by Anthony about a potential future wife’s body after she gives birth to his child.</p> <p>The comments have been quickly gone viral, with women branding them “disgusting”, “horrendous” and “God awful”.</p> <p>In a statement issued to news.com.au, “The No Filter Pod” said the comments had been taken “out of context” but doubled down on the controversial remarks.</p> <p>“We just don’t want our wives to be obese. We feel as if society promotes obesity which is a very unhealthy and uncomfortable way of living.</p> <p>“We promote healthy lifestyles here at NoFilterPod. It’s also not only about weight gain after childbirth, it’s also about mental health as well as the physical health. We feel like it’s very important to hold spouses both men and women to a high standard.”</p> <p>The backlash was sparked by the men themselves, who all play NFL in the US, after they shared the clip on TikTok, asking: “Is this too much?”</p> <p>“If my wife lets herself go after I have kids with her, I’m going to tell her once,” Anthony tells Nick and Jason.</p> <p>“‘If you don’t get your sh*t together, because I still want to be sexually attracted to my wife, my spouse, but if you can’t do that, I’m out’.”</p> <p>The guys said they were prepared a negative reaction but received an avalanche of a response, predominantly condemning the view and labelling it “misogynistic”.</p> <p>“We really feel as the video was taken out of context,” the trio said in a statement.</p> <p>“We will not be apologising.”</p> <p>Women have fought back in droves, with many creating videos in response to the clip, while others flooded the guys social media feeds with their thoughts forcing the podcast hosts to turn off comments.</p> <p>“Where is the respect, the love, the admiration for his partner. I actually feel sorry for him. Clearly he has no idea what love is,” one woman said.</p> <p>As one simply stated: “I can’t even comment on this cus the outrage is just UNREAL.”</p> <p>Comments on the guys’ personal Instagram accounts, which haven’t yet been disabled, displayed a similar response.</p> <p>“You’ve made a fool of yourself and you’ve made an already foolish world more worrisome,” one raged.</p> <p>“Why are you turning off your comments? yallll are a joke and can’t take the heat,” another lamented.</p> <p>Anthony, Nick and Jason have claimed they are receiving death threats over the outcry but have continued to post clips on TikTok on topics surrounding cheating, “fitness chicks” and female vs male value.</p> <p>According to the boys, girls who workout are “superior to all women”, calling them “top of the line”.</p> <p>They also reckon “girls cheat more than guys” and women seek “financial security from their husbands” citing that all they ask for in return is that “you don’t sleep around with like 50 other dudes”.</p> <p>These statements have obviously not gone down well, with words such as “repulsive”, “vile” and “red flag” being used to describe them in the comments.</p>

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Exercise and Alzheimer’s: Is it necessary?

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>It’s no real surprise that an active lifestyle is beneficial for people with <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/predictive-test-for-alzheimers-disease/" target="_blank">Alzheimer’s disease</a>. But researchers from the University of California have now added another piece to the puzzle in understanding how physical activity improves brain health and helps people with Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>According to their study, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2021/11/11/JNEUROSCI.1483-21.2021" target="_blank">published</a> earlier this week in <em>JNeurosci</em>, exercise might play a role in decreasing immune cell activation<em>.</em></p> <p>The brain’s immune cells, called microglia, activate to clear debris and foreign invaders from the brain. But too much activation can trigger inflammation, damage neurons, and disrupt brain signalling.</p> <p>Animal studies have shown that increasing physical activity reduces abnormal microglia activation, but the link has not been established in humans.</p> <p>The researchers tracked the physical activity of 167 people, 60% of whom had Alzheimer’s disease, for almost a decade. The participants wore activity monitors 24 hours a day for up to 10 days straight before annual cognitive exams.</p> <p>They then analysed participants’ brains after their deaths, which occurred at an average of 90 years of age. After adjusting for age, sex, education, and motor performances, the researchers observed that brain immune cells were less active in those who exercised more, particularly in areas of the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>“We’ve known for a long time that midlife physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of dementia,” says Professor Amy Brodtmann, a neurologist at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, who was not involved in the study. “But how late-life physical activity improves brain health still isn’t clear.”</p> <p>Brodtmann says past studies have looked at the effect of exercising on beta-amyloid and tau, two proteins that accumulate in the brain forming plaques and disrupting brain functioning. Muscle mass has also been associated with better brain health, while reducing cardiovascular disease and the risk of stroke in the brain through exercising contributes to lowering the risk of dementia.</p> <p>The role of brain immune cells in cognitive decline is now receiving an enormous amount of attention. “We used to think that inflammation came after the pathologies in the brain,” Brodtmann said. “But what we’re now thinking is that other events in life, particularly vascular disease, can cause increased inflammation in the brain, and this may be the primary driver of the pathology [in the brain].”</p> <p>Brodtmann says this study uncovered the positive effect of physical activity on neuroimmune modulation. “That means that at any stage in your life, you can affect your brain’s health by exercising.”</p> <p>She says that physicians should encourage patients to exercise regularly, as well as adopt a Mediterranean diet and address all other risk factors.</p> <p>“Age in itself is not a barrier to exercise,” Brodtmann says, adding that including physical activity in your routine could be as simple as going for a brisk, 30-minute walk most days of the week. Running, swimming, cycling and some gentle strength workout is also highly recommended.</p> <p>As people get older, reduced mobility might be a challenge, but Brodtmann said some level of physical activity is beneficial at any age and stage of the disease.</p> <p>“These diseases are usually the cumulative effects of a lifetime of not exercising or eating well, and this behaviour is not very easy to change.”</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/exercise-and-alzheimers-is-it-necessary/">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Dr Manuela Callari. </em></p> </div> </div>

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I just recovered from Omicron – how long does my immunity last?

<div class="copy"> <p>If you recently recovered from an <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/covid/omicron-update-170122/" target="_blank">Omicron infection</a>, do you now have free rein to do whatever you want without risk of reinfection? And if so, for how long?</p> <p>Two main factors affect how well your acquired immunity after Omicron infection will protect you.</p> <p>First, your antibody levels. “If high levels of neutralising antibodies are elicited to Omicron following infection, then we would expect to see some level of protection against reinfection with Omicron, but this is likely to be short-lived,” says Professor Gilda Tachedjian, a virologist at the Burnet Institute and past president of the Australian Virology Society.</p> <p>Generally, a more severe infection generates a higher level of antibodies than an asymptomatic infection, explains Professor Anthony Cunningham, an infectious diseases physician and clinical virologist at the University of Sydney. But when the level of neutralising antibodies begins to drop, your likelihood of reinfection rises.</p> <p>It’s simply too early to know how long Omicron immunity will last, he says.</p> <p>From vaccine studies, we know that antibody levels begin to drop after three to six months. A <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanmic/article/PIIS2666-5247(21)00219-6/fulltext" target="_blank">recent study</a> published in <em>The Lancet</em> estimated that reinfection by SARS-CoV-2 under endemic conditions would likely occur between three months and five years after peak antibody response.</p> <p>Almost certainly, Cunningham says, there will be a lot of individual variation, similar to what has been observed with previous strains. This variation depends on the severity of the disease you experienced, and whether you have had a vaccine.</p> <p>The second factor: emerging variants. Our waning antibodies may not be able to target any new variants that come along. The Omicron variant, for example, largely evades immunity from past infection and vaccines. A recent <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.imperial.ac.uk/mrc-global-infectious-disease-analysis/covid-19/report-49-Omicron/" target="_blank">report</a> from Imperial College London estimates that the risk of reinfection with Omicron is 5.4 times greater than that of the Delta variant.</p> <p>“The most likely outcome is that you won’t get re-infected with Omicron because the expectation is that the Omicron wave will decline, but then the greatest risk is that another strain comes along,” says Cunningham. “It all depends on what type of strain comes next.”</p> <p>Even if you have had a recent Omicron infection, don’t throw your mask away, warns Cunningham: “The more virus circulates in the world, the more likely it is that we’ll see new strains.”</p> <p>Although protection from reinfection might not last for long, experts think T-cells might come to the rescue.</p> <p>While antibodies directly bind and neutralise virions, preventing an infection, T-cells activate once the infection is established. They target and kill virus-infected cells, helping to clear the infection and reduce its severity. This arm of the immune response tends to be broader than antibodies – and thus more likely to recognise variants, and to last longer, Tachedjian explains.</p> <p>“Hopefully, you will be asymptomatic or have a less severe disease [the second time around].”</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/covid/immunity-after-omicron-infection/">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Dr Manuela Callari. </em></p> </div>

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Time to upgrade from cloth and surgical masks to respirators? Your questions answered

<p>With the rapid spread of Omicron, many countries are rethinking their COVID mask advice for the community.</p> <p>Respirators have been mandatory in public places in <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210125-austria-makes-ffp2-masks-mandatory-in-shops-public-transport">Austria</a> for a year. Now, the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/types-of-masks.html">United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a> suggests respirators be considered for greater protection, for instance, on public transport or in enclosed crowded spaces. It’s time to rethink and upgrade masks for you and your family.</p> <h2>What is a respirator?</h2> <p>Respirators, often wrongly called “masks” because of their appearance, are personal protective equipment made to a particular standard and designed to prevent inhalation of hazardous airborne contaminants.</p> <p>In the US, respirator standards are managed by the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/respirators/">National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health</a> (NIOSH), and cover three things: filter efficiency, breathing resistance and fit. A filter that meets the N95 standard (equivalent to Europe’s FFP2) must capture at least 95% of particles in the most penetrating size range at a high flow rate. In Australia, a respirator must meet <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/publication/guidance-medicalsurgical-face-masks-and-respirator-standards-key-performance-aspects">TGA standards</a>.</p> <p>A respirator that consists entirely of filtering material – rather than having layers, say for waterproofing – is called a filtering facepiece respirator (FFR). An FFR can be worn multiple times but must eventually be thrown away. Research suggests FFRs lose their ability to fit well after <a href="https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(11)00770-X/fulltext">20 wears</a> – due to stretching of straps or failure of the nose clip or edge components.</p> <p>The filter material is usually a non-woven polypropylene electret, which means the fibres carry an electrical charge to enhance particle collection while ensuring low breathing resistance.</p> <h2>Why were we told to wear cloth masks at first?</h2> <p>It was initially assumed SARS-CoV-2 spread via droplets (in coughs and sneezes) which caused infection when they landed on the mouth, nose or eyes. For such particles, a cloth or surgical mask is an efficient form of <em>source control</em> to protect others from virus emitted by the wearer.</p> <p>Now it’s understood the virus is <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-how-the-disease-moves-through-the-air-173490">airborne</a>. Virus-laden particles build up in the air over time indoors because of breathing and speaking.</p> <h2>Will a respirator protect me even if others are unmasked?</h2> <p>It depends on the type of exposure and how long you are exposed. It is important to consider your risk depending on <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-where-and-how-you-are-most-likely-to-catch-covid-new-study-174473">where you are, what you’re doing, with whom and how long you’re there</a>.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/10/commentary-what-can-masks-do-part-1-science-behind-covid-19-protection">safest situation</a>, especially for prolonged contact in crowded settings, is when everyone is wearing well-fitting N95 respirators.</p> <p>It’s hard to show evidence to support respirator use in the community – but lack of randomised controlled trials (RCT) does not mean they are not effective. Studying masks or respirators at a population level is complex and involves many variables. There is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020748920301139?via%3Dihub">strong evidence</a> from RCTs in health workers and laboratory studies showing respirators are effective for source control and personal protection.</p> <h2>I really like my cloth mask. Is it OK to keep wearing it?</h2> <p>Probably not. Cloth masks are not made to any particular standard, so their properties and quality vary considerably.</p> <p>In general, they are poor filters of small airborne particles.</p> <h2>Surgical masks are cheaper – can I just switch to those?</h2> <p>Not really. While some surgical masks may have better filtration capacity than cloth masks, they were designed primarily to prevent the emission of large droplets. Some medical-grade surgical masks may also offer protection from body fluid splashes or sprays. No surgical mask will prevent the emission or inhalation of small infectious particles, however.</p> <p>A key deficiency of surgical and cloth masks is their loose fit compared to respirators.</p> <p>While some older, hard-cup style respirators may be uncomfortable, newer styles are <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/01/11/n95-masks-cdc-walensky/">better tolerated</a>. This may be due to their greater surface area, which could contribute to lower breathing resistance.</p> <h2>Should I have my respirator professionally fitted?</h2> <p>No. When respirators are used to protect workers from airborne hazards such as dust or pollution, employers are legally required to undertake fit-testing (see for example the US <a href="https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134">Occupational Safety and Health Administration</a> fit-testing standard). But even non-fit tested respirators will provide <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00198.x">superior protection</a>over cloth or surgical masks.</p> <p>A respirator should rest against your face with no gaps, especially around the nose and chin. To create a tight seal, form the nose clip and place both straps around your head, adjusting them if necessary.</p> <p>If the facepiece collapses a small amount when you inhale, the respirator probably fits well. Get in the habit of doing a <a href="https://youtu.be/pGXiUyAoEd8?t=140">“self seal-check”</a> before each wear.</p> <h2>Shouldn’t respirators be reserved for healthcare professionals?</h2> <p>No. Early in the pandemic, the public were discouraged from buying respirators because of a global shortage of personal protective equipment and the assumption healthcare workers were at higher risk of catching COVID from so-called “aerosol-generating procedures” such as intubation.</p> <p>We now know <a href="https://associationofanaesthetists-publications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/anae.15475">everyday activities like talking and singing</a> are <em>more</em> likely to generate infectious aerosols than medical procedures.</p> <p>As with vaccines, there are global equity issues and we need to <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/07/national-hi-fi-mask-initiative-needed-with-vaccine-rollouts/">expand manufacturing capacity</a> to ensure sufficient supply for everyone.</p> <h2>What about the cost and environmental impact?</h2> <p>Compared to cloth masks, respirators (which are not washable) cost more and have a greater environmental impact. But disposable respirators can be used for <a href="https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/fulltext/2020/12110/determination_of_the_optimal_time_for_n95.143.aspx">extended periods</a> if they are not wet or damaged, and there are re-usable options such as <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/elastomeric-respirators-strategy/index.html">elastometric respirators</a>. A respirator should be thrown away when it gets dirty or the straps, nose clip or other components lose their integrity.</p> <p>Costs and environmental concerns need to be weighed against the costs and waste produced by a single COVID hospital admission. In Australia, the average daily cost of an Intensive Care Unit stay has been <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2019/211/7/financial-cost-intensive-care-australia-multicentre-registry-study">estimated at $4375</a>.</p> <h2>What if I can’t afford or get my hands on a N95 respirator?</h2> <p>The Korean KF94 and Chinese KN95s are cheaper alternatives that provide better protection than a surgical or cloth mask. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/12-signs-you-have-a-fake-n95-kn95-or-kf94-mask/?smtyp=cur&amp;smid=tw-nytimes">Beware counterfeits</a>, such as those without a GN stamp to show they meet manufacturing standards.</p> <p>If you can’t get hold of a respirator, you can <a href="https://ozsage.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/OzSage-Masks1-4.pdf">improve protection of a surgical or cloth mask</a>.</p> <p>Options include “<a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2778913">double masking</a>” by wearing a tight-fitting cloth mask over a surgical mask. You can also “knot and tuck” a surgical mask by tying the sides and tucking the remainder inside. Finally, a well-designed cloth mask (with three layers) can perform as well as a good quality surgical mask.</p> <p>It’s still true that something is better than nothing. But don’t count on these types of masks to provide the same level of protection for the same amount of time as an N95 respirator.</p> <h2>Respirators should be provided and required</h2> <p>The World Health Organization has stressed the importance of a “vaccines-plus” approach.</p> <p>There is a strong case, when prevalence of COVID is high, for governments to both mandate and fund the provision of respirators for the public, <a href="https://www.cbs58.com/news/500-000-n95-masks-given-away-in-48-hours-more-on-the-way">as some parts of the US</a> are now doing.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/time-to-upgrade-from-cloth-and-surgical-masks-to-respirators-your-questions-answered-174877">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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fitness tips your trainer is hiding from you

<p><em>Image: Getty </em></p> <p>Here is what some industry experts have to say: </p> <p><strong><span class="h3">For weight loss</span></strong></p> <p>1. Ben Gregory, former international athlete and coach, and PT at Manor London: “Drink more water and get your steps in.</p> <p>“General activity levels will help you lean down and feeling full with plenty of water not only makes your skin glow, it give you loads of energy but also keeps you feeling more satiated - you won’t be wanting to reach for those naughty snacks!”</p> <p>2. Samuel Aremu, Level 3 PT and body transformation coach: “Set alarms on your phone for getting up and away from your desk to take a 10 to 20 min walk a few times a day.”</p> <p>3. Lewis Bloor, online fitness coach: “Focus on the times you eat. Instead of going from junk food to rabbit food straight away, focus first on eating all your food within an eight hour window.</p> <p>“Gain this control, then move on to fine tuning the diet. This is called Intermittent Fasting.”</p> <p>4. Lucy Gornall, personal trainer at Digme: “Females, work with your body! Appreciate that at certain times of the month, you’ll have an increased appetite and a lower desire to exercise.</p> <p>“During these times, aim to maintain, then get back on the<span> </span>weight loss<span> </span>wagon after.”</p> <p>5. Samuel: “Use an online calorie calculator to work out what your personal calorie requirements are.</p> <p>“Start by consistently consuming your daily maintenance calories; once you can do this consistently for two weeks, and if your weight has dropped, calculate your calories again and do the same for two weeks.</p> <p>“If your weight hasn’t dropped, then slightly decrease your calories by 200 to 300 calories less per day as this will kick start the weight loss process.”</p> <p><strong><span class="h3">For a flat tummy</span></strong></p> <p>6. Baz Gouldsbury, PT and gym owner: “Abs are made in the kitchen; having reduced-sugar meals will definitely assist in achieving a flatter tummy.”</p> <p>7. Lucy: “Your posture could have a role to play in the flatness of your tummy - try tilting your pelvis forwards when you’re upright, which can often stop the lower belly protruding out.”</p> <p>8. Samuel: “Aim for a minimum of two litres of clean fluid, daily - our body retains water and it’s usually stored around our waistline.</p> <p>“Drinking water regularly allows your body to get rid of the excess, especially around the love handles.”</p> <p>9. Alex Crockford, PT and creator of fitness app, #CrockFit: “Something a little different is the ‘vacuum’ and it’s something you can do as part of your daily routine.</p> <p>“It involves really pulling in that deep core muscle, which really does tighten up the whole tummy area, irrelevant of fat loss: hold this for 15 seconds and increase this over time.”</p> <p>10. Samuel: “Avoid inflammation of the gut by cutting out the foods that you know will get you bloated, no matter how nice they may be.”</p> <p><strong><span class="h3">For lean legs</span></strong></p> <p>11. Maurice Ryan, general manager and PT at Fitness First Harringay: “Try weighted walking, lunge forwards and backwards.</p> <p>“Typically use a barbel on your back and take six to 10 steps forwards depending on the space you have, followed immediately by the same steps backwards.</p> <p>“Doing it this way gives us the opportunity to make it the total leg burner!”</p> <p>12. Samuel: “If leaner legs are what you want, high repetitions - around 20 or more - with low-moderate weight is the direction you want to be heading in.</p> <p>“Avoid heavy lifts and instead go for a weight around 30-60 per cent of your heaviest.”</p> <p>13. Lewis: “Running, sprinting, jumping and kickboxing are all great ways to strengthen and tone the legs.</p> <p>“Make sure you train legs three times a week and get your rest in too!”</p> <p>14. Lucy: “Walk everywhere. Honestly, walking is such an underrated form of movement and means your lower body is consistently working, helping to shed fat.”</p> <p>15. Jayne Lo, Elite Trainer, Third Space: “A split squat builds muscle and strength by working each leg individually.</p> <p>“Stand tall, then take your right leg back, as if you were about to do a lunge, keeping the right heel off the ground.</p> <p>“Engage your core, and bend both knees, dropping down until the right knee is just above the ground, then push back up to standing.</p> <p>“Avoid the front knee coming past the front toes and aim for eight to 10 reps on each leg.”</p> <p><strong>For a broad chest </strong></p> <p>16. Godswill Ejiogu, sport scientist and PT: “I would recommend press ups as the best exercise to grow your chest, with my second favourite being a dumbbell chest press.</p> <p>“For this, lie back on a bench, feet flat on the ground, hold a dumbbell in each hand, and then extend your arms up, so the dumbbells are over your chest.</p> <p>“Then, move the dumbbells back down towards your chest slowly; pause, then press up again - try four sets of 12 reps, with a 45 second rest between each set.”</p> <p>17. Ben: “Go heavy on any bench exercise and focus on that time under tension by going slowly and pausing at the top of the move.</p> <p>“Superset (as in, go straight into another exercise with no rest) with resistance band exercises to get that real full pump after each set.”</p> <p>18. Baz: “A lot of people stick to the same routine, week in week out, so take yourself out of that same old routine and mix it up, as shocking the body is the way to achieve the best results.</p> <p>“If you’ve always done the same program of weights, then change the moves and change the number of repetitions.”</p> <p>19. Samuel: “There are three things our chest loves; volume, variety, and big weights, son each chest day aim to do a total of no fewer than 100 reps.</p> <p>“In fact, aim towards 200 to 300. Split these repetitions between a variety of four to six different exercises then, aim to increase the weight you use for each exercise on a weekly basis and aim to do this in increments of 2.5 - 5kg.”</p> <p>20. Alex: “Instead of doing a chest day every week, try doing push ups as a part of your daily routine.</p> <p>“Do a little push up session to failure (until you can do no more reps) every day and this will help you grow your chest much better than one workout per week.”</p> <p><strong><span class="h3">To be a faster runner</span></strong></p> <p>21. Ben: “Go for shorter and faster paced sessions with good recovery between reps, so you can keep giving that high intensity effort.</p> <p>“Don’t be afraid of long recovery sessions that span more than five to six minutes’.”</p> <p>22. Jay Revan, boxing and conditioning coach at My Manor London: “Introducing explosive plyometric movements like jump squats, jump lunges or box jumps into your strength training program can improve your running speed.</p> <p>“These movements will teach your muscles to contract at a faster and more efficient rate.”</p> <p>23. Ryan Lucas-Lowther, Crossfit coach at Fortitude Fitness London: “It sounds simple, but move your arms faster, and it seems to work!”</p> <p>24. Lewis: “Instead of running for hours every day, split your training between endurance and explosiveness.</p> <p>“Go for two long, slow runs and two hard and fast sprint sessions a week; this will get you to level up in a matter of weeks.”</p> <p>25. Jay: “Interval training is a great way to improve running speed.</p> <p>“Switching between short intense bursts of running and timed recovery periods not only helps build muscle but will improve your overall speed and aerobic endurance.”</p> <p>26. Samuel: “Mix up a normal jogging pace with sprints.</p> <p>“Try one minute of jogging followed by 20 seconds of sprints, done eight times, back to back.”</p> <p><strong>For tackling a 5k</strong></p> <p>27. Baz: “If you’re new to running, start off slow. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Join your local running club as this will build your confidence.”</p> <p>28. Tim Kayode, founder of Myoset Sports and performance therapist: “Introduce a purposeful warm up - I’d encourage everyone before running a 5k to perform 3D Stretching.</p> <p>“This is functional, dynamic stretching and offers a more active way to loosen up before exercise, plus, it activates your muscles and improves flexibility and joint mobility.”</p> <p>29. Louenna Edwards, Barry’s Bootcamp Trainer and LuLuFiit founder: “Get yourself a pair of decent trainers; comfortable, supportive and bouncy - Adidas Pureboost 19’s are my go tos.</p> <p>“The same goes for your gear, don’t wear anything that will be a nuisance, fall down or get in the way of movement.”</p> <p>30. Samuel: “Map out a 5k route that you’re familiar with; select a day where you’ll cover 1k out of this 5k distance; try and jog this 1k then walk the rest.</p> <p>“Then, continue to do this and gradually increase your jogging distance to 2k. Keep repeating this until you can do 5k.”</p> <p>31. Louenna: “Use an app to track your split times, distance and progression - Strava would be my recommendation.</p> <p>“You can see what your friends are up to on it, keep yourself accountable and hearing how fast or slow I’m running each kilometre really does help me progress.”</p> <p>32. Ben: “Spend less time focusing on pace and looking at your fitness tracker. Instead, try to get out and just enjoy the feel of running.</p> <p>“Building up lots of easy miles that don’t even feel like training will help build you a serious base to build on.”</p> <p>33. Louenna: “If you struggle with distance, start by running 1k for example and build up each week.</p> <p>“Slowly but surely as you get fitter you can add a little distance and before you know it, 5k will be a breeze!”</p> <p><strong><span class="h3">For toned arms</span></strong></p> <p>34. Maurice: “Work on [your] triceps because they are the biggest muscle group in the arm and can give the toned look we all love.</p> <p>“Using the cable machine in your gym is a great way to tone the triceps. Go for a Cable Pulldown first. For this, stand arms length away from the cable machine and make sure the cable attachment point is above your head.</p> <p>“Hold a handle in each hand, overhead with arms straight. Slowly pull the cable down towards your thighs, keeping arms and back straight.</p> <p>“Pause when the cable handles reach your thighs, then return to overhead arm extension. Do 10 reps.</p> <p>“Superset this with Dumbbell Extensions: stand tall holding one dumbbell in both hands, arms up overhead.</p> <p>“Keeping upper arms straight, bend at the elbows and lower the dumbbells down towards your upper back.</p> <p>“Pause, then using your tricep muscles, bring the dumbbell up to the start position. Do 10 reps.</p> <p>“Do these moves back to back, taking a one minute rest between each pair. Go for three rounds and feel the burn!”</p> <p>35. Samuel: “Find a group of arm exercises you enjoy doing and increase the volume of each exercise.</p> <p>“So if you were doing 10 rep of three sets before, now do 20 rep of six - 10 sets.</p> <p>“The weight you chose should not be so heavy that you are unable to complete 15 reps.”</p> <p>36. Lucy: “Boxing is a great cardio workout that also provides serious arm toning. Go for five sets of three minute intervals.”</p> <p>37. Godswill: “Try a dumbbell bicep curl supersetted with a body weight bench dips.</p> <p>“Opt for 15 reps of each, back to back, then take a 45 second break before repeating it again. Do this four times.</p> <p>“For the dumbbell bicep curl, stand upright, with a dumbbell in your left hand, arm down by your side, palm facing forward.</p> <p>“Keeping your upper arm close to your body, bend at the elbow and curl your forearm up towards your shoulder, holding the dumbbell. Pause, then lower back to the start position - that’s one rep.</p> <p>“For bodyweight bench dips, you’ll need a bench or the edge of a chair.</p> <p>“Sit on your bench, and place your hands on the edge, either side of your hips. Legs should be straight out in front of you with heels in the ground.</p> <p>“Slide your glutes off the bench, then bend at the elbows and lower yourself down until you are hovering just above the ground. Then, push back up through your palms to the start position.”</p> <p><strong><span class="h3">To be more motivated to exercise</span></strong></p> <p>38. Ben: “Watch any fitness documentary on Netflix - I can’t help banging out some push ups after watching Mat Fraser win another CrossFit Games.</p> <p>“They are just such inspiring athletes.”</p> <p>39. Samuel: “Tell someone your goals as when we are accountable to someone we are less likely to quit because deep down we want to keep the image that person has of us, a positive one.</p> <p>“So we will do whatever it takes to keep it that way!”</p> <p>40. Baz: “The biggest motivation is yourself and who you surround yourself with.</p> <p>“Try to be around like-minded people who love to keep fit and healthy. Attending fitness classes is also a good way to do this.”</p> <p>41. Kate Beckitt, marketing specialist at Fresh Fitness Food and PT: “Don’t wait for motivation to come.</p> <p>“Real progress comes when even in the moments when you really don’t want to do the workout, or you really want to eat that extra slice of cake, you push through and do it anyway.”</p> <p>42. Louenna: “Music holds the key to my motivation and I really struggle if I realise my Beats headphones are out of battery!</p> <p>“Create a playlist that is going to motivate you and keep you pumped up!</p> <p>“The sense of euphoria that music can create can sometimes make you feel on top of the world, so do not underestimate the power of a great playlist.”</p> <p>43. Samuel: “Writing down your goal makes the reason why you train and exercise in the first place, more real, and the more real it feels, the more you will be connected to it which will keep you on track.”</p> <p>44. Lewis: “Focus on how you’re going to feel after the workout.</p> <p>“Try not to engage the little voice in the back of your head and just GO! Half the battle is getting there, the workout will take care of itself.”</p> <p> </p>

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Coffee may prevent chronic liver disease

<div class="copy"> <p>Drinking coffee – whichever way you take it – may reduce the risk of liver disease, according to a new <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10991-7" target="_blank">study</a> published in the journal <em>BMC Public Health.</em></p> <p>A team of researchers, from the universities of Southampton and Edinburgh in the UK, analysed <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/" target="_blank">UK Biobank</a> data on 495,585 participants, followed over roughly 11 years, to monitor the development of chronic liver disease and its relationship to coffee consumption.</p> <p>Coffee drinkers had a 21% reduced risk of chronic liver disease and a 49% reduced risk of death from liver disease, according to the study. The maximum benefit was found among those who drank ground coffee, which contains high levels of the ingredients kahweol and cafestol – which have been <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17590492/" target="_blank">shown</a> to be beneficial against liver disease in animal trials.</p> <p>But even instant coffee, which has low levels of these two key ingredients, had a marked benefit in reducing risk of liver disease, suggesting other ingredients or combinations are also beneficial.</p> <p>The find is important because chronic liver disease is a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554597/" target="_blank">growing cause</a> of morbidity and mortality worldwide.</p> <p>“Coffee is widely accessible and the benefits we see from our study may mean it could offer a potential preventative treatment for chronic liver disease,” says lead author Oliver Kennedy, of the University of Southampton. “This would be especially valuable in countries with lower income and worse access to healthcare and where the burden of chronic liver disease is highest.”</p> <p>Coffee has <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/coffee-and-health/faq-20058339" target="_blank">often had a bad rap</a>, with early studies suggesting negative health impacts and a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/health-fitness/health-benefits-caffeine-free/" target="_blank">bevy</a> of health gurus and online blogs espousing the benefits of abandoning the drink. But in recent years, a number of studies have demonstrated the potential benefits of coffee against a range of illnesses, including <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1125458/" target="_blank">Parkinson’s disease</a>, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/2/398" target="_blank">type 2 diabetes</a>, and <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.119.006799" target="_blank">heart failure</a>.</p> <p>The authors conducted their research based on the “biological plausibility” of coffee as a preventive factor in liver disease. Caffeine is a non-selective antagonist of the A2aA receptor. When activated, the A2aA receptor stimulates collagen production by hepatic stellate cells, which mitigate against liver fibrosis. Other active ingredients including kahweol, cafestol and chlorogenic acid have also been shown to protect against fibrosis in animal studies.</p> <p>The authors note that coffee consumption was only reported at initial enrolment into the study, so long-term changes in consumption are not accounted for. The participants in the study were also predominantly white and from higher socio-economic backgrounds, skewing the results towards particular physiologies and lifestyle factors, highlighting the need for further research.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/coffee-may-prevent-chronic-liver-disease/">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Amalyah Hart. </em></p> </div>

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Furious backlash after school offers shapewear to female students

<p><em>Image: Facebook/Getty</em></p> <p>A Mississippi middle school has offered body-slimming shapewear to female students this month, leading to furious backlash.</p> <p>Southaven Middle School in northern Mississippi sent a letter home to parents of teen and tween girls, educating on the issue of negative body image.</p> <p>The letter concluded with an offer from the school's counselors to provide shapewear — a foundation garment that's used alter a person's body shape. This offer was made to any of the students, aged 10 to 14, whose parents agreed to it.</p> <p>The letter was shared on social media by mom Ashley Heun, who said that she was 'beyond p***ed.'</p> <p>'This is what was sent home with my 8th-grade daughter,' Heun, whose daughter Caroline attends the school, wrote on Facebook.</p> <p>The memo is headed with the nonsensical title 'Why Do Girls Suffer from Body Image?' — which should more accurately say suffer from 'bad' or 'negative' body image.</p> <p>The memo goes on to discuss how 'social and cultural experiences' create a 'desire to adhere to an "ideal" body shape,' and how girls are 'more likely than boys to have negative body image.'</p> <p>While the memo is mostly thoughtful, noting that 'women in the United States feel pressured to measure up to strict and unrealistic social and cultural beauty ideals,' it also asserts that girls with a positive body image are more likely to have good self esteem, physical health and mental health — and it offers a surprising way of supporting that.</p> <p>'We, the counsellors of Southaven Middle School, would like to have an opportunity to offer some healthy literature to your daughter on maintaining a positive body image.</p> <p>'We are also providing girls with shapewear, bras, and other health products if applicable.'</p>

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Woman reports bizarre side effect of Covid jab

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After receiving her booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, a Sydney woman has given it credit for an unusual side effect - removing two persistent warts on her hands.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Erin Riley </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/covid-19-omicron-outbreak-mrna-vaccine-credited-with-removing-warts-in-weird-booster-side-effect/QOCD7UJGXU25S6K5D4A2ELRXTE/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">shared</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> her medical discovery on Twitter, two weeks after receiving an mRNA Covid vaccine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have had two warts on my hands for the last 5 years,” she wrote. “Tried wart off- they kept coming back. But in the two weeks since I had my booster shot (my first mRNA vaccine as my first two were AZ), they have disappeared completely.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As in, you can’t even tell they were there.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">I have had two warts on my hands for the last 5 years. Tried wart off- they kept coming back. But in the two weeks since I had my booster shot (my first mRMA vaccine as my first two were AZ), they have disappeared completely. As in, you can’t even tell they were there.</p> — Erin Riley (@erinrileyau) <a href="https://twitter.com/erinrileyau/status/1480094264994402308?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 9, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Several people have since commented on Ms Riley’s tweet with their own, similar experiences, including some who noticed effects after receiving just their first dose. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I just checked and yes a wart I’ve had on my finger for at least 20 yrs is gone. Not even a mark,” one person shared.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“OH MY GOD I just checked and one on my toe is significantly smaller?! It’s been there maybe 15 years,” another wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Others have shared experiences of disappearing corns and moles.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“OK so this is weird but had a mole just above my eyebrow that (has) been developing very slowly, now it’s almost gone … so that’s unexpected. Not a wart but a mole,” they wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although most warts are harmless, viral warts are generally caused by one of the 150 different strains of the human papillomaviruses (HPV).</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">OH MY GOD I just checked and one on my toe is significantly smaller?! It’s been there maybe 15 years. 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯</p> — Isobel Roe (@isobelroe) <a href="https://twitter.com/isobelroe/status/1480119614335963137?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 9, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A study from the </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdv.17771?casa_token=un9AON3sN5wAAAAA%3AZd0_bHa49HTkAV2PGy23u1I-04yMSxYDG02FjPAWiF_miSXv2E8096OHbaVqy_fyy-CTRIbYOzdEShwv" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has reported on the effect of COVID-19 vaccines and viral warts, though the effect is yet to be well-established.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The researchers cited a potential explanation that could involve activation of a person’s immune response after getting the jab. However, they said more research is needed to confirm the link.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The team also noted that the effect was interesting, as other vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella have also been used to treat viral warts. They added that though warts can disappear “spontaneously”, a similar effect has been seen in some patients who received the HPV vaccine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unlike the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine - which uses weakened viral material to trigger an immune response - mRNA vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer use messenger RNA (mRNA) to trigger the response.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mRNAin the vaccine teaches your immune system how to make the S protein found in the COVID-19 virus, allowing your body to create antibodies specifically to fight the virus which can protect you from future infection.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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10 medication mistakes that are hurting your health

<p><strong>Taking an OTC remedy without reading the label</strong></p> <p><span>When it comes to over-the-counter drugs, many people have a blasé attitude, thinking, </span><em>They can’t really hurt me, right?</em><span> Wrong. </span></p> <p><span>Plenty of people end up with serious health problems from accidentally taking too much of an over-the-counter drug (such as a painkiller), overusing drugs such as laxatives or acid blockers, or taking something that interferes with another medication they’re on. </span></p> <p><span>No matter how innocuous a drug may seem, it’s always smart to read the label. It might surprise you.</span></p> <p><strong>Taking sedatives if you have heartburn</strong></p> <p><span>People who took prescription drugs called benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Halcion) to fall asleep were 50 per cent more likely to have heartburn at night than those who didn’t in one large survey. </span></p> <p><span>Other research has shown that these prescription anti-anxiety drugs loosen up the lower oesophageal sphincter, the ring of muscle that keeps stomach acid where it belongs.</span></p> <p><strong>Taking an antidiarrhoeal if you have a fever</strong></p> <p><span>Never treat yourself at home with a diarrhoea remedy if you also have a fever or if there’s blood or mucus in your bowel movements. </span></p> <p><span>These are signs of an infection and warrant a visit to your doctor.</span></p> <p><strong>Taking a daily aspirin without asking your doctor</strong></p> <p><span>Some people shouldn’t take aspirin every day, especially since it can cause stomach bleeding. </span><span>Doctors usually recommend it only for people who have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. </span></p> <p><span>Women may not benefit as much from aspirin therapy as men. And some people appear to be resistant to aspirin’s anti-clotting effects. </span></p> <p><span>(Tests are available to check for aspirin resistance, though some doctors question their accuracy).</span></p> <p><strong>Quitting an anti-anxiety med cold turkey</strong><span></span></p> <p><span>If you’ve been taking an anti-anxiety medicine for a long time, do not quit abruptly. Talk to your doctor about how to gradually taper the dose. </span></p> <p><span>Otherwise, you could experience very serious complications such as seizures.</span></p> <p><strong>Using old antibiotics for a new infection</strong></p> <p><span>First, you should have finished the entire prescription the first time around. Second, many antibiotics are specific to the type of infection you have. </span></p> <p><span>Taking the wrong antibiotic might not work and can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, making treatment for that type of infection more difficult the next time.</span></p> <p><strong>Taking an antipsychotic without asking why you need it </strong></p> <p><span>Don’t accept a prescription for an antipsychotic drug (if you don’t have schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses like psychosis) without asking your doctor, “Why this drug?” </span></p> <p><span>A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that the majority of people prescribed these drugs didn’t have schizophrenia or other severe mental disorders for which the drugs are approved. </span></p> <p><span>Instead, they had conditions like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder that could be managed with safer, less-expensive medications. </span></p> <p><span>Although some antipsychotics are labelled for use in depression, they should be used as a last resort if typical antidepressants don’t work.</span></p> <p><strong>Taking calcium on an empty stomach</strong></p> <p><span>The calcium in most supplements is bound to a form of salt called carbonate. </span></p> <p><span>Your stomach needs plenty of hydrochloric acid to break down calcium carbonate, so always take your supplement with a meal or snack. </span></p> <p><span>Food will cause your stomach to produce the acid.</span></p> <p><strong>Stopping your medication</strong></p> <p><span>Don’t skimp on eczema medicine. In one study, researchers found that about 65 per cent of parents stopped applying prescription ointments to the skin of kids with eczema just 3 days after it was prescribed. </span></p> <p><span>To get the most out of your eczema treatment, use it exactly as your doctor prescribes.</span></p> <p><strong>Diagnosing your own yeast infection</strong></p> <p><span>Yes, the itching and discharge could be a yeast infection – but it might not be. </span></p> <p><span>In one study of 95 women who diagnosed themselves, testing showed that just a third actually had a yeast infection; the rest had various other vaginal infections. </span></p> <p><span>Pay a visit to your doctor for the correct diagnosis.</span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/healthsmart/tips/drugs-medicine/10-medication-mistakes-that-are-hurting-your-health" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

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Why don’t snorers wake themselves up?

<div class="copy"> <p>Ask any snorer why their sonorous rumblings don’t wake them up and they will almost inevitably give the same, simple response: “Why ask me? I don’t snore!”</p> <p>A snorer’s blissful ignorance of their own snuffles gives the impression that they must sleep soundly through them, while the rest of the household listens on in frustration or horror.</p> <p>But just because they don’t remember waking up, doesn’t mean they sleep like a baby. To explain why, we need to look at why some of us snore in the first place. Let’s break it down.</p> <h2>Why do we only snore when we’re asleep?</h2> <p>Your mouth and throat are full of all sorts of delightfully soft, floppy bits, such as your uvula, tonsils, adenoids and other bits of tissue.</p> <p>When you’re awake, your body actively holds all these bits in their designated positions, ready for action. But when you fall asleep, your muscles relax and everything is free to loosen up.</p> <p>This relaxation is an important part of sleeping. As well as allowing our bodies to rest and recuperate, partial muscle paralysis prevents us from acting out our dreams while not fully conscious and walking. While a live action mime of our dreams could be an amusing insight to spectators, it could also be dangerous to us – and them.</p> <p>As well as keeping your limbs safely tucked in bed, sleep relaxation affects the muscles that hold everything in place.</p> <p>For some people (but certainly not any of us), this relaxation is enough for the soft tissues in our mouths to flop into undesirable positions and partially block the flow of air as they breathe.</p> <p>Snoring is the resulting sound of all the oral smooshy bits vibrating and slapping together as air forces its way through the obstruction when we breathe.</p> <h2>Human evolution has set us up to be snorers</h2> <p>Those mouth parts that cause all the trouble are actually the result of human evolution.</p> <p>If we were designing a perfect anti-snoring airway, it would be a long, straight tube with no soft parts at all. Unfortunately, a lot more is required of our airways than just unlaboured breathing. In order to vocalise beyond simple grunts, faces and throats have been reshaped to accommodate more sophisticated sound apparatus – most of which is soft tissue. Our tongues have migrated further back in our throats to shape different sounds. Compared to other mammals, our tongue rests precariously close to the back of our upper airway – the perfect place to become a blockage when we snooze.</p> <p>Our upright posture has also had an effect, shifting throats directly underneath skulls and leaving less room in which to fit all the additional squishy bits – prime conditions for the airway obstruction that leads to snoring.</p> <h2>Loud sounds can wake us when we’re fast asleep. Why not snores?</h2> <p>A loud crash from the kitchen in the middle of the night is almost certain to wake us up. Whether tree crash or a pet’s overly ambitious adventure, human bodies react to the sound by snapping speedily into a state of awareness.</p> <p>This is because our ears are still taking in sound while we’re asleep, and our brain is still processing – but its decision-making processes are very different to when we’re awake. Brains prioritise restfulness while we sleep, filtering out low-priority sounds and letting us snooze through unimportant background noise. Only high-priority signals trigger wakefulness: research has shown we’re more likely to respond to unusual sounds, especially loud sounds that could signal danger, and someone speaking our own names.</p> <p>For the offending snorer, the brain interprets soft snores as innocuous background noise that needs no further attention. But what about the ones that rattle the roof shingles?</p> <p>In fact, very loud snores actually <em>do</em> wake the snorer, but only briefly. We usually need to be in a very deep sleep state for our muscles to be relaxed enough for snoring to start, and at that point our brains are shutting out all but the most important information. Even if a snore is thunderous enough to make it through this filter, the snorer slips right back to sleep within a matter of seconds. Brainwave research suggests that we can have up to 25 of these “microarousals” per hour without even noticing.</p> <p>Unfortunately for everyone else in the household, you have to reach that deep sleep state <em>before</em> the snoring starts in order to be able to filter it out. So bad news for the ‘chainsnorers’ out there –your wake-ups might be impeding a sustained good night’s rest. For the rest of us, a couple of choices: learn to love the bear, or invest in a comfy pair of earplugs.</p> <p>Sleep tight!</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/the-body/boring-in-on-snoring/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Jamie Priest. </em></p> </div>

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Cancer survivor dies after contracting Covid from dishonest friend

<p><em>Image: Facebook</em></p> <p>A US woman who survived cancer has died of Covid-19 after contracting the illness from an infected friend who hid the diagnosis to play cards at a social gathering.</p> <p>The woman’s grieving family has reported that Barb Bartolovich, 82, of Ohio, who had previously overcome blood cancer, was vaccinated and took all necessary precautions against Covid.</p> <p>Barb made sure to only socialise with like-minded people amid the pandemic, WXYZ reports.</p> <p>As reported by the<span> </span><em>New York Post</em>, she decided to get together with friends to play cards and asked everyone beforehand if they were vaccinated, with everyone saying they were – but the family claims one of them had lied.</p> <p>“Somebody decided that testing positive for Covid is something they can hide,” Ms Bartolovich’s granddaughter, Lauren Nash, told<span> </span><em>WXYZ</em>. “The only way we found out is that the person owned up after Nana got sick.”</p> <p>Ms Bartolovich was hospitalised, placed on a ventilator and died on December 21, according to the report.</p> <p>“She was just everything to everyone. As everyone says, if you knew Barb, you were loved. She was taken too soon,” said Ms Nash, who wants to spread the message about the importance of safety measures.</p> <p>“It is not worth it. It is not worth knowing you hurt someone, potentially hurt someone, or killed someone because you want to go out and have fun.</p> <p>“I am just horrified at where we are and what is going on, that we are not taking into account people’s lives.”</p> <p>Ms Bartolovich, who lost her husband, Frank “Moose” Bartolovich in 2014, “cherished her role as a wife, mother and grandmother”, according to her obituary on<span> </span>WKBN.</p> <p>“A little firecracker, Barbara was always raring to go for family gatherings, vacations and impromptu outings. She was their support system throughout life and she taught them many lessons,” it said.</p> <p>“Barbara’s motto was, ‘There is nothing so bad in life that can’t be fixed,’” it continued.</p> <p>“She was considered cool and fun to her grandchildren and they described her as, ‘To know her was to love her and to be loved by her was the most special feeling in the world. She made every one of us feel special in her own Nana way.’”</p> <p>Ms Bartolovich leaves behind her four children and 10 grandchildren.</p>

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"I was like a flaming ball": Man struck TWICE by lightning shares his story

<p dir="ltr"><em>Content warning: This article contains graphic content.</em></p> <p dir="ltr">Ten years after a freak accident killed and revived him, New Zealand man Troy Hall is sharing his recovery story.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a rel="noopener" href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/new-zealand-man-killed-then-brought-back-to-life-by-120000-volt-powerline-electrocution-shares-story-of-survival-c-4989811" target="_blank">Speaking to<span> </span><em>7Life</em></a>, 32-year-old Mr Hall admitted he is “still battling demons” after he was struck by 120,000 volts of electricity twice in the same day.</p> <p>He hopes his story - which he has not spoken openly about before - inspires other burn victims to keep fighting.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846520/2e946d2bbca6449cab6c9484a3127404518fe165.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/804183b76228482694a00b127f46d34a" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Troy Hall suffered severe burns across more than half his body. Image: 7NEWS</em></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2011, Mr Hall was working in picking fruit in an avocado orchard.</p> <p dir="ltr">The then-22-year-old had been working outside in the rain all day, climbing up and down cherry pickers to reach the highest fruit.</p> <p dir="ltr">His father John warned him to be careful of the overhead power lines, but Troy laughed off the warning as one of the lines “crackled” above them.</p> <p dir="ltr">He now says that act was “fearless and arrogant”.</p> <p dir="ltr">As his shift was about to end, Mr Hall searched for phone reception to call his then-partner and let her know he was finishing up and heading home. He managed to reach her after climbing up a cherry picker, then he made his way back down.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was about four and a half metres away from the power line, but you know power jumps,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">What happened next was a blur for Mr Hall, but his dad has since helped him piece together the story.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I just remember blacking out,” he recalled.</p> <p dir="ltr">The pair believe that, due to the wet weather, an arc of electricity jumped from the nearby powerline and delivered 120,000 volts through the right side of Mr Hall’s head.</p> <p dir="ltr">The shock instantly killed him and he dropped to the ground.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, the young man was struck again, this time through his chest, which the pair believe brought him “back to life”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It was only a few moments later, but it blew my chest up and restarted my heart,” Mr Hall said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It lit me up from the inside… I was like a flaming ball.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He recalled that everything went instantly dark.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I couldn’t see or feel anything, I didn’t really understand what was going on,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">As Mr Hall tried to stand up, his dad came to aid and yelled at him to “stay down”.</p> <p dir="ltr">His co-workers and dad worked to try and “damp out” his body, which was engulfed in flames.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I could just hear everyone panicking and crying,” Mr Hall said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Dad was yelling at me to ‘just stay in the water’.”</p> <p dir="ltr">By the time the ambulance arrived, his body had swelled up to five times its size and more than 60 percent was covered in third-degree burns.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img style="width: 500px; height: 375.3846153846154px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846518/a817b3a257c8b33aeb00890ab6ed49564a60d6a7.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/61e8e9a1fa224341babafa0f3c950cd7" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Troy spent months recovering, and says he is still “battling demons”. Image: 7NEWS</em></p> <p dir="ltr">“The doctors told me I probably would never walk or talk again,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was trying to talk but couldn’t.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite facing the possibility of losing his right leg and arm, Mr Hall thought to himself, “‘I will f***ing show you’”.</p> <p dir="ltr">A few weeks later, he took his first steps and regained his voice shortly after.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, after undergoing multiple skin grafts taken from his legs, he lost an ear and sight in his left eye.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I have a prosthetic ear now, it looks so realistic - I just pop it on!” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s actually a great party trick … the kids love it,” he laughed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Hall has maintained that the last ten years have been far from easy, but that his recovery was due to his seven-year-old daughter Nevaeh.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I couldn’t have gotten through this without her,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am so grateful she is in my life and I tell her that every time I see her.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With help from his dad and friends Richard and Viv, Mr Hall got back on his feet and has since started his own avocado business called Crispy Avo.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I certainly underestimated the power of electricity,” he admitted.</p> <p dir="ltr">With his continuing recovery, Mr Hall said he is still coming to terms with his appearance, but that it pales in comparison to current world events.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s a first world problem,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: 7NEWS</em></p>

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Pedalling towards better health

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Bicycle riders have long known that riding maintains fitness, and biking has been used as a tool to promote public health – for instance, through the creation of urban cycling maps designed to assist riders in finding optimum routes.</p> <p>Now, a new study led by Colorado State University (CSU), US, has for the first time estimated the health benefits of urban cycling in 17 countries.</p> <p>According to the research team, up to 205,424 premature deaths could be prevented each year if countries support high levels of urban cycling, with 15,000 of those deaths in the US alone.</p> <p>The <a rel="noopener" href="https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/EHP9073" target="_blank">study</a>, published in <em>Environmental Health Perspectives</em>, modelled the benefits of promoting urban cycling up to 2050, assuming that car travel is 100% replaced by bike trips.</p> <p>Study senior author and avid urban cyclist Dr David Rojas-Rueda, of CSU, says the research found global biking policies may provide important mortality benefits in the years ahead.</p> <p>“This study should be seen as a call to implement policies that support sustainable mobility and a healthy urban design,” he says. “Current policies will impact our future and the health of future generations.”</p> <p>The study compared current cycling trends with high levels of urban cycling in 17 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.</p> <p>The high cycling 2050 scenarios were based on policies that have been shown to bring a rapid increase in cycling participation. This includes such things as retrofitting cycling infrastructure onto existing roads to create route networks; implementing bike-share systems in large cities; reforming laws and enforcement practices to better protect cyclists; investing in walking facilities and public transport to offer trips that can be combined with bike trips; eliminating policies that support additional motorised vehicle use (such as free parking and fuel subsidies); and establishing a regime of fees to charge a price for driving.</p> <p>The research team used a quantitative health impact assessment methodology, which considered the physical activity benefits and the risks associated with traffic fatalities and pollution inhalation during bike trips.</p> <p>They also focused on the adult population in the 17 countries, and included the impact of electric bicycles.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/behaviour/pedalling-towards-better-health/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Ian Connellan.</em></p> </div> </div>

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How to detect cancer with oranges

<div class="copy"> <h2>Cancer detection breakthrough</h2> <p>Have your <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/chemistry/lab-based-grapefruit-compound-could-have-huge-commercial-future/" target="_blank">oranges</a> gone bad? No need to throw them in the bin because University of Sydney PhD student Pooria Lesani has developed a cancer detection technique made from the juice of rancid oranges.</p> <p>In a <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1385894721052426?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">study</a>, published in <em>Chemical Engineering Journal, </em>Lesani described the orange-based, low-cost probe, which proved to be a useful nanobiosensor for screening cells that may be at risk of cancer.</p> <p>The nanobiosenser is a tiny probe that “glows” fluorescently in human cells, and signals if those cells become acidic, indicating that cancer is not far off. This shows which cells are at greatest risk of cancer, so preventative measures can be taken.</p> <div style="position: relative; display: block; max-width: 100%;"> <div style="padding-top: 56.25%;"><iframe style="position: absolute; top: 0px; right: 0px; bottom: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%;" src="https://players.brightcove.net/5483960636001/HJH3i8Guf_default/index.html?videoId=6285714810001" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> </div> <p id="caption">Nanobiosensors localising inside cells. Credit: Pooria Lesani.</p> <p>“Many diseases start developing over many years – and even decades – before a person shows even the slightest of symptoms. With many diseases such as Alzheimer’s, once there are symptoms, it is too late to treat them,” says Lesani.</p> <p>“Our device allows for a more accurate disease diagnosis before the onset of symptoms, as well as enabling the early detection of serious diseases associated with pH fluctuations.</p> <p>“We hope this could lead to the early treatment and prevention of serious disease. Current testing methods can be complex, expensive and time-consuming, whereas our nanobiosensor can easily be produced on a large scale at low cost.”</p> <h2>Acidic cells and how oranges detect cancer</h2> <p>Rotten oranges were the key ingredient in the nanobiosensor and were integral for making fluorescent carbon dots – tiny blobs of carbon that are just one-billionth of a metre in length.</p> <p>“The process for making these carbon dots for the nanobiosensor is similar to making a meal in a pressure cooker,” says Lesani.</p> <p>“We throw all the ingredients together – in this instance rancid orange juice and some water – into a reactor which somewhat resembles a pressure cooker, tightly close the lid, and place it in a scientific oven heated to around 200℃.</p> <p>“The increased temperature and pressure inside the reactor break down the initial molecular structure of the ingredients, helping them form a new material: carbon dots. These dots are then used to build the nanobiosensor.”</p> <p>To use the biosensor, a small tissue biopsy is taken from a patient and put in a petri dish. The biosensor is applied to the cells and examined under a fluorescent microscope, which picks up tiny changes in light. Oranges are also high in ascorbic acid, which improves the function of the sensor.</p> <p>If the cells are healthy, the biosensor shines brightly, but if the cells are more on the acidic side the light dulls and indicates the cells may be precancerous.</p> <h2>Super quick cancer detection</h2> <p>This doesn’t take very long and provides quick, accurate results.</p> <p>“Dramatic fluctuations in the acidity of cells can lead to inappropriate cell function, growth and division, and can lead to serious diseases ” says Lesani.</p> <p>“We have developed a sensitive and cost-effective nanobiosensor for real-time measuring of the degree of acidity of the cells.</p> <p>“This nanobiosensor can also help us to gain a better understanding of how these diseases develop.”</p> <p>The new technique also has the added benefit of diverting food waste from landfill.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/medicine/cancer-detection-with-oranges/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Deborah Devis.</em></p> </div>

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What really causes pimples and acne?

<div> <div class="copy"> <h2>What causes acne?</h2> <p>It afflicts millions of people each year, according to the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.aad.org/" target="_blank">American Academy of Dermatology</a>. But is it true that hormones and carbohydrate-filled foods really cause the biggest symptom of acne – pimples?</p> <p>Hair follicles produce an oil known as sebum, which limits the amount of water entering our skin.</p> <p>But when too much sebum is produced, it feeds a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/charting-the-molecular-diversity-on-human-skin/" target="_blank">bacterium living in your skin</a> known as Propionibacterium acnes, causing your immune system to flush blood and white blood cells to the area.</p> <p>And if the follicle clogs up, a pimple forms.</p> <p>It’s also thought carb-rich foods contribute to acne, as they increase a compound in your body known as insulin-like growth factor 1, which turns up sebum production.</p> <p>Androgens – a family of hormones including testosterone – also boost your body’s sebum production, leading to more pimples.</p> <p>Puberty and menstruation both cause significant hormonal changes, making teenagers prime candidates for acne and causing many women to break out around the time of their period.</p> <div class="embed-container"><iframe class="note-video-clip responsive-embed" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KrMbwDil1hc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>Check out the American Chemical Society’s video above for more, as well as tips on how to minimise and control acne.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/what-causes-acne-and-pimples/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Jana Howden. </em></p> </div> </div>

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Cochlear implants may provoke new bone formation linked to further hearing loss

<div class="copy"> <p>Cochlear implants are linked to the formation of extra bone in the ear, according to a new study. This new bone could in turn cause increased hearing loss, and further medical complications.</p> <p>Cochlear implants have been used for over 40 years to mitigate some of the effects of hearing loss. They work by implanting a device under the skin to stimulate nerves in a section of the inner ear (the cochlea), which sends information to the brain. An external sound processor sends information to the implant.</p> <p>While cochlear implants can help people recognise speech, they don’t completely replace normal hearing.</p> <p>The implants rarely cause complications when inserted, but some post-mortem studies have found that they can cause inflammation, fibrosis, and the formation of new bone material. But so far, because of the implants’ size and location, it’s been very difficult to spot these effects in vivo (in living people).</p> <p>“Such subtle changes are challenging to visualise in vivo, in particular in the vicinity of a metallic implant causing artifacts on computed tomography images,” says Dr Floris Heutink from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Radboud University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands.</p> <p>Heutink, along with some fellow researchers, addressed this by using a new X-ray technique to see the implants better.</p> <p>The researchers took ultra-high spatial resolution CT scans (UHRCT) of 123 people, each of whom had a cochlear implant.</p> <p>Out of the 123 patients, 83 (68%) had new bone formation – mostly at the base of the cochlea in the inner ear. This group was significantly more likely to have long-term residual hearing loss.</p> <p>“As indicated by our study, there is a correlation between new bone formation and long-term residual hearing loss,” says collaborator Dr Berit Verbist, from both the Departments of Radiology at Radboud and Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.</p> <p>The researchers believe this extra bone can interfere with the electrical current from the cochlear implant, making the device fit less well and reduce its performance. It could also make it harder to use other therapies in future.</p> <p>“Last but not least, new bone formation may complicate reimplantation surgery,” says Verbist.</p> <p>The researchers say that more detection and monitoring of this effect is urgently needed in people with cochlear implants. At the moment, there’s not enough data to decide whether this bone formation needs treatments.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/cochlear-implants-bone-formation-increased-hearing-loss/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Ellen Phiddian. </em></p> </div>

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John Goodman shows off drastic 90kg weight loss

<p>John Goodman has showed off his dramatic 90kg weight-loss at an exclusive event in Los Angeles. </p> <p>The 69-year-old actor attended <span>TUBI's The Freak Brothers experience, an interactive event based on The Freak Brothers TV, along with his co-stars. </span></p> <p><span>John, who voiced Fat Freddy Freekwoski in the show, previously tipped the scales at over 180kg, and has lost over half his body weight in recent years. </span></p> <p><span>In a past interview with ABC, John said, "</span>In the old days, I would take three months out, lose 60 or 70 pounds, and then reward myself with a six-pack or whatever and just go back to my old habits."</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">"This time I wanted to do it slowly. Move, exercise. I'm getting to the age where I can't afford to sit still anymore."</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">As part of his lifestyle overhaul, Goodman gave up alcohol, telling AARP, "<span>It was basically just portion control and 'I don’t need it.' I was just shoving everything into my mouth."</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span>With the help of his personal trainer Mackie Shilstone, John revealed that his motivation to lose weight simply came down to enjoying life. </span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span>He said, </span><span>"You look in the mirror everyday and go, 'I gotta deal with this the rest of the day, I gotta deal with this schmuck?'."</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span>"It takes a lot of creative energy to sit on your ass and figure out what you’re going to eat next … I wanted to live life better."</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Did we underestimate the health effects of the Black Summer bushfires?

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Research led by the Australian National University (ANU) has discovered undocumented health problems among people exposed to bushfire smoke. This suggests that the physical and mental impacts of the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/climate/what-fuelled-australias-black-summer-fires/" target="_blank">Black Summer fires</a> were more extensive than previously thought.</p> <p>The team surveyed more than 2000 residents of areas around Canberra, Australia’s capital city, who were affected by widespread bushfires during the deadly summer of 2019–20. The survey asked a range of questions about physical and mental symptoms, as well as their behavioural changes during that time.</p> <p>“We found that almost every single respondent to our survey experienced at least one physical health symptom that they attributed to the smoke,” says Iain Walker, co-author of the study and a professor of psychology at ANU.</p> <p>The most common physical symptoms were coughing and eye and throat irritation.</p> <p>“In addition, about one-half of our respondents reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as sleep loss,” says Walker.</p> <p>But less than one-fifth of respondents (17%) went to a medical practitioner for help, and only 1% went to hospital. This means that the official rate of people presenting to the health system as a result of bushfire smoke is almost certainly much lower than the actual number of people affected.</p> <p>Walker explains: “It is likely that official statistics greatly underestimate the prevalence of health problems because of the major hurdles in the way of anyone presenting into the system, and we think many residents were motivated to avoid overburdening the health system at a time when it was stretched.”</p> <p>We have long known that bushfire smoke can cause health problems. It contains a mix of particles and gases that can be transported by wind through the atmosphere, including fine particulate matter (particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter) that impact the functioning of the respiratory and cardiac systems, as well as impair the immune system.</p> <p>Every year, 340,000 premature deaths <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1843.2010.01868.x" target="_blank">can be attributed</a> to bushfire smoke around the world, and during the Black Summer, <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50511" target="_blank">millions of people</a> were exposed to extreme levels of air pollution.</p> <p>This new research from ANU highlights that bushfire smoke affects mental health as well as physical health.</p> <p>Some of the mental effects were direct, such as anxiety and stress, and others were secondary, such as disruption to normal routines – the likes of sleep and exercise – that promote wellbeing.</p> <p>There was also, Walker says, “significant disruption to relationships with friends, family and community, which are all things that help maintain our wellbeing”.</p> <p>Some of these impacts may sound familiar from COVID-19 lockdowns, but this data was collected in February and March 2020, meaning there was minimal overlap.</p> <p>This adds to the relatively few studies that look directly at the impacts of bushfire smoke on psychological health and wellbeing, separate from exposure to bushfires in general.</p> <p>But while a survey is a good way to gather information from a large number of people, it does have limitations, says Brian Oliver, a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/we-know-bushfire-smoke-affects-our-health-but-the-long-term-consequences-are-hazy-129451" target="_blank">respiratory researcher</a> at the University of Technology Sydney and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research.</p> <p>For example, he says, it is difficult to get a baseline with which to compare the responses.</p> <p>“It’s not clear from the study whether or not they’ve actually compared these people’s symptoms to a similar period,” says Oliver. “So for example, are these the people that would visit a health care professional regularly anyway?”</p> <p>But Oliver says this is still valuable work, especially since it is “incredibly difficult” to access healthcare records in Australia to obtain similar information.</p> <p>“In the Netherlands, for example, there’s one database…and your whole medical history is there,” he says. “But in Australia, we’re not set up for that, so this is a really nice snapshot of something that will allow other researchers to build upon it with more detailed, investigative-type studies.”</p> <p>Walker agrees that it’s becoming increasingly important to investigate the health effects of bushfire smoke.</p> <p>“We have known for some time from the climate science that the frequency, intensity and severity of bushfires in Australia will increase, so it’s something we need to learn to adapt to,” he says. “Part of that is understanding the consequences of things like exposure to bushfire smoke.”</p> <p>Walker recalls that during the Black Summer, the bushfire smoke was so intense in Canberra that it was constantly setting off smoke alarms at all ANU buildings. It was a logistical nightmare – to the point that the university had to close the campus.</p> <p>“It’s kind of a little microcosm of what happens in that sort of widespread catastrophe,” he says. “Services – service support, service delivery – are stretched beyond capacity.”</p> <p>Not only are disasters like bushfires expected to increase, but they are also likely to cascade into each other – imagine, for example, if the Black Summer had overlapped with the peak of COVID.</p> <p>“Broadly, I think we as a nation need to look closely at our various health systems and the ability to cope with a massive surge in demand,” Walker says, referring to not just hospital admissions but access to pharmacies, mental health services and more.</p> <p>“We are conducting further studies to understand how bushfires continue to affect the mental health of people impacted by these fires and the smoke, and how we can build resilience among individuals and communities.”</p> <p>Oliver says these kinds of studies are also important so that “the pollies don’t forget that bushfires have devastating consequences.</p> <p>“The more evidence and the more data we have showing that this is actually what happens in the real world when there are bushfire events, the more likely we are to get an appropriate response in the future.”</p> <p>For example, if there were major fires in Canberra, GPs, psychologists or other health services from Sydney could be called in to help share the burden.</p> <p>There are still many unanswered questions around the impacts of bushfire smoke, including the simple fact that we don’t have a good understanding of the long-term health consequences.</p> <p>This is partly due to lack of funding for health-related research. Even after the Black Summer fires, Oliver says that comparatively little funding was put into research around the impacts of smoke – a total of $5 million was <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/5-million-for-bushfire-related-health-research" target="_blank">offered</a> from the federal government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) in January 2020.</p> <p>“For the magnitude of these events, it’s not proportional,” he says. “In general, Australia’s [health funding] is quite low.”</p> <p>He gives Singapore as a comparison: the country has a population one-fifth the size of ours, yet the Singaporean government puts more money into medical research than Australia.</p> <p>“The New South Wales government receives more income from gambling than the federal government spends on health and medical research,” adds Oliver.</p> <p>The study was <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.682402" target="_blank">published</a> in a special edition of the journal <em>Frontiers in Public Health</em> devoted to rapid-response research to bushfires.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/health-effects-of-bushfire-smoke/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Lauren Fuge. </em></p> </div> </div>

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How "The Beast" Chased his massive 60kg weight-loss goal

<p>Mark Labbett, better known as The Beast on the TV quiz show <em>The Chase</em>, has revealed his secret behind his staggering 60kg weight loss.</p> <p>The quizmaster has credited his lifestyle change and body overhaul to his adorable golden retriever, who he branded as his "personal trainer".</p> <p>On a UK chat show, Mark said that his pooch Baloo helped him get into the habit of daily exercise.</p> <p>“My wife promised me that when we first got him she would take care of everything – feeding him, walking him and so on,” he explained.</p> <p><span>“That lasted about two weeks before she decided ‘Actually Mark, look at your belly – you need the exercise!’”</span></p> <p><span>Mark and Baloo formed a special relationship and now refers to the dog as his "personal trainer", who </span>incidentally costs a lot less than a human personal trainer.</p> <p><span>He continued, “I was walking him around the fields, taking me places … I think he’s helped a lot, simply because I’m doing more activity.”</span></p> <p><span>Mark has been documenting his weight loss on Instagram, with many followers cheering on his success in the comments. </span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLH2VnSsjMt/?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> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLH2VnSsjMt/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Mark Labbett (@markthebeastlabbett)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>Mark has previously opened up about his weight loss on the chat show <em>Loose Women</em>, and how he has dropped several clothing sizes along his </span>journey.</p> <p>He said, “I am gradually dropping Xs off my size. I’ve gone from 5XL to 4XL and it looks like the next time I go shopping I’ll be able to squeeze into XL underpants.”</p> <p>Mark also opened up about when he was at his biggest, admitting, “I’ve lost 10 stone (60kg), I was 29 stone (184kg) when I was a full time teacher in 2003 and I was in danger of high blood pressure."</p> <p>“I’ve been around 26 stone (165kg) up until lockdown, and then a few things happened quite nicely and came together and I started losing weight.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram @markthebeastlabbett</em></p>

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Extreme heat increases health risk for everyone

<div class="copy"> <p>Extreme heat is a <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/climate/understanding-killer-heat/" target="_blank">killer</a>. It’s responsible for thousands of deaths around the world every year, with a huge proportion of those already <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/climate/climate-change-causes-one-third-of-heat-related-deaths/" target="_blank">attributed to rising global temperatures</a>.</p> <p>Studies have long shown that people over the age of 65 face an increased risk of hospital admission and death during extreme heat days, but US and Canadian researchers have now found that young and middle-aged people are at risk, too.</p> <p>“By looking at emergency department visits for different causes and for several age groups, we were able to characterise with accuracy the varying impact on health on different populations,” says study co-author Francesca Dominici, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.</p> <p>“An important goal of this study is to provide actionable information to clinicians and public health experts regarding how to prevent these emergency department visits, also considering that we can anticipate when these extreme heat events are likely to occur.”</p> <p>Published in the <em>BMJ,</em> <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/BMJ-2021-065653" target="_blank">the study</a> found that extremely hot days – with an average temperature of 34.4°C – are associated with a higher risk of emergency department (ED) presentation for adults of all ages.</p> <p>The strongest association was for adults between the ages of 18 and 64.</p> <p>The study was large, spanning more than 74 million adults and 22 million ED visits across 2939 US counties during the months of May to September from 2010 to 2019. It used medical insurance claims data to investigate links between hot days and rates of ED visits for any cause as well as specific causes (namely heat-related illness, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and mental disorders).</p> <p>Extreme heat days increased people’s risk of an ED visit by 66% for a heat-related illness, as well as by 30% for renal disease.</p> <p>But the risk varied with age – there was a 10.3% higher risk of ED visits in people ages 45 to 54 years old, compared to a 3.6% higher risk in those older than 75.</p> <p>“Younger adults may be at greater risk of exposure to extreme heat, particularly among workers that spend substantial time outdoors,” says lead author Shengzhi Sun, from the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). “Younger adults may also not realise that they too can be at risk on days of extreme heat.”</p> <p>Gregory Wellenius, professor of environmental health at BUSPH, says the researchers chose to look at ED visits instead of hospital admissions for a reason.</p> <p>“Many illnesses that lead to utilisation of the emergency department do not lead to hospitalisation because they can be treated in a short amount of time, particularly among the younger adult population,” he explains.</p> <p>“By looking at emergency room visits, we aimed to obtain a more comprehensive picture of the true burden of disease that might be attributed to the days of high heat.”</p> <p>The study also found differences in risk across regions – there was a higher risk of ED visits on extreme heat days in the US’s northwest, midwest and northwest, as opposed to the hotter southeast. The researchers say this shows heat is especially dangerous in cooler climates, where people may be less adapted to, or less aware of, heat.</p> <p>This is crucial to recognise as global temperatures rise, particularly as countries, states and regions are deciding how to adapt.</p> <p>“Although climate change is a global problem and heat threatens the health of everybody across the world, the impacts are felt locally, and the solutions have to be tailored to local needs,” says Wellenius.</p> <p>“What works for heatwave preparedness in the Pacific Northwest is really different from what works in the southeastern US, so the solutions have to be localised to accommodate the needs of the local community.” Extreme heat is a particular problem in cities. Exposure to deadly urban heat has <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/climate/scorching-cities-deadly-urban-heat-has-tripled/" target="_blank">tripled</a> since the 1980s, and with more than 50% of the world’s population currently living in urban areas, this signals an urgent need to <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/cosmos-briefing/cities-of-the-future/" target="_blank">redesign our future cities</a> to keep us healthy as the world warms.</p> <em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/study-lays-bare-the-health-risks-of-extreme-heat/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Lauren Fuge. </em></p> </div>

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