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"Fly high, Bette!": World's longest-serving flight attendant dies aged 88

<p>Bette Nash, the world's longest-serving flight attendant has passed away aged 88, after a short battle with breast cancer. </p> <p>American Airlines, where Nash devoted almost seven decades of her life, announced her death on social media on Saturday. </p> <p>"We mourn the passing of Bette Nash, who spent nearly seven decades warmly caring for our customers in the air," they began their post. </p> <p>“Bette was a legend at American and throughout the industry, inspiring generations of flight attendants. </p> <p>“Fly high, Bette. We’ll miss you.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for the airlines confirmed that she was still an active employee at the time of her death. </p> <p>Nash, who was born on December 31, 1935,  began her flight-attendant career with Eastern Airlines in 1957, at just 21-years-old. </p> <p>In January 2022, she was officially recognised as the world’s longest-serving flight attendant by Guinness World Records, after surpassing the previous record a year earlier. She continued to hold the title until her passing. </p> <p>Tributes have poured in from people all over the world on social media, with many praising her for her unwavering dedication and kindness. </p> <p>"Fly high Bette! It was a pleasure being your passenger," wrote one person on X, alongside a selfie he took with her. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Fly high Bette! It was a pleasure being your passenger. <a href="https://t.co/9N63YPB5Ia">pic.twitter.com/9N63YPB5Ia</a></p> <p>— Jon Kruse (@JonKruseYacht) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonKruseYacht/status/1794459429997273423?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"She was flying as a passenger when she sat next to me, pinned her jacket to the bulkhead, gave me a three minute story of her life then said 'So what's your story?'. She was a dynamo. Rest easy," another added.  </p> <p>"She was an absolute delight in my earliest airline life working the USAir shuttle at LGA. Godspeed and eternal silvered wings Bette!" a third wrote. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">She was an absolute delight in my earliest airline life working the USAir shuttle at LGA. Godspeed and eternal silvered wings Bette!</p> <p>— Ryan Spellman (@JustJettingThru) <a href="https://twitter.com/JustJettingThru/status/1794480142766531034?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"Rest in Peace Bette Nash," wrote a fourth. </p> <p>"Bette was a class act. Truly a loss for the skies. She was truly an Angel," added another. </p> <p><em>Image: CBS/ X</em></p>

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Dame Judi Dench gives tragic health update

<p>Beloved Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench has shared a deeply moving update about her health, revealing that she may never appear on-screen again. At 89, Dench has been a cherished figure in cinema for decades, with her last appearance in the 2022 film <em>Spirited</em>, a Christmas comedy featuring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds.</p> <p>This sad news emerged when Dench attended the Chelsea Flower Show in London recently. Approached by a journalist inquiring about her future projects, she candidly responded, “No, no, I can’t even see!” Her representative later confirmed that there was nothing more to add to this heartbreaking statement.</p> <p>Dench suffers from age-related macular degeneration, a condition affecting around 700,000 people in the UK alone. This progressive eye disease has significantly deteriorated her vision over the past year. In a previous interview, she admitted that she required assistance to read scripts. “I can’t see on a film set any more,” Dench shared. “And I can’t see to read. So I can’t see much. It’s difficult for me if I have any length of a part. I haven’t yet found a way. But you just deal with it. I have so many friends who will teach me the script.”</p> <p>In a candid conversation with BBC journalist Louis Theroux, Dench revealed she had “no plans” to retire but acknowledged that her worsening eyesight was forcing her to take a break from acting.</p> <p>Despite these challenges, Dench’s indomitable spirit and positive outlook remain inspiring. She has often expressed her gratitude for the support of her partner, David Mills, who has been a steadfast presence in her life since the death of her husband, Michael Williams, in 2001. Reflecting on her relationship with Mills, she once told <em>The Mirror</em>, “I never expected, not for a minute, that there would be anybody else in my life after Michael died. I’ve had many, many good friends, but it’s been very unexpected to have somebody new who is as caring as my partner, David.”</p> <p>She continued, “Someone to be able to share things with … I feel very lucky indeed. And to laugh with somebody is terribly important! Laughing is the most important thing. We laugh about everything.”</p> <p>While her fans will undoubtedly miss seeing her on the screen, Dame Judi Dench's legacy in film and the hearts she has touched will remain timeless.</p> <p><em>Image: Fred Duval / Shutterstock</em></p>

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

<p>Jimmy Kimmel's seven-year-old son has undergone his third, and hopefully final open heart surgery after being born with congenital heart disease. </p> <p>In 2017, Jimmy <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmWWoMcGmo0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">revealed</a> that Billy was only three days old when had to undergo his first open heart surgery, after doctors found “a hole in the wall of the left and right side of his heart” that was preventing enough oxygen from reaching his blood. </p> <p>Billy was only seven months old when he had to undergo his second open heart surgery, and over the weekend he had to undergo his third major surgery at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles. </p> <p>A few days later, the TV host took to Instagram to share an update following his son's successful surgery. </p> <p>"We went into this experience with a lot of optimism and nearly as much fear and came out with a new valve inside a happy, healthy kid," Kimmel wrote, alongside a picture of his youngest son smiling in a hospital bed. </p> <p>He then thanked all the surgeons, doctors and other medical staff who "came through for us with immeasurable kindness and expertise." </p> <p>"Walking around this hospital, meeting parents at their most vulnerable, children in pain and the miracle workers who do everything in their considerable power to save them is a humbling experience," Kimmel continued.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C7fE-p4S7YN/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C7fE-p4S7YN/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>He then highlighted the hospital's dedication to providing help to families "regardless of their ability to pay". </p> <p>Jimmy then extended his thanks to his family and friends and the "loving strangers who took time to pray for and send positive energy to our baby".</p> <p>He gave a special shout out to his wife Molly – for "being stronger than is reasonable for any Mum to be". The pair also share daughter Jane, nine. </p> <p>The late night TV host then praised his son for being "the toughest (and funniest) 7 year-old we know."</p> <p>"There are so many parents and children who aren't fortunate enough to go home after five days," he added and encouraged his followers to send their thoughts and prayers to these families. </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram/ X</em></p> <p> </p>

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"Family unity is key": Sarah Ferguson gives cancer update

<p>Sarah Ferguson has shared an update on her cancer journey during her appearance at the Cannes Film Festival. </p> <p>The Duchess of York was diagnosed with <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/fergie-reveals-second-cancer-diagnosis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">skin cancer</a> in January, not long after getting a mastectomy for her breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in June 2023. </p> <p>When asked about her health, the royal told <em>People</em>: "This evening I am doing very well. I think that we've managed to get cancer in the right place rather than cancer ruling me. I've put cancer in the corner." </p> <p>Speaking on the amfAR Gala red carpet, the 64-year-old added that it was important to be aware and get checked for both breast cancer and melanoma. </p> <p>“I think you always have to be aware. I think it’s great to get checked for breast cancer [and] melanoma. I think you just have to be very candid about it," she told the publication. </p> <p>“I think a lot of people get very frightened to talk about these things. I’m very happy with my mastectomy and my breasts and just to talk about it.”</p> <p>Her diagnosis coincided with both her brother-in-law King Charles, and Princess Catherine's cancer diagnoses, although both of them have not disclosed what types of cancer they have. </p> <p>She praised the royal family for their "unity" during these difficult times and how she has been able to offer support to Charles and Catherine. </p> <p>"I think family unity is key… I think the key to life is that we all support each other," she said. </p> <p>"And also forgiveness is a great thing. I think forgiveness of yourself, and forgiveness of others." </p> <p>Earlier this month, the duchess' eldest daughter Princess Beatrice spoke about her mother's health in her debut TV interview on <em>This Morning</em>. </p> <p>"She’s such a phenomenal icon. As a mum she’s been amazing," she said, adding that despite going through so much in the last year, she felt inspired by her mum's resilience and sense of purpose. </p> <p>“She’s doing really well. She had a bumpy health scare last year but she’s all clear now. But I think at 64, she’s thriving. She’s been through so much, but now she’s coming into her own.</p> <p>“We are just reminded when any parent or individual has a health scenario, you really need to get the checks you need as early as you possibly can.”</p> <p><em>Image: DGP/imageSPACE/ Shutterstock editorial</em></p> <p> </p>

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Step up: take the stairs to help your heart

<p>Climbing stairs is associated with a longer life, according to research presented this week at an annual meeting of Europe’s leading cardiologists.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>The systematic review of 9 previous studies covering nearly 500,000 participants investigated whether climbing stairs as a form of physical activity could play a role in reducing the risks of <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/how-organ-on-a-chip-technology-is-revolutionising-the-way-we-study-cardiovascular-disease/">cardiovascular diseases</a> and premature death.</p> <p>Study author Dr Sophie Paddock, of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust, UK, says: “if you have the choice of taking the stairs or the lift, go for the stairs as it will help your heart”.</p> <p>“Even brief bursts of physical activity have beneficial health impacts, and short bouts of stair climbing should be an achievable target to integrate into daily routines.”</p> <p>Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the hearth and blood vessels. They are the leading cause of non-communicable disease death globally, with 17.9m people estimated to have died of one in 2019 alone. Physical inactivity is one of the most important behavioural risk factors for developing CVDs. More than 1 in 4 adults do not meet the global <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">recommended levels</a> of physical activity.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3049418/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">meta-analysis</a> on the best available science  covered 480,479 individuals aged 35-84 years old. 53% of participants were women.</p> <p>Stair climbing was significantly associated with a 24% reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 39% lower likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared to not climbing stairs.</p> <p>It was also linked to a reduced <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/covid-19-impacts-on-cardiac-health/">risk of CVDs</a> including heart attack, heart failure and stroke.</p> <p>“Based on these results, we would encourage people to incorporate stair climbing into their day-to-day lives,” says Paddock.</p> <p>“Our study suggested that the more stairs climbed, the greater the benefits – but this needs to be confirmed. So, whether at work, home, or elsewhere, take the stairs.”</p> <p>The research was presented to <a href="https://www.escardio.org/Congresses-Events/Preventive-Cardiology" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">ESC Preventive Cardiology 2024</a>, an annual congress of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology in Greece this week.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <div> <p align="center"> </p> </div> <p><em><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=302751&amp;title=Step+up%3A+take+the+stairs+to+help+your+heart" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/step-up-take-the-stairs-to-help-your-heart/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/imma-perfetto/">Imma Perfetto</a>. </em></p> </div>

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"It’s a nightmare": Star golfer's cause of death revealed

<p>Two-time PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray has died at the age of 30. </p> <p>Golf officials announced his death on Sunday morning, with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan releasing a statement. </p> <p>“We were devastated to learn — and are heartbroken to share — that PGA Tour player Grayson Murray passed away this morning,” Monahan said. </p> <p>“I am at a loss for words. The PGA Tour is a family, and when you lose a member of your family, you are never the same"</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Murray's parents later confirmed that their son took his own life, just one day after he withdrew from the second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge - a PGA Tour event  - due to illness. </span></p> <p>“We have spent the last 24 hours trying to come to terms with the fact that our son is gone,” his parents, Eric and Terry Murray said in a statement.</p> <p>“It’s surreal that we not only have to admit it to ourselves, but that we also have to acknowledge it to the world. It’s a nightmare.”</p> <p>"We have so many questions that have no answers. But one. Was Grayson loved? The answer is yes. By us, his brother Cameron, his sister Erica, all of his extended family, by his friends, by his fellow players and — it seems — by many of you who are reading this. He was loved and he will be missed.</p> <p>“Life wasn't always easy for Grayson, and although he took his own life, we know he rests peacefully now.”</p> <p>They have also asked for privacy and for people to honour Murray by being kind to one another. </p> <p>Murray has previously been open about his battle with depression and alcoholism, according to <em>The NY Post</em>. </p> <p>He talked about turning the corner in his life and being eight months sober, after winning the Sony Open in Honolulu in January. </p> <p>“It's not easy,” Murray said immediately after winning. "I wanted to give up a lot of times. Give up on myself. Give up on the game of golf. Give up on life, at times.”</p> <p>Murray tied for 43rd last week in the PGA Championship, which earned him a spot in the US Open next month at Pinehurst No.2 in North Carolina.</p> <p>The PGA Tour commissioner said he spoke with Murray's parents about halting play, but they insisted the golf tournament to continue. </p> <p>“We mourn Grayson and pray for comfort for his loved ones. I reached out to Grayson’s parents to offer our deepest condolences, and during that conversation, they asked that we continue with tournament play. They were adamant that Grayson would want us to do so," he said. </p> <p>Monahan flew to Fort Worth, Texas, on Sunday to be with players, and many of them wore black-and-red pins on their caps - the colours of the Carolina Hurricanes, Grayson's favourite NHL team - to honour the golfer. </p> <p><em>Image: Daniel Lea/Csm/ Shutterstock Editorial</em></p>

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Seinfeld star's worrying health update

<p><em>Seinfeld</em> star Michael Richards has revealed his secret battle with prostate cancer in 2018, and how he only survived after making the decision to undergo surgery. </p> <p>Richards, who played the ever-eccentric Cosmo Kramer in the 1990s sitcom, received the stage one diagnosis after a routine check-up showed he had elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.</p> <p>He opened up about the diagnosis to <em>People</em> magazine, saying, “I thought, ‘Well, this is my time. I’m ready to go’.”</p> <p>“But then my son came to mind just a few seconds later, and I heard myself saying, ‘I’ve got a nine-year-old, and I’d like to be around for him. Is there any way I can get a little more life going?’”</p> <p>Richards’ doctor recommended removing the comedian’s entire prostate because the biopsy “didn’t look good”, as Richards explained it "had to be contained quickly”.</p> <p>“I had to go for the full surgery. If I hadn’t, I probably would have been dead in about eight months,” the 74-year-old said. </p> <p>After facing the difficult health battle, Richards felt inspired to write his forthcoming memoir, Entrances and Exits, using a collection of diaries he had kept over the years.</p> <p>“I had over 40 journals I’d kept over the years and wanted to do a full review of my life. I’m turning 75, so maybe wanting to do that is something that comes with being my age. I wanted to connect with feelings and memory,” he told the publication. </p> <p>“I’m surprised at how much I was able to remember.”</p> <p><em>Greg Grudt/UPI/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

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Air travel exposes you to radiation – how much health risk comes with it?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timothy-j-jorgensen-239253">Timothy J. Jorgensen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/georgetown-university-1239">Georgetown University</a></em></p> <p>In 2017, <a href="http://www.independent.ie/business/world/18-million-miles-and-counting-the-globes-top-business-traveller-35666790.html">business traveler Tom Stuker</a> was hailed as the world’s most frequent flyer, logging 18,000,000 miles of air travel on United Airlines over 14 years.</p> <p>That’s a lot of time up in the air. If Stuker’s traveling behaviors are typical of other business flyers, he may have eaten 6,500 <a href="http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=689041">inflight meals</a>, drunk 5,250 <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8305.2009.00339.x">alcoholic beverages</a>, watched thousands of <a href="http://www.iata.org/publications/store/Pages/global-passenger-survey.aspx">inflight movies</a> and made around 10,000 visits to <a href="http://blog.thetravelinsider.info/2012/11/how-many-restrooms-are-enough-on-a-plane.html">airplane toilets</a>.</p> <p>He would also have accumulated a radiation dose equivalent to about 1,000 <a href="https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=safety-xray">chest x-rays</a>. But what kind of health risk does all that radiation actually pose?</p> <h2>Cosmic rays coming at you</h2> <p>You might guess that a frequent flyer’s radiation dose is coming from the airport security checkpoints, with their whole-body scanners and baggage x-ray machines, but you’d be wrong. The <a href="http://www.aapm.org/publicgeneral/AirportScannersPressRelease.asp">radiation doses to passengers from these security procedures</a> are trivial.</p> <p>The major source of radiation exposure from air travel comes from the flight itself. This is because at high altitude the <a href="http://www.altitude.org/why_less_oxygen.php">air gets thinner</a>. The farther you go from the Earth’s surface, the fewer molecules of gas there are per volume of space. Thinner air thus means fewer molecules to deflect incoming <a href="http://www.space.com/32644-cosmic-rays.html">cosmic rays</a> – radiation from outer space. With less <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/atmosphere_and_climate/atmosphere">atmospheric shielding</a>, there is more exposure to radiation.</p> <p>The most extreme situation is for astronauts who travel entirely outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and enjoy none of its protective shielding. Consequently, they receive high radiation doses. In fact, it is the accumulation of radiation dose that is the limiting factor for the maximum length of manned space flights. Too long in space and <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/hrp/bodyinspace">astronauts risk cataracts, cancer and potential heart ailments</a> when they get back home.</p> <p>Indeed, it’s the radiation dose problem that is a major spoiler for <a href="http://www.space.com/34210-elon-musk-unveils-spacex-mars-colony-ship.html">Elon Musk’s goal of inhabiting Mars</a>. An extended stay on Mars, with its <a href="http://www.space.com/16903-mars-atmosphere-climate-weather.html">extremely thin atmosphere</a>, would be lethal due to the high radiation doses, notwithstanding Matt Damon’s successful Mars colonization in the movie <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej3ioOneTy8">“The Martian</a>.”</p> <h2>Radiation risks of ultra frequent flying</h2> <p>What would be Stuker’s cumulative radiation dose and what are his health risks?</p> <p>It depends entirely on how much time he has spent in the air. Assuming an <a href="http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2002/JobyJosekutty.shtml">average flight speed</a> (550 mph), Stuker’s 18,000,000 miles would translate into 32,727 hours (3.7 years) of flight time. The radiation dose rate at typical <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/why-do-planes-fly-so-high-feet/">commercial airline flight altitude</a> (35,000 feet) is about <a href="https://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/commercialflights.html">0.003 millisieverts per hour</a>. (As I explain in my book <a href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10691.html">“Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation</a>,” a millisievert or mSv is a unit of radiation dose that can be used to estimate cancer risk.) By multiplying the dose rate by the hours of flight time, we can see that Stuker has earned himself about 100 mSv of radiation dose, in addition to a lot of free airline tickets. But what does that mean for his health?</p> <p>The primary health threat at this dose level is an increased risk of some type of cancer later in life. Studies of atomic bomb victims, nuclear workers and medical radiation patients have <a href="https://doi.org/10.17226/11340">allowed scientists to estimate the cancer risk</a> for any particular radiation dose.</p> <p>All else being equal and assuming that low doses have risk levels proportionate to high doses, then an overall cancer risk rate of <a href="http://www.imagewisely.org/imaging-modalities/computed-tomography/medical-physicists/articles/how-to-understand-and-communicate-radiation-risk">0.005 percent per mSv</a> is a reasonable and commonly used estimate. Thus, Stuker’s 100-mSv dose would increase his lifetime risk of contracting a potentially fatal cancer by about 0.5 percent.</p> <h2>Contextualizing the risk</h2> <p>The question then becomes whether that’s a high level of risk. Your own feeling might depend on how you see your background cancer risk.</p> <p>Most people <a href="http://www.who.int/whr/2002/chapter3/en/index4.html">underestimate their personal risk of dying from cancer</a>. Although the exact number is debatable, it’s fair to say that <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer.html">about 25 percent of men ultimately contract a potentially fatal cancer</a>. Stuker’s 0.5 percent cancer risk from radiation should be added to his baseline risk – so it would go from 25 percent to 25.5 percent. A cancer risk increase of that size is too small to actually measure in any scientific way, so it must remain a theoretical increase in risk.</p> <p>A 0.5 percent increase in risk is the same as one chance in 200 of getting cancer. In other words, if 200 male travelers logged 18,000,000 miles of air travel, like Stuker did, we might expect just one of them to contract a cancer thanks to his flight time. The other 199 travelers would suffer no health effects. So the chances that Stuker is the specific 18-million-mile traveler who would be so unlucky is quite small.</p> <p>Stuker was logging more air hours per year (greater than 2,000) than most pilots typically log (<a href="http://work.chron.com/duty-limitations-faa-pilot-17646.html">under 1,000</a>). So these airline workers would have risk levels proportionately lower than Stuker’s. But what about you?</p> <p>If you want to know your personal cancer risk from flying, estimate all of your commercial airline miles over the years. Assuming that the values and parameters for speed, radiation dose and risk stated above for Stuker are also true for you, dividing your total miles by 3,700,000,000 will give your approximate odds of getting cancer from your flying time.</p> <p>For example, let’s pretend that you have a mathematically convenient 370,000 total flying miles. That would mean 370,000 miles divided by 3,700,000,000, which comes out to be 1/10,000 odds of contracting cancer (or a 0.01 percent increase in risk). Most people do not fly 370,000 miles (equal to 150 flights from Los Angeles to New York) within their lifetimes. So for the average flyer, the increased risk is far less than 0.01 percent.</p> <p>To make your exercise complete, make a list of all the benefits that you’ve derived from your air travel over your lifetime (job opportunities, vacation travel, family visits and so on) and go back and look at your increased cancer risk again. If you think your benefits have been meager compared to your elevated cancer risk, maybe its time to rethink flying. But for many people today, flying is a necessity of life, and the small elevated cancer risk is worth the price.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/78790/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timothy-j-jorgensen-239253">Timothy J. Jorgensen</a>, Director of the Health Physics and Radiation Protection Graduate Program and Professor of Radiation Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/georgetown-university-1239">Georgetown University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/air-travel-exposes-you-to-radiation-how-much-health-risk-comes-with-it-78790">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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5 reasons art therapy is great for your mental health as you age

<p><span style="background: white;">We know how important it is to look after our<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/servicesandsupport/healthy-and-active-ageing"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">physical health</span></strong></a><span style="background: white;"> as we age, but our mental health is equally important. </span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://aifs.gov.au/resources/short-articles/normalising-mental-illness-older-adults-barrier-care"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">Studies have shown</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">that besides the immediate impact on wellbeing, older people with untreated mental ill health are at risk of poorer overall health, increased hospital admissions, and an earlier transition into aged care.</span></p> <p><span style="background: white;">Art therapy is an excellent way to boost our mental wellbeing. In a nutshell, this type of therapy is when visual art, such as drawing, sculpting, or collage, is used in a<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.rtor.org/2018/07/10/benefits-of-art-therapy/"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">therapeutic context</span></strong></a><span style="background: white;">. And don’t be put off if you haven’t picked up a paintbrush since you were a kid. Art therapy is not about creating works of beauty but about the process. It’s a completely </span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://cata.org.au/faqs-myth-busters/#:~:text=The%20focus%20of%20Creative%20Art,%2C%20growth%20and%20self%2Dawareness.&amp;text=Reality%3A%20Creative%20Art%20Therapy%20does,to%20affect%20change%20and%20growth."><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">judgement free zone</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;">!</span></strong></p> <p><strong><span style="background: white;">Emotional release:</span></strong></p> <p><span style="background: white;">Growing up, many of us were never taught that it was okay to express how we’re feeling, especially emotions like anger and sadness. In that way, art therapy can be ideal us older folks who often feel stuck when it comes to expressing ourselves. Art therapy provides the opportunity to express our<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://creativityintherapy.com/2017/06/expressing-emotions-creativity-6-step-art-process/"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">inner experiences</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">in a visual way. Through the act of creation, we can release pent-up feelings, reduce stress, and experience emotional release.</span></p> <p><span style="background: white;">Another challenging emotion that art therapy can help with is grief. As we age, we are more likely to experience the<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.nari.net.au/the-impact-of-prolonged-grief-in-older-people"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">loss of a loved one</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">and we don’t get ‘used to it’. The hole it leaves in our hearts is just as dark. Through<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.vivianpaans.com.au/blog/healing-through-art-how-art-therapy-can-help-with-grief-and-wellbeing"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">creating art</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">we can explore the feelings of grief and sadness in a safe, judgement-free space. It can also foster a sense of self-compassion and when we have more compassion for ourselves, it becomes easier to accept our emotions.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="background: white;">Stress relief:</span></strong></p> <p><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.sane.org/information-and-resources/facts-and-guides/facts-mental-health-issues"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">Anxiety, depression, and past traumas</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">can heavily impact on our daily lives. Risk factors over our lifespans may change but they don’t magically disappear once we hit a certain age. Illness, grief, financial stress, social isolation, and life transitions such as menopause can all be </span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/older-people-and-mental-health"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">contributing factors</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">of poor mental health for older adults. Creating art can ease symptoms as we refocus on what we’re creating and move thoughts away from overthinking and worry.<strong> </strong>Creating art releases </span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.rtor.org/2018/07/10/benefits-of-art-therapy/"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">dopamine</span></strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">,</span></a><span style="background: white;"> the chemical responsible for allowing us to feel pleasure and satisfaction. This further reduces bothersome symptoms of anxiety and depression.</span></p> <p><span style="background: white;">Also, participating in art therapy leads to a more creative brain. A creative brain is better equipped to create stress-relieving techniques for other areas of our lives. Through creating art, we draw the fears that are inside our minds. This takes them out of our heads and places them away from us, helping us feel more in control.</span></p> <p><span style="background: white;">Recovering from<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.interrelate.org.au/news-media/blogs/november-2021/how-art-can-heal-trauma"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">trauma</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> c</span></strong><span style="background: white;">an be a lifelong process for many, and it’s important for someone dealing with it to find tools that will help this process. Art therapy can be one of those as it can give a sense of agency and self-understanding through the ability to express feelings symbolically. This can give </span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://anzacata.org/About-CAT"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">new perspectives</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">of ourselves and our worldview which is essential in the recovery process. It can also help connect with deeply stored emotions and help process them.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="background: white;">Self-discovery:</span></strong></p> <p><span style="background: white;">When we are younger we are often so busy working, socialising, and raising a family many of us never get a chance to take the time out for<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.visionpsychology.com/starting-the-process-of-self-discovery/"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">self-discovery</span></strong></a><span style="background: white;">. Self-discovery is important in our lives as it gives us a clearer sense of purpose and direction in life. In turn, this leads to making better decisions that lead to our overall happiness.</span></p> <p><span style="background: white;">Some of us see our kids leave home and suddenly we’re left wondering, who am I when I don’t have a family to care for? Creating art can help us acknowledge and recognise feelings that have been suppressed in our subconscious. Through learning to use different techniques of art our minds open up to thinking more freely. Self-discovery comes from both the finished product we create as well as the process of making it.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="background: white;">Self-esteem:</span></strong></p> <p><span style="background: white;">As we age, it’s easy to look in the mirror and struggle to recognise the person we see. Our bodies are changing, and it can often feel like society doesn’t value us as much as when we were young. It can be a major shift in the way we view ourselves and lead to poor self-esteem. Art therapy teaches us how to use a variety of media to create something new. We can develop talents and see strengths as we master new materials and see the completion of projects. This sense of accomplishment can be a big leg up to our<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://artbusinessnews.com/2022/01/benefits-of-art-therapy/"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">self-esteem.</span></strong></a></p> <p><strong><span style="background: white;">A sense of community:</span></strong></p> <p><a style="color: blue;" href="https://likefamily.com.au/blog/what-is-loneliness-and-how-does-it-affect-someone/"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">Loneliness</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">is a big contributor to poor mental health.<strong> </strong></span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.psychiatrist.com/news/study-why-older-people-feel-so-lonely/"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">Studies</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;"> </span></strong><span style="background: white;">show two groups of people are most at risk: young adults and older people. With factors at our age such as children leaving home, not working as much or at all, living alone, and chronic illness, it’s easy to see how loneliness can creep into our lives. Group art therapy is a wonderful way to connect with others. We share a space with those who have similar interests, and it gives us a sense of belonging. For those who can't make a session in person due to distance or illness, some therapists offer </span><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.artandplaytherapytraining.com.au/art_therapy"><strong><span style="color: black; background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">online group art therapy</span></strong></a><strong><span style="background: white;">.</span></strong></p> <p><span style="background: white;">You don’t need to see an art therapist to get the mental health benefits of creating art. But the advantage of that is they have the skills to work out what best suits your needs. They’ll also work with you through any tough emotions that may arise from your art therapy.</span></p> <p><span style="background: white;">So maybe it’s time to hide those new coloured pencils from the little ones, crack them open, and enjoy them yourself!</span></p> <p><span style="background: white;">If you’d like to find out more about art therapy sessions, the links below are helpful. They offer online, in person and group sessions.</span></p> <p><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.zevaarttherapy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">https://www.zevaarttherapy.com/</span></a></p> <p><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.alliedarttherapy.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">https://www.alliedarttherapy.com.au/</span></a></p> <p><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.solacecreativetherapies.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">https://www.solacecreativetherapies.com.au/</span></a><span style="background: white;"> </span></p> <p><a style="color: blue;" href="https://cata.org.au/programs-ndis/online-creative-art-therapy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">https://cata.org.au/programs-ndis/online-creative-art-therapy/</span></a><span style="background: white;"> </span></p> <p><span style="background: white;">And for some more ideas on dabbling in art therapy on your own (or with a friend), check out Shelley Klammer’s amazing resources. She is US-based but has some online workshops that are also amazing:</span></p> <p><a style="color: blue;" href="https://www.expressiveartworkshops.com/expressive-art-resources/100-art-therapy-exercises/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span style="background: white; text-decoration-line: none;">https://www.expressiveartworkshops.com/expressive-art-resources/100-art-therapy-exercises/</span></a></p> <p><em>Article written by Kylie Carberry</em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Mind

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4 ways to avoid foot pain when travelling

<p>Whether it’s caused by a hectic day of sightseeing or a mad rush through the airports, there’s nothing quite as annoying as foot pain when you’re on holidays. And when you consider how easy it is to avoid (so long as you take the correct preventative measures) you’ll feeling like kicking yourself for putting up with it for all these years.</p> <p>Here are four ways to avoid foot pain when travelling.</p> <p><strong>1. Choosing the right pair of shoes  </strong></p> <p>Out of all the fashion statements, shoes are probably responsible for more chronic foot pain than anything else. So make sure you choose the right pair of shoes for your trip. For example, if you’re going to be walking around all day sightseeing it might be an idea to ditch the stiletto heels for a pair of joggers (even if they’re not quite so aesthetically pleasing).</p> <p>Dr Robert Mathews from Cremorne Medical in NSW says, “I recommend wearing supportive shoe such as running shoes. If you want to wear something more stylish then consider buying some gel insoles to slip in your shoes, you can get a wide variety of these from your local chemist.“</p> <p><strong>2. Manage your feet on flights</strong></p> <p>Foot swelling can become quite a big problem on long haul flight, so managing your feet becomes crucial. Simple, preventative measures anyone can take, like wearing support stocks, standing up every so often to move around or even just flexing your feet and wriggling your toes, can make a big difference and greatly reduce the chance of swelling.</p> <p><strong>3. Slip, slop and slap</strong></p> <p>So many island holidays have been soured by the blistering pain of sunburnt feet. If you’re staying at a resort or near a beach and your feet are exposed, don’t forget to apply sunscreen everywhere. Otherwise you’re going to want to have some aloe vera gel handy!</p> <p><strong>4. Take time to rest</strong></p> <p>While you’re probably in a mad rush to see everything, fear of missing out can put significant strain on your feet. So make sure you set aside plenty of time every day to put your feet up and rest. It also might be worth considering some extra pampering, like a foot bath or even a half hour massage. You are on holidays after all, so why not treat yourself!</p> <p>Dr Matthews adds, “It may also be worth taking with you some thick band aids in case you develop any blisters from long walks.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Tips

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4 foods that ease heartburn

<p>Heartburn, acid reflux, GORD… whatever you want to call it, it’s not a pleasant thing to experience. Yet hundreds of thousands of us around the country suffer from heartburn each year. And while medication may be the solution for some, it’s not always the most effective option.</p> <p>So, you’ll be happy to learn that what you eat may ease your symptoms. Here are four of the best foods for heartburn.</p> <p><strong>1. Papaya</strong></p> <p>Papain, an enzyme found in papaya, has been proven to aid in digestion. In addition, the fibre content and proteolytic enzymes are a great source of short-chain fatty acids, which a recent study described as “the most important product of fermentation”, and an essential part of improving gut health.</p> <p><strong>2. Aloe vera juice</strong></p> <p>Aloe vera does much more than just ease sunburn or skin irritations – it’s been used to help ease constipation and treat type 2 diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders for centuries. “Its anti-inflammatory properties have been suggested to ease inflammation in the oesophagus caused by reflux,” Maria Bella, author of <em>The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet</em>, tells <a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/g4536/best-foods-for-acid-reflux/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Good Housekeeping</span></strong></a>.</p> <p><strong>3. Banana</strong></p> <p>Because of its low acidity, bananas are great for gastrointestinal discomfort, but they’re particularly good for heartburn as they can stick to the irritated oesophageal lining. “It forms a protective film that coats, protects and soothes,” digestive health expert Dr Gerard E. Mullin explains to <a href="http://www.prevention.com/food/foods-soothe-heartburn" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Prevention</span></strong></a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Cinnamon gum</strong></p> <p>By producing saliva, gum helps neutralise stomach acid. “It also leads to more frequent swallowing, which can move the irritating acid down the oesophagus more quickly,” Maria Bella says. Mint can make your symptoms worse, however, so stick to cinnamon, which <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20924865" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">studies show</span></strong></a> may have anti-inflammatory properties.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

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Not all ultra-processed foods are bad for your health, whatever you might have heard

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gary-sacks-3957">Gary Sacks</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kathryn-backholer-10739">Kathryn Backholer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kathryn-bradbury-1532662">Kathryn Bradbury</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-auckland-waipapa-taumata-rau-1305">University of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sally-mackay-1532685">Sally Mackay</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-auckland-waipapa-taumata-rau-1305">University of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau</a></em></p> <p>In recent years, there’s been <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC11036430/">increasing</a> <a href="https://theconversation.com/ultra-processed-foods-heres-what-the-evidence-actually-says-about-them-220255#:%7E:text=Hype%20around%20ultra%2Dprocessed%20food,or%20worry%20about%20their%20health.">hype</a> about the potential health risks associated with so-called “ultra-processed” foods.</p> <p>But new evidence published <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/385/bmj-2023-078476">this week</a> found not all “ultra-processed” foods are linked to poor health. That includes the mass-produced wholegrain bread you buy from the supermarket.</p> <p>While this newly published research and associated <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/385/bmj.q793">editorial</a> are unlikely to end the wrangling about how best to define unhealthy foods and diets, it’s critical those debates don’t delay the implementation of policies that are likely to actually improve our diets.</p> <h2>What are ultra-processed foods?</h2> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30744710/">Ultra-processed foods</a> are industrially produced using a variety of processing techniques. They typically include ingredients that can’t be found in a home kitchen, such as preservatives, emulsifiers, sweeteners and/or artificial colours.</p> <p>Common examples of ultra-processed foods include packaged chips, flavoured yoghurts, soft drinks, sausages and mass-produced packaged wholegrain bread.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7719194/#CR13">many other countries</a>, ultra-processed foods make up a large proportion of what people eat. A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31676952/">recent study</a> estimated they make up an average of 42% of total energy intake in Australia.</p> <h2>How do ultra-processed foods affect our health?</h2> <p>Previous <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33167080/">studies</a> have linked increased consumption of ultra-processed food with poorer health. High consumption of ultra-processed food, for example, has been associated with a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38418082/">higher risk</a> of type 2 diabetes, and death from heart disease and stroke.</p> <p>Ultra-processed foods are typically high in energy, added sugars, salt and/or unhealthy fats. These have long been <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet">recognised</a> as risk factors for a range of diseases.</p> <p>It has also been suggested that structural changes that happen to ultra-processed foods as part of the manufacturing process <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31105044/">may</a> lead you to eat more than you should. Potential explanations are that, due to the way they’re made, the foods are quicker to eat and more palatable.</p> <p>It’s also <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35952706/">possible</a> certain food additives may impair normal body functions, such as the way our cells reproduce.</p> <h2>Is it harmful? It depends on the food’s nutrients</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/385/bmj-2023-078476">new paper</a> just published used 30 years of data from two large US cohort studies to evaluate the relationship between ultra-processed food consumption and long-term health. The study tried to disentangle the effects of the manufacturing process itself from the nutrient profile of foods.</p> <p>The study found a small increase in the risk of early death with higher ultra-processed food consumption.</p> <p>But importantly, the authors also looked at diet quality. They found that for people who had high quality diets (high in fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, as well as healthy fats, and low in sugary drinks, salt, and red and processed meat), there was no clear association between the amount of ultra-processed food they ate and risk of premature death.</p> <p>This suggests overall diet quality has a stronger influence on long-term health than ultra-processed food consumption.</p> <p>When the researchers analysed ultra-processed foods by sub-category, mass-produced wholegrain products, such as supermarket wholegrain breads and wholegrain breakfast cereals, were not associated with poorer health.</p> <p>This finding matches another recent <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38417577/">study</a> that suggests ultra-processed wholegrain foods are not a driver of poor health.</p> <p>The authors concluded, while there was some support for limiting consumption of certain types of ultra-processed food for long-term health, not all ultra-processed food products should be universally restricted.</p> <h2>Should dietary guidelines advise against ultra-processed foods?</h2> <p>Existing national <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-09/n55_australian_dietary_guidelines.pdf">dietary</a> <a href="https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/eating-activity-guidelines-new-zealand-adults-updated-2020-oct22.pdf">guidelines</a> have been developed and refined based on decades of nutrition evidence.</p> <p>Much of the recent evidence related to ultra-processed foods tells us what we already knew: that products like soft drinks, alcohol and processed meats are bad for health.</p> <p>Dietary guidelines <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35184508/">generally</a> already advise to eat mostly whole foods and to limit consumption of highly processed foods that are high in refined grains, saturated fat, sugar and salt.</p> <p>But some nutrition researchers have <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/384/bmj.q439">called</a> for dietary guidelines to be amended to recommend avoiding ultra-processed foods.</p> <p>Based on the available evidence, it would be difficult to justify adding a sweeping statement about avoiding all ultra-processed foods.</p> <p>Advice to avoid all ultra-processed foods would likely unfairly impact people on low-incomes, as many ultra-processed foods, such as supermarket breads, are relatively affordable and convenient.</p> <p>Wholegrain breads also provide important nutrients, such as fibre. In many countries, bread is the <a href="https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/a-focus-on-nutrition-ch3_0.pdf">biggest contributor</a> to fibre intake. So it would be problematic to recommend avoiding supermarket wholegrain bread just because it’s ultra-processed.</p> <h2>So how can we improve our diets?</h2> <p>There is strong <a href="https://www.foodpolicyindex.org.au/_files/ugd/7ee332_a2fa1694e42f423195caf581044fccf1.pdf">consensus</a> on the need to implement evidence-based policies to improve population diets. This includes legislation to restrict children’s exposure to the marketing of unhealthy foods and brands, mandatory Health Star Rating nutrition labelling and taxes on sugary drinks.</p> <p>These policies are underpinned by <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37659696/">well-established systems</a> for classifying the healthiness of foods. If new evidence unfolds about mechanisms by which ultra-processed foods drive health harms, these classification systems can be updated to reflect such evidence. If specific additives are found to be harmful to health, for example, this evidence can be incorporated into existing nutrient profiling systems, such as the <a href="http://www.healthstarrating.gov.au/internet/healthstarrating/publishing.nsf/content/home">Health Star Rating</a> food labelling scheme.</p> <p>Accordingly, policymakers can confidently progress food policy implementation using the tools for classifying the healthiness of foods that we already have.</p> <p>Unhealthy diets and obesity are among the <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/burden-of-disease/burden-of-disease-study-2018-key-findings/contents/key-findings">largest contributors</a> to poor health. We can’t let the hype and academic debate around “ultra-processed” foods delay implementation of globally recommended policies for improving population diets.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229493/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gary-sacks-3957">Gary Sacks</a>, Professor of Public Health Policy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kathryn-backholer-10739">Kathryn Backholer</a>, Co-Director, Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kathryn-bradbury-1532662">Kathryn Bradbury</a>, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Population Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-auckland-waipapa-taumata-rau-1305">University of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sally-mackay-1532685">Sally Mackay</a>, Senior Lecturer Epidemiology and Biostatistics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-auckland-waipapa-taumata-rau-1305">University of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/not-all-ultra-processed-foods-are-bad-for-your-health-whatever-you-might-have-heard-229493">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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To tackle gendered violence, we also need to look at drugs, trauma and mental health

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/siobhan-odean-1356613">Siobhan O'Dean</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lucinda-grummitt-1531503">Lucinda Grummitt</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steph-kershaw-1466426">Steph Kershaw</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>After several highly publicised alleged murders of women in Australia, the Albanese government this week pledged <a href="https://ministers.pmc.gov.au/gallagher/2024/helping-women-leave-violent-partner-payment">more than A$925 million</a> over five years to address men’s violence towards women. This includes up to $5,000 to support those escaping violent relationships.</p> <p>However, to reduce and prevent gender-based and intimate partner violence we also need to address the root causes and contributors. These include alcohol and other drugs, trauma and mental health issues.</p> <h2>Why is this crucial?</h2> <p>The World Health Organization estimates <a href="https://iris.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665/341604/WHO-SRH-21.6-eng.pdf?sequence=1">30% of women</a> globally have experienced intimate partner violence, gender-based violence or both. In Australia, <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/partner-violence/latest-release#key-statistics">27% of women</a> have experienced intimate partner violence by a co-habiting partner; <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37004184/">almost 40%</a> of Australian children are exposed to domestic violence.</p> <p>By gender-based violence we mean violence or intentionally harmful behaviour directed at someone due to their gender. But intimate partner violence specifically refers to violence and abuse occurring between current (or former) romantic partners. Domestic violence can extend beyond intimate partners, to include other family members.</p> <p>These statistics highlight the urgent need to address not just the aftermath of such violence, but also its roots, including the experiences and behaviours of perpetrators.</p> <h2>What’s the link with mental health, trauma and drugs?</h2> <p>The relationships between mental illness, drug use, traumatic experiences and violence are complex.</p> <p>When we look specifically at the link between mental illness and violence, most people with mental illness will not become violent. But there <a href="https://theconversation.com/bondi-attacker-had-mental-health-issues-but-most-people-with-mental-illness-arent-violent-227868">is evidence</a> people with serious mental illness can be more likely to become violent.</p> <p>The use of alcohol and other drugs also <a href="https://theconversation.com/alcohol-and-drug-use-exacerbate-family-violence-and-can-be-dealt-with-69986">increases the risk</a> of domestic violence, including intimate partner violence.</p> <p>About <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/family-domestic-and-sexual-violence/understanding-fdsv/factors-associated-with-fdsv">one in three</a> intimate partner violence incidents involve alcohol. These are more likely to result in physical injury and hospitalisation. The risk of perpetrating violence is even higher for people with mental ill health who are also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1525086/">using alcohol or other drugs</a>.</p> <p>It’s also important to consider traumatic experiences. Most people who experience trauma do not commit violent acts, but there are <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(23)00075-0/fulltext">high rates</a> of trauma among people who become violent.</p> <p>For example, experiences of childhood trauma (such as witnessing physical abuse) <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1359178915000828?via%3Dihub">can increase the risk</a> of perpetrating domestic violence as an adult.</p> <p>Early traumatic experiences can affect the brain and body’s <a href="https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-017-0895-4">stress response</a>, leading to heightened fear and perception of threat, and difficulty regulating emotions. This can result in aggressive responses when faced with conflict or stress.</p> <p>This response to stress increases the risk of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9675346/">alcohol and drug problems</a>, developing <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30798897/">PTSD</a> (post-traumatic stress disorder), and <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2015-17349-001">increases the risk</a> of perpetrating intimate partner violence.</p> <h2>How can we address these overlapping issues?</h2> <p>We can reduce intimate partner violence by addressing these overlapping issues and tackling the root causes and contributors.</p> <p>The early intervention and treatment of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-019-0728-z">mental illness</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1541204020939645">trauma</a> (including PTSD), and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2015.06.001">alcohol and other drug use</a>, could help reduce violence. So extra investment for these are needed. We also need more investment to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212657023000508">prevent mental health issues</a>, and preventing alcohol and drug use disorders from developing in the first place.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074937972200023X?via%3Dihub">Preventing trauma</a> from occuring and supporting those exposed is crucial to end what can often become a vicious cycle of intergenerational trauma and violence. <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/070674371105600505">Safe and supportive</a> environments and relationships can protect children against mental health problems or further violence as they grow up and engage in their own intimate relationships.</p> <p>We also need to acknowledge the widespread <a href="https://store.samhsa.gov/product/practical-guide-implementing-trauma-informed-approach/pep23-06-05-005">impact of trauma</a> and its effects on mental health, drug use and violence. This needs to be integrated into policies and practices to reduce re-traumatising individuals.</p> <h2>How about programs for perpetrators?</h2> <p>Most existing standard intervention programs for perpetrators <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1524838018791268">do not consider</a> the links between trauma, mental health and perpetrating intimate partner violence. Such programs tend to have <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/a0012718">little</a> or <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2021.101974">mixed effects</a> on the behaviour of perpetrators.</p> <p>But we could improve these programs with a <a href="http://rcfv.archive.royalcommission.vic.gov.au/MediaLibraries/RCFamilyViolence/Reports/RCFV_Full_Report_Interactive.pdf">coordinated approach</a> including treating mental illness, drug use and trauma at the same time.</p> <p>Such “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014976341930449X?via%3Dihub">multicomponent</a>” programs show promise in meaningfully reducing violent behaviour. However, we need more rigorous and large-scale evaluations of how well they work.</p> <h2>What needs to happen next?</h2> <p>Supporting victim-survivors and improving interventions for perpetrators are both needed. However, intervening once violence has occurred is arguably too late.</p> <p>We need to direct our efforts towards broader, holistic approaches to prevent and reduce intimate partner violence, including addressing the underlying contributors to violence we’ve outlined.</p> <p>We also need to look more widely at preventing intimate partner violence and gendered violence.</p> <p>We need developmentally appropriate <a href="https://theconversation.com/4-things-our-schools-should-do-now-to-help-prevent-gender-based-violence-228993">education and skills-based programs</a> for adolescents to prevent the emergence of unhealthy relationship patterns before they become established.</p> <p>We also need to address the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278040/">social determinants of health</a> that contribute to violence. This includes improving access to affordable housing, employment opportunities and accessible health-care support and treatment options.</p> <p>All these will be critical if we are to break the cycle of intimate partner violence and improve outcomes for victim-survivors.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Line – 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.</em></p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call 000.</em><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229182/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/siobhan-odean-1356613">Siobhan O'Dean</a>, Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lucinda-grummitt-1531503">Lucinda Grummitt</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steph-kershaw-1466426">Steph Kershaw</a>, Research Fellow, The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-tackle-gendered-violence-we-also-need-to-look-at-drugs-trauma-and-mental-health-229182">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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5 questions to ask before becoming a carer

<p>Thinking about becoming a caregiver? Deciding to step up and provide care for a loved one is a huge responsibility. Make sure you’re prepared and ask these five vital questions first.</p> <p><strong>Do I need to hire help?</strong></p> <p>Just because you’re taking on caregiving duties doesn’t mean you have to be super human. It’s perfectly okay to ask for help, whether it’s in the form of a cleaner or someone to take on tasks that you would prefer to outsource. According to Health.com, 40 per cent of caregivers say dealing with incontinence is one of their most difficult task, while 30 per cent say helping relatives bathe is hard as well.</p> <p><strong>What is my Plan B?</strong></p> <p>If something should happen to you and your schedule or demands change, it’s important to discuss a back-up plan. As the primary carer, a lot of responsibility will rest on you so make sure you have a Plan B before you need one.</p> <p><strong>Should I be compensated?</strong></p> <p>A survey found that 60 per cent of careers adjust their work schedule to look after others, which means either cutting back hours or taking a leave of absence. While you might not want to accept money to care for loved ones, it’s a good idea to have an open discussion with close friends and family about how the responsibilities might impact your life and earning capacity, so that all parties agree on a fair solution.</p> <p><strong>What is Power of Attorney?</strong></p> <p>If you are looking after someone with memory loss, you may need to look into a legal document called power of attorney. Talk to family about who should have this responsibilities, and how you will navigate legal issues that could arise.</p> <p><strong>Who is my support group?</strong></p> <p>Roughly one in three carers don’t receive any help. Having a strong support network of people you can turn to, even just for a chat, can make a huge difference. You might be surprised by how many people you know are also caregivers.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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7 things you need to know about fear

<p>Fear is an emotion that can be debilitating and unsettling. But it is a natural part of life and we are hardwired to experience it.</p> <p><strong>1. Fear can protect you</strong></p> <p>Experiencing fear elicits responses from your brain to your limbs. It is the body’s natural way of protecting itself. For our ancestors the fear was often more physical – such as being chased by a lion. Modern fear can range from physical danger (such as a spider or an intruder) or even from perceived danger (such as the worry that something will happen to our partner or child). Feeling fear doesn’t make you a weak person. In fact, not feeling any fear could mean that there are neurological issues present.</p> <p><strong>2. There are many levels of fear</strong></p> <p>Not everything that we fear is intense and paralysing. It can range from low levels of fear (such as worry about being robbed), to medium levels of fear (say if a loved one is in hospital) to high levels of fear (you are being chased by an attacker). Fear can also become stronger when we hear about events such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. It all relates back to how much the scary event will impact our lives.</p> <p><strong>3. Fear is not just instinctive</strong></p> <p>We become fearful due to three main factors: instinct, learning, and teaching. An example of instinctual fear is pain – we learn to be fearful of things that hurt us. Learned fear comes from being exposed to unpleasant or uncomfortable things and wanting to avoid them in the future. For instance, having a relative die in a car crash could make you fearful of driving in the future. Other fears are taught to us by our family, friends and even society. For example, some religions teach us to be fearful of other religions or customs.</p> <p><strong>4. Fear can arise without a real threat of danger</strong></p> <p>Fear can also be imagined, so it can be felt even when there is no danger present. If we feel this all the time it can lead to anxiety and depression. It’s important to think about whether the thing you are fearful of is real or likely to happen before you give it too much airtime.</p> <p><strong>5. Fear produces fear</strong></p> <p>If you are already in a state of fear, your response to more fear is heightened. For instance if you are watching a scary movie, a small noise from the next room could make you jump and scream. Your senses are on red alert, primed to act if the need arises.</p> <p><strong>6. Fear leads to action</strong></p> <p>Depending on the individual and the level of fear they are experiencing, there tend to be four main types of action as a result of fear: freeze, </p> <p>fight, flight, or fright. </p> <p>When you freeze it means you don’t move while you decide what to do (for instance you see a snake in your garden). From there you choose either fight (grab a shovel) or flight mode (walk away). If the fear is too much you might experience fright, where you do nothing and take no action (stand there screaming or worrying).</p> <p><strong>7. Real threats can lead to heroic actions</strong></p> <p>Imagined threats can cause us to live in a permanent state of fear and stress. But often we will do nothing about it (for instance being worried about sharks attacking us in the ocean). Compare this to the threat from a real and identifiable source, which will make you spring into action almost immediately. Often we don’t even make the decision to act, it just happens automatically (such as moving a child out of the way of an approaching car). </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em> </p>

Mind

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How much time should you spend sitting versus standing? New research reveals the perfect mix for optimal health

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christian-brakenridge-1295221">Christian Brakenridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/baker-heart-and-diabetes-institute-974">Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute</a></em></p> <p>People have a pretty intuitive sense of what is healthy – standing is better than sitting, exercise is great for overall health and getting <a href="https://theconversation.com/could-not-getting-enough-sleep-increase-your-risk-of-type-2-diabetes-225179">good sleep is imperative</a>.</p> <p>However, if exercise in the evening may disrupt our sleep, or make us feel the need to be more sedentary to recover, a key question emerges – what is the best way to balance our 24 hours to optimise our health?</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-024-06145-0">Our research</a> attempted to answer this for risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. We found the optimal amount of sleep was 8.3 hours, while for light activity and moderate to vigorous activity, it was best to get 2.2 hours each.</p> <p><iframe id="dw4bx" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/dw4bx/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>Finding the right balance</h2> <p>Current health guidelines recommend you stick to a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians/for-adults-18-to-64-years">sensible regime</a> of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity 2.5–5 hours per week.</p> <p>However <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.02.031">mounting evidence</a> now <a href="https://doi.org/10.2337/dc14-2073">suggests</a> how you spend your day can have meaningful ramifications for your health. In addition to moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity, this means the time you spend sitting, standing, doing light physical activity (such as walking around your house or office) and sleeping.</p> <p>Our research looked at more than 2,000 adults who wore body sensors that could interpret their physical behaviours, for seven days. This gave us a sense of how they spent their average 24 hours.</p> <p>At the start of the study participants had their waist circumference, blood sugar and insulin sensitivity measured. The body sensor and assessment data was matched and analysed then tested against health risk markers — such as a heart disease and stroke risk score — to create a model.</p> <p>Using this model, we fed through thousands of permutations of 24 hours and found the ones with the estimated lowest associations with heart disease risk and blood-glucose levels. This created many optimal mixes of sitting, standing, light and moderate intensity activity.</p> <p>When we looked at waist circumference, blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and a heart disease and stroke risk score, we noted differing optimal time zones. Where those zones mutually overlapped was ascribed the optimal zone for heart disease and diabetes risk.</p> <h2>You’re doing more physical activity than you think</h2> <p>We found light-intensity physical activity (defined as walking less than 100 steps per minute) – such as walking to the water cooler, the bathroom, or strolling casually with friends – had strong associations with glucose control, and especially in people with type 2 diabetes. This light-intensity physical activity is likely accumulated intermittently throughout the day rather than being a purposeful bout of light exercise.</p> <p>Our experimental evidence shows that <a href="https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article/39/6/964/29532/Benefits-for-Type-2-Diabetes-of-Interrupting">interrupting our sitting</a> regularly with light-physical activity (such as taking a 3–5 minute walk every hour) can improve our metabolism, especially so after lunch.</p> <p>While the moderate-to-vigorous physical activity time might seem a quite high, at more than 2 hours a day, we defined it as more than 100 steps per minute. This equates to a brisk walk.</p> <p>It should be noted that these findings are preliminary. This is the first study of heart disease and diabetes risk and the “optimal” 24 hours, and the results will need further confirmation with longer prospective studies.</p> <p>The data is also cross-sectional. This means that the estimates of time use are correlated with the disease risk factors, meaning it’s unclear whether how participants spent their time influences their risk factors or whether those risk factors influence how someone spends their time.</p> <h2>Australia’s adult physical activity guidelines need updating</h2> <p>Australia’s <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians/for-adults-18-to-64-years">physical activity guidelines</a> currently only recommend exercise intensity and time. A <a href="https://www.uow.edu.au/media/2023/why-adults-need-to-move-more-stop-sitting-and-sleep-better-.php">new set of guidelines</a> are being developed to incorporate 24-hour movement. Soon Australians will be able to use these guidelines to examine their 24 hours and understand where they can make improvements.</p> <p>While our new research can inform the upcoming guidelines, we should keep in mind that the recommendations are like a north star: something to head towards to improve your health. In principle this means reducing sitting time where possible, increasing standing and light-intensity physical activity, increasing more vigorous intensity physical activity, and aiming for a healthy sleep of 7.5–9 hours per night.</p> <p>Beneficial changes could come in the form of reducing screen time in the evening or opting for an active commute over driving commute, or prioritising an earlier bed time over watching television in the evening.</p> <p>It’s also important to acknowledge these are recommendations for an able adult. We all have different considerations, and above all, movement should be fun.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christian-brakenridge-1295221"><em>Christian Brakenridge</em></a><em>, Postdoctoral research fellow at Swinburne University, Centre for Urban Transitions, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/baker-heart-and-diabetes-institute-974">Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-time-should-you-spend-sitting-versus-standing-new-research-reveals-the-perfect-mix-for-optimal-health-228894">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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How extreme dieting can affect bone health

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>In a recent Instagram post, the actor Jameela Jamil revealed she has poor bone density, despite only being in her 30s. Jamil blamed this finding on 20 years of dieting – urging her followers to be aware of the harms diet culture can do to your health.</p> <p>Bone density is important for many reasons, primarily because it acts as a reservoir for many of the important minerals our bones need to function well. Many factors can affect your bone density – and as Jamil has pointed out, diet is one component that has a significant effect on bone health.</p> <p>Bone is a living tissue. This means our skeleton <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1521690X08000869">grows and remodels itself</a> according to the stresses and strains it’s put under. Everything from fractures to exercise require our bones to change their shape or density. This is why a weightlifter’s skeleton is <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00298721">much denser</a> than a marathon runner’s.</p> <p>The biggest skeletal changes we experience happen in our younger years. But bones keep changing throughout our lives depending on how active we are, what our diet consists of, and if we’ve suffered an injury or disease.</p> <p>Bones are <a href="https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/what-bone">made of proteins</a>, such as collagen, as well as minerals – largely calcium. This is a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430714/">key mineral</a> for us, as it keeps our bones and teeth strong and helps repair and rebuild any injured bones.</p> <p>But other minerals and vitamins are also important. For example, vitamin D supports calcium, playing a key role in <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2761808">bone mineralisation</a>. This is where calcium <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279023/">combines with phosphate</a> in our bones to create the mineral crystal <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7264100/">hydroxyapatite</a>. This crystal is crucial to our bone mineral density (also known as “bone mass”), as it helps bones remodel and maintain their structural strength.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dexa-scan/">Dexa scans</a> – the type of scan Jamil referred to in her post – can measure the density of these crystals in bones. The <a href="https://theros.org.uk/information-and-support/osteoporosis/scans-tests-and-results/bone-density-scan-dxa/">more hydroxyapatite crystals</a> detected, the healthier the bones are.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/591182/original/file-20240430-18-u30byz.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/591182/original/file-20240430-18-u30byz.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591182/original/file-20240430-18-u30byz.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591182/original/file-20240430-18-u30byz.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591182/original/file-20240430-18-u30byz.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591182/original/file-20240430-18-u30byz.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591182/original/file-20240430-18-u30byz.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="The interior of bones, showing four depictions of bone density – from healthy to severe osteoporosis." /><figcaption><span class="caption">The more crystals detected, the better your bone density.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/osteoporosis-4-stages-one-picture-3d-524364046">Crevis/ Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>We hit peak bone mineral density in our <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35869910/">late teens and early 20s</a>, when our body has grown to full size and our metabolism is working its best. From here, it’s possible to maintain <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684300/">stable bone mass</a> into your late 30s for women and early 40s for men, with the right diet and activity. But after this point, it begins to decline.</p> <h2>Bone density</h2> <p>We accrue calcium over many years. It initially comes from our mother, then later from our diet. Our body accrues calcium so it can adapt to times when calcium demand is greater than what we can get from our diet – such as during pregnancy, when the foetus needs calcium to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3355895/">build its own bones</a>.</p> <p>However, relying solely on this skeletal calcium reserve can’t be sustained for lengthy or repeated periods, because of how long it takes to be replenished. This is why diet is so important for bone density – and why a poor diet can cause extreme damage, especially when certain food groups or minerals are consistently left out.</p> <p>For instance, studies have shown consuming soft drinks, (<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17023723/">particularly cola</a>), more than four times a week is linked with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071508/">lower bone density</a> and increased fracture risk. This is true even after adjusting for many other variables that affect bone density.</p> <p>These carbonated and energy drinks contain <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2966367/">varying levels of vitamins</a> – often with none of the minerals, including calcium, that the body needs to function optimally. This causes the body to draw on its reserves if calcium isn’t being delivered elsewhere in the diet.</p> <p>Diets high in added sugar can also have a detrimental affect on the skeleton. Excess sugar causes inflammation and other physiological changes, such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9471313/">obesity</a>. Consuming high amounts of sugar is linked with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748414/">reduced calcium intake</a>, especially in children who substitute milk for sugary drinks. Excess sugar consumption also causes the body to <a href="https://jps.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1007/s12576-016-0487-7">excrete excess calcium</a>, instead of reabsorbing it in the kidney as the body normally would.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25491765/">Low- and high-fat diets</a> have also been associated with increased risk of <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/osteoporosis/">osteoporosis</a> (a condition that weakens bones) in women – though larger studies are needed to better understand the effects of removing whole food groups on bone health.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/anorexia/overview/">Anorexia nervosa</a> also has a significant affect on <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30817009">bone density</a> – affecting a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959847/">majority of people</a> with the condition.</p> <p>Low bone mineral density – especially in the spine – puts people with anorexia at <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959847/">increased risk of fractures</a> because their bone thickness is reduced, increasing the likelihood of developing osteoporosis, which is associated with increased fractures.</p> <p>Anorexia in young adulthood is particularly challenging. This is the stage where the skeleton is building itself to reach peak <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15574617/">bone mass</a>, so it’s depositing calcium at a record pace. When diet is insufficient and the body already starts drawing on its mineral reserves, there’s a potential that the bone density or calcium reserves in the body will never be optimal – increasing fracture risk for the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6746661/">rest of that person’s life</a>.</p> <h2>Can bone health be fixed?</h2> <p>Optimal bone health starts in utero, but our prepubescent years are key to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26884506/">setting our skeleton up</a> for later life. People who are behind the curve in early life may have difficulty achieving their peak, as poor bone mineral density can affect everything from our appetite to how efficient our gastrointestinal tract is at absorbing <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6971894/">important nutrients</a> (including calcium). Supplements have a limited effect because our body can only absorb a set amount of any <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8746734/">vitamin or mineral at a time</a>.</p> <p>While it’s possible to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684300/">limit some of the decline</a> in bone density that naturally happens as we age, some of the choices we make – such as not consuming enough calcium – can accelerate the decline. Biological sex also has a significant impact on our bone health in old age – with post-menopausal women at greater risk of osteoporosis because they <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5643776/">produce less oestrogen</a>, which helps keep the cells that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3424385">degrade bone</a> in check.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228321/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-extreme-dieting-can-affect-bone-health-228321">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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King Charles returns to public duties for the first time since diagnosis

<p>King Charles has made his first official public appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in February. </p> <p>In a symbolic appearance on Tuesday morning, the royal visited the Macmillan Cancer Centre at the University College Hospital donning a navy pinstripe suit with a light blue shirt and a pink dinosaur tie.</p> <p>The monarch was joined by his wife, Queen Camilla, with the couple sporting huge smiles as they waved to the crowd outside of the London hospital. </p> <p>The royal couple met with clinicians, patients and families of patients during the visit, and when asked by one patient how his treatment was going, Charles replied: "I'm alright, thank you".</p> <p>In one photo Charles can be seen tenderly placing his hand on the arms of a patient as he spoke with them. </p> <p>One patient discussed her chemotherapy with Charles, who who told her: “I’ve got to have my treatment this afternoon as well,” according to the <em>Mirror</em>.</p> <p>He also shared his reaction to finding out about his diagnosis for the first time, telling one patient: “It’s always a bit of a shock, isn’t it, when they tell you?”</p> <p>The King's hospital visit comes just days after the Palace released a statement confirming that he was showing progress with his treatment and would be resuming official duties. </p> <p>“His Majesty The King will shortly return to public-facing duties after a period of treatment and recuperation following his recent cancer diagnosis,”  it read, before announcing the visit to the cancer centre. </p> <p>“This visit will be the first in a number of external engagements His Majesty will undertake in the weeks ahead.”</p> <p>Despite this, his upcoming summer schedule would not be a full one, with events like the King's Birthday parade, known as Trooping the Colour, and the Royal Ascot, being undertaken on a case-by-case basis. </p> <p>He also plans to host the Emperor and Empress of Japan in late June. </p> <p>“As the first anniversary of the Coronation approaches, Their Majesties remain deeply grateful for the many kindnesses and good wishes they have received from around the world throughout the joys and challenges of the past year,” the statement concluded. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Christina Applegate details bout of Covid and Sapovirus amid MS battle

<p>Christina Applegate has detailed her latest health battle amid her multiple sclerosis (MS).</p> <p>Speaking on her <em>MesSy</em> podcast with co-host Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress revealed her rough experience after contracting Covid for the first time, which then turned into long Covid, and to make matters worse, she then contracted Sapovirus from contaminated food. </p> <p>Sapoviruses can cause acute gastroenteritis, and the actress candidly shared that she had been wearing diapers in recent weeks because of how often she has had to go to the bathroom. </p> <p>"I finally got the Covies.. someone real close to me dropped the ball and came home with the stuff and it spread all over the house," she began.</p> <p>"I had one day when I had a headache and chills and I thought I was making it through this."</p> <p>"It turned into long covid and it turned into a chest infection and then my heart was doing weird stuff, where it just speeds up... so I was like mother f--ker!"</p> <p>She then continued, saying that after contracting the virus she was "p---ing out of her a** for a few days".</p> <p>"I was so dizzy. I was so sick. I couldn't eat... Someone else's poop went into my mouth and I ate it."</p> <p>The actress recently revealed that she has 30 lesions on her brain from her MS,  a condition where the body's own immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the fatty material around the nerves, which can cause a range of symptoms. </p> <p>It is the most common acquired chronic neurological disease affecting young adults, according to MS Australia. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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How tracking menopause symptoms can give women more control over their health

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-lancastle-1452267">Deborah Lancastle</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p>Menopause can cause more symptoms than hot flushes alone. And some of your symptoms and reactions might be due to the menopause, even if you are still having periods. Research shows that keeping track of those symptoms can help to alleviate them.</p> <p>People sometimes talk about the menopause as though it were a single event that happens when you are in your early 50s, which is <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397#:%7E:text=Menopause%20is%20the%20time%20that,is%20a%20natural%20biological%20process.">the average time</a> to have your last period. But the menopause generally stretches between the ages of 45 and 55. And some women will experience an earlier “medical” menopause because of surgery to remove the womb or ovaries.</p> <p>The menopause often happens at one of the busiest times of life. You might have teenagers at home or be supporting grown-up children, have elderly parents, be employed and have a great social life. If you feel exhausted, hot and bothered, irritable and can’t sleep well, you might be tempted to think that it is because you never get a minute’s peace. But that is why monitoring symptoms is important.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2023/03000/Symptom_monitoring_improves_physical_and_emotional.7.aspx">My team recently tested</a> the effects of tracking symptoms and emotions during the menopause. We asked women to rate 30 physical and 20 emotional symptoms of the menopause.</p> <p>The physical and psychological symptoms included poor concentration, problems with digesting food, stress and itchy skin, as well as the obvious symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats. Women tracked positive emotions like happiness and contentment, and negative emotions like feeling sad, isolated and angry.</p> <p>There were two groups of women in this study. One group recorded their symptoms and emotions every day for two weeks. The other group recorded their symptoms and emotions once at the beginning of the fortnight and once at the end.</p> <p>The results showed that the women who monitored their symptoms and emotions every day reported much lower negative emotions, physical symptoms and loneliness at the end of two weeks than at the beginning, compared to the other group.</p> <p>As well as this, although the loneliness scores of the group who monitored every day were lower than the other group, women in both groups said that being in the study and thinking about symptoms helped them feel less lonely. Simply knowing that other women were having similar experiences seemed to help.</p> <p>One participant said: “I feel more normal that other women are doing the same survey and are probably experiencing similar issues, especially the emotional and mental ones.”</p> <h2>Why does monitoring symptoms help?</h2> <p>One reason why tracking might help is that rating symptoms can help you notice changes and patterns in how you feel. This could encourage you to seek help.</p> <p>Another reason is that noticing changes in symptoms might help you link the change to what you have been doing. For example, looking at whether symptoms spike after eating certain foods or are better after exercise. This could mean that you change your behaviour in ways that improve your symptoms.</p> <p>Many menopause symptoms are known as “non-specific” symptoms. This is because they can also be symptoms of mental health, thyroid or heart problems. It is important not to think your symptoms are “just” the menopause. You should always speak to your doctor if you are worried about your health.</p> <p>Another good thing about monitoring symptoms is that you can take information about how often you experience symptoms and how bad they are to your GP appointment. This can help the doctor decide what might be the problem.</p> <p>Websites such as <a href="https://healthandher.com">Health and Her</a> and <a href="https://www.balance-menopause.com">Balance</a> offer symptom monitoring tools that can help you track what is happening to your physical and emotional health. There are several apps you can use on your phone, too. Or you might prefer to note symptoms and how bad they are in a notebook every day.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/209004/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-lancastle-1452267">Deborah Lancastle</a>, Associate Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-wales-1586">University of South Wales</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-tracking-menopause-symptoms-can-give-women-more-control-over-their-health-209004">original article</a>.</em></p>

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