Body

Placeholder Content Image

"Heartbroken": High-profile women react to landmark Roe v Wade decision

<p>When the US Supreme Court made the landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday June 24, women across America and all around the world took to social media to express their anger, disgust, sadness and outrage.</p> <p>A range of celebrities and high-profile women spoke out over the decision, as they grieved the loss of fundamental women's right and bodily autonomy in the eyes of the law.</p> <p>Roe v. Wade was implemented to grant women in the US the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, regardless of their reasoning.</p> <p>The landmark abortion ruling, which has been in place since 1973, was officially overturned last week, meaning individual states in America now have the right to ban women from seeking legal abortions – which several states have now already done.</p> <p>Australian model Robyn Lawley made a statement on her Instagram as she wrote on her torso, "My body my choice".</p> <p>The model shared her disgust for the ruling, while also empathising with women living the US of the challenges they are about to face.</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/CfOyiHmO1ud/?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/CfOyiHmO1ud/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Robyn Lawley (@robynlawley)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Former First Lady Michelle Obama posted an emotional statement online, which has been shared millions of times by men and women alike who are in disarray over the ruling.</p> <p>In the statement she wrote, "I am heartbroken that we may now be destined to learn the painful lessons of a time before Roe was made law of the land - a time when women risked their lives getting illegal abortions."</p> <p>"That is what our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers lived through, and now we are here again."</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/CfMSJTKu_XY/?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/CfMSJTKu_XY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Pop star Taylor Swift was one of the many who reposted Obama's message, adding, "I'm absolutely terrified that this is where we are – that after so many decades of people fighting for women's rights to their own bodies, today's decision has stripped us of that."</p> <p>Kim Kardashian echoed the thoughts of many as she shared that "In America, guns have more rights than women," as the overturning of Roe v. Wade has somehow taken priority over tighter gun restrictions, despite there being over <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/06/02/mass-shootings-in-2022/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">250 mass shootings in 2022</a> so far.</p> <p>Hillary Clinton also chimed in on the decision, saying overturning Roe v. Wade is "a step backward".</p> <p>"Most Americans believe the decision to have a child is one of the most sacred decisions there is, and that such decisions should remain between patients and their doctors," Clinton said.</p> <p>"Today's Supreme Court opinion will live in infamy as a step backward for women's rights and human rights."</p> <p>Everyday women across America shared their fear over the ruling, with many encouraging others to delete their period tracking apps, to have real conversations with their partners about their intimacy, and to start savings accounts to travel out of their state for an abortion if needed.</p> <p>As protestors took to the steps of the Supreme Court to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade, online spaces were dominated with anger, as "my body, my choice" began trending on Twitter and became the battle cry for the women of the United States and around the world.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

5 surprising silent symptoms of clogged arteries

<p><strong>How common are clogged arteries?</strong></p> <p>Each year in Australia, according to the Heart Research institute, about 75,000 people have a heart attack and 17,500 people die of coronary heart disease (CHD). Preventing heart disease in patients is a physician’s main goal, but early detection is the next best thing. This can lead to changes in lifestyle and medical therapies that can delay or deny the onset of a heart attack; almost 80 per cent of heart disease is preventable with lifestyle changes. Many of my patients are shocked to learn about the following unexpected symptoms of clogged arteries and heart disease.</p> <p><strong>Erectile dysfunction (ED)</strong></p> <p>Men have a built-in warning system for silent CHD. When achieving an erection is difficult or impossible, it can be one of the symptoms of clogged arteries in the pelvis that presents before a heart attack hits. There are, on average, three to five years between the onset of erectile dysfunction (ED) and the finding of CHD, which is plenty of time to detect and work on preventing heart issues. If you and your partner are worried about sexual performance,  it’s smart to look for and treat the root causes of diseased arteries before automatically turning to a blue pill for ED.</p> <p><strong>Calf pain when you walk</strong></p> <p>This is known as claudication (from the Latin for ‘to limp’). Atherosclerosis can block leg arteries, particularly in smokers, before CHD is diagnosed. This symptom requires an evaluation without delay. Your doctor will examine the pulses in your legs and perform simple measurements of leg blood pressure and blood flow to confirm a diagnosis of poor circulation. It is crucial that heart disease be diagnosed as early as possible because there are many dietary and medical treatments that can help reverse the problem. I advise my patients to eat more plant-based foods and fewer animal products and to start a walking program.</p> <p>Their calf pain completely resolved within weeks and has not recurred for years. Anyone with any of the above signs of silent CHD should know his or her numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting glucose). Ask your doctor if you should be checked for heart disease with electrocardiography, or EKG, a coronary calcium CT imaging, or exercise stress testing.</p> <p><strong>Tight jaw</strong></p> <p>A tight jaw, one of the symptoms of clogged arteries, occurs more often in women, but men should be aware of it, too. Aches and pains in the jaw and neck are common symptom of angina, which is the discomfort that results from poor blood flow to part of the heart. The pain occurs because the vagus nerve (the main nerve that carries pain signals from the heart) is in constant contact with the neck, jaw, head, and left arm. Visit your doctor to find out if your jaw pain is the result of something benign, such as teeth grinding, or if it’s something you’ll want to monitor with caution.</p> <p><strong>Lower back pain</strong></p> <p>Your lower back pain might not be a simple sign of ageing muscles. According to the <em>Physicians Community for Responsible Medicine</em>, the lower back is also often one of the first parts of the body to accumulate plaque. You’ll feel pain because the reduced blood flow to the area can weaken the discs that cushion the vertebrae.</p> <p><strong>Smoking habit</strong></p> <p>The chemicals in tobacco damage the structure and function of your blood vessels and damage the function of your heart. This damage increases your risk of atherosclerosis,  according to the Heart Foundation. One of the best things you can do to decrease your risk of CHD is to quit.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-93f22e5c-7fff-7102-6fec-48e249fff874">Written by Dr Joel K. Kahn. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/5-surprising-silent-symptoms-of-clogged-arteries" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

5 tips to stay strong without leaving home

<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-7c8f59ae-7fff-8a9d-bd7f-7102b75b70ef">Exercise is a necessity that can not only be daunting to start, but costly to invest in. As we get older, exercise can become even more crucial, with strength training helping us combat osteoporosis and sarcopenia, or the wasting of muscle, which can affect everything from our joints and bone density to metabolism and mobility.</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/06/donna-aston.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>The bestselling author and dietician has shared her tips for staying strong without leaving home. Image: Supplied</em></p> <p dir="ltr">But, exercise doesn’t have to break the bank and can be done without leaving home.</p> <p dir="ltr">To help you get started, nutritionist and bestselling author Donna Aston reveals her top 5 tips on how to stay strong without leaving home - no expensive gym memberships needed!</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Body weight</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">We really don’t need any fancy, expensive gym equipment to give our muscles a great workout. Your body weight will suffice and a chair can come in handy. Body-weight squats to a chair (sit and stand), tricep dips on a chair, push-ups on the kitchen bench, plank holds on the floor .. the list is endless and super effective for strengthening muscles – anywhere, anytime.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong> 2. Resistance bands</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Some fabric ‘booty bands’ are a small investment with great return. There are many online resistance band workout videos (<a href="https://astonrx.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">AstonRX.com</a>, Your Tube, etc.) with instruction on how to sculpt your body and activate specific muscle groups. They also serve as a great rehab tool for anyone with injuries. I always take a set with me when I travel. Consistency is key!</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. Online &amp; Apps</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The current world of advanced technology means we all have access to thousands of Apps and online video exercise instruction. And it’s not just high intensity workouts. You can find many form of home exercise, including yoga, Pilates and body weight classes, and from beginners through to advanced.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Use what you have</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">If you feel you’d like to add further resistance and variety to your body weight regime, you may be surprised what you can use as weights. When the first COVID lockdown hit, we had one client in her garage using a Seasol bottle as a kettlebell! Tinned food, bottled water, heavy books – a little imagination goes a long way!</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Housework! </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Need some motivation for a Spring clean? Cleaning your home (vacuuming, polishing, sweeping, making beds, moving around the furniture, etc.) is actually great exercise!</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-641c9ce7-7fff-c178-3ceb-f13f8d6573eb"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Why can you still get influenza if you’ve had a flu shot?

<p>Restrictions have eased, international borders are open and influenza is back in Australia after a two-year absence.</p> <p>Suddenly, major <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-08/medical-evacuations-as-flu-arrives-early-in-nt/101132294" target="_blank" rel="noopener">flu outbreaks</a> are occurring across the country, catching many off guard.</p> <p>Flu vaccinations aim to protect against four influenza viruses that cause disease in humans (two subtypes from influenza A and two from influenza B).</p> <p>But vaccine-mediated protection varies each year depending on how well the vaccine matches the disease-causing influenza viruses that are circulating at a given time. Vaccine effectiveness – a real-world measure based on the proportion of vaccinated people who still develop the flu – <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ranges</a> from <a href="https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/comment/us-flu-vaccine-efficacy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">16%</a> to <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-surveil-ozflu-flucurr.htm/%24File/Vacc-efficacy-effect-impact-Oct18.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">60%</a>.</p> <p>However, it’s still important to get your flu shot. If you’ve been vaccinated and still get the flu, you’re <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">less likely</a> to get as sick.</p> <h2>Why it’s difficult to predict which subtypes will dominate</h2> <p>Of the four types of influenza viruses that exist in nature, two cause significant disease in humans: influenza A and influenza B.</p> <p>The 2022 influenza vaccine is quadrivalent (targets four distinct viruses): two influenza A viruses (subtypes H3N2 and H1N1) and two influenza B viruses from distinct lineages.</p> <p>Within each flu A subtype further genetic variation can arise, with mutations (known as genetic drift) generating many viral variants that are classified into “clades” and sub-clades.</p> <p>H3N2 is particularly good at generating lots of diversity in this way. So predicting exactly which H3N2 virus to target in the vaccine is especially difficult.</p> <p>A key challenge for flu vaccines is the decision for which virus to target has to be made months ahead of time. The the H3N2 virus in the Australian flu vaccine (A/Darwin/9/2021) was chosen in September 2021 to enable the vaccine to be manufactured and distributed in time for the 2022 winter.</p> <p>There is no guarantee a different H3N2 virus that isn’t so well targeted by the vaccine won’t arrive in the country in the months leading into winter and start causing disease.</p> <p>Another factor that has made predicting which H3N2 virus to target in the vaccine uniquely difficult for 2022 is the lack of data on which viruses were dominant in the preceding flu seasons, both in Australia and on the other side of the Equator.</p> <p>With travel restrictions easing towards the end of 2021, flu cases did start to reappear during the northern hemisphere 2021-22 winter. But the lack of flu cases during the preceding seasons (due to COVID) meant the data used to predict which viruses to target was inadequate.</p> <p>The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) analysed data from more than 3,000 children and <a href="https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/comment/us-flu-vaccine-efficacy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">found</a> a vaccine effectiveness of just 16% protection from mild to moderate disease from H3N2. Protection from more severe disease was just 14%.</p> <h2>We don’t know which subtypes will circulate in Australia</h2> <p>Data about flu vaccine effectiveness in the southern hemisphere 2022 winter isn’t yet available, and it’s unclear how protective the current vaccine is against the currently circulating disease-causing subtypes.</p> <p>While H3N2 viruses appears to be <a href="https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-surveil-ozflu-flucurr.htm/%24File/flu-05-2022.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">driving some disease now</a>, other flu viruses may become more prevalent later in the season.</p> <p>The flu vaccine is a quadrivalent vaccine, so in addition to influenza A H3N2, it will protect against another influenza A subtype (H1N1) and two distinct lineages of influenza B virus. These viruses don’t change as rapidly as H3N2, so it’s more likely the vaccine will give better protection against these other influenza viruses.</p> <p>Even if vaccine protection against H3N2 is lower than usual this year, the vaccine <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">could make the difference</a> between recovering at home versus ending up in hospital.</p> <h2>So who should get a flu shot and when?</h2> <p>The flu vaccine offers the highest level of protection in the first three to four months months after vaccination. The season <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine" target="_blank" rel="noopener">generally peaks</a> between June and September – although this year we have seen a much earlier than usual start to the flu season. It’s unclear whether this early start will mean a longer flu season or an early finish. So it’s not too late to get vaccinated.</p> <p>Flu vaccines <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine" target="_blank" rel="noopener">are recommended</a> for everyone aged six months and over, but are particularly important for people who are more at risk of complications from influenza, including:</p> <ul> <li>Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and over</li> <li>children aged six months to five years</li> <li>pregnant women</li> <li>people aged 65 years or over</li> <li>people aged six months or over who have medical conditions that mean they have a higher risk of getting serious disease.</li> </ul> <h2>What if you still get the flu?</h2> <p>If you develop flu symptoms, isolate and <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/flu-influenza#diagnosis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">see your GP</a> for an influenza PCR test to determine whether you are indeed infected with influenza, particularly if you’re in the higher-risk groups.</p> <p>Specific antivirals for influenza <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/flu-influenza#treatment" target="_blank" rel="noopener">can help</a>, if given early. To ensure rapid access to particularly vulnerable aged-care residents, aged-care facilities are being <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/plans-ramp-up-for-tamiflu-deployment-in-aged-care" target="_blank" rel="noopener">stocked</a> with the flu antiviral drug Tamiflu.</p> <p>In New South Wales, free <a href="https://www.newsofthearea.com.au/4cyte-drive-through-covid-19-testing-centres-to-conduct-conduct-influenza-and-rsv-testing-94671" target="_blank" rel="noopener">drive-through clinics</a> now offer testing for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. Other states and territories may follow.</p> <p><em><strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-b2ed596f-7fff-517f-5af4-3572469f8c42">This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-can-you-still-get-influenza-if-youve-had-a-flu-shot-184327" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</span></strong></em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Keeping to the beat controlled by 69 genes – not just our feet

<p class="spai-bg-prepared">Are you a dancing queen or do you have two left feet? Turns out that keeping to the beat is partly to do with our <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/news.2007.359" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">genetics</a>.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">An international team of researchers conducted a study on the genetic variation of 606,825 individuals, all of whom completed a musical ability questionnaire (including “Can you clap in time with a musical beat?”), with some also participating in beat synchronisation experiments including telling rhythms apart (Phenotype Experiment 1) and tapping in time with music (Phenotype Experiment 2).</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">Of the participants, 91.57% said yes to the question, “Can you clap in time with a musical beat?” Those who said yes also scored higher in the rhythm perception and tapping synchrony experiments.  </p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">Looking at the genetic variation, 69 genes showed significant difference between the rhythmic and arhythmic participants, with <em class="spai-bg-prepared">VRK2 </em>being the most strongly associated. This gene has been linked previously to behavioural and psychiatric traits (including depression, schizophrenia and developmental delay), suggesting a biological link between beat synchronisation and neurodevelopment.</p> <div class="newsletter-box spai-bg-prepared"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p195164-o1" class="wpcf7 spai-bg-prepared" dir="ltr" lang="en-US" role="form"> <form class="wpcf7-form mailchimp-ext-0.5.62 spai-bg-prepared init" action="/science/biology/keeping-the-beat-genetics/#wpcf7-f6-p195164-o1" method="post" novalidate="novalidate" data-status="init"> <p class="spai-bg-prepared" style="display: none !important;"><span class="wpcf7-form-control-wrap referer-page spai-bg-prepared"><input class="wpcf7-form-control wpcf7-text referer-page spai-bg-prepared" name="referer-page" type="hidden" value="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/" data-value="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/" aria-invalid="false" /></span></p> <p><!-- Chimpmail extension by Renzo Johnson --></form> </div> </div> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">Several physiology traits also seemed to be linked to beat synchronisation, including processing speed, grid strength, usual walking pace, and peak respiratory flow. These may be linked to the evolution of language and sociality through music in early humans.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">For modern humans, our ability to keep the beat may help to predict developmental speech-language disorders, and serve as a mechanism for <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2021.789467/full" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">rhythm-based rehabilitation</a>, including for <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/bilingual-patients-recover-better-from-stroke/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">stroke</a> and <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-16232-5" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Parkinson’s disease</a>.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">This study has been <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-022-01359-x" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published</a> in <em class="spai-bg-prepared">Nature Human Behaviour</em>.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-video is-provider-youtube wp-block-embed-youtube wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratio spai-bg-prepared"> <div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper spai-bg-prepared"> <div class="entry-content-asset spai-bg-prepared"> <div class="embed-wrapper spai-bg-prepared"> <div class="inner spai-bg-prepared"><iframe class="spai-bg-prepared" title="The Go-Go's - We Got The Beat (Official Music Video)" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/f55KlPe81Yw?feature=oembed" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> </div> </div> </div> </figure> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">We got the beat… well maybe some of us!</p> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" class="spai-bg-prepared" 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=195164&amp;title=Keeping+to+the+beat+controlled+by+69+genes+%E2%80%93+not+just+our+feet" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/keeping-the-beat-genetics/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/qamariya-nasrullah" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Qamariya Nasrullah</a>. Qamariya Nasrullah holds a PhD in evolutionary development from Monash University and an Honours degree in palaeontology from Flinders University.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Has COVID affected your sleep?

<p>During the early phases of the pandemic, and especially during lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, many people reported disruptions to sleep and their sleeping patterns. As COVID infections have increased, we’re again seeing reports of people experiencing poor sleep during and following COVID infection.</p> <p>Some people report insomnia symptoms, where they struggle to fall or stay asleep, with this commonly being referred to as “coronasomnia” or “COVID insomnia”. Others report feeling constantly fatigued, and seemingly can’t get enough sleep, with this sometimes being referred to as “long COVID”.</p> <p>So why is our sleep impacted by COVID infections, and why do the impacts differ so much between individuals?</p> <h2>Sleep and immunity</h2> <p>When our body is infected with a virus this causes an immune, or inflammatory response. As part of this response, our cells produce proteins such as cytokines in order to help fight the infection. Some of these cytokines are also involved in promoting sleep and are known as “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2605347/#!po=3.12500" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sleep regulatory substances</a>”. In this way, when there are more of these cytokines in our bodies this tends to make us sleepier.</p> <p>It gets a little more complicated though, because like many things, sleep and immunity are bidirectional. This means sleep, in particular poor sleep, can impact immune function, and immune function can impact sleep. During sleep, especially during the non-rapid eye movement stage slow wave sleep (a deep stage of sleep), there is an <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41577-019-0190-z" target="_blank" rel="noopener">increase in the production of some cytokines</a>. As such, sleep increases the immune response which may increase our chance of survival from the infection.</p> <h2>Sleep and COVID</h2> <p>While we are still learning about the specific effects of COVID on sleep, we do know about what happens to sleep with other viral infections.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11134688/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">One study</a> that looked at rhinovirus infections, or the “common cold”, in healthy adults, found individuals who are symptomatic had a reduced sleep duration, less consolidated sleep, and poorer cognitive performance than asymptomatic individuals.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30742884/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Another study</a> that looked at people with respiratory infections showed that while symptomatic, people spent more time in bed and had increased sleep time, yet had more awakenings during sleep. People also reported increased difficulties falling asleep, poorer sleep quality, more restless sleep and more “lighter” sleep.</p> <p><a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2021.795320/full#B15" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A more recent study</a> found patients with COVID reported more trouble sleeping compared to patients without COVID.</p> <h2>COVID insomnia and long COVID</h2> <p>While the changes in sleep with viral infections such as COVID are likely to be due to our bodies’ immune response, it’s possible the sleep disturbances, such as the fragmented sleep and waking frequently, may lead to poor sleep habits, such as using phones or electronic devices at night.</p> <p>Poorer night time sleep may also lead to some people having more frequent daytime naps, which could further impact night time sleep. And taking longer to fall asleep, or waking up at night and struggling to fall back asleep can lead to frustrations around not being able to sleep.</p> <p>All of these factors, either independently or in combination with each other, may lead to the insomnia symptoms people with COVID are experiencing. In the short-term, these insomnia symptoms are not really a big issue. However, if poor sleep habits persist this can lead to <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-insomnia-and-what-can-you-do-about-it-36365" target="_blank" rel="noopener">chronic insomnia</a>.</p> <p>On the other side, there are people who experience long COVID, where they are constantly fatigued even though they may be getting sufficient sleep well after their COVID infection has passed. Unfortunately, more research is needed to determine why some people experience lingering fatigue after viral infections, but it may be due to an excessive immune response.</p> <p>Factors such as <a href="https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/45/Supplement_1/A321/6592670" target="_blank" rel="noopener">genetics, other health concerns and mood disorders</a> such as anxiety are the likely culprits as to why some people experience “COVID insomnia”, whereas others are more likely to develop “long COVID”. Much more research is needed to fully understand the causes of poorer sleep with COVID.</p> <h2>How to deal with sleep disruptions caused by COVID</h2> <p>During the acute phase of infections, it’s important to accept we may experience some sleep disturbances. Try not to get too frustrated about sleeping poorly or taking longer to fall asleep.</p> <p>When you start to feel better, aim to go back to your regular, pre-COVID, sleep-wake pattern, and avoid daytime napping, or at least too much daytime napping. Try to avoid looking at the clock when in bed, and go to bed when you feel sleepy. Reduce light exposure at night, and aim to get some bright light in the morning, ideally outdoors. This will help you get back to a normal routine faster.</p> <p>For more tips on how to improve sleep and to avoid chronic insomnia, the <a href="https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/resources/covid19-resources.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sleep Health Foundation</a> has some resources specifically dedicated to COVID and sleep. If you’re still struggling with insomnia or excessive sleepiness following a COVID infection, especially if it’s been a few months, it’s always good to see your GP, who can offer you more specific advice and work out if more testing is required.</p> <p><em><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/has-covid-affected-your-sleep-heres-how-viruses-can-change-our-sleeping-patterns-184323" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Could an eye test predict your risk of heart disease?

<p dir="ltr">A team of scientists believe a routine eye test, combined with genetic information, could accurately predict an individual’s risk of coronary artery disease and its potential outcome, heart attacks.</p> <p dir="ltr">The researchers examined the patterns of blood vessels in the retina using data from the UK Biobank (UKB), which includes demographic, epidemiological, clinical and genetic data from 500,000 UK participants.</p> <p dir="ltr">They found that simpler patterns were related to coronary heart disease (CAD) and myocardial infarctions (MI), also known as heart attacks, and developed a model that they say is able to predict an individual’s risk of MI based on multiple factors, including images of their eyes.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Strikingly, we discovered that our model was able to better classify participants with low or high MI risk in UKB when compared with established models that only include demographic data. The improvement of our model was even higher if we added a score related to the genetic propensity of developing MI,” Ana Villaplana-Velasco, a PhD student at the University of UK, <a href="https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/the-eyes-could-be-a-window-into-our-heart-risk" target="_blank" rel="noopener">says</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The team also found that several regions of our genes drive branching of vessels in the eye - four of which are also involved in cardiovascular disease genetics.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In particular, we found that these common genetic regions are involved in processes related to MI severity and recovery,” Ms Villaplana-Velasco says.</p> <p dir="ltr">They also believe their findings could be useful for identifying risk of other diseases, with retinal vascular patterns potentially reflecting the development of diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and stroke.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We would like to investigate this further, as well as undertaking a sex-specific analysis. We know that females with a higher MI or CAD risk tend to have pronounced retinal vascular deviations when compared to the male population. We would like to repeat our analysis separately in males and females to investigate if a sex-specific model for MI completes a better risk classification,” Ms Villaplana-Velasco says.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the average age for an MI being 60, the team found that their model was most accurate at predicting risk more than five years before a person experiences an MI.</p> <p dir="ltr">”So the calculation of an individualised MI risk from those over 50 years old would seem to be appropriate,” says Ms Villaplan-Velasco. </p> <p dir="ltr">”This would enable doctors to suggest behaviours that could reduce risk, such as giving up smoking and maintaining normal cholesterol and blood pressure. Our work once more shows the importance of comprehensive analysis of data that is routinely collected and its value in the further development of personalised medicine.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Their findings were presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-13006207-7fff-b231-9d8b-e98d61b23d08"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Genetic mutations slowly accumulated over a lifetime change blood production after 70 years of age

<p class="spai-bg-prepared">Ageing is likely caused by the gradual accumulation of molecular damage, or genetic mutations, in the cells of our bodies that occurs over a lifetime. But how this translates into the rapid deterioration in organ function that’s seen after the age of 70 has so far not been clear.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">Now, scientists have discovered that the accumulation of genetic mutations in blood stem cells are likely responsible for the abrupt change in how <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/why-do-we-have-blood/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">blood</a> is produced in the body after 70 years of age.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">The <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04786-y" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">new study</a>, published in <em class="spai-bg-prepared">Nature</em>, points to a change in the diversity of stem cells that produce blood cells as the reason why the prevalence of reduced cell regeneration capacity, <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fonc.2020.579075/full" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">cytopenia</a> (one or more blood cell types is lower than it should be), immune disfunction, and risk of blood cancer dramatically rises after 70.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“We’ve shown, for the first time, how steadily accumulating mutations throughout life lead to a catastrophic and inevitable change in blood cell populations after the age of 70,” says joint-senior author Dr Peter Campbell, head of the Cancer, Ageing and Somatic Mutation Program at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“What is super exciting about this model is that it may well apply in other organ systems too.”</p> <p><strong>Blood cells are made in a process called haematopoiesis</strong></p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">All of the cells in our blood – including red cells, white cells and platelets – develop in a process called haematopoiesis from haematopoietic stem cells in our bone marrow. These stem cells are what’s known as multipotent progenitor cells, which simply means that they can develop into more than one cell type.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">Researchers were interested in better understanding how this process changes as we age, so they sequenced the entire genomes of 3,579 haematopoietic stem cells from a total of 10 people – ranging in age from newborn to 81 years.</p> <div class="newsletter-box spai-bg-prepared"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p193434-o1" class="wpcf7 spai-bg-prepared" dir="ltr" lang="en-US" role="form"> <form class="wpcf7-form mailchimp-ext-0.5.61 spai-bg-prepared init" action="/science/mutations-change-blood-production/#wpcf7-f6-p193434-o1" method="post" novalidate="novalidate" data-status="init"> <p class="spai-bg-prepared" style="display: none !important;"><span class="wpcf7-form-control-wrap referer-page spai-bg-prepared"><input class="wpcf7-form-control wpcf7-text referer-page spai-bg-prepared" name="referer-page" type="hidden" value="https://www.google.com/" data-value="https://www.google.com/" aria-invalid="false" /></span></p> <p><!-- Chimpmail extension by Renzo Johnson --></form> </div> </div> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">Using this information, they were able to construct something similar to a family tree (<a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/reading-a-phylogenetic-tree-the-meaning-of-41956/#:~:text=A%20phylogenetic%20tree%2C%20also%20known,genes%20from%20a%20common%20ancestor." target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">a phylogenetic tree</a>) for each stem cell, showing how the relationships between blood cells changes over the human lifespan.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">They found that in adults under 65, blood cells were produced from between 20,000 and 200,000 different stem cells – each contributing roughly equal amounts to production.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">But after 70 years of age they observed a dramatic decrease in the diversity of stem cells responsible for haematopoiesis in the bone marrow. In fact, only 12-18 independent expanded sets of stem cell clones accounted for 30-60% of cell production.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">These highly active stem cells had outcompeted others and progressively expanded in numbers (clones) across that person’s life, and this expansion (called <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04785-z" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">clonal haematopoiesis</a>) was caused by a rare subset of mutations known as driver mutations that had occurred decades earlier.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“Our findings show that the diversity of blood stem cells is lost in older age due to positive selection of faster-growing clones with driver mutations. These clones ‘outcompete’ the slower growing ones,” explains lead researcher Dr Emily Mitchell, a haematology registrar at Addenbrooke’s Hospital,UK, and PhD student at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, US.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“In many cases this increased fitness at the stem cell level likely comes at a cost – their ability to produce functional mature blood cells is impaired, so explaining the observed age-related loss of function in the blood system.”</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">Which clones became the dominant stem cells varied between individuals, which explains why variation is seen in disease risk and other characteristics in older adults.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“Factors such as chronic inflammation, smoking, infection and chemotherapy cause earlier growth of clones with cancer-driving mutations. We predict that these factors also bring forward the decline in blood stem cell diversity associated with ageing,” says joint-senior author Dr Elisa Laurenti, assistant professor at the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, UK.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“It is possible that there are factors that might slow this process down, too,” she adds. “We now have the exciting task of figuring out how these newly discovered mutations affect blood function in the elderly, so we can learn how to minimise disease risk and promote healthy ageing.”</p> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" class="spai-bg-prepared" 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=193434&amp;title=Genetic+mutations+slowly+accumulated+over+a+lifetime+change+blood+production+after+70+years+of+age" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/mutations-change-blood-production/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/imma-perfetto" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Imma Perfetto</a>. Imma Perfetto is a science writer at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Science Communication from the University of Adelaide.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Making a ComeBACK to physical activity

<p dir="ltr">COVID-19 has changed the way we live in Australia. Whilst we are encouraged to limit our contact with others to reduce the spread of COVID-19, it has restricted the opportunities we have to be active in our lives. Being active is an important factor in maintaining our physical functioning and mental wellbeing, particularly in these challenging  times. But how active do we need to be?</p> <p dir="ltr">The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults aged 65+ should be doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This includes activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance, and flexibility to improve or maintain physical functioning (such as walking and standing up from a chair) and to prevent falls. Guidelines are good at telling us how much activity we should be doing, but they may not be enough to change our behaviour without additional support.</p> <p dir="ltr">The ComeBACK trial is looking for adults who have difficulty walking 800m to evaluate the effect of two phone-based interventions on improving physical activity and walking over 12 months. ComeBACK participants have come from a range of backgrounds, walking ability and experience with physical activity.</p> <p dir="ltr">ComeBACK participant Carla said, “Setting the goals was a really good thing and having the prompt reminders to take time for yourself and stick to your goals”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Participants are randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group, Coaching to ComeBACK, receives fortnightly health coaching calls with a physiotherapist for 6 months to support and progress their current levels of activity. The second group, Texting to ComeBACK, receives an initial phone call with a physiotherapist followed by text messages for 6 months to motivate them to get active. The third group also receives the one-off phone call and text messages, but during the second half of the trial.</p> <p dir="ltr">People who have been involved in the trial have reported benefits across all ComeBACK groups. Coaching to ComeBACK participant, Suzie, reported “My coach is very personable and informative whilst supportive and encouraging. It’s been perfect support. Also I hear from some of the participants in the trial who were recently interviewed on the ABC Radio National segment <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sporty/how-to-move-more/13324250?fbclid=IwAR26oAJZ-nG6A52xoqPnpp3iunYmeg37n2nyse3EX7WUBEa5dLjjv3YNU0s" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sporty</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you are interested in joining the ComeBACK trial or to learn more, please get in touch with the research staff at comeback.trial@sydney.edu.au, or call (02) 8627 6235, or register your interest at <a href="http://www.comebacktrial.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.comebacktrial.org.au</a>. </p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-c66b1401-7fff-2b9f-a19f-2aa737b2eb2c"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

"There were a lot of happy tears": New cancer drug smashes expectations

<p dir="ltr">A new cancer drug has returned phenomenal results after curing almost every patient in the trial phase. </p> <p dir="ltr">Dostarlimab, a monoclonal antibody drug which produces white blood cells, had already been approved to treat endometrial cancer in the UK.</p> <p dir="ltr">The cost of Dostarlimab sits at $11,000 (A$15,200) per 500mg dose in the US and has been given to 100 advanced endometrial cancer patients every year.</p> <p dir="ltr">It was used in the hopes that patients could avoid invasive surgery as well as chemotherapy.</p> <p dir="ltr">A trial conducted by New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was looking into whether the drug is effective against rectal cancer tumours.</p> <p dir="ltr">The trial proved to be a success where all 18 patients went into remission and no cancer was found.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our message is: Get tested if you have rectal cancer to see if the tumour is MMRd,” lead author of the paper Dr Luis Diaz said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“No matter what stage the cancer is, we have a trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering that may help you.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The researchers explained that no patients had received prior chemoradiotherapy or undergone surgery. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The results enabled us to omit both chemoradiotherapy and surgery and to proceed with observation alone,” they said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The implications for quality of life are substantial, especially among patients in whom standard treatment would affect childbearing potential.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Andrea Cercek said there were “a lot of happy tears” when patients were told about the success of the drug. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

COVID-19’s impacts on heart disease will be with us for years to come

<p>The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to heart health services, a new meta-analysis published in the European Heart Journal reveals. COVID-19 impacts on cardiac health have likely been driven by a combination of healthcare system pressures and the spread of the virus itself.   </p> <p>“Heart disease is the number-one killer in most countries, and the analysis shows that during the pandemic people across the world did not receive the cardiac care they should have received,” says lead author Ramesh Nadajarah, a British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, UK. “That will have ramifications.”</p> <p>The analysis reports a notable global decline since the start of the pandemic in people being admitted to hospital with cardiovascular disease, longer delays in accessing treatment, and increased death rates from cardiovascular disease.</p> <p>For example, there was a 22% decline in hospitalisations for serious heart attacks in which one artery connected to the heart is completely blocked. A less-severe form of heart attack, in which an artery is partially blocked, saw an even greater drop in hospitalisations of 34%. </p> <p>Heart-attack patients had to wait on average 69 minutes longer than before the pandemic to receive medical assistance. The paper also reported a 34% drop in heart operations globally, and a 17% increase in people dying in hospital after experiencing a major heart attack.</p> <p>“This analysis really brings to light the substantial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, in harming cardiovascular health globally,” says Deepak L. Bhatt, senior author on the meta-analysis and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, US.</p> <p><strong>COVID-19 impacts on cardiac health will persist and reinforce inequalities if not addressed, experts say</strong></p> <p>The findings were based on an analysis of data from 189 research papers from 48 countries across six continents, all investigating the impact of COVID-19 on cardiovascular health services in the two years from December 2019.</p> <p>Although the impacts of the pandemic on cardiovascular healthcare were observed globally, many were concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. These countries saw greater declines in hospital attendance for heart attacks and a “sharp” decline in the percentage of heart-attack patients receiving the gold standard of medical care.</p> <p>“The analysis is revealing that the burden of COVID-19 has disproportionately fallen on low- to middle-income countries,” says Samira Asma, a co-author on the paper and Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact at the World Health Organization (WHO).  </p> <p>“We suspect it will widen the inequality gap in health outcomes of cardiac care between high-income countries and low- to middle-income countries, where 80% of the world’s population live. This underscores the need for universal health coverage and access to quality care, even more so during the pandemic.”</p> <p>The disruption caused by the pandemic is likely to cause ongoing health impacts well into the future. Delayed and missed opportunities for diagnosis and treatment cause compounding cardiovascular health problems.  </p> <p>“The longer people wait for treatment for a heart attack, the greater the damage to their heart muscle, causing complications that can be fatal or cause chronic ill health,” Nadajarah says.</p> <p>“Health systems need to reinforce systems to help support and treat people whose heart conditions will inevitably be worse because of the pandemic.”</p> <p>The research team called for mitigation strategies to deal with the increased burden of death and disease from cardiovascular disease to be rapidly implemented around the world.</p> <p>“The repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular care and outcomes will be with us for a long while yet,” says senior author Chris Gale, a consultant cardiologist and professor at the University of Leeds.</p> <p>“Urgent action is needed to address the burden of cardiovascular disease left in the wake of the pandemic.”</p> <p><em><strong>T</strong><strong>his article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/covid-19-impacts-on-cardiac-health/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written </strong><strong>by </strong><a class="fn" style="box-sizing: border-box; font-family: halyard-text, sans-serif; color: #000000; text-decoration-line: none; background-color: #ffffff;" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/matilda-handlsey-davis" rel="author"><strong>Matilda Handsley-Davis. </strong></a></em></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

“Benjamin Button” mice could pave way for reverse ageing

<p>If the three blind mice from the iconic nursery rhyme were living in molecular biologist Dr David Sinclair’s lab at Harvard Medical School, they might not be blind for very long.</p> <p>Dr Sinclair and his team at Harvard Medical School have been using proteins that can turn adult cells into stem cells - a kind of cell that can be turned into any of the specialised cells our bodies need.</p> <p>These stem cells have been helping restore the sight of old mice with damaged retinas, essentially making them younger versions of themselves.</p> <p>“It’s a permanent reset, as far as we can tell, and we think it may be a universal process that could be applied across the body to reset our age,” Dr Sinclair said about his research, which was published in late 2020.</p> <p>The Australian scientist has spent the past 20 years studying ways to reverse the effects of ageing - including the diseases that can afflict us as we get older.</p> <p>“If we reverse ageing, these diseases should not happen,” he said.</p> <p>During a health and wellness talk at Life Itself, Dr Sinclair said the technology is available and it’s only a matter of when we decide to use it.</p> <p>“We have the technology today to be able to go into your hundreds without worrying about getting cancer in your 70s, heart disease in your 80s and Alzheimer’s in your 90s,” he said.</p> <p>“This is the world that is coming. It’s literally a question of when and for most of us, it’s going to happen in our lifetime.”</p> <p>Whitney Casey, an investor who has partnered with Dr Sinclair to create a DIY biological age test, said the researcher wants to “make ageing a disease”.</p> <p>“His research shows you can change ageing to make lives younger for longer,” she said.</p> <p>Dr Sinclair said that when it comes to how modern medicine addresses sickness, it doesn’t tackle the underlying cause, which is usually “ageing itself”.</p> <p>“We know that when we reverse the age of an organ like the brain in a mouse, the diseases of ageing then go away. Memory comes back, there is no more dementia,” he continued.</p> <p>“I believe that in the future, delaying and reversing ageing will be the best way to treat the diseases that plague most of us.”</p> <p>Dr Sinclair’s research comes amid a global effort by scientists working to reprogram adult cells into stem cells, started by Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka, who won a Nobel Prize for reprogramming adult skin cells into behaving like embryonic (or pluripotent) stem cells.</p> <p>These “induced pluripotent stem cells” became known as “Yamanaka factors”, with later research finding that exposing cells to four of the main Yamanaka factors could remove signs of ageing.</p> <p>Since their original study, where they discovered that damaged cells were able to be rejuvenated by injecting three of these factors into the eyes of mice, Dr Sinclair and his lab have reversed ageing in mouse brains and muscles, and are now working on a mouse’s whole body.</p> <p>Dr Sinclair said their discovery indicated that there is a “back-up copy” of youthful information stored in the body, which he calls the “information theory of ageing”.</p> <p>“It’s a loss of information that drives ageing cells to forget how to function, to forget what type of cell they are,” he revealed.</p> <p>“And now we can tap into a reset switch that restores the cell’s ability to read the genome correctly again, as if it was young.”</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-5569962c-7fff-455b-2538-0661dd2d0f60">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Why you should be exercising more often

<p dir="ltr">As we age, our bodies begin to slow down and tasks that were quite easy to accomplish require a bit more effort to complete. </p> <p dir="ltr">The same goes with exercising, particularly for those aged 60 onwards who should be committed to a healthy lifestyle which helps strengthen the cardiovascular and respiratory system, as well as improved immune function.</p> <p dir="ltr">Anytime Fitness Wolli Creek Personal Trainer Sandro Fanunza spoke to OverSixty about the health benefits of exercising and shared some of the best movements for older people without risking injury. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>O60: What are the health benefits of exercising as someone who is aged 60+?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Being aged over 60 poses many health precautions on a daily basis. </p> <p dir="ltr">The little things you did when you were younger such as going to work in the cold weather or simply staying on your feet for long enough can now feel increasingly challenging.</p> <p dir="ltr">Inactivity increases with age and by 75 - one in three elderly people don’t engage in physical activity. This could be due to tendon and ligament loss of elasticity, reduced range of motion, a decrease of oxygen efficiency and longer recovery times to ailments.</p> <p dir="ltr">The benefits however truly outweigh the negatives. By implementing simple and consistent exercise habits daily will help increase physical and mental strength to not only continue living independently but attribute to reducing risk of falling causing injuries, helps to maintain healthy bone and muscular structure, controls joint swelling and pain, rapidly reduces blood pressure, improves oxygen flow and also reduces symptoms of developed possible depression and anxiety which directly linked to a healthy well-being. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>O60: What movements are important for older people without injuring themselves? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Basic movement and mobility will always be functionally advantageous when increasing physical activity. </p> <p dir="ltr">I believe there should be a large selection and hybridisation of exercise styles to be implemented with caution by elderly people. </p> <p dir="ltr">Walking not only improves oxygen efficiency and independent movement but adds towards rebuilding a healthy, non-invasive daily activity. Other advantages include lowering risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Using a walker also poses as great support for elderly people during these initial walks as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">Another form of movement includes basic strength training using resistance bands, which are large basic elastic bands which can reduce direct stress towards the body when used. Not only are they cost efficient but they are beginner friendly. </p> <p dir="ltr">Various activities with resistance bands can help improve movement, posture, mobility and joint strength immensely. Pilates posing as a low impact exercise improves breathing, mobility, flexibility and joint strength as well but could pose a financial strain long term. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>O60: What are some easy exercise movements to do at home</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Sit to stands: Sitting on a chair and standing directly up controlling each motion is simple yet effective. Core control and stability is challenged and improves while the lower body is strengthened. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ankle/wrist rotations: Sitting on a chair with good posture and slightly elevating one foot at a time and rotating each ankle clockwise for 30 seconds each. Follow the same order and repeat with your hands. This improves flexibility and mobility of the hands and feet which when repeated will strengthen joints when performing daily tasks like walking, cooking and cleaning. </p> <p dir="ltr">Hip hinge movements: While standing on the side of a chair, simply hold onto the chair with one hand and raise the opposing leg forward knee first to a 90 degree angle and hold for 2 seconds. Inhale on the way up and exhale when returning the leg down. Repeat with the opposite leg and alternate for 5-10 minutes. This exercise challenges and improves stability of the knees, ankles and hip joint, increases mobility of the hip and allows for an improved healthy range of motion. Elderly people have an increased chance of sustaining a hip injury so improving and strengthening their hip joints only poses an advantage.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>O60: What are some exercises to avoid due to high injury risk in the elderly?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Any high impact or plyometric style movements such as jumping, sudden sprinting will not only pose as a physical risk to the joints and muscles but challenge the heart rate to a dangerous level if not conditioned. Heavy weight lifting is always not advised unless taken under supervision long term by a trainer or practitioner. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>O60: How can Anytime Fitness help motivate/encourage older people to join and have fun at the gym? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">At Anytime Fitness Wolli Creek we have a young, motivating team of staff and trainers who are always on the gym floor helping members and supporting them in any way they can. </p> <p dir="ltr">Trainers are always around to teach, demonstrate and watch elderly members as a safety precaution and also as a source of motivation for the - in my opinion - strongest members of a gym! </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>O60: Is it recommended to get a personal trainer as someone 60+?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">I believe seeking a personal trainer over 60 is a great idea! Personal trainers are qualified to safely instruct and motivate members of the gym. The elderly demographic will enjoy a boost of confidence from a younger trainer and will also seek to improve their fear of movement/ exercises which then will increase self belief - leading to a much more fulfilling and confident exercise session within a gym. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>O60: What is currently on offer for the elderly? </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">At the moment I have a walking/running event around Wolli Creek called Wolli Move which is in its beginning stages. </p> <p dir="ltr">Wolli Move is a community event held a few times a week which seeks to improve motivation for the general community to run or walk. </p> <p dir="ltr">There are seperate free sessions per week where members of the local community can walk on a set path or run on another time slot. </p> <p dir="ltr">What a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people and rebuild healthy habits with your body to ensure a great balanced lifestyle!</p> <p dir="ltr"><em><strong>Contact Sandro for more information on his <a href="https://www.instagram.com/wollimove/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Wolli Move</a> page. </strong></em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Supplied/Shutterstock</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

New type of gel helps the medicine go down

<p class="spai-bg-prepared">Swallowing tablets can be a challenge for most children and some adults, but scientists have come to the rescue with a new drug-delivering oleogel that can make it easier to consume a variety of medicines.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">According to a <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abm8478" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">new study</a>, the gels are made from plant-based oils and can be prepared in a variety of textures – from a thickened drink to a gel with yogurt-like consistency. This could help adults who have difficulty swallowing pills, such as older people or those who have suffered a stroke.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">The gels have also been designed to remain stable at 40°C for two weeks, and even up to 60°C for one week. This could make them especially helpful for children in developing nations, where the gels might be transported in vehicles without refrigeration. </p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“Given the simplicity of the system and its low cost, it could have a tremendous impact on making it easier for patients to take medications,” says senior author Giovanni Traverso, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, US.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">Existing strategies for people unable to swallow pills have relied on dissolving drugs in water, but this requires a water-soluble medicine, as well as access to clean water and refrigeration. It can also be difficult to achieve the right dosage for children if the pills used are meant for adults.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">To avoid these issues, the interdisciplinary research team focused on the potential of oil-based gels, also known as oleogels, for drug delivery.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">The researchers explored several different types of plant-derived oils, including sesame, cottonseed and flaxseed oil. By combining these oils with edible gelling ingredients – such as beeswax and rice bran wax – they found they could control the texture depending on the type of oil and gelling agent, and their concentrations.</p> <div class="newsletter-box spai-bg-prepared"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p193139-o1" class="wpcf7 spai-bg-prepared" dir="ltr" lang="en-US" role="form"> <form class="wpcf7-form mailchimp-ext-0.5.61 spai-bg-prepared init" action="/health/oleogels-alternative-medicine-delivery/#wpcf7-f6-p193139-o1" method="post" novalidate="novalidate" data-status="init"> <p class="spai-bg-prepared" style="display: none !important;"><span class="wpcf7-form-control-wrap referer-page spai-bg-prepared"><input class="wpcf7-form-control wpcf7-text referer-page spai-bg-prepared" name="referer-page" type="hidden" value="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/" data-value="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/" aria-invalid="false" /></span></p> <p><!-- Chimpmail extension by Renzo Johnson --></form> </div> </div> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">To identify the most palatable oleogels, the researchers worked with a consulting firm specialising in consumer sensory experiences to narrow down the oleogels to those made from oils with a neutral or slightly nutty flavour.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“That approach gave us the capacity to deliver very hydrophobic drugs that cannot be delivered through water-based systems,” says lead author Ameya Kirtane, former MIT postdoctoral researcher and current instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “It also allowed us to make these formulations with a really wide range of textures.”</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">They then tested delivering three oil-soluble (hydrophobic) drugs from the World Health Organization’s (<a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.who.int/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">WHO</a>) list of <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-MHP-HPS-EML-2021.03" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">essential medicines for children</a>: praziquantel, used to treat parasitic infections; lumefantrine, used to treat malaria; and azithromycin, used to treat bacterial infections.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">The tests showed that in pigs the oleogels were able to deliver doses of these medicines equal to or greater than the amounts absorbed from tablets, and that a water-soluble <a class="spai-bg-prepared" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/medicine/antibiotic-resistance-millions-years/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">antibiotic</a> (moxifloxacin hydrochloride) could also be successfully delivered.</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">“Based on that list, infectious diseases really stood out in terms of what a country needs to protect its children,” Kirtane says. “A lot of the work that we did in this study was focused on infectious-disease medications, but from a formulation standpoint, it doesn’t matter what drug we put into these systems.”</p> <p class="spai-bg-prepared">A phase I clinical trial of the oleogel formulation of azithromycin should be underway within the next few months.</p> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" class="spai-bg-prepared" 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=193139&title=New+type+of+gel+helps+the+medicine+go+down" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/oleogels-alternative-medicine-delivery/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/imma-perfetto" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Imma Perfetto</a>. Imma Perfetto is a science writer at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Science Communication from the University of Adelaide.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

I’m getting older, how can I prevent falls?

<p>Falls are common. Each year <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241563536">one in every three</a> people aged over 65 will fall. Around <a href="https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/TmbBC6XQ4LfoyR3W3CpQkee?domain=cambridge.org">one in ten falls</a> lead to serious injury. Most of us have a friend or relative who has experienced an injury from a fall and know what a life-changing event it can be.</p> <p>The most common serious injuries are fractures and brain injuries. Falls can also result in a loss of confidence, which can lead to restriction of activity and a lower quality of life. Many older people never regain their pre-fall level of function and might even struggle to keep living by themselves.</p> <p>The consequences of falls cost Australia a staggering <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/injury/falls-in-older-australians-2019-20-hospitalisation/contents/about">$4.3 billion</a> every year. The good news is <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD012424.pub2/full">20-30% of falls</a> among older Australians can be prevented.</p> <p><strong>Why do we fall in older age?</strong></p> <p>Falls happen when there is a mismatch between our physical abilities and the immediate demands of the environment or activity being undertaken.</p> <p>Falls become more common as we get older because as we age, there is a natural decline in muscle strength, balance and vision, all of which are important for helping us stay upright.</p> <p>The risk of falls is increased by certain medical conditions (such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia and stroke) and certain medications (such as sleeping tablets).</p> <p>But this doesn’t mean falls are inevitable.</p> <p><strong>Exercise makes the most difference</strong></p> <p><a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/15/885">Exercise</a> that aims to improve balance and leg strength is the most effective in preventing falls.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462685/original/file-20220512-15-imz9uz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462685/original/file-20220512-15-imz9uz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462685/original/file-20220512-15-imz9uz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462685/original/file-20220512-15-imz9uz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462685/original/file-20220512-15-imz9uz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462685/original/file-20220512-15-imz9uz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462685/original/file-20220512-15-imz9uz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462685/original/file-20220512-15-imz9uz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Older people doing yoga" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Exercise for strength and balance should be done often.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>This means exercise that is carried out while standing (not while seated), with the feet positioned close together or while standing on one leg (if safe to do so), while performing controlled movement of the upper body (leaning and reaching movements, for example).</p> <p>Balance training combined with strength training for the major muscle groups is most effective.</p> <p>These exercises need to be tailored to individual abilities. Middle-aged people with good physical function will benefit from harder exercises (such as functional training at a gym or boot camp incorporating squats and step-ups).</p> <p><a href="https://www.safeexerciseathome.org.au/">Effective exercises</a> for people with impaired physical function or frailty will follow the same principles but should be modified for safety and effectiveness. These include everyday activities such as standing up from a seated position without using arms for support, walking up and down stairs, walking in one line, stepping over obstacles or balancing on one leg.</p> <p>For lasting impacts, it’s important this type of exercise is done often. The <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity">World Health Organization</a> recommends incorporating these exercises two to three times a week as part of the 150-300 minutes a week of moderate activity recommended for improving health.</p> <p>Not everyone enjoys exercising, which means some people struggle to prioritise it. It’s very important to know nobody is ever “too old” to start exercising, and benefits are gained at any age. But don’t hold off to start exercising either – the earlier we start to build our strength and balance, the better off we will be in our older years.</p> <p>Starting small and building up the amount and intensity of activity, and choosing something enjoyable, are the best ways to start. If you can’t reach a high dose of exercise initially, any amount is better than nothing.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462622/original/file-20220512-12-qljf6d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462622/original/file-20220512-12-qljf6d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462622/original/file-20220512-12-qljf6d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=420&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462622/original/file-20220512-12-qljf6d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=420&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462622/original/file-20220512-12-qljf6d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=420&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462622/original/file-20220512-12-qljf6d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=528&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462622/original/file-20220512-12-qljf6d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=528&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462622/original/file-20220512-12-qljf6d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=528&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Woman sitting in chair. Woman pushing herself up with her legs. Woman standing." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Simple sit-to-stand exercises can improve strength and balance.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>If you like exercising in a group, consider finding a local program and invite a friend along for added support and social connection. Your <a href="https://www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au/">state government</a> or local council should have their classes listed online.</p> <p>If you’re not sure where to start, the best thing to do is to seek professional help to select exercises that suit your abilities and health conditions. Talk to your GP, local <a href="https://choose.physio/find-a-physio">physio</a> or <a href="https://www.essa.org.au/find-aep/">exercise physiologist</a>.</p> <p><strong>What else can we do to prevent falls?</strong></p> <p>In addition to exercise to improve balance and strength, other actions that can reduce the risk of falls include talking to your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications, seeing a podiatrist if you have painful feet, and maximising the safety of your home environment by installing adequate lighting and grab rails, and ensuring walkways are free from clutter and liquid spills.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462669/original/file-20220512-20-arf332.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462669/original/file-20220512-20-arf332.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/462669/original/file-20220512-20-arf332.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462669/original/file-20220512-20-arf332.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462669/original/file-20220512-20-arf332.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462669/original/file-20220512-20-arf332.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462669/original/file-20220512-20-arf332.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/462669/original/file-20220512-20-arf332.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Man with his GP" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">If you have had a fall or are worried about mobility, talk to your GP.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Falls are not inevitable as we age. We need investment in strategies to help older Australians stay active and independent, and avoid falls. Despite knowing what works to avoid them, we have no national policy or strategy to implement and fund fall prevention programs. Doing so would not only help older Australians, but the budget bottom-line too.<!-- 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/182043/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/anne-tiedemann-409380" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Anne Tiedemann</a>, Professor of Physical Activity and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841" target="_blank" rel="noopener">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cathie Sherrington</a>, Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841" target="_blank" rel="noopener">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-delbaere-667" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kim Delbaere</a>, Senior Principal Research Scientist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/neuroscience-research-australia-976" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Neuroscience Research Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/im-getting-older-how-can-i-prevent-falls-182043" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

What you need to know about this year’s flu season

<p dir="ltr">Two years of pandemic-induced lockdowns has resulted in unusually fewer cases of flu - but as we head into winter, the accompanying flu season is shaping up to be a rough one according to experts.</p> <p dir="ltr">To help Aussies prepare for the upcoming sniffle season, Associate Professor Michelle Tate, an influenza expert from Monash University, has answered some common questions about the sneeze-inducing virus.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Is it the flu or just a bad cold?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Though both are caused by viruses, the flu and common cold are caused by two different types - the influenza and rhinovirus respectively - and cause slightly different symptoms.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you have a runny nose, sore throat and mild to moderate discomfort, it’s likely that you have the common cold.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you’re feeling fatigued, weak, or have a sudden fever, headache or chills, you’re more likely to have the flu. Unlike catching a cold, coming down with the flu can be quite debilitating and see you stay in bed for several days.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Is the flu dangerous?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">If you think you have the flu, Associate Professor Tate says you should reach out to your GP as soon as possible.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Many people think that there is nothing medically available to treat the flu. However, doctors can prescribe antiviral drugs that can make the infection milder and shorten the time you are sick - if taken within the first two days following the onset of symptoms,” she <a href="https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/flu-season-2022-what-you-need-to-know" target="_blank" rel="noopener">explains</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">On average, around 800 people die from the flu in Victoria each year, with 2022 already seeming to be highly affecting people aged 15-24.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Severe influenza virus infections are associated with an overwhelming reaction by the immune system, resulting in what is called a ‘cytokine storm’,” Associate Professor Tate says.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is often an overreaction of the immune system rather than the virus itself that causes symptoms such as fever and sometimes fatal disease, including multi-organ failure.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Should I get vaccinated against the flu?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The short answer: yes.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Vaccination against the flu is particularly recommended for people with underlying conditions such as asthma, pregnant women, the elderly and health workers,” Associate Professor Tate explains.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s even more worthwhile this year, because herd immunity is low as we haven’t been exposed to flu the last couple of years due to social distancing. Because of this, we are now seeing higher than normal numbers of cases.”</p> <p dir="ltr">As a result of this reduction in herd immunity - the idea that a large proportion of the community is immune to a disease, preventing a disease from spreadly to as many people and protecting those who aren’t immune - all age groups are vulnerable to the flu this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Additionally, we are seeing cases of flu and COVID-19, which is referred to as ‘flurona’,” Associate Professor Tate adds.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Why do I need the flu jab every year?</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">With the rapid evolution of COVID-19 and appearance of new variants, calling for us to get booster vaccines and potentially be vaccinated every winter, it’s a little easier to see why the same would apply for the flu, with the vaccine targeting three common types of the virus.</p> <p dir="ltr">Associate Professor Tate adds that our immune protection declines over time, “so an annual vaccination is needed to get the best protection against the flu”.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-6a0a9b39-7fff-314c-b3c5-e0cf4cae5f00"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Your morning cup of coffee could help you live longer

<p>While coffee helps us function, it could also potentially be an elixir to a longer life. Drinking 1.5 to 3.5 cups of coffee per day, even with sugar, could help you live longer.</p> <p>An international team of scientists (and fellow coffee lovers) spent seven years looking at the caffeinated drinking habits of 171,000 participants from the UK, all of whom had no known heart disease or cancer.</p> <p>The authors found that participants who drank any amount of unsweetened coffee were 16% to 21% less likely to die within that seven-year period, compared to those who did not drink coffee. They also found that participants who liked their coffee sweet, drinking it with one teaspoon of sugar, had a 29% to 31% lower chance of passing away.</p> <p>Results were inconclusive for those who drank coffee with artificial sweetener.</p> <p>The researchers caution that for maximum benefits, coffee drinkers should consume no more than 3.5 cups per day, and limit the amount of sugar with each coffee. Based on this data, there is no need for most coffee drinkers to eliminate that cup of joe from their diet, but they should be cautious about ordering calorie-laden frappacinos!</p> <p>The study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.</p> <p><strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-2fa54359-7fff-a1ff-3069-f890b2d456f4">This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/coffee-help-live-longer/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by </span>Qamariya Nasrullah.</em></strong></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Peter Dutton reveals rare skin condition after "appearance shaming"

<p>Liberal MP Peter Dutton has revealed he suffers from a rare skin condition, following a <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/tanya-plibersek-apologises-for-likening-peter-dutton-to-voldemort" target="_blank" rel="noopener">slating</a> from Labor MP Tanya Plibersek, who likened him to Voldemort. </p> <p>Dutton said he is not "bald by choice" and blames his hair loss on an unnamed condition. </p> <p>Responding on Thursday to Plibersek’s comments, Dutton said while he’s “not pretty” he will be an effective Liberal leader.</p> <p>“Look, it’s water off a duck’s back,’’ he told <a href="https://www.2gb.com/peter-dutton-breaks-silence-on-voldemort-jab/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">Ray Hadley on 2GB.</a></p> <p>“You read all that sort of stuff online ... in the sewer of Twitter all the time, and I think it’s unfortunate."</p> <p>“But, you know, she’s apologised for that. I just don’t think you need to be nasty and mean.”</p> <p>He went on to tell Hadley that he was diagnosed with a mystery condition that caused his hair to fall out. </p> <p>“I’m not bald by choice. OK. And, you know, I was diagnosed with a skin condition a couple of years ago, which is just a reality of getting older as well,” he said.</p> <p>“So, you know, I’m not the prettiest bloke on the block, but I’m going to be pretty effective. And I love this country. We live in the best country in the world.”</p> <p>Tanya Plibersek apologised to Peter Dutton for likening him to the Harry Potter villain in a recent radio interview when asked of her opinion of the Liberal MP. </p> <p>Speaking to Scott Emerson on the 4BC radio station, Ms Plibersek said, "Well I think there will be a lot of children who have watched a lot of Harry Potter films who will be very frightened of what they will see at night, that's for sure." </p> <p> </p> <p>"What, are you saying he looks strange, he looks odd?" Emerson asked.</p> <p>"I am saying he looks a bit like Voldemort and we will see whether he can do what he promised he would do when he was last running for leader, which is smile more," she said. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

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

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

Body

Our Partners