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The world's sexiest accent has been revealed

<p><span>When it comes to accents, is Aussie among the world’s sexiest? Apparently so, according to a new global survey.</span></p> <p><span>Travel media company Big 7 Travel polled its readers across the globe on the world’s sexiest accent – and an unexpected candidate has come out on top of the list. </span></p> <p><span>The “outrageously charming” New Zealand has taken the crown as the world’s sexiest accent, beating out other accents from over 7,000 languages.</span></p> <p><span>“The ‘Newzild’ dialect is outrageously charming. The sexiest accent in the world? It’s official,” said the website.</span></p> <p><span>“To a novice ear, the New Zealand accent might sound just like the Australian accent.”</span></p> <p><span>Despite this, Australian only came in fifth. “Pronouncing words long and slow – and often skipping the ends of them completely – is a real turn on apparently.”</span></p> <p><span>Other accents that made the top ten were South African, Irish, Italian, Scottish, French, Spanish, South USA and Brazilian Portuguese.</span></p> <p><span>Different variations of the British accent also made the top 50, including Queen’s English at number 12, Mancunian at #18, Geordie at #41 and Welsh at #45.</span></p> <p><span>A number of American accents were also found to be popular, with the Boston accent taking the 28<sup>th</sup> spot and the “fast and hypernasal” New York coming in at number 44.</span></p> <p><span>See the full list of the top 50 sexiest accents <a href="https://bigseventravel.com/2019/04/worlds-sexiest-accent/">here</a>.</span></p>

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Why putting down your phone could help you live longer

<p><span>Having a smartphone can bring about a great dilemma – a lot has been said about the dangers of spending time on our devices, but putting them away is still easier said than done. </span></p> <p><span>A look into hormones could explain why phones can be simultaneously stimulating for your mind and harmful for your health.</span></p> <p><span>A growing body of evidence suggests that smartphones have detrimental effects on our sleep, memory, attention spans, <a href="https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/smartphone-addiction-study-check-phones-52-times-daily-1203028454/">mental health</a>, <a href="https://hbr.org/2018/03/having-your-smartphone-nearby-takes-a-toll-on-your-thinking">problem-solving skills</a>, and more. But if that’s not enough, the <a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/science/2019/05/01/phone-stress-health-problems/"><em>New York Times</em></a> has reported that keeping our phones close may be increasing our stress levels and, consequently, shortening our lives.</span></p> <p><span>Most studies on smartphone use have focused on the way phones and apps are designed to encourage the production of dopamine, a brain chemical that plays an important role in motivating behaviours, habits and addictions. </span></p> <p><span>The release of dopamine from using phones and apps makes it more difficult for us to put our devices down. This has been acknowledged by Chamath Palihapitiya, a former executive at the world’s biggest social media site Facebook.</span></p> <p><span>“I feel tremendous guilt,” said Palihapitiya in a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMotykw0SIk">2017 talk</a>. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.”</span></p> <p><span>But apart from dopamine, phones can also stimulate cortisol spikes. Known as the stress hormone, cortisol triggers physiological responses such as increase in blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar. </span></p> <p><span>While cortisol may help regulate the hormone balance in your body in response to perceived threats – for example, bear attacks – its continuous release from anticipating notifications on your device may not be as beneficial. Chronically elevated cortisol levels have been associated with various health problems, from weight gain, metabolic issues and fragile skin to depression, heart attack, dementia and stroke. </span></p> <p><span>“Every chronic disease we know of is exacerbated by stress,” said Dr Robert Lustig, emeritus professor in paediatric endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of <em>The Hacking of the American Mind</em>.</span></p> <p><span>“And our phones are absolutely contributing to this.”</span></p> <p><span>This was also supported by David Greenfield, PhD, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. “Smartphones put us in an ever-increasing state of hyper-vigilance, where we’re always feeling compelled to check our calls, texts, social media alerts, email, and more,” he told <a href="https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19530834/how-smartphones-stress-you-out/"><em>Men’s Health</em></a>. “This keeps the adrenals constantly activated and cortisol levels elevated.”</span></p> <p><span>So how could we reduce our phone use and recover our health? Keeping your gadget out of sight might be one of the options – according to a <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/keeping-your-smartphone-nearby-may-not-be-so-smart-2017080212163">study</a> published in the <em>Journal of the Association for Consumer Research</em>, leaving your device in another room instead of on the desk could improve your focus and reduce distraction through the absence of stressor.</span></p> <p><span>Turning off notifications will also make your phone less stressful, as will hiding or deleting apps. </span></p> <p><span>Paying attention to physical reactions is also important, said Dr Judson Brewer, director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Centre at Brown University and author of <em>The Craving Mind</em>. He told the <em>Times </em>that stress and anxiety could manifest in the form of chest contraction. “If we’re not aware of our physical sensations, we’re not going to change our behaviours,” he said. Paying attention to the sensations you are feeling when using a particular app could help you identify ways to rebalance your body chemicals.</span></p>

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Why do we have a QWERTY keyboard?

<p><em>"Why are the letters on the keyboard not in alphabetical order??" – Baker, age 9, Arrowtown, New Zealand.</em></p> <p>Great question! That question really puzzled me when I was a kid. And so as a grown-up, I decided to research it and write a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002073738480070X">paper</a> about it.</p> <p>Let’s turn the clock back. About 150 years ago, all letters and business papers were written by hand. Most likely they were written using a pen that had to be dipped in ink every word or two. Writing was slow and messy.</p> <p>Then some clever inventors built a machine for typing. The first typewriters were big heavy metal machines that worked a bit like a piano.</p> <p>Have you ever seen the inside of a real piano? You press a key and some clever levers make a felt hammer hit just the right piano string to make a note.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XlcZ7WGRbJw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span class="caption">Inside a piano.</span></em></p> <p>Early typewriters were similar. They had all these levers with a metal alphabet letter at the end of it. You had to press a letter key quite hard to make the metal lever fly across and hit the paper. Hit the A key and the A lever would hit the paper and type A. The paper then shifted a bit to the left, so the next key would hit in just the right place next to the A. Press more keys and you could type a word, or even a whole book.</p> <p>The first machine had the letter keys in alphabetical order. The trouble was that if you hit two keys quickly the levers would jam. Jams were most likely when the two keys were close together on the keyboard. Rearranging the letters could reduce jams.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WEyCINkkR-Q?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span class="caption">Rearranging the letters reduced the risk that two levers would jam.</span></em></p> <p><a href="http://www.typewritermuseum.org/history/inventors_sholes.html">Christopher Sholes</a> was an American inventor who was most successful in reducing jams. He tried various arrangements, always trying to reduce the need to type two keys that were close together. The best arrangement he could find was similar to the QWERTY keyboard we all use today. (Look at the top row of a keyboard to see why it’s called QWERTY.)</p> <p>He sold his invention to the Remington Company in the United States. In the 1870s, that company built and sold the first commercially successful typewriters. They used the QWERTY keyboard.</p> <p>For 100 years or so after the Remington typewriter arrived, vast numbers of people all over the world <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Wgu5hnrAnI">trained to become touch typists</a> (meaning they could type even without looking much at the keyboard). They were employed to type letters and all other kinds of things for business and government. Because so many people became so skilled at using QWERTY, it became very difficult to get everyone to change to any other key arrangement.</p> <p>Many other key arrangements have been tried. Some are claimed to be easier to learn or faster to use than QWERTY. But none has proved good enough to beat QWERTY. It seems that we are stuck with this layout, even if jams are no longer a problem.</p> <p>QWERTY was developed for the English language. Some other languages use variations. For example, AZERTY is commonly used for French, QWERTZ for German, and QZERTY for Italian. Perhaps you can find someone from India, Thailand, Japan, Korea, or China. Ask them to show you the keyboard they use in their language.</p> <p><strong>You’ll never regret being able to touch type</strong></p> <p>Now, on any keyboard, feel the F and J keys carefully and find some tiny bumps. Place your first fingers on those keys, and your other fingers along the same row. Your left fingers should be on ASDF and your right on JKL;. These are called the “home keys”.</p> <p>Keep your fingers resting lightly on the home keys. Type other letters by moving just one finger up or down and perhaps a little sideways. Learn how to do that quickly, without watching your fingers, and you can touch type!</p> <p>When I was a teenager, I owned a typewriter. I made a cardboard shield to stop me seeing my fingers as I typed. I used clothes pegs to fix it to the typewriter. Then I found a touch-typing book and started to practise, making sure that I kept my fingers on the home keys and always used the correct finger to type each letter. After lots of practice, I could touch type. I love being able to touch type. It has helped me all my life, first as a student, then in everything I have done since.</p> <p>Now with computers it’s easier than ever to learn to touch type, even if QWERTY at first seems strange. There’s lots of good software to help (your school may have some), some of it feeling like a game.</p> <p>Find software that you like, and put in some practice. It may seem hard at first, but persist and you will soon get good at it. Find a friend or two and do it together. Perhaps make it a competition. You’ll never regret being able to touch type.<!-- 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; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/116069/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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Geoff Cumming, Emeritus Professor, La Trobe University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/curious-kids-why-do-we-have-a-qwerty-keyboard-instead-of-putting-the-letters-in-alphabetical-order-116069"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Not just for babies: Study reveals adults sleep better with rocking

<p><span>Sometimes, no tricks would help in getting a baby to sleep other than rocking them. Now, a new <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)31662-2?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982218316622%3Fshowall%3Dtrue">study</a> has found that the same approach still works for the grown-ups.</span></p> <p><span>“Having a good night’s sleep means falling asleep rapidly and then staying asleep during the whole night,” said Laurence Bayer, co-author of the study from the University of Geneva, Switzerland in a statement.</span></p> <p><span>“Our volunteers – even if they were all good sleepers – fell asleep more rapidly when rocked and had longer periods of deeper sleep associated with fewer arousals during the night. We thus show that rocking is good for sleep.”</span></p> <p><span>In the study, 18 participants were asked to spend a night sleeping in the laboratory. Half of them rested on a rocking bed that was moving on a gentle arc of 10.5 centimetres, while the rest slept on a stationary bed. Their brain activities throughout the night were recorded and monitored with an electroencephalogram (EEG).</span></p> <p><span>Those who slept on the rocking bed were found to not only sleep more deeply and wake up less, but they also performed better on the morning memory test than those who spent the night on a normal bed.</span></p> <p><span>“This increase in overnight memory accuracy was supported by a decrease in the number of errors and an increase in the number of correct responses only during the rocking night,” the researchers wrote.</span></p> <p><span>The method has been proven on animals, too. In another <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)31608-7?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982218316087%3Fshowall%3Dtrue">study</a>, Dr Paul Franken from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland experimented rocking mice to sleep. Although “mice had to be rocked four times faster than humans”, the motion was found to help mice fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.</span></p> <p>The two studies “provide new insights into the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the effects of rocking stimulation on sleep”, wrote Bayer and co-author Aurore Perrault. The findings may be used in development of new treatment approaches for people with insomnia and mood disorders as well as older people, who often experience poor sleep and memory impairment.</p>

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Andrew O’Keefe set to return to work after "personal issues"

<p><em>The Chase</em> host Andrew O’Keefe is set to return to filming the show after taking a two-month break. The break was taken in order to deal with “personal issues”, which <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/" target="_blank"><em>The Sunday Telegraph</em></a> revealed back in April that O’Keefe was “emotionally exhausted”.</p> <p>O’Keefe is clearly on the mend though, as he signalled to Seven he is ready to return to the production.</p> <p>His manager, Mark Klemens, confirmed that O’Keefe was taking a break to “regroup and work through some personal issues”.</p> <p>“He is emotionally exhausted, to say the least, and needs a break. He is also determined to deal with these issues and is committed to getting back on track as soon as he can.”</p> <p>The break comes after his marriage to partner Eleanor Campbell ended and a series of incidents occurred, including a confrontation with a photographer after appearing in court.</p> <p>O’Keefe was open about his struggles and dealing with his divorce, as he spoke to<em> </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/andrew-okeefe-set-to-return-back-on-set-two-months-after-break/news-story/e31ca2b3a0f8e2c2ad74ca6e3fdb00c3" target="_blank"><em>The Daily Telegraph</em></a> about what he was going through.</p> <p>“I spent 25 years building a certain emotional castle, and creating all of the things that we like to think we are going to achieve in life, and at the age of 47 I feel like I am starting all over again,” he said.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BhiXnknFqTo/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BhiXnknFqTo/" target="_blank">Winter isn’t coming....</a></p> <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 post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/andrewpokeefe/" target="_blank"> Andrew O’Keefe</a> (@andrewpokeefe) on Apr 13, 2018 at 9:12pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>However, his manager assured everyone that O’Keefe is well supported.</p> <p>“He is a devoted and loving father and a cherished son and brother. He is fortunate to have wonderful support around him,” he said.</p> <p>“He is looking forward to full health and hopefully being back in the studio in a couple of weeks.”</p> <p>Although it’s unknown when the new season of <em>The Chase</em> will air, it is set to include a series of celebrity challenges.</p>

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4 life changing TED Talks

<p><span>Hearing words of inspiration and enlightenment can be truly empowering – which explains why TED Talks have amassed so many fans across the world. Here are some of the best TED Talks that people say have transformed their perspectives and changed their lives.</span></p> <p><strong><em><span>My year of saying yes to everything</span></em><span> by Shonda Rhimes</span></strong></p> <div style="max-width: 854px;"> <div style="position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.25%;"><iframe src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/lang/en/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything" width="854" height="480" style="position: absolute; left: 0; top: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></div> </div> <p><span>Television titan Shonda Rhimes may be one of the world’s busiest women – but when work started to define her, her decision to say “yes” to the things that scared her turned out to enrich her life in unexpected ways and help her find fulfilment outside of her career.</span></p> <p><strong><em><span>The power of vulnerability </span></em><span>by Brené Brown </span></strong></p> <div style="max-width: 854px;"> <div style="position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.25%;"><iframe src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability" width="854" height="480" style="position: absolute; left: 0; top: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></div> </div> <p><span>Shame and vulnerability might seem like a weakness in today’s world, but author and researcher Brené Brown argued that they are essential in enabling us to love, empathise and belong. “In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen,” she said.</span></p> <p><strong><em><span>The art of asking</span></em><span> by Amanda Palmer</span></strong></p> <div style="max-width: 854px;"> <div style="position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.25%;"><iframe src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking" width="854" height="480" style="position: absolute; left: 0; top: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></div> </div> <p><span>Ever felt hesitant to ask for a favour? Musician Amanda Palmer made an argument for forgoing shame, opening up and expressing your needs. “Through the very act of asking people, I'd connected with them, and when you connect with them, people want to help you,” said Palmer. “When we really see each other, we want to help each other.”</span></p> <p><strong><em><span>The danger of a single story</span></em><span> by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie</span></strong></p> <div style="max-width: 854px;"> <div style="position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.25%;"><iframe src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story" width="854" height="480" style="position: absolute; left: 0; top: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></div> </div> <p><span>Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes is often easier said than done, especially when we only know what Adichie described as “the single story”. In this talk, the Nigerian author emphasised the importance of narratives as a way to connect and empathise with other people, as well as to humanise and empower the stigmatised.</span></p>

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Memory loss? Here's how you can reverse it

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Memory loss has been a longstanding concern amongst the ageing community. However, two new studies have shown that it is possible to restore working memory and reverse age-related memory impairment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The two studies, conducted separately by Boston University and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, found that people in their 60s and 70s can boost their brain function through various methods of stimulation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following the experiments, the memory of the older people in both studies was boosted to a level that was indistinguishable from that of younger adults. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Older people’s memory got better up to the level that we could no longer tell them apart from younger people,” said Joel Voss, associate professor and lead author of the Northwestern study.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the Northwestern research, to be published in the </span><em><a href="https://n.neurology.org/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Neurology</span></a></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">journal, 16 people aged 64 to 80 with normal age-related memory problems underwent Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). The method was aimed at stimulating the hippocampus, a part of the brain which is involved in the formation of new memories. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s the part of the brain that links two unrelated things together into a memory, like the place you left your keys or your new neighbour’s name,” said Voss. In older people, the hippocampus tends to atrophy and shrink, resulting in memory decline.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the stimulation was applied for 20 minutes a day for five consecutive days, the participants’ performance in memory tasks improved to the level of young adults.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meanwhile for the Boston University study published in </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-019-0371-x"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Nature Neuroscience</em></span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a group of people in their 60s and 70s was tested with a memory game against a group of people in their 20s. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At baseline, the younger group outperformed the older group significantly – however, after the latter received 25 minutes of mild electro-stimulation tuned to their individual brain circuits, “the difference between the two groups vanished.” The effect lasted at least until the experiment ended, or 50 minutes after the stimulation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The benefits of the stimulation are not limited to older people – some younger adults who performed poorly on the game also gained better results after getting the same treatment. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the researchers, this is because the electrical currents helped neural circuits in the brain find their rhythm back and become more coordinated.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We showed that the poor performers who were much younger, in their 20s, could also benefit from the same exact kind of stimulation,” said Robert Reinhart, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University and lead author of the study. “We could boost their working memory even though they weren’t in their 60s or 70s.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the results are promising, it is yet to be seen whether these approaches can be applied more widely to help more people with age-related cognitive decline. </span></p>

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LEGO Masters star Maddy opens up about her challenging past

<p>For some, appearing on the hit new show <em>LEGO Masters</em> might be enough of a childhood dream come true, but not for Maddy.</p> <p>Maddy appears on the show with her husband Jimmy, but for the Melbourne-based children’s entertainer, she wanted to do more.</p> <p>Maddy has written a book for kids, which she hopes will teach young people, their families and schools the signs of an eating disorder.</p> <p>She told <a rel="noopener" href="https://celebrity.nine.com.au/2019/05/07/16/04/lego-masters-2019-maddy-interview-eating-disorder" target="_blank">9Honey Celebrity</a>:</p> <p>"It's called <em>When Ana Came to Stay</em> and it's a kid's insight into eating disorders and the challenging things that come with that," she explained.</p> <p>"It's based on personal experience and I'm hoping that this book can reach out and help even just one kid."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxKFnFhgsEe/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxKFnFhgsEe/" target="_blank">@jimmyjameseaton and I starting to feel the brick pressure! 🌵🌮🔨🤓 #JimmyAndMaddy #EvilVillian #Lair #Cactus #CactusGirl #TimsTacos #Lego #LegoLove #LegoFan #LegoLife #LegoLifestyle #HappyKids @Channel9 #LEGOMastersAU #LoveStory #MaddyTyers</a></p> <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 post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/maddytyers/" target="_blank"> Maddy</a> (@maddytyers) on May 7, 2019 at 3:15am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Maddy was only nine years old when she started to develop her own eating disorder.</p> <p>"I was really young," she says. "I wasn't hospitalised until I was a teenager so throughout those early years, I started developing really toxic behaviours and habits around food and they were really subtle changes.</p> <p>"I've gone through my fair share of therapy and counselling wondering 'what started it, what caused it?' and I think it's a combination of being a really sensitive kid growing up and a perfectionist as well.</p> <p>"I was always wanting to be the best in school, in sports, in all of these things and sort of push myself and then paired with low self-esteem and having role models that I wanted to look like -- that's how it started."</p> <p>However, it wasn’t until Maddy was a teenager that she realised that she had an eating disorder.</p> <p>"It's such a challenging disease because it does sneak up and it takes time to develop and the next day you're in hospital -- or even worse," she says.</p> <p>She’s written a book to help young boys and girls who risk going through the same things she went through.</p> <p>"This book is for me wanting to get the message out to young kids, families and schools that if there are young people struggling that we can nip things in the bud before they become bad," she says.</p> <p>If you’re worried about yourself or someone you care about, call <a rel="noopener" href="https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/" target="_blank">The Butterfly Foundation</a> on 1800 334 673. </p>

Mind

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Why dog owners are happier than cat owners

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do dogs make better pets than cats? A recent poll might have ended this classic debate, with the answer being in favour of the canine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The latest </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/04/05/dog-owners-are-much-happier-than-cat-owners-survey-finds/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.0a5fed8bdecf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">General Social Survey</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> found that dog owners are twice as likely as cat owners to report a high level of happiness. 36 per cent of dog people describe themselves as “very happy”, while only 18 per cent of those with a cat say the same.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dog owners are also slightly happier than those without any pets, while cat people are significantly less happier than non-pet owners.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Having both a cat and a dog seems to provide a middle ground, with 28 per cent of those who own the two animals reporting that they are very happy. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why are dog owners happier? A previous </span><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08927936.2016.1152721"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> suggests that dog owners tend to be more extroverted and less neurotic than cat owners.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dogs may also encourage their owners to spend more time outdoors and do more physical activity. A </span><a href="https://time.com/collection/guide-to-happiness/4870796/dog-owners-benefits/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> published in the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">discovered that dog owners are more active during days of bad weather than non-dog owners during sunny and warm days. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Spending time on walkies also bring a lot of indirect benefits to health and wellbeing. Dog owners not only have </span><a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0b013e31829201e1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">lower blood pressure</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and cholesterol levels, but they are also more likely to interact and form relationships with their neighbours, promoting their </span><a href="http://www.news.uwa.edu.au/201706209705/neighbourhood-s-best-friend"><span style="font-weight: 400;">social connectedness</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and reducing loneliness. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the other hand, it is not as customary to walk cats out in the open, reducing the opportunity for cat owners to reap these benefits.</span></p>

Mind

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6 ways to make your dog smarter

<div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Just like humans, a dog’s intelligence can be increased through education and training. Well-trained dogs are smarter, better behaved and more fun. In reality, seeming ‘smart’ often simply reflects ‘training’ so you’ll need to invest time in training and communicating with your dog. Veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren shares her expert tips to help make your dog a clever canine.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Early training</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>The earlier you start training your puppy, the more likely you are to achieve results. A little bit of training, several times a day, will make a big difference. Don’t forget to keep it informal and fun. Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks, so if you have an older dog it’s still worth investing the time.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. Associate words with rewards</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>It’s possible for dogs to understand a range of vocabulary similar to that of a two-year-old child. You can teach your dog to associate words with behaviours, activities and items by using positive reinforcement and rewards. It’s not surprising that most dogs clearly understand words like ‘treat’, ‘toy’ and ‘walk’, because whenever they hear those words they are rewarded with food, a game or an outing. Your dog will constantly pick up on words and signals, so use this to your advantage and increase the effect with suitable rewards.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Use hand signals</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Dogs by nature enjoy responding to visual cues, and seem to have adapted to comprehend human visual communication. Pointing is a great example, as you can point to a toy and your dog will pick it up. Dogs are one of the few animals that understand that gesture. Back up your voice commands with hand signals and you will find your dog responds quickly and enthusiastically.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. Regular training</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Short bursts of regular training throughout your dog’s life will give great results. Training can be brief and spontaneous, as what’s important is that it’s regular. Run through a few simple commands with your dog before you give them their dinner. It’s a time when they’ll be really keen to respond.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>5. Make your dog work for their food</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Dogs love to eat, so get them to work for their food by using a portion of your dog’s daily diet for fun games. You can make treasure hunts with kibble, use food-dispensing toys or play hide and seek with treats. All these activities will keep them stimulated, entertained and their brains active.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>6. Trick training</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Dogs that learn to perform cool tricks always look smart. Apart from being entertaining, trick training will help take your relationship with your dog to a new level. Start with simple tricks such as ‘speak on command’ and ‘roll over’ and gradually increase the repertoire. There’s no doubt trick training is fun and rewarding for both dogs and owners.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>Interactive brain games</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>A game of fetch is fun, but there’s not much thinking involved. Interactive brain games tire your dog out, decrease boredom and strengthen the bond between you. Try these:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Hide and seek –<span> </span></strong>We all played this game as a child but you can also play it with your dog. Get someone to hold your dog while you hide somewhere. Get your helper to call ‘go find’ and encourage your dog to find you. Your dog should be able to find you by scent. If you need to you can also call your dog to give extra help.</li> <li><strong>Treasure Hunt<span> </span></strong>– Stimulate your dog by getting him to use his nose to find hidden treasure. Begin by putting your dog in a sit-stay position, then hide a treat or favourite toy where it is obvious. You can even let him watch you hide it. Then give him the release cue to go find the toy. Reward your dog when he finds the hidden treasure. Once your dog understands the game, ramp up the difficulty by hiding the treasure in another room or have someone in your household hide it.</li> <li><strong>Cup Game</strong><span> </span>– Have your dog watch while you place a treat under one of two opaque cups. Give your dog the cue to turn over the cup to get the treat. When he understands the game, make it more challenging by alternating the cup under which you place the treat.<span> </span></li> </ul> <p><em>Written by Dr Katrina Warren and Diane Godley. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/pets/6-ways-make-your-dog-smarter"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Mind

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“I felt terrible!” Lego Master’s Hamish Blake admits to causing trouble on show

<p>Hamish Blake is well known for stirring up trouble and making those around him laugh. However, the star has taken things to a whole new level as he hosts<span> </span><em>Lego Masters</em>.</p> <p>He had his sights set on 71-year-old grandmother Lyn, who joined the series in a team with her grandson Matt, 17.</p> <p>Lyn told <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nowtolove.com.au/reality-tv/news/hamish-blake-lego-masters-drama-55547" target="_blank"><em>TV WEEK</em></a> that she loved Blake.</p> <p>"He's always been my favourite," Lyn explained.</p> <p>"I've always thought he's rather funny and his humour is similar to mine, but he didn't give me time to act starstruck because he started teasing me straight away!"</p> <p>Blake was quick to admit his part in stirring the pot.</p> <p>"Lyn was a bit concerned about being on a reality show," he confessed.</p> <p>"So I spent much of my time trying to mess with her during filming. I'd go up to her and say, 'Look, the producers just want you to shove someone and create some drama.'</p> <p>"She got so stressed – I felt terrible!" he laughs.</p> <p>However, things were not meant to be for the grandmother-and-grandson duo as they were eliminated on last night’s episode of<span> </span><em>Lego Masters</em>.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxKI8QghhHZ/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxKI8QghhHZ/" target="_blank">They may not have won #LEGOMastersAU, but they won in many other ways. ❤</a></p> <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 post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/legomastersau/" target="_blank"> LEGO Masters Australia</a> (@legomastersau) on May 7, 2019 at 3:45am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>While things didn’t go as planned for the duo, Blake is still beside himself with joy at landing the gig as host of the show.</p> <p>"It's crazy," he gushes. "I wish I could time-travel, go back in time and have one quick conversation with my nine-year-old self!"</p> <p><em>LEGO Masters</em><span> </span>airs Sunday at 7pm and Monday to Tuesday at 7:30pm on Channel 9.</p>

Mind

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Should we nap during the day?

<p>Often during the day I feel the need to have a bit of a lie-down. Whether it’s been a busy day, I didn’t sleep well the night before, or for no particular reason I know of. But some will warn that you’ll be ruined for sleep that night if you nap during the day.</p> <p>We asked five experts if we should nap during the day.</p> <p><strong>Four out of five experts said yes</strong></p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/259889/original/file-20190220-148520-121cdzg.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption"></span></p> <p>Here are their detailed responses:</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-379" class="tc-infographic" height="400px" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/379/74794ec5d666c0d14a4361da14880ec3c69c3fdc/site/index.html" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>None of the authors have any interests or affiliations to declare.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/112523/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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Alexandra Hansen, Chief of Staff, The Conversation</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/we-asked-five-experts-should-we-nap-during-the-day-112523"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Mind

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How positive thinking can help you save more

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It might seem like wishful thinking, but a study has found that optimism can truly put your finances in a better place.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A survey of more than 2,000 Americans discovered that optimistic people tend to manage their money better and, consequently, improved financial health. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><a href="https://www.frostbank.com/dam/Docs/Newsroom/NewsRelease/ImprovingFinancialHealthCanBeAMatterOfMindOverMoney_January152019.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> first assessed the respondents’ optimism level, and then evaluated their financial wellbeing with a separate test.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It found that 90 per cent of the optimists had saved up for a major purchase, compared to only 70 per cent of the pessimists. The optimists were also more likely to set aside some fund for rainy days – 61 per cent of the optimists had started an emergency fund, while only 43 per cent of the pessimists had done the same.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What’s exciting to me is the research uncovers money management behaviors that optimists have and others can adopt,” said positive psychology researcher Michelle Gielan, who worked on the study in partnership with Frost Bank. “This is significant because previous research proves that you can train your brain to be more optimistic by adopting optimistic behaviors.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So how exactly can one be a financial optimist? The researchers identified three traits: being comfortable to talk about money and seek financial advice, striving for progress rather than perfection, and learning from setbacks and challenges. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“By implementing these simple habits, you can not only improve your financial health, but potentially decrease your financial stress,” said Ericka Pullin, Senior Vice President, Research and Strategy at Frost Bank.</span></p>

Mind

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"I just hit a wall": Meshel Laurie reveals why she left The Project

<p>Meshel Laurie has revealed the personal struggles that led her to leave her radio hosting job and regular appearances at <em>The Project</em>.</p> <p>In an interview with <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://tvblackbox.com.au/page/2019/5/2/meshel-laurie-talks-social-media-suicide-and-how-georgie-gardner-helped-save-her" target="_blank">McKnight Tonight</a> </em>podcast, the comedian and broadcaster told Rob McKnight how the struggles she faced earlier this year made her turn to alcohol and contemplate suicide.</p> <p>“[In] early 2019, I was in a situation where I was having a breakdown basically,” said Laurie.</p> <p>The 45-year-old said she had to leave her radio gig to tend to her “dying” father, who was living with her at the time. </p> <p>“I had to give up working full time in breakfast radio because I couldn’t cope with the hours and the pressures at home,” Laurie admitted. </p> <p>She also said the pressures from caring gave her serious anxiety, which she “self-medicated” with alcohol. </p> <p>“I was drinking heavily every night [and] tweeting … a hideous combination and a terrible place to be.”</p> <p>Apart from her radio job, Laurie also stopped appearing on Channel Ten’s panel show <em>The Project</em>. </p> <p>“I’d worked really hard for a really long time and I’d always enjoyed [working in the media], but I just hit a wall, you know?” she said.</p> <p>“You’re so driven by the next job and getting the job and keeping the job, and the fear of other people coming up behind you, and the fear of taking a day off, that whoever replaces you will be great … I was that person, I wanted to keep grinding.”</p> <p>As her drinking became worse, Laurie said she became more reckless on social media and ended up in online fights.</p> <p>She said she “made some mistakes” while drunk on Twitter, sparking the anger of activists on Twitter.</p> <p>The media personality, who is a strong supporter of asylum seekers, encouraged counter protesters to boycott a white supremacist rally as she believed the situation might get out of control. </p> <p>However, many people on the social media platform became furious at Laurie for telling people of colour what they should or should not do.</p> <p>“When people started attacking me and saying, ‘Stop telling black people what to do’. I reacted and I felt insulted. Then it just got out of hand,” she confessed.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Thank you. I appreciate the reminder and again I apologise for the fact that my panic prevented me from being able to listen. <a href="https://t.co/tquwD3Gooy">https://t.co/tquwD3Gooy</a></p> — Meshel Laurie (@Meshel_Laurie) <a href="https://twitter.com/Meshel_Laurie/status/1081470014056615936?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 5, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>“I ended up being really terrified of social media, which I still am now ... I’m really frightened of speaking in public.”</p> <p>Following the online backlash, she said she felt “devastated” and “suicidal” as the people that she had helped and reached out to in the past “hung s**t” on her publicly.</p> <p>However, during that low moment, unexpected help came in the form of fellow TV personality Georgie Gardner, who sent her a supportive message. </p> <p>“She was just really kind, and she was just saying everyone used to say to Charlotte [Dawson], ‘switch it off, mate’ – like, let it go, it doesn't matter, none of this is important, just go to bed, get some sleep, tomorrow's another day,” said Laurie.</p> <p>In the morning, she re-read Gardner’s message and thought, “’What a nice lady!’ She’s got enough to deal with in her actual life, and I had so many real friends who were not stepping in for me, were not contacting me, and I knew they must be seeing it, and they were not – and still, frankly, haven’t. But yeah, what a nice lady!</p> <p>“And I sometimes I see things in the media ... and I think, ‘I must try and find a way to tell the world that she’s a really nice person!’”</p> <p><em>If you are troubled by this article, experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/" target="_blank">lifeline.org.au</a> or <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites" target="_blank">beyondblue.org.au</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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Why people with dementia don't all behave the same

<p>Dementia is the is the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/27/dementia-becomes-leading-cause-of-death-for-australian-women">leading cause of death</a> among Australian women and the <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0%7E2016%7EMain%20Features%7EAustralia's%20leading%20causes%20of%20death,%202016%7E3">third most common</a> cause of death among men.</p> <p>While dementia is not a normal part of ageing, the biggest risk factor for dementia is advancing age. Given ours is an ageing population, estimates suggest dementia cases are set to almost <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/statistics">triple by 2050</a>.</p> <p>Many people associate dementia with memory loss, so it may come as a surprise that dementia is a killer. So, what does it do to the body to make this happen?</p> <p><strong>The brain is our control centre</strong></p> <p>Everything we do is controlled by the brain. It generates the instructions that tell our body parts what to do, as well as facilitating our complex behaviours, such as personality and cognition (our ability to think, understand and do things).</p> <p>When a person has dementia, neurons in various parts of their brain stop communicating properly, disconnect, and gradually die. We call this process <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/neurodegeneration">neurodegeneration</a>.</p> <p>Dementia is caused by progressive neurodegenerative diseases. This means the disease starts in one part of our brain and spreads to other parts, affecting more and more functions in the body.</p> <p>Certain causes of dementia will impact different parts of the brain, and the symptoms a person with dementia develops will depend on what part of their brain is affected.</p> <p><strong>Memory loss</strong></p> <p>In the early stages of dementia, a person may experience issues with memory, attention, or personality.</p> <p>One of the most common things that occurs in dementia is memory loss. It may not be the first change that happens, but it’s often one of the first things people notice. Memory loss begins when neurons in a part of the brain called the <a href="https://reliawire.com/hippocampus/">hippocampus</a> degenerate and die.</p> <p>The hippocampus is a bit like a diary – it keeps track of what you do from minute-to-minute. This is why a person with dementia might have trouble keeping track of what they are doing, remembering where they are and how they got there, or forming new memories.</p> <p>A person with dementia might also experience regressive memory loss, as the disease erodes the neurons storing long-term memories in various locations in the brain’s cortex. As more recent long-term memories are lost, this could mean their most vivid recollections might be from decades ago. This is why a person with dementia might feel like they are existing in another time.</p> <p>As more parts of the brain succumb to disease, people with dementia will ultimately lose control of functions in the body such as speaking and swallowing, and may eventually fall into a coma.</p> <p>Dementia doesn’t refer to one specific disease, but to a collection of similar symptoms. It can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many other diseases, or triggered by heart disease, stroke and head injuries. To make things more complex, people can have more than just one type of dementia.</p> <p><strong>Dementia affects people differently</strong></p> <p>There are different types of dementia. Each one is characterised by different patterns of symptoms, though every person with the same type of dementia won’t necessarily exhibit the same set of symptoms, especially early on. Just as our personalities can be incredibly diverse, the way dementia may affect personality and behaviour can be very different between individuals.</p> <p>For example, a person with <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/about-dementia/types-of-dementia/alzheimers-disease?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIkb3rgI7u3QIVj6mWCh0KrwS3EAAYASAAEgKsKvD_BwE">Alzheimer’s disease</a> will have two main brain regions affected: the hippocampus and the <a href="https://reliawire.com/entorhinal-cortex/">entorhinal cortex</a>. The entorhinal cortex is a specialised part of the brain that works together with the hippocampus to form long-term memories. Together, they take the input from all our senses to help orientate us in space and time, and also help us form declarative memories - things like facts and memories of events.</p> <p> </p> <p>The changes in the brain of a person with another type of dementia, known as <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/about-dementia/types-of-dementia/lewy-body-disease">Lewy body dementia</a>, are less established. But they include damage to a slightly different part of the hippocampus, and a loss of neurons that produce the neurotransmitters dopamine and acetylcholine. These neurons are especially important for various aspects of movement, visual perception, and cognition. Because of this, people with Lewy body dementia might experience hallucinations and difficulties with movement.</p> <p>A person with <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/information/about-dementia/types-of-dementia/frontotemporal-dementia">frontotemporal dementia</a> will experience degeneration that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, though the exact location can vary between people.</p> <p>The frontal lobe is the part of the brain responsible for our ability to make judgements and decisions, including interpreting what is socially acceptable. So a person with this type of dementia may act on their impulses or vocalise their opinions or thoughts without realising this may be inappropriate. You could say that the loss of behavioural filters means some people with dementia are expressing humanity and emotion in its most raw and true form.</p> <p> </p> <p>The temporal lobe (which also contains the hippocampus), is the part of the brain that helps us process faces, sounds and scenes, as well as form memories.</p> <p> </p> <p>Eventually, the disease will spread to other parts of the brain. For example, the neurons in the part of the brain involved in recognising faces (called the fusiform gyrus) may degenerate, resulting in the inability to recognise people. This can happen even when a person with dementia still remembers who you are. For this reason it can be helpful to reintroduce yourself when you talk to a person with dementia.</p> <p>People with dementia deserve compassion. They don’t have control over their behavioural changes, but we have control over how we react to these changes. Through education and understanding, we can all play a part.<!-- 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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Lila Landowski, Neuroscientist, University of Tasmania</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-people-with-dementia-dont-all-behave-the-same-100960"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Mind

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Diane Keaton opens up on brother's battle with dementia: "I don't know if he knows who I am"

<div> <div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Diane Keaton has revealed that she is currently working on a book about her younger brother, Randy Hall, who has been struggling with dementia.</p> <p>“I’ve spent a lot of time in senior living facilities [recently] with my brother, Randy, who has dementia,” the 73-year-old actress told <a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/movies/diane-keaton-says-her-brother-randy-has-dementia/?did=373040-20190501&amp;utm_campaign=people-news_newsletter&amp;utm_source=people.com&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=050119&amp;cid=373040&amp;mid=20619569211" target="_blank"><em>PEOPLE</em></a>.</p> <p>“I’m writing a book about him. He always had mental issues. Nobody could figure it out, really.”</p> <p>She said Hall, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease before developing dementia, is unable to walk or talk now. </p> <p>“I don’t know if he knows who I am.”</p> <p>Keaton explained that her 71-year-old brother “has had a hard life … He’s a very interesting person. Very sensitive, a writer and poet. But also a big drinker, and completely solitary. It’s so complicated.”</p> <p>Despite her sadness over his condition, Keaton said she is impressed by the support he receives at the senior living facility where he resides.</p> <p>She is also amazed by the people she met at the ward, where she visits him every Sunday. </p> <p>“There are fabulous characters on the dementia ward,” she said. “When you’re there with all of them, it’s not like, ‘They’re really weird.’ They’re people.”</p> <p>Since the death of their parents, Keaton has taken over the role of supporting her brother. Keaton and Hall also have two younger sisters, Robin and Dorrie.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Casey Donovan opens up to Andrew Denton about her secret torment: "I was killing myself eating"

<p>Casey Donovan has opened up about a six-year sham relationship that left her feeling suicidal in an interview with Andrew Denton.</p> <p>Speaking on Denton’s show <em>Interview</em>, the 2004<span> </span><em>Australian Idol</em><span> </span>winner revealed how she became involved with a “man” for six years, only to find out that he did not exist and was invented by her best friend Olga.</p> <p>The now 30-year-old said it took a long time to get over the “betrayal, the distrust, and the emotional heartache” upon finding out the truth.</p> <p>“That was my world … done, basically. I wanted to die,” she said. “It got to that point where it was just — ‘What the f**k have I done to my life?’ I’d put on so much weight. I was killing myself eating. The nothingness that I was … I was just empty.”</p> <p>The ordeal began on Australia Day in 2005, when Donovan was touring the country with fellow Idol finalists. The singer, then 16, received a call from an unknown man with an “ocker, surfie” voice who said his name was Campbell.</p> <p>“It was this guy on the line, and he wouldn’t tell me who he was or how he got my number,” she told Denton. “I basically said, you need to lose this number.”</p> <p>However, the man kept calling back, and Donovan began answering them. </p> <p>“When you’re on the road as a 16-year-old, you can’t go out to pubs and clubs with the other people. You get sent to your room. I was like, ‘This is interesting.'<span> It became comfortable to talk to this person every day,” she recalled.</span></p> <p>The calls continued, and Donovan became “glued” to her phone throughout the tour.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FInterviewAU%2Fvideos%2F1111814849027359%2F&amp;show_text=1&amp;width=560" width="560" height="522" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>The red flags began appearing when Campbell would flake from their plans to meet in person after Donovan returned to Sydney. Instead, he would send in a “friend” named Olga in his place to see Donovan.</p> <p>While her connection with both Campbell and Olga continued to grow, Donovan started thinking, “There’s something not right.”</p> <p>At one point, Campbell convinced Donovan – who had no sexual experience then – to have sex with Olga and discuss the experience over the phone with him. </p> <p>“The sexual encounter with Olga … he was like, ‘Do that, then we’ll all get together and do that together’,” she said.</p> <p>“I was doing everything to prove to myself that there was the slightest chance that he could have been real.”</p> <p>In 2011, Donovan finally revealed her suspicions over the relationship to her manager Jason, who helped her find out that Campbell and Olga were the same person.</p> <p>When Denton asked what made her stay in a suspect situation for years, she answered, “Hope. To think that no one could actually do that to another human being. To think of all the s**t I’ve been through in my life … to be at that point and to just have everything fall apart. It really hurt.”</p> <p><em>If you are troubled by this article, experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call Lifeline 131 114 or beyondblue 1300 224 636 or visit <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/" target="_blank">lifeline.org.au</a> or <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites" target="_blank">beyondblue.org.au</a>.</em></p>

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Why it's good to feel younger than you really are

<p>Emile Ratelband made <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/07/dutch-man-69-identifies-20-years-younger-launches-legal-battle/">international headlines</a> when he launched a controversial legal battle to change his official date of birth from March 1949 to March 1969, reflecting the fact that he feels 20 years younger. The story probably made some of us laugh, but who can blame him for wanting to share his year of birth with the likes of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Aniston">Jennifer Aniston</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay-Z">Jay-Z</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steffi_Graf">Steffi Graf</a> or even my good self?</p> <p>The legal bid may be a first, but it is actually common to feel younger than we are. A 2018 study with 33,751 respondents showed that once people pass the pivotal age of 25, they typically <a href="http://www.projectimplicit.net/nlindner/articles/LN.2008.SPSP.pdf">rate their subjective age as younger</a> than their chronological age. And this discrepancy grows as we get older – for every decade that passes, people tend to feel that have only gained five or six years. This is the equivalent to living Martian years as opposed to Earth years.</p> <p>It turns out that this phenomenon may have rather important implications. A recent surge in research in this area has revealed that the extent to which people feel younger than they are is strongly associated with a whole range of health outcomes. People with a younger subjective age are less likely to suffer from <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17986588">diabetes, hypertension</a>, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/geronb/gby006/4838941?redirectedFrom=PDF">depression</a>, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/72/6/966/2632084">cognitive impairment and dementia</a>. These people also tend to report <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08870446.2017.1324971?casa_token=ZYpj_9MtK1kAAAAA:xcjyTUafoVgf0oO8cF-0Lw4lCbPbeUfpy-iqNnwtV5i7DwaBWN8tR01zveWGj7KN_IqIi7ydxbmRAw">better sleep</a>, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/71/4/675/2604974">stronger memory function</a> and more <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224499.2017.1293603">fulfilling sex lives</a>.</p> <p>People with a younger subjective age also view their future selves in a more positive light and are more likely to <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11357-015-9830-9">walk faster</a>. One group of researchers even found that people with a lower subjective age have a <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2018.00168/full">younger looking brain</a>. Brain scans showed that they had more grey matter overall, with particular resilience in areas called the prefrontal cortex (involved in planning and complex cognitive behaviour) and superior temporal gyrus (responsible for processing sounds and emotions).</p> <p>These findings are not trivial – new research shows that people who think of themselves as 13 years older <a href="https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Citation/2018/09000/Subjective_Age_and_Mortality_in_Three_Longitudinal.9.aspx">are 25% more likely to die</a>, even when education, race and marital status are taken into account. This study, by a team at the University of Grenoble, pooled together data from three large longitudinal studies, where 17,000 participants were assessed over a number of time points.</p> <p>Overall, people reported feeling on average 16-17 years younger than they really were – not far off the difference described by Ratelband. But importantly, this research showed that the risk of mortality was almost twice as high in those people who felt older than their age compared to those who felt younger. This effect appeared for both shorter time intervals (three years) and for longer ones (20 years).</p> <p><strong>Cause and effect</strong></p> <p>So it seems that to some extent, we really are as young as we feel. But how do we know which is the chicken and the egg? Are people who feel younger simply healthier to start with or are they so keen on being young that they actually take better care of themselves and therefore live longer?</p> <p>Most scientists agree that it is a two-way street. We know that poor health makes people feel older, as indeed can <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08870446.2015.1061130?casa_token=jAS1ln64TRQAAAAA:BYKaiRq--wx_xdTGk7UsN4LRcng9X1Q6MU9XI3m6n5qdkHw1GjdXP_h4qsNfGEuouLGgRigbTdpcC">stress and low mood</a>. The real question is can we do anything to break this vicious cycle? If we could somehow feel younger – perhaps by ignoring societal and personal expectations about age – might this mean we can live longer, happier and healthier lives? Early indications suggest yes.</p> <p>In one study researchers enrolled a group of older participants in an exercise regime and found that their performance <a href="https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/68/1/1/611760">improved significantly</a> if they were praised – but specifically if they were favourably compared to other people of the same age. Reducing age stereotyping might also be helpful – another study showed that exposing people to photos and words that are typically associated with old age, such as “grumpy”, “wrinkled”, and “helpless” <a href="https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/67/5/563/658968">made them feel older</a>. Interestingly, this was true even when positive associations like “wise” and “full of life” were used alongside a smiling older face.</p> <p>Back in 1979, psychologist <a href="https://scholar.harvard.edu/langer/home">Ellen Langer</a> – now the longest serving professor at the University of Harvard – showed that simply turning the clock back 20 years had an age-reversing effect on a group of 75-year-old men. After five days of being immersed in a mocked up 1959 environment and treated as 55-year-olds, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8498233.stm">these men showed</a> increased physical strength, improved memory and better eyesight.</p> <p>Rateband’s case centres on his claims that at 69, society does not allow him to do the same things that he could do if he was 49. He does not have the same employment opportunities, cannot buy a new house and does not get replies when he advertises on the dating site Tinder. Only time will tell whether he can win his legal battle, but if nothing else, this case may highlight an opportunity for society to change its attitude to chronological age.</p> <p>If we can learn to ignore the numbers on a birth certificate and cut down on the relentless societal references to getting old, then maybe we will lead healthier, happier and longer lives.<!-- 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; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106794/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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Catherine Loveday, Neuropsychologist, University of Westminster</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/feel-younger-than-you-are-heres-why-youre-on-to-something-good-106794"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Does a year in space make you older or younger?

<p>Daily life aboard the International Space Station moves fast. Really fast. Traveling at approximately 17,000 miles per hour, 300 miles above the Earth, astronauts watch 16 sunrises and sunsets every “day” while floating around in a box with a handful of people they depend on for survival.</p> <p>One need look no further than Hollywood blockbusters like <em>The Martian</em>, <em>Gravity</em> and <em>Interstellar</em> for futuristic visions of life beyond Earth as we venture longer and deeper into outer space. But what about the human body’s response to real-life spaceflight – what are the health effects? Will space travelers age at different rates than those of us on Earth? Just how adaptable to the space environment are we?</p> <p>Certainly these are concerns for NASA. How space travel and long-duration missions might change the human body, and whether those changes are permanent or reversible once astronauts return to Earth, is largely unknown. The opportunity to explore these intriguing questions arose with identical twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly.</p> <p>In November of 2012, NASA selected astronaut Scott Kelly for its first one-year mission. At a press conference not long thereafter, it was Scott who hinted that that this mission might provide the chance to compare the impact of space living on his body with his Earth-dwelling identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, who had also been an astronaut and former Navy test pilot. Remarkably, the Kelly twins were individuals of similar “nature (genetics) and nurture (environment),” and so the perfect space experiment was conceived – featuring “space twin and Earth twin” as the stars. Scott would spend a year in space aboard the International Space Station, while his identical twin brother, Mark, would remain on Earth.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.nasa.gov/twins-study">NASA TWINS Study</a> represents the most comprehensive view of the human body’s response to space flight ever conducted. Results will guide future studies and personalized approaches for evaluating health effects of individual astronauts for years to come.</p> <p><a href="http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/academics/erhs/Pages/susan-bailey.aspx">As a cancer biologist</a> at Colorado State University I study the impact of radiation exposure on human cells. As part of the TWINS Study, I was particularly interested in evaluating how the ends of the chromosomes, called telomeres, were altered by a year in space.</p> <p><strong>Teasing apart health effects of space living</strong></p> <p>NASA put out a call and selected 10 peer-reviewed investigations from around the country for the TWINS Study. Studies included molecular, physiological and behavioral measures, and for the first time ever in astronauts, “omics”-based studies. Some teams evaluated the impact of space on the genome – the entire complement of DNA in a cell (genomics). Other teams examined which genes were turned on and producing a molecule called mRNA (transcriptomics). Some studies focused on how chemical modifications – which do not alter the DNA code – affected the regulation of the genes (epigenomics). Some researchers explored the proteins produced in the cells (proteomics), whereas others scrutinized the products of metabolism (metabolomics).</p> <p>There were also studies examining how the space environment might alter the microbiome – the collection of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in and on our bodies. One investigation examined the immune response to the flu vaccine. Other teams searched Scott’s biological samples for biomarkers of atherosclerosis and upward fluid shifts in the body due to microgravity, which can affect vision and cause headaches. Cognitive performance was also evaluated using computer-run cognition tests specifically designed for astronauts.</p> <p>More than 300 biological samples – stool, urine and blood – were collected from the twins at multiple times before, during and after the one year mission.</p> <p>The Kelly twins are without a doubt one of the most profiled pairs – on or off our planet. They are also one of the most interviewed. One question often asked is whether Scott will return from space younger than Mark – a situation reminiscent of “Interstellar” or Einstein’s so-called “<a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-does-relativity-theor/">Twin Paradox</a>.” However, because the ISS is not traveling anywhere near the speed of light relative to us, time dilation – or the slowing of time due to motion – is very minimal. So any age difference between the brothers would only be a few milliseconds.</p> <p>Even so, the question of spaceflight-associated aging and the accompanying risk of developing age-related diseases like dementia, cardiovascular disease and cancer – during or after a mission – is an important one, and one that we aimed to address directly with our study of telomere length.</p> <p>Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes that protect them from damage and from “fraying” – much like the end of a shoestring. Telomeres are critical for maintaining chromosome and genome stability. However, telomeres naturally shorten as our cells divide, and so also as we age. The rate at which telomeres shorten over time is influenced by many factors, including oxidative stress and inflammation, nutrition, physical activity, psychological stresses and environmental exposures like air pollution, UV rays and ionizing radiation. Thus, telomere length reflects an individual’s genetics, experiences and exposures, and so are informative indicators of general health and aging.</p> <p><strong>Telomeres and aging</strong></p> <p>Our study proposed that the unique stresses and out-of-this-world exposures the astronauts experience during spaceflight – things like isolation, microgravity, high carbon dioxide levels and galactic cosmic rays – would accelerate telomere shortening and aging. To test this, we evaluated telomere length in blood samples received from both twins before, during and after the one year mission.</p> <p>Scott and Mark started the study with relatively similar telomere lengths, which is consistent with a strong genetic component. Also as expected, the length of Earth-bound Mark’s telomeres was relatively stable over the course of the study. But much to our surprise, <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aau8650">Scott’s telomeres were significantly longer</a> at every time point and in every sample tested during spaceflight. That was exactly the opposite of what we expected.</p> <p>Furthermore, upon Scott’s return to Earth, telomere length shortened rapidly, then stabilized during the following months to near pre-flight averages. However, from the perspective of aging and risk of disease, he had many more short telomeres after spaceflight than he did before. Our challenge now is to figure out how and why such spaceflight specific shifts in telomere length dynamics are occurring.</p> <p>Our findings will have relevance to earthlings as well, since we all grow old and develop age-related conditions. These TWINS Study results may provide new clues into the processes involved, and thereby improve our understanding of what we might do to avoid them or extend health span.</p> <p>The long-term health effects of long duration spaceflight are yet to be determined, but the TWINS Study represents a landmark step in humankind’s journey to the moon, Mars and beyond…and to making science fiction science fact. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nus-cMzhbug?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </p> <p> </p> <p><em>Written by <span>Susan Bailey, Professor of Radiation Cancer Biology and Oncology, Colorado State University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/does-a-year-in-space-make-you-older-or-younger-111812"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Pets and owners: How you can learn a lot about one by studying the other

<p>There’s an old saying that pets and their owners become more similar as time goes by. There may be some truth in that, but can we use information about owners to improve veterinary care?</p> <p>Research is showing the health and welfare of pets can be influenced by personality traits in their owners.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0211862" title="Owner personality and the wellbeing of their cats share parallels with the parent-child relationship">More than 3,000 cat owners</a> were measured across five areas: agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism, and openness.</p> <p>Those who scored highly on neuroticism were more likely to demonstrate a preference for pedigree rather than non-pedigree cats.</p> <p>Neuroticism is associated with emotional instability. People high on this trait tend to be generally more anxious and moody than others and may also respond more poorly to stress, often overreacting to small challenges.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, therefore, the same group were also more likely to report their cats were showing unwelcome behaviours. These included signs of aggression, anxiety and fearfulness and more stress-related sickness behaviours, as well as having more ongoing medical conditions and being overweight.</p> <p><strong>Other animal and human studies</strong></p> <p>Similar relationships have been observed elsewhere. Parents who score highly on neuroticism may be more likely to have <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/002239999400097O" title="Effects of parents' psychological characteristics and eating behaviour on childhood obesity and dietary compliance">children with clinical obesity</a>.</p> <p>When it comes to dogs, our own studies have shown that working dog handlers who score highly on neuroticism <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1558787815001471" title="Dogmanship on the farm: Analysis of personality dimensions and training styles of stock dog handlers in Australia">report more attendance at competitions but no greater success in farm dog performance</a>.</p> <p>And male owners with moderate depression are at least five times more likely than those without depression to use <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0192846" title="Associations between owner personality and psychological status and the prevalence of canine behavior problems">punitive and coercive training techniques</a> such as hitting, kicking or yelling at their dogs.</p> <p>The same group of men also reported their dogs as showing significantly more house-soiling (urination and defecation when left alone) and aggression towards other dogs.</p> <p><strong>Animal welfare</strong></p> <p>These important differences in personality and ownership styles may have a bearing on the welfare of pets.</p> <p>The recent cat study shows owners high in neuroticism are more likely to keep their pets indoors or restrict their access to the outdoors.</p> <p>This may reflect heightened concern about the risk of road traffic accidents or other hazards. It could lead to improved cat welfare, but only if such diligence is accompanied by behavioural enrichment indoors, such as toys and puzzle feeders.</p> <p>Owner personality may also influence how often a cat is taken to a veterinary clinic. Owners who score highly in neuroticism may be hypervigilant in the way they scrutinise their cats, which can lead to extra trips to the vet.</p> <p>This could actually compromise cat welfare, because many cats don’t like trips to the vet. Even the sight of a carry-cage can cause increased anxiety and flight response in a cat.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4IajGu89jSU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </p> <p>On the other hand, such trips may lead to improved welfare if they result in better health, particularly if, upon arrival, the cats are subjected to <a href="http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/low-stress-handling-algorithm-key-happier-visits-and-healthier-pets">low-stress handling</a>.</p> <p>Other findings from the cat study suggest some owner attributes may be associated with an extremely positive attitude towards their pets.</p> <p>High scores for agreeableness were associated with cat owners tending to view their animals in a good light. These cats had fewer reported unwelcome behaviours and were less likely to be considered overweight.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20563903" title="Dog obesity: can dog caregivers' (owners') feeding and exercise intentions and behaviors be predicted from attitudes?">Previous studies</a> in dogs show owners are often poor judges of whether their pets are overweight or not.</p> <p><strong>Look to the owner</strong></p> <p>This evidence that attributes in the owner can influence how their pets are perceived, and the kind of life they experience, means anyone working with these animals needs some understanding of human psychology.</p> <p>Behavioural change is often the first sign that an animal is unwell. One of the most revealing aspects of a case history is the behaviour changes that owners report.</p> <p>The quality and accuracy of this information from owners on their pets is crucial. But this may be strongly influenced by the relationship that owners have with their pets, such as what they look for and the intensity of their appraisal.</p> <p>This evidence that owner characteristics may influence many aspects of their pet’s life – including potentially how the pet presents to a veterinary clinic – prompts us to consider how we can improve the quality of data.</p> <p>For clinical behaviour cases it is important to include video records of the animal’s unwelcome behaviour. Owners are already quite adept at capturing and supplying video evidence when consulting behavioural veterinarians.</p> <p>But this video evidence can also help with veterinary consultations about other conditions such as neurological disorders and intermittent lameness.</p> <p>There are tools that allow owners to capture and report data in real time, using apps such as <a href="http://www.doglogbook.com/">doglogbook</a>. They have the advantage of being simple to use and having a time/date stamp that may help to keep a chronological record of the owner’s observations.</p> <p><strong>A complex relationship</strong></p> <p>The relationship between owners and veterinarians can be extremely complex and take some time to mature. A veterinarian who knows both owner and pet well will be able to detect subtle clinical signs that may otherwise go unnoticed.</p> <p>Yet each clinical case must now be understood in the context of the human background baggage that enters the consultation room.</p> <p>It’s all too easy to overlook the role of the owner’s personality in their interactions with their pet, and how their personality may influence how they perceive the animals, how they manage the animals and how they concern themselves with the health status of the animals.</p> <p>Further research will undoubtedly continue to provide new insights into the fascinating world of owner-pet relationships.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney and Pauleen Bennett, Professor and Head of Department, Psychology and Counselling, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/pets-and-owners-you-can-learn-a-lot-about-one-by-studying-the-other-114167"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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