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Billy Connolly’s sad new battle

<p>Comedian Sir Billy Connolly is suffering from the dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p>Close friend of Connolly, Sir Michael Parkinson, revealed in an interview on <em>Saturday Morning with James Martin </em>that the star “no longer recognises close friends”.</p> <p>The Scottish comedian announced his Parkinson’s diagnosis five years ago, but now one of his oldest friends confirmed that the disease is beginning to have an impact on his mind.</p> <p>During the interview, Michael recalled a recent catch-up with the 75-year-old, revealing they shared an “awkward dinner”.</p> <p>He said: “The sadness of Billy now is that wonderful brain is dulled.</p> <p>“I saw him recently — he’s now living in America — and it was very sad, because I was presenting him with a prize at an awards ceremony.</p> <p>“We had an awkward dinner together because I wasn’t quite sure if he knew who I was or not.</p> <p>“But we were walking out after the presentation to go down and have our picture taken, and he turned to me and put his hand on my shoulders.”</p> <p>Connolly was diagnosed with the long-term degenerative disorder in 2013, after having surgery for prostate cancer.</p> <p>Side affects of Parkinson’s include involuntary shaking, stiff muscles, slow movement, memory problems and balance issues.</p> <p>Sir Michael Parkinson became close with Connolly after the comedian made multiple appearances on his chat show.</p> <p>Michael added: “To know someone as long as I knew and loved Billy … it was an awful thing to contemplate, that that had been taken from him in a sense.</p> <p>“He was just a genius and the best thing that happened to me on the show.”</p> <p>Last year, Connolly was knighted for his contribution to the entertainment industry as well as his charity work, which has involved raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease in recent years.</p> <p>At the time the comedian revealed: “When I’m in front of people and performing, I don’t give it much attention.</p> <p>“And I perform despite it. That’s why I put on the song A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On — just to stick two fingers up to it.</p> <p>“There’s a whole lot of shaking going on. It’s kind of weird, this instability,” he said.</p> <p>“The only time it stops is when I’m in bed and then I can’t roll over. I’m like a big log.</p> <p>“It’s the first thing I think about in the morning because getting out of bed is quite hard.”</p> <p>Previously, the 75-year-old explained to a British documentary the moment he received his diagnosis.</p> <p>“The doctor said to me, ‘You realise this isn’t curable?’ and I thought ‘What a rotten thing to say to somebody.’</p> <p>“I always thought he should have said, ‘You realise we are yet to find a cure?’ to put a little light at the end of the tunnel. There’s a lot to be said for that.”</p>

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Quiz fail: How this contestant’s hilarious mix-up cost him $100K

<p>A contestant on a US game show has made people scratch their heads after they witnessed what could go down as the most embarrassing quiz fail ever.</p> <p>Brooklyn comedian Evan Kaufman faced internet scrutiny after he made a terrible attempt at answering a seemingly simple question on the ABC’s <em>The $100,000 Pyramid</em> on Sunday (local time).</p> <p>Playing for $50,000, Kaufman was asked to name someone who has the surname, Obama. Mr Kaufman panicked and blurted out the name of former Al-Qaeda leader – Osama Bin Laden.</p> <p>What followed was <em>Saturday Night Live</em> alum Tim Meadows sitting across from Kaufman, stunned and unable to register what he had just heard. Alongside the backlash from those on social media.</p> <p>With some people laughing at the seemingly innocent mistake, many were labelling Kaufman as a racist for not knowing the difference between Obama and Osama.</p> <p>One Twitter user asked: “What kind of idiot would think, ‘People with the last name Obama’, would think Bin Laden?”</p> <p>The video, which has now gone viral, has prompted the comedian to respond to the backlash via his Twitter account.</p> <p>In a series of tweets, Kaufman explained that he and his partner had just recently welcomed a baby and the exhaustion had gotten to him.</p> <p>“Let me tell you the story about perhaps the most embarrassing moment of my life,” he starts off by saying.</p> <p>“The first square flips. I breathe. I read, ‘People Whose Last Name is Obama.’ I freeze. There’s only one. BARACK OBAMA. The man I would have voted for three times,” he wrote.</p> <p>“What I should have said was, ‘Michelle, Sasha, Malia, Bo! The PORTUGUESE WATER DOG BO!”</p> <p>But what seemed to be a mind blank quickly became one of the most unforgettable moments of Kaufman’s life.</p> <p>“Here’s what my brain decided. Who is associated with Obama? Who did he kill? What sounds like Obama!” he admitted.</p> <p>While he didn’t take home the top prize, Kaufman walked away with a cool US$8,500 (A$11,740) and managed to leave plenty of laughs behind.</p>

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“I’m really battling”: Grieving father of murdered children reveals heartbreaking struggle

<p>The father of four children who were killed in a murder-suicide near Margaret River has revealed he is struggling to get through the days.</p> <p>Three months on from the tragedy that shocked Australia, Aaron Cockman said he has been in constant pain since his daughter and three sons were killed.</p> <p>“To be honest, I’m really battling, really battling. I make it halfway through the day and I think I only have half more to go – and then the next day comes,” Mr Cockman told Sunrise on Thursday morning.</p> <p>“I really miss the kids. I even miss Katrina.</p> <p>“The sadness that I am going through, it should never have happened … as soon as the lawyers got involved, everything went downhill really really fast.”</p> <p>On May 11, Mr Cockman’s estranged father-in-law Peter Miles, 61, shot dead his 58-year-old wife Cynda, 35-year-old daughter Katrina and her four children – daughter Taye, 13, and sons Rylan, 12, Arye, 10, and Kadyn, 8.</p> <p>Mr Cockman is preparing to meet with Health Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday about changing Australia’s family legal system, warning of the potentially devastating consequences of court involvement in family separation.</p> <p>“Things just began to spiral out of control,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.</p> <p>“There was no turning back. I backed away because I could see the enormous strain she [Kat] and the family were under.</p> <p>“We need to find a better, safer way of dealing with family separation than the family court,” Mr Cockman said.</p> <p> </p>

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Oprah's sleep doctor shares his best sleep hacks

<p>Oprah Winfrey's sleep doctor Dr Michael Breus has revealed the sleep hacks that really work and busted the myths that don’t.</p> <p>Universally lauded as the world’s leading sleep doctor, Dr Breus has a PhD in clinical psychology, certified in clinical sleep disorders, and is a practicing doctor who treat sleep patients with apnoea, narcolepsy and insomnia. So, he knows what he’s talking about.</p> <p>If you find yourself constantly tired during the day and need a quick pick-me-up, Dr Breus recommends a “nap-a-latte”.</p> <p>It involves “taking a cup of black coffee, cooled down with three ice cubes and drinking it quickly”.</p> <p>“Immediately take a 25-minute nap after drinking the coffee,” he told <strong><u><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6030053/Oprahs-sleep-doctor-bust-biggest-shut-eye-myths-hacks-really-work.html">Daily Mail Australia.</a></u></strong></p> <p>“The caffeine then blocks the sleep-inducing factors and the little 25-minute nap will give you enough sleep to feel better.”</p> <p>Dr Breus also advises you to get out into the sun for 15 minutes each morning “which helps to discontinue the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone”.</p> <p>He explains: “You might not think that light first thing is what your sleepy body needs, but the internal body clock - the circadian rhythm - runs on a 24-hour schedule and functions best when you are exposed to a regular pattern of light and dark.”</p> <p>If you struggle to fall asleep at night, Dr Breus recommends this simple trick: “Count backwards from 300 in increments of threes.”</p> <p>“It's so complicated that you can't think of anything else, while it's so boring that you're out like a light,” he said.</p> <p>The sleep expert also swears by a “banana tea” recipe for good sleep: “Take a chunk of organic banana, peel on, cut it in half and with the stem and trip removed, brew it in boiling water for four minutes.”</p> <p>He explained that the water is “loaded with magnesium, which is very calming and is a great replacement for camomile tea”. </p> <p>As for sleep myths, Dr Breus said that it is completely false that you can make up for “sleep debt” on the weekends.</p> <p>“Many people build a sleep debt during the week – a growing deficit between the sleep you need and the actual amount of sleep you get,” he said.</p> <p>“Research shows that after sleep deprivation, weekend makeup sleep doesn't completely restore attention, focus and other measurements of cognitive performance.”</p> <p>The other sleep myth the expert is keen to debunk is that you can get by on fewer than six hours sleep.</p> <p>“Sleep needs do vary person to person, but nearly everyone suffers deficits to health, well-being and performance when they regularly get less than six hours of sleep a night,” Dr Breus said.</p> <p>“Only a very small fraction of the population can function well and maintain good health on a sleep routine of fewer than six hours per night.”</p> <p>Oprah's sleep doctor said that you should ideally aim for around seven and a half hours, which is the “sweet spot” for slumber.</p> <p>“The average sleep cycle is 90 minutes long and a typical night of sleep includes five full sleep cycles,' he said.</p> <p>“So, if we apply some simple maths, 90 x 5 is 450 minutes - or 7.5 hours.”</p>

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Even 'supermums' like Serena Williams suffer from the guilt of motherhood

<p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__intro sics-component__story__paragraph">At the beginning of last month, when Serena Williams stepped back on to Wimbledon's Centre Court less than a year after giving birth, she was hailed a "torchbearer" for her sex and a "wonder woman".</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">However, after losing the final to Angelique Kerber, the seven-time Wimbledon winner was asked by an interviewer if she was, indeed, "supermum" – to which she shook her head and replied: "Just me. To all the mums out there, I was playing out there for you today and I tried."</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">After pulling out of last weekend's Montreal tournament citing "personal reasons", Williams went on Instagram to explain to her 9 million followers that her inability to compete was down to feeling as though she was falling short – both professionally and personally.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">In a post that will resonate with working mothers everywhere, torn between baby-proofing their careers and being there for their children, Williams said: "Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom.</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/BmJ3KMzFRZw/?utm_source=ig_embed" data-instgrm-version="9"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 37.4537037037037% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;"> <div style="background: url(data:image/png; base64,ivborw0kggoaaaansuheugaaacwaaaascamaaaapwqozaaaabgdbtueaalgpc/xhbqaaaafzukdcak7ohokaaaamuexurczmzpf399fx1+bm5mzy9amaaadisurbvdjlvzxbesmgces5/p8/t9furvcrmu73jwlzosgsiizurcjo/ad+eqjjb4hv8bft+idpqocx1wjosbfhh2xssxeiyn3uli/6mnree07uiwjev8ueowds88ly97kqytlijkktuybbruayvh5wohixmpi5we58ek028czwyuqdlkpg1bkb4nnm+veanfhqn1k4+gpt6ugqcvu2h2ovuif/gwufyy8owepdyzsa3avcqpvovvzzz2vtnn2wu8qzvjddeto90gsy9mvlqtgysy231mxry6i2ggqjrty0l8fxcxfcbbhwrsyyaaaaaelftksuqmcc); display: block; height: 44px; margin: 0 auto -44px; position: relative; top: -22px; width: 44px;"></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/BmJ3KMzFRZw/?utm_source=ig_embed" target="_blank">Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal. It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there. I work a lot, I train, and I’m trying to be the best athlete I can be. However, that means although I have been with her every day of her life, I’m not around as much as I would like to be. Most of you moms deal with the same thing. Whether stay-at-home or working, finding that balance with kids is a true art. You are the true heroes. I’m here to say: if you are having a rough day or week--it’s ok--I am, too!!! There’s always tomm!</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/serenawilliams/?utm_source=ig_embed" target="_blank"> Serena Williams</a> (@serenawilliams) on Aug 6, 2018 at 3:24pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">"I read several articles that said post-partum emotions can last up to three years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends lets me know that my feelings are totally normal." She added: "It's totally normal to feel like I'm not doing enough for my baby. We have all been there."</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">We certainly have. Like most of my friends, the latter part of my 30s has been spent occupied with childcare and working an office job – and the endless battle to balance the two dominates almost every conversation.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">Those friends who have continued their careers with scant pause – usually the lawyers and management consultants – face large childcare costs, and even larger amounts of guilt for never being at pick-up, sports day, cake sales or bedtimes.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">The ones who quit work after their first or second child (usually the second, which is very often the tipping point in terms of childcare costs and logistics) say they sometimes feel unfulfilled, worried the working mothers they know are sneering at them, and fearful of being left behind when their children are older and they're left to pick up the remains of their careers.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">The likelihood of finding an interesting, well-paid profession that allows for a 10-year break is not, naturally, something many can rely on. And then there are the ones like me, who have gone freelance or part-time since having children, and worry they're not doing a good enough job at either home or work.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">When I gave birth to my first daughter in 2010, I remember my own mother saying: "The minute you give birth, you start to feel guilty about every single decision you make." And I did: breast or bottle feeding, time working, time spent apart from them – something you crave, and then feel guilty about.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">Though the days of mothers not mentioning the struggles of parenthood are fading – it was less than a decade ago that a long-time fellow freelancer confided she hadn't told her editor she'd given birth because she didn't want to appear unprofessional – it has taken, as it so often does, a celebrity contingent to shine a light on the issue.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Today I say Olympia fall... but she got back up. She fell again almost immediately.... and almost immediately she got back up again. She always had a smile on her face. I learned a lot from Olympia today. Thank you my baby love. <a href="https://t.co/pn0iUCZG6Q">pic.twitter.com/pn0iUCZG6Q</a></p> — Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) <a href="https://twitter.com/serenawilliams/status/1020051496849719297?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 19, 2018</a></blockquote> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">Now, thanks to the likes of Williams, Victoria Beckham, who admitted to taking just one proper week off following the birth of daughter Harper before spending the rest of the summer working "with my boobs out, breastfeeding", and Beyonce, who in next month's issue of <em>Vogue</em> in the US explains that a traumatic labour with her twins last year led her to spend six months giving "myself self-love and self-care" rather than rushing to return full-pelt, there seems to be less stigma around new parents asking for flexible working. Or admitting they've barely slept.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">This week, UK cyclist Laura Kenny picked up her second gold medal at the European Championships in Glasgow, less than a year after the birth of her first child, Albie. "I was up five times last night – and he didn't actually fall asleep until nine o'clock, the little sod," she joked after the race.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">"But you get used to it," the 26-year-old quadruple Olympic champion continued. "I don't even feel like I've had a lack of sleep any more – I just come in and get on with it. I was thinking I didn't want to leave Albie for nothing because he wasn't very happy this morning. [But] I'm glad I've got another medal to take home to him.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">"If you'd asked me [when I was younger] if I'd be a mum with four Olympic and 12 European gold medals I would have said no, that's not the way my life is going to pan out."</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">But for every heartwarming story like Kenny's, there are plenty more like Williams who, in the middle of last month's Wimbledon championship, berated herself for missing her daughter's first steps.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">"I was training and missed it. I cried," she wrote on Twitter – an acute portrayal of the reality so many working parents experience.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">She took her first steps... I was training and missed it. I cried.</p> — Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) <a href="https://twitter.com/serenawilliams/status/1015514300490960896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 7, 2018</a></blockquote> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">"Those early years are the hardest for guilt," agrees Neom founder and mother of two Nicola Elliott.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">"In those early days, especially after your first child, new mums are on that hamster wheel of trying to be all things to all people but feeling like they're failing at everything. We feel we should be having these amazing careers, but we also feel we should be at nursery pick-up every day, or with our children all the time. The guilt is exhausting."</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">By the time my second daughter arrived in 2013, I was, like most second-time mothers, less anxious and more confident in my decisions. And as I watched my daughters grow into confident, bright little girls, I realised three days a week in childcare had done them no harm whatsoever – and enabled me to continue in a profession I truly enjoy.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">The guilt is still there at times, and I still have days where I look at a mother on Instagram, enjoying midweek sunshine with her little ones, and feel a pang of guilt that I'm sat in an office. However, like the pain of childbirth, this also fades as your children get older and more independent.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">"Like Serena, I did feel guilty when my children were younger and in childcare," says Elliott, "but now they're older and they need me less and love going to after-school clubs and seeing their friends, and I have a career that I love. So the pay-off does come."</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">Or as Alexis Ohanian, Williams's husband, said after her Wimbledon defeat: "She'll be holding a trophy again soon – and she's got the greatest one waiting at home for her."</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph"><em>Written by </em><span><em>Maria Lally. Republished by permission of <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/mums-life/106127146/even-supermums-like-serena-williams-suffer-from-the-guilt-of-motherhood">Stuff.co.nz</a>.</em></span></p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph"> </p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph"> </p>

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Why stroke, cancer and other chronic diseases are more likely for those with poor mental health

<p><a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/health-welfare-services/mental-health-services/overview">Four million Australians</a>, including our friends, family members, co-workers and neighbours, are living with mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.</p> <p>A<span> </span><a href="https://www.vu.edu.au/australian-health-policy-collaboration/publications#chronic-diseases">new report</a><span> </span>from the<span> </span><a href="https://www.vu.edu.au/australian-health-policy-collaboration">Australian Health Policy Collaboration</a><span> </span>has found these four million Australians are at much greater risk of chronic physical disease and much greater risk of early death.</p> <p>Having a mental health condition increases the risk of every major chronic disease. Heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, back pain, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and cancer are all much more likely to occur among people with anxiety and depression.</p> <p>More than 2.4 million people have both a mental and at least one physical health condition.</p> <p>For the first time in Australia, this report quantifies the extent of this problem. For example, people with mental health conditions are more likely to have a circulatory system disease (that is, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke). The likelihood increases by 52% for men and 41% for women.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230716/original/file-20180806-119602-1aouvik.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230716/original/file-20180806-119602-1aouvik.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230716/original/file-20180806-119602-1aouvik.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"></a><span class="caption"></span><em><span class="attribution"><span class="source">Australian Health Policy Collaboration</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></em></p> <p>More than a million people are affected by both a circulatory system disease and a mental health condition. These diseases are Australia’s biggest killers.</p> <p>For painful, debilitating conditions such as arthritis and back pain, the numbers are even higher. Arthritis is 66% more likely for men with mental health conditions, and 46% more likely for women, with 959,000 people affected.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230717/original/file-20180806-119615-1mpdy9d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230717/original/file-20180806-119615-1mpdy9d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230717/original/file-20180806-119615-1mpdy9d.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"></a><span class="caption"></span><em><span class="attribution"><span class="source">Australian Health Policy Collaboration</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></em></p> <p>Back pain is 74% more likely for men with mental health conditions, and 68% more likely for women, with more than a million affected.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230718/original/file-20180806-119602-zuqx7p.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230718/original/file-20180806-119602-zuqx7p.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230718/original/file-20180806-119602-zuqx7p.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"></a><span class="caption"></span><em><span class="attribution"><span class="source">Australian Health Policy Collaboration</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></em></p> <p>The gender differences are significant. Women with mental health conditions are much more likely to have asthma than women across Australia as a whole (70% more likely), while men are 49% more likely to have asthma with a mental health condition.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230719/original/file-20180806-119615-1sh4s9r.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230719/original/file-20180806-119615-1sh4s9r.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230719/original/file-20180806-119615-1sh4s9r.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"></a><span class="caption"></span><em><span class="attribution"><span class="source">Australian Health Policy Collaboration</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></em></p> <p>The biggest gender difference is cancer. Men with mental health conditions are 84% more likely to have cancer than the general population, and for women the figure is 20%.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230720/original/file-20180806-119612-1v7b4l3.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230720/original/file-20180806-119612-1v7b4l3.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/230720/original/file-20180806-119612-1v7b4l3.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"></a><span class="caption"></span><em><span class="attribution"><span class="source">Australian Health Policy Collaboration</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></em></p> <p>As more women live with mental health conditions than men, overall, women are 23% more likely to be living with both a mental and physical health condition than men.</p> <p>The report shows having a co-existing mental health condition and chronic physical disease generally results in worse quality of life, greater functional decline, needing to use more health care and higher healthcare costs.</p> <p>These people require more treatment, use more medications, and have to spend more time, energy and money managing their health. People with a mental health condition are also<span> </span><a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60240-2/abstract">more likely to be poorer</a>, less likely to work, less likely to receive health screening and, sadly,<span> </span><a href="https://www.rethink.org/media/810988/Rethink%20Mental%20Illness%20-%20Lethal%20Discrimination.pdf">more likely to receive substandard care</a><span> </span>for their physical diseases.</p> <p>On average, people with mental health conditions die younger than the general population, and mostly from preventable conditions. We know from<span> </span><a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f2539">earlier research </a>that people with severe mental illnesses die much earlier than the rest of the population. Our report shows even common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression contribute to more chronic disease, leading to higher rates of early death.</p> <p><strong>Why?</strong></p> <p>We don’t know exactly why people with mental health conditions have poorer physical health. The<span> </span><a href="https://acmedsci.ac.uk/policy/policy-projects/multimorbidity">Academy of Medical Sciences</a><span> </span>has identified that poor mental health and psychosocial risk factors such as feeling dissatisfied with life, not feeling calm, having sleep problems that affect work, and financial concerns can predict physical disease.</p> <p>Other factors, such as<span> </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/low-income-earners-are-more-likely-to-die-early-from-preventable-diseases-87676">low socioeconomic status</a>, poor social networks, living in rural areas and smoking are associated with both poor mental health and poor physical health.</p> <p>We do know people with mental health conditions often don’t receive advice about healthy lifestyles, don’t get common tests for disease, and are less likely to receive treatment for disease. Some of this is due to<span> </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21379357">stigma and discrimination</a>, and sometimes it’s neglect. People with mental health conditions can<span> </span><a href="https://www.ranzcp.org/Files/Publications/RANZCP-Serious-Mental-Illness.aspx">fall through the gaps between disjointed physical and mental health systems</a>.</p> <p><strong>What can we do about it?</strong></p> <p>There is<span> </span><a href="https://www.ranzcp.org/Files/Publications/RANZCP-Keeping-body-and-mind-together.aspx">momentum for change</a><span> </span>among the mental health sector, with dozens of organisations signing up to the<span> </span><a href="https://equallywell.org.au/">Equally Well</a><span> </span>consensus statement. This aims to improve the quality of life of people living with mental illness by providing equal access to quality health care.</p> <p>There’s some great work being done around the country, including in the<span> </span><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/inm.12459">Hunter region</a>, where people with mental health conditions can access tailored help with physical health risk factors such as smoking and diet.</p> <p>People using mental health services should have their physical health regularly assessed, and any problems addressed as early as possible. Better coordination of care would preserve healthcare resources and improve quality of life.</p> <p><em>Written by Ben Harris. Republished by permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/stroke-cancer-and-other-chronic-diseases-more-likely-for-those-with-poor-mental-health-100955">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Why all seniors should play computer games

<p>As a woman who is almost 70 years old, I have not kept up with technology at the rate that I would have liked. I have, however, discovered a couple of games on my laptop or phone that I enjoy playing. One is called <em>Words with Friends</em> and follows the principles of <em>Scrabble</em>. And I love words! </p> <p>After watching my mother slowly decline cognitively with Alzheimer’s, I am conscious of maintaining my brain power, and what better way than a fun game?</p> <p>There is another bonus to playing <em>Words with Friends </em>(<em>WwF</em>)<em>, </em>and that is staying in touch (in a superficial sort of way) with people on a daily basis. I find this comforting since retiring from a varied career in education which spanned 44 years. I have a close friend, Teresa, who lives in the country about a two hour drive from where I live in Melbourne. Teresa’s husband of 32 years died suddenly three years ago, only two months after my best friend died of cancer. I spent time with Teresa at her beautiful property, supporting her in her grief and helping conduct the memorial service to celebrate her husband’s life. I introduced Teresa to <em>WwF</em> at that time and we have played almost daily since then. <em>WwF</em> is fairly easy to keep to a moderate use of time, as I must wait for the other to make their moves before I can play again. I also love playing several games with three local friends and several of my relatives in California.</p> <p>Another computer game I play is <em>Lumosity,</em> a brain training game that addresses such skills as speed, attention, memory, flexibility and problem solving.  <em>Lumosity </em>contains games with only one player versus the electronic game. So, there is no need to wait on another player to repeat the game.   Over time, I found myself self-selecting games that I particularly enjoyed.  I started playing the same two games over and over to try to increase my score.</p> <p>Lately, while playing <em>Lumosity</em> games, I have been reminded of a familiar compulsive behaviour to keep playing the same game.  So, the conversation to myself goes something like this: </p> <p>“OK, you’ve played <em>Train of Thought </em>five times now, so this will be your last game today”.</p> <p>“Oops! I’ve started another game...can’t quit now, this one will be my last game”.  At the end of this game, I hear my mind saying, “just one more...”!</p> <p>Why was this compulsive behaviour familiar to me? For most of my life I have battled serious overeating, favouring sweet foods. That began as a young child. This scourge, which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, was rife with breaking my own promises to myself, mental obsession, and experiencing a compulsion where it seemed I had no choice. The effect, naturally, was weight gain, followed by a rigid regime of dieting... over and over again. I have lost up to 30 kilograms on several occasions (using an array of diets, 12 step programs such as <em>Overeaters Anonymous</em>, hypnotism, numerous counsellors and therapists).</p> <p>So, when I observe the conversation in my mind, “this is your last game now”, I remember the same struggle with, for example, chocolate biscuits. I would eat 3 chocolate biscuits and then put the packet away in the cupboard, saying to myself, “that’s all you need”. I’d return back to the task at hand, but my mind was obsessed with the biscuits. Such messages drifting from my own brain would be, “go ahead, have a couple more. You deserve it. They are so delicious”. Inevitably, I ate the entire packet. Arrgghh!</p> <p>Fortunately, I have controlled the weight gain in the last few years with the help of Bariatric surgery.  I had a lap band fitted a few years ago, which limits the amount of food I can eat. I have learned to eat more slowly, take small bites, and chew thoroughly. I’ve been wearing the same size clothes for 3 years, which seems quite miraculous to me!</p> <p>One of the things these two compulsive behaviours have in common is that I only ever binged on food or <em>Lumosity</em> games when I was alone. It is a secret. Fortunately, I don’t believe there are too many downsides to spending 30-40 minutes a day on playing <em>Lumosity</em> games on my laptop and I am not too worried about it. I am pleased that I am aware of the compulsive behaviours when they creep in and I value my life experience at these times.  So, after playing and replaying <em>Lumosity</em> games for 40 minutes, I take my dog for a walk to the local dog park where she loves socialising with the other dogs. And I make sure I socialise with the other dog owners.</p> <p><em>Laurie Darby was a guest on Insight SBS, which explores video gaming and the impact it can have on Australian’s lives. Watch 8.30pm, August 7, on SBS. </em></p>

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Ray Hadley’s police officer son admitted to mental health clinic following drug bust

<p>Broadcaster Ray Hadley has revealed that his police officer son has been checked into a health clinic after his mental health struggles came to light following a drug possession charge.</p> <p>The 2BG radio broadcaster’s senior constable son was arrested at the Australian Hotel and Brewery in Rouse Hill on Friday, after officers allegedly found cocaine on him.</p> <p>"Last night my son Daniel, as you all know, was arrested in possession of 0.79 of a gram of cocaine, worth about $200," Hadley told reporters at a press conference held on the weekend.</p> <p>“When I was first told, I was both angry and perplexed.</p> <p>"I had no idea that my son, a respected police officer, would be involved in such a matter."</p> <p>The 28-year-old was granted conditional bail and has been charged with possession of a prohibited drug.</p> <p>The police officer has since been suspended from duty and his employment status is being reviewed.</p> <p>At the press conference, Ray Hadley emotionally revealed that his son has been battling mental struggles and has been checked into a support clinic.</p> <p>"I brought Daniel back home and my anger turned to shock and sadness," he said.</p> <p>"My son, during long conversations late into the night and early in the morning, revealed he's been battling mental health issues for quite some time.</p> <p>"He's also been away from work for months having dislocated his knee and waiting for an operation on a hernia.</p> <p>'"The serious nature of the illness is such that he’s been admitted already today to a clinic to deal with it – it is a very serious problem."</p> <p>While talking with his son, Ray discovered that Daniel had been seeing his GP about his mental health without his family’s knowledge.</p> <p>Ray said: “I’m not a medical professional and I won’t guess the nature of his illness but I will tell you it’s very serious and his family, me, his mum, sisters, aunts and uncles are very concerned.</p> <p>“I’m sure with expert medical advice he can recover from where he is now.”</p> <p>While Ray said Daniel's criminal charges were “a matter for the courts”, he appealed for everyone to consider the “things he’s dealt with over the last seven years as a police officer”.</p> <p>"All the time his colleagues and I thought he was coping and he obviously hasn't been coping.</p> <p>"Daniel accepts responsibility for his behaviour but unfortunately he's not in control of his mental health.</p> <p>"I now know how many parents feel when they think things are okay but they're not. I feel particularly inadequate as a father and as a spokesperson for 'R U OK?’ Day, when in fact my own son is not okay.</p> <p>"This is going to be a long, slow process for my son. I love him dearly and I wish to God that he'd come to me before this morning to tell me what he was battling."</p>

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Can you solve this high school exam from 1912?

<p>A 106-year-old exam for Year 8 students has been unearthed, giving a glimpse into what was expected of American students in 1912.</p> <p>The <strong><u><a href="http://bullittcountyhistory.org/memories/exam1912.html">Bullitt County History Museum</a></u></strong> in Kentucky was given a copy of the exam last year. Known as the “Common Exam”, the test was administered by Bullitt County Schools and covered grammar, mathematics, geography, history, physiology and much more.</p> <p>With no calculators, and certainly no internet back in the day, the questions aren’t easy. See how many questions you can answer.</p> <p><img src="https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/65f036d0e1c34ef374fadd3030709600" alt="Bullitt County Schools 1912 eighth grade exam. Picture: Bullitt County" width="650" height="1000" /></p> <p><img src="https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/e43efac87bc210ea4a7f3a2b20a94fd9" alt="Bullitt County Schools 1912 eighth grade exam. Picture: Bullitt County" width="650" height="1000" /></p> <p><img src="https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/63cabe359d7b27423eb72310d9cb3b06" alt="Bullitt County Schools 1912 eighth grade exam. Picture: Bullitt County" width="650" height="1000" /></p> <p><img src="https://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/a4ed3952e0ccb3945ed75c938ec1533d" alt="Bullitt County Schools 1912 eighth grade exam. Picture: Bullitt County" width="650" height="488" /></p> <p><em>Image credit: <strong><u><a href="http://bullittcountyhistory.org/memories/exam1912.html">Bullitt County History Museum</a></u></strong></em></p>

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"The worst show ever": Viewers slam Family Feud replacement

<p>Channel Ten’s new game show <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Pointless</em> is off to a shaky start following its premiere last night.</p> <p>The series, which was announced as the replacement for Grant Denyer’s <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Family Feud</em> earlier this year, has been dubbed by disappointed viewers as “the worst show ever”.</p> <p>The series is based off a popular UK show and is hosted by Dr Andrew Rochford and Mark Humphries.</p> <p>Similar to <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Family Feud</em>, teams in <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Pointless </em>win money based on how many audience members guessed the correct answer in a survey.</p> <p>However, the aim of <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Pointless</em> is to score as little points as possible by giving the correct answer to a little-known question.</p> <p>Although the game show is popular in the UK, many viewers were quick to criticise the <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Family Feud</em> replacement for feeling too “rushed”.</p> <p>Many viewers called for Grant Denyer to return to screens after watching <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Pointless</em>, despite <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Family Feud</em> being cancelled because of low ratings.</p> <p>“#PointlessAU has zero excitement! #flop Two hosts have got nothing on @grantdenyer#bringbackthefued There is no connection, no spark, no love between hosts and audience like @grantdenyer Pointles boring show,” one viewer wrote.</p> <p>“I can’t believe Grant was replaced with this. Survey wouldn't be happy with this,” another added.</p> <p>“#pointlessAU nothing like the UK version which is better! who ever came up with this version clearly didn't watch the UK one @channelten hate the shortened version! Not a fan of the host either,” wrote another.</p> <p>Before the show’s premiere, Humphries took to Twitter with a message for potential haters.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">It’s the first episode of <a href="https://twitter.com/PointlessAU?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PointlessAU</a> tonight. Hope you enjoy it, and for those who don’t, have fun shitting on it. Be gentle, it’s my first time. 6pm on Ten. <a href="https://t.co/yDW4cEyZ4Q">pic.twitter.com/yDW4cEyZ4Q</a></p> — Mark Humphries (@markhumphries) <a href="https://twitter.com/markhumphries/status/1021278039672418304?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 23, 2018</a></blockquote> <p> </p> <p>“It’s the first episode of @PointlessAU tonight. Hope you enjoy it, and for those who don’t, have fun shitting on it. Be gentle, it’s my first time. 6 pm on Ten,” Humphries wrote.</p> <p><span style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit !important;">Did you watch </span><em style="font-weight: inherit;">Pointless</em><span style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit !important;"> last night? If so, share your verdict of the show in the comments below. </span></p>

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Dr Michael Mosley: 10 steps to a younger brain and sharper memory

<p>Science journalist, author and TV presenter Dr Michael Mosley has shared his ten-point plan with the <em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5929577/Dr-MICHAEL-MOSLEYs-5-2-diet-recipes.html">Daily Mail</a></span> </strong></em>to keeping a youthful mind, and perhaps even staving off dementia.</p> <p><strong>1. Check how well your brain is ageing</strong></p> <p>Test yourself with Dr Michael Mosley’s own questionnaire to determine your “brain age”. Answer yes or no to following statements:</p> <ul> <li>I eat a mainly Mediterranean- style diet. This is one that is low in sugar and processed foods, but rich in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts, oily fish – such as salmon or mackerel – and olive oil.</li> <li>I’ve been tested and I don’t have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.</li> <li>I don’t smoke.</li> <li>I drink 14 units of alcohol or less a week.</li> <li>I exercise most days.</li> <li>I do something sociable, with friends or family, at least once a week.</li> <li>None of my immediate relatives developed signs of significant memory loss or dementia before the age of 80.</li> <li>I’ve had my blood pressure tested and it is normal.</li> <li>I don’t have any obvious sleep disorders, such as snoring or sleep apnoea, and I get at least seven hours’ sleep every night.</li> <li>I don’t have a significant problem with stress or depression.</li> </ul> <p>Now add up how the number of yes answers you gave, with Dr Mosley’s advice below:</p> <p>0-3: You probably have a brain age that is about ten years more than your actual age. You are at increased risk of early memory loss and developing some form of dementia. You need to work on the sort of lifestyle changes I am about to recommend as soon as possible.</p> <p>4-7: Not bad, but not great. There is still some way to go – and you will benefit from following my advice.</p> <p>8-10: You are doing well, but do keep reading. This article contains further tips on ways to keep your brain young.</p> <p><strong>2. What is your blood sugar level?</strong></p> <p>Having persistently high blood sugar levels is bad for your brain, says Dr Mosely, adding that “being type 2 diabetic adds about ten years to your brain age and doubles your risk of developing dementia.” </p> <p><strong>3. Get some quality shut-eye</strong></p> <p>It’s no surprise getting some quality sleep helps rejuvenate the mind and body. “Scientists have recently discovered that during deep sleep channels open in the brain which flush the toxins out,” writes Dr Mosely.</p> <p><strong>4. Exercise</strong></p> <p>Moving your body is a good way of boosting your brain power. A recent study found that regular walkers have brains that look two years younger than the brains of those who are sedentary.</p> <p><strong>5. Quit your vices</strong></p> <p>If you’re a smoker, the best thing you can do for your brain is to quit. Cutting down on alcohol intake will also help with the guidelines recommending you not drink more than 14 units a week.</p> <p><strong>6. Change your diet</strong></p> <p>Get your brain in tip top shape by changing what you eat – and how you eat. Dr Mosely writes: “Numerous studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is also the ultimate brain diet – the version I advocate is low in starchy, easily digestible carbs, but packed full of disease-fighting vitamins and flavonoids found in olive oil, fish –especially oily varieties – nuts, fruit and vegetables.”</p> <p><strong>7. Test your hearing</strong></p> <p>Going deaf often leads to social isolation, a major risk factor for developing dementia. As humans are social creature, regular social interactions are good for our brains.</p> <p><strong>8. Take up a hobby</strong></p> <p>Learning a new skill does wonders for your brain. <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/retirement-life/2016/04/5-new-hobbies-to-try-now/">Click here</a></span></strong> for some great suggestions, but anything fun, sociable and a bit mentally demanding will work.</p> <p><strong>9. Feed your gut bacteria</strong></p> <p>Dr Mosely writes: “There is mounting evidence that the microbiome, the 2 lb to 3 lb of microbes that live in our guts, have a profound effect on our mental health. A recent study found that people with Alzheimer’s have much higher levels of bad bacteria that cause inflammation, a process that can lead to dementia, and lower levels of the ‘good guys’, the bacteria that reduce inflammation.”</p> <p><strong>10. Avoid air pollution</strong></p> <p>Researchers from Edinburgh University’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre recently reviewed dozens of studies that looked at potential environmental triggers and tentatively concluded that air pollution might be one of them.</p>

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Pete Evans reveals why his daughters started therapy at 12 months old

<p>He’s no stranger to controversy, with celebrity chef Pete Evans having been <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/body/2018/06/doctors-call-for-netflix-to-pull-pete-evans-documentary/">slammed by the medical community</a></span></strong> for his advice on diet, health and lifestyle in the past.</p> <p>But speaking on news.com.au podcast <em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/balls-deep-podcast-interview-with-celebrity-chef-pete-evans/news-story/fbf3c1eebe6b961804f13126a964d5ac?utm_content=SocialFlow&amp;utm_source=News.com.au&amp;utm_medium=Facebook&amp;utm_campaign=EditorialSF" target="_blank">Balls Deep</a></strong></span></em>, the My Kitchen Rules judge says the criticism doesn’t faze him and that he has no regrets in the lifestyle he chooses, especially when it comes to how he raises his two daughters – Chilli, 13, and Indii, 10.</p> <p>“I have no guilt whatsoever about the lifestyle that I choose to live,” he said, before revealing that he part of the holistic “journey” has been doing Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) for the past 20 years.</p> <p>He added that his daughters have also been undertaking the therapy technique from as young as 12 months old.</p> <p>“It’s something I do with the kids from time to time ever since they were basically one-year-old,” he explained.</p> <p> “It’s just like taking your car in to get serviced,” he explained of the sessions. “Some people, like myself, like to take our minds or brains in to get emotional work and releasing done to help navigate this world that we live in.”</p> <p>According to <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="https://innovativemedicine.com/solutions/neuro-emotional-technique-net/">Innovative Medicine</a></strong></em></span>, NET is a psycho-emotional technique and based on the foundations of stress-related responses. It aims to work with in conjunction with other medical therapies to remove psycho emotional blocks that may help the body to repair itself naturally.</p> <p>Pete added: “In my journey as a human being … I have experienced many different forms of nourishment for the body, mind and spirit. I’ve never seen a psychiatrist or a psychologist [because] I see different types of people in that emotional space.</p> <p>“It’s helped me a great deal and helped different members of my family, and I’ve seen the results these people have so why would I not want to include my children?</p> <p>“Some people might look at that in different light, but I would say don’t knock it until you try it.”</p> <p>Pete said his eldest daughter started the technique at an early age as she was born with a tumour and was admitted to hospital as a baby for treatment. He says the use of the therapy enabled her to “get in a state of healing”.</p> <p>“Psychiatry and psychology is proven that it doesn’t really work that much,” he said. “The amount of people that are prescribed antidepressants these days as a get out of jail free card … without looking at the body and mind holistically … is causing so many issues,” he added.</p> <p>“Most forms of modern therapy like psychiatrists and psychologists sort of miss the mark on understanding how to deal with a human being,” he said. “Very much like how modern doctors have no idea about how the human bodywork in relation to nutrition. I’m not saying all, but most.</p> <p>“I find this sort of work that I am talking about [NET] is a great tool for them [daughters] to discover their own unique self. It gives them an understanding of how their mind and bodywork.”</p>

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Why it gets harder to sleep as we age

<p><em><strong>Jo Abbott is a Research Fellow and Health Psychologist at Swinburne University of Technology. Imogen Rehm is a PhD Candidate at Swinburne University of Technology.</strong></em></p> <p>Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging, especially as we age. About <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/foc.7.1.foc98" target="_blank">half of all older adults</a></strong></span> report sleeping difficulties. This can make them more likely to experience physical or mental health conditions, memory problems, and falls, due to poor balance.</p> <p>Older adults also have <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/foc.7.1.foc98" target="_blank">less deep sleep</a></strong></span> than younger people and their sleep is more easily interrupted.</p> <p>As we age, our body clock or “<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/foc.7.1.foc98" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a></strong></span>” change. We have a less consistent pattern of feeling sleepy and awake. We also feel sleepy earlier in the evenings and wake up earlier in the mornings.</p> <p>Medical conditions commonly experienced in later life, and the medication used to treat, them can also <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/foc.7.1.foc98" target="_blank">interfere</a></strong></span> with sleep.</p> <p>Treatments for sleeping difficulties include medication for short-term relief and psychological treatments such as <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-insomnia-and-what-can-you-do-about-it-36365" target="_blank">cognitive behaviour therapy</a></strong></span> (CBT). CBT helps people to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that contribute to poor sleep.</p> <p>While CBT is <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15451764" target="_blank">very effective</a></strong></span> for clinically diagnosed insomnia, not everyone with milder sleeping difficulties needs such an intensive treatment. For some people, sleep quality can be improved by learning <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1983-33264-001" target="_blank">relaxation</a></strong></span> to reduce physical tension and worry.</p> <p>Another approach that is <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18005910" target="_blank">showing promise</a></strong></span> for improving sleep is to learn mindfulness.</p> <p><strong>What is mindfulness?</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://theconversation.com/meditation-mindfulness-and-mind-emptiness-21291" target="_blank">Mindfulness</a></strong></span> involves deliberately focusing on what we are experiencing, thinking or feeling in the present moment, without negatively judging our experiences. We can learn mindfulness by becoming more aware of where we are focusing our attention.</p> <p>Mindfulness is the opposite to absentmindedness or being on “auto pilot”, like when you read a book and realise you haven’t paid attention to what was written on the last few pages because you were distracted by planning tomorrow’s activities.</p> <p>Mindfulness also involves deliberately focusing on things we don’t normally pay much attention to. You may have experienced mindfulness when you’ve listened intently to a favourite piece of music and deliberately turned your attention to the sound of just one instrument.</p> <p><strong>How can mindfulness help sleep?</strong></p> <p>The findings of a <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2110998" target="_blank">recently published research study</a></strong></span>, led by David Black from the University of Southern California, suggest that practising mindfulness might be particularly helpful for improving sleep quality in adults aged 55 years or older with mild sleeping difficulties.</p> <p>The mindfulness program involved taking part in six two-hour group classes and between five and 20 minutes a day of home practice.</p> <p>The researchers found that adults who completed a structured mindfulness program showed greater improvements in sleep quality than adults who completed a program that taught them good “<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/fact-sheets-a-z/187-good-sleep-habits.html" target="_blank">sleep hygiene</a></strong></span>” habits.</p> <p>Counter-intuitively, the way that mindfulness may influence sleep is not directly through relaxation, because mindfulness is about waking the body up and becoming more aware. By learning to become more aware of present-moment experiences, we learn not to react to thoughts and worries that can interfere with sleep.</p> <p>We still don’t know exactly how much and what type of mindfulness practice is needed before a person notices improvements to their sleep. But research suggests that regular practice activates the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://monash.edu/counselling/docs/what-is-mindfulness.pdf" target="_blank">parts of the brain</a></strong></span> that help us experience our environment through our senses rather than through thoughts and worries.</p> <p><strong>Tips for practising mindfulness</strong></p> <p>Practise mindfulness regularly, in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. It’s best to learn mindfulness outside of the bedroom because to learn the skill, you first need to learn to pay more attention to your present-moment experiences rather than to go to sleep.</p> <p>There are a number of ways to start to practising mindfulness:</p> <ul> <li>Listen to a mindfulness meditation CD, MP4 audio or a mindfulness app</li> <li>Take part in activities that encourage mindfulness, such as yoga, pilates, walking, tai chi or running</li> <li>Undertake daily activities, such as cleaning your teeth or washing the dishes, in a mindful way by focusing on the experience of doing the activity</li> <li>Enjoy the experience of eating in a mindful way by using all of your senses and keeping your attention on the food.</li> </ul> <p>Try not to pressure yourself to get the hang of mindfulness straight away. The goal of mindfulness it to not judge your experiences. If you notice your attention straying you can gently bring your attention to what you are focusing on, such as your breath.</p> <p>Do you agree with this advice?</p> <p><em>Written by Jo Abbott and Imogen Rehm. Republished with permission of <a href="http://theconversation.com/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Conversation</span></strong></a>.</em><img width="1" height="1" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/37756/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation"/></p>

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Farming hero Brendan Farrell breaks down over mate’s death in emotional video

<p>Burrumbuttock Hay Runners founder Brendan Farrell is a hero to many in the outback.</p> <p>He delivers donated hay to drought-affected Aussie farmers but it means Brendan has seen first-hand the utter distress of famers in the midst of a crippling dry spells.</p> <p>But today, the hardened fourth-generation farmer broke down as he found out that one of his mates he had been helping on a rural NSW cattle farm had taken his own life.</p> <p>In a heart-wrenching Facebook video which has been viewed over 197,000 times and shared by over 4,000 people at the time of writing, the man who was recently awarded a Queen’s Birthday honour, said the news of the man’s death was a “real kick in the guts”.</p> <p>The pair first met when Brendan was delivering dog food in 2015 to drought-affected farmers in outback NSW.</p> <p>“I saw this old bloke at the side of the road,” he said. “I pulled up and said: ‘Mate, do you want some dog food? And, he said: ‘Yeah, righto.’</p> <p>“I put five bags of dog food in the back of his Jeep and we got talking there and he had the oldest pair of wire strainers in the world. They must have seen more kilometres of wire than I can imagine.”</p> <p>The next time he was down that way, Brendan dropped off a pair of new wire strainers and a note telling the farmer to “keep his chin up”.</p> <p>The unnamed, single farmer was “gobsmacked” and the two stayed in touch ever since.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fburrumbuttockhayrunners%2Fvideos%2F2079473492301830%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=267" width="267" height="476" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>“Bonds are formed in special ways and that’s what hurt,” Brendan said as his eyes filled with tears in the video. “It’s just a real kick in the guts today, that’s all.</p> <p>“To all those farmers who are thinking of doing something silly, think of a bond or a special moment.”</p> <p>Brendan added the pressure of drought “is absolutely horrendous” and took aim at the government and corporations for exacerbating the mental and physical strain on the nation’s farmers.</p> <p>“I’d been looking after this farmer for a while,” he said.</p> <p>“I thought I was winning the battle with this fella but depression is a very dark place – I’ve been there.</p> <p>“The problem is I can’t see a farmer ringing some random person in an office to spill out all their problems … I just don’t know which way you go with this.”</p> <p>He said he’d hand back his award in an instant to have this bloke back.</p> <p>““Every award in Australia cannot bring a life back … I would hand back my award to have this bloke back,” he said.</p> <p>“He couldn’t get his cattle to market because they were too poor,” he later told <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/06/21/15/54/hay-runner-left-devastated-by-suicide-of-cattle-farmer-mate">Nine News</a>.</strong> </span>“He couldn’t sell his property because it was worth nothing. Couldn’t feed his cattle because he didn’t have enough money to buy the feed or the freight. So he is gone.”</p> <p>Brendan pleaded with farming families to hang in there and urged any person contemplating the worst to just stop and think of the repercussions for family, friends, children.</p> <p> “Think of a special moment, for Christ’s sake,” he begged.</p> <p>“Just keep getting up out of bed, put your shoes on and your hat on, because the sun keeps rising every day.”</p> <p><em><strong>Lifeline 13 11 14</strong></em></p> <p> </p>

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The simple eye test that’s a “game-changer” in diagnosing Alzheimer’s

<p>A simple eye test which takes just a couple of seconds is being hailed as a “game-changer” in the detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in Australia.</p> <p>Researchers in Western Australia have revealed it’s non-invasive, cheap and fast – and has the potential to save many lives.</p> <p>The test is done in just a couple of seconds, in which a camera takes a photo of the retina at the back of your eye to check and detect for build-up of amyloids – proteins that can be a sign and indication of Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>Professor Martins explained to <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/simple-eye-test-game-changer-alzheimers-diagnosis-132651308.html">7News</a>, “That’s what makes it so exciting, because while they have amyloid in their brain, at that stage the brain hasn’t been damaged, and that’s the best time to intervene.”</p> <p>Sadly, in Australia, Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of death in women. For men, it’s the second leading cause of death.</p> <p><img width="499" height="285" src="/media/7819310/2-alzheimers-test_499x285.jpg" alt="2 Alzheimers Test"/></p> <p>Joy Woolhouse, a 76-year-old grandmother and Alzheimer’s study participant, said she is aware of the risks.</p> <p>“I can’t recall things as quickly as I used to be able to, so yes, it is a worry,” she told 7News.</p> <p>The eye test costs just $50 versus a brain scan to detect and diagnose Alzheimer’s, which costs around $3,000.</p> <p>The low-cost of the eye test means patients can have the test done multiple times and their diagnosis monitored.</p> <p>Professor Martins added, “If there is a particular regime that a patient might be doing to lower their risk, they could come back in six or 12 months and get a scan of the eye again to see if there is a reduction.”</p> <p>For further information on the clinical trials, contact the <a href="https://alzheimers.com.au/">Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation</a>.</p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p>

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