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"Rest in love": All Blacks legend and Dancing with the Stars winner dies at 55

<p>The sports and entertainment communities are mourning the loss of former All Blacks hooker and <em>Dancing with the Stars</em> winner Norm Hewitt, who has passed away at the age of 55.</p> <p>Hewitt, a beloved figure both on and off the rugby field, succumbed to a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease, as confirmed by his family in a heartfelt statement.</p> <p>"Although rugby dominated his early life, he established a thriving human relations consultancy after retirement, and his services were much in demand both nationally and internationally," his family shared. "He walked confidently in both Māori and Pākehā worlds and was a particular role model for troubled youth, citing his own background, and offering inspirational teachings that one’s present life need not be one’s future."</p> <p>Hewitt leaves behind his wife Arlene and their two children, Elizabeth and Alexander. Born and raised in Pōrangahau, southern Hawke’s Bay, Hewitt's rugby career was nothing short of illustrious. Over 13 seasons, he played 296 representative matches for Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Wellington, earning 23 caps for the All Blacks. Hewitt was also a pivotal member of the Hurricanes during the formative years of Super Rugby, missing only one match in the first five years.</p> <p>The rugby community has been profoundly affected by Hewitt's passing. Former teammate Ofisa Tonu’u posted a touching tribute on Facebook: "I’m just devastated finding out the news today. I will never forget how you always stuck up for me during the Black Tracker days when no one else would, you always look after all the players and we always followed you into battle. No more pain, brother, you can now rest in Love. Fa’afetai tele lava my uso for having my back as I did yours. I know the other boys will be welcoming you with open arms at the gates. Rest in Love, Normy."</p> <p>Beyond his rugby career, Hewitt transitioned into a public speaker and mentor, focusing heavily on violence prevention programmes and advocacy. He worked with the SPCA as an animal cruelty and anti-violence publicity officer, visiting schools to spread his message. In 2005, Hewitt showcased his versatility by winning the first season of<em> Dancing with the Stars</em> alongside professional dancer Carol-Ann Hickmore.</p> <p>Hewitt's life was not without its struggles. In 1999, he made a public apology for a drunken incident in Queenstown, marking a turning point as he renounced alcohol and dedicated himself to helping others facing similar challenges.</p> <p>The outpouring of tributes was immediate, with The All Blacks expressing their sorrow: “We are saddened by the loss of All Black #938 Norm Hewitt who passed away yesterday in Wellington. Hewitt played 9 Tests and 14 Games between 1993 and 1998. Our thoughts are with Norm’s family and loved ones at this time.”</p> <p>Podcaster Martin Devlin shared his personal experience: “RIP Norm Hewitt. Not a lot of people know how kind & generous this man was. A truly wonderful person. Reached out to me and helped me considerably a long time ago when things were very rough. Love & respect.”</p> <p>Richard Hills echoed the sentiments of many: “This is bloody sad. A sad way to lose a kiwi icon so young. He had a really rough childhood and upbringing and faced it and turned his life around to become not only a rugby legend but also helped others who’d been through similar issues.”</p> <p>Norm Hewitt’s legacy will endure through the lives he touched and the positive change he inspired. His story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the profound impact one individual can have on the world.</p> <p><em>Image: Radio New Zealand</em></p>

Caring

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Hollywood star's heartbreaking health update

<p>Gena Rowlands's son has shared his mother's heartbreaking health battle, that is reminiscent of one of her most iconic movie character's similar health issue.</p> <p>The 94-year-old Golden Globe winner who portrayed an older version of Rachel McAdam’s character, Allie, in the 2004 film<em> The Notebook</em>, has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for the past five years.</p> <p>While discussing the film's 20 year anniversary, Nick Cassavetes, the director of the movie and Rowlands’ son, revealed his mother’s diagnosis. </p> <p>“I got my mum to play older Allie, and we spent a lot of time talking about Alzheimer’s and wanting to be authentic with it, and now, for the last five years, she’s had Alzheimer’s,” Cassavetes told <em><a href="https://ew.com/the-notebook-star-gena-rowlands-has-alzheimers-8668642">Entertainment Weekly</a></em> of Rowlands’ character, who also had dementia.</p> <p>“She’s in full dementia. And it’s so crazy — we lived it, she acted it, and now it’s on us.”</p> <p>Back in 2004, Rowlands — whose mother, actress Lady Rowlands, also suffered from the disease — explained why playing Allie was “particularly hard.”</p> <p>“This last one — The Notebook, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks — was particularly hard because I play a character who has Alzheimer’s,” she told <em><a href="https://www.oprah.com/spirit/gena-rowlands-aha-moment">O magazine</a></em>.</p> <p>“I went through that with my mother, and if Nick hadn’t directed the film, I don’t think I would have gone for it — it’s just too hard. It was a tough but wonderful movie.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: New Line Cinema/Demmie Todd/Warner Bros/Spring Creek/Kobal/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Caring

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What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nikki-anne-wilson-342631">Nikki-Anne Wilson</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Changes in thinking and memory as we age can occur for a variety of reasons. These changes are <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/memory-loss-and-forgetfulness/memory-problems-forgetfulness-and-aging#changes">not always cause for concern</a>. But when they begin to disrupt daily life, it could indicate the first signs of dementia.</p> <p>Another term that can crop up when we’re talking about dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, or Alzheimer’s for short.</p> <p>So what’s the difference?</p> <h2>What is dementia?</h2> <p>Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of syndromes that result in changes in memory, thinking and/or behaviour due to degeneration in the brain.</p> <p>To meet the <a href="https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1016/j.jalz.2011.03.005">criteria</a> for dementia these changes must be sufficiently pronounced to interfere with usual activities and are present in at least two different aspects of thinking or memory.</p> <p>For example, someone might have trouble remembering to pay bills and become lost in previously familiar areas.</p> <p>It’s less-well known that dementia can also occur in <a href="https://www.childhooddementia.org/what-is-childhood-dementia">children</a>. This is due to progressive brain damage associated with more than 100 rare genetic disorders. This can result in similar cognitive changes as we see in adults.</p> <h2>So what’s Alzheimer’s then?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers">Alzheimer’s</a> is the most common type of dementia, accounting for <a href="https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/alz.12068">about 60-80%</a> of cases.</p> <p>So it’s not surprising many people use the terms dementia and Alzheimer’s interchangeably.</p> <p>Changes in memory are the most common sign of Alzheimer’s and it’s what the public <a href="https://alzres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13195-023-01219-4">most often</a> associates with it. For instance, someone with Alzheimer’s may have trouble recalling recent events or keeping track of what day or month it is.</p> <p>We still don’t know exactly what <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/s002689332104004x">causes Alzheimer’s</a>. However, we do know it is associated with a build-up in the brain of two types of protein called <a href="https://www.dementiasplatform.uk/news-and-media/blog/amyloid-and-tau-the-proteins-involved-in-dementia">amyloid-β and tau</a>.</p> <p>While we all have some amyloid-β, when too much builds up in the brain it clumps together, forming plaques in the spaces between cells. These plaques cause damage (inflammation) to surrounding brain cells and leads to disruption in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6468450/">tau</a>. Tau forms part of the structure of brain cells but in Alzheimer’s tau proteins become “tangled”. This is toxic to the cells, causing them to die. A <a href="https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad180583">feedback loop</a> is then thought to occur, triggering production of more amyloid-β and more abnormal tau, perpetuating damage to brain cells.</p> <p>Alzheimer’s can also occur with other forms of dementia, such as <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vascular-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378793">vascular dementia</a>. This combination is the most common example of a <a href="https://www.dementiauk.org/information-and-support/types-of-dementia/mixed-dementia/">mixed dementia</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <h2>Vascular dementia</h2> <p>The second most common type of dementia is <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vascular-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378793">vascular dementia</a>. This results from disrupted blood flow to the brain.</p> <p>Because the changes in blood flow can occur throughout the brain, signs of vascular dementia can be more varied than the memory changes typically seen in Alzheimer’s.</p> <p>For example, vascular dementia may present as general confusion, slowed thinking, or difficulty organising thoughts and actions.</p> <p>Your <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vascular-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378793">risk of vascular dementia</a> is greater if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.</p> <h2>Frontotemporal dementia</h2> <p>Some people may not realise that dementia can also affect behaviour and/or language. We see this in different forms of frontotemporal dementia.</p> <p>The behavioural variant of <a href="https://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.neuropsych.20090238#:%7E:text=The%20behavioral%20variant%20of%20frontotemporal,often%20delayed%20for%20several%20years.">frontotemporal dementia</a> is the second most common form (after Alzheimer’s disease) of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/younger-onset-dementia">younger onset dementia</a> (dementia in people under 65).</p> <p>People living with this may have difficulties in interpreting and appropriately responding to social situations. For example, they may make uncharacteristically rude or offensive comments or invade people’s personal space.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/semantic-dementia">Semantic dementia</a> is also a type of frontotemporal dementia and results in difficulty with understanding the meaning of words and naming everyday objects.</p> <h2>Dementia with Lewy bodies</h2> <p><a href="https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/dementia-with-lewy-bodies">Dementia with Lewy bodies</a> results from dysregulation of a different type of protein known as α-synuclein. We often see this in people with Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p>So people with this type of dementia may have altered movement, such as a stooped posture, shuffling walk, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428504/">changes in handwriting</a>. Other symptoms include changes in alertness, visual hallucinations and significant <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6029467/">disruption to sleep</a>.</p> <h2>Do I have dementia and if so, which type?</h2> <p>If you or someone close to you is concerned, the first thing to do is to <a href="https://cdpc.sydney.edu.au/research/clinical-guidelines-for-dementia/">speak to your GP</a>. They will likely ask you some questions about your medical history and what changes you have noticed.</p> <p>Sometimes it might not be clear if you have dementia when you first speak to your doctor. They may suggest you watch for changes or they may refer you to a specialist for <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-dementia-symptoms-types-and-diagnosis#diagnosis">further tests</a>.</p> <p>There is no single test to clearly show if you have dementia, or the type of dementia. A diagnosis comes after multiple tests, including brain scans, tests of memory and thinking, and consideration of how these changes impact your daily life.</p> <p>Not knowing what is happening can be a challenging time so it is important to speak to someone about how you are feeling or to reach out to <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/get-support/national-dementia-helpline">support services</a>.</p> <h2>Dementia is diverse</h2> <p>As well as the different forms of dementia, everyone experiences dementia in different ways. For example, the speed dementia progresses varies a lot from person to person. Some people will continue to <a href="https://livingwellwithdementia.org.au">live well with dementia</a> for some time while others may decline more quickly.</p> <p>There is still significant <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article-abstract/64/5/gnad130/7281753">stigma</a> surrounding dementia. So by learning more about the various types of dementia and understanding differences in how dementia progresses we can all do our part to create a more <a href="https://www.dementiafriendly.org.au/">dementia-friendly community</a>.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/get-support/national-dementia-helpline">National Dementia Helpline</a> (1800 100 500) provides information and support for people living with dementia and their carers. To learn more about dementia, you can take this <a href="https://www.utas.edu.au/wicking/understanding-dementia">free online course</a>.</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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225271/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nikki-anne-wilson-342631">Nikki-Anne Wilson</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-the-difference-between-alzheimers-and-dementia-225271">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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1 in 5 deaths are caused by heart disease, but what else are Australians dying from?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/garry-jennings-5307">Garry Jennings</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Nobody dies in good health, at least in their final moments. But to think the causes of death are easy to count or that there is generally a single reason somebody passes is an oversimplification.</p> <p>In fact, in 2022, four out of five Australians had multiple conditions at the time of death listed on their death certificate, and almost one-quarter had five or more recorded. This is one of many key findings from a <a href="https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-deaths/what-do-australians-die-from/contents/about">new report</a> from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).</p> <p>The report distinguishes between three types of causes of death – underlying, direct, and contributory. An underlying cause is the condition that initiates the chain of events leading to death, such as having coronary heart disease. The direct cause of death is what the person died from (rather than with), like a heart attack. Contributory causes are things that significantly contributed to the chain of events leading to death but are not directly involved, like having high blood pressure. The report also tracks how these three types of causes can overlap in deaths involving multiple causes.</p> <p>In 2022 the top five conditions involved in deaths in Australia were coronary heart disease (20% of deaths), dementia (18%), hypertension, or high blood pressure (12%), cerebrovascular disease such as stroke (11.5%), and diabetes (11.4%).</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="MzQHA" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/MzQHA/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>When the underlying cause of death was examined, the list was similar (coronary heart disease 10%, dementia 9%, cerebrovascular disease 5%, followed by COVID and lung cancer, each 5%). This means coronary heart disease was not just lurking at the time of death but also the major underlying cause.</p> <p>The direct cause of death however was most often a lower respiratory condition (8%), cardiac or respiratory arrest (6.5%), sepsis (6%), pneumonitis, or lung inflammation (4%) or hypertension (4%).</p> <h2>Why is this important?</h2> <p>Without looking at all the contributing causes of death, the role of important factors such as coronary heart disease, sepsis, depression, high blood pressure and alcohol use can be underestimated.</p> <p>Even more importantly, the various causes draw attention to the areas where we should be focusing public health prevention. The report also helps us understand which groups to focus on for prevention and health care. For example, the number one cause of death in women was dementia, whereas in men it was coronary heart disease.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="NosVz" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/NosVz/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>People aged under 55 tended to die from external events such as accidents and violence, whereas older people died against a background of chronic disease.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="1l3OS" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1l3OS/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We cannot prevent death, but we can prevent many diseases and injuries. And this report highlights that many of these causes of death, both for younger Australians and older, are preventable. The top five conditions involved in death (coronary heart disease, dementia, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease and diabetes) all share common risk factors such as tobacco use, high cholesterol, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, or are risk factors themselves, like hypertension or diabetes.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="7Eb8O" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/7Eb8O/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Tobacco use, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese and poor diet were attributable to a combined 44% of all deaths in this report. This suggests a comprehensive approach to health promotion, disease prevention and management is needed.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="2MmGg" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/2MmGg/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This should include strategies and programs encouraging eating a healthy diet, participating in regular physical activity, limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and seeing a doctor for regular health screenings, such as the Medicare-funded <a href="https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/heart-health-checks">Heart Health Checks</a>. Programs directed at accident prevention, mental health and violence, especially gender-related violence, will address untimely deaths in the young.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231598/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/garry-jennings-5307"><em>Garry Jennings</em></a><em>, Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-in-5-deaths-are-caused-by-heart-disease-but-what-else-are-australians-dying-from-231598">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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"I'm a prisoner in my own body": Rob Burrow's heartbreaking last message

<p>An emotional final message from rugby legend Rob Burrow has been released in the days after his death. </p> <p>The former footballer <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/rugby-league-hero-dies-at-just-41" target="_blank" rel="noopener">died</a> at the age of 41 on Sunday after a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease, with his former club, the Leeds Rhinos, sharing the news of his passing. </p> <p>Before he died, Burrow was involved in the making of a documentary about his life by the BBC, titled <em>There's Only One Burrow</em>, only agreeing to appear in the program on the condition it only be used after his death.</p> <p>In the documentary, Burrow spoke of how the cruel disease impacted his life and how he hoped to raise awareness for MND research.</p> <p>"I want to live in a world free of MND. By the time you watch this I will no longer be here," he said in the video.</p> <p>"In a world full of adversity, we must still dare to dream. I'm just a lad from Yorkshire who got to live out his dream of playing rugby league."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C7xPgSxM6lY/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C7xPgSxM6lY/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by BBC SPORT (@bbcsport)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>His pre-recorded final words were shown to his friends and family on screen, reacting to his words.</p> <p>"I'm a fighter, to be honest. I might not be able to tackle MND but I'll certainly be swinging, I'm not going to give in, not until my last breath," he said.</p> <p>"I'm a prisoner in my own body, that's the way MND gets you. The lights are on but no one is home."</p> <p>Recalling his diagnosis, he said, "My family told me I was slurring my speech a bit but I didn't take notice or believe them."</p> <p>In an emotional segment of the widow, Burrow's wife Lindsey spoke of how she learnt of her husband's devastating disease.</p> <p>"I remember that moment being told it's not good news. Asking how long and them saying two years. Rob said 'thank god it's me and not the kids'. That's all he was bothered about," she recalled.</p> <p>When asked about his children, Burrow became emotional, saying, "I had no idea how my family would cope. They've become a beacon of hope for families in the same situation as ours." </p> <p>"I have had such a great life. I have been gifted with the most incredible wife and three children. I hope they know how much I love them."</p> <p>Burrows finishes the piece, saying. "As a father of three young children, I would never want someone to go through this."</p> <p>"I hope I have left a mark on this disease. I hope you choose to live in the moment. I hope you find inspiration."</p> <p>"My final message to you is whatever your personal battle to be brave and face it."</p> <p>"Every single day is precious. Don't waste a moment. In a world full of adversity we must still dare to dream. Rob Burrow over and out."</p> <p><em>Image credits: BBC</em></p>

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Rugby League hero dies at just 41

<p>Rugby League legend Rob Burrow has passed away at the age of 41 after a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease. </p> <p>The British footballer spent his career with the Leeds Rhinos and helped them win eight Super League titles, and while he never played in Australia, he won the World Club Challenge over NRL opponents three times. </p> <p>Just two years after his retirement in 2017, Burrows was diagnosed with MND. </p> <p>Despite his rapidly progressing condition, Burrows stayed in the public eye to raise money and awareness for MND, and soon became the face of the fight against the disease in the UK. </p> <p>He worked with former teammate Kevin Sinfield to raise millions for a new care centre for MND patients, as the pair competed in <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/terminally-ill-rugby-player-carried-across-marathon-finish-line-by-his-best-mate" target="_blank" rel="noopener">marathons</a> today, with Sinfield often pushing Burrow the entire way.</p> <p>His former football club announced Burrow’s death on Sunday, just one day before the groundbreaking of the new Rob Burrow Centre for MND at Seacroft Hospital, which will go ahead at his request.</p> <p>“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved son, husband, father, brother and friend,” the club said. </p> <p>“Rob has always been a true inspiration throughout his life whether that was on the rugby league field or during his battle with MND. He never allowed others to define what he could achieve and believed in his own ability to do more."</p> <p>“The outpouring of love and support that Rob and the whole Burrow family have received over the last four and a half years meant so much to Rob."</p> <p>“For those who knew Rob throughout his life, his determination and spirit in the face of MND over the last four and a half years came as no surprise. Rob never accepted that he couldn’t do something. He just found his way of doing it better than anyone else."</p> <p>“He will continue to inspire us all every day. In a world full of adversity. We must dare to dream.”</p> <p>Prince William, who awarded Burrow with a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) honour in January 2024, was among those to mourn his death on social media.</p> <p>“A legend of rugby league, Rob Burrow had a huge heart,” he wrote.</p> <p>“He taught us ‘in a world full of adversity, we must dare to dream’. Catherine and I send our love."</p> <p>Burrow is survived by wife Lindsey and their three children Macy, Maya and Jackson.</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-a2c455fc-7fff-0630-5b08-a5edde63e557">Image credits: SplashNews.com/Matt West/BPI/Phil Noble-Reuters/POOL supplied by Splash News/Shutterstock Editorial</span></em></p>

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

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

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Study finds new link for increased risk of Alzheimer’s

<p>A new study has found that people suffering from anxiety disorders could be more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. </p> <p>The study, which was published by brain researchers The Florey, analysed data from 2443 older Australians from Melbourne and Perth, who are part of a cohort for dementia research.</p> <p>Study leads Dr Yijun Pan and Dr Liang Jin found that anxiety and other neurological disorders are linked to an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease.  </p> <p>"People with anxiety and neurological disorders are 1.5 and 2.5 times more likely to have Alzheimer's disease," Dr Pan said.</p> <p>"For people with anxiety, males have higher odds than females of developing Alzheimer's disease."</p> <p>They also found a few other medical conditions which were linked to a decreased risk of Alzheimer's, including arthritis, cancer, gastric complaints, and high cholesterol. </p> <p>The study leads said that the p53 protein - which causes neuron dysfunction and cell death in Alzheimer's patients - loses its function when someone has cancer, which could possibly explain the link between the two conditions. </p> <p>"We need further research to understand whether these diseases interfere with the evolution of Alzheimer's or whether there might be other reasons," Dr Pan said.</p> <p>"The medications or treatments used for these diseases may possibly contribute to this observation."</p> <p>The study however, did not find a link between  Alzheimer's and depression, falls or strokes. </p> <p>"This is the first study to assess 20 comorbidity associations with cognitive impairment using a single Australian dataset, which allowed us to fully consider how these conditions affect the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease," Dr Pan said. </p> <p>"We also studied whether age, gender, smoking, education, alcohol consumption, and the APOE gene – believed to be connected to Alzheimer's - affects these associations.</p> <p>"Our study indicates a new opportunity for biologists to study the links between these 20 conditions with Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>"This work also provides valuable epidemiological evidence to clinicians, which may help them to evaluate one's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease."</p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p>

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Amanda Keller's emotional family update

<p>Amanda Keller has shared an emotional family update while live on-air on the <em>Jonesy and Amanda show </em>on Monday. </p> <p>The radio star has shared an update on how her husband's battle with Parkinson's disease has affected them, as they try to plan their son's 21st birthday party. </p> <p>“It was a hard week for me leading up to it because I wanted to put a slide show together to play throughout the night,” she told her co-host Jonesy. </p> <p>“And normally that is Harley’s domain. He has been the guy who will make the kid’s birthday invitations. He’s very creative. He will work on the computer to do this funky stuff. Normally, he would have done all of that. And with the way things are with Harley at the moment, he’s got Parkinson’s disease and things are just hard.”</p> <p>Keller, who has been married to her husband since 1989, revealed that he had been <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/amanda-keller-shares-heartbreaking-family-news" target="_blank" rel="noopener">privately battling</a> with the disease for seven years, on October 2023. </p> <p>She then went on to share how the disease has affected her husband's ability to perform tasks that he was once good at. </p> <p>“So that kind of skill set isn’t with him anymore. He doesn’t have dementia or any of that stuff, but that stuff’s hard for him to do now.</p> <p>"And so I was going through a whole lot of photos on my phone and seeing photos of when he was well, and it was a very emotional week leading up to the 21st.”</p> <p>She then went on to confess that the situation had made her feel “lonely” and that her heart broke for her husband, who she thought couldn't attend the birthday party. </p> <p>“Leaving the house to go to Jack’s party, I thought, you know, it’s not right that Harley can’t come. Yeah, I really felt lonely thinking it’s our son’s 21st, but how hard it is for Harley and how much he would have loved to have been there,” she continued.</p> <p>But her husband surprised her, and managed to attend the event despite his ill health. </p> <p>“So there we are, having a great time. The speeches are about to start and my friend Kate said to me, There’s Harley. And I looked over. And I know what it cost him to be there.</p> <p>"He and our friend Pam and our driver friend Cole had conspired to get Harley there for the speeches. And it was so moving.”</p> <p>Keller, who was tearing up at this moment, proudly added:  “And a lot of people were shocked because they hadn’t seen Harley for a while. But I know what it cost him to get there. And he said to me, how could I not be here?”</p> <p><em>Image: Jonesy and Amanda show/ news.com.au</em></p>

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Allan Border's desperate plea to PM

<p>Allan Border has joined Parkinson’s Australia chief executive Olivia Nassaris in a plea for the Federal Government to provide more funding and research into the condition. </p> <p>The 68-year-old cricket legend is one of over 150,000 Australians living with Parkinson’s, after being diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder back in 2016. </p> <p>A new report from the organisation revealed that there are 19,500 new cases every year, with one Australian diagnosed with the condition every 27 minutes.</p> <p>“A lot of people know the disease but they don’t know the impact that it has — 150,000 people in Australia have the disease, it does present in different ways,” Border said. </p> <p>“When I was told I was suffering, my first image was of (boxer) Muhammad Ali and the Olympic torch, I just thought people suffered from a tremor.</p> <p>“But there’s about 100,000 different ways of it presenting.”</p> <p>Border joined the Parkinson’s Australia chief executive on April 11 to raise awareness for World Parkinson’s Day.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Nassaris </span>estimated that the number of Australians impacted by Parkinson’s would almost triple by 2050.</p> <p>“At the moment we don’t have a cause or cure, so it is frightening that a disease like this is going to almost triple in numbers,” she said.</p> <p>Responding to the cricketer’s plea, the Prime Minister described Border as a “great Australian” and hinted at a potential boost to government support in providing more resources into the condition. </p> <p>“Our heart goes out to him,” the PM said on Thursday. </p> <p>“I will have a word with the Health Minister about what more we can do. We have contributed over $100m to research into Parkinson’s.</p> <p>“There’s also a pilot program for nurses about people suffering from Parkinson’s at the moment. There’s some $6.5m being used for that pilot program. We want to wait and see what the assessment of that is.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Princess of Wales and King Charles: one in two people develop cancer during their lives – the diseases and treatments explained

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gavin-metcalf-1340598">Gavin Metcalf</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p>The Princess of Wales released a <a href="https://x.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1771235267837321694?s=20">moving video message</a> on March 22 to address speculation about her health. In it, the future queen disclosed that she’d been <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68641710">diagnosed with cancer</a> following tests conducted after she underwent major abdominal surgery at a clinic in London in January.</p> <p>Catherine explained that she was undergoing “preventative chemotherapy” – but emphasised that her surgery had been successful, and that she was “well” and “getting stronger every day”.</p> <p>The message was the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/22/princess-kate-cancer-royal-family-health-annus-horribilis">second announcement</a> of a royal family cancer diagnosis in recent weeks. On February 5, Buckingham Palace <a href="https://www.royal.uk/a-statement-from-buckingham-palace-5Feb24">published a statement</a> that King Charles III had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68208157">cancer, unrelated</a> to the treatment he had been receiving for an enlarged prostate.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3xzKooCaRXU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The statement said that he had begun “regular treatments”. The king postponed all public-facing duties during his treatment, but <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68213383">reportedly continued</a> with his “constitutional role as head of state, including completing paperwork and holding private meetings”.</p> <p>Cancer is the <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer">leading cause of death</a> worldwide. <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/#:%7E:text=The%20cancerous%20cells%20can%20invade,of%20cancer%20during%20their%20lifetime.">One in two</a> people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime – so the condition will affect almost every family. However, many cancers can be cured if, as appears to be the case with the king, the condition is <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68213383">detected early</a> and treated effectively.</p> <h2>What is cancer?</h2> <p>Our bodies are made up of more than 100 billion cells, and cancer typically starts with changes in a small group of cells – or even a single one.</p> <p>We have different cell types depending upon where in the body they are and the function that the cell has. The size, amount and function of each of these cells is normally tightly regulated by genes – groups of codes held within our DNA – that instruct cells how to grow and divide.</p> <p>However, changes (mutations) to DNA can alter the way cells grow and multiply – often forming a lump, or solid tumour. Cancers can also develop in blood cells, such as white blood cell cancer which is known as leukaemia. This type of cancer does not form solid tumours; instead, the cancer builds up in the blood or sometimes the marrow in the core of bones, where blood cells are produced.</p> <p>In all, there are <a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/how-cancer-starts/types-of-cancer#:%7E:text=For%20example%2C%20nerves%20and%20muscles,of%20cell%20they%20start%20in.">more than 200</a> types of cancer, but all start with mutations in the DNA contained within each and every cell.</p> <h2>What exactly are mutations?</h2> <p>Think of your DNA as a big recipe book, and your genes as individual recipes for making different dishes. Mutations are smudges or missing words from this recipe that can result in key ingredients not being added into the mix.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8BJ8_5Gyhg8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Regardless of the type of cancer or the cells from which it develops, mutations in our genes can result in a cell no longer understanding its instructions.</p> <p>These mutations can happen by chance when dividing, but can also be the result of lifestyle choices such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141049/">smoking</a>, <a href="https://www.ndph.ox.ac.uk/news/new-genetic-study-confirms-that-alcohol-is-a-direct-cause-of-cancer#:%7E:text=These%20mutations%20both%20disrupt%20the,aldehyde%20dehydrogenase%202%20(ALDH2).">drinking</a>, and <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet">inactivity</a>.</p> <p>Research has found that in order for a normal cell to turn into a cancerous cell, anywhere from <a href="https://www.sanger.ac.uk/news_item/1-10-mutations-are-needed-drive-cancer-scientists-find/">one to ten different mutations</a> are normally required.</p> <h2>How is cancer treated?</h2> <p>Treatment options for cancer depend on a variety of factors, including where your cancer is, how large it is, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The main treatments for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.</p> <p>Chemotherapy uses drugs to target and kill cells that are rapidly dividing in our bodies. This approach is effective at targeting fast-growing cells in various cancers – but also has negative side effects. It also targets healthy cells that rapidly divide, such as hair and the cells lining our digestive system. This can lead to commonly reported <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chemotherapy/side-effects/">side-effects</a> such as hair loss, nausea and diarrhoea.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/chemotherapy?gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw-_mvBhDwARIsAA-Q0Q6tyQxTuBzU7vVD7SHjQ5dF-fRdqnL7S74-k5LXyTqODydsrPfJVsoaAkgyEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Chemotherapy</a> can be used both preventatively – as in the case of the princess – and therapeutically.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FkZn5u3MIiY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Preventative chemotherapy, also known as <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/adjuvant-therapy">adjuvant chemotherapy</a>, is given after surgery or other primary treatments to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the body. It aims to reduce the risk of the cancer returning (known as recurrence).</p> <p>Therapeutic chemotherapy is used as a treatment option for cancer that has spread or is well established, such as advanced-stage cancers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/surgery/about">Surgery</a> involves the physical removal of cancerous tissues as well as nearby lymph nodes – small glands which act as filters in your body that cancers can spread through – to eliminate the tumour. Surgery is often used to remove localised cancers that haven’t spread throughout the body.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/radiotherapy">Radiotherapy</a> uses high-energy radiation beams that are able to target specific areas where tumour cells are located to destroy or shrink the tumour. Radiotherapy can be applied externally or internally.</p> <p>Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy are often combined in cancer treatment to improve outcomes for patients.</p> <p>Thanks to developments in cancer research over the last 50 years, survival rates have improved greatly – although the rate of improvement has <a href="https://news.cancerresearchuk.org/2024/02/02/world-cancer-day-2024/#:%7E:text=Improvements%20in%20cancer%20survival%20have%20slowed%20in%20recent%20years&amp;text=Survival%20increased%20three%20to%20five,consistently%20lags%20behind%20comparable%20countries.">slowed recently</a>. Cancer survival depends on various factors such as age – people under 40 have a <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/age">greater chance</a> of survival – overall health and fitness, as well as family history.</p> <h2>What you should do</h2> <p>Particular changes in your body or warning symptoms could indicate the presence of cancer. These include, but are not limited to:</p> <ul> <li>Unexplained weight loss;</li> <li>Fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest;</li> <li>Changes in bowel or bladder habits;</li> <li>Persistent cough or coughing up blood;</li> <li>Difficulty swallowing;</li> <li>Persistent pain;</li> <li>Noticing lumps, such as in a breast or testicle.</li> </ul> <p>The symptoms may not necessarily be the result of cancer. But it is important to get checked by a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary or have had persistent symptoms that don’t ease. Early detection and treatment can <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.aay9040">significantly improve</a> outcomes for many types of cancer.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226456/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gavin-metcalf-1340598">Gavin Metcalf</a>, Cancer Biologist and Lecturer in Biomedical Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/princess-of-wales-and-king-charles-one-in-two-people-develop-cancer-during-their-lives-the-diseases-and-treatments-explained-226456">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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Victorian man rides lawn mower for 800km to speak to the PM

<p>You know the saying: mow big or mow home. And one man risked it all in hopes of scoring a meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.</p> <p>In an incredible 11-day journey Warren "Woz" Acott  made the 800km journey from Central Victoria to Canberra to try and speak with the Prime Minister about motor neurone disease (MND). </p> <p>He left his home in  Toolleen in Central Victoria on March 11, with no guarantee that anyone was going to meet him at the end of his journey. But his efforts have been fruitful, because by the time he arrived in Canberra this morning, he had a booking with the PM. </p> <p>"I've shuffled my schedule around to fit him in. I'd better go see him," Woz joked when he was told he had a meeting with the PM</p> <p>Albanese met met Woz in the Prime Minister's courtyard, and a crowd of families affected by MND were also waiting outside parliament to welcome Woz. </p> <p>"I'm overwhelmed. But it's not about me. It's about MND and the families and the carers and everybody else," Woz told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>Woz, who lives with MND, wants the condition to be added to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS). </p> <p>This is because NNDSS conditions "a threat to public health in Australia" and are given additional funding for research." </p> <p>"We'll give consideration to all these things. You're a champion, mate," Albanese said.</p> <p>"It's all over my head. I mean, I'm a truck driver at the end of the day. But I know that if (MND is added to the NNDSS), it's more trackable, more funding, and everything else," Woz said.</p> <p>Robyn Sneddon, who lost her husband Ian to MND, praised Woz for his effort. </p> <p>"The effort he has made has been incredible. He is just a champion," she told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"I'm very proud of him," Snedden added.</p> <p><em>Images: A Current Affair</em></p>

Caring

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"What a legend": Michael J Fox receives emotional standing ovation

<p>Michael J Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, made a surprise appearance at the BAFTA Awards in London. </p> <p><em>The Back to the Future</em> actor came onstage in a wheelchair, but he insisted on standing up at the podium to present the Best Film award. </p> <p>The star-studded audience all rose to their feet and gave the actor a standing ovation.  </p> <p>When presenting the award, Fox described cinema as "magic" which can "change your life".</p> <p>"Five films were nominated in this category tonight and all five have something in common. They are the best of what we do," he said. </p> <p>He added that films can bring people together "no matter who you are or where you're from".</p> <p>"There's a reason why they say movies are magic because movies can change your day.</p> <p>"It can change your outlook. Sometimes it can change your life."</p> <p>Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in the 1990s, rarely makes public appearances. </p> <p>Many fans were pleasantly surprised at his appearance as he presented the night’s biggest award, Best Film, to <em>Oppenheimer</em>.</p> <p>"I was in tears the moment Michael J Fox came on the stage," one fan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.</p> <p>"THE MAN IS A LEGEND"</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">i was in tears the moment Michael J Fox came on the stage 😥😥😥</p> <p>THE MAN IS A LEGEND <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BAFTAs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BAFTAs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BAFTA2024?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BAFTA2024</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EEBAFTAs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EEBAFTAs</a> <a href="https://t.co/Uud368S9gb">pic.twitter.com/Uud368S9gb</a></p> <p>— RanaJi🏹 (@RanaTells) <a href="https://twitter.com/RanaTells/status/1759323180060299726?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"Michael J Fox. Absolute hero. What a legend," wrote another. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Michael J Fox. Absolute hero. What a legend. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BAFTAs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BAFTAs</a> <a href="https://t.co/62lxpCy3mn">pic.twitter.com/62lxpCy3mn</a></p> <p>— Jules 🌼 (@JulesItsjules) <a href="https://twitter.com/JulesItsjules/status/1759320058583568638?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"All those stars in the room, and still the biggest and most affectionate reaction is for Michael J Fox, because the man is a legend," added a third. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">All those stars in the room, and still the biggest and most affectionate reaction is for Michael J Fox, because the man is a legend. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EEBAFTAs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EEBAFTAs</a></p> <p>— Declan Cashin (@Tweet_Dec) <a href="https://twitter.com/Tweet_Dec/status/1759319831696855281?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"He's a total legend and wonderful human," wrote a fourth. </p> <p>The actor has spoken <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/i-m-not-gonna-be-80-michael-j-fox-s-tragic-admission" target="_blank" rel="noopener">candidly</a> about his experience with Parkinson's over the years, and has said that he has made peace with the degenerative nature of the disease. </p> <p>In a previous interview with AARP magazine profile, the actor admitted that he did not fear death. </p> <p>“I am genuinely a happy guy. I don’t have a morbid thought in my head — I don’t fear death. At all," he told the publication. </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

TV

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Alzheimer’s may have once spread from person to person, but the risk of that happening today is incredibly low

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steve-macfarlane-4722">Steve Macfarlane</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>An article published this week in the prestigious journal <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-023-02729-2">Nature Medicine</a> documents what is believed to be the first evidence that Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted from person to person.</p> <p>The finding arose from long-term follow up of patients who received human growth hormone (hGH) that was taken from brain tissue of deceased donors.</p> <p>Preparations of donated hGH were used in medicine to treat a variety of conditions from 1959 onwards – including in Australia from the mid 60s.</p> <p>The practice stopped in 1985 when it was discovered around 200 patients worldwide who had received these donations went on to develop <a href="https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/creutzfeldt-jakob-disease-cjd/">Creuztfeldt-Jakob disease</a> (CJD), which causes a rapidly progressive dementia. This is an otherwise extremely rare condition, affecting roughly one person in a million.</p> <h2>What’s CJD got to do with Alzehimer’s?</h2> <p>CJD is caused by prions: infective particles that are neither bacterial or viral, but consist of abnormally folded proteins that can be transmitted from cell to cell.</p> <p>Other prion diseases include kuru, a dementia seen in New Guinea tribespeople caused by eating human tissue, scrapie (a disease of sheep) and variant CJD or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as mad cow disease. This raised <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_BSE_outbreak">public health concerns</a> over the eating of beef products in the United Kingdom in the 1980s.</p> <h2>Human growth hormone used to come from donated organs</h2> <p>Human growth hormone (hGH) is produced in the brain by the pituitary gland. Treatments were originally prepared from purified human pituitary tissue.</p> <p>But because the amount of hGH contained in a single gland is extremely small, any single dose given to any one patient could contain material from around <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000563.htm">16,000 donated glands</a>.</p> <p>An average course of hGH treatment lasts around four years, so the chances of receiving contaminated material – even for a very rare condition such as CJD – became quite high for such people.</p> <p>hGH is now manufactured synthetically in a laboratory, rather than from human tissue. So this particular mode of CJD transmission is no longer a risk.</p> <h2>What are the latest findings about Alzheimer’s disease?</h2> <p>The Nature Medicine paper provides the first evidence that transmission of Alzheimer’s disease can occur via human-to-human transmission.</p> <p>The authors examined the outcomes of people who received donated hGH until 1985. They found five such recipients had developed early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>They considered other explanations for the findings but concluded donated hGH was the likely cause.</p> <p>Given Alzheimer’s disease is a much more common illness than CJD, the authors presume those who received donated hGH before 1985 may be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>Alzheimer’s disease is caused by presence of two abnormally folded proteins: amyloid and tau. There is <a href="https://actaneurocomms.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40478-017-0488-7">increasing evidence</a> these proteins spread in the brain in a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8086126/">similar way to prion diseases</a>. So the mode of transmission the authors propose is certainly plausible.</p> <p>However, given the amyloid protein deposits in the brain <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/estimates-amyloid-onset-may-predict-alzheimers-progression">at least 20 years</a> before clinical Alzheimer’s disease develops, there is likely to be a considerable time lag before cases that might arise from the receipt of donated hGH become evident.</p> <h2>When was this process used in Australia?</h2> <p>In Australia, donated pituitary material <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022/07/the-cjd-review-final-report.pdf">was used</a> from 1967 to 1985 to treat people with short stature and infertility.</p> <p><a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022/07/the-cjd-review-final-report.pdf">More than 2,000 people</a> received such treatment. Four developed CJD, the last case identified in 1991. All four cases were likely linked to a single contaminated batch.</p> <p>The risks of any other cases of CJD developing now in pituitary material recipients, so long after the occurrence of the last identified case in Australia, are <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2010/193/6/iatrogenic-creutzfeldt-jakob-disease-australia-time-amend-infection-control">considered to be</a> incredibly small.</p> <p>Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (defined as occurring before the age of 65) is uncommon, accounting for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4356853/">around 5%</a> of all cases. Below the age of 50 it’s rare and likely to have a genetic contribution.</p> <h2>The risk is very low – and you can’t ‘catch’ it like a virus</h2> <p>The Nature Medicine paper identified five cases which were diagnosed in people aged 38 to 55. This is more than could be expected by chance, but still very low in comparison to the total number of patients treated worldwide.</p> <p>Although the long “incubation period” of Alzheimer’s disease may mean more similar cases may be identified in the future, the absolute risk remains very low. The main scientific interest of the article lies in the fact it’s first to demonstrate that Alzheimer’s disease can be transmitted from person to person in a similar way to prion diseases, rather than in any public health risk.</p> <p>The authors were keen to emphasise, as I will, that Alzheimer’s cannot be contracted via contact with or providing care to people with Alzheimer’s disease.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/222374/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/steve-macfarlane-4722"><em>Steve Macfarlane</em></a><em>, Head of Clinical Services, Dementia Support Australia, &amp; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/alzheimers-may-have-once-spread-from-person-to-person-but-the-risk-of-that-happening-today-is-incredibly-low-222374">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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"I’m not going to be cured". How breast cancer awareness and support sidelines people with metastatic disease

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sophie-lewis-111177">Sophie Lewis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-smith-15431">Andrea Smith</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>There have been incredible <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/research">advances</a> in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in recent years. And stories about celebrities who have “beaten” breast cancer continue to be a source of inspiration for many people.</p> <p>However, this emphasis on fighting, beating and surviving cancer shuts out the voices of those who will not survive. That is, the many people diagnosed with incurable, life-limiting metastatic breast cancer, <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia">which kills nine Australians every day</a> or nearly <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia">3,300 people</a> a year. Yet an <a href="https://www.bcna.org.au/latest-news/bcna-news/making-metastatic-breast-cancer-count/">estimated 10,000</a> Australians are living with the diagnosis.</p> <p>Being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, as one of the authors has been, means ongoing treatment to live as long, and as well, as possible. It also means an ongoing need for emotional and practical support.</p> <p>However, society, health-care professionals, cancer advocacy organisations, even a patient’s closest family and friends, can struggle to understand what it is like to live with an incurable and life-limiting cancer and how best to provide support.</p> <h2>Why is there so little awareness?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.breastcancer.org/types/metastatic">Metastatic breast cancer</a>, also called stage four breast cancer, is the most serious form of breast cancer. Unlike early breast cancer that is contained within the breast or nearby lymph nodes, metastatic breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver, or brain.</p> <p>There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer despite decades of advocacy, funding and research. Treatment continues for as long as it helps to control the cancer and is tolerated by the patient. Median survival is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.5694/mja2.51687">two to three years</a>, although newer, novel treatments mean some patients are living much longer.</p> <p>As a society, we can be uncomfortable <a href="https://theconversation.com/before-you-go-are-you-in-denial-about-death-34056">talking about and facing death</a>. When it comes to cancer, we usually prefer focusing on good news stories. These narratives are often perceived to be better for fundraising and are reassuring for people newly diagnosed. But they fail to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9566.13704">represent</a> the diversity and reality of cancer experiences.</p> <p>Despite considerable research into people with non-metastatic breast cancer, <a href="https://www.bcna.org.au/latest-news/bcna-news/making-metastatic-breast-cancer-count/">relatively little</a> is known about Australians with metastatic breast cancer.</p> <h2>Feeling silenced and unsupported</h2> <p>Through our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9566.13704">research</a> we wanted to better understand people’s experiences of metastatic breast cancer. We interviewed 38 participants from around Australia with diverse experiences of metastatic breast cancer. Participants were recruited through breast cancer and community organisations.</p> <p>We found messages and public campaigns about cancer survivorship, which emphasise hope and positivity, drowned out the voices of those with metastatic breast cancer. The focus on “success stories” about surviving breast cancer made some people feel like it was their responsibility to “beat” cancer. If they didn’t, it was their own fault. </p> <p>As one interviewee told us: "I react quite badly to all the, ‘we’ve had breast cancer and we beat it and we’ve survived. Aren’t we fantastic.’ There’s almost a feeling if you haven’t beaten your breast cancer you haven’t tried hard enough."</p> <p>Silence around metastatic breast cancer was common in research participants’ experiences. It prevented many from connecting with others and to the support they needed. It even affected relationships with those closest to them leaving them feeling misunderstood: "They don’t realise I’ve got to be on treatment forever. I’m not going to be cured. I think society thinks everything can be fixed; metastatic breast cancer actually can’t be fixed."</p> <p>Sharing deep fears and worries about their life expectancy can leave people with metastatic breast cancer feeling drained rather than supported. Many participants reported having to support and shield family, friends, acquaintances and work colleagues from the reality of their terminal diagnosis.</p> <p>"You hide how you feel because you don’t want to be avoided […] You put on that big, happy face. But like an onion if you peeled the layers away, you’d find out what’s going on."</p> <p>While many participants wanted to join a community of people with metastatic breast cancer, they struggled to know how to find one. Those who did, emphasised how invaluable it had been: "Being able to identify with and know that these people really get me is a huge relief and it reduces the isolation."</p> <p>These findings echo <a href="https://www.bcna.org.au/media/alcjjmm2/bcna_member-survey-report_2017.pdf">previous research</a> demonstrating people with metastatic breast cancer have higher support needs than those with non-metastatic breast cancer. And these needs are <a href="https://www.bcna.org.au/media/alcjjmm2/bcna_member-survey-report_2017.pdf">less likely to be met</a> by <a href="https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-022-08269-8">health care, support services</a>, family or friends.</p> <h2>A new path</h2> <p>Being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer can be terrifying, lonely and create significant support needs. It is essential people with metastatic breast cancer have their <a href="https://ascopubs.org/doi/10.1200/OP.20.00183">voices listened to</a> and their needs met.</p> <p>Next steps should include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://bcna-dxp.azureedge.net/media/d32bhdzf/bcna_making-metastatic-breast-cancer-count_2022.pdf">improving data collection by cancer registries</a> so we know exactly how many people in Australia have metastatic breast cancer</p> </li> <li> <p>increasing representation of people with metastatic breast cancer in advocacy, support organisations and research</p> </li> <li> <p>nationwide access to peer-to-peer programs and professionally led metastatic breast cancer support groups.</p> </li> </ul> <p>We must ensure people with metastatic breast cancer are the ones to speak to their experience and needs. As a colleague with metastatic breast cancer said: "I read an article written by an early-stage breast cancer ‘survivor’. It felt like someone describing winter when they had only ever experienced autumn."</p> <p>If you or someone you know has metastatic breast cancer, these organisations may be able to support you or connect you with others with the same diagnosis:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://www.bcna.org.au">Breast Cancer Network Australia</a> for information and support</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/">McGrath Foundation</a> for information about access to metastatic breast care nurses.</p> </li> </ul> <hr /> <p><em>The authors would like to thank the members of Breast Cancer Network Australia’s Metastatic Breast Cancer Lived Experience Reference Group for their review of this article.</em><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215458/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sophie-lewis-111177">Sophie Lewis</a>, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrea-smith-15431">Andrea Smith</a>, Research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/im-not-going-to-be-cured-how-breast-cancer-awareness-and-support-sidelines-people-with-metastatic-disease-215458">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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Do stress and depression increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease? Here’s why there might be a link

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yen-ying-lim-355185">Yen Ying Lim</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivana-chan-1477100">Ivana Chan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Dementia affects more than <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dementia">55 million people</a> around the world. A number of factors can increase a person’s risk of developing dementia, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.14283/jpad.2023.119">including</a> high blood pressure, poor sleep, and physical inactivity. Meanwhile, keeping cognitively, physically, and socially active, and limiting alcohol consumption, can <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(20)30367-6/fulltext">reduce the risk</a>.</p> <p>Recently, a <a href="https://alzres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13195-023-01308-4">large Swedish study</a> observed that chronic stress and depression were linked to a higher risk of developing <a href="https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/alz.12638">Alzheimer’s disease</a>, the most common form of dementia. The researchers found people with a history of both chronic stress and depression had an even greater risk of the disease.</p> <p>Globally, around <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression">280 million people</a> have depression, while roughly <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/anxiety-disorders">300 million people</a> experience anxiety. With so many people facing mental health challenges at some stage in their lives, what can we make of this apparent link?</p> <h2>What the study did and found</h2> <p>This study examined the health-care records of more than 1.3 million people in Sweden aged between 18 and 65. Researchers looked at people diagnosed with chronic stress (technically chronic stress-induced exhaustion disorder), depression, or both, between 2012 and 2013. They compared them with people not diagnosed with chronic stress or depression in the same period.</p> <p>Participants were then followed between 2014 and 2022 to determine whether they received a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease. <a href="https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1016/j.jalz.2016.07.151">Mild cognitive impairment</a> is often seen as the precursor to dementia, although not everyone who has mild cognitive impairment will progress to dementia.</p> <p>During the study period, people with a history of either chronic stress or depression were around twice as likely to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. Notably, people with both chronic stress and depression were up to four times more likely to be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <h2>Important considerations</h2> <p>In interpreting the results of this study, there are some key things to consider. First, the diagnosis of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9438479/">chronic stress-induced exhaustion disorder</a> is unique to the Swedish medical system. It is characterised by at least six months of intensive stress without adequate recovery. Symptoms include exhaustion, sleep disturbance and concentration difficulties, with a considerable reduction in ability to function. Mild stress may not have the same effect on dementia risk.</p> <p>Second, the number of people diagnosed with dementia in this study (the absolute risk) was very low. Of the 1.3 million people studied, 4,346 were diagnosed with chronic stress, 40,101 with depression, and 1,898 with both. Of these, the number who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease was 14 (0.32%), 148 (0.37%) and 9 (0.47%) respectively.</p> <p>These small numbers may be due to a relatively young age profile. When the study began in 2012–2013, the average age of participants was around 40. This means the average age in 2022 was around 50. Dementia is typically diagnosed in <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/dementia/about-dementia">people aged over 65</a> and diagnosis <a href="https://karger.com/dem/article-abstract/34/5-6/292/99009/Overdiagnosis-of-Dementia-in-Young-Patients-A?redirectedFrom=fulltext">in younger ages</a> may be less reliable.</p> <p>Finally, it’s possible that in some cases stress and depressive symptoms may reflect an awareness of an already declining memory ability, rather than these symptoms constituting a risk factor in themselves.</p> <p>This last consideration speaks to a broader point: the study is observational. This means it can’t tell us one thing caused the other – only that there is an association.</p> <h2>What does other evidence say?</h2> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.14283/jpad.2023.119">Many studies</a> indicate that significant symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress are related to higher dementia risk. However, the nature of this relationship is unclear. For example, are depressive and anxiety symptoms a risk factor for dementia, or are they consequences of a declining cognition? It’s likely to be a bit of both.</p> <p>High <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32082139/">depressive and anxiety symptoms</a> are commonly reported in people with mild cognitive impairment. However, studies in middle-aged or younger adults suggest they’re important dementia risk factors too.</p> <p>For example, similar to the Swedish study, other <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032719323031">studies</a> have suggested people with a history of depression are twice as likely to develop dementia than those without this history. In addition, in middle-aged adults, high anxiety symptoms are associated with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34648818/">poorer cognitive function</a> and <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/4/e019399">greater dementia risk</a> in later life.</p> <h2>Why the link?</h2> <p>There are several potential pathways through which stress, anxiety and depression could increase the risk of dementia.</p> <p>Animal studies suggest cortisol (a hormone produced when we’re stressed) can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease by causing the accumulation of key proteins, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34159699/">amyloid and tau</a>, in the brain. The accumulation of these proteins can result in increased <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/23/18/10572">brain inflammation</a>, which affects the brain’s nerves and supporting cells, and can ultimately lead to brain volume loss and memory decline.</p> <p>Another potential pathway is through <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1087079217300114?via%3Dihub">impaired sleep</a>. Sleep disturbances are common in people with chronic stress and depression. Similarly, people with Alzheimer’s disease commonly report sleep disturbances. Even in people with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34668959/">early Alzheimer’s disease</a>, disturbed sleep is related to poorer memory performance. Animal studies suggest poor sleep can also enhance accumulation of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31408876/">amyloid and tau</a>.</p> <p>We still have a lot to learn about why this link might exist. But evidence-based strategies which target chronic stress, anxiety and depression may also play a role in reducing the risk of dementia.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215065/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yen-ying-lim-355185"><em>Yen Ying Lim</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivana-chan-1477100">Ivana Chan</a>, PhD candidate, clinical psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/do-stress-and-depression-increase-the-risk-of-alzheimers-disease-heres-why-there-might-be-a-link-215065">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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Demands for "killer product" to be dropped from Bunnings over fatal disease links

<p>Bunnings Warehouse is being urged in the strongest possible terms to pull a popular item off their shelves amid concerns it could be linked to a fatal disease.</p> <p>A particular range of trendy kitchen countertops have been linked to an incurable disease that the national construction union says has been harming tradies.</p> <p>The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) have taken their demands for the recall directly to the hardware giant’s chief executive Michael Schneider, warning it was “unconscionable” to keep the engineered stone benchtops on Bunnings’ product line up.</p> <p>“Bunnings has unique market power and a unique place in Australian society. If you were to remove this killer product from your shelves, it would send a powerful message,” CFMEU boss Zach Smith wrote.</p> <p>The engineered benchtops, which have become a feature in many modern day Australian kitchens and bathrooms, contain a high concentration of crystalline silica.</p> <p>When cutting the benchtops, silica dust is released into the air, which can lead to the potentially deadly and incurable disease of silicosis, as well as lung cancer.</p> <p>In his letter, Mr Smith called for the product to be removed “effective immediately”.</p> <p>“I am disappointed that, despite all this information being in the public sphere, Bunnings is still advertising and selling high-silica engineered stone products in your stores nationwide,” he said.</p> <p>“Conversely, it is unconscionable for Bunnings to continue promoting and selling this killer product when there is no need to do so."</p> <p>“There are many, many alternatives to engineered stone as a benchtop material. The business costs of removing these products are insignificant when we are faced with the prospect of more deaths.”</p> <p>It has been estimated that up to 103,000 tradies will be diagnosed in their lifetime with silicosis as a result of exposure to silica dust at work, while more than 10,000 will develop lung cancer.</p> <p>In response to the concerns raised, Jen Tucker, the Director of Merchandise at Bunnings, acknowledged that the hardware giant is aware of the issue at hand and emphasised their commitment to keeping a close watch on and adhering to guidance from regulatory authorities. However, Ms. Tucker did not explicitly endorse the request made by the CFMEU.</p> <p>She went on to clarify that the majority of benchtops available in their stores are made from laminate or timber materials. However, for the engineered stone benchtops that they offer, these are pre-cut to precise dimensions before reaching a customer's location.</p> <p>Furthermore, these engineered stone benchtops are exclusively supplied and installed by specialist providers who hold valid engineered stone licenses. These providers strictly adhere to rigorous safety standards, prioritising the well-being of their production and installation teams, all in accordance with the stipulations of their licenses.</p> <p>Ms Tucker underscored Bunnings' unwavering commitment to the safety of their staff and customers, underscoring its profound importance to the company. She also acknowledged that safety is a broader concern within the industry and noted that the federal government is presently conducting a review on this matter.</p> <p>In this regard, Bunnings expressed its support for new legislation and the establishment of consistent standards and licensing procedures across various states and territories, all in pursuit of enhancing safety within the industry.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Legal

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Is it okay to kiss your pet? The risk of animal-borne diseases is small, but real

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-mclean-1351935">Sarah McLean</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/enzo-palombo-249510">Enzo Palombo</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Our relationship with pets has changed drastically in recent decades. Pet ownership is at an all-time high, with <a href="https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/media-release/more-than-two-thirds-of-australian-households-now-own-a-pet/">a recent survey</a> finding 69% of Australian households have at least one pet. We spend an estimated A$33 billion every year on caring for our fur babies.</p> <p>While owning a pet is linked to numerous <a href="https://www.onehealth.org/blog/10-mental-physical-health-benefits-of-having-pets">mental and physical health benefits</a>, our pets can also harbour infectious diseases that can sometimes be passed on to us. For most people, the risk is low.</p> <p>But some, such as pregnant people and those with weakened immune systems, are at <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/specific-groups/high-risk/index.html">greater risk</a> of getting sick from animals. So, it’s important to know the risks and take necessary precautions to prevent infections.</p> <h2>What diseases can pets carry?</h2> <p>Infectious diseases that move from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases or <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/basics/zoonotic-diseases.html">zoonoses</a>. More than <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3668296/#B18">70 pathogens</a> of companion animals are known to be transmissible to people.</p> <p>Sometimes, a pet that has a zoonotic pathogen may look sick. But often there may be no visible symptoms, making it easier for you to catch it, because you don’t suspect your pet of harbouring germs.</p> <p>Zoonoses can be transmitted directly from pets to humans, such as through contact with saliva, bodily fluids and faeces, or indirectly, such as through contact with contaminated bedding, soil, food or water.</p> <p>Studies suggest <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4500695/">the prevalence of pet-associated zoonoses is low</a>. However, the true number of infections is likely <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/11/3789">underestimated</a> since many zoonoses are not “<a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/notification-of-illness-and-disease">notifiable</a>”, or may have multiple exposure pathways or generic symptoms.</p> <p>Dogs and cats are major reservoirs of zoonotic infections (meaning the pathogens naturally live in their population) caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. <a href="https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/topics/rabies">In endemic regions in Africa and Asia</a>, dogs are the main source of rabies which is transmitted through saliva.</p> <p>Dogs also commonly carry <em>Capnocytophaga</em> bacteria <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/capnocytophaga/index.html">in their mouths and saliva</a>, which can be transmitted to people through close contact or bites. The vast majority of people won’t get sick, but these bacteria can occasionally cause infections in people with weakened immune systems, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/capnocytophaga/signs-symptoms/index.html">resulting</a> in severe illness and sometimes death. Just last week, such a death <a href="https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/tracy-ridout-perth-mum-dies-11-days-after-rare-bacterial-infection-from-minor-dog-bite-c-11748887">was reported in Western Australia</a>.</p> <p>Cat-associated zoonoses include a number of illnesses spread by the faecal-oral route, such as giardiasis, campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and toxoplasmosis. This means it’s especially important to wash your hands or use gloves whenever handling your cat’s litter tray.</p> <p>Cats can also sometimes transmit infections through bites and scratches, including the aptly named <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/cat-scratch.html#:%7E:text=Cat%20scratch%20disease%20(CSD)%20is,the%20surface%20of%20the%20skin.">cat scratch disease</a>, which is caused by the bacterium <em>Bartonella henselae</em>.</p> <p>Both dogs and cats are also reservoirs for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10122942/">methicillin-resistant bacterium <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em></a> (MRSA), with close contact with pets identified as an important risk factor for zoonotic transmission.</p> <h2>Birds, turtles and fish can also transmit disease</h2> <p>But it’s not just dogs and cats that can spread diseases to humans. Pet birds can occasionally transmit <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/pneumonia/atypical/psittacosis/">psittacosis</a>, a bacterial infection which causes pneumonia. Contact with <a href="https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/pet-turtles-source-germs">pet turtles</a> has been linked to <em>Salmonella</em> infections in humans, particularly in young children. Even pet fish have been linked to a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/fish.html">range of bacterial infections</a> in humans, including vibriosis, mycobacteriosis and salmonellosis.</p> <p>Close contact with animals – and some behaviours in particular – increase the risk of zoonotic transmission. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19398275/">A study from the Netherlands</a> found half of owners allowed pets to lick their faces, and 18% allowed dogs to share their bed. (Sharing a bed increases the duration of exposure to pathogens carried by pets.) The same study found 45% of cat owners allowed their cat to jump onto the kitchen sink.</p> <p>Kissing pets has also been linked to occasional zoonotic infections in pet owners. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3298380/">In one case</a>, a woman in Japan developed meningitis due to <em>Pasteurella multicoda</em> infection, after regularly kissing her dog’s face. These bacteria are often found in the oral cavities of dogs and cats.</p> <p>Young children are also more likely to engage in behaviours which increase their risk of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/specific-groups/high-risk/children.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fhealthypets%2Fspecific-groups%2Fchildren.html">getting sick</a> from animal-borne diseases – such as putting their hands in their mouth after touching pets. Children are also less likely to wash their hands properly after handling pets.</p> <p>Although anybody who comes into contact with a zoonotic pathogen via their pet can become sick, certain people are more likely to suffer from serious illness. These people include the young, old, pregnant and immunosuppressed.</p> <p>For example, while most people infected with the toxoplasmosis parasite will experience only mild illness, it can be life-threatening or <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/what-are-the-risks-of-toxoplasmosis-during-pregnancy/">cause birth defects in foetuses</a>.</p> <h2>What should I do if I’m worried about catching a disease from my pet?</h2> <p>There are a number of good hygiene and pet husbandry practices that can reduce your risk of becoming sick. These include:</p> <ul> <li>washing your hands after playing with your pet and after handling their bedding, toys, or cleaning up faeces</li> <li>not allowing your pets to lick your face or open wounds</li> <li>supervising young children when they are playing with pets and when washing their hands after playing with pets</li> <li>wearing gloves when changing litter trays or cleaning aquariums</li> <li>wetting bird cage surfaces when cleaning to minimise aerosols</li> <li>keeping pets out of the kitchen (especially cats who can jump onto food preparation surfaces)</li> <li>keeping up to date with preventative veterinary care, including vaccinations and worm and tick treatments</li> <li>seeking veterinary care if you think your pet is unwell.</li> </ul> <p>It is especially important for those who are at a higher risk of illness to take precautions to reduce their exposure to zoonotic pathogens. And if you’re thinking about getting a pet, ask your vet which type of animal would best suit your personal circumstances.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/210898/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-mclean-1351935">Sarah McLean</a>, Lecturer in environmental health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/enzo-palombo-249510">Enzo Palombo</a>, Professor of Microbiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-it-okay-to-kiss-your-pet-the-risk-of-animal-borne-diseases-is-small-but-real-210898">original article</a>.</em></p>

Family & Pets

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“Invisible suffering”: Bella Hadid opens up about painful health battle

<p dir="ltr">Bella Hadid has shared a raw update to her fans, giving them further insight into her “painful” health battle with Lyme disease.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, the model took to Instagram to share a series of photos of her ongoing health battle, including photos of her medical records.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The little me that suffered would be so proud of grown me for not giving up on myself,” she began in the caption.</p> <p dir="ltr">She then thanked her mum, Yolanda Hadid, "for keeping all of my medical records, sticking by me, never leaving my side, protecting, supporting, but most of all, believing me through all of this”.</p> <p dir="ltr">She then continued to say that since contracting Lyme, her symptoms have gotten worse over time and it’s taken a toll on her in ways that are difficult for her to explain, but remained positive despite it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To be that sad and sick with the most blessings/privilege/opportunity/love around me was quite possibly the most confusing thing ever,” she added before reassuring fans not to worry and that she is “okay”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The model also noted that despite her painful health battle, she “wouldn’t change anything for the world” and would go through it all again, as it has shaped who she is.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The universe works in the most painful and beautiful ways but I need to say that if you are struggling- it will get better,” she added.</p> <p dir="ltr">Bella also said that despite “almost 15 years of invisible suffering” she is grateful for the experience, and has so much “gratitude for and perspective on life” that has made her able to spread ”love from a full cup” and “truly” be herself.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cvmz8ilAcxx/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cvmz8ilAcxx/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“I tried to pick the most positive pictures I could because as painful as this experience was, the outcome was the most enlightening experience of my life filled with new friends, new visions and a new brain,” she added before thanking everyone who has supported her throughout this journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ll be back when I’m ready, I miss you all so much, I love you all so much,” she concluded.</p> <p dir="ltr">The model shared a few photos of herself getting treatment with IVs sticking out of her arm.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a few other photos, the model can be seen resting on the couch as she gets a blood transfusion, with her loyal pup, “Petunia aka Beans,” never leaving her side.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cvm1ImkA-89/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cvm1ImkA-89/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Bella 🦋 (@bellahadid)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">This is the model’s first health update after she revealed she was taking time off from modelling due to a flare-up in her Lyme disease.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p dir="ltr"> </p>

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Promising Alzheimer’s drug offers hope for a bright future in treatment

<p>A remarkable and significant breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease is ushering in a new era of hope and possibilities for patients grappling with early onset dementia.</p> <p>Scientists and researchers are celebrating this groundbreaking development, viewing it as a tremendous opportunity to transform the landscape of Alzheimer's treatment.</p> <p>The drug in question, donanemab, developed by Eli Lilly, has shown remarkable success in clinical trials and is anticipated to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration later this year, according to a report in the <a href="https://nypost.com/2023/07/17/alzheimers-drug-donanemab-lowers-risk-of-dementia/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>New York Post</em></a>.</p> <p>Individuals who participated in the donanemab trials experienced a remarkable 40% reduction in the risk of transitioning from mild cognitive impairment to mild or moderate dementia. This is an extraordinary advancement that brings renewed optimism to those affected by this devastating condition.</p> <p>Donanemab would be the third Alzheimer’s drug to emerge in recent months, following the introduction of Leqembi and Aduhelm. This is just the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the realm of molecular therapies for Alzheimer's, as expressed by Dr. Gil Rabinovici, director of the University of California San Francisco’s Memory and Ageing Centre, in an editorial for <em>JAMA</em>.</p> <p>Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, the chief scientific and medical officer at Lilly, has emphasised the significance of this breakthrough. He states, "This will be a very important and meaningful drug," as quoted in <em>Fierce Biotech</em>. Skovronsky further adds, "[T]here’s a huge opportunity here for patients." Such resolute optimism is inspiring, reflecting the tremendous potential this drug holds for transforming lives.</p> <p>Similar to Leqembi and Aduhelm, donanemab is a monoclonal antibody designed to target plaque in the brain, specifically the amyloid protein. These amyloid plaques are responsible for the propagation of another protein called tau, which contributes to the development of Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>Notably, the donanemab trial also revealed that the drug slowed cognitive decline by an impressive 35% compared to a placebo in individuals with low to intermediate levels of tau protein in the brain. In fact, donanemab demonstrated superior efficacy in clearing amyloid plaques when compared to Aduhelm and Leqembi.</p> <p>Moreover, unlike Leqembi, which necessitates long-term usage, patients taking donanemab may follow a fixed-duration dosing schedule, potentially allowing some individuals to discontinue the treatment after a certain period. "I expect that many patients will be able to stop dosing even as soon as 12 months," Skovronsky affirmed. This stands as a significant departure from being prescribed a lifelong medication, providing an exciting and meaningful prospect for patients.</p> <p>While it is important to note that these new Alzheimer’s drugs do carry limitations and risks, medical experts remain cautiously optimistic. Donanemab, along with the other emerging drugs, has been associated with brain swelling and bleeding. Tragically, three individuals in the donanemab clinical trial lost their lives due to these side effects.</p> <p>The risk of brain swelling and bleeding is heightened among those carrying the APOE4 gene, which is associated with an increased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, individuals with more advanced stages of the disease showed minimal to no benefit compared to those who received a placebo.</p> <p>As a result, it is possible that donanemab will be recommended primarily for individuals with low to intermediate levels of tau proteins, indicating milder forms of the disease.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Skovronsky and other medical experts maintain their optimism regarding the FDA's approval, expressing the urgent need for it to come to fruition. Skovronsky highlights, "Every day that goes by, there are some patients who pass through this early stage of Alzheimer’s disease and become more advanced, and they won’t benefit from treatment. That’s a very pressing sense of urgency."</p> <p>While challenges and risks remain, the emergence of donanemab and its potential approval by the FDA represents a beacon of hope for the millions of individuals and families affected by Alzheimer's disease. It symbolises the start of a new chapter in the fight against this debilitating condition, offering renewed prospects for a brighter future filled with effective treatments and improved quality of life.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

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