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Tastes from our past can spark memories, trigger pain or boost wellbeing. Here’s how to embrace food nostalgia

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/megan-lee-490875">Megan Lee</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-angus-1542552">Doug Angus</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-simpson-1542551">Kate Simpson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p>Have you ever tried to bring back fond memories by eating or drinking something unique to that time and place?</p> <p>It could be a Pina Colada that recalls an island holiday? Or a steaming bowl of pho just like the one you had in Vietnam? Perhaps eating a favourite dish reminds you of a lost loved one – like the sticky date pudding Nanna used to make?</p> <p>If you have, you have tapped into <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02699931.2022.2142525">food-evoked nostalgia</a>.</p> <p>As researchers, we are exploring how eating and drinking certain things from your past may be important for your mood and mental health.</p> <h2>Bittersweet longing</h2> <p>First named in 1688 by Swiss medical student, <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/44437799">Johannes Hoffer</a>, <a href="https://compass.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/spc3.12070">nostalgia</a> is that bittersweet, sentimental longing for the past. It is experienced <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00595.x">universally</a> across different cultures and lifespans from childhood into older age.</p> <p>But nostalgia does not just involve positive or happy memories – we can also experience nostalgia for <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0022-3514.91.5.975">sad and unhappy moments</a> in our lives.</p> <p>In the <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Femo0000817">short and long term</a>, nostalgia can positively impact our health by improving <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fa0025167">mood</a> and <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Femo0000817">wellbeing</a>, fostering <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fa0017597">social connection</a> and increasing quality of life. It can also trigger feelings of <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Femo0000817">loneliness or meaninglessness</a>.</p> <p>We can use nostalgia to <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fa0025167">turn around a negative mood</a> or enhance our sense of <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Femo0000817">self, meaning and positivity</a>.</p> <p>Research suggests nostalgia alters activity in the <a href="https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/17/12/1131/6585517">brain regions associated with reward processing</a> – the same areas involved when we seek and receive things we like. This could explain the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352250X22002445?via%3Dihub">positive feelings</a> it can bring.</p> <p>Nostalgia can also increase feelings of loneliness and sadness, particularly if the memories highlight dissatisfaction, grieving, loss, or wistful feelings for the past. This is likely due to activation of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X22002445?casa_token=V31ORDWcsx4AAAAA:Vef9hiwUz9506f5PYGsXH-JxCcnsptQnVPNaAGares2xTU5JbKSHakwGpLxSRO2dNckrdFGubA">brain areas</a> such as the amygdala, responsible for processing emotions and the prefrontal cortex that helps us integrate feelings and memories and regulate emotion.</p> <h2>How to get back there</h2> <p>There are several ways we can <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2006-20034-013.html">trigger</a> or tap into nostalgia.</p> <p>Conversations with family and friends who have shared experiences, unique objects like photos, and smells can <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352250X23000076">transport us back</a> to old times or places. So can a favourite song or old TV show, reunions with former classmates, even social media <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2015/3/24/8284703/facebook-on-this-day-nostalgia-recap">posts and anniversaries</a>.</p> <p>What we eat and drink can trigger <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/QMR-06-2012-0027/full/html">food-evoked nostalgia</a>. For instance, when we think of something as “<a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-why-do-we-crave-comfort-food-in-winter-118776">comfort food</a>”, there are likely elements of nostalgia at play.</p> <p>Foods you found comforting as a child can evoke memories of being cared for and nurtured by loved ones. The form of these foods and the stories we tell about them may have been handed down through generations.</p> <p>Food-evoked nostalgia can be very powerful because it engages multiple senses: taste, smell, texture, sight and sound. The sense of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09658211.2013.876048?casa_token=wqShWbRXJaYAAAAA%3AqJabgHtEbPtEQp7qHnl7wOb527bpGxzIJ_JwQX8eAyq1IrM_HQFIng8ELAMyuoFoeZyiX1zeJTPf">smell</a> is closely linked to the limbic system in the brain responsible for emotion and memory making food-related memories particularly vivid and emotionally charged.</p> <p>But, food-evoked nostalgia can also give rise to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/hpja.873">negative memories</a>, such as of being forced to eat a certain vegetable you disliked as a child, or a food eaten during a sad moment like a loved ones funeral. Understanding why these foods <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02699931.2022.2142525?casa_token=16kAPHUQTukAAAAA%3A9IDvre8yUT8UsuiR_ltsG-3qgE2sdkIFgcrdH3T5EYbVEP9JZwPcsbmsPLT6Kch5EFFs9RPsMTNn">evoke negative memories</a> could help us process and overcome some of our adult food aversions. Encountering these foods in a positive light may help us reframe the memory associated with them.</p> <h2>What people told us about food and nostalgia</h2> <p>Recently <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/hpja.873">we interviewed eight Australians</a> and asked them about their experiences with food-evoked nostalgia and the influence on their mood. We wanted to find out whether they experienced food-evoked nostalgia and if so, what foods triggered pleasant and unpleasant memories and feelings for them.</p> <p>They reported they could use foods that were linked to times in their past to manipulate and influence their mood. Common foods they described as particularly nostalgia triggering were homemade meals, foods from school camp, cultural and ethnic foods, childhood favourites, comfort foods, special treats and snacks they were allowed as children, and holiday or celebration foods. One participant commented:</p> <blockquote> <p>I guess part of this nostalgia is maybe […] The healing qualities that food has in mental wellbeing. I think food heals for us.</p> </blockquote> <p>Another explained</p> <blockquote> <p>I feel really happy, and I guess fortunate to have these kinds of foods that I can turn to, and they have these memories, and I love the feeling of nostalgia and reminiscing and things that remind me of good times.</p> </blockquote> <p>Understanding food-evoked nostalgia is valuable because it provides us with an insight into how our sensory experiences and emotions intertwine with our memories and identity. While we know a lot about how food triggers nostalgic memories, there is still much to learn about the specific brain areas involved and the differences in food-evoked nostalgia in different cultures.</p> <p>In the future we may be able to use the science behind food-evoked nostalgia to help people experiencing dementia to tap into lost memories or in psychological therapy to help people reframe negative experiences.</p> <p>So, if you are ever feeling a little down and want to improve your mood, consider turning to one of your favourite comfort foods that remind you of home, your loved ones or a holiday long ago. Transporting yourself back to those times could help turn things around.<!-- 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/232826/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/megan-lee-490875">Megan Lee</a>, Senior Teaching Fellow, Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/doug-angus-1542552">Doug Angus</a>, Assistant Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-simpson-1542551">Kate Simpson</a>, Sessional academic, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/tastes-from-our-past-can-spark-memories-trigger-pain-or-boost-wellbeing-heres-how-to-embrace-food-nostalgia-232826">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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"Love harder": Perth brothers farewelled at emotional memorial service

<p>Six weeks after they were <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/tragic-new-details-emerge-over-aussie-brothers-missing-in-mexico" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shot dead</a> while on a surfing trip to Mexico, Perth brothers Jake and Callum Robinson have been farewelled in a heart-wrenching private memorial on Saturday. </p> <p>The memorial took place in Perth’s Sacred Heart College, where the brothers attended high school, and hundreds gathered at the college to remember the brothers. </p> <p>It was also live-streamed for those who could not fit into the theatre at the college, with Callum's friends also watching on from America, where he spent the last 14 years of his life. </p> <p>In an emotional tribute, their parents, Debra and Martin Robinson,  thanked loved ones abroad and in Australia for their endless support, and talked about how special their sons were. </p> <p>"We're not here to dwell on the where or the how or try to understand the why of their passing but instead to say goodbye to two young men and hopefully start the healing process for everyone," Mr Robinson said. </p> <p>“It’s hard to describe the feeling of when your adult children come and visit you, until it’s gone,” Mrs Robinson added.</p> <p>“They loved life and they followed their dreams.</p> <p>“They were intelligent, respectful men with so much more to offer the world.”</p> <p>The cover of a memorial brochure had the phrase: “LIVE BIGGER, SHINE BRIGHTER, LOVE HARDER”. </p> <p>With shaky voices, the grieving parents described how their two sons exuded “pure love”. </p> <p>"We loved that Jake was curious, kind and happy and never judgemental. Callum always made a conscious decision to wake up and be positive every day. He saw so much fun in life," Mrs Robinson said. </p> <p>"We look around the room today at everyone and it gives us strength, so thank you.</p> <p>"We have cried many tears and we will cry many more … We miss you beyond description, Callum and Jakie boy, please shine on us."</p> <p>Childhood friends Adam Moore and Simon Moore also shared anecdotes about their friendships with the brothers. </p> <p>Adam recalled how the two brothers always excelled "at any sport imaginable" and always had so much energy, and Simon spoke of their surfing adventures through the years. </p> <p>The brothers and their American friend Jack Carter Rhoad were last seen alive on April 27. They were allegedly robbed for their car tyres and murdered while they were camping in the Baja California coastline. </p> <p>Three people have been <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/arrests-made-over-aussie-surfers-missing-in-mexico" target="_blank" rel="noopener">arrested</a> over their suspected involvement in the robbery. </p> <p><em>Image: 7News</em></p>

Caring

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Jesse Baird's mother farewells her son in emotional memorial service

<p>Slain TV presenter Jesse Baird has been farewelled by his loved ones at an emotional memorial service in Melbourne, one month after he was killed alongside his partner. </p> <p>Hundreds of friends and family packed into Melbourne’s Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre, all donning bright colours to remember the 26-year-old.</p> <p>Baird's mother Helen spoke about her "darling boy" in a tear-jerking tribute, saying, “My beautiful, generous, loving, precious, caring and talented boy, our hearts and lives are changed forever,”</p> <p>“I promise to fight for you and make you proud. My heart is broken my darling boy, and I love you more than this world."</p> <p>"Our hearts and lives are changed forever and there is less sparkle in the world. There will never be another you."</p> <p>Jesse's father Gary added, “You squeezed 100 years of life into 26 and our hearts are broken. You’ll be missed but never forgotten.” </p> <p>Kourtnee, Jesse's sister, battled through floods of tears to farewell her brother, saying, "You are the absolute light of my life. My biggest inspiration and my biggest cheerleader."</p> <p>Jesse's <em>Studio 10</em> colleagues were also in attendance, with co-host Daniel Doody saying that Baird "was more than a co-worker, he was a brother, a best mate."</p> <p>"Just like all your live on-air appearances, I wish there was more time."</p> <p>Balloons spelling out Baird’s name adorned the convention centre’s stage alongside photos of him smiling at different stages in his life.</p> <p>After the service, the large crowd gathered outside to blow a flurry of bubbles.</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Aussie love story from WWII immortalised in the war memorial

<p>An Australian couple's love story that defied the odds of time and distance has been immortalised in the war memorial.</p> <p>The Australian War Memorial is calling for volunteers to help transcribe thousands of love letters sent from soldiers in the war, to their loved ones back at home. </p> <p>Launching on Valentine's Day, the project will see the digital release of hundreds of thousands of personal letters, diaries and other handwritten documents kept safe for decades. </p> <p>Among those stories is the tale of Mac and Dot, two lovebirds separated by World War II. </p> <p>Their love story began in 1939, when Mac was 17 and Dorothy was 14. </p> <p>Dorothy - or as Mac referred to her, his Darling Dot - was forbidden to go on a date with Mac after her father refused to give his blessing. </p> <p>"He kept on asking me to go out but my father wouldn't let me," Dorothy laughed as she told Ally Langdon on <em>A Current Affair</em>. </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/reel/C3Rj4g9vjIS/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Rj4g9vjIS/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by A Current Affair (@acurrentaffair9)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Mac was soon off to war, but his plan was always to return home to Dot. </p> <p>"He said to me, 'When I come back home...Will you come out with me then?'" Dorothy reminisced.</p> <p>"I said, 'Of course I will, Mac!' And then he gave me a kiss and went to war."</p> <p>The young couple then continued to write each other letters every week for five long years, until Mac was captured by the German army and held as a prisoner of war. </p> <p>Despite his capture, Mac held onto every letter Dot had ever written him, as he remained determined to get home to his beloved. </p> <p>"I hated him being away, and when the letters came back oh gee they were wonderful," Dorothy said.</p> <p>"A letter meant he was still alive, you see, so it was so exciting."</p> <p>In April 1945, Dot received the best letter of all: Mac had escaped and was coming home. </p> <p>"Hello my darling. What does one say in a moment such as this?" Dot wrote on April 30th 1945.</p> <p>"I have butterflies in my stomach, love in my heart and few words that make sense in my mind. Well Mac, it's really coming at last. You're almost home". </p> <p>And Mac wrote back to that, "Hello darling. I miss you more now than ever."</p> <p>"Unfortunately I can't find a boat to take me back to you. If they don't hurry I guess I'll just have to pinch a rowing boat and see what I can do!" </p> <p>When Mac returned home, he brought with him half a decade's worth of those love letters from Dot, as well as a portrait of himself painted by another prisoner of war. </p> <p>It hangs proudly at the end of Dorothy's bed and is the first thing she sees when she wakes.</p> <p>Now Robyn Van Dyke and Terrie-Anne Simmonds from the Australian War Memorial are sifting through thousands of donated love letters, including Mac's and Dorothy's.</p> <p>"He not only managed to escape, but he managed to take all her letters with him and that blows me away because it's not a small amount of letters," Robyn said.</p> <p>The team is looking for <a href="https://transcribe.awm.gov.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">volunteers</a> to help ensure those stories, and all that love, live forever.</p> <p>Dorothy, who is now 101 years old, had more than 70 wonderful years with Mac before he died in 2014. </p> <p>"He was nearly 90, you know. And me I just kept on going and going and going!" she said.</p> <p>"He'd be up there watching every minute I bet. We had such fun. Oh dear we did have fun. We laughed a lot and we cried a lot."</p> <p>"But we lived - and that was the main thing."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 24px 0px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 18px; line-height: 1.333; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #333333; color: #333333; letter-spacing: 0.25px;"> </p>

Relationships

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What’s the difference between memory loss and dementia?

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to memory loss, it's normal to become a little more forgetful as we age. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, it’s important to know the difference between a standard level of memory loss, and the early signs of dementia. </p> <p dir="ltr">Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) say it is crucially important to distinguish between the physical decline of ageing, and the more sinister reality of cognitive decline. </p> <p dir="ltr">Associate Professor Simone Reppermund from the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing says, “As we age, we get more frail, and it may be difficult to walk longer distances or to have the range of motion to drive a car.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But that's unrelated to cognitive decline, and this is where dementia or cognitive impairment comes in. A person with dementia at some point will not be able to do the things they once could do without thinking, such as drive a car, because they get confused and are no longer able to process the sensory information required to do this.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Prof. Brodaty went on to say that some cognitive decline is part of normal ageing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As we age, we become slower in our processing speed. We’re not as good at remembering things, particularly when they’re not able to be logically sorted and connected.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But it’s not all bad for older folks, as some things are known to improve with age.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As we age our vocabulary improves, our judgement improves, our ability to organise things improves. In everyday tests where we can sort, say, 10 grocery items into different categories, we do just as well as the younger person because we can use those strategies to compensate. There is also evidence that we become wiser as we get older.”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dementia Australia</a>, it’s when people encounter difficulties with the following on a regular basis that there could be some underlying cognitive cause worth investigating. </p> <p dir="ltr">These difficulties include:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Trouble remembering recent events</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Trouble finding the right word</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Trouble remembering the day and date</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Forgetting where things are usually kept</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Trouble understanding written content or a story on television</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Difficulty following conversations in groups</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Problems handling finances</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Difficulty with everyday activities</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Losing interest in activities that were previously enjoyable</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Researchers and medical experts say that even if encountering these difficulties has not become a huge hurdle, it is important to be assessed by a doctor. </p> <p dir="ltr">Some conditions can cause symptoms similar to illnesses of cognitive decline, and can be reversed and prevented if caught early enough. </p> <p dir="ltr">While Professor Brodaty says there is no cure for most types of dementia and no known way to prevent it, we can certainly delay the onset of it. </p> <p dir="ltr">“There are certain risk factors that make it more or less likely to develop cognitive decline and dementia, including physical and social inactivity. Being inactive, not engaging in social activities, a poor diet and too much alcohol are all risk factors.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Even then, Professor Brodaty says, “it’s never too late to start, and never too early to start” making changes that maintain and protect your brain health into old age.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p> </p>

Mind

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Captain Cook memorial vandalised ahead of January 26th

<p>A memorial honouring Captain Cook in Catani Gardens, St  Kilda has been vandalised ahead of Australia Day. </p> <p>The statue of the British colonialist was cleanly sawn off from its stone base, which was also defaced with red graffiti and the chilling message: “The colony will fall”.</p> <p>The memorial is believed to have been cut down around 3:30 am on Thursday, after members of the public alerted police. </p> <p>“Several people were seen loitering in the area around the time of the incident,” police said.</p> <p>Liberal MP Angus Taylor called the incident an “egregious act of vandalism" and said that it is one of the acts that "everyone should condemn.”</p> <p>“Captain Cook was a man of the enlightenment. Why would they do this to I think a great human being,” he said on <em>Today</em>.</p> <p>Port Phillip councillor Marcus Pearl described the incident as “disheartening” and called for the vandal to be held accountable for their actions. </p> <p>“This is not a solitary act of mischief,” he said.</p> <p>“It’s a repeated pattern of disrespect, especially evident around Australia Day for the past six years. Such acts blatantly disregard our community’s hard-fought principles of debate and democratic expression.”</p> <p>The Captain Cook statue has been a target of multiple vandalism attempts, with vandals covering it in bright coloured paint, both in 2018 and 2022. </p> <p>The Port Phillip councillor has urged people not to let this incident “fuel division” but instead drive “constructive, inclusive conversations." </p> <p>“Our community’s strength lies in its ability to engage in respectful and open discussions,” he said.</p> <p><em>Images: Today</em></p> <p> </p>

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Barry Humphries’ daughter explains absence from her father’s memorial

<p dir="ltr">Barry Humphries' daughter has explained why she didn’t attend her late father’s state memorial service which was held in Sydney on Friday. </p> <p dir="ltr">The entertainer’s youngest daughter Emily wasn’t in attendance at the ceremony, with many believing her decision not to attend was due to Richard Wilkins hosting the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Nine entertainment reporter forged ahead with hosting the memorial, despite alleged <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/the-unfunny-fallout-richard-wilkins-causes-bizarre-boycott-of-barry-humphries-memorial">objections</a> from members of Humphries’ family. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the rumours, Emily has now cleared up why she didn’t attend the service, taking to Facebook to share a lengthy post explaining her actions.</p> <p dir="ltr">She wrote, “I want to be loud and very clear. I am grateful to both Richard and the organisers for their part in this send-off.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Despite some complexities in my relationship with my father, I was proud of his achievements and think a public send-off is important for both him and his public.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She continued, “Privacy and intimacy were missing elements in my relationship with him so public comments have really bothered me. That they are inaccurate and hurtful to another fired me up.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Emily went on to say she didn't attend her estranged father's state memorial because “they're not my thing” and she was “away working on a film project in Sri Lanka”.</p> <p dir="ltr">She went on to assure her followers that she did attend her father’s private funeral in Bowral, which was held in April at the home of artist Tim Storrier. </p> <p dir="ltr">Emily attended the service, which was closed to the public, with her stepmother Lizzie Spender, sister Tess, brothers Oscar and Rupert, and the comic's grandchildren.</p> <p dir="ltr">Enily and her father had reportedly been estranged for over 20 years, and only patched up their relationship in the months before his death. </p> <p dir="ltr">The late comedian's state memorial was held at Sydney Opera House on Friday, December 15th, following his tragic death in April. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook / Getty Images</em></p>

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Johnny Ruffo farewelled in emotional memorial

<p>Johnny Ruffo's friends, family and co-stars have gathered at Balcatta Senior High School in Perth on Saturday to bid farewell to the former <em>Home and Away </em>star at his memorial service. </p> <p>Ruffo tragically <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/beautiful-soul-johnny-ruffo-passes-away-at-35" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lost his battle with brain cancer</a> on November 10 at the age of 35. </p> <p><em>Home and Away</em> co-star Lynne McGranger, Guy Sebastian, and former Seven journalist, Mark Gibson were among the attendees at the service. </p> <p>McGranger, who delivered the eulogy, recalled Ruffo’s sense of fun and humility. She also shared an emotional tribute on Instagram after the memorial. </p> <p>“Said ‘goodbye for now’ to this magnificent human today,” she recounted. </p> <p>“So many emotions, so much love, so blessed to be included in his huge and crazy family. So many people came to say goodbye, so many more couldn’t get here.</p> <p>“We cried and laughed and danced and sang and ate and drank and hugged and cried and …. - exactly how he would have wanted it.</p> <p>“Fly high my friend, I hope you know how much you’re loved," she ended her post. </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/C0EgWRxp8pb/?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/C0EgWRxp8pb/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Lynne McGranger (@lynnemcgranger)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The actress was a really close friend of Ruffo's and received messages of support from fans and co-star Ada Nicodemou who commented: “What a tough day Lynne, I know how hard it would’ve been.”</p> <p>“You were such a wonderful friend to Johnny and he loved you very much.</p> <p>"He will always be in our hearts, he touched everyone he came in contact with, just a beautiful human. Rest in peace our people friend.”</p> <p>Ruffo's girlfriend, Tahnee Sims was also in attendance, and shared that his humour stayed with him to the very end, and and that his “big cheeky grin had brightened even the darkest of days," reported <em>Perth Now</em>. </p> <p>Sims, who loved and supported Ruffo through two brain cancer diagnoses, couldn't hold back her tears as she shared that the couple were determined to pack as much joy, love and laughter into every day. </p> <p>“I know that not everyone gets to experience that kind of love, which is why I will be forever grateful,”  she said. </p> <p>“John liked to say I was his guardian angel. But I think soulmates is more accurate. Everything I gave, he gave back tenfold. And more often than not he was my source of strength and courage.</p> <p>“For six and a half years I watched him go through a hideous cancer diagnosis, dealing with setback after setback and still act with courage and gratitude right to the very end.</p> <p>“I will miss every single thing about John ... Mostly I will miss the way he always managed to make me laugh, no matter the occasion or how inappropriate the joke ... until we meet again John, I love you.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Johnny Ruffo's memorial details revealed

<p>The details of Johnny Ruffo's memorial service have been shared by his family. </p> <p>The <em>Home and Away </em>star <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/beautiful-soul-johnny-ruffo-passes-away-at-35" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passed away </a>on November 10 after losing his battle with brain cancer at the age of 35. </p> <p>His family took shared the details of his memorial service on Ruffo's Instagram account on Monday. </p> <p>The entertainer, who was born in the Perth suburb of Balcatta, will be farewelled at a service in Balcatta Senior High School on November 25.</p> <p>The service will begin at 12:30 pm, with “strictly no cameras or filming” allowed. </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/Cz2_oRDrnNU/?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/Cz2_oRDrnNU/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Johnny Ruffo (@johnny_ruffo)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The memorial service notice included a picture of the actor looking dapper in a black tuxedo, white shirt and bow tie, and was captioned with a simple dove and white heart emoji. </p> <p>Home and Away star Georgie Parker shared three white love heart emojis in the comments of the post. </p> <p>The post also attracted more comments from fans expressing their grief at Ruffo's passing. </p> <p>"I will light a candle for you Johnny from the east. May your light continue to shine from your star. ⭐️ You are loved," wrote one fan. </p> <p>"Still can’t believe that you’re gone. Too young. Too soon," added another. </p> <p>“You have broken a nation’s heart leaving us, but what an amazing fight you put up,” commented a third. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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The unfunny fallout: Richard Wilkins causes bizarre boycott of Barry Humphries memorial

<p>In what can only be described as a plot twist worthy of its own sitcom, the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/free-tickets-up-for-grabs-to-barry-humphries-state-memorial" target="_blank" rel="noopener">memorial service for Australian comedy icon Barry Humphries</a> is shaping up to be more dramatic than the very finest of soap operas. </p> <p>The cause of this uproar? None other than the involvement of Richard Wilkins, the silver fox of entertainment reporting, as the MC/host of the event.</p> <p>It seems Wilkins' mere presence has caused such distress among some of Humphries' nearest and dearest that they've decided to boycott the memorial altogether. </p> <p>One of Humphries' longtime friends, Professor Ross Fitzgerald, <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/family-friends-slam-richard-wilkins-as-mc-for-barry-humphries-memorial/news-story/b6e4dd1ddcd20237a4b88e83cac40e33" target="_blank" rel="noopener">expressed his disbelief</a>, saying, "Like a number of Barry's friends, I was amazed and aghast that Channel 9 personality Richard Wilkins was chosen to be the MC at this important event, Barry's memorial." </p> <p>Fitzgerald continued, "I find it very hard to believe that members of the family and the children, for example, would have approved this."</p> <p>And now, while the upcoming memorial turns into a high-stakes game of 'Who Wants to Avoid Richard Wilkins?', Sydney Confidential went on to report that while Humphries' widow Lizzie Spender played a role in organising the service, Humphries' daughter Emily was not consulted and won't be attending. </p> <p>But Wilkins has his fair share of defenders. Australian TV producer Mark Llewellyn took to Twitter to proclaim, "Humphries would have abhorred these snobs," adding, "Shove a gladioli up their boycotting bottoms!" That's one way to settle a family dispute.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Seven entertainment reporter Peter Ford, in an attempt to play peacemaker, tweeted, "It's all very unfortunate and obviously not Richard's fault. He's a great M.C." </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Lilie James farewelled in emotional memorial service

<p>Friends and family of Lilie James have honoured the 21-year-old water polo coach in an emotional memorial service. </p> <p>The memorial was held at Danebank Anglican School in Hurstville in Sydney's south on Friday morning, with Lilie's loved ones making the sweet gesture at the service. </p> <p>Friends, family and members of her school community at St Andrew's Cathedral school where she taught were asked to show up in bright colours, to remember Lilie fondly and celebrate her life, despite it being cut short. </p> <p>In a statement, Ms James' father Jamie said the 21-year-old was a vibrant young woman who was "always on the go".</p> <p>"On top of working and studying Lilie loved coaching and playing water polo. She loved to dance," he said.</p> <p>"Even with her busy schedule, she always still made time to support her brother Max, her friends and family."</p> <p>"We cannot thank the community enough for their thoughts, prayers, generosity and messages through this difficult time."</p> <p>"From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for the many great memories we all share of Lilie."</p> <p>He concluded, "Lilie James we are so proud of you and thank you for sharing a wonderful and jam-packed 21 years together."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Family and friends are gathering at a private service in Sydney's south this morning, to farewell Lilie James - who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend and colleague, at her workplace, last month. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9News?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9News</a> <a href="https://t.co/BXkRYdPkj1">pic.twitter.com/BXkRYdPkj1</a></p> <p>— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) <a href="https://twitter.com/9NewsSyd/status/1725316273431527677?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 17, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>A white hearse arrived at the school at 9:30am on Friday morning, as friends and family cried and embraced each other during the procession. </p> <p>NSW Premier Chris Minns was also seen arriving to pay his respects, with as many as 500 mourners expected at the service.</p> <p>As per the wishes of Ms James' family, the memorial at Danebank was for friends and the school community only, while the service was live-streamed into St Andrew's Cathedral School for students and teachers to view together. </p> <p>Lilie James was working as an assistant water polo instructor for the elite inner-city school when she was found dead with horrific head injuries inside the campus gymnasium toilets on October 25th. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

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Free tickets up for grabs to Barry Humphries' state memorial

<p>Australians will have the chance to pay their respects to the late Barry Humphries, with limited free tickets to his state memorial available to the public. </p> <p>Humphries died on April 22nd this year at the age of 89, and will be remembered for his legendary comedic characters such as Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson.</p> <p>His state memorial will be held at the Sydney Opera House at 11am on Friday December 15th, for those who wish to pay their respects to the entertainment giant. </p> <p>"The State Memorial will bring together dignitaries, family, friends and fans of Mr Humphries from across Australia and around the world to celebrate his extraordinary career and achievements," the NSW government said online.</p> <div> <p>Limited free tickets have also been made available to the public through the <a title="Sydney Opera House website" href="https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/state-memorial-barry-humphries-ac-cbe" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sydney Opera House website,</a> with fans able to snag a ticket from 2pm AEDT on Friday November 17th.</p> <p>Each person hoping to get a ticket will be allowed two tickets per customer to give everyone a chance to farewell one of Australia's best-loved entertainers. </p> <p>For those who miss out on a ticket, the memorial will be streamed online and broadcast on ABC, providing an opportunity for audiences everywhere to share in the celebration of Mr Humphries' life.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

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“May her memory be a blessing”: Father of Hamas victim speaks out

<p>The grieving father of a 23-year-old German-Israeli woman, Shani Louk, who was kidnapped from the Nova music festival by Hamas militants on October 7, has shared his devastation after it was confirmed that his daughter had been found dead. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the discovery and identification of Shani Louk's body on Monday.</p> <p>Louk was attending the festival in southern Israel when Hamas breached the border between Gaza and Israel, leading to a series of tragic events. However, her father, Nissim Louk, remembers his daughter as someone who was enjoying herself "until the last moment".</p> <p>"Until about 6.45pm, Shani was still dancing, cheering, and going wild at the party and was surrounded by all her best friends — and they had fun all night," he told the Israeli news outlet, N12. He emphasised that she was killed instantly and didn't suffer. Just ten minutes earlier, she was still immersed in the festival's joy.</p> <p>“She was killed on the spot and not only did she not suffer, 10 minutes earlier she was still enjoying herself.”</p> <p>Mr Louk also criticised the government's response, calling it a failure. He claimed that the government ministries underestimated the situation, were unresponsive, and failed to take adequate measures. He pointed out the responsibility of then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the events and expressed his discontent with the government's handling of the situation.</p> <p>Shani Louk was kidnapped at the festival and subjected to torture and captivity by Hamas terrorists. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that she "experienced unfathomable horrors", and expressed their condolences, saying, "May her memory be a blessing."</p> <p>The attack by Hamas militants on the festival was a horrifying event. They blocked off access to the festival site from both the north and the south before storming the area on foot. Videos from the site showed them encircling the crowds on three sides, leading to casualties and chaos.</p> <p>Shani's mother, Ricarda Louk, revealed that she last spoke to her daughter after hearing rockets and alarms sounding in southern Israel. She called to ensure her daughter's safety, and Shani informed her that she was at the festival with few places to hide. Her abduction occurred as she was trying to reach her car, with military personnel preventing people from leaving the scene.</p> <p>The tragedy at the Nova festival was immense, with more than 260 bodies found at the site by Israeli rescue service Zaka. However, based on CNN's analysis, the total death toll could be even higher. Additionally, a number of hostages were taken to Gaza during the attack, with the latest figures indicating that up to 239 hostages are believed to be held by Hamas in the enclave.</p> <p>In a glimmer of hope amidst the tragedy, a female Israeli soldier who had been kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 was released during ground operations in Gaza, as confirmed by the Israel Defence Forces. The soldier received medical attention, is in good health, and has been reunited with her family.</p> <p><em>Images: CNN / N12</em></p>

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Abdallah and Sakr families' memorial triumph

<p>The Abdallah and Sakr families have won a lengthy battle with Oatlands Golf Club, to implement a permanent memorial for their children. </p> <p>In February 2020, the lives of the Abdallah and Sakr families were turned upside down when their children Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, Sienna, eight, and Veronique Sakr, 11, were hit by a car on the perimeter of the western Sydney golf course. </p> <p>Now, almost four years on from the tragedy, Danny Abdallah has confirmed that a memorial garden for his children and niece had finally won approval.</p> <p>Oatlands Golf Club had rejected several designs for a memorial on the site of the crash, but the club has now finally agreed to license a small parcel of land to the Abdallah and Sakr families for a private garden.</p> <p>“We persisted, we got there,” Abdallah told <em>2GB</em> on Wednesday.</p> <p>“It was very stressful and it took its toll on us.”</p> <p>The landscape hedge garden will include plants that blossom each February and a plinth for each of the children.</p> <p>The families hope to complete the memorial by Christmas.</p> <p>The golf club shut down negotiations for the memorial in 2021, after rejecting all of the family's suggestions for the memorial as too large, saying they would unduly remind neighbours of the tragedy.</p> <p>Mr Abdallah did not want to dwell on why the club changed its approach, saying “I want to move forward.”</p> <p>The news of the memorial comes after the Abdallah family <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/abdallah-family-confirms-heartwarming-news" target="_blank" rel="noopener">confirmed</a> they are expecting another baby.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Can a daily multivitamin improve your memory?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jacques-raubenheimer-1144463">Jacques Raubenheimer</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/research-check-25155">Research Checks</a> interrogate newly published studies and how they’re reported in the media. The analysis is undertaken by one or more academics not involved with the study, and reviewed by another, to make sure it’s accurate.</em></p> <hr /> <p>Don’t we all want to do what we can to reduce the impact of age-related decline on our memory?</p> <p>A new study suggests a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is a simple and inexpensive way to help older adults slow the decline in some aspects of memory function.</p> <p>The <a href="https://ajcn.nutrition.org/article/S0002-9165(23)48904-6/fulltext">new study</a>, which comes from a <a href="https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02422745?term=NCT02422745&amp;draw=2&amp;rank=1">long-running clinical trial</a>, shows there may be a small benefit of taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement for one type of cognitive task (immediate word recall) among well-functioning elderly white people. At least in the short term.</p> <p>But that doesn’t mean we should all rush out and buy multivitamins. The results of the study don’t apply to the whole population, or to all types of memory function. Nor does the study show long-term benefits.</p> <h2>How was the study conducted?</h2> <p>The overarching COSMOS study is a well-designed double-blind randomised control trial. This means participants were randomly allocated to receive the intervention (a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement) or a placebo (dummy tablet), but neither the participants nor the researchers knew which one they were taking.</p> <p>This type of study is considered the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5654877/">gold standard</a> and allows researchers to compare various outcomes.</p> <p>Participants (3,562) were older than 64 for women, and 59 for men, with no history of heart attack, invasive cancer, stroke or serious illness. They couldn’t use multivitamins or minerals (or <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2216932120">cocoa extract</a> which they also tested) during the trial.</p> <p>Participants completed a <a href="https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04582617?term=NCT04582617&amp;draw=2&amp;rank=1">battery of online cognitive tests</a> at the start of the study (known as baseline), then yearly for three years, of which only three were reported in this paper:</p> <ul> <li> <p>ModRey, measuring immediate recall. Participants were shown “a list of 20 words, one at a time, for three seconds each,” and then had to type the list from memory</p> </li> <li> <p>ModBent, measuring object recognition. Participants were given 20 prompts with a shape and then had to select the correct match from a pair of similar prompts. After this, they were prompted with 40 shapes in turn, and had to indicate whether each was included in the original 20 or not</p> </li> <li> <p>Flanker, measuring “executive control”. Participants had to select a coloured block that corresponded to an arrow in a matrix of arrows, which could have the same (or different) colour to the surrounding arrows, and the same (or different) direction as the prompt block.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>What did the researchers find?</h2> <p>Of all the tests the researchers performed, only immediate recall (ModRey) at one year showed a significant effect, meaning the result is unlikely to just be a result of chance.</p> <p>At two and three years, the effect was no longer significant (meaning it could be down to chance).</p> <p>However they added an “overall estimate” by averaging the results from all three years to arrive at another significant effect.</p> <p>All the effect sizes reported are very small. The largest effect is for the participants’ immediate recall at one year, which was 0.07 – a value that is <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jpepsy/article/34/9/917/939415">generally considered very small without justification</a>.</p> <p>Also of note is that both the multivitamin and placebo groups had higher immediate word recall scores at one year (compared to baseline), although the multivitamin group’s increase was significantly larger.</p> <p><a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/epdf/10.1073/pnas.2216932120">In the researchers’ prior study</a>, the increase in word recall scores was described as a “typical learning (practice) effect”. This means they attributed the higher scores at one year to familiarisation with the test.</p> <p>For some reason, this “learning effect” was not discussed in the current paper, where the treatment group showed a significantly larger increase compared to those who were given the placebo.</p> <h2>What are the limitations of the study?</h2> <p>The team used a suitable statistical analysis. However, it did not adjust for demographic characteristics such as age, gender, race, and level of education.</p> <p>The authors detail their study’s major limitation well: it is not very generalisable, as it used “mostly white participants” who had to be very computer literate, and, one could argue, would be quite well-functioning cognitively.</p> <figure class="align-center "><figcaption></figcaption>Another unmentioned limitation is the advanced age of their sample, meaning long-term results for younger people can’t be assessed.</figure> <p>Additionally, the baseline diet score for their sample was abysmal. The researchers say participants’ diet scores “were consistent with <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1899558">averages from the US population</a>” but the cited study noted “the overall dietary quality… [was] poor.”</p> <p>And they didn’t measure changes in diet over the three years, which could impact the results.</p> <h2>How should we interpret the results?</h2> <p>The poor dietary quality of the sample raises the question: can a better diet be the simple fix, rather than multivitamin and mineral supplements?</p> <p>Even for the effect they observed, which micronutrient from the supplement was the contributing factor?</p> <p>The researchers speculate about vitamins B12 and D. But you can find research on cognitive function for any arbitrarily chosen <a href="https://www.centrum.com/content/dam/cf-consumer-healthcare/bp-wellness-centrum/en_US/pdf/lbl-00000775-web-ready-centrum-silver-adults-tablets-(versio.pdf">ingredient</a>, including <a href="https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&amp;as_sdt=0%2C5&amp;q=selenium+cognitive+function">selenium</a>, which can be <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720378608">toxic at high levels</a>.</p> <h2>So should I take a multivitamin?</h2> <p><a href="https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/08/should-you-take-dietary-supplements">Health authorities advise</a> daily multivitamin use isn’t necessary, as you can get all the nutrients you need by eating a wide variety of healthy foods. However, supplementation may be appropriate to meet any specific nutrient gaps an individual has.</p> <p>Using a good quality multivitamin at the recommended dose shouldn’t do any harm, but at best, this study shows well-functioning elderly white people might show some additional benefit in one type of cognitive task from using a multivitamin supplement.</p> <p>The case for most of the rest of the population, and the long-term benefit for younger people, can’t be made.</p> <hr /> <h2>Blind peer review</h2> <p><strong>Clare Collins writes:</strong></p> <p>I agree with the reviewer’s assessment, which is a comprehensive critique of the study. The key result was a small effect size from taking a daily multivitamin and mineral (or “multinutrient”) supplement on memory recall at one year (but not later time points) and is equivalent to a training effect where you get better at taking a test the more times you do it.</p> <p>It’s also worth noting the study authors received support and funding from commercial companies to undertake the study.</p> <p>While the study authors state they don’t believe background diet quality impacted the results, they didn’t comprehensively assess this. They used a brief <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22513989/">diet quality assessment score</a> only at baseline. Participants may have changed their eating habits during the study, which could then impact the results.</p> <p>Given all participants reported low diet quality scores, an important question is whether giving participants the knowledge, skills and resources to eat more healthily would have a bigger impact on cognition than taking supplements. <!-- 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/208114/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>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jacques-raubenheimer-1144463">Jacques Raubenheimer</a>, Senior Research Fellow, Biostatistics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></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/can-a-daily-multivitamin-improve-your-memory-208114">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Probing false memories: what is the Mandela Effect?

<p>How is it possible to think you’re sure about something, only to learn that your memory’s let you down, and you were wrong all along? False memories can be so convincing that we never think to question their veracity. Denise Cullen investigates this odd, and little-understood, phenomenon.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>Imagine learning about a famous person’s death, watching footage of the funeral, and listening to the eulogies – then, decades later, finding out that this person had been alive all along.</p> <p>This was the scenario confronting Fiona Broome in 2009 when she shared her memory online, then subsequently learnt that Nelson Mandela was still alive.</p> <p>Broome, a paranormal researcher, had a distinct memory of the human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner dying in prison in the 1980s.</p> <p>“I thought I remembered it clearly, complete with news clips of his funeral, the mourning in [South Africa], some riots in cities and the heartfelt speech by his widow,” she wrote on her website, in a post since removed.</p> <p>As history records, Mandela died aged 95 – a free man and revered former South African president – in 2013.</p> <p>“Recall is a more active and effortful process than mere recognition.”</p> <p>Broome would have been willing to chalk it up to a glitch in her memory. But after ­discovering that many others shared the same memory, she decided it was instead a glitch in the matrix – a sign consistent with the many-worlds theory of quantum physics that there was a parallel universe in which Mandela had, indeed, died in prison in the 1980s.</p> <p>Since then, many other examples of what’s become known as the Mandela Effect – or shared false memories – have emerged.</p> <p>Common examples include that Rich Uncle Pennybags – aka the Monopoly Man – wears a monocle (he doesn’t), that Pokémon character Pikachu has a black-tipped tail (it’s yellow) and that there’s a hyphen in KitKat (there isn’t).</p> <p>Geographically, some folks swear that there are 51 or 52 states in the United States (there are 50) or that New Zealand is located north-east of Australia (it’s south-east).</p> <p>Cinematic examples include the Evil Queen in <em>Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs</em> saying “Mirror, mirror on the wall” (it’s actually “Magic mirror on the wall”). And who can forget the chilling moment in <em>The Silence of the Lambs</em> when Hannibal Lecter first meets Agent Starling and says, “Hello Clarice”? Thing is, it never happened.</p> <p>Misremembering the finer details related to board game mascots, fictional characters or logos might sound inconsequential. Yet the Mandela Effect has spawned a fertile field of psychological research seeking to uncover why people develop false memories – and why, when they do, they are along much the same lines.</p> <p>Wilma Bainbridge, who works in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago, has been interested in the workings of human memory since she and others discovered that people are surprisingly consistent in what they remember, forget and make false memories about.</p> <p>In 2011, Phillip Isola and some of his colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) identified that memorability was a stable property of an image shared across different viewers.</p> <p>Presenting at the annual Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), they built one of the first computer vision systems that sought to predict the memorability of different images.</p> <p>They also provided some of the first glimmers that low-level visual attributes of an image – such as its bright colours, or distinctive edges – cannot alone account for its memorability. Similarly, aesthetics (visual appeal), ­interest (how likely people are to be drawn to or interact with an image) or saliency (the area which draws people’s eye focus first) are insufficient to unlock the keys to memorability.</p> <p>"[There is a] tendency for people to con­sistently misremember characters or logos from popular culture – things that were, in fact, designed to be memorable."</p> <p>While completing her PhD at MIT, Bainbridge, Isola and MIT colleague Aude Oliva drew on a 10,168-image database of facial photographs to see if the same intrinsic memorability was found in human faces.</p> <p>Their research, published in the <em>Journal of Experimental Psychology</em>, found that some faces were consistently remembered or forgotten – and that this couldn’t be fully explained by attractiveness or other perceived character traits such as ‘trust­worthy’ or ‘boring’.</p> <p>Bainbridge says it was Isola’s paper in 2011 and hers in 2013 that launched the burgeoning field of memorability. Since then, 845 scientific papers have cited the two papers.</p> <p>Currently on maternity leave after having twin girls, Bainbridge told me via email that she was originally inspired to probe the visual Mandela Effect because of how pervasive discussions were online about people having the same false memories. But no memory research had then investigated this intriguing phenomenon.</p> <p>In a recent article in <em>Psychological Science</em>, Bainbridge and her colleague at The University of Chicago, Deepasri Prasad, explored the visual Mandela Effect for the first time.</p> <p>This is the tendency for people to con­sistently misremember characters or logos from popular culture – things that were, in fact, designed to be memorable.</p> <p>Over a series of experiments – using icons such as the Monopoly Man, Pikachu, Curious George, the Volkswagen logo and Waldo from <em>Where’s Waldo</em> – they provided the first experimental confirmation that the visual Mandela Effect exists. (<em>Where’s Waldo?</em> is known as <em>Where’s Wally?</em> in Australia. The discrepancy isn’t an example of the Mandela Effect. It arose because publishers believed ‘Waldo’ would better ­resonate with North Americans.)</p> <p>In the first experiment, they presented 100 adults with images of 22 characters, 16 brand logos and two symbols, and made two altered images of each.</p> <p>“Even though we’ve all lived different lives, there are some pictures that most people remember and some pictures that most people forget,”</p> <p>For instance, they modified Curious George by adding a thin tail in one image and a bushy tail in the other.</p> <p>Research participants viewed all three images and had to choose the correct one.</p> <p>The results indicated that seven out of the 40 images elicited shared – and specific – false memories.</p> <p>In the second experiment, they used eye-tracking methods to see if there were differences in the way participants looked at the images they correctly identified, versus those they got incorrect.</p> <p>“We found no attentional or visual differences that drive this phenomenon,” Prasad and Bainbridge wrote.</p> <p>In the third experiment, the researchers scraped the top 100 Google Image results for each of the seven images to see if previous exposure to non-canonical (incorrect) versions might explain it. But they concluded that there was “no ­single unifying account for how prior perceptual experiences could cause these visual false memories – which had previously elicited the visual Mandela Effect – to occur”.</p> <p>The fourth experiment involved having participants draw the images, given that recall is a more active and effortful process than mere recognition.</p> <p>Some participants viewed the canonical (correct) images prior to being required to reproduce them, while others, who’d flagged that they were already familiar with the images, did not.</p> <p>One-fifth of all images drawn by the former group, and about half of those drawn by the latter group, showed characteristic Mandela-Effect-type errors. For example, the Monopoly Man frequently appeared with a monocle, while Waldo was often depicted sans cane.</p> <p>The common production of such errors during both short- and long-term recall suggests there’s something intrinsic to these images that leads to people generating the same sorts of fallacies – but Bainbridge says that researchers are only just beginning to probe what that might be.</p> <p>Her laboratory is concerned with broader questions about why some images are intrinsically memorable.</p> <p>“Even though we’ve all lived different lives, there are some pictures that most people remember and some pictures that most people forget,” she explains.</p> <p>Interestingly, when people view an image, high-level visual and memory areas in their brains show a sensitivity to its memorability – regardless of whether they consciously remember seeing it or not.</p> <p>Several functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies, including one conducted by Bainbridge and her colleague Jesse Rissman of the University of California Los Angeles and published in <em>Scientific Reports</em>, have demonstrated distinctive brain activation patterns (neural signatures) when memorable images are viewed.</p> <p>These processes take place outside conscious awareness, suggesting they occur automatically.</p> <p>Humans aren’t alone in this, with research led by Nicole Rust at the University of Pennsylvania and published in <em>eLife</em> in 2019 identifying similar patterns in rhesus monkeys who completed visual memory tasks.</p> <p>In a 2022 paper published in <em>Computational Brain &amp; Behavior</em>, Bainbridge and her then University of Chicago master’s student Coen Needell wrote that they had developed a deep learning neural network that can predict people’s memories.</p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1">&amp;lt;img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/MicrosoftTeams-image-27.png" data-spai-egr="1" alt="Buy cosmos quarterly print magazine" width="600" height="154" title="probing false memories: what is the mandela effect? 3"&amp;gt;</noscript></p> </div> <p>“We’ve recently developed a web tool called ResMem using deep learning artificial intelligence where you can upload an image and it will tell you the per cent chance someone will remember that image,” Bainbridge says. “Anyone can try it out with their own photos.”</p> <p>Recent work shows that the images people remember or forget can even be used to identify early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>Research published by Bainbridge and colleagues in <em>Alzheimer’s &amp; Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment &amp; Disease Monitoring</em> in 2019 found that a small, specific set of images reliably differentiated people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or subjective cognitive decline (SCD) from healthy controls.</p> <p>Using data drawn from the DZNE-Longitudinal Cognitive Impairment and Dementia Study (DELCODE), an observational, longitudinal memory clinic–based study across 10 sites in Germany, Bainbridge and colleagues analysed the memory performance of 394 individuals.</p> <p>Each participant viewed a randomly selected subset of 88 photographs from a total pool of 835.</p> <p>The performance of 193 healthy controls was compared to 136 participants with SCD – elderly individuals who self-report a decline in cognitive abilities but don’t yet meet clinical thresholds – and 65 participants with MCI: elderly individuals who show early clinical signs of cognitive decline, but are not yet at the level of Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>(Bainbridge notes that Alzheimer’s disease is more severe than MCI, which is more severe than SCD; however, it is possible to have MCI or SCD and never end up developing Alzheimer’s disease.)</p> <p>The researchers found that there was a lot of overlap in what the different groups remembered and forgot.</p> <p>However, there was a small subset of images that were highly memorable to healthy controls, but highly forgettable to those with mild cognitive impairment or subjective cognitive decline.</p> <p>A subset of as few as 18.3 images could distinguish between the two groups.</p> <p>In this way, the intrinsic memorability of images might ultimately pave the way towards quicker, easier and more reliable diagnostic tests of precursors to Alzheimer’s disease.</p> <p>The study of false memories also has weighty implications for criminal defence, given that some people might be wrongfully identified as suspects just because their faces cause false memories more easily.</p> <p>Though this research is not the focus of Bainbridge’s laboratory, work in this area is continuing, with the promise of some yet-to-be-published data suggesting that these more diagnostic images also better tap into the underlying brain pathology in those with MCI.</p> <p>“We’re now interested in creating a neural network tool that can predict your chance of making­ a false memory to an image – and then, theoretically, you could make images that cause lots of false memories,” Bainbridge explains. “These next steps are still in very early stages, though, and sadly, we don’t really have anything yet [on what features may prompt false memories],” she says. One goal of the research is to make the neural network tool available to any scientist who wants to study what makes something cause false memories.</p> <p>Bainbridge’s research on memorability has potential applications for further research as well as education, which may be enriched, for example, with textbook images or ­infographics that are more likely to stick in students’ minds. The findings are also likely to enhance clinical practice, given that memory problems are the most common cognitive deficits in dementia.</p> <p>Bainbridge says those experiencing dementia typically benefit as a result of specially designed environments or tools to aid their memory – for example, memorable cues to help them remember to take essential medication.</p> <p>The study of false memories also has weighty implications for criminal defence, given that some people might be wrongfully identified as suspects just because their faces cause false memories more easily.</p> <p>“You’d want to make sure to control for that when choosing a line up,” Bainbridge says.</p> <p>“It’s pretty amazing to think about how our brains can build up vivid memories of images that don’t really exist and that we’ve never seen before.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=250856&amp;title=Probing+false+memories%3A+what+is+the+Mandela+Effect%3F" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></em><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/behaviour/probing-the-mandela-effect/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/denise-cullen/">Denise Cullen</a>. </em></div>

Mind

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"Their memories will live on forever": Tragic twist as young brothers lost in car crash identified

<p>Two young lives were tragically cut short in a devastating car crash in the southern part of Sydney. The victims, young brothers Xavier and Peter Abreu, aged ten and nine, are being remembered for their innocence and vibrancy as the community mourns their loss. The incident occurred on Friday night August 25 when the Subaru WRX they were travelling in collided with a tree along Grand Parade in Monterey at approximately 9:50pm.</p> <p>The boys' relative, Jimmy Martin Brito, 33, who was also driving the vehicle and is the father of a nine-year-old girl who was a passenger and sustained minor injuries, has been taken into custody and charged in connection to the incident. He faces charges including two counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of causing bodily harm by misconduct.</p> <p>In the wake of this tragic event, the boys' stepmother, Jivonne Garrido, has established a fundraising campaign to support the grieving family. She expressed in a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/xavier-abreu-and-peter-abreu" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> post on Sunday that while the boys' lives were tragically cut short, their memories will forever remain with the family. </p> <p>"The beautiful boys lost their lives in tragic circumstances however their memories will live on forever with the family Father Samuel Mother Olivia, brothers Alex and Jacob along with Auntie Joanne and Grandmother Dimitria."</p> <p>"We thank everyone who has already shown the size of their hearts with heartfelt messages and flowers at the site and call for assistance from the public that this event may resonate with. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts."</p> <p>The legal proceedings surrounding the incident have begun, with police alleging that Brito was operating the vehicle recklessly, leading to the fatal crash. Brito was expected to appear in court for a hearing, but it was adjourned due to his ongoing recovery from injuries sustained in the crash. His defence lawyer, Fahim Arya, conveyed that his client has had limited communication with his sister, the mother of the two boys who passed away while he was in the hospital. Despite her distress, the mother is reportedly standing by Brito.</p> <p>Mr Arya said the mother was 'distraught and distressed' but 'still supports and stands by him.' He added that Brito was 'fresh out of surgery' and on medication as he begins his long road to recovery. 'I don't know if he knows the two little ones have lost their lives,' Mr Arya said.</p> <p>While the legal process unfolds, the community has united in grief, visiting the crash site to pay their respects to the young brothers. A makeshift memorial has been established at the tree where the accident occurred, adorned with flowers and teddy bears. The profound impact of the crash is evident, with marks etched into the tree and debris scattered around the area.</p> <p>Authorities are looking into the possibility of street racing playing a role in the tragedy. They are particularly interested in locating a grey sedan believed to have been present during the incident, as captured by CCTV. The investigation aims to determine whether the Subaru and the grey sedan were involved in street racing prior to the collision.</p> <p>For anyone with relevant information, dash cam footage, or CCTV recordings, the police urge you to come forward and assist with the ongoing investigation. Information can be shared with the authorities or Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000.</p> <p><em>Image: GoFundMe</em></p>

News

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"Forever cherish the memories": Hunter Valley groom speaks

<p>Mitchell Gaffney, the groom who lost 10 friends in the Hunter Valley bus crash incident, has spoken out for the first time. </p> <p>The newlywed spoke at his friend Zachary Bray’s funeral in Sydney, three weeks after the devastating collision.</p> <p>The 29-year-old was remembered as a loveable larrikin and an adored brother and son, who had survived a battle with bowel cancer and was dedicated to raising awareness to the disease. </p> <p>Gaffney and Bray met playing football and became friends off the field.</p> <p>“Although you’ll never get the chance to put the jumper on again, you’ll always be there by our side,” Gaffney said.</p> <p>Bray was known as Labrador or Lab to his footy mates, with the affectionate nickname speaking to his gentle character. </p> <p>“They’re pretty smart dogs,” Gaffney said.</p> <p>“They’re extremely loveable but no matter what they do, they do it with that big goofy smile."</p> <p>“That was the first impression he made and it still holds true.”</p> <p>Gaffney said Bray was the ultimate team player, who “had the ability to make everyone feel included”.</p> <p>“We will forever cherish the memories that we are lucky enough to hold together.”</p> <p>Bray’s family and friends including his girlfriend Georgie Copeland, came together to honour Bray in the emotional ceremony. </p> <p>“My heart hurts,” Copeland said. “I can’t deny it.”</p> <p>“But I know that it hurts deeply because it was deeply real.”</p> <p>Bray’s mother Jacqui Varasdi also spoke at the funeral, and said being his mother was her “greatest achievement”.</p> <div> <p>“And to see you here, laying in this box, just doesn’t make any sense.”</p> <p>Many of the guests will gather again next week to honour the lives of Nadene and Kyah McBride, who were also killed in the Hunter Valley bus crash. </p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p> </div>

Caring

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7 things you should pass on to your grandkids

<p>No one wants to think about what will happen when they’re no longer around, but thoughtfully choosing what to leave to your family will ensure your memory endures long after you’re gone. Here are the 10 things you should pass on to your grandchildren to help them remember you as you always were.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Your passport(s)</strong> – What better token of your life is there than a chronicle of all the incredible places you’ve visited? Your passports will inspire those you love to pack up their bags and follow in your footsteps.</li> <li><strong>Your wedding album</strong> – By passing on your beloved wedding photos, long after you and your partner are gone, your love story will continue to inspire generations after you – and maybe offer some style ideas to vintage-loving brides-to-be in your family!</li> <li><strong>Something belonging to your parents</strong> – If you have an old possession that used to belong to a parent, grandparent or even great-grandparent, giving it to your grandchildren will ensure their ancestors will live on through future generations.</li> <li><strong>Something sentimental</strong> – Photo albums are all well and good, but passing on something you love, which is truly special to you, will always remind your grandchildren of you. Just imagine their smiles as they look down on a watch or ring gifted to them by their beloved nan or pop.</li> <li><strong>A photo of the first time you met them</strong> – Who could forget the first time they meet their newborn grandchild? Share this moment with them and write on the back of the photo just how you felt when you held them for the first time.</li> <li><strong>Your favourite music, books, and movies</strong> – There’s nothing like music to bring back memories of people and places. Fill a bag (or load a USB) with your all-time favourite songs, books and movies so your family will always have something to lift their spirits when they’re feeling down.</li> <li><strong>Stories</strong> – while possessions are great, stories and memories are what will endure for decades after you’ve gone. Any chance you get, share a memory or a story with your loved ones, whether it’s about your life or theirs, and get a conversation going.</li> </ol> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Retirement Life

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9 ways to exercise your brain

<p>While many people can say they are dedicated to keeping their bodies in shape, exercising applies to more than just the muscles, bones and fat in our bodies. We should all be working out the neural pathways and connections in our brains too. So whether you’re trying to get your brain back into shape or you just want to keep it as strong as it is now, below are some top tips on how to help exercise your mind to good health.</p> <p><strong>1. Read as much as you can</strong></p> <p>Whether it’s a newspaper, magazine or book, reading is a fantastic basic brain exercise. Remember, the more challenging the reading material is the more of a workout you are giving your brain. Like with any new exercise regime, start small and work your way up to a level that you find challenging.</p> <p><strong>2. Learn new words</strong></p> <p>Increasing your vocabulary is a great way to exercise the language portion of your brain. A word-of-the day calendar is a great way to ensure you keep on top of this throughout the year.</p> <p><strong>3. Put pen to paper (not fingers to a keyboard)</strong></p> <p>From fictional stories to keeping a journal, writing is a good workout for the brain, as it requires lots of thinking. A study published in the Human Brain Mapping journal found that both planning and writing a story by hand combines handwriting and cognitive writing processes, which are predominantly associated with memory and integrating information from diverse sources.</p> <p><strong>4. Do puzzles</strong></p> <p>Easy to fit into your daily schedule, simple puzzles like crosswords and Sudoku help to get your brain doing some basic work, while more complex puzzles will give your brain a stronger workout. So although more complicated puzzles may take days to solve and complete, they’re worth the effort as these types of games can help keep you sharp, as well as slow memory loss and mental decline.</p> <p><strong>5. Switch to your non-dominant hand</strong></p> <p>While this might sound like an odd one, switching to your non-dominant hand from time to time has been shown to stimulate the parts of the brain that control your muscles. Experts also say that using your other hand helps your brain to better integrate its two hemispheres.</p> <p><strong>6. Get talking</strong></p> <p>For a basic brain workout, get chatting! Next time you catch up with family or friends try talking about more challenging topics (such as politics, religion etc.) where you engage in deep discussion – without arguing. It’s a great way to keep your mind active while having fun, get to know others better and to share your thoughts.</p> <p><strong>7. Back to school</strong></p> <p>Education has obvious benefits and going back to school is a great way to get your brain working again, to challenge yourself and to do something satisfying. You don’t have to sign up for a whole degree, there are many free short courses as well as certificate courses that you can do online.</p> <p><strong>8. Eat well</strong></p> <p>Just like with the body, when you exercise you need to give your brain the right fuel so it operates at optimal health. The Open Training Institute says, “Skipping breakfast can reduce thinking skills by 40 per cent, as your brain is starved of that much needed sugar hit”.  Furthermore, certain foods are good for improving brain function like dark chocolate, which increases blood flow to the brain increasing alertness and clarity. “Blueberries for example pack a powerful punch of antioxidants and can improve memory, while green leafy veggies and fresh herbs are full of vitamin K, which improves cognitive function.”</p> <p><strong>9. Exercise</strong></p> <p>Being active doesn’t only keep your body healthy it can also make you more alert. The Open Training Institute says, “Low-intensity exercise like yoga or walking can dramatically reduce sleepiness, amp up energy levels and attention span.” And the benefits of keeping active don’t stop there. “More intensity can even improve cognitive function by five to 10 per cent.”  </p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em><strong>For information about the Open Training Institute and the courses on offer, or to simply ask a question, call 1300 915 692.</strong></em></p>

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