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Want the health benefits of strength training but not keen on the gym? Try ‘exercise snacking’

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-keogh-129041">Justin Keogh</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jackson-fyfe-134774">Jackson Fyfe</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>The science is clear: <a href="https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/full/10.1139/apnm-2020-0245">resistance training</a> is crucial to ageing well. Lifting weights (or doing bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats or push-ups) can help you live independently for longer, make your bones stronger, reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes, and may even improve your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28919335/">sleep and mental health</a>.</p> <p>But not everyone loves the gym. Perhaps you feel you’re not a “gym person” and never will be, or you’re too old to start. Being a gym-goer can be expensive and time-consuming, and some people report feeling <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/StartingStrength/comments/j3hq32/unwelcome_feeling_at_the_gym/">unwelcome</a> or <a href="https://www.quora.com/I-feel-awkward-and-I-want-to-start-a-gym-but-could-not-What-should-I-do">awkward</a> at the gym.</p> <p>The good news is you don’t need the gym, or lots of free time, to get the health benefits resistance training can offer.</p> <p>You can try “exercise snacking” instead.</p> <h2>What is exercise snacking?</h2> <p>Exercise snacking involves doing multiple shorter bouts (as little as 20 seconds) of exercise throughout the day – often with minimal or no equipment. It’s OK to have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01605-8">several hours of rest</a> between.</p> <p>You could do simple bodyweight exercises such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>chair sit-to-stand (squats)</p> </li> <li> <p>lunges</p> </li> <li> <p>box step-ups</p> </li> <li> <p>calf raises</p> </li> <li> <p>push-ups.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Exercise snacking like this can help improve muscle mass, strength and physical function.</p> <p>It’s OK to hold onto a nearby object for balance, if you need. And doing these exercises regularly will also improve your balance. That, in turn, reduces your risk of falls and fractures.</p> <h2>OK I have done all those, now what?</h2> <p>Great! You can also try using resistance bands or dumbbells to do the previously mentioned five exercises as well as some of the following exercises:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://youtu.be/IP4wM2JpDdQ?si=1B1GyV_FY5rcArW8&amp;t=6">seated rows</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://youtu.be/G6GIffCaJCQ?si=RxXZtzMqQ0DGxF3k&amp;t=48">chest</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUnnz5i4Mnw&amp;t=5s">shoulder presses</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://youtu.be/z0omicIkYu4?si=8WffT3ij12SNTqEs">bicep curls</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wXVnxBgLHo">knee extensions</a></p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtTcXXgeRYo">leg curls</a>.</p> </li> </ul> <p>When using resistance bands, make sure you hold them tightly and that they’re securely attached to an immovable object.</p> <p>Exercise snacking works well when you pair it with an activity you do often throughout the day. Perhaps you could:</p> <ul> <li> <p>do a few extra squats every time you get up from a bed or chair</p> </li> <li> <p>do some lunges during a TV ad break</p> </li> <li> <p>chuck in a few half squats while you’re waiting for your kettle to boil</p> </li> <li> <p>do a couple of elevated push-ups (where you support your body with your hands on a chair or a bench while doing the push-up) before tucking into lunch</p> </li> <li> <p>sneak in a couple of calf raises while you’re brushing your teeth.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>What does the evidence say about exercise snacking?</h2> <p>One <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31687210/">study</a> had older adults without a history of resistance training do exercise snacks at home twice per day for four weeks.</p> <p>Each session involved five simple bodyweight exercises (chair sit-to-stand, seated knee extension, standing knee bends, marching on the spot, and standing calf raises). The participants did each exercise continuously for one minute, with a one-minute break between exercises.</p> <p>These short and simple exercise sessions, which lasted just nine minutes, were enough to improve a person’s ability to stand up from a chair by 31% after four weeks (compared to a control group who didn’t exercise). Leg power and thigh muscle size improved, too.</p> <p>Research involving one of us (Jackson Fyfe) has also <a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-022-03207-z">shown</a> older adults found “exercise snacking” feasible and enjoyable when done at home either once, twice, or three times per day for four weeks.</p> <p>Exercise snacking may be a more sustainable approach to improve muscle health in those who don’t want to – or can’t – lift heavier weights in a gym.</p> <h2>A little can yield a lot</h2> <p>We know from other research that the more you exercise, the more likely it is you will <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268119302586">keep exercising in future</a>.</p> <p>Very brief resistance training, albeit with heavier weights, may be more <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29975122/">enjoyable</a> than traditional approaches where people aim to do many, many sets.</p> <p>We also know brief-and-frequent exercise sessions can break up <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26378942/">periods</a> of sedentary behaviour (which usually means sitting too much). Too much sitting increases your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, whereas exercise snacking can help keep your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36921112/">blood sugar levels steady</a>.</p> <p>Of course, longer-term studies are needed. But the evidence we do have suggests exercise snacking really helps.</p> <h2>Why does any of this matter?</h2> <p>As you age, you lose strength and mass in the muscles you use to walk, or stand up. Everyday tasks can become a struggle.</p> <p>All this <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36907247/">contributes</a> to disability, hospitalisation, chronic disease, and reliance on community and residential aged care support.</p> <p>By preserving your muscle mass and strength, you can:</p> <ul> <li> <p>reduce joint pain</p> </li> <li> <p>get on with activities you enjoy</p> </li> <li> <p>live independently in your own home</p> </li> <li> <p>delay or even eliminate the need for expensive health care or residential aged care.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>What if I walk a lot – is that enough?</h2> <p>Walking may maintain some level of lower body muscle mass, but it won’t preserve your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38190393/">upper body muscles</a>.</p> <p>If you find it difficult to get out of a chair, or can only walk short distances without getting out of breath, resistance training is the best way to regain some of the independence and function you’ve lost.</p> <p>It’s even more important for women, as muscle mass and strength are typically lower in older women than men. And if you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, which is more common in older women than men, resistance exercise snacking at home can improve your balance, strength, and bone mineral density. All of this reduces the risk of falls and fractures.</p> <p>You don’t need <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37171517/">heavy weights</a> or fancy equipment to benefit from resistance training.</p> <p>So, will you start exercise snacking today?<!-- 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/232374/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/justin-keogh-129041">Justin Keogh</a>, Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jackson-fyfe-134774">Jackson Fyfe</a>, Senior Lecturer, Strength and Conditioning Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin 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/want-the-health-benefits-of-strength-training-but-not-keen-on-the-gym-try-exercise-snacking-232374">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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From lettuce fields to opera stages – the brilliant journey of Helen Sherman

<p>How does a young girl growing up on a lettuce farm in rural New South Wales, surrounded by the quiet rustle of leaves and the hum of daily farm life, go on to become such a powerful voice on the operatic scene? This is the unlikely beginning of Helen Sherman, the Australian-British mezzo-soprano who has taken the world of opera by storm. </p> <p>Sherman’s musical journey began at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where her extraordinary voice started to attract attention. It wasn't long before her ambition led her to the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in the UK. There, she honed her craft, setting the stage for a remarkable career that would see her representing Australia at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition and the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition.</p> <p>Sherman's rise to operatic fame has been nothing short of meteoric. Her versatility and talent have seen her perform a wide range of roles across the globe. Recent highlights include Flora in <em>La traviata</em> at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Octavian in <em>Der Rosenkavalier</em> and Cherubino in <em>Le nozze di Figaro</em> with Opera North. Her portrayal of Tamiri in <em>Farnace</em> with Pinchgut Opera and Dorabella in <em>Così fan tutte</em> at Teatru Manoel in Malta further cemented her reputation as a mezzo-soprano of extraordinary range and depth.</p> <p>One of Sherman’s standout performances was her interpretation of the title role in <em>Carmen</em> with the State Opera South Australia. Her embodiment of Carmen’s fiery spirit and complex emotions captivated audiences and critics alike. Equally compelling was her portrayal of Giulio Cesare with Bury Court Opera, a role that showcased her ability to navigate the demanding vocal and dramatic challenges of baroque opera.</p> <p>In 2024, Sherman’s calendar is as busy as ever, as she will be singing Dorabella in <em>Così fan tutte</em> and Mistress of the Novices in <em>Suor Angelica</em> for Opera Australia, roles that promise to highlight her versatility and emotional depth. </p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; background-color: #ffffff; text-decoration-thickness: initial; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial;">Over60 was lucky enough to be able to interview Sherman in the lead-up to her Sydney performances of <span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/il-trittico-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Il Trittico</a> </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;">and <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/cosi-fan-tutte-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Così fan tutte</a></span>: </p> <p><em><strong>O60: How did you become an opera singer after growing up on a lettuce farm in rural NSW? </strong></em></p> <p>“It was quite a journey. My father was an incredible piano accordionist (think Flight of the Bumblebee, Malagueña etc). In the 1970s his teaching studio in Bathurst peaked at about 40 accordion students, which I think is quite remarkable. After his father died, Dad stepped back from his teaching to take over the family farm, though he still plays to this day. </p> <p>“My mother is a music lover, and wanted her children to have the opportunity to explore creative outlets that she wasn't fortunate enough to explore in her youth, so my brother, sister and I all had lessons in piano accordion, piano, dancing, drama and singing. We were fortunate to live in a town that had many thriving arts organisations, such as the Dolly McKinnon School of Dance, Bathurst Eisteddfod Society and Mitchell Conservatorium of Music. </p> <p>“Bathurst's Carillon Theatrical Society (for which my dad's cousin, the late, great, Carole Eastment, was choreographer) afforded us the opportunity to be part of full-scale classic musical productions. I was also fortunate to attend MacKillop College, a local Catholic high school of humble proportions, that had a very passionate and resourceful music teacher, Mr David Eyles. Thanks to him, students like me were able to star in wittily re-written and orchestrated G&amp;S productions. With such a plethora of opportunities at my feet, my love of the stage was pretty much pre-determined.</p> <p>“Upon graduating high school, aged seventeen, I moved to Sydney to take up a place at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where I completed a Bachelor of Music and a post graduate diploma in opera. At this stage, I wasn't really in love with opera, that came later, when I found myself covering third novice in OA's 2007 production of Suor Angelica.</p> <p>“During the last studio run of the show, mere metres away from me, star soprano Cheryl Barker was singing the final solo notes of the title role: ‘Madonna! Madonna! Salva me! Salva me!’, tears streaming down her face, and the most incredible voice soaring out; I had chills all over my body and in my soul, and I have loved opera ever since.” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>You were based in London for years; how did you find the opera world overseas versus in Australia – in both your studies and performing? </strong></em></p> <p>“I guess the main differences are that the UK scene is a bigger one with more companies and more music schools; a more international one, that students and professionals from around the world flock to, and one with – historically – more financial backing and patronage. However, the scene in the UK has suffered dramatically in the last few years, particularly with the effects of Brexit compounded by COVID, cost-of-living crisis and embarrassingly ignorant cuts made by the Arts Council. </p> <p>“Generally, abroad, there are many more opportunities for musicians, but many, many more musicians competing for them. It is an awe-inspiring thing to meet and work with musical idols like Roger Vignols, Julius Drake, Yvonne Kenny etcetera, to sing a piece of music in the venue in which it premiered or was composed for; to tread the same cobblestones that the likes of Mozart and Handel trod and to delight in the discovery that the shoes or trousers you're wearing in a production bear the name of the likes of Dame Sarah Connolly.” </p> <p>“However, I would say that there is plenty of exciting stuff going on in Australia and an optimism and openness in the Australian people, which is impactful on our industry and its creative output. </p> <p>“More needs to be done in our country to insure all children are given creative learning outlets for the benefit of their development, their communities and for the future of our industry.” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>Why did you return to Sydney and how are you enjoying it? Any future plans to head back overseas? </strong></em></p> <p>“After a health scare in 2022 that forced me to cancel all my work, my husband received a job offer to relocate to Sydney. It felt like the universe was opening a door for us, so we gladly walked through it, and onto a flight to Sydney in mid 2023. I have felt welcomed (back!) with open arms both personally and professionally and I have no imminent plans to return abroad, at this stage.” </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>You’ve appeared in many staged productions as well as concerts. What do you like about these two types of performances? </em></strong></p> <p>“Concert performances are a chance to home in on the music and the words without worrying about physical action. Staged productions afford the performer the luxury of inhabiting and exploring a character, physically, right down to their shoes and petticoats. Both are wonderful ways of working and some works naturally lend themselves to one or the other – though, I think for opera, context is key, and can be a challenge to properly manufacture on the concert platform.” </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>Tell us about your two characters and how do you prepare for performing two roles in different operas in the same season? </em></strong></p> <p>“I've been playing the role of Mistress of Novices in Suor Angelica and am currently preparing the role of Dorabella in Così fan Tutte. One is a senior nun and the other an excitable teenage girl, so they are rather disparate. </p> <p>“The big challenge is in the early days of learning and memorising the role. Once you have a grasp of the music, the libretto and who you are, it's about showing up and reacting to your world. Preparing disparate roles concurrently can be a vocal challenge, since tessitura and vocal gesture have a big impact on how one might approach a score. I like to keep in touch, daily, with technical exercises that encourage economy and flexibility in my voice, especially when I'm working on contrasting roles. Thankfully, the human voice is a very sensitive instrument and responds intuitively to intention and emotion, so developing the character arc and subtext helps a lot with that. </p> <p><strong><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </span>What should audiences be watching and/or listening out for Il Trittico versus in Così fan tutte? </em></strong></p> <p>“There's so much to enjoy so let it wash over you in broad, beautiful, very human brushstrokes!! Or, if you love little details, in Il Trittico see if you can spot which singers appear in all three operas and watch out for Frugola's bag of strange objects in Il Tabarro. You'll learn a lot from the body language and small glances between characters in the world of Suor Angelica, and in Gianni Schicchi, well, I am told there is a very interesting door stop!</p> <p>“In Così fan Tutte, listen out for the way Mozart creates subtext for his characters; tiny details, like Dorabella needing to sing a third higher than Fiordiligi (because she is the competitive younger sister!) when emotionally fraught in some of their act one recitatives! Mozart is a genius of musical detail!” </p> <p><em><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">O60: </strong><strong>Do you have any dream roles you’re yet to perform? </strong></em></p> <p>“There are too many to list, but I adore the role of Octavian in der Rosenkavalier by Strauss (a role I have sung, but would love to revisit) and I would love to sing Ariodante by Händel.”</p> <p>---</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px;">Click here for more information on </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;"><a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/il-trittico-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Il Trittico</a> </span><span style="color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, system-ui, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif, Apple Color Emoji, Segoe UI Emoji, Segoe UI Symbol, Noto Color Emoji;">and <a href="https://opera.org.au/productions/cosi-fan-tutte-sydney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Così fan tutte</a>. </span></p>

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"It’s a lot to take in": Carly Findlay reveals cancer diagnosis

<p>Australian writer, speaker and disability advocate Carly Findlay has revealed she has cancer in an emotional post shared on Instagram. </p> <p>"I have cancer. I also had a hysterectomy, and I’ll have early menopause," she began her post. </p> <p>Findlay said she had been taken to hospital the day she returned from an overseas trip, with severe stomach pain and bloating. </p> <p>“Tests showed that I have a large ovarian cyst, also known as an ovarian mass,” she said in an earlier post.</p> <p>The 42-year-old, known for her work as an appearance advocate as she lives with ichthyosis, a genetic disorder that affects her skin and hair said she had been experiencing symptoms for six months before they discovered the cyst. </p> <p>She was required to have a full hysterectomy, which means that she had lost the choice to have children, and may also experience early menopause as a result. </p> <p>"The surgery went well. I seem to be recovering ok, but this is the first time I’ve had this type of surgery so I don’t know what’s normal," she continued in her post. </p> <p>"Unfortunately two types of cancer were detected during surgery." </p> <p>“I’ll find out more about the diagnosis and treatment soon.”</p> <p>She added that: "Everyone around me has been incredibly gentle and kind.</p> <p>"The surgeon who led the surgery held my hand as she told me the news. Nurses are angels and should be paid more." </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/C88-o6kyZOH/?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/C88-o6kyZOH/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Carly Findlay OAM (@carlyfindlay)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The appearance advocate also said that while she suspected it may have been cancer, it was difficult for her to take it all in. </p> <p>“Even though I knew cancer was a possibility, it’s a lot to take in, especially while recovering from major surgery.”</p> <p>Friends and fans have shared their well wishes. </p> <p>"Ah. Lovely Carly. Praise be for the intervention of medicine. Your heart and spirit and those who love you will carry you through this, and you will emerge, as always, with grace and courage. You are a gift. Much love and strength," wrote Kate Langbroek. </p> <p>"Sending you so much love, light and hugs. Thinking of you. You got this.🙏❤️" added Jelena Dokic</p> <p>"Sending you so much love 💕" added one fan. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Taking too many medications can pose health risks. Here’s how to avoid them

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/caroline-sirois-1524891">Caroline Sirois</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-laval-1407">Université Laval</a></em></p> <p>When we see an older family member handling a bulky box of medications sorted by day of the week, we might stop and wonder, is it too much? How do all those pills interact?</p> <p>The fact is, as we get older we are more likely to develop different chronic illnesses that require us to take several different medications. This is known as polypharmacy. The concept applies to people taking five or more medications, but there are all sorts of <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy7030126">definitions with different thresholds</a> (for example, four, 10 or 15 medicines).</p> <p>I’m a pharmacist and pharmacoepidemiologist interested in polypharmacy and its impact on the population. The research I carry out with my team at the Faculty of Pharmacy at Université Laval focuses on the appropriate use of medication by older family members. We have published this <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afac244">study</a> on the perceptions of older adults, family carers and clinicians on the use of medication among persons over 65.</p> <h2>Polypharmacy among older adults</h2> <p>Polypharmacy is very common among older adults. In 2021, a quarter of persons over 65 in Canada were prescribed <a href="https://www.cihi.ca/en/drug-use-among-seniors-in-canada">more than ten different classes of medication</a>. In Québec, persons over 65 used an average of <a href="https://www.inspq.qc.ca/sites/default/files/publications/2679_portrait_polypharmacie_aines_quebecois.pdf">8.7 different drugs in 2016</a>, the latest year available for statistics.</p> <p>Is it a good idea to take so many drugs?</p> <p>According to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/07334648211069553">our study</a>, the vast majority of seniors and family caregivers would be willing to stop taking one or more medications if the doctor said it was possible, even though most are satisfied with their treatments, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afac244">have confidence in their doctors</a> and feel that their doctors are taking care of them to the best of their ability.</p> <p>In the majority of cases, medicine prescribers are helping the person they are treating. Medications have a positive impact on health and are essential in many cases. But while the treatment of individual illnesses is often adequate, the whole package can sometimes become problematic.</p> <h2>The risks of polypharmacy: 5 points to consider</h2> <p>When we evaluate cases of polypharmacy, we find that the quality of treatment is often compromised when many medications are being taken.</p> <ol> <li> <p>Drug interactions: polypharmacy increases the risk of drugs interacting, which can lead to undesirable effects or reduce the effectiveness of treatments.</p> </li> <li> <p>A drug that has a positive effect on one illness may have a negative effect on another: what should you do if someone has both illnesses?</p> </li> <li> <p>The greater the number of drugs taken, the greater the risk of undesirable effects: for adults over 65, for example, there is an increased risk of confusion or falls, which have significant consequences.</p> </li> <li> <p>The more medications a person takes, the more likely they are to take a <a href="https://www.doi.org/10.1093/fampra/cmz060">potentially inappropriate medication</a>. For seniors, these drugs generally carry more risks than benefits. For example, benzodiazepines, medicine for anxiety or sleep, are the <a href="https://www.inspq.qc.ca/sites/default/files/publications/2575_utilisation_medicaments_potentiellement_inappropries_aines.pdf">most frequently used class</a> of medications. We want to reduce their use as much as possible <a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/controlled-illegal-drugs/benzodiazepines.html">to avoid negative impacts</a> such as confusion and increased risk of falls and car accidents, not to mention the risk of dependence and death.</p> </li> <li> <p>Finally, polypharmacy is associated with various adverse health effects, such as an <a href="https://www.doi.org/10.1007/s41999-021-00479-3">increase in frailty, hospital admissions and emergency room visits</a>. However, studies conducted to date have not always succeeded in isolating the effects specific to polypharmacy. As polypharmacy is more common among people with multiple illnesses, these illnesses may also contribute to the observed risks.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Polypharmacy is also a combination of medicines. There are almost as many as there are people. The risks of these different combinations can vary. For example, the risks associated with a combination of five potentially inappropriate drugs would certainly be different from those associated with blood pressure medication and vitamin supplements.</p> <p>Polypharmacy is therefore complex. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12911-021-01583-x">Our studies attempt to use artificial intelligence</a> to manage this complexity and identify combinations associated with negative impacts. There is still a lot to learn about polypharmacy and its impact on health.</p> <h2>3 tips to avoid the risks associated with polypharmacy</h2> <p>What can we do as a patient, or as a caregiver?</p> <ol> <li> <p>Ask questions: when you or someone close to you is prescribed a new treatment, be curious. What are the benefits of the medication? What are the possible side effects? Does this fit in with my treatment goals and values? How long should this treatment last? Are there any circumstances in which discontinuing it should be considered ?</p> </li> <li> <p>Keep your medicines up to date: make sure they are all still useful. Are there still any benefits to taking them? Are there any side effects? Are there any drug interactions? Would another treatment be better? Should the dose be reduced?</p> </li> <li> <p>Think about de-prescribing: this is an increasingly common clinical practice that involves stopping or reducing the dose of an inappropriate drug after consulting a health-care professional. It is a shared decision-making process that involves the patient, their family and health-care professionals. The <a href="https://www.deprescribingnetwork.ca">Canadian Medication Appropriateness and Deprescribing Network</a> is a world leader in this practice. It has compiled a number of tools for patients and clinicians. You can find them on their website and subscribe to the newsletter.</p> </li> </ol> <h2>Benefits should outweigh the risks</h2> <p>Medications are very useful for staying healthy. It’s not uncommon for us to have to take more medications as we age, but this shouldn’t be seen as a foregone conclusion.</p> <p>Every medication we take must have direct or future benefits that outweigh the risks associated with them. As with many other issues, when it comes to polypharmacy, the saying, “everything in moderation,” frequently applies.<!-- 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/230612/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/caroline-sirois-1524891">Caroline Sirois</a>, Professor in Pharmacy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-laval-1407">Université Laval</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/taking-too-many-medications-can-pose-health-risks-heres-how-to-avoid-them-230612">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Revolutionary diabetes detection via smartphone: A game-changer in healthcare

<p>In a groundbreaking advancement, scientists from <a href="https://www.klick.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Klick Labs</a> have discovered a method that could revolutionise diabetes detection – using just a 10-second smartphone voice recording.</p> <p>No more travelling to clinics or waiting anxiously for blood test results. This new approach promises immediate, on-the-spot results, potentially transforming how we diagnose type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>The study, published in <a href="https://www.mcpdigitalhealth.org/article/S2949-7612(23)00073-1/fulltext" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Digital Health</a>, involved 267 participants, including 192 non-diabetic and 75 type 2 diabetic individuals. Each participant recorded a specific phrase on their smartphone multiple times a day over two weeks, resulting in 18,465 recordings.</p> <p>These recordings, lasting between six and 10 seconds each, were meticulously analysed for 14 acoustic features, such as pitch and intensity. Remarkably, these features exhibited consistent differences between diabetic and non-diabetic individuals, differences too subtle for the human ear but detectable by sophisticated signal processing software.</p> <p>Building on this discovery, the scientists developed an AI-based program to analyse the voice recordings alongside patient data like age, sex, height and weight. The results were impressive: the program accurately identified type 2 diabetes in women 89% of the time and in men 86% of the time.</p> <p>These figures are competitive with traditional methods, where fasting blood glucose tests show 85% accuracy and other methods, like glycated haemoglobin and oral glucose tolerance tests, range between 91% and 92%.</p> <p>"This technology has the potential to remove barriers entirely," said Jaycee Kaufman, a research scientist at Klick Labs and the study's lead author. Traditional diabetes detection methods can be time-consuming, costly and inconvenient, but voice technology could change all that, providing a faster, more accessible solution.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Looking ahead, the team plans to conduct further tests on a larger, more diverse population to refine and validate this innovative approach. If successful, this could mark a significant leap forward in diabetes management and overall healthcare, making early detection simpler and more accessible than ever before.</span></p> <p>Stay tuned as this exciting development unfolds, potentially bringing us closer to a future where managing and detecting diabetes is as simple as speaking into your smartphone.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Sam Armytage in hospital for major surgery

<p>Former <em>Sunrise </em>host Samantha Armytage has undergone major hip replacement surgery following a severe case of osteoarthritis. The 47-year-old TV personality shared her journey on Instagram on Tuesday, posting photos from St Vincent's Private Hospital in Sydney.</p> <p>Armytage revealed in a detailed caption that she had been struggling with osteoarthritis after tearing the cartilage in her right hip. This condition, a degenerative joint disease, causes the tissues in the joint to break down over time and is more prevalent among older individuals.</p> <p>Reflecting on her experience, the host of <em>The Farmer Wants a Wife</em> explained that the hip replacement was necessary to address the bone-on-bone friction and the severe osteoarthritis. Despite the challenges, she reassured her followers that her recovery is progressing well.</p> <p>"Hip, hip hooray. New hip, new me, no worries," she wrote. "A few weeks ago, I had a total hip replacement. After a very active, outdoorsy childhood (& a skiing accident 30 years ago), I'd torn all the cartilage out of my right hip. It was bone-on-bone & then became full of severe osteoarthritis. I'm so proud of how strong my body is & how well I've healed. I'm now truly bionic...& my nearest & dearest are pleased to not have to watch me limp around in pain anymore."</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/C85u8pqPlGS/?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/C85u8pqPlGS/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Samantha Armytage (@sam_armytage)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Armytage extended her gratitude to the medical staff and her loved ones, adding a touch of humour by sharing a photo of herself with a bit of Endone, a pain relief medication. She also praised her surgeon, Dr Michael Solomon, highlighting that hip replacements are common in Australia, with approximately 54,000 performed each year.</p> <p>Her post quickly garnered support from friends and fans alike. Presenter Kylie Gillies suggested a celebratory purchase, writing, "I think this deserves a new pair of Jimmy Choos …just to kick up those old heels and new hip! Glad to hear it’s gone well x" Meanwhile, singer Ricki-Lee Coulter expressed her encouragement, saying, "You’ll be dancing in no time. Sending you love xxx"</p> <p>Fans also chimed in with well wishes and supportive messages. One commented, "Good luck with the recovery and welcome to the Hip New Hip Gals Club," while another noted, "Oh a bit young for that Sam. Good luck on your recovery."</p> <p>Recovery from hip replacement surgery can be a lengthy process, often requiring dedicated physiotherapy. However, with her positive outlook and the support of her community, Samantha Armytage is well on her way to a full recovery.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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How often should you really weigh yourself?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-fuller-219993">Nick Fuller</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Few topics are more debated in health than the value of the humble bathroom scale. Some experts advocate daily self-weigh-ins to promote accountability for weight management, particularly when we’re following a diet and exercise program to lose weight.</p> <p>Others suggest ditching self-weigh-ins altogether, arguing they can trigger negative <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13679-015-0142-2">psychological responses and unhealthy behaviours</a> when we don’t like, or understand, the number we see on the scale.</p> <p>Many, like me, recommend using scales to weigh yourself weekly, even when we’re not trying to lose weight. Here’s why.</p> <h2>1. Weighing weekly helps you manage your weight</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2588640/?tool=pmcentrez&amp;report=abstract">Research</a> confirms regular self-weighing is an effective weight loss and management strategy, primarily because it helps increase awareness of our current weight and any changes.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2588640/?tool=pmcentrez&amp;report=abstract">systematic review of 12 studies</a> found participants who weighed themselves weekly or daily over several months lost 1–3 BMI (body mass index) units more and regained less weight than participants who didn’t weight themselves frequently. The weight-loss benefit was evident with weekly weighing; there was no added benefit with daily weighing.</p> <p>Self-weigh-ins are an essential tool for weight management as we age. Adults <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23638485/">tend to gain weight</a> progressively <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8363190/">through middle age</a>. While the average weight gain is typically between <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938414001528">0.5–1kg per year</a>, this modest accumulation of weight can lead to obesity over time. Weekly weighing and keeping track of the results helps avoid unnecessary weight gain.</p> <p>Tracking our weight can also help identify medical issues early. Dramatic changes in weight can be an early sign of some conditions, including problems with our thyroid, digestion and diabetes.</p> <h2>2. Weekly weighing accounts for normal fluctuations</h2> <p>Our body weight can fluctuate within a single day and across the days of the week. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7192384/">Studies</a> show body weight fluctuates by 0.35% within the week and it’s typically higher after the weekend.</p> <p>Daily and day-to-day body weight fluctuations have several causes, many linked to our body’s water content. The more common causes include:</p> <p><strong>The type of food we’ve consumed</strong></p> <p>When we’ve eaten a dinner higher in carbohydrates, we’ll weigh more the next day. This change is a result of our bodies temporarily carrying more water. We <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25911631/">retain 3–4 grams of water</a> per gram of carbohydrate consumed to store the energy we take from carbs.</p> <p>Our water content also increases when we consume <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK50952/">foods higher in salt</a>. Our bodies try to maintain a balance of sodium and water. When the concentration of salt in our bloodstream increases, a mechanism is triggered to restore balance by retaining water to dilute the excess salt.</p> <p><strong>Our food intake</strong></p> <p>Whether it’s 30 grams of nuts or 65 grams of lean meat, everything we eat and drink has weight, which increases our body weight temporarily while we digest and metabolise what we’ve consumed.</p> <p>Our weight also tends to be lower first thing in the morning after our food intake has been restricted overnight and higher in the evening after our daily intake of food and drinks.</p> <p><strong>Exercise</strong></p> <p>If we weigh ourselves at the gym after a workout, there’s a good chance we’ll weigh less due to sweat-induced fluid loss. The amount of water lost varies depending on things like our workout intensity and duration, the temperature and humidity, along with our sweat rate and hydration level. On average, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4993146/">we lose 1 litre of sweat</a> during an hour of <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00421168">moderate-intensity exercise</a>.</p> <p><strong>Hormonal changes</strong></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/from-energy-levels-to-metabolism-understanding-your-menstrual-cycle-can-be-key-to-achieving-exercise-goals-131561">Fluctuations in hormones</a> within your menstrual cycle can also affect fluid balance. Women may experience <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3154522/">fluid retention</a> and temporarily gain 0.5–2kg of weight at this time. Specifically, the luteal phase, which represents the second half of a woman’s cycle, results in a shift of fluid from your blood plasma to your cells, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3154522/">bloating</a>.</p> <p><strong>Bowel movements</strong></p> <p>Going to the bathroom can lead to small but immediate weight loss as waste is eliminated from the body. While the amount lost will vary, we generally eliminate <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1333426/">around 100 grams of weight</a> through our daily bowel movements.</p> <p>All of these fluctuations are normal, and they’re not indicative of significant changes in our body fat or muscle mass. However, seeing these fluctuations can lead to unnecessary stress and a fixation with our weight.</p> <h2>3. Weekly weighing avoids scale obsession and weight-loss sabotage</h2> <p>Weighing too frequently can create an obsession with the number on the scales and do more harm than good.</p> <p>Often, our reaction when we see this number not moving in the direction we want or expect is to further restrict our food intake or embark on fad dieting. Along with not being enjoyable or sustainable, fad diets also ultimately increase our weight gain rather than reversing it.</p> <p>This was confirmed in a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21829159/">long-term study</a> comparing intentional weight loss among more than 4,000 twins. The researchers found the likelihood of becoming overweight by the age of 25 was significantly greater for a twin who dieted to lose 5kg or more. This suggests frequent dieting makes us more susceptible to weight gain and prone to future weight gain.</p> <h2>So what should you do?</h2> <p>Weighing ourselves weekly gives a more accurate measure of our weight trends over time.</p> <p>Aim to weigh yourself on the same day, at the same time and in the same environment each week – for example, first thing every Friday morning when you’re getting ready to take a shower, after you’ve gone to the bathroom, but before you’ve drunk or eaten anything.</p> <p>Use the best quality scales you can afford. Change the batteries regularly and check their accuracy by using a “known” weight – for example, a 10kg weight plate. Place the “known” weight on the scale and check the measurement aligns with the “known” weight.</p> <p>Remember, the number on the scale is just one part of health and weight management. Focusing solely on it can overshadow other indicators, such as <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-you-be-overweight-and-healthy-182219">how your clothes fit</a>. It’s also essential to pay equal attention to how we’re feeling, physically and emotionally.</p> <p>Stop weighing yourself – at any time interval – if it’s triggering anxiety or stress, and get in touch with a health-care professional to discuss this.</p> <hr /> <p><em>At the Boden Group, Charles Perkins Centre, we are studying the science of obesity and running clinical trials for weight loss. You can <a href="https://redcap.sydney.edu.au/surveys/?s=RKTXPPPHKY">register here</a> to express your interest.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223864/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/nick-fuller-219993">Nick Fuller</a>, Charles Perkins Centre Research Program Leader, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-often-should-you-really-weigh-yourself-223864">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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We finally know why some people got COVID while others didn’t

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marko-nikolic-1543289">Marko Nikolic</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kaylee-worlock-1543639">Kaylee Worlock</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a></em></p> <p>Throughout the pandemic, one of the key questions on everyone’s mind was why some people avoided getting COVID, while others caught the virus multiple times.</p> <p>Through a collaboration between University College London, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Imperial College London in the UK, we set out to answer this question using the world’s first controlled <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01780-9">“challenge trial” for COVID</a> – where volunteers were deliberately exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, so that it could be studied in great detail.</p> <p>Unvaccinated healthy volunteers with no prior history of COVID were exposed – via a nasal spray – to an extremely low dose of the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. The volunteers were then closely monitored in a quarantine unit, with regular tests and samples taken to study their response to the virus in a highly controlled and safe environment.</p> <p>For our <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-024-07575-x">recent study</a>, published in Nature, we collected samples from tissue located midway between the nose and the throat as well as blood samples from 16 volunteers. These samples were taken before the participants were exposed to the virus, to give us a baseline measurement, and afterwards at regular intervals.</p> <p>The samples were then processed and analysed using single-cell sequencing technology, which allowed us to extract and sequence the genetic material of individual cells. Using this cutting-edge technology, we could track the evolution of the disease in unprecedented detail, from pre-infection to recovery.</p> <p>To our surprise, we found that, despite all the volunteers being carefully exposed to the exact same dose of the virus in the same manner, not everyone ended up testing positive for COVID.</p> <p>In fact, we were able to divide the volunteers into three distinct infection groups (see illustration). Six out of the 16 volunteers developed typical mild COVID, testing positive for several days with cold-like symptoms. We referred to this group as the “sustained infection group”.</p> <p>Out of the ten volunteers who did not develop a sustained infection, suggesting that they were able to fight off the virus early on, three went on to develop an “intermediate” infection with intermittent single positive viral tests and limited symptoms. We called them the “transient infection group”.</p> <p>The final seven volunteers remained negative on testing and did not develop any symptoms. This was the “abortive infection group”. This is the first confirmation of abortive infections, which were previously <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04186-8">unproven</a>. Despite differences in infection outcomes, participants in all groups shared some specific novel immune responses, including in those whose immune systems prevented the infection.</p> <p>When we compared the timings of the cellular response between the three infection groups, we saw distinct patterns. For example, in the transiently infected volunteers where the virus was only briefly detected, we saw a strong and immediate accumulation of immune cells in the nose one day after infection.</p> <p>This contrasted with the sustained infection group, where a more delayed response was seen, starting five days after infection and potentially enabling the virus to take hold in these volunteers.</p> <p>In these people, we were able to identify cells stimulated by a key antiviral defence response in both the nose and the blood. This response, called the “interferon” response, is one of the ways our bodies signal to our immune system to help fight off viruses and other infections. We were surprised to find that this response was detected in the blood before it was detected in the nose, suggesting that the immune response spreads from the nose very quickly.</p> <h2>Protective gene</h2> <p>Lastly, we identified a specific gene called HLA-DQA2, which was expressed (activated to produce a protein) at a much higher level in the volunteers who did not go on to develop a sustained infection and could hence be used as a marker of protection. Therefore, we might be able to use this information and identify those who are probably going to be protected from severe COVID.</p> <p>These findings help us fill in some gaps in our knowledge, painting a much more detailed picture regarding how our bodies react to a new virus, particularly in the first couple of days of an infection, which is crucial.</p> <p>We can use this information to compare our data to other data we are currently generating, specifically where we are “challenging” volunteers to other viruses and more recent strains of COVID. In contrast to our current study, these will mostly include volunteers who have been vaccinated or naturally infected – that is, people who already have immunity.</p> <p>Our study has significant implications for future treatments and vaccine development. By comparing our data to volunteers who have never been exposed to the virus with those who already have immunity, we may be able to identify new ways of inducing protection, while also helping the development of more effective vaccines for future pandemics. In essence, our research is a step towards better preparedness for the next pandemic.<!-- 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/233063/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/marko-nikolic-1543289">Marko Nikolic</a>, Principal Research Fellow/Honorary consultant Respiratory Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kaylee-worlock-1543639">Kaylee Worlock</a>, Postdoc Research Fellow, Molecular and Cellular Biology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</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/we-finally-know-why-some-people-got-covid-while-others-didnt-233063">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Worst nightmare": Teen dies one day after flu diagnosis

<p>William Jones was complaining of a sore throat and cough last month and when his mum called the doctor, they were told that it was most likely the flu. </p> <p>However, the following morning when Rebecca Rollason went to check on her 16-year-old son, he was found unresponsive in his bed in their Wellington home. </p> <p>"We ask ourselves how what started as a sore throat, snotty nose and a cough on Tuesday to no longer with us three days later,"  the grieving mum told the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>"No one understands, we don't know what happened... it feels like the worst nightmare that we cannot wake from."</p> <p>Rollason explained that her family have to "wait for results" in hopes of understanding what happened and how the teenager, who was barely sick, passed away so suddenly. </p> <p>"We just don’t understand how this can happen to a boy who was barely ever sick and was very healthy," she said.</p> <p> "It is an incredibly hard and devastating time for us."</p> <p>A family friend has helped set up a <a href="https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/rebecca-lost-her-son-william-last-friday" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fundraising page</a> to help relieve the financial pressure on her and William's two brothers while they grieve. </p> <p>"It is every parents worst nightmare and a shocking tragedy to lose a healthy child from a sudden and brief illness," a statement from the fundraising page read. </p> <p>"The money will help the family with funeral costs and ease Financial burden while they grieve and come to terms with Williams passing." </p> <p>On July 1 they shared an update on the fundraising page, saying: "Rebecca and family would like all to know that are incredibly grateful for all the support and kindness." </p> <p><em>Image: Givealittle </em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Hollywood star's heartbreaking health update

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

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Is social media making you unhappy? The answer is not so simple

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/melissa-humphries-584274">Melissa Humphries</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lewis-mitchell-266859">Lewis Mitchell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>You may have seen headlines that link social media to sadness and depression. Social media use goes up, happiness goes down. But recent studies suggest those findings might not be so straightforward.</p> <p>Although it is true that people’s feelings of envy and depression are linked to high social media use, there is evidence to suggest social media use may not be <em>causing</em> that relationship. Instead, your mindset may be the biggest thing affecting how social media connects to your wellbeing.</p> <p>People who feel they are able to use social media, rather than social media “using them”, tend to gain more benefits from their online interactions.</p> <h2>Why do people use social media?</h2> <p>Social media covers a broad range of platforms: social networking, discussion forums, bookmarking and sharing content, disseminating news, exchanging media like photos and videos, and microblogging. These appeal to a wide range of users, from individuals of all ages through to massive businesses.</p> <p>For some, social media is a way to connect with people we may not otherwise see. In the United States, 39% of people say they <a href="https://www.americansurveycenter.org/research/the-state-of-american-friendship-change-challenges-and-loss">are friends with people they only interact with online</a>.</p> <p>For older people, this is especially important for increasing feelings of connectedness and wellbeing. Interestingly though, for older people, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563223004545">social media contact with family does not increase happiness</a>. Meanwhile, younger adults report <em>increased</em> happiness when they have more social media contact with family members.</p> <p>Teens, in particular, find social media most useful for <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2022/11/16/connection-creativity-and-drama-teen-life-on-social-media-in-2022/">deepening connections and building their social networks</a>.</p> <p>With social media clearly playing such an important role in society, many researchers have tried to figure out: does it make us happier or not?</p> <h2>Does social media make us happier?</h2> <p>Studies have taken a variety of approaches, including asking people directly through surveys or looking at the content people post and seeing how positive or negative it is.</p> <p>One survey study from 2023 showed that as individuals’ social media use increased, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/372582895_The_Relationship_Between_Social_Media_Addiction_Happiness_and_Life_Satisfaction_in_Adults_Analysis_with_Machine_Learning_Approach">life satisfaction and happiness decreased</a>. Another found that <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0144929X.2023.2286529">less time on social media</a> was related to increases in work satisfaction, work engagement and positive mental health – so improved mental health and motivation at work.</p> <p>Comparing yourself to others on social media is connected to feelings of envy and depression. However, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9955439/">there is evidence</a> to suggest depression is the predictor, rather than the outcome, of both social comparison and envy.</p> <p>All this shows <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jcmc/article/29/1/zmad048/7612379?login=false">the way you <em>feel</em> about social media matters</a>. People who see themselves using social media rather than “being used” by it, tend to gain benefits from social media and not experience the harms.</p> <p>Interviews with young people (15–24 years) using social media suggest that positive mental health among that age group was influenced by <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8933808/">three features</a>:</p> <ul> <li>connection with friends and their global community</li> <li>engagement with social media content</li> <li>the value of social media as an outlet for expression.</li> </ul> <p>There are also studies that look at the emotions expressed by more frequent social media users.</p> <p>The so-called “<a href="https://epjdatascience.springeropen.com/articles/10.1140/epjds/s13688-017-0100-1">happiness paradox</a>” shows that most people think their friends on social media appear happier than themselves. This is a <a href="https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3110025.3110027">seeming impossibility</a> that arises because of <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/srep04603">the mathematical properties</a> of how friendship networks work on social media.</p> <p>In one of our studies, Twitter content with recorded locations showed residents of cities in the United States that <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064417.g007">tweeted more tended to express less happiness</a>.</p> <p>On the other hand, in Instagram direct messages, happiness has been found to be <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/20563051241229655">four times more prevalent than sadness</a>.</p> <h2>How does internet use in general affect our wellbeing?</h2> <p>Some of the factors associated with decreased mental health are not aligned with social media use alone.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0963721419838244">One recent study</a> shows that the path to decreased wellbeing is, at least partially, connected to digital media use overall (rather than social media use specifically). This can be due to sleep disruption, reduced face-to-face social interaction or physical activity, social comparison, and cyberbullying. None of these exist for social media alone.</p> <p>However, social media platforms are known to be driven by recommendation algorithms that may send us down “rabbit holes” of the same type of (increasingly extreme) content. This can lead to a distorted view of the world and our place in it. The important point here is to maintain a diverse and balanced information diet online.</p> <p>Interestingly, interacting on social media is not the only thing affecting our mental state. <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0090315">Rainfall influnces</a> the emotional content of social media posts of both the user experiencing rain, and parts of their extended network (even if they don’t experience rain!).</p> <p>This suggests that how we feel is influenced by the emotions in the posts we see. The good news is that happy posts are the most influential, with each happy post encouraging close to two additional happy updates from a user’s friends.</p> <p>The secret to online happiness therefore may not be to “delete your account” entirely (which, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-018-0510-5">as we have found</a>, may not even be effective), but to be mindful about what you consume online. And if you feel like social media is starting to use you, it might be time to change it up a bit.<!-- 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/232490/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/melissa-humphries-584274">Melissa Humphries</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lewis-mitchell-266859">Lewis Mitchell</a>, Professor of Data Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</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/is-social-media-making-you-unhappy-the-answer-is-not-so-simple-232490">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Meet the 65-year-old bodybuilder committed to defying stereotypes

<div title="Page 1"> <div> <div> <div title="Page 1"> <div> <div> <div> <div title="Page 1"> <div> <div> <div title="Page 1"> <div> <div> <p>The adage that "age is just a number" could have been written for Jan Herdman, 65. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Jan has well and truly shattered the age stereotypes into smithereens by dominating the bodybuilding champions and winning 'Mrs Supranational Australia'. </p> <p>Jan Herdman is not your average 65-year-old. Jan is in fact: 65 years young, she's breaking barriers, shattering stereotypes, and proving that age is merely a number.</p> <p>In a remarkable display of strength, determination, and sheer grit, Jan has just received 1st place in the ICN Australia Bodybuilding Championship (awarded on May 4th 2024) in the over 60s category, along with securing 2nd place in the over 40s category and 3rd place in the ‘Novice Figures’ category.</p> <p>Jan’s triumphs don't end there; she also seized the prestigious title of ‘Mrs Supranational’ in the ‘Mrs of Australia Pageant’, held in Sydney in April 2024.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Jan's journey is not just about winning titles; it's about inspiring others to redefine their perceptions of aging. Embarking on her strength training journey to support others, and herself, in defeating age-related illnesses, Jan exemplifies the essence of ageing gracefully and living a fulfilling life at any age.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>"I refuse to let age define me," says Jan Herdman. "Every day is an opportunity to challenge myself, push my limits, and inspire others to realise their full potential. Age should never be a barrier to pursuing your dreams."</p> <p>Jan's story is a testament to resilience, perseverance, and the power of the human spirit. Her relentless pursuit of excellence serves as a beacon of inspiration to women and men worldwide, encouraging them to embrace life's challenges with courage and tenacity.</p> <p>Jan actively leans into her credo; Having been through her own chronic health challenges and needing to restart life out on her own, Jan Herdman has become a powerhouse of inspiration and transformation to her fast-growing community.</p> <p>Jan watched her mother become frail and incapable of taking care of herself, and that set Jan off on a mission to change the trajectory of her own future and turn her health and life around. Jan’s story is one of total transformation in all aspects of her life.</p> <p>Jan is now a sought-after commentator on living a life with vitality at any age. Jan is an advocate for strength training as the starting point for a total life transformation to prevent age-related illnesses and mobility issues.</p> <p>Through popular demand Jan has created her own program coined The Ageless MethodTM which captures her proven model of transformation, for all levels at any age.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="page" title="Page 2"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>The 12 Week ‘Transformer Program’ has just kicked off on 19th June 2024, and will recommence on 11 September 2024.</p> <p>The 6 Week ‘Kickstarter Program’ starts on 2 July 2024, then 10 September 2024, then 29 October 2024.</p> <p>Jan also offers on demand 1:1 coaching, as needed. More info here across all offerings here: <a href="https://www.ageless-transformations.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ageless-transformations.com</a></p> <p><em>Image credits: Supplied</em></p> <pre> </pre> </div> </div> </div>

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Nat Barr shares scary cancer diagnosis

<p>Sunrise co-host Nat Barr has shared a recent personal health scare that underscores the importance of regular skin checks.</p> <p>Barr disclosed that doctors diagnosed her with skin cancer after a persistent “pimple” on her nose prompted her to seek medical advice.</p> <p>On Tuesday's <em>Sunrise </em>program, Barr detailed her experience, explaining how a seemingly innocuous blemish led to an unexpected and concerning diagnosis. “I’ve had this pimple on my nose, it’s been about three weeks. It keeps going up, down, up, down, won’t go away,” Barr shared. This irregularity convinced her to consult a dermatologist, who used advanced AI technology along with a Spectrascope to examine the lesion.</p> <p>The specialist diagnosed the 3mm lesion as cancerous, with Barr receiving a score of 7.4 on the test, where any score above seven is indicative of cancer. “That was so tiny, it was just a tiny little red thing,” Barr said, showing just how easily such a small detail could be overlooked.</p> <p>The dermatologist’s use of AI to analyse photos of Barr’s entire body further highlighted the cutting-edge methods now available in skin cancer detection. This technology can compare images over time to identify changes more accurately than the human eye, providing a powerful tool in early diagnosis and treatment.</p> <p>Following the diagnosis, Barr was prescribed an anti-cancer cream to treat the lesion and also underwent red light therapy, a treatment that selectively targets and kills cancer cells.</p> <p>Reflecting on her experience, Barr expressed how this health scare made her more aware of the importance of regular skin checks. “It’s just a good reminder for everyone," she urged, "remember to get your skin checked regularly."</p> <p>Despite the scare, Barr reassured her fans about her health. “The outlook for my health is fine,” she confirmed, noting that her next appointment is scheduled for Friday. In the meantime, she mentioned that the lesion is currently concealed with make-up. “I do the same process this Friday, and then it gets all crusty, and then it will be fine,” she added.</p> <p>Skin cancer, often underestimated, can start as something as small as a persistent pimple or a red spot. Early detection and treatment are vital, and advancements in technology now offer more precise and early diagnoses, potentially saving lives.</p> <p><em>Images: Sunrise</em></p>

Caring

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I watched some 40 films at this year’s Sydney Film Festival. Here are my top five picks – and one hilarious flop

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ari-mattes-97857">Ari Mattes</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-notre-dame-australia-852">University of Notre Dame Australia</a></em></p> <p>This year’s <a href="https://www.sff.org.au/">Sydney Film Festival’s</a> rich offerings of films more than compensated for the minor technical issues that led to some screenings being interrupted.</p> <p>Out of the 40-odd films I saw, here are my top five, along with some notable mentions and three disappointments (including a genuine <em>dud</em>).</p> <h2>1. The Girl with the Needle</h2> <p>Cowritten and directed by Swedish filmmaker Magnus von Horn, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Girl_with_the_Needle">The Girl with the Needle</a> is loosely based on the story of notorious early-20th century serial killer Dagmar Overbye.</p> <p>But this is no procedural true crime film, painstakingly attempting to recreate crimes with historical accuracy. It’s a stylish Danish nightmare dazzling with cinematic acrobatics right from the opening sequence, in which black and white faces hideously morph, looking at the viewer like deranged figures from a hellish circus. It is, indeed, one of the most terrifying films I’ve seen.</p> <p>The narrative follows the struggles of new mother Karoline (Vic Carmen Sonne) as she gives her baby to Dagmar’s informal adoption agency and begins working with her as a wet nurse, unaware of what’s really going on.</p> <p>Sonne is as self-assured as ever – and none of the actors put a foot wrong here. Seasoned Danish film star Trine Dyrholm is exceptional in bringing nuance to what could have become a caricaturishly evil role as Dagmar. And Besir Zeciri endows Peter, a war-wounded veteran who can only find employment in a circus freakshow, with an unexpected warmth and tenderness.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VlyW-z1xbO4?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The Girl with the Needle features some of the most distressing sequences one could find in a commercial film. Its meticulously rendered shades of German expressionism never distract from its smorgasbord of horrors, offering an almost unbearably bleak vision of the world in the aftermath of the Great War. If only all films were this good!</p> <h2>2. Dying</h2> <p>I’d normally suppress a yawn if you told me I had to sit through a three-hour social realist drama about the everyday difficulties of a bourgeois German conductor and his family. Yet writer-director Matthias Glasner’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_(2024_film)">Dying</a> is a near perfect film (no surprise it won <a href="https://www.screendaily.com/news/matthias-glasners-dying-wins-german-lola-for-best-film/5193046.article">four prizes</a> at the German Film Awards).</p> <p>The film is complex and engrossing – deeply sad in places and hysterical in others – formally controlled, but underpinned by an anarchic sensibility. It is life-affirming without any skerrick of sentimentality.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kagVqEfPxFw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Lars Eidinger is astonishingly good as maestro Tom, who is trying to keep his career on track as his family life crumbles around him. He is matched by Lilith Stangenberg, mesmerising as his unhinged sister Ellen. Robert Gwisdek is equally exceptional as the highly strung composer and friend Bernard, while Corinna Harfouch anchors the film’s first section as Tom’s far from maternal mother, Lissy.</p> <p>At one point, Ingmar Bergman’s 1982 period film <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanny_and_Alexander">Fanny and Alexander</a> is playing on the TV (Tom watches it every Christmas). Even though Dying feels like a contemporary film committed to interrogating the difficulties of being in the modern world, there’s something of late Bergman here as it unfolds across its epic length.</p> <p>It is a three-hour film about middle-class life, but like a great 19th-century novel, it never feels long. The fact that nothing particularly extraordinary happens is testament to how well-made the film is.</p> <h2>3. Kill</h2> <p>Director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s Indian action film <a href="https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/kill_2023_2">Kill</a> is cheesy, sentimental and at first seems remarkably silly.</p> <p>Commando Amrit, played by beefy TV star Lakshya, is travelling to New Delhi by train with his buddy, fellow commando Viresh (Abhishek Chauhan). His true love Tulika (Tanya Maniktala) is also on board and has recently become engaged to another man through an arrangement by her wealthy father, Baldev Singh Thakur (Harsh Chhaya), who happens to own the train company. When a group of 30-plus bandits led by the charming but ice-cold Fani (Raghav Juyal) move to rob the train, Amrit must defend Tulika, her family and the rest of the passengers.</p> <p>When the title card appears 40 minutes into the film, suddenly emblazoned on the screen, it seems like a distracting quirk at first. But it begins to make sense as the train rolls on. All of the violence and bone-crushing action of the first section is mere preamble, leading to a point of transition from an extremely violent but fun action film, to a much darker – and bloodier – revenge film.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/da7lKeeS67c?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Kill is an exceptionally well-wrought genre film. The kinetic and balletic action recalls the golden era of Hong Kong action cinema, but with hammers, daggers and sickles instead of guns and the frenetic staging of hand-to-hand combat instead of poetic slow-motion footage. It is also a great example of a film being more than the sum of its parts. No element is perfect, yet they come together to transcend these limitations, its flow reaching sublime levels by the end.</p> <p>There’s also an undercurrent of sadness throughout. We see an India of haves and have-nots, of families of bandits struggling to survive and of the supreme violence sustaining the social and political order. As Fani says to Amrit near the end: “Who kills like this? I killed four of your people. You finished off 40 of my family. You’re not a protector. You’re a monster. A fucking monster.” The title says it all.</p> <h2>4. Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story</h2> <p>Biographical films about celebrities inevitably feel gossipy. Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super/Man:_The_Christopher_Reeve_Story">Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story</a> is no exception. But it is so well made (and well-resourced, one would imagine, as it’s produced by DC) that it moves beyond its tabloid-like qualities.</p> <p>Interviews with Reeve’s friends and colleagues, including Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close and Jeff Daniels, are interspersed with home footage shot by Reeve and his family throughout his career and during his recovery from the near-fatal riding accident that left him paralysed and breathing through a respirator for the rest of his life.</p> <p>Reeve’s close friendship with “brother” Robin Williams assumes central importance, with the film implying the two men were so emotionally dependent on each other that Williams would probably still be alive if Reeve hadn’t died in 2004.</p> <p>But the most interesting parts of the film involve carefully assembled archival footage looking at how Reeve’s decision to play Superman negatively impacted his career and personal life. He never starred in another profitable film, and his father and colleagues such as William Hurt loathed his decision to play a comic book character.</p> <p>This is counterpointed with his post-accident career as a director and disability advocate. Interviews with Reeve’s children add a genuinely tragic sense of pathos to this slick, well-made and emotionally exhausting “true Hollywood” story. It’s everything one could want from such a documentary.</p> <h2>5. Kneecap</h2> <p>Cowriter-director Rich Peppiatt’s Kneecap is a riotous, irreverent biopic following the career of Belfast drug-dealers Móglaí Bap and Mo Chara as they team up with high school music teacher DJ Próvai to become the first Irish-language rap group, Kneecap.</p> <p>The real <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-66408560">Kneecappers</a> cowrote the film and play themselves and, given none of them are actors, do so remarkably well. They’re joined by Irish heavyweights Josie Walker, playing the detective who has it in for them, and Michael Fassbender, playing Móglaí’s father, an old-school Irish radical who has been on the run for the past few decades.</p> <p>The film depicts their hedonistic drug use and anarchic disregard for the law in the context of their radical political motivation to speak Irish against the colonial English. And while it may be a bit cartoonish in its presentation of Belfast’s history and the struggle to keep Gaelic alive, it is a music biopic after all.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FFYfp-hKxZQ?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Kneecap is violent, coarse and laced with infectiously good humour – a genuinely fun film, buoyed by its charismatic stars and lively style. Only the most stringent moralist wouldn’t enjoy this one!</p> <h2>Notable mentions</h2> <p>It’s extremely difficult to pick a top five when 15 or so of the films I saw were standouts. And this is testament to the quality of the festival’s selection.</p> <p>It was a pleasure watching heavyweight Sean Penn go head-to-head with Dakota Johnson in writer-director Christy Hall’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daddio_(film)">Daddio</a>, even if the story takes an uninteresting turn in the final third. Despite the banality of the premise – a New York cabbie chats with a passenger – and the inanity of some of the dialogue, this romantic ode to urban life in all its alienated, fluoro-lit techno glory is so well crafted that we happily go along for the ride.</p> <p>Equally affective is the melancholic and beautifully performed <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puan_(film)">Puan</a>, a restrained comedy set in a University faculty in Buenos Aires. Puan could easily make my top five, as could André Téchiné’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_New_Friends_(film)">My New Friends</a>), an offbeat French melodrama starring Isabelle Huppert as a disillusioned police officer who becomes friends with an anti-cop activist in the suburbs.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cnz-6h60tkk?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>Poor performers</h2> <p>Of the lot, I only found three films disappointing.</p> <p>The first, Among the Wolves, is a Belgian-French documentary in which a photographer and illustrator lie waiting in a tiny, makeshift building to encounter wild wolves. While some of the footage is striking, the film is let down by its scientific inaccuracy, such as references to the “alpha male” wolf – a term and concept that has <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/the-myth-of-the-alpha-wolf">long been discredited</a>. Such innacuracy is a cardinal sin for a documentary, which is supposed to inform the viewer.</p> <p>Though critically acclaimed, Hollywood horror film The Substance – a story of an ageing entertainer who turns to a mysterious substance to stay young (with unsurprisingly horrific ramifications) – feels neither new nor particularly interesting. And while it’s great to see Demi Moore and Dennis Quaid back on the big screen, their caricaturish characters make the whole thing seem like a boring joke: an inflated short film that is both irritatingly silly and painfully didactic.</p> <p>But rarely does a film so resolutely reaffirm a sense of the absurd hubris of humans as Francis Ford Coppola’s self-financed mega-flop, Megalopolis. This cartoonish, incoherent mess set in a dystopian version of the United States, “New Rome”, is howlingly bad in places.</p> <p>Imagine the worst parts of The Hunger Games and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064940/">Fellini Satyricon</a> (1969) crossed with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and you begin to get a sense of the kind of self-indulgent, heavy-handed nonsense that is Megalopolis.</p> <p>Side-splittingly funny moments come courtesy of bad dialogue (“Utopias become dystopias,” actor Giancarlo Esposito says at one point with a straight face). And stilted acting by Adam Driver and Aubrey Plaza had the (remaining) audience in stitches. Megalopolis is like one of the great fiascos from days gone by – the 21st century’s Heaven’s Gate – and there is definitely something delightful about the existence of this <a href="https://variety.com/2022/film/news/francis-ford-coppola-funding-120-million-dollars-megalopolis-1235184765/">US$120 million</a> (roughly A$180 million) flop.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1FQzWD5xVKQ?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>But as a dud, Megalopolis is the outlier. And in a year following Barbie, Oppenheimer, Napoleon and Poor Things (talk about heavy-handed cinema), much of the menu of this year’s Sydney Film Festival once again proves there are still good filmmakers out there making good films.<!-- 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/232706/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ari-mattes-97857"><em>Ari Mattes</em></a><em>, Lecturer in Communications and Media, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-notre-dame-australia-852">University of Notre Dame Australia</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/i-watched-some-40-films-at-this-years-sydney-film-festival-here-are-my-top-five-picks-and-one-hilarious-flop-232706">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: IMDB</em></p> </div>

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Why do I poo in the morning? A gut expert explains

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vincent-ho-141549">Vincent Ho</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>No, you’re not imagining it. People really are more likely to poo in the morning, shortly after breakfast. Researchers have actually studied this.</p> <p>But why mornings? What if you tend to poo later in the day? And is it worth training yourself to be a morning pooper?</p> <p>To understand what makes us poo when we do, we need to consider a range of factors including our body clock, gut muscles and what we have for breakfast.</p> <p>Here’s what the science says.</p> <h2>So morning poos are real?</h2> <p>In a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379343/">UK study</a> from the early 1990s, researchers asked nearly 2,000 men and women in Bristol about their bowel habits.</p> <p>The most common time to poo was in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379343/pdf/gut00573-0122.pdf">early morning</a>. The peak time was 7-8am for men and about an hour later for women. The researchers speculated that the earlier time for men was because they woke up earlier for work.</p> <p>About a decade later, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16200717/">a Chinese study</a> found a similar pattern. Some 77% of the almost 2,500 participants said they did a poo in the morning.</p> <h2>But why the morning?</h2> <p>There are a few reasons. The first involves our <a href="https://theconversation.com/circadian-rhythm-nobel-what-they-discovered-and-why-it-matters-85072">circadian rhythm</a> – our 24-hour internal clock that helps regulate bodily processes, such as digestion.</p> <p>For healthy people, our internal clock means the muscular contractions in our colon follow <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19926812/">a distinct rhythm</a>.</p> <p>There’s minimal activity in the night. The deeper and more restful our sleep, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677652">fewer</a> of these muscle contractions we have. It’s one reason why we don’t tend to poo in our sleep.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/597362/original/file-20240530-21-v2gvrq.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=565&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Diagram of digestive system including colon and rectum" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Your lower gut is a muscular tube that contracts more strongly at certain times of day.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/illustration-healthcare-medical-education-drawing-chart-1984316789">Vectomart/Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>But there’s increasing activity during the day. Contractions in our colon are most active in the morning after waking up and after any meal.</p> <p>One particular type of colon contraction partly controlled by our internal clock are known as “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1411356/">mass movements</a>”. These are powerful contractions that push poo down to the rectum to prepare for the poo to be expelled from the body, but don’t always result in a bowel movement. In healthy people, these contractions occur a few times a day. They are more frequent in the morning than in the evening, and after meals.</p> <p>Breakfast is also a trigger for us to poo. When we eat and drink our stomach stretches, which triggers the “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549888/">gastrocolic reflex</a>”. This reflex stimulates the colon to forcefully contract and can lead you to push existing poo in the colon out of the body. We know the gastrocolic reflex is strongest in the morning. So that explains why breakfast can be such a powerful trigger for a bowel motion.</p> <p>Then there’s our morning coffee. This is a very <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2338272/">powerful stimulant</a> of contractions in the sigmoid colon (the last part of the colon before the rectum) and of the rectum itself. This leads to a bowel motion.</p> <h2>How important are morning poos?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1846921/pdf/brmedj02601-0041.pdf">Large international</a> <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20205503/">surveys</a> show the vast majority of people will poo between three times a day and three times a week.</p> <p>This still leaves a lot of people who don’t have regular bowel habits, are regular but poo at different frequencies, or who don’t always poo in the morning.</p> <p>So if you’re healthy, it’s much more important that your bowel habits are comfortable and regular for you. Bowel motions <em>do not</em> have to occur once a day in the morning.</p> <p>Morning poos are also not a good thing for everyone. <a href="https://gut.bmj.com/content/61/Suppl_2/A318.1">Some people</a> with <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-irritable-bowel-syndrome-and-what-can-i-do-about-it-102579">irritable bowel syndrome</a> feel the urgent need to poo in the morning – often several times after getting up, during and after breakfast. This can be quite distressing. It appears this early-morning rush to poo is due to overstimulation of colon contractions in the morning.</p> <h2>Can you train yourself to be regular?</h2> <p>Yes, for example, to help treat constipation using the gastrocolic reflex. Children and elderly people with constipation can use the toilet immediately after eating breakfast <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549888/">to relieve symptoms</a>. And for adults with constipation, drinking coffee regularly can help stimulate the gut, particularly in the morning.</p> <p>A disturbed circadian rhythm can also lead to irregular bowel motions and people more likely to poo in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7147411/">evenings</a>. So better sleep habits can not only help people get a better night’s sleep, it can help them get into a more regular bowel routine.</p> <p>Regular physical activity and avoiding <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2787735/">sitting down a lot</a> are also important in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16028436/">stimulating bowel movements</a>, particularly in people with constipation.</p> <p>We know <a href="https://theconversation.com/nervous-tummy-why-you-might-get-the-runs-before-a-first-date-106925">stress</a> can contribute to irregular bowel habits. So minimising stress and focusing on relaxation <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5193306/">can help</a> bowel habits become more regular.</p> <p>Fibre from fruits and vegetables also <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/665565/">helps</a> make bowel motions more regular.</p> <p>Finally, ensuring <a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-what-causes-constipation-114290">adequate hydration</a> helps minimise the chance of developing constipation, and helps make bowel motions more regular.</p> <h2>Monitoring your bowel habits</h2> <p>Most of us consider pooing in the morning to be regular. But there’s a wide variation in normal so don’t be concerned if your poos don’t follow this pattern. It’s more important your poos are comfortable and regular for you.</p> <p>If there’s a major change in the regularity of your bowel habits that’s concerning you, see your GP. The reason might be as simple as a change in diet or starting a new medication.</p> <p>But sometimes this can signify an important change in the health of your gut. So your GP may need to arrange further investigations, which could include blood tests or imaging.<!-- 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/229624/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/vincent-ho-141549">Vincent Ho</a>, Associate Professor and clinical academic gastroenterologist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney 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/why-do-i-poo-in-the-morning-a-gut-expert-explains-229624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Lucky to be here": Gordon Ramsay reveals brutal injury after bike crash

<p>Gordon Ramsay has been left shaken after a bicycle crash left him in need of trauma surgery. </p> <p>The celebrity chef took to social media on Sunday to tell fans that he had been in an accident while biking in Connecticut US early last week.</p> <p>"This week I had a really bad accident while riding my bike in Connecticut. I'm doing ok and did not break any bones or suffer any major injuries but I am a bit bruised up looking like a purple potato," he wrote in the caption of the one minute-clip. </p> <p>In the video, he said that the accident "shook" him and added" Honestly, I'm lucky to be here.'</p> <p>Ramsay showed the horrific bruise covering his torso and stressed on the importance of wearing a helmet. </p> <p>"Those incredible trauma surgeons, doctors, nurses, who looked after me this week, they were amazing but honestly you've got to wear a helmet," he said.</p> <p>"I don't care how short the journey is, I don't care [about] the fact that these helmets cost money, but they're crucial. Even with the kids, or a short journey."</p> <p>He also shared a before and after photo of his cycling gear, with parts of his helmet broken and his clothing ripped. </p> <p>"Now, I'm lucky to be standing here. I'm in pain, it's been a brutal week, and I'm sort of getting through it," he said. </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/C8PYfVNxxFC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C8PYfVNxxFC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Gordon Ramsay (@gordongram)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The comment section was flooded with messages of support and well-wishes from concerned fans. </p> <p>"I thought it might have been a small crash but my god that bruise says otherwise! Glad you’re doing okay," wrote one fan. </p> <p>"The way my heart sank when you lifted your shirt," added another.</p> <p>"The world needs you chef!! Beyond happy to hear you are going to be okay, and thank God for that helmet! Happy Father's Day and speedy recovery goat!!"</p> <p>"Glad you're ok and hope you heal up quick!" added another. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

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Why your health issues keep flaring up – and how to switch them off

<p><em>Author, </em><em>accredited Clinical Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Coach, Trauma Therapist &amp; PhD Scholar </em><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Filipa Bellette shows us how you can tap into your body's ancient wisdom and finally find relief from chronic health issues by learning to deeply listen, connect, and trust yourself.</em></p> <p>Have you been struggling with chronic health issues for years, maybe even decades? Things like fatigue, anxiety, gut issues, food sensitivities, body pain, headaches, menopausal symptoms (if you’re a woman)? You’ve probably tried everything under the sun - GP visits, lab tests, naturopaths, supplements, diets, even yoga and breath-work - but still those annoying symptoms keep coming back. Sound familiar?</p> <p><strong>My Chronic Health Story</strong></p> <p>I was there once too. I have experienced chronic “weird” health issues three times. I struggled with a mix of anxiety, insomnia, gut issues, low immunity, body pain, female hormone issues, low energy, chemical sensitivity and histamine intolerance.</p> <p>The first time was after my first baby and I resolved some of the issues with lifestyle changes - sleep, movement, wholefoods and low-tox living. It was GREAT, until baby number two came along, and all my symptoms flared back up, even though my lifestyle was dialled in. This is when I came across functional medicine, and I <a href="https://www.chrisandfilly.fm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">became a practitioner</a> and started lab testing my own body systems and therapeutically supporting imbalances in my body with natural medicine supplements.</p> <p>This worked amazing, and I got on top of my symptoms. Until … COVID came along, and I was under a lot of stress, and all the same issues flared up again! I realised I still hadn’t addressed the deepest root-cause of my health issues, and that was the “baggage” stuck in my unconscious mind (dysfunctional unconscious core beliefs, deep-seated perfectionism, people pleasing and addictive-doing patterns, and unprocessed past distressing events), that were dysregulating my nervous system.</p> <p><strong>The Missing Piece In Healthcare</strong></p> <p>What I’ve found in the health industry as a whole, is that we have lost the ability to communicate with our bodies. You go to a GP or medical specialist and they are the expert dictating what tests to do, and what medications you need to be on. I even see this in natural medicine modalities, like <a href="https://www.chrisandfilly.fm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">functional medicine (which I practice)</a>, where the practitioner runs some labs and creates a protocol for the patient. This is great for therapeutic support, and something I do with clients, however, it is still promoting the message that “others know best.”</p> <p>This is simply not true.</p> <p><strong>You Are The Expert of Your Body</strong></p> <p>I wholeheartedly believe that 95% of what you need to heal is already inside of you. Our bodies hold ancient wisdom, and you know inherently what is good for you, and what isn’t. The thing is, society as a whole has lost the ability to listen to and communicate with our bodies.</p> <p>I’m here to change that! In our practice we work with clients to rebuild trust with self, to learn how THEIR body communicates to THEM, and to act on the messages.</p> <p>When you act, magic happens! I have literally seen symptoms “switch off” in the moment when clients listen to their bodies and act accordingly. For example, I spoke at a business women’s conference on the Gold Coast on the weekend, and took attendees through a process to communicate with their unconscious mind through the symptoms in their bodies. One lady stood up at the end and said her chronic headache that had been hanging around for days completely disappeared (she’d even taken 4 pain-killers that morning, which didn’t budge the headache!).</p> <p>Oh my gosh, how cool! I see this again and again for myself and with our clients, how quickly chronic health issues can be resolved when you deeply listen, connect, trust and love yourself.</p> <p>I’ve seen:</p> <ul> <li>Chronic fatigue disappear over months</li> <li>Heartburn clear up in a moment</li> <li>Anxiety ease</li> <li>Chronic pain in the body switch off within days</li> <li>Brain fog lift</li> <li>Food sensitivities dissolve</li> <li>Plus so much more!</li> </ul> <p><strong>It’s Not Woo-Woo – It’s Science</strong></p> <p>If you’re someone who needs the facts, let me tell you this way of holistic healing isn’t just “woo woo” or “magic”. It’s how we’re wired as human beings.</p> <p>For example, let’s look at pain. Pain is not your enemy. As humans we have evolved for safety and survival. Pain is a primitive way our bodies have warned us of danger. You touch fire, you get burned, your brain creates a neural pathway to never touch the fire again because it hurts!</p> <p>The nervous system, too, is so important at sending you messages of safety or danger. It’s always trying to keep us safe and alive. So if it deems something unsafe - this could be your own beliefs about yourself, self-doubt, uncertainty, shame, guilt, frustration, or fears about eating certain foods, smelling perfumes, being around mould, etc – your system gets very good at creating symptoms to alert you of danger, which then leads to chronic health issues.</p> <p>When you can create the space to ask: what is unsafe? What’s the story behind the symptom? And what do you need from me, body, to feel safe and loved and to heal? Then you can finally end your state of dysregulation and body burnout.</p> <p><em>Filipa Bellette, author of Ending Body Burnout ($29.95), is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Coach, Trauma Therapist &amp; PhD Scholar. She is co-founder of multi award-winning health practice Chris &amp; Filly Functional Medicine, best known for ending body burnout (for good!) in “busy” people with energy, mood &amp; gut issues. Find out more at <a href="http://www.chrisandfilly.fm/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.chrisandfilly.fm</a>  </em></p> <p><em>Image: Courtesy of </em><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Filipa Bellette</em></p>

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AFL great's son in induced coma after mystery brain infection

<p>Geelong great Peter Riccardi has revealed his son, Osca, was briefly put on life support after suffering a mystery infection on the brain. </p> <p>Speaking on the podcast Beyond The Boundary, the former AFL player revealed that his son became suddenly ill a fortnight ago. </p> <p>“A couple of Sundays ago (Osca) came home, been out with a few of his mates, he’d been to the beach, went out for dinner, went out to play 10-pin bowling ... and said he was going to bed,” Peter Riccardi said. </p> <p>“Then halfway through the night he was up, he was vomiting, he was feeling a bit crook ... we just thought he was run down.</p> <p>“But come lunchtime, he couldn’t talk, he could hardly walk.”</p> <p>He added that they were extremely lucky his wife Mel worked from home that day and rushed Osca straight to hospital, where they found some "swelling" on his brain following a scan. </p> <p>Doctors also found that he had a sinus and ear infection and glandular fever  all “rolled into one”.</p> <p>“Whether the swim did something with his ears and went into his brain, I’m not 100 per cent sure, yet,” Riccardi said.</p> <p>“They put him an induced coma for three days. He was in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for four days.</p> <p>“But he’s back home now recovering ... you wouldn’t know that two weeks ago, watching him on life support, and seeing him now, it’s amazing what they do in there.”</p> <p>The podcast hosts then asked how scary the situation was for Riccardi and his wife, and he responded: “It was, yeah ... obviously they have got to prepare you for the worst (outcome)."</p> <p>“That was probably the worst thing to hear, because we didn’t know how he was going to come out of it.</p> <p>“But again, like I said, if Mel had gone to work that day, he wouldn’t be here today.</p> <p>“We’re pretty lucky, we’re pretty lucky.</p> <p>“It must have been a mother’s intuition or mother’s instinct to stay at home that day.”</p> <p><em>Image: Facebook/ Geelong Cats</em></p>

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"Do not cry for me": Teacher announces own death

<p>A teacher and mum-of-two who chronicled her breast cancer journey online has announced her own death, through a social media post written before her passing. </p> <p>"If you're reading this, it means I have died," Kate Rackham, 45, shared on her <em>Teacher With Cancer </em>X account. </p> <p>"But do not cry for me. I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to."</p> <p>The mum told her followers that she joined X, formerly Twitter, as she "needed an outlet", but "what I got was so much more". </p> <p>"You made me feel validated in my feelings and much less alone. Thank you."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">If you’re reading this, it means I have died. But do not cry for me. I have lived my life on my own terms, the way I have wanted to. I joined X because I needed an outlet, what I got was so much more. You made me feel validated in my feelings and much less alone. Thank you ❤️</p> <p>— Teacher with Cancer (@kate_rackham) <a href="https://twitter.com/kate_rackham/status/1801137648146243756?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 13, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>The British mum was only 39 when she was diagnosed with  incurable oestrogen-receptive breast cancer and spent the past six years fighting the disease. </p> <p>She began documenting her journey online, and explained that she had no obvious risk factors leading to the disease. </p> <p>Just before her passing, she was admitted into hospital and was told by doctors that "there is nothing more we can do" and that she "needed a bit of time" to process the news. </p> <p>"I'm now home, where I want to be. With Mark and the girls. Surrounded by love, family and friends," she shared at the time. </p> <p>"Everyone is rallying around and I have so much support. Despite everything I feel blessed."</p> <p>Many have shared their condolences, including friends and those who are also battling breast cancer. </p> <p>"When my time comes, I can but hope I display the dignity and strength of character you did. Much love and condolences to your family and friends," one wrote.</p> <p>"I hope you are free from the pain. You still live in your children your husband. Your legacy," another said.</p> <p>"Thank you for sharing your journey with grace and dignity," a third added. </p> <p>"I hope wherever you are you are no longer in pain. Sending love and thoughts to your family."</p> <p>Rackham is survived by her husband Mark and their two daughters Ruby and Nancy. </p> <p><em>Images: X/ Nine</em></p> <p> </p>

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