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"I really thought he would kill me": Erin Molan opens up about abusive relationship

<p><em><strong>Warning: This article contains discussions of domestic violence which some readers may find confronting</strong></em></p> <p>Radio and TV presenter Erin Molan has opened up for the first time about horrific abuse she endured at the hands of an ex-partner. </p> <p>Speaking candidly to the <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/exclusive-interview-erin-molan-opens-up-about-horrific-abuse-she-suffered-from-a-man-she-dated/news-story/d2921145ef5010a413bab6c9a830f3bc" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Sunday Telegraph</em></a>, the 40-year-old presenter recalled many of her "worst" moments with her former boyfriend, sharing how she feared for her life when he became physically abusive. </p> <p>'“He came in drunk and dragged me out of bed and started stamping his foot into my head over and over and over,” she told the publication. </p> <p>“I was lying on the floor screaming and normally if I screamed really loudly he would stop because neighbours would hear. But that time he just kept going and going and it felt like my skull was going to crack open.”</p> <p>She said the relentless physical violence became a pattern of behaviour, and she would regularly be brutally injured. </p> <p>“One time he smashed a bottle over my head,” she says. “Another time I was terrified he’d throw me off a balcony. Once I ran to hide in my car and he got a rubbish bin and started smashing it against the windscreen and I feared I would be killed by glass shattering over me.</p> <p>“Another time he covered my face with a pillow so I couldn’t breathe. I was crying for my mum. I really thought he would kill me.”</p> <p>Molan said she chose not publicly discuss the abuse while her beloved dad, Senator Jim Molan, was alive because she didn’t want to break his heart, but now she wants others to know what she went through.</p> <p>In sharing her heartbreaking story, she also hopes she can give other victims of domestic violence the courage to come forward. </p> <p>“I’m not sharing my story because I want to. My preference would be for this part of my life to never be shared but with every single death I see in this space, a part of me wonders whether I could have made a difference,” she says.</p> <p>“Could my experience have made these beautiful, innocent women feel less alone, less ashamed, less scared and could that have been the tiny thing that may have empowered them to ask for help, the thing that might have helped to save their lives?”</p> <p>Molan added that while it’s confronting for her to speak out, she wants things to change, not just for her generation but for her daughter’s.</p> <p>As she says, “I want to worry about my daughter’s first boyfriend breaking her heart, not her bones.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: for AWAPAC/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Caring

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Missing 3-year-old found dead at Walt Disney World

<p>The body of a young boy has been found after he went missing from a resort near Walt Disney World in Florida on Thursday.</p> <p>Rakim Akbari, 3, was reported missing from the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas at Lake Buena Vista earlier that day, after he had wandered away from the resort that morning. </p> <p>Authorities also said that Rakim had autism. </p> <p>The Orange County Sheriff sent out a missing child alert for the young boy before deputies located his body in the water at the resort on Thursday afternoon. </p> <p>“It is with heavy hearts that we must share that our deputies have found Rakim Akbari deceased in a body of water at the resort where he was reported missing this morning. Our detectives are still looking into how this tragedy occurred,” they shared on X. </p> <p>“We are grieving his loss, and our prayers are with his family,” they added. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It is with heavy hearts that we must share that our deputies have found Rakim Akbari deceased in a body of water at the resort where he was reported missing this morning. Our detectives are still looking into how this tragedy occurred.</p> <p>We are grieving his loss, and our prayers… <a href="https://t.co/3huAOOo0u4">pic.twitter.com/3huAOOo0u4</a></p> <p>— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) <a href="https://twitter.com/OrangeCoSheriff/status/1814027480782761996?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>They didn't provide further details, but the boy reportedly went missing while wearing pyjama pants and a shirt with no socks or shoes. </p> <p>People on X have also shared their condolences to the boy's family.</p> <p>"Deepest condolences to the family of this beautiful little boy. Prayers for the law enforcement that found him, it's hard for them to process as well," one said. </p> <p>"Heartbreaking. Prayers to his family and all who loved him," added another. </p> <p>"God bless his family. Rest in Peace," added another. </p> <p>"My heart goes out to the family," wrote a third. </p> <p><em>Image: X</em></p>

Caring

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Beyond the Barrier Reef: Australia’s 3 other World Heritage reefs are also in trouble

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-marie-quigley-1400512">Kate Marie Quigley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-hamilton-baird-11285">Andrew Hamilton Baird</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a></em></p> <p>The Great Barrier Reef is world famous – it’s the largest coral reef system in the world and home to tens of thousands of species. No wonder it is World Heritage listed.</p> <p>But Australia has three lower profile reefs which are also World Heritage listed –  Ningaloo and Shark Bay in Western Australia, and Lord Howe Island, 600 kilometres off the New South Wales coast, the <a href="https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/612288-most-southerly-coral-reef">southernmost coral</a> in the world. Ningaloo has 260km of coral reef, while the reefs of Shark Bay have less coral but are home to ancient stromatolites, vast seagrass beds and iconic species such as dugongs.</p> <p>This month, the World Heritage Committee will meet in New Delhi. On the agenda will be how the world’s natural World Heritage sites are faring. The Australian government will be under increased scrutiny to prove it has upheld its <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/about/world/management-australias-world-heritage-listed/managing-world-heritage-australia/protecting-world-heritage#regulation">international commitments</a> to protecting these reefs.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.17407">new research</a> has found all four of these reefs are in greater danger than we thought – even those in subtropical waters, such as Lord Howe Island. Our two Indian Ocean reefs at <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/578/">Shark Bay</a> and Ningaloo actually face more species and function loss than the Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p>At 1.5°C of warming, we are likely to lose about 20% of the 400-odd coral species which currently live across these four reefs (equating to about 70 extinctions). At 2°C warming, our modelling of species abundance and ecosystem functions predict an almost complete collapse in reef ecosystems – even for the subtropical reefs. This aligns with <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/docserver/fulltext/animal/12/1/annurev-animal-021122-093315.pdf?expires=1721002489&amp;id=id&amp;accname=guest&amp;checksum=A9A203CC0F3AEB7D1FE9420F50EDF69A,%20https://backend.orbit.dtu.dk/ws/files/238807594/AGR2020.pdf">predictions</a> by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the future of coral reefs.</p> <p>We believe our work adds to the need to consider whether Australia’s four iconic reefs should be <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/danger/">on the list</a> of World Heritage sites in danger.</p> <h2>What does it mean when a reef is World Heritage listed?</h2> <p>Declaring a natural or cultural site as World Heritage is done to encourage the preservation of locations of immense ecological and cultural value. Nations have to <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/nominations/">nominate sites</a> they think are worthy of protection. Australia has 20 World Heritage sites, <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/places/world-heritage-list">of which</a> 12 are natural.</p> <p>When sites are formally listed, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) requires the country’s government to look after it. If the site is degrading, it can be listed as in danger.</p> <p>UNESCO has considered listing the Great Barrier Reef as in danger twice, in 2021 and again in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/jun/24/set-more-ambitious-climate-targets-to-save-great-barrier-reef-unesco-urges-australia">June this year</a>. For the reef to keep its World Heritage status, the government must prove its policies are sufficient to keep the reefs in <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/about/world-heritage/outstanding-universal-value">good health</a>.</p> <p>In the debate over the Great Barrier Reef, two things have been missed – first, any mention of Australia’s other World Heritage reefs, and second, whether the federal government’s current policies to cut greenhouse gases are enough to protect the reefs into the future.</p> <h2>What did we find?</h2> <p>Our new results suggest all four reefs are in trouble. Given current warming trends, they will only deteriorate further in the future if we stay on this course.</p> <p>While the Barrier Reef has drawn a great deal of attention, it’s actually the ecosystems at Ningaloo, Shark Bay and Lord Howe Island which are projected to warm the most. When standardised to park boundaries, temperatures here are projected to increase by up to 1.3°C by the end of the century. (This temperature estimate is for sea temperatures, not the overall surface temperature which we use as shorthand when we talk about 1.5°C or 2°C of warming).</p> <p>While that might not sound like much, it will be enough to push many corals to potential extinction. Many coral species already exist within 1-2°C of the maximum temperature they can tolerate.</p> <p>Our modelling shows Shark Bay and Ningaloo actually face a greater risk of species and function loss than the Barrier Reef. It also suggests the ability of our reefs to bounce back will be overcome when warming tips over 1.5°C globally.</p> <p>While these models incorporate the baseline heat tolerance of coral species on these reefs, they don’t yet include their <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-animal-021122-093315;jsessionid=mfIBuwjZ-ru5bkBMhWXDjumNnsvZgxkl02fPAg63.annurevlive-10-241-10-101">potential for genetic adaptation</a>. The question of whether some corals could adapt to this rapid warming is still open. A lot is riding on their ability to do so.</p> <h2>Looming danger</h2> <p>This year, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sentinels-of-the-sea-ancient-boulder-corals-are-key-to-reef-survival-in-a-warmer-world-223207">Great Barrier Reef</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/mar/06/lord-howe-island-coral-bleaching-moving-south-fears-ocean-temperatures">Lord Howe Island</a> have suffered intense stress from high sea temperatures – the direct result of burning fossil fuels and producing heat-trapping greenhouse gases. This year is <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/2024-could-be-worlds-hottest-year-june-breaks-records-2024-07-08/#:%7E:text=The%20latest%20data%20suggest%202024,so%20far%2C%20some%20scientists%20said.">on track</a> to again be the hottest year on record, overtaking the previous record holder of 2023.</p> <p>Australia is already in the midst of an extinction crisis. Australia has one of the worst track records for extinctions. Since European colonisation, 34-38 mammal species have <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.adg7870">gone extinct</a> compared to just one from the contiguous United States, which covers a similar area.</p> <p>You might have read that coral cover – a measure of how much coral there is in an area – <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00338-024-02498-5">hit historic highs</a> on the Great Barrier Reef last year.</p> <p>Coral cover is a helpful and important metric, but it’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/record-coral-cover-doesnt-necessarily-mean-the-great-barrier-reef-is-in-good-health-despite-what-you-may-have-heard-188233">not perfect</a>. For instance, fast-growing heat tolerant coral species might expand as less heat tolerant species die off. Importantly, relying on coral cover alone can mask significant changes in how the <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.2628">reef is functioning</a>.</p> <p>It’s hard to assess how species in our oceans are doing, given the difficulty of access and the large number of species, including many <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-first-step-to-conserving-the-great-barrier-reef-is-understanding-what-lives-there-146097">unknown to science</a>. If warming continues unabated, we will likely start to lose species before we have even documented them.</p> <p>Our results are based on “moderate” climate models of global surface temperature changes. Australia has committed to cutting emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030. While that sounds good, it’s not enough – this decrease is compatible with <a href="https://environment.govt.nz/what-you-can-do/climate-scenarios-toolkit/climate-scenarios-list/ipccs-ssp-rcp-scenarios/">hitting 3.2ºC by 2100</a>. To limit warming to 1.5ºC or below by 2050, we would need to commit to much greater cuts in emissions – 90% below 2005 levels by 2030.</p> <p>Our results clearly suggest Australia’s four World Heritage reefs will be dramatically affected by warming in the near future. They will no longer qualify as being maintained under “conditions of integrity”. It’s hard to see how they can avoid being added to the in danger list.<!-- 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/234268/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/kate-marie-quigley-1400512"><em>Kate Marie Quigley</em></a><em>, DECRA Research Fellow in molecular ecology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-hamilton-baird-11285">Andrew Hamilton Baird</a>, Professorial fellow in coral reef ecology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook 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/beyond-the-barrier-reef-australias-3-other-world-heritage-reefs-are-also-in-trouble-234268">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Domestic Travel

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"I just got shot": Trump gives first interview after assassination attempt

<p>In his first interview since a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/attempted-assassination-of-trump-the-long-history-of-violence-against-u-s-presidents" target="_blank" rel="noopener">failed assassination attempt</a> at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump provided new insights into his harrowing experience and "miraculous" survival. The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon when 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks fired upon the former president during his speech.</p> <p>Speaking aboard his private jet to a <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/07/14/us-news/grateful-defiant-trump-recounts-surreal-assassination-attempt-at-rally-im-supposed-to-be-dead/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>New York Post</em> journalist</a>, Trump described the weekend’s events as a “very surreal experience".</p> <p>“The doctor at the hospital said he never saw anything like this, he called it a miracle,” Trump, wearing a white bandage over his right ear, told the <em>Post</em>. “I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be dead.”</p> <p>Trump recounted that his survival was due to a slight turn of his head to the right to read a chart on illegal immigrants. At that precise moment, what could have been a fatal shot tore off a small piece of his ear, splattering blood on his forehead and cheek.</p> <p>As Secret Service agents quickly led him off stage, Trump expressed his desire to continue speaking to his supporters. However, agents insisted it wasn’t safe and rushed him to a hospital. He marvelled at how the agents reacted, comparing them to "linebackers" as they shielded him.</p> <p>Unbuttoning his long-sleeve white shirt, Trump revealed a large bruise on his right forearm, evidence of the forceful protection provided by the agents.</p> <p>Trump had previously posted on his social media account, Truth Social, to thank the Secret Service and law enforcement. “The agents hit me so hard that my shoes fell off, and my shoes are tight,” he said.</p> <p>Microphones at the podium captured the urgent commands from security telling Trump to “get down, get down” before he was helped back up. In the commotion, Trump was heard saying, “let me get my shoes,” before being escorted to a waiting car.</p> <p>In a powerful photograph that has since circulated widely, Trump, after being shot, stood and raised his fist, shouting “fight” three times to the crowd as Secret Service agents tried to move him offstage.</p> <p>“A lot of people say it’s the most iconic photo they’ve ever seen,” Trump said of the image. “They’re right and I didn’t die. Usually, you have to die to have an iconic picture. I just wanted to keep speaking, but I just got shot.”</p> <p>The rally saw two people killed, including the shooter, and two others injured. Reflecting on his survival, Trump told reporters that “by luck or by God” he was still here.</p> <p><em>Images: Xinhua News Agency/Shutterstock Editorial</em> </p>

Legal

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"I love you forever": Novak Djokovic celebrates 10 year anniversary

<p>Novak Djokovic has celebrated his 10-year wedding anniversary with Jelena Djokovic. </p> <p>The tennis star took to Instagram to share an adorable tribute honouring their anniversary, with a video of the couple dancing, singing and laughing together set to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' <em>Islands In The Stream</em>. </p> <p>"Ten years of joy," Novak began in the caption. </p> <p>"Ten years as parents. Ten years as one. Ten years of dancing. Ten years of fun," he wrote.</p> <p>"Ten years of flying. Ten years at sea. Ten years of you. The best part of me."</p> <p>"Ten years of tennis. Ten years of balls. Ten years of triumph. Ten years of falls.</p> <p>"Ten years as teammates. Ten years together. Ten years Jelena. I love you forever."</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9O8uaeoMZF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9O8uaeoMZF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The couple first met in high school in the 90s but didn't start dating until a few years later, when Novak finally kicked off his professional tennis career. </p> <p>The high-school sweethearts tied the knot in a ceremony held at Aman Sveti Stefan resort almost a decade later in July 2014, and they were also expecting their first child at the time. </p> <p>The couple now share two children together, Stefan, nine, and Tara, Six. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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‘I keep away from people’ – combined vision and hearing loss is isolating more and more older Australians

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/moira-dunsmore-295190">Moira Dunsmore</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/annmaree-watharow-1540942">Annmaree Watharow</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-kecman-429210">Emily Kecman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health">ageing population</a> brings a growing crisis: people over 65 are at greater risk of dual sensory impairment (also known as “deafblindness” or combined vision and hearing loss).</p> <p>Some 66% of people over 60 have hearing loss and 33% of older Australians have low vision. Estimates suggest more than a quarter of Australians over 80 are <a href="https://www.senseswa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/a-clear-view---senses-australia.pdf">living with dual sensory impairment</a>.</p> <p>Combined vision and hearing loss <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0264619613490519">describes</a> any degree of sight and hearing loss, so neither sense can compensate for the other. Dual sensory impairment can occur at any point in life but is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.02.004">increasingly common</a> as people get older.</p> <p>The experience can make older people feel isolated and unable to participate in important conversations, including about their health.</p> <h2>Causes and conditions</h2> <p>Conditions related to hearing and vision impairment often <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-lose-our-hearing-and-vision-as-we-age-67930">increase as we age</a> – but many of these changes are subtle.</p> <p>Hearing loss can start <a href="https://www.who.int/teams/noncommunicable-diseases/sensory-functions-disability-and-rehabilitation/highlighting-priorities-for-ear-and-hearing-care">as early as our 50s</a> and often accompany other age-related visual changes, such as <a href="https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/">age-related macular degeneration</a>.</p> <p>Other age-related conditions are frequently prioritised by patients, doctors or carers, such as <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-conditions-disability-deaths/chronic-disease/overview">diabetes or heart disease</a>. Vision and hearing changes can be easy to overlook or accept as a normal aspect of ageing. As an older person we interviewed for our <a href="https://hdl.handle.net/2123/29262">research</a> told us</p> <blockquote> <p>I don’t see too good or hear too well. It’s just part of old age.</p> </blockquote> <h2>An invisible disability</h2> <p>Dual sensory impairment has a significant and negative impact in all aspects of a person’s life. It reduces access to information, mobility and orientation, impacts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/09638280210129162">social activities and communication</a>, making it difficult for older adults to manage.</p> <p>It is underdiagnosed, underrecognised and sometimes misattributed (for example, to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz043">cognitive impairment or decline</a>). However, there is also growing evidence of links between <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">dementia and dual sensory loss</a>. If left untreated or without appropriate support, dual sensory impairment diminishes the capacity of older people to live independently, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">feel happy and be safe</a>.</p> <p>A dearth of specific resources to educate and support older Australians with their dual sensory impairment means when older people do raise the issue, their GP or health professional may not understand its significance or where to refer them. One older person told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>There’s another thing too about the GP, the sort of mentality ‘well what do you expect? You’re 95.’ Hearing and vision loss in old age is not seen as a disability, it’s seen as something else.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Isolated yet more dependent on others</h2> <p>Global trends show a worrying conundrum. Older people with dual sensory impairment become <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">more socially isolated</a>, which impacts their mental health and wellbeing. At the same time they can become increasingly dependent on other people to help them navigate and manage day-to-day activities with limited sight and hearing.</p> <p>One aspect of this is how effectively they can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25522">comprehend and communicate in a health-care setting</a>. Recent research shows <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12080852">doctors and nurses in hospitals</a> aren’t making themselves understood to most of their patients with dual sensory impairment. Good communication in the health context is about more than just “knowing what is going on”, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/12/8/852">researchers note</a>. It facilitates:</p> <ul> <li>shorter hospital stays</li> <li>fewer re-admissions</li> <li>reduced emergency room visits</li> <li>better treatment adherence and medical follow up</li> <li>less unnecessary diagnostic testing</li> <li>improved health-care outcomes.</li> </ul> <h2>‘Too hard’</h2> <p>Globally, there is a better understanding of how important it is to <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240030749">maintain active social lives</a> as people age. But this is difficult for older adults with dual sensory loss. One person told us</p> <blockquote> <p>I don’t particularly want to mix with people. Too hard, because they can’t understand. I can no longer now walk into that room, see nothing, find my seat and not recognise [or hear] people.</p> </blockquote> <p>Again, these experiences increase reliance on family. But caring in this context is tough and largely <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.572201">hidden</a>. Family members describe being the “eyes and ears” for their loved one. It’s a 24/7 role which can bring <a href="https://doi.org/10.1159/000507856">frustration, social isolation and depression</a> for carers too. One spouse told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>He doesn’t talk anymore much, because he doesn’t know whether [people are] talking to him, unless they use his name, he’s unaware they’re speaking to him, so he might ignore people and so on. And in the end, I noticed people weren’t even bothering him to talk, so now I refuse to go. Because I don’t think it’s fair.</p> </blockquote> <p>So, what can we do?</p> <p>Dual sensory impairment is a growing problem with potentially devastating impacts.</p> <p>It should be considered a unique and distinct disability in all relevant protections and policies. This includes the right to dedicated diagnosis and support, accessibility provisions and specialised skill development for health and social professionals and carers.</p> <p>We need to develop resources to help people with dual sensory impairment and their families and carers understand the condition, what it means and how everyone can be supported. This could include communication adaptation, such as social haptics (communicating using touch) and specialised support for older adults to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09649069.2019.1627088">navigate health care</a>.</p> <p>Increasing awareness and understanding of dual sensory impairment will also help those impacted with everyday engagement with the world around them – rather than the isolation many feel now.<!-- 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/232142/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/moira-dunsmore-295190">Moira Dunsmore</a>, Senior Lecturer, Sydney Nursing School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/annmaree-watharow-1540942">Annmaree Watharow</a>, Lived Experience Research Fellow, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-kecman-429210">Emily Kecman</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Linguistics, <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/i-keep-away-from-people-combined-vision-and-hearing-loss-is-isolating-more-and-more-older-australians-232142">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"I want her parents to know": Fellow Qantas passenger reveals final moments of young woman

<p>The passenger who was seated next to the woman who tragically <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/young-woman-dies-on-qantas-flight" target="_blank" rel="noopener">died</a> after boarding a Qantas flight has broken his silence on her last moments. </p> <p>Ravinder Singh was seated next to Manpreet Kaur, who passed away shortly after boarding a flight from Melbourne to Delhi on June 20th. </p> <p>The 24-year-old student, who had dreams of becoming a chef, was travelling to see her parents in India for the first time in four years, but did not make it to her destination. </p> <p>Now, Ravinder Singh has shared details on her final moments in the hopes it will bring her grieving parents some comfort. </p> <p>“I was sitting next to her on the Qantas flight from Melbourne to Delhi and was actually the last person to talk to her,” Ravinder Singh exclusively told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/passenger-speaks-after-woman-dies-next-to-him-on-qantas-flight/news-story/24e8396d8eb3a1d35aea4a4291b847ba" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>.</p> <p>“When I boarded the plane, she was already seated in the aisle. I was in the window, so I asked if she could please get up so I could occupy my seat.</p> <p>“I noticed that she began scrolling through photos on her mobile phone and stopped at a photograph of an elderly couple. I asked if they were her parents. She smiled and nodded and kept staring at it.”</p> <p>Mr Singh, who had been in Australia to visit family, said that everything seemed fine and the plane eventually began moving towards the runway, ready for take off.</p> <p>He explained that Ms Kaur had then put her phone down and rested her head on the seat in front, when he realised something was not right.</p> <p>“She was wearing her seatbelt and leaned forward to rest her head on the seat in front. As the plane was preparing for takeoff, I wanted to alert her to sit upright,” he shared.</p> <p>“But the plane jerked and I expected her to wake up. But instead, her head just moved towards me."</p> <p>“I got the attention of a flight attention and told her that this woman does not seem very well. She checked her pulse and after that, the reaction of the cabin crew was very commendable."</p> <p>“They tried their best to revive her. She was then evacuated by medical staff.”</p> <p>The retired army officer said the incident still “haunts him” and he wants her parents to know that she “left the world peacefully”. </p> <p>“The incident has been etched in my memory for life,” he said.</p> <p>“It is very difficult to digest that a young girl with whom you were just interacting with has passed away in front of your eyes."</p> <p>“Her innocent face stills haunts me and I want her parents to know she loved them a lot. She left this world peacefully looking at their photograph."</p> <p>“My heart breaks for her family who would have been looking forward to seeing her after a long time.”</p> <p>It is understood that Ms Kaur had been feeling "unwell" when she arrived at the airport and boarded the plane with no issues, with reports suggesting she died of tuberculosis. </p> <p><em>Image credits: news.com.au</em></p>

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Olympian and former world champ shot dead at 42

<p>South African police have found the body of former Olympian and high jump world champion Jacques Freitag after he was reported missing. </p> <p>Local authorities say that they found the body of the 42-year-old in a field near a cemetery in the city of Pretoria with fatal gunshot wounds, and are treating his death as murder. </p> <p>South African news Netwerk24 reported that a source claims Freitag was allegedly executed, as one of the gunshot wounds was allegedly located in the back of his head.</p> <p>Freitag's sister, Chrissie Lewis, had appealed for help on social media to find her brother, who went missing in the early hours of June 17th after leaving his mother's house.</p> <p>Lewis said he had struggled with drug addiction after his athletics career ended.</p> <p>He was then not seen again until his body was discovered. </p> <p>Freitag won the 2003 world title in Paris and competed at the 2004 Olympics, representing South Africa in high jump.</p> <p>He was among a select group of athletes to win world titles at youth, junior and senior level, as World Athletics called Freitag “a prodigious athlete”. </p> <p>He won the high jump at the 1999 Youth World Championships in Poland, the Junior World Champs in Chile in 2000 and the Senior's in France in 2003.</p> <p>In 2003, he cleared 2.35m at the Stade de France in Paris to win the gold medal at the IAAF World Championships.</p> <p>He retired from sport in 2013 and was said to have in recent times been sleeping on the streets or friends' couches, having been unable to hold down a full-time job.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Hahn Lionel/ABACA/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

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What it's like to play the baddest opera villain in the world

<p>As we mark the 100th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s passing, Opera Australia is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the legendary Italian composer with two of his most celebrated works at the iconic Sydney Opera House this winter. Kicking off the season is Edward Dick’s five-star production of <em>Tosca</em>, which had its opening night on June 25.</p> <p>This electrifying new take on Puccini’s action-packed thriller is captivating audiences with its compelling narrative and intense emotional depth. <em>Tosca</em> unfolds over a swift 24-hour period, weaving a tale of passion and power, jealousy and betrayal, love and tragedy. It's a perfect introduction to opera for newcomers and a beloved classic for seasoned fans, promising an edge-of-your-seat experience.</p> <p>Renowned for his ability to breathe fresh life into classic works, Director Edward Dick has assembled an award-winning creative team to deliver a visually stunning production. Tom Scutt's set design brilliantly juxtaposes Renaissance grandeur with contemporary elegance, featuring a suspended gilded dome revealing a breathtaking Renaissance fresco. BAFTA-winning costume designer Fotini Dimou dresses the performers in chic, modern attire, while Lee Curran's stadium-style lighting adds a dramatic flair.</p> <p>The cast is equally stellar. Making her Opera Australia debut, Northern Irish soprano Giselle Allen has taken on the titular role of Tosca, sharing the stage with OA favourite Karah Son, who received critical acclaim for her performance in Melbourne.</p> <p>Joining them is Korean tenor Young Woo Kim, debuting at the Sydney Opera House as the love-struck painter Cavaradossi. The role of the villainous Scarpia will be portrayed for the first half of the show's run by Armenian dramatic baritone Gevorg Hakobyan, also making his OA debut, until award-winning local baritone Warwick Fyfe takes over the role for the second half of the run, beginning on July 31 until the run's conclusion on August 16.</p> <p>Over60 was thrilled to be given the chance to interview Fyfe in the lead-up to his Sydney performance. </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Firstly, by way of an introduction to Warwick Fyfe the Australian Helden bass baritone – can you summarise your career?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“In <em>Yes, Minister</em>, Sir Humphrey once – referring to Bernard – used the expression “a low flyer supported by occasional gusts of hot air”. I suppose I’m a bit like that. But I have a single major achievement, to wit: I’m still here! Over several decades I’ve seen hot shots come and go and change careers but I’m still earning a living at singing. Moreover, I think I might at last be getting the hang of it.” </p> <p><strong><em>O60: What is your history with this opera Tosca by Puccini?</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“I sang the Sacristan in the 1995 Victoria State Opera production. That was the start. The director John Copley was very supportive and taught me a lot. Also, I got to know the great John Wegner, having previously only seen him from the auditorium. He was a great influence even though he and I were very different. I’d watch him every night from the wings during Act 2. Then years later, having done countless Sacristans, I did a Scarpia of my own, taking over from John at the tail end of a season. Then in 2022 I was to sing Scarpia for West Australian Opera. Alas, the season was severely damaged when I caught Covid. I only did the first and last shows and not very well. This current production allows me at last to put my stamp on the role and do it properly. It went well in the Melbourne run.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: How do you approach learning the role of Scarpia and connecting with a villainous character?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“Tosca is very standard repertoire and additionally I was the Sacristan early in my career so that I had an osmotically acquired sense of the thing from early on. Also, the donkey work of learning and memorising the notes and words is a task of only moderate proportions with this role. So one just sits down at the piano and starts hacking away at it. </p> <p>“The other two bits of the equation (which can’t actually be separated) are the singing of the role and the inhabiting of the character. Vocally, it requires that I be at peak form. I can sing it much better than when I was young but it requires much more conscious effort to sustain it. My teacher Christina Henson Hayes has helped me enormously on that front. </p> <p>“Dramatically, it’s almost always possible to find in some dark recess of oneself something which is reflected in the character. Having found this way in, one can push it and stretch it and eventually pop out like a newborn into the new fictional world where that person lives. But equally important, especially for the in-the-round, creaturely and not at all stylised characters of verismo, one needs to have lived and absorbed that which is around one. Read good books, watch great actors – not in an ad hoc sense but generally. Be a cultural sponge. Make reading good books and watching great actors as constant and inevitable a part of life as eating. Read everything, listen to everything, observe everything. If the singer has no cultural hinterland, it is to be hoped that the director is a magician!” </p> <p><em><strong>O6O: You recently performed in this production in Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena – the first opera to be staged on the tennis court. How did you find that experience and will anything about your performance be different for the Sydney season?</strong></em></p> <p>“Well, it was lovely because all my colleagues were lovely. As well as all my Opera Australia chums, there were people new to me such as Nadine Benjamin and Young Woo Kim – people so warm and friendly, not to mention talented, that one feels almost abashed and instinctively tries in response to be the best colleague one knows how to be. </p> <p>“Nevertheless, I’m a traditionalist who believes that opera will always be better for all concerned in a conventional, properly appointed theatre. Opera singers do not like being miked. For me, however good the technicians, the sense of one’s sound being only partially in one’s own control is uncomfortable. On the other hand, feeling one’s voice commanding a huge space as if one were a Rabelaisian giant is quite thrilling and of course it opens up possibilities for the company commercially.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Opera Australia is presenting several Puccini works this year in celebration of the legendary composer as 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of Puccini’s death, so let’s chat about Puccini’s contribution to the world of opera. He was a champion of verismo; can you explain what that means? What should audiences expect from the performance?</strong></em></p> <p>“Verismo is simply realism. Characters presented in the round rather than as two-dimensional types or figures of heightened allegory. In place of a stylised, artificial or high-flown approach, the composers wished to present real people in plausible dramatic settings. Of course this presents an apparent contradiction because in real life we don’t sing at each other. However, in practice you can have your cake and eat it because the genius of Puccini, from a starting point of a verisimilitudinous situation and story, can take it to another plane of intensity and power. But the roots in reality are unbroken. That reality is in the DNA of every cell of the artwork which rises majestically from those roots. Hence the opera feels real despite the built-in artificiality of the art form. By contrast, a composer of another era and school might take his subject away from reality to a more rarefied place. Audiences should expect an intense, purely human drama.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Puccini is known for his innovative use of the orchestra and an expansive use of instruments; what should audiences be listening for when they come to Tosca?</strong></em></p> <p>“Different composers have their preferred palettes. This also varies on national as well as individual lines. As Puccini is the supreme figure in verismo, he IS the archetype so that I can answer the question in a circular way by saying that it will sound very Italian, very verismo. Lush, yes, but a Puccinian version thereof rather than a Straussian one. </p> <p>“There are also exquisite touches, sort of musical special effects used judiciously and sparingly enough so as not to seem gimmicky. For example, the bells and spoken Latin of the Te Deum or the distanced effect of the oratorio in Act 2. The arias are of course high points but much of the interest lies in the meat connecting those moments.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Which of Puccini’s works is your preferred or do you find one most revolutionary?</strong></em></p> <p>“For brutal intensity, <em>Tosca</em> represents the high-water mark, especially Act 2. I love the kaleidoscopic richness of <em>Turandot</em>. The story is horrible but this is not a negative if one accepts it as a fable which has different rules from those applying to a pungently realistic tale. Also, <em>Turandot</em> is structurally flawed because he didn’t finish it. It is, however, musically astonishingly good. If you said I had to see a Puccini opera tonight but I could choose which one, I’d definitely choose <em>La Fanciulla del West</em>. Not only is it a masterpiece, it doesn’t get done nearly enough.”</p> <p>---</p> <p>Don't miss this extraordinary celebration of Puccini's legacy. Whether you're an opera aficionado or a first-time attendee, this production of <em>Tosca</em> is set to be an unforgettable highlight of the cultural calendar. Get ready to be swept off your feet by the sheer drama, passion, and beauty of Puccini’s masterpiece. Visit <a href="https://opera.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://opera.org.au/</a> for more info.</p> <p><em>Images: Opera Australia</em></p>

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I’ve been diagnosed with cancer. How do I tell my children?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cassy-dittman-1380541">Cassy Dittman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/govind-krishnamoorthy-1467986">Govind Krishnamoorthy</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marg-rogers-867368">Marg Rogers</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-new-england-919">University of New England</a></em></p> <p>With around <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/cancer/2022">one in 50 adults</a> diagnosed with cancer each year, many people are faced with the difficult task of sharing the news of their diagnosis with their loved ones. Parents with cancer may be most <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462388914000994">worried about</a> telling their children.</p> <p>It’s best to give children factual and age-appropriate information, so children don’t create their own explanations or <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)33202-1/fulltext">blame themselves</a>. Over time, supportive family relationships and open communication <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00520-016-3214-2">help children adjust</a> to their parent’s diagnosis and treatment.</p> <p>It’s natural to feel you don’t have the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ecc.12018">skills or knowledge</a> to talk with your children about cancer. But preparing for the conversation can improve your confidence.</p> <h2>Preparing for the conversation</h2> <p>Choose a suitable time and location in a place where your children feel comfortable. Turn off distractions such as screens and phones.</p> <p>For teenagers, who can find face-to-face conversations confronting, think about talking while you are going for a walk.</p> <p>Consider if you will tell all children at once or separately. Will you be the only adult present, or will having another adult close to your child be helpful? Another adult might give your children a person they can talk to later, especially to answer questions they might be worried about asking you.</p> <p>Finally, plan what to do after the conversation, like doing an activity with them that they enjoy. Older children and teenagers might want some time alone to digest the news, but you can suggest things you know they like to do to relax.</p> <p>Also consider what you might need to support yourself.</p> <h2>Preparing the words</h2> <p>Parents might be worried about the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/321/7259/479.full.pdf+html">best words or language</a> to use to make sure the explanations are at a level their child understands. Make a plan for what you will say and take notes to stay on track.</p> <p>The toughest part is likely to be saying to your children that you have cancer. It can help to practise saying those words out aloud.</p> <p>Ask family and friends for their feedback on what you want to say. <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/types-of-cancer/childhood-cancers/talking-to-kids-about-cancer">Make use of guides</a> by the Cancer Council, which provide age-appropriate wording for explaining medical terms like “cancer”, “chemotherapy” and “tumour”.</p> <h2>Having the conversation</h2> <p>Being open, honest and factual is important. Consider the balance between being too vague, and providing too much information. The <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462388914000994">amount and type</a> of information you give will be based on their age and previous experiences with illness.</p> <p>Remember, if things don’t go as planned, you can always try again later.</p> <p>Start by telling your children the news in a few short sentences, describing what you know about the diagnosis in language suitable for their age. Generally, this information will include the name of the cancer, the area of the body affected and what will be involved in treatment.</p> <p>Let them know what to expect in the coming weeks and months. Balance hope with reality. For example:</p> <blockquote> <p>The doctors will do everything they can to help me get well. But, it is going to be a long road and the treatments will make me quite sick.</p> </blockquote> <p>Check what your child knows about cancer. Young children may not know much about cancer, while primary school-aged children are starting to understand that it is a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epdf/10.1177/0165025408093663">serious illness</a>. Young children may worry about becoming unwell themselves, or other loved ones becoming sick.</p> <p>Older children and teenagers may have experiences with cancer through other family members, friends at school or social media.</p> <p>This process allows you to correct any misconceptions and provides opportunities for them to ask questions. Regardless of their level of knowledge, it is important to reassure them that the cancer is not their fault.</p> <p>Ask them if there is anything they want to know or say. Talk to them about what will stay the same as well as what may change. For example:</p> <blockquote> <p>You can still do gymnastics, but sometimes Kate’s mum will have to pick you up if I am having treatment.</p> </blockquote> <p>If you can’t answer their questions, be OK with saying “I’m not sure”, or “I will try to find out”.</p> <p>Finally, tell children you love them and offer them comfort.</p> <h2>How might they respond?</h2> <p>Be prepared for a range of <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00520-016-3214-2">different responses</a>. Some might be distressed and cry, others might be angry, and some might not seem upset at all. This might be due to shock, or a sign they need time to process the news. It also might mean they are trying to be brave because they don’t want to upset you.</p> <p>Children’s reactions will change over time as they come to terms with the news and process the information. They might seem like they are happy and coping well, then be teary and clingy, or angry and irritable.</p> <p>Older children and teenagers may ask if they can tell their friends and family about what is happening. It may be useful to come together as a family to discuss how to inform friends and family.</p> <h2>What’s next?</h2> <p>Consider the conversation the first of many ongoing discussions. Let children know they can talk to you and ask questions.</p> <p>Resources might also help; for example, The Cancer Council’s <a href="https://www.campquality.org.au/kids-guide-to-cancer/">app for children and teenagers</a> and Redkite’s <a href="https://www.redkite.org.au/service/book-club/">library of free books</a> for families affected by cancer.</p> <p>If you or other adults involved in the children’s lives are concerned about how they are coping, speak to your GP or treating specialist about options for psychological support.<!-- 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/228012/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/cassy-dittman-1380541">Cassy Dittman</a>, Senior Lecturer/Head of Course (Undergraduate Psychology), Research Fellow, Manna Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/govind-krishnamoorthy-1467986">Govind Krishnamoorthy</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology and Wellbeing, Post Doctoral Fellow, Manna Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marg-rogers-867368">Marg Rogers</a>, Senior Lecturer, Early Childhood Education; Post Doctoral Fellow, Manna Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-new-england-919">University of New England</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/ive-been-diagnosed-with-cancer-how-do-i-tell-my-children-228012">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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What is ‘breathwork’? And do I need to do it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/theresa-larkin-952095">Theresa Larkin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/judy-pickard-831093">Judy Pickard</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a></em></p> <p>From “breathwork recipes” to breathing techniques, many <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5WpkWxNrDI/">social media</a> and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercise">health websites</a> are recommending breathwork to reduce stress.</p> <p>But breathwork is not new. Rather it is the latest in a long history of breathing techniques such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336946/">Pranayama</a> from India and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9312231/#:%7E:text=Qigong%2C%20on%20the%20other%20hand,one%20or%20two%20balancing%20poses.">qigong</a> from China. Such practices have been used for thousands of years to promote a healthy mind and body.</p> <p>The benefits can be immediate and obvious. Try taking a deep breath in through your nose and exhaling slowly. Do you feel a little calmer?</p> <p>So, what’s the difference between the breathing we do to keep us alive and breathwork?</p> <h2>Breathwork is about control</h2> <p>Breathwork is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9873947/#bib3">not the same</a> as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189422/">other mindfulness practices</a>. While the latter focus on observing the breath, breathwork is about <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-27247-y">controlling inhalation and exhalation</a>.</p> <p>Normally, breathing happens automatically via messages from the brain, outside our conscious control. But we can control our breath, by directing the movement of our diaphragm and mouth.</p> <p><a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diaphragmatic-breathing">The diaphragm</a> is a large muscle that separates our thoracic (chest) and abdominal (belly) cavities. When the diaphragm contracts, it expands the thoracic cavity and pulls air into the lungs.</p> <p>Controlling how deep, how often, how fast and through what (nose or mouth) we inhale is the crux of breathwork, from <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/breath-of-fire-yoga">fire breathing</a> to the <a href="https://www.headspace.com/content/meditation/humming-bee-breath/9422">humming bee breath</a>.</p> <h2>Breathwork can calm or excite</h2> <p>Even small bits of breathwork can have physical and mental health benefits and <a href="https://theconversation.com/stuck-in-fight-or-flight-mode-5-ways-to-complete-the-stress-cycle-and-avoid-burnout-or-depression-218599">complete the stress cycle</a> to avoid burnout.</p> <p>Calming breathwork includes diaphragmatic (belly) breathing, slow breathing, pausing between breaths, and specifically slowing down the exhale.</p> <p>In diaphragmatic breathing, you consciously contract your diaphragm down into your abdomen to inhale. This pushes your belly outwards and makes your breathing deeper and slower.</p> <p>You can also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3681046/">slow the breath</a> by doing:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321805">box breathing</a> (count to four for each of four steps: breathe in, hold, breathe out, hold), or</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38092805/">coherent breathing</a> (controlled slow breathing of five or six breaths per minute), or</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/alternate-nostril-breathing#benefits">alternate nostril breathing</a> (close the left nostril and breathe in slowly through the right nostril, then close the right nostril and breathe out slowly through the left nostril, then repeat the opposite way).</p> </li> </ul> <p>You can slow down the exhalation specifically by counting, humming or pursing your lips as you breathe out.</p> <p>In contrast to these calming breathing practices, energising fast-paced breathwork increases arousal. For example, <a href="https://www.webmd.com/balance/what-is-breath-of-fire-yoga">fire breathing</a> (breathe in and out quickly, but not deeply, through your nose in a consistent rhythm) and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercise#breath-focus">Lion’s breath</a> (breathe out through your mouth, stick your tongue out and make a strong “haa” sound).</p> <h2>What is happening in the body?</h2> <p>Deep and slow breathing, especially with a long exhale, is the best way to <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-vagus-nerves-help-us-rest-digest-and-restore-can-you-really-reset-them-to-feel-better-210469">stimulate the vagus nerves</a>. The vagus nerves pass through the diaphragm and are the main nerves of the parasympathetic nervous system.</p> <p>Simulating the vagus nerves calms our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) stress response. This improves mood, lowers the stress hormone <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/">cortisol</a> and helps to regulate emotions and responses. It also promotes more <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137615/">coordinated brain activity</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189422/">improves immune function and reduces inflammation</a>.</p> <p>Taking deep, diaphragmatic breaths also has <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9445-diaphragmatic-breathing">physical benefits</a>. This improves blood flow, lung function and exercise performance, increases oxygen in the body, and strengthens the diaphragm.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-023-02294-2#:%7E:text=Accumulating%20evidence%20supports%20the%20efficacy,et%20al.%2C%202001">Slow breathing</a> reduces heart rate and blood pressure and increases heart rate variability (normal variation in <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/heart-rate-variability-new-way-track-well-2017112212789">time between heart beats</a>). These are linked to better heart health.</p> <p>Taking shallow, quick, rhythmic breaths in and out through your nose stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Short-term, controlled activation of the stress response is healthy and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36624160/">develops resilience to stress</a>.</p> <h2>Breathing in through the nose</h2> <p>We are designed to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6986941/">inhale through our nose</a>, not our mouth. Inside our nose are lots of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544232/">blood vessels, mucous glands and tiny hairs called cilia</a>. These warm and humidify the air we breathe and filter out germs and toxins.</p> <p>We want the air that reaches our airways and lungs to be clean and moist. Cold and dry air is irritating to our nose and throat, and we don’t want germs to get into the body.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpregu.00148.2023?utm_source=AJPRegu&amp;utm_medium=PressRelease&amp;utm_campaign=1.17.2024">Nasal breathing</a> increases parasympathetic activity and releases nitric oxide, which improves airway dilation and lowers blood pressure.</p> <p>Consistently breathing through our mouth <a href="https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/mouth-breathing">is not healthy</a>. It can lead to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7455204/">pollutants</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8967998/#:%7E:text=Hence%2C%20we%20sought%20to%20synthesize,barriers%20to%20long%2Dterm%20enjoyment.">infections</a> reaching the lungs, snoring, sleep apnoea, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6986941/">dental issues</a> including cavities and jaw joint problems.</p> <h2>A free workout</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5709795/">Slow breathing</a> – even short sessions at home – can reduce stress, anxiety and depression in the general population and among those with clinical depression or anxiety. Research on breathwork in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4309518/">helping post-traumatic stress disorder</a> (PTSD) is also promising.</p> <p>Diaphragmatic breathing to improve lung function and strengthen the diaphragm can improve breathing and exercise intolerance in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9690833/">chronic heart failure</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33076360/">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease</a> and <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diaphragmatic-breathing#conditions-it-can-help-with">asthma</a>. It can also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8967998/#:%7E:text=Hence%2C%20we%20sought%20to%20synthesize,barriers%20to%20long%2Dterm%20enjoyment.">improve exercise performance</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19875429/">reduce oxidative stress</a> (an imbalance of more free radicals and/or less antioxidants, which can damage cells) after exercise.</p> <h2>A mind-body connection you can access any time</h2> <p>If you feel stressed or anxious, you might subconsciously <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/breathing-to-reduce-stress">take shallow, quick breaths</a>, but this can make you feel more anxious. Deep diaphragmatic breaths through your nose and focusing on strong exhalations can help break this cycle and bring calm and mental clarity.</p> <p>Just <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-27247-y">a few minutes a day</a> of breathwork can improve your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Daily deep breathing exercises <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2023.1040091/full">in the workplace</a> reduce blood pressure and stress, which is important since <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-burnout-and-how-to-prevent-it-in-the-workplace-insights-from-a-clinical-psychologist-196578">burnout rates are high</a>.</p> <p>Bottom line: any conscious control of your breath throughout the day is positive.</p> <p>So, next time you are waiting in a line, at traffic lights or for the kettle to boil, take a moment to focus on your breath. Breathe deeply into your belly through your nose, exhale slowly, and enjoy the benefits.<!-- 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/231192/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/theresa-larkin-952095">Theresa Larkin</a>, Associate professor of Medical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/judy-pickard-831093">Judy Pickard</a>, Senior Lecturer, Clinical Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-wollongong-711">University of Wollongong</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/what-is-breathwork-and-do-i-need-to-do-it-231192">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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World's best airline for 2024 revealed

<p>The world's best airline has been revealed for 2024, with the winning airline being voted above the rest for quality, customer service and overall flying experience. </p> <p>Qatar Airways, the Doha-based airline, reclaimed the title in the annual Skytrax’s World Airline Awards dubbed “the Oscars of the aviation industry”, returning to the top for an unprecedented eighth time.</p> <p>The 2023 winner, Singapore Airlines, fell back a spot to second place, while Emirates came third.</p> <p>Coming in next on the list was  ANA All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, EVA Air, Air France and Swiss International Air Lines in 10th spot.</p> <p>Qatar also took home three other awards: World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge and Best Airline in the Middle East.</p> <p>It’s also become the first aviation group to win Best Airline, Best Airport and Best Airport Shopping, in the same year in Skytrax history.</p> <p>“This is a proud moment for Qatar Airways. I am honoured to share this award with my dedicated team,” Qatar Airways group chief executive officer, Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, said at the Skytrax event in London on Monday.</p> <p>“This award is a testimony to our relentless commitment to providing unparalleled service and innovation. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers with the highest level of excellence.”</p> <p>The Skytrax awards are based on the votes of travellers across over 100 nationalities, with any airline in the world eligible to be nominated.</p> <p>In terms of Aussie airlines, Qantas plummeted seven spots to be ranked 24 this year, while Virgin Australia fell from 46 to 54 and Jetstar from 69 to 75. </p> <p>However, Australian regional airline REX climbed from spot 56 to 50.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

International Travel

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The world’s longest cruises

<p dir="ltr">If you’re looking for your next cruising adventure, there are a multitude of time frames you can pick from for your next holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr">While many cruise-goers tend to opt for just a week or two at sea, there are other voyages that can see you spend months travelling the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Here are ten of the longest cruise journeys that are available for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Queen Anne - 107 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2025, new Cunard ship Queen Anne will embark on her maiden World Voyage which includes her first visit to Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 107-day journey starts with a transatlantic crossing before sailing to destinations in the Americas, Australasia, Asia, the Arabian Gulf and finally the Mediterranean.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crown Princess - 113 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Crown Princess is set to embark on an epic around the world cruise next year, and you can get on in Australia or New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">From there, the voyage will visit 49 destinations in 28 countries over 113 days, crossing the equator twice, and sailing 33,500 nautical miles.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MSC Magnifica - 119 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">MSC's World Cruise 2026 lasts 119 days, with options to book the entire round-the-world itinerary for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The trip starts in Italy, and takes in the Mediterranean before heading across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and South America, before it then sails to California before crossing the Pacific for Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seabourn Sojourn - 129 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Seabourn's 2026 World Cruise sets sail on January 6th 2026 from LA, before taking in Hawaii, South Pacific islands, New Zealand, Australia and the Far East and Asia before heading Alaska and concluding in Vancouver, Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr">That's a total of 63 ports in 14 countries with seven overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Volendam - 133 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Holland America’s lengthy journey, titled Pole to Pole, takes a round trip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida it visits spots as diverse as Costa Rica, Antarctica, Morocco, France and Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crystal Serenity - 135 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Crystal's 2026 World Cruise is an epic 135-day journey travelling to 72 destinations throughout 27 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">Departing Los Angeles, Crystal Serenity will traverse the waters of the Pacific taking in the Marquesas Islands, Bora Bora, New Zealand and Sydney, as well as travelling to Hong Kong, Mumbai and Dubai.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seven Seas Splendour - 140 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Guests onboard the Regent Seven Seas Cruises will visit 40 countries over six continents, spending 140 nights onboard the luxurious ship. </p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits locations such as Panama, Sri Lanka and Spain, visiting 71 ports around the world. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Silver Dawn - 149 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Silversea Cruises' Silver Dawn will explore 80 destinations, covering 35 countries on five continents, including 11 overnight stays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Viking Sky - 163 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The cruise ship Viking Sky will sail for an impressive 163 days on its World Voyage II, taking in 34 countries, with 79 guided tours. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ports of note include Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, Darwin Australia, Colombo Sri Lanka, Cape Town, South Africa and the Shetland Islands in Scotland.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Oceana Vista - 197 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The 2026 World Odyssey voyage of Vista will circumnavigate the world, visiting over 100 ports across 43 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits over 80 UNESCO World Heritage sites across 101 destinations, with 11 overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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Winner of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest announced

<p>The annual World's Ugliest Dog contest has unearthed some true diamonds in the ruff, with one long-tongued frizz-ball being honoured with the title of the ugliest dog in the world. </p> <p>At the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, an eight-year-old Pekingese called Wild Thang was crowned the winner and collected the $5,000 cash prize, after failing to take home the prize five years in a row. </p> <p>"He was a fan favorite … he's kind of like the bridesmaid and never the bride," judge Fiona Ma told the <em>Associated Press</em>.</p> <p>"He really tugged at our heart strings and deserved to win."</p> <p>Wild Thang's strange looks stem from a virus he contracted as a puppy that almost killed him, but instead left him with permanent damage.</p> <p>As a result, his teeth never developed, so his tongue flops out, and his right front leg paddles all the time.</p> <p>"He's never had a hair cut so that is the way he is and [his owner] shaves his stomach and he likes to sleep on ice packs," Ma added.</p> <p>"He is just a sweet dog – I was just holding him and he loves to be held and cuddled. That's part of it, these rescue dogs, they just need forever homes, so please adopt, don't shop."</p> <p>Organisers stressed that the contest is not about making fun of the unusual looking dogs, "but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!"</p> <p><em>Image credits: JOHN G MABANGLO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Why can’t I sleep? It could be your sheets or doona

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chin-moi-chow-169404">Chin Moi Chow</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cynthia-xinzhu-li-1532937">Cynthia (Xinzhu) Li</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-halaki-1532934">Mark Halaki</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>It’s winter, so many of us will be bringing out, or buying, winter bedding.</p> <p>But how much of a difference does your bedding make to your thermal comfort? Can a particular textile help you sleep?</p> <p>Is it wool, or other natural fibres, such as cotton? How about polyester? With so much choice, it’s easy to be confused.</p> <p>Here’s what we <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jsr.14217">found</a> when we reviewed the evidence – not just for winter, but also for the summer ahead.</p> <h2>The importance of bedding</h2> <p>We <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.110097">rely on our bedding</a> to maintain a comfortable temperature to help us sleep. And the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778817317681">right textiles</a> can help regulate our body temperature and <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9783527342587.ch31">wick away moisture</a> from sweat, promoting better sleep.</p> <p>In the cooler months, we’re mainly concerned about a textile’s insulation properties – keeping body heat in and the cold out. As the temperature climbs, we’re less concerned about insulation and more concerned about wicking away moisture from sweat.</p> <p>Another factor to consider is a textile’s breathability – how well it allows air to pass through it. A breathable textile helps keep you cool, by allowing warmth from your body to escape. It also helps keep you comfortable by preventing build-up of moisture. By releasing excess heat and moisture, a breathable textile makes it feel cooler and more comfortable against the skin.</p> <h2>Different textiles have different properties</h2> <p>Some textiles are better than others when it comes to insulation, wicking away moisture or breathability.</p> <p>For instance, cotton and wool have tiny air pockets that <a href="https://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/24505/1/IJFTR%2031(1)%20177-186.pdf">act as insulation</a> to provide <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0379711281900072">warmth</a> in cold weather. Thicker fabrics with more air pockets tend to be warmer, softer and more breathable. But these factors are also affected by the type of fibre, the weave of the fabric and the manufacturing process.</p> <p>Cotton and wool are also breathable fabrics, meaning they help regulate temperature.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="CqVe0" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/CqVe0/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>While cotton absorbs moisture (sweat) from your skin, it doesn’t wick it away efficiently. This retained moisture can make cotton feel clingy and uncomfortable, potentially leading to chills in warm weather.</p> <p>But wool is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jsr.14217">highly absorbent</a> and wicks moisture effectively. In warmer weather, when we sweat, wool fibres allow for airflow and moisture transfer, promoting efficient sweat evaporation and cooling, and preventing overheating. So wool (in different thicknesses) can be a good option in both summer and winter.</p> <p>Linen, although breathable and having moisture-wicking properties, provides less insulation than wool and cotton due to its hollow fibres. This makes linen less effective for keeping warm in winter but is effective for keeping cool in summer.</p> <p>Polyester is a synthetic fibre that can be made to trap air for insulation, but it is not naturally breathable. Usually, it absorbs moisture poorly. So it can trap sweat next to the skin, causing discomfort. However, polyester can be specially treated to help control moisture from sweat.</p> <h2>Which sheets help you sleep?</h2> <p>As part of our review, we couldn’t find any studies that directly compared sheets made from different textiles (for instance, regular cotton and flannelette) and their impact on sleep when it’s cold.</p> <p>However, linen sheets are particularly effective in warmer conditions. In one study, conducted at 29°C and high humidity, linen sheets <a href="https://openurl.ebsco.com/EPDB%3Agcd%3A10%3A26460954/detailv2?sid=ebsco%3Aplink%3Ascholar&amp;id=ebsco%3Agcd%3A87732897&amp;crl=c">promoted</a> less wakefulness and fewer stages of light sleep than cotton sheets.</p> <h2>How about doonas?</h2> <p>If you don’t heat your bedroom at night in winter, a goose down doona (one made from fine, goose feathers) might be an option.</p> <p>These promoted the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778818321728">longest, deep-sleep</a>, followed by duck down, then cotton when sleeping at 11°C. This may be because down offers better insulation (by trapping more air) than cotton. Down also has lower thermal conductivity than cotton, meaning it’s better at keeping warmth in.</p> <p>Choosing between a wool or polyester doona? In a wool-industry funded <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.2147/NSS.S100271">study</a> two of us (Chow and Halaki) co-authored, there wasn’t much difference. The study in young adults found no significant difference on sleep at 17°C or 22°C.</p> <h2>So how do I choose?</h2> <p>The choice of bedding is highly individual. What feels comfortable to one person is not the same for the next. That’s because of variations in body size and metabolic rate, local climate, bedroom temperature and building insulation. These can also affect sleep.</p> <p>This variability, and a wide range of study designs, also makes it hard to compare different studies about the impact of different textiles on sleep. So you might need to experiment with different textiles to discover what works for you.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Many factors can affect your sleep, not just your bedding. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, you can find more information from the <a href="https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/">Sleep Health Foundation</a>. If symptoms continue, see your GP.</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/229604/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/chin-moi-chow-169404">Chin Moi Chow</a>, Associate Professor of Sleep and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cynthia-xinzhu-li-1532937">Cynthia (Xinzhu) Li</a>, PhD candidate studying menopause and sleep, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-halaki-1532934">Mark Halaki</a>, Professor of Human Movement, <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/why-cant-i-sleep-it-could-be-your-sheets-or-doona-229604">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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I’ve been given opioids after surgery to take at home. What do I need to know?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katelyn-jauregui-1527878">Katelyn Jauregui</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/asad-patanwala-1529611">Asad Patanwala</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-penm-404921">Jonathan Penm</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shania-liu-1433659">Shania Liu</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-alberta-1232">University of Alberta</a></em></p> <p>Opioids are commonly prescribed when you’re discharged from hospital after surgery to help manage pain at home.</p> <p>These strong painkillers may have unwanted side effects or harms, such as constipation, drowsiness or the risk of dependence.</p> <p>However, there are steps you can take to minimise those harms and use opioids more safely as you recover from surgery.</p> <h2>Which types of opioids are most common?</h2> <p>The <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0310057X231163890">most commonly prescribed</a> opioids after surgery in Australia are oxycodone (brand names include Endone, OxyNorm) and tapentadol (Palexia).</p> <p>In fact, <a href="https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bcp.16063">about half</a> of new oxycodone prescriptions in Australia occur after a recent hospital visit.</p> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0310057X231163890">Most commonly</a>, people will be given immediate-release opioids for their pain. These are quick-acting and are used to manage short-term pain.</p> <p>Because they work quickly, their dose can be easily adjusted to manage current pain levels. Your doctor will provide instructions on how to adjust the dosage based on your pain levels.</p> <p>Then there are slow-release opioids, which are specially formulated to slowly release the dose over about half to a full day. These may have “sustained-release”, “controlled-release” or “extended-release” on the box.</p> <p>Slow-release formulations are primarily used for chronic or long-term pain. The slow-release form means the medicine does not have to be taken as often. However, it takes longer to have an effect compared with immediate-release, so it is not commonly used after surgery.</p> <p>Controlling your pain after surgery is <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/4811a27845042173-00a4ff09097b-postoperative-pain-management_36-202.pdf">important</a>. This allows you get up and start moving sooner, and recover faster. Moving around sooner after surgery prevents muscle wasting and harms associated with immobility, such as bed sores and blood clots.</p> <p>Everyone’s pain levels and needs for pain medicines are different. Pain levels also decrease as your surgical wound heals, so you may need to take less of your medicine as you recover.</p> <h2>But there are also risks</h2> <p>As mentioned above, side effects of opioids include constipation and feeling drowsy or nauseous. The drowsiness can also make you more likely to fall over.</p> <p>Opioids prescribed to manage pain at home after surgery are usually prescribed for short-term use.</p> <p>But up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35545810/">one in ten</a> Australians still take them up to four months after surgery. <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/msc.1837">One study</a> found people didn’t know how to safely stop taking opioids.</p> <p>Such long-term opioid use may lead to dependence and overdose. It can also reduce the medicine’s effectiveness. That’s because your body becomes used to the opioid and needs more of it to have the same effect.</p> <p>Dependency and side effects are also more common with <a href="https://www.anzca.edu.au/getattachment/535097e6-9f50-4d09-bd7f-ffa8faf02cdd/Prescribing-slow-release-opioids-4-april-2018#:%7E:text=%E2%80%9CSlow%2Drelease%20opioids%20are%20not,its%20Faculty%20of%20Pain%20Medicine.">slow-release opioids</a> than immediate-release opioids. This is because people are usually on slow-release opioids for longer.</p> <p>Then there are concerns about “leftover” opioids. One study found 40% of participants were prescribed <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0310057X231163890">more than twice</a> the amount they needed.</p> <p>This results in unused opioids at home, which <a href="https://www.anzca.edu.au/getattachment/558316c5-ea93-457c-b51f-d57556b0ffa7/PS41-Guideline-on-acute-pain-management">can be dangerous</a> to the person and their family. Storing leftover opioids at home increases the risk of taking too much, sharing with others inappropriately, and using without doctor supervision.</p> <h2>How to mimimise the risks</h2> <p>Before using opioids, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about using over-the-counter pain medicines such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (for example, Nurofen, Brufen) or diclofenac (for example, Voltaren, Fenac).</p> <p>These can be quite effective at controlling pain and will lessen your need for opioids. They can often be used instead of opioids, but in some cases a combination of both is needed.</p> <p>Other techniques to manage pain include physiotherapy, exercise, <a href="https://theconversation.com/hot-pack-or-cold-pack-which-one-to-reach-for-when-youre-injured-or-in-pain-161086">heat packs or ice packs</a>. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist to discuss which techniques would benefit you the most.</p> <p>However, if you do need opioids, there are some ways to make sure you use them <a href="https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-04/opioid-analgesic-stewardship-in-acute-pain-clinical-care-standard.pdf">safely and effectively</a>:</p> <ul> <li> <p>ask for <a href="https://associationofanaesthetists-publications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/anae.16085">immediate-release</a> rather than slow-release opioids to lower your risk of side effects</p> </li> <li> <p>do not drink alcohol or take sleeping tablets while on opioids. This can increase any drowsiness, and lead to reduced alertness and slower breathing</p> </li> <li> <p>as you may be at higher risk of falls, remove trip hazards from your home and make sure you can safely get up off the sofa or bed and to the bathroom or kitchen</p> </li> <li> <p>before starting opioids, have a plan in place with your doctor or pharmacist about how and when to stop taking them. Opioids after surgery are ideally taken at the lowest possible dose for the shortest length of time.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>If you’re concerned about side effects</h2> <p>If you are concerned about side effects while taking opioids, speak to your pharmacist or doctor. Side effects include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-what-causes-constipation-114290">constipation</a> – your pharmacist will be able to give you lifestyle advice and recommend laxatives</p> </li> <li> <p>drowsiness – do not drive or operate heavy machinery. If you’re trying to stay awake during the day, but keep falling asleep, your dose may be too high and you should contact your doctor</p> </li> <li> <p>weakness and slowed breathing – this may be a sign of a more serious side effect such as respiratory depression which requires medical attention. Contact your doctor immediately.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>If you’re having trouble stopping opioids</h2> <p>Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re having trouble stopping opioids. They can give you alternatives to manage the pain and provide advice on gradually lowering your dose.</p> <p>You may experience withdrawal effects, such as agitation, anxiety and insomnia, but your doctor and pharmacist can help you manage these.</p> <h2>How about leftover opioids?</h2> <p>After you have finished using opioids, take any leftovers to your local pharmacy to <a href="https://theconversation.com/health-check-what-should-you-do-with-your-unused-medicine-81406">dispose of them safely</a>, free of charge.</p> <p>Do not share opioids with others and keep them away from others in the house who do not need them, as opioids can cause unintended harms if not used under the supervision of a medical professional. This could include accidental ingestion by children.</p> <hr /> <p><em>For more information, speak to your pharmacist or doctor. Choosing Wisely Australia also has <a href="https://www.choosingwisely.org.au/resources/consumers-and-carers/patient-guide-to-managing-pain-and-opioid-medicines">free online information</a> about managing pain and opioid medicines.</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/228615/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/katelyn-jauregui-1527878">Katelyn Jauregui</a>, PhD Candidate and Clinical Pharmacist, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/asad-patanwala-1529611">Asad Patanwala</a>, Professor, Sydney School of Pharmacy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jonathan-penm-404921">Jonathan Penm</a>, Senior lecturer, School of Pharmacy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shania-liu-1433659">Shania Liu</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-alberta-1232">University of Alberta</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/ive-been-given-opioids-after-surgery-to-take-at-home-what-do-i-need-to-know-228615">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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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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"I am the Bicycle Bandit": Terminally-ill ex-cop confesses to 20-year-old mystery

<p>In a startling twist to a 20-year-old mystery, 73-year-old Kym Allen Parsons, a terminally-ill former police officer and firefighter, has admitted to being the notorious "Bicycle Bandit" who terrorised South Australian banks and residents for a decade.</p> <p>Parsons' confession came just days after receiving approval for voluntary assisted dying (VAD) and being provided with a VAD kit by SA Health.</p> <p>Parsons, who has stage 4 cancer and who had previously denied the charges, changed his plea to guilty during a Supreme Court session on Monday, ending years of speculation and investigation. His sudden admission of guilt follows a plea bargain brokered by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and his counsel after the VAD approval was granted.</p> <p>In a tearful apology read to the court, Parsons expressed deep remorse for his actions, acknowledging that his behaviour was both irrational and without excuse.</p> <p>"I have no excuse for my behaviour," he told the court. "My reasoning was illogical and irrational over that time, and over the past 10 years I have tried to rehabilitate, seek help and forgiveness and demonstrate my shame in distressing actions.</p> <p>"I was fearful of confessing my past and destroying their [my wife and family's] love and trust in the person they knew.</p> <p>"I do not expect your forgiveness, and I humbly ask you accept my sincerest apology and deepest remorse."</p> <p>Despite Parsons' request for bail ahead of his sentencing, Justice Sandi McDonald deemed his crimes too severe for continued freedom and ordered his immediate custody. His access to the VAD kit while in custody remains uncertain.</p> <p>The courtroom was filled with Parsons' victims and their supporters, many of whom had worked at the banks he robbed. Some were victimised multiple times. One victim described the lasting impact of being robbed at gunpoint, detailing the immense trauma and the development of an auto-immune disease likely induced by stress. Other victims recounted struggles with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and ongoing trust issues.</p> <p>Parsons had been scheduled for trial in February on charges of armed robbery, attempted armed robbery, and firearms offences, with prosecutors alleging he stole over $250,000 from 11 banks between 2004 and 2014. DNA evidence was cited as a link to the crimes. His guilty plea and impending death are expected to ignite a legal battle over his $2.4 million estate, involving prosecutors, his heirs, and his victims.</p> <p>Previously, Parsons had been granted home detention due to his terminal stage 4 cancer diagnosis, after significant weight loss while in custody. His defence lawyer, James Marcus, stated that Parsons pleaded guilty to provide closure to the victims and their families.</p> <p>Parsons' sentencing is scheduled for June 28, marking the conclusion of a complex and emotional case that has gripped the state for years.</p> <p><em>Images: ABC News / SA Police</em></p>

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"While I was home": Goldie Hawn robbed twice in four months

<p>Hollywood star Goldie Hawn recently opened up about a harrowing experience she and longtime partner Kurt Russell endured: two home invasions within the span of just a few months.</p> <p>Hawn shared the details of these incidents during a candid conversation on Kelly Ripa's podcast, "Let's Talk Off Camera".</p> <p>The first robbery occurred while Hawn and Russell were out for dinner. "I went up the stairs, I walked into my closet, and I just lost it," Hawn recalled, describing the moment they returned home to find their house had been burglarised. The intruders had broken in from the balcony, targeting their bedroom and closets. "They completely knocked down my door, which is a safe door, so they're very, very sophisticated, and they got a lot of my goodies," she added.</p> <p>Following the initial invasion, Hawn believed the chances of a repeat incident were slim. However, just four months later, she faced another terrifying experience – this time while she was alone at home. "I hear this big thump upstairs, and I was alone," she reflected. Initially dismissing it as a sonic boom or some other unusual noise, she later discovered that intruders "were trying to get in my bedroom while I was in the house". </p> <p>The dual invasions profoundly impacted Hawn, prompting her to enhance her home security measures significantly. Despite the increased safety precautions, the traumatic events have left a lasting impression.</p> <p>In light of these experiences, Hawn expressed a desire to relocate to Atlanta, where her family resides. "It's so lovely there, I said, 'Hey, guys, why don't we all move there?'" she shared. The idea of a family compound has always been a dream for Hawn and her loved ones. "We've always said if one moves, we all have to move together. That's what we've always said." </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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