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Karl Stefanovic reveals real meaning behind "controversial" tattoo

<p>Karl Stefanovic has revealed the real meaning behind his own tattoo fail. </p> <p>The <em>Today</em> show host opened up about his youthful mistake during an appearance on Nova's <em>Jase & Lauren show</em>, as they were discussing unfortunate tattoos. </p> <p>Stefanovic showed off the Japanese phrase inked on his shoulder to hosts Jason Hawkins, Lauren Phillips and Clint Stanaway, and explained that he found out it was mistranslated 20 years after he got it. </p> <p>"I got this when I was at uni. Look at that bad boy!" Stefanovic said on the show.</p> <p>When asked what the tattoo was supposed to mean he answered: "Well, it's controversial, because when I got it done, I wanted to say to be real and to love, right?" </p> <p>"And then, like, 20 years later, I'm in this pool with this Japanese lady and I said 'what does this mean?' She goes, 'it doesn't mean that'," he continued. </p> <p>"And I said, well what does it mean? She goes, it means you really love yourself!"</p> <p>A clearly amused Lauren replied: "Perfect!"</p> <p>Stefanovic isn't the only star who has a tattoo with an error. Ariana Grande,  Christina Aguilera and Hayden Panettiere are some of the other famous names who have made the same mistake. </p> <p>Back in the 2000s Britney Spears also got a tattoo with the wrong translation. </p> <p>According to the New York Times, the pop star wanted the word "mysterios" written in Chinese characters on her hip, but ended up with a word that translated to "strange" instead. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram/ Nine</em></p> <div style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"> <div class="ob-smartfeed-wrapper feedIdx-0" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"> <div id="outbrain_widget_0" class="OUTBRAIN" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" data-src="//celebrity.nine.com.au/latest/karl-stefanovic-discovered-tattoo-meaning-20-years-later/184996a1-6709-4aef-8f8e-d61ad95da58b" data-widget-id="AR_8" data-external-id="70508f2b6f72d5ccede0a8c344e8e8b2" data-ob-mark="true" data-browser="chrome" data-os="macintel" data-dynload="" data-idx="0"> <div class="ob-widget ob-feed-layout AR_8" style="box-sizing: content-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 3px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; width: auto; min-width: 0px; clear: both;"> <div class="ob-widget-header" style="box-sizing: content-box; margin: 24px 0px 14px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 18px; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; color: #303030; direction: ltr; display: flex; justify-content: space-between; align-items: center;"> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Jelena Dokic hits back at body shaming trolls

<p>Jelena Dokic has hit back at body shaming trolls after revealing her dramatic weight loss. </p> <p>The former tennis player revealed that she has lost 20kgs after becoming concerned about her family's health history, and she had a message for online bullies. </p> <p>“It’s not good if you gain weight and it’s not good if you lose weight. It’s not good if you are a size zero, 10 or 18 it seems,” she wrote in the raw Instagram post on Monday. </p> <p>“So you all know I am very open and honest.</p> <p>“Whether I gain weight, lose weight, depressed, feel great, go through the good or the bad, I am always honest about both sides.</p> <p>“So I thought I would just quickly address my recent weight loss because a few people have written to me and also commented.</p> <p>“So, I have lost 20 kilos from my heaviest weight last year.</p> <p>“I had some health issues but also I just wanted to get healthier and fitter and when I turned 40 last year, I really started to think about my family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems.</p> <p>“Also, my work has increased dramatically and I needed to be fitter both physically and mentally and have more energy.</p> <p>“I didn’t have enough energy especially mentally to keep up. I needed to eat healthier to achieve that.</p> <p>“So, I didn’t focus on weight so much but just making better choices to feel my best.</p> <p>“With that the weight started coming off.”</p> <p>While she has previously faced people bullying her over her weight gain, she revealed that she's also been copping flak for losing weight, with some shaming her saying that: "I have succumbed to the ‘diet culture’ and don’t represent the plus size people anymore."</p> <p>"Please don’t even go there,” she said. </p> <p>She added that she will always stand up for people no matter their size, especially women. </p> <p>“It was always about not judging, shaming and bullying people no matter what their weight and size is and instead highlighting that kindness is what matters, not our size.</p> <p>“So, while I have lost 20 kilos it changes nothing.</p> <p>“I still want people to value me and others based on whether we are kind and good people.</p> <p>“I will always be proud of myself and not hide or be embarrassed no matter what size I am. And I will always be against body shaming and against valuing people based on their size and weight no matter if I gain or lose some kilos and dress sizes.</p> <p>“Always against body shaming no matter what.”</p> <p>Her post has already received over 45,000 likes and 3,000 comments, with many praising her for speaking up. </p> <p>“Keep well Jelena, don’t listen to the noise, you will never please everyone. Just keep doing the amazing work you do, love your commentary,” wrote one follower. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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What are compound exercises and why are they good for you?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mandy-hagstrom-1180806">Mandy Hagstrom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anurag-pandit-1534963">Anurag Pandit</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>So you’ve got yourself a gym membership or bought a set of home weights. Now what? With the sheer amount of confusing exercise advice out there, it can be hard to decide what to include in a weights routine.</p> <p>It can help to know there are broadly two types of movements in resistance training (lifting weights): compound exercises and isolation exercises.</p> <p>So what’s the difference? And what’s all this got to do with strength, speed and healthy ageing?</p> <h2>What’s the difference?</h2> <p>Compound exercises involve multiple joints and muscle groups working together.</p> <p>In a push up, for example, your shoulder and elbow joints are moving together. This targets the muscles in the chest, shoulder and triceps.</p> <p>When you do a squat, you’re using your thigh and butt muscles, your back, and even the muscles in your core.</p> <p>It can help to think about compound movements by grouping them by primary movement patterns.</p> <p>For example, some lower body compound exercises follow a “squat pattern”. Examples include bodyweight squats, weighted squats, lunges and split squats.</p> <p>We also have “hinge patterns”, where you hinge from a point on your body (such as the hips). Examples include deadlifts, hip thrusts and kettle bell swings.</p> <p>Upper body compounded exercises can be grouped into “push patterns” (such as vertical barbell lifts) or “pull patterns” (such as weighted rows, chin ups or lat pull downs, which is where you use a pulley system machine to lift weights by pulling a bar downwards).</p> <p>In contrast, isolation exercises are movements that occur at a single joint.</p> <p>For instance, bicep curls only require movement at the elbow joint and work your bicep muscles. Tricep extensions and lateral raises are other examples of isolation exercises.</p> <h2>Compound exercises can make daily life easier</h2> <p>Many compound exercises mimic movements we do every day.</p> <p>Hinge patterns mimic picking something off the floor. A vertical press mimics putting a heavy box on a high shelf. A squat mimics standing up from the couch or getting on and off the toilet.</p> <p>That might sound ridiculous to a young, fit person (“why would I need to practise getting on and off a toilet?”).</p> <p>Unfortunately, we lose strength and muscle mass as we age. Men lose about <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2012.00260/full">5%</a> of their muscle mass per decade, while for women the figure is about <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2012.00260/full">4%</a> per decade.</p> <p>When this decline begins can vary widely. However, approximately 30% of an adult’s peak muscle mass is lost by the time they are 80.</p> <p>The good news is resistance training can counteract these <a href="https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2019/08000/resistance_training_for_older_adults__position.1.aspx">age-related changes</a> in muscle size and strength.</p> <p>So building strength through compound exercise movements may help make daily life feel a bit easier. In fact, our ability to perform compound movements are a good indicator how well we can function <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1442-2018.2007.00317.x">as we age</a>.</p> <h2>What about strength and athletic ability?</h2> <p>Compound exercises use multiple joints, so you can generally lift heavier weights than you could with isolation exercises. Lifting a heavier weight means you can build muscle strength more efficiently.</p> <p>One <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.01105/full">study</a> divided a group of 36 people into two. Three times a week, one group performed isolation exercises, while the other group did compound exercises.</p> <p>After eight weeks, both groups had lost fat. But the compound exercises group saw much better results on measures of cardiovascular fitness, bench press strength, knee extension strength, and squat strength.</p> <p>If you play a sport, compound movements can also help boost athletic ability.</p> <p>Squat patterns require your hip, knee, and ankle to extend at the same time (also known as triple extension).</p> <p>Our bodies use this triple extension trick when we run, sprint, jump or change direction quickly. In fact, research has found squat strength is strongly linked to being able to <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/38/3/285.short?casa_token=hQDvLoU1GWYAAAAA:bx5DqM5HevN8AJpVLOWN5KlNKgqYubTysTvl5dqYr8855acTxNgf4QEmPELWU1hzL6HG9ZezysFQ">sprint faster and jump higher</a>.</p> <h2>Isolation exercises are still good</h2> <p>What if you’re unable to do compound movements, or you just don’t want to?</p> <p>Don’t worry, you’ll still build strength and muscle with isolation exercises.</p> <p>Isolation exercises are also typically <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079612303430033">easier to learn</a> as there is no skill required. They are an easy and low risk way to add extra exercise at the end of the workout, where you might otherwise be too tired to do more compound exercises safely and with correct form.</p> <p>In fact, both isolation and compound exercises seem to be equally effective in helping us <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.01105/full">lose body fat and increase fat-free muscle mass</a> when total intensity and volume of exercises are otherwise equal.</p> <p>Some people also do isolation exercises when they want to build up a particular muscle group for a certain sport or for a bodybuilding competition, for example.</p> <h2>I just want a time efficient workout</h2> <p>Considering the above factors, you could consider prioritising compound exercises if you’re:</p> <ul> <li> <p>time poor</p> </li> <li> <p>keen to lift heavier weights</p> </li> <li> <p>looking for an efficient way to train many muscles in the one workout</p> </li> <li> <p>interested in healthy ageing.</p> </li> </ul> <p>That said, most well designed workout programs will include both compound and isolation movements.<!-- 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/228385/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/mandy-hagstrom-1180806">Mandy Hagstrom</a>, Senior Lecturer, Exercise Physiology. School of Health Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anurag-pandit-1534963">Anurag Pandit</a>, PhD Candidate in Exercise Physiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-compound-exercises-and-why-are-they-good-for-you-228385">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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COVID vaccines saved millions of lives – linking them to excess deaths is a mistake

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-hunter-991309">Paul Hunter</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-east-anglia-1268">University of East Anglia</a></em></p> <p>A recent <a href="https://bmjpublichealth.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000282">study</a> has sparked another <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/06/06/us-news/covid-vaccines-may-have-helped-fuel-rise-in-excess-deaths-since-pandemic-study/">round of</a> <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/06/04/covid-vaccines-may-have-helped-fuel-rise-in-excess-deaths/">headlines</a> <a href="https://www.gbnews.com/health/covid-vaccine-side-effects-deaths">claiming</a> that COVID vaccines caused excess deaths. This was accompanied by a predictable outpouring of <a href="https://x.com/DrAseemMalhotra/status/1797922073798717524">I-told-you-sos</a> on social media.</p> <p>Excess deaths are a measure of how many more deaths are being recorded in a country over what would have been expected based on historical trends. In the UK, and in many other countries, death rates have been higher during the years 2020 to 2023 than would have been expected based on historic trends from before the pandemic. But that has been known for some time. A couple of years ago I wrote an article for <a href="https://theconversation.com/summer-2022-saw-thousands-of-excess-deaths-in-england-and-wales-heres-why-that-might-be-189351">The Conversation</a> pointing this out and suggesting some reasons. But has anything changed?</p> <p>The authors of the new study, published in BMJ Public Health, used publicly available data from <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/COVID-vaccinations">Our World in Data</a> to determine which countries had “statistically significant” excess deaths – in other words, excess deaths that couldn’t be explained by mere random variation.</p> <p>They studied the years 2020 to 2022 and found that many, but not all, countries did indeed report excess deaths. The authors did not try to explain why these excess deaths occurred, but the suggestion that COVID vaccines could have played a role is clear from their text – and indeed widely interpreted as such by certain newspapers.</p> <p>There is no doubt that a few deaths were associated with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/25166026211053485">the COVID vaccines</a>, but could the vaccination programme explain the large number of excess deaths – 3 million in 47 countries – that have been reported?</p> <p>Based on <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwales/march2020todecember2021">death certificates</a>, during 2020 and 2021 there were more deaths from COVID than estimated excess deaths in the UK. So during the year 2021 when most vaccine doses were administered, there were actually fewer non-COVID deaths than would have been expected. It was only in 2022 that excess deaths <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/deathregistrationsummarystatisticsenglandandwales/2022">exceeded COVID deaths</a>.</p> <p>If the vaccination campaign was contributing to the excess deaths that we have seen in recent years, then we should expect to see more deaths in people who have been vaccinated than in those who have not. The most reliable analysis in this regard was done by the UK’s <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwales/march2020todecember2021">Office for National Statistics (ONS)</a>. In this analysis, the ONS matched death registrations with the vaccine histories of each death recorded. They then calculated “age-standardised death rates” to account for age differences between those vaccinated and those not.</p> <p>What the ONS found was that in all months from April 2021 to May 2023, the death rate <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/redir/eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpbmRleCI6MSwicGFnZVNpemUiOjEwLCJwYWdlIjoxLCJ1cmkiOiIvcGVvcGxlcG9wdWxhdGlvbmFuZGNvbW11bml0eS9iaXJ0aHNkZWF0aHNhbmRtYXJyaWFnZXMvZGVhdGhzL2RhdGFzZXRzL2V4Y2Vzc2RlYXRoc2luZW5nbGFuZGFuZHdhbGVzIiwibGlzdFR5cGUiOiJyZWxhdGVkZGF0YSJ9.Cot-XDe8Rr07paGllBNnVVz1nTqnXfVafn2woA3tk0c">from all causes was higher</a> in the unvaccinated than in people who had been vaccinated at least once.</p> <p>That deaths from all causes were lower in the vaccinated than the unvaccinated should come as no surprise given that COVID was a major cause of death in 2021 and 2022. And there is ample evidence of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10492612/">protective effect of vaccines</a> against severe COVID and death. But what is even more convincing is that, even when known COVID deaths were excluded in the ONS report, the death rate in the unvaccinated was still higher, albeit not by very much in more recent months.</p> <p>Some COVID deaths would certainly not have been recognised as such. But, on the other hand, people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, were a high priority for vaccination. And these people would have been at increased risk of death even before the pandemic.</p> <h2>Possible causes</h2> <p>If the vaccine is not the cause of the excess deaths, what was?</p> <p>The major cause of the excess deaths reported in the first two years of the BMJ Public Health study was deaths from COVID. But by 2022, excess deaths exceeded COVID deaths in many countries.</p> <p>Possible <a href="https://theconversation.com/summer-2022-saw-thousands-of-excess-deaths-in-england-and-wales-heres-why-that-might-be-189351">explanations</a> for these excess deaths include longer-term effects of earlier COVID infections, the return of infections such as influenza that had been suppressed during the COVID control measures, adverse effects of lockdowns on physical and mental health, and delays in the diagnosis of life-threatening infections as health services struggled to cope with the pandemic and its aftermath.</p> <p>We do need to look very carefully at how the pandemic was managed. There is still considerable debate about the effectiveness of different behavioural control measures, such as self-isolation and lockdowns. Even when such interventions were effective at reducing transmission of COVID, what were the harms and were the gains worth the harms? Nevertheless, we can be confident that the excess deaths seen in recent years were not a consequence of the vaccination campaign.<!-- 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/231776/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/paul-hunter-991309">Paul Hunter</a>, Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-east-anglia-1268">University of East Anglia</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/covid-vaccines-saved-millions-of-lives-linking-them-to-excess-deaths-is-a-mistake-231776">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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

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

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Millions of older people don’t get enough nutrients – how to spot it and what to do about it

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/miriam-clegg-997096">Miriam Clegg</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-college-cork-1321">University College Cork</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-smith-1505111">Rachel Smith</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-reading-902">University of Reading</a></em></p> <p>By 2050, approximately a quarter of the UK population is <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/overviewoftheukpopulation/january2021">expected to be over the age of 65</a>. With this in mind, the World Health Organization (WHO) has put “<a href="https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/decade-of-healthy-ageing/decade-proposal-final-apr2020-en.pdf?sfvrsn=b4b75ebc_28">healthy ageing</a>” on its agenda. This means finding ways to maintain health, wellbeing and functional ability in order to have a good quality of life and enjoy the later years.</p> <p>Everyone ages at a different rate – but there are some things that can influence how well we age, such as by making changes to the types of activity we do and the foods we eat.</p> <p>Older adults are <a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/research-report-2019--one-step-at-a-time.pdf">generally less physically active</a> than they were when they were younger and because of this, their energy intake requirement may decrease. However, there is a difference between energy requirements and nutrient requirements, and nutrient requirements actually remain the same, if not increase, as we get older.</p> <p>This means we need to get more nutrients into less energy which can be tricky as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4589891/#:%7E:text=The%20physiological%20changes%20that%20occur,can%20contribute%20to%20declining%20appetite.">older adults often have lower appetites</a>. This is why <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6971894/">scientists suggest</a> that it may be necessary to enrich the food of older people to maintain the nutrient intake.</p> <h2>How to spot when someone isn’t eating enough?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8399049/">Several studies have shown</a> that undernutrition affects one in ten older people living independently at home. However, it affects five in ten older people living in nursing homes, and seven in ten older people in hospital.</p> <p>Being overweight, even obese, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40520-023-02650-1">does not protect</a> against undernutrition. And when older adults lose weight, they lose muscle, meaning that they are more likely to lose their <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2022.892675/full?&amp;utm_source=Email_to_authors_&amp;utm_medium=Email&amp;utm_content=T1_11.5e1_author&amp;utm_campaign=Email_publication&amp;field=&amp;journalName=Frontiers_in_Nutrition&amp;id=892675">abilities to do daily tasks</a>.</p> <p>Weight loss in older adults is a key sign of malnutrition that needs to be addressed – but it can be easily missed, especially when many older adults associate the idea of thinness <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666319307603?casa_token=iU5UIdNwGDgAAAAA:I81EKDJ2T0oBsOsZunpPBk6uI-TcgiCr-5gPJE1tz4-Tq3w8pK4Yi_mv22AhVHHpRpiv1Bvz0RI">with good health</a>. But clothing that’s too loose or a watchstrap that floats on the wrist are all warning signs of undernourishment.</p> <p>Similarly, if someone you care for has started to say things like, “Oh, I don’t want much food today, I’m not hungry”, “I’m not hungry, it’s natural, I’m getting older”, or “I’d rather just have a biscuit to be honest,” then these could be warning signs. An effective way to keep on top of this is regular weighing at least once per month which enables a quick response to potential indicators of malnutrition.</p> <h2>Getting more nutrients into less food</h2> <p>If people are eating small amounts of food, it is important to think about how to add more nutrients into it. A very effective technique, “fortification” is commonly done with pre-made products such as breakfast cereals, plant-based milk and bread in the UK.</p> <p>Fortification (adding foods, ingredients or nutrients into to existing foods or meals) is easy to do at home as well and can provide a flexible approach for older adults as it allows them to continue eating the foods that they most enjoy.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kNu8auu3fuU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>For older adults in particular, protein is a very important nutrient, because of muscle loss (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4066461/#:%7E:text=Sarcopenia%20has%20been%20defined%20as,decade%20of%20life%20%5B1%5D.">sarcopenia)</a> which is a natural part of ageing. This could be slowed down or even reversed by <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/could-a-higher-protein-intake-lead-to-healthier-eating">eating enough protein</a> at regular intervals throughout the day. A few ways to increase protein include:</p> <p>• Adding dairy ingredients such as milk, high-protein yoghurt, Quark (soft cheese), milk powders, eggs and cheese into meals – even into simple foods like mashed potato.</p> <p>• Nuts are a great source of protein, try adding ground almonds to savoury or sweet meals (beware of nut allergies).</p> <p>• Soy protein can be a convenient and cost-effective option, either for vegetarians or to further fortify minced-meat meals.</p> <p>• Look in the sports section of supermarkets to find <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/whey-powder#:%7E:text=Whey%20powders%20are%20characterized%20as,of%20products%20obtained%20from%20milk.">whey protein</a> powders. These are marketed to gym enthusiasts, but actually whey is one of the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/15/15/3424">best proteins to stimulate muscle growth</a>. This versatile ingredient can be mixed into porridge before cooking or used it as a substitute for other powdered ingredients in baking.</p> <h2>Importance of physical activity and strength exercises</h2> <p>Physical activity and nutrition go hand-in-hand – both are equally important. As we age, being physically active becomes <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12603-021-1665-8?fbclid=IwAR3dJkeHjgcSrR9Xq5kBfN-HLrbpli8WcAnz7AeY5Nu9XcGCHEB07Sd2z1w">even more essential</a> as it helps to prevent disease, maintains independence, decreases risk of falls, improves cognitive function, mental health and sleep.</p> <p>Exercise can also <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ageing/article/48/4/476/5423796?login=false">combat isolation and loneliness</a> which has also been <a href="https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/loneliness-and-malnutrition.html">linked to decreased appetite</a> in older adults. Often strength training gets ignored when we think of being active but to keep independence and prevent falls, older adults should do varied physical activity that emphasises balance and strength training at moderate or greater intensity on three or more days a week.</p> <p>Ultimately, it’s essential to contact a doctor or dietician with any worries or concerns about malnutrition or unintentional weight loss. There are, however, <a href="https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/ageing-well-nutrition-and-exercise-for-older-adults">some excellent resources</a> to learn more about ageing healthily and maintaining a good quality of life in later years.<!-- 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/221380/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/miriam-clegg-997096">Miriam Clegg</a>, Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-college-cork-1321">University College Cork</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-smith-1505111">Rachel Smith</a>, Sensory and Consumer Scientist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-reading-902">University of Reading</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/millions-of-older-people-dont-get-enough-nutrients-how-to-spot-it-and-what-to-do-about-it-221380">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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

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

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Weight loss: drinking a gallon of water a day probably won’t help you lose weight

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/duane-mellor-136502">Duane Mellor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/aston-university-1107">Aston University</a></em></p> <p>It’s often claimed that if you’re trying to lose weight, one of the things you should do each day is drink plenty of water – with some internet advice even suggesting this should be as much as a gallon (about 4.5 litres). The claim is that water helps burn calories and reduce appetite, which in turn leads to weight loss.</p> <p>But while we all might wish it was this easy to lose weight, unfortunately there’s little evidence to back up these claims.</p> <h2>Myth 1: water helps burn calories</h2> <p>One <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14671205/">small study</a>, of 14 young adults, found drinking 500ml of water increased resting energy expenditure (the amount of calories our body burns before exercise) by about 24%.</p> <p>While this may sound great, this effect only lasted an hour. And this wouldn’t translate to a big difference at all. For an average 70kg adult, they would only use an additional 20 calories – a quarter of a biscuit – for every 500ml of water they drank.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16822824/">Another study</a> of eight young adults only saw an increase in energy expenditure when the water was fridge cold – reporting a very modest 4% increase in calories burned. This may be because the body needs to use more energy in order to bring the water up to body temperature, or because it requires more energy for the body to filter the increased volume of fluid through the kidneys. And again, this effect was only seen for about an hour.</p> <p>So although scientifically it might be possible, the actual net increase in calories burned is tiny. For example, even if you drank an extra 1.5l of water per day, it would save fewer calories than you’d get in a slice of bread.</p> <p>It’s also worth noting that all this research was in young healthy adults. More research is needed to see whether this effect is also seen in other groups (such as middle-aged and older adults).</p> <h2>Myth 2: water with meals reduces appetite</h2> <p>This claim again seems sensible, in that if your stomach is at least partly full of water there’s less room for food – so you end up eating less.</p> <p>A number of studies actually support this, particularly those conducted in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2859815/#:%7E:text=Thus%2C%20when%20combined%20with%20a,meal%20EI%20following%20water%20ingestion.">middle-aged and older adults</a>. It’s also a reason people who are unwell or have a poor appetite are advised <a href="https://www.ageuk.org.uk/bp-assets/globalassets/salford/forms/improve-your-food-and-drink-intake.pdf">not to drink before eating</a> as it may lead to under-eating.</p> <p>But for people looking to lose weight, the science is a little less straightforward.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228036/">One study</a> showed middle-aged and older adults lost 2kg over a 12-week period when they drank water before meals compared with people who didn’t drink any water with their meal. Younger participants (aged 21-35) on the other hand did not lose any weight, regardless of whether they drank water before their meal or not.</p> <p>But since the study didn’t use blinding (where information which may influence participants is withheld until after the experiment is finished), it means that participants may have become aware of why they were drinking water before their meal. This may have led some participants to purposefully change how much they ate in the hopes it might increase their changes of losing weight. However, this doesn’t explain why the effect wasn’t seen in young adults, so it will be important for future studies to investigate why this is.</p> <p>The other challenge with a lot of this kind of research is that it only focuses on whether participants eat less during just one of their day’s meals after drinking water. Although this might suggest the potential to lose weight, there’s <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20736036/">very little good-quality evidence</a> showing that reducing appetite in general leads to weight loss over time.</p> <p>Perhaps this is due to our body’s biological drive to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28193517/">maintain its size</a>. It’s for this reason that no claims can be legally made in Europe about foods which help make you <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/satietyenhancing-products-for-appetite-control-science-and-regulation-of-functional-foods-for-weight-management/E4CCAE4C90A220994FD29C27FAE7F666">feel fuller for longer</a> with <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nutrition-and-health-claims-guidance-to-compliance-with-regulation-ec-1924-2006-on-nutrition-and-health-claims-made-on-foods/nutrition-and-health-claims-guidance-to-compliance-with-regulation-ec-19242006#section-6">reference to weight loss</a>.</p> <p>So, although there might be some appetite-dulling effects of water, it seems that it might not result in long-term weight change – and may possibly be due to making conscious changes to your diet.</p> <h2>Just water isn’t enough</h2> <p>There’s a pretty good reason why water on its own is not terribly effective at <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/eating-habits-and-appetite-control-a-psychobiological-perspective/0D0605739F5150D1A7C49420D75F3CDF">regulating appetite</a>. If it did, prehistoric humans might have starved.</p> <p>But while appetite and satiation – feeling full and not wanting to eat again – aren’t perfectly aligned with being able to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20736036/">lose weight</a>, it might be a helpful starting point.</p> <p>Part of what helps us to feel full is our stomach. When food enters the stomach, it triggers stretch receptors that in turn lead to the release of hormones which tell us we’re full.</p> <p>But since water is a liquid, it’s rapidly emptied from our stomach – meaning it doesn’t actually fill us up. Even more interestingly, due to the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16934271/">stomach’s shape</a>, fluids can bypass any semi-solid food content that’s being digested in the lower part of the stomach. This means that water can still be quickly emptied from the stomach. So even if it’s consumed at the end of a meal it might not necessarily extend your feelings of fullness.</p> <p>If you’re trying to eat less and lose weight, drinking excessive amounts of water may not be a great solution. But there is evidence showing when water is mixed with other substances (such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30166637/">fibre</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0031938494903034">soups</a> or vegetable sauces) this can delay how fast the stomach empties its contents – meaning you feel fuller longer.</p> <p>But while water may not help you lose weight directly, it may still aid in weight loss given it’s the healthiest drink we can choose. Swapping high-calorie drinks such as soda and alcohol for water may be an easy way of reducing the calories you consume daily, which may help with weight loss.<!-- 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/211311/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/duane-mellor-136502">Duane Mellor</a>, Lead for Evidence-Based Medicine and Nutrition, Aston Medical School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/aston-university-1107">Aston 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/weight-loss-drinking-a-gallon-of-water-a-day-probably-wont-help-you-lose-weight-211311">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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The growing promise of cancer vaccines

<div class="copy"> <p>A cure for cancer — which is <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/burden-of-disease-by-cause" target="_blank" rel="noopener">second only to cardiovascular diseases</a> in its contribution to the global burden of disease — has long been a dream.</p> <p>While no magic bullet is yet in sight, three vaccines for particular skin and lung cancer types have advanced to the last stage of clinical trials in recent months.</p> <p>If successful, these vaccines should be available to patients in the next three to 11 years. Unlike vaccines which prevent diseases, these aim to cure them or prevent relapses.</p> <p>Cancer in every person is different because the cells in every cancerous tumour have different sets of genetic mutations. Recognising this, two of the vaccines are personalised and tailor-made for each patient. Oncologists working with pharmaceutical companies have developed these individualised neoantigen therapies.</p> <p>A vaccine typically works by training the immune cells of our body to recognise antigens – proteins from pathogens, such as viruses – against future attacks by the pathogen.</p> <p>In cancer, however, there is no external pathogen. The cells of a cancerous tumour undergo continuous mutations, some of which help them to grow much faster than normal cells while some others help them evade the body’s natural immune system. The mutated proteins in cancerous cells are called ‘neoantigens’.</p> <p>In individualised neoantigen therapy, the gene sequence of the tumour and normal blood cells are compared to identify neoantigens from each patient, and then a subset of neoantigens are chosen that are most likely to induce an immune response. The vaccine for an individual patient targets this chosen subset of neoantigens.</p> <p>These vaccines, jointly developed by pharma giants Moderna and Merck, have been shown in trials conducted so far to be significantly more effective in combination with immunotherapy than immunotherapy alone in preventing both the relapse of melanoma — a type of skin cancer — and non-small cell lung cancer after the tumours had been surgically removed.</p> <p>Following these promising results in phase II clinical trials, the vaccines are now being tested on a larger group of patients in phase III trials. The studies are expected to be complete by 2030 for <a href="https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05933577" target="_blank" rel="noopener">melanoma</a> and 2035 for <a href="https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT06077760?intr=mRNA-4157&amp;rank=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lung cancer</a>.</p> <p>The Moderna-Merck cancer vaccine may not be the first to reach the market. The French company OSE Immunotherapeutics <a href="https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/news/ose-shares-pipeline-updates-with-plans-phase-iii-trial-for-tedopi/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">published positive results</a> last September from phase III clinical trials of a vaccine using a different approach for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Its vaccine, Tedopi, is scheduled to start <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ose-immunotherapeutics-receives-8-4-160000694.html?guccounter=1&amp;guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&amp;guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADAX7Kqu7RTAEowvwOw2f-2cJ7SJ4uLpvjH-3tXzGtifqidaZfPs4eHLz23UqqjHDPjbVE1Vwel5qIKzKbmWvPLfLQzzH_PvKJAMsqTHuz8p5nPoR39RbIToLShEUG53eOeDFg6pWlRc2JPqrX7sGnc3ByO9FFfqXQYpZ4FZ-jgr" target="_blank" rel="noopener">confirmatory trials</a> – which are the last step before regulatory approval – later this year and may be available by 2027.</p> <p>Vaccines for pancreatic cancer being developed by BioNTech and Genentech, and for colon cancer by Gritstone, are also showing promising results in the early phases of clinical trials. Like the vaccines being developed by Moderna and Merck, these too are individualised neoantigen therapies based on messenger RNA (mRNA).</p> <p>There is another kind of RNA therapy also under development that uses small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA). Since 2018, six siRNA-based therapies have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of neural, skin, heart and renal diseases. Several more siRNA drugs are at various clinical trial stages for different types of cancer and a diverse range of other diseases.</p> <p>Within cells, there are two kinds of nucleic acid molecules that contain coded information vital to life: DNA and RNA. While DNA contains genetic information, mRNA — one among the different types of RNA — carries the codes for the proteins. In addition, there are also non-coding RNA, some of which are functionally important. siRNA and miRNA are examples of such non-coding RNA.</p> <p>The RNA vaccine for an individualised neoantigen therapy is a cocktail of mRNA carrying the codes for neoantigens — the mutated fingerprint proteins in cancerous cells. For the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41591-023-00072-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Moderna-Merck study</a>, scientists identified 34 neoantigens per patient. They delivered the corresponding mRNA vaccine cocktail packed in lipid nanoparticles, just like the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.</p> <p>When the vaccine is delivered after removing the tumour, it trains the immune system to recognise neoantigens and fight back against the cancer returning. Usually, the body’s natural immune system corrects mutations and prevents us from having cancers. However, in some cases this natural immune response is insufficient, leading to tumour growth. In individualised neoantigen therapy, these mutations in the tumour cells are used for vaccine development and for training the immune system to fight back against relapse after removal of the tumour.</p> <p>Recent advances in artificial intelligence are helping identify potential neoantigens and manage personalised therapies. Firstly, gene sequencing of tumours and normal blood cells of a patient and their comparison produces a huge amount of data. AI is used to find the genetic mutations of the patient’s cancer in such ‘big data’. Moreover, individualised therapy requires timely production and delivery of vaccines that are different for each patient. AI is also useful in the management of such data.</p> <p>The individualised nature of the treatment is probably why it has been <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41591-023-00072-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more effective in trials</a> than previous, unsuccessful RNA vaccine candidates. However, this personalisation is also likely to raise challenges for the timely and cost-effective delivery of treatment to populations around the world.</p> <p>The siRNA and miRNA treatments work in a way opposite to mRNA. While each mRNA in a vaccine carries the code for producing a protein from a pathogen (antigen) or tumour (neoantigen) to train our immune systems against future attacks by the pathogen or tumour, siRNA directly targets the mRNA of the antigen or neoantigen and terminates the production of the protein it codes. Thus, the effect of a siRNA is more direct and immediate (like a drug), rather than a protection against future attacks (like a vaccine).</p> <p>Discovered at the turn of this millennium, siRNA-based therapeutics attracted immediate attention, but their initial success was limited due to their inherent low stability, difficulties in delivering them to desired locations, and rapid clearance from the bloodstream. However, in recent years, siRNA therapies have been boosted through chemical modifications that have increased their stability and ability to be delivered to specific locations such as tumours, and improved delivery systems such as lipid nanoparticle encasings.</p> <p>These improvements led to recent successes in FDA approvals of siRNA-based therapies and further <a href="https://www.rockefeller.edu/news/35461-a-new-way-to-target-the-culprit-behind-a-deadly-liver-cancer/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">promising reports of advances</a> in the treatment of diseases including a type of liver cancer.</p> <p><em>Research scientist </em><em><strong>Dr Bidyut Sarkar</strong></em><em> is the DBT-Wellcome Trust India Alliance Intermediate Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Shiv Nadar Institute of Eminence, Delhi NCR, India.</em></p> <p><em>Originally published under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Commons</a> by <a href="https://360info.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">360info</a>™.</em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1"><em><img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/MICROSCOPIC-TO-TELESCOPIC__Embed-graphic-720x360-1.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" width="600" alt="Buy cosmos print magazine" title="the growing promise of cancer vaccines 2"></em></noscript></p> </div> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=304875&amp;title=The+growing+promise+of+cancer+vaccines" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/the-body/the-growing-promise-of-cancer-vaccines/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/360info-2/">360info</a>. Originally published under Creative Commons by 360info™.</em></p> </div>

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‘Sleeping on it’ really does help and four other recent sleep research breakthroughs

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dan-denis-158199">Dan Denis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-york-1344">University of York</a></em></p> <p>Twenty-six years. That is roughly <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-34624-8">how much of our lives</a> are spent asleep. Scientists have been trying to explain why we spend so much time sleeping since at least the <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/alcmaeon/">ancient Greeks</a>, but pinning down the exact functions of sleep has proven to be difficult.</p> <p>During the past decade, there has been a surge of interest from researchers in the nature and function of sleep. New experimental models coupled with advances in technology and analytical techniques are giving us a deeper look inside the sleeping brain. Here are some of the biggest recent breakthroughs in the science of sleep.</p> <h2>1. We know more about lucid dreaming</h2> <p>No longer on the fringes, the neuroscientific study of dreaming has now become mainstream.</p> <p>US researchers in a 2017 study woke their participants up at regular intervals during the night and asked them what was going through their minds prior to the alarm call. Sometimes participants couldn’t recall any dreaming. The study team then looked at what was <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.4545">happening in the participant’s brain</a> moments before waking.</p> <p>Participants’ recall of dream content was associated with increased activity in the posterior hot zone, an area of the brain closely <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05097-x">linked to conscious awareness</a>. Researchers could predict the presence or absence of dream experiences by monitoring this zone in real time.</p> <p>Another exciting development in the study of dreams is research into lucid dreams, in which <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-ability-to-control-dreams-may-help-us-unravel-the-mystery-of-consciousness-52394">you are aware that</a> you are dreaming. A 2021 study established <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)00059-2?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982221000592%3Fshowall%3Dtrue">two-way communication</a> between a dreamer and a researcher. In this experiment, participants signalled to the researcher that they were dreaming by moving their eyes in a pre-agreed pattern.</p> <p>The researcher read out maths problems (what is eight minus six?). The dreamer could respond to this question with eye movements. The dreamers were accurate, indicating they had access to high level cognitive functions. The researchers used <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/polysomnography/about/pac-20394877">polysomnography</a>, which monitors bodily functions such as breathing and brain activity during sleep, to confirm that participants were asleep.</p> <p>These discoveries have dream researchers excited about the future of “interactive dreaming”, such as practising a skill or solving a problem in our dreams.</p> <h2>2. Our brain replays memories while we sleep</h2> <p>This year marks the centenary of the first demonstration that <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/1414040?origin=crossref">sleep improves our memory</a>. However, a 2023 review of recent research has shown that memories formed during the day <a href="https://portlandpress.com/emergtoplifesci/article/7/5/487/233796/Neural-reactivation-during-human-sleep">get reactivated</a> while we are sleeping. Researchers discovered this using machine learning techniques to “decode” the contents of the sleeping brain.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-24357-5">A 2021 study</a> found that training algorithms to distinguish between different memories while awake makes it possible to see the same neural patterns re-emerge in the sleeping brain. A different study, also in 2021, found that the more times these patterns re-emerge during sleep, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-23520-2">the bigger the benefit</a> to memory.</p> <p>In other approaches, scientists have been able to reactivate certain memories by <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)31035-8?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982219310358%3Fshowall%3Dtrue">replaying sounds</a> associated with the memory in question while the participant was asleep. A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7144680/">2020 meta-analysis of 91 experiments</a> found that when participants’ memory was tested after sleep they remembered more of the stimuli whose sounds were played back during sleep, compared with control stimuli whose sounds were not replayed.</p> <p>Research has also shown that sleep strengthens memory for the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2202657119">most important aspects</a> of an experience, restructures our memories to form <a href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/40/9/1909">more cohesive narratives</a> and helps us come up with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797619873344">solutions to problems</a> we are stuck on. Science is showing that sleeping on it really does help.</p> <h2>3. Sleep keeps our minds healthy</h2> <p>We all know that a lack of sleep makes us feel bad. Laboratory sleep deprivation studies, where researchers keep willing participants awake throughout the night, have been combined with <a href="https://www.open.edu/openlearn/body-mind/health/health-sciences/how-fmri-works">functional MRI brain scans</a> to paint a detailed picture of the sleep-deprived brain. These studies have shown that a lack of sleep severely disrupts the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn.2017.55">connectivity between</a> different brain networks. These changes include a breakdown of connectivity between brain regions <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11682-018-9868-2">responsible for cognitive control</a>, and an amplification of those involved in <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30761-4?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982219307614%3Fshowall%3Dtrue">threat and emotional processing</a>.</p> <p>The consequence of this is that the sleep-deprived brain is worse at <a href="https://academic.oup.com/cercor/article/33/5/1610/6573958">learning new information</a>, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/44/6/zsaa289/6053003">poorer at regulating emotions</a>, and unable to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2167702620951511">suppress intrusive thoughts</a>. Sleep loss may even make you less likely to <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3001733">help other people</a>. These findings may explain why poor sleep quality is so <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsr.13930">ubiquitous in poor mental health</a>.</p> <h2>4. Sleep protects us against neurodegenerative diseases</h2> <p>Although we naturally <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-34624-8">sleep less as we age</a>, mounting evidence suggests that sleep problems earlier in life <a href="https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/91/3/236">increase the risk</a> of dementia.</p> <p>The build-up of β-amyloid, a <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alzheimers-disease/causes/">metabolic waste product</a>, is one of the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, it has become apparent that deep, undisturbed sleep is good for <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aav5447">flushing these toxins</a> out of the brain. Sleep deprivation increases the the rate of build-up of β-amyloid in parts of the brain involved in memory, <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1721694115">such as the hippocampus</a>. A longitudinal study published in 2020 found that sleep problems were associated with a higher rate of β-amyloid accumulation at a follow-up <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(20)31171-4?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982220311714%3Fshowall%3Dtrue">four years later</a>. In a different study, published in 2022, sleep parameters <a href="https://elifesciences.org/articles/78191">forecasted the rate</a> of cognitive decline in participants over the following two years.</p> <h2>5. We can engineer sleep</h2> <p>The good news is that research is developing treatments to get a better night’s sleep and boost its benefits.</p> <p>For example, the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsr.14035">European Sleep Research Society</a> and the <a href="https://jcsm.aasm.org/doi/10.5664/jcsm.8986">American Academy of Sleep Medicine</a> recommend cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). <a href="https://www.cntw.nhs.uk/services/nctalkingtherapies/what-do-nc-talking-therapies-offer/cbt-i-cbt-for-insomnia/">CBT-I works by</a> identifying thoughts, feelings and behaviour that contribute to insomnia, which can then be modified to help promote sleep.</p> <p>In 2022, a CBT-I app became the <a href="https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/nice-recommends-offering-app-based-treatment-for-people-with-insomnia-instead-of-sleeping-pills">first digital therapy</a> recommended by England’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for treatment on the NHS.</p> <p>These interventions can improve other aspects of our lives as well. A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1087079221001416?via%3Dihub">2021 meta-analysis</a> of 65 clinical trials found that improving sleep via CBT-I reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, rumination and stress.<!-- 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/230484/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/dan-denis-158199">Dan Denis</a>, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-york-1344">University of York</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/sleeping-on-it-really-does-help-and-four-other-recent-sleep-research-breakthroughs-230484">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Drinking lots of water may seem like a healthy habit – here’s when and why it can prove toxic

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>In late 2023, actor <a href="https://www.glamour.com/story/brooke-shields-recently-experienced-a-full-blown-seizure-and-bradley-cooper-came-running?utm_source=instagram&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_content=instagram-bio-link&amp;client_service_id=31196&amp;client_service_name=glamour&amp;service_user_id=1.78e+16&amp;supported_service_name=instagram_publishing&amp;utm_brand=glm&amp;utm_social_type=owned">Brooke Shields</a> suffered a seizure after “flooding” her body with water. Shields became dangerously low on sodium while preparing for her show by drinking loads of water. “I flooded my system and I drowned myself,” she would later explain. “And if you don’t have enough sodium in your blood or urine or your body, you can have a seizure.”</p> <p>Shields said she found herself walking around outside for “no reason at all”, wondering: “Why am I out here?”</p> <blockquote> <p>Then I walk into the restaurant and go to the sommelier who had just taken an hour to watch my run through. That’s when everything went black. Then my hands drop to my side and I go headfirst into the wall.</p> </blockquote> <p>Shields added that she was “frothing at the mouth, totally blue, trying to swallow my tongue”.</p> <p>Like Shields, many people may be unaware of the dangers of drinking excessive amounts of water – especially because hydration is so often associated with health benefits. Models and celebrities <a href="https://www.teenvogue.com/story/drinking-water-flawless-skin#:%7E:text=If%20you're%20reading%20a,long%20hours%20at%20a%20time.">often advocate</a> drinking lots of water to help maintain clear, smooth skin. Some <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/75-hard-challenge-before-and-after-tiktok-b2382706.html">social media influencers</a> have promoted drinking a gallon of water daily for weight loss.</p> <p>But excessive water consumption can cause <a href="https://patient.info/treatment-medication/hyponatraemia-leaflet">hyponatraemia</a> – a potentially fatal condition of low sodium in the blood.</p> <h2>Worried about hydration levels? Check your urine</h2> <p>The body strictly regulates its water content to maintain the optimum level of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2323003/">total body water</a> and “osmolality” – the concentration of dissolved particles in your blood. Osmolality increases when you are dehydrated and decreases when you have too much fluid in your blood.</p> <p>Osmolality is monitored by <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9074779/">osmoreceptors</a> that regulate sodium and water balance in the hypothalamus – the part of the brain that controls numerous hormones. These osmoreceptors signal the release of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which acts on blood vessels and the kidneys to control the amount of water and salt in the body.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qghf7Y9ILAs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>In healthy people, the body releases ADH when osmolality becomes high. ADH tells the kidneys to reabsorb water, which makes urine more concentrated. The reabsorbed water dilutes the blood, bringing osmolality back to normal levels.</p> <p>Low blood osmolality suppresses the release of ADH, reducing how much water the kidneys reabsorb. This dilutes your urine, which the body then passes to rid itself of the excess water.</p> <p>Healthy urine should be clear and odourless. Darker, yellower urine with a noticeable odour can indicate dehydration – although medications and certain foods, including <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3433805/">asparagus</a>, can affect urine colour and odour, too.</p> <h2>How much is too much?</h2> <p>Adults should consume <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/water-drinks-nutrition/">two-to-three litres per day</a>, of which around 20% comes from food. However, we can lose <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236237/">up to ten litres</a> of water through perspiration – so sweating during exercise or in hot weather increases the amount of water we need to replace through drinking.</p> <p>Some medical conditions can cause overhydration. Approximately <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3616165/">one in five</a> schizophrenia patients drink water compulsively, a dangerous condition known as <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/apr/15/woman-died-mental-hospital-excessive-water-drinking-inquest#:%7E:text=Woman%20died%20at%20mental%20hospital%20after%20excessive%20water%20drinking%2C%20inquest%20told,-Parents%20of%20Lillian&amp;text=A%20woman%20collapsed%20and%20died,water%2C%20an%20inquest%20has%20heard.">psychogenic polydipsia</a>. One long-term study found that patients with psychogenic polydipsia have a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18984069/">“74% greater chance</a> of dying before a non-polydipsic patient”.</p> <p>In <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22306188/">some cases</a>, people with <a href="https://psychiatry-psychopharmacology.com/en/childhood-and-adolescence-disorders-psychogenic-polydipsia-in-an-adolescent-with-eating-disorder-a-case-report-132438">anorexia nervosa</a> can also suffer from compulsive water drinking.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ReQew2zcN7c?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>For those suffering from polydipsia, treatment is focused on medication to reduce the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10675986/">urge to drink</a>, as well as <a href="https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-treatment-of-hyponatremia-in-adults/print">increasing sodium levels</a>. This should be done gradually to avoid causing <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562251/">myelinolysis</a> – <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551697/">neurological damage</a> caused by rapid changes in sodium levels in nerve cells.</p> <p>In rare but often highly publicised cases such as that of <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/13/newsid_2516000/2516593.stm">Leah Betts</a> in 1995, some users of the illegal drug MDMA (also known as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6119400/">ecstasy)</a> have <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11265566/">died</a> after drinking copious amounts of water to rehydrate after dancing and sweating.</p> <p>The drug <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008716/">increases body temperature</a>, so users drink water to avoid overheating. Unfortunately, MDMA also triggers the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12105115/">unnecessary release of ADH</a>, causing water retention. The body becomes unable to rid itself of excess water, which affects its electrolyte levels – causing cells to swell with water.</p> <p>Symptoms of water intoxication start with nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and dizziness. As the condition progresses, sufferers can often display symptoms of <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/psychosis/symptoms/">psychosis</a>, such as inappropriate behaviour, confusion, delusions, disorientation and hallucinations.</p> <p>These symptoms are caused by <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470386/">hyponatraemia</a>, where sodium levels are diluted or depleted in blood and the subsequent imbalance of electrolytes affects the nervous system. Water begins to move into the brain causing <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1572349604000149">a cerebral oedema</a> – brain swelling because of excessive fluid buildup, which is usually fatal if not treated.</p> <p>A healthy body will tell you when it needs water. If you’re thirsty and your urine is dark with a noticeable odour, then you need to drink more. If you aren’t thirsty and your urine is clear or the colour of light straw, then you’re already doing a good job of hydrating yourself.<!-- 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/228715/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/adam-taylor-283950"><em>Adam Taylor</em></a><em>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster 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/drinking-lots-of-water-may-seem-like-a-healthy-habit-heres-when-and-why-it-can-prove-toxic-228715">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Major update in search for Samantha Murphy's body

<p>IMPORTANT UPDATE: Police have announced a significant breakthrough in the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Samantha Murphy, who went missing during her morning jog on February 4. In a renewed targeted search, “items of interest” have now been discovered, offering new hope in the case.</p> <p>Victoria Police, in a recent statement, revealed that the search area in Buninyong has been cordoned off as specialist police and detectives, with assistance from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), conducted an intensive search. Among the recovered items, one is reported to be a phone. However, police are withholding further details until testing is complete.</p> <p>“At this stage we are not providing further information about the items until that testing has been completed,” a police spokeswoman said. “The investigation remains ongoing. Further information will be provided once we are in a position to do so.”</p> <p>Samantha was last seen on the morning of February 4, leaving her home on Eureka Street in Ballarat East for a run in the Canadian State Forest. Despite extensive efforts, her body has not been found, and her disappearance remains a mystery.</p> <p>On Wednesday May 29, detectives from the Missing Persons Squad, along with a variety of specialist resources, began conducting a new, targeted search in the Ballarat area. In a statement, police paid special attention to the importance of this search to their ongoing investigation.</p> <p>"Police are undertaking a targeted search in the Ballarat area today as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Samantha Murphy," the statement read. "Police ask that members of the public do not attend the search at this time."</p> <p>The renewed search effort included the deployment of an excavator and other specialist equipment, in an obvious nod to the seriousness and intensity of the operation. </p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/05/Samantha_Murphy02_supplied.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Since Samantha's disappearance, police have been conducting regular enquiries and smaller searches. These efforts have included the involvement of mounted officers, dog squads and motorcyclists, particularly in a targeted search of the Buninyong Bushland Reserve in March. This earlier search was based on intelligence from multiple sources, according to a police spokesperson.</p> <p>Samantha's family has been kept informed about the ongoing searches. The emotional toll on them has been immense, with the community also expressing widespread concern and support.</p> <p>The investigation took a significant turn when <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/everything-we-know-about-samantha-murphy-s-accused-killer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Patrick Stephenson</a>, the son of former AFL player Orren Stephenson, was charged with Ms. Murphy’s murder. Police believe he acted alone in what they have described as a deliberate attack. "He has been charged with murder so, by definition, we are saying this was a deliberate attack on Samantha," Chief Commissioner Shane Patton stated in March.</p> <p>The details surrounding Samantha's disappearance have been particularly harrowing. She was reported to have left her home around 7am for a 14-kilometre run through the Woowookarung Regional Park, and police believe she reached the Mount Clear area approximately an hour later. Since then, she has neither been seen nor heard from.</p> <p>As the renewed search progresses, the hope remains that it will yield new information or evidence to bring closure to Samantha family and the Ballarat community. The commitment of the police and specialist teams to this investigation is a true testament to the importance of finding answers and achieving justice for Samantha Murphy.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied</em></p>

Legal

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Here’s what happens to your body during plane turbulence – and how to reduce the discomfort it causes

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>This week has seen another barrage of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/jan/22/uk-weather-storm-jocelyn-to-follow-isha-with-more-strong-winds-and-heavy-rain">unsettled weather</a> sweep across the UK, with many flights delayed or cancelled. Some of those who were fortunate enough to take off found themselves arriving at destinations that weren’t on their boarding passes – such as passengers travelling from Stansted to Newquay who eventually diverted to <a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/storm-isha-creates-flight-diversion-142821278.html">Malaga</a>.</p> <p>One thing that was consistently described by passengers was that parts of the flights and the attempted landings were some of the most unnerving they’d ever experienced, due to turbulence.</p> <p>Turbulence results from uneven air movement, which is <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2023GL103814">increasing</a> in frequency. If you turn your hair dryer on at home and hold it still, the air moves at a constant rate, but once you begin drying your hair and moving the hairdryer around, the air movement becomes uneven, that is to say, turbulent.</p> <p>Although turbulence may be unnerving and make you feel unwell, it is important to recognise that it is very common and typically <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18018437/">nothing to worry about</a> if you’re in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.</p> <h2>How the body detects and responds to turbulence</h2> <p>The body recognises itself within any environment. Its relationship with objects in terms of distance and direction is called <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B9780123750006003414">spatial orientation</a>.</p> <p>When flying, this is typically moving forwards, ascending, some turns and a descent. However, turbulence disrupts this relationship and confuses the sensory information being received by the brain – it makes the body want to respond or recalibrate.</p> <p>Our inner ears play a pivotal role in all this. It consists of complex apparatuses that undertake more than hearing. These include the cochlea, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279394/">three semi-circular canals</a>, <a href="https://radiopaedia.org/articles/utricle-ear?lang=gb">the utricle</a> and <a href="https://radiopaedia.org/articles/saccule-ear-1?lang=gb">the saccule</a>.</p> <p>The cochlea is responsible for hearing. It converts <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531483/">sound energy into electrical energy</a> that is then “heard” by the brain. The remaining structures are responsible for the balance and position of the head and body. The semi-circular canals are positioned in a vertical (side to side), horizontal and front-to-back plane, detecting movement in a nodding, shaking and touching ear-to-shoulder direction.</p> <p>Attached to these canals are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532978/">the utricle and saccule</a>, which can detect <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10792/">movement</a> and <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(05)00837-7.pdf">acceleration</a>.</p> <p>All of these apparatuses use microscopic hair cells in a specialised fluid called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531505/">endolymph</a> that flows with the head to create a sense of movement. When the plane encounters turbulence, this fluid moves around, but unpredictably. It takes <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518976/">about ten to 20 seconds</a> for the fluid to recalibrate its position, while the brain struggles to understand what is going on.</p> <p>When the aircraft hits turbulence, the balance apparatus <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2023.949227/full">cannot distinguish</a> the movement of the plane from that of the head, so the brain interprets the aircraft movement as that of the head or body. But this doesn’t match the visual information being received, which causes sensory confusion.</p> <p>The reason the inner ear causes so much confusion is because during flights you are devoid of your primary sensory tool relative to the external environment – your sight and the horizon.</p> <p>Eighty per cent of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518976/">spatial information</a> comes from your eyes during flight. However, you only have the seat in front of you or the cabin as a reference point, which means your inner ear becomes the dominant sensory message to the brain during turbulence and disrupts the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545297/">“vestibulo-ocular reflex”</a>. This reflex keeps your vision <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4130651/">aligned</a> with your balance or expected position.</p> <p>Vision is the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6777262/">most valued</a> of the senses and one-third of the brain is attributed to its function, reinforcing its importance in spatial orientation.</p> <p>This sensory mixed messaging often results in things like dizziness and sweating as well as gastrointestinal symptoms, such as <a href="https://www.airmedicaljournal.com/article/S1067-991X(02)70038-2/fulltext">nausea and vomiting</a>.</p> <p>Motion sickness can be triggered by turbulence and although research into specific airsickness is limited, other modes that induce motion sickness suggest that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16018346/">women</a> are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26466829/">more susceptible</a> than men, particularly in the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16235881/">early stages</a> of the menstrual cycle.</p> <p>The turbulence also causes an increase in your heart rate, which is already higher than normal when flying because of a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15819766/">decrease in oxygen saturation</a>.</p> <h2>What about the pilots?</h2> <p>Commercial pilots accrue thousands of hours at the controls, they are subject to the same forces as the passengers.</p> <p>Over time, they can <a href="https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/180/11/1135/4160573">adapt to these forces</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15828634/">experiences</a>, but they also have a couple of additional resources that most passengers don’t.</p> <p>They have the view out of the cockpit windows, so have a horizon to use as a reference point and can see what lies immediately ahead.</p> <p>If it is cloudy or visibility is low, their instruments provide additional visual <a href="https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/files/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/phak/19_phak_ch17.pdf">reference</a> to the position of the aircraft. This doesn’t mean they are immune to the effects of turbulence, with some studies reporting up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26540704/">71% of trainee pilots</a> reporting episodes of airsickness.</p> <h2>How to reduce the discomfort</h2> <p>A window seat can help, or even looking out the window. This gives the brain some sensory information through visual pathways, helping calm the brain in response to the vestibular information it is receiving.</p> <p>If you can get one, a seat towards the front or over the wing reduces the effects of turbulence.</p> <p>Deep or rhythmical breathing can help reduce motion sickness induced by turbulence. Focusing on your breathing <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25945662/">calms the nervous system</a>.</p> <p>Don’t reach for the alcohol. While you may feel it calms your nerves, if you hit turbulence it’s going to interfere with your <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7610847/">visual and auditory processing</a> and increase the likelihood of vomiting.</p> <p>If you suffer from motion sickness and are worried about turbulence while flying, then there are also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6241144/">drugs that can help</a>, including certain <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/cinnarizine/about-cinnarizine/">antihistamines</a>.</p> <p>Finally, it’s important to remember that although turbulence can be unpleasant, aircraft are designed to withstand the forces it generates and many passengers, even frequent fliers, will rarely encounter the most severe categories of turbulence because pilots actively plan routes to avoid it.<!-- 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/221780/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/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster 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/heres-what-happens-to-your-body-during-plane-turbulence-and-how-to-reduce-the-discomfort-it-causes-221780">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Tips

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Step up: take the stairs to help your heart

<p>Climbing stairs is associated with a longer life, according to research presented this week at an annual meeting of Europe’s leading cardiologists.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>The systematic review of 9 previous studies covering nearly 500,000 participants investigated whether climbing stairs as a form of physical activity could play a role in reducing the risks of <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/biology/how-organ-on-a-chip-technology-is-revolutionising-the-way-we-study-cardiovascular-disease/">cardiovascular diseases</a> and premature death.</p> <p>Study author Dr Sophie Paddock, of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust, UK, says: “if you have the choice of taking the stairs or the lift, go for the stairs as it will help your heart”.</p> <p>“Even brief bursts of physical activity have beneficial health impacts, and short bouts of stair climbing should be an achievable target to integrate into daily routines.”</p> <p>Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the hearth and blood vessels. They are the leading cause of non-communicable disease death globally, with 17.9m people estimated to have died of one in 2019 alone. Physical inactivity is one of the most important behavioural risk factors for developing CVDs. More than 1 in 4 adults do not meet the global <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">recommended levels</a> of physical activity.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3049418/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">meta-analysis</a> on the best available science  covered 480,479 individuals aged 35-84 years old. 53% of participants were women.</p> <p>Stair climbing was significantly associated with a 24% reduced risk of dying from any cause and a 39% lower likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease, compared to not climbing stairs.</p> <p>It was also linked to a reduced <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/covid-19-impacts-on-cardiac-health/">risk of CVDs</a> including heart attack, heart failure and stroke.</p> <p>“Based on these results, we would encourage people to incorporate stair climbing into their day-to-day lives,” says Paddock.</p> <p>“Our study suggested that the more stairs climbed, the greater the benefits – but this needs to be confirmed. So, whether at work, home, or elsewhere, take the stairs.”</p> <p>The research was presented to <a href="https://www.escardio.org/Congresses-Events/Preventive-Cardiology" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">ESC Preventive Cardiology 2024</a>, an annual congress of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology in Greece this week.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1"><em><img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/MICROSCOPIC-TO-TELESCOPIC__Embed-graphic-720x360-1.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" width="600" alt="Buy cosmos print magazine" title="step up: take the stairs to help your heart 2"></em></noscript></p> </div> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=302751&amp;title=Step+up%3A+take+the+stairs+to+help+your+heart" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/step-up-take-the-stairs-to-help-your-heart/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/imma-perfetto/">Imma Perfetto</a>. </em></p> </div>

Body

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New study reveals people who do this daily make more money over their lifetimes

<p>You’ve heard that regular exercise can help you live richly. Frequent movement, even in short bursts throughout the day, has been linked to lower all-cause mortality rates and reduced risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes and other age-related conditions, helping you age healthfully and stay independent.</p> <p>Now, new research suggests frequent exercise might help you live well in another meaningful way; in terms of income. In a recent study published in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, doctors from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), which is part of the National Institute of Health (NIH), investigated whether individuals who stayed active would earn more money as a result of their active lifestyle.</p> <p>The researchers’ findings revealed that staying active not only resulted in higher present earnings, but also predicted increased future income throughout one’s life. In essence, the science was clear: Getting more exercise could make you wealthier.</p> <h2>How exercise predicted future earnings</h2> <p>The researchers set out to explore three key correlations: How mobility affected income, how mobility influenced income over time, and whether exercise could help people maintain their mobility as they aged.</p> <p>The team analysed data from the US-federally-supported Health and Retirement Study (HRS), the largest study tracking changes over time in Americans aged 50 and above. This comprehensive study takes into account various life aspects, including work, socio-economic status, health, psychology and family matters, as individuals age.</p> <p>To assess the impact of current mobility on income, the researchers examined data from over 19,000 respondents to determine how well they could perform simple tasks, such as walking several blocks, climbing multiple flights of stairs, or moving around a room. Each person received a numerical score, with 5 indicating full mobility and 0 indicating difficulties with these tasks.</p> <h2>What earnings over time revealed</h2> <p>The researchers found that for each decrease in the mobility category, individuals lost out on an average of US$3000 in annual income compared to their peers. Those who were active were also significantly more likely to remain working for longer than the other group. It appeared that engaging in exercise enabled individuals to maintain mobility and engage in professional life for a longer period of time than those who were less active.</p> <p>Looking at earnings over time revealed even more substantial benefits for those who remained active throughout their lives. Active individuals showed an overall income level that was US$6500 higher, along with higher rates of employment.</p> <p>For the third part of the study, it’s not surprising that those who engaged in exercise continued to maintain their mobility after the age of 55 and had higher employment rates. Even exercising just one day a week showed improvements in mobility outcomes.</p> <h2>Moving more benefits more than just health</h2> <p>While this study doesn’t definitively prove that leading a healthy lifestyle directly leads to higher earnings, it strongly suggests that staying healthy and mobile brings benefits beyond just lower levels of disease (which is a type of wealth in and of itself). NIAMS Director Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., underscores this point: “We have long understood that greater mobility is an important indicator of good health … The notion that mobility can have economic rewards further extends the evidence for the benefits of exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle.”</p> <p>If this science inspires you to make a healthy lifestyle change, speak with a licensed healthcare provider to determine the right exercise programme for you.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/money/new-study-reveals-people-who-do-this-daily-make-more-money-over-their-lifetimes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em> </p>

Body

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Study finds new link for increased risk of Alzheimer’s

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

Caring

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If I’m diagnosed with one cancer, am I likely to get another?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-diepstraten-1495268">Sarah Diepstraten</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/walter-and-eliza-hall-institute-822">Walter and Eliza Hall Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/terry-boyle-1521638">Terry Boyle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Receiving a cancer diagnosis is life-changing and can cause a range of concerns about ongoing health.</p> <p>Fear of cancer returning is one of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9321869/">top health concerns</a>. And <a href="https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/cancer-information/living-well/after-cancer-treatment/fear-of-the-cancer-returning/managing-fear-of-recurrence/">managing this fear</a> is an important part of cancer treatment.</p> <p>But how likely is it to get cancer for a second time?</p> <h2>Why can cancer return?</h2> <p>While initial cancer treatment may seem successful, sometimes a few cancer cells remain dormant. Over time, these cancer cells can grow again and may start to cause symptoms.</p> <p>This is known as cancer recurrence: when a cancer returns after a period of remission. This period could be days, months or even years. The new cancer is the same type as the original cancer, but can sometimes grow in a new location through a process called <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-does-cancer-spread-to-other-parts-of-the-body-219616">metastasis</a>.</p> <p>Actor Hugh Jackman has gone public about his <a href="https://www.skincancer.org/blog/is-basal-cell-carcinoma-serious/">multiple diagnoses</a> of basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer) over the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65158945">past decade</a>.</p> <p>The exact reason why cancer returns differs depending on the cancer type and the treatment received. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8486871/">Research</a> is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cam4.3408">ongoing</a> to identify genes associated with cancers returning. This may eventually allow doctors to tailor treatments for high-risk people.</p> <h2>What are the chances of cancer returning?</h2> <p>The risk of cancer returning differs between cancers, and between <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019423/">sub-types</a> of the same cancer.</p> <p>New screening and treatment options have seen reductions in recurrence rates for many types of cancer. For example, between 2004 and 2019, the risk of colon cancer recurring dropped by <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2812113">31-68%</a>. It is important to remember that only someone’s treatment team can assess an individual’s personal risk of cancer returning.</p> <p>For most types of cancer, the highest risk of cancer returning is within the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31231898/">first three years</a> after entering remission. This is because any leftover cancer cells not killed by treatment are likely to start growing again sooner rather than later. Three years after entering remission, recurrence rates for most cancers decrease, meaning that every day that passes lowers the risk of the cancer returning.</p> <p>Every day that passes also increases the numbers of new discoveries, and cancer drugs being developed.</p> <h2>What about second, unrelated cancers?</h2> <p>Earlier this year, we learned Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-68047608">shortly after</a> being treated for breast cancer.</p> <p>Although details have not been confirmed, this is likely a new cancer that isn’t a recurrence or metastasis of the first one.</p> <p>Australian research from <a href="https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2407-11-83">Queensland</a> and <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.31247">Tasmania</a> shows adults who have had cancer have around a 6-36% higher risk of developing a second primary cancer compared to the risk of cancer in the general population.</p> <h2>Who’s at risk of another, unrelated cancer?</h2> <p>With improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment, people diagnosed with cancer are living longer than ever. This means they need to consider their long-term health, including their risk of developing another unrelated cancer.</p> <p>Reasons for such cancers <a href="https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-second-cancer">include</a> different types of cancers sharing the same kind of lifestyle, environmental and genetic risk factors.</p> <p>The increased risk is also likely partly due to the effects that some cancer treatments and imaging procedures have on the body. However, this increased risk is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6435077/">relatively small</a> when compared with the (sometimes lifesaving) benefits of these treatment and procedures.</p> <p>While a 6-36% greater chance of getting a second, unrelated cancer may seem large, only around 10-12% of participants developed a second cancer in the Australian studies we mentioned. Both had a median follow-up time of around five years.</p> <p>Similarly, in a <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.30164">large US study</a> only about one in 12 adult cancer patients developed a second type of cancer in the follow-up period (an average of seven years).</p> <p>The kind of first cancer you had also affects your risk of a second, unrelated cancer, as well as the type of second cancer you are at risk of. For example, in the two Australian studies we mentioned, the risk of a second cancer was greater for people with an initial diagnosis of head and neck cancer, or a haematological (blood) cancer.</p> <p>People diagnosed with cancer as a <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2020/212/3/second-primary-cancers-people-who-had-cancer-children-australian-childhood">child</a>, <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jayao.2022.0074">adolescent or young adult</a> also have a greater risk of a second, unrelated cancer.</p> <h2>What can I do to lower my risk?</h2> <p>Regular follow-up examinations can give peace of mind, and ensure any subsequent cancer is caught early, when there’s the best chance of successful treatment.</p> <p><a href="https://www.lymphoma.org.au/lymphoma/treatments/maintenance-therapy/">Maintenance therapy</a> may be used to reduce the risk of some types of cancer returning. However, despite ongoing <a href="https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/febs.15626">research</a>, there are no <em>specific</em> treatments against cancer recurrence or developing a second, unrelated cancer.</p> <p>But there are things you can do to help lower your general risk of cancer – not smoking, being physically active, eating well, maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting alcohol intake and being sun safe. These all reduce the chance of <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21719">cancer returning</a> and <a href="https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-second-cancer">getting a second cancer</a>.<!-- 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/226386/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-diepstraten-1495268">Sarah Diepstraten</a>, Senior Research Officer, Blood Cells and Blood Cancer Division, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/walter-and-eliza-hall-institute-822">Walter and Eliza Hall Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/terry-boyle-1521638">Terry Boyle</a>, Senior Lecturer in Cancer Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</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/if-im-diagnosed-with-one-cancer-am-i-likely-to-get-another-226386">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Menopause can bring increased cholesterol levels and other heart risks. Here’s why and what to do about it

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/treasure-mcguire-135225">Treasure McGuire</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years, typically between 45 and 55. As women approach or experience menopause, common “change of life” <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9244939/">concerns</a> include hot flushes, sweats and mood swings, brain fog and fatigue.</p> <p>But many women may not be aware of the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32705886/">long-term effects</a> of menopause on the heart and blood vessels that make up the cardiovascular system. Heart disease accounts for <a href="http://world-heart-federation.org/what-we-do/women-cvd/">35% of deaths</a> in women each year – more than all cancers combined.</p> <p>What should women – and their doctors – know about these risks?</p> <h2>Hormones protect hearts – until they don’t</h2> <p>As early as 1976, the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/970770/">Framingham Heart Study</a> reported more than twice the rates of cardiovascular events in postmenopausal than pre-menopausal women of the same age. Early menopause (younger than age 40) also <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25331207/">increases heart risk</a>.</p> <p>Before menopause, women tend to be protected by their circulating hormones: oestrogen, to a lesser extent progesterone and low levels of testosterone.</p> <p>These sex hormones help to relax and dilate blood vessels, reduce inflammation and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10503403/">improve lipid (cholesterol) levels</a>. From the mid-40s, a decline in these hormone levels can <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10362825/">contribute to unfavourable changes</a> in cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight gain – all risk factors for heart disease.</p> <h2>4 ways hormone changes impact heart risk</h2> <p><strong>1. Dyslipidaemia</strong>– Menopause often involves <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38002671/">atherogenic changes</a> – an unhealthy imbalance of lipids in the blood, with higher levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), dubbed the “bad” cholesterol. There are also reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) – the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL-C from blood. These changes are a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10503403/">major risk factor for heart attack or stroke</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. Hypertension</strong> – Declines in oestrogen and progesterone levels during menopause contribute to narrowing of the large blood vessels on the heart’s surface, arterial stiffness and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35722103/">raise blood pressure</a>.</p> <p><strong>3. Weight gain</strong> – Females are born with one to two million eggs, which develop in follicles. By the time they <a href="https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/fertility-information/getting-pregnant/ovulation-and-conception">stop ovulating</a> in midlife, fewer than 1,000 remain. This depletion progressively changes fat distribution and storage, from the hips to the waist and abdomen. Increased waist circumference (greater than 80–88 cm) has been <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18359190/">reported to contribute to heart risk</a> – though it is <a href="https://theconversation.com/good-news-midlife-health-is-about-more-than-a-waist-measurement-heres-why-226019">not the only factor to consider</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Comorbidities</strong> – Changes in body composition, sex hormone decline, increased food consumption, weight gain and sedentary lifestyles impair the body’s ability to effectively use insulin. This <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11133069/">increases the risk</a> of developing metabolic syndromes such as type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>While risk factors apply to both genders, hypertension, smoking, obesity and type 2 diabetes confer a greater relative risk for heart disease in women.</p> <h2>So, what can women do?</h2> <p>Every woman has a different level of baseline cardiovascular and metabolic risk pre-menopause. This is based on their genetics and family history, diet, and lifestyle. But all women can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8351755/">reduce their post-menopause heart risk with</a>:</p> <ul> <li>regular moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking, pushing a lawn mower, riding a bike or water aerobics for 30 minutes, four or five times every week</li> <li>a healthy heart diet with smaller portion sizes (try using a smaller plate or bowl) and more low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains</li> <li>plant sterols (unrefined vegetable oil spreads, nuts, seeds and grains) each day. A review of 14 clinical trials found plant sterols, at doses of at least 2 grams a day, produced an average reduction in serum LDL-C (bad cholesterol) of about 9–14%. This could reduce the risk of heart disease by <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10731187/">25% in two years</a></li> <li>less unhealthy (saturated or trans) fats and more low-fat protein sources (lean meat, poultry, fish – especially oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids), legumes and low-fat dairy</li> <li>less high-calorie, high-sodium foods such as processed or fast foods</li> <li>a reduction or cessation of smoking (nicotine or cannabis) and alcohol</li> <li>weight-gain management or prevention.</li> </ul> <h2>What about hormone therapy medications?</h2> <p>Hormone therapy remains the most effective means of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15495039/">managing hot flushes and night sweats</a> and is beneficial for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18418063/">slowing the loss of bone mineral density</a>.</p> <p>The decision to recommend oestrogen alone or a combination of oestrogen plus progesterone hormone therapy depends on whether a woman has had a hysterectomy or not. The choice also depends on whether the hormone therapy benefit outweighs the woman’s disease risks. Where symptoms are bothersome, hormone therapy has <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33841322/">favourable or neutral effects on coronary heart disease risk</a> and medication risks are low for healthy women younger than 60 or within ten years of menopause.</p> <p>Depending on the level of stroke or heart risk and the response to lifestyle strategies, some women may also require medication management to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8351755/">control high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels</a>. Up until the early 2000s, women were underrepresented in most outcome trials with lipid-lowering medicines.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25579834/">Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration</a> analysed 27 clinical trials of statins (medications commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol) with a total of 174,000 participants, of whom 27% were women. Statins were about as effective in women and men who had similar risk of heart disease in preventing events such as stroke and heart attack.</p> <p>Every woman approaching menopause should ask their GP for a 20-minute <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/heart-health">Heart Health Check</a> to help better understand their risk of a heart attack or stroke and get tailored strategies to reduce it.<!-- 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/treasure-mcguire-135225">Treasure McGuire</a>, Assistant Director of Pharmacy, Mater Health SEQ in conjoint appointment as Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Bond University and as Associate Professor (Clinical), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</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/menopause-can-bring-increased-cholesterol-levels-and-other-heart-risks-heres-why-and-what-to-do-about-it-228010">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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After 180 years, new clues are revealing just how general anaesthesia works in the brain

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-d-hines-767066">Adam D Hines</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4773932/pdf/BLT.15.159293.pdf/">Over 350 million surgeries</a> are performed globally each year. For most of us, it’s likely at some point in our lives we’ll have to undergo a procedure that needs general anaesthesia.</p> <p>Even though it is one of the safest medical practices, we still don’t have a complete, thorough understanding of precisely how anaesthetic drugs work in the brain.</p> <p>In fact, it has largely remained a mystery since general anaesthesia was introduced into medicine over <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/08941939.2015.1061826">180 years ago</a>.</p> <p>Our study published <a href="https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0588-23.2024">in The Journal of Neuroscience today</a> provides new clues on the intricacies of the process. General anaesthetic drugs seem to only affect specific parts of the brain responsible for keeping us alert and awake.</p> <h2>Brain cells striking a balance</h2> <p>In a study using fruit flies, we found a potential way that allows anaesthetic drugs to interact with specific types of neurons (brain cells), and it’s all to do with proteins. Your brain has around <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cne.21974">86 billion neurons</a> and not all of them are the same – it’s these differences that allow general anaesthesia to be effective.</p> <p>To be clear, we’re not completely in the dark on <a href="https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0165614719300951">how anaesthetic drugs affect us</a>. We know why general anaesthetics are able to make us lose consciousness so quickly, thanks to a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/367607a0">landmark discovery made in 1994</a>.</p> <p>But to better understand the fine details, we first have to look to the minute differences between the cells in our brains.</p> <p>Broadly speaking, there are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6591655/">two main categories of neurons in the brain</a>.</p> <p>The first are what we call “excitatory” neurons, generally responsible for keeping us alert and awake. The second are “inhibitory” neurons – their job is to regulate and control the excitatory ones.</p> <p>In our day-to-day lives, excitatory and inhibitory neurons are constantly working and balancing one another.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/npp2017294">When we fall asleep</a>, there are inhibitory neurons in the brain that “silence” the excitatory ones keeping us awake. This happens <a href="https://askdruniverse.wsu.edu/2018/01/07/why-do-we-get-tired/">gradually over time</a>, which is why you may feel progressively more tired through the day.</p> <p>General anaesthetics speed up this process by directly silencing these excitatory neurons without any action from the inhibitory ones. This is why your anaesthetist will tell you that they’ll “put you to sleep” for the procedure: <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn2372">it’s essentially the same process</a>.</p> <h2>A special kind of sleep</h2> <p>While we know why anaesthetics put us to sleep, the question then becomes: “why do we <em>stay</em> asleep during surgery?”. If you went to bed tonight, fell asleep and somebody tried to do surgery on you, you’d wake up with quite a shock.</p> <p>To date, there is no strong consensus in the field as to why general anaesthesia causes people to remain unconscious during surgery.</p> <p>Over the last couple of decades, researchers have proposed several potential explanations, but they all seem to point to one root cause. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7709148/#:%7E:text=At%20presynaptic%20part%2C%20voltage%2Dgated,anesthetics%20to%20inhibiting%20neurotransmitter%20release.">Neurons stop talking to each other</a> when exposed to general anaesthetics.</p> <p>While the idea of “cells talking to each other” may sound a little strange, it’s a <a href="https://qbi.uq.edu.au/brain-basics/brain/brain-physiology/action-potentials-and-synapses">fundamental concept in neuroscience</a>. Without this communication, our brains wouldn’t be able to function at all. And it allows the brain to know what’s happening throughout the body.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/593888/original/file-20240514-16-5fletd.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Two branching structures in orange, green, blue and yellow colours on a black background." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Colourised neurons in the brain of a fly.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Adam Hines</span></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>What did we discover?</h2> <p>Our new study shows that general anaesthetics appear to stop excitatory neurons from communicating, but not inhibitory ones. <a href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/40/21/4103">This concept isn’t new</a>, but we found some compelling evidence as to <em>why</em> only excitatory neurons are affected.</p> <p>For neurons to communicate, proteins have to get involved. One of the jobs these proteins have is to get neurons to release molecules called <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22513-neurotransmitters">neurotransmitters</a>. These chemical messengers are what gets signals across from one neuron to another: dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin are all neurotransmitters, for example.</p> <p>We found that general anaesthetics impair the ability of these proteins to release neurotransmitters, but only in excitatory neurons. To test this, we used <a href="https://www.eneuro.org/content/8/3/ENEURO.0057-21.2021"><em>Drosophila melanogaster</em> fruit flies</a> and <a href="https://imb.uq.edu.au/research/facilities/microscopy/training-manuals/microscopy-online-resources/image-capture/super-resolution-microscopy">super resolution microscopy</a> to directly see what effects a general anaesthetic was having on these proteins at a molecular scale.</p> <p>Part of what makes excitatory and inhibitory neurons different from each other is that they <a href="https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.00007.2012">express different types of the same protein</a>. This is kind of like having two cars of the same make and model, but one is green and has a sports package, while the other is just standard and red. They both do the same thing, but one’s just a little bit different.</p> <p>Neurotransmitter release is a complex process involving lots of different proteins. If one piece of the puzzle isn’t exactly right, then general anaesthetics won’t be able to do their job.</p> <p>As a next research step, we will need to figure out which piece of the puzzle is different, to understand why general anaesthetics only stop excitatory communication.</p> <p>Ultimately, our results hint that the drugs used in general anaesthetics cause massive global inhibition in the brain. By silencing excitability in two ways, these drugs put us to sleep and keep it that way.<!-- 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/229713/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/adam-d-hines-767066">Adam D Hines</a>, Research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</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/after-180-years-new-clues-are-revealing-just-how-general-anaesthesia-works-in-the-brain-229713">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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