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What’s the difference between ‘man flu’ and flu? Hint: men may not be exaggerating

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/thea-van-de-mortel-1134101">Thea van de Mortel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>The term “man flu” takes a <a href="https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/man-flu">humorous poke</a> at men with minor respiratory infections, such as colds, who supposedly exaggerate their symptoms.</p> <p>According to the stereotype, a man lies on the sofa with a box of tissues. Meanwhile his female partner, also with a snotty nose, carries on working from home, doing the chores and looking after him.</p> <p>But is man flu real? Is there a valid biological reason behind men’s symptoms or are men just malingering? And how does man flu differ from flu?</p> <h2>What are the similarities?</h2> <p>Man flu could refer to a number of respiratory infections – a cold, flu, even a mild case of COVID. So it’s difficult to compare man flu with flu.</p> <p>But for simplicity, let’s say man flu is actually a cold. If that’s the case, man flu and flu have some similar features.</p> <p>Both are caused by viruses (but different ones). Both are improved with rest, fluids, and if needed painkillers, throat lozenges or decongestants to <a href="https://activities.nps.org.au/nps-order-form/Resources/NPS-Cold-and-Flu-Brochure-May-2014.pdf">manage symptoms</a>.</p> <p>Both <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm">can share</a> similar symptoms. Typically, more severe symptoms such as fever, body aches, violent shivering and headaches are more common in flu (but sometimes occur in colds). Meanwhile sore throats, runny noses, congestion and sneezing are more common in colds. A cough is common in both.</p> <h2>What are the differences?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm">Flu</a> is a more serious and sometimes fatal respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. Colds are caused by various viruses such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3553670/">rhinoviruses</a>, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/adenovirus/about/?CDC_AAref_Val=https://www.cdc.gov/adenovirus/symptoms.html">adenoviruses</a>, and common cold <a href="https://journals.lww.com/pidj/citation/2022/03000/proving_etiologic_relationships_to_disease_.18.aspx">coronaviruses</a>, and are rarely serious.<br />Colds tend to <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm">start gradually</a> while flu tends to start abruptly.</p> <p>Flu can be <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/diagnosis/overview-testing-methods.htm">detected</a> with laboratory or at-home tests. Man flu is not an official diagnosis.</p> <p>Severe flu symptoms may be prevented with <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm">a vaccine</a>, while cold symptoms cannot.</p> <p>Serious flu infections may also be <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/racf-antiviral-treatments-and-prophylaxis.aspx">prevented or treated</a> with antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu. There are no antivirals for colds.</p> <h2>OK, but is man flu real?</h2> <p>Again, let’s assume man flu is a cold. Do men really have worse colds than women? The picture is complicated.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022399922003324?via%3Dihub">One study</a>, with the title “Man flu is not a thing”, did in fact show there <em>were</em> differences in men’s and women’s symptoms.</p> <p>This study looked at symptoms of acute rhinosinusitis. That’s inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses, which would explain a runny or stuffy nose, a sinus headache or face pain.</p> <p>When researchers assessed participants at the start of the study, men and women had similar symptoms. But by days five and eight of the study, women had fewer or less-severe symptoms. In other words, women had recovered faster.</p> <p>But when participants rated their own symptoms, we saw a somewhat different picture. Women rated their symptoms worse than how the researchers rated them at the start, but said they recovered more quickly.</p> <p>All this suggests men were not exaggerating their symptoms and did indeed recover more slowly. It also suggests women feel their symptoms more strongly at the start.</p> <h2>Why is this happening?</h2> <p>It’s not straightforward to tease out what’s going on biologically.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">differences</a> in immune responses between men and women that provide a plausible reason for worse symptoms in men.</p> <p>For instance, women generally produce antibodies more efficiently, so they <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">respond more effectively</a> to vaccination. Other aspects of women’s immune system also appear to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2735332/">work more strongly</a>.</p> <p>So why do women tend to have <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">stronger immune responses</a> overall? That’s probably partly because women have two X chromosomes while men have one. X chromosomes carry important <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90#Tab3">immune function genes</a>. This gives women the benefit of immune-related genes from two different chromosomes.</p> <p>Oestrogen (the female sex hormone) also seems to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">strengthen</a> the immune response, and as levels vary throughout the lifespan, so does <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciimmunol.aan2946">the strength</a> of women’s immune systems.</p> <p>Men are certainly more likely to die from some infectious diseases, such as <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-deaths/deaths-in-australia/contents/covid-10-deaths">COVID</a>. But the picture is less clear with other infections such as the flu, where the incidence and mortality between men and women <a href="https://iris.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665/44401/9789241500111_eng.pdf?sequence=1&amp;isAllowed=y">varies widely</a> between countries and particular flu subtypes and outbreaks.</p> <p>Infection rates and outcomes in men and women can also depend on the way a virus is <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/immunology/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.712688/full">transmitted</a>, the person’s age, and social and behavioural factors.</p> <p>For instance, women seem to be more likely to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8077589/#R20">practice protective behaviours</a> such as washing their hands, wearing masks or avoiding crowded indoor spaces. Women are also <a href="https://bmcprimcare.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12875-016-0440-0">more likely</a> to seek medical care when ill.</p> <h2>So men aren’t faking it?</h2> <p>Some evidence suggests men are not over-reporting symptoms, and may take longer to clear an infection. So they may experience man flu more harshly than women with a cold.</p> <p>So cut the men in your life some slack. If they are sick, gender stereotyping is unhelpful, and may discourage men from seeking medical advice.<!-- 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/231161/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/thea-van-de-mortel-1134101">Thea van de Mortel</a>, Professor, Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith 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/whats-the-difference-between-man-flu-and-flu-hint-men-may-not-be-exaggerating-231161">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Why do dogs have different coats? Experts explain – and give grooming tips for different types

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-hazel-402495">Susan Hazel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Dog hair comes in many varieties, from shaggy to short, curly to straight. If you live with a dog, you live with their hair – on your couch, in your clothes, it’s everywhere!</p> <p>Beyond colour, have you ever wondered what’s behind the differences in coat type?</p> <p>We actually know quite a lot about why dogs have different coats, and it comes down to their genes.</p> <h2>What are the main coat types in dogs?</h2> <p>The three main features of dog coats are how long the hairs are, whether they are curly or straight, and whether they have extra flourishes. The flourishes are called “furnishings”, and can include a hairy moustache and shaggy eyebrows.</p> <p>Combinations of these three features result in seven different coat types in dogs: short, wire, wire and curly, long, long with furnishings, curly, and curly with furnishings.</p> <p>We know from a <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.1177808">study of more than 1,000 dogs with varying coats</a> that differences in only three genes are responsible for this variety.</p> <p>The gene responsible for long hair (called FGF5) is <a href="https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/patterns">recessive</a>, meaning dogs must have two copies of the mutated gene to have long hair. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1402862111">In humans</a>, the same gene has been identified in families with excessively long eyelashes.</p> <p>Curly coats in dogs are related to a gene called <a href="https://www.pawprintgenetics.com/products/tests/details/173/">KRT71</a>, which affects keratin, a protein involved in hair formation. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2974189/">Mutations in this gene</a> in cats result in hairless (Sphynx) or curly-haired (Devon Rex) breeds.</p> <p>The gene responsible for furnishings (<a href="https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/rspo2/">RSPO2</a>) is involved in establishing hair follicles. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/hair-follicle">Hair follicles</a> are small pockets in the skin that grow hair.</p> <p>Variations in these three genes could explain the coat type in most (but not all!) of the dogs tested. For example, the long coat of the Afghan hound is not explained by these three genes. Further study is needed to identify less common mutations and genes controlling the coat in these dogs.</p> <p>The earliest dog breeds would have been short-haired, as a result of the “wild-type” genes. Later changes would have arisen through mutation and deliberate selection <a href="https://theconversation.com/managing-mutations-of-a-species-the-evolution-of-dog-breeding-96635">through modern breeding practices</a>.</p> <p>If all three mutations are present, the dog has a long, curly coat with furnishings. An example is the Bichon Frisé.</p> <h2>What else varies in dog coats?</h2> <p>Dog coat types can also be single or double. In a double-coated breed such as a Labrador, there is a longer coarse layer of hairs and a softer and shorter undercoat. Wolves and ancestral dogs are single-coated, and the double coat is a result of a <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4425/10/5/323">mutation in chromosome 28</a>.</p> <p>In the Labrador, the mutation was probably selected for as they were bred to <a href="https://www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2023/exec/0525n07/">retrieve fishing nets in Canada</a>. The double coat is a great insulator and helps them to stay warm, even in icy water.</p> <h2>Why does it matter what kind of coat a dog has?</h2> <p>We know with climate change our world is going to get hotter. Dogs with a double coat are less able to tolerate heat stress, as their hair prevents heat loss.</p> <p>In a study of dogs <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/avj.13296">suffering heat-related illness</a>, most of the 15 breeds at higher risk had double coats. The death rate in these dogs was 23%. We can only imagine how it must feel going out on a 40 degree day wearing a thick fur coat.</p> <p>Dogs with a double coat shed more hair than dogs with a single coat. This means even short-haired breeds, like the Labrador retriever, can shed an astonishing amount of hair. If you can’t tolerate dog hair, then a dog with a double-coat may not suit you.</p> <p>When we think of wool we think of sheep, but in the past <a href="https://www.si.edu/stories/woolly-dog-mystery-unlocked">woolly dogs were kept for their wool</a> that was <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adi6549">woven by Indigenous groups</a> and used to make blankets.</p> <p>A dog’s coat also affects how much time and effort is needed for grooming. Dogs with long or curly hair with furnishings are likely to need more time invested in their care, or visits to a professional groomer.</p> <p>Designer dogs (cross-bred dogs often crossed with a poodle, such as groodles), are likely to be curly with furnishings. In a US study, people with designer dogs reported meeting their dogs’ maintenance and grooming requirements was <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/12/23/3247">much harder than they expected</a>.</p> <p>It’s not just bank balances and the time needed that can suffer. If people are unable to cope with the demands of grooming long-haired dogs, lack of grooming can cause welfare problems. A study of animal cruelty cases in New York found <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2022.827348/full">13% involved hair matting</a>, with some hair mats causing strangulation wounds and 93% of affected dogs having long hair.</p> <h2>How can you prevent problems?</h2> <p>If you have a curly- or long-haired breed of dog, it will help to train them to like being brushed from an early age. You can do this by counter-conditioning so they have a positive emotional response to being groomed, rather than feeling anxious. First show the brush or lightly brush them, then give them a treat. They learn to associate being brushed with something positive.</p> <p>If you take your dog to the groomer, it’s very important their first experience is positive. A scary or painful incident will make it much more difficult for future grooming.</p> <p>Is your dog difficult to groom or hard to get out of the car at the groomers? It’s likely grooming is scary for them. Consulting a dog trainer or animal behaviourist who focuses on positive training methods can help a lot.</p> <p>Keeping your dog well groomed, no matter their hair type, will keep them comfortable. More important than looking great, feeling good is an essential part of dogs living their best lives with us.<!-- 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/232480/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/susan-hazel-402495">Susan Hazel</a>, Associate Professor, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mia-cobb-15211">Mia Cobb</a>, Research Fellow, Animal Welfare Science Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-dogs-have-different-coats-experts-explain-and-give-grooming-tips-for-different-types-232480">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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What are financial years – and why are they different from calendar years?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michaela-rankin-1544784">Michaela Rankin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Yesterday was July 1, the first day of the new financial year in Australia.</p> <p>Also called fiscal years, financial years are often abbreviated in print. The one that’s just begun in Australia – July 1 2024 to June 30 2025 – will typically be denoted by FY24/25 or FY25.</p> <p>As the name suggests, financial years are used for financial reporting, tax and budgeting purposes. Whether you are preparing an individual tax return or financial statements for a business, it is important to understand the difference between financial and calendar years.</p> <p>Both have 365 days. But the calendar year, based on the <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/gregorian-calendar.html">Gregorian calendar</a>, runs from New Years’ Day on January 1 through to December 31.</p> <p>Australian financial years on the other hand run from July 1 of one year to June 30 the next.</p> <p>But this July to June financial year <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20200430054150/https:/www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/228.html">does not apply</a> in all countries. Many align their financial year with the calendar year, but others have further variations still.</p> <p>So why are they different, and what does that mean for businesses operating across borders?</p> <h2>Different around the world</h2> <p>In contrast to our own, the United Kingdom’s financial year starts on April 6 each year and runs to April 5 the next.</p> <p>The English and Irish New Year traditionally fell on March 25, when taxes and other accounts were due. But in the 18th century, the British empire switched from the Roman Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, and had to <a href="https://www.bowesbrooks.co.uk/why-does-the-tax-year-start-on-6th-april/">adjust the start date</a> to avoid losing tax revenue.</p> <p>India’s fiscal year runs from April 1 until March 31, for a <a href="https://www.idfcfirstbank.com/finfirst-blogs/finance/reasons-why-the-financial-year-starts-from-april">number of reasons</a>. Historically a country that was heavily focused on agriculture, this timeframe aligned with the crop cycle and allowed the government to develop financial plans for the sector.</p> <p>The British empire also influenced the April reporting schedule in India, as prior to independence many financial policies were based on the British system.</p> <h2>Government budgets play a role</h2> <p>In the United States, fiscal years once ran from July 1 to June 30, like Australia’s do now. But in 1974 this was <a href="https://www.federaltimes.com/management/budget/2022/09/20/why-the-us-federal-fiscal-year-2023-starts-in-october/">changed</a> to instead span October 1 to September 30, giving Congress more time to agree on a budget each year.</p> <p>In the US, however, companies can also <a href="https://www.business.com/articles/how-to-decide-on-fiscal-year/">choose their own</a> fiscal years. Some choose a calendar year, but others elect dates that better align with their business cycle.</p> <p>Walmart’s, for example, ends on January 31 each year to reflect its typically strong financial performance over the holiday period at the end of the year.</p> <p>In Australia, the financial year matches government reporting cycles.</p> <p>Unlike the northern hemisphere, our parliamentarians typically take holidays over summer in December and January, which makes meeting over November and December to approve government budgets difficult.</p> <p>The federal budget is issued in May for the following financial year, giving parliament time to consider it before the new fiscal year begins.</p> <h2>Comparing (and taxing) performance</h2> <p>Regardless of the time period over which a financial year operates, its primary purpose is to provide a standardised time frame for financial reporting.</p> <p>Financial years allow income and expenses to be tracked and compared over the same timeframe each year. This allows investors to compare business performance across consistent periods. They are also used to determine the collection of personal income tax.</p> <p>Our government uses this information to calculate the amount of tax it will collect through the Australian Taxation Office each year.</p> <p>Businesses with operations spanning multiple countries may have to contend with fiscal years that do not align. Where this is the case, they may need to choose one financial year for the whole company, typically that used by the parent company.</p> <p>Keeping track of the financial year is helpful for individuals, in knowing when tax returns need to be prepared (and when to expect end-of-financial-year sales).</p> <p>It is also important for businesses to consider the financial year in making budgeting, business and tax planning decisions. <!-- 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/233655/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/michaela-rankin-1544784"><em>Michaela Rankin</em></a><em>, Professor and Head, Department of Accounting, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash 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/what-are-financial-years-and-why-are-they-different-from-calendar-years-233655">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nikki-anne-wilson-342631">Nikki-Anne Wilson</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Changes in thinking and memory as we age can occur for a variety of reasons. These changes are <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/memory-loss-and-forgetfulness/memory-problems-forgetfulness-and-aging#changes">not always cause for concern</a>. But when they begin to disrupt daily life, it could indicate the first signs of dementia.</p> <p>Another term that can crop up when we’re talking about dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, or Alzheimer’s for short.</p> <p>So what’s the difference?</p> <h2>What is dementia?</h2> <p>Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of syndromes that result in changes in memory, thinking and/or behaviour due to degeneration in the brain.</p> <p>To meet the <a href="https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1016/j.jalz.2011.03.005">criteria</a> for dementia these changes must be sufficiently pronounced to interfere with usual activities and are present in at least two different aspects of thinking or memory.</p> <p>For example, someone might have trouble remembering to pay bills and become lost in previously familiar areas.</p> <p>It’s less-well known that dementia can also occur in <a href="https://www.childhooddementia.org/what-is-childhood-dementia">children</a>. This is due to progressive brain damage associated with more than 100 rare genetic disorders. This can result in similar cognitive changes as we see in adults.</p> <h2>So what’s Alzheimer’s then?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers">Alzheimer’s</a> is the most common type of dementia, accounting for <a href="https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/alz.12068">about 60-80%</a> of cases.</p> <p>So it’s not surprising many people use the terms dementia and Alzheimer’s interchangeably.</p> <p>Changes in memory are the most common sign of Alzheimer’s and it’s what the public <a href="https://alzres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13195-023-01219-4">most often</a> associates with it. For instance, someone with Alzheimer’s may have trouble recalling recent events or keeping track of what day or month it is.</p> <p>We still don’t know exactly what <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/s002689332104004x">causes Alzheimer’s</a>. However, we do know it is associated with a build-up in the brain of two types of protein called <a href="https://www.dementiasplatform.uk/news-and-media/blog/amyloid-and-tau-the-proteins-involved-in-dementia">amyloid-β and tau</a>.</p> <p>While we all have some amyloid-β, when too much builds up in the brain it clumps together, forming plaques in the spaces between cells. These plaques cause damage (inflammation) to surrounding brain cells and leads to disruption in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6468450/">tau</a>. Tau forms part of the structure of brain cells but in Alzheimer’s tau proteins become “tangled”. This is toxic to the cells, causing them to die. A <a href="https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad180583">feedback loop</a> is then thought to occur, triggering production of more amyloid-β and more abnormal tau, perpetuating damage to brain cells.</p> <p>Alzheimer’s can also occur with other forms of dementia, such as <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vascular-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378793">vascular dementia</a>. This combination is the most common example of a <a href="https://www.dementiauk.org/information-and-support/types-of-dementia/mixed-dementia/">mixed dementia</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592838/original/file-20240508-18-6msd4.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <h2>Vascular dementia</h2> <p>The second most common type of dementia is <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vascular-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378793">vascular dementia</a>. This results from disrupted blood flow to the brain.</p> <p>Because the changes in blood flow can occur throughout the brain, signs of vascular dementia can be more varied than the memory changes typically seen in Alzheimer’s.</p> <p>For example, vascular dementia may present as general confusion, slowed thinking, or difficulty organising thoughts and actions.</p> <p>Your <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vascular-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378793">risk of vascular dementia</a> is greater if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.</p> <h2>Frontotemporal dementia</h2> <p>Some people may not realise that dementia can also affect behaviour and/or language. We see this in different forms of frontotemporal dementia.</p> <p>The behavioural variant of <a href="https://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.neuropsych.20090238#:%7E:text=The%20behavioral%20variant%20of%20frontotemporal,often%20delayed%20for%20several%20years.">frontotemporal dementia</a> is the second most common form (after Alzheimer’s disease) of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/younger-onset-dementia">younger onset dementia</a> (dementia in people under 65).</p> <p>People living with this may have difficulties in interpreting and appropriately responding to social situations. For example, they may make uncharacteristically rude or offensive comments or invade people’s personal space.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/semantic-dementia">Semantic dementia</a> is also a type of frontotemporal dementia and results in difficulty with understanding the meaning of words and naming everyday objects.</p> <h2>Dementia with Lewy bodies</h2> <p><a href="https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/dementia-with-lewy-bodies">Dementia with Lewy bodies</a> results from dysregulation of a different type of protein known as α-synuclein. We often see this in people with Parkinson’s disease.</p> <p>So people with this type of dementia may have altered movement, such as a stooped posture, shuffling walk, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7428504/">changes in handwriting</a>. Other symptoms include changes in alertness, visual hallucinations and significant <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6029467/">disruption to sleep</a>.</p> <h2>Do I have dementia and if so, which type?</h2> <p>If you or someone close to you is concerned, the first thing to do is to <a href="https://cdpc.sydney.edu.au/research/clinical-guidelines-for-dementia/">speak to your GP</a>. They will likely ask you some questions about your medical history and what changes you have noticed.</p> <p>Sometimes it might not be clear if you have dementia when you first speak to your doctor. They may suggest you watch for changes or they may refer you to a specialist for <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-dementia-symptoms-types-and-diagnosis#diagnosis">further tests</a>.</p> <p>There is no single test to clearly show if you have dementia, or the type of dementia. A diagnosis comes after multiple tests, including brain scans, tests of memory and thinking, and consideration of how these changes impact your daily life.</p> <p>Not knowing what is happening can be a challenging time so it is important to speak to someone about how you are feeling or to reach out to <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/get-support/national-dementia-helpline">support services</a>.</p> <h2>Dementia is diverse</h2> <p>As well as the different forms of dementia, everyone experiences dementia in different ways. For example, the speed dementia progresses varies a lot from person to person. Some people will continue to <a href="https://livingwellwithdementia.org.au">live well with dementia</a> for some time while others may decline more quickly.</p> <p>There is still significant <a href="https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article-abstract/64/5/gnad130/7281753">stigma</a> surrounding dementia. So by learning more about the various types of dementia and understanding differences in how dementia progresses we can all do our part to create a more <a href="https://www.dementiafriendly.org.au/">dementia-friendly community</a>.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au/get-support/national-dementia-helpline">National Dementia Helpline</a> (1800 100 500) provides information and support for people living with dementia and their carers. To learn more about dementia, you can take this <a href="https://www.utas.edu.au/wicking/understanding-dementia">free online course</a>.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225271/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nikki-anne-wilson-342631">Nikki-Anne Wilson</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-the-difference-between-alzheimers-and-dementia-225271">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Mind

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What’s the difference between vegan and vegetarian?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-livingstone-324808">Katherine Livingstone</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>Vegan and vegetarian diets are <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-023-03086-z">plant-based diets</a>. Both include plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.</p> <p>But there are important differences, and knowing what you can and can’t eat when it comes to a vegan and vegetarian diet can be confusing.</p> <p>So, what’s the main difference?</p> <h2>What’s a vegan diet?</h2> <p>A <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-023-03086-z">vegan diet</a> is an entirely plant-based diet. It doesn’t include any meat and animal products. So, no meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy or honey.</p> <h2>What’s a vegetarian diet?</h2> <p>A <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-023-03086-z">vegetarian diet</a> is a plant-based diet that generally excludes meat, poultry, fish and seafood, but can include animal products. So, unlike a vegan diet, a vegetarian diet can include eggs, dairy and honey.</p> <p>But you may be wondering why you’ve heard of vegetarians who eat fish, vegetarians who don’t eat eggs, vegetarians who don’t eat dairy, and even vegetarians who eat some meat. Well, it’s because there are variations on a vegetarian diet:</p> <ul> <li> <p>a <strong>lacto-ovo vegetarian</strong> diet excludes meat, poultry, fish and seafood, but includes eggs, dairy and honey</p> </li> <li> <p>an <strong>ovo-vegetarian</strong> diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy, but includes eggs and honey</p> </li> <li> <p>a <strong>lacto-vegetarian</strong> diet excludes meat, poultry, fish, seafood and eggs, but includes dairy and honey</p> </li> <li> <p>a <strong>pescatarian</strong> diet excludes meat and poultry, but includes eggs, dairy, honey, fish and seafood</p> </li> <li> <p>a <strong>flexitarian</strong>, or semi-vegetarian diet, includes eggs, dairy and honey and may include small amounts of meat, poultry, fish and seafood.</p> </li> </ul> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/594474/original/file-20240516-16-wjg71m.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/594474/original/file-20240516-16-wjg71m.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/594474/original/file-20240516-16-wjg71m.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/594474/original/file-20240516-16-wjg71m.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/594474/original/file-20240516-16-wjg71m.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/594474/original/file-20240516-16-wjg71m.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/594474/original/file-20240516-16-wjg71m.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/594474/original/file-20240516-16-wjg71m.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <h2>Are these diets healthy?</h2> <p>A <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/44/36/3423/7224412">2023 review</a> looked at the health effects of vegetarian and vegan diets from two types of study.</p> <p>Observational studies followed people over the years to see how their diets were linked to their health. In these studies, eating a vegetarian diet was associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease (such as heart disease or a stroke), diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), dementia and cancer.</p> <p>For example, in a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916523054497?via%3Dihub">study</a> of 44,561 participants, the risk of heart disease was 32% lower in vegetarians than non-vegetarians after an average follow-up of nearly 12 years.</p> <p>Further evidence came from randomised controlled trials. These instruct study participants to eat a specific diet for a specific period of time and monitor their health throughout. These studies showed eating a vegetarian or vegan diet led to reductions in weight, blood pressure, and levels of unhealthy cholesterol.</p> <p>For example, one <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1832195">analysis</a> combined data from seven randomised controlled trials. This so-called meta-analysis included data from 311 participants. It showed eating a vegetarian diet was associated with a systolic blood pressure (the first number in your blood pressure reading) an average 5 mmHg lower compared with non-vegetarian diets.</p> <p>It seems vegetarian diets are more likely to be healthier, across a number of measures.</p> <p>For example, a 2022 <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-022-02942-8">meta-analysis</a> combined the results of several observational studies. It concluded a vegetarian diet, rather than vegan diet, was recommended to prevent heart disease.</p> <p>There is also <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13668-024-00533-z">evidence</a> vegans are more likely to have bone fractures than vegetarians. This could be partly due to a lower body-mass index and a lower intake of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and protein.</p> <h2>But it can be about more than just food</h2> <p>Many vegans, where possible, do not use products that directly or indirectly involve using animals.</p> <p>So vegans would not wear leather, wool or silk clothing, for example. And they would not use soaps or candles made from beeswax, or use products tested on animals.</p> <p>The motivation for following a vegan or vegetarian diet can vary from person to person. Common motivations <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2475299123157957">include</a> health, environmental, ethical, religious or economic reasons.</p> <p>And for many people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, this forms a central part of their <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9231820/">identity</a>.</p> <h2>So, should I adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet?</h2> <p>If you are thinking about a vegan or vegetarian diet, here are some things to consider:</p> <ul> <li> <p>eating more plant foods does not automatically mean you are eating a healthier diet. Hot chips, biscuits and soft drinks can all be vegan or vegetarian foods. And many <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-looked-at-700-plant-based-foods-to-see-how-healthy-they-really-are-heres-what-we-found-222991">plant-based alternatives</a>, such as plant-based sausages, can be high in added salt</p> </li> <li> <p>meeting the <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/nutrient-reference-values/nutrients">nutrient intake targets</a> for vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and iodine requires more careful planning while on a vegan or vegetarian diet. This is because meat, seafood and animal products are good sources of these vitamins and minerals</p> </li> <li> <p>eating a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-eat-a-plant-based-diet-but-that-doesnt-mean-being-a-vegetarian-78470">excluding</a> all meat and animal products. A healthy flexitarian diet prioritises eating more whole plant-foods, such as vegetables and beans, and less processed meat, such as bacon and sausages</p> </li> <li> <p>the <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-dietary-guidelines-1-5">Australian Dietary Guidelines</a> recommend eating a wide variety of foods from the five food groups (fruit, vegetables, cereals, lean meat and/or their alternatives and reduced-fat dairy products and/or their alternatives). So if you are eating animal products, choose lean, reduced-fat meats and dairy products and limit processed meats.<!-- 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/225275/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> </li> </ul> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-livingstone-324808">Katherine Livingstone</a>, NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-the-difference-between-vegan-and-vegetarian-225275">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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What’s the difference between shyness and social anxiety?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kayla-steele-1042011">Kayla Steele</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jill-newby-193454">Jill Newby</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>The terms “shyness” and “social anxiety” are often used interchangeably because they both involve feeling uncomfortable in social situations.</p> <p>However, <a href="https://theconversation.com/shyness-isnt-nice-but-shyness-shouldnt-stop-you-28010">feeling shy</a>, or having a shy personality, is not the same as experiencing <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-social-anxiety-disorder-36601">social anxiety</a> (short for “social anxiety disorder”).</p> <p>Here are some of the similarities and differences, and what the distinction means.</p> <h2>How are they similar?</h2> <p>It can be normal to feel nervous or even stressed in new social situations or when interacting with new people. And everyone differs in how comfortable they feel when interacting with others.</p> <p>For people who are shy or socially anxious, social situations can be very uncomfortable, stressful or even threatening. There can be a strong desire to avoid these situations.</p> <p>People who are shy or socially anxious may <a href="https://theconversation.com/paralysed-with-fear-why-do-we-freeze-when-frightened-60543">respond with</a> “flight” (by withdrawing from the situation or avoiding it entirely), “freeze” (by detaching themselves or feeling disconnected from their body), or “<a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-fawning-how-is-it-related-to-trauma-and-the-fight-or-flight-response-205024">fawn</a>” (by trying to appease or placate others).</p> <p>A complex interaction of biological and environmental factors is also thought to influence the development of shyness and social anxiety.</p> <p>For example, both <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13415-021-00916-7">shy children</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5428215/">adults with social anxiety</a> have neural circuits that respond strongly to stressful social situations, such as being excluded or left out.</p> <p>People who are shy or socially anxious commonly report physical symptoms of stress in certain situations, or even when anticipating them. These include sweating, blushing, trembling, an increased heart rate or hyperventilation.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/592825/original/file-20240508-22-heev7f.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/592825/original/file-20240508-22-heev7f.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/592825/original/file-20240508-22-heev7f.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592825/original/file-20240508-22-heev7f.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592825/original/file-20240508-22-heev7f.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=456&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592825/original/file-20240508-22-heev7f.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592825/original/file-20240508-22-heev7f.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/592825/original/file-20240508-22-heev7f.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=573&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <h2>How are they different?</h2> <p>Social anxiety is a diagnosable mental health condition and is an example of an anxiety disorder.</p> <p>For people who struggle with social anxiety, social situations – including social interactions, being observed and performing in front of others – trigger intense fear or anxiety about being judged, criticised or rejected.</p> <p>To be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, social anxiety needs to be persistent (lasting more than six months) and have a significant negative impact on important areas of life such as work, school, relationships, and identity or sense of self.</p> <p>Many adults with social anxiety report feeling shy, timid and lacking in confidence when they were a child. However, not all shy children go on to develop social anxiety. Also, feeling shy does not necessarily mean a person meets the criteria for social anxiety disorder.</p> <p>People vary in how shy or outgoing they are, depending on where they are, who they are with and how comfortable they feel in the situation. This is particularly true for children, who sometimes appear reserved and shy with strangers and peers, and outgoing with known and trusted adults.</p> <p>Individual differences in temperament, personality traits, early childhood experiences, family upbringing and environment, and parenting style, can also influence the extent to which people feel shy across social situations.</p> <p>However, people with social anxiety have overwhelming fears about embarrassing themselves or being negatively judged by others; they experience these fears consistently and across multiple social situations.</p> <p>The intensity of this fear or anxiety often leads people to avoid situations. If avoiding a situation is not possible, they may engage in safety behaviours, such as looking at their phone, wearing sunglasses or rehearsing conversation topics.</p> <p>The effect social anxiety can have on a person’s life can be far-reaching. It may include low self-esteem, breakdown of friendships or romantic relationships, difficulties pursuing and progressing in a career, and dropping out of study.</p> <p>The impact this has on a person’s ability to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life, and the distress this causes, differentiates social anxiety from shyness.</p> <p>Children can show similar signs or symptoms of social anxiety to adults. But they may also feel upset and teary, irritable, have temper tantrums, cling to their parents, or <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-selective-mutism-and-is-it-a-lifelong-condition-219930">refuse to speak</a> in certain situations.</p> <p>If left untreated, social anxiety can set children and young people up for a future of missed opportunities, so early intervention is key. With professional and <a href="https://theconversation.com/back-to-school-blues-how-to-help-your-child-with-shyness-90228">parental support</a>, patience and guidance, children can be taught <a href="https://theconversation.com/7-tips-to-help-kids-feeling-anxious-about-going-back-to-school-139207">strategies</a> to overcome social anxiety.</p> <h2>Why does the distinction matter?</h2> <p>Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12916-017-0889-2?utm_source=getftr&amp;utm_medium=getftr&amp;utm_campaign=getftr_pilot">persists</a> for people who do not receive adequate support or treatment.</p> <p>Without treatment, it can lead to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22306132/">difficulties</a> in education and at work, and in developing meaningful relationships.</p> <p>Receiving a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder can be validating for some people as it recognises the level of distress and that its impact is more intense than shyness.</p> <p>A diagnosis can also be an important first step in accessing appropriate, evidence-based treatment.</p> <p>Different people have different support needs. However, <a href="https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg159/chapter/Recommendations">clinical practice guidelines</a> recommend cognitive-behavioural therapy (a kind of psychological therapy that teaches people practical coping skills). This is often used with <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-exposure-therapy-and-how-can-it-treat-social-anxiety-64483#:%7E:text=Exposure%20therapy%20is%20where%20people,addresses%20the%20underlying%20unhelpful%20thoughts.">exposure therapy</a> (a kind of psychological therapy that helps people face their fears by breaking them down into a series of step-by-step activities). This combination is effective <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-exposure-therapy-and-how-can-it-treat-social-anxiety-64483#:%7E:text=Exposure%20therapy%20is%20where%20people,addresses%20the%20underlying%20unhelpful%20thoughts.">in-person</a>, <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Computer-therapy-for-the-anxiety-and-depression-is-Andrews-Basu/25e9ee98a1af8d2780ac3e1f687ebc40ebd1b47c">online</a> and in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34534800/">brief treatments</a>.</p> <h2>For more support or further reading</h2> <p>Online resources about social anxiety include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>This Way Up’s <a href="https://thiswayup.org.au/programs/social-anxiety-program/">online program</a> for managing excessive shyness and fear of social situations</p> </li> <li> <p>Beyond Blue’s <a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/mental-health/anxiety/types-of-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder">resources</a> on social anxiety</p> </li> <li> <p>a guide to <a href="https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Social-Anxiety">looking after yourself</a> if you have social anxiety, from the Western Australian health department</p> </li> <li> <p>social anxiety <a href="https://brave4you.psy.uq.edu.au/">online program for children and teens</a> from the University of Queensland</p> </li> <li> <p>inroads, a <a href="https://inroads.org.au/">self-guided online program</a> for young adults who drink alcohol to manage their anxiety.</p> </li> </ul> <hr /> <p><em>We thank the Black Dog Institute <a href="https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/about/who-we-are/lived-experience/">Lived Experience Advisory Network</a> members for providing feedback and input for this article and our research.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225669/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/kayla-steele-1042011">Kayla Steele</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow and clinical psychologist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jill-newby-193454">Jill Newby</a>, Professor, NHMRC Emerging Leader &amp; Clinical Psychologist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-the-difference-between-shyness-and-social-anxiety-225669">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Are young people smarter than older adults? My research shows cognitive differences between generations are diminishing

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-badham-1531316">Stephen Badham</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/nottingham-trent-university-1338">Nottingham Trent University</a></em></p> <p>We often assume young people are smarter, or at least quicker, than older people. For example, we’ve all heard that scientists, and even more so mathematicians, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2014/08/07/who-says-scientists-peak-by-age-50/">carry out their most important work</a> when they’re comparatively young.</p> <p>But my new research, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027322972400008X#:%7E:text=Highlights&amp;text=Three%20review%20studies%20measure%20secular,%2C%20education%2C%20and%20overall%20health.">published in Developmental Review</a>, suggests that cognitive differences between the old and young are tapering off over time. This is hugely important as stereotypes about the intelligence of people in their sixties or older may be holding them back – in the workplace and beyond.</p> <p>Cognitive ageing is often measured by comparing young adults, aged 18-30, to older adults, aged 65 and over. There are a variety of tasks that older adults do not perform well on compared to young adults, such as memory, spatial ability and speed of processing, which often form the basis of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-iq-test-wars-why-screening-for-intelligence-is-still-so-controversial-81428">IQ tests</a>. That said, there are a few tasks that older people do better at than younger people, such as reading comprehension and vocabulary.</p> <p>Declines in cognition are driven by a process called <a href="https://www.nature.com/collections/cbjacdabdf">cognitive ageing</a>, which happens to everyone. Surprisingly, age-related cognitive deficits start very early in adulthood, and declines in cognition have been measured as dropping in adults as young as just 25.</p> <p>Often, it is only when people reach older age that these effects add up to a noticeable amount. Common complaints consist of walking into a room and forgetting why you entered, as well as difficulty remembering names and struggling to drive in the dark.</p> <h2>The trouble with comparison</h2> <p>Sometimes, comparing young adults to older adults can be misleading though. The two generations were brought up in different times, with different levels of education, healthcare and nutrition. They also lead different daily lives, with some older people having lived though a world war while the youngest generation is growing up with the internet.</p> <p>Most of these factors favour the younger generation, and this can explain a proportion of their advantage in cognitive tasks.</p> <p>Indeed, much existing research shows that <a href="https://theconversation.com/iq-tests-are-humans-getting-smarter-158837">IQ has been improving</a> globally throughout the 20th century. This means that later-born generations are more cognitively able than those born earlier. This is even found when both generations are tested in the same way at the same age.</p> <p>Currently, there is growing evidence that <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1718793115">increases in IQ are levelling off,</a> such that, in the most recent couple of decades, young adults are no more cognitively able than young adults born shortly beforehand.</p> <p>Together, these factors may underlie the current result, namely that cognitive differences between young and older adults are diminishing over time.</p> <h2>New results</h2> <p>My research began when my team started getting strange results in our lab. We found that often the age differences we were getting between young and older adults was smaller or absent, compared to prior research from early 2000s.</p> <p>This prompted me to start looking at trends in age differences across the psychological literature in this area. I uncovered a variety of data that compared young and older adults from the 1960s up to the current day. I plotted this data against year of publication, and found that age deficits have been getting smaller over the last six decades.</p> <p>Next, I assessed if the average increases in cognitive ability over time seen across all individuals was a result that also applied to older adults specifically. Many large databases exist where groups of individuals are recruited every few years to take part in the same tests. I analysed studies using these data sets to look at older adults.</p> <p>I found that, just like younger people, older adults were indeed becoming more cognitively able with each cohort. But if differences are disappearing, does that mean younger people’s improvements in cognitive ability have slowed down or that older people’s have increased?</p> <p>I analysed data from my own laboratory that I had gathered over a seven-year period to find out. Here, I was able to dissociate the performance of the young from the performance of the older. I found that each cohort of young adults was performing to a similar extent across this seven-year period, but that older adults were showing improvements in both processing speed and vocabulary scores.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.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/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=333&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/591482/original/file-20240501-24-esxcic.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=418&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="The figure shows data for a speed-based task where higher scores represent better performance." /><figcaption><span class="caption">The figure shows data for a speed-based task where higher scores represent better performance.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>I believe the older adults of today are benefiting from many of the factors previously most applicable to young adults. For example, the number of children who went to school <a href="https://education-uk.org/history/chapter12.html">increased significantly</a> in the 1960s – with the system being more similar to what it is today than what it was at the start of the 20th century.</p> <p>This is being reflected in that cohort’s increased scores today, now they are older adults. At the same time, young adults have hit a ceiling and are no longer improving as much with each cohort.</p> <p>It is not entirely clear why the young generations have stopped improving so much. Some research has <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2016.10.002">explored maternal age, mental health and even evolutionary trends</a>. I favour the opinion that there is just a natural ceiling – a limit to how much factors such as education, nutrition and health can improve cognitive performance.</p> <p>These data have important implications for research into dementia. For example, it is possible that a modern older adult in the early stages of dementia might pass a dementia test that was designed 20 or 30 years ago for the general population at that time.</p> <p>Therefore, as older adults are performing better in general than previous generations, it may be necessary to revise definitions of dementia that depend on an individuals’ expected level of ability.</p> <p>Ultimately, we need to rethink what it means to become older. And there’s finally some good news. Ultimately, we can expect to be more cognitively able than our grandparents were when we reach their age.<!-- 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/229132/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/stephen-badham-1531316">Stephen Badham</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/nottingham-trent-university-1338">Nottingham Trent University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-young-people-smarter-than-older-adults-my-research-shows-cognitive-differences-between-generations-are-diminishing-229132">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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What’s the difference between ADD and ADHD?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kathy-gibbs-1392051">Kathy Gibbs</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>Around <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/attention-deficit-disorder-add-or-adhd#:%7E:text=Around%201%20in%20every%2020,have%20symptoms%20as%20an%20adult.">one in 20 people</a> has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood and often continues into adulthood.</p> <p>ADHD is <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm">diagnosed</a> when people experience problems with inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that negatively impacts them at school or work, in social settings and at home.</p> <p>Some people call the condition attention-deficit disorder, or ADD. So what’s the difference?</p> <p>In short, what was previously called ADD is now known as ADHD. So how did we get here?</p> <h2>Let’s start with some history</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.guilford.com/books/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder/Russell-Barkley/9781462538874">first clinical description</a> of children with inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity was in 1902. British paediatrician Professor George Still <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26740929/">presented</a> a series of lectures about his observations of 43 children who were defiant, aggressive, undisciplined and extremely emotional or passionate.</p> <p>Since then, our understanding of the condition evolved and made its way into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM. Clinicians use the DSM to diagnose mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions.</p> <p>The first DSM, published in 1952, did not include a specific related child or adolescent category. But the <a href="https://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.books.9780890420355.dsm-ii">second edition</a>, published in 1968, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00207411.2015.1009310">included a section</a> on behaviour disorders in young people. It referred to ADHD-type characteristics as “hyperkinetic reaction of childhood or adolescence”. This described the excessive, involuntary movement of children with the disorder.</p> <p>In the early 1980s, the <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/about-dsm/history-of-the-dsm">third DSM</a> added a condition it called “attention deficit disorder”, listing two types: attention deficit disorder <em>with</em> hyperactivity (ADDH) and attention deficit disorder as the subtype <em>without</em> the hyperactivity.</p> <p>However, seven years later, a revised DSM (DSM-III-R) replaced ADD (and its two sub-types) with ADHD and three sub-types we have today:</p> <ul> <li>predominantly inattentive</li> <li>predominantly hyperactive-impulsive</li> <li>combined.</li> </ul> <h2>Why change ADD to ADHD?</h2> <p>ADHD replaced ADD in the DSM-III-R in 1987 for a number of reasons.</p> <p>First was the controversy and debate over the presence or absence of hyperactivity: the “H” in ADHD. When ADD was <a href="https://www.guilford.com/books/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder/Russell-Barkley/9781462538874">initially named</a>, little research had been done to determine the similarities and differences between the two sub-types.</p> <p>The next issue was around the term “attention-deficit” and whether these deficits were similar or different across both sub-types. Questions also arose about the extent of these differences: if these sub-types were so different, were they actually different conditions?</p> <p>Meanwhile, a new focus on inattention (an “attention deficit”) recognised that children with inattentive behaviours <a href="https://academic.oup.com/shm/article/30/4/767/2919401">may not necessarily be</a> disruptive and challenging but are more likely to be forgetful and daydreamers.</p> <h2>Why do some people use the term ADD?</h2> <p>There was a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/shm/article/30/4/767/2919401">surge of diagnoses</a> in the 1980s. So it’s understandable that some people still hold onto the term ADD.</p> <p>Some may identify as having ADD because out of habit, because this is what they were originally diagnosed with or because they don’t have hyperactivity/impulsivity traits.</p> <p>Others who don’t have ADHD may use the term they came across in the 80s or 90s, not knowing the terminology has changed.</p> <h2>How is ADHD currently diagnosed?</h2> <p>The three sub-types of ADHD, outlined in the DSM-5 are:</p> <ul> <li> <p>predominantly inattentive. People with the inattentive sub-type have difficulty sustaining concentration, are easily distracted and forgetful, lose things frequently, and are unable to follow detailed instructions</p> </li> <li> <p>predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. Those with this sub-type find it hard to be still, need to move constantly in structured situations, frequently interrupt others, talk non-stop and struggle with self control</p> </li> <li> <p>combined. Those with the combined sub-type experience the characteristics of those who are inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive.</p> </li> </ul> <p>ADHD diagnoses <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/australias-children/contents/health/children-mental-illness">continue to rise</a> among children and adults. And while ADHD was commonly diagnosed in boys, more recently we have seen growing numbers of girls and women seeking diagnoses.</p> <p>However, some international experts <a href="https://academic.oup.com/shm/article/30/4/767/2919401">contest</a> the expanded definition of ADHD, driven by clinical practice in the United States. They argue the challenges of unwanted behaviours and educational outcomes for young people with the condition are uniquely shaped by each country’s cultural, political and local factors.</p> <p>Regardless of the name change to reflect what we know about the condition, ADHD continues to impact educational, social and life situations of many children, adolescents and adults.<!-- 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/225162/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/kathy-gibbs-1392051">Kathy Gibbs</a>, Program Director for the Bachelor of Education, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-the-difference-between-add-and-adhd-225162">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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What’s the difference between autism and Asperger’s disorder?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-cashin-458270">Andrew Cashin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a></em></p> <p>Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg describes herself as having <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/02/greta-thunberg-responds-to-aspergers-critics-its-a-superpower">Asperger’s</a> while others on the autism spectrum, such as Australian comedian Hannah Gatsby, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2022/mar/19/hannah-gadsby-autism-diagnosis-little-out-of-whack">describe</a> themselves as “autistic”. But what’s the difference?</p> <p>Today, the previous diagnoses of “Asperger’s disorder” and “autistic disorder” both fall within the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.</p> <p>Autism describes a “neurotype” – a person’s thinking and information-processing style. Autism is one of the forms of diversity in human thinking, which comes with strengths and challenges.</p> <p>When these challenges become overwhelming and impact how a person learns, plays, works or socialises, a diagnosis of <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/autism/what-is-autism-spectrum-disorder">autism spectrum disorder</a> is made.</p> <h2>Where do the definitions come from?</h2> <p>The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) outlines the criteria clinicians use to diagnose mental illnesses and behavioural disorders.</p> <p>Between 1994 and 2013, autistic disorder and Asperger’s disorder were the two primary diagnoses related to autism in the fourth edition of the manual, the DSM-4.</p> <p>In 2013, the DSM-5 collapsed both diagnoses into one <a href="https://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/doi/book/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596">autism spectrum disorder</a>.</p> <h2>How did we used to think about autism?</h2> <p>The two thinkers behind the DSM-4 diagnostic categories were Baltimore psychiatrist Leo Kanner and Viennese paediatrician Hans Asperger. They described the challenges faced by people who were later diagnosed with autistic disorder and Asperger’s disorder.</p> <p>Kanner and Asperger observed patterns of behaviour that differed to typical thinkers in the domains of communication, social interaction and flexibility of behaviour and thinking. The variance was associated with challenges in adaptation and distress.</p> <p>Between the 1940s and 1994, the majority of those diagnosed with autism also had an intellectual disability. Clinicians became focused on the accompanying intellectual disability as a necessary part of autism.</p> <p>The introduction of Asperger’s disorder shifted this focus and acknowledged the diversity in autism. In the DSM-4 it superficially looked like autistic disorder and Asperger’s disorder were different things, with the Asperger’s criteria stating there could be no intellectual disability or delay in the development of speech.</p> <p>Today, as a legacy of the recognition of the autism itself, the <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/autism-in-australia/contents/autism">majority of people</a> diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder – the new term from the DSM-5 – don’t a have an accompanying intellectual disability.</p> <h2>What changed with ‘autism spectrum disorder’?</h2> <p>The move to autism spectrum disorder brought the previously diagnosed autistic disorder and Asperger’s disorder under the one new diagnostic umbrella term.</p> <p>It made clear that other diagnostic groups – such as intellectual disability – can co-exist with autism, but are separate things.</p> <p>The other major change was acknowledging communication and social skills are intimately linked and not separable. Rather than separating “impaired communication” and “impaired social skills”, the diagnostic criteria changed to “impaired social communication”.</p> <p>The introduction of the spectrum in the diagnostic term further clarified that people have varied capabilities in the flexibility of their thinking, behaviour and social communication – and this can change in response to the context the person is in.</p> <h2>Why do some people prefer the old terminology?</h2> <p>Some people feel the clinical label of Asperger’s allowed a much more refined understanding of autism. This included recognising the achievements and great societal contributions of people with known or presumed autism.</p> <p>The contraction “Aspie” played an enormous part in the shift to positive identity formation. In the time up to the release of the DSM-5, <a href="https://xminds.org/resources/Documents/Web%20files/Aspie%20Criteria%20by%20Attwood.pdf">Tony Attwood and Carol Gray</a>, two well known thinkers in the area of autism, highlighted the strengths associated with “being Aspie” as something to be proud of. But they also raised awareness of the challenges.</p> <h2>What about identity-based language?</h2> <p>A more recent shift in language has been the reclamation of what was once viewed as a slur – “autistic”. This was a shift from person-first language to identity-based language, from “person with autism spectrum disorder” to “autistic”.</p> <p>The neurodiversity rights movement describes its aim to <a href="https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/71531/1/JCU_71531_AAM.pdf">push back</a> against a breach of human rights resulting from the wish to cure, or fundamentally change, people with autism.</p> <p>The movement uses a “social model of disability”. This views disability as arising from societies’ response to individuals and the failure to adjust to enable full participation. The inherent challenges in autism are seen as only a problem if not accommodated through reasonable adjustments.</p> <p>However the social model contrasts itself against a very outdated medical or clinical model.</p> <p>Current clinical thinking and practice focuses on <a href="https://www.collegianjournal.com/article/S1322-7696(22)00122-6/fulltext">targeted</a> supports to reduce distress, promote thriving and enable optimum individual participation in school, work, community and social activities. It doesn’t aim to cure or fundamentally change people with autism.</p> <p>A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder signals there are challenges beyond what will be solved by adjustments alone; individual supports are also needed. So it’s important to combine the best of the social model and contemporary clinical model.<!-- 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/223643/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/andrew-cashin-458270">Andrew Cashin</a>, Professor of Nursing, School of Health and Human Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/whats-the-difference-between-autism-and-aspergers-disorder-223643">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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We talked to dozens of people about their experience of grief. Here’s what we learned (and how it’s different from what you might think)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-peterie-564209">Michelle Peterie</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Have you ever felt a sudden pang of sadness? A bird seems to stop and look you in the eye. A photo drops out of a messy drawer from long ago, in the mundanity of a weekend spring clean.</p> <p>Your day is immediately derailed, unsettled. You are pulled into something you thought was past. And yet, in being pulled back, you are grateful, reconnected, and grief-stricken all over again.</p> <p>“You’ll get over it”. “Give it time”. “You need time to move on”. These are common cultural refrains in the face of loss. But what if grief doesn’t play by the rules? What if grief is a different thing altogether?</p> <p>We talked to 95 people about their experiences of grief surrounding the loss of a loved one, and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00380261241228412">their stories</a> provided a fundamentally different account of grief to the one often presented to us culturally.</p> <h2>Disordered grief?</h2> <p>Grief is often imagined as a time-bound period in which one processes the pain of loss – that is, adjusts to absence and works toward “moving on”. The bereaved are expected to process their pain within the confines of what society deems “normal”.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-the-dsm-and-how-are-mental-disorders-diagnosed-9568">DSM-5 psychiatric manual</a> says if grief drags on too long, in fact, it becomes a pathology (a condition with a medical diagnosis). “Prolonged grief disorder” is the name given to “persistent difficulties associated with bereavement that exceeded expected social, cultural, or religious expectations”.</p> <p>While there can be <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-prolonged-grief-should-be-listed-as-a-mental-disorder-4262">value</a> in clinical diagnostic categories such as this, the danger is they put artificial boundaries around emotions. The pathologisation of grief can be deeply alienating to those experiencing it, for whom the pressure to “move on” can be hurtful and counterproductive.</p> <p>The stories we gathered in our research were raw, complex and often fraught. They did not sit comfortably with commonsense understandings of how grief “should” progress. As bereaved daughter Barbara told us: "Grief is not in the little box, it doesn’t even come close to a little box."</p> <h2>Grief starts early</h2> <p>The tendency is to think of grief as something that happens post death. The person we love dies, we have a funeral, and the grief sets in. Then it slowly subsides with the steady march of time.</p> <p>In fact, grief often begins earlier, often in a clinical consultation where the words “terminal” or “nothing more we can do” are used. Or when a loved one is told “go home and get your life in order”. Grief can begin months or even years before bereavement.</p> <p>As the people we interviewed experienced it, loss was also cumulative. The gradual deterioration of a loved one’s health in the years or months before their death imposed other painful losses: the loss of chosen lifestyles, the loss of longstanding relational rhythms, the loss of shared hopes and anticipated futures.</p> <p>Many participants felt their loved ones – and, indeed, the lives they shared with them – slipping away long before their physical deaths.</p> <h2>Living with the dead</h2> <p>Yet the dead do not simply leave us. They remain with us, in memories, rituals and cultural events. From <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-ancient-cultures-teach-us-about-grief-mourning-and-continuity-of-life-86199">Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos</a> to <a href="https://theconversation.com/japans-obon-festival-how-family-commemoration-and-ancestral-worship-shapes-daily-life-179890">Japan’s Opon</a>, festivals of the dead play a key role in cultures around the world. In that way, remembering the dead remains a critical aspect of living. So too does <a href="https://theconversation.com/theres-not-always-closure-in-the-never-ending-story-of-grief-3096">the ongoing experience of grief</a>.</p> <p>Events of this kind are not merely celebratory. They are critical forms through which life and death, joy and grief, are brought together and integrated. The absence of remembering can hold its own trouble, as our participants’ accounts revealed.</p> <p>As bereaved wife Anna explained: "I just find it really frustrating and I do get quite angry and upset sometimes. I know that life goes on. I’d be talking to girlfriends and stuff like that and it’s like they’ve forgotten that I’ve lost my husband. They haven’t, but nothing really changed in their life. But for me, and my family, it has."</p> <p>Part of the problem, here, is the ambivalent role grief plays in advanced industrialised societies like ours. Many of our participants felt pressure to perform resilience or (in clinical terms) to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1363459317724854">“recover” quickly after loss</a>.</p> <p>But whose interests does a swift recovery serve? An employer’s? Friends who just want to get on with a death-free life? And, even more importantly, mightn’t ongoing connections with the dead enable better living? Might bringing the dead along with us actually make for better deaths and better lives?</p> <p>Many of our participants felt their loved ones remained with them, and experienced their “absent presence” as a source of comfort. Grieving, in this context, involved spending time “with” the dead.</p> <p>Anna described her practice as follows: "I had a diary, so I just write stuff in it about how I’m feeling or something happened and I’ll say to [my deceased husband], it’s all to [my deceased husband], “Do you remember, blah, blah, blah.” I’ll just talk about that memory that I have of that particular time and I find that that helps."</p> <h2>Caring for those who grieve</h2> <p>Grief does not begin at death, but neither do relationships end there.</p> <p>To rush the bereaved through grief – to usher them towards “recovery” and the more comfortable territories of happiness and productivity – is to do them a disservice.</p> <p>And, perhaps more critically, ridding our lives of the dead and grief may, in the end, make for more limited and muted emotional lives.<!-- 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/223848/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/michelle-peterie-564209"><em>Michelle Peterie</em></a><em>, Research Fellow, Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, Professor of Sociology &amp; Director, Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-talked-to-dozens-of-people-about-their-experience-of-grief-heres-what-we-learned-and-how-its-different-from-what-you-might-think-223848">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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What’s the difference between memory loss and dementia?

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

Mind

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Body language expert breaks down royal family's Christmas card

<p>A body language expert has broken down the subtle meanings and messages hidden in the royal family's Christmas card. </p> <p>On Monday, Prince William and Kate Middleton shared their 2023 Christmas card portrait, which features the Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children in a charming black and white photo. </p> <p>While their family portrait was met with <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/blah-brutal-reactions-to-royal-family-s-2023-christmas-card" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mixed reactions</a>, royal fans wasted no time in praising the family for their charming photo. </p> <p>Now, body language experts have dived deep into the real meaning behind almost unnoticeable actions taken by the royals in the pic. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pf0IXNv15/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Prince and Princess of Wales (@princeandprincessofwales)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Body language analyst Judi James told <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/royals/24997829/kate-william-christmas-card-body-language-signal/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" data-ylk="slk:The Sun;elm:context_link;itc:0" data-rapid_p="26" data-v9y="1">The Sun</a></em> that, "The strong sense of tight, loving ‘uniformed’ grouping and the stark monochrome, plus the relaxed and confident body language looks like the emotional equivalent of them having a moat and drawbridge around them."</p> <p>Judi went on to say that their choice of relaxed outfits - jeans and white button-up shirts - would be an intentional choice as they show "the strength and total confidence of the pared-down family brand here, without all the trimmings and trappings of their royal status."</p> <p>As she notes, "We know they look superb in formalwear and royal regalia but this is the casual and much more relatable version."</p> <p>Judi also claims that Prince William's slight head tilt "suggests a desire to be liked", while "Kate leans into William’s torso to make this a subtly romantic pose too."</p> <p>Meanwhile, according to Judi, the position of Princess Charlotte right in the middle of the family could be intentional, who says "Charlotte looks so much like the late Queen and this central status-rich pose and beautiful smile are like echoes of Elizabeth when she was young."</p> <p>"This effect doesn’t look deliberate but it is still a rather moving message from this family Christmas card."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

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Body language expert analyses Hugh Jackman's last public outings with his wife

<p>A body language expert has analysed the last public outings of Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness before they <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/hugh-jackman-devastated-after-marriage-split" target="_blank" rel="noopener">announced their split</a> after 27 years of marriage. </p> <p>The couple were spotted at both the Met Gala in New York and Wimbledon in the UK earlier this year, seemingly looking like a perfect loved-up couple. </p> <p>However, Aussie body language expert Louise Mahler said there could be more than meets the eye at their public outings. </p> <p>“These are two people so well rehearsed at being with each other. They lean in together, they move in unison,” Mahler told <a href="https://7news.com.au/entertainment" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline"><em>7Life</em>.</a></p> <p>Assessing footage from their joint appearance at the Met Gala in May 2023, Mahler noticed that “at one point in the video Hugh goes to walk away and she briefly pulls him back and he stops with no hesitation”.</p> <p>“There is no giveaway whatsoever... and remember, they are both actors."</p> <p>“They are working as a team and showing total harmony.”</p> <p>However, Mahler went on to assess a specific moment from the Met Gala where the couple were gazing at one another head-on.</p> <p>“I’m going to speculate that he has left her because he’s looking at her quickly,” she said.</p> <p>“He still loves her but he’s moving on."</p> <p>“And what I see from her is, ‘I get that you’re moving on, you b******, but I will allow this’,” Mahler speculated about Furness’ body language.</p> <p>Two months after their Met Gala appearance, the couple attended Wimbledon to sit side by side and watch the game. </p> <p>Mahler acknowledged that they looked “a little cranky” but said that they were concentrated on the game and likely had cameras on them “for a long time”.</p> <p>“I don’t see that they’re pulling away from each other in any way,” she said.</p> <p>“In fact, their arms are touching the full length. This is a couple who have been together for 30 years, they know each other. I would say they still love each other, but they’re deciding to go their separate ways.”</p> <p>The Hollywood couple shocked the world on Saturday when they released a statement confirming their separation after being married for 27 years.</p> <p>“We have been blessed to share almost three decades together as husband and wife in a wonderful, loving marriage,” Jackman and Furness told <em><a href="https://people.com/hugh-jackman-and-deborra-lee-jackman-separate-exclusive-7970286" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">People</a></em>.</p> <p>“Our journey now is shifting and we have decided to separate to pursue our individual growth."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Relationships

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Climate change is set to make our holidays look very different – here’s how

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-davies-313760">Nick Davies</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/glasgow-caledonian-university-913">Glasgow Caledonian University</a></em></p> <p>Holidays are making a comeback after several years of disruption caused by the COVID pandemic. Nearly 4 billion passengers <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/564717/airline-industry-passenger-traffic-globally/">boarded international flights</a> in 2022, up from fewer than 2 billion in 2020. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669582.2022.2162062">Recent research</a> suggests that people are likely to continue travelling more in 2023 and beyond.</p> <p>But this resurgence in travel is concerning. The tourism sector alone is responsible for an <a href="https://wttc.org/news-article/wttc-launches-groundbreaking-net-zero-roadmap-for-travel-tourism">estimated 8%–10%</a> of global greenhouse gas emissions. And conditions at traditional holiday destinations in high summer are becoming <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/14/travel/europe-heat-wave-tourists.html">increasingly unpleasant</a> if not <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/23/british-tourists-tell-of-nightmare-in-rhodes-fires-greece#:%7E:text=British%20tourists%20said%20they%20had,the%20Greek%20island%20of%20Rhodes.">downright hazardous</a>.</p> <p>During the past year, <a href="https://climate.copernicus.eu/july-2023-sees-multiple-global-temperature-records-broken">numerous climate records have been broken</a> as heatwaves and wildfires ravaged large parts of Europe, Asia and North America. In July, both Sardinia and Sicily experienced temperatures <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/15/italy-temperatures-48c-mediterranean-heatwave-hotter">in excess of 46°C</a>, nearly breaking European records.</p> <p>Most of what we do while on holiday, particularly on holidays abroad, <a href="https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200218-climate-change-how-to-cut-your-carbon-emissions-when-flying#:%7E:text=Together%20with%20other%20gases%20and,of%20the%20world%20flies%20frequently">releases greenhouse gases</a> into the atmosphere and ultimately has an impact on the climate. But the way most of us get there – by flying – is potentially most damaging. UK data suggests that a single passenger on a short-haul flight, for instance, is responsible for releasing the <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/travel-carbon-footprint">equivalent of approximately 154g of CO₂</a> for every kilometre travelled.</p> <p>As the effects of climate change become increasingly severe, there’s genuine concern that traditional destinations will become too hot in summer to remain appealing to visitors. This raises the question: how will tourism adapt?</p> <h2>Changing destinations</h2> <p>Researchers have been trying to predict the future of tourism for quite some time. One idea is that tourism will undergo a “<a href="https://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/system/files/documents/ipcc-ar5-implications-for-tourism-briefing-prin.pdf">poleward shift</a>” as global warming causes temperatures to rise not only in traditionally hot regions, but also in locations further to the north and south.</p> <p>A <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0047287506295937">modelling study</a> from 2007 predicted that, by 2050, hotter weather would make popular tourist hotspots like the Mediterranean less appealing in the summer. At the same time, northern destinations such as Scandinavia and the UK would experience longer holiday seasons.</p> <p>Approximately <a href="https://oceanpanel.org/opportunity/sustainable-coastal-marine-tourism">half of global tourism</a> is concentrated in coastal areas. So another concern is the potential loss of beaches due to rising sea levels. In the Caribbean, an <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669582.2012.699063">estimated 29% of resort properties</a> would be partially or fully inundated by one metre of sea-level rise – though many of these resorts would have lost a significant amount of their beach area before this.</p> <p>Some other beach destinations are potentially even more vulnerable. Sardinia was hit by disruptive storms in 2022. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272771423000744">Research</a> suggests that the beaches there may struggle to accommodate tourists in the near future due to a greater risk of flooding and storms.</p> <p>The impact of climate change on tourism will extend beyond just coastal areas. Many popular city break destinations, including <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301479722007344">Porto</a> in Portugal, are expecting to endure more severe heat. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669582.2022.2112204">Tourism in mountainous areas</a> will be affected, too, as accelerated snow melt leads to shorter ski seasons.</p> <h2>The practicalities of tourism shifting</h2> <p>Changing conditions will affect where humans can safely travel to. But travel patterns take time to evolve. In the meantime, established destinations will need to change to withstand challenges such as extreme heat, rising sea levels and other climatic conditions.</p> <p>Existing tourist destinations in areas of the world that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as the Nile Delta in Egypt, are already <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569121005068">considering ways to adapt</a>. These include building seawalls and natural dunes to protect tourist areas from coastal flooding. Changing construction materials and reconfiguring urban spaces to improve ventilation have also <a href="https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/environment/2021/10/19/beat-the-heat-how-to-make-buildings-in-the-middle-east-cooler/#:%7E:text=Traditionally%2C%20buildings%20in%20the%20Gulf,known%20for%20its%20wind%20towers.">been proposed</a> as ways to reduce reliance on expensive and energy-intensive air-conditioning.</p> <p>New destinations that begin to emerge in more temperate regions will require substantial infrastructure development to support the influx of visitors. This includes transport systems, accommodation, dining options and attractions. The process of establishing tourist destinations typically takes time and requires careful thought.</p> <p>Barcelona, for example, has experienced a <a href="https://stay-grounded.org/conference-degrowth/barcelona-a-city-exploited-by-tourism/">rapid surge in tourism demand</a> since the 1992 Olympics. This has resulted in a tenfold increase in visitors over the past three decades.</p> <p>Such rapid tourism development can <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/WHATT-02-2017-0005/full/html">put a strain on local people</a> and the environment. Although Barcelona already had a transport system and some infrastructure to accommodate visitors, the rapid growth in tourism has led to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jun/25/tourists-go-home-refugees-welcome-why-barcelona-chose-migrants-over-visitors">strong opposition</a> from local residents.</p> <h2>What will happen next year?</h2> <p>The <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0047287520933679">current thinking</a> among tourism academics is that those responsible for managing tourist destinations should work towards reducing carbon emissions by focusing on the domestic market.</p> <p>But, as recent summers have shown, international tourism does not look set to slow down yet. Even amid crises such as the fires burning through Rhodes in summer 2023, tourists <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/aug/30/tourists-rhodes-maui-burned-travel">continued to arrive</a>.</p> <p>Rather than choose different destinations, the most likely scenario – at least in the short-term – is that tourists themselves will adapt to the effects of climate change. During Europe’s summer 2023 heatwave, there were reports that people were staying in their hotel rooms <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/14/travel/europe-heat-wave-tourists.html">in the hottest part of the day</a> and taking sightseeing trips in the evening.</p> <p>Nevertheless, there are some signs that travellers may be starting to worry about more extreme weather conditions and adapt their travel plans accordingly. A survey conducted in May 2023 showed that <a href="https://etc-corporate.org/uploads/2023/07/2023_ETC_MSIET_Results_Wave_16.pdf">69% of Europeans</a> planned to travel between June and November – a fall of 4% compared to 2022.</p> <p>The heatwave of summer 2023 might mean that tourists start looking for <a href="https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/extreme-heat-prompts-tourists-to-seek-cooler-alternatives-to-europe/">cooler destinations</a> as early as the coming year.</p> <p>The evolving landscape of global tourism in the face of climate change is complex. What is clear, though, is that if Europe continues to experience extreme weather conditions like the summer of 2023, many people will think twice about booking their place in the sun.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-davies-313760">Nick Davies</a>, Lecturer and Programme Leader, BA International Tourism and Events Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/glasgow-caledonian-university-913">Glasgow Caledonian University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-set-to-make-our-holidays-look-very-different-heres-how-212474">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How biological differences between men and women alter immune responses – and affect women’s health

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/helen-mcgettrick-1451122">Helen McGettrick</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-birmingham-1138">University of Birmingham</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/asif-iqbal-1451123">Asif Iqbal</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-birmingham-1138">University of Birmingham</a></em></p> <p>Most people will have heard the term “man flu”, which refers to men’s perceived tendency to exaggerate the severity of a cold or a similar minor ailment.</p> <p>What most people may not know is that, generally speaking, women mount stronger <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36121220/">immune responses</a> to infections than men. Men are <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005374">more susceptible</a> to infections from, for example, HIV, hepatitis B, and <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> (the parasite responsible for malaria).</p> <p>They can also have more severe symptoms, with evidence showing they’re more likely to be <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005374">admitted to hospital</a> when infected with hepatitis B, tuberculosis, and <em>Campylobacter jejuni</em> (a bacteria that causes gastroenteritis), among others.</p> <p>While this may be positive for women in some respects, it also means women are at <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri2815">greater risk</a> of developing chronic diseases driven by the immune system, known as immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.</p> <p>Here we will explore how biological factors influence immune differences between the sexes and how this affects women’s health. While we acknowledge that both sex and gender may affect immune responses, this article will focus on biological sex rather than gender.</p> <h2>Battle of the sexes</h2> <p>There are differences <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">between the sexes</a> at every stage of the immune response, from the number of immune cells, to their degree of activation (how ready they are to respond to a challenge), and beyond.</p> <p>However, the story is more complicated than that. Our immune system evolves throughout our lives, learning from past experiences, but also responding to the physiological challenges of getting older. As a result, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">sex differences</a> in the immune system can be seen from birth through puberty into adulthood and <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jleukbio/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jleuko/qiad053/7190870">old age</a>.</p> <p>Why do these differences occur? The first part of answering this question involves the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome. The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20651746/">X chromosome</a> contains the largest number of immune-related genes.</p> <p>The X chromosome also has <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00018-020-03526-7">around 118 genes</a> from a gene family that are able to stop the expression of other genes, or change how proteins are made, including those required for immunity. These gene-protein regulators are known as microRNA, and there are only <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24808907/">two microRNA genes</a> on the Y chromosome.</p> <p>The X chromosome has <a href="https://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/fact-sheets/X-Chromosome-facts">more genes overall</a> (around 900) than the Y chromosome (around 55), so female cells have evolved to switch off one of their X chromosomes. This is not like turning off a light switch, but more like using a dimmer.</p> <p>Around <a href="https://bmcgenomics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12864-019-5507-6">15-25% of genes</a> on the silenced X chromosome are expressed at any given moment in any given cell. This means female cells can often express more immune-related genes and gene-protein regulators than males. This generally means a faster clearance of pathogens in females than males.</p> <p>Second, men and women have <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.604000/full">varying levels</a> of different sex hormones. Progesterone and testosterone are broadly considered to limit immune responses. While both hormones are produced by males and females, progesterone is found at higher concentrations in non-menopausal women than men, and testosterone is much higher in men than women.</p> <p>The role of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6533072/">oestrogen</a>, one of the main female sex hormones, is more complicated. Although generally oestrogen <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000887491500026X?via%3Dihub">enhances immune responses</a>, its levels vary during the menstrual cycle, are high in pregnancy and low after menopause.</p> <p>Due in part to these genetic and hormonal factors, pregnancy and the years following are associated with heightened immune responses to external challenges such as infection.</p> <p>This has been regarded as an <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">evolutionary feature</a>, protecting women and their unborn children during pregnancy and enhancing the mother’s survival throughout the child-rearing years, ultimately ensuring the survival of the population. We also see this pattern in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628977/">other species</a> including insects, lizards, birds and mammals.</p> <h2>What does this all mean?</h2> <p>With women’s heightened immune responses to infections comes an increased risk of certain diseases and prolonged immune responses after infections.</p> <p>An <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328995/">estimated 75-80%</a> of all immune-mediated inflammatory diseases <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32542149/">occur in females</a>. Diseases more common in women include multiple sclerosis, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri2815">rheumatoid arthritis</a>, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">thyroid disorders</a> such as Graves disease.</p> <p>In these diseases, the immune system is continuously fighting against what it sees as a foreign agent. However, often this perceived threat is not a foreign agent, but cells or tissues from the host. This leads to tissue damage, pain and immobility.</p> <p>Women are also prone to chronic inflammation following infection. For example, after infections with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5818468/">Epstein Barr virus</a> or <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jwh.2008.1193">Lyme disease</a>, they may go on to develop <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-cfs/">chronic fatigue syndrome</a>, another condition that affects more women than men.</p> <p>This is one possible explanation for the heightened risk among <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fresc.2023.1122673/full">pre-menopausal women</a> of developing long COVID following infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID.</p> <p>Research has also revealed the presence of auto-antibodies (antibodies that attack the host) in patients with long COVID, suggesting it might be an <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568997221000550">autoimmune disease</a>. As women are more susceptible to autoimmune conditions, this could potentially explain the sex bias seen.</p> <p>However, the exact causes of long COVID, and the reason women may be at greater risk, are yet to be defined.</p> <p>This paints a bleak picture, but it’s not all bad news. Women typically mount <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24966191/">better vaccine responses</a> to several common infections (for example, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B), producing higher antibody levels than men.</p> <p>One study showed that women vaccinated with half a dose of flu vaccine produced the same amount of antibodies compared to men vaccinated with <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/773453">a full dose</a>.</p> <p>However, these responses <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nri.2016.90">decline as women age</a>, and particularly <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3954964/">after menopause</a>.</p> <p>All of this shows it’s vital to consider sex when designing studies examining the immune system and treating patients with immune-related diseases.<!-- 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/208802/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/helen-mcgettrick-1451122">Helen McGettrick</a>, Reader in Inflammation and Vascular Biology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-birmingham-1138">University of Birmingham</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/asif-iqbal-1451123">Asif Iqbal</a>, Associate Professor in Inflammation Biology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-birmingham-1138">University of Birmingham</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-biological-differences-between-men-and-women-alter-immune-responses-and-affect-womens-health-208802">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Is red meat bad for you? And does it make a difference if it’s a processed burger or a lean steak?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-livingstone-324808">Katherine Livingstone</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>A juicy burger is a staple in many Australians’ diet. Yet research shows regularly eating red meat can increase your risk of developing <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/advance-article/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehad336/7188739?searchresult=1">type 2 diabetes, heart disease</a> and <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(15)00444-1/fulltext">certain cancers</a>.</p> <p>But is eating a beef burger worse for your health than eating a lean grass-fed steak? And how much red meat should we really be eating?</p> <h2>Types of red meat</h2> <p>First of all, it’s good to clarify that <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240074828">red meat</a> refers to all mammalian muscle meat. So that includes beef, lamb, pork, veal, mutton and goat.</p> <p>Then we can distinguish red meat types by how the animal has been raised and how the meat is processed. Here are some key terms to know.</p> <p>Conventional meat, also called grain-fed, is meat from animals that are grass-fed for part of their lives and then given a grain-based diet for the remainder. Most red meat available in major supermarkets is grain-fed.</p> <p>Grass-fed meat comes from animals that have grazed on pasture for their entire lives. This means grass-fed meat tends to have higher levels of unsaturated fats than conventional meat, and is why some <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/11/5/646">research</a> suggests it’s healthier. Grass-fed meat is also likely to cost more.</p> <p>Organic meat is seen as a premium product as it has to meet <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/export/controlled-goods/organic-bio-dynamic/national-standard">government standards</a> for organic produce. For example, meat labelled as organic cannot use synthetic pesticides or use hormones or antibiotics to stimulate growth.</p> <p>Processed meats have been preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by adding chemical preservatives. Examples include sausages, ham, bacon and hot dogs.</p> <h2>What is the nutritional value of red meat?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/lean-meat-and-poultry-fish-eggs-tofu-nuts-and-seeds-and">Red meat</a> contains many nutrients that are important for health, including protein, vitamin B12, iron and zinc. Red meat is a good source of iron and zinc as they are more easily absorbed by the body from meat than from plant foods.</p> <p>Red meat is often high in saturated fats, but this can <a href="https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/ausnut/ausnutdatafiles/Pages/foodnutrient.aspx">range widely</a> from less than 1% to over 25% depending on the cut and whether it’s trimmed of fat or not. Minced meat typically ranges from 2% to 9% saturated fat depending on whether its extra lean or regular.</p> <p>To limit intake of saturated fats, opt for leaner mince and leaner cuts of meat, such as pork tenderloins or beef steak with the fat trimmed off.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5243954/">Wagyu beef</a> (which simply translates to Wa = Japanese and Gyu = cow) has been touted as a healthier alternative to conventional red meat, as it tends to be higher in unsaturated fats. But research is limited, and ultimately it still contains saturated fat.</p> <p>Processed meats, such as bacon, salami and sausages, contain beneficial nutrients, but they are also high in saturated fat, sodium and contain preservatives.</p> <h2>Is red meat bad for your health? And does the type matter?</h2> <p>It’s widely reported eating too much red meat is bad for your health, because it can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.</p> <p>But most of the evidence for this comes from observational studies, which cannot determine whether red meat intake actually causes the condition.</p> <p>Most evidence is observational because it’s simply not ethical or feasible to ask someone to eat large amounts of meat every day for many years to see if they develop cancer.</p> <p>So let’s take a look at the evidence:</p> <p><strong>Heart disease and type 2 diabetes</strong></p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01968-z">review</a> of 37 observational studies, the authors found weak evidence of an association between eating unprocessed red meat and heart disease and type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>But for processed meat, a recent <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/44/28/2626/7188739">review</a> showed that for each additional 50g of processed meat consumed per day, the risk of heart disease increased by 26% and the risk of type 2 diabetes increased by 44%, on average.</p> <p><strong>Cancer</strong></p> <p>Leading international organisations have declared there’s strong evidence consumption of red and processed meat <a href="https://www.wcrf.org/diet-activity-and-cancer/cancer-prevention-recommendations/limit-red-and-processed-meat/">increases the risk of colorectal cancer</a>.</p> <p>For example, in a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/49/1/246/5470096">study</a> of nearly 500,000 people, each additional 50g of red meat consumed per day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. And each additional 25g of processed meat consumed per day, equivalent to a slice of ham, increased the risk by 19%.</p> <p>While <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34455534/">research</a> has linked consumption of red and processed meat with increased risk of other types of cancer, such as lung, pancreatic and breast, the evidence is not consistent.</p> <p>It also matters how red meat is cooked. For example, cooking a steak over a high heat, especially an open flame, chars the outside. This causes <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cooked-meats-fact-sheet">chemical compounds</a> to form that have been shown to cause cancer in very high doses in animal models, and some studies in humans have found an <a href="https://aacrjournals.org/cebp/article/16/12/2664/260099/Meat-and-Meat-Mutagen-Intake-and-Pancreatic-Cancer">association</a> with increased cancer rates.</p> <p>When it comes to how the animal was raised or its breed, based on current evidence, it’s unlikely the nutritional differences will have a substantial impact on human health. But research is limited in this area.</p> <h2>How much red meat should you eat?</h2> <p>Our national <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55a_australian_dietary_guidelines_summary_book.pdf">dietary guidelines</a> recommend the average adult eats a maximum of 455g of cooked lean red meat per week (or less than 65g a day, equivalent to one small lamb chop). This is also what’s recommended by the national <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/causes-and-prevention/diet-and-exercise/meat-and-cancer-risk">Cancer Council</a>.</p> <p>For heart health specifically, the national <a href="https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/getmedia/d5b9c4a2-8ccb-4fe9-87a2-d4a34541c272/Nutrition_Position_Statement_-_MEAT.pdf">Heart Foundation</a> recommends eating less than 350g of cooked, unprocessed red meat per week (or less than 50g a day).</p> <p>Many dietary guidelines around the world now also recommend limiting red meat consumption for environmental reasons. To optimise both human nutrition and planetary health, the <a href="https://eatforum.org/lancet-commission/eatinghealthyandsustainable/">EAT-Lancet commission</a> recommends consuming no more than 98g a week of red meat and very low intakes of processed meat.</p> <h2>So what does all of this mean for your diet?</h2> <p>The bottom line is that red meat can still be enjoyed as part of a <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/lean-meat-and-poultry-fish-eggs-tofu-nuts-and-seeds-and">healthy diet</a>, if not eaten in excess. Where possible, opt for unprocessed or lean cuts, and try to grill less and roast more. Consider swapping red meat for lean chicken or fish occasionally too.</p> <p>If you are looking for alternatives to meat that are better for your health and the environment, minimally processed plant-based alternatives, such as tofu, beans and lentils, are great options.<!-- 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/207927/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/katherine-livingstone-324808">Katherine Livingstone</a>, NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-red-meat-bad-for-you-and-does-it-make-a-difference-if-its-a-processed-burger-or-a-lean-steak-207927">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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What actually is palliative care? And how is it different to end-of-life care?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/samar-aoun-1437641">Samar Aoun</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p>Although it is associated with dying, palliative care is an approach focused on improving <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6405258/#:%7E:text=QOL%20can%20also%20be%20defined,QOL%20(2%E2%80%934).">quality of life</a> – or how people feel about and respond to facing a life-threatening illness.</p> <p>Palliative care aims to prevent and relieve physical, social, emotional, spiritual and existential distress. Palliative care also supports family caregivers during the disease journey and bereavement phase. You might have heard it mentioned for cancer, but it is beneficial for the majority of life-limiting conditions. It has been shown to reduce health-care costs by <a href="https://palliativecare.org.au/publication/kpmg-palliativecare-economic-report/">preventing</a> unnecessary hospital admissions.</p> <p>Palliative care is not voluntary assisted dying. It does not aim to hasten or prolong death. It is not just for people who are about to die and seeking palliative care does not mean “giving up”. In fact, it can be a profound and positive form of care that the World Health Organization (WHO) has <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/palliative-care">recognised</a> as a basic human right. But what does it involve?</p> <h2>Not just for someone’s final days</h2> <p>Palliative care is often seen as a “last resort” rather than a service that empowers terminally ill people to live as well as possible for as long as possible.</p> <p>The full benefit of this holistic approach can only be realised if people are referred early to <a href="https://palliativecare.org.au/resource/what-is-palliative-care/">palliative care</a> – ideally from the time they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Unfortunately, this rarely happens and palliative care tends to blur with <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/providing-comfort-end-life">end-of-life care</a>. The latter is for people who are likely to die within 12 months but is often left to the last few weeks.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qMbq0fP9kr4?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Palliative is not just for the very end of someone’s life.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Palliative care can involve difficult conversations</h2> <p>Palliative care provides a time to ask some usually taboo questions. What kind of death do you want to experience? Who is in your personal network? How will they respond to your life ending? What kind of support can they offer?</p> <p>Palliative care can be provided at home, hospital, hospice or residential aged care facility, depending on the preference and circumstances of patients and their family carers.</p> <p>In general, patients are referred by their treating specialist, health professional or GP. Patient preferences for care and what matters most to them are discussed with their doctor or other health professionals and with their loved ones with <a href="https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/">advance care planning</a>. These discussions can include information on their preferred place of care, preferred place of death, personal care needs such as dietary preferences and religious and spiritual practices.</p> <p>This helps those caring to make decisions about the patient care when the patient cannot anymore. However, advance care planning can start at any time in life and without a diagnosis.</p> <h2>How palliative care delivery has changed</h2> <p>Once upon a time, we were born at home and we died at home. Death was a social event with a medical component. Now it is close to the opposite. But research indicates a solely clinical model of palliative care (mainly symptom management funded through the health system) is <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/9/12/1615">inadequate</a> to address the complex aspects of death, dying, loss and grief.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.phpci.org/">public health</a> palliative care approach views the community as an equal partner in the long and complex task of providing quality health care at the end of someone’s life. It promotes conversations about patients’ and families’ goals of care, what matters to them, their needs and wishes, minimising barriers to a “good death”, and supporting the family post-bereavement.</p> <p>These outcomes require the involvement of family carers, friendship networks and not-for-profit organisations, where more detailed conversations about life and death can happen, instead of the “pressure cooker” rushed environment of hospitals and clinics. Investment could develop stronger <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29402101/">death literacy</a> and grief literacy in the community and among health professionals, who may be <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6312518/#:%7E:text=Some%20struggle%20with%20the%20limitations,lead%20in%20opening%20a%20dialogue">reluctant</a> to raise or discuss these topics. This would likely see the take up of advance care planning increase, from the current low levels of <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/advance-care-planning-in-an-ageing-population#:%7E:text=A%20paper%20exploring%20the%20cognitive,advance%20health%20directive%20in%20place.">less than 15%</a> of Australians (<a href="https://theconversation.com/only-25-of-older-australians-have-an-advance-care-plan-coronavirus-makes-it-even-more-important-144354">25% of older Australians</a> accessing health and aged-care facilities).</p> <p>One such successful approach is the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9720808/">Compassionate Communities Connectors Program</a> in Western Australia, using trained <a href="https://comcomnetworksw.com/compassionate-connectors-program/">community volunteers</a> to enhance the social networks of terminally ill people.</p> <p>Our research trial trained 20 community volunteers (“connectors”) and 43 patients participated over 18 months. In sourcing others to help (who we called “caring helpers”), connectors built the capacity of the community and social networks around patients in need. Caring helpers assisted with transport, collecting prescriptions, organising meals and linked clients to community activities (such as choirs, walking groups, men’s shed). And they helped complete advance care planning documentation. About 80% of patients’ needs were social, particularly around reducing feelings of isolation.</p> <p>Patients in the trial had fewer hospital admissions and shorter hospital stays.</p> <h2>Tailored to need</h2> <p>Palliative care should be tailored to each person, rather than a one-size-fits-all clinical model that doesn’t respect autonomy and choice.</p> <p>Many people are dying in a way and a place that is not reflective of their values and their end-of-life is interrupted with preventable and costly admissions to hospital where control and even dignity are surrendered. Palliative care hospitalisations have <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/palliative-care-services/palliative-care-services-in-australia/contents/summary">increased</a> in recent years compared to all hospitalisations, with 65% of such admissions ending with the patient dying in hospital.</p> <p>It is unrealistic and unaffordable to have a palliative care service in every suburb. There needs to be a shift to a more comprehensive, inclusive and sustainable approach, such as Compassionate Communities, that recognises death, dying, grief and loss are everyone’s business and responsibility.<!-- 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/205488/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><em><!-- 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 --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/samar-aoun-1437641">Samar Aoun</a>, Perron Institute Research Chair in Palliative Care, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-actually-is-palliative-care-and-how-is-it-different-to-end-of-life-care-205488">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Australia’s life expectancy is up, but healthy years are a different story

<p>Australians have added six years to their life expectancy since 1990 – a world-leading increase – but some measurements paint a less rosy picture of the nation’s health.</p> <p>The data is the subject of a major feature in the respected British Medical journal <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468266723001238" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">The Lancet.</a></p> <p>Overall, the data shows <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/society/aussies-are-living-longer-but-just-how-much/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">life expectancy in Australia improved</a> from 77 years in 1990 to 83 in 2019. </p> <p>Although heart disease and stroke remain the nation’s biggest killers, both have seen major reductions in deaths since 1990 – down 68% and 58% respectively.</p> <p>In its analysis of data published in the <a href="https://www.healthdata.org/research-analysis/gbd" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">2019 Global Burden of Disease Study</a>, the research also found:</p> <ul> <li>90% of people die from non-communicable diseases.</li> <li>Lung cancers remain the third biggest killers, though substantial reductions have been recorded since 1990.</li> <li>Alzheimer’s and other dementias are now the fourth most frequent causes of death.</li> <li>Chronic kidney disease, pancreatic cancer, falls, leukaemia and liver cancer now kill more people than they did 30 years ago.</li> </ul> <p>The biggest improvement has been the big drop in the number of road fatalities, which in 1990 was the seventh leading cause of death in Australia. There had been a 63% reduction in the number of deaths per 100,000 people (15.5 to 5.7) by 2019; now ranking it as the 17th most frequent cause of death.</p> <p>The data also explored the non-fatal disease burden in the population.</p> <p>These, says the study’s lead author Dr Shariful Islam from Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, add to the burden on Australia’s economy both in financial and productivity terms.</p> <p>“These might not cause a lot of death, but they’re definitely causing a lot of disability-adjusted life years,” Islam says.</p> <p>The nation ranks better than similar countries for the non-fatal disease burden from diabetes and non-fatal stroke. Conversely, its relative ranking has worsened for drug use, anxiety and depressive disorders.</p> <p>Risk factors that diminish the years of healthy life a person might experience like these have seen big jumps over the last 30 years.</p> <p>“It also causes a lot of economic issues, because when a person has musculoskeletal or low back pain, or especially anxiety or depression, they will often be absent from work, they will be less productive – this costs money.”</p> <h2>Two-speed health improvements</h2> <p>The data also shows the burden of disease is inequitably spread across the nation.</p> <p>People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were found to have a higher risk of death-causing disease, and account for larger proportions of smokers and those with obesity. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are disproportionately represented in these groups.</p> <p>High blood pressure remains the leading risk factor for mortality, though it accounts for nearly half as many deaths in 2019 (as a proportion of the total) than it did 30 years prior.</p> <p>And while body mass index (BMI) has been shelved in recent years as an individual health indicator in favour of metrics like waist measurements, at a population level, it remains a top-three mortality risk factor.</p> <p>That, says Islam, is because those with high BMI likely carry other major risk factors.</p> <p>“With High BMI you’ll often [also] see high blood pressure, high blood glucose, often sedentary lifestyles,” he says.</p> <p>Islam and his colleagues highlight universal healthcare programs like Medicare, regulatory and broader healthcare systems as the strengths driving the overall positive outcomes in life expectancy.</p> <p>But they argue the nation’s performance in delivering preventative and supportive treatment for non-fatal conditions, and promoting healthy lifestyles to its ageing population will be important to continue a sustained trajectory.</p> <p>This view is supported by a comment by University of Sydney-affiliated public health experts Michelle Dickson, Cheryl Jones, Terry Slevin, and Jaime Miranda. While they say the study highlights Australia as a “public health exemplar”, they highlight the deficiencies bridging the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds as an important public responsibility.</p> <p>“Australia has a world-class health care and public health system that has been conducive to major population gains, at least in life expectancy,” they write. “Yet, work remains to be done to marry such gains with strategies and policies to prevent or reduce disease burden during the entire lifecourse, and to reduce inequalities. This will be essential to sustain this world-class health system and to promote healthier societies.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/society/australias-life-expectancy-is-up-but-healthy-years-are-a-different-story/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by Matthew Ward Agius. </em></p>

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What is the difference between the laws of cricket and the ‘spirit’ of cricket?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vaughan-cruickshank-396715">Vaughan Cruickshank</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p>The second Ashes Test ended in tense scenes on Sunday following the controversial dismissal of English batsman Jonny Bairstow. His stumping infuriated a pro-England crowd at the famous Lord’s ground and divided the cricketing world.</p> <p>While the Australians would no doubt have preferred to win with less controversy, did they actually do anything wrong?</p> <p>In answer to that question, it’s widely accepted, even by the English team, that his dismissal was within the laws of cricket. But critics then invoked the “spirit of cricket” to suggest the Australians should not have asked for the dismissal to be upheld. So what is the difference?</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.lords.org/mcc/the-laws-of-cricket">laws of cricket</a> detail the rules of the game of cricket worldwide. They have been owned and maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London for over 200 years.</p> <p>The rules are clear and the many English fans and past players, along with the <a href="https://www.foxsports.com.au/cricket/the-ashes/ashes-2023-jonny-bairstow-stumped-by-alex-carey-cricket-rule-explained-was-he-out-was-the-decision-right-second-test-at-lords-reaction-news/news-story/41f36dc48a1515effb69a5c18acccf5a">current captain and coach</a>, have acknowledged the umpires were correct according to those laws.</p> <p>That’s when we get to the “spirit”. Since the late 1990s, the laws of cricket have also had an introductory statement or preamble. It states that cricket should be played not only according to the laws, <a href="https://www.lords.org/mcc/the-laws-of-cricket/spirit-of-cricket">but also in the “spirit of cricket”</a>“.</p> <p>This preamble is aimed at reminding players and officials of their responsibility for ensuring cricket is played <a href="https://www.lords.org/mcc/the-laws-of-cricket/spirit-of-cricket">in a truly sportsmanlike manner</a>.</p> <p>The two captains have the main responsibility for ensuring the spirit of fair play is upheld. This primarily involves making sure players show respect for other players, officials and the traditional values of cricket. It is against the spirit of the game to do things such as dispute an umpire’s decision, verbally or physically abuse a player or umpire, or cheat.</p> <p>The problem is the "spirit of cricket” is a subjective and slightly hazy concept. Respected English cricket writers have even suggested it has not existed since 1882, using an <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2023/07/04/the-ashes-cheating-bairstow-spirit-of-cricket-tradition/">example of conduct</a> by the “father of cricket”, W.G. Grace himself.</p> <p>While cricket is united under its laws, cricket is a global game and the idea of the “spirit” differs around the world. Consequently, opinions about Bairstow’s dismissal have been highly polarised. Many English players and fans are very angry at what has occurred, accusing Australia of going against the “spirit of cricket”. The fact they narrowly lost the match no doubt intensified this feeling.</p> <p>Their anger is reflected in the front-page stories in <a href="https://twitter.com/cric_blog/status/1675808745656573954">numerous English newspapers</a> and in social media posts. Twitter has had tens of thousands of tweets under trending hashtags such as #Ashes, #Bairstow and #SpiritofCricket.</p> <p>Interestingly, a look at these hashtags also reveal numerous accusations of hypocrisy by the English, backed up with <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/ashes-cricket-2023-eight-times-england-broke-the-spirit-of-cricket-as-bairstow-incident-ignites/52QFZT4ES5FG5OUBZMUKGJHEYI/">examples</a> of England’s questionable, and sometimes very similar, conduct. These examples have included central figures such as English players <a href="https://twitter.com/BigOtrivia/status/1675643613689311232">Stuart</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MitchellGlenn/status/1675685369898242048">Broad</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/1116sen/status/1676076294306689026">Jonny</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TonyIKnow/status/1676246531387846657">Bairstow</a> and coach <a href="https://www.foxsports.com.au/cricket/the-ashes/cant-reward-stupidity-brendan-mccullums-words-come-back-to-bite-him/news-story/b4f114547671fa325b11a3acef806ae2">Brendon McCullum</a>.</p> <p>Additionally, the only player who has been fined for displaying <a href="https://www.icc-cricket.com/media-releases/3542860">conduct contrary</a> to the spirit of the game in this Ashes series is English player Moeen Ali.</p> <p>Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting noted that a key part of the spirit of cricket was <a href="https://www.foxsports.com.au/cricket/the-ashes/ashes-2023-cricket-news-ricky-ponting-hits-out-at-ben-stokes-response-to-lords-furore/news-story/cd9859c2dfc32c007e6e9c76a22136be">respecting the umpire’s decision</a>, which in this instance he said the English players, fans and press had not. Indeed, several MCC members have been <a href="https://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/66082409">suspended</a> over their abuse of Australian cricketers returning to their dressing room.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Yiuo50uCL9s?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Perhaps the key lesson that both sides could learn can be encapsulated in the old saying that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, particularly in the modern age when evidence can be quickly <a href="https://www.thechronicle.com.au/sport/cricket/jonny-bairstow-footage-all-but-silences-englands-spirit-of-the-game-debate/news-story/4a4b6d8f9ce801fb23169e6d8c87a5f3">found on the internet</a>.</p> <p>Neither country has a clean slate when it comes to the “spirit of cricket”. Both should be careful about trying to take the moral high ground. Trevor Chappell’s <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/cricket/icc-world-cup-2015/when-trevor-chappell-rolled-the-ball-down-the-pitch-to-brian-mckechnie-he-did-the-kiwis-a-favour/news-story/9e6cdec155f23674f3abf0629a96abaa">underarm bowl</a> is one of the most infamous Australian examples, still remembered over 40 years later.</p> <p>Bairstow’s dismissal is the most recent controversy and unlikely to be the last.</p> <p>As the Australian team heads to Leeds for the third Test starting on Thursday, there are concerns tensions could boil over, on and off the field. Leeds is known for its raucous atmosphere. Cricket Australia has <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/australia-news-live-rba-interest-rates-joko-widodo-pwc-scandal-20230704-p5dlpf.html?post=p54ztv">increased security</a> for the Australian team and reportedly told players to remain <a href="https://au.sports.yahoo.com/cricket-ashes-jonny-bairstow-stumping-controversy-exposes-worrying-aussie-truth-014432845.html">extra vigilant</a> when dining out in restaurants during the remaining weeks of the Ashes.</p> <p>We may never get complete agreement on the “spirit of cricket” and whether the Australians breached it on this occasion. Perhaps the closest we can get is to agree with former Australian bowler and Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, who <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-12256795/Mail-Sports-experts-weigh-controversial-stumping-Englands-second-Test-defeat.html">believes</a> that "by playing within the laws of the game you are playing within the spirit of the game."</p> <p>Let’s hope the remainder of the series sees a cooling of tensions and more focus on the last three Tests being <a href="https://www.lords.org/mcc/the-laws-of-cricket/preamble-to-the-laws-spirit-of-cricket">played hard but fair</a>, without reigniting “spirit of cricket” debates that no one wins.<!-- 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/209124/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/vaughan-cruickshank-396715">Vaughan Cruickshank</a>, Program Director – Health and Physical Education, Maths/Science, Faculty of Education, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-the-difference-between-the-laws-of-cricket-and-the-spirit-of-cricket-209124">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What do the different colours of mould mean in my house?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-taylor-228803">Michael Taylor</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p>You may be interested (or possibly horrified) to discover you ingest and inhale thousands of tiny life forms on a daily basis.</p> <p>The air and surfaces around you are home to multitudes of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/B978012394805200004X">bacteria, fungi, viruses</a>, mites, algae and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0043135400004206">protozoa</a>. Your skin isn’t much better, with a complex ecosystem of organisms called commensals which aren’t necessarily good or bad, but will shift in their composition depending on <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature11053">where you live</a>, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/6/1/2">the products you use</a> and <a href="https://elifesciences.org/articles/458">the pets you have</a>.</p> <p>Most of these creatures are generally undetectable due to their microscopic size and low concentrations. But when they find a niche they can exploit, you might notice them by their smell, or the appearance of unwanted staining and colour changes. A lot of this fungal growth is what we call mould.</p> <p>We’ve all been disappointed in ourselves at one time or another, lifting a neglected orange out of the fruit bowl to discover the bottom half is covered in a velvety blue-green growth.</p> <p>But what do the myriad colours that appear on our stuff tell us about the world we try not to think about?</p> <h2>Black</h2> <p>Often black staining is quite a disturbing occurrence. The concept of toxic black mould is one many people have become aware of due to <a href="https://theconversation.com/fungi-after-the-floods-how-to-get-rid-of-mould-to-protect-your-health-111341">flood impacts</a>.</p> <p>A quick online search will likely terrify you, but not all black discolouration is due to the same organisms, and almost none of it will outright cause you harm.</p> <p><em>Stachybotrys</em> is the one known as toxic black mould. It often turns up on <a href="https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/pdf/10.1289/ehp.99107s3505">building materials that have been wet for a long time</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=384&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=384&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=384&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=483&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=483&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533907/original/file-20230626-67275-zxd3ah.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=483&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A severely mouldy wall covered in grey and black blotches" /></a><figcaption></figcaption>When the grout in your shower turns black though, that’s a different fungus called <em><a href="https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajb/article/view/130453">Aureobasidium</a></em>. It’s slimy, sticky and somewhere between a filamentous mould, which grows threadlike roots through whatever it’s eating, and a yeast, which prefer a free-floating, single-celled style of life.</figure> <p>Bleaching will often kill <em>Aureobasidium</em>, but the dark pigmentation will likely hang around – harmlessly, but stubbornly.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=425&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=425&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533894/original/file-20230626-19-68wsem.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=425&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A close-up of white grout between grey tiles with black spots on it" /></a></figure> <h2>Blue</h2> <p>That blue orange I mentioned before, you can thank <em>Penicillium</em> for that. The organism that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168160512000852">gives us blue cheese</a> and the antibiotic penicillin is also responsible for producing a dense growth of mould that almost looks like smoke when disturbed, spreading millions of spores onto the rest of your fruit bowl.</p> <p><em>Penicillium</em> is a big group with <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166061620300129">hundreds of species</a>, ranging from recognised pathogens to species yet to be named. However, the ones that turn up in our homes are generally the same “weed” species that simply cause food spoilage or grow in soil.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533895/original/file-20230626-107392-7jinnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Close-up of a bright orange with a fuzzy blue mould spot on it" /></a></figure> <h2>Yellow and orange</h2> <p>We often think of fungi as organisms that thrive in the dark, but that’s not always true. In fact, some need exposure to light – and ultraviolet (UV) light in particular – to complete their life cycle.</p> <p>Many plant pathogens use UV light exposure as a trigger to produce their spores, and then protect their DNA by <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1134/S0003683814020094">hiding it behind melanin-containing shells</a>.</p> <p><em>Stemphylium</em> and <em>Epicoccum</em> turn up in our homes from time to time, often hitching a ride on natural fibres such as jute, hemp and hessian. They produce a spectrum of staining that can often turn damp items yellow, brown or orange.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533948/original/file-20230626-15121-eh3869.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A piece of wood laminate with yellow patches on it" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>We’re all fairly familiar with the green spots that turn up on mouldy bread, cake and other food items. Often we try to convince ourselves if we just cut off the bad bit, we can still salvage lunch.</p> <p>Sadly that’s not the case, as the roots of the fungi – collectively called mycelium – spread through the food, digesting and collecting sufficient nutrients to pop out a series of tiny fruiting bodies which produce the coloured spores you see.</p> <p>The green tuft is often from a group of fungi called <em>Aspergillus</em>. Under the microscope they look rather like the puffy top of a dandelion gone to seed.</p> <p>Like <em>Penicillium</em>, <em>Aspergillus</em> is another big fungal group with lots of species that turn up virtually in every environment. Some are <a href="https://academic.oup.com/mmy/article/43/Supplement_1/S87/1748298">heat tolerant</a>, some <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21553769.2015.1033653">love acid</a> and some will happily produce spores that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1749461311000406">stay airborne for days to months at a time</a>.</p> <p>In the green gang is also a fungus called <em>Trichoderma</em>, which is Latin for “hairy skin”. <em>Trichoderma</em> produces masses of forest-green, spherical spores which tend to grow on wet cardboard or dirty carpet.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533897/original/file-20230626-160496-7cuh4q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A pile of green grains on a small round tray" /></a></figure> <h2>Pink, purple and red</h2> <p>There are plenty to speak of in this category. And there is also a common bacterium that makes the list.</p> <p><em>Neurospora</em>, also known as the red bread mould, is one of the most studied fungi in scientific literature. It’s another common, non-hazardous one that has been used as <a href="https://bsapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3732/ajb.1400377">a model organism</a> to observe fungal genetics, evolution and growth.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533913/original/file-20230626-24-eh3869.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A block of orange mouldy substance sitting on a banana leaf" /></a><figcaption></figcaption><em>Fusarium</em> is less common indoors, being <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261219416302794">an important crop pathogen</a>, but will sometimes turn spoiled rice purple. It also occasionally turns up on wet cement sheet, causing splotchy violet patches. <em>Fusarium</em> makes large, sticky, moon-shaped spores that have evolved to spread by rain splashes and hang onto plants. However, it is fairly bad at getting airborne and so doesn’t tend to spread very far from where it’s growing.</figure> <p>Finally in this category, that pink scum that turns up around bathroom taps or in the shower? It’s actually a bacterium called <em>Serratia</em>. It will happily chew up the soap scum residue left over in bathrooms, and has been shown to <a href="https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/AEM.02632-10">survive in liquid soaps and handwash</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533900/original/file-20230626-98733-ggql6s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Close-up of white tile grout covered in a pink translucent film" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <h2>White</h2> <p>When fungi were first being classified and were eventually given their own phylogenetic kingdom, there were lots of wonderful and not strictly categorical ways we tried to split them up. One of these was hyaline and non-hyaline, essentially referring to transparent and coloured, respectively.</p> <p>One of the interesting non-pigmented moulds you may well catch sight of is a thing called <em>Isaria farinosa</em> (“farinosa” being Latin for “floury”). This fungus is a parasite of some moths and cicadas and is visible as brilliant white, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09583150802471812">tree-shaped growths on their unfortunate hosts</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/533911/original/file-20230626-72187-xubf6k.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A dead bug on a green forest floor with white and yellow growths sticking out of it" /></a><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>So when you notice the world around you changing colour, you can marvel with your newfound knowledge at the microscopic wonders that live complex lives alongside yours. Then maybe clean it up, and give the fruit bowl a wash. <!-- 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/207737/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty / Shutterstock</em></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-taylor-228803">Michael Taylor</a>, Adjunct academic, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p>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-do-the-different-colours-of-mould-mean-in-my-house-207737">original article</a>.</p>

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