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Sydneysiders witnessed horrific scenes on Saturday. How do you process and recover from such an event?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kim-felmingham-9075">Kim Felmingham</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Like many, I watched the reports of the violent attack at Bondi Junction yesterday with shock, horror and disbelief. My heart goes out to the people involved, the courageous first responders and to those who have lost loved ones in this tragic event.</p> <p>I also feel for those who witnessed the horror and will be working out how to get through the initial shock and, over time, put it behind them.</p> <p>Distress and strong emotional reactions are <a href="https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/the-psychological-and-psychiatric-effects-of-terrorism-lessons-fr">common</a> after these types of mass violent events.</p> <p>But different people will have <a href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/types/mass_violence_help.asp">different emotional reactions</a> – and some may experience a range of shifting emotions.</p> <h2>The first few days and weeks</h2> <p>In the days and weeks after traumatic events like these, people <a href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/isitptsd/common_reactions.asp#:%7E:text=All%20kinds%20of%20trauma%20create,stop%20thinking%20about%20what%20happened.">often experience</a> a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306457320308670">range of emotions</a>: from fear and anxiety, anger, sadness and grief, disbelief and numbness, guilt and worry about safety. They may be jittery, more irritable or on edge, or it may affect their sleep.</p> <p>For many, their sense of risk may be heightened, particularly as such random violence occurred during such an ordinary event – shopping on a Saturday afternoon. This <a href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/types/mass_violence_help.asp">can lead to</a> a heightened awareness of danger and concern for safety.</p> <h2>What’s likely to happen over time?</h2> <p>For most people, as they begin to process and make sense of what happened, these feelings will gradually reduce in intensity and people will begin to recover. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25311288/">Research shows</a> the majority of people recover from mass violent events within the initial few months.</p> <p>However, for people with more direct exposure to the trauma, these events and reactions may be more difficult to process. Some people <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26084284/">may go on</a> to develop mental health difficulties, most commonly anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).</p> <p>Understandably, those <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26084284/">more at risk</a> are people who were present during the trauma and experienced a direct threat, as well as those who witnessed the violence or aftermath, first responders (paramedics and police) and those who had loved ones injured or lost during the event.</p> <p>People who had more intense emotional responses during the trauma, or previous psychological difficulties or traumatic experiences, may also be <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26084284/">at greater risk</a>.</p> <h2>What helps – and hinders – your recovery?</h2> <p>To help process these traumatic events and promote recovery, social support is <a href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/types/mass_violence_help.asp">particularly important</a>.</p> <p>Spending time with trusted family and friends can help people process the events and their emotional reactions. Talking about your feelings with supportive people can help you understand and accept them. But even if you don’t want to talk about your feelings, spending time with loved ones is helpful.</p> <p>It is also fine to need some time to be alone, but try not to isolate yourself or withdraw.</p> <p>If you can’t talk about your feelings, try not to bottle them up or deal with them by using alcohol or drugs. Find <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7957853/">another way to express them</a> – whether through writing, art or music, or exercise.</p> <p>Give yourself permission and time to feel these emotions. Remind yourself you have just been through something extremely traumatic, take things day by day, and don’t expect too much of yourself. Try not to judge yourself for your actions or how you are coping.</p> <p>Keep some structure in your day, setting small goals, and increase your self-care: eat well, rest (even if you can’t sleep well), try yoga or relaxation. When you’re ready, try to get back to your normal routine.</p> <p>Seek out information from <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7957853/">trusted sources</a>, but try to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0886260517742915">avoid</a> being saturated by images or stories about the trauma, particularly graphic footage or speculation common on social media.</p> <h2>What if children have witnessed it, too?</h2> <p>If your children have been impacted, reassure them that they are safe and loved. When they are ready, talk to them gently about the trauma, acknowledge it and answer their questions.</p> <p>Encourage them to express their feelings and spend more time together doing family activities.</p> <p>Importantly, try to limit their exposure to graphic footage and images of the events in the media, and on social media.</p> <h2>When to seek mental health care</h2> <p>Reach out for professional mental health support if you experience ongoing difficulty with your emotional reactions, or if you’re having distressing memories of the trauma, difficulty sleeping or nightmares, or you want to avoid things that remind you of the traumatic event.</p> <p>Not everyone requires professional mental health support, but if you are experiencing these types of post-traumatic stress reactions a few weeks after the trauma, it’s important to speak to your GP to seek out professional support from psychologists or counselling services.</p> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.</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/227867/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/kim-felmingham-9075">Kim Felmingham</a>, Chair of Clinical Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</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/sydneysiders-witnessed-horrific-scenes-on-saturday-how-do-you-process-and-recover-from-such-an-event-227867">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"Just doing her job": Hero cop Amy Scott breaks silence after Bondi stabbing

<p>The hero police officer who shot Joel Cauchi after his killing spree has spoken out after the devastating incident. </p> <p>NSW Police Inspector Amy Scott was confronted by the knife-wielding 40-year-old after he had fatally stabbed six people and injured several others at Bondi Junction Westfield on Saturday afternoon. </p> <p>Witnesses of the incident recall hearing the officer shout for Cauchi to "put it down" before the knifeman charged at her, prompting her to fire her weapon and shoot him dead. </p> <p>“Amy is content with what she had to do," Police Association of NSW boss Kevin Morton said. </p> <p>“I spoke to her last night and again this morning and she said, ‘It was a night with not a lot of sleep’.”</p> <p>Mr Morton said the officer, who he has known personally for years, was playing down the praise she had received after being dubbed a "hero" for her actions. </p> <p>“She knows she has been tagged a hero but to her she was doing her job. I didn’t ask her about the exact incident, because she is yet to be formally interviewed,” he said.</p> <p>“Everyone will be keeping an eye on her obviously, there will be a lot of support from everyone,’’ he said</p> <p>She also drew praise from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and NSW Premier Chris Minns, as well as NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb.</p> <p>“She showed enormous courage and bravery,” Ms Webb said.</p> <p>Witnesses backed up the officer's actions at the shopping centre, as Bondi man Jason Dixon witnessed Inspector Scott's response firsthand. </p> <p>“All she said was ‘Put it down’. Just once. Then she shot him in the chest and he went down,” Mr Dixon told <em>The Sunday Telegraph</em>. </p> <p>“Then when he fell on the ground she was giving him CPR,” Mr Dixon said.</p> <p>“She had to shoot him, because he just kept coming,” Mr Dixon said. “He had a knife and he wasn’t going to stop.</p> <p>“He was advancing at her and he was running, coming to get someone else,” Mr Dixon said.</p> <p>“She shot him once in the heart or the chest,” he said. “I’m glad she got him, because if she didn’t he would have stabbed her too.”</p> <p>Inspector Scott will be formally interviewed by police later this week as part of the major investigation into the stabbing. </p> <p><em>Image credits: news.com.au / X (Twitter)</em></p> <div class="media image side-by-side" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin-bottom: 24px; display: flex; flex-direction: column; align-items: center; width: 1209.375px; max-width: 100%; font-family: Charter, Georgia, serif; font-size: 18px;"> </div>

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Do optimists really live longer? Here’s what the research says

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fuschia-sirois-331254">Fuschia Sirois</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/durham-university-867">Durham University</a></em></p> <p>Do you tend to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty? Are you always looking on the bright side of life? If so, you may be surprised to learn that this tendency could actually be good for your health.</p> <p>A <a href="https://content.apa.org/record/2020-71981-001">number of studies</a> have shown that optimists enjoy higher levels of wellbeing, better sleep, lower stress and even better cardiovascular health and immune function. And now, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35674052/">a recent study</a> has shown that being an optimist is linked to longer life.</p> <p>To conduct their study, researchers tracked the lifespan of nearly 160,000 women aged between 50 to 79 for a period of 26 years. At the beginning of the study, the women completed a <a href="https://local.psy.miami.edu/people/faculty/ccarver/availbale-self-report-instruments/lot-r/">self-report measure of optimism</a>. Women with the highest scores on the measure were categorised as optimists. Those with the lowest scores were considered pessimists.</p> <p>Then, in 2019, the researchers followed up with the participants who were still living. They also looked at the lifespan of participants who had died. What they found was that those who had the highest levels of optimism were more likely to live longer. More importantly, the optimists were also more likely than those who were pessimists to live into their nineties. Researchers refer to this as “exceptional longevity”, considering the average lifespan for women is about 83 years in developed countries.</p> <p>What makes these findings especially impressive is that the results remained even after accounting for other factors known to predict a long life – including education level and economic status, ethnicity, and whether a person suffered from depression or other chronic health conditions.</p> <p>But given this study only looked at women, it’s uncertain whether the same would be true for men. However, <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.1900712116">another study</a> which looked at both men and women also found that people with the highest levels of optimism enjoyed a lifespan that was between 11% and 15% longer than those who were the least optimistic.</p> <h2>The fountain of youth?</h2> <p>So why is it that optimists live longer? At first glance it would seem that it may have to do with their healthier lifestyle.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.310828">research from several studies</a> has found that optimism is linked to eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, and being less likely to smoke cigarettes. These healthy behaviours are well known to improve heart health and <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases">reduce the risk</a> for cardiovascular disease, which is a <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)">leading cause of death</a> globally. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857242/">important for reducing the risk</a> of other potentially deadly diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.</p> <p>But having a healthy lifestyle may only be part of the reason optimists live a longer than average life. This latest study found that lifestyle only accounted for 24% of the link between optimism and longevity. This suggests a number of other factors affect longevity for optimists.</p> <p>Another possible reason could be due to the way optimists manage stress. When faced with a stressful situation, optimists tend to deal with it head-on. They <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16859439/">use adaptive coping strategies</a> that help them resolve the source of the stress, or view the situation in a less stressful way. For example, optimists will problem-solve and plan ways to deal with the stressor, call on others for support, or try to find a “silver lining” in the stressful situation.</p> <p>All of these approaches are well-known to reduce feelings of stress, as well as the biological reactions that occur when we feel stressed. It’s these <a href="https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body">biological reactions to stress</a> –- such as elevated cortisol (sometimes called the “stress hormone”), increased heart rate and blood pressure, and impaired immune system functioning –- that can take a toll on health over time and increase the risk for developing <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159115004316?via%3Dihub">life-threatening diseases</a>, such as cardiovascular disease. In short, the way optimists cope with stress may help protect them somewhat against its harmful effects.</p> <h2>Looking on the bright side</h2> <p>Optimism is typically viewed by researchers as a relatively stable personality trait that is determined by both <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/twin-research-and-human-genetics/article/sex-differences-in-the-genetic-architecture-of-optimism-and-health-and-their-interrelation-a-study-of-australian-and-swedish-twins/58F21AA11943D44B4BA4C63A966E6AC7">genetic</a> and early childhood influences (such as having a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541423/">secure and warm relationship</a> with your parents or caregivers). But if you’re not naturally prone to seeing the glass as half full, there are some ways you can increase your <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2016.1221122?journalCode=rpos20">capacity to be optimistic</a>.</p> <p>Research shows optimism can change over time, and can be cultivated by engaging in simple exercises. For example, visualising and then writing about your “<a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-matters-most/201303/what-is-your-best-possible-self">best possible self</a>” (a future version of yourself who has accomplished your goals) is a technique that studies have found can <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2016.1221122">significantly increase optimism</a>, at least temporarily. But for best results, the goals need to be both positive and reasonable, rather than just wishful thinking. Similarly, simply <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3200/SOCP.149.3.349-364">thinking about positive future events</a> can also be effective for boosting optimism.</p> <p>It’s also crucial to temper any expectations for success with an accurate view of what you can and can’t control. Optimism is reinforced when we experience the positive outcomes that we expect, and <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1970-20680-001">can decrease</a> when these outcomes aren’t as we want them to be. Although more research is needed, it’s possible that regularly envisioning yourself as having the best possible outcomes, and taking realistic steps towards achieving them, can help develop an optimistic mindset.</p> <p>Of course, this might be easier said than done for some. If you’re someone who isn’t naturally optimistic, the best chances to improve your longevity is by <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003332">living a healthy lifestyle</a> by staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, managing stress, and getting a good night’s sleep. Add to this cultivating a more optimistic mindset and you might further increase your chances for a long life.<!-- 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/184785/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/fuschia-sirois-331254">Fuschia Sirois</a>, Professor in Social &amp; Health Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/durham-university-867">Durham 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/do-optimists-really-live-longer-heres-what-the-research-says-184785">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Do parolees really ‘walk free’? Busting common myths about parole

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/monique-moffa-1380936">Monique Moffa</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alyssa-sigamoney-1375881">Alyssa Sigamoney</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-stratton-161122">Greg Stratton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jarryd-bartle-441602">Jarryd Bartle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michele-ruyters-18446">Michele Ruyters</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>Parole is a hot topic in politics and in the media at the moment, fuelled by several high-profile parole applications.</p> <p>Recently, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/no-parole-for-convicted-baby-killer-keli-lane/xoykrtvxe?cid=testtwitter">Keli Lane’s</a> attempt to be released on parole after years in jail for the murder of her baby daughter was unsuccessful. <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-victoria/how-frankston-serial-killer-paul-denyer-will-apply-for-bail/news-story/4613d1b3fced1f4aeaa9c4e08e8b81e0">Paul Denyer</a>, known as the “Frankston Serial Killer” for murdering three women in the 90s was also denied parole.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Snowtown accomplice <a href="https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-sa/bodies-in-the-barrels-helper-mark-haydon-released-on-parole/news-story/fdfbbbe7b59267d8009c6910249de585">Mark Haydon</a> was granted parole with strict conditions, but is <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-04-01/snowtown-accomplice-mark-haydon-still-in-custody-after-parole/103653934">yet to be</a> released.</p> <p>Some media coverage of such well-known cases is littered with myths about what parole is, how it’s granted and what it looks like. Here’s what the evidence says about three of the most common misconceptions.</p> <h2>Myth 1: people on parole walk free</h2> <p>Parole is the conditional release of an incarcerated person (parolee) by a parole board authority, after they have served their non-parole period (minimum sentence) in jail. This isn’t always reflected in headlines.</p> <p><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/snowtown-murders-bodies-in-barrels-murders-mark-haydon-release-south-australia/f4b62a72-ec3d-4238-94d2-64697fbcdef3">Some coverage</a> suggests people on parole are released early and “walk free” without conditions. This is not true.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/what-parole/purpose-and-benefits">Adult Parole Board of Victoria</a>: "Parole provides incarcerated people with a structured, supported and supervised transition so that they can adjust from prison back into the community, rather than returning straight to the community at the end of their sentence without supervision or support."</p> <p>Parole comes with strict conditions and requirements, such as curfews, drug and alcohol testing, electronic monitoring, program participation, to name a few.</p> <p>People with experience of parole highlight its punitivism and continued extension of surveillance.</p> <h2>Myth 2: most parolees reoffend</h2> <p>Another myth is that the likelihood all parolees reoffend is high. Research over a number of years has consistently found parole reduces reoffending.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004865815585393?journalCode=anja">a 2016 study in New South Wales</a> found at the 12 month mark, a group of parolees reoffended 22% less than an unsupervised cohort.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Publications/CJB/2022-Report-Effect-of-parole-supervision-on-recidivism-CJB245.pdf">2022 study</a> by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found parole was especially successful in reducing serious recidivism rates among incarcerated people considered to be at a high risk of reoffending.</p> <p>More recently in Victoria, <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/system/files/inline-files/Adult%20Parole%20Board%20Annual%20Report%202022-23_0.pdf">the Adult Parole Board</a> found over 2022–23, no parolees were convicted of committing serious offences while on parole.</p> <p>In contrast, unstructured and unconditional release increases the risk of returning to prison.</p> <h2>Myth 3: parole is easy to get</h2> <p>While the number of parolees reoffending has dropped, so too has the total number of people who are exiting prison on parole.</p> <p>Over a decade ago, Victoria underwent significant parole reforms, largely prompted by high-profile incidents and campaigns. In just five years following Jill Meagher’s tragic death in 2012, the Victorian government passed <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10345329.2018.1556285">13 laws reshaping parole</a>.</p> <p>The result is the number of people on parole in Victoria has halved since 2012, despite incarceration numbers remaining steady.</p> <p><iframe id="maNRy" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/maNRy/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>These reforms have made it more difficult for people convicted of serious offences to get parole, as well as preventing individuals or specific groups from being eligible for parole (such as police killers, <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-body-no-parole-laws-could-be-disastrous-for-the-wrongfully-convicted-191083">“no body, no parole” prisoners</a>, and certain high-profile murderers).</p> <p>Similar laws can be found in other states. For example, no body, no parole was introduced in all other Australian states and territories, except for Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.</p> <p>As a consequence, more people are being released at the end of their full sentence. This can be detrimental not only for the incarcerated person but the wider community, because they are not receiving the reintegration support parole provides.</p> <p>Aside from restricted access due to political intervention, parole is facing a new crisis, which has nothing to do with eligibility or suitability.</p> <p>Last year, 40% of Victorian parole applications were denied, often due to reasons <a href="https://www.adultparoleboard.vic.gov.au/system/files/inline-files/Adult%20Parole%20Board%20Annual%20Report%202022-23_0.pdf">unrelated to suitability</a>.</p> <p>Housing scarcity played a significant role, with 59% of rejections (or 235 applications) citing a lack of suitable accommodation as one of the reasons parole was denied. This is playing out <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-11/women-on-bail-parole-increased-risk-of-homelessness-qld/102717002">across the country</a>.</p> <p>Parole is vulnerable to community and media hype, and political knee-jerk reactions in response to high profile incidents involving a person on parole. Because of the actions of a few, parole as a process has been restricted for many.</p> <p>While the wider community are active in advocacy efforts to restrict parole from certain people or groups (for example, this petition for <a href="https://www.change.org/p/lyns-law-no-body-no-parole">Lyn’s Law in NSW</a>), public efforts to restrict parole seem at odds with its purposes.</p> <p>Despite this, research suggests when the public are educated about the purposes and intent of parole, they are more likely to be <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3125829">supportive of it</a>.</p> <p>The susceptibility of parole to media and community influence results in frequent, impactful changes affecting individuals inside and outside prisons. Headlines such as “walking free” have the potential to mislead the public on the purpose and structure of parole. Coverage should portray parole beyond mere early termination of a sentence by accurately reflecting its purpose and impact.<!-- 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/226607/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/monique-moffa-1380936">Monique Moffa</a>, Lecturer, Criminology &amp; Justice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alyssa-sigamoney-1375881">Alyssa Sigamoney</a>, Associate Lecturer in Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/greg-stratton-161122">Greg Stratton</a>, Lecturer - Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jarryd-bartle-441602">Jarryd Bartle</a>, Associate Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michele-ruyters-18446">Michele Ruyters</a>, Associate Dean, Criminology and Justice Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT 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/do-parolees-really-walk-free-busting-common-myths-about-parole-226607">original article</a>.</em></p>

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There are new flu vaccines on offer for 2024. Should I get one? What do I need to know?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/allen-cheng-94997">Allen Cheng</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Influenza is a common respiratory infection. Although most cases are relatively mild, flu can cause more severe illness in young children and older people.</p> <p>Influenza virtually <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33243355/">disappeared</a> from Australia during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic when public health restrictions reduced contact between people. Since 2022, it has returned to a seasonal pattern, although the flu season has started and peaked a few months earlier than before 2020.</p> <p>It’s difficult to predict the intensity of the flu season at this point in the year, but we can sometimes get clues from the northern hemisphere. There, the season <a href="https://www.who.int/tools/flunet">started</a> <a href="https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/flu_by_age_virus.html">earlier</a> than usual for the third year running (peaking in early January rather than late February/March), with a similar number of reported cases and hospitalisations to the previous year.</p> <p>Influenza vaccines are recommended annually, but there are now an increasing number of different vaccine types. Here’s what to know about this year’s shots, available from <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">this month</a>.</p> <h2>What goes into a flu vaccine?</h2> <p>Like other vaccines, influenza vaccines work by “training” the immune system on a harmless component of the influenza virus (known as an antigen), so it can respond appropriately when the body encounters the real virus.</p> <p>Influenza strains are constantly changing due to genetic mutation, with the pace of genetic change <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10421855">much higher</a> than for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID). The strains that go into the vaccine are <a href="https://www.who.int/teams/global-influenza-programme/vaccines/who-recommendations">reviewed</a> twice each year by the World Health Organization (WHO), which selects vaccine strains to match the next season’s predicted circulating strains.</p> <p>All current influenza vaccines in <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/publication/meeting-statements/aivc-recommendations-composition-influenza-vaccines-australia-2024">Australia</a> contain four different strains (known as quadrivalent vaccines). One of the strains appeared to <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2314801">disappear</a> during the COVID pandemic, and the WHO has recently <a href="https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/influenza/who-influenza-recommendations/vcm-southern-hemisphere-recommendation-2024/202309_qanda_recommendation.pdf?sfvrsn=7a6906d1_5">recommended</a> dropping this strain from the vaccine. It’s expected trivalent (three strain) vaccines will become available in the near future.</p> <h2>What’s different about new flu vaccines?</h2> <p>There are eight brands of flu vaccines <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/atagi-statement-on-the-administration-of-seasonal-influenza-vaccines-in-2024?language=en">available</a> in Australia in 2024. These include egg-based vaccines (Vaxigrip Tetra, Fluarix Tetra, Afluria Quad, FluQuadri and Influvac Tetra), cell-based vaccines (Flucelvax Quad), adjuvanted vaccines (Fluad Quad) and high-dose vaccines (Fluzone High-Dose Quad).</p> <p>Until recently, the process of manufacturing flu vaccines has remained similar. Since the development of the influenza vaccine in the <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/history-of-vaccination/history-of-influenza-vaccination">1940s</a>, influenza viruses were grown in chicken eggs, then extracted, inactivated, purified and processed to make up the egg-based vaccines that are still used widely.</p> <p>However, there have been several enhancements to influenza vaccines in recent years.</p> <p>Older people’s immune systems tend not to respond as strongly to vaccines. In some flu vaccines, adjuvants (components that stimulate the immune system) are included with the influenza antigens. For example, an adjuvant is used in the Fluad Quad vaccine, recommended for over 65s. Studies <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/Adjuvanted%20influenza%20vaccine%20vs%20standard%20dose%20influenza%20vaccine%20SoF%20EP%20E2D%20tables_26%20Feb%202021_Final.pdf">suggest</a> adjuvanted influenza vaccines are slightly better than standard egg-based vaccines without adjuvant in older people.</p> <p>An alternative approach to improving the immune response is to use higher doses of the vaccine strains. An example is Fluzone High-Dose Quad – another option for older adults – which contains the equivalent of four doses of a standard influenza vaccine. Studies <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2022-05/HD%20vs%20sIV%20SoF%20EP%20E2D_March%202022_Final.pdf">suggest</a> the high dose vaccine is better than the standard dose vaccine (without an adjuvant) in preventing hospitalisation and complications in older people.</p> <p>Other manufacturers have updated the manufacturing process. Cell-based vaccines, such as Flucelvax Quad, use cells instead of eggs in the manufacturing process. Other vaccines that are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/advances.htm">not yet available</a> also use different technologies. In the past, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31151913/">manufacturing issues</a> with egg-based vaccines have reduced their effectiveness. Using an alternative method of production provides some degree of insurance against this in the future.</p> <h2>What should I do this year?</h2> <p>Given indications this year’s flu season may be earlier than usual, it’s probably safest to get your vaccine early. This is particularly <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/atagi-statement-on-the-administration-of-seasonal-influenza-vaccines-in-2024?language=en">important</a> for those at highest risk of severe illness, including older adults (65 years and over), those with chronic medical conditions, young children (six months to five years) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Influenza vaccines are also recommended in pregnancy to protect both the mother and the baby for the first months of life.</p> <p>Influenza vaccines are widely available, including at GP clinics and pharmacies, while many workplaces have occupational programs. For high-risk groups, <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">four of the vaccines</a> are subsidised by the Australian government through the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/national-immunisation-program">National Immunisation Program</a>.</p> <p>In older people, a number of vaccines are now recommended: <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-03/atagi-statement-on-the-administration-of-covid-19-vaccines-in-2024.pdf">COVID</a> and influenza, as well as one-off courses of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/06/national-immunisation-program-pneumococcal-vaccination-schedule-from-1-july-2020-clinical-advice-for-vaccination-providers.pdf">pneumococcal</a> and <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/shingles-herpes-zoster-immunisation-service">shingles</a> vaccines. In general, most vaccines can be given in the same visit, but talk to your doctor about which ones you need.</p> <h2>Are there side effects?</h2> <p>All influenza vaccines can <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">cause</a> a sore arm and sometimes more generalised symptoms such as fever and tiredness. These are expected and reflect the immune system reacting appropriately to the vaccine, and are mostly mild and short-term. These side effects are slightly more common in <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/Adjuvanted%20influenza%20vaccine%20vs%20standard%20dose%20influenza%20vaccine%20SoF%20EP%20E2D%20tables_26%20Feb%202021_Final.pdf">adjuvanted</a> and <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2022-05/HD%20vs%20sIV%20SoF%20EP%20E2D_March%202022_Final.pdf">high dose</a> vaccines.</p> <p>As with all medications and vaccines, allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis can occur after the flu vaccine. All vaccine providers are trained to recognise and respond to anaphylaxis. People with egg allergies should discuss this with their doctor, but in general, <a href="https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/egg-allergy-flu-vaccine">studies suggest</a> they can safely receive any (including egg-based) influenza vaccines.</p> <p>Serious side effects from the influenza vaccine, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological complication, are very rare (one case per million people vaccinated). They are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23810252/">thought</a> to be less common after influenza vaccination than after infection with influenza.<!-- 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/226623/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/allen-cheng-94997">Allen Cheng</a>, Professor of Infectious Diseases, <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/there-are-new-flu-vaccines-on-offer-for-2024-should-i-get-one-what-do-i-need-to-know-226623">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Why do airlines charge so much for checked bags? This obscure rule helps explain why

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jay-l-zagorsky-152952">Jay L. Zagorsky</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/boston-university-898">Boston University</a></em></p> <p>Five out of the six <a href="https://www.oag.com/blog/biggest-airlines-in-the-us">biggest U.S. airlines</a> have <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2024/03/05/delta-is-the-latest-airline-to-raise-its-checked-bag-fee.html">raised their checked bag fees</a> since January 2024.</p> <p>Take American Airlines. In 2023, it cost US$30 to check a standard bag in with the airline; <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2024/02/20/american-airlines-bag-fees-mileage-earning/72669245007/">today, as of March 2024, it costs $40</a> at a U.S. airport – a whopping 33% increase.</p> <p>As a <a href="https://www.bu.edu/questrom/">business school</a> <a href="https://www.bu.edu/questrom/profile/jay-zagorsky/">professor who studies travel</a>, I’m often asked why airlines alienate their customers with baggage fees instead of bundling all charges together. <a href="https://www.vox.com/2015/4/16/8431465/airlines-carry-on-bags">There are</a> <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/columnist/2023/06/21/bag-fees-will-stay-a-while-cruising-altitude/70338849007/">many reasons</a>, but an important, often overlooked cause is buried in the U.S. tax code.</p> <h2>A tax-law loophole</h2> <p>Airlines pay the federal government <a href="https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-26/chapter-I/subchapter-D/part-49/subpart-D">7.5% of the ticket price</a> when <a href="https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/tax/library/aircraft-club-nov-2023-air-transport-excise-tax-rates-for-2024.html">flying people domestically, alongside other fees</a>. The airlines dislike these charges, with their <a href="https://www.airlines.org/dataset/government-imposed-taxes-on-air-transportation/">trade association arguing</a> that they boost the cost to the consumer of a typical air ticket by around one-fifth.</p> <p>However, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations <a href="https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-26/chapter-I/subchapter-D/part-49/subpart-D/section-49.4261-8">specifically excludes baggage</a> from the 7.5% transportation tax as long as “the charge is separable from the payment for the transportation of a person and is shown in the exact amount.”</p> <p>This means if an airline charges a combined $300 to fly you and a bag round-trip within the U.S., it owes $22.50 in tax. If the airline charges $220 to fly you plus separately charges $40 each way for the bag, then your total cost is the same — but the airline only owes the government $16.50 in taxes. Splitting out baggage charges saves the airline $6.</p> <p>Now $6 might not seem like much, but it can add up. Last year, passengers took <a href="https://www.transtats.bts.gov/Data_Elements.aspx?Data=1">more than 800 million trips on major airlines</a>. Even if only a fraction of them check their bags, that means large savings for the industry.</p> <p>How large? The government has <a href="https://www.bts.dot.gov/topics/airlines-and-airports/baggage-fees-airline-2023">tracked revenue from bag fees</a> for decades. In 2002, airlines charged passengers a total of $180 million to check bags, which worked out to around 33 cents per passenger.</p> <p>Today, as any flyer can attest, bag fees are a lot higher. Airlines collected over 40 times more money in bag fees last year than they did in 2002.</p> <p>When the full data is in for 2023, <a href="https://www.bts.dot.gov/baggage-fees">total bag fees</a> will likely top $7 billion, which is about $9 for the average domestic passenger. <a href="https://viewfromthewing.com/the-real-reason-airlines-charge-checked-bag-fees-and-its-not-what-you-think">By splitting out the cost of bags</a>, airlines avoided paying about half a billion dollars in taxes just last year.</p> <p>In the two decades since 2002, flyers paid a total of about $70 billion in bag fees. This means separately charging for bags saved airlines about $5 billion in taxes.</p> <p><iframe id="88MYD" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/88MYD/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>It seems clear to me that tax savings are one driver of the unbundling of baggage fees because of a quirk in the law.</p> <p>The U.S. government doesn’t apply the 7.5% tax to <a href="https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-26/chapter-I/subchapter-D/part-49/subpart-D/section-49.4261-3">international flights that go more than 225 miles</a> beyond the nation’s borders. Instead, there are fixed <a href="https://www.airlines.org/dataset/government-imposed-taxes-on-air-transportation">international departure and arrival taxes</a>. This is why major airlines charge $35 to $40 <a href="https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/checked-baggage-policy.jsp">for bags if you’re flying domestically</a>, but don’t charge a bag fee when you’re flying to Europe or Asia.</p> <h2>Do travelers get anything for that money?</h2> <p>This system raises an interesting question: Do baggage fees force airlines to be more careful with bags, since customers who pay more expect better service? To find out, I checked with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which has been <a href="https://www.bts.gov/content/mishandled-baggage-reports-filed-passengers-largest-us-air-carriersa">tracking lost luggage for decades</a>.</p> <p>For many years, it calculated the number of mishandled-baggage reports per thousand airline passengers. The government’s data showed mishandled bags peaked in 2007 with about seven reports of lost or damaged luggage for every thousand passengers. That means you could expect your luggage to go on a different trip than the one you are taking about once every 140 or so flights. By 2018, that estimate had fallen to once every 350 flights.</p> <p>In 2019, the government <a href="https://www.bts.gov/topics/airlines-and-airports/number-30a-technical-directive-mishandled-baggage-amended-effective-jan">changed how it tracks</a> mishandled bags, calculating figures based on the total number of bags checked, rather than the total number of passengers. The new data show about six bags per thousand checked get lost or damaged, which is less than 1% of checked bags. Unfortunately, the data doesn’t show improvement since 2019.</p> <p>Is there anything that you can do about higher bag fees? Complaining to politicians probably won’t help. In 2010, two senators <a href="https://www.nj.com/business/2010/04/us_senators_present_bill_to_ba.html">tried to ban bag fees</a>, and their bill went nowhere.</p> <p>Given that congressional action failed, there’s a simple way to avoid higher bag fees: <a href="https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/packing-expert-travel-world-handbag/index.html">travel light</a> and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/08/opinion/carry-on-packing-airlines-lost-luggage.html">don’t check any luggage</a>. It may sound tough not to have all your belongings when traveling, but it might be the best option as bag fees take off.<!-- 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/225857/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/jay-l-zagorsky-152952">Jay L. Zagorsky</a>, Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy and Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/boston-university-898">Boston University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-airlines-charge-so-much-for-checked-bags-this-obscure-rule-helps-explain-why-225857">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"How could he do it to me?": Grandmother broken over grandson's alleged fraud

<p>In a courtroom in Perth, emotions ran high as a heartbroken grandmother awaited a reunion with her grandson, Jack Endersby. But this wasn't a typical family gathering. It was a courtroom confrontation, where Lyn Newby hoped her grandson would look her in the eye and confront the pain he allegedly caused by defrauding her of more than $320,000.</p> <p>Endersby, a 24-year-old <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/perth-news-grandmother-lost-320000-after-investing-in-grandson-business-alleged-ponzi-scheme/e3ea6396-750c-452c-8e87-c0ef53d65ede" target="_blank" rel="noopener">accused of orchestrating a Ponzi-style scheme</a> that allegedly swindled around $2 million from victims across Australia, faced the scrutiny of the law and the anguish of his own family. The accusations against him span from February 2021 to February 2024, a period during which he allegedly promised lucrative returns to investors, only to leave them empty-handed and disillusioned.</p> <p>For Newby, the betrayal cut deep. She had entrusted her grandson with a substantial sum, believing it to be an investment in his trading business, Codex Investments. His promises of monthly returns seemed enticing, but when the payments abruptly ceased, Newby's world shattered.</p> <p>"He has ruined our lives," she lamented. "How could he do it to me? I'm his grandmother." </p> <p>Endersby's arrest earlier this month marked a turning point in the unravelling of his alleged scheme. Facing 11 charges of fraud, he appeared in Perth Magistrates Court, where his family, including his mother, sought answers and reconciliation. However, Endersby remained aloof, ignoring their attempts at communication.</p> <p>In the lead-up to his court appearance, Newby expressed her desire for her grandson to acknowledge the pain he caused. "He will feel terrible when he sees me, and I want him to look me in the eye and know how much he's hurt me," she said, her anguish palpable.</p> <p>The allegations against Endersby paint a stark contrast to his earlier life. Once a telesales consultant and labourer, he purportedly transformed into a "self-taught investor" with a multimillion-dollar portfolio and a lifestyle of luxury. Flashy holidays, upscale accommodations and a Maserati adorned his newfound prosperity, allegedly funded by the deceitful machinations of a Ponzi scheme.</p> <p>As the details of Endersby's alleged deception emerged, more victims came forward, each recounting their own stories of financial loss and shattered trust. Michael Dawson, who invested in Endersby's business 18 months prior, described initial returns followed by a troubling silence. Others spoke of referral schemes that seemingly built trust but ultimately ensnared unsuspecting investors in a web of deceit.</p> <p>Amid the courtroom drama and legal proceedings, questions linger about the true extent of Endersby's alleged scheme and the lives it impacted. As he awaits his next court appearance on April 19, the echoes of broken trust and shattered dreams serve as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of financial fraud.</p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

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6 major benefits of doing yoga every day, from experts

<h2>Positive effects of yoga</h2> <p>Sometimes it’s the simplest daily practice that can have the biggest impact on your health, and yoga is proof of that. Although most forms of yoga aren’t considered to be as intense as other workout regimens (think your average cycling class!), practising yoga on a daily basis has been scientifically demonstrated to help you mentally and physically. Through breath work, meditation and holding poses that increase strength and flexibility, the body and mind reap benefits from yoga that positively impact your long-term health. It’s no wonder people have been practising yoga for over 5000 years, and that the number of Australians practising yoga doubled between 2008 and 2017 to over two million, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.</p> <p>In order to get the full scope of what practising yoga daily can really do for your body, we spoke with several experts who have seen the ways yoga has positively benefited their students, patients… and even themselves.</p> <p><a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/gaiam-yoga/mats?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Keen to try? You’ll need a mat. There’s a range of mats to suit every yoga level, check out these we recommend.</a></p> <h2>Yoga assists with mood regulation</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_getty2.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Yoga teacher, Jenni Tarma, shares, “We have a wealth of research demonstrating that a regular mindfulness practice – the act of paying attention to the sensation in the body, thoughts and emotions without judgment – can reduce stress and help us to feel calmer, more productive, and generally more even-keeled in our daily lives.”</p> <p>After evaluating yoga history and research, one 2014 review published in Frontiers in Human Neouroscience concluded that regular yoga practice can help facilitate self-regulation (the ability to understand and manage your behaviour and reactions). Another study of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 found that practising yoga positively benefited emotional regulation and self-esteem. “Movement releases beneficial neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps us feel good as well as assist in mood regulation,” says yoga instructor, Evan Lawrence. “One of the things that I like about yoga specifically is that there is simultaneously a focus on physical movement and breathing.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/23-instant-mood-boosters-you-wont-want-to-live-without" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Don’t miss these instant mood boosters you won’t want to live without.</a></p> <h2>Yoga builds up your core strength</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_shutterstock3.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>Personal trainer and yoga teacher, Gina Newton, says, “From a physical perspective, yoga is so great for increasing our core strength, which should be a non-negotiable part of every human’s workout.” Newton adds, “We all need our core – and especially women who have been pregnant or had children, our core strength is something we need to care for and nurture to hold us up.”</p> <p>According to Harvard Medical School, a stronger core benefits the body in multiple ways, including providing better posture, balance, stability, relief for lower back pain, and support through daily tasks like cleaning, working, and athletic activities or exercise.</p> <p>Wearing comfortable yoga gear will help you get the most out of your workout. <a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/gaiam-apparel/apparel?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Check out these yoga clothes from Gaiam.</a></p> <h2>Yoga reduces stress</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_getty4.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>“Yoga and meditation are powerful tools for stress resilience and strengthening mental health,” says holistic healthcare practitioner and yoga instructor, Nicole Renée Matthews.  “Doing yoga regularly promotes mental clarity and calmness, centres and relaxes the mind, helps to relieve stress patterns and anxiety, and boosts concentration and focus.”</p> <p>One 2010 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded that practising yoga can improve mood and decrease anxiety even more than a regular walking practice after participants finished a 12-week program. Researchers have also found that the breath-taking techniques involved with yoga can be part of what benefits decreased anxiety during practice.</p> <p>“Breath awareness, another key component of yoga, has been shown to reduce physiological markers of stress, especially when using techniques such as ‘belly breathing’ – breathing deeply so that the abdomen expands, rather than exclusively using a shallow chest breath – and elongating the exhalation,” says Tarma. “These techniques help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn leads to less anxiety, jitteriness, and improved sleep; all things that can improve our mental health on a day-to-day basis.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/mental-health/10-science-backed-ways-to-lower-your-stress-this-instant-really" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Don’t miss these science-backed ways to lower your stress this instant (really!).</a></p> <h2>Yoga improves brain health</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_getty5.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>According to associate professor of psychiatry, Dr Gail Saltz, practising yoga “improves overall blood flow to the body, including the brain, [which is] helpful for cognition and memory.”</p> <p>One 2019 review published in Brain Plasticity concluded that behavioural interventions like yoga can help “mitigate age-related and neurodegenerative decline” due to the positive effects a daily practice has on different parts of the functioning brain, like the hippocampus (which plays a major role in learning and memory) and the prefrontal cortex (cognitive control functions).</p> <p>Staying hydrated is key to maintaining optimum brain health. <a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/takeya/water-bottles-actives-range?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">These drink bottles can help you keep your water intake up throughout the day.</a></p> <h2>Yoga improves flexibility and mobility</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_shutterstock6.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>“Physically, daily yoga practice allows us to engage our muscles and move through larger ranges of joint motion than we do typically moving through life,” says Lawrence. “This helps to keep us limber and flexible.”</p> <p>“Dedicated, daily yoga practice helps with flexibility and strength, which can help improve your posture, as well as balance,” says yoga instructor, Samantha Hoff. “On the physical side, it also helps with joint mobility since you’ll take your joints through most – or all – of their ranges of motion.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/12-best-yoga-poses-to-strengthen-bones" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Here are the best yoga poses to strengthen bones.</a></p> <h2>Yoga strengthens muscle and endurance</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/03/6benefitsyoga_getty7.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>“From a musculoskeletal perspective,” says Tarma, “yoga loads our bodies and joints in a wide variety of positions and scenarios: think longer static holds in poses that challenge our tissues’ endurance, or controlled transitions between shapes that develop strength, control and coordination. These different facets of our movement capabilities all contribute to better overall function and load-tolerance capacity. As an added bonus, because most styles of yoga are bodyweight only and move at a very moderate speed, yoga is also a generally very accessible and safe movement modality.”</p> <p>Yoga is the ultimate self-care activity. <a href="https://gaiam.innovations.com.au/p/gaiam-yoga/accessories/27-73312-gaiam-performance-hold-everything-yoga-backpack-bag?affiliate=GAIAM60" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Whether you do it at a studio or in the park, this handy yoga backpack bag stores everything you need for a calm yoga workout.</a></p> <p><strong>This article, written by Kiersten Hickman, originally appeared on</strong><strong> <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/6-major-benefits-of-doing-yoga-every-day-from-experts" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock | Getty</em></p>

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Why we need to stop being so judgemental – and the 4 steps to do it

<p>As a society, we've become increasingly judgmental. We tend to judge not only others but ourselves as well. From a person's physical appearance to their actions, we criticise and judge everything. Everyone is too fat, too thin, too old, or too young, creating an environment where nothing seems to be good enough. This constant pattern of judgment is now harming our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.</p> <p>When we judge, we compare ourselves to others, leaving us emotionally vulnerable. Through this judgement, we seek to establish a sense of security and control over our lives and surroundings, often without even realising it. However, by increasing our emotional resilience and sense of control, we become consciously aware of this behaviour and can take steps to change it. So, is it possible to become less judgemental? </p> <p>As an educator and researcher, I developed an Emotional Resilience language (ER). It introduces simple changes that can reduce judgment, foster empathy, compassion, and personal responsibility, and bolster emotional intelligence and resilience when integrated into everyday life. Using a driving metaphor, ER simplifies the intricate world of emotions, providing an innovative way to integrate emotional vocabulary into daily life. It enhances understanding and establishes new neural pathways and healthier thought patterns.</p> <p>The following outlines the initial steps of ER, which can effectively manage judgement towards yourself and others. Though the changes may appear simplistic, they are instrumental in establishing lasting transformation.</p> <p><strong>1. Removing judgement towards how you or others may feel:</strong> Instead of labelling emotions as good or bad, view them as rough or smooth emotional roads. Just as roads serve different purposes, so do emotions. Rough emotions build resilience, while smooth emotions promote well-being, removing the need to lift everyone off a rough road. This makes it easier to recognise and accept emotions without feeling like a failure when things aren't going smoothly. You don’t know why someone is on a rough road, so resist the temptation to judge them.</p> <p><strong>2: The metaphorical steering wheel</strong> in ER represents emotional control and the power of choice in navigating life's challenges. As in a car, you should be the only one controlling your emotional steering wheel. Rather than judging yourself and others, this logical approach empowers you to regain control over your focus, emotions, and destination. Just because someone else is on a rough road doesn’t mean you must join them, fostering resilience and responsibility. </p> <p><strong>3. Shifting judgement and blame to responsibility</strong> involves removing phrases such as "You are making me angry, " which inadvertently hands your emotional steering wheel to others. Replace it with, "I am choosing to feel angry in response to this situation." This subtle alteration, substituting "making" with "choosing," helps reclaim ownership of your steering wheel rather than relinquishing control to external factors. Assigning blame—"It's your fault, it's the government's fault, it's my partner’s fault"— leaves you feeling like a victim, and you then resort to judgement and retaliation to regain control. </p> <p><strong>4. The importance of taking control:</strong> Understanding that judgement cannot be contained nor emotional resilience built when you are out of control on either road is crucial. Out-of-control scenarios activate the amygdala, the brain's fight, flight or freeze mode, disabling the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for thinking and creativity. It is only possible to discuss a situation once the involved parties have regained control and can access the thinking part of their brain. Therefore, regaining control is essential for reducing judgement, as then you can have productive discussions that help maintain emotional well-being. This includes your conversations with yourself, which can often be the harshest!</p> <p>ER helps reduce judgement by developing your emotional resilience. Awareness of the emotional state of yourself and others fosters emotional intelligence, while learning to regain control builds resilience. Recognising that navigating rough emotions is crucial for growth alleviates the pressure from always needing to be on a smooth road and judging yourself and others if they aren’t. It shifts focus from dwelling on challenges and comparing yourself to others to being able to understand and manage your responses. Incorporating language changes into daily life builds new neural pathways, creating new thought patterns that reduce judgment and blame. </p> <p>By avoiding the tendency to judge yourself or others, you take back control of your reactions to people and circumstances. This leads to better mental and emotional well-being and fosters positive relationships with yourself and others. Does this mean you will never judge again? Of course not. You’re human. It’s what you do with the judgment that can make all the difference. </p> <p><strong>Dr Jane Foster is a leading educator, researcher, presenter and author of <em>It’s In Your Hands; Your Steering Wheel, Your Choice</em>. Combining her educational skills with neuroscience and positive psychology, Jane equips people with strategies to help build emotional resilience and manage their daily stresses, successfully changing perspective and creating new neural pathways. For more information, visit <a href="https://www.emotionalresiliencetraining.com.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.emotionalresiliencetraining.com.au</a></strong></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Why do I need to get up during the night to wee? Is this normal?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christian-moro-121754">Christian Moro</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charlotte-phelps-1187658">Charlotte Phelps</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p>It can be normal to wake up once or even twice during the night to wee, especially as we get older.</p> <p>One in three adults over 30 makes <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30085529">at least two</a> trips to the bathroom every night.</p> <p>Waking up from sleep to urinate on a regular basis is called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518987/">nocturia</a>. It’s one of the most commonly reported <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32249998/">bothersome urinary symptoms</a> (others include urgency and poor stream).</p> <p>So what causes nocturia, and how can it affect wellbeing?</p> <h2>A range of causes</h2> <p>Nocturia can be caused by a variety of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/nocturia-going-to-the-toilet-at-night_0.pdf">medical conditions</a>, such as heart or kidney problems, poorly controlled diabetes, bladder infections, an <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-44916-8">overactive bladder</a>, or gastrointestinal issues. Other causes include pregnancy, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/nau.24839">medications</a> and consumption of alcohol or caffeine before bed.</p> <p>While nocturia causes disrupted sleep, the reverse is true as well. Having broken sleep, or <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4055528/">insomnia</a>, can also cause nocturia.</p> <p>When we sleep, an antidiuretic hormone is released that slows down the rate at which our <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-urine-sterile-do-urine-therapies-work-experts-debunk-common-pee-myths-191862">kidneys produce urine</a>. If we lie awake at night, less of this hormone <a href="https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajprenal.00025.2023">is released</a>, meaning we continue to produce normal rates of urine. This can accelerate the rate at which we fill our bladder and need to get up during the night.</p> <p>Stress, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153377/">anxiety</a> and watching television <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518987">late into the night</a> are common causes of insomnia.</p> <h2>Effects of nocturia on daily functioning</h2> <p>The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between <a href="https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep/how-much-sleep">seven and nine hours</a> per night. The more times you have to get up in the night to go to the bathroom, the more this impacts <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3602727/#:%7E:text=Nocturia%20is%2C%20however%2C%20an%20important,(QoL)%20and%20general%20health.">sleep quantity and quality</a>.</p> <p>Decreased sleep can result in increased <a href="https://hqlo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12955-019-1251-5">tiredness</a> during the day, poor concentration, forgetfulness, changes in mood and impaired <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28425062/">work performance</a>.</p> <p>If you’re missing out on quality sleep due to nighttime trips to the bathroom, this can affect your quality of life.</p> <p>In more severe cases, nocturia has been compared to having a similar impact on <a href="https://www.racgp.org.au/getattachment/b43c05ba-e29e-47c3-b816-ec47ceeafe97/Nocturia-a-guide-to-assessment-and-management.aspx">quality of life</a> as diabetes, high blood pressure, chest pain, and some forms of arthritis. Also, frequent disruptions to quality and quantity of sleep can have longer-term health impacts.</p> <p>Nocturia not only upsets sleep, but also increases the risk of <a href="https://www.auajournals.org/doi/10.1097/JU.0000000000000459">falls</a> from moving around in the dark to go to the bathroom.</p> <p>Further, it can affect sleep partners or others in the household who may be disturbed when you get out of bed.</p> <h2>Can you have a ‘small bladder’?</h2> <p>It’s a common misconception that your trips to the bathroom are correlated with the size of your bladder. It’s also unlikely your bladder is <a href="https://youtu.be/blVmyrBPves">smaller</a> relative to your other organs.</p> <p>If you find you are having to wee more than your friends, this could be due to body size. A smaller person drinking the same amount of fluids as someone larger will simply need to go the bathroom more often.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/blVmyrBPves?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Can you have a small bladder?</span></figcaption></figure> <p>If you find you are going to the bathroom quite a lot during the day and evening (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5903463/">more than eight times</a> in 24 hours), this could be a symptom of an overactive bladder. This often presents as frequent and sudden urges to urinate.</p> <p>If you are concerned about any lower urinary tract symptoms, it’s worth having a chat with your family GP.</p> <p>There are some medications that can assist in the management of nocturia, and your doctor will also be able to help identify any underlying causes of needing to go to the toilet during the night.</p> <h2>A happy and healthy bladder</h2> <p>Here are some tips to maintain a happy and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206217/">healthy</a> bladder, and reduce the risk you’ll be up at night:</p> <ul> <li> <p>make your <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-position-should-i-sleep-in-and-is-there-a-right-way-to-sleep-189873">sleep environment comfortable</a>, with a suitable mattress and sheets to suit the temperature</p> </li> <li> <p>get to bed early, and limit <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK518987/">screens</a>, or activites before bed</p> </li> <li> <p>limit foods and drinks that irritate the bladder, such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9811496/">coffee or alcohol</a>, especially before bedtime</p> </li> <li> <p>sit in a <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-it-matter-if-you-sit-or-stand-to-pee-and-what-about-peeing-in-the-shower-206869">relaxed position</a> when urinating, and allow time for the bladder to completely empty</p> </li> <li> <p>practice <a href="https://www.continence.org.au/about-continence/continence-health/pelvic-floor">pelvic floor muscle exercises</a></p> </li> <li> <p>drink an adequate amount of fluids during the day, and avoid becoming <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/nocturia-going-to-the-toilet-at-night_0.pdf">dehydrated</a></p> </li> <li> <p>maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat <a href="https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/advan.00052.2023">nutritious foods</a> and do not do anything harmful to the body such as smoking or using illicit drugs</p> </li> <li> <p>review your medications, as the time you take some <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/nocturia-going-to-the-toilet-at-night_0.pdf">pharmaceuticals</a> may affect urine production or sleep</p> </li> <li> <p>if you have <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28675633/">swollen legs</a>, raise them a few hours before bedtime to let the <a href="https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/june/nocturia-a-guide-to-assessment-and-management">fluid drain</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/224160/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/christian-moro-121754">Christian Moro</a>, Associate Professor of Science &amp; Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charlotte-phelps-1187658">Charlotte Phelps</a>, Senior Teaching Fellow, Medical Program, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond 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/why-do-i-need-to-get-up-during-the-night-to-wee-is-this-normal-224160">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What is negative gearing and what is it doing to housing affordability?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-cull-340911">Michelle Cull</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s housing crisis is putting the <a href="https://www.mortgagechoice.com.au/guides/what-is-the-great-australian-dream/">Australian dream</a> to own one’s home out of reach for many.</p> <p>But it’s not just <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/home-ownership-and-housing-tenure">home ownership</a> that has been affected. Rental affordability has also become a serious issue. This has reignited the debate about negative gearing; whether or not it is fair and whether it holds the key to fixing the housing crisis.</p> <h2>What is negative gearing?</h2> <p><a href="https://treasury.gov.au/review/tax-white-paper/negative-gearing">Negative gearing</a> refers to using borrowed money to invest in an asset so it results in a loss which can be claimed as a tax deduction against other income. For example, a property investment is negatively geared if the net rental income received is lower than the mortgage interest. The loss is then offset against other income, such as wages and salaries, which reduces the amount of income tax payable.</p> <p>Negative gearing is commonly used for property investments but also applies to other investments (such as shares). Investments can also be positively geared when net income from the investment is more than the interest on borrowings.</p> <p>The attractiveness of negative gearing in Australia is mainly due to its ability to reduce the amount of income tax. For this reason, it can be more beneficial to individuals who are on higher marginal tax rates. However, capital gains tax must be paid on any gain when the asset is sold.</p> <h2>How does negative gearing work?</h2> <p>Let’s look at a simple example of negative gearing. Say an investment property was rented to tenants at A$500 a week ($26,000 a year), and associated expenses (such as agent fees, rates, mortgage interest, maintenance) were $40,000 for the year. This leaves a shortfall of $14,000.</p> <p>The property owner can deduct the $14,000 from their taxable income to reduce their liability. For example if they received $100,000 from wages, they would pay tax on only $86,000 (saving $4,550 in income tax). Individuals on higher incomes and therefore higher marginal tax rates would receive larger tax deductions (for example, someone earning over $180,001 would pay $6,300 less tax).</p> <p>While negative gearing an investment property can reduce tax while it is being rented, it can also result in a large <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/investments-and-assets/capital-gains-tax/what-is-capital-gains-tax">capital gains tax</a> bill once the property is sold (even though capital gains tax is halved for assets held for more than 12 months).</p> <p>For example, if the cost base for a property purchased ten years ago was $400,000 and it sells for $900,000 today, capital gains tax would be calculated on half of the $500,000 difference. At a marginal rate of 45%, the tax bill would be $112,500.</p> <h2>How widespread is it in Australia?</h2> <p>According to the <a href="https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/taxation-statistics-2020-21">Australian Taxation Office</a>, about 2.25 million individual tax payers (21% of all individual tax payers) claimed deductions against rental income for a total 3.25 million properties in 2020-21 financial year.</p> <p>Of these, 47% negatively geared their properties, claiming a net rental loss. This is equivalent to just less than 10% of all taxpayers. Investors with fewer properties were more likely to be using negative gearing with over 71% of property investors having only one investment property.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="Wv9lV" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Wv9lV/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The largest group of property investors (524,220) had one investment property and a total annual taxable income between $50,001 and $100,000. The chart above shows the proportion of property investors by age group.</p> <p>From 2016-2017 to 2020-2021, the total net rental income on property investments in Australia went from a loss of $3.3 billion to a gain of $3.1 billion (as you can see from the chart below).</p> <p>For the same period, the proportion of investors negatively gearing their properties dropped from 58% to 47%, as lower interest rates reduced losses.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="fXnoe" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/fXnoe/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Negative gearing is also becoming less attractive with the government’s recent changes to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/tax-cuts">tax brackets and marginal tax rates</a>. According to a study conducted by <a href="https://www.pexa.com.au/staticly-media/2023/03/Whitepaper-2-Private-renting-in-Australia-a-broken-system_compressed-sm-1679450145.pdf">LongView and PEXA</a>, 60% of property investors would be financially better off if they instead put their money into a superannuation fund.</p> <h2>When was it introduced?</h2> <p>Negative gearing has been allowed under tax laws since 1936. It was thought it would encourage investment in housing and increase supply.</p> <p>However, debate around its impact on housing affordability led the government to partially abolish it in 1985 by not allowing rental property losses to reduce tax on other sources of income.</p> <p>There was a shortage of housing and rents rose during the two years it was abolished. As a result, in 1987, negative gearing was reinstated and capital gains tax legislation was introduced.</p> <h2>Is it used in other countries?</h2> <p>Canada, Germany, Japan and Norway use negative gearing. In Finland, France and the United States, rental losses can offset future rental income only. In the US, <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p936#en_US_2023_publink1000229891">home owners are entitled</a> to claim a tax deduction for mortgage interest on their own home.</p> <p>The use and benefit of negative gearing depends upon all aspects of a country’s tax system. So although it may be attractive in countries with high marginal tax rates, other taxes such as capital gains tax, land tax and stamp duties may reduce its appeal.</p> <h2>Negative gearing’s impact on housing affordability</h2> <p>Many factors affect the cost of housing, including interest rates, inflation, employment, the overall taxation system and population growth, making housing affordability a complex issue.</p> <p><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/nz-kills-tax-loophole-on-property-to-slow-soaring-house-prices-20210323-p57d9s.html">In New Zealand, negative gearing is being phased out</a> due to its impact on housing prices.</p> <p>However, unlike Australia, New Zealand does not have capital gains tax, making negative gearing more popular and more likely to impact housing prices. In addition to phasing out negative gearing, the New Zealand government <a href="https://www.hud.govt.nz/our-work/public-housing-plan/">increased the supply of public housing</a> and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-25/nz-auckland-house-supply-experiment-results-in-dramatic-change/102846126">relaxed zoning regulations</a> to provide more affordable housing.</p> <p>In Australia, however, there are concerns abolishing negative gearing will cause rents to rise, as they did in the 1980s. More innovative approaches to housing affordability are needed to ensure ample supply of property for first home buyers and tenants.</p> <p>Some consideration could be given to allowing first home buyers to claim a tax deduction for mortgage interest, increasing capital gains tax, limiting the number or type of investment properties held, capping rent increases, or more infrastructure investment from the government for first home buyers and social housing.</p> <p>One or more of these measures would be a step in the right direction. Negative gearing on its own is not the answer to housing affordability. The whole system needs an overhaul, with a combination of measures needed to adequately address affordability, for now and for future generations.</p> <p>Taking no action will put home ownership out of reach for even more Australians.<!-- 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/223823/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-cull-340911"><em>Michelle Cull</em></a><em>, Associate professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney 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/what-is-negative-gearing-and-what-is-it-doing-to-housing-affordability-223823">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Why and how often do I need to wash makeup brushes and sponges?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/enzo-palombo-249510">Enzo Palombo</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rosalie-hocking-1428271">Rosalie Hocking</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>From the bristles of brushes to the porous surfaces of sponges, your makeup kit can harbour a host of bacteria and fungi.</p> <p>These potentially hazardous contaminants can originate not only from the cosmetics themselves, but also from the very surface of our skin.</p> <p>So, how can we keep things hygienic and avoid microbial growth on makeup brushes and sponges? Here’s what you need to know.</p> <h2>How do germs and fungi get in my brushes and sponges?</h2> <p>Germs and fungi can make their way into your makeup kit in lots of ways.</p> <p>Ever flushed a toilet with the lid open with your makeup brushes nearby? There’s a good chance <a href="https://theconversation.com/mobile-phones-are-covered-in-germs-disinfecting-them-daily-could-help-stop-diseases-spreading-135318">faecal particles</a> have landed on them.</p> <p>Perhaps a family member or housemate has used your eyeshadow brush when you weren’t looking, and transferred some microbes across in the process.</p> <p>Bacteria that trigger a pimple outbreak can be easily transferred from the surface of your skin to a makeup brush or sponge.</p> <p>And tiny little mites called Demodex mites, which have been linked to certain rashes and acne, live on your skin, as well, and so may end up in your sponge or brushes.</p> <p>Bacterial contamination of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38020232/">lip cosmetics</a>, in particular, can pose a risk of skin and eye infections (so keep that in mind if you use lip brushes). Lipsticks are frequently contaminated with bacteria such as <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em>, <em>E. coli</em>, and <em>Streptococcus pneumoniae</em>.</p> <p>Low-quality cosmetics are more likely to have higher and more diverse microbial growth compared to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X23002978?pes=vor">high-quality cosmetics</a>.</p> <p>Brushes exposed to sensitive areas like the eyes, mouth and nose are particularly susceptible to being potential sources of infection.</p> <p>The range of conditions caused by these microorganisms includes:</p> <ul> <li> <p>abscesses</p> </li> <li> <p>skin and soft tissue infections</p> </li> <li> <p>skin lesions</p> </li> <li> <p>rashes</p> </li> <li> <p>and dermatitis.</p> </li> </ul> <p>In severe cases, infections can lead to invasion of the bloodstream or deep tissues.</p> <p>Commercially available cosmetics contain varying amounts and types of preservatives aimed at inhibiting the growth of fungi and bacteria.</p> <p>But when you apply makeup, different cosmetics with unique formulations of preservatives can become mixed. When a preservative meant for one product mixes with others, it might not work as well because they have different water amounts or pH levels.</p> <p>So preservatives are not foolproof. We also need to observe good hygiene practices when it comes to brushes and other cosmetics applicators.</p> <h2>Keeping brushes clean</h2> <p>Start with the basics: never <a href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Isolation-of-Pathogenic-Microbes-from-Beauty-Salons-Hassan-Hamad/0199635290628fe326fcd04a2b8a2422884a8240">share makeup brushes or sponges</a>. Everyone carries different microbes on their skin, so sharing brushes and sponges means you are also sharing germs and fungi.</p> <p>If you need to share makeup, use something disposable to apply it, or make sure any shared brushes are washed and sterilised before the next person uses it.</p> <p>Clean makeup brushes by washing with hot soapy water and rinsing thoroughly.</p> <p>How often? Stick to a cleaning routine you can repeat with consistency (as opposed to a deep clean that is done annually). <a href="https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/clean-your-makeup-brushes#:%7E:text=To%20protect%20your%20skin%20and,every%207%20to%2010%20days.">Once a week</a> might be a good goal for some, while others may need to wash more regularly if they are heavy users of makeup.</p> <p>Definitely wash straight away if someone else has used your brushes or sponges. And if you’ve had an eye infection such as conjunctivitis, ensure you clean applicators thoroughly after the infection has resolved.</p> <p>You can use bactericidal soap, 70% ethanol or chlorhexidine solutions to wash. Just make sure you wash very thoroughly with hot water after, as some of these things can irritate your skin. (While some people online say alcohol can degrade brushes and sponges, opinion seems to be mixed; in general, most disinfectants are unlikely to cause significant corrosion.)</p> <p>For some brushes, heating or steaming them and letting them dry may also be an effective sterilisation method once they are washed with detergent. Microwaving sponges isn’t a good idea because while the heat generated by a domestic microwave would kill microbes, it would need temperatures approaching 100°C for a decent period of time (at least several minutes). The heat could melt some parts of the sponge and hot materials could be a scalding hazard.</p> <p>Once clean, ensure brushes and sponges are stored in a dry place away from water sources (and not near an open toilet).</p> <p>If you’re having makeup applied professionally, brushes and applicators should be sterilised or changed from person to person.</p> <h2>Should I wash them with micellar water?</h2> <p>No.</p> <p>Not only is this expensive, it’s unnecessary. The same benefits can be achieved with cheaper detergents or alcohol (just rinse brushes carefully afterwards).</p> <p>Disinfection methods such as using bactericidal soap, 70% ethanol, or chlorhexidine are all very good at reducing the amount of microbes on your brushes and sponges.<!-- 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/220280/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/enzo-palombo-249510"><em>Enzo Palombo</em></a><em>, Professor of Microbiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rosalie-hocking-1428271">Rosalie Hocking</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</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/why-and-how-often-do-i-need-to-wash-makeup-brushes-and-sponges-220280">original article</a>.</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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I want to eat healthily. So why do I crave sugar, salt and carbs?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hayley-oneill-1458016">Hayley O'Neill</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p>We all want to eat healthily, especially as we reset our health goals at the start of a new year. But sometimes these plans are sabotaged by powerful cravings for sweet, salty or carb-heavy foods.</p> <p>So why do you crave these foods when you’re trying to improve your diet or lose weight? And what can you do about it?</p> <p>There are many reasons for craving specific foods, but let’s focus on four common ones:</p> <h2>1. Blood sugar crashes</h2> <p>Sugar is a key energy source for all animals, and its taste is one of the most basic sensory experiences. Even without specific sweet taste receptors on the tongue, a strong preference for sugar can develop, indicating a mechanism beyond taste alone.</p> <p>Neurons <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-021-00982-7">responding to sugar</a> are activated when sugar is delivered to the gut. This can increase appetite and make you want to consume more. Giving into cravings also drives an appetite for more sugar.</p> <p>In the long term, research suggests a high-sugar diet can affect <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m2382">mood</a>, digestion and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33339337/">inflammation</a> in the <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.aay6218?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">gut</a>.</p> <p>While there’s a lot of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763402000040?via%3Dihub#aep-section-id23">variation between individuals</a>, regularly eating sugary and high-carb foods can lead to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30951762/">rapid spikes and crashes</a> in blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar drops, your body can respond by craving quick sources of energy, often in the form of sugar and carbs because these deliver the fastest, most easily accessible form of energy.</p> <h2>2. Drops in dopamine and serotonin</h2> <p>Certain neurotransmitters, such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30595479/">dopamine</a>, are involved in the reward and pleasure centres of the brain. Eating sugary and carb-rich foods can trigger the release of dopamine, creating a pleasurable experience and reinforcing the craving.</p> <p>Serotonin, the feel-good hormone, suppresses <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1569733910700886">appetite</a>. Natural changes in serotonin can influence daily fluctuations in mood, energy levels and attention. It’s also associated with eating more <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5829131/">carb-rich snacks in the afternoon</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21985780/">Low carb diets</a> may reduce serotonin and lower mood. However, a recent systematic review suggests little association between these diets and risk for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032722013933?via%3Dihub">anxiety and depression</a>.</p> <p>Compared to men, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189179/">women tend to crave more carb rich foods</a>. Feeling irritable, tired, depressed or experiencing carb cravings are part of premenstrual <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29218451/">symptoms</a> and could be <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560698/">linked to</a> reduced <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9928757/">serotonin levels</a>.</p> <h2>3. Loss of fluids and drops in blood sugar and salt</h2> <p>Sometimes our bodies crave the things they’re missing, such as hydration or even salt. A low-carb diet, for example, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537084/">depletes</a> insulin levels, decreasing sodium and water retention.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1933287419302673">Very low-carb diets</a>, like ketogenic diets, induce “ketosis”, a metabolic state where the body switches to using fat as its primary energy source, moving away from the usual dependence on carbohydrates.</p> <p>Ketosis is often associated with increased urine production, further contributing to potential fluid loss, electrolyte imbalances and salt cravings.</p> <h2>4. High levels of stress or emotional turmoil</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214609/">Stress</a>, boredom and emotional turmoil can lead to cravings for comfort foods. This is because stress-related hormones can impact our appetite, satiety (feeling full) and food preferences.</p> <p>The stress hormone <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3425607/">cortisol</a>, in particular, can drive cravings for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453000000354">sweet comfort foods</a>.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453000000354">2001 study</a> of 59 premenopausal women subjected to stress revealed that the stress led to higher calorie consumption.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37295418/">A more recent study</a> found chronic stress, when paired with high-calorie diet, increases food intake and a preference for sweet foods. This shows the importance of a healthy diet during stress to prevent weight gain.</p> <h2>What can you do about cravings?</h2> <p>Here are four tips to curb cravings:</p> <p><strong>1) don’t cut out whole food groups.</strong> Aim for a well-balanced diet and make sure you include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><em>sufficient protein</em> in your meals to help you feel full and reduce the urge to snack on sugary and carb-rich foods. Older adults should aim for 20–40g protein per meal with a particular focus on <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jhn.12838">breakfast and lunch</a> and an overall daily protein intake of at least <a href="https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/43411">0.8g</a> per kg of body weight for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35187864/">muscle health</a></p> </li> <li> <p><em>fibre-rich foods</em>, such as vegetables and whole grains. These make you feel full and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32142510/">stabilise your blood sugar</a> levels. Examples include broccoli, quinoa, brown rice, oats, beans, lentils and bran cereals. Substitute refined carbs high in sugar like processed snack bars, soft drink or baked goods for more complex ones like whole grain bread or wholewheat muffins, or nut and seed bars or energy bites made with chia seeds and oats</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>2) manage your stress levels.</strong> Practise stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to manage emotional triggers for cravings. Practising <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30570305/">mindful eating</a>, by eating slowly and tuning into bodily sensations, can also reduce daily calorie intake and curb cravings and stress-driven eating</p> <p><strong>3) get enough sleep.</strong> Aim for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33054337/">seven to eight</a> hours of quality sleep per night, with a minimum of seven hours. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9031614/">Lack of sleep</a> can disrupt hormones that regulate hunger and cravings</p> <p><strong>4) control your portions.</strong> If you decide to indulge in a treat, control your portion size to avoid overindulging.</p> <p>Overcoming cravings for sugar, salt and carbs when trying to eat healthily or lose weight is undoubtedly a formidable challenge. Remember, it’s a journey, and setbacks may occur. Be patient with yourself – your success is not defined by occasional cravings but by your ability to manage and overcome them.<!-- 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/212114/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/hayley-oneill-1458016">Hayley O'Neill</a>, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond 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/i-want-to-eat-healthily-so-why-do-i-crave-sugar-salt-and-carbs-212114">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Why do I keep getting urinary tract infections? And why are chronic UTIs so hard to treat?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/iris-lim-1204657">Iris Lim</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p>Dealing with chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs) means facing more than the occasional discomfort. It’s like being on a never ending battlefield against an unseen adversary, making simple daily activities a trial.</p> <p>UTIs happen when bacteria sneak into the urinary system, causing pain and frequent trips to the bathroom.</p> <p>Chronic UTIs take this to the next level, coming back repeatedly or never fully going away despite treatment. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557479/">Chronic UTIs</a> are typically diagnosed when a person experiences two or more infections within six months or three or more within a year.</p> <p>They can happen to anyone, but some are more prone due to their <a href="https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/u/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults">body’s makeup or habits</a>. Women are more likely to get UTIs than men, due to their shorter urethra and hormonal changes during menopause that can decrease the protective lining of the urinary tract. Sexually active people are also at greater risk, as bacteria can be transferred around the area.</p> <p>Up to <a href="https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/u/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults#Related%20Resources">60% of women</a> will have at least one UTI in their lifetime. While effective treatments exist, <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/bladder-and-bowel/when-urinary-tract-infections-keep-coming-back#:%7E:text=Your%20urine%20might%20be%20cloudy,they%20take%20on%20your%20life.">about 25%</a> of women face recurrent infections within six months. Around <a href="https://sciendo.com/article/10.33073/pjm-2019-048?tab=article">20–30%</a> of UTIs don’t respond to standard antibiotic. The challenge of chronic UTIs lies in bacteria’s ability to shield themselves against treatments.</p> <h2>Why are chronic UTIs so hard to treat?</h2> <p>Once thought of as straightforward infections cured by antibiotics, we now know chronic UTIs are complex. The cunning nature of the bacteria responsible for the condition allows them to hide in bladder walls, out of antibiotics’ reach.</p> <p>The bacteria form biofilms, a kind of protective barrier that makes them nearly impervious to standard antibiotic treatments.</p> <p>This ability to evade treatment has led to a troubling <a href="https://theconversation.com/rising-antibiotic-resistance-in-utis-could-cost-australia-1-6-billion-a-year-by-2030-heres-how-to-curb-it-149543">increase in antibiotic resistance</a>, a global health concern that renders some of the conventional treatments ineffective.</p> <p>Antibiotics need to be advanced to keep up with evolving bacteria, in a similar way to the flu vaccine, which is updated annually to combat the latest strains of the flu virus. If we used the same flu vaccine year after year, its effectiveness would wane, just as overused antibiotics lose their power against bacteria that have adapted.</p> <p>But fighting bacteria that resist antibiotics is much tougher than updating the flu vaccine. Bacteria change in ways that are harder to predict, making it more challenging to create new, effective antibiotics. It’s like a never-ending game where the bacteria are always one step ahead.</p> <p>Treating chronic UTIs still relies heavily on antibiotics, but doctors are getting crafty, changing up medications or prescribing low doses over a longer time to outwit the bacteria.</p> <p>Doctors are also placing a greater emphasis on thorough diagnostics to accurately identify chronic UTIs from the outset. By asking detailed questions about the duration and frequency of symptoms, health-care providers can better distinguish between isolated UTI episodes and chronic conditions.</p> <p>The approach to initial treatment can significantly influence the likelihood of a UTI becoming chronic. Early, targeted therapy, based on the specific bacteria causing the infection and its antibiotic sensitivity, may reduce the risk of recurrence.</p> <p>For post-menopausal women, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00192-020-04397-z">estrogen therapy</a> has shown promise in reducing the risk of recurrent UTIs. After menopause, the decrease in estrogen levels can lead to changes in the urinary tract that makes it more susceptible to infections. This treatment restores the balance of the vaginal and urinary tract environments, making it less likely for UTIs to occur.</p> <p>Lifestyle changes, such as <a href="https://journals.lww.com/co-nephrolhypertens/FullText/2013/05001/Impact_of_fluid_intake_in_the_prevention_of.1.aspx">drinking more water</a> and practising good hygiene like washing hands with soap after going to the toilet and the recommended front-to-back wiping for women, also play a big role.</p> <p>Some swear by cranberry juice or supplements, though researchers are still figuring out <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001322.pub2/full">how effective these remedies truly are</a>.</p> <h2>What treatments might we see in the future?</h2> <p>Scientists are currently working on new treatments for chronic UTIs. One promising avenue is the development of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10052183/pdf/pathogens-12-00359.pdf">vaccines</a> aimed at preventing UTIs altogether, much like flu shots prepare our immune system to fend off the flu.</p> <p>Another new method being looked at is called <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12223-019-00750-y">phage therapy</a>. It uses special viruses called bacteriophages that go after and kill only the bad bacteria causing UTIs, while leaving the good bacteria in our body alone. This way, it doesn’t make the bacteria resistant to treatment, which is a big plus.</p> <p>Researchers are also exploring the potential of <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2079-6382/12/1/167">probiotics</a>. Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria into the urinary tract to out-compete harmful pathogens. These good bacteria work by occupying space and resources in the urinary tract, making it harder for harmful pathogens to establish themselves.</p> <p>Probiotics can also produce substances that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and enhance the body’s immune response.</p> <p>Chronic UTIs represent a stubborn challenge, but with a mix of current treatments and promising research, we’re getting closer to a day when chronic UTIs are a thing of the past.<!-- 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/223008/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/iris-lim-1204657">I<em>ris Lim</em></a><em>, Assistant Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond 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/why-do-i-keep-getting-urinary-tract-infections-and-why-are-chronic-utis-so-hard-to-treat-223008">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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The one thing you must do before retirement

<p>When you think about planning for retirement, the standard advice is to take a thorough look at your superannuation and finances. Although money is undoubtedly an important aspect of retirement planning, making a plan for your emotion and physical wellbeing is just as crucial.</p> <p>New research from the UK has found that retirement can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. The study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, looked at the impact of retirement on 7,000 people aged 50 to 70, and found that while retirement gives most people a small health booth, over the medium to long-term it causes a “drastic decline in health”.</p> <p>For both men and women, retirement decreases the likelihood of "very good” or "excellent" self-reported health by 40 per cent, increases risk for depression by 40 per cent, and diagnosis of a physical illness by 60 per cent. The study’s lead author, Gabriel Sahlgren, noted: "Work, especially paid work, gives many people a sense of purpose. Losing that may lead to declines in health."</p> <p>The lesson: Make a plan for your emotional and physical health.</p> <p>“Don't wait until you retire to decide how you're going to keep busy,” Dave Bernard, retirement blogger and author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, told Prevention, adding, “And you need to look well beyond the first six months.”</p> <p>Just as it’s necessary to make sure your finances are in order before retirement, it’s crucial to ask yourself: What will my new sense of purpose in retirement be?</p> <p>“Many times, adults might not think about what it actually means to be retired, or they think about retirement in abstract terms,” says Angela Curl, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri School of Social Work.</p> <p>She says you need to make concrete plans for retirement. “If you want to volunteer when you are retired, ask yourself where and how often. Having specific plans and steps to follow will help you enter retirement more easily,” says Curl.</p> <p>Creating a plan of how you’ll spend your time when you retire will keep you mentally and physically strong, ensuring that you’ll be healthy enough to enjoy your well-deserved retirement.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Retirement Life

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What ‘psychological warfare’ tactics do scammers use, and how can you protect yourself?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-johnstone-106590">Mike Johnstone</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/georgia-psaroulis-1513050">Georgia Psaroulis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>Not a day goes by without a headline <a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/qjvaym/people-share-worst-scam-stories">about a victim being scammed</a> and losing money. We are constantly warned about new scams and staying safe from cybercriminals. Scamwatch has <a href="https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/research-and-resources/tools-resources/online-resources/spot-the-scam-signs">no shortage of resources</a>, too.</p> <p>So why are people still getting scammed, and sometimes spectacularly so?</p> <p>Scammers use sophisticated psychological techniques. They exploit our deepest human vulnerabilities and bypass rational thought to tap into our emotional responses.</p> <p>This “<a href="https://www.thecut.com/article/amazon-scam-call-ftc-arrest-warrants.html">psychological warfare</a>” coerces victims into making impulsive decisions. Sometimes scammers spread their methods around many potential victims to see who is vulnerable. Other times, criminals focus on a specific person.</p> <p>Let’s unpack some of these psychological techniques, and how you can defend against them.</p> <h2>1. Random phone calls</h2> <p>Scammers start with small requests to establish a sense of commitment. After agreeing to these minor requests, we are more likely to comply with larger demands, driven by a desire to act consistently.</p> <p>The call won’t come from a number in your contacts or one you recognise, but the scammer may pretend to be someone you’ve engaged to work on your house, or perhaps one of your children using a friend’s phone to call you.</p> <p>If it is a scammer, maybe keeping you on the phone for a long time gives them an opportunity to find out things about you or people you know. They can use this info either immediately or at a later date.</p> <h2>2. Creating a sense of urgency</h2> <p>Scammers fabricate scenarios that require immediate action, like claiming a bank account is at risk of closure or an offer is about to expire. This tactic aims to prevent victims from assessing the situation logically or seeking advice, pressuring them into rushed decisions.</p> <p>The scammer creates an artificial situation in which you are frightened into doing something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Scam calls <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-filed-a-case-under-your-name-beware-of-tax-scams-theyll-be-everywhere-this-eofy-162171">alleging to be from the Australian Tax Office</a> (ATO) are a great example. You have a debt to pay (apparently) and things will go badly if you don’t pay <em>right now</em>.</p> <p>Scammers play on your emotions to provoke reactions that cloud judgement. They may threaten legal trouble to instil fear, promise high investment returns to exploit greed, or share fabricated distressing stories to elicit sympathy and financial assistance.</p> <h2>3. Building rapport with casual talk</h2> <p>Through extended conversation, scammers build a psychological commitment to their scheme. No one gets very far by just demanding your password, but it’s natural to be friendly with people who are friendly towards us.</p> <p>After staying on the line for long periods of time, the victim also becomes cognitively fatigued. This not only makes the victim more open to suggestions, but also isolates them from friends or family who might recognise and counteract the scam.</p> <h2>4. Help me to help you</h2> <p>In this case, the scammer creates a situation where they help you to solve a real or imaginary problem (that they actually created). They work their “IT magic” and the problem goes away.</p> <p>Later, they ask you for something you wouldn’t normally do, and you do it because of the “social debt”: they helped you first.</p> <p>For example, a hacker might attack a corporate network, causing it to slow down. Then they call you, pretending to be from your organisation, perhaps as a recent hire not yet on the company’s contact list. They “help” you by turning off the attack, leaving you suitably grateful.</p> <p>Perhaps a week later, they call again and ask for sensitive information, such as the CEO’s password. You <em>know</em> company policy is to not divulge it, but the scammer will ask if you remember them (of course you do) and come up with an excuse for why they really need this password.</p> <p>The balance of the social debt says you will help them.</p> <h2>5. Appealing to authority</h2> <p>By posing as line managers, officials from government agencies, banks, or other authoritative bodies, scammers exploit our natural tendency to obey authority.</p> <p>Such scams operate at varying levels of sophistication. The simple version: your manager messages you with an <em>urgent</em> request to purchase some gift cards and send through their numbers.</p> <p>The complex version: your manager calls and asks to urgently transfer a large sum of money to an account you don’t recognise. You do this because <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/fraudsters-use-ai-to-mimic-ceos-voice-in-unusual-cybercrime-case-11567157402">it sounds exactly</a> like your manager on the phone – but the scammer <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2021/10/14/huge-bank-fraud-uses-deep-fake-voice-tech-to-steal-millions/?sh=1329b80e7559">is using a voice deepfake</a>. In a recent major case in Hong Kong, such a scam even involved a <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/04/asia/deepfake-cfo-scam-hong-kong-intl-hnk/index.html">deepfake video call</a>.</p> <p>This is deeply challenging because artificial intelligence tools, such as Microsoft’s VALL-E, can create <a href="https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/01/microsofts-new-ai-can-simulate-anyones-voice-with-3-seconds-of-audio/">a voice deepfake</a> using just three seconds of sampled audio from a real person.</p> <h2>How can you defend against a scam?</h2> <p>First and foremost, <strong>verify identity</strong>. Find another way to contact the person to verify who they are. For example, you can call a generic number for the business and ask to be connected.</p> <p>In the face of rampant voice deepfakes, it can be helpful to <strong>agree on a “safe word” with your family members</strong>. If they call from an unrecognised number and you don’t hear the safe word just hang up.</p> <p>Watch out for <strong>pressure tactics</strong>. If the conversation is moving too fast, remember that someone else’s problem is not yours to solve. Stop and run the problem past a colleague or family member for a sanity check. A legitimate business will have no problem with you doing this.</p> <p>Lastly, if you are not sure about even the slightest detail, the simplest thing is to hang up or not respond. If you really owe a tax debt, the ATO will write to you.<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/223959/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mike-johnstone-106590"><em>Mike Johnstone</em></a><em>, Security Researcher, Associate Professor in Resilient Systems, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/georgia-psaroulis-1513050">Georgia Psaroulis</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan 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-psychological-warfare-tactics-do-scammers-use-and-how-can-you-protect-yourself-223959">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Climate change is forcing Australians to weigh up relocating. How do they make that difficult decision?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justine-dandy-121273">Justine Dandy</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/zoe-leviston-823">Zoe Leviston</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/climate-whiplash-wild-swings-between-weather-extremes/">Big environmental changes</a> mean ever more Australians will confront the tough choice of whether to move home or risk staying put.</p> <p>Communities in the tropical north are <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/three-aussie-towns-set-to-become-unliveable-due-to-extreme-heat/news-story/a96b36d1be5054d9fe3282ebf18c3431">losing residents</a> as these regions <a href="https://theconversation.com/study-finds-2-billion-people-will-struggle-to-survive-in-a-warming-world-and-these-parts-of-australia-are-most-vulnerable-205927">become hotter and more humid</a>. <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/weather-is-growing-more-extreme-the-pressure-is-on-the-bureau-of-meteorology-to-keep-up-20240111-p5ewms.html">Repeated floods</a> have communities along the east coast questioning their future. Others face <a href="https://theconversation.com/yes-climate-change-is-bringing-bushfires-more-often-but-some-ecosystems-in-australia-are-suffering-the-most-211683">rising bushfire risks</a> that force them to weigh up the <a href="http://www.ohscareer.com.au/archived-news/bushfire-risk-for-those-who-move">difficult decision</a> to move home.</p> <p>However, the decision-making process and relocation opportunities are not the same for everyone. Factors such as socio-economic disadvantage and how we are attached to a place influence decisions to move or stay, where people go and how they experience their new location.</p> <p>Our research, working with other researchers at Edith Cowan University’s <a href="https://www.ecu.edu.au/schools/science/research/strategic-centres/centre-for-people-place-and-planet/overview">Centre for People, Place &amp; Planet</a> and Curtin University, seeks to document when and why people stay or go, and what this means for places and communities. In particular, our research suggests <em>who</em> is more likely to go may leave those who remain even more vulnerable.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oCeYJPwUaTg?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Darwin is already losing residents because of rising heat and humidity.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>We’ve been slow to adapt to increasing impacts</h2> <p>Climate change is global in scale and <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/">has compounding effects</a>. It is increasing the frequency and intensity of disasters and extreme weather events such as heatwaves, fires, storms and floods. It is also accelerating environmental changes such as soil erosion, salinisation of waterways, loss of biodiversity, and land and water degradation.</p> <p>Both sudden disruptions and gradual pervasive decline <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-019-01463-1">have impacts</a> on the places where we live, work and play. So far, there has been <a href="https://thefifthestate.com.au/urbanism/climate-change-news/ahuri-rips-into-federal-government-inaction-on-helping-cities-adapt-to-climate-change/">little effective government action</a> to improve <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/411">climate change adaptation in Australia</a>.</p> <p>As we have seen in recent times in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/09/land-swaps-relocations-or-rebuilds-lismore-community-grapples-with-its-future">Lismore</a>, New South Wales, and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-01-17/mooroopna-shepparton-flood-residents-consider-staying-or-leaving/103324882">northern Victoria</a>, for example, living in some flood-prone locations will become <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-23/flood-insurance-costing-30000-dollars-where-not-to-build/13268966">unaffordable due to insurance costs</a> or simply uninsurable.</p> <p>In other locations, different reasons will force residents to leave. It might be because environmental change threatens their livelihoods, or they can’t tolerate new conditions such as more long heatwaves or less reliable freshwater supplies. Others might not be able to endure the threat of another disaster.</p> <p>In sum, living in the place they called home will not be sustainable.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eqafq5UV5Iw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Repeated floods are forcing people in towns like Rochester in Victoria to contemplate whether they can afford to stay.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>What factors affect the decision to stay or go?</h2> <p>Not everyone can relocate to cooler or safer places. Systemic inequalities mean some people are more at risk from environmental change and have <a href="https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/wcc.565">less capacity</a> to respond than others. These vulnerable people include children (both <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2024-01-25/climate-change-threatens-health-of-babies-in-utero/103362510">before and after birth</a>), women, older people, people on low incomes and/or with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other cultural and/or linguistic minorities.</p> <p>In addition, housing is more affordable in areas that are hotter or flood-prone. This makes it more likely to be owned or rented by people with fewer financial resources, compounding their disadvantage.</p> <p>For First Nations peoples and communities, connections to and responsibilities for places (Country) are intimately intertwined with identity. For them, the <a href="https://www.cell.com/one-earth/pdf/S2590-3322(20)30250-5.pdf">impacts of climate change</a>, colonisation and resettlement interact, further complicating the question of relocation.</p> <p><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-019-01463-1">Place attachment</a> – the emotional bond between people and their environment – might suppress the urge to move. But environmental change might fundamentally alter the characteristics that make a place unique. What we once loved and enjoyed <a href="https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/wcc.476">has then disappeared</a>.</p> <p>This sort of change <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953612003255">impacts human health</a> and results in feelings of <a href="https://www.cell.com/one-earth/pdf/S2590-3322(20)30250-5.pdf">loss and grief</a>. It can prompt people to decide to leave.</p> <h2>So who stays and who leaves?</h2> <p>In our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666623523000028#sec0014">research</a>, we found that when residents imagined the loss of what they valued about Perth’s environment this significantly increased their intentions to move away and significantly decreased place attachment. They nominated bushland, beaches, fauna and flora, and the climate/weather as characteristics they valued and feared changing or losing as climate change progressed.</p> <p>One study participant wrote: "It would be hotter and much more unpleasant in summer. I would miss the trees, plants and birds. I would hate living in a concrete jungle without the green spaces we have here. I would miss being able to cycle or walk to the local lakes to connect to nature and feel peaceful."</p> <p>But social factors matter too. We found people who valued characteristics of Perth such as social relationships and lifestyle were more likely to stay as they tended to have less reduction in their place attachment.</p> <p>We also found place attachment was associated with people acting to protect that place, such as protesting environmentally destructive policies. Yet people who were more likely to take such actions were also <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-019-01463-1">more likely to leave</a>.</p> <p>This could make the remaining community more vulnerable to further unwanted change. That’s because those who can afford to relocate are usually the ones with the resources – psychological, social, political and financial – to take action to protect their homes, neighbourhoods and cities.</p> <h2>Proper planning for adaptation is long overdue</h2> <p>Climate change impacts everyone. It causes significant economic and non-economic losses for both individuals and communities.</p> <p>Many locations are becoming unliveable. A changing climate and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-10-21/dark-roofs-raising-the-heat-in-australian-new-suburbs/102990304">inappropriately built or located housing</a> interact to create conditions where some people can or should no longer stay.</p> <p>Some will be prompted or forced to move, but not everyone has that capacity. Furthermore, relocation pressures have environmental, infrastructure and social <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/">consequences for the places to which they move</a>.</p> <p>The housing crisis in Australia adds to resource constraints and their impacts for individuals and communities. Relocating can also disrupt psychological, emotional, social and cultural connections that are crucial for people’s wellbeing.</p> <p>We need co-ordinated, well-governed, long-term planning for people to move in the face of environmental change to ensure equitable and positive transitions for individuals and communities.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The authors wish to acknowledge the following contributors to this research: Professor Pierre Horwitz and Dr Naomi Godden (Centre for People, Place &amp; Planet, ECU), Dr Deirdre Drake (School of Arts and Humanities, ECU) and Dr Francesca Perugia (School of Design and the Built Environment, Curtin University).</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/221971/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/justine-dandy-121273">J<em>ustine Dandy</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, Centre for People, Place &amp; Planet, and School of Arts and Humanities, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/zoe-leviston-823">Zoe Leviston</a>, Research Fellow, College of Health and Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>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-forcing-australians-to-weigh-up-relocating-how-do-they-make-that-difficult-decision-221971">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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How to navigate a parent’s cancer diagnosis – like Princes William and Harry will now have to do

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lydia-harkin-1510450">Lydia Harkin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/nottingham-trent-university-1338">Nottingham Trent University</a></em></p> <p>King Charles’ <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68209998">cancer diagnosis</a> means the royal family has joined the approximately 3 million families in the UK affected by the disease. His family has already gathered around in support. William, Prince of Wales, has taken over some public duties for his father. And younger son Harry, who lives in California, flew to the UK to visit after the diagnosis was announced.</p> <p>If you, like William and Harry, are navigating a parent’s diagnosis, you are not alone. Around 400,000 people are <a href="https://www.macmillan.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/research/cancer-statistics-fact-sheet">diagnosed</a> each year. This can be a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.4287">frightening</a> and difficult time for families, and can change family dynamics.</p> <p>Adult children may find themselves offering emotional and practical support for a parent in a way that has not been required before, through managing medications and symptoms, travel to medical appointments, help with meal preparation and financial support.</p> <p>It can be rewarding to support a loved one and an important way to actively work together, but it can also be stressful. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.4056">Studies have found</a> that family caregivers are generally more anxious and more likely to hide their emotional distress when compared with their family member with cancer.</p> <h2>Being a supportive family, even in conflict</h2> <p>Family support can act as a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2333">“social cure”</a> against the stress of a life-changing illness. The social cure theory proposes that being a part of a social group (or multiple groups) has benefits for our health and wellbeing. Social groups, particularly those with whom we strongly identify, like families, provide support and help us to combat times of stress.</p> <p>The key psychological component here is that people feel they belong to and identify with their groups. While undergoing cancer treatment, someone may not be able to participate in their usual social groups – through work or hobbies – as much as they used to. These groups may then become incompatible with a person’s new identity as a cancer survivor.</p> <p>Of course, not all families work together harmoniously, and may be in conflict through divorce, separation or estrangement. Social psychologists have <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12155">found that</a> “incompatible” social groups can lead to poorer mental health.</p> <p>Separated families can still come together and be a helpful social group, but they must offer the kind of support that their loved one needs. To figure this out, it is important to think about the person’s <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2333">identity</a> within the family.</p> <p>For example, a father may view his identity as an advisor, but a cancer diagnosis requires him to be cared for and to seek advice. He may feel a sense of loss for his typical family role, a loss of meaning and of control.</p> <p>However, if his family communicates openly about the difficulties they are all facing, the father may be able to continue to advise his family, in addition to receiving their advice. This can help to maintain his sense of identity as an advisor within his family, while navigating a new status as a cancer survivor.</p> <h2>Communication and support networks</h2> <p>Cancer throws patients and their loved ones into a complex health system, often for the first time, where medical decisions and terminology become important every day. Understanding <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2014.03.012">the “language of cancer”</a> can help families feel more in control after a diagnosis.</p> <p>Equally important is communication within a family. Talking about the cancer, rather than treating it as a taboo topic, can improve <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2020.101841">mental health for both patients and their families</a>. It may also be an opportunity to empower patients and their loved ones to seek outside support, such as counselling.</p> <p>Families spread across geographical distances (like the royal family) can offer emotional support through regular phone calls or online tools. During the pandemic, <a href="https://doi.org/10.2196/42172">I developed</a> and trialled an app to help older adults combat loneliness. The app allowed them to see a digital map of their social groups, including family members.</p> <p>Your family member with cancer may feel like a burden. This is a common fear in older adulthood generally. But reminding them of how many people are in their lives – and how many people they support – can combat this feeling.</p> <p>Social media is one way to get more involved in these reciprocal support networks. In my work, families affected by cancer have reported using online communities to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-017-0616-1">better understand what their family is going through</a>. Private social media groups <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/2055207619898993">dedicated to illness</a> can be helpful spaces to meet other patients and families, share experiences and normalise cancer.</p> <p>Cancer communities exist on <a href="https://doi.org/10.4103%2Fijpvm.IJPVM_36_19">Instagram</a>, on <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s00345-018-2254-2">YouTube and X/Twitter</a> and through registered cancer charities like <a href="https://www.macmillan.org.uk/">Macmillan Cancer Support</a>. These online resources all provide a way to build a network following a cancer diagnosis.</p> <p>Just as group identification is important within families, having more groups to connect to can act as a buffer during stressful times and help you all cope with your new reality.<!-- 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/223214/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/lydia-harkin-1510450"><em>Lydia Harkin</em></a><em>, Principal Lecturer in 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/how-to-navigate-a-parents-cancer-diagnosis-like-princes-william-and-harry-will-now-have-to-do-223214">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Why can’t WE do this?! UK company unveils "Grans Go Free" flights

<p>EasyJet Holidays has unveiled their "first of its kind" offer allowing older relatives to travel for free on family bookings to popular European destinations, including Spain, Greece and Italy. </p> <p>The offer was announced during the final week of the easyJet Holidays Big Orange Sale last week, where customers could get up to £400 off. </p> <p>The move was made after a survey they conducted found that half of families have never holidayed abroad with grandparents.</p> <p>From the survey of 2,000 British adults, half of them said they regret not spending more time with grandparents and hoped to travel with them in their upcoming holidays. </p> <p>"We're proud to offer thousands of free kids' places, but we feel it's time to recognise the grandparents," easyJet Holidays Chief Operating Officer, Matt Callaghan said. </p> <p>"This research shows how important grandparent and grandchild relationships are and how much can be learned from making time for them."</p> <p>The tour operator hopes to encourage people in the UK to take a "3G" holiday - the term used for getaways with three or more generations. </p> <p>They found that seventy-seven per cent of the people surveyed agreed that the bond between grandparents and grandchildren is one of the most special relationships within a family. </p> <p>73 percent of these people also said that they would use the holiday opportunity to learn more about their grandparents' lives, and almost half of them want to benefit from their grandparents' wisdom. </p> <p>The most popular destinations for multi-generational holidays abroad are Spain (18 per cent), Italy and France, which both sit at 13 per cent. </p> <p>Limited spaces for the offer were made available and to qualify, the grandparent had to travel as part of a family booking with at least one child, and provide proof of age and relation had to be provided upon arrival at the hotel. </p> <p>The offer ended on the 5th of February, but it does make us wonder, when will Australia follow in their footsteps?</p> <p><em>Image: EasyJet/ Getty</em></p>

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How much weight do you actually need to lose? It might be a lot less than you think

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-fuller-219993">Nick Fuller</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>If you’re one of the <a href="https://www.finder.com.au/new-years-resolutions-statistics">one in three</a> Australians whose New Year’s resolution involved losing weight, it’s likely you’re now contemplating what weight-loss goal you should actually be working towards.</p> <p>But type “setting a weight loss goal” into any online search engine and you’ll likely be left with more questions than answers.</p> <p>Sure, the many weight-loss apps and calculators available will make setting this goal seem easy. They’ll typically use a body mass index (BMI) calculator to confirm a “healthy” weight and provide a goal weight based on this range.</p> <p>Your screen will fill with trim-looking influencers touting diets that will help you drop ten kilos in a month, or ads for diets, pills and exercise regimens promising to help you effortlessly and rapidly lose weight.</p> <p>Most sales pitches will suggest you need to lose substantial amounts of weight to be healthy – making weight loss seem an impossible task. But the research shows you don’t need to lose a lot of weight to achieve health benefits.</p> <h2>Using BMI to define our target weight is flawed</h2> <p>We’re a society fixated on numbers. So it’s no surprise we use measurements and equations to score our weight. The most popular is BMI, a measure of our body weight-to-height ratio.</p> <p>BMI classifies bodies as underweight, normal (healthy) weight, overweight or obese and can be a useful tool for weight and health screening.</p> <p>But it shouldn’t be used as the single measure of what it means to be a healthy weight when we set our weight-loss goals. This is <a href="https://theconversation.com/using-bmi-to-measure-your-health-is-nonsense-heres-why-180412">because</a> it:</p> <ul> <li> <p>fails to consider two critical factors related to body weight and health – body fat percentage and distribution</p> </li> <li> <p>does not account for significant differences in body composition based on gender, ethnicity and age.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>How does losing weight benefit our health?</h2> <p>Losing just 5–10% of our body weight – between 6 and 12kg for someone weighing 120kg – can significantly improve our health in four key ways.</p> <p><strong>1. Reducing cholesterol</strong></p> <p>Obesity increases the chances of having too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – also known as bad cholesterol – because carrying excess weight changes how our bodies produce and manage lipoproteins and triglycerides, another fat molecule we use for energy.</p> <p>Having too much bad cholesterol and high triglyceride levels is not good, narrowing our arteries and limiting blood flow, which increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.</p> <p>But <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4987606/">research</a> shows improvements in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels are evident with just 5% weight loss.</p> <p><strong>2. Lowering blood pressure</strong></p> <p>Our blood pressure is considered high if it reads more than 140/90 on at least two occasions.</p> <p>Excess weight is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082272/">linked to</a> high blood pressure in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082272/">several ways</a>, including changing how our sympathetic nervous system, blood vessels and hormones regulate our blood pressure.</p> <p>Essentially, high blood pressure makes our heart and blood vessels work harder and less efficiently, damaging our arteries over time and increasing our risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.</p> <p>Like the improvements in cholesterol, a 5% weight loss <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21358">improves</a> both systolic blood pressure (the first number in the reading) and diastolic blood pressure (the second number).</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.hyp.0000094221.86888.ae">meta-analysis of 25 trials</a> on the influence of weight reduction on blood pressure also found every kilo of weight loss improved blood pressure by one point.</p> <p><strong>3. Reducing risk for type 2 diabetes</strong></p> <p>Excess body weight is the primary manageable risk factor for type 2 diabetes, particularly for people carrying a lot of visceral fat around the abdomen (belly fat).</p> <p>Carrying this excess weight can cause fat cells to release pro-inflammatory chemicals that disrupt how our bodies regulate and use the insulin produced by our pancreas, leading to high blood sugar levels.</p> <p>Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious medical conditions if it’s not carefully managed, including damaging our heart, blood vessels, major organs, eyes and nervous system.</p> <p><a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa012512">Research</a> shows just 7% weight loss reduces risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.</p> <p><strong>4. Reducing joint pain and the risk of osteoarthritis</strong></p> <p>Carrying excess weight can cause our joints to become inflamed and damaged, making us more prone to osteoarthritis.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21425246/">Observational studies</a> show being overweight doubles a person’s risk of developing osteoarthritis, while obesity increases the risk fourfold.</p> <p>Small amounts of weight loss alleviate this stress on our joints. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15986358/">In one study</a> each kilogram of weight loss resulted in a fourfold decrease in the load exerted on the knee in each step taken during daily activities.</p> <h2>Focus on long-term habits</h2> <p>If you’ve ever tried to lose weight but found the kilos return almost as quickly as they left, you’re not alone.</p> <p>An <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5764193/">analysis</a> of 29 long-term weight-loss studies found participants regained more than half of the weight lost within two years. Within five years, they regained more than 80%.</p> <p>When we lose weight, we take our body out of its comfort zone and trigger its survival response. It then counteracts weight loss, triggering several <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25896063/">physiological responses</a> to defend our body weight and “survive” starvation.</p> <p>Just as the problem is evolutionary, the solution is evolutionary too. Successfully losing weight long-term comes down to:</p> <ul> <li> <p>losing weight in small manageable chunks you can sustain, specifically periods of weight loss, followed by periods of weight maintenance, and so on, until you achieve your goal weight</p> </li> <li> <p>making gradual changes to your lifestyle to ensure you form habits that last a lifetime.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Setting a goal to reach a healthy weight can feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to be a pre-defined weight according to a “healthy” BMI range. Losing 5–10% of our body weight will result in immediate health benefits.</p> <p><em>At the Boden Group, Charles Perkins Centre, we are studying the science of obesity and running clinical trials for weight loss. You can <a href="https://redcap.sydney.edu.au/surveys/?s=RKTXPPPHKY">register here</a> to express your interest.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217287/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-fuller-219993">Nick Fuller</a>, Charles Perkins Centre Research Program Leader, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: 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-much-weight-do-you-actually-need-to-lose-it-might-be-a-lot-less-than-you-think-217287">original article</a>.</em></p>

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