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Study finds new link for increased risk of Alzheimer’s

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

Caring

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Judge finds Bruce Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins and dismisses Network 10 defamation case. How did it play out?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691">Brendan Clift</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Bruce Lehrmann has lost his defamation suit against Channel Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson after the media defendants proved, on the balance of probabilities, that Lehrmann raped his colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.</p> <p>After a trial lasting around a month, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee – an experienced defamation judge – concluded that both Lehrmann and Higgins had credibility issues, but ultimately <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2024/2024fca0369">he was persuaded</a> that Lehrmann raped Higgins, as she’d alleged and he’d denied.</p> <h2>Criminal trials by proxy</h2> <p>Ordinarily, charges like rape would be resolved through the criminal courts, but Lehrmann’s criminal trial was <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-27/jury-discharged-in-trial-of-bruce-lehrmann-brittany-higgins/101583486">aborted</a> in October 2022 after juror misconduct. The charges against him were soon <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-sexual-assault-charge-dropped-dpp-confirms/news-story/3f82dd388d2cfa38680f7d4f4ceb1c5e">dropped</a>, nominally over concerns for Higgins’ mental health.</p> <p>Higgins, however, foresaw civil proceedings and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/05/brittany-higgins-volunteered-to-be-defamation-trial-witness-as-she-would-not-let-rapist-become-a-millionaire-ntwnfb">offered to testify</a> should they arise. That they did, as Lehrmann, free from the burden of any proven crime, sued several media outlets for defamation over their reporting into the allegations (<a href="https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/lehrmann">the ABC</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/06/abc-agrees-to-pay-bruce-lehrmann-150000-to-settle-defamation-claim-court-documents-reveal">News Corp</a> both settled out of court).</p> <p><iframe class="flourish-embed-iframe" style="width: 100%; height: 550px;" title="Interactive or visual content" src="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/17195035/embed" width="100%" height="400" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" sandbox="allow-same-origin allow-forms allow-scripts allow-downloads allow-popups allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation"></iframe></p> <div style="width: 100%!; margin-top: 4px!important; text-align: right!important;"><a class="flourish-credit" href="https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17195035/?utm_source=embed&amp;utm_campaign=visualisation/17195035" target="_top"><img src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/made_with_flourish.svg" alt="Made with Flourish" /></a></div> <p>Like Ben Roberts-Smith’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">recent defamation suit</a> against the former Fairfax papers, this became another case of civil proceedings testing grave allegations in the absence of a criminal law outcome.</p> <p>The form of proceedings made for some key differences with the aborted criminal trial. In criminal cases, prosecutors are ethically bound to act with moderation in pursuing a conviction, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while defendants have the right to silence. By contrast, this trial featured detailed accounts from both sides as each sought to convince, in essence, that their contentions were likely to be correct.</p> <p>Also like the Roberts-Smith case, live streaming of the trial generated very high levels of public engagement. Today’s stream reached audiences of more than 45,000 people. It gave us the chance to assess who and what we believe, and to scrutinise the parties’ claims and the media’s reporting. The Federal Court doesn’t have juries, but we, the public, acted as a de facto panel of peers.</p> <p>We saw accusations and denials, revealing <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-23/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-ten-lisa-wilkinson-ends/103260752">cross-examination</a> of the protagonists, witness testimony from colleagues, CCTV footage from nightclubs to Parliament House complete with lip-reading, expert testimony on alcohol consumption and consent, and lawyers constructing timelines which supported or poked holes in competing versions of events.</p> <p>The complexity of high-stakes legal proceedings was on display, with Justice Lee issuing many interim decisions on questions of procedure and evidence. Whenever transparency was at stake, it won.</p> <p>The preference for full disclosure led to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/apr/02/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-10-fresh-evidence-bid-lisa-wilkinson-brittany-higgins-delay-ntwnfb">case being re-opened</a> at the eleventh hour to call former Channel 7 producer Taylor Auerbach as a witness, providing a denouement that the judge called “sordid”, but which had little relevance to the final result.</p> <h2>An argument over the truth</h2> <p>Lehrmann had the burden of proving that the defendants published matter harmful to his reputation. That matter was Wilkinson’s interview with Higgins on Channel Ten’s The Project in which the allegations were made.</p> <p>A statement is only defamatory if it’s untrue, but in Australian law, the publisher bears the burden of proving truth, should they opt for that defence. And more serious allegations usually require more compelling proof, as the law views them as inherently more unlikely.</p> <p>This can be onerous for a defamation defendant, but it also involves risk for the plaintiff, should the defendant embark on an odyssey of truth-telling yet more damaging to the plaintiff’s image. That happened to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65717684">Ben Roberts-Smith</a> and it happened to Lehrmann here.</p> <p>On the other hand, if the media hasn’t done their homework, as in <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2023/2023fca1223">Heston Russell’s case</a> against the ABC (also presided over by Justice Lee), the complainant can be vindicated.</p> <p>This case was a manifestation of Lehrmann’s professed desire to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/26/how-bruce-lehrmanns-media-interviews-cost-him-his-anonymity-in-toowoomba-case">light some fires</a>”. Few players in this extended saga have emerged without scars, and here he burned his own fingers, badly.</p> <p>As Justice Lee put it, Lehrmann, “having escaped the lion’s den [of criminal prosecution], made the mistake of coming back to get his hat”.</p> <h2>How was the case decided?</h2> <p>Lehrmann denied having sex with Higgins, whereas Higgins alleged there had been non-consensual sex. The defamatory nature of the publication centred on the claim of rape, so that was what the media defendants sought to prove.</p> <p>This left open the curious possibility that consensual sex might have taken place: if so, Lehrmann would have brought his case on a false premise (there had been no sex), but the media would have failed to defend it (by not proving a lack of consent), resulting in a Lehrmann win.</p> <p>That awkward scenario did not arise. The court found sex did in fact take place, Higgins in her heavily-inebriated and barely-conscious state did not give consent, and Lehrmann was so intent on his gratification that he ignored the requirement of consent.</p> <p>Justice Lee found Lehrmann to be a persistent, self-interested liar, whereas Higgin’s credibility issues were of lesser degree, some symptomatic of a person piecing together a part-remembered trauma. The judge drew strongly on the evidence of certain neutral parties who could testify to incidents or words spoken in close proximity to the events.</p> <h2>Defamation laws favour the aggrieved</h2> <p>Australian defamation law has historically favoured plaintiffs and, despite recent <a href="https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/civil/defamation/2021-law-reform/">rebalancing attempts</a>, it remains a favoured legal weapon for those with the resources to use it.</p> <p>This includes our political class, who sue their critics for defamation with unhealthy frequency for a democracy. In the United States, public figures don’t have it so easy: to win they must prove their critics were lying.</p> <p>In Australia, the media sometimes succeeds in proving truth, but contesting defamation proceedings comes at great financial cost and takes an emotional toll on the journalists involved.</p> <p>Nor can a true claim always be proven to a court’s satisfaction, given the rules of evidence and the fact that sources may be reluctant to testify or protected by a reporter’s guarantee of confidentiality.</p> <p>But this case demonstrates that publishers with an appetite for the legal fight can come out on top.<!-- 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/225891/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/brendan-clift-715691"><em>Brendan Clift</em></a><em>, Lecturer of law, <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/judge-finds-bruce-lehrmann-raped-brittany-higgins-and-dismisses-network-10-defamation-case-how-did-it-play-out-225891">original article</a>.</em></p>

Legal

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"Find that car": Mother of fallen young lawyer speaks out

<p>Mitch East, a vibrant 28-year-old lawyer from New Zealand, lost his life on Sunday in an alleged hit-and-run accident that has sparked a desperate plea from his grieving mother and a heartfelt outcry from those who knew him.</p> <p>Debra East, now in Sydney to grapple with the unimaginable loss of her only child, stood on the roadside where Mitch's life was abruptly taken away. In an emotional <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/find-that-car-mother-of-lawyer-mitch-east-killed-in-sydney-hit-and-run-shares-desperate-plea-as-tributes-flow-c-14013341" target="_blank" rel="noopener">interview with 7NEWS</a>, she expressed her shattered state, saying, "I'm broken. He was my only child... I died too, on Sunday, with him."</p> <p>The pain of a mother losing her child in such a sudden and senseless manner is unfathomable, and her plea to find the perpetrator echoes through the community.</p> <p>Mitch's untimely demise occurred as he stepped out of an Uber onto Fletcher St, just metres away from his home, in the early hours of the morning. It is believed that he was <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/police-investigate-after-young-lawyer-killed-in-cowardly-act" target="_blank" rel="noopener">struck by a car</a>, leaving him with critical injuries that tragically proved fatal. Despite the efforts of emergency responders, Mitch passed away at the scene.</p> <p>The circumstances surrounding Mitch's death point to a hit-and-run incident, with CCTV footage capturing <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/police-investigate-after-young-lawyer-killed-in-cowardly-act" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a white Subaru</a> driving on the street shortly after the accident.</p> <p>Debra East, grappling with grief and disbelief, voiced her anguish, questioning how the driver could have failed to see her son and pleading for assistance in locating the vehicle.</p> <p>“I got up early hours of the morning today and stood on the side of the road to try to understand how they couldn’t have seen him as they were driving up," she said. “I just need you to help the police find that car. Not that it will bring him back to me.”</p> <p>NSW Police Inspector Josh Hogan condemned the act as cowardly, urging the driver to come forward and take responsibility for their actions.</p> <p>Anyone with information about the death is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.</p> <p><em>Images: GoFundMe | NSW Police</em></p>

Family & Pets

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MH370 disappearance 10 years on: can we still find it

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/charitha-pattiaratchi-110101">Charitha Pattiaratchi</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p>It has been ten years since Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH370 <a href="https://theconversation.com/lessons-to-learn-despite-another-report-on-missing-flight-mh370-and-still-no-explanation-100764">disappeared on March 8 2014</a>. To this day it remains one of the biggest aviation mysteries globally.</p> <p>It’s unthinkable that a modern Boeing 777-200ER jetliner with 239 people on board can simply vanish without any explanation. Yet multiple searches in the past decade have still not yielded the main wreckage or the bodies of the victims.</p> <p>At a remembrance event held earlier this week, the Malaysian transport minister announced <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/malaysia-says-mh370-search-must-go-10-years-after-plane-vanished-2024-03-03/">a renewed push for another search</a>.</p> <p>If approved by the Malaysian government, the survey will be conducted by United States seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity, whose efforts were unsuccessful in 2018.</p> <h2>What happened to MH370?</h2> <p>The flight was scheduled to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft within 60 minutes into the flight over the South China Sea.</p> <p>Subsequently, it was tracked by military radar crossing the Malay Peninsula and was last located by radar over the Andaman Sea in the northeastern Indian Ocean.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579774/original/file-20240305-18-vdbysn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579774/original/file-20240305-18-vdbysn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579774/original/file-20240305-18-vdbysn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=375&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579774/original/file-20240305-18-vdbysn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=375&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579774/original/file-20240305-18-vdbysn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=375&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579774/original/file-20240305-18-vdbysn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=471&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579774/original/file-20240305-18-vdbysn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=471&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579774/original/file-20240305-18-vdbysn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=471&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A map of the region showing the initial search areas on 8-16 March." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The planned route, final route and initial search area for MH370 in Southeast Asia.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Malaysia_Airlines_Flight_370#/media/File:MH370_initial_search_Southeast_Asia.svg">Andrew Heenen/Wikimedia Commons</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/">CC BY</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Later, automated satellite communications between the aircraft and British firm’s Inmarsat telecommunications satellite indicated that the plane ended up in the southeast Indian Ocean <a href="https://hub.arcgis.com/datasets/4c94d33cfc144f7d8b78943dee56e29b/explore">along the 7th arc</a> (an arc is a series of coordinates).</p> <p>This became the basis for defining the initial search areas by the Australian Air Transport Safety Bureau. Initial air searches were conducted in the South China Sea and the Andaman Sea.</p> <p>To date, we still don’t know what caused the aircraft’s change of course and disappearance.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579749/original/file-20240305-25-p456o1.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579749/original/file-20240305-25-p456o1.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579749/original/file-20240305-25-p456o1.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579749/original/file-20240305-25-p456o1.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579749/original/file-20240305-25-p456o1.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=338&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579749/original/file-20240305-25-p456o1.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579749/original/file-20240305-25-p456o1.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579749/original/file-20240305-25-p456o1.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=424&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Location of the 7th arc and the origin of debris locations for simulations undertaken by the University of Western Australia.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Google Earth/Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>What have searches for MH370 found so far?</h2> <p>On March 18 2014, ten days after the disappearance of MH370, a search in the southern Indian Ocean <a href="https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2014/considerations-on-defining-the-search-area-mh370">was led by Australia</a>, with participation of aircraft from several countries. This search continued until April 28 and covered an area of 4,500,000 square kilometres of ocean. No debris was found.</p> <p>Two underwater searches of the Indian Ocean, 2,800km off the coast of Western Australia, have also failed to find any evidence of the main crash site.</p> <p>The initial seabed search, led by Australia, covered 120,000 square kilometres and extended 50 nautical miles across the 7th arc. It took 1,046 days and was suspended on January 17 2017.</p> <p>A second search by Ocean Infinity in 2018 <a href="https://oceaninfinity.com/conclusion-of-current-search-for-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh370/">covered over 112,000 square kilometres</a>. It was completed in just over three months but also didn’t locate the wreckage.</p> <h2>What about debris?</h2> <p>While the main crash site still hasn’t been found, several pieces of debris have washed up in the years since the flight’s disappearance.</p> <p>In fact, in June 2015 officials from the Australian Air Transport Safety Bureau determined that debris might arrive in Sumatra, contrary to the ocean currents in the region.</p> <p>The strongest current in the Indian Ocean is the South Equatorial Current. It flows east to west between northern Australia and Madagascar, and debris would be able to cross it.</p> <p>Indeed, on July 30 2015 a large piece of debris – a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaperon">flaperon</a> (moving part of a plane wing) – washed up on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean. It was later confirmed to belong to MH370.</p> <p>Twelve months earlier, using an oceanographic drift model, our University of Western Australia (UWA) modelling team had predicted that any debris originating from the 7th arc would end up in the western Indian Ocean.</p> <p>In subsequent months, additional aircraft debris was found in the western Indian Ocean in Mauritius, Tanzania, Rodrigues, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa.</p> <p>The UWA drift analysis accurately predicted where floating debris from MH370 would beach in the western Indian Ocean. It also guided American adventurer Blaine Gibson and others to directly recover several dozen pieces of debris, three of which <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/where-blaine-gibson-now-malaysia-airlines-mh370-debris-hunter-1787369">have been confirmed</a> to be from MH370, while several others <a href="https://www.airlineratings.com/news/mh370-debris-now-for-the-facts/">are deemed likely</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579756/original/file-20240305-22-q62h9n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579756/original/file-20240305-22-q62h9n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/579756/original/file-20240305-22-q62h9n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=602&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579756/original/file-20240305-22-q62h9n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=602&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579756/original/file-20240305-22-q62h9n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=602&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579756/original/file-20240305-22-q62h9n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=757&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579756/original/file-20240305-22-q62h9n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=757&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/579756/original/file-20240305-22-q62h9n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=757&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A detailed satellite map showing locations of debris found on the shores of Africa and Madagascar." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Predicted locations of landfall from results of University of Western Australia drift modelling. The white dots indicate predicted landfall of the debris. The aggregation of many dots, particularly close to land, is an indication of the density of particles – higher probability of debris making landfall. These are highlighted by red circles.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Charitha Pattiaratchi/UWA, Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>To date, these debris finds in the western Indian ocean are the only physical evidence found related to MH370.</p> <p>It is also independent verification that the crash occurred close to the 7th arc, as any debris would initially flow northwards and then to the west, transported by the prevailing ocean currents. These results are consistent with other drift studies undertaken by independent researchers globally.</p> <h2>Why a new search for MH370 now?</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the ocean is a chaotic place, and even oceanographic drift models cannot pinpoint the exact location of the crash site.</p> <p>The proposed new search by Ocean Infinity has significantly narrowed down the target area within latitudes 36°S and 33°S. This is approximately 50km to the south of the locations where UWA modelling indicated the release of debris along the 7th arc. If the search does not locate the wreckage, it could be extended north.</p> <p>Since the initial underwater searches, technology has tremendously improved. Ocean Infinity is using a fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles with improved resolution. The proposed search will also use remotely controlled surface vessels.</p> <p>In the area where the search is to take place, the ocean is around 4,000 metres deep. The water temperatures are 1–2°C, with low currents. This means that even after ten years, the debris field would be relatively intact.</p> <p>Therefore, there is a high probability that the wreckage can still be found. If a future search is successful, this would bring closure not just to the families of those who perished, but also the thousands of people who have been involved in the search efforts.<!-- 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/224954/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/charitha-pattiaratchi-110101"><em>Charitha Pattiaratchi</em></a><em>, Professor of Coastal Oceanography, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/mh370-disappearance-10-years-on-can-we-still-find-it-224954">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Major festival event cancelled after deadly find

<p>Mardi Gras Fair Day has been cancelled four days out from the event after asbestos was discovered in Victoria Park, Sydney CBD. </p> <p>The organisers of the event, were informed of the site's contamination on Monday, with EPA officers finding positive results for bonded asbestos after undertaking tests earlier this week. </p> <p>Mardi Gras chef executive Gil Beckwith said that they are heartbroken after the decision was made, but the community's wellbeing is more important. </p> <p>“Fair Day is one of our most loved events, and is attended by over 70,000 people each year,” Beckwith said. </p> <p>“It breaks our heart to see this Sunday not go ahead, but given the safety concerns, we must put our communities’ wellbeing first.</p> <p>“The rest of our festival continues unchanged, offering many chances over the 17 days for our communities to come together in celebration and solidarity.”</p> <p>Other highlights including the Mardi Gras Parade and Bondi Beach Party will still go ahead as planned. </p> <p>This comes after the EPA confirmed that there is a widespread asbestos contamination with 22 sites across Sydney being affected, prompting the closure of parks, building sites, schools and train stations. </p> <p>Asbestos is a fibrous substance that can be trapped in the lungs if it's breathed in, and can lead to an increased risk in developing lung, ovary and throat cancer, according to the cancer council. </p> <p>Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said that it was an “incredibly disappointing” decision.</p> <p>“The NSW government and the EPA must make sure this never happens again,” she said. </p> <p>Asbestos has been found in two other city parks including Belmore Park in Haymarket and Harmony Park in Surry Hills. </p> <p>The Sydenham to Bankstown Rail Corridor sites including Campsie, Hurlstone Park, Dulwich Hill, Belmore, Wiley Park, Punchbowl and Marrickville have also been affected, with licensed removalists working hard to clear the sites. </p> <p>Over the coming week 32 more parks will be closed off, as they conduct more tests for contamination. </p> <p>“We urge everyone to avoid the mulched garden beds and mulched areas under trees at these parks while the inspections are being carried out,” a City of Sydney spokesperson said.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Supermarket worker finds 2000 Olympics relic between the shelves

<p dir="ltr">A worker at an Aussie supermarket has discovered a relic of Australian culture that is over two decades old. </p> <p dir="ltr">While moving some old shelves in the grocery store as they prepared for renovations, the supermarket worker was shocked to discover a long-expired chocolate bar that was released for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. </p> <p dir="ltr">Posting about the discovery on a Facebook page called Old Shops Australia, a man posted about his wife’s unusual find. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My wife works in a supermarket and they were moving the shelving around and this was stuck between two shelves. Still wrapped up with chocolate inside,” the man said. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 'Sydney 2000 Games Story Block' had the three characters, Syd the platypus, Millie the echidna and Olly the Kookaburra on the front. </p> <p dir="ltr">It also had one of six collectable Olympic Games story book inside the wrapper, with the chocolate expiring on July 30th 2001. </p> <p dir="ltr">Images of the almost-forgotten treat have been circulating online triggering old memories in thousands of Aussies. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person noted the wrapper was made out of paper and foil rather than the plastic used today. </p> <p dir="ltr">Others pointed out the generous size of the chocolate block which is 250g compared to the 180g bars available now. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh wow!! This brings back memories!! A near 24 year old block of chocolate!! Would anyone be up for tasting it?! Wonder how much it's worth?! How long since the supermarket had a good clean and update?! So many questions!” one woman asked. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Partly want this to go to a museum, partly just wanna see it unwrapped,” a second wrote.    </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oof, right in the nostalgia,” a third said and another chimed in, “Mouldy as hell. I wonder what the story book looks like.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Finding joy at age 100: Talking to centenarians about living their best life at any age

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/heather-joyce-nelson-1440914">Heather Joyce Nelson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/beverlee-ziefflie-1445320">Beverlee Ziefflie</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/saskatchewan-polytechnic-5681">Saskatchewan Polytechnic</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paula-mayer-1445321">Paula Mayer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/saskatchewan-polytechnic-5681">Saskatchewan Polytechnic</a></em></p> <p>Aging is seen as a period of loss, and there are unhelpful <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/10-myths-about-aging">myths about older adults</a>. Myths lead to treatable conditions being considered normal parts of aging, including cognitive decline, dementia, depression and loneliness. Some even consider exercise dangerous in older adults.</p> <p>At the same time, mainstream media promotes the message that <a href="https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2017.58015">being young is central to a person’s value</a>. These ideas lead to ageism and older adults being seen as lesser.</p> <p>After spending time with six female centenarians in assisted living facilities, our research team — which included four nursing researchers and a documentary filmmaker — learned there is plenty still worth living for.</p> <p>Centenarians are a small but growing segment of the population with <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/daily-quotidien/220928/dq220928c-eng.pdf?st=LrkfjZE_">13,844 centenarians in Canada</a>, and our findings debunk myths about the experience of aging.</p> <p>We asked the centenarians questions about what brings them joy and how they plan for the future because we wanted to learn how the very elderly plan for and find ways to live their best lives. The results of this study were <a href="https://vimeo.com/showcase/looking-forward-at-100">turned into a 32-minute documentary</a> that captures participants’ long and interesting lives and offers insight into continued meaning experienced by centenarians in their daily lives. Three of the centenarians died shortly after the interviews took place.</p> <h2>Long and interesting lives</h2> <p>The participants were born between the years 1919 and 1922. They were children during the Great Depression and young adults during the Second World War.</p> <p>One of the women helped build bullet casings and worked on the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/technology/Lancaster-airplane">Lancaster bomber</a>. Another woman helped her husband protect the blueprints of the ill-fated <a href="https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/avro-arrow">Avro Arrow aircraft</a> when he brought them home from work. Two women lost their husbands when their children were small and had to go to work to support their families. They all experienced love and adventure.</p> <p>Our team was fascinated by their stories and wanted to further explore what their lives look like today.</p> <p>Betty, 101, saw happiness as a choice. “I don’t know what’s really to complain about. I went through life staying happy,” she said.</p> <h2>Joy and challenges</h2> <p>This study used a research method called <a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/151684840/Braun-Clarke-2006-Using-Thematic-Analysis">thematic analysis</a> to find four themes: Finding Joy, Act your Age, Looking Forward and Putting Challenges into Perspective.</p> <p>The centenarians found joy each day and enjoyed the little things such as activities, visits and treats. Betty enjoyed cheating at solitaire and Jean, 100, played the piano. Clementina, 101, had fun gambling and Joyce, 100, continued to write stories and watch her grandchildren in music concerts.</p> <p>Family was central to their lives and they enjoyed spending time with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Two of the women stated that raising their children was the biggest accomplishment in their lives.</p> <p>The centenarians also found great joy in reminiscing about their interesting lives. However, one of the challenges was that there was no one left alive who had the same shared experiences.</p> <h2>Limitations</h2> <p>The centenarians were constrained by the limitations of society, their bodies and their self-perceptions. “You have to act your age,” said Clementina. She physically described this phenomenon by clasping her hands together in her lap and sitting still.</p> <p>Some participants found life to be boring at 100 compared to their lives as younger adults. They had limited opportunities to do what they would like. “We had homes,” said Joyce, 100, describing how they had known better lives, which made it hard to accept the constraints of their current existence.</p> <p>In spite of these feelings, many of the participants continued to be busy and live life fully despite limitations. Jean, despite needing a wheelchair for mobility, continues to do people’s taxes for a volunteer organization, plays piano for church services and leads choirs within her facility.</p> <p>“I am constantly rebelling against my situation physically,” she said.</p> <p>The other women in this study also continued to challenge norms of what their age and disabilities meant. Joyce writes and submits short stories for publication, and has a poem in the war archives in Ottawa.</p> <p>Assisted living facilities often prioritize resident safety, but this can come at a cost to personal freedom. Some residents only leave their facility accompanied by a facility employee or a family member. Clementina rebelled against this restriction and at the age of 97, snuck out of her assisted living facility in a cab to go to the casino, pretending that she was going to meet her son.</p> <p>All of the participants put their life challenges into perspective. They all had lost spouses, friends and some had lost their children. “I was broken,” Clementina said about losing her husband.</p> <p>Christine, 102, was asked how she managed after losing her husband when her children were still small. “I am still here,” she said.</p> <h2>The future</h2> <p>Most of the centenarians had few plans for themselves for the future and were more interested in leading their day-to-day lives. Betty jokingly described the inevitability of her death and that she was “looking for the bucket.” Most described being prepared to die except for Jean, who laughed and said she didn’t have time to die. “I have too many plans.”</p> <p>The centenarians looked to the future of their families and the larger community and entrusted the next generation to make good choices.</p> <p>Participants in this study had long and interesting lives and continued to find meaning each day. This study supports the idea that older adults continue to lead engaging lives and that we need to support older adults to live their best lives at any age.</p> <p><em>This article was also co-authored by journalist and filmmaker Kelly-Anne Riess and retired nursing instructor Susan Page.</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/206852/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/heather-joyce-nelson-1440914"><em>Heather Joyce Nelson</em></a><em>, Assistant Professor of Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-regina-3498">University of Regina</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/beverlee-ziefflie-1445320">Beverlee Ziefflie</a>, Instructor, Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/saskatchewan-polytechnic-5681">Saskatchewan Polytechnic</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paula-mayer-1445321">Paula Mayer</a>, Associate Research Scientist, Nursing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/saskatchewan-polytechnic-5681">Saskatchewan Polytechnic</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/finding-joy-at-age-100-talking-to-centenarians-about-living-their-best-life-at-any-age-206852">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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10 dumb hiding spots burglars always find

<p><strong>Under the mattress</strong></p> <p>Burglars will make a beeline to the room with the most valuables. “The good stop is always going to be in the master bedroom,” says Chris McGoey, CPP, CSP, CAM, president of <a href="http://www.crimedoctor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">McGoey Security Consulting.</a></p> <p>“That’s where you have your clothes, your jewellery, your extra cash, your prescriptions – anything of value.” Hiding things under the mattress is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so a thief will likely check there for hidden treasures, he says.</p> <p><strong>Bedroom closet</strong></p> <p>A thief might rummage through your entire closet – pockets and all – looking for cash or other valuables. If you do decide to store valuables in your closet, leave them in a box purposely mislabelled with a boring name (think: “uni textbooks 1980” or “baby clothes”) to keep sticky fingers out, suggests McGoey.</p> <p><strong>Dresser drawers</strong></p> <p>While burglars are in your bedroom, a jewellery box on top of the dresser is a hot commodity. Even if you don’t store your jewellery in plain sight, a thief will probably hunt around in dresser drawers for a shoebox or other unique box that could be filled with watches, jewels, and other valuables, says Robert Siciliano, CSP, security analyst with <a href="https://www.hotspotshield.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hotspot Shield</a>.</p> <p>Instead of putting your high-value belongings in an obvious box, ball them up in a sock, he suggests. Pick a pair with a bright pattern that will stand out to you but won’t look fishy to a crook.</p> <p><strong>Portable safe</strong></p> <p>You probably want to keep your precious items locked away, but it won’t do much good if the safe isn’t attached to the floor or a wall. “If it’s closed and locked, it implies there are things of value in there,” says McGoey. “If it’s small and portable, they’ll take the whole thing.” On the other hand, burglars are generally trying to get in and out as quickly as possible. They won’t bother using a stethoscope to crack the combination, so a heavy safe they can’t lift is your best bet, he says.</p> <p><strong>Medicine cabinet</strong></p> <p>Robbers want to make quick cash off your belongings, so they’ll be sure to browse your medicine cabinet for prescription pills they can sell. The pills might not be a concern because you can get a refill easily, but be careful what you store nearby.</p> <p>“You want to avoid putting anything of significant value around medication of any kind,” says Siciliano. For instance, using an old pill container as a hiding spot for jewels could actually make them a target.</p> <p><strong>Freezer</strong></p> <p>If you’ve thought of the freezer as a sneaky hiding spot, chances are a robber has, too. A burglar won’t rummage through your entire stack of frozen peas and fish sticks, but if you leave your treasures in something out-of-place, such as a sock, the thief will be onto you.</p> <p>“If you’re going to put something in the freezer, you want to put it in with something that looks legit, like wrapping it in a bag that used to have blueberries in it,” says Siciliano. Use the same rule of thumb if hiding anything in a pantry. Just give a loved one a heads up so that if anything happens, your valuables won’t be trashed with the rest of your food.</p> <p><strong>Office drawers</strong></p> <p>Think twice before stashing important papers like birth certificates or passports in your office drawers. “People want to be convenient. They have a file labelled,” says McGoey. Unfortunately, that also means you’re leading burglars straight to everything they need to steal your identity. Use a locked drawer to keep sensitive data safe, recommends Siciliano.</p> <p><strong>Vase</strong></p> <p>An empty vase could act as a hiding place for valuables, but swindlers are onto your tricks. They’ll likely tip the vase over or even break it, hoping to find goods inside. “Have something additional in it, like flowers, that would obscure somebody looking in it,” he says. They’ll also be less likely to empty your vase if it means dropping flowers all over the floor.</p> <p><strong>Liquor cabinet</strong></p> <p>A liquor cabinet might not seem like an obvious spot for thieves to hunt for valuables, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe. “It’s a target for kids looking for [alcohol],” says Siciliano. You might not be devastated if your whiskey goes missing, but you don’t want to lose an heirloom along with it.</p> <p><strong>Suitcase</strong></p> <p>Your luggage might seem like a waste of valuable storage space when you’re not travelling, but don’t keep anything irreplaceable inside. “Suitcases are common things people use as a safe even though it’s not a safe,” says McGoey. Criminals will open a suitcase up if they find one in your closet, he says.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/10-hiding-spots-burglars-always-look-first" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

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“I couldn’t believe it": Man's incredible find in client's trash

<p>A rubbish removalist’s tendency to upcycle and recycle his clients' trash has led him to a rare discovery. </p> <p>Jesse Stewart, from Brisbane's Get It Gone Rubbish Removal, recalled the moment he was getting rid of an entertainment unit at the tip, when he found a mistakenly discarded medicine bottle with a wad of cash inside. </p> <p>“I didn’t think too much of it but when I picked it up it was heavy, and I was like, ‘I wonder what’s in there’,“ he told <em>7News</em>. </p> <p>Stewart “couldn’t believe” his luck when he found out the wad of notes amounted to $7000. </p> <p>“I’ve never found anything like that before," he said. </p> <p>But being the good samaritan that he was, Stewart returned the money to its rightful owner, a woman in her 60s and his long-time client. </p> <p>“She was so grateful. She couldn’t believe it,” he said, adding that she did not even realise she had the cash stashed away. </p> <p>“She didn’t think anyone would be that nice to give it back, so she gave me a few hundred bucks, which was nice," he said, revealing that she gave him a $300 unsolicited reward. </p> <p>While he did return the money back to its rightful owner, Stewart shared that he did think about keeping it. </p> <p>“To be honest, my first thought was to keep it,” he laughed.</p> <p>“The person who owned it has treated me really well over the last year of working for her ... I just felt too guilty, I could not keep it.”</p> <p>This is not the Brisbane local's first interesting find, as his tendency to upcycle trash has led to a trove of treasures including <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">a haul of rare Australian stamps, an electric scooter and an antique piano.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">But, the cash definitely </span>“took the cake”. </p> <p>“I don’t think I’ll find something like that again,” he said.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Woman launches true crime podcast to find her father's killer

<p>21 years ago, Madison McGhee's father was shot in cold blood. </p> <p>Madison was just six years old when her dad, John "JC" Cornelius McGhee, died, and was originally told he had passed away from a heart attack.</p> <p>However, when Madison was in high school, she began to ask questions about what really happened that night. </p> <p>"When I was 16 I had a weird feeling that something else was going on, so I asked my mum about a weird connection between my cousin and the death of my father," Madison told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/ice-cold-case-podcaster-hoping-to-solve-fathers-21-year-murder-mystery/a873da03-0198-4e34-b65c-cc3ced6e8cca" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Today Extra</em></a>.</p> <p>"And that's when my mum told me that there was another side of the story and that my dad had actually been murdered and it was a cold case, completely unsolved."</p> <p>Madison's father, who was a recovering drug addict and police informant, was shot in the head in the early hours of July 11th 2002 at his home in Ohio. </p> <p>His 16-year-old daughter and Madison's half-sister, Alyssa, was home at the time and found her father's body on the ground with a bullet hole in a nearby wall.</p> <p>Police investigated his death, but failed to find any evidence that could convict someone of his murder. </p> <p>After Madison discovered the real nature of her father's death, she began digging into the cold case and decided to try and solve the crime herself. </p> <p>In her efforts to find her father's killer, she launched a podcast called <em>Ice Cold Case</em>. </p> <p>"I started asking questions, diving into it and that's when I realised it was much more layered than even I could have imagined," she said.</p> <p>One line of theory by investigators was that JC's death was a home invasion gone wrong, but Madison said things just don't add up to support that.</p> <p>"When you dive into the police files, it's very clear that this is suspicious," she said.</p> <p>"A home invasion to my knowledge is usually very quick and something of value is stolen, but nothing was taken and this home invasion lasted for over 30 minutes.</p> <p>"It just seemed suspicious that someone would feel so comfortable to break into a house and stick around for that long and not steal anything at all - it feels like it was planned and very intentional."</p> <p>Madison admitted that is has been jarring looking into the death of her father, especially when no one has been held accountable, but she has put her own fears aside in the hopes of finding out what really happened. </p> <p>"I do feel a little uneasy putting myself out there in this very public way, but I just feel like justice for my dad is so much more important than worrying about my own safety if his killer is still out there," she said.</p> <p>"But I really want to find out what happened for him and for my own closure, so I have sort of pushed that to the side."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Today Extra</em></p>

Legal

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Finding a live brain worm is rare. 4 ways to protect yourself from more common parasites

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vincent-ho-141549">Vincent Ho</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/aug/28/live-worm-living-womans-brain-australia-depression-forgetfulness">News reports</a> this morning describe how shocked doctors removed a live worm from a woman’s brain in a Canberra hospital last year. The woman had previously been admitted to hospital with stomach symptoms, dry cough and night sweats and months later experienced depression and forgetfulness that led to a brain scan.</p> <p>In the <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/29/9/23-0351_article">case study</a> published in Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, doctors describe removing the live 8cm-long nematode (roundworm) from the brain of the 64-year-old woman who was immunosuppressed. The worm was identified as <em>O. robertsi</em> which is native to Australia, where it lives on carpet pythons. The woman may have come into contact with worm eggs via snake faeces while foraging for Warrigal greens to eat.</p> <p>It’s important to note this is an extremely rare event and headlines about brain worms can be alarming. But there are more common parasites which can infect your body and brain. And there are ways you can minimise your risks of being infected with one.</p> <h2>Common parasites and how they get in</h2> <p>Parasitic infection is extremely common. Arguably the most widespread type is pinworm (<em>Enterobius vermicularis</em> also called threadworm), which is thought to be present in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6522669/">over a billion people</a> worldwide, especially children. Pinworms grow to around 1cm in length and are specific to human hosts. They cause intense bottom itching and get passed from person-to-person. It’s a myth that you can get it from pets.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/pathogen.html#:%7E:text=Giardia%20duodenalis%20is%20a%20protozoan,Giard%20of%20Paris%20and%20Dr.">Giardia</a> (<em>Giardia duodenalis</em>) is also very common and can contaminate food, water and surfaces. This water-borne parasite is associated with poor sanitation and causes stomach symptoms like diarrhoea, cramps, bloating, nausea and fatigue. Giardia cysts (little sacs of immature parasite) spread disease and are passed out in faeces, where they can remain viable in the environment for months before being consumed by someone else. They can also be ingested via foods (such as sheep meat) that is raw or undercooked.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/dpdx/hookworm/index.html">Two types</a> of hookworm – <em>Necator americanis</em> and <em>Ancylostoma duadonale</em> – are found in soil. Only <em>Ancylostoma duodenale</em> is an issue in Australia and is typically found in <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/dpdx/hookworm/index.html">remote communities</a>.</p> <p>When a person is infected (usually via barefeet or contaminated footwear) these worms enter the bloodstream and then hit the lungs. From the bronchi in the upper lungs, they are swallowed with secretions. Once in the gut and small bowel they can <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/soil-transmitted-helminth-infections#:%7E:text=Transmission,these%20eggs%20contaminate%20the%20soil.">cause anaemia</a> (low iron). This is because they are consuming nutrients and affecting iron absorption. They also release an anticoagulant that stops the human host’s blood clotting and causes tiny amounts of blood loss.</p> <p>Fortunately, these very common parasites do not infect the brain.</p> <p>Across the world, it’s estimated <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22491772/">30–50% of people</a> are infected with <em>Toxoplasma</em>. Most people will be asymptomatic but many carry the <a href="https://theconversation.com/one-in-three-people-are-infected-with-toxoplasma-parasite-and-the-clue-could-be-in-our-eyes-182418">signs of infection</a>.</p> <p>The parasites can remain in the body for years as tiny tissue cysts. These cysts can be found in brain, heart and muscle. Infants can be born with serious eye or brain damage if their mothers are infected during pregnancy. People with compromised immunity – such as from AIDS or cancer treatment – are also at risk of illness from infection via pet cats or uncooked meat.</p> <h2>Then there are tapeworms and amoebas</h2> <p>Tapeworms can infect different parts of the body including the brain. This is called <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/resources/pdf/npis_in_us_neurocysticercosis.pdf">neurocysticercosis</a> and is the leading cause of epilepsy worldwide. Neurocysticercosis is uncommon in the Western world and infection is usually via eating pork that is uncooked or prepared by someone who is infected with tapeworm (<em>Taenia solium</em>). It is more likely in locations where pigs have contact with human faeces via sewerage or waterways.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Tapeworm larvae can infect muscle and soft tissue. Brain tissue can provide a home for larvae because it is soft and easy to get to via blood vessels. Brain infection can cause headaches, dizziness, seizures, cognitive impairment and even dementia, due to an increase in <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cysticercosis/gen_info/faqs.html">cerebral spinal fluid pressure</a>.</p> <p><em><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/general.html">Naegleria fowleri</a></em> is an amoeba found in lakes, rivers and springs in warm climates including <a href="https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/public+health/water+quality/naegleria+fowleri#:%7E:text=How%20common%20are%20Naegleria%20fowleri,frequently%20found%20in%20the%20environment.">in Australia</a>. People swimming in infected waters can have the parasite enter their body through the nose. It then travels to the brain and destroys brain tissue. The condition is <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/general.html#:%7E:text=Top%20of%20Page-,What%20is%20the%20death%20rate%20for%20an%20infected%20person%20who,States%20from%201962%20to%202022.">almost always fatal</a>.</p> <h2>Yikes! 4 ways to avoid parasitic infection</h2> <p>That all sounds very scary. And we know being infected by a snake parasite is very rare – finding one alive in someone’s brain is even rarer. But parasites are all around us. To minimise your risk of infection you can:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> avoid undercooked or raw pork. Freezing meat first may reduce risks (though home freezers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/trichinellosis/prevent.html">may not get cold enough</a>) and it must be cooked to a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224418301560#:%7E:text=and%20time%20conditions.-,Cooking%20at%20core%20temperature%2060%E2%80%9375%20%C2%B0C%20for%2015,relied%20upon%20in%20home%20situations.">high internal temperature</a>. Avoid pork if you are travelling in places with poor sanitation</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> avoid jumping or diving into warm fresh bodies of water, especially if they are known to carry <em>Naegleria fowleri</em>. Although only a <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/graphs.html">handful of cases</a> are reported each year, you should assume it’s present</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> practise good <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html#:%7E:text=Follow%20Five%20Steps%20to%20Wash%20Your%20Hands%20the%20Right%20Way&amp;text=Wet%20your%20hands%20with%20clean,for%20at%20least%2020%20seconds.">hand hygiene</a> to reduce the risk of rare and common infections. That means washing hands thoroughly and often, using soap, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, rinsing and drying well. Clip and clean under fingernails regularly</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> to avoid soil-borne parasites wear shoes outside, especially in rural and remote regions, wash shoes and leave them outside.<!-- 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/212437/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vincent-ho-141549">Vincent Ho</a>, Associate Professor and clinical academic gastroenterologist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Canberra Health </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/finding-a-live-brain-worm-is-rare-4-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-more-common-parasites-212437">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"Disgustingly sick": Family's horrifying find in rental home

<p>A family of six have been forced to move out of their rental home after discovering it had disturbing levels of meth residue. </p> <p>The family became “disgustingly sick” after moving into the home located in Sandstone Point Queensland and were told to pay for toxicity testing and decontamination by their real estate agency. </p> <p>What the tests revealed shocked them, with dangerous levels of methamphetamine residue found in the lounge room, bedrooms, bathrooms and, worst of all, the space used as a toy room for their children. </p> <p>“(It was) basically everywhere,” Queensland mum Emily Thornton told <em>7News</em>. </p> <p>She added that it was "disgusting" to know that her four kids played in that toxic environment. </p> <p>According to the Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines, a safe level of meth residue is below 0.5 micrograms per 100 sq cm. </p> <p>Their house had 1.3 micrograms per 100 sq cm - which is reportedly enough to put people's lives at risk. </p> <p>The house was allegedly once used as a meth lab, and the family only got it tested for toxicity when a neighbour, who was suspicious of the previous tenants, flagged the possibility.</p> <p>Now, the family has been left homeless. </p> <p>“We’re not allowed in there,” Thornton said. </p> <p>“Basically, we’re starting from scratch — we’ve got nothing, absolutely nothing at all.”</p> <p>Thornton also added that her family first started feeling sick shortly after they moved in. </p> <p>“We moved in, (and) we lived here for a little while, (and then) everyone started getting sick,” she said. </p> <p>“We were told by the neighbours that they suspected something going on here, so we decided to contact a company to get them to come out and do some testing, and the testing came back positive for meth.”</p> <p>“They’ve told us just to get out, we’ve just taken what we’ve got and walked out the door.”</p> <p>On top of being homeless, the family had to pay $500 for the toxicity and decontamination testing as both the agent and landlord refused to help them pay to get the home tested. </p> <p>“They weren’t interested, and it was up to us to do it if we wanted to do it," Thorton said.</p> <p><em>7News</em> reported that the real estate agency will ensure that the property is decontaminated, but the family will still have to pay the cost of an emergency accommodation. </p> <p>“We just don’t know what we’re going to do. We don’t have the money to pay for it,” Thornton said.</p> <p>Australian Meth Alerts spokesperson David Pie said that Meth residue is a common problem that often gets ignored as the contamination is odourless and invisible to the human eye. </p> <p>“It is a well-known fact within the real estate industry with property managers that this is a real issue," he said. </p> <p>“It’s out of control … and it’s just getting ignored,” he added, </p> <p>“In the worst instances, it can cause death, in particular among young kids. But it creates anger and sleeping problems — it just goes on and on and on.”</p> <p>He also said that it was "wrong" for Thornton's family to pay out-of-pocket for the tests.  </p> <p><em>Image: 7News</em></p>

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Surprise! Scientists find falls likely when texting and walking

<p>It seems obvious that texting while walking is <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/behaviour/millennials-most-likely-to-text-and-drive/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">risky</a> business. But while there has been plenty of research showing it’s a dangerous distraction, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0966636217309670" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">some</a> <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0179802" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">studies</a> have suggested that younger people are better at negotiating obstacles while on their phones.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>A study <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e18366" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">published</a> in <em>Heliyon</em> has refuted this, finding that university students are more likely to fall if they walk while texting.</p> <p>It also found they’re less accurate texters while walking.</p> <p>“On any day it seems as many as 80% of people, both younger and older, may be head down and texting. I wondered: is this safe?” said senior author Dr Matthew Brodie, a neuroscientist and engineer at the University of New South Wales.</p> <p>“This has made me want to investigate the dangers of texting while walking. I wanted to know if these dangers are real or imagined and to measure the risk in a repeatable way.”</p> <p>Brodie and colleagues recruited 50 undergraduate students from UNSW to take part in the study.</p> <p>Participants walked across a specially built tiled surface, fitted with a tile that could slip out halfway through.</p> <p>They were asked to either walk across the surface normally, or walk across it while texting “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.</p> <p>The students were strapped to safety harnesses so they couldn’t fall, and told they may or may not slip.</p> <div style="position: relative; display: block; max-width: 100%;"> <div style="padding-top: 56.25%;"><iframe style="position: absolute; top: 0px; right: 0px; bottom: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%;" src="https://players.brightcove.net/5483960636001/HJH3i8Guf_default/index.html?videoId=6332776122112" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> </div> <p class="caption"><em>The methods used in the experiment. Credit: Heliyon Brodie et al.</em></p> <p>“What surprised me is how differently people responded to the threat of slipping,” says Brodie.</p> <p>“Some slowed down and took a more cautious approach. Others sped up in anticipation of slipping. Such different approaches reinforce how no two people are the same, and to better prevent accidents from texting while walking, multiple strategies may be needed.”</p> <p>The researchers recorded motion data from the students as they moved and slipped, analysing how stable they were.</p> <p>They found that texting while walking made the students significantly less stable.</p> <p>Specifically, the students “trunk angle” – the angle of their torsos – varied more when they were slipping while texting. This means they were less stable.</p> <p>Participants were also less accurate texters when they did it while walking as opposed to sitting down, and least accurate when they did slip over.</p> <p>“Pedestrians should therefore be discouraged through new educational and technology-based initiatives (for example a ‘texting lock’ on detection of walking) from texting while walking on roadside footpaths and other environments where substantial hazards to safety exist,” conclude the researchers in their paper.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/texting-walking-falls/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/ellen-phiddian/">Ellen Phiddian</a>. </em></p> </div>

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Retirement reinvented: how to find fulfilment later in life

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tania-wiseman-1183187">Tania Wiseman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swansea-university-2638">Swansea University</a></em></p> <p>Retirement can feel like a strange time for many people. Gone is the routine of work, your time is your own – in theory. How to stop chores from taking over can become a tricky balance. Some people retreat and return to work. Often, those that persevere find they are as busy as ever – but not always with the fun leisurely activities they were looking forward to.</p> <p>It’s strange that this is so often the case because retirement is something many of us look forward to for most of our working lives. Indeed, it’s the one time in life when you can really devote yourself to hobbies and interests, leisure and pleasure.<br />This uncertain picture means that approaching retirement can be a time of fear – <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkudla/2020/03/13/6-ways-to-ease-your-retirement-anxiety/">retirement anxiety</a> is a real thing. So too are the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/retirement-stress-taking-it-too-easy-can-be-bad-for-you">retirement blues</a>.</p> <p>When you add in potential health concerns and financial worries, it’s maybe not surprising that a recent survey found that more than half of <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/money/more-than-half-of-over40s-feel-anxious-about-retiring-survey-suggests-b2146484.html">over-40s feel anxious about retiring</a>.</p> <p>One retirement challenge is how to replace the <a href="https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/ger-2020-0109/html#:%7E:text=We%20find%20that%20retirement%20changes,effect%20on%20the%20network's%20size.">friendships</a> you make through work. Indeed, it seems the people who fare best in retirement find ways to cultivate connections.</p> <p>The longest-running <a href="https://www.adultdevelopmentstudy.org/">study on human happiness</a> found the thing that makes us most happy in life is our relationships and positive social connections – they also help us to live longer too. Indeed, this 85-year-old Harvard study shows that maintaining quality relationships has a huge benefit for our physical and mental health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Similarly, the charity The Centre for Better Ageing has found that <a href="https://ageing-better.org.uk/resources/later-life-2015-executive-summary">social connections</a> are just as important as money and health to a good later life.</p> <h2>Beyond routine</h2> <p>When it comes to retirement anxiety, <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-71672-1_2">my research</a> with retirees shows that most people who have been retired for several years learn to manage their concerns and develop <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-71672-1_5">satisfying and interesting lives</a>.</p> <p>As with a lot of us, most of their time was taken up with home-based chores, self-care, looking after friends and relatives and serving the community – along with working really hard to keep fit, so as to “age well”.</p> <p>But my research also found that negative notions of ageing can <a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-71672-1">become internalised</a> and prevent people from having fun and making new connections.</p> <p>In my study, people said they were conscious that others might judge the <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/bfm:978-3-030-71672-1/1?pdf=chapter%20toc">suitability of their leisure choices</a>. While some rebels could only really enjoy a pastime if they knew their children would disapprove (think daytime drinking, gambling, watching TV, cycling on busy roads in a rainstorm and flirting with strangers), most were limited in their leisure choices by this concern.</p> <p>Several did not have any pastimes they enjoyed. <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-71672-1_6">Those who found a balance</a> had rich and varied leisure lives, but they preferred people from their own age group and a similar background, where they were less likely to be told how amazing they are, for their age.</p> <h2>From anxiety to adventure</h2> <p>While mixing with people from similar backgrounds and age groups can feel safe and comfortable. It can also mean you miss out on new and interesting experiences or having your worldviews challenged or expanded by spending time with different people</p> <p>Retirement is the ideal opportunity to mix things up and gently expand your leisure repertoire. It’s a time to embrace the convivial in the presence of others, not just the usual people you see.</p> <p>If you are happy with your leisure life, great. But if there is a little something missing, a little fun that could enhance it, consider adding in something new. Think outside the box of what’s “<a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-71672-1_5">suitable for your age group</a>”, (what does that even mean?). Indeed, age should not be a barrier to anything, age discrimination is illegal. So if you’re interested then it’s suitable.</p> <p>If you have limited resources learn a language with <a href="https://www.duolingo.com/">Duolingo</a> in five minutes a day. Then when you’re ready, find a language conversation group and join them for a social event.</p> <p>Learn a song, you can do it yourself using YouTube tutorials. If you enjoy that, you could join a community choir, or drag your friends and family to a karaoke night. You could even pick up an instrument and see how it feels to add percussion. Alternatively, perfect a dance at home and if you like it try a dance class – <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe4xqYSoiUo">pole dancing</a> has become very popular.</p> <p>If you have a bit more time to spare, explore taking an interest to the next level. There are local groups for many activities, including rowing, climbing, circus skills, martial arts and horse riding – what takes your fancy?</p> <p>Not an “organised group” person? Try Frisbee, a boomerang, kite flying, bike rides, skateboarding or roller skating. You don’t have to be with people, just being around them is interesting.</p> <p>For more sedate options consider a cinema club, jazz club, poetry group, or start a quiz team. If you like the TV show <a href="https://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-great-pottery-throw-down">The Great Pottery Throw Down</a> join a ceramic studio and unlock your inner creativity. If you have a free afternoon or evening, look at <a href="https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/">Eventbright</a> and try something random, because we don’t really know what we love until we find it.</p> <p>Nothing has to be a lifelong commitment. If you like it, carry on, if not, then move on to something else. Anything you try will make a good story to tell the younger people in your life – they need to know that later life is an adventure worth working towards.</p> <p>So defy expectations, knock down those mental barriers and try something different. Start today and see where it takes you.<!-- 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/201358/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/tania-wiseman-1183187">Tania Wiseman</a>, Associate Professor, Head of Therapies , Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swansea-university-2638">Swansea 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/retirement-reinvented-how-to-find-fulfilment-later-in-life-201358">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Dr Charlie Teo speaks out after guilty finding

<p>Renowned neurosurgeon, Dr Charlie Teo, is said to be contemplating an appeal after a medical standards committee found him guilty of "unsatisfactory professional conduct".</p> <p>Dr. Teo has expressed concerns that this decision could potentially jeopardise the lives of numerous Australians.</p> <p>The Medical Professional Standards Committee recently concluded its inquiry into two serious complaints regarding Dr. Teo's conduct at Sydney's Prince of Wales Private Hospital between 2018 and 2019.</p> <p>The committee's ruling stated that Dr. Teo demonstrated a lack of "insight, empathy, and judgment." As a result, restrictions have been placed on his registration, preventing him from performing brain surgeries without a written statement from an approved neurosurgeon.</p> <p>Dr. Teo strongly denies the allegations of unprofessional conduct and is considering appealing the committee's decision, as reported by Seven News.</p> <p>While acknowledging the guilty verdict, he stated in an interview with Seven's <em>Spotlight</em>, "In terms of the complaints, if they found me guilty then I have to take that on the chin."</p> <p>He also expressed his satisfaction that the committee refrained from imposing further conditions. However, he is concerned about the possibility of facing difficulties finding a hospital in Australia that would allow him to continue performing surgeries.</p> <p>During the Spotlight interview, presenter Michael Usher emphasised that Dr. Teo genuinely cares for his patients, who might now have to travel overseas to seek his services. Usher quoted Dr. Teo, saying, "In his words - it sounds very strong but he's standing by them - he believes that thousands of Australians will die because of this decision against him."</p> <p>The disciplinary hearing earlier this year revolved around two female patients who experienced severe brain injuries after undergoing surgeries performed by Dr. Teo in 2018 and 2019. In its ruling, the committee found that Dr. Teo had proceeded with surgeries where the risks outweighed the potential benefits, failing to obtain informed consent from both patients. Furthermore, he charged an inappropriate fee of $35,000 to one of the women and used inappropriate language while speaking to her daughter.</p> <p>The committee expressed concerns about Dr. Teo's lack of reflection in his judgment and his failure to provide statistical data or peer support to justify his decisions. Although Dr. Teo expressed sorrow and took responsibility for the unfavourable outcomes of the surgeries, he did not demonstrate remorse for offering surgery to the patients. This lack of insight troubled the committee.</p> <p>Consequently, the committee reprimanded Dr. Teo and imposed restrictions on his practicing certificate. To perform recurrent malignant intracranial tumour and brain stem tumour surgical procedures, he must now obtain a written statement from a Medical Council-approved neurosurgeon.</p> <p>Dr. Teo retains the option to appeal the committee's decision to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.</p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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Charlie Teo’s fate after guilty finding

<p>The recent guilty finding of "unsatisfactory professional conduct" against renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">has raised questions about the potential ramifications for his career.</span></p> <p>Known for his expertise in treating complex brain tumours, Dr Teo has been the subject of controversy and scrutiny in recent years. Amid allegations and concerns over his high fees and unconventional treatment methods, a disciplinary inquiry was launched to examine his professional conduct.</p> <p>Following that inquiry, Dr Teo was <a href="https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWMPSC/2023/2.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">found guilty of "unsatisfactory professional conduct"</a>. This finding suggests that his actions or omissions have fallen short of the expected standards of professional behaviour within the medical field. While the finding is significant, it is crucial to understand its specific implications.</p> <p>Dr Teo's guilty finding will almost certainly negatively impact his professional reputation, as it raises questions about his adherence to ethical guidelines and best practices. This development could affect his relationships with patients, colleagues, and medical institutions.</p> <p>Of course, the guilty finding may also have legal ramifications, potentially resulting in disciplinary actions such as fines, suspension, or even revocation of his medical license. The finding could also erode the trust and confidence that patients have in Dr Teo's abilities. Other medical professionals and institutions may also hesitate to collaborate with Dr Teo in the future due to concerns about his professional conduct. </p> <p>However, it's<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> important to note that a guilty finding does not necessarily invalidate all of Dr Teo's contributions and achievements as a neurosurgeon. His expertise and experience in treating complex brain tumours have undoubtedly helped numerous patients in desperate situations. However, the finding does highlight areas where improvements in professional conduct may be necessary if Dr Teo is to rebuild his professional trust.</span></p> <p>While this guilty finding is undoubtedly a significant setback, Teo's future prospects are not entirely predetermined. It will depend on how he responds, whether he takes steps to address the concerns raised, and his ability to rebuild trust with patients, colleagues and the broader medical community. </p> <p>The guilty finding of unsatisfactory professional conduct against Dr Teo carries significant implications for his career. It has the potential to affect his professional reputation, legal standing, patient confidence, and collaborative opportunities.</p> <p>However, Dr Teo had already alleged to the media several times that the inquiry was instigated solely because his "enemies" had manipulated and coerced two grieving widowers into lodging complaints against him.</p> <p>Considering Dr Teo's previous statements about the lack of support from Australian surgeons, leading him to practically abandon surgery in his home country, it remains to be seen in real terms how this recent decision will affect his career, if it does at all.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">With appropriate actions and a commitment to addressing these concerns, Dr Teo may be able to navigate this challenging period and work towards rebuilding trust and maintaining his contributions in the field of neurosurgery.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Image: Instagram</span></em></p>

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11 garage sale finds you should never pass up

<p><strong>Vintage furniture </strong></p> <p>Want to snag the biggest bargain on vintage furniture at a garage sale? The key is to wait until the end of the day. By then, the sellers are wondering how they are going to get that heavy old sofa off of the grass and back into the living room – and they’ll be more likely to take your initial offer.</p> <p>Be careful with upholstered items (bed bug alert!), but once you’re confident it’s clean, try to look past garishly coloured fabric and eye-popping patterns: you can always reupholster a piece of furniture to better suit your sense of style.</p> <p><strong>Artwork</strong> </p> <p>Garage sale artwork is a great way to add some colour to your home. It’s fun to pick up art for two reasons: You might learn about interesting local artists, or, even if you don’t like the image, you can always repurpose the frame. This is key for larger paintings and drawings, because big frames can be so expensive.</p> <p>Haggle if you want, since art is subjective and the sellers might not have too many interested buyers. Also, odds are that they’re tired of looking at it and just want it gone.</p> <p><strong>Vintage jewellery</strong></p> <p>Not to sound old-fashioned, but they don’t make jewellery like they used to – costume jewellery included. Since the popularity of items like brooches has declined over the years, you can usually get a deal on these accessories, and if you like, the possibilities for upgrading them are endless.</p> <p>Give tarnished silver a good polish with a paste of baking soda and warm water. For gold, paying a few bucks for solid pieces should pay off – you can always sell them for scrap or have them melted down to create something new.</p> <p><strong>Kitchenware</strong></p> <p>When you see pots and pans at a garage sale, look for rust, non-stick surfaces that are scratched or flaking, and chemical coatings that might leach out into your food. Cast-iron ware, on the other hand, can be salvaged and restored no matter what the condition – and it’ll last forever.</p> <p>Also, if you find the following items in good working condition, snap them up: stainless steel baking items, kitchen timers, serving utensils, Pyrex or ovenproof glass baking dishes, and quality knives (you can always take them in to be sharpened). Just make sure to wash these great garage sale finds well before use.</p> <p><strong>Small kitchen appliance</strong></p> <p>If you’re in the market for an ice cream maker, single-serve smoothie blender, or rotisserie, consider scouring garage sales first. People hold sales to sell off unused items that take up space on their countertops, and bulky, highly-specialised small appliances are often priced to move.</p> <p>You’ll usually be able to scoop them up for a fraction of their retail price – even if they’ve only been used once or twice.</p> <p><strong>Jackets</strong></p> <p>When it comes to apparel, jackets can be among the best garage sale finds. Since sellers spring-clean before their sales, bulky or unworn winter coats and vests are some of the first things to hit the to-go pile.</p> <p>Check for holes and wear before purchasing, and dry clean or give a good washing before putting in the closet for next year. For children, buy the next size(s) up and store in a closet for future seasons.</p> <p><strong>Tools</strong></p> <p>Tools like drills, saws, nail guns and compressors can be great garage sale finds. As long as the seller can prove that they’re in good working condition, snap them up. Ask how old the product is and how much it has been used over the years.</p> <p>Always keep an eye out for rust, which usually means the integrity of the metal is compromised, making the tool more dangerous to work with.</p> <p><strong>Silverware</strong></p> <p>Odds are you can pick up a stylish silverware set for cheaper than what you can find new at most stores, plus you’re likely to hear a cool back-story to boot. There’s also a chance that what you’ve got is actual silver. How can you tell?</p> <p>On the back of silver-plated items there will be markings that can include the company name, the country in which it was made, a product number, and the E.P. (electroplate) marking. Don’t miss this garage sale find!</p> <p><strong>Bicycles</strong></p> <p>Bikes can be a great garage sale find, but it’s important to take them for a test drive before you commit to the purchase. Hardcore bargain-hunters might consider bringing a wrench to adjust the seat and get a real feel for how it rides, paying particular attention to the condition of the brakes and tyres.</p> <p>(Although tires can always be filled with more air, check the treads for wear and the sidewalls for cracking.) For kids’ bikes, the owner’s children might not have used the item much before they outgrew it, but ask.</p> <p><strong>Exercise equipment</strong></p> <p>This is one of the best garage sale finds! A lot of people lose interest in their fitness gear quickly, which means you can get the equipment you’ve been looking for at half the price or better. Look for big-ticket items (elliptical machines, treadmills) as well as other indoor merch like hand weights in the spring, when New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten.</p> <p>Research the equipment first: It’s important to know where certain machines tend to wear out the most.</p> <p><strong>Books</strong></p> <p>Bulk up your home library with new favourite reads, especially children’s books (kids outgrow their books quickly as their reading comprehension increases) and hardcover classics.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/11-garage-sale-finds-you-should-never-pass-up-2?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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Opioids don’t relieve acute low back or neck pain – and can result in worse pain, new study finds

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christine-lin-346821">Christine Lin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-mclachlan-255312">Andrew McLachlan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/caitlin-jones-1263090">Caitlin Jones</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christopher-maher-826241">Christopher Maher</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Opioids are the one of the most prescribed pain-relief for people with low back and neck pain. In Australia, around <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00586-017-5178-4">40% of people</a> with low back and neck pain who present to their GP and <a href="https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/28/10/826">70% of people</a> with low back pain who visit a hospital emergency department are prescribed opioids such as oxycodone.</p> <p>But our <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)00404-X/fulltext">new study</a>, published today in the Lancet medical journal, found opioids do not relieve “acute” low back or neck pain (lasting up to 12 weeks) and can result in worse pain.</p> <p>Prescribing opioids for low back and neck pain can also cause <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/taking-opioid-medicines-safely">harms</a> ranging from common side effects – such as nausea, constipation and dizziness – to <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/opioid-harm-in-australia/summary">misuse, dependency, poisoning and death</a>.</p> <p>Our findings show opioids should <em>not</em> be recommended for acute low back pain or neck pain. A change in prescribing for low back pain and neck pain is urgently needed in <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/publication/publications/addressing-prescription-opioid-use-and-misuse-australia">Australia</a> and <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/commissions/opioid-crisis">globally</a> to reduce opioid-related harms.</p> <h2>Comparing opioids to a placebo</h2> <p>In our trial, we randomly allocated 347 people with acute low back pain and neck pain to take either an opioid (oxycodone plus naloxone) or <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/placebo-effect">placebo</a> (a tablet that looked the same but had no active ingredients).</p> <p>Oxycodone is an opioid pain medicine which can be given orally. <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/radar/articles/oxycodone-with-naloxone-controlled-release-tablets-targin-for-chronic-severe-pain">Naloxone</a>, an opioid-reversal drug, reduces the severity of constipation while not disrupting the pain relieving effects of oxycodone.</p> <p>Participants took the opioid or placebo for a maximum of six weeks.</p> <p>People in the both groups also received <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1836955321000941">education and advice</a> from their treating doctor. This could be, for example, advice on returning to their normal activities and avoiding bed rest.</p> <p>We assessed their outcomes over a one-year period.</p> <h2>What did we find?</h2> <p>After six weeks of treatment, taking opioids did not result in better pain relief compared to the placebo.</p> <p>Nor were there benefits to other outcomes such as physical function, quality of life, recovery time or work absenteeism.</p> <p>More people in the group treated with opioids experienced nausea, constipation and dizziness than in the placebo group.</p> <p>Results at one year highlight the potential long-term harm of opioids even with short-term use. Compared to the placebo group, people in the opioid group experienced slightly worse pain, and reported a higher risk of <a href="https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/20/1/113/4728236#129780622">opioid misuse</a> (problems with their thinking, mood or behaviour, or using opioids differently from how the medicines were prescribed).</p> <p>More people in the opioid group reported pain at one year: 66 people compared to 50 in the placebo group.</p> <h2>What will this mean for opioid prescribing?</h2> <p>In recent years, international low back pain guidelines have shifted the focus of treatment from drug to non-drug treatment due to <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(18)30489-6/fulltext">evidence</a> of limited treatment benefits and concern of medication-related harm.</p> <p>For acute low back pain, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00586-018-5673-2">guidelines</a> recommend patient education and advice, and if required, anti-inflammatory pain medicines such as ibuprofen. Opioids are <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00586-018-5673-2">recommended only</a> when other treatments haven’t worked or aren’t appropriate.</p> <p>Guidelines for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33064878/">neck</a> pain similarly discourage the use of opioids.</p> <p>Our latest research clearly demonstrates the benefits of opioids do not outweigh possible harms in people with acute low back pain and neck pain.</p> <p>Instead of advising opioid use for these conditions in selected circumstances, opioids should be discouraged without qualification.</p> <h2>Change is possible</h2> <p>Complex problems such as opioid use need smart solutions, and another study we recently conducted provides convincing data opioid prescribing can be successfully reduced.</p> <p>The <a href="https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/30/10/825">study</a> involved four hospital emergency departments, 269 clinicians and 4,625 patients with low back pain. The intervention comprised of:</p> <ul> <li>clinician education about <a href="https://aci.health.nsw.gov.au/networks/musculoskeletal/resources/low-back-pain">evidence-based management</a> of low back pain</li> <li>patient education using posters and handouts to highlight the benefits and harms of opioids</li> <li>providing heat packs and anti-inflammatory pain medicines as alternative pain-management treatments</li> <li>fast-tracking referrals to outpatient clinics to avoid long waiting lists</li> <li>audits and feedback to clinicians on information about opioid prescribing rates.</li> </ul> <p>This intervention reduced opioid prescribing from <a href="https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/30/10/825">63% to 51% of low back pain presentations</a>. The <a href="https://emj.bmj.com/content/early/2023/04/02/emermed-2022-212874">reduction was sustained for 30 months</a>.</p> <p>Key to this successful approach is that we worked with clinicians to develop suitable pain-management treatments without opioids that were feasible in their setting.</p> <p>More work is needed to evaluate this and other interventions aimed at reducing opioid prescribing in other settings including GP clinics.</p> <p>A nuanced approach is often necessary to avoid causing <a href="https://theconversation.com/opioid-script-changes-mean-well-but-have-left-some-people-in-chronic-pain-156753">unintended consequences</a> in reducing opioid use.</p> <p>If people with low back pain or neck pain are using opioids, especially at higher doses over an extended period of time, it’s important they seek advice from their doctor or pharmacist before stopping these medicines to avoid <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/opioid-withdrawal-symptoms">unwanted effects when the medicines are abruptly stopped</a>.</p> <p>Our research provides compelling evidence opioids have a limited role in the management of acute low back and neck pain. The challenge is getting this new information to clinicians and the general public, and to implement this evidence into practice.<!-- 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/203244/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/christine-lin-346821">Christine Lin</a>, Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-mclachlan-255312">Andrew McLachlan</a>, Head of School and Dean of Pharmacy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/caitlin-jones-1263090">Caitlin Jones</a>, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Musculoskeletal Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christopher-maher-826241">Christopher Maher</a>, Professor, Sydney School of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/opioids-dont-relieve-acute-low-back-or-neck-pain-and-can-result-in-worse-pain-new-study-finds-203244">original article</a>.</em></p>

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‘He was horrific!’: Nearly two thirds of family historians are distressed by what they find – should DNA kits come with warnings?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-moore-1446031">Susan Moore</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>In 1853, my great great grandmother Charlotte died giving birth to her 13th child, in a tent on the banks of the Yarra River in what is now South Melbourne – but was then an overcrowded, muddy hellhole known as <a href="https://blogs.slv.vic.gov.au/our-stories/canvas-town-a-floating-city-devoured-by-the-sun/">Canvas Town</a>. The baby, William, died shortly afterwards. Researching Charlotte’s story made me both sad for her loss and angry at the powerlessness of women’s lives then.</p> <p>I’m not the only one to have experienced intense emotions – both negative and positive – while researching my forebears.</p> <p>On Facebook pages, in <a href="https://time.com/5492642/dna-test-results-family-secret-biological-father/">media stories</a> and <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/tv-series/who-do-you-think-you-are">on TV</a>, you’ll find a flood of hobby genealogists discovering shocking things about their ancestors – or even their own identity.</p> <p>My recent research revealed about two thirds of family historians have experienced <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2313-5778/7/2/26">strong negative emotions</a> like sorrow or anger through their hobby.</p> <p>And nearly all respondents had experienced strong positive emotions such as joy or pride.</p> <h2>Passionate ‘kin keepers’</h2> <p>In 2019, Doreen Rosenthal and I surveyed 775 Australian hobbyist family historians to examine their <a href="https://www.routledge.com/The-Psychology-of-Family-History-Exploring-Our-Genealogy/Moore-Rosenthal-Robinson/p/book/9780367820428">motivations</a>.</p> <p>They were adults aged between 21 and 93, but most were older and the median age was 63. The majority (85%) were women. This seems to be typical of hobbyist family historians. Women often take on the role of “kin keeper” – and have the time to devote to it when they’ve finished rearing children and have retired from paid work.</p> <p>Survey respondents described why they were passionately engaged with their hobby – and how it made them feel. Some 48% “sometimes” felt strong negative emotions about what they found, while 15% did “often”.</p> <p>There were five common distress triggers.</p> <h2>1. Ancestors behaving badly</h2> <p>The first and most common distress trigger was the discovery of ancestors who had behaved badly – either as individuals, or by profiting from unjust social conditions. Finding these forebears made family historians feel confronted, shocked and sometimes ashamed.</p> <p>They said things like: "[The worst thing was] finding the bigamist! He was horrific!! Very confronting thinking that I have some of his blood in my veins!"</p> <p>And: "[It was] difficult finding that ancestors may have been involved in unsavoury behaviours or events. The problem is trying to understand the context of how they were able to do things that are socially and legally unacceptable today and not things I can be proud of."</p> <h2>2. Ancestors treated cruelly</h2> <p>It was also distressing to discover ancestors who had been cruelly treated. This elicited disturbing, even “heartbreaking” feelings – and, at least implicitly, indignation at injustice. Many were deeply moved by what their ancestors experienced.</p> <p>As one survey respondent put it: "What is unexpected is the relationships that can be formed with those who are no longer with us. That I can be moved by the plight of my paternal step great great grandmother who was incarcerated in a mental institution from 1913 to 1948 without review, without visitors, to get her out of the way."</p> <h2>3. Sad stories</h2> <p>Sadness was often specifically mentioned. As in the case of my great great grandmother who died in childbirth, sadness was usually a response to the hardships and tragedies ancestors faced in more challenging times.</p> <p>Women commonly did not survive childbirth, neonatal deaths were frequent, people died of diseases medical science has now conquered. Poverty was rife and war a constant threat.</p> <p>"[It was difficult] discovering the tragedies encountered by my Irish ancestors who came to Australia and their struggles and heartbreaking stories of survival for the next three generations."</p> <p>"[It is distressing] to uncover particularly sad and desperate times in some ancestors’ lives. For example, a destitute widow who admitted her child to an orphan asylum for three years, only to have her child die of typhoid fever within two weeks of returning home."</p> <h2>4. Family secrets and betrayal</h2> <p>The fourth distress trigger was a belief by the family history researcher that they had been betrayed by other family members: through secrets, lies and feeling their lived experience was ignored or denied.</p> <p>This is particularly likely for those who discover “secrets” about their parentage – for example, the late-life discovery of adoption, parental infidelity or previously unknown siblings.</p> <p>Trust is damaged. If family members can lie about these important things, what else might they lie about?</p> <p>As one woman commented: "My mother’s half-sister did not accept that she shared a father with my mother. My great grandmother lied about who my grandfather’s father was. My great great grandmother also lied. All these lies were very distressing."</p> <h2>5. Moral dilemmas</h2> <p>Finally, several respondents expressed doubt and confusion at the moral dilemmas they faced on discovering information that could greatly distress other living relatives. Should they tell or not?</p> <p>An emotional burden attaches to withholding potentially distressing information of this kind. Yet there is also guilt and fear about the possible outcomes of sharing it.</p> <p>"I knew an aunt had an illegitimate child before she married. Through DNA I found her granddaughter. I have yet to inform this girl who she is. I don’t feel it’s my right as she has absolutely no idea of any adoption of her father."</p> <p>"A really distressing find was that my great aunt’s husband had committed a terrible murder. I have not been able to speak about this with the descendants of the couple."</p> <h2>Healthy outcomes from bad feelings</h2> <p>Sometimes these distressing feelings can promote healthy, growth-enhancing outcomes. After the initial shock, some traumatic genealogical discoveries lead to a greater understanding of the past and its influence.</p> <p>Placing ancestors’ maladaptive or distressing behaviours, or their misfortunes, into historical and social context can help with acceptance and forgiveness, and stimulate emotional healing and personal growth.</p> <p>Initial feelings of distress about past injustices and tragedies are sometimes replaced by admiration for the strength and resilience of one’s forebears. This can positively influence personal wellbeing and resilience.</p> <h2>How can family and professionals help?</h2> <p>I processed my great great grandmother’s story by writing it down and sharing it with family members. We reworked our sadness at her fate into a positive family narrative, emphasising her bravery and the strengths her surviving children showed.</p> <p>Support can mean just disclosing these stories to family members, friends and other family historians. But for some, it may be helpful to discuss these topics privately with a counsellor or therapist, especially if they’ve led to a breakdown in family relationships or an assault on one’s sense of identity.</p> <p>Counsellors and psychologists should develop strategies to support clients distressed by genealogical findings – and encourage them to use their new knowledge for personal growth and greater understanding of family dynamics.</p> <p>Should providers of genealogical research products (especially DNA tests) educate their customers about their products’ potential to cause distress?</p> <p>Trigger warnings might be overkill. But they could issue lists of support resources for those who are upset or disoriented by their findings.</p> <p>As more people gain access to more genealogical data – with the potential to challenge identity and uncover family secrets – it’s worth thinking about.<!-- 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/207430/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-moore-1446031">Susan Moore</a>, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design, <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/he-was-horrific-nearly-two-thirds-of-family-historians-are-distressed-by-what-they-find-should-dna-kits-come-with-warnings-207430">original article</a>.</em></p>

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11 garage sale finds you should never pass up

<h2>Vintage furniture</h2> <p>Want to snag the biggest bargain on vintage furniture at a garage sale? The key is to wait until the end of the day. By then, the sellers are wondering how they are going to get that heavy old sofa off of the grass and back into the living room – and they’ll be more likely to take your initial offer. Be careful with upholstered items (bed bug alert!), but once you’re confident it’s clean, try to look past garishly coloured fabric and eye-popping patterns: you can always reupholster a piece of furniture to better suit your sense of style.</p> <h2>Artwork</h2> <p>Garage sale artwork is a great way to add some colour to your home. It’s fun to pick up art for two reasons: you might learn about interesting local artists, or, even if you don’t like the image, you can always repurpose the frame. This is key for larger paintings and drawings, because big frames can be so expensive. Haggle if you want, since art is subjective and the sellers might not have too many interested buyers. Also, odds are that they’re tired of looking at it and just want it gone.</p> <h2>Vintage jewellery</h2> <p>Not to sound old-fashioned, but they don’t make jewellery like they used to – costume jewellery included. Since the popularity of items like brooches has declined over the years, you can usually get a deal on these accessories, and if you like, the possibilities for upgrading them are endless. Give tarnished silver a good polish with a paste of baking soda and warm water. For gold, paying a few bucks for solid pieces should pay off – you can always sell them for scrap or have them melted down to create something new.</p> <h2>Kitchenware</h2> <p>When you see pots and pans at a garage sale, look for rust, non-stick surfaces that are scratched or flaking, and chemical coatings that might leach out into your food. Cast-iron ware, on the other hand, can be salvaged and restored no matter what the condition – and it’ll last forever.</p> <p>Also, if you find the following items in good working condition, snap them up: stainless steel baking items, kitchen timers, serving utensils, Pyrex or ovenproof glass baking dishes, and quality knives (you can always take them in to be sharpened). Just make sure to wash these great garage sale finds well before use.</p> <h2>Small kitchen appliances</h2> <p>If you’re in the market for an ice cream maker, single-serve smoothie blender, or rotisserie, consider scouring garage sales first. People hold sales to sell off unused items that take up space on their benchtops, and bulky, highly-specialised small appliances are often priced to move. You’ll usually be able to scoop them up for a fraction of their retail price – even if they’ve only been used once or twice.</p> <h2>Jackets</h2> <p>When it comes to apparel, jackets can be among the best garage sale finds. Since sellers spring-clean before their sales, bulky or unworn winter coats and vests are some of the first things to hit the to-go pile. Check for holes and wear before purchasing, and dry clean or give a good washing before putting in the wardrobe for next year. For children, buy the next size(s) up and store in a cupboard for future seasons.</p> <h2>Tools</h2> <p>Tools like drills, saws, nail guns and compressors can be great garage sale finds. As long as the seller can prove that they’re in good working condition, snap them up. Ask how old the product is and how much it has been used over the years. Always keep an eye out for rust, which usually means the integrity of the metal is compromised, making the tool more dangerous to work with.</p> <h2>Silverware</h2> <p>Odds are you can pick up a stylish silverware set for cheaper than what you can find new at most stores, plus you’re likely to hear a cool back-story to boot. There’s also a chance that what you’ve got is actual silver. How can you tell? On the back of silver-plated items there will be markings that can include the company name, the country in which it was made, a product number, and the electroplate marking. Don’t miss this garage sale find!</p> <h2>Bicycles</h2> <p>Bikes can be a great garage sale find, but it’s important to take them for a test drive before you commit to the purchase. Hardcore bargain-hunters might consider bringing a wrench to adjust the seat and get a real feel for how it rides, paying particular attention to the condition of the brakes and tyres. (Although tyres can always be filled with more air, check the treads for wear and the sidewalls for cracking.) For kids’ bikes, the owner’s children might not have used the item much before they outgrew it, but ask.</p> <h2>Exercise equipment</h2> <p>This is one of the best garage sale finds! A lot of people lose interest in their fitness gear quickly, which means you can get the equipment you’ve been looking for at half the price or better. Look for big-ticket items (elliptical machines, treadmills) as well as other indoor merch like hand weights in autumn/winter, when New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten. Research the equipment first: it’s important to know where certain machines tend to wear out the most.</p> <h2>Books</h2> <p>Bulk up your home library with new favourite reads, especially children’s books (kids outgrow their books quickly as their reading comprehension increases) and hardcover classics.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/11-garage-sale-finds-you-should-never-pass-up" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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