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Exercise, therapy and diet can all improve life during cancer treatment and boost survival. Here’s how

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124">Rob Newton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>With so many high-profile people <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/23/cancer-charities-princess-of-wales-speaking-about-diagnosis">diagnosed with cancer</a> we are confronted with the stark reality the disease can strike any of us at any time. There are also reports certain cancers are <a href="https://www.cancer.org/research/acs-research-news/facts-and-figures-2024.html">increasing among younger people</a> in their 30s and 40s.</p> <p>On the positive side, medical treatments for cancer are advancing very rapidly. Survival rates are <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/caac.21763">improving greatly</a> and some cancers are now being managed more as <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/survivorship/long-term-health-concerns/cancer-as-a-chronic-illness.html">long-term chronic diseases</a> rather than illnesses that will rapidly claim a patient’s life.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/managing-cancer/treatment-types.html">mainstays of cancer treatment</a> remain surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and hormone therapy. But there are other treatments and strategies – “adjunct” or supportive cancer care – that can have a powerful impact on a patient’s quality of life, survival and experience during cancer treatment.</p> <h2>Keep moving if you can</h2> <p>Physical exercise is now recognised as a <a href="https://www.exerciseismedicine.org/">medicine</a>. It can be tailored to the patient and their health issues to stimulate the body and build an internal environment where <a href="https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/tre.884">cancer is less likely to flourish</a>. It does this in a number of ways.</p> <p>Exercise provides a strong stimulus to our immune system, increasing the number of cancer-fighting immune cells in our blood circulation and infusing these into the tumour tissue <a href="https://jitc.bmj.com/content/9/7/e001872">to identify and kill cancer cells</a>.</p> <p>Our skeletal muscles (those attached to bone for movement) release signalling molecules called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7288608/">myokines</a>. The larger the muscle mass, the more myokines are released – even when a person is at rest. However, during and immediately after bouts of exercise, a further surge of myokines is secreted into the bloodstream. Myokines attach to immune cells, stimulating them to be better “hunter-killers”. Myokines also signal directly to cancer cells <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254623001175">slowing their growth and causing cell death</a>.</p> <p>Exercise can also greatly <a href="https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/tre.884">reduce the side effects of cancer treatment</a> such as fatigue, muscle and bone loss, and fat gain. And it reduces the risk of <a href="https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.7.1812">developing other chronic diseases</a> such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise can maintain or improve quality of life and mental health <a href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tbj/2022/9921575/">for patients with cancer</a>.</p> <p>Emerging research evidence indicates exercise might increase the effectiveness of mainstream treatments such as <a href="https://aacrjournals.org/cancerres/article/81/19/4889/670308/Effects-of-Exercise-on-Cancer-Treatment-Efficacy-A">chemotherapy</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41391-020-0245-z">radiation therapy</a>. Exercise is certainly essential for preparing the patient for any surgery to increase cardio-respiratory fitness, reduce systemic inflammation, and increase muscle mass, strength and physical function, and then <a href="https://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(18)31270-2/fulltext">rehabilitating them after surgery</a>.</p> <p>These mechanisms explain why cancer patients who are physically active have much <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2019/06000/physical_activity_in_cancer_prevention_and.20.aspx">better survival outcomes</a> with the relative risk of death from cancer <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2019/06000/physical_activity_in_cancer_prevention_and.20.aspx">reduced by as much as 40–50%</a>.</p> <h2>Mental health helps</h2> <p>The second “tool” which has a major role in cancer management is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016045/">psycho-oncology</a>. It involves the psychological, social, behavioural and emotional aspects of cancer for not only the patient but also their carers and family. The aim is to maintain or improve quality of life and mental health aspects such as emotional distress, anxiety, depression, sexual health, coping strategies, personal identity and relationships.</p> <p>Supporting quality of life and happiness is important on their own, but these barometers <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1349880/full">can also impact</a> a patient’s physical health, response to exercise medicine, resilience to disease and to treatments.</p> <p>If a patient is highly distressed or anxious, their body can enter a flight or fight response. This creates an internal environment that is actually supportive of cancer progression <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings/stress-fact-sheet">through hormonal and inflammatory mechanisms</a>. So it’s essential their mental health is supported.</p> <h2>Putting the good things in: diet</h2> <p>A third therapy in the supportive cancer care toolbox is diet. A healthy diet <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/survivorship/coping/nutrition/benefits.html">can support the body</a> to fight cancer and help it tolerate and recover from medical or surgical treatments.</p> <p>Inflammation provides a more fertile environment <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2022/reducing-inflammation-to-treat-cancer">for cancer cells</a>. If a patient is overweight with excessive fat tissue then a diet to reduce fat which is also anti-inflammatory can be very helpful. This <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.709435/full">generally means</a> avoiding processed foods and eating predominantly fresh food, locally sourced and mostly plant based.</p> <p>Muscle loss is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rco2.56">a side effect of all cancer treatments</a>. Resistance training exercise can help but people may need protein supplements or diet changes to make sure they get enough protein to build muscle. Older age and cancer treatments may reduce both the intake of protein and compromise absorption so <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561421005422">supplementation may be indicated</a>.</p> <p>Depending on the cancer and treatment, some patients may require highly specialised diet therapy. Some cancers such as pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, and lung cancer can cause rapid and uncontrolled drops in body weight. This is called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233663/">cachexia and needs careful management</a>.</p> <p>Other cancers and treatments such as hormone therapy can cause rapid weight gain. This also needs careful monitoring and guidance so that, when a patient is clear of cancer, they are not left with higher risks of other health problems such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions that boost your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes).</p> <h2>Working as a team</h2> <p>These are three of the most powerful tools in the supportive care toolbox for people with cancer. None of them are “cures” for cancer, alone or together. But they can work in tandem with medical treatments to greatly improve outcomes for patients.</p> <p>If you or someone you care about has cancer, national and state cancer councils and cancer-specific organisations can provide support.</p> <p>For exercise medicine support it is best to consult with an <a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/Public/Consumer_Information/What_is_an_Accredited_Exercise_Physiologist_.aspx">accredited exercise physiologist</a>, for diet therapy an <a href="https://dietitiansaustralia.org.au/working-dietetics/standards-and-scope/role-accredited-practising-dietitian">accredited practising dietitian</a> and mental health support with a <a href="https://psychology.org.au/psychology/about-psychology/what-is-psychology">registered psychologist</a>. Some of these services are supported through Medicare on referral from a general practitioner.</p> <hr /> <p><em>For free and confidential cancer support call the <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/support-and-services/cancer-council-13-11-20">Cancer Council</a> on 13 11 20.<!-- 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/226720/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 --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124">Rob Newton</a>, Professor of Exercise Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/exercise-therapy-and-diet-can-all-improve-life-during-cancer-treatment-and-boost-survival-heres-how-226720">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Martin Scorsese exposes Leo DiCaprio’s irritating on-set habit

<p dir="ltr">Martin Scorsese has exposed Leo DiCaprio’s irritating on-set habit that came to light while the pair were filming the new movie <em>Killers of the Flower Moon</em>. </p> <p dir="ltr">The award-winning director called out the A-list actor in a conversation with the <em><a href="https://www.wsj.com/style/martin-scorsese-killers-flower-moon-b4989f0c" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Wall Street Journal</a></em>, saying that the <em>Titanic</em> star tends to flesh details out and improv while filming, describing his technique as “endless, endless, endless!”</p> <p dir="ltr">Although Scorsese and DiCaprio have worked together on six other films, there was one more actor on the set of the new film that could not stand the ad libbing: Robert de Niro.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Then Bob didn’t want to talk,” Scorsese explained. “Every now and then, Bob and I would look at each other and roll our eyes a little bit. And we’d tell him, ‘You don’t need that dialogue.’”</p> <p dir="ltr">While de Niro wasn’t able to deal with DiCaprio’s improv, director Quentin Tarantino said the actor’s famous freakout scene as Rick Dalton in <em>Once Upon a Time in Hollywood </em>“wasn’t in the script,” but was brought to the table by DiCaprio himself, and took the film to another level. </p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the “endless” technique of DiCaprio’s acting, Scorsese said the actor was instrumental in the film’s success, after he helped determine that the film needed a rewrite in order to avoid being a “movie about all the white guys.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“It just didn’t get to the heart of the Osage,” DiCaprio told <em><a href="https://deadline.com/2023/05/martin-scorsese-interview-killers-of-the-flower-moon-leonardo-dicaprio-robert-de-niro-1235359006/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Deadline</a></em> in May, with reference to the original script. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It felt too much like an investigation into detective work, rather than understanding from a forensic perspective the culture and the dynamics of this very tumultuous, dangerous time in Oklahoma.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Killers of the Flower Moon</em> is in cinemas now. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Movies

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Can a daily multivitamin improve your memory?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jacques-raubenheimer-1144463">Jacques Raubenheimer</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/research-check-25155">Research Checks</a> interrogate newly published studies and how they’re reported in the media. The analysis is undertaken by one or more academics not involved with the study, and reviewed by another, to make sure it’s accurate.</em></p> <hr /> <p>Don’t we all want to do what we can to reduce the impact of age-related decline on our memory?</p> <p>A new study suggests a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is a simple and inexpensive way to help older adults slow the decline in some aspects of memory function.</p> <p>The <a href="https://ajcn.nutrition.org/article/S0002-9165(23)48904-6/fulltext">new study</a>, which comes from a <a href="https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02422745?term=NCT02422745&amp;draw=2&amp;rank=1">long-running clinical trial</a>, shows there may be a small benefit of taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement for one type of cognitive task (immediate word recall) among well-functioning elderly white people. At least in the short term.</p> <p>But that doesn’t mean we should all rush out and buy multivitamins. The results of the study don’t apply to the whole population, or to all types of memory function. Nor does the study show long-term benefits.</p> <h2>How was the study conducted?</h2> <p>The overarching COSMOS study is a well-designed double-blind randomised control trial. This means participants were randomly allocated to receive the intervention (a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement) or a placebo (dummy tablet), but neither the participants nor the researchers knew which one they were taking.</p> <p>This type of study is considered the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5654877/">gold standard</a> and allows researchers to compare various outcomes.</p> <p>Participants (3,562) were older than 64 for women, and 59 for men, with no history of heart attack, invasive cancer, stroke or serious illness. They couldn’t use multivitamins or minerals (or <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2216932120">cocoa extract</a> which they also tested) during the trial.</p> <p>Participants completed a <a href="https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04582617?term=NCT04582617&amp;draw=2&amp;rank=1">battery of online cognitive tests</a> at the start of the study (known as baseline), then yearly for three years, of which only three were reported in this paper:</p> <ul> <li> <p>ModRey, measuring immediate recall. Participants were shown “a list of 20 words, one at a time, for three seconds each,” and then had to type the list from memory</p> </li> <li> <p>ModBent, measuring object recognition. Participants were given 20 prompts with a shape and then had to select the correct match from a pair of similar prompts. After this, they were prompted with 40 shapes in turn, and had to indicate whether each was included in the original 20 or not</p> </li> <li> <p>Flanker, measuring “executive control”. Participants had to select a coloured block that corresponded to an arrow in a matrix of arrows, which could have the same (or different) colour to the surrounding arrows, and the same (or different) direction as the prompt block.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>What did the researchers find?</h2> <p>Of all the tests the researchers performed, only immediate recall (ModRey) at one year showed a significant effect, meaning the result is unlikely to just be a result of chance.</p> <p>At two and three years, the effect was no longer significant (meaning it could be down to chance).</p> <p>However they added an “overall estimate” by averaging the results from all three years to arrive at another significant effect.</p> <p>All the effect sizes reported are very small. The largest effect is for the participants’ immediate recall at one year, which was 0.07 – a value that is <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jpepsy/article/34/9/917/939415">generally considered very small without justification</a>.</p> <p>Also of note is that both the multivitamin and placebo groups had higher immediate word recall scores at one year (compared to baseline), although the multivitamin group’s increase was significantly larger.</p> <p><a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/epdf/10.1073/pnas.2216932120">In the researchers’ prior study</a>, the increase in word recall scores was described as a “typical learning (practice) effect”. This means they attributed the higher scores at one year to familiarisation with the test.</p> <p>For some reason, this “learning effect” was not discussed in the current paper, where the treatment group showed a significantly larger increase compared to those who were given the placebo.</p> <h2>What are the limitations of the study?</h2> <p>The team used a suitable statistical analysis. However, it did not adjust for demographic characteristics such as age, gender, race, and level of education.</p> <p>The authors detail their study’s major limitation well: it is not very generalisable, as it used “mostly white participants” who had to be very computer literate, and, one could argue, would be quite well-functioning cognitively.</p> <figure class="align-center "><figcaption></figcaption>Another unmentioned limitation is the advanced age of their sample, meaning long-term results for younger people can’t be assessed.</figure> <p>Additionally, the baseline diet score for their sample was abysmal. The researchers say participants’ diet scores “were consistent with <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1899558">averages from the US population</a>” but the cited study noted “the overall dietary quality… [was] poor.”</p> <p>And they didn’t measure changes in diet over the three years, which could impact the results.</p> <h2>How should we interpret the results?</h2> <p>The poor dietary quality of the sample raises the question: can a better diet be the simple fix, rather than multivitamin and mineral supplements?</p> <p>Even for the effect they observed, which micronutrient from the supplement was the contributing factor?</p> <p>The researchers speculate about vitamins B12 and D. But you can find research on cognitive function for any arbitrarily chosen <a href="https://www.centrum.com/content/dam/cf-consumer-healthcare/bp-wellness-centrum/en_US/pdf/lbl-00000775-web-ready-centrum-silver-adults-tablets-(versio.pdf">ingredient</a>, including <a href="https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&amp;as_sdt=0%2C5&amp;q=selenium+cognitive+function">selenium</a>, which can be <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720378608">toxic at high levels</a>.</p> <h2>So should I take a multivitamin?</h2> <p><a href="https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/08/should-you-take-dietary-supplements">Health authorities advise</a> daily multivitamin use isn’t necessary, as you can get all the nutrients you need by eating a wide variety of healthy foods. However, supplementation may be appropriate to meet any specific nutrient gaps an individual has.</p> <p>Using a good quality multivitamin at the recommended dose shouldn’t do any harm, but at best, this study shows well-functioning elderly white people might show some additional benefit in one type of cognitive task from using a multivitamin supplement.</p> <p>The case for most of the rest of the population, and the long-term benefit for younger people, can’t be made.</p> <hr /> <h2>Blind peer review</h2> <p><strong>Clare Collins writes:</strong></p> <p>I agree with the reviewer’s assessment, which is a comprehensive critique of the study. The key result was a small effect size from taking a daily multivitamin and mineral (or “multinutrient”) supplement on memory recall at one year (but not later time points) and is equivalent to a training effect where you get better at taking a test the more times you do it.</p> <p>It’s also worth noting the study authors received support and funding from commercial companies to undertake the study.</p> <p>While the study authors state they don’t believe background diet quality impacted the results, they didn’t comprehensively assess this. They used a brief <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22513989/">diet quality assessment score</a> only at baseline. Participants may have changed their eating habits during the study, which could then impact the results.</p> <p>Given all participants reported low diet quality scores, an important question is whether giving participants the knowledge, skills and resources to eat more healthily would have a bigger impact on cognition than taking supplements. <!-- 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/208114/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jacques-raubenheimer-1144463">Jacques Raubenheimer</a>, Senior Research Fellow, Biostatistics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-a-daily-multivitamin-improve-your-memory-208114">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Does it matter what time of day I eat? And can intermittent fasting improve my health? Here’s what the science says

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederic-gachon-1379094">Frederic Gachon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/meltem-weger-1408599">Meltem Weger</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>Early hunter-gatherers faced long periods of fasting. Their <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35834774/">access to food</a> relied on successful hunting, fishing, and the availability of wild plants.</p> <p>Over time, the development of modern agriculture and the transition to industrialised societies <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35834774/">changed our regular eating patterns</a>, shifting our dinner time to later in the day to accommodate work schedules.</p> <p>Today, with access to an abundance of food, we rarely experience prolonged periods of fasting, except for weight loss or religious practices. It’s <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26411343/">now common</a> to have four or more meals a day, with the most calories consumed later in the day. Frequent snacking is also common, over a window of around 15 hours.</p> <p>However, research increasingly shows our health is not only affected by what and how much we eat, but also <em>when</em> we eat. So what does this mean for meal scheduling? And can intermittent fasting help?</p> <h2>Our body clock controls more than our sleep</h2> <p>Our internal biological timekeeper, or circadian clock, regulates many aspects of our physiology and behaviour. It tells us to be awake and active during the day, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-it-matter-what-time-i-go-to-bed-198146">rest and sleep</a> during the night. It can also tell us the best time to eat.</p> <p>Our body is biologically prepared to have food during the day. Food digestion, nutrient uptake and energy metabolism is optimised to occur when we’re supposed to be active and eating.</p> <p>Working against this default stage, by regularly eating when we’re supposed to sleep and fast, can compromise these processes and impact our health. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31813351/">Erratic eating patterns</a>, including late-night meals, have been linked to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36198293/">weight gain</a> and a greater risk of metabolic disease.</p> <p>Shift-workers, for example, and people who work evening, night or rotating shifts, have a <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-does-night-shift-increase-the-risk-of-cancer-diabetes-and-heart-disease-heres-what-we-know-so-far-190652">higher risk</a> of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.</p> <p>But adopting an eating pattern that aligns with our circadian rhythm can reduce these risks.</p> <h2>So can intermittent fasting help?</h2> <p>Nutritional interventions are increasingly focused not only on “what” we eat but also “when”. Intermittent fasting is one way to restrict the timing, rather than the content, of what we eat.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35834774/">several types</a> of intermittent fasting, one of which is time-restricted eating. This means eating all our calories in a consistent 8-12 hour, or even shorter, interval each day.</p> <p>But is it backed by evidence?</p> <p>Most of what we know today about intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating is from <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35834774/">mouse studies</a>, which demonstrate remarkable weight loss and overall health benefits associated with these types of dietary interventions.</p> <p>However, some aspects of mouse physiology can be different to humans. Mice need to eat more frequently than humans and even a short period of fasting has a more significant physiological impact on mice. One day of fasting in mice leads to a 10% <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212877820301320">loss of body weight</a>, whereas humans would need to fast for 14 days to achieve <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30881957/">similar results</a>. This makes a direct translation from mice to humans more complicated.</p> <p>While health benefits of <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2623528">intermittent fasting</a> and <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2114833">time-restricted eating</a> have also been observed in humans, the findings in respect of weight loss are less clear. Current data suggest only modest, if any, weight loss in human participants who undergo these diet regimens when compared to calorie-restricted diets.</p> <p>Drawing <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35834774/">definitive conclusions</a> in humans may be more <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32480126/">difficult</a> because of the small sample sizes and individual differences in metabolism, variations in study design (such as the use of different protocols with varying times and duration of food restriction), and participants not complying with their instructions.</p> <h2>Health benefits could be due to eating fewer calories</h2> <p>Most studies describing the health benefits of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33466692/#:%7E:text=and%20Future%20Perspectives-,Time%2DRestricted%20Eating%20and%20Metabolic%20Syndrome%3A%20Current%20Status%20and%20Future,doi%3A%2010.3390%2Fnu13010221.">time restricted eating</a> or <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27569118/">intermittent fasting</a> also found these diets were accompanied by calorie restriction: reducing the time of food access implicitly leads people to eat less.</p> <p>Studies that controlled calorie intake did not detect any more benefits of intermittent fasting than <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2623528">calorie restriction</a> alone.</p> <p>The weight loss and health benefits observed with intermittent fasting is likely attributed due to the resultant reduction in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34135111/">calorie intake</a>. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32986097/">Similar findings</a> have been reported for time-restricted eating.</p> <h2>Benefit of following our body clock</h2> <p>Nevertheless, time-restricted eating offers additional health benefits in humans, such as improved glucose metabolism and blood pressure, even without differences in calorie intake, in particular when restricted to the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29754952/">earlier part of the day</a> (that is, when having a six-hour eating window with dinner before 3pm).</p> <p>Restricting food intake to the daytime for shift-workers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28635334/">can alleviate</a> metabolic differences caused by shift-work, whereas this effect is not observed when food intake is restricted to <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abg9910">nighttime</a>.</p> <p>One idea is that consuming food early, in alignment with our circadian rhythm, helps to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28578930/">synchronise our circadian clock</a>. This restores the rhythm of our autonomous nervous system, which regulates essential functions such as breathing and heart rate, to keep our physiology “tuned”, as it was shown <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2015873118">in mice</a>.</p> <p>While there’s much still to learn from research in this field, the evidence suggests that to maintain a healthy weight and overall wellbeing, aim for regular, nutritious meals during the day, while avoiding late-night eating and frequent snacking.<!-- 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/203762/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/frederic-gachon-1379094">Frederic Gachon</a>, Associate Professor, Physiology of Circadian Rhythms, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/meltem-weger-1408599">Meltem Weger</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</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/does-it-matter-what-time-of-day-i-eat-and-can-intermittent-fasting-improve-my-health-heres-what-the-science-says-203762">original article</a>.</em></p>

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First look at the new and improved Brekky Central

<p>After completing their final broadcast in the legacy Martin Place studio, the <em>Sunrise</em> team have broadcast their first show from the new and improved Brekky Central. </p> <p>The breakfast program began its first show from Seven’s Eveleigh studios, unveiling the highly-anticipated state-of-the-art studio on Monday morning.</p> <p>Hosts Natalie Barr and Matt Shirvington could hardly contain their excitement as they greeted viewers for the first time from their new desk. </p> <p>Sunday’s <em>Weekend Sunrise</em> marked the end of an era at the Martin Place studios for both <em>Sunrise</em> and Channel 7 after more than 19 years.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CvD5DnZgGtB/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CvD5DnZgGtB/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Sunrise (@sunriseon7)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Sunrise</em> and <em>The Morning Show</em> have now joined <em>7NEWS</em> in Eveleigh, which began broadcasting from its new home in June, while 7NEWS.com.au and 7NEWS Spotlight moved across in May.</p> <p>The arrival of the <em>Sunrise</em>, <em>Weekend Sunrise</em> and <em>The Morning Show</em> teams means that for the first time in more than 40 years, the entire Seven Sydney operation and all broadcast and operational staff across all departments are now under one roof.</p> <p>Speaking of the move to Eveleigh, Seven Network Director of Morning Television, Sarah Stinson, said “From today, viewers will see a brighter and fresher look, but the heart of our shows will never change. Our teams will continue to bring the best coverage of news, sport, weather, entertainment and so much more – and we’ll continue to have a laugh as only <em>Sunrise</em> and<em> The Morning Show</em> can.”</p> <p>Throughout the show, viewers got an inside look to the brand-new set, while Mark Beretta gave the audience a tour of the studio, make-up room and control room.</p> <p>“Twenty years ago when we moved into Martin Place we did a tour, so now it is appropriate to do a new tour,” the sports presenter explained.</p> <p>With a <em>Sunrise</em> microphone in hand, Beretts proceeded to walk around the vast new set, sharing details of the layout and curtain that divides <em>Sunrise</em> from the <em>7NEWS</em> set.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

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4 things you can do today to improve bone strength

<p><em><strong>Dr Vincent is a world-renowned clinical nutritionist, food scientist and expert on antioxidants.</strong></em></p> <p>Bone health is an extremely important issue. While bones make up on average only 15 per cent of human body weight, they are the frame that supports our body. For people 60 and over, this is especially important because age-related bone loss is progressive and can lead to osteoporosis.</p> <p>As we get older, our bones tend to lose their strength, structure and density. The good news is there are lots of things we can do to slow this process and avoid osteoporosis.</p> <p>The issue of bone health has gained a lot of interest in recent years because we are all living longer but moving around less. The key to staying healthy is to keep moving. </p> <p>There are several causes and conditions that can result in bone density loss and/or osteoporosis.  This is why it is so important to discuss these issues with your health practitioners.</p> <p>The main causes include:</p> <ul> <li>Inactivity</li> <li>Aging</li> <li>Hormonal imbalances</li> <li>Certain use medications or chemicals such as steroids</li> <li>Emotional stress</li> <li>Nutritional deficiencies including bone building compounds such as vitamin D and calcium.</li> </ul> <p>It is never too late to give the much-needed attention to our bones, regardless of what age we are.</p> <p>Here are four things you can do to support your bone health.</p> <p><strong>1. Reduce your risk of falling</strong></p> <p>This may sound simple, but it is a crucial thing. One out of five falls causes a serious injury and more than 95 per cent of hip fractures are caused by falling.</p> <p>In older people, reducing risks of falling can be as easy as having your eyes checked. Having an annual eye check ensures that your eyeglasses are in line with your eye conditions.</p> <p>Older people tend to spend more time at home enjoying their familiar surrounds.  Making sure your home is a safe environment is critical.</p> <p>Getting rid of things you could trip over, adding grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet, putting stable railings on both sides of stairs and making sure your home has lots of light are among the things you can do to increase the safety of your home.</p> <p><strong>2. Staying active and exercise</strong></p> <p>Exercise is vital at every age for healthy bones. It is so beneficial that it helps to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Being living tissues, bones respond to exercise by becoming stronger and more diverse exercise allows us to maintain muscle strength, coordination and balance which in turn helps to reduce the risk of falling.</p> <p>The best bone exercise is weight bearing or resistance training, basically exercises that force you to work against gravity. Examples include weight training, walking, hiking, tennis and even dancing!</p> <p>Simple activities such as gardening, walking the dog and cleaning are also great ways to remain active and exercise our bones.</p> <p>Remember it is important to always consult health or fitness professionals before starting a new exercise routine.</p> <p><strong>3. Healthy diet</strong></p> <p>Fresh food is the best source of our nutritional needs.</p> <p>Dairy, raw cultured dairy (kefir and yogurt), green leafy vegetables, wild caught fish are rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, phosphorus, omega 3 essential fatty acid – all of which are vital for bone health.</p> <p>Having a healthy dose of sunshine also helps to boost the synthesis of vitamin D in our body, but always be cautious with excessive UV exposure.</p> <p>Some of us may need or prefer to take supplements to fulfil these nutritional needs. As the scientist who discovered the world's first breakthrough to extract activated phenolics from produce using only water, I do recommend taking activated phenolics on a daily basis to help to support our general health and wellbeing.</p> <p>On the contrary, excessive intake alcohol, sugar, caffeine and processed meat could be detrimental for our bone health.</p> <p><strong>4. Healthy mind</strong></p> <p>It goes without saying that a healthy mind helps to build a healthy body. We know that stress is one of the causes of bone density loss. Stress can cause hormonal imbalance, poor nutrients absorption and lack of physical activity. Stop worrying about the little things and focus on the important things.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Short naps can improve memory

<p>Rather than distracting you from the task at hand, naps can improve your memory function, a new sleep study has found.</p> <p>Scientists at the Saarland University in Germany have found that taking a 45 to 60 minute power nap can boost a persons’ memory by up to five-fold.</p> <p>The study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, showed participants 90 words and 120 unrelated word pairs. The group was then split into two: one group took a nap and the other group watched a DVD.</p> <p>When the participants were tested again, the group who had napped were able to remember the words as accurately as they could after they learn them.</p> <p>Professor Axel Mecklinger, who supervised the study, said: “A short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning success. Wherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep.”</p> <p>He added: “Even a short sleep lasting 45 to 60 minutes produces a five-fold improvement in information retrieval from memory.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><a href="http://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/mind/2015/12/positive-thinking-and-mental-health/"><strong>Can positive thinking improve your mental health?</strong></a></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><a href="http://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/mind/2015/12/health-benefits-of-turmeric/"><strong>Turmeric boosts mood and mind</strong></a></em></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><a href="http://www.oversixty.co.nz/health/mind/2015/12/definition-of-happiness-changes-with-age/"><strong>Your definition of happiness changes with age</strong></a></em></span></p>

Mind

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5 daily habits to improve heart, brain and eye health

<p><em><strong>Blackmores Naturopath Rebekah Russell shares her top five tips for boosting heart, brain and eye health.</strong></em></p> <p><strong>1. Stand up for your health</strong><br />Sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for hours on end, like most office workers do, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke – even if you are a regular exerciser. Unfortunately, a morning run or afternoon swim can’t negate the damage of sitting for eight hours or more a day. Try setting a diary reminder on your computer to stand up and walk around or try to stand during phone calls.</p> <p><strong>2. De-stress</strong><br />Despite modern technologies that are designed to make life easier, we’re all more stressed than ever. Long-term stress can spike levels of cortisol – a stress hormone which can affect the short-term memory regions of the brain. Meditation, spending time with friends and family, switching off from the Internet and social media, are all ways you can minimise stress and maintain long-term brain health.</p> <p><strong>3. Be a floss boss</strong><br />Not only can regular flossing prevent bad breath, it may prevent heart attack. While there is currently no definitive proof periodontal disease actually causes heart disease, there is proof that bacteria in the mouth can be released into the bloodstream and cause a hardening of the arteries. This can then lead to heart attack and stroke – reason enough to include flossing in your daily routine!</p> <p><strong>4. Good food</strong><br />Good eye, brain and heart health all starts with the food on your fork. Try to include two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables in your diet each day.</p> <p>Lutein (often referred to as the “eye vitamin”) and zeaxanthin, nutrients commonly found in vegetables, are disease-fighting antioxidants that are important for eyes, brain, and heart. Both nutrients are commonly found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, turnips and lettuce as well as broccoli, zucchini and brussels sprouts and eggs.</p> <p>Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and<strong> </strong>fish oil<strong>, </strong>may also help fight off macular degeneration and cataracts, while also maintaining good heart and brain health.</p> <p><strong>5. Get social</strong><br />If you need another excuse to catch up with friends, or hang out with family, it’s this one! Socialising stimulates the brain and can also help to encourage healthy behaviours such as exercising. Daily social interaction has also been suggested to protect the brain against diseases including dementia and Alzheimer’s.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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6 natural ways to improve your memory

<p>It’s a common concern that as we age our mind will start to slip, and the first thing to go can be your memory. But there are some easy, natural things you can do to keep your brain sharp, no matter how old you are.</p> <p><strong>1. Sleep!</strong></p> <p>This has to be the most-simple memory-boosting trick of all. Everyone has found himself or herself forgetful, irritable or fuzzy after a poor night’s sleep. That’s because your body uses sleep time to restore brain function and solidify the connections between neurons, which will help you remember more of your tasks. Aim for at least seven hours a night, though you’ll be pleased to know that naps also count towards your total. To ensure a good night’s sleep, stick to a regular bedtime schedule, don’t use your gadgets in bed and avoid stimulants (like coffee) in the evening. You should wake up feeling bright, refreshed and ready to face the day.</p> <p><strong>2. Jog your memory, literally</strong></p> <p>Physical exercise is great for your whole body, including your brain. Every time you perform a physical activity your brain’s massive neural network is stimulated. Raising your heart rate gets more blood flowing to your brain, enlarges the hippocampus (the most vital part of the brain for memory), and increases the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein necessary for long-term memory. Work out in the morning to spike your brain activity and prepare yourself for the mental stresses of the day. Look for exercises that combine coordination with cardiovascular activity, such as dance classes, to really stimulate your brain.</p> <p><strong>3. Find your inner Zen</strong></p> <p>Meditation has been proven to improve memory and overall brain function. Research has shown that it can actually change the physical structure of the brain, such as a thickening of the cerebral cortex through improved blood flow. The cortex is responsible for important brain functions like concentration, learning and memory. Meditating regularly can delay cognitive decline and prevent neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. And it’s easy to do at home – there are plenty of apps that will take you through guided meditations to suit any mood or time of day. Or you can simply take some time out to take deep breaths, focus on your breathing and clear your mind.</p> <p><strong>4. Puzzle it out</strong></p> <p>Essentially, the brain is like any other muscle – you need to use it to keep it in top form. Mentally stimulating games like Sudoku, crosswords or chess will improve your cognitive function and keep your memory sharp. Keep your brain engaged with stimulating activities, like learning a language or instrument, or test yourself by taking on new challenges. Working your brain like this stimulates the short term memory and, once the cellular machinery is in motion, it will keep working on your long term memory.</p> <p><strong>5. You are what you eat</strong></p> <p>A varied diet with plenty of antioxidant rich vegetables, colourful fruits and lean protein will have a positive impact on your brain, but there are also number of foods that have been shown to directly improve brain function. Oily fish like salmon or sardines are rich in omega 3 DHA, a fatty acid that’s essential for brain performance and memory. Eggs are a great source of choline, an important nutrient used to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, another type of omega 3. Turmeric has also been shown to reduce inflammation and can reduce the plaque on the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s.</p> <p><strong>6. Have fun</strong></p> <p>Laughter and love can be two of the most enjoyable ways to improve your memory. Both release oxytocin and dopamine (the happy hormones) and reduce the presence of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Excess cortisol can damage the hippocampus and eventually impair learning and memory. Studies have shown that children retain more information when learning in a fun, playful atmosphere as opposed to a stressful one. So have a laugh with your friends, hug your partner or put on that classic comedy – it’s good for you!</p> <p><strong>Related links:</strong></p> <p><a href="/health/mind/2016/04/ways-to-make-decisions-when-indecisive/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Are you indecisive? Here are 6 ways to help you make decisions</strong></em></span></a></p> <p><a href="/health/mind/2016/04/tips-to-being-more-assertive/"><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>4 tips to be more assertive</strong></span></em></a></p> <p><a href="/health/mind/2016/03/benefits-of-cultivating-mindfulness-in-your-life/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>10 benefits of cultivating mindfulness in your life</strong></em></span></a></p>

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3 home improvement hacks to add value to your home

<p dir="ltr">As people all around the world feel the weight of the intensifying cost of living crisis, a new warning has come: the property market is in for a rough ride.</p> <p dir="ltr">Some anticipate that house prices may drop, which serves as bad news for anyone hoping to sell their house. But all hope is not lost, with experts chiming in to share their tips on adding some value back into your house, without breaking the bank in the process. </p> <p dir="ltr">As Matthew Shaw - head of sales at the UK’s Ultra LEDs - put it, “before you start thinking about putting your home up for sale, it’s worth having a look around and making some alterations to give you a better chance of selling for a great price.” </p> <p dir="ltr">And Ultra LEDs’ technical engineer Tom Cain had a few tips in mind to help guide hopeful homeowners as they set out on their improvement journey. </p> <ol> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Redecorating </p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">It might sound simple, but adding just a fresh coat of paint to a room can make all the difference. Neutral colours are best, as those viewing the property will be forced to consider the potential there - or as some would say, “a blank canvas”. </p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, one can’t go amiss with a few feature items, to draw the eye to areas of note while making the room feel new and fresh - pot plants, throw pillows, and trinket dishes can act as a fabulous centrepiece. </p> <ol start="2"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Garden gurus </p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Gardens can serve as a place to rest, to play, to plant, and to admire. They’re often the thing people remember most about the homes they’re viewing - right after the kitchen - so it’s important to have the space in tiptop shape.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It should feel like an extension of the home rather than just a large piece of grass or concrete,” Tom said. “It’s essential, and doesn’t cost much at all, to clear out any clutter or rubbish, trim borders, mow the grass if you have any, and cut back any overgrown trees or bushes - particularly if they block any sunlight).”</p> <ol start="3"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Declutter</p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Not only will this help viewers to see the potential in your property, it’ll provide a fantastic clean-up opportunity in the meantime. Buyers want to be able to visualise themselves living there, as Tom put it. </p> <p dir="ltr">Areas that see a lot of traffic - the likes of living rooms and kitchens - should be kept clean and tidy, as potential buyers can be discouraged at the sight of piles of stuff lying around. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tom suggested also considering the layout and furniture in a space, as “it’s surprising how this can impact the size and feel of a room.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Shutterstock</em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

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7 ways to improve your brain’s flexibility

<p><em><strong>Susan Krauss Whitbourne is a professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She writes the Fulfilment at Any Age blog for Psychology Today.</strong></em></p> <p>You’ve gone back and forth into the kitchen at least 25 times, and you’ve only been up for an hour. The counter on your fitness app registers hundreds of steps, but if you could map your tracks, it would show a set of endless and somewhat confused circles. If your movements are any indication, it would seem that you’re not really doing things in an efficient or direct manner.</p> <p>The reason is perfectly self-evident to you: Try as you might, you literally forget what you’re doing halfway in the middle of doing it. You can’t remember if you actually turned the coffee pot on and when you look everywhere for your mobile phone, you find it in your pocket. How did it get there, anyway?</p> <p>Losing track of what you’re doing is certainly a form of absent-mindedness, but even though it can frustrate you no end, it’s a condition you can cure or at least counteract. In part, the cure comes from taking control over your own mindset. As you’ll see, multitasking is one of the most detrimental, but reversible, factors working against the kind of cognitive performance you need to keep on top of your daily memory challenges.</p> <p>Michigan State University’s Reem Alzahabi and colleagues (2017) proposed that media multitasking, or what they refer to as MMT, would be related to the more general cognitive ability known as <strong>task-switching</strong>, or the capacity to go back and forth between mentally engaging activities. They also wished to learn whether MMT could actually lead to improved task-switching abilities due to the “dramatic cortical reorganisation” (p. 1882) that such activities might promote. There are potential memory costs, however, to switching between tasks in that information from Task A might decay while Task B is being performed. In other words, you can forget where you were in that first task when you turn your attention to the second one.</p> <p>To test these alternative task-switching effects, the Michigan State researchers presented their 187 undergraduates with the daunting job of classifying objects shown on a screen over a series of 1,728 trials. In one task, for example, participants classified an animal shown to them on the screen as a fish or bird and in the second task, they classified an item of furniture as either a chair or a table. The tasks alternated with each other, and the investigators compared performance when there were different time periods between tasks or competing task requirements.</p> <p>The experimenters manipulated the length of time participants had to prepare their responses at the beginning of each trial, the length of time between tasks, the number of stimuli presented at a time (1 or 2), and whether the tasks required the same or opposite responses. These were, then, mentally challenging tasks but they were made easier or harder by varying the cognitive demands involved in each specific task-switching arrangement.</p> <p>Relevant to our question of how memory is affected by task switching, the main findings showed that although some people are better than others at multitasking, there are ways to prevent damage to memory when you are doing two or more things at once. Because good multitasking involves forgetting Task A when you switch to Task B, you want to do the opposite if you actually need to remember Task A after completing Task B.</p> <p>For example, when you’re looking for your keys, but get a text message before you find them, you want to be able to remember that you need to locate those keys after you’ve responded to the message. To keep that key-searching in your active memory, you would want to get the message out of the way as soon as possible.</p> <p>Secondly, the Michigan State researchers found that for preventing interference between tasks, it’s all about the preparation. Setting yourself the mission of looking for your keys, despite whatever other tasks tear you away, will help you get back to it without much decay. If you’re a good task-switcher, these preventative steps will be less important, but if you’re not, they should help you accomplish this mental juggling.</p> <p>With the results of this study in mind, we can consider these 7 practical tips that will help you with task-switching, and more:</p> <p><strong>1. Give yourself sufficient warning to get back to what you need to finish when something interrupts you</strong>. Tell yourself you need to empty the trash, and remind yourself of this if you then decide to stop and add something to your grocery shopping list.</p> <p><strong>2. Stop and look at what you’re doing when you put something away. </strong>Whether in a drawer, a cabinet, your backpack, briefcase, or purse forgetting where you put an item is a special case of multitasking. Typically, people put things away while they’re thinking about or doing something else at the same time and so they forget where they stashed it. Register the location of your item by taking a “mental photo” of it and you'll be able to return to that image when you conjure up your item's possible location.</p> <p><strong>3. Do the same routine in the same order. </strong>To take advantage of pre-preparation in a sequence of tasks, making the tasks automatic will allow you to coast through them without having to check and double check at every step along the way.</p> <p><strong>4. Look behind you before you get up to leave, especially in a public place.</strong> Because people tend to think more about where they’re going rather than where they’ve been, it’s all too easy to forget that you put your phone on the armrest of the bus while you packed up your bag and put on your coat. One quick look around you will provide a built-in guarantee against multitasking taking away your attention in these potentially disastrous situations.</p> <p><strong>5. Talk to yourself or read out loud when you’re trying to remember.</strong> Locking information into your memory, even if it’s just your active memory needed at the time, will help provide another piece of insurance against forgetting. By narrating your activities while you’re completing them, you’ll take advantage of a deeper level of processing than you would if you only giving them fleeting attention.</p> <p><strong>6. Practice retrieving things you’ve lost.</strong> You know that you had your favourite pen with you a few days ago, but you can’t remember where it ended up. Develop a systematic retrieval strategy in which you force yourself to recall everything you did and where you were the last time you had that pen. This process will help you learn how to focus your attention while completing your everyday tasks so that the next time, you’ll be more conscious of what you’re doing while you’re doing it.</p> <p><strong>7. Don’t get down on yourself for forgetting.</strong> The Alzahabi et al. study showed that some people are better at multitasking than are others. The people who are good at it have undoubtedly developed a feeling of self-confidence around their mental abilities. Once that self-confidence erodes, your concern about your poor memory can become its own distraction, further detracting from your ability to attack your daily tasks with a sense of purpose and focus.</p> <p>Although we think about multitasking in the “MMT” sense of the Michigan State study, everyday life is in and of itself a series of multiple tasks. Giving those tasks the attention they deserve, or at least making them more automatic and predictable, will help reduce the number of times you lose your way while performing them. Once your memory starts to improve, you can feel surer of yourself as you go about your everyday tasks. Fulfillment in life involves a range of abilities, and when you can add a good memory to the list, you’ll be able to succeed in those all-important cognitive challenges you face each day.</p> <p><em>Written by Susan Krauss Whitbourne. First appeared on <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Psychology Today</a></strong></span>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Mind

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Does black tea improve heart health?

<p>Tea is full of flavonoids: a class of substances thought to have a range of health benefits.</p> <p>They also appear in fruits and vegetables like berries, oranges and apples – as well as red wine and dark chocolate.</p> <p>An international team of researchers, based in Western Australia, has found a link between flavonoids and better arterial health.</p> <p>The study, which looked at the diets of 881 women aged between 78 and 82, found that those who consumed a lot of flavonoids – which in this group, mainly came from black tea – were less likely to have an extensive build-up of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC).</p> <p>AAC is a process in the body’s biggest artery (the aorta), and it’s a predictor of a range of health conditions including heart attacks, strokes and late-life dementia.</p> <p>“This research is really exciting because it’s the first time we have seen in humans, that higher long-term dietary flavonoid intake appears to protect against vascular calcification,” says lead researcher Ben Parmenter, a researcher at Edith Cowan University’s Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute.</p> <p>“While several studies have shown a potential link in rodents, ours is the first human study, linking total dietary flavonoid consumption with a lower propensity of the abdominal aorta to calcify.”</p> <p>The researchers examined data from the Perth Longitudinal Study of Ageing Women, a long-term study done on older, white Western Australian women to investigate bone health and calcium intake.</p> <p>“Recruitment for this study took place in 1998—back when I was in primary school!” says Parmenter.</p> <p>“It was at this time that the medical examinations and participant questionnaires were collected.”</p> <p>The researchers compared the diets each woman reported to their AAC.</p> <p>Black tea was the biggest source of flavonoids in the study, accounting for 76% of total flavonoid intake.</p> <p>Those who drank between two and six cups daily had a 16-42% lower chance of having extensive AAC.</p> <p>“Out of the women who don’t drink black tea, higher total non-tea flavonoid intake also appears to protect against extensive calcification of the arteries,” says Parmenter.</p> <p>Participants who had higher flavonoid intake in total had a 36-39% lower chance of extensive AAC.</p> <p>But some specific flavonoid sources – red wine, fruit juice and chocolate – weren’t associated with better AAC.</p> <p>Parmenter says that, since this study was done on a fairly select demographic, it’s hard to tell if the results would be similar younger people, males, or other ethnicities.</p> <p>“Although we hypothesis that the benefits are likely to extend to these demographics – ultimately, further research is needed to investigate this.”</p> <p>Next, the researchers are interested in looking at the relationship between flavonoids and stroke.</p> <p>“We previously released findings showing that higher habitual dietary flavonoid consumption associates with lower long-term risk of stroke, but we have now gone further, to investigate specific mechanisms,” says Parmenter.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/flavonoids-black-tea/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Ellen Phiddian.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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20 years of tracking sexual harassment at work shows little improvement. But that could be about to change

<p>The fifth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces shows little has changed since the last survey in 2018 – or indeed since the first survey in 2003.</p> <p>It points to the importance of the legislative changes being pursued by the Albanese government, including reforms that passed parliament on Monday.</p> <p>The <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/time-for-respect-2022" target="_blank" rel="noopener">survey of 10,000 Australians</a> was commissioned by the Australian Human Rights Commission and conducted by Roy Morgan Research in August and September. It shows 33% of workers were sexually harassed at work in the previous five years – 41% of women and 26% of men.</p> <p>This compares with 39% of women and 26% of men <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/publication/AHRC_WORKPLACE_SH_2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">in 2018</a>, and with 15% of women and 6% of men <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sexual-harassment-workplace-key-findings-overview" target="_blank" rel="noopener">in 2003</a> (though these results cannot be easily compared with the latest figures due to changes in survey methodology).</p> <p>The most common form of sexually harassment were:</p> <ul> <li>comments or jokes (40% of women, 14% of men)</li> <li>intrusive questions about one’s private life or appearance (32% of women, 14% of men)</li> <li>inappropriate staring (30% of women, 8% of men)</li> <li>unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing (28% of women, 10% of men)</li> <li>inappropriate physical contact (26% of women, 11% of men).</li> </ul> <p>Men were responsible for 91% of harassment of women, and 55% of harassment of men.</p> <p>Most of those harassed said their harasser also sexually harassed another employee. Just 18% formally reported the harassment. Of those, only 28% said the harassment stopped as a result, while 24% said their harasser faced no consequences.</p> <h2>Slow work on reforms</h2> <p>These results highlight the importance of the reforms now being made by the Albanese government, implementing the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2020 <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/publications/respectwork-sexual-harassment-national-inquiry-report-2020" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Respect@Work</a> report.</p> <p>That report made 55 recommendations. The Morrison government acted on just a handful.</p> <p>It amended <a href="https://www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us-legislation-fair-work-system/respect-work-reforms" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the Fair Work Act</a> to enable individuals to apply to the Fair Work Commission for a “stop sexual harassment” order, and to make it clear sexual harassment is grounds for dismissal.</p> <p>But it ignored the key recommendation: placing a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment, requiring them to treat harassment like other work health and safety issues.</p> <p>This was needed, the report argued, because treating sexual harassment as being about aberrant individuals led to a workplace focus on individual complaints. It did little to change structural drivers of such behaviour.</p> <h2>Albanese government commitments</h2> <p>On Monday, the Albanese government finally made this pivotal reform, when parliament <a href="https://humanrights.gov.au/about/news/media-releases/passage-respectwork-bill-major-step-preventing-harassment" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passed its Respect@Work bill</a>.</p> <p>It is now no longer enough for employers to have a policy and act on complaints. They must also take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation.</p> <p>The government has committed to implementing all 55 recommendations. The Respect@Work bill implements seven.</p> <p>Others should be achieved with the omnibus industrial relations bill now before the Senate. Improving the conditions and bargaining power of those in insecure and low-paid work, and reducing gender inequalities, should lessen the vulnerabilities that enable harassment to flourish.</p> <h2>Ratifying the ILO convention</h2> <p>Last week Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/address-international-trade-union-confederation" target="_blank" rel="noopener">committed</a> to ratifying the International Labor Organisation’s convention on <a href="https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/violence-harassment/lang--en/index.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work</a>.</p> <p>So far, <a href="https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:11300:0::NO:11300:P11300_INSTRUMENT_ID:3999810" target="_blank" rel="noopener">22 nations</a> have ratified the treaty. Ratification will oblige Australia to align its laws and regulations with the treaty’s provisions.</p> <p>This is significant not just because the convention is the first international treaty to enshrine the right to work free from violence and harassment as its focus. It also breaks with the historical framing of sexual harassment as an individual interpersonal conflict.</p> <p>The convention calls for an integrated approach to eliminating workplace violence and harassment. In Australia’s case, this will require developing approaches that break down the policy and regulatory fences between anti-discrimination measures, and those covering workplace rights and work health and safety.</p> <p>This could prove challenging – with sexual harassment being only one form of gender-based violence. But implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report is a good start.</p> <p>Hopefully the sixth national workplace survey will have a better story to tell.</p> <p><strong>This story originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/20-years-of-tracking-sexual-harassment-at-work-shows-little-improvement-but-that-could-be-about-to-change-195554" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Puttin’ on the Ritz and improving well-being with older adults through virtual music theatre

<p>Digital programming and virtual interactions, initially considered to be stop-gap measures during the first few waves of the pandemic, may now be an important part of supporting many people’s health and well-being — including the well-being of older adults.</p> <p>During the COVID-19 pandemic, group musical activities moved online, prompting a wave of <a href="https://ericwhitacre.com/the-virtual-choir">virtual choir</a> experiments and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rzZ2F18MwI">virtual orchestra</a> offerings.</p> <p>These and other online communities weren’t limited to students. A <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2021001/article/00027-eng.htm">Statistics Canada survey</a> found that more than half of Canadians between the ages of 64 and 74 increased their participation in online activities during the pandemic by connecting with family and friends through video conferencing, or accessing entertainment online.</p> <p>Virtual opportunities in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252956">performing arts are ripe with potential</a> for older adults to foster skills and creativity, and to improve well-being.</p> <h2>Social connection</h2> <figure><figcaption> </figcaption>Going digital serves many purposes, the most important of which may be social connection.  Since <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/23748834.2020.1788770">connecting with others</a> remains important for older adults, this can be achieved through, or in addition to, virtual leisure or entertainment opportunities.</figure> <p>Our research has revealed that <a href="https://storage.googleapis.com/wzukusers/user-20563976/documents/598184972c66407e9334c5df1b37bb91/Renihan%2C%20Brook%2C%20Draisey-Collishaw.pdf">virtual music theatre — music theatre online — allows for a more accessible and a less exclusive way to engage with this art form</a> with many benefits for participants.</p> <h2>Online performing arts</h2> <p>The performing arts allow performers and audiences to feel, be creative in community, express themselves and communicate or play through song, movement or storytelling.</p> <p>Benefits associated with participation in the arts include <a href="https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/329834">improved mood and well-being</a> and sense of <a href="https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/turn-to-the-arts-to-boost-self-esteem">belonging</a>.</p> <p>Research has also documented associations between seniors’ participation in the arts and improved <a href="https://doi.org/10.1159/000499402">mobility</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archger.2018.02.012">vocal health</a>.</p> <p>Before the pandemic erupted, we had started leading a program, <a href="http://www.riseshinesing.ca/">Rise, Shine, Sing!</a>, that created opportunities for local citizens typically excluded from the creation of music theatre due to age, ability and access. The program was mostly attended by older adults, some with Parkinson’s Disease or other chronic conditions.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/59MTQnoi2hU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">A trailer for the ‘Rise, Shine, Sing!’ program.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>We held three weekly face-to-face sessions from the end of February 2020, until mid-March, and then moved the program online (via Zoom) for 12 sessions from April until June 2020. The program continues to be offered, with many participants indicating a preference to continue virtually.</p> <p>Somewhat to our surprise, when the program moved online, the fact that participants could only hear the facilitator and themselves singing was not a deterrent to participating. Participants enjoyed singing, dancing and creating characters using costumes and props based on cues and feedback from facilitators.</p> <h2>Paradigm shift for music theatre</h2> <p>Virtual music theatre presents a serious paradigm shift for the genre. Most of the time when people think of music theatre, they think of live bodies moving in perfect synchrony <a href="https://www.americantheatre.org/2022/02/04/what-can-be-said-with-and-about-broadway-dance/">to choreographed movement</a>, and voices singing in perfect harmony while performers are physically present together.</p> <p>Researchers have examined how group singing and movement fosters togetherness, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-00549-0">community</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01096">social bonding</a>.</p> <p>Music theatre has made strides to become more inclusive over the course of the 21st century. <a href="https://www.deafwest.org/">Los-Angeles based Deaf West Theatre</a>, for example, creates works of music theatre that can be experienced and performed by members of the Deaf and hearing communities.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k08lV8GO43w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">ASL version of ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno,’ from Disney’s ‘Encanto’ with Deaf West.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>A multitude of new works, stagings and casting practices are highlighting and supporting the experiences of marginalized groups, by <a href="https://www.blackoperaalliance.org/">diversifying</a> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9020069">queering</a> the field, for example.</p> <p>Such works offer resistance and new stories to an industry that has traditionally been ableist, white and ageist.</p> <p>But despite a healthy <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/beyond-broadway-9780190639525?cc=ca&amp;lang=en&amp;">community music theatre scene</a> in North America, most opportunities still leave out many people due to issues related to social anxiety, experience, mobility, family life and/or finances.</p> <h2>Music theatre meets universal design</h2> <p>We drew on the intersection of <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/article/629960/pdf">music theatre performance</a> and <a href="https://www.cast.org/impact/universal-design-for-learning-udl">universal design for learning</a> to develop a model where success could look different from person to person.</p> <p>In terms of the movement, participants could synchronize with the facilitator and/or other members of the group. They were equally welcome and encouraged to customize or adapt their movements to suit their own needs and interests.</p> <p>We embraced dancing from both a seated and standing position, to explore different levels and to accommodate different mobility capabilities. Participants controlled how much they shared by deciding how visible they wanted to be on camera.</p> <h2>Classics and newer numbers</h2> <p>We drew on musical classics or standards from <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Singin-in-the-Rain-film-1952"><em>Singin’ in the Rain</em></a>, the <em>Sound of Music</em>, <a href="https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/stage/2022/08/23/joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat-coming-to-toronto-as-a-test-run-for-possible-broadway-revival.html"><em>Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat</em></a> — as well as newer numbers from <em>Wicked</em> and other popular songs.</p> <figure class="align-left zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>We also <a href="http://www.riseshinesing.ca/glow.html">co-created our own songs</a> by combining our shared memories or inspirations through image, lyrics and movements to explore themes of joy and resilience in difficult times.</p> <p>While the program was led virtually, before sessions, leaders dropped off or mailed prop boxes to all participants. These were filled with costumes including small scarves and ribbons that could be used for choreography.</p> <h2>Promise of virtual musical theatre</h2> <p>Virtual music theatre has shown incredible promise, even in the short time we have been exploring it. Digital connections reframe being together at the same time and in the same space. This adds new unexpected dimensions to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06530.x">making music in a group</a>.</p> <p>First, goals and expectations of uniformity are replaced with goals of individual empowerment and creative exploration.</p> <p>Second, participants remain committed to the community and group endeavour, but are also free to tailor and adapt the ways they engage with the material and with one another. If group members invite friends or family in other cities to participate virtually, as some in our group did, the virtual community also expands in meaningful ways.</p> <p>Finally, participants can also adjust their personal comfort by sharing as much or little of themselves with the group without feeling like they are letting the group down.</p> <h2>Our hybrid future</h2> <p>The pandemic catalyzed the need for virtual interaction. While we know that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqab041">Zoom fatigue</a> is pervasive, virtual opportunities for music theatre participation and creation offer a new paradigm of artistic experience.</p> <p>These opportunities also offer striking promise for bringing performers some of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00778">same benefits</a> as in-person music theatre experiences.</p> <p>In some cases, they also facilitate new access to music in community, and allow participants to engage with the art form and one another in ways that support personal agency and independence, while also maintaining social connection and interactivity. <a href="https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/6358131/George+Gershwin/I+Got+Rhythm">Who could ask for anything more</a>?<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/188690/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/julia-brook-1064153">Julia Brook</a>, Director and Associate Professor, DAN School of Drama and Music, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/colleen-renihan-1044307">Colleen Renihan</a>, Associate Professor and Queen's National Scholar in Music Theatre and Opera, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queens-university-ontario-1154">Queen's University, Ontario</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/puttin-on-the-ritz-and-improving-well-being-with-older-adults-through-virtual-music-theatre-188690">original article</a>.</p>

Music

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Readers Respond: What improvements have actually made life worse?

<p dir="ltr">A lot of things in life have changed…some for the better, others for the worst. </p> <p dir="ltr">Technology is possibly one of the greatest things to improve life among other things. </p> <p dir="ltr">But some people will argue the opposite wishing to go back to the good ‘ol days. </p> <p dir="ltr">So it got us thinking to ask our OverSixty readers to share what are some improvements that have instead made life worse.</p> <p dir="ltr">Check out some of your responses below. </p> <p dir="ltr">Amber Young - Online banking offers some convenience but also has led to many people being hacked or scammed out of their savings.</p> <p dir="ltr">Herman Zirkzee - Privatisation of essential utilities. They`ve become millionaires because of the CEOs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Suzanne Stovel - Mobile phones and video games. Mobile phones are great for emergencies but people have forgotten to communicate directly. Video games are fun, but what about playing outside with friends.</p> <p dir="ltr">Linda Scantlebury - Mobile phones have cut normal conversation off at the knees. Heck people even need a mobile to cross the fricking road.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jennifer McKillop - Social media in all its forms.</p> <p dir="ltr">Gary Sturdy - Work. Life was so much easier before work.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ruth Marshall - The ability for marketers and scammers to cold call you.</p> <p dir="ltr">Amber Young - Aircraft, specifically flight training. If you live anywhere near a secondary airport that caters to foreign flight training. It was such a difference during the latter part of COVID when we enjoyed the sounds of almost silence.</p> <p dir="ltr">Gigi Chanco-Bongay - Emails at work. Communication with colleagues is lessened, and there is no friendly chit chat. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ann Bedson - Mobile phones. Video games and people who change simple nursery rhymes. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tell us what improvement has made life worse <a href="https://www.facebook.com/oversixtys/posts/pfbid02V8urY7WeTRmaBCobZdpfmcMuZbbK7cHomwBpBA1BSEYctgbi4eMoXoUJDhyFfhqcl" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Retirement Life

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The surprising reason exercise improves symptoms of Alzheimer’s

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though we already know that physical activity is good for us, new research has discovered that it may have even more benefits for those with Alzheimer’s disease.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A team of researchers have </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/why-exercise-is-beneficial-for-those-with-alzheimers" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">identified</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> a potential explanation for why exercise improves brain health.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr Kaitlin Casaletto, the study’s senior author and a neurophysiologist at the University of California’s Memory and Ageing Centre, said the study makes the link between exercise and better brain health via inflammation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are starting to show the ‘who of the how’: physical activity related to better cognitive outcomes via reduced brain inflammation, particularly in adults with greater Alzheimer’s disease pathology,” she told </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">OverSixty</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “Broadly, our study supports the dynamic</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and plastic nature of the brain, even in older adults and even in the context of pathology.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The researchers monitored the activity of microglia - the brain’s immune cells -  in 167 older adults, as well as the levels of activation in brain tissue from deceased patients with Alzheimer’s. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the brain’s first line of immune defence, the cells activate to remove debris, damaged neurons, and foreign invaders. But, if the cells are too active, they can trigger inflammation, damage neurons, and interrupt signalling in the brain.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This was particularly noticeable in a region of the brain responsible for processing visual information. This area is one of the regions severely impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, resulting in difficulty processing new information and remembering it later.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JNeurosci?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JNeurosci</a> | New research from <a href="https://twitter.com/UCSFmac?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UCSFmac</a> shows physical activity may improve <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Alzheimers?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Alzheimers</a> by lowering brain inflammation. <a href="https://twitter.com/kbcasaletto?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@kbcasaletto</a> et al. show benefits may come through decreased immune cell activation. <a href="https://t.co/ZSgCVfnPCQ">https://t.co/ZSgCVfnPCQ</a> <a href="https://t.co/oSganHTYHj">pic.twitter.com/oSganHTYHj</a></p> <p>— SfN Journals (@SfNJournals) <a href="https://twitter.com/SfNJournals/status/1462844838576017418?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 22, 2021</a></p></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Physical activity was also found to have a pronounced effect in reducing inflammation in people with severe Alzheimer’s.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For instance, our study suggests that individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s related inflammation may particularly benefit from an exercise regimen,” Dr Casaletto said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, she said it’s important to understand that exercise “may not work for everyone’s brain health”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Previous work has made the connection between exercise and reduced risks of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, but Dr Casaletto said the new study is the first to show the same kinds of results in humans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Many studies show that physical activity relates to better brain and cognitive health. Yet we still do not fundamentally understand the mechanisms linking physical activity to cognition in humans,” said Dr Casaletto.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Ours is the first human data showing that brain inflammation may be a meaningful mechanism.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The researchers also noted that exercise could be used to identify potential treatments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our team aims to identify biological targets that link known neuroprotective factors like physical activity to the brain,” Dr Casaletto said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Ideally, if we can ‘bottle’ these biological mechanisms, they could be therapeutic targets for cognitive ageing and Alzheimer’s disease.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study was published in the </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/early/2021/11/11/JNEUROSCI.1483-21.2021" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Journal of Neuroscience</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

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6 surprising habits that could improve your relationship

<p>Forget candles, roses and date night; science suggests the real secret to a strong, long-lasting relationship is all in the detail.</p> <p>Real couples told Woman’s Day what weird, science-backed habits that work for them. The suggestions might surprise you.</p> <p><strong>Wash the dishes together</strong></p> <p>A German study by the University of Alberta has found that households with a fair division of responsibilities and chores leads to a better sex life. "A division of household labor perceived to be fair ensures that partners feel respected while carrying out the tasks of daily life," says the study lead, Professor Matt Johnson.</p> <p>Johanna and Gavin say they don’t sleep close to one another at night but they do touch. “Whether we're back to back or sleeping in the same direction, there's definitely a physical connection,” the couple told Woman’s Day</p> <p><strong>Sleep close</strong></p> <p>The Edinburgh International Science Festival has found that more intimate partners sleep closer to each other at night. People who are less happy with their relationship avoid touching during the night.</p> <p><strong>Play games</strong></p> <p>You might have given up playing board or video games in your youth, but a study by Brigham Young University suggests games are great for a marriage. 76 per cent of couples reported that gaming was good for their relationship and online games or apps related to a higher marital satisfaction.</p> <p><strong>Get hands-on</strong></p> <p>Research suggests that couples who maintain physical intimacy in small ways have a greater sense of connection to one another. Della and husband Juan say a ritual that keeps them close is touching while watching TV. Juan lies on the couch with his head on his wife’s lap while she strokes his hear. Small touches help couples feel intimate and in-synch.</p> <p><strong>Have fun in the bedroom</strong></p> <p>It’s easy to get into a routine once the lights go out, but research suggests those are open to experimental sex are happier. A study by the Northern Illinois University found that couples who took a cue from 50 Shades of Grey saw a spike in the hormone cortisol.</p> <p><strong>Make him watch movies you love</strong></p> <p>Kelly and Fort Lee told Woman’s Day they let each other choose a movie they enjoy, then discuss the flick afterwards. And research suggests they’re onto something. Participants were asked to watch a list of relationship-focused 47 movies and after each, discuss what they thought of the plot line for 45 minutes. The study suggests that discussing movies with your partner could lower the divorce rate. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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The science behind why hobbies can improve our mental health

<p>The pandemic has taken its toll on many peoples’ <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0020764020915212">mental health</a>. Given the fear of the virus and the government restrictions on movement many may understandably be feeling more lonely, anxious, and depressed than usual. The World Health Organization (WHO) has even issued guidance on how people can <a href="https://www.who.int/campaigns/connecting-the-world-to-combat-coronavirus/healthyathome/healthyathome---mental-health">look after their mental health</a> during this difficult time. Key advice includes trying to keep a regular pattern of eating, sleeping, hygiene and exercise. </p> <p>But a less obvious recommendation is to make sure you’re still finding time to do the things you enjoy. In fact, research shows that <a href="https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/503571">having a hobby</a> is linked to lower levels of depression – and may even prevent depression for some. </p> <p>Losing interest and joy in things you normally like doing is one symptom of poor mental health. Known as anhedonia, this is a common symptom of depression and is something patients say they would most like <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25545606/">relief from</a> – possibly because the drugs used to treat depression target other symptoms and don’t seem to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11684742/">alleviate it</a>. </p> <p>For some people, anhedonia is one of the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0447.1991.tb01410.x">first symptoms of depression</a>, and can even be used to predict the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4403015/">severity of depression</a> a person might experience. </p> <p>So, finding time for your interests and pleasures – such as a hobby – during lockdown could be one way of avoiding anhedonia and depression. In fact <a href="https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-prescribing">social prescribing</a> is a treatment method where doctors can ask patients with mild to moderate depression to take up a non-medical intervention (such as a hobby) to improve their mental health. As antidepressants can be <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/185157">less effective</a> in those with mild depression, this treatment strategy may still help patients with depression find relief from their symptoms.</p> <p>So far, some studies have shown that social prescribing programmes that ask patients to take up hobbies such as <a href="https://theconversation.com/anxiety-and-depression-why-doctors-are-prescribing-gardening-rather-than-drugs-121841">gardening</a> or <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-creativity-on-prescription-can-improve-mental-and-physical-health-93818">art</a> are beneficial for mental health and wellbeing. </p> <p>Evidence also shows that even for those with clinical depression, certain psychological treatments – like behavioural activation, which requires patients to schedule in time to do things that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061095/">bring them pleasure and joy</a> – improve symptoms of depression. A <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17533015.2017.1334002">wide range of activities</a> and hobbies may play a role in social prescribing and behavioural activation, such as exercising, playing an instrument, drawing, reading or handicrafts. </p> <h2>Reward system</h2> <p>The reason that finding time for hobbies can work has to do with how they affect the reward system in the brain. When we take part in a hobby that we enjoy, chemical messengers in the brain (known as neurotransmitters) are released – such as dopamine, a chemical which helps us feel pleasure. These feel-good chemicals can then make us want to do the hobby again, and feel more motivated to do so. </p> <p>So even though we may not feel motivated in the beginning to spend time on a hobby, once we start it and feel the associated pleasure, this will <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2756052/">kick-start our reward system</a> and subsequently our motivation to do it again. This is something we’re researching in greater depth <a href="https://www.mccabe-nrg-lab.com/">in our lab</a>.</p> <p>Alongside pleasure and motivation, hobbies can also bring other benefits. Physical hobbies can, of course, improve your fitness, and others can even improve your brain function. Research suggests that some hobbies – like <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21463047/">playing a musical instrument</a> – can improve your memory, while artistic hobbies (such as reading or board games puzzles) are reported to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20660517/">prevent dementia</a> later in life. </p> <p>So if you’re feeling lower than normal during the pandemic, perhaps try to find time to re-engage with some hobbies that you may have enjoyed in the past – or try new ones. You can also seek help or guidance from your GP or a therapist to find the best treatment for you.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-science-behind-why-hobbies-can-improve-our-mental-health-153828" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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Three easy tips to improve brain health

<h2><strong>1. FEED YOUR BRAIN</strong></h2> <p>There are hundreds of foods and nutrients claimed to support brain health, including chocolate and red wine. As wonderful as that sounds, not all of those claims are backed by science. By contrast, the tried-and-true foods that support the brain are well established:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Green leafy vegetables.</strong> Spinach, kale, broccoli, and other leafy greens provide important nutrients for the brain such as vitamin K, folate, and carotenoids rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein.</li> <li><strong>Fatty fish.</strong> Wild caught, fatty fish provide an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential polyunsaturated fat that we must get from our diet. Fish provide omega-3 fats rich in EPA and DHA. One reason these healthy fats are crucial to brain health is because DHA is literally a building block for the brain, eyes, and nervous system. In fact, DHA is such an important fatty acid for the brain that it will take in DHA over other available fats. If you have concerns about consuming fish regularly, a fresh and high-quality fish oil supplement can be a big help.</li> <li><strong>Berries.</strong> Cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are not only delicious but bright and colourful too. The natural plant pigments that create those brilliant hues are flavonoids that support our circulatory system and our brain.</li> <li><strong>Walnuts.</strong> This wonderful source of healthy fat provides another omega-3 fatty acid: ALA. This essential fatty acid can help support healthy brain function. However, for most people, it can’t replace the need for direct EPA and DHA.</li> </ul> <h2><strong>2. MOVE YOUR BODY</strong></h2> <p>Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise seemed to increase the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and verbal memory. Interestingly, it was noted that resistance and muscle training did not seem to have the same effect. Their research indicated that the effect was both direct (stimulating circulation and hormone release) as well as indirect (supporting mood, sleep, and healthy stress levels).</p> <p>Benefit to the brain was shown with two one-hour sessions per week, but 30-minute sessions spaced throughout the week is considered equally beneficial. And just what was this magical and important exercise? Brisk walking. Walking is an activity that is often dismissed as not intense enough, but it’s an exercise with tremendous benefits. And since socialisation is also important for our health, try walking with a loved one or group of friends!</p> <h2><strong>3. KEEP YOUR MIND ACTIVE</strong></h2> <p>Researchers seem to be undecided about whether games, such as crossword puzzles, actually improve brain function. But there are some activities they do agree can help maintain brain function:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Learning new skills.</strong> Higher levels of education are associated with better brain function later in life. Experts speculate that learning trains the brain to be mentally active throughout life. Continuing to challenge your brain with mental exercise may stimulate existing and new communications between brain cells, supporting brain function. Finding ways to exercise your brain is easy. Something as simple as taking up a new hobby or volunteering where you have to learn a new skill can be a fun way to enjoy exercising your brain.</li> <li><strong>Using all your senses.</strong> Different senses activate different parts of the brain. So, using as many senses as possible when you learn something new means more parts of your brain will be involved in creating that memory pattern. You may have experienced this at a time when a particular smell suddenly brought back a vivid memory. Don’t just wait until a task requires other senses, use your senses to experience a task in a different way.</li> <li><strong>Believing in yourself.</strong> It turns out, our attitudes about ageing and the brain may help shape brain function as we age. Instead of perpetuating the stereotype of “senior moments” (which may make us less likely to work at maintaining brain function) believe you can help your memory, and then turn that belief into the action of practice.</li> <li><strong>Using planning and memory tools.</strong> I’m going to admit, this is one of my personal favourites. This works for me and I can’t recommend it enough. Don’t make your brain remember everything! Put your glasses or keys in the same place every time. Use calendars and planners to keep track of important events like birthdays or meetings. Make lists and use maps or GPS to get places you don’t regularly go. Your brain does so much for you, taking up a little of the slack can go a long way.</li> <li><strong>Repeating what you want to know.</strong> If remembering something is important (like the name of a new acquaintance), repeat what you want to remember out loud or write it down. This helps to reinforce the connection of memory. And to further reinforce this, do it more than once at different intervals. Don’t just repeat it several times within a short period, like cramming for an exam, but spread the exercise out over hours and even days.</li> </ul> <p>Let the information here inspire you to think about brain health more often, pick a few suggestions from this list to practice regularly. Your brain will thank you.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-62754" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/09/AuthorPic_060.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="371" /></p> <h3><strong>Featured: Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil</strong></h3> <p>Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil™ is made from 100% wild Arctic cod, with naturally occurring DHA, EPA, vitamin D, and vitamin A. Unlike other “cod liver oils” on the market, no fish body oils or synthetic vitamins or additives are ever used.</p> <p>Nordic Naturals award-winning Arctic Cod Liver Oil™ is made exclusively from wild Arctic cod, and is an ideal choice to support general health and wellbeing. Vertically integrated from catch to finished product, Arctic Cod Liver Oil far surpasses the strict European Pharmacopoeia Standard for fish oil purity and freshness. Simply put it’s some of freshest cod liver oil in the world.</p> <p>Unlike the Cod Liver Oil products many of us were told to take in our youth, Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil™ is so fresh that you can’t even tell it’s from fish!</p> <p><strong>Use the code BRAINFOOD when ordering online and get 10% OFF plus free delivery! Order at <a href="https://bit.ly/3CmYZf5">TheraHealth.com.au</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Alternatively you can find a local <a href="https://bit.ly/3A9Nqp7">stockist near you here.</a></strong></p> <p>Image: Shutterstock</p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a href="https://bit.ly/3CmYZf5">Nordic Naturals</a>.</em></p>

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