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Kyle Sandilands loses licence live on air

<p>Kyle Sandilands has been left reeling after being told, while live on-air, that he has lost his NSW drivers licence. </p> <p>The radio host was told by his KIISFM manager about the unfortunate licence loss, while Sandilands and his co-host Jackie O were discussing speeding fines. </p> <p>After telling Jackie that speeding fines don’t bother him, Kyle was left red-faced when Bruno Bouchet chimed in to say the 53-year-old recently received a new penalty notice.</p> <p>“I don’t have enough points! I’m on the razor’s edge!” Kyle admitted, adding that he has “No points” left on his licence.</p> <p>“Both Kyle and I are. We can’t afford to lose anything!” Jackie added.</p> <p>When newsreader Brooklyn Ross asked if it meant Kyle had lost his licence, Bruno confirmed that he had.</p> <p>“He finds out live on air that he’s lost his license. But you know what? It’s only the sixth time,” Jackie O laughs, before Kyle corrects her, “The ninth time.”</p> <p>Kyle was still in disbelief over the penalty notice, even after being handed photographic evidence of him speeding in a Sydney tunnel. </p> <p>“So, on my speed sign recognition, it said 90km. But on the sign in the tunnel, it said 80km,” he began pleading his case.</p> <p>“And I remember Chris Minns, the Premier of New South Wales, sitting with me saying, ‘We’re kicking it [the speed limit] up to 90km’. And I thought that some d**khead hasn’t updated the sign.”</p> <p>When Jackie asked why he didn’t just follow the speed sign, Kyle replied: “I believed the tech in my vehicle and the Premier of New South Wales.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: KIISFM </em></p>

Legal

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ABC host quits live on air

<p>After five years hosting <em>ABC News Breakfast</em>, Lisa Millar has announced she will be leaving the show to her audience live on air. </p> <p>The TV presenter and journalist joined the program in 2018 and became the permanent co-host alongside Michael Rowland the following year.</p> <p>Millar told her loyal viewers that her last show would be on Friday August 23rd, but she would be continuing her other work with ABC. </p> <p>The 55-year-old narrates the Logie-nominated reality series <em>Muster Dogs</em>, is a guest presenter on <em>Back Roads</em>, and co-hosts the podcast <em>The Newsreader</em>.</p> <p>“What a blast the past five years has been, whether it was interviewing prime ministers and global thought leaders or getting karaoke encouragement from my childhood idol Gladys Knight,” she said on Wednesday morning. </p> <p>“In 35 years of journalism I’ve never done anything so exciting, unpredictable, and fun. It’s only worked because of the awesome team in front of the cameras and behind the scenes who kept me laughing.”</p> <p>She went on to thank loyal viewers for spending the mornings with her over the years, saying she "loved sharing breakfast" with people around Australia. </p> <p>“I’m excited to hit the road and discover more of the incredible stories that make up the remarkable tapestry of our culture,” she continued. “There are so many adventures ahead, whether it be with <em>Back Roads</em>, <em>Muster Dogs</em>, or new projects we’re cooking up. What a privilege it is to be a part of that future.”</p> <p>Many colleagues and viewers alike shared their well wishes, as fellow ABC presenter Leigh Sales shared a heartfelt post following Lisa's announcement saying that her departure is a “huge loss” for <em>ABC News Breakfast</em>.</p> <p>“But what a win for the ABC to be getting more of her work on <em>Back Roads</em> and <em>Muster Dogs</em>,” she shared. “The one thing I know after 25 years working with this woman is whatever she delivers is done with quality, warmth and integrity.</p> <p>“You get a colleague like Lisa working alongside you once in a lifetime and Michael Rowland and the team have benefited hugely from having her there for five years. I’m proud of the amazing job she’s done and can’t wait for the next chapter!”</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC</em></p>

TV

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Pioneering TV presenter reveals terminal diagnosis live on air

<p>Popular New Zealand TV presenter Joanna Paul-Robie has revealed she is dying of cancer. The pioneering presenter, known for her work on TV3, shared the heartbreaking news during an interview with Radio New Zealand on Friday morning.</p> <p>Paul-Robie, who has been a beloved figure in the broadcasting world, made the announcement while accepting the Icon Award for her contributions to the creative industries.</p> <p>“I was so touched because this award means so much to me, coming from Tauranga Moana,” she said. “But more importantly, because I am, unfortunately, dying – I have terminal cancer – and really to have this award before one posthumously gets it is an even better break. I can’t tell you the lightness, the brightness, the feeling of aroha inside me last night.”</p> <p>Reflecting on her career, Paul-Robie recounted her experiences as one of the few Māori individuals on New Zealand's television screens. “The newsroom was really … it was being run by mostly a pair of middle-class, middle-aged white men who had the audacity and the balls to say ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ but these guys you know they had never been in a Māori world,” she remarked.</p> <p>Starting her career at Radio New Zealand, Paul-Robie later became a newsreader for TV3 and played a significant role in establishing Māori Television in 2004, serving as a program and production manager.</p> <p>During a 2011 interview with <em>NZOnScreen</em>, she spoke about the challenges and triumphs of setting up the network. “There’s been a handful of people in the world who have built a television station and taken it to air,” she said. “There are only a handful of people in the world who can do that and even though it nearly broke me in half on the day that we launched, I thought ‘hell we did that’. I think it is difficult for someone like me with an A-type personality to think now you have done your big thing maybe you should take it easy now.”</p> <p>Paul-Robie's courage and dedication have left an indelible mark on New Zealand's broadcasting landscape. Her announcement has been met with an outpouring of support and love from colleagues, fans and the wider community, who admire her strength and resilience in the face of such a personal battle.</p> <p><em>Images: <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">NZOnScreen</span></em></p>

Caring

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Huge move to bring down cost of groceries

<p>Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers has announced a series of new measures to help bring down grocery prices  ahead of the release of a wide-ranging review into the Grocery Code of Conduct.</p> <p>According to the treasurer, increasing competition among supermarket giants is key to placing “downward pressure on prices”, while also enforcing multibillion-dollar fines on retailers that fail to comply with the mandatory code of conduct.</p> <p>This code is set to dictate how supermarkets like Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA’s parent company Metcash deals with producers and farmers, which will in turn see a reduction of prices for everyday shoppers. </p> <p>While Dr Chalmers stopped short of saying how far prices could drop, he told <em>Sunrise’s</em> Natalie Barr that a more competitive system would create “better outcomes for consumers,” and reduce grocery prices over time. </p> <p>“If it is more competitive, more transparent and people are getting a fair go, better outcomes will be seen at the supermarket checkout,” he said.</p> <p>The Treasurer said this would deliver a “fair go” for families, consumers and producers. </p> <p>“We recognise that the supply chains need to be better for farmers, growers and producers,” he said. </p> <p>“By doing that and making sure the supermarket sector is more competitive we can get better outcome for consumers.”</p> <p>Although the Albanese government has affirmed its support for the review, conducted by former Labor minister Craig Emerson, the final report rejected calls to expand the reforms to non-supermarkets like Bunnings, Chemist Warehouse, and Dan Murphy’s. </p> <p>“The review considers that the code should not be extended beyond supermarkets to cover other retailers,” the inquiry’s final report said.</p> <p>“This is not to say that these markets are functioning well for all players in those markets.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: MICK TSIKAS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial/Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Cafe providing free meals to families faces shutdown

<p>Kirsty Parkes spends a lot of her time providing food and clothes to those in need amid the cost-of-living crisis by running a community cafe. </p> <p>But now, her beloved cafe may close if she doesn't receive urgent financial help. </p> <p>"We need to pay our bills in order to keep this going and if we don't pay our bills, people don't eat," Parkes, who has a big family of her own, told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>Community Cafe in Sydney's south-west became a safe haven for dozens of men, women and children, with over 100 people showing up every day. </p> <p>The cafe is a place where people can get food, clothes and toiletries for free, as well as connect with others. </p> <p>"We want to help people restore their value and restore their dignity," Parkes said.</p> <p>"Our currency is just a little bit different. So instead of using money, we use manners. Because manners and kindness are free."</p> <p>However, with an increase in costs and a lack of donations, the beloved cafe may soon be forced to close. </p> <p>"Whether there's a rate rise, whether there's a petrol hike, all of these little things affect us tremendously and affect the numbers here," she said.</p> <p>"We need to come up with some funds really desperately before then just to keep us open," she added. </p> <p>She said that at this stage they require "around about $20,000. Our electricity bill alone is almost $10,000."</p> <p>She added that  Cabravale Diggers, who have been paying the cafe's rent, and Liverpool City Council, who have also been providing financial assistance, can't continue to hold responsibility for all of the bills. </p> <p>"We've had fantastic sponsorship, we have fantastic people that back us ... but they can't carry the burden of this," Parkes said.</p> <p>"This is something that the whole community needs to get behind and support."</p> <p>The cafe provides invaluable support for customers like Ted and Lola, who find it hard to find a similar community. </p> <p>"I go to church. Not even a church will help me," Lola said.</p> <p>"These people - I don't even know them and out of nowhere they're taking rich and poor, whoever turns up."</p> <p>"It's hard living on a pension. It's very hard," Ted added. </p> <p>Parkes added that as things are starting to run out, she has had to impose rations, which has been difficult for her. </p> <p>"We've had to then turn around and say 'look today, sorry we can only give you two loaves of bread because we just don't have enough for everyone that's going to come through the door'," Parkes said.</p> <p>"That stuff breaks my heart. It absolutely kills me because people are hungry."</p> <p>From Friday, customers may have to be turned away.</p> <p>"It's terrible. How can we close? We see over 120 people a day. It's terrible," one of the volunteers at the community cafe said. </p> <p>"The community needs it. We can't close. We absolutely cannot close."</p> <p> Those who would like to help the cafe stay open have been encouraged to visit their <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Communitycafe.inc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook page</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: A Current Affair</em></p>

Caring

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Tasmania to cover travel costs in exchange for these "odd jobs"

<p>Tasmania has just opened applications for 10 "odd jobs" that you could do in exchange for a free trip to the state. </p> <p>As part of Tourism Tasmania's latest campaign to entice winter visitors, they are offering to cover travel and accommodation costs in exchange for a few odd jobs. </p> <p>While the work is unpaid and only lasts a day or two, the chosen Aussies will also get a hire car and a hamper worth up to $500 of local Tasmania produce and memorabilia. </p> <p>One of the jobs on offer is a wombat walker at East Coast Natureworld in Bicheno.</p> <p>The wildlife park is looking for an animal and nature lover, who loves going out for walks to lead the furry animals on their morning waddles as part of their rehabilitation program. </p> <p>Another job on offer is a “paranormal investigator” who will help Tasmania’s Most Haunted in New Norfolk capture and document any disturbances, spectral figures or unexplained phenomena at Willow Court Asylum.</p> <p>They are looking for someone who is “attuned into interactions with the otherworldly” and respects the controversial history of Willow Court. </p> <p>Other jobs include a “truffle snuffler” at The Truffledore, which involves truffle hunting with a canine companion, a “wine whisperer” at Clover Hill, a “puffer nut” at West Coast Wilderness Railway and  “soaksmith” at Little Things Farm. </p> <p>They are also looking for an “oyster organiser”, a “star seeker” and “sauna stoker”. </p> <p>Anyone interested in taking these odd jobs must explain in 50 words or less why they want to swap their day job for the odd job in Tasmania. </p> <p>Applications are open from now until July 8 this year. </p> <p>The total value of the prize pool is up to $25,000. </p> <p>“More and more, we’re all looking for remedies through experience that make life feel simpler and less stressful," Tourism Tasmania chief marketing officer Lindene Cleary said. </p> <p>“Watching ‘cottagecore’ videos of people gardening and building cabins in the woods. Hobbies like cooking and reading are even trumping digital hobbies like gaming.</p> <p>"So, we extend a warm invite to Australians to apply for an odd job in Tasmania and wake up from their cool weather coma.”</p> <p><em>Images: Tourism Tasmania</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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New proposal would see child care cost just $10 per day

<p>In an incredibly promising step towards affordable and high-quality early childhood education, f<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">amilies in Australia could soon benefit from a significant reduction in costs – potentially paying just $10 a day for three days a week of high-quality care. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">This development is part of a broader push to reform the current, troubled system, driven by the Centre for Policy Development (CPD) and supported by various early learning and parenting groups.</span></p> <p>The CPD has introduced a comprehensive plan aimed at overhauling the existing system, proposing free or low-cost early learning for all children three days a week. A key aspect of their proposal includes replacing the current childcare subsidy with a "child-centred" funding model that directly finances early education centres.</p> <p>Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has endorsed the initiative, highlighting its significance in the national conversation on childcare, stating, “Universal child care provision, as it is in a range of other countries, is something that is a valued national asset. Early education is good for children, it’s good for families, but it’s also good for our economy.”</p> <p>Countries like Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Norway have successfully implemented legislated entitlements for early childhood services. Research indicates that where universal or low-cost education is available, participation rates are high, suggesting similar potential outcomes for Australia.</p> <p>Economic modelling by CPD suggests that universal or low-cost early learning could increase tax revenue by up to $3.2 billion annually and boost economic growth by $6.9 billion as more parents, particularly mothers, are able to work additional hours.</p> <p>The federal government is awaiting the final report from the Productivity Commission before making further decisions. Preliminary findings from this body and a separate investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have identified the current system as complex, costly and inconsistently available across the country.</p> <p>Andrew Hudson, CEO of the Centre for Policy Development, labelled the existing system as "broken", noting that about 22% of children start school developmentally vulnerable and over 120,000 children miss out on early learning entirely due to stringent activity test rules and other barriers.</p> <p>Hudson also pointed out that enabling more women to return to the workforce represents the "single biggest productivity gain" for the country, describing the proposal as a "classic win-win".</p> <p>As momentum builds, this initiative promises a brighter future for Australian families, making high-quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable, while delivering significant economic and social benefits.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Family & Pets

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

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-hunter-991309">Paul Hunter</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-east-anglia-1268">University of East Anglia</a></em></p> <p>A recent <a href="https://bmjpublichealth.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000282">study</a> has sparked another <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/06/06/us-news/covid-vaccines-may-have-helped-fuel-rise-in-excess-deaths-since-pandemic-study/">round of</a> <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/06/04/covid-vaccines-may-have-helped-fuel-rise-in-excess-deaths/">headlines</a> <a href="https://www.gbnews.com/health/covid-vaccine-side-effects-deaths">claiming</a> that COVID vaccines caused excess deaths. This was accompanied by a predictable outpouring of <a href="https://x.com/DrAseemMalhotra/status/1797922073798717524">I-told-you-sos</a> on social media.</p> <p>Excess deaths are a measure of how many more deaths are being recorded in a country over what would have been expected based on historical trends. In the UK, and in many other countries, death rates have been higher during the years 2020 to 2023 than would have been expected based on historic trends from before the pandemic. But that has been known for some time. A couple of years ago I wrote an article for <a href="https://theconversation.com/summer-2022-saw-thousands-of-excess-deaths-in-england-and-wales-heres-why-that-might-be-189351">The Conversation</a> pointing this out and suggesting some reasons. But has anything changed?</p> <p>The authors of the new study, published in BMJ Public Health, used publicly available data from <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/COVID-vaccinations">Our World in Data</a> to determine which countries had “statistically significant” excess deaths – in other words, excess deaths that couldn’t be explained by mere random variation.</p> <p>They studied the years 2020 to 2022 and found that many, but not all, countries did indeed report excess deaths. The authors did not try to explain why these excess deaths occurred, but the suggestion that COVID vaccines could have played a role is clear from their text – and indeed widely interpreted as such by certain newspapers.</p> <p>There is no doubt that a few deaths were associated with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/25166026211053485">the COVID vaccines</a>, but could the vaccination programme explain the large number of excess deaths – 3 million in 47 countries – that have been reported?</p> <p>Based on <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwales/march2020todecember2021">death certificates</a>, during 2020 and 2021 there were more deaths from COVID than estimated excess deaths in the UK. So during the year 2021 when most vaccine doses were administered, there were actually fewer non-COVID deaths than would have been expected. It was only in 2022 that excess deaths <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/deathregistrationsummarystatisticsenglandandwales/2022">exceeded COVID deaths</a>.</p> <p>If the vaccination campaign was contributing to the excess deaths that we have seen in recent years, then we should expect to see more deaths in people who have been vaccinated than in those who have not. The most reliable analysis in this regard was done by the UK’s <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwales/march2020todecember2021">Office for National Statistics (ONS)</a>. In this analysis, the ONS matched death registrations with the vaccine histories of each death recorded. They then calculated “age-standardised death rates” to account for age differences between those vaccinated and those not.</p> <p>What the ONS found was that in all months from April 2021 to May 2023, the death rate <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/redir/eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpbmRleCI6MSwicGFnZVNpemUiOjEwLCJwYWdlIjoxLCJ1cmkiOiIvcGVvcGxlcG9wdWxhdGlvbmFuZGNvbW11bml0eS9iaXJ0aHNkZWF0aHNhbmRtYXJyaWFnZXMvZGVhdGhzL2RhdGFzZXRzL2V4Y2Vzc2RlYXRoc2luZW5nbGFuZGFuZHdhbGVzIiwibGlzdFR5cGUiOiJyZWxhdGVkZGF0YSJ9.Cot-XDe8Rr07paGllBNnVVz1nTqnXfVafn2woA3tk0c">from all causes was higher</a> in the unvaccinated than in people who had been vaccinated at least once.</p> <p>That deaths from all causes were lower in the vaccinated than the unvaccinated should come as no surprise given that COVID was a major cause of death in 2021 and 2022. And there is ample evidence of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10492612/">protective effect of vaccines</a> against severe COVID and death. But what is even more convincing is that, even when known COVID deaths were excluded in the ONS report, the death rate in the unvaccinated was still higher, albeit not by very much in more recent months.</p> <p>Some COVID deaths would certainly not have been recognised as such. But, on the other hand, people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, were a high priority for vaccination. And these people would have been at increased risk of death even before the pandemic.</p> <h2>Possible causes</h2> <p>If the vaccine is not the cause of the excess deaths, what was?</p> <p>The major cause of the excess deaths reported in the first two years of the BMJ Public Health study was deaths from COVID. But by 2022, excess deaths exceeded COVID deaths in many countries.</p> <p>Possible <a href="https://theconversation.com/summer-2022-saw-thousands-of-excess-deaths-in-england-and-wales-heres-why-that-might-be-189351">explanations</a> for these excess deaths include longer-term effects of earlier COVID infections, the return of infections such as influenza that had been suppressed during the COVID control measures, adverse effects of lockdowns on physical and mental health, and delays in the diagnosis of life-threatening infections as health services struggled to cope with the pandemic and its aftermath.</p> <p>We do need to look very carefully at how the pandemic was managed. There is still considerable debate about the effectiveness of different behavioural control measures, such as self-isolation and lockdowns. Even when such interventions were effective at reducing transmission of COVID, what were the harms and were the gains worth the harms? Nevertheless, we can be confident that the excess deaths seen in recent years were not a consequence of the vaccination campaign.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231776/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-hunter-991309">Paul Hunter</a>, Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-east-anglia-1268">University of East Anglia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-vaccines-saved-millions-of-lives-linking-them-to-excess-deaths-is-a-mistake-231776">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Why it’s still a scientific mystery how some can live past 100 – and how to crack it

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/richard-faragher-224976">Richard Faragher</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-brighton-942">University of Brighton</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nir-barzilai-1293752">Nir Barzilai</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/albert-einstein-college-of-medicine-3638">Albert Einstein College of Medicine</a></em></p> <p>A 35-year-old man <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18544745/">only has a 1.5% chance of dying in the next ten years</a>. But the same man at 75 has a 45% chance of dying before he reaches 85. Clearly, ageing is bad for our health. On the bright side, we have made unprecedented progress in understanding the fundamental mechanisms that control ageing and late-life disease.</p> <p>A few tightly linked biological processes, sometimes called the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23746838/">“hallmarks of ageing”</a>, including our supply of stem cells and communication between cells, act to keep us healthy in the early part of our lives – with <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-secret-to-staying-young-scientists-boost-lifespan-of-mice-by-deleting-defective-cells-54068">problems arising as these start to fail</a>. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34699859/">Clinical trials are ongoing</a> to see if targeting some of these hallmarks can improve <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31542391/">diabetic kidney disease</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29997249/">aspects of</a> <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33977284/">immune function</a> and age-related <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30616998/">scarring of the lungs</a> among others. So far, so good.</p> <p>Unfortunately, big, unanswered questions remain in the biology of ageing. To evaluate what these are and how to address them, the <a href="https://www.afar.org/">American Federation For Aging Research</a>, a charity, recently convened a series of <a href="https://www.afar.org/imported/AFAR_GeroFuturesThinkTankReport_November2021.pdf">meetings for leading scientists and doctors</a>. The experts agreed that understanding what is special about the biology of humans who survive more than a century is now a key challenge.</p> <p>These centenarians <a href="https://www.statista.com/chart/18826/number-of-hundred-year-olds-centenarians-worldwide/">comprise less than 0.02% of the UK population</a> but have exceeded the life expectancy of their peers by almost 50 years (babies born in the 1920s typically had a life expectancy of less than 55). How are they doing it?</p> <p>We know that centenarians live so long because they are unusually healthy. They remain in good health for about 30 years longer than most normal people and when they finally fall ill, they are only sick for a very short time. This <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27377170/">“compression of morbidity”</a> is clearly good for them, but also benefits society as a whole. In the US, the medical care costs for a centenarian in their last two years of life <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_198.pdf">are about a third of those of someone who dies in their seventies</a> (a time when most centenarians don’t even need to see a doctor).</p> <p>The children of centenarians are also much healthier than average, indicating they are inheriting something beneficial from their parents. But is this genetic or environmental?</p> <h2>Centenarians aren’t always health conscious</h2> <p>Are centenarians the poster children for a healthy lifestyle? For the general population, watching your weight, not smoking, drinking moderately and eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day can <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27296932/">increase life expectancy by up to 14 years</a> compared with someone who does none of these things. This difference <a href="https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld5801/ldselect/ldsctech/183/18305.htm#_idTextAnchor012">exceeds that seen</a> between the least and most deprived areas in the UK, so intuitively it would be expected to play a role in surviving for a century.</p> <p>But astonishingly, this needn’t be the case. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21812767/">One study</a> found that up to 60% of Ashkenazi Jewish centenarians have smoked heavily most of their lives, half have been obese for the same period of time, less than half do even moderate exercise and under 3% are vegetarians. The children of centenarians appear no more health conscious than the general population either.</p> <p>Compared to peers with the same food consumption, wealth and body weight, however, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29050682/">they have half the prevalence of cardiovascular disease</a>. There is something innately exceptional about these people.</p> <h2>The big secret</h2> <p>Could it be down to rare genetics? If so, then there are two ways in which this could work. Centenarians might carry unusual genetic variants that extend lifespan, or instead they might lack common ones that cause late-life disease and impairment. Several studies, including our own work, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32860726/">have shown</a> that centenarians have just as many bad genetic variants as the general population.</p> <p>Some even carry two copies of the largest known common risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease (APOE4), but still don’t get the illness. So a plausible working hypothesis is that centenarians carry rare, beneficial genetic variations rather than a lack of disadvantageous ones. And the best available data is consistent with this.</p> <p>Over 60% of centenarians have genetic changes that alter the genes which regulate growth in early life. This implies that these remarkable people are human examples of a type of lifespan extension observed in other species. Most people know that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28803893/">small dogs tend to live longer than big ones</a> but fewer are aware that this is a general phenomenon across the animal kingdom. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26857482/">Ponies can live longer than horses</a> and many strains of laboratory mice with dwarfing mutations <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29653683/">live longer than their full-sized counterparts</a>. One potential cause of this is reduced levels of a growth hormone called IGF-1 – although human centenarians <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28630896/">are not necessarily shorter than the rest of us</a>.</p> <p>Obviously, growth hormone is necessary early on in life, but there is increasing evidence that high levels of IGF-1 in mid to late life <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18316725/">are associated with increased late-life illness</a>. The detailed mechanisms underlying this remain an open question, but even among centenarians, women with the lowest levels of growth hormone <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24618355/">live longer than those with the highest</a>. They also have better cognitive and muscle function.</p> <p>That doesn’t solve the problem, though. Centenarians are also different from the rest of us in other ways. For example, they tend to have good cholesterol levels – hinting there may several reasons for their longevity.</p> <p>Ultimately, centenarians are “natural experiments” who show us that it is possible to live in excellent health even if you have been dealt a risky genetic hand and chose to pay no attention to health messages – but only if you carry rare, poorly understood mutations.</p> <p>Understanding exactly how these work should allow scientists to develop new drugs or other interventions that target biological processes in the right tissues at the right time. If these become a reality perhaps more of us than we think will see the next century in. But, until then, don’t take healthy lifestyle tips from centenarians.<!-- 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/172020/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/richard-faragher-224976">Richard Faragher</a>, Professor of Biogerontology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-brighton-942">University of Brighton</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nir-barzilai-1293752">Nir Barzilai</a>, Professor of Medicine and Genetics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/albert-einstein-college-of-medicine-3638">Albert Einstein College of Medicine</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-its-still-a-scientific-mystery-how-some-can-live-past-100-and-how-to-crack-it-172020">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Retirement Life

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Cost of living: if you can’t afford as much fresh produce, are canned veggies or frozen fruit just as good?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/evangeline-mantzioris-153250">Evangeline Mantzioris</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180"><em>University of South Australia</em></a></em></p> <p>The cost of living crisis is affecting how we spend our money. For many people, this means tightening the budget on the weekly supermarket shop.</p> <p>One victim may be fresh fruit and vegetables. Data from the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/australians-consuming-fewer-vegetables-fruit-and-less-milk#:%7E:text=Paul%20Atyeo%2C%20ABS%20health%20statistics,278%20to%20267%20to%20grams.%E2%80%9D">Australian Bureau of Statistics</a> (ABS) suggests Australians were consuming fewer fruit and vegetables in 2022–23 than the year before.</p> <p>The cost of living is likely compounding a problem that exists already – on the whole, Australians don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating">Australian dietary guidelines</a> recommend people aged nine and older should consume <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/fruit">two</a> serves of fruit and <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/five-food-groups/vegetables-and-legumes-beans">five</a> serves of vegetables each day for optimal health. But in 2022 the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/dietary-behaviour/latest-release">ABS reported</a> only 4% of Australians met the recommendations for both fruit and vegetable consumption.</p> <p>Fruit and vegetables are crucial for a healthy, balanced diet, providing a range of <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-told-to-eat-a-rainbow-of-fruit-and-vegetables-heres-what-each-colour-does-in-our-body-191337">vitamins</a> and minerals as well as fibre.</p> <p>If you can’t afford as much fresh produce at the moment, there are other ways to ensure you still get the benefits of these food groups. You might even be able to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables.</p> <h2>Frozen</h2> <p>Fresh produce is often touted as being the most nutritious (think of the old adage “fresh is best”). But this is not necessarily true.</p> <p>Nutrients can decline in transit from the paddock to your kitchen, and while the produce is stored in your fridge. Frozen vegetables may actually be higher in some nutrients such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25526594/">vitamin C and E</a> as they are snap frozen very close to the time of harvest. Variations in transport and storage can affect this slightly.</p> <p><a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jf504890k">Minerals</a> such as calcium, iron and magnesium stay at similar levels in frozen produce compared to fresh.</p> <p>Another advantage to frozen vegetables and fruit is the potential to reduce food waste, as you can use only what you need at the time.</p> <p>As well as buying frozen fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, you can freeze produce yourself at home if you have an oversupply from the garden, or when produce may be cheaper.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.growveg.com.au/guides/freezing-vegetables-and-herbs-the-garden-foodie-version/">quick blanching</a> prior to freezing can improve the safety and quality of the produce. This is when food is briefly submerged in boiling water or steamed for a short time.</p> <p>Frozen vegetables won’t be suitable for salads but can be eaten roasted or steamed and used for soups, stews, casseroles, curries, pies and quiches. Frozen fruits can be added to breakfast dishes (with cereal or youghurt) or used in cooking for fruit pies and cakes, for example.</p> <h2>Canned</h2> <p>Canned vegetables and fruit similarly often offer a cheaper alternative to fresh produce. They’re also very convenient to have on hand. The <a href="https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can#gsc.tab=0">canning process</a> is the preservation technique, so there’s no need to add any additional preservatives, including salt.</p> <p>Due to the cooking process, levels of heat-sensitive nutrients <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jsfa.2825">such as vitamin C</a> will decline a little compared to fresh produce. When you’re using canned vegetables in a hot dish, you can add them later in the cooking process to reduce the amount of nutrient loss.</p> <p>To minimise waste, you can freeze the portion you don’t need.</p> <h2>Fermented</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723656/">Fermentation</a> has recently come into fashion, but it’s actually one of the oldest food processing and preservation techniques.</p> <p>Fermentation largely retains the vitamins and minerals in fresh vegetables. But fermentation may also enhance the food’s nutritional profile by creating new nutrients and allowing existing ones to be <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9352655/">absorbed more easily</a>.</p> <p>Further, fermented foods contain probiotics, which are beneficial for our <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10051273/">gut microbiome</a>.</p> <h2>5 other tips to get your fresh fix</h2> <p>Although alternatives to fresh such as canned or frozen fruit and vegetables are good substitutes, if you’re looking to get more fresh produce into your diet on a tight budget, here are some things you can do.</p> <p><strong>1. Buy in season</strong></p> <p>Based on supply and demand principles, buying local seasonal vegetables and fruit will always be cheaper than those that are imported out of season from other countries.</p> <p><strong>2. Don’t shun the ugly fruit and vegetables</strong></p> <p>Most supermarkets now sell “ugly” fruit and vegetables, that are not physically perfect in some way. This does not affect the levels of nutrients in them at all, or their taste.</p> <p><strong>3. Reduce waste</strong></p> <p>On average, an Australian household throws out <a href="https://www.ozharvest.org/food-waste-facts/">A$2,000–$2,500</a> worth of food every year. Fruit, vegetables and bagged salad are the <a href="https://www.ozharvest.org/food-waste-facts/">three of the top five foods</a> thrown out in our homes. So properly managing fresh produce could help you save money (and benefit <a href="https://endfoodwaste.com.au/why-end-food-waste/">the environment</a>).</p> <p>To minimise waste, plan your meals and shopping ahead of time. And if you don’t think you’re going to get to eat the fruit and vegetables you have before they go off, freeze them.</p> <p><strong>4. Swap and share</strong></p> <p>There are many websites and apps which offer the opportunity to swap or even pick up free fresh produce if people have more than they need. Some <a href="https://www.charlessturt.sa.gov.au/environment/sustainable-lifestyles/community-fruit-and-vege-swaps">local councils are also encouraging</a> swaps on their websites, so dig around and see what you can find in your local area.</p> <p><strong>5. Gardening</strong></p> <p>Regardless of how small your garden is you can always <a href="https://www.gardeningaustraliamag.com.au/best-vegies-grow-pots/">plant produce in pots</a>. Herbs, rocket, cherry tomatoes, chillies and strawberries all grow well. In the long run, these will offset some of your cost on fresh produce.</p> <p>Plus, when you have put the effort in to grow your own produce, <a href="https://mdpi-res.com/sustainability/sustainability-07-02695/article_deploy/sustainability-07-02695.pdf?version=1425549154">you are less likely to waste it</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/229724/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/evangeline-mantzioris-153250"><em>Evangeline Mantzioris</em></a><em>, Program Director of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Accredited Practising Dietitian, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/cost-of-living-if-you-cant-afford-as-much-fresh-produce-are-canned-veggies-or-frozen-fruit-just-as-good-229724">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Dad forced to live in tent amid housing crisis

<p>An Aussie dad is the latest to fall victim to the housing crisis, with soaring rent and low vacancy rates forcing him to live in a tent. </p> <p>Peter Woodforde, 58, has been forced to live makeshift gazebo wrapped in tarps that's set up in an Adelaide park, and while his children know that he is doing it tough, they don't know that he is homeless and living in a tent. </p> <p>The father has yet to tell his kids, who live with their mother, that he's unable to find a suitable place to live as he said that they would be distraught if they found out. </p> <p>He admitted his 15-year-old daughter once told him that it "hurt her" to know her dad was struggling to find a comfortable place to live - but she doesn't know the extent of it. </p> <p>Speaking to <em>7News</em>, Woodforde said it's been difficult not being able to offer his kids a place to sleep. </p> <p>“Every parent wants to give their kids everything they possibly can and wants to give them the best chance of having a good life,” he told the publication. </p> <p>“What I say to them is that this is only temporary, Dad will get back on his feet.</p> <p>“(But) you’re missing out on some golden years ... I help where I can, I might pick them up and drop them off from school, but now they’re too far for me to do that,” he added. </p> <p>"I have to get myself off the street. I have to get my family into a house." </p> <p>Woodforde is sharing his story because he believes that homelessness is in a “state of emergency”,  especially with winter approaching. </p> <p>He is also unsure about whether his makeshift tent will collapse when heavier rain hits, and hopes that more could be done to help these people facing desperate circumstances. </p> <p>“We’re coming into the colder months - what’s the bill going to be for all the health problems that are going to arise out of this?" he said. </p> <p><em>Images: 7News</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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“These are people’s lives”: Calls for gambling reform after fatal cruise ship plunge

<p>The shocking death of a 50-year-old father who went overboard on a P&O Cruise has caused widespread outrage, with many questioning who is to blame for his untimely passing. </p> <p>Shane Dixon had racked up $5,000 of gambling debt while onboard the Elvis-themed voyage, which his mother, who was also travelling with him, helped him to repay. </p> <p>The next day, Dixon went back to the cruise ship's casino where he racked up another $4,000 in debt, before he plunged to his death while the vessel was on its way into Sydney Harbour. </p> <p>While questions have arisen about the circumstances surrounding his death, the CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform Carol Bennett said the cruise ship operator had failed to provide Shane with an adequate duty of care, and encouraged him to keep gambling. </p> <p>"It's really concerning that when a ship sails 12 nautical miles off the coast it can then allow anything and everything to happen," she told <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13414919/Anti-gambling-Shane-Dixon-cruise-ship-casino.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Daily Mail Australia</a></em>.  </p> <p>"The rules that might apply on land no longer seem to apply and yet you would expect this cruise line would have some kind of duty of care to ensure that people are not plied with inducements, promotions and advertisements that are pushing them to gamble to extremely harmful levels."</p> <p>"It is just beyond belief that there is not an expectation that when a cruise ship leaves a dock that the rules of that jurisdiction apply."</p> <p>"But clearly that's not the case and we leave it all in the hands of the cruise line operator who may or may not apply the responsible service of gambling."</p> <p>Ms Bennett said it was "fundamental" that gamblers were able to set spend limits, self-exclude themselves and be in an environment free of inducements: all of which are required by law when it comes to casinos on Australian soil. </p> <p>"This is just basic harm reduction that any provider or organisation that is providing gambling services should be complying with," she said. </p> <p>"And if they're not, we need to really seriously think about what governments need to do to address this problem because you do wonder how widespread this is. This could be just the tip of the iceberg."</p> <p>Ms Bennett said Australia loses an estimated $25billion on legal forms of gambling each year, with the consequences spreading far beyond the impact on the economy. </p> <p>"It leads to everything from domestic and family violence to health and mental health issues, anxiety, depression, financial distress, right through to suicide," she said. </p> <p>"It is a huge and to some degree hidden problem in Australia, which is why we need stronger enforcement of safeguards and guardrails around gambling that don't see people led into a situation where they see no other way out but suicide."</p> <p>"These are peoples lives. For every person who gambles, there are six people around them who are going to be directly impacted."</p> <p>Labor backbencher Graham Perrett said the British cruise line most likely operated under the UK's gambling laws.</p> <p>"My understanding is that the UK gambling laws are not dissimilar to ours in terms of marketing and advertising," he said. </p> <p>"It's not just a gambling free-for-all, even if they are outside our territorial seas they still have to follow the laws of the UK."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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Brutal cost of Bruce Lehrmann’s failed defamation case

<p>Bruce Lehrmann has been ordered to pay the majority of Network Ten's multi-million dollar legal fees after his failed defamation case. </p> <p>In April, Lehrmann faced a huge loss after the Federal Court found an allegation that he raped Brittany Higgins in a Parliament House office in March 2019 was most likely true, therefore is unable to be defamed for the allegations. </p> <p>The 28-year-old had sued Network Ten for defamation over a February 2021 report on <em>The Project</em>, in which journalist Lisa Wilkinson interviewed Higgins over the rape allegation.</p> <p>Since the defamation case drew to a close, the parties have been in dispute over the legal costs and who should foot what is expected to amount to a sizeable legal bill for the long-running and high-profile case.</p> <p>On Friday afternoon, Justice Michael Lee found in favour of Ten's application for indemnity costs for most of the trial, as Lehrmann is now ordered to pay for the network's and Wilkinson's costs on an ordinary and indemnity basis, but he will not have to pay costs for some affidavits.</p> <p>"In the end, it comes down to the order for costs that best does overall justice in the circumstances," Lee told the court.</p> <p>"On balance, the appropriate exercise of discretion is to make an award that Network Ten recover its costs against Mr Lehrmann on an indemnity basis, except for costs incurred in relation to the statutory qualified privilege defence."</p> <p>In explaining his decision, the judge said he found Lehrmann had defended the criminal charge "on a false basis, lied to police, and then allowed that lie to go uncorrected before the jury".</p> <p>"He wrongly instructed his senior counsel to cross-examine a complainant of sexual assault, in two legal proceedings, including, relevantly for present purposes, this case, on a knowingly false premise," he said.</p> <p>Earlier in the week, the court heard Lehrmann had no financial backers and that his lawyers had agreed they did not need to be paid if he lost the case.</p> <p>The total amount he will have to pay will be determined at a hearing later in May.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 18px; line-height: 24px; color: #333333; caret-color: #333333; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol';"> </p>

Legal

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Family of eight forced to live in tent amid rental crisis

<p>A family of eight have been forced to live in a tent for over six months as they wait to find suitable accommodation after their last rental lease ended. </p> <p>Cameron and Tameka Fletcher and their six children, aged between one and 10, have been living in a tent and have had to move from campsite to campsite since September. </p> <p>The couple claimed that the government can't support them because they have "too many children", and are waiting for public housing, but they might not meet the criteria to be eligible for it. </p> <p>They were reportedly staying in a makeshift tent city in a suburban park north of Brisbane.</p> <p>"We've always had a house, we've never done this," Cameron Fletcher told <em>Nine News</em>. </p> <p>"Everyone here is going through the same thing. But it's the only way to get help."</p> <p>“We can only do what’s best for our kids, to keep a roof over their heads,” his wife added. </p> <p>One of the couple's daughters is due to start school next year, and they have been struggling to enrol her as the family doesn't have a permanent address. </p> <p>The family said they are also struggling with day-to-day activities like finding breakfast, washing their clothes and getting the kids ready for school, and are using solar camping showers purchased from Kmart to clean themselves.</p> <p>According to <em>Nine News</em>, the family would be happy with a three-bedroom home but were told by state housing officials that they can only be offered a five-bedroom home to avoid overcrowding, but there are currently none available. </p> <p>In a statement issued to <em>Yahoo News</em>, a spokesperson for Department of Housing said it “has been working with the family since September last year, including providing accommodation which they chose to leave”.</p> <p>"As we’ve been assisting them to find longer-term options, they have declined further offers of accommodation," the spokesperson said.</p> <p>"With regards to social housing, there are eligibility factors that need to be met, including income thresholds. However, the department continues to work with the family to find a private rental and give any other support they might need."</p> <p>This comes as new <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/rent-shock-what-youll-be-paying-in-every-australian-suburb-in-2024/news-story/10b67da9ebe170a2e2d37caa7e66bf40" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PropTrack</a> data, released in March, revealed that rent has increased by 17 per cent over the past 12 months, across all the capital cities in Australia. </p> <p>More than half of Queenslanders who have applied for social housing are reportedly homeless and have had to wait for over two years amid a lack of supply and increased demands.</p> <p>Earlier this year, the Queensland government announced it was aiming to build another 53,500 social homes by 2046, with a $3.1 billion funding boost to deliver one million homes. </p> <p><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

Money & Banking

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

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fuschia-sirois-331254">Fuschia Sirois</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/durham-university-867">Durham University</a></em></p> <p>Do you tend to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty? Are you always looking on the bright side of life? If so, you may be surprised to learn that this tendency could actually be good for your health.</p> <p>A <a href="https://content.apa.org/record/2020-71981-001">number of studies</a> have shown that optimists enjoy higher levels of wellbeing, better sleep, lower stress and even better cardiovascular health and immune function. And now, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35674052/">a recent study</a> has shown that being an optimist is linked to longer life.</p> <p>To conduct their study, researchers tracked the lifespan of nearly 160,000 women aged between 50 to 79 for a period of 26 years. At the beginning of the study, the women completed a <a href="https://local.psy.miami.edu/people/faculty/ccarver/availbale-self-report-instruments/lot-r/">self-report measure of optimism</a>. Women with the highest scores on the measure were categorised as optimists. Those with the lowest scores were considered pessimists.</p> <p>Then, in 2019, the researchers followed up with the participants who were still living. They also looked at the lifespan of participants who had died. What they found was that those who had the highest levels of optimism were more likely to live longer. More importantly, the optimists were also more likely than those who were pessimists to live into their nineties. Researchers refer to this as “exceptional longevity”, considering the average lifespan for women is about 83 years in developed countries.</p> <p>What makes these findings especially impressive is that the results remained even after accounting for other factors known to predict a long life – including education level and economic status, ethnicity, and whether a person suffered from depression or other chronic health conditions.</p> <p>But given this study only looked at women, it’s uncertain whether the same would be true for men. However, <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.1900712116">another study</a> which looked at both men and women also found that people with the highest levels of optimism enjoyed a lifespan that was between 11% and 15% longer than those who were the least optimistic.</p> <h2>The fountain of youth?</h2> <p>So why is it that optimists live longer? At first glance it would seem that it may have to do with their healthier lifestyle.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.310828">research from several studies</a> has found that optimism is linked to eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, and being less likely to smoke cigarettes. These healthy behaviours are well known to improve heart health and <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases">reduce the risk</a> for cardiovascular disease, which is a <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)">leading cause of death</a> globally. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857242/">important for reducing the risk</a> of other potentially deadly diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.</p> <p>But having a healthy lifestyle may only be part of the reason optimists live a longer than average life. This latest study found that lifestyle only accounted for 24% of the link between optimism and longevity. This suggests a number of other factors affect longevity for optimists.</p> <p>Another possible reason could be due to the way optimists manage stress. When faced with a stressful situation, optimists tend to deal with it head-on. They <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16859439/">use adaptive coping strategies</a> that help them resolve the source of the stress, or view the situation in a less stressful way. For example, optimists will problem-solve and plan ways to deal with the stressor, call on others for support, or try to find a “silver lining” in the stressful situation.</p> <p>All of these approaches are well-known to reduce feelings of stress, as well as the biological reactions that occur when we feel stressed. It’s these <a href="https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body">biological reactions to stress</a> –- such as elevated cortisol (sometimes called the “stress hormone”), increased heart rate and blood pressure, and impaired immune system functioning –- that can take a toll on health over time and increase the risk for developing <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159115004316?via%3Dihub">life-threatening diseases</a>, such as cardiovascular disease. In short, the way optimists cope with stress may help protect them somewhat against its harmful effects.</p> <h2>Looking on the bright side</h2> <p>Optimism is typically viewed by researchers as a relatively stable personality trait that is determined by both <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/twin-research-and-human-genetics/article/sex-differences-in-the-genetic-architecture-of-optimism-and-health-and-their-interrelation-a-study-of-australian-and-swedish-twins/58F21AA11943D44B4BA4C63A966E6AC7">genetic</a> and early childhood influences (such as having a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541423/">secure and warm relationship</a> with your parents or caregivers). But if you’re not naturally prone to seeing the glass as half full, there are some ways you can increase your <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760.2016.1221122?journalCode=rpos20">capacity to be optimistic</a>.</p> <p>Research shows optimism can change over time, and can be cultivated by engaging in simple exercises. For example, visualising and then writing about your “<a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-matters-most/201303/what-is-your-best-possible-self">best possible self</a>” (a future version of yourself who has accomplished your goals) is a technique that studies have found can <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2016.1221122">significantly increase optimism</a>, at least temporarily. But for best results, the goals need to be both positive and reasonable, rather than just wishful thinking. Similarly, simply <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3200/SOCP.149.3.349-364">thinking about positive future events</a> can also be effective for boosting optimism.</p> <p>It’s also crucial to temper any expectations for success with an accurate view of what you can and can’t control. Optimism is reinforced when we experience the positive outcomes that we expect, and <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1970-20680-001">can decrease</a> when these outcomes aren’t as we want them to be. Although more research is needed, it’s possible that regularly envisioning yourself as having the best possible outcomes, and taking realistic steps towards achieving them, can help develop an optimistic mindset.</p> <p>Of course, this might be easier said than done for some. If you’re someone who isn’t naturally optimistic, the best chances to improve your longevity is by <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003332">living a healthy lifestyle</a> by staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, managing stress, and getting a good night’s sleep. Add to this cultivating a more optimistic mindset and you might further increase your chances for a long life.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/184785/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fuschia-sirois-331254">Fuschia Sirois</a>, Professor in Social &amp; Health Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/durham-university-867">Durham University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/do-optimists-really-live-longer-heres-what-the-research-says-184785">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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People in the world’s ‘blue zones’ live longer – their diet could hold the key to why

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-roberts-1176632">Justin Roberts</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joseph-lillis-1505087">Joseph Lillis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-cortnage-438941">Mark Cortnage</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p>Ageing is an inevitable part of life, which may explain our <a href="https://time.com/4672969/why-do-people-want-to-live-so-long/">strong fascination</a> with the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2726954">quest for longevity</a>. The allure of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26566891/">eternal youth</a> drives a <a href="https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/longevity-and-anti-senescence-therapy-market-A14010">multi-billion pound industry</a> ranging from anti-ageing products, supplements and <a href="https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/longevity-diet">diets</a> for those hoping to extend their lifespan.</p> <p>f you look back to the turn of the 20th century, average life expectancy in the UK was around 46 years. Today, it’s closer to <a href="https://population.un.org/wpp/">82 years</a>. We are in fact <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27706136/">living longer than ever before</a>, possibly due to medical advancements and improved <a href="https://www.health.org.uk/publications/reports/mortality-and-life-expectancy-trends-in-the-uk">living and working conditions</a>.</p> <p>But living longer has also come at a price. We’re now seeing higher rates of <a href="https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/mortality-and-global-health-estimates/ghe-leading-causes-of-death">chronic and degenerative diseases</a> – with heart disease consistently topping the list. So while we’re fascinated by what may help us live longer, maybe we should be more interested in being healthier for longer. Improving our “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4632858/">healthy life expectancy</a>” remains a global challenge.</p> <p>Interestingly, certain locations around the world have been discovered where there are a high proportion of centenarians who display remarkable physical and mental health. The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15489066/">AKEA study of Sardinia, Italy</a>, as example, identified a “blue zone” (named because it was marked with blue pen), where there was a higher number of locals living in the central-eastern mountainous areas who had reached their 100th birthday compared with the wider Sardinian community.</p> <p>This longevity hotspot has since been expanded, and now includes several other areas around the world which also have greater numbers of longer-living, healthy people. Alongside Sardinia, these blue zones are now <a href="https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81214929">popularly recognised</a> as: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.</p> <p>Other than their long lifespans, people living in these zones also appear to share certain other commonalities, which centre around being <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874460">part of a community</a>, having a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224996/">life purpose</a>, eating <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33514872/">nutritious, healthy foods</a>, keeping <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-021-01735-7">stress levels</a> low and undertaking purposeful daily <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30202288/">exercise or physical tasks</a>.</p> <p>Their longevity could also relate to their <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9010380/">environment</a>, being mostly rural (or less polluted), or because of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22253498/">specific longevity genes</a>.</p> <p>However, studies indicate genetics may only account for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8786073">around 20-25% of longevity</a> – meaning a person’s lifespan is a complex interaction between lifestyle and genetic factors, which contribute to a long and healthy life.</p> <h2>Is the secret in our diet?</h2> <p>When it comes to diet, each blue zone has its own approach – so one specific food or nutrient does not explain the remarkable longevity observed. But interestingly, a diet rich in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288">plant foods</a> (such as locally-grown vegetables, fruits and legumes) does appear to be reasonably consistent across these zones.</p> <p>For instance, the Seventh-day Adventists of Loma Linda are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10641813/">predominately vegetarian</a>. For centenarians in Okinawa, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20234038/">high intakes of flavonoids</a> (a chemical compound typically found in plants) from purple sweet potatoes, soy and vegetables, have been linked with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11710359/">better cardiovascular health</a> – including lower cholesterol levels and lower incidences of stroke and heart disease.</p> <p>In Nicoya, consumption of locally produced rice and beans has been associated with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34444746/">longer telomere length</a>. Telomeres are the structural part at the end of our chromosomes which protect our genetic material. Our telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides – so get progressively shorter as we age.</p> <p>Certain <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21102320/">lifestyle factors</a> (such as smoking and poor diet) can also shorten telomere length. It’s thought that telomere length acts as a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31728493/">biomarker of ageing</a> – so having longer telomeres could, in part, be linked with longevity.</p> <p>But a plant-based diet isn’t the only secret. In Sardinia, for example, meat and fish is consumed in moderation in addition to locally grown vegetables and <a href="https://journalofethnicfoods.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42779-022-00152-5">traditional foods</a> such as acorn breads, pane carasau (a sourdough flatbread), honey and soft cheeses.</p> <p>Also observed in several blue zone areas is the inclusion of <a href="https://www.jacc.org/doi/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.10.041">olive oil</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33669360/">wine</a> (in moderation – around 1-2 glasses a day), as well as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3830687/">tea</a>. All of these contain powerful antioxidants which may help <a href="https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10049696/">protect our cells</a> from damage <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6273542/">as we age</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps then, it’s a combination of the protective effects of various nutrients in the diets of these centenarians, which explains their exceptional longevity.</p> <p>Another striking observation from these longevity hot spots is that meals are typically <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7232892">freshly prepared at home</a>. Traditional blue zone diets also don’t appear to contain <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6538973/">ultra-processed foods</a>, fast foods or sugary drinks which may <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32330232/">accelerate ageing</a>. So maybe it’s just as important to consider what these longer-living populations are not doing, as much as what they are doing.</p> <p>There also appears to be a pattern of eating until 80% full (in other words partial <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9036399/">caloric reduction</a>. This could be important in also supporting how our cells deal with damage as we age, which could mean a longer life.</p> <p>Many of the factors making up these blue zone diets – primarily plant-based and natural whole foods – are associated with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35706591/">lower risk of chronic diseases</a> such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28728684/">heart disease</a> and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37589638/">cancer</a>. Not only could such diets contribute to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37836577/">longer, healthier life</a>, but could support a more <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33397404/">diverse gut microbiome</a>, which is also associated with healthy ageing.</p> <p>Perhaps then we can learn something from these remarkable centenarians. While diet is only one part of the bigger picture when it comes to longevity, it’s an area we can do something about. In fact, it might just be at the heart of improving not only the quality of our health, but the quality of how we age.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221463/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/justin-roberts-1176632">Justin Roberts</a>, Professor of Nutritional Physiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joseph-lillis-1505087">Joseph Lillis</a>, PhD Candidate in Nutritional Physiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-cortnage-438941">Mark Cortnage</a>, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Nutrition, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/people-in-the-worlds-blue-zones-live-longer-their-diet-could-hold-the-key-to-why-221463">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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"Worst experience of our lives": Aussies break silence after being stranded by cruise ship

<p>An Australian couple have spoken out about how their dream holiday turned into a nightmare after they were abandoned by their cruise ship and left stranded in Africa. </p> <p>Violetta and Doug Sanders were two of eight travellers on the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship who took off on a private tour not organised by the cruise while they were docked on the small African island of São Tomé. </p> <p>After their <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/the-key-decision-that-led-to-cruise-passengers-being-abandoned-by-ship" target="_blank" rel="noopener">private tour ran late</a>, the Aussie pensioners and their fellow travellers were unable to rejoin the cruise as the ship was ready to disembark from the port, and were left stranded. </p> <p>Doug and Violetta are still attempting to rejoin the cruise in Senegal to be reunited with valuables such as their passports to finish out their journey. </p> <p>The couple spoke to <em>Sunrise</em> on Wednesday, detailing their nightmarish experience in the foreign country. </p> <p>“It’s been the worst experience of our lives to be abandoned like that in a strange country, can’t speak the language — Portuguese or an African (language),” Violeta said.</p> <p>“We have no money, our credit cards aren’t accepted.”</p> <p>The group of stranded travellers have been racing through six African countries to get to where the ship is docking in Senegal in time, but US travellers Jill and Jay Campbell have cast doubt on whether they will re-board the ship.</p> <p>“We believe that it was a basic duty of care that they have forgotten about — although there are a set of rules, they have followed them too rigidly,” Jill told US media overnight.</p> <p>The group, which included four elderly people, a pregnant woman, a quadriplegic and a person with a heart condition, were set to rejoin the ship last Sunday in The Gambia, however, low-tide meant the ship couldn’t dock at the African port.</p> <p>The Campbells have been using their credit card to look after the entire group, spending more than $5,000 USD so far.</p> <p>Norwegian Cruise Lines has said it is up to guests to be back on time.</p> <p>“Guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time, which is communicated broadly over the ship’s intercom, in the daily communication and posted just before exiting the vessel,” it said.</p> <p>The cruise line later said it was in contact with passengers and had been “working closely with authorities” to allow the guests to re-join the ship.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Sunrise </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Undernourished, stressed and overworked: cost-of-living pressures are taking a toll on Australians’ health

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nicole-black-103425">Nicole Black</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anthony-harris-7148">Anthony Harris</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/danusha-jayawardana-1406565">Danusha Jayawardana</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-johnston-1126643">David Johnston</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>For the past few years, it has been impossible to escape the impact of inflation. Meeting our most basic needs – such as food, housing and health care – now costs significantly more, and wage increases <a href="https://futurework.org.au/post/for-most-workers-wages-are-still-failing-to-keep-up-with-inflation/">haven’t kept up</a>.</p> <p>There are signs relief could be on the horizon. Inflation has fallen to its <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/consumer-price-index-australia/latest-release">lowest levels</a> since January 2022.</p> <p>But Australia now also finds itself in the midst of an <a href="https://theconversation.com/prepare-to-hear-about-an-official-recession-unofficially-weve-been-in-one-for-some-time-224963">economic downturn</a>, putting further pressure on households.</p> <p>Rising prices have an obvious negative impact on our financial health. But they can also have a profound effect on our physical and mental wellbeing, which is often overlooked.</p> <p>Australians may continue to feel the health effects of high inflation for quite some time.</p> <h2>It’s costing more to live well</h2> <p>Between March 2021 and March 2023, the price of goods and services <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/consumer-price-index-australia/jun-quarter-2023">rose substantially</a>, marking a period of high <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/education/resources/explainers/inflation-and-its-measurement.html">inflation</a>.</p> <p><iframe id="5vFeh" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/5vFeh/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Worryingly, the prices of basic needs that are important for staying healthy – nutritious food, health care, housing and utilities – rose between 11% and 36%.</p> <h2>Who is affected the most?</h2> <p>Higher prices on essentials are virtually impossible to dodge, but they impact certain groups of people more than others.</p> <p>Wealthier households have managed their higher expenses by <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/fsr/2023/oct/pdf/financial-stability-review-2023-10.pdf">cutting back on discretionary spending and dipping into savings</a>.</p> <p>However, lower income households spend <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/fsr/2023/oct/household-business-finances-in-australia.html#:%7E:text=Lower%20income%20households%2C%20including%20many,than%20households%20on%20higher%20incomes.">a much larger portion of their income</a> on housing and other essentials.</p> <p>Without a savings buffer, these households experience severe financial strain and poor health outcomes.</p> <h2>Financial stress affects our health</h2> <p>Our research shows that high inflation has <a href="https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/resources/resource-download/high-inflation-and-implications-for-health">a range of effects</a> on people’s health.</p> <p>These effects fall into three main groups: material hardship, psychosocial, and behavioural.</p> <p><strong>1. Material hardship</strong></p> <p>People facing material hardship can’t meet their basic needs because they can’t afford to pay for them.</p> <p>Material hardship can present itself in a variety of ways:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-many-australians-are-going-hungry-we-dont-know-for-sure-and-thats-a-big-part-of-the-problem-195360">food insecurity</a> – not getting adequate nutrition</li> <li><a href="https://theconversation.com/1-in-4-households-struggle-to-pay-power-bills-here-are-5-ways-to-tackle-hidden-energy-poverty-204672">energy poverty</a> – struggling to pay for electricity and gas</li> <li>deferred health care – putting off medical treatment</li> <li>housing insecurity – struggling to find a stable place to live.</li> </ul> <p>Between August 2022 and February 2023, when inflation hit its highest levels in 33 years, over half (53%) of surveyed Australians reported <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/data/taking-the-pulse-of-the-nation-2022/2023/australians-face-challenging-budgetary-constraints">struggling to afford</a> their basic needs.</p> <p>Finding ourselves in this situation can have far-reaching implications for our health.</p> <p>For example, food insecurity is linked to <a href="https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/VH_High-Inflation-Paper_FINAL_1.pdf">an increased risk of poor nutrition, obesity and chronic illness</a>, as households facing cost-of-living pressures shift towards cheaper, lower-quality food options.</p> <p>Energy poverty is linked to <a href="https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/VH_High-Inflation-Paper_FINAL_1.pdf">physical and mental health problems</a> as people struggle to keep warm in wintertime, and cool in the summer.</p> <p>Delaying health care <a href="https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/VH_High-Inflation-Paper_FINAL_1.pdf">increases</a> the risk of facing severe health problems, staying in hospital for longer, and being admitted to the emergency department. This isn’t just worse for individuals, it’s also far more costly for our health care system.</p> <p><strong>2. Psychosocial effects</strong></p> <p>Psychosocial effects are the ways in which cost-of-living pressures impact our mind and social relationships.</p> <p>Difficulties in meeting our basic needs are strongly associated with <a href="https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/VH_High-Inflation-Paper_FINAL_1.pdf">increased levels of psychological distress</a>, including symptoms of anxiety and depression.</p> <p>This impact can worsen over time if individuals experience sustained financial stress.</p> <p>By undermining our ability to work well, the psychosocial effects of prolonged financial stress can initiate a “vicious cycle”, leading to reduced productivity and lower earnings.</p> <p>Financial stress can also have a detrimental impact on spousal relationships, which can affect the mental health of other household members such as children.</p> <p><strong>3. Behavioural effects</strong></p> <p>Cost-of-living pressures can also cause a number of changes in the way we behave.</p> <p>For many, these pressures have become a reason to work longer hours and gain additional income.</p> <p>Last year, Australians collectively worked 4.6% longer, an <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia/aug-2023">extra 86 million hours</a>.</p> <p>But working longer hours <a href="https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/VH_High-Inflation-Paper_FINAL_1.pdf">reduces people’s overall health</a>, especially among parents of young children facing greater time constraints.</p> <p>It also leaves less time for activities that help to keep people healthy, such as getting regular exercise and cooking healthy meals.</p> <h2>How can policymakers respond?</h2> <p>In theory, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s primary tool for combating inflation – raising interest rates – should help. By reducing aggregate spending in the economy, it is designed to put downward pressure on prices.</p> <p>But by bluntly increasing the cost of borrowing, it also puts significant short-term financial pressure on both lower-income mortgage holders and renters.</p> <p>Better acknowledgement of this fact, and of inflation’s broader impact on people’s physical and mental health, would be a great start.</p> <p>When formulating policy responses to high inflation, governments could factor health and wellbeing impacts into their assessment of the trade-offs between alternative policy responses.</p> <p>This could help minimise any policy’s long-term negative health consequences and its impact on the health care system.</p> <p>Policymakers could also focus on making sure affordable and timely access to health care, especially mental health support, is made available to those most vulnerable to cost-of-living pressures.<!-- 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/223625/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/nicole-black-103425">Nicole Black</a>, Associate Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anthony-harris-7148">Anthony Harris</a>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/danusha-jayawardana-1406565">Danusha Jayawardana</a>, Research Fellow in Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/david-johnston-1126643">David Johnston</a>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/undernourished-stressed-and-overworked-cost-of-living-pressures-are-taking-a-toll-on-australians-health-223625">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Princess of Wales and King Charles: one in two people develop cancer during their lives – the diseases and treatments explained

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gavin-metcalf-1340598">Gavin Metcalf</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p>The Princess of Wales released a <a href="https://x.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1771235267837321694?s=20">moving video message</a> on March 22 to address speculation about her health. In it, the future queen disclosed that she’d been <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68641710">diagnosed with cancer</a> following tests conducted after she underwent major abdominal surgery at a clinic in London in January.</p> <p>Catherine explained that she was undergoing “preventative chemotherapy” – but emphasised that her surgery had been successful, and that she was “well” and “getting stronger every day”.</p> <p>The message was the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/22/princess-kate-cancer-royal-family-health-annus-horribilis">second announcement</a> of a royal family cancer diagnosis in recent weeks. On February 5, Buckingham Palace <a href="https://www.royal.uk/a-statement-from-buckingham-palace-5Feb24">published a statement</a> that King Charles III had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68208157">cancer, unrelated</a> to the treatment he had been receiving for an enlarged prostate.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3xzKooCaRXU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The statement said that he had begun “regular treatments”. The king postponed all public-facing duties during his treatment, but <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68213383">reportedly continued</a> with his “constitutional role as head of state, including completing paperwork and holding private meetings”.</p> <p>Cancer is the <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer">leading cause of death</a> worldwide. <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/#:%7E:text=The%20cancerous%20cells%20can%20invade,of%20cancer%20during%20their%20lifetime.">One in two</a> people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime – so the condition will affect almost every family. However, many cancers can be cured if, as appears to be the case with the king, the condition is <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68213383">detected early</a> and treated effectively.</p> <h2>What is cancer?</h2> <p>Our bodies are made up of more than 100 billion cells, and cancer typically starts with changes in a small group of cells – or even a single one.</p> <p>We have different cell types depending upon where in the body they are and the function that the cell has. The size, amount and function of each of these cells is normally tightly regulated by genes – groups of codes held within our DNA – that instruct cells how to grow and divide.</p> <p>However, changes (mutations) to DNA can alter the way cells grow and multiply – often forming a lump, or solid tumour. Cancers can also develop in blood cells, such as white blood cell cancer which is known as leukaemia. This type of cancer does not form solid tumours; instead, the cancer builds up in the blood or sometimes the marrow in the core of bones, where blood cells are produced.</p> <p>In all, there are <a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/how-cancer-starts/types-of-cancer#:%7E:text=For%20example%2C%20nerves%20and%20muscles,of%20cell%20they%20start%20in.">more than 200</a> types of cancer, but all start with mutations in the DNA contained within each and every cell.</p> <h2>What exactly are mutations?</h2> <p>Think of your DNA as a big recipe book, and your genes as individual recipes for making different dishes. Mutations are smudges or missing words from this recipe that can result in key ingredients not being added into the mix.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8BJ8_5Gyhg8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Regardless of the type of cancer or the cells from which it develops, mutations in our genes can result in a cell no longer understanding its instructions.</p> <p>These mutations can happen by chance when dividing, but can also be the result of lifestyle choices such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141049/">smoking</a>, <a href="https://www.ndph.ox.ac.uk/news/new-genetic-study-confirms-that-alcohol-is-a-direct-cause-of-cancer#:%7E:text=These%20mutations%20both%20disrupt%20the,aldehyde%20dehydrogenase%202%20(ALDH2).">drinking</a>, and <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet">inactivity</a>.</p> <p>Research has found that in order for a normal cell to turn into a cancerous cell, anywhere from <a href="https://www.sanger.ac.uk/news_item/1-10-mutations-are-needed-drive-cancer-scientists-find/">one to ten different mutations</a> are normally required.</p> <h2>How is cancer treated?</h2> <p>Treatment options for cancer depend on a variety of factors, including where your cancer is, how large it is, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The main treatments for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.</p> <p>Chemotherapy uses drugs to target and kill cells that are rapidly dividing in our bodies. This approach is effective at targeting fast-growing cells in various cancers – but also has negative side effects. It also targets healthy cells that rapidly divide, such as hair and the cells lining our digestive system. This can lead to commonly reported <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chemotherapy/side-effects/">side-effects</a> such as hair loss, nausea and diarrhoea.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/chemotherapy?gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw-_mvBhDwARIsAA-Q0Q6tyQxTuBzU7vVD7SHjQ5dF-fRdqnL7S74-k5LXyTqODydsrPfJVsoaAkgyEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Chemotherapy</a> can be used both preventatively – as in the case of the princess – and therapeutically.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FkZn5u3MIiY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Preventative chemotherapy, also known as <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/adjuvant-therapy">adjuvant chemotherapy</a>, is given after surgery or other primary treatments to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the body. It aims to reduce the risk of the cancer returning (known as recurrence).</p> <p>Therapeutic chemotherapy is used as a treatment option for cancer that has spread or is well established, such as advanced-stage cancers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/surgery/about">Surgery</a> involves the physical removal of cancerous tissues as well as nearby lymph nodes – small glands which act as filters in your body that cancers can spread through – to eliminate the tumour. Surgery is often used to remove localised cancers that haven’t spread throughout the body.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/radiotherapy">Radiotherapy</a> uses high-energy radiation beams that are able to target specific areas where tumour cells are located to destroy or shrink the tumour. Radiotherapy can be applied externally or internally.</p> <p>Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy are often combined in cancer treatment to improve outcomes for patients.</p> <p>Thanks to developments in cancer research over the last 50 years, survival rates have improved greatly – although the rate of improvement has <a href="https://news.cancerresearchuk.org/2024/02/02/world-cancer-day-2024/#:%7E:text=Improvements%20in%20cancer%20survival%20have%20slowed%20in%20recent%20years&amp;text=Survival%20increased%20three%20to%20five,consistently%20lags%20behind%20comparable%20countries.">slowed recently</a>. Cancer survival depends on various factors such as age – people under 40 have a <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/age">greater chance</a> of survival – overall health and fitness, as well as family history.</p> <h2>What you should do</h2> <p>Particular changes in your body or warning symptoms could indicate the presence of cancer. These include, but are not limited to:</p> <ul> <li>Unexplained weight loss;</li> <li>Fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest;</li> <li>Changes in bowel or bladder habits;</li> <li>Persistent cough or coughing up blood;</li> <li>Difficulty swallowing;</li> <li>Persistent pain;</li> <li>Noticing lumps, such as in a breast or testicle.</li> </ul> <p>The symptoms may not necessarily be the result of cancer. But it is important to get checked by a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary or have had persistent symptoms that don’t ease. Early detection and treatment can <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.aay9040">significantly improve</a> outcomes for many types of cancer.<!-- 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/226456/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/gavin-metcalf-1340598">Gavin Metcalf</a>, Cancer Biologist and Lecturer in Biomedical Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/princess-of-wales-and-king-charles-one-in-two-people-develop-cancer-during-their-lives-the-diseases-and-treatments-explained-226456">original article</a>.</em></p>

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