Placeholder Content Image

Attempted assassination of Trump: The long history of violence against U.S. presidents

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/thomas-klassen-1171638">Thomas Klassen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/york-university-canada-1610">York University, Canada</a></em></p> <p>Political assassinations in the United States have a long and disturbing history.</p> <p>The <a href="https://apnews.com/article/trump-vp-vance-rubio-7c7ba6b99b5f38d2d840ed95b2fdc3e5">attempted assassination of Donald Trump</a>, who narrowly escaped death when a bullet grazed his right ear while he was speaking at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, highlights the danger of those seeking votes in a country whose constitution guarantees citizens the right to bear arms.</p> <p>Trump joins a not-so-exclusive club of U.S. presidents, former presidents and presidential candidates who have been the target of bullets. Of the 45 people who have served as president, four have been <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/us-presidents-assassinated-targeted-presidential-candidates-111920908">assassinated while in office</a>.</p> <p>Given the near mythic status of U.S. presidents, and the nation’s superpower role, political assassinations strike at the very heart of the American psyche.</p> <p><a href="https://www.loc.gov/collections/abraham-lincoln-papers/articles-and-essays/assassination-of-president-abraham-lincoln/">Abraham Lincoln</a>’s killing in 1865 and that of <a href="https://theconversation.com/jfk-assassination-60-years-on-seven-experts-on-what-to-watch-see-and-read-to-understand-the-event-and-its-consequences-216203">John F. Kennedy</a> in 1963 are key moments in the history of the United States. <a href="https://www.history.com/news/the-assassination-of-president-james-a-garfield">James Garfield</a> (1881) and <a href="https://www.history.com/news/the-assassination-of-president-william-mckinley">William McKinley</a> (1901) are less remembered, but their deaths nonetheless rocked the nation at the time.</p> <h2>Secret Service provides protection</h2> <p>It was after McKinley’s assassination that the U.S. Secret Service was given <a href="https://www.secretservice.gov/about/history/150-years#:%7E:text">the job of providing full-time protection to presidents</a>.</p> <p>The last American president to be shot was Ronald Reagan, <a href="https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/permanent-exhibits/assassination-attempt">who was seriously wounded and required emergency surgery in 1981</a>.</p> <p>Reagan was leaving a Washington hotel after giving a speech when gunman John Hinckley Jr. fired shots from a .22-calibre pistol. One of the bullets ricocheted off the president’s limousine and hit him under the left armpit. Reagan spent 12 days in hospital before returning to the White House.</p> <p>Other presidents have been shot at, but luckily, not injured.</p> <p>In 1933, <a href="http://www.fdrlibraryvirtualtour.org/page03-06.asp">a gunman fired five shots at the car of then President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt</a>. Roosevelt wasn’t hit but the mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak, who was speaking to Roosevelt after the newly elected president had made some brief remarks to the public, was injured and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7297642/">died 19 days later</a>.</p> <h2>Two attempts in one month</h2> <p>In September of 1975, President Gerald Ford survived <a href="https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/avproj/assassinations.asp">two separate assassination attempts — both by women</a>. The first came on Sept. 5 when Lynette (Squeaky) Fromme, a follower of cult leader Charles Manson, tried to shoot Ford as he was walking through a park in Sacramento, Calif., but her gun misfired and didn’t go off. On Sept. 22, Sara Jane Moore, a woman with ties to left-wing radical groups, got one shot off at Ford as he left a hotel in San Francisco but it missed the president.</p> <p>Presidential candidates have not been exempt from assassination attempts, including most notably Senator <a href="https://www.npr.org/2023/06/05/1179430014/robert-kennedy-rfk-assassination-anniversary">Robert F. Kennedy</a> killed in 1968 and <a href="https://www.wsfa.com/2024/07/14/son-late-alabama-gov-george-wallace-reacts-trump-rally-shooting/">George Wallace</a> shot and left paralyzed in 1972.</p> <p>In 1912, former president Theodore Roosevelt <a href="https://blogs.loc.gov/headlinesandheroes/2019/07/the-pocket-items-that-saved-the-life-of-theodore-roosevelt/">was hit in the chest by a .38-calibre bullet</a> as he was campaigning to regain the White House. But most of the impact of the bullet was absorbed by objects in the chest pocket of Roosevelt’s jacket. Even though he had been shot, Roosevelt went on to make a campaign speech with the bullet still in his chest.</p> <h2>The violence of 1968</h2> <p>Other figures with significant — if unelected — political power have also had their lives cut short by gunfire, most notably <a href="https://theconversation.com/mlks-vision-matters-today-for-the-43-million-americans-living-in-poverty-92380">Martin Luther King Jr.</a> in 1968, just a few months before Bobby Kennedy’s death.</p> <p>In a country with <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/19/there-are-more-guns-than-people-in-the-united-states-according-to-a-new-study-of-global-firearm-ownership/">more guns than people</a>, and with firearms easily available, it is not surprising that invariably shootings are the preferred means of killing or attempting to kill political office holders.</p> <p>Like Trump, most assassination attempts occur when candidates and politicians are in public spaces with crowds of people nearby. There is a long history of politicians insisting, against the advice of their security advisers, to “press the flesh” in events that jeopardize their safety. Trump was extraordinarily fortunate to escape with only minor injuries.<!-- 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/234630/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/thomas-klassen-1171638">Thomas Klassen</a>, Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/york-university-canada-1610">York University, Canada</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Xinhua News Agency/Shutterstock Editorial </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/attempted-assassination-of-trump-the-long-history-of-violence-against-u-s-presidents-234630">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Walking or running: for the same distance, which consumes more energy?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-lemineur-1529211">Clément Lemineur</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-naveilhan-1495411">Clément Naveilhan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/francois-dernoncourt-1495410">François Dernoncourt</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a></em></p> <p>It’s Monday morning, the alarm goes off and it’s already 7:30 a.m. – and you’re 30 minutes late. Normally you need 45 minutes to walk the 3 kilometres to work, but this morning you’ll be running for 20 minutes. Yes, but by lunchtime you’re feeling more tired and you have the impression that you’ve expended more energy than usual on the trip. Yet you’ve covered the same distance as on the other days. How can this be?</p> <p>The calorie expenditure associated with any activity is called the “metabolic cost”, and corresponds to the energy consumed by our organs to cover a given distance. This metabolic cost can be determined by analysing the oxygen our bodies consume and the carbon dioxide they produce, we can estimate the amount of energy expended, and thus the metabolic cost. It was using this method that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/692303/">researchers had already answered our question back in the 1970s</a>.</p> <p>Perhaps not surprisingly, running consumes more energy than walking for the same distance covered. But why?</p> <h2>Energy lost when running</h2> <p>Imagine you’re watching someone running. Now look closely at the vertical movement (up and down) of their pelvis and head. As you can see from the diagram below, when we run, the distance that our body moves up and down is greater than when we walk. To produce this vertical movement, the muscles of the lower limbs have to generate more force, and that consumes more energy, yet doesn’t bring us any closer to our destination. So when running, part of the energy expended is used to move our bodies <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16029949/">upward rather than forward</a>. The energy needed to cover those 3 km is therefore higher for running than for walking.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=287&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/602769/original/file-20240625-18-xilv63.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=361&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Illustration of the oscillations of running and walking" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Running involves much greater vertical oscillation of the centre of mass than walking. This is the main reason why running consumes more energy than walking for the same distance covered.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">François Dernoncourt</span>, <span class="license">Fourni par l'auteur</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>This difference between walking and running is not confined to what happens during the activity itself. In fact, each physical exercise causes a delayed expenditure of energy, which is added to the expenditure during the activity.</p> <p>Taking this into account, it’s once again running that uses more energy than walking. Immediately after running your 3 km, the increased energy consumption (compared with resting) lasts for several minutes, mainly because of the increase in body temperature and the replenishment of energy reserves. This additional expenditure after running is <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22446673/">more than twice that observed after walking</a>, due to the difference in intensity between the two exercises.</p> <h2>It all depends on speed</h2> <p>Running therefore involves a higher calorie expenditure than walking for the same distance covered. But this is on condition that the walking speed considered is “normal” (around 5 km/h). So, if we walk very slowly, it will take us so long to cover the 3 km that the calorie expenditure will be greater in the end. This is because the body expends a certain amount of energy per unit of time no matter what, regardless of the activity performed (known as the “basal metabolic rate”).</p> <p>The same applies if the walking speed is very fast (<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29925582/">more than 8 km/h</a>): running is more energy-efficient. Here, the coordination required to walk at such a speed means that we need to activate our muscles more, without being able to take advantage of the elasticity of our tendons, as is the case with running.</p> <p>Moreover, we have a very precise intuitive perception of the energy efficiency of a particular style of movement. If we’re on a treadmill whose speed gradually increases, the point at which we spontaneously switch from walking to running coincides with the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096663622100120X">moment when it would become more energy-consuming to walk than to run</a>.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=395&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604700/original/file-20240703-17-4dlrj.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=497&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Modelling of metabolic cost (kilocalories expended per kilogram per kilometre covered) as a function of speed (kilometres per hour) for walking and running. The curves cross at a certain speed (purple line; around 8 km/h): this means that above this speed, walking becomes more energy-intensive than running. It’s at around this threshold speed that people spontaneously switch from walking to running.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">François Dernoncourt, Adapted from Summerside et al</span>, <span class="license">Fourni par l'auteur</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In conclusion, because of greater oscillation of the centre of mass and increased energy expenditure after exercise, running to work is more energy-intensive than covering the same distance by walking. But remember, whether you choose to walk or run to work, the most important thing is that you’re already saving energy!<!-- 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/233943/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/clement-lemineur-1529211">Clément Lemineur</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clement-naveilhan-1495411">Clément Naveilhan</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/francois-dernoncourt-1495410">François Dernoncourt</a>, Doctorant en Sciences du Mouvement Humain, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universite-cote-dazur-2917">Université Côte d’Azur</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/walking-or-running-for-the-same-distance-which-consumes-more-energy-233943">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

The world’s longest cruises

<p dir="ltr">If you’re looking for your next cruising adventure, there are a multitude of time frames you can pick from for your next holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr">While many cruise-goers tend to opt for just a week or two at sea, there are other voyages that can see you spend months travelling the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Here are ten of the longest cruise journeys that are available for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Queen Anne - 107 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2025, new Cunard ship Queen Anne will embark on her maiden World Voyage which includes her first visit to Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 107-day journey starts with a transatlantic crossing before sailing to destinations in the Americas, Australasia, Asia, the Arabian Gulf and finally the Mediterranean.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crown Princess - 113 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Crown Princess is set to embark on an epic around the world cruise next year, and you can get on in Australia or New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">From there, the voyage will visit 49 destinations in 28 countries over 113 days, crossing the equator twice, and sailing 33,500 nautical miles.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MSC Magnifica - 119 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">MSC's World Cruise 2026 lasts 119 days, with options to book the entire round-the-world itinerary for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The trip starts in Italy, and takes in the Mediterranean before heading across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and South America, before it then sails to California before crossing the Pacific for Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seabourn Sojourn - 129 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Seabourn's 2026 World Cruise sets sail on January 6th 2026 from LA, before taking in Hawaii, South Pacific islands, New Zealand, Australia and the Far East and Asia before heading Alaska and concluding in Vancouver, Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr">That's a total of 63 ports in 14 countries with seven overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Volendam - 133 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Holland America’s lengthy journey, titled Pole to Pole, takes a round trip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida it visits spots as diverse as Costa Rica, Antarctica, Morocco, France and Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crystal Serenity - 135 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Crystal's 2026 World Cruise is an epic 135-day journey travelling to 72 destinations throughout 27 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">Departing Los Angeles, Crystal Serenity will traverse the waters of the Pacific taking in the Marquesas Islands, Bora Bora, New Zealand and Sydney, as well as travelling to Hong Kong, Mumbai and Dubai.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seven Seas Splendour - 140 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Guests onboard the Regent Seven Seas Cruises will visit 40 countries over six continents, spending 140 nights onboard the luxurious ship. </p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits locations such as Panama, Sri Lanka and Spain, visiting 71 ports around the world. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Silver Dawn - 149 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Silversea Cruises' Silver Dawn will explore 80 destinations, covering 35 countries on five continents, including 11 overnight stays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Viking Sky - 163 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The cruise ship Viking Sky will sail for an impressive 163 days on its World Voyage II, taking in 34 countries, with 79 guided tours. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ports of note include Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, Darwin Australia, Colombo Sri Lanka, Cape Town, South Africa and the Shetland Islands in Scotland.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Oceana Vista - 197 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The 2026 World Odyssey voyage of Vista will circumnavigate the world, visiting over 100 ports across 43 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits over 80 UNESCO World Heritage sites across 101 destinations, with 11 overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Long-serving ABC star calls it quits

<p>Paul Barry, the veteran host of <em>Media Watch</em>, who has made a career out of poking the media bear, has announced his departure from the ABC show in December. After an illustrious (and occasionally infamous) tenure that would make a soap opera look like a nap, Barry is hanging up his microphone at the ripe age of 72.</p> <p>“I’ve been in the hot seat for 11 years and it’s time to give someone else a go,” Barry remarked, possibly while the hot seat sighed in relief. Indeed, hosting Media Watch is no small feat – it's a bit like riding a roller coaster while simultaneously refereeing a brawl. But Barry has certainly done it with aplomb, panache and a fair amount of flair.</p> <p>His announcement has left viewers with mixed feelings – a blend of gratitude for his unyielding service and a tinge of sadness, akin to the bittersweet end of a beloved TV series. Barry promised to stay with us until December, giving us ample time to stock up on popcorn and enjoy the remaining episodes. "Lots of fun to be had before then," he teased, hinting at some final rounds of media mischief.</p> <p>For those who might be wondering what Barry plans to do next, well, that's still a mystery. Perhaps he'll take up knitting, but knowing him, it’ll likely be with barbed wire.</p> <p>Barry first commandeered <em>Media Watch</em> in 2000 before returning in 2013, making a grand comeback that rivalled any reality TV show. Over the years, he has ruffled enough feathers to fill a sizeable pillow factory. Commercial media outlets, politicians and even his own network – as <em>Media Watch</em> famously runs independently of the ABC – have all been on the receiving end of his sharp critiques. His fearless approach has made him a hero to many and a headache to some.</p> <p>One of Barry’s most memorable moments came in 2013 during a spat with columnist Andrew Bolt. When Bolt provocatively asked Barry to reveal his salary on air, Barry did just that – $191,259, to be precise. It was a jaw-dropping moment that left viewers stunned and Bolt, presumably, a bit flummoxed.</p> <p>In between his stints at <em>Media Watch</em>, Barry has donned many hats – investigative reporter for the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>, correspondent for <em>60 Minutes</em>, and author of several books, including a controversial unauthorised biography of James Packer. His career has been a veritable smorgasbord of journalism, controversy and unflinching honesty.</p> <p>An ABC spokesperson paid tribute to Barry, highlighting his “track record of independent commentary, analysis, and robust discussion about the media industry and its ethics – or lack thereof.” Barry has indeed been the watchdog’s watchdog, never shying away from calling out malpractice, no matter where it reared its head.</p> <p>As the ABC gears up to announce a new host, the shoes left behind are large ones to fill. Barry’s departure marks the end of an era – one filled with wit, grit and an unwavering commitment to holding the media accountable.</p> <p>So, here’s to Paul Barry – the feather-ruffler, the truth-seeker, the man who made us laugh, gasp and, most importantly, think. As he steps down from <em>Media Watch</em>, we wish him the very best in his next adventure, whether that’s taking on new journalistic endeavours or finally perfecting that tricky scarf pattern.</p> <p>Bravo, Mr Barry. You will be missed.</p> <p><em>Image: Media Watch</em></p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

Would you be happy as a long-term single? The answer may depend on your attachment style

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christopher-pepping-1524533">Christopher Pepping</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/geoff-macdonald-1527971">Geoff Macdonald</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-toronto-1281">University of Toronto</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tim-cronin-415060">Tim Cronin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yuthika-girme-1494822">Yuthika Girme</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/simon-fraser-university-1282">Simon Fraser University</a></em></p> <p>Are all single people insecure? When we think about people who have been single for a long time, we may assume it’s because single people have insecurities that make it difficult for them to find a partner or maintain a relationship.</p> <p>But is this true? Or can long-term single people also be secure and thriving?</p> <p>Our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jopy.12929">latest research</a> published in the Journal of Personality suggests they can. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, not everybody tends to thrive in singlehood. Our study shows a crucial factor may be a person’s attachment style.</p> <h2>Singlehood is on the rise</h2> <p>Singlehood is on the rise around the world. In Canada, single status among young adults aged 25 to 29 has increased from <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220713/dq220713b-eng.htm">32% in 1981 to 61% in 2021</a>. The number of people <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220713/dq220713a-eng.htm">living solo</a> has increased from 1.7 million people in 1981 to 4.4 million in 2021.</p> <p>People are single for many reasons: <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/ebook/9780520971004/happy-singlehood">some choose</a> to remain single, some are focusing on <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12147-020-09249-0">personal goals and aspirations</a>, some report <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/08/20/nearly-half-of-u-s-adults-say-dating-has-gotten-harder-for-most-people-in-the-last-10-years/">dating has become harder</a>, and some become single again due to a relationship breakdown.</p> <p>People may also remain single due to their attachment style. Attachment theory is a popular and well-researched model of how we form relationships with other people. An <a href="https://www.amazon.com.au/s?k=attachment+theory">Amazon search for attachment theory</a> returns thousands of titles. The hashtag #attachmenttheory has been viewed <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/20/why-attachment-theory-is-trending-according-to-dr-amir-levine.html">over 140 million times</a> on TikTok alone.</p> <h2>What does attachment theory say about relationships?</h2> <p>Attachment theory suggests our relationships with others are shaped by our degree of “anxiety” and “avoidance”.</p> <p>Attachment anxiety is a type of insecurity that leads people to feel anxious about relationships and worry about abandonment. Attachment avoidance leads people to feel uncomfortable with intimacy and closeness.</p> <p>People who are lower in attachment anxiety and avoidance are considered “securely attached”, and are comfortable depending on others, and giving and receiving intimacy.</p> <p>Single people are often stereotyped as being <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/01461672231203123">too clingy or non-committal</a>. Research comparing single and coupled people also suggests single people have <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00793.x?casa_token=6iiCm5PjHgkAAAAA:0kBeofx3M-72YrkVppmNxdWBIAImFwm3lAakCnuiNXL20SVP1zaW7UeDIahW_43imAjSRXgtyN0hLVI">higher levels of attachment insecurities</a> compared to people in relationships.</p> <p>At the same time, evidence suggests many single people are choosing to remain single and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/17456916221136119">living happy lives</a>.</p> <h2>Single people represent a diverse group of secure and insecure people</h2> <p>In our latest research, our team of social and clinical psychologists examined single people’s attachment styles and how they related to their happiness and wellbeing.</p> <p>We carried out two studies, one of 482 younger single people and the other of 400 older long-term singles. We found overall 78% were categorised as insecure, with the other 22% being secure.</p> <p>Looking at our results more closely, we found four distinct subgroups of singles:</p> <ul> <li> <p>secure singles are relatively comfortable with intimacy and closeness in relationships (22%)</p> </li> <li> <p>anxious singles question whether they are loved by others and worry about being rejected (37%)</p> </li> <li> <p>avoidant singles are uncomfortable getting close to others and prioritise their independence (23% of younger singles and 11% of older long-term singles)</p> </li> <li> <p>fearful singles have heightened anxiety about abandonment, but are simultaneously uncomfortable with intimacy and closeness (16% of younger singles and 28% of older long-term singles).</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Insecure singles find singlehood challenging, but secure singles are thriving</h2> <p>Our findings also revealed these distinct subgroups of singles have distinct experiences and outcomes.</p> <p>Secure singles are happy being single, have a greater number of non-romantic relationships, and better relationships with family and friends. They meet their sexual needs outside romantic relationships and feel happier with their life overall. Interestingly, this group maintains moderate interest in being in a romantic relationship in the future.</p> <p>Anxious singles tend to be the most worried about being single, have lower self-esteem, feel less supported by close others and have some of the lowest levels of life satisfaction across all sub-groups.</p> <p>Avoidant singles show the least interest in being in a romantic relationship and in many ways appear satisfied with singlehood. However, they also have fewer friends and close relationships, and are generally less satisfied with these relationships than secure singles. Avoidant singles also report less meaning in life and tend to be less happy compared to secure singles.</p> <p>Fearful singles reported more difficulties navigating close relationships than secure singles. For instance, they were less able to regulate their emotions, and were less satisfied with the quality of their close relationships relative to secure singles. They also reported some of the lowest levels of life satisfaction across all sub-groups.</p> <h2>It’s not all doom and gloom</h2> <p>These findings should be considered alongside several relevant points. First, although most singles in our samples were insecure (78%), a sizeable number were secure and thriving (22%).</p> <p>Further, simply being in a romantic relationship is not a panacea. Being in an unhappy relationship is linked to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316">poorer life outcomes</a> than being single.</p> <p>It is also important to remember that attachment orientations are not necessarily fixed. They are open to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X18300113">change</a> in response to life events.</p> <p>Similarly, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0963721413510933">sensitive and responsive behaviours</a> from close others and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/02654075231162390">feeling loved and cared about</a> by close others can soothe underlying attachment concerns and foster attachment security over time.</p> <p>Our studies are some of the first to examine the diversity in attachment styles among single adults. Our findings highlight that many single people are secure and thriving, but also that more work can be done to help insecure single people feel more secure in order to foster happiness.<!-- 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/227595/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/christopher-pepping-1524533">Christopher Pepping</a>, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/geoff-macdonald-1527971">Geoff Macdonald</a>, Professor of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-toronto-1281">University of Toronto</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/tim-cronin-415060">Tim Cronin</a>, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yuthika-girme-1494822">Yuthika Girme</a>, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/simon-fraser-university-1282">Simon Fraser 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/would-you-be-happy-as-a-long-term-single-the-answer-may-depend-on-your-attachment-style-227595">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Mother booted off ride share app for her unusual name

<p>A young Sydney mother has been booted off popular ride sharing app Uber, after they deemed her birth name too inappropriate. </p> <p>Swastika Chandra's first name means good luck and prosperity in her native Sanskrit language, and holds a lot of cultural significance and connection to her Hindu heritage. </p> <p>However, to global transport app Uber, her name was deemed too offensive to be let on the platform, as they said her name violates their terms and conditions. </p> <p>The 35-year-old grew up in Fiji, where she says her name was commonly heard in classrooms throughout her childhood.</p> <p>"It is a very common name. I personally know four or five other girls with the same name," she told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/uber-bans-sydney-woman-from-using-service-because-of-her-first-name/2771dd1f-b9fd-4ba6-8045-671145bc0c02" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Current Affair</em></a>. </p> <p>"In school, we had two or three other girls with the same name. It means good luck. It means good things for me."</p> <p>Chandra didn't run into any issues using her name on her birth certificate, Australian citizenship paperwork, her health care card or her driver's licence. </p> <p>However, last October Uber banned her account, claiming her name was a violation of their terms of use due to its appropriation by Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party and neo-Nazis.</p> <p>Coinciding with the start of the Israel-Hamas war, Uber brought in new guidelines on words that could be offensive - including swastika.</p> <p>Inadvertently caught up in the middle of a policy which had the best of intentions, Chandra was told she would have to change her name to get back on the app.</p> <p>"I was putting in an order for food one afternoon and went to the payment stage and this pop-up came up saying, 'Your first name is in violation and you need to change your name on the app'," she explained.</p> <p>Chandra has a deep understanding of her name's very troubling double meaning, but she says the community needs to know the word's origins.</p> <p>"They don't know that the Hindus used it for thousands of years before Hitler used it in the wrong way," she said.</p> <p>"A bit of education, I think, is needed. I'm very proud of my name. I believe in the good that comes with it and I'm not changing it for anyone."</p> <p>Five months later, Uber has backed down from their decision and allowed her to rejoin the app, although it took intervention from Australia's peak Hindu body, The Hindu Council, support from the Jewish community and the NSW attorney-general to make it happen. </p> <p>The Jewish Board of Deputies also backed Chandra's fight, telling A Current Affair: "There is a difference between Ms Chandra innocently using her name and the deployment of a sinister symbol."</p> <p>The young mum has a message for all the other young girls who might have a different name to others, saying "Don't let the past be a stepping stone for your future."</p> <p>"Be proud of your name. It's your identity - it's who you are."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair </em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Peter Brock's long-time partner passes away aged 77

<p>The motorsport community is mourning the loss of Bev Brock, a formidable figure whose unwavering support and dedication were instrumental in the legendary career of her former long-time partner, Peter Brock.</p> <p>Bev, aged 77, passed away at her Melbourne home on Sunday morning after bravely battling stage 4 cancer for two years.</p> <p>For almost three decades, Bev stood as a steadfast presence by Peter's side, both on and off the racetrack. While they were never married, their bond was undeniable, marking a partnership that transcended mere labels. From 1977 until their separation in 2005, Bev played an integral role in shaping Peter's remarkable motorsport journey, becoming synonymous with his successes and enduring legacy.</p> <p>Born on January 15, 1947, just outside Perth, Bev's early years hinted at the strength of character and resilience that would define her life. Among seven siblings, she cultivated a spirit of determination and compassion that would later leave an indelible mark on those around her. Following her passion for education, Bev pursued a career in teaching, imparting knowledge in science and home economics to countless students.</p> <p>Bev's life took a new trajectory when she met Peter Brock. Together, they navigated the highs and lows of motorsport, sharing a journey that was as exhilarating as it was demanding. Despite the challenges, Bev remained a pillar of support, balancing multiple roles with grace, intelligence and purpose. Her commitment to Peter's racing career was unwavering, whether she was managing logistics, offering counsel, or simply cheering from the sidelines.</p> <p>Beyond her contributions to motorsport, Bev's philanthropic endeavours reflected her generous spirit and compassionate nature – and her involvement with various charities culminated in the prestigious Order of Australia in 2016. From supporting The Skyline Foundation to her active engagement with Melbourne Rotary, Bev's impact extended far beyond the confines of the racetrack.</p> <p>In a heartfelt tribute, Bev's son, James Brock, honoured his mother's legacy:</p> <p>“Bev was a dedicated parent, always making time to make a costume for a play or help out on a school camp,” he wrote. “She dedicated her life to helping Peter’s racing career taking on multiple roles, all met with skill, smarts and purpose.</p> <p>“Bev was also involved with multiple charities earning her an Order of Australia in 2016.</p> <p>“Over the last few years she focused her time and passion on The Skyline Foundation, Melbourne Rotary, public speaking and her ever expanding family.</p> <p>“She leaves behind her three children, seven cherished grandchildren and a host of loved ones she wrapped into her life as though they were her own.</p> <p>“Her loss will be immense as her presence, wisdom and support can never be matched.”</p> <p>Universally known as "Bevo," she was not only the driving force behind Peter's success but also a cherished friend who selflessly cared for others. Despite her own battle with cancer, Bev remained a source of strength and inspiration, offering support and guidance to countless friends and acquaintances.</p> <p>As the motorsport community comes together to mourn Bev's passing, we reflect on a life lived with purpose, passion and unwavering dedication.</p> <p>Bev Brock may have left this world, but her spirit will forever race on in the hearts of those who knew and loved her.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Victorian man rides lawn mower for 800km to speak to the PM

<p>You know the saying: mow big or mow home. And one man risked it all in hopes of scoring a meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.</p> <p>In an incredible 11-day journey Warren "Woz" Acott  made the 800km journey from Central Victoria to Canberra to try and speak with the Prime Minister about motor neurone disease (MND). </p> <p>He left his home in  Toolleen in Central Victoria on March 11, with no guarantee that anyone was going to meet him at the end of his journey. But his efforts have been fruitful, because by the time he arrived in Canberra this morning, he had a booking with the PM. </p> <p>"I've shuffled my schedule around to fit him in. I'd better go see him," Woz joked when he was told he had a meeting with the PM</p> <p>Albanese met met Woz in the Prime Minister's courtyard, and a crowd of families affected by MND were also waiting outside parliament to welcome Woz. </p> <p>"I'm overwhelmed. But it's not about me. It's about MND and the families and the carers and everybody else," Woz told <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>Woz, who lives with MND, wants the condition to be added to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS). </p> <p>This is because NNDSS conditions "a threat to public health in Australia" and are given additional funding for research." </p> <p>"We'll give consideration to all these things. You're a champion, mate," Albanese said.</p> <p>"It's all over my head. I mean, I'm a truck driver at the end of the day. But I know that if (MND is added to the NNDSS), it's more trackable, more funding, and everything else," Woz said.</p> <p>Robyn Sneddon, who lost her husband Ian to MND, praised Woz for his effort. </p> <p>"The effort he has made has been incredible. He is just a champion," she told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"I'm very proud of him," Snedden added.</p> <p><em>Images: A Current Affair</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

William Shatner shocks hosts simply by revealing his age

<p>In a world where time ticks mercilessly onward, one man has defied the very essence of ageing: the legendary William Shatner, the man who boldly went where no nonagenarian has gone before.</p> <p>As Shatner prepares to celebrate his 93rd trip around the sun, fans worldwide are scratching their heads in disbelief. The reason? Well, it seems that Captain Kirk himself has stumbled upon the fountain of youth and decided to keep it all to himself. </p> <p>The commotion started when Shatner made a <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@todayshow/video/7347749279865490734?_r=1&_t=8koli3bKC49" target="_blank" rel="noopener">guest appearance</a> on the <em>US Today Show</em>, looking fresher than a daisy in springtime. Fans took to social media to express their shock, with one incredulous viewer commenting, "Damn, he's still sharp and has his hair. I would never have guessed 93." And another chimed in with, "I would've guessed 67 or 68."</p> <p>Forget "live long and prosper"; it seems the new motto is "live long and confound the heck out of everyone".</p> <p>Even the hosts of the<em> Today Show</em> were left flabbergasted by Shatner's youthful glow. They couldn't resist asking the man himself for his secret to longevity. And what pearls of wisdom did he impart? "Don't tell anybody [your age]." Ah, sage advice indeed. It seems the real secret to ageing gracefully is to maintain an air of mystery.</p> <p>But let's rewind to 2021 when Shatner was grilled by a journalist about whether he'd had any "serious work" done. His response? A witty comeback, of course. "No, have you?" Touché, Shatner, touché. And when pressed further, he simply attributed his youthful appearance to good genes, lots of horseback riding and a healthy dose of bewilderment about the world. </p> <p>Despite his apparent disdain for the number 90 ("It's disgusting," he once declared in an interview), Shatner finds himself hurtling towards the ripe old age of 93 with all the grace and poise of a starship navigating through a meteor shower. And if his recent TV appearance is anything to go by, he's showing no signs of slowing down.</p> <p>So let's all take a leaf out of Shatner's playbook, shall we? If anyone asks for the secret to your eternal youth, just give them that trademark Shatner smirk and say: "It's classified."</p> <p><em>Images: NBC | Wikimedia | Tik Tok</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Longing for the ‘golden age’ of air travel? Be careful what you wish for

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/janet-bednarek-144872">Janet Bednarek</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</a></em></p> <p>Long lines at security checkpoints, tiny plastic cups of soda, small bags of pretzels, planes filled to capacity, fees attached to every amenity – all reflect the realities of 21st century commercial air travel. It’s no wonder that many travelers have become nostalgic for the so-called “golden age” of air travel in the United States.</p> <p>During the 1950s, airlines promoted commercial air travel as glamorous: stewardesses served full meals on real china, airline seats were large (and frequently empty) with ample leg-room, and passengers always dressed well.</p> <p>After jets were introduced in the late 1950s, passengers could travel to even the most distant locations at speeds unimaginable a mere decade before. An airline trip from New York to London that could take up to 15 hours in the early 1950s could be made in less than seven hours by the early 1960s.</p> <p>But airline nostalgia can be tricky, and “golden ages” are seldom as idyllic as they seem.</p> <p>Until the introduction of jets in 1958, most of the nation’s commercial planes were propeller-driven aircraft, like the DC-4. Most of these planes were unpressurized, and with a maximum cruising altitude of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, they were unable to fly over bad weather. Delays were frequent, turbulence common, and air sickness bags often needed.</p> <p>Some planes were spacious and pressurized: the <a href="http://everythingnice.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/PanAm-cutawayS.jpg">Boeing Stratocruiser</a>, for example, could seat 50 first class passengers or 81 coach passengers compared to the DC-3’s 21 passengers. It could cruise at 32,000 feet, which allowed Stratocruiser to fly above most bad weather it encountered. But only 56 of these planes were ever in service.</p> <p>While the later DC-6 and DC-7 were pressurized, they still flew much lower than the soon-to-appear jets – 20,000 feet compared to 30,000 feet – and often encountered turbulence. The piston engines were bulky, complex and difficult to maintain, which contributed to frequent delays.</p> <p>For much of this period, the old saying “Time to spare, go by air” still rang true.</p> <p>Through the 1930s and into the 1940s, almost everyone flew first class. Airlines did encourage more people to fly in the 1950s and 1960s by introducing coach or tourist fares, but the savings were relative: less expensive than first class, but still pricey. In 1955, for example, so-called “bargain fares” from New York to Paris were the equivalent of just over $2,600 in 2014 dollars. Although the advent of jets did result in lower fares, the cost was still out of reach of most Americans. The most likely frequent flier was a white, male businessman traveling on his company’s expense account, and in the 1960s, airlines – with young attractive stewardesses in short skirts – clearly catered to their most frequent flyers.</p> <p>The demographics of travelers did begin to shift during this period. More women, more young people, and retirees began to fly; still, airline travel remained financially out-of-reach for most.</p> <p>If it was a golden age, it only was for the very few.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bKqQgNZylLw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Jet planes were introduced in the late 1950s, resulting in shorter flight times. But their ticket prices out of reach for the average traveler.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>People also forget that well into the 1960s, air travel was far more dangerous than it is today. In the 1950s and 1960s US airlines experienced at least a half dozen crashes per year – most leading to fatalities of all on board. People today may bemoan the crowded airplanes and lack of on-board amenities, but the number of fatalities per million miles flown has dropped dramatically since since the late 1970s, especially compared to the 1960s. Through at least the 1970s, airports even prominently featured kiosks selling flight insurance.</p> <p>And we can’t forget hijackings. By the mid-1960s so many airplanes had been hijacked that <a href="http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/hijackers/flying-high.htm">“Take me to Cuba”</a> became a punch line for stand-up comics. In 1971 <a href="http://nymag.com/news/features/39593/index2.html">D.B. Cooper</a> – a hijacker who parachuted from a Boeing 727 after extorting $200,000 – might have been able to achieve folk hero status. But one reason US airline passengers today (generally) tolerate security checkpoints is that they want some kind of assurance that their aircraft will remain safe.</p> <p>And if the previous examples don’t dull the sheen of air travel’s “golden age,” remember: in-flight smoking was both permitted and encouraged.<!-- 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/34177/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/janet-bednarek-144872"><em>Janet Bednarek</em></a><em>, Professor of History, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-dayton-1726">University of Dayton</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/longing-for-the-golden-age-of-air-travel-be-careful-what-you-wish-for-34177">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

How long does menopause last? 5 tips for navigating uncertain times

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yvonne-middlewick-1395795">Yvonne Middlewick</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>Around half of the world’s population are women or people who menstruate – yet the way their body works can be a mystery, even to them.</p> <p>Most women will experience periods roughly every month, many will go through childbirth and those who live into midlife will experience menopause.</p> <p>While menopause is a significant time of change, it isn’t talked about much, other than as a punchline. This may contribute to keeping it a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2019/sep/21/breaking-the-menopause-taboo-there-are-vital-stories-we-should-continue-to-pursue">taboo topic</a>.</p> <p>So, what happens during menopause? How do you know when it is happening to you? And – the thing most women want to know – how long will it last?</p> <h2>What is menopause?</h2> <p>Menopause is <a href="https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause">defined</a> as the permanent cessation of menstruation, which is medically determined to be one year after the final menstrual period. After this time women are considered to be postmenopausal.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26598775/">average age</a> of “natural menopause” (that is not caused by a medical condition, treatment or surgery) is considered to be around 51 years.</p> <p>However, natural menopause does not occur suddenly. <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Riitta-Luoto/publication/46425690_Prevalence_of_menopause_symptoms_and_their_association_with_lifestyle_among_Finnish_middle-aged_women/links/5c5704ac458515a4c7553c7b/Prevalence-of-menopause-symptoms-and-their-association-with-lifestyle-among-Finnish-middle-aged-women.pdf">Changes can begin</a> a number of years before periods stop and most often occur in a woman’s 40s but they can be earlier. Changes <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25686030/">can continue</a> for 10 years or more after periods have stopped.</p> <p>Using hormones such as the oral contraceptive pill or hormone intrauterine devices may make it more <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31934948/">difficult to determine</a> when changes start.</p> <p>Menopause that occurs <a href="https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-or-premature-menopause#:%7E:text=Menopause%20that%20happens%20before%20age,to%20come%20earlier%20than%20usual.">before 45</a> is called “early menopause”, while menopause before 40 is called “premature menopause”.</p> <h2>What about perimenopause?</h2> <p>Various <a href="https://www.menopause.org.au/hp/information-sheets/glossary-of-terms">terms</a> are used to describe this period of change, including “menopause” or “the menopause”, “menopausal transition”, “perimenopause” or “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12188398/">climacteric</a>”.</p> <p>These terms tend to refer to the period before and after the final menstrual period, when changes are considered to be related to menopause.</p> <p>The difficulty with the definition of menopause is it can only be decided retrospectively. Yet women can experience changes many years before their periods stop (a lead up usually called “perimenopause”). Also, any <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/sdfe/pdf/download/eid/1-s2.0-S0889854518300627/first-page-pdf">changes noticed</a> may not be associated with menopause (because people might not be aware of what to expect) or changes may be associated with a combination of factors such as stress, being busy or other health issues.</p> <h2>So, what is going on?</h2> <p>Through a feminist lens, menopause can be seen as a <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354652248_The_volcano_within_a_study_of_women's_lived_experience_of_the_journey_through_natural_menopause">complex and diverse experience</a>, influenced by biological, psychological, social and cultural aspects of women’s lives.</p> <p>However, it is usually viewed from the biomedical perspective. This sees it as a biological event, marked by the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">decline</a> in ovarian hormone levels leading to a reduction in reproductive function.</p> <p>The female reproductive system operates because of a finely tuned balance of hormones managed by the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466056/#:%7E:text=The%20hypothalamic%2Dpituitary%2Dovarian%20(HPO)%20axis%20must%20be,priming%20the%20endometrium%20for%20implantation.">hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis</a>. International <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3340903/">experts</a> have developed a staging system for female reproductive ageing, with seven stages from “early reproductive” years to “late postmenopause”.</p> <p>However, female reproductive hormones do not just affect the reproductive system but <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">other aspects</a> of the body’s function. These include the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26007613/">neurological system</a>, which is linked to hot flushes and night sweats and disrupted sleep. Hormones may also affect the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nrdp20154">heart and body’s blood circulation</a>, bone health and potentially the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091302220300418">immune system</a>.</p> <p>Menopausal hormone changes may <a href="https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/menopause-information/menopause-symptoms/">cause</a> hot flushes, night/cold sweats, mood swings, sleep disruption and tiredness, vaginal dryness.</p> <p>Medical confirmation of menopausal changes in women over 45 years is based on two biological indicators: vasomotor symptoms (those hot flushes and night sweats again) and an <a href="https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-or-premature-menopause#:%7E:text=Menopause%20that%20happens%20before%20age,to%20come%20earlier%20than%20usual.">irregular menstrual cycle</a>.</p> <p>In early perimenopause the changes to the menstrual cycle may be subtle. Women may not recognise early indicators, unless they keep a record and know what to watch for.</p> <h2>How long does it last?</h2> <p>The body demonstrates an amazing ability to change over a lifetime. In a similar way to adolescence where long-lasting changes occur, the outcome of menopause is also change.</p> <p>Research suggests it is difficult to give an exact time frame for how long menopausal changes occur – the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085137/">average</a> is between four and eight years.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085137/">Penn Ovarian Ageing Study</a> found 79% of the 259 participants experienced hot flushes starting before the age of 50, most commonly between 45 and 49 years of age.</p> <p>A later report on the same study found one third of women studied experienced <a href="https://womensmidlifehealthjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40695-016-0014-2">moderate to severe hot flushes</a> more than ten years after their periods had stopped. A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2017/03000/Cultural_issues_in_menopause__an_exploratory.11.aspx">2017 study</a> found a small number of women continued to experience hot flushes and other symptoms into their 70s.</p> <p>So overall, the research cannot offer a specific window for perimenopause, and menopause does not appear to mark the end of changes for everyone.</p> <h2>5 tips for uncertain times</h2> <p>Shifts and changes can be recognised early by developing knowledge, paying attention to changes to our bodies and talking about menopause and perimenopause more openly.</p> <p>Here are five tips for moving from uncertainty to certainty:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> talk to people and find out as much information as you can. The experiences of mothers and sisters may help, for some women there are familial similarities</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> notice any changes to your body and make a note of them, this will help you recognise changes earlier. There are <a href="https://www.redonline.co.uk/wellbeing/a36980118/menopause-apps/">menopause tracking apps</a> available</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> keep a note of your menstrual cycle: start date, duration, flow and note any changes. Again, an app might help</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> if you are worried, seek advice from a GP or nurse that specialises in women’s health. They may suggest ways to help with symptoms or refer to a specialist</p> <p><strong>5.</strong> remember changes are the indicator to pay attention to, not time or your age.</p> <p>Menopause is a natural process and although we have focused here on the time frame and “symptoms”, it can also be a time of freedom (particularly from periods!), reflection and a time to focus on yourself.<!-- 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/195211/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> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lhosPUwWhfI?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Women speak about their experiences of menopause.</span></figcaption></figure> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yvonne-middlewick-1395795">Yvonne Middlewick</a>, Nurse &amp; Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-long-does-menopause-last-5-tips-for-navigating-uncertain-times-195211">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

How long does back pain last? And how can learning about pain increase the chance of recovery?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-wallwork-1361569">Sarah Wallwork</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lorimer-moseley-1552">Lorimer Moseley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Back pain is common. One in thirteen people have it right now and worldwide a staggering 619 million people will <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186678/">have it this year</a>.</p> <p>Chronic pain, of which back pain is the most common, is the world’s <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186678/">most disabling</a> health problem. Its economic impact <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92510/">dwarfs other health conditions</a>.</p> <p>If you get back pain, how long will it take to go away? We scoured the scientific literature to <a href="https://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/196/2/E29.full.pdf">find out</a>. We found data on almost 20,000 people, from 95 different studies and split them into three groups:</p> <ul> <li>acute – those with back pain that started less than six weeks ago</li> <li>subacute – where it started between six and 12 weeks ago</li> <li>chronic – where it started between three months and one year ago.</li> </ul> <p>We found 70%–95% of people with acute back pain were likely to recover within six months. This dropped to 40%–70% for subacute back pain and to 12%–16% for chronic back pain.</p> <p>Clinical guidelines point to graded return to activity and pain education under the guidance of a health professional as the best ways to promote recovery. Yet these effective interventions are underfunded and hard to access.</p> <h2>More pain doesn’t mean a more serious injury</h2> <p>Most acute back pain episodes are <a href="https://www.racgp.org.au/getattachment/75af0cfd-6182-4328-ad23-04ad8618920f/attachment.aspx">not caused</a> by serious injury or disease.</p> <p>There are rare exceptions, which is why it’s wise to see your doctor or physio, who can check for signs and symptoms that warrant further investigation. But unless you have been in a significant accident or sustained a large blow, you are unlikely to have caused much damage to your spine.</p> <p>Even very minor back injuries can be brutally painful. This is, in part, because of how we are made. If you think of your spinal cord as a very precious asset (which it is), worthy of great protection (which it is), a bit like the crown jewels, then what would be the best way to keep it safe? Lots of protection and a highly sensitive alarm system.</p> <p>The spinal cord is protected by strong bones, thick ligaments, powerful muscles and a highly effective alarm system (your nervous system). This alarm system can trigger pain that is so unpleasant that you cannot possibly think of, let alone do, anything other than seek care or avoid movement.</p> <p>The messy truth is that when pain persists, the pain system becomes more sensitive, so a widening array of things contribute to pain. This pain system hypersensitivity is a result of neuroplasticity – your nervous system is becoming better at making pain.</p> <h2>Reduce your chance of lasting pain</h2> <p>Whether or not your pain resolves is not determined by the extent of injury to your back. We don’t know all the factors involved, but we do know there are things that you can do to reduce chronic back pain:</p> <ul> <li> <p>understand how pain really works. This will involve intentionally learning about modern pain science and care. It will be difficult but rewarding. It will help you work out what you can do to change your pain</p> </li> <li> <p>reduce your pain system sensitivity. With guidance, patience and persistence, you can learn how to gradually retrain your pain system back towards normal.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>How to reduce your pain sensitivity and learn about pain</h2> <p>Learning about “how pain works” provides the most sustainable <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/376/bmj-2021-067718">improvements in chronic back pain</a>. Programs that combine pain education with graded brain and body exercises (gradual increases in movement) can reduce pain system sensitivity and help you return to the life you want.</p> <p>These programs have been in development for years, but high-quality clinical trials <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2794765">are now emerging</a> and it’s good news: they show most people with chronic back pain improve and many completely recover.</p> <p>But most clinicians aren’t equipped to deliver these effective programs – <a href="https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(23)00618-1/fulltext">good pain education</a> is not taught in most medical and health training degrees. Many patients still receive ineffective and often risky and expensive treatments, or keep seeking temporary pain relief, hoping for a cure.</p> <p>When health professionals don’t have adequate pain education training, they can deliver bad pain education, which leaves patients feeling like they’ve just <a href="https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(23)00618-1/fulltext">been told it’s all in their head</a>.</p> <p>Community-driven not-for-profit organisations such as <a href="https://www.painrevolution.org/">Pain Revolution</a> are training health professionals to be good pain educators and raising awareness among the general public about the modern science of pain and the best treatments. Pain Revolution has partnered with dozens of health services and community agencies to train more than <a href="https://www.painrevolution.org/find-a-lpe">80 local pain educators</a> and supported them to bring greater understanding and improved care to their colleagues and community.</p> <p>But a broader system-wide approach, with government, industry and philanthropic support, is needed to expand these programs and fund good pain education. To solve the massive problem of chronic back pain, effective interventions need to be part of standard care, not as a last resort after years of increasing pain, suffering and disability.<!-- 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/222513/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/sarah-wallwork-1361569">Sarah Wallwork</a>, Post-doctoral Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lorimer-moseley-1552">Lorimer Moseley</a>, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences and Foundation Chair in Physiotherapy, <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/how-long-does-back-pain-last-and-how-can-learning-about-pain-increase-the-chance-of-recovery-222513">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Funding for refugees has long been politicized − punitive action against UNRWA and Palestinians fits that pattern

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nicholas-r-micinski-207353">Nicholas R. Micinski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-maine-2120">University of Maine</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelsey-norman-862895">Kelsey Norman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rice-university-931">Rice University</a></em></p> <p>At least a dozen countries, including the U.S., have <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/01/1145987">suspended funding to the UNRWA</a>, the United Nations agency responsible for delivering aid to Palestinian refugees.</p> <p>This follows allegations made by Israel that <a href="https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/at-least-12-u-n-agency-employees-involved-in-oct-7-attacks-intelligence-reports-say-a7de8f36">12 UNRWA employees participated</a> in the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack. The UNRWA responded by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/un-palestinian-refugee-agency-investigates-staff-suspected-role-israel-attacks-2024-01-26/">dismissing all accused employees</a> and opening an investigation.</p> <p>While the seriousness of the accusations is clear to all, and the U.S. has been keen to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/30/us/politics/aid-gaza-israel.html">downplay the significance</a> of its pause in funding, the action is not in keeping with precedent.</p> <p>Western donors did not, for example, defund other U.N. agencies or peacekeeping operations amid accusations of <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/01/11/un-peacekeeping-has-sexual-abuse-problem">sexual assault</a>, <a href="https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/former-un-general-assembly-president-and-five-others-charged-13-million-bribery-scheme">corruption</a> or <a href="https://www.hrw.org/legacy/summaries/s.bosnia9510.html">complicity in war crimes</a>.</p> <p>In real terms, the funding cuts to the UNRWA will affect <a href="https://www.unrwa.org/where-we-work/gaza-strip">1.7 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza</a> along with an additional 400,000 Palestinians without refugee status, many of whom benefit from the UNRWA’s infrastructure. Some critics have gone further and said depriving the agency of funds <a href="https://jacobin.com/2024/01/unrwa-defunding-gaza-israel">amounts to collective punishment</a> against Palestinians.</p> <p>Refugee aid, and humanitarian aid more generally, is theoretically meant to be neutral and impartial. But as experts in <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/reluctant-reception/558E2A93FF99B8F295347A8FA2053698">migration</a> <a href="https://www.routledge.com/UN-Global-Compacts-Governing-Migrants-and-Refugees/Micinski/p/book/9780367218836">and</a> <a href="https://press.umich.edu/Books/D/Delegating-Responsibility">international relations</a>, we know funding is often used as a foreign policy tool, whereby allies are rewarded and enemies punished. In this context, we believe the cuts in funding for the UNRWA fit a wider pattern of the politicization of aid to refugees, particularly Palestinian refugees.</p> <h2>What is the UNRWA?</h2> <p>The UNRWA, short for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, was established two years after about <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-nakba-at-75-palestinians-struggle-to-get-recognition-for-their-catastrophe-204782">750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from their homes</a> during the months leading up to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent Arab-Israeli war.</p> <p>Prior to the UNRWA’s creation, international and local organizations, many of them religious, provided services to displaced Palestinians. But after <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">surveying the extreme poverty</a> and dire situation pervasive across refugee camps, the U.N. General Assembly, including all Arab states and Israel, voted to create the UNRWA in 1949.</p> <p>Since that time, <a href="https://www.unrwa.org/what-we-do">the UNRWA has been the primary aid organization</a> providing food, medical care, schooling and, in some cases, housing for the 6 million Palestinians living across its five fields: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, as well as the areas that make up the occupied Palestinian territories: the West Bank and Gaza Strip.</p> <p>The mass displacement of Palestinians – known as the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-nakba-at-75-palestinians-struggle-to-get-recognition-for-their-catastrophe-204782">Nakba, or “catastrophe</a>” – occurred prior to the <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/about-unhcr/who-we-are/1951-refugee-convention">1951 Refugee Convention</a>, which defined refugees as anyone with a well-founded fear of persecution owing to “events occurring in Europe before 1 January 1951.” Despite a <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/sites/default/files/legacy-pdf/4ec262df9.pdf">1967 protocol extending the definition</a> worldwide, Palestinians are still excluded from the primary international system protecting refugees.</p> <p>While the UNRWA is responsible for providing services to Palestinian refugees, the United Nations also created the U.N. Conciliation Commission for Palestine in 1948 to seek a <a href="https://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe2e5672.html">long-term political solution</a> and “to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.”</p> <p>As a result, the UNRWA does not have a mandate to push for the traditional durable solutions available in other refugee situations. As it happened, the conciliation commission was active only for a few years and has since been sidelined in favor of the U.S.-brokered peace processes.</p> <h2>Is the UNRWA political?</h2> <p>The UNRWA has been <a href="https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/palestinian-refugees-dispossession">subject</a> to political headwinds since its inception and especially during periods of heightened tension between Palestinians and Israelis.</p> <p>While it is a U.N. organization and thus ostensibly apolitical, it has <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">frequently been criticized</a> by Palestinians, Israelis as well as donor countries, including the United States, for acting politically.</p> <p>The UNRWA performs statelike functions across its five fields – including education, health and infrastructure – but it is restricted in its mandate from performing political or security activities.</p> <p>Initial Palestinian objections to the UNRWA stemmed from the organization’s early focus on economic integration of refugees into host states.</p> <p>Although the UNRWA officially adhered to the U.N. General Assembly’s <a href="https://www.unrwa.org/content/resolution-194">Resolution 194</a> that called for the return of Palestine refugees to their homes, U.N., U.K. and U.S. <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">officials searched</a> for means by which to resettle and integrate Palestinians into host states, viewing this as the favorable political solution to the Palestinian refugee situation and the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this sense, Palestinians perceived the UNRWA to be both highly political and actively working against their interests.</p> <p>In later decades, the UNRWA <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">switched its primary focus</a> from jobs to education at the urging of Palestinian refugees. But the UNRWA’s education materials were <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">viewed</a> by Israel as further feeding Palestinian militancy, and the Israeli government insisted on checking and approving all materials in Gaza and the West Bank, which it has occupied since 1967.</p> <p>While Israel has <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">long been suspicious</a> of the UNRWA’s role in refugee camps and in providing education, the organization’s operation, which is internationally funded, <a href="https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/east-mediterranean-mena/israelpalestine/242-unrwas-reckoning-preserving-un-agency-serving-palestinian-refugees">also saves</a> Israel millions of dollars each year in services it would be obliged to deliver as the occupying power.</p> <p>Since the 1960s, the U.S. – UNRWA’s primary donor – and other Western countries have <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">repeatedly expressed their desire</a> to use aid to prevent radicalization among refugees.</p> <p>In response to the increased presence of armed opposition groups, the <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">U.S. attached a provision</a> to its UNRWA aid in 1970, requiring that the “UNRWA take all possible measures to assure that no part of the United States contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who is receiving military training as a member of the so-called Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) or any other guerrilla-type organization.”</p> <p>The UNRWA adheres to this requirement, even publishing an annual list of its employees so that host governments can vet them, but it also <a href="https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/east-mediterranean-mena/israelpalestine/242-unrwas-reckoning-preserving-un-agency-serving-palestinian-refugees">employs 30,000 individuals</a>, the vast majority of whom are Palestinian.</p> <p>Questions over the links of the UNRWA to any militancy has led to the rise of Israeli and international <a href="https://cufi.org/issue/unrwa-teachers-continue-to-support-antisemitism-terrorism-on-social-media-un-watch/">watch groups</a> that document the social media activity of the organization’s large Palestinian staff.</p> <h2>Repeated cuts in funding</h2> <p>The United States has used its money and power within the U.N. to block criticism of Israel, vetoing at least <a href="https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/resguide/scact_veto_table_en.htm">45 U.N. resolutions</a> critical of Israel.</p> <p>And the latest freeze is not the first time the U.S. has cut funding to the UNRWA or other U.N. agencies in response to issues pertaining to the status of Palestinians.</p> <p>In 2011, the <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE79U5ED/#:%7E:text=WASHINGTON%20(Reuters)%20%2D%20The%20United,grant%20the%20Palestinians%20full%20membership.">U.S. cut all funding to UNESCO</a>, the U.N. agency that provides educational and cultural programs around the world, after the agency voted to admit the state of Palestine as a full member.</p> <p>The Obama administration defended the move, claiming it was required by a 1990s law to defund any U.N. body that admitted Palestine as a full member.</p> <p>But the impact of the action was nonetheless severe. Within just four years, UNESCO was <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1758-5899.12459">forced to cut its staff in half</a> and roll back its operations. President Donald Trump later <a href="https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/u-s-and-israel-officially-withdraw-from-unesco">withdrew the U.S. completely from UNESCO</a>.</p> <p>In 2018, the Trump administration paused its <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/31/us/politics/trump-unrwa-palestinians.html">US$60 million contribution to the UNRWA</a>. Trump claimed the pause would create political pressure for Palestinians to negotiate. President Joe Biden restarted U.S. contributions to the UNRWA in 2021.</p> <h2>Politicization of refugee aid</h2> <p>Palestinian are not the only group to suffer from the politicization of refugee funding.</p> <p>After World War II, states established different international organizations to help refugees but strategically excluded some groups from the refugee definition. For example, the U.S. funded the <a href="https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/last-million-eastern-european-displaced-persons-postwar-germany">U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to help resettle displaced persons after World War II</a> but resisted Soviet pressure to forcibly repatriate Soviet citizens.</p> <p>The U.S. also created a separate organization, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ijrl/article-abstract/1/4/501/1598187">the precursor to the International Organization for Migration</a>, to circumvent Soviet influence. In many ways, the UNRWA’s existence and the exclusion of Palestinian refugees from the wider refugee regime parallels this dynamic.</p> <p>Funding for refugees has also been politicized through the earmarking of voluntary contributions to U.N. agencies. Some agencies receive funding from U.N. dues; but the UNRWA, alongside the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, receive the majority of their funding from voluntary contributions from member states.</p> <p>These contributions can be earmarked for specific activities or locations, leading to donors such as the <a href="https://www.peio.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/PEIO12_paper_107.pdf">U.S. or European Union dictating which refugees get aid and which do not</a>. Earmarked contributions amounted to nearly <a href="https://unsceb.org/fs-revenue-agency">96% of the UNHCR’s budget, 96% of the IOM’s budget and 74% of UNRWA funding in 2022</a>.</p> <p>As a result, any cuts to UNRWA funding will affect its ability to service Palestinian refugees in Gaza – especially at a time when so many are <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2024/01/30/middleeast/famine-looms-in-gaza-israel-war-intl/index.html">facing hunger, disease and displacement</a> as a result of war.<!-- 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/222263/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/nicholas-r-micinski-207353"><em>Nicholas R. Micinski</em></a><em>, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-maine-2120">University of Maine</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelsey-norman-862895">Kelsey Norman</a>, Fellow for the Middle East, Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rice-university-931">Rice 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/funding-for-refugees-has-long-been-politicized-punitive-action-against-unrwa-and-palestinians-fits-that-pattern-222263">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

How long does immunity last after a COVID infection?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lara-herrero-1166059">Lara Herrero</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dr-wesley-freppel-1408971">Dr Wesley Freppel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>Nearly four years into the pandemic, Australia, like many other countries, is still seeing large numbers of <a href="https://nindss.health.gov.au/pbi-dashboard/">COVID cases</a>. Some 860,221 infections were recorded around the country in 2023, while 30,283 cases have already been reported in 2024.</p> <p>This is likely to be a significant underestimate, with fewer people testing and reporting than earlier in the pandemic. But the signs suggest parts of Australia are experiencing yet <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-01-23/covid-19-case-numbers-from-australia-states-and-territories/103374656">another COVID surge</a>.</p> <p>While some lucky people claim to have never had COVID, many are facing our second, third or even fourth infection, often despite having been vaccinated. You might be wondering, how long does immunity last after a previous infection or vaccination?</p> <p>Let’s take a look at what the evidence shows.</p> <h2>B cells and T cells</h2> <p>To answer this question, we need to understand a bit about how <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-happens-in-our-body-when-we-encounter-and-fight-off-a-virus-like-the-flu-sars-cov-2-or-rsv-207023">immunity</a> to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID) works.</p> <p>After being infected or vaccinated, the immune system develops specific antibodies that can neutralise SARS-CoV-2. B cells remember the virus for a period of time. In addition, the immune system produces memory T cells that can kill the virus, and remain in the blood for some months after the clearance of the infection or a vaccination.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.abf4063?rfr_dat=cr_pub++0pubmed&amp;url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori%3Arid%3Acrossref.org">2021 study</a> found 98% of people had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein (a protein on the surface of the virus that allows it to attach to our cells) one month after symptom onset. Six to eight months afterwards, 90% of participants still had these neutralising antibodies in their blood.</p> <p>This means the immune system should have recognised and neutralised the same SARS-CoV-2 variant if challenged within six to eight months (if an infection occurred, it should have resulted in mild to no symptoms).</p> <h2>But what about when the virus mutates?</h2> <p>As we know, SARS-CoV-2 has mutated over time, leading to the emergence of new variants such as alpha, beta, delta and omicron. Each of these variants carries mutations that are new to the immune system, even if the person has been previously infected with an earlier variant.</p> <p>A new variant likely won’t be <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adj0070">perfectly recognised</a> – or even <a href="https://www.cell.com/cell/pdf/S0092-8674(21)01578-6.pdf">recognised at all</a> – by the already activated memory T or B cells from a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. This could explain why people can be so readily reinfected with COVID.</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(22)02465-5/fulltext#seccestitle10">review of studies</a> published up to the end of September 2022 looked at the protection conferred by previous SARS-CoV-2 infections.</p> <p>The authors found a previous infection provided protective immunity against reinfection with the ancestral, alpha, beta and delta variants of 85.2% at four weeks. Protection against reinfection with these variants remained high (78.6%) at 40 weeks, or just over nine months, after the previous infection. This protection decreased to 55.5% at 80 weeks (18 months), but the authors noted there was a lack of data at this time point.</p> <p>Notably, an earlier infection provided only 36.1% protection against a reinfection with omicron BA.1 at 40 weeks. Omicron has been described as an <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-022-01143-7">immune escape variant</a>.</p> <p>A prior infection showed a high level of protection against severe disease (above 88%) up to 40 weeks regardless of the variant a person was reinfected with.</p> <h2>What about immunity after vaccination?</h2> <p>So far almost 70 million COVID vaccines <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/covid-19/reporting">have been administered</a> to more than <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-update-12-january-2023?language=en">22 million people</a> in Australia. Scientists estimated COVID vaccines prevented around <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(22)00320-6/fulltext">14.4 million deaths</a> in 185 countries in the first year after they became available.</p> <p>But we know COVID vaccine effectiveness wanes over time. A <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2804451?utm_source=For_The_Media&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=ftm_links&amp;utm_term=050323">2023 review</a> found the original vaccines were 79.6% and 49.7% effective at protecting against symptomatic delta infection at one and nine months after vaccination respectively. They were 60.4% and 13.3% effective against symptomatic omicron at the same time points.</p> <p>This is where booster doses come into the picture. They’re important to keep the immune system ready to fight off the virus, particularly for those who are more vulnerable to the effects of a COVID infection.</p> <p>Plus, regular booster doses can provide immunity against different variants. COVID vaccines are constantly being <a href="https://mvec.mcri.edu.au/references/covid-19/">reviewed and updated</a> to ensure optimal protection against <a href="https://www.who.int/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants">current circulating strains</a>, with the latest shot available designed to target <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-mark-butler-mp/media/new-covid-19-vaccines-available-to-target-current-variants">the omicron variant XBB 1.5</a>. This is similar to how we approach seasonal flu vaccines.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-50335-6">recent study</a> showed a COVID vaccination provides longer protection against reinfection than natural protection alone. The median time from infection to reinfection in non-vaccinated people was only six months, compared with 14 months in people who had received one, two or three doses of vaccine after their first infection. This is called <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abj2258">hybrid immunity</a>, and other research has similarly found it provides better protection than natural infection alone.</p> <p>It also seems timing is important, as receiving a vaccine too soon after an infection (less than six months) appears to be <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-50335-6">less effective</a> than getting vaccinated later.</p> <h2>What now?</h2> <p>Everyone’s immune system is slightly unique, and SARS-CoV-2 continues to mutate, so knowing exactly how long COVID immunity lasts is complicated.</p> <p>Evidence suggests immunity following infection should generally last six months in healthy adults, and can be prolonged with vaccination. But there are exceptions, and all of this assumes the virus has not mutated so much that it “escapes” our immune response.</p> <p>While many people feel the COVID pandemic is over, it’s important we don’t forget the lessons we have learned. Practices such as wearing a mask and staying home when unwell can reduce the spread of many viruses, not only <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj-2021-068302">COVID</a>.</p> <p>Vaccination is not mandatory, but for older adults eligible for a booster under the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/atagi-update-on-the-covid-19-vaccination-program">current guidelines</a>, it’s a very good idea.<!-- 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/221398/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/lara-herrero-1166059"><em>Lara Herrero</em></a><em>, Research Leader in Virology and Infectious Disease, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dr-wesley-freppel-1408971">Dr Wesley Freppel</a>, Research Fellow, Institute for Glycomics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-long-does-immunity-last-after-a-covid-infection-221398">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Jimmy Barnes shares updates on "long road ahead"

<p>Jimmy Barnes has shared another update about his recovery from open-heart surgery, saying that there is "a long road ahead" following his latest check-up. </p> <p>The 67-year-old was admitted into hospital for <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/bad-news-jimmy-barnes-rushed-into-emergency-open-heart-surgery" target="_blank" rel="noopener">emergency heart surgery</a> after complications from a bacterial infection just weeks before Christmas. </p> <p>Since then, Barnes and his wife Jane have been keeping fans updated on his recovery progress. </p> <p>“Always good to leave the hospital smiling. There’s still a long road ahead and many more check ups,” the Aussie Rocker shared to his Instagram followers on Thursday. </p> <p>“There was a team of seven specialists working on me, so there is a lot to follow up on.”</p> <p>The <em>Flame Trees </em>singer shared that he'd had enough of intravenous medications and couldn't wait to have his peripherally inserted central catheter removed. </p> <p>“Another set of good bloods and it’s off with the ‘PICC Line’,” he wrote. </p> <p>“I’m sure it’s saved my life but I cannot wait to be free.”</p> <p>Despite everything, Barnes still looks on the bright side, and showed his gratitude for his wife Jane and her excellent cooking skills. </p> <p>“Thai beef curry is just what the doctor ordered,” he concluded the post, with a picture of Jane's homemade dish.</p> <p>Fans took to the comments to share their support. </p> <p>“Great stuff! As Rocky would say ‘It’s not how hard you hit, but how hard you get hit and keep getting up again’, wrote one fan. </p> <p>“You can do it Jimmy,” another commented. </p> <p>“That’s great news Jimmy. You are in the best hands both on a medical and personal level," a third added. </p> <p>“Great news and good to see you’re recovering well, nurse Jane is doing a fantastic job with all your meals,” wrote a fourth. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

"That is NOT a goanna": Family stumbles upon metre-long croc in their chicken coop

<p>A Central Queensland family got the croc-shock of their lives when what they thought was a seemingly innocent goanna having a nap in their chicken coop turned out to be a rather laid-back, metre-long reptile houseguest.</p> <p>The unsuspecting family from <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Cape Hillsborough </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">stumbled upon the scaly interloper during their morning routine and, u</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">pon closer inspection, they realised that their "goanna" was actually a pint-sized crocodile with a hunger for adventure and perhaps a penchant for farm-fresh eggs. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">They immediately called upon the services of the wildlife officers from the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) to handle the unexpected guest. </span></p> <p>DESI staff, armed with their best PVC tube, swooped in to relocate the confused crocodile to a more suitable venue – a facility in Mackay. There, the croc will wait patiently until wildlife officers can find it a new home, possibly at a licensed farm or zoo where it can continue its culinary escapades under professional supervision.</p> <p>Senior Wildlife Officer Jane Burns commented on the incident, saying, "While it isn't unusual to see crocs around Mackay, it is unusual to find one in someone's backyard." Well, Jane, they say every family has a skeleton in the closet, but in Mackay, it seems they might have a croc in the coop.</p> <p>This peculiar episode follows hot on the heels of recent reports of a crocodile deciding to test its high jump skills, attempting to land in a fisherman's tinnie at Jane Creek in nearby St Helen's Beach. Witnesses say the crocodile executed a perfect swan dive, narrowly avoiding a career in aquatic acrobatics.</p> <p>As the good people of Mackay navigate this unexpected croc invasion, wildlife authorities are reminding everyone to be "<a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/plants-animals/animals/living-with/crocodiles/becrocwise" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Crocwise in Croc Country</a>". Tips include expecting crocs in all waterways (yes, even in your neighbour's kiddie pool), obeying warning signs (they're not just fancy decorations), and refraining from using canoes and kayaks (apparently, crocs have a thing for watercraft).</p> <p>So, the next time you suspect a goanna is admiring your chicken coop, remember – it might just be a crocodile in disguise, ready for a culinary adventure and a chance at stardom. </p> <p><em>Images: DISA</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

I have COVID. How likely am I to get long COVID?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-baillie-646956">Andrew Baillie</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amelia-gulliver-17440">Amelia Gulliver</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lena-sanci-523666">Lena Sanci</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lucette-cysique-1495512">Lucette Cysique</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-britton-1127089">Philip Britton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>EG.5 or the Eris COVID variant is dominant in parts of <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Documents/respiratory-surveillance-20231202.pdf">Australia</a>. Eris, along with other circulating strains, are descendants of Omicron.</p> <p>While these strains appear less severe than the original Alpha and Delta variants, the risk of long COVID remains.</p> <p>So what does the latest data say about the chance of long COVID? What symptoms should you look out for? And what can be done to support people with long COVID?</p> <h2>When COVID becomes ‘long COVID’</h2> <p>For most people, long COVID means not getting better after a COVID infection.</p> <p>The World Health Organization <a href="https://www.who.int/publications-detail-redirect/WHO-2019-nCoV-Post_COVID-19_condition-Clinical_case_definition-2021.1">defines long COVID</a> as continuing or new symptoms at least three months from the start of a COVID infection that last at least two months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.</p> <p>The most <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10654-022-00962-6">common symptoms</a> include fatigue, brain fog, breathlessness, headaches and abdominal pain. But people with long COVID can experience <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1684118222001864?via%3Dihub">a wide range</a> of problems including cardiovascular issues, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, insomnia, muscle and joint pain, and gastrointestinal problems.</p> <h2>How common is long COVID?</h2> <p>Australian data on long COVID <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2023/218/10/long-covid-australia-achieving-equitable-access-supportive-health-care">remains limited</a> compared to <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-006-x/2023001/article/00015-eng.htm">international data</a>, and estimates of its prevalence have varied. A report from Australia’s parliamentary inquiry into long COVID, <a href="https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/committees/reportrep/RB000006/toc_pdf/SickandtiredCastingalongshadow.pdf">published in April</a>, suggested 2%-20% of people may develop long COVID following an infection.</p> <p>A recent Australian study conducted when vaccines were widely available indicates earlier Omicron variants <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20186756">saw 10% of people</a> who caught COVID develop long COVID.</p> <p>Another recent study, yet to be peer-reviewed, found <a href="https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.08.06.23293706v1">18.2%</a> of those infected went on to have long COVID. The wide-ranging estimates are likely to be because of different COVID variants, differences in vaccination, and different long COVID definitions and assessment methods.</p> <p>The risk is lower in children. One Australian study indicated persistent symptoms in <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(21)00124-3/fulltext">8% of children</a> who had COVID in 2020, while <a href="https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.03.14.23287239v1">preliminary research</a> points to a slightly lower risk among children infected in 2021.</p> <p>But more research is needed, especially as the virus continues to evolve. This can be complicated because typical long COVID symptoms are common to many other health problems. As in other countries, more research is now underway <a href="https://www.apprise.org.au/broad-research-area/insights-into-long-covid/">in Australia</a> to determine the accurate prevalence of the condition using a definition and methods that carefully exclude other causes.</p> <p>Although research on long COVID risk factors with new variants is ongoing, we expect being female, having more severe initial disease and having other health conditions will <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2023.0750">increase a person’s chance</a> of getting long COVID.</p> <h2>What’s different this time?</h2> <p>Research shows COVID vaccines offer <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/19/12422">protection</a> against long COVID. As well as vaccinations, immunity from previous COVID infections and antiviral treatments are contributing to less severe COVID and potentially <a href="https://theconversation.com/could-antivirals-reduce-your-risk-of-long-covid-where-the-research-is-up-to-on-prevention-and-treatment-216529">less long COVID</a> than we saw earlier in the pandemic.</p> <p>But while the Omicron waves may lead to <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/newer-virus-strains-less-likely-to-cause-long-covid-20231123-p5emag.html">fewer cases of long COVID</a> than the earlier Alpha and Delta variants, because so many Australians are contracting COVID, this will still result in a large number of people with long COVID. And each <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-006-x/2023001/article/00015-eng.htm">repeat infection</a> presents a new risk of prolonged symptoms.</p> <h2>Long COVID can affect all aspects of life</h2> <p>Long COVID can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyad033">impact</a> a person’s life in many ways. Fatigue following exertion, brain fog and other symptoms can reduce capacity to perform tasks such as concentrating at a computer, manual labour, and even normal household tasks.</p> <p>Many people with long COVID submitted evidence to the recent <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Health_Aged_Care_and_Sport/LongandrepeatedCOVID/Report/Chapter_4_-_Lived_experiences_of_long_COVID">parliamentary inquiry</a> that they were unsupported, stigmatised, isolated, and not taken seriously by health professionals.</p> <p>Evidence suggests many symptoms <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanepe/article/PIIS2666-77622200250-2/fulltext">will improve</a> in most people over <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(23)00138-4/fulltext">12 to 18 months</a>, although recovery time can differ between symptoms. Some, including gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms, tend to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41579-022-00846-2">resolve sooner than others</a>, such as cognitive symptoms.</p> <h2>I think I have long COVID, what can I expect from my doctor?</h2> <p>Long COVID is the kind of challenge Australia’s <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.5694/mja2.51950">health system finds most difficult</a>. GPs are stretched and the small number of specialist <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-12/long-covid-clinics-are-closing-as-us-clinic-expands/103186272">long COVID clinics</a> are struggling to maintain funding.</p> <p>Australia has trailed behind the US, the UK and Europe in rolling out care for long COVID, and in collecting data on the condition.</p> <p>As a result, support for long COVID in Australia is <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/phrs.2023.1606084">hard to access</a>, expensive and patchy.</p> <p>However, there is consensus on what constitutes good care. Clinicians seeing patients with possible long COVID should:</p> <ul> <li> <p>validate the person’s experience of symptoms and the impact their symptoms are having on their functioning, particularly when the cause is not clear</p> </li> <li> <p>diagnose and treat any other health conditions that are part of the picture</p> </li> <li> <p>support people to minimise the impairment their symptoms cause by pacing of physical and cognitive activities. Importantly, this doesn’t involve pushing through fatigue.</p> </li> </ul> <p>These steps are not a cure but they may improve a person’s ability to function in their day-to-day life, at work and to fulfil their caring responsibilities.</p> <h2>We still need to focus on reducing COVID transmission</h2> <p>The best way to prevent long COVID is to avoid contracting – and spreading – COVID. This means:</p> <ul> <li> <p>getting vaccinated or boosted, if you’re eligible</p> </li> <li> <p>staying home if you feel unwell</p> </li> <li> <p>wearing a mask to protect yourself and vulnerable community members</p> </li> <li> <p>testing for COVID if you have symptoms and if you test positive, taking antivirals (if eligible) and isolating until your symptoms resolve.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Long COVID is not going away, but we all have a role to play in preventing and responding to it.</p> <p><em>Ruby Biezen from the APPRISE Network and the University of Melbourne and Andrew Lloyd from the Kirby Institute at UNSW contributed to this article.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218808/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/andrew-baillie-646956"><em>Andrew Baillie</em></a><em>, Professor of Allied Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amelia-gulliver-17440">Amelia Gulliver</a>, Senior Research Fellow, ANU College of Health and Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lena-sanci-523666">Lena Sanci</a>, Professor, Department of General Practice and Primary Care, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lucette-cysique-1495512">Lucette Cysique</a>, Senior Research Fellow, Viral Immunology Systems Program, The Kirby Institute, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-britton-1127089">Philip Britton</a>, Associate Professor, Child and Adolescent Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/i-have-covid-how-likely-am-i-to-get-long-covid-218808">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Missing boy found alive after six long years

<p>A 17-year-old British boy named Alex Batty, who went missing in Spain in 2017 at the age of 11, has been found after six long years.</p> <p>On a Wednesday morning, a concerned motorist discovered Alex walking along a road in the foothills of the Pyrenees. This Good Samaritan, Fabien Accidini, picked up the young lad, offering water and kindness. Little did Fabien know, he was playing a crucial role in reuniting a family torn apart.</p> <p>Alex, who had been living in the remote Pyrenean valleys, was shy at first but eventually opened up to Fabien about his incredible journey. He revealed that he had been in France for two years, leading a nomadic life in an itinerant commune. His dream was to find a big city with an embassy to seek assistance.</p> <p>The touching part of the story was how Alex, carrying a backpack and skateboard, asked Fabien if he could borrow his phone. He then used the phone to send a message via Facebook to his grandmother back in England, Susan Caruana, telling her that he was fine and longing to see her.</p> <p>Susan Caruana, Alex's legal guardian, received the unexpected message, bringing tears of joy to her eyes. "I am so happy," she told The Sun newspaper. "I have spoken to him, and he is well. It is such a shock."</p> <p>The news of Alex's discovery spread like wildfire. A<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">s authorities worked diligently to unravel the mystery, it became apparent that Alex's mother, Melanie Batty, and grandfather, David Batty, who did not have parental guardianship, were still missing – and </span>are still wanted by police in connection with his disappearance.</p> <p>The reunion also brought together international cooperation, with British police and consular staff rushing to France to bring Alex back home. Greater Manchester Police confirmed their collaboration with French authorities to ensure the safety and well-being of Batty. "This is a complex and long-running investigation," they said in a statement, "and we need to make further enquiries as well as putting appropriate safeguarding measures in place."</p> <p>The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued a statement, affirming their support for the British national in France and their ongoing communication with local authorities.</p> <p><em>Images: Greater Manchester Police</em></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

"Absolutely insane": Dad's plane act goes viral

<p>A man has gone viral on TikTok after his daughter posted a video of him sleeping on the airplane floor during a long-haul flight. </p> <p>"More room for everybody," she captioned the video of her dad lying down wedged between two rows where their feet would normally go. </p> <p>In the video she also added an overlay text which said: "you have ur airport dad I have my Asian dad." </p> <p>The video has since racked up over 12.4 million views, and while most were impressed by the "hack" others were appalled. </p> <p>"This is so smart – never thought of that," one person wrote. </p> <p>"Smart but I'd lay a blanket down underneath. Thank you airport dad I will steal this idea," added another. </p> <p>"I been alive 25 years, ain't never seen this move before," commented a third. </p> <p>"They do [allow it] on long flights. As long as nobody complains then they don't bother you," added a fourth. </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 580px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7290309715286904095&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40bynataliebright%2Fvideo%2F7290309715286904095&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign.tiktokcdn-us.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-useast8-p-0068-tx2%2FoclABAhjhvzjImA6AdbRfwsiNEqBAyICYXEzX8%3Fx-expires%3D1700780400%26x-signature%3D8dYowfoSYD7T5QgGgwn53z%252B4BI8%253D&amp;key=5b465a7e134d4f09b4e6901220de11f0&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>A few others were shocked and pointed out that airplane floors aren't exactly clean. </p> <p>"As a past flight attendant, you don't want to know what I have seen on those carpets," wrote one person. </p> <p>"When I was taking my flight attendant course one thing they said to us over and over was to never walk barefoot on the aircraft... nevertheless lay down," added another. </p> <p>"Man made his own trundle bed," joked a third. </p> <p>While another eagle-eyed commenter was shocked that he would voluntarily wear jeans for 15-hours, "jeans for 15 hours is absolutely insane," they wrote. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Travel Tips

Our Partners