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"Forever grateful": Jana Pittman's heartbreaking loss

<p>Former Olympian Jana Pittman is in mourning after the sudden death of her long-time coach and friend Jackie Byrnes. </p> <p>Pittman paid tribute to Byrnes on Instagram after her death on Thursday, following a long battle with an illness.</p> <p>Byrnes had previously spoken about her ongoing journey with various skin cancers and melanomas in late 2021, saying it was “amazing” that she had survived to that point.</p> <p>The legendary sporting coach led both Pittman and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, who also became a world champion, to the elite level while having a major impact on athletics for decades.</p> <p>Athletes both described Byrnes as a second mum in emotional tribute posts after Athletics Australia broke the news of her passing. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C7EbnHuPFlF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C7EbnHuPFlF/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Jana Pittman (@janapittmanofficial)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“It is with great sadness to share that one of my coaches Jackie Byrnes passed away last night,” Pittman wrote.</p> <p>“She coached me to my first Olympic Games and three world youth/junior gold medals... but it was more than her amazing athletic skills."</p> <p>“It was Jackie’s ability to embrace my quirks, emotions, chaos and passion. She set the framework for all my future success."</p> <p>“For dozens of athletes she was a coach, mother, mentor and friend, including the incredible Melinda!! I still vividly remember the day Jackie asked me to join them and train with Mel!"</p> <p>“Many times since I have wondered what could have been if I had stayed longer under her stewardship!"</p> <p>“All that had the privilege of being guided by her will agree she had a unique gift of leaving everyone she met better than before, and for that, we are forever grateful."</p> <p>“Her legacy of kindness, resilience, and inspiration will always be remembered. Thank you Jackie for the gift you gave us all.. genuine care and love! Rest in peace, Jackie.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Family & Pets

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"I miss her hugs": British acting legend shares heartbreaking loss

<p>Actor Warwick Davis has shared the heartbreaking news of his wife's death. </p> <p>The actor, known for his roles in <em>Harry Potter</em> and <em>Star Wars</em>, took to social media to share the news of his wife Samantha's death, who passed away at the age of 53. </p> <p>“Her passing has left a huge hole in our lives as a family. I miss her hugs”, Warwick, 54, said.</p> <p>He added, “She was a unique character, always seeing the sunny side of life she had a wicked sense of humour and always laughed at my bad jokes.</p> <p>“Without Sammy, there would have been no Tenable quiz show, no Willow series. No Idiot Abroad Series 3.”</p> <p>Warwick said Samantha was his “most trusted confidant and an ardent supporter of everything I did in my career”.</p> <p>The couple’s children, Harrison and Annabelle, added, “Mum is our best friend and we’re honoured to have received a love like hers</p> <p>“Her love and happiness carried us through our whole lives”.</p> <p>Warwick and Samantha met on the set of the movie Willow in 1988 and got married three years later. </p> <p>Samantha had achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder that causes disproportionate dwarfism.</p> <p>Warwick has previously opened up about his wife’s health after she was rushed to hospital with sepsis in 2018, and had to undergo several different surgeries to stabilise her condition. </p> <p>Warwick, co-founder of charity Little People UK, has often spoken out about the health battles related to his condition, as well his wife’s.</p> <p>He was born with Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SED), an extremely rare genetic form of dwarfism, which has been inherited by both their daughter Annabelle and son Harrison.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s heartbreaking loss

<p>Penny Wong has shared the devastating news of her mother's passing. </p> <p>The Australian Foreign Minister took to Instagram to pay tribute to her mother, Jane Chapman, who passed away on Sunday. </p> <p>"Yesterday my beloved mother, Jane Chapman, left us peacefully," she began her post. </p> <p>"Mum was a woman of exceptional intellect and penetrating insight, of mischievous wit and endless curiosity. </p> <p>“Most of all she was a woman of deep compassion and principle,” Wong said.</p> <p>“She gave expression to her compassion through her courage and determination for justice, qualities that have steeled me through all my life’s challenges.</p> <p>“Through her work, her choices, her courage and her deeds, she inspired and empowered me and so many others.</p> <p>"Mum loved me completely. And she loved her granddaughters Alexandra and Hannah beyond measure," she continued.</p> <p>"We will miss her terribly." </p> <p>She then thanked Tony Michele and the staff at Mary Potter Hospice for taking care of her mum and for their kindness. </p> <p>Parliamentary colleagues and the public shared their condolences in the comments. </p> <p>"My heart goes out to you. Nothing can prepare us for the loss of a parent. Jane was an incredible woman. Sending love to you and the family," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote. </p> <p>"Sorry for your loss Penny. Losing your mum is so incredibly hard," added TV personality and former <em>Gogglebox</em> star Yvie Jones. </p> <p>"Your mum was great. Staunch, fierce, funny. I and aĺl her yoga class friends will miss her," one person wrote. </p> <p>"Words are completely inadequate at a time like this. I am so very sorry for your loss Penny. I hope the love and support of friends and family can offer you some comfort," added another.</p> <p>Chapman married Chinese-Malay architect Francis Wong while he was studying in Adelaide on a scholarship and shared two children together Penny and Toby. </p> <p>When they divorced, Chapman moved back to South Australia with her children.</p> <p>In 2001, 10 days after his 30th birthday and on the same day Wong was elected to the senate, Toby took his own life. </p> <p>Francis Wong passed away in May 2023. </p> <p><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691">Brendan Clift</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Bruce Lehrmann has lost his defamation suit against Channel Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson after the media defendants proved, on the balance of probabilities, that Lehrmann raped his colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.</p> <p>After a trial lasting around a month, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee – an experienced defamation judge – concluded that both Lehrmann and Higgins had credibility issues, but ultimately <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2024/2024fca0369">he was persuaded</a> that Lehrmann raped Higgins, as she’d alleged and he’d denied.</p> <h2>Criminal trials by proxy</h2> <p>Ordinarily, charges like rape would be resolved through the criminal courts, but Lehrmann’s criminal trial was <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-27/jury-discharged-in-trial-of-bruce-lehrmann-brittany-higgins/101583486">aborted</a> in October 2022 after juror misconduct. The charges against him were soon <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-sexual-assault-charge-dropped-dpp-confirms/news-story/3f82dd388d2cfa38680f7d4f4ceb1c5e">dropped</a>, nominally over concerns for Higgins’ mental health.</p> <p>Higgins, however, foresaw civil proceedings and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/05/brittany-higgins-volunteered-to-be-defamation-trial-witness-as-she-would-not-let-rapist-become-a-millionaire-ntwnfb">offered to testify</a> should they arise. That they did, as Lehrmann, free from the burden of any proven crime, sued several media outlets for defamation over their reporting into the allegations (<a href="https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/lehrmann">the ABC</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/06/abc-agrees-to-pay-bruce-lehrmann-150000-to-settle-defamation-claim-court-documents-reveal">News Corp</a> both settled out of court).</p> <p><iframe class="flourish-embed-iframe" style="width: 100%; height: 550px;" title="Interactive or visual content" src="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/17195035/embed" width="100%" height="400" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" sandbox="allow-same-origin allow-forms allow-scripts allow-downloads allow-popups allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation"></iframe></p> <div style="width: 100%!; margin-top: 4px!important; text-align: right!important;"><a class="flourish-credit" href="https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17195035/?utm_source=embed&amp;utm_campaign=visualisation/17195035" target="_top"><img src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/made_with_flourish.svg" alt="Made with Flourish" /></a></div> <p>Like Ben Roberts-Smith’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">recent defamation suit</a> against the former Fairfax papers, this became another case of civil proceedings testing grave allegations in the absence of a criminal law outcome.</p> <p>The form of proceedings made for some key differences with the aborted criminal trial. In criminal cases, prosecutors are ethically bound to act with moderation in pursuing a conviction, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while defendants have the right to silence. By contrast, this trial featured detailed accounts from both sides as each sought to convince, in essence, that their contentions were likely to be correct.</p> <p>Also like the Roberts-Smith case, live streaming of the trial generated very high levels of public engagement. Today’s stream reached audiences of more than 45,000 people. It gave us the chance to assess who and what we believe, and to scrutinise the parties’ claims and the media’s reporting. The Federal Court doesn’t have juries, but we, the public, acted as a de facto panel of peers.</p> <p>We saw accusations and denials, revealing <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-23/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-ten-lisa-wilkinson-ends/103260752">cross-examination</a> of the protagonists, witness testimony from colleagues, CCTV footage from nightclubs to Parliament House complete with lip-reading, expert testimony on alcohol consumption and consent, and lawyers constructing timelines which supported or poked holes in competing versions of events.</p> <p>The complexity of high-stakes legal proceedings was on display, with Justice Lee issuing many interim decisions on questions of procedure and evidence. Whenever transparency was at stake, it won.</p> <p>The preference for full disclosure led to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/apr/02/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-10-fresh-evidence-bid-lisa-wilkinson-brittany-higgins-delay-ntwnfb">case being re-opened</a> at the eleventh hour to call former Channel 7 producer Taylor Auerbach as a witness, providing a denouement that the judge called “sordid”, but which had little relevance to the final result.</p> <h2>An argument over the truth</h2> <p>Lehrmann had the burden of proving that the defendants published matter harmful to his reputation. That matter was Wilkinson’s interview with Higgins on Channel Ten’s The Project in which the allegations were made.</p> <p>A statement is only defamatory if it’s untrue, but in Australian law, the publisher bears the burden of proving truth, should they opt for that defence. And more serious allegations usually require more compelling proof, as the law views them as inherently more unlikely.</p> <p>This can be onerous for a defamation defendant, but it also involves risk for the plaintiff, should the defendant embark on an odyssey of truth-telling yet more damaging to the plaintiff’s image. That happened to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65717684">Ben Roberts-Smith</a> and it happened to Lehrmann here.</p> <p>On the other hand, if the media hasn’t done their homework, as in <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2023/2023fca1223">Heston Russell’s case</a> against the ABC (also presided over by Justice Lee), the complainant can be vindicated.</p> <p>This case was a manifestation of Lehrmann’s professed desire to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/26/how-bruce-lehrmanns-media-interviews-cost-him-his-anonymity-in-toowoomba-case">light some fires</a>”. Few players in this extended saga have emerged without scars, and here he burned his own fingers, badly.</p> <p>As Justice Lee put it, Lehrmann, “having escaped the lion’s den [of criminal prosecution], made the mistake of coming back to get his hat”.</p> <h2>How was the case decided?</h2> <p>Lehrmann denied having sex with Higgins, whereas Higgins alleged there had been non-consensual sex. The defamatory nature of the publication centred on the claim of rape, so that was what the media defendants sought to prove.</p> <p>This left open the curious possibility that consensual sex might have taken place: if so, Lehrmann would have brought his case on a false premise (there had been no sex), but the media would have failed to defend it (by not proving a lack of consent), resulting in a Lehrmann win.</p> <p>That awkward scenario did not arise. The court found sex did in fact take place, Higgins in her heavily-inebriated and barely-conscious state did not give consent, and Lehrmann was so intent on his gratification that he ignored the requirement of consent.</p> <p>Justice Lee found Lehrmann to be a persistent, self-interested liar, whereas Higgin’s credibility issues were of lesser degree, some symptomatic of a person piecing together a part-remembered trauma. The judge drew strongly on the evidence of certain neutral parties who could testify to incidents or words spoken in close proximity to the events.</p> <h2>Defamation laws favour the aggrieved</h2> <p>Australian defamation law has historically favoured plaintiffs and, despite recent <a href="https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/civil/defamation/2021-law-reform/">rebalancing attempts</a>, it remains a favoured legal weapon for those with the resources to use it.</p> <p>This includes our political class, who sue their critics for defamation with unhealthy frequency for a democracy. In the United States, public figures don’t have it so easy: to win they must prove their critics were lying.</p> <p>In Australia, the media sometimes succeeds in proving truth, but contesting defamation proceedings comes at great financial cost and takes an emotional toll on the journalists involved.</p> <p>Nor can a true claim always be proven to a court’s satisfaction, given the rules of evidence and the fact that sources may be reluctant to testify or protected by a reporter’s guarantee of confidentiality.</p> <p>But this case demonstrates that publishers with an appetite for the legal fight can come out on top.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225891/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691"><em>Brendan Clift</em></a><em>, Lecturer of law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/judge-finds-bruce-lehrmann-raped-brittany-higgins-and-dismisses-network-10-defamation-case-how-did-it-play-out-225891">original article</a>.</em></p>

Legal

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No, taking drugs like Ozempic isn’t ‘cheating’ at weight loss or the ‘easy way out’

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/clare-collins-7316">Clare Collins</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p>Obesity medication that is effective has been a long time coming. Enter semaglutide (sold as Ozempic and Wegovy), which is helping people improve weight-related health, including <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37952131/">lowering the risk</a> of a having a heart attack or stroke, while also silencing “<a href="https://theconversation.com/some-ozempic-users-say-it-silences-food-noise-but-there-are-drug-free-ways-to-stop-thinking-about-food-so-much-208467">food noise</a>”.</p> <p>As demand for semaglutide increases, so are <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/in-a-fat-phobic-world-ozempic-is-hardly-the-easy-way-out-20240401-p5fgjd.html">claims</a> that taking it is “cheating” at weight loss or the “easy way out”.</p> <p>We don’t tell people who need statin medication to treat high cholesterol or drugs to manage high blood pressure they’re cheating or taking the easy way out.</p> <p>Nor should we shame people taking semaglutide. It’s a drug used to treat diabetes and obesity which needs to be taken long term and comes with risks and side effects, as well as benefits. When prescribed for obesity, it’s given alongside advice about diet and exercise.</p> <h2>How does it work?</h2> <p>Semaglutide is a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GLP-1_receptor_agonist">glucagon-like peptide-1</a> receptor agonist (GLP-1RA). This means it makes your body’s own glucagon-like peptide-1 hormone, called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucagon-like_peptide-1">GLP-1</a> for short, work better.</p> <p>GLP-1 gets secreted by cells in your gut when it <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38218319/">detects increased nutrient levels</a> after eating. This stimulates insulin production, which lowers blood sugars.</p> <p>GLP-1 also slows gastric emptying, which makes you feel full, and reduces hunger and feelings of reward after eating.</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-1031" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/1031/c11b606581d4bc58a71f066492d7f740b52c04e1/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>GLP-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) medications like Ozempic help the body’s own GLP-1 work better by mimicking and extending its action.</p> <p>Some studies have found less GLP-1 gets released after meals in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38218319/">adults with obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus</a> compared to adults with normal glucose tolerance. So having less GLP-1 circulating in your blood means you don’t feel as full after eating and get hungry again sooner compared to people who produce more.</p> <p>GLP-1 has a very short half-life of about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28443255/">two minutes</a>. So GLP-1RA medications were designed to have a very long half-life of about <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">seven days</a>. That’s why semaglutide is given as a weekly injection.</p> <h2>What can users expect? What does the research say?</h2> <p>Higher doses of semaglutide are prescribed to treat obesity compared to type 2 diabetes management (up to 2.4mg versus 2.0mg weekly).</p> <p>A large group of <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">randomised controlled trials</a>, called STEP trials, all tested weekly 2.4mg semaglutide injections versus different interventions or placebo drugs.</p> <p>Trials lasting 1.3–2 years consistently found weekly 2.4 mg semaglutide injections <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">led to 6–12% greater weight loss</a> compared to placebo or alternative interventions. The average weight change depended on how long medication treatment lasted and length of follow-up.</p> <p>Weight reduction due to semaglutide also leads to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36769420/">reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure</a> of about 4.8 mmHg and 2.5 mmHg respectively, a reduction in <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/triglycerides">triglyceride levels</a> (a type of blood fat) and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">improved physical function</a>.</p> <p>Another recent trial in adults with pre-existing heart disease and obesity, but without type 2 diabetes, found adults receiving weekly 2.4mg semaglutide injections had a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37952131/">20% lower risk</a> of specific cardiovascular events, including having a non-fatal heart attack, a stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease, after three years follow-up.</p> <h2>Who is eligible for semaglutide?</h2> <p>Australia’s regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023">approved</a> semaglutide, sold as Ozempic, for treating type 2 diabetes.</p> <p>However, due to shortages, the TGA had advised doctors not to start new Ozempic prescriptions for “off-label use” such as obesity treatment and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme doesn’t currently subsidise off-label use.</p> <p>The TGA has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/prescription-medicines-registrations/wegovy-novo-nordisk-pharmaceuticals-pty-ltd">approved Wegovy to treat obesity</a> but it’s not currently available in Australia.</p> <p>When it’s available, doctors will be able to prescribe <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36934408/">semaglutide to treat obesity</a> in conjunction with lifestyle interventions (including diet, physical activity and psychological support) in adults with obesity (a BMI of 30 or above) or those with a BMI of 27 or above who also have weight-related medical complications.</p> <h2>What else do you need to do during Ozempic treatment?</h2> <p>Checking details of the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36691309/">STEP trial intervention components</a>, it’s clear participants invested a lot of time and effort. In addition to taking medication, people had brief lifestyle counselling sessions with dietitians or other health professionals every four weeks as a minimum in most trials.</p> <p>Support sessions were designed to help people stick with consuming 2,000 kilojoules (500 calories) less daily compared to their energy needs, and performing 150 minutes of <a href="https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/tips-for-getting-active">moderate-to-vigorous physical activity</a>, like brisk walking, dancing and gardening each week.</p> <p>STEP trials varied in other components, with follow-up time periods varying from 68 to 104 weeks. The aim of these trials was to show the effect of adding the medication on top of other lifestyle counselling.</p> <p>A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">review of obesity medication trials</a> found people reported they needed less <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28652832/">cognitive behaviour training</a> to help them stick with the reduced energy intake. This is one aspect where drug treatment may make adherence a little easier. Not feeling as hungry and having environmental food cues “switched off” may mean less support is required for goal-setting, self-monitoring food intake and <a href="https://theconversation.com/9-ways-wont-power-is-better-than-willpower-for-resisting-temptation-and-helping-you-eat-better-71267">avoiding things that trigger eating</a>.</p> <h2>But what are the side effects?</h2> <p>Semaglutide’s side-effects <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38041774/">include</a> nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, indigestion and abdominal pain.</p> <p>In one study these <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">led to</a> discontinuation of medication in 6% of people, but interestingly also in 3% of people taking placebos.</p> <p>More severe side-effects included gallbladder disease, acute pancreatitis, hypoglycaemia, acute kidney disease and injection site reactions.</p> <p>To reduce risk or severity of side-effects, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36934408/">medication doses are increased very slowly</a> over months. Once the full dose and response are achieved, research indicates you need to take it long term.</p> <p>Given this long-term commitment, and associated <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/private-health-insurance/what-private-health-insurance-covers/out-of-pocket-costs#:%7E:text=An%20out%20of%20pocket%20cost,called%20gap%20or%20patient%20payments">high out-of-pocket cost of medication</a>, when it comes to taking semaglutide to treat obesity, there is no way it can be considered “cheating”.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Read the other articles in The Conversation’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/ozempic-series-154673">Ozempic series</a> here.</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/219116/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/clare-collins-7316"><em>Clare Collins</em></a><em>, Laureate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-newcastle-1060">University of Newcastle</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/no-taking-drugs-like-ozempic-isnt-cheating-at-weight-loss-or-the-easy-way-out-219116">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Ozempic isn’t approved for weight loss in Australia. So how are people accessing it?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jessica-pace-1401278">Jessica Pace</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-bartlett-849104">Andrew Bartlett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nial-wheate-96839">Nial Wheate</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>To say that Ozempic is a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2024/jan/31/obesity-drug-ozempic-novo-nordisk-record-wegovy">blockbuster drug</a> is an understatement. Manufacturer Novo Nordisk is scrambling to expand production sites to keep up with global demand.</p> <p>While Ozempic is only approved for the treatment of diabetes in Australia, it is also marketed overseas for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy.</p> <p>Social media is full of posts and endorsements by celebrities who are using it for weight loss. Faced with limited access in Australia, some people who need the medication for diabetes can’t access it.</p> <p>Others are turning to the internet to source it from compounding pharmacies – a practice Australia’s regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), plans to clamp down on.</p> <h2>How doctors are prescribing Ozempic</h2> <p>Use of Ozempic for weight loss in Australia is considered “<a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023#why-the-tga-cant-stop-offlabel-prescribing">off label</a>”. This is when a doctor prescribes a medicine for a purpose outside of what is approved.</p> <p>Ozempic is only approved to be used for the treatment of diabetes in Australia, but its off-label prescribing for weight loss is driving <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023#when-will-the-ozempic-shortage-end">shortages</a> which the TGA thinks will last until 2025.</p> <p>To manage these shortages, Australian doctors and pharmacies are being asked <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023#information-for-prescribers">not to start new patients</a> on Ozempic and to prioritise it for patients with type 2 diabetes who are already stabilised on this medicine.</p> <p>However, the TGA <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023#why-the-tga-cant-stop-offlabel-prescribing">says</a> it: "does not have the power to regulate the clinical decisions of health professionals and is unable to prevent doctors from using their clinical judgement to prescribe Ozempic for other health conditions."</p> <h2>Why can’t we just make more?</h2> <p>The active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, is a delicate <a href="https://www.britannica.com/story/what-is-the-difference-between-a-peptide-and-a-protein">peptide</a> molecule made up of two small chains of amino acids. It’s just one in a family of drugs that are classified as GLP-1 inhibitors.</p> <p>Because it’s a peptide, its manufacture is complex and requires specialised facilities beyond those used to make normal chemical-based drugs.</p> <p>It is also delivered via an injection, meaning that it has to be manufactured under strict conditions to ensure it is both sterile and temperature controlled.</p> <p>This means increasing production is not as simple as just deciding to manufacture more. Its manufacturer <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/information-about-major-medicine-shortages/about-ozempic-semaglutide-shortage-2022-and-2023#why-the-tga-cant-stop-offlabel-prescribing">needs time</a> to build new facilities to increase production.</p> <h2>Compounding pharmacies are making their own</h2> <p><a href="https://www.fda.gov/drugs/guidance-compliance-regulatory-information/human-drug-compounding#:%7E:text=Compounding%20is%20generally%20a%20practice,needs%20of%20an%20individual%20patient">Compounding</a> is the practice of combining, mixing, or altering ingredients of a drug to create a formulation tailored to the needs of an individual patient.</p> <p>Australian law allows <a href="https://www.pharmacyboard.gov.au/codes-guidelines.aspx">pharmacists to compound</a> only when it is for the treatment of a particular patient to meet their individual clinical need and there is no suitable commercially manufactured product available. An example is making a liquid form of a drug from a tablet for people unable to swallow.</p> <p>Compounded products are not held to the same safety, quality and efficacy standards required for mass produced medicines. This recognises the one-off nature of such compounded medicines and the professional training of the pharmacists who prepare them.</p> <p>Recently, pharmacies have been relying on these compounding rules to produce their own Ozempic-like products at scale and ship them to consumers around Australia.</p> <p>However, there are risks when using these products. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently <a href="https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/medications-containing-semaglutide-marketed-type-2-diabetes-or-weight-loss#:%7E:text=Are%20there%20concerns%20with%20compounded,available%20to%20treat%20a%20patient.">warned consumers</a> of the dangers of using compounded formulations that contain particular salt formulations of semaglutide. It has received more reports of side effects in patients using these products.</p> <h2>How the regulator plans to tighten the loophole</h2> <p>The TGA is taking a number of steps to tighten the compounding loophole and there are ongoing investigations in this area.</p> <p>In December 2023, the agency issued a <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/news/safety-alerts/compounding-safety-information-semaglutide-products">public safety warning</a> on the dangers of these compounded medicines.</p> <p>More recently, it has proposed <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-29/compounding-pharmacies-mounjaro-ozempic/103283926">removing GLP-1 drugs</a>, which includes Ozempic, from Australia’s compounding exemptions. This would effectively ban pharmacies from making off-brand Ozempic. This proposal is <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/news/media-releases/consultation-remove-glucagon-peptide-1-glp-1-receptor-agonist-analogues-pharmacist-extemporaneous-compounding-exemption">currently under consultation</a> and a final decision is expected by June this year.</p> <p>If you want to access the drug for weight loss before the shortage is over, be aware that compounded products are not identical to approved Ozempic and have not been evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy.</p> <p>Supply of copycat versions is also likely to be limited, given the ongoing TGA crackdown.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Read the other articles in The Conversation’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/ozempic-132745">Ozempic series</a> here.<!-- 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/224859/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jessica-pace-1401278">Jessica Pace</a>, Associate Lecturer, Sydney Pharmacy School, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-bartlett-849104">Andrew Bartlett</a>, Associate Lecturer Pharmacy Practice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nial-wheate-96839">Nial Wheate</a>, Associate Professor of the School of Pharmacy, <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/ozempic-isnt-approved-for-weight-loss-in-australia-so-how-are-people-accessing-it-224859">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Considering taking a weight-loss drug like Ozempic? Here are some potential risks and benefits

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross University</a></em></p> <p>After weight-loss drugs like Ozempic exploded onto the market, celebrities and social media influencers were quick to spruik their benefits, leading to their rapid rise in use. In the last three months of 2022, clinicians in the United States alone wrote <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/09/27/ozempic-prescriptions-data-analysis/">more than nine million prescriptions</a> for these drugs.</p> <p>As they’ve grown in popularity, we’ve also heard more about the potential side effects – from common gastrointestinal discomforts, to more serious mental health concerns.</p> <p>But what does the science say about how well Ozempic and Wegovy (which are both brand names of the drug semaglutide) work for weight loss? And what are the potential side effects? Here’s what to consider if you or a loved one are thinking of taking the drug.</p> <h2>Potential benefits</h2> <p><strong>1) It’s likely to help you lose weight</strong></p> <p>The largest, well-conducted <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">research study</a> of semaglutide was from United Kingdom in 2021. Some 1,961 people who were classified as “overweight” or “obese” were randomly assigned to have either semaglutide or a placebo and followed for 68 weeks (about 1.3 years). All participants also had free access to advice about healthy eating and physical activity.</p> <p>The study found those taking semaglutide lost weight – significantly more than people who had the placebo (-14.9% of their body weight compared with -2.4% of body weight).</p> <p>In another <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9486455/">study</a> in the United States, one health-care clinic gave 408 people weekly injections of semaglutide. Over the first three months, those included in the final analysis (175 people) lost an average of 6.7kg. Over the first six months, they lost an average of 12.3kg.</p> <p>Large weight losses have been found in a more <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-02026-4">recent trial</a> of semaglutide, suggesting weight loss is a very likely outcome of ongoing use of the medication.</p> <p><strong>2) It may reduce your chronic disease risk factors</strong></p> <p>When people in the overweight or obese weight categories lose <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550413116300535">at least 5%</a> of their body weight, physiological changes often occur beyond a change in weight or shape. This <a href="https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/research-context-obesity-metabolic-health">might include</a> lowered cholesterol levels, lowered blood pressure and lowered blood glucose levels, which all reduce the risk of chronic diseases.</p> <p>In one of the semaglutide <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9486455/">trials</a>, most people (87.3%) lost at least 5% of their body weight. Although most of the large studies of semaglutide excluded people with metabolic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic health gains were <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">observed</a>, including lowered blood pressure, blood glucose levels and fasting blood lipid (fat) levels.</p> <p>In the UK <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/">study</a> from 2021, people taking semaglutide had greater improvements in physical capabilities and risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, including reductions in waist circumference, markers of inflammation, blood pressure and blood glucose levels.</p> <p><strong>3) It might improve your quality of life, emotional wellbeing or sense of achievement</strong></p> <p>The original trial of semaglutide did not focus on this bundle of benefits, but further follow-ups show additional benefits associated with the medication. Compared to the placebo, people taking semaglutide saw significant <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00325481.2022.2150006">improvements</a> in their physical functioning and perceptions of their general health, social functioning and mental health.</p> <p>Anecdotally (not based on scientific research), people using semaglutide, such as <a href="https://people.com/oprah-winfrey-reveals-weight-loss-medication-exclusive-8414552">Oprah Winfrey</a>, report a reclaiming or turning point of their life, social situation and body image.</p> <h2>What about the risks?</h2> <p><strong>1) You may experience gastrointestinal symptoms</strong></p> <p>In the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9486455/">US clinical trial</a>, nearly half (48.6%) of people taking semaglutide reported experiencing adverse effects. Nausea and vomiting were the most frequently experienced (36.6%) followed by diarrhea (8.6%), fatigue (6.3%) and constipation (5.7%).</p> <p>In the UK study, nausea and diarrhoea were also commonly reported.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">another trial</a>, many participants (74.2%) using semaglutide reported gastrointestinal symptoms. However, nearly half (47.9%) using the placebo also reported gastrointestinal symptoms, indicating that symptoms may be similar to those experienced during normal daily living.</p> <p>Most gastrointestinal symptoms were mild to moderate in severity, and resolved for most people without the need to stop participating in the study.</p> <p><strong>2) You might feel fatigued</strong></p> <p>Fatigue was the second most common side effect for participants in the US <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9486455/">clinical trial</a>, affecting 6.3% of participants.</p> <p><strong>3) You might be among the minority who don’t tolerate the drug</strong></p> <p>Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/news/safety-alerts/compounding-safety-information-semaglutide-products">approved</a> Ozempic as safe to use, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes but it has not yet been approved for weight loss. The TGA has also <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/prescription-medicines-registrations/wegovy-novo-nordisk-pharmaceuticals-pty-ltd">approved Wegovy</a> (a higher dose of semagtlutide) for weight loss, however it’s not yet available in Australia.</p> <p>In the US <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9486455/">clinical trial</a>, no unexpected safety issues were reported. However, five patients (2.9%) had to stop taking the medication because they could not tolerate the adverse effects. Fifteen (8.6%) had to either reduce the dose or remain on the same dose to avoid the adverse effects.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">other studies</a>, some patients stopped the trial due to gastrointestinal symptoms being so severe they could not tolerate continuing.</p> <p>More severe safety concerns reported in <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">studies</a> include gallbladder-related disorders (mostly cholelithiasis, also known as gallstones) in 34 patients (2.6%) and mild acute pancreatitis in three patients (0.2%). All people recovered during the trial period.</p> <p>A 2024 European <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11096-023-01694-7">study</a> analysed psychiatric adverse events associated with semaglutide, liraglutide and tirzepatide (which work in a similar way to semaglutide). Between January 2021 and May 2023, the drug database recorded 481 psychiatric events (about 1.2% of the total reported) associated with these drugs. About half of these events were reported as depression, followed by anxiety (39%) and suicidal ideation (19.6%). Nine deaths and 11 life-threatening outcomes were reported during the study period.</p> <p>Due to the severity and fatal outcomes of some of these reports, <a href="https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/update-fdas-ongoing-evaluation-reports-suicidal-thoughts-or-actions-patients-taking-certain-type">the US Food and Drug Administration</a> investigated further but did not find evidence that use of these medicines caused suicidal thoughts or actions.</p> <p><strong>4) It might be difficult to access</strong></p> <p>Despite being considered safe, the TGA has <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/safety/shortages/medicine-shortage-alerts/update-prescribers-advised-not-start-new-patients-ozempic#:%7E:text=Ozempic%27s%20TGA%2Dapproved%20indication%20is,consult%20the%20appropriate%20prescribing%20guidelines.">warned</a> significant Ozempic access barriers are likely to continue throughout 2024.</p> <p>To manage the shortage, pharmacists are instructed to give preference to people with type 2 diabetes who are seeking the medication.</p> <p><strong>5) You might not always get clear information from vested interests</strong></p> <p>Given the popularity of Ozempic and Wegovy, health organisations such as the World Obesity Federation have expressed <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/mar/12/orchestrated-pr-campaign-how-skinny-jab-drug-firm-sought-to-shape-obesity-debate">concern</a> about the medication’s marketing, PR and strong <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jan/06/tga-investigates-influencers-after-diabetes-drug-ozempic-promoted-as-weight-loss-treatment">social media presence</a>.</p> <p>Some journalists have <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/mar/12/orchestrated-pr-campaign-how-skinny-jab-drug-firm-sought-to-shape-obesity-debate">raised conflict of interest concerns</a> about the relationship between some obesity researchers and Novo Nordrisk, Ozempic and Wegovy’s manufacturer. The worry is that researchers might be influenced by their relationship with Novo Nordrisk to produce study results that are more favourable to the medications.</p> <h2>Bottom line</h2> <p>Ozempic is a medication that should be used in conjunction with your health care provider. But remember, weight is only one aspect of your health and wellbeing. It’s important to take a holistic view of your health and prioritise eating well, moving more and getting enough sleep.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Read the other articles in The Conversation’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/ozempic-132745">Ozempic series</a> here.</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/219312/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/lauren-ball-14718">Lauren Ball</a>, Professor of Community Health and Wellbeing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-burch-438717">Emily Burch</a>, Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/southern-cross-university-1160">Southern Cross 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/considering-taking-a-weight-loss-drug-like-ozempic-here-are-some-potential-risks-and-benefits-219312">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Rebel Wilson's shocking weight loss confession

<p>Rebel Wilson has confessed to using Ozempic to maintain her weight after dropping almost 40kgs in her "year of health" in 2020. </p> <p>While speaking to the <em>Sunday Times </em>about the release of her memoir, <em>Rebel Rising</em>, the Aussie actress confessed to using the drug, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes. </p> <p>The 44-year-old has previously referred to 2020 as her "year of health" after she lost a staggering amount of weight, and has now finally admitted to using Ozempic, but only to maintain her weight. </p> <p>She said, "Someone like me could have a bottomless appetite for sweets, so I think those drugs can be good."</p> <p>Rebel went on to clarify that she is no longer taking the drug, and is happy with her weight. </p> <p>The actress shared how wanting to have a baby kick-started her dramatic weight loss in 2020, but not everyone was happy about her plans for a drastic transformation.</p> <p>"Basically no one apart from my mum wanted me to lose weight," Wilson recalled.</p> <p>"People thought I'd lose my pigeonhole in my career, playing the fat funny character, and they wanted me to continue in that."</p> <p>Over the past four years, Wilson has admitted to gaining some of it back including 20lbs from "stress eating" leading up to the release of her book, with Covid lockdowns also playing a part in her fluctuating weight.</p> <p>"I know that my relationship with food is complicated," she said. </p> <p>"I feel strongly that young women shouldn't try to obsess over looking like Victoria's Secret models — they should just look like themselves."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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What is minoxidil, the anti-balding hair growth treatment? Here’s what the science says

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jacinta-l-johnson-1441348">Jacinta L. Johnson</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsten-staff-1494356">Kirsten Staff</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Hair loss (also known as alopecia) often affects the scalp but can occur anywhere on the body. It’s very common and usually nothing to worry about; about <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15525840">half of Australian men</a> show signs of visible baldness at age 50 and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15525840">over a quarter of Australian women</a> report hair thinning by the same age. It’s often genetic.</p> <p>But if you’ve noticed hair loss and are worried by it, see a GP or dermatologist for a diagnosis before trying any treatments. Products claiming to reverse hair loss are everywhere, but few have been scientifically tested for how well they work.</p> <p>One group of products that have actually been scientifically tested, however, are known as topical minoxidil products. These include products such as Regaine®.</p> <p>So, do they work? Here’s what the research evidence says, what you can realistically expect and what you need to know if you’re considering this treatment.</p> <h2>What is minoxidil – and does it work?</h2> <p>Topical minoxidil usually comes as a kind of foam or serum you apply to your scalp.</p> <p>It’s been approved by the <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/">Therapeutic Goods Administration</a>, Australia’s regulatory authority for therapeutic goods, for the treatment of hereditary hair loss in males and females. Minoxidil is also available in tablet form, but this isn’t currently approved for hair loss (more on that later).</p> <p>So, is topical minoxidil effective? In short – yes, but the results vary widely from person to person, and it needs to be used consistently over several months to see results.</p> <p>Scientists don’t know exactly how minoxidil works. It may affect the different phases of the hair life cycle, thereby encouraging growth. It also <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09546634.2021.1945527?casa_token=KhIM_u0u8nwAAAAA:5njp_XE5cHhip454ycvU1p9p_t0VVzpjRu0ozDZ9YqNb04fmhmngWzYeiowZcG5UugLQkTVIzCcj7A">opens up blood vessels</a> near hair follicles.</p> <p>This increases blood flow, which in turn delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the hair.</p> <p>While minoxidil is unlikely to restore a full head of thick, lush, hair, it can slow down hair loss and can <a href="https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007628.pub4/full?highlightAbstract=minoxidil">stimulate regrowth</a>.</p> <p>It is the over-the-counter option with the most evidence. Two strengths are available: 5% and 2%.</p> <p>An analysis of randomised controlled trials found minoxidil applied to the scalp twice a day increased the number of hairs per square centimetre by <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28396101/">eight to 15 hairs</a>, with the higher strength treatment having a slightly greater effect.</p> <h2>Can I use it for non-genetic balding?</h2> <p>There are many causes of hair loss. The main cause in both males and females is a hereditary condition called androgenic alopecia.</p> <p>Although topical minoxidil is only approved for use in Australia for androgenic alopecia, there is some evidence it can also help in other conditions that cause hair loss.</p> <p>For example, it may hasten hair regrowth in patients who have lost hair due to <a href="https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(96)90500-9/abstract">chemotherapy</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, minoxidil is not effective when the hair follicle is gone, like after a burn injury.</p> <p>Although small studies have found promising results using minoxidil to promote hair growth on the face (for <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1346-8138.13312">beard</a> or <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24471459/">eyebrow</a> enhancement), topical minoxidil products are not currently approved for this use. More research is required.</p> <h2>What else do I need to know?</h2> <p>Minoxidil won’t work well for everyone. Early in treatment you might notice a temporary increase in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22409453/">hair shedding</a>, as it alters the hair cycle to make way for new growth. Minoxidil needs to be trialled for three to six months to determine if it’s effective.</p> <p>And as it doesn’t cure hair loss, you must <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdv.14624?casa_token=P-zW7kDNRs8AAAAA%3AaUgUzxU7lbwBpg1BYPajOfXFhpb_mU5g_ounZ6GtjsLLkHO_AdVQ2Kf-8zZkW80ykBj3N_sOsyn392uc">continue</a> to use it each day to maintain the effect. If you stop, you will start losing the new hair growth <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/1f8127a5-2a98-4013-a7c3-a53300feb0e5-reduced.pdf">within three to four months</a>.</p> <p>Minoxidil products may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any medical conditions or take any medications, you should speak with your doctor or pharmacist before using minoxidil products.</p> <p>It has not been tested for safety in <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/1f8127a5-2a98-4013-a7c3-a53300feb0e5-reduced.pdf">people under 18, over 65, or those who are pregnant</a>.</p> <p>You can read the <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/medicine-finder/regaine-for-men-regular-strength-application">consumer medicines information sheet</a> for more information about using over-the-counter minoxidil products.</p> <p>Many people do not like to use minoxidil solution or foams long-term because they need to be applied everyday day, which can be inconvenient. Or they may notice side effects, such as scalp irritation and changes to hair texture.</p> <p>Some people <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdv.14624?casa_token=P-zW7kDNRs8AAAAA%3AaUgUzxU7lbwBpg1BYPajOfXFhpb_mU5g_ounZ6GtjsLLkHO_AdVQ2Kf-8zZkW80ykBj3N_sOsyn392uc">tolerate the foam products better</a> than the solution, as the solution contains more of a compound called propylene glycol (which can irritate the skin).</p> <h2>What about the oral tablet form of minoxidil?</h2> <p>Minoxidil is also available on prescription as an oral tablet. While traditionally used for high blood pressure, it has also been used as a treatment for hair loss.</p> <p>In 2020, a <a href="https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(20)32109-5/abstract">systematic review</a> identified 17 studies involving 634 patients using oral minoxidil for various hair loss conditions.</p> <p>The authors found oral minoxidil was effective and generally well tolerated in healthy people who were having trouble using the topical products.</p> <p>The review noted oral minoxidil may increase hair growth over the whole body and may cause heart-related side effects in some patients. More research is required.</p> <p>In Australia, oral minoxidil is available under the trade name <a href="https://www.nps.org.au/assets/medicines/df29e16f-6464-4652-ba1f-a53300fed275.pdf">Loniten</a>®. However, it is currently only approved for use in high blood pressure.</p> <p>When people seek a prescription treatment for a non-approved purpose, this is called “off-label” prescribing. Off-label prescribing of oral minoxidil, potentially for use in alopecia, may have contributed to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10170338/">shortages</a> of Loniten® tablets in recent years. This can reduce availability of this medicine for people who need it for high blood pressure.<!-- 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/223736/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/jacinta-l-johnson-1441348">Jacinta L. Johnson</a>, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsten-staff-1494356">Kirsten Staff</a>, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-minoxidil-the-anti-balding-hair-growth-treatment-heres-what-the-science-says-223736">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Paul Simon reveals sad health update

<p>At 82 years of age, the great Paul Simon – one half of the iconic duo Simon & Garfunkel – has admitted to facing a new health challenge that could prove devastating to millions of fans worldwide: hearing loss.</p> <p>In a recent revelation, he spoke candidly about how this health issue has affected his performances, yet also how he's adapted in oder to continue pursuing his passion for music.</p> <p>Simon's discussion about his hearing loss comes ahead of the premiere of a two-part docuseries, <em>In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon</em>, set to air on MGM+ starting March 17. It's a timely revelation, shedding light on the personal struggles behind the legendary musician's enduring career.</p> <p>During a panel discussion, Simon disclosed the impact of his hearing loss on his recent stage experiences. While he's regained some comfort in singing and playing instruments, he noted difficulties when certain instruments overshadow his own voice.</p> <p>"If there's a drum or an electric guitar," he revealed, "it's too loud and I can't hear my voice. But when I first lost the hearing, I couldn't get – it threw me off."</p> <p>It's a frustration that resonates deeply with any performer reliant on auditory cues for their craft.</p> <p>Simon's journey with hearing loss began suddenly, with the loss predominantly affecting his left ear. In a previous interview, he described the initial frustration and annoyance at the unexplained condition, hoping it would eventually resolve itself.</p> <p>"Nobody has an explanation, so everything became more difficult," he said in a <em>Times</em> interview in May 2023. "My reaction to that was frustration and annoyance; not quite anger yet, because I thought it would pass, it would repair itself."</p> <p>Despite the challenges, he's found solace and creative expression through his daily guitar playing, using it as both a creative outlet and a source of comfort during trying times.</p> <p>Reflecting on his musical journey alongside Art Garfunkel, Simon highlighted the enduring impact of their collaboration. From their humble beginnings as schoolmates in New York to becoming one of the best-selling music acts of the 1960s and 1970s, Simon & Garfunkel's legacy is undeniable. Their timeless hits, including "The Sound of Silence," "Mrs Robinson," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water," continue to resonate with audiences worldwide.</p> <p>Despite occasional tensions and artistic differences that led to their split in 1970, Simon & Garfunkel's partnership endured, marked by intermittent reunions for select performances. Their ability to transcend personal conflicts in the pursuit of their shared musical vision speaks volumes about their dedication to their craft and the enduring power of their bond.</p> <p>While Simon's journey may have taken an unexpected turn, his musical legacy continues to shine brightly, resonating with generations past, present and future.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Does intermittent fasting have benefits for our brain?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hayley-oneill-1458016">Hayley O'Neill</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p>Intermittent fasting has become a popular dietary approach to help people lose or manage their <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8683964/">weight</a>. It has also been promoted as a way to reset metabolism, control chronic disease, slow ageing and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27810402">improve overall health</a>.</p> <p>Meanwhile, some research suggests intermittent fasting may offer a different way for the brain to access energy and provide protection against neurodegenerative diseases like <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11011-023-01288-2">Alzheimer’s disease</a>.</p> <p>This is not a new idea – the ancient Greeks believed fasting <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8839325/">enhanced thinking</a>. But what does the modern-day evidence say?</p> <h2>First, what is intermittent fasting?</h2> <p>Our <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35487190/">diets</a> – including calories consumed, macronutrient composition (the ratios of fats, protein and carbohydrates we eat) and when meals are consumed – are factors in our lifestyle we can change. People do this for cultural reasons, desired weight loss or potential health gains.</p> <p>Intermittent fasting consists of short periods of calorie (energy) restriction where food intake is limited for 12 to 48 hours (usually 12 to 16 hours per day), followed by periods of normal food intake. The intermittent component means a re-occurrence of the pattern rather than a “one off” fast.</p> <p>Food deprivation beyond 24 hours typically constitutes starvation. This is distinct from fasting due to its specific and potentially harmful biochemical alterations and nutrient deficiencies if continued for long periods.</p> <h2>4 ways fasting works and how it might affect the brain</h2> <p>The brain accounts for about <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-energy-do-we-expend-thinking-and-using-our-brain-197990">20% of the body’s energy consumption</a>.</p> <p>Here are four ways intermittent fasting can act on the body which could help explain its potential effects on the brain.</p> <p><strong>1. Ketosis</strong></p> <p>The goal of many intermittent fasting routines is to flip a “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5913738/">metabolic switch</a>” to go from burning predominately carbohydrates to burning fat. This is called ketosis and typically occurs after 12–16 hours of fasting, when liver and glycogen stores are depleted. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493179/">Ketones</a> – chemicals produced by this metabolic process – become the preferred energy source for the brain.</p> <p>Due to this being a slower metabolic process to produce energy and potential for lowering blood sugar levels, ketosis can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10844723/">cause symptoms</a> of hunger, fatigue, nausea, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8754590/">low mood</a>, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain “fog”.</p> <p>At the same time, as glucose metabolism in the brain declines with ageing, studies have shown ketones could provide an alternative energy source to <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aau2095">preserve brain function</a> and prevent <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32709961/">age-related neurodegeneration disorders and cognitive decline</a>.</p> <p>Consistent with this, increasing ketones through <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31027873/">supplementation</a> or <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31757576/">diet</a> has been shown to improve cognition in adults with mild cognitive decline and those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease respectively.</p> <p><strong>2. Circadian syncing</strong></p> <p>Eating at times that <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32480126/">don’t match our body’s natural daily rhythms</a> can disrupt how our organs work. Studies in shift workers have suggested this might also make us more prone to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22010477/">chronic disease</a>.</p> <p>Time-restricted eating is when you eat your meals within a six to ten-hour window during the day when you’re most active. Time-restricted eating causes changes in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36599299/">expression of genes in tissue</a> and helps the body during rest and activity.</p> <p>A 2021 <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7827225/">study of 883 adults</a> in Italy indicated those who restricted their food intake to ten hours a day were less likely to have cognitive impairment compared to those eating without time restrictions.</p> <p><strong>3. Mitochondria</strong></p> <p>Intermittent fasting may provide <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35218914/">brain protection</a> through improving mitochondrial function, metabolism and reducing oxidants.</p> <p>Mitochondria’s <a href="https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Mitochondria">main role is to produce energy</a> and they are crucial to brain health. Many age-related diseases are closely related to an energy supply and demand imbalance, likely attributed to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41574-021-00626-7">mitochondrial dysfunction during ageing</a>.</p> <p>Rodent studies suggest alternate day fasting or reducing calories <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1038/jcbfm.2014.114">by up to 40%</a> might protect or improve <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21861096">brain mitochondrial function</a>. But not all studies support this theory.</p> <p><strong>4. The gut-brain axis</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6469458/">gut and the brain communicate with each other</a> via the body’s nervous systems. The brain can influence how the gut feels (think about how you get “butterflies” in your tummy when nervous) and the gut can affect mood, cognition and mental health.</p> <p>In mice, intermittent fasting has shown promise for <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5913738/">improving brain health</a> by increasing survival and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12354284/">formation of neurons</a> (nerve cells) in the hippocampus brain region, which is involved in memory, learning and emotion.</p> <p>There’s <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8470960/">no clear evidence</a> on the effects of intermittent fasting on cognition in healthy adults. However one 2022 study interviewed 411 older adults and found <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9646955/">lower meal frequency</a> (less than three meals a day) was associated with reduced evidence of Alzheimer’s disease on brain imaging.</p> <p>Some research has suggested calorie restriction may have a protective effect against <a href="https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/81/9/1225/7116310">Alzheimer’s disease</a> by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation and promoting vascular health.</p> <p>When we look at the effects of overall energy restriction (rather than intermittent fasting specifically) the evidence is mixed. Among people with mild cognitive impairment, one study showed <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26713821/">cognitive improvement</a> when participants followed a calorie restricted diet for 12 months.</p> <p>Another study found a 25% calorie restriction was associated with <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30968820">slightly improved working memory</a> in healthy adults. But a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022316623025221?via%3Dihub">recent study</a>, which looked at the impact of calorie restriction on spatial working memory, found no significant effect.</p> <h2>Bottom line</h2> <p>Studies in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9740746/">mice</a> support a role for intermittent fasting in improving brain health and ageing, but few studies in humans exist, and the evidence we have is mixed.</p> <p>Rapid weight loss associated with calorie restriction and intermittent fasting can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss, and decreased immune function, particularly in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8749464/">older adults</a> whose nutritional needs may be higher.</p> <p>Further, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6314618/">prolonged fasting</a> or <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9042193/">severe calorie restriction</a> may pose risks such as fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalances, which could exacerbate existing health conditions.</p> <p>If you’re considering <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMra1905136?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">intermittent fasting</a>, it’s best to seek advice from a health professional such as a dietitian who can provide guidance on structuring fasting periods, meal timing, and nutrient intake. This ensures intermittent fasting is approached in a safe, sustainable way, tailored to individual needs and goals.<!-- 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/223181/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/hayley-oneill-1458016">Hayley O'Neill</a>, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bond-university-863">Bond University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/does-intermittent-fasting-have-benefits-for-our-brain-223181">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty </em></p>

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"Fly high sweet Nacho": Robert Irwin shares sad loss of beloved pet

<p>In a world often dominated by headlines of turmoil and strife, there's something oddly comforting about the internet rallying around the loss of a beloved pet chicken.</p> <p>Yes, you heard that right – a chicken named Nacho has captured the hearts of thousands, and her departure from this world has left a void in the Irwin family and beyond.</p> <p>Robert Irwin, the perpetually enthusiastic conservationist and wildlife warrior, took to Instagram to break the news of Nacho's sad passing. In a heartfelt video message, he shared the sorrowful tidings with his followers, who had grown fond of the feathery friend through their virtual interactions.</p> <p>“Hi guys, very sad news to report. Unfortunately, our gorgeous little chicken Nacho, who I know you all fell in love with, and we love so much, sadly passed away,” <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Robert lamented, his voice tinged with genuine sadness. </span>“She was a beautiful old chook who lived a lot of great years and we’re really, really, really, really sad to lose her.”</p> <p>And oh, what a life Nacho must have lived! Robert reminisced about her golden years, filled with clucking adventures and pecking escapades. </p> <p>But, amid the sorrow, there shone a glimmer of hope as Robert introduced two new feathered friends into the Irwin fold – Waffles and Mochi. With names as delightful as their predecessor's, these plucky newcomers are sure to fill the coop with joy once more.</p> <p>In the world of social media condolences, the outpouring of love and support was nothing short of heartwarming. Messages of sympathy flooded Robert's feed, with followers expressing their condolences for the loss of Nacho while warmly welcoming Waffles and Mochi into the fold.</p> <p>"Fly high, sweet Nacho," one commenter bid farewell, echoing the sentiments of many who had come to adore the quirky chicken.</p> <p>There were also words of encouragement and delight for the newest additions to the Irwin menagerie. "Waffles and Mochi are adorable, and I also love their fluffy feet!" exclaimed one enthusiastic follower, proving that even in times of loss, there's always room for a little bit of joy.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4YEoIOill7/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4YEoIOill7/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Robert Irwin (@robertirwinphotography)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>This isn't the first time the Irwins have shared their grief over the loss of a beloved animal companion. Just a couple of years ago, they bid farewell to their cherished echidna, marking the passing of a creature who had been a part of their family for an impressive 38 years.</p> <p>In a world where bad news often seems to dominate the headlines, the simple story of a chicken named Nacho reminds us of the power of love and connection – even in the most unexpected of places. So here's to you, Nacho; may your wings carry you to chicken heaven, where the sun always shines, and the corn is always plentiful.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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"Lincoln's Law": Grandma's important safety crusade after tragic loss

<p>The tragic loss of three-year-old Lincoln in September 2020 has sparked a passionate plea for immediate changes to safety standards in rental properties across Australia.</p> <p>Lincoln's grandmother, Kerrie Shearer, has been relentless in her pursuit of ensuring that no other family suffers the heartache they have endured.</p> <p>Lincoln's untimely death occurred when he became entangled in a blind cord while innocently playing on a windowsill at his Melbourne home. Despite the family's vigilance, the accident claimed the life of their beloved Lincoln, leaving them shattered and grief-stricken. Now, Shearer is determined to turn her pain into action by advocating for legislative changes to prevent similar tragedies.</p> <p>As a renter, Lincoln's family had little control over the safety features of their dwelling. They are now calling for new laws mandating older rental homes to comply with modern blind safety standards. Shearer says that the need to address loose hanging blinds is crucial, labelling them as potential accidents waiting to happen. By campaigning for legislative reforms, she hopes to spare other families from experiencing the same devastation.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">While guidelines stipulate that window furnishings in homes built after 2010 must adhere to strict safety measures, there are no such regulations for older properties. Shearer finds it astonishing that many people remain unaware of the dangers posed by unsecured blind cords. She recounts her experiences of visiting various accommodations, including Airbnbs and hotels, where she noticed inadequate safety measures and felt compelled to alert the hosts.</span></p> <p>"I'm constantly amazed how people aren't aware," she told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/victoria-news-grandmother-warns-of-blind-safety-risk-after-grandson-dies/83accc08-8cf2-463a-8cc7-6f87fa905a5b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a>. "I go to AirBnBs and hotels now and I'm at them, 'Hey your blinds aren't attached to the wall.'"</p> <p>Shearer's advocacy has gained momentum via her collaboration with Kidsafe, a prominent nonprofit organisation dedicated to preventing unintentional injuries and deaths among children. Together, they aim to broaden safety requirements for older homes, advocating for what Shearer passionately refers to as "Lincoln's law". She insists that any looped or hanging cords present a significant danger to children and must be securely affixed to the wall to prevent entanglement accidents.</p> <p>The impact of Shearer's tireless efforts is already evident, with reports indicating that the state government is considering the introduction of mandatory blind cord safety standards for all rental properties, regardless of their age. This potential development marks a significant step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of children in rental accommodations across the country.</p> <p>In the wake of her family's tragedy, Shearer's determination to effect change not only honours the memory of Lincoln but also holds the potential to prevent countless other families from enduring similar heartbreak – ensuring that his tragic passing was not in vain.</p> <p><em>Images: 9News</em></p>

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We talked to dozens of people about their experience of grief. Here’s what we learned (and how it’s different from what you might think)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-peterie-564209">Michelle Peterie</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Have you ever felt a sudden pang of sadness? A bird seems to stop and look you in the eye. A photo drops out of a messy drawer from long ago, in the mundanity of a weekend spring clean.</p> <p>Your day is immediately derailed, unsettled. You are pulled into something you thought was past. And yet, in being pulled back, you are grateful, reconnected, and grief-stricken all over again.</p> <p>“You’ll get over it”. “Give it time”. “You need time to move on”. These are common cultural refrains in the face of loss. But what if grief doesn’t play by the rules? What if grief is a different thing altogether?</p> <p>We talked to 95 people about their experiences of grief surrounding the loss of a loved one, and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00380261241228412">their stories</a> provided a fundamentally different account of grief to the one often presented to us culturally.</p> <h2>Disordered grief?</h2> <p>Grief is often imagined as a time-bound period in which one processes the pain of loss – that is, adjusts to absence and works toward “moving on”. The bereaved are expected to process their pain within the confines of what society deems “normal”.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-the-dsm-and-how-are-mental-disorders-diagnosed-9568">DSM-5 psychiatric manual</a> says if grief drags on too long, in fact, it becomes a pathology (a condition with a medical diagnosis). “Prolonged grief disorder” is the name given to “persistent difficulties associated with bereavement that exceeded expected social, cultural, or religious expectations”.</p> <p>While there can be <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-prolonged-grief-should-be-listed-as-a-mental-disorder-4262">value</a> in clinical diagnostic categories such as this, the danger is they put artificial boundaries around emotions. The pathologisation of grief can be deeply alienating to those experiencing it, for whom the pressure to “move on” can be hurtful and counterproductive.</p> <p>The stories we gathered in our research were raw, complex and often fraught. They did not sit comfortably with commonsense understandings of how grief “should” progress. As bereaved daughter Barbara told us: "Grief is not in the little box, it doesn’t even come close to a little box."</p> <h2>Grief starts early</h2> <p>The tendency is to think of grief as something that happens post death. The person we love dies, we have a funeral, and the grief sets in. Then it slowly subsides with the steady march of time.</p> <p>In fact, grief often begins earlier, often in a clinical consultation where the words “terminal” or “nothing more we can do” are used. Or when a loved one is told “go home and get your life in order”. Grief can begin months or even years before bereavement.</p> <p>As the people we interviewed experienced it, loss was also cumulative. The gradual deterioration of a loved one’s health in the years or months before their death imposed other painful losses: the loss of chosen lifestyles, the loss of longstanding relational rhythms, the loss of shared hopes and anticipated futures.</p> <p>Many participants felt their loved ones – and, indeed, the lives they shared with them – slipping away long before their physical deaths.</p> <h2>Living with the dead</h2> <p>Yet the dead do not simply leave us. They remain with us, in memories, rituals and cultural events. From <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-ancient-cultures-teach-us-about-grief-mourning-and-continuity-of-life-86199">Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos</a> to <a href="https://theconversation.com/japans-obon-festival-how-family-commemoration-and-ancestral-worship-shapes-daily-life-179890">Japan’s Opon</a>, festivals of the dead play a key role in cultures around the world. In that way, remembering the dead remains a critical aspect of living. So too does <a href="https://theconversation.com/theres-not-always-closure-in-the-never-ending-story-of-grief-3096">the ongoing experience of grief</a>.</p> <p>Events of this kind are not merely celebratory. They are critical forms through which life and death, joy and grief, are brought together and integrated. The absence of remembering can hold its own trouble, as our participants’ accounts revealed.</p> <p>As bereaved wife Anna explained: "I just find it really frustrating and I do get quite angry and upset sometimes. I know that life goes on. I’d be talking to girlfriends and stuff like that and it’s like they’ve forgotten that I’ve lost my husband. They haven’t, but nothing really changed in their life. But for me, and my family, it has."</p> <p>Part of the problem, here, is the ambivalent role grief plays in advanced industrialised societies like ours. Many of our participants felt pressure to perform resilience or (in clinical terms) to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1363459317724854">“recover” quickly after loss</a>.</p> <p>But whose interests does a swift recovery serve? An employer’s? Friends who just want to get on with a death-free life? And, even more importantly, mightn’t ongoing connections with the dead enable better living? Might bringing the dead along with us actually make for better deaths and better lives?</p> <p>Many of our participants felt their loved ones remained with them, and experienced their “absent presence” as a source of comfort. Grieving, in this context, involved spending time “with” the dead.</p> <p>Anna described her practice as follows: "I had a diary, so I just write stuff in it about how I’m feeling or something happened and I’ll say to [my deceased husband], it’s all to [my deceased husband], “Do you remember, blah, blah, blah.” I’ll just talk about that memory that I have of that particular time and I find that that helps."</p> <h2>Caring for those who grieve</h2> <p>Grief does not begin at death, but neither do relationships end there.</p> <p>To rush the bereaved through grief – to usher them towards “recovery” and the more comfortable territories of happiness and productivity – is to do them a disservice.</p> <p>And, perhaps more critically, ridding our lives of the dead and grief may, in the end, make for more limited and muted emotional lives.<!-- 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/223848/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-peterie-564209"><em>Michelle Peterie</em></a><em>, Research Fellow, Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, Professor of Sociology &amp; Director, Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, <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/we-talked-to-dozens-of-people-about-their-experience-of-grief-heres-what-we-learned-and-how-its-different-from-what-you-might-think-223848">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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Drug regulator investigates deaths tied to weight loss injections

<p>Australia's drug regulator is investigating further into three different deaths possibly linked to the use of Ozempic and other weight loss injections. </p> <p>Tim Ramsay, 58, started using Saxenda because he wanted to lose weight so he could confidently walk his daughter down the aisle. </p> <p>But, he tragically passed away just 19-days after he started taking the injections, and now his family want answers, after a coroner ruled his cause of death as undetermined. </p> <p>"I don't believe that anybody should die without an explanation, you just don't expire, there has got to be a reason for Tim's death," Ramsay's wife, Sue, told <em>60 Minutes</em>.</p> <p>"19 days between his first injection and the day he left us, alarm bells in our heads, in the TGA's heads, and the coroner's head should be ringing," his daughter Elyse said.</p> <p>Leonie Margetts is also looking for answers, and is angry at the ease in which the injections could be accessed, following her daughter's death after taking Ozempic injections she'd ordered online. </p> <p>Margetts' daughter Naomi wanted to be a mum, but was told she needed to lose weight to to have any chance of falling pregnant.</p> <p>"You just do not expect to find your daughter on her knees in front of the toilet bowl dead," Margetts said.</p> <p>"She was a week away from turning 40 and that's a big thing for any female, she was feeling very vulnerable," she added. </p> <p>The Therapeutic Goods Administration's Chief Medical Advisor, Professor Robyn Langham has responded, and told <em>60 minutes</em> that the TGA has a responsibility to the families of the deceased. </p> <p>"It's a very serious and a very tragic problem for the families that are concerned and we don't wish to minimise that at all," Langham said.</p> <p>She added that they are carefully monitoring reports of severe gastrointestinal side effects caused by the medication, and will withdraw the drug if necessary. </p> <p>"If we do see that there is a need to change the messaging or the information that goes with the drug or even in some cases to withdraw the drug, then we have the power to do so," Langham said.</p> <p>Some people have been using Ozempic for weightloss, which has caused it to "explode" in popularity.</p> <p>"I liken this to when the [Model] T Ford was first invented and suddenly we had changes in transportation and the horse and cart went," Professor of medicine and endocrinologist Dr Katherine Samaras said. </p> <p>But, the professor has warned that Ozempic is only approved in Australia for diabetes, and should only be used when supervised by a doctor. </p> <p>"We don't leave matches in the hands of children," she said.</p> <p>"We shouldn't leave these drugs in the hands of people, it has to be supervised."</p> <p><em>Images: 60 minutes</em></p>

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

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

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What’s the difference between memory loss and dementia?

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to memory loss, it's normal to become a little more forgetful as we age. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, it’s important to know the difference between a standard level of memory loss, and the early signs of dementia. </p> <p dir="ltr">Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) say it is crucially important to distinguish between the physical decline of ageing, and the more sinister reality of cognitive decline. </p> <p dir="ltr">Associate Professor Simone Reppermund from the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing says, “As we age, we get more frail, and it may be difficult to walk longer distances or to have the range of motion to drive a car.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But that's unrelated to cognitive decline, and this is where dementia or cognitive impairment comes in. A person with dementia at some point will not be able to do the things they once could do without thinking, such as drive a car, because they get confused and are no longer able to process the sensory information required to do this.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Prof. Brodaty went on to say that some cognitive decline is part of normal ageing.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As we age, we become slower in our processing speed. We’re not as good at remembering things, particularly when they’re not able to be logically sorted and connected.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But it’s not all bad for older folks, as some things are known to improve with age.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As we age our vocabulary improves, our judgement improves, our ability to organise things improves. In everyday tests where we can sort, say, 10 grocery items into different categories, we do just as well as the younger person because we can use those strategies to compensate. There is also evidence that we become wiser as we get older.”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to <a href="https://www.dementia.org.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Dementia Australia</a>, it’s when people encounter difficulties with the following on a regular basis that there could be some underlying cognitive cause worth investigating. </p> <p dir="ltr">These difficulties include:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Trouble remembering recent events</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Trouble finding the right word</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Trouble remembering the day and date</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Forgetting where things are usually kept</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Trouble understanding written content or a story on television</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Difficulty following conversations in groups</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Problems handling finances</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Difficulty with everyday activities</p> </li> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation">Losing interest in activities that were previously enjoyable</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Researchers and medical experts say that even if encountering these difficulties has not become a huge hurdle, it is important to be assessed by a doctor. </p> <p dir="ltr">Some conditions can cause symptoms similar to illnesses of cognitive decline, and can be reversed and prevented if caught early enough. </p> <p dir="ltr">While Professor Brodaty says there is no cure for most types of dementia and no known way to prevent it, we can certainly delay the onset of it. </p> <p dir="ltr">“There are certain risk factors that make it more or less likely to develop cognitive decline and dementia, including physical and social inactivity. Being inactive, not engaging in social activities, a poor diet and too much alcohol are all risk factors.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Even then, Professor Brodaty says, “it’s never too late to start, and never too early to start” making changes that maintain and protect your brain health into old age.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p> </p>

Mind

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Kyle Sandilands reacts to Ozempic claims

<p dir="ltr">Kyle Sandilands has been forced to address rumours that he is taking Ozempic, after returning from the holiday break with a noticeably slimmed down figure. </p> <p dir="ltr">The radio host faced the accusations of taking the weight loss drug live on air on Thursday, after the mother of a staff member made the comments. </p> <p dir="ltr">Newsreader Brooklyn Ross told Kyle, “My mum asked me if you're on Ozempic, Kyle,” prompting a laugh from Sandilands.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Me? What have I done?" Kyle questioned, surprised as Jackie laughed, telling him it was his turn to be hit with the rumour.</p> <p dir="ltr">"You're losing weight, my mum thinks you're on Ozempic!" Brooklyn said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Showing a picture of the media personality looking very slimmed down just weeks apart, Kyle said, “It's just a good angle of me.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Further denying the rumours, he added, “Maybe I've stopped eating as much bread and drinking Coca Cola.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Co-host Jackie O quickly jumped to her colleague's defence, saying, “You always come back from the [Christmas] break a little bit skinnier because you've been healthier, by the sun, you're less into the twelve coffees.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Kyle interjected to share his wife’s impact on his weight loss saying, “And my wife - I go, ‘Can you bring me a chocolate paddle pop?’ and a salad shows up.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“And I get angry... but I just eat it anyway because it's been given to me.”</p> <p dir="ltr">"You do look good," Jackie told him. "Keep it going, get on the Ozempic!"</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't care about being some thin flop!" Kyle hit back. </p> <p dir="ltr">Brooklyn also shared that his mum believed Jackie had been taking the weight loss drug, to which she responded, "I can't convince anyone, can I? Like I don't care, but I just wish that people would know that if I was I'd just say it at this point."</p> <p dir="ltr">Jackie O has long been denying rumours of using Ozempic in the wake of her drastic weight loss, which she credits to being an ambassador for Weight Watchers. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

Body

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The Beast marks major weight loss milestone

<p>Mark 'The Beast' Labbett has shared a major weight loss milestone, with his partner Hayley celebrating his ongoing health journey. </p> <p><em>The Chase Australia</em> star has been overhauling his life since 2020, and has been documenting his weight loss on social media. </p> <p>Now, Labbett's girlfriend, English TV presenter Hayley Palmer, has shared a video of the couple working out together, as they have welcomed in the New Year with fresh fitness goals. </p> <p>In the video, Labbett is shown walking on a treadmill, lifting weights and standing on a set of scales, where he weighs in at 124.8kg. </p> <p>Labbett weighed about 185kg at his heaviest, as he has now lost over 60kgs. </p> <p>“I’m so proud of @markthebeastlabbett,” Hayley captioned the workout video.</p> <p>“He started to come to gym with me in the morning, and he is doing so well.”</p> <p>“Wow, unbelievable achievement,” one fan commented, followed by another who said he looks “amazing” and should be proud.</p> <p>“Well done and congrats! I bet you feel much better in yourself and have gained so much more energy, never go backwards!” someone else added</p> <p>“You look strong and confident, keep shining!” a fourth remarked, while a different user called him “a lean mean quizzing machine!”.</p> <p>Mark has previously revealed that he credits his impressive weight loss to regular walks with his Golden Retriever Baloo, eating only two meals a day, and “running around after a hyperactive three-year-old in lockdown”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ITV / Instagram </em></p>

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