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Category : Human Longevity

How To Use Meditation To Improve Your Wellbeing – Longevity LIVE

Meditation has many different forms and can be beneficial for a number of reasons for people of all ages. Its defined as using a technique such as mindfulness or personal insight to focus on a particular object, goal, or part of the body. Meditation focuses on training attention to a specific thing in order to create a clear and calm state of mind. You can practice it for as short or long as you need to. No matter the time frame, it has outstanding benefits for a persons overall wellbeing.

Meditation techniques have been derived and inspired by ancient Buddhist practices. Thousands of years ago, people used meditation as a way to practice mindfulness and mental clarity. Now, in 2020, people are incorporating it into their everyday lives in order to improve their overall health and wellbeing. People are learning how to meditate in yoga classes, with apps, and even with podcasts. In fact, meditation is so important in modern-day life that people are making it a point to practice meditation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The practice is known to reduce stress and anxiety. Especially now, these are emotions that are extremely prominent during the global pandemic. People all over the world young and old are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and afraid during these trying times. They are experiencing these unsettling emotions for many reasons, including the fear of the virus itself, the possibility that they may lose their job, or the discomfort of staying at home for almost two months. As the world is forced into social distancing, there are very few options for people to escape their emotions. However, with meditation, they can effectively do so.

Below is what you need to know about meditation and how it can help you or a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are unfamiliar with meditation and are looking to incorporate it into your life, its important that you know the various kinds of meditation. Depending on the kind of meditation, there will be different things that will benefit from it. For example, if you are practicing meditation in a yoga studio, you are likely practicing Zen meditation and the purpose is to create mental clarity in order to destress your mind. Or, if you are practicing progressive relaxation meditation, you are likely trying to overcome a muscle ache, or get over an injury.

Here are the most common kinds of meditation and a brief explanation of each:

This kind of meditation is designed to offer insight into yourself. In other words, metta meditation aims to create an attitude of love and kindness towards all things, including oneself. As the person sits with eyes closed and practices deep breathing, he or she must focus on ideals of love and kindness. To focus on these, the person must think about what brings love and kindness into his or her life. After focusing on these things for an extended period, the idea is that the person will be able to cultivate love and kindness into everyday life.

This kind of meditation requires a person to relax, and focus on physical areas of discomfort or tension. Focusing on a specific area of pain will allow the body to relax those muscles since their entire attention will be focused on the area. Its recommended that the person imagines a wave going over the body. Start at the feet and go over the rest of the body. This technique will relax muscle groups, relieving pain. Progressive relaxation meditation is especially beneficial for individuals that are suffering from chronic pain.

Transcendental meditation is the most common spiritual practice. It requires people to sit still and breathe slowly. Usually this kind of meditation is done with a teacher. In 2020, many people are using apps and podcasts that repeat certain words or mantras that will promote enlightenment and wellness. The idea of transcendental meditation is to rise above ones body to gain insight into the world and oneself.

One of the oldest forms of Buddhist meditation, Zen meditation requires one to do certain postures and breathing techniques while focusing and paying attention to ones thoughts as they come. One must make it a point not to judge the thoughts that he or she is noticing as this is part of the path to enlightenment.

Zen practice is great for relaxation and for those that are trying to become more spiritual. People typically practice Zen meditation before bed or in a yoga studio.

Yoga incorporates meditation in many practices. However, Kundalini yoga is a form of yoga that is entirely based on meditation. Kundalini yoga is an active form of meditation that uses movements and breathing techniques to improve mental health as well as chronic pain. Usually done with a teacher who is repeating mantras, Kundalini yoga has been proven to treat physical and emotional pain such as:

Because Kundalini yoga requires one to use his or her strength during meditation, this kind of meditation can also strengthen ones body, therefore benefiting the body just as much as the mind.

There are copious benefits that this practice has to offer. Not only does meditation help a person mentally, it also can improve emotions as well as ones physical health. Whether you are young or old, you can get something out of learning how to properly meditate.

Because this practice is so popular, it is becoming more accessible to people. Colleges and high schools are beginning to offer it to students, and town centers and office buildings are incorporating weekly classes into their schedules. Likewise, more yoga studios that offer meditation classes are popping up. In fact, a senior living community in NJ offers meditation and yoga classes to its residents because of the outstanding benefits that it has to offer to the elderly community.

Its important to recognize the benefits of meditation. Especially now as the world is faced with trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the practice is always beneficial, it can be especially beneficial now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. People all over the world are forced to practice social distancing. They also have no choice but to stay in the comfort of their homes. As a result, many people are feeling extreme anxiousness, stress, and fear. These emotions are common. Even for those that may not have ever suffered from any sort of emotional or mental issue before.

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything the world has ever seen before. It is taking a definite toll on peoples mental, emotional, and even physical health. People are on an emotional rollercoaster due to COVID-19. People are losing their jobs because of the need to quarantine. Others are struggling to get unemployment, and some are suffering or losing loved ones to this virus. With these hardships comes mental and emotional distress that very few things can treat, especially while stuck at home.

However, there is one way that one can overcome these unwanted emotions, and this is through meditation. Because it can be done right at home and can be learned through watching videos, reading books, or even using apps, one can start meditating right away with minimal effort. As long as one has a quiet space at home, he or she is ready to start meditating.

If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or maybe even bored, meditating may be for you. Here are the major benefits of the practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many people begin practicing meditation in order to overcome some sort of mental or emotional obstacle. Perhaps they are often stressed at work, or they are battling a traumatic life event. Meditation offers a way for a person to escape and focus the mind on something else. It doesnt matter if you meditate for an hour a day, five minutes before bed, or even only once a week. Your mental health will likely improve. Not only that, but you can also have an improved sense of self.

This is especially important during these uncertain times. Its likely that your sense of self is not at a particularly high right now with the current state of the world. The practice will allow you to focus on your own mental health in a positive way.

It can help ones body just as much as it can help ones mind. Certain kinds of meditation (see above) require physical activity which will improve strength, keeping the body strong while stuck at home. Or, if you have an area of discomfort, meditation will allow you to do what you can now as you are stuck at home, to fix the injury or area of tension.

Keeping ones body physically healthy while in quarantine will make a person feel good not only physically, but also mentally.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made people feel as if they are not in control and that no matter what they do, they cant catch a break. A way to gain a sense of control in ones life during these uncertain and stressful times is to practice meditation. Since meditation focuses on ones thoughts so intensely, one can control those thoughts and learn how to calm down the unpleasant thoughts that lead to stress and anxiety.

Controlling your mental and emotional health is crucial right now. As there are very few things that you can control right now, your personal well being should be one thing that you work on. Click on the link to find out what former monk Jay Shetty has to say about relaxing during isolation.

Meditation can help a lot of things in the human body. From improving a persons mood to helping a person overcome something tragic, the practice can work wonders. Its something extraordinary in and of itself. However, it has the potential to be even greater during the global pandemic. As the entire world is forced to stay home for an indefinite amount of time, it is an important thing to learn how to do and focus on getting good at. It will keep you occupied and will help your overall health and wellbeing, making the COVID-19 pandemic a little less challenging.

Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey. After college, she worked as an intern for a publishing company in Manhattan before getting a job as an editorial writer for a news agency in Philadelphia. Jennifer Bell now lives and works in Southern New Jersey as a freelance writer in order to have the freedom to travel as she pleases. She hopes to get her MFA in Creative Writing in the future and eventually become a fiction author or English professor.

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How To Use Meditation To Improve Your Wellbeing - Longevity LIVE

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Column: Why Ahmaud Arbery deserved to live – The Augusta Chronicle

I write in response to Matthew Hutchersons letter to the editor published in The Augusta Chronicle on May 12 titled Black racism murdered Arbery.

It is indubitable that many have been stirred to emotion at the very unfortunate and equally untimely death of Ahmaud Arbery in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick. I know I was. Nevertheless, there is absolutely nothing to doubt about the cause of his death and why it took over two months to make an arrest after his death, and I can note without fear of contradiction that what Dr. Hutcherson candidly delineates as being black racism is, in no way, responsible for the death of Ahmaud.

The letter suggests that any attempt to perpetuate black culture as a part of the pluralistic beauty of the American fabric - by way of being visible in the media and on television, while exposing the truths of the black experience in America in all facets of society - in some way fosters black racism. Stating such is both an insult and is stupefyingly color-blind to the struggles of the past that black people in America had to overcome to foster a sense of belonging and community in a country that we were forcefully brought to commencing in 1619, enslaved in, helped build and invent, defend in arms, and of which we have been fortunate as a result of the bloodshed, marches, sweat, prayers and tears of many to rise to the upper echelons of leadership.

Dr. Hutchersons comments are supremely out-of-touch with black American reality, white American reality, and reality in general in allowing the past struggles and triumphs to be our collective impetus to unite as a human race with no consideration of skin complexion and move forward. His attempts in his letter to provide an apology of Ahmauds pursuit and murder, be it an endeavor to foster unity, sows remarkable divide and refutes the beauty of the Rev. Martin Luther Kings egalitarian dream.

Dr. Hutcherson pitiably confuses his contrived black racism with what is actually black exceptionalism, which is allowed under the auspices of the Declaration of Independence of this country in its opening statements that all men are created equal and are permitted the God-given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How we as black people express our culture allows us to fulfill that and in no way poses a threat, as Dr. Hutcherson attempts to convey, to our individual and collective longevity as an ethnicity of people. Our culture gives us pride. Our culture gives us purpose. Our culture gives us power.

Let me tell you what killed Ahmaud. Two shotgun wounds to the chest facilitated by one also to his wrist killed Ahmaud. That ammunition was employed by two men, and they allowed their implicit biases; their mistaken knowledge of how and when to execute an antiquated citizens arrest statute; a dash of mistaken identity; and a generous helping of racism, whatever color it be, to influence them. They viewed Ahmaud as different. They viewed him as other. They viewed him as not belonging, and therein lies the notion of why they chose to take control of his body, and that they did. They construed him to be out-of-place, stood as impromptu judge and jury, and together decided a verdict for an unarmed young American male merely getting some exercise.

To suggest otherwise or falsely denote premises that Ahmaud was a victim of his own ethnicitys attempts to be a visible component of the American experience is to suggest that he had no business there anyway. It is to condone what the McMichaels did as OK. It is to permit Ahmaud Arberys death or that of any other young black person in this country going out for an innocent jog close to home.

My point is just like every other American who is entitled to life, Ahmaud too was entitled to life. Just like every other American who is entitled to liberty, Ahmaud too was entitled to liberty. Just like every other American who is entitled to the pursuit of happiness, Ahmaud too was entitled to the pursuit of happiness.

To suggest otherwise is un-American, egregious and an utter disgrace to how far weve come in the struggle of our people to achieve equality in every respect and the fullness of the American dream.

The writer is a physician who lives in Atlanta and Augusta, his hometown, part-time.

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Column: Why Ahmaud Arbery deserved to live - The Augusta Chronicle

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Successful Aging: Focusing on the wide-ranging contributions of older Americans – LA Daily News

Dear readers,

Its time for a celebration. May is Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate older Americans for their past and current contributions to society.

The formal recognition of older Americans began with President Kennedy in 1963 when he designated May as Senior Citizens Month during a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens. That was when only 17 million Americans reached their 65th birthday in comparison to almost 50 million today. About one-third of those 17 million lived in poverty with few programs to meet their needs. Two years later, in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Older Americans Act and formally declared May as Older Americans Month.

Each year there is a theme. This years theme is Make your Mark, selected to encourage and celebrate the countless contributions older adults make to our communities. Here are some highlights of those contributions.

Older adults as volunteers: Older adults are volunteers. Almost one out of four older adults volunteer in some capacity, which translates to 1.9 billion hours of services worth $45.5 billion of contributed services. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median annual volunteer service hours for all ages as 52 hours per person; for those 65 and older, the median was 96 hours. Older adults volunteer as a way to give back, making a difference in their churches, organizations, communities and wherever there is a need.

Older adults with encore careers: An encore career typically occurs after ones primary career and before what we consider traditional retirement. It is a career that embraces purpose, passion, sometimes a paycheck and giving back to make a difference. Giving back is a distinguished aspect. A study from several years ago found that 5.3 to 8.4 million people between the ages of 44 and 70 had an encore career, working in education, health care, government and nonprofit organizations. Of those within that age group not already in an encore career, half said they were interested in one.

Older adults as caregivers:Manycaregiversofolder peoplearethemselves older adults. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, 70 percent of adult children are caring for a parent ages 50 to 64 years. Some caregivers are even older. A typical much older caregiver is almost 79 years old, white, female and typically cares for a close relative who is 77 years old. This older caregiver provides 34 hours of care per week for five years. She is the sole unpaid care provider for her loved one.

Older adults as age advocates: Older adults also advocate for themselves and causes for social justice. Betty Friedan not only advocated for the advancement of womens rights but also for older women when she wrote The Fountain of Age published when she was 72 years old. Author and activist Ashton Applewhite at age 68 leads a movement to abolish age discrimination. Her book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism is written to do just that.

Older adults as movement builders: At the age of 77, John Sorenson, a former CEO, created the Elders Action Network, a movement of elders to address the social and environmental crises of our time. The foundation of his work is the belief that we are wasting an invaluable human resource that could be applied to problems facing our nation. The Network focuses on climate action, sustainable living and social justice. A subgroup of the network is the Elders Climate Action with 3300 members, a non-partisan movement of elders committed to making their voices heard to change national policies to void catastrophic changes in the earths climate.

Older adults as contributors to our economy: In 2018, those 50 years and older contributed $8.3 trillion dollars to our economy. In terms of gross domestic product, that places older adults contribution as the worlds third-largest economy just behind the U.S. and China. We earn and spend money; we generate tax revenue, give to social causes and create demand for products and services that stimulates growth. We have created the longevity economy.

In this trying time, lets celebrate us. We collectively made our mark yesterday and today. I am certain, we will continue to make our mark for our many tomorrows.

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Successful Aging: Focusing on the wide-ranging contributions of older Americans - LA Daily News

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Why Australian scientists may have the solution to the coronavirus puzzle – Sydney Morning Herald

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In the beginning, we had only the human body and its inherent ability to fight disease. Then at some point after we emerged from the primeval swamp, developed an opposable thumb, and picked our first therapeutic herb we had medicine. And now we have a world in which diseases are found and fought in laboratories a thousand miles from any suffering human frame.

On the spectrum between primordial murk and Petri dish, vaccines occupy all points on the scale. They lie at the very forefront of medical science they are our most sophisticated hope for a solution to the pandemic of COVID-19 and yet they rely fundamentally on the most basic resource of the human body: its ability to recover from, and thereafter resist, disease.

Amid all the extraordinary battles raging against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 around the world at this moment, none is more important than that being fought by scientists. Its a battle on two fronts: to find treatments to cure or mitigate the disease affecting millions of people; and to develop a vaccine that will potentially protect billions.

Currently, there are more than 100 possible vaccines in development globally, many under the aegis of the World Health Organisation and CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, an international body founded in 2016 to finance vaccine development against emerging infectious diseases). Australias place in this maelstrom is both small, yet potentially significant, which is a familiar position for Australian science to occupy. Despite our small population, Australian scientists consistently "punch above their weight", says Anna-Maria Arabia, the CEO of the Australian Academy of Science, "both in terms of the quality of our research and publication rates per capita".

This expertise is particularly notable in the fields of immunology and vaccine development. Two of our most famous Australians, Peter Doherty and Ian Frazer, are both still working in vaccine technology. "It very well could be Australians who beat this thing," says Frazer, a Brisbane-based immunologist who co-created the HPV vaccine, which since 2006 has protected some 300 million women against cervical cancer.

"We have very talented people. We have the immunologists, the virologists, the protein chemists and cell biologists."

"Weve got really good science here," agrees Doherty, who won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on human T-cell immunity. "Bang for buck, compared with the US, where I worked for a long time, we do extremely well. Weve got some really good people. In fact, I dont think Ive really appreciated how good they are until now."

In January, Australian scientists (at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, named after the great man himself) were the first outside China to sequence the COVID-19 genome, grow the virus, and share it internationally.

Renowned Australian scientist, HPV vaccine co-creator Ian Frazer.Credit:Paul Harris

Multiple labs and hospitals around the country are investigating drugs like remdesivir (an Ebola antiviral), tocilizumab (an immunosuppressive used mainly for rheumatoid arthritis), the HIV drug Kaletra and malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. At the same time, REMAP-CAP, an ongoing Australian-based multifactorial trial at more than 100 sites around the world that usually looks into treatments for severe pneumonia, has pivoted to testing drugs on COVID-19 patients, with the ability to alter their medication on the basis of ongoing analysis.

"Weve got a lot of drugs that were trying to repurpose," explains Frazer. "And maybe some of them will work but at the moment it would be fair to say the trials areempiric. In other words, were guessing."

Weve got a lot of drugs that were trying to repurpose. And maybe some of them will work but at the moment it would be fair to say the trials areempiric. In other words, were guessing.

"Drugs are good," says Doherty. "But unlike a vaccine, no drug can give you immunity. Even convalescent serums [antibodies extracted from recovered patients blood and given therapeutically] and monoclonal antibodies [lab-grown versions of antibodies] are only temporary. You have to keep taking them, just like a drug, because their protection gradually disappears."

Even vaccines are not without problems. In the past, work on vaccines for other coronaviruses (such as MERS and SARS) has raised questions regarding the strength and longevity of vaccine-produced immunity; and about the negative impacts of a vaccine on the immune system. There has even been debate about whether a vaccine is possible for COVID-19, given no human coronavirus vaccine has ever been produced.

Australian scientist and Nobel Prize winner Peter Doherty.Credit:Simon Schluter

"Theres one for chickens!" says Doherty, betraying his veterinary origins. "My wife and I both worked on it about 50 years ago!" He laughs. "But no, seriously, you hear this thing about no vaccines for coronavirus, but in fact they were making a lot of progress with both MERS and SARS vaccines. The reason they didnt go anywhere was basically because SARS burnt out, and although MERS still grumbles away, it only infects about 200 people a year. Theres just no big impetus with that level of infection."

He laughs. "Im a very simplistic thinker. But the fact is, all the drug treatments are stopgaps. What we want for COVID-19 is a vaccine. And I think well get one, and that it will work fine."

Fittingly, the oldest records of inoculation come from the source of the worlds newest pandemic China. The first disease ever contained by vaccination was smallpox. Devastating, incurable, with a 20 to 60 per cent death toll and survivors often left blind and horribly scarred, smallpox was unfashionable as it is to point out a far more dangerous pathogen than coronavirus. But by the 1500s (and possibly far earlier), Chinese doctors had realised that if sufferers could only survive the first onslaught of smallpox, they never caught it again. After the first attack, something in survivors own bodies permanently protected them.

Working backwards from this conclusion, doctors took the scabs from healing smallpox pustules and ground them into powder. Then they blew the powder up healthy patients noses. There was also a second technique, which may have originated in India, in which pus from smallpox sores was scratched into incisions in the skin of healthy people with a needle. (Nobody said medicine was pretty.) In both cases, those treated contracted a milder form in theory at least of the disease, from which they could more easily recover.

These strategies, particularly the needle technique, known as variolation, worked in a surprising number of cases: by the 18th century, only one or two patients in every hundred were dying from deliberately induced smallpox. These odds though horrifying to the modern mind were so much better than risking the unmediated disease that variolation spread from China throughout the Arab world. Eventually, in the 1700s, it reached England, the US and Australia.

Variolation was practised on princesses and kings, but perhaps its most important application was to the arm of a Gloucestershire schoolboy. Edward Jenner, now recognised as the father of immunology, was variolated during his childhood, and thus rather against 18th-century odds did not contract smallpox. Instead, he grew up to develop the worlds first vaccine.

Jenner realised that using the pus from lesions of cowpox, a much less serious illness that nonetheless provided effective immunity against smallpox, was a far safer treatment than traditional variolation. By the time of his death in 1823, hundreds of thousands of people had undergone "vaccination" (the word comes from the Latin vaccinus meaning "from a cow"), and a direct line can be drawn from his work to the final eradication of smallpox from the earth in 1980: the greatest triumph of vaccination, and the single most successful medical intervention, in terms of lives saved, in human history.

Illustration by Tim Beor.Credit:

Weve come a long way since Jenner built a "Temple to Vaccinia" in his English backyard, but to experts in pandemic diseases, it must often seem as if weve made no progress at all. Professor Trevor Drew, the director of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (CDP) at the CSIRO in Melbourne, has spent years dealing with the fact that, pre-COVID-19, the man on the street simply couldnt believe that a global pandemic would ever, really and truly, happen. "To most of the world it has come as a terrible shock," he says, managing to sound only slightly rueful. "But we in infectious diseases have known for years that it was a question not of if, but when. We didnt know what it would be, or where it would come from, but we knew it was coming."

Nonetheless, it was only in January this year that the CDP signed a contract with CEPI to run animal trials on potential COVID-19 vaccines. This was before virtually anything was known about the virus, including its lethality and the CDP is one of only a handful of labs in the world designated as BSL-4 (biosafety level 4), authorised to deal with the most dangerous pathogens on earth the likes of Ebola, Marburg and hantaviruses.

"Its been an extremely big challenge," admits Drew, with a scientists feel for understatement. "Weve had to be extremely agile, and its a huge tribute to my team that weve been able to get organised so fast."

COVID-19 social distancing measures have created many headaches in staffing labs and organising teams Drew is talking from his spare bedroom, no doubt a typical site of breakthroughs in all fields of human endeavour these days but nobody on his team has flinched. "Im so proud of them. They all just got on with it."

The CDP is a world leader in the use of animal testing in vaccine development. Its scientists were first in the world to confirm, for instance, that ferrets were susceptible to COVID-19, thanks to the fact that they have a similar lung cell receptor, ACE 2, to that of humans. Its this receptor that the now-famous "spike protein" of COVID-19 plugs into to infect cells. So ferrets, like us, can catch coronavirus (though, unlike us, their worst symptom is a mild cough).

The CSIRO is now running animal trials using ferrets for two vaccines one from American biotech company Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and one from Oxford University. Both were sent there because they looked particularly promising. "Our job is to assess the data and send it back to CEPI and WHO," explains Drew. "Then theyll decide if theyre worth taking to the next stage."

Animal trials are always crucial in establishing whether candidate vaccines are safe and efficacious. But in the case of COVID-19, Drew and his team may help to solve two other problems. One is temporary immunity, which means more than one vaccine dose may be necessary (a big deal if youre potentially dealing with billions of people); the other is that some COVID-19 deaths appear to be caused not by the virus but by the bodys response to it: a wild immune overstimulation known as a cytokine storm.

"For both those problems, our trials are looking at different routes of administering the vaccine orally, intramuscularly to see if that might affect those outcomes," explains Drew. "Vaccine route might prompt a different level of immunity. It might also be important in avoiding immune mediated disease."

Scientists are always collaborative, but these levels of co-operation this global response are really unprecedented. But then, these are unprecedented times. Our competition is against the virus, not against each other.

Things so far look promising: the ferrets have had no adverse effects to either vaccine, and theyll have been exposed to the virus before this article goes to press. And so, by the time you read this story, as many as 6000 people in the UK may have been given the vaccine in a safety trial. Should it happen, this human trial will be able to proceed, in part, thanks to the animal testing carried out by the CSIRO.

"Its a real global effort," concludes Drew. "Scientists are always collaborative, but these levels of cooperation this global response are really unprecedented." He pauses. "But then, these are unprecedented times. Our competition is against the virus, not against each other."

Professor Nigel Curtis and his team at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne are testing the potential of the BCG tuberculosis vaccine in treating COVID-19.

Professor Nigel Curtis is sitting in his office at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) in the Royal Childrens Hospital in Melbourne. As head of the infectious diseases and microbiology research group at the MCRI and professor of paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Melbourne, he works not only in the lab, but with patients, and on the weekend of January 27, he thought the hospital switchboard was accidentally ringing him on his day off.

"I answered the phone and said, Look, Im afraid Im not on call today. And they said, No, its the special medical adviser from the World Health Organisation, calling from Geneva. So I said, Oh, right, Ill take that call."

The WHO was contacting Curtis about COVID-19. Not about an innovative new technique for this equally novel virus, but for his expertise in one of the oldest known vaccines, the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis.

By the 19th century, TB often called "consumption" was estimated to have killed one in seven of all the people who had ever lived. The BCG vaccine was developed by two French bacteriologists in the early years of the 20th century (their work continued through World War I thanks to the help of occupying German veterinary surgeons) and was first administered in 1921. It has been given to more than 4 billion people and is still used to vaccinate more than 100 million children annually. "Its incredibly safe and extremely well studied although the extraordinary thing is we still dont really know how it works," laughs Curtis.

Of course, BCG is not a vaccine for COVID-19. But the WHO is interested in its off-target effects; its "accidental advantages", as Curtis calls them, which may impact on the severity of COVID-19. This is because in hundreds of studies, including many by Curtis and his colleagues, BCG has been shown to significantly boost general immunity. Babies given BCG, for instance, quite apart from their protection against TB, are also less likely to get sick with other things, including diarrhoea, sepsis or respiratory illness. "It can reduce all-cause mortality by between 30 and 40 per cent," explains Curtis. "Thats a dramatic reduction.

"It seems to work in a number of different ways, but the main thing we think is happening is that the vaccine provides immune training for the innate immune system."

This part of the immune system is rarely involved in vaccine action, because it has nothing to do with antibodies, which are a function of B cells in the adaptive immune system. But "its the frontline defence, if you like: it holds the fort until the adaptive system gets its act together. And what weve shown, along with our partners in the Netherlands, is that BCG changes some of your immune cells, so that your initial, innate response is more intense, more profound. And so we think that if youve had BCG recently, the response of your innate immune system when you get COVID-19 will be faster and stronger. It will kill the virus and reduce the viral load."

In January, the WHO asked Curtis and his colleagues if they would run a study using BCG on health workers in Wuhan in China, to see if it would help protect them against the new and threatening coronavirus known to be circulating there. "As it turned out, there was complete chaos in Wuhan at the time, and it was just way too hard to get a study going," says Curtis. "But a few months later, when it became apparent that the virus was going to spread across the world, my whole research team got together one Sunday and we said, Right, lets stop everything were doing, and put all our effort into this."

That was on March 8. Usually a big randomised control trial the most rigorous and reliable form of scientific evidence-gathering takes at least six to 12 months to get going. But three weeks later, with the whole MCRI team working "seven days a week, and very long hours", they were ready. The first participants in whats known as the BRACE trial all Australian health workers were recruited at the end of the same month.


It works via an app, which is tracking every illness participants experience using a daily diary of symptoms and disease progression. At the time of writing, the trial had just received $10 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase its participant numbers to 10,000 and expand its trial sites overseas: the single largest philanthropic donation to an Australian COVID-19 initiative to date. BRACE has also been personally endorsed by the WHOs director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Interim results are expected next month, andCurtis is hopeful about what they might show. "If I didnt think it would work, I wouldnt have been working 24/7 for the past month to get this study off the ground!" he told a briefing a few weeks ago. "But in science we need the RCTs. Big randomised studies with controls are the only way to know if anything works."

"The great thing is that if it does work, it can be delivered incredibly quickly and safely," he now explains. "Its already readily available in many WHO-accredited labs around the world though we must be careful not to leave TB-vulnerable children without the vaccine so production could be scaled up rather than started from scratch. For those who were vaccinated as children, meanwhile, they can take the vaccine again: indeed, the effects may be enhanced by a second dose. There are also very strict indications for use outside trials, so you wont get people rushing out and vaccinating themselves, as with chloroquine."


And finally and significantly the use of BCG as a proven therapeutic may be important not just for COVID-19, but for the next global health crisis, and the next, and the next.

"Who knows when the next pandemic will come along," says Curtis. "But it will come. Many of us have been saying it for years, and no one was listening. The UK and the US have both failed preparedness tests [the UK failed a major pandemic simulation exercise in 2016; and the US dissolved its White House Pandemic Office and connected funding in 2018]; even now I think many of us fear that we wont learn the lesson: we wont be ready. Next time round it will be something different; perhaps far more deadly than COVID-19. We need to be prepared. We may need a stopgap until we develop a vaccine. And this might be the thing we can use."

The University of Queenslands Daniel Watterson, Christina Henderson, Paul Young, Keith Chappell and Trent Munro.Credit:Courtesy ofTheUniversity of Queensland

Australias most advanced possibility for a home-grown vaccine for COVID-19 did not begin dramatically. Senior research fellow Dr Keith Chappell started it as a "sideline project" after he returned to Brisbane from Madrid nine years ago. "He came back to my lab and asked if he could continue looking at it," recalls Professor Paul Young, head of the school of chemistry and molecular biosciences at the University of Queensland (UQ). "And he came up with the idea of what is now our vaccine technology."

The problem Chappell, Young and fellow researcher Dr Dan Watterson (who now jointly own the patent) had to solve is a basic characteristic of virus behaviour: their shape-shifting nature. "The proteins on viruses undergo a lot of shape changing," explains Young, which makes them hard to lock into a stable vaccine form. "If we take COVID-19 as an example, when the virus enters the body its in whats called a pre-fusion form: its very unstable. Its a bit like a mousetrap set to spring.

"Then, when it inserts itself into the host cell, it flips through this very dramatic change, which is what fuses it to the host cell so that it can begin replicating. [No virus can reproduce on its own: it must hijack a host cell for replication.] So if you can block that step, its a very efficient way to prevent infection. Weve developed what we call a molecular clamp, which acts like a bulldog clip on the mousetrap, clamping down and stopping it from springing." This bulldog-clip, or molecular clamp, is the basis of the UQ vaccine.

One of the beauties of the molecular clamp is that it can be applied to a wide range of viruses. The UQ team has already demonstrated that it works on (among others) Ebola, MERS, influenza and herpes. Its been so successful that in 2018, the team was only the second academic organisation in the world to be funded by CEPI.

This funding was aimed at developing a "rapid response vaccine system". Along with partners including the CSIRO, the Doherty Institute and Australian National University, the idea was to organise the molecular clamp technology for use as a universal vehicle, into which they could slot whatever pathogen protein came along. Barely a year after the funding arrived and, like the CSIRO, far sooner than they were expecting they were called on by CEPI for COVID-19.

Everyone has been working 24/7 for three months, so were all exhausted, but were all exhilarated at the same time.

"The original funding application from CEPI specified that you be capable of having a vaccine ready for clinical trials within 16 weeks," recalls Young. "And in those days, everyone said, Well, thats just crazy." The mumps vaccine of the 1960s the fastest in history took four years. "But its a good goal to have; and actually, were confident well meet it."

This confidence is based on the fact that, firstly, the key aspect of their technology the molecular clamp is ready to go. Also, that they have been specifically investigating ways to speed up the standard vaccine pipeline.


"Traditionally, vaccine development is a linear sequence over several years," explains Young. "Discovery, development, preclinical animal testing, then humans trials by phases [small safety trials, larger studies for efficacy, then really large populations]. Only then do you go to a regulatory authority; and only if thats granted does the manufacturer come in."

So how do you speed up that process without sacrificing science or safety? UQ decided to focus on manufacturing. "Weve uncoupled the manufacturing element from the whole process," says Young. "So were continuing with our preclinical studies, while simultaneously setting up for manufacture."

Its a high-risk strategy, because it means, literally, producing a vaccine that may not work. But the point, says Young, is that its a financial risk, "not a safety risk. You could be devoting a lot of resources to something that may not get there, thats true. But were confident it will."

Research at the University of Queensland is on track to hold human vaccine trials by July this year.Credit:Courtesy oftheUniversity of Queensland

When we speak at the end of April, the UQ vaccine has just passed a significant milestone: it induces an extremely potent immune response in animals. In cell culture, meanwhile, tests at the Doherty Institute have shown it stimulates an even better antibody response than patients whove recovered from COVID-19 (whove developed their own antibodies to the live virus).

The next steps are to challenge the test ferrets and hamsters with the live virus (just as Trevor Drew is doing at the CSIRO), complete the standard toxicology studies, and keep the manufacturing timeline on track for this year. "Were already generating reagents and getting the infrastructure organised thats required for large-scale production, and were in discussions with manufacturers right now," explains Young. "There are actually not that many companies in the world that can cope with a global vaccine. Hundreds of millions of doses only large pharma can do that."

Young admits hes "relieved" the vaccine has done so well so far and says hes optimistic about its future.


"Our timeline is next month, maybe July for human trials," he says. "And were on track." In the best-case scenario, the UQ vaccine could be ready for production in September, and available for widespread use by early 2021.

Its clear that Young, who is speaking from his Brisbane home, feels both the responsibility and the thrill of this position. He and his team may be on the cusp, literally, of changing the world. "The lab is just incredibly excited," he confesses. "Everyone has been working 24/7 for three months, so were all exhausted, but were exhilarated at the same time."

The months since COVID-19 appeared have been memorable ones for most people on earth. Like the scientists of COVID-19, weve all learnt many things since that microscopic spark of destruction emerged from the putative wet market in China. Unlike the scientists, its not clear whether well remember any of them. But one thing, surely, will stay with us. We now understand, in a way we never have before, that vaccines are not just a quotidian detail of modern health care, but a miracle of human ingenuity: a miracle which allows us to cheat death.

Paul Young, like all the scientists in this story, is modest, friendly and confidence-inspiring. But he may hold the power of life and death for millions of people in his laboratory, and he knows it.

"Most people enter this kind of science to make a difference," he says. "In our hearts, thats what we all desire. And were in one of those rare moments in history where thats really possible."

To read more from Good Weekend magazine, visit our page at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

Why Australian scientists may have the solution to the coronavirus puzzle - Sydney Morning Herald

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Adele: Three Secrets Behind Her Incredible Weight-Loss – Longevity LIVE

Adele is a global superstar, with her amazing voice earning her an Oscar, 15 Grammys as well as multiple world records. Its clear that shes a successful woman, and we all know it. However, the soulful singer has been making headlines lately, not because of her unmatchable talent, but because of her visible weight loss.

Her weight loss was first noticed last year at musicians Drakes birthday bash on October 25 but its her most recent social media post that has got fans talking. Making her first Instagram post of 2020 where she thanked essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic as well as gave thanks for her birthday well wishes, fans were surprised at her weight loss. In the past, Adele once revealed to People Magazine that shed refuse to work with anybody who had an issue with her weight, stating: Even when I was signing a contract, most of the industry knew if anyone ever dared say: Lose weight to me, they wouldnt be working with me.

Adele has yet to publicly discuss her weight loss, and she really has no reason to. The fact of the matter is, Adele is a beautiful and talented woman, regardless of how she looks and what she weighs. Her weight loss pales in comparison to the other incredible things that shes achieved in her young life, and it really shouldnt be framed as the most incredible thing shes done in recent memory. That said, for those on a weight loss journey, they are curious as to how the star did it.

In addition to her incredible figure, fans also noticed that the singers face also looked a little different.

As a result of her weight loss, Adele has lost volume and fat in her face. As a result, her features have become more prominent with her jaw and bone structure appearing sharper and more chiseled. Additionally, its clear that she changed up her diet as she appears to have a much healthier glow. The fact is, your skin is what you eat and when you consume a nutrient-dense diet rich anti-oxidants, your skin will definitely thank you for it.

The seventh most Googled diet in 2019, its clear thats theres some buzz surrounding The Sirtfood diet, and with Adeles weight loss, the buzz is certain to grow.

The Sirtfood diet was created in the United Kingdom by nutritionists Aidan Goggins and Glen Matten, after they published a guide and a recipe book in 2016. The diet focuses on sirtuins, a group of seven proteins found in your body that help to regulate a variety of functions, which include preventing cell death, regulating metabolism, inflammation, as well as the aging process. The diet requires one to consume foods rich in sirtuins, known as sirtfoods, in an effort to activate the sirtuins that will boost fat burn and speed up metabolism.

As mentioned, the Sirtfood Diet encourages the consumption of foods that contain Sirtuins. These Sirtfoods are nutrient-dense and healthy to eat regularly. They include:

Photo by Jim Smeal/Shutterstock (8344889me)Adele59th Annual Grammy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA 12 Feb 2017

The diet is broken down into two phases, and if you should do it whenever you feel that you need a bit of a weight-loss boost.

This phase lasts for seven days and its also split up. For the first three days, youre limited to a total of 1000 calories a day. Your diet consists of three Sirtfood green juices (containing kale, arugula, parsley, celery, green apple, lemon juice, and green tea) and one Sirtfood-rich meal. A mean can include miso-glazed tofu, the Sirtfood omelet, or a shrimp stir-fry with buckwheat noodles.

On days four through seven, youll then allowed two green juices and two daily meals for a total of 1,500 calories a day.

Phase one is aimed at jump-starting your weight loss (apparently, youre expected to lose 7 pounds during phase one). The diet does recommend that you stop exercising, or at least cut back on your usual fitness routine during this period as you wont be taking in many calories.

The second phase lasts for two weeks and it is known as the maintenance phase. Its purpose is to encourage weight loss in a steady, sustainable, and manageable way.

There is no calorie limit but you are encouraged to eat three balanced meals that are rich in Sirtfoods, as well as drink one green juice, during this phase. The meal recipes include soy yogurt with berries and stir-fried prawns with kale and buckwheat noodles.

Once youre done with the phases, you can continue with the Sirtfood diet, all you have to do is tweak your meals a bit, and include as many Sirtfoods as possible. Additionally, once youve adopted the Sirtfood lifestyle, youre encouraged to stay active.

Considering the fact that youre consuming way fewer calories than usual, yes, youll probably lose weight adopting this diet. However, whether this particular method is healthy is debatable. This is because super-restrictive eating is rarely healthy or sustainable.

If you consider the fact that 1,000 calories per day is only appropriate for a child between the ages of 2 and 4, I wouldnt exactly call this diet plan healthy. Yes, the diet may enable weight-loss, but living on this kind of calorie restriction for too long would be questionable.

Yes, theres no denying that the foods in the Sirtfood diet are good for you. Plenty of research has shown that green tea, turmeric and even dark chocolate can provide the body with a number of health benefits that include reduced risks of heart disease, diabetes and other inflammation-related diseases. However, actual research into the long-term benefits of increased sirtuin levels in humans is still in its early stages. Additionally, calorie restriction is not how you want to be living your life.

Yes, Adele looks amazing but if she is following the Sirtfood diet, shes more than likely tweaked it in a manner that is sustainable and safer for her health. That said, its advisable that you reach out to a certified dietitian and get their thoughts. Our bodies are each different, and adopting this particular diet does not mean that youll get Adele-results.

According to the Daily Mail, the singer has taken up Reformer Pilates after being introduced to it by close friend Ayda Field, X Factor judge and wife of singer Robbie Williams.

We already know that Pilates is a great exercise for the body, and the same can be said for Reformer Pilates. Reformer Pilates is a more technical version of regular Pilates, requiring practitioners to do Pilates moves on special machines, using ropes, springs, and a carriage. The exercises provide a high intensity yet low-impact full-body workout. Reformer Pilates helps to improve posture, strength, and flexibility as well as build a stronger core and tone your muscles.

Adele has never shied away from being herself and being confident in her skin. While the star is known for her heart-wrenching ballads, its clear that self-love is a huge priority of hers. Last year, Adele celebrated her 31st birthday, and she shared an Instagram post that hinted at prioritizing self-love.

For the first time in a decade, Im ready to feel the world around me and look up for once. Be kind to yourself, people, were only human, go slow, put your phone down and laugh out loud at every opportunity, she shared. Learning to REALLY truly love yourself is it, and Ive only just realized that that is more than enough.

It may hard to do, especially during these times, but self-love can do wonders for your health. Aside from making you happier, research published in the Health Psychology journal found that self-love can help you make better decisions about your health.

Whats more, a separate study published in the Psychological Science journal found that recently divorced individuals who were kinder to themselves were better at bouncing back in the months following the separation than those who regularly self-criticized. Considering the fact that the award-winning singer is currently going through a divorce, its safe to say that shes definitely practicing a lot of self-love.

He, Y.; Yue, Y.; Zheng, X.; Zhang, K.; Chen, S.; Du, Z. (2015). Curcumin, Inflammation, and Chronic Diseases: How Are They Linked?Molecules.20, 9183-9213.

J Clin Hypertens(Greenwich).2014;16:101106. DOI:10.1111/jch.12223.

Shuang, Z., Xiaoqiang, T., Hou-Zao C. (2018). Sirtuins and Insulin Resistance. Frontiers in Endocrinology. 9.

Sirois, F. M., Kitner, R., & Hirsch, J. K. (2015). Self-compassion, affect, and health-promoting behaviors.Health Psychology, 34(6), 661669.

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Is there a link between coronavirus and vitamin D deficiency? This startup just raised cash to find out – GeekWire

Solius light therapy kiosks use a narrow spectrum of ultraviolet light that can stimulate the production of critical hormones and peptides, and increase vitamin D levels. (Solius Photo)

New research shows a potential correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 mortality rates. A Northwestern University study released last week found that patients from countries with high death rates had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries with fewer mortalities.

Seattle-area startup Solius, which sells light therapy kiosks that can help people increase vitamin D levels, suddenly finds itself in a unique position amid the global pandemic.

The company today announced additional investment from Human Longevity Inc. as it explores how its technology could play a role in the fight against COVID-19 by strengthening the immune system and reducing the severity of the disease.

Further studies will be needed to validate this connection and we are working to engage in clinical trials that will prove the efficacy of our device on this devastating disease, said Solius CEO Bob Wise.

Researchers from Northwestern cautioned that vitamin D levels wont prevent contraction of COVID-19, but could make a difference in how the body fights the disease. They found a correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm, a condition caused by an overactive immune system.

Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients, Ali Daneshkhah, a postdoctoral research associate at Northwestern, said in a press release. This is what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system.

Another study from Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K. found an association between low average levels of vitamin D and high numbers of COVID-19 cases and mortality rates across 20 European countries.

Some experts criticized the Northwestern study which has not been peer-reviewed for not controlling major confounding factors, among other reasons, Inverse reported.

Solius published its own white-paper this week about the impact of vitamin D on COVID-19. The company cited cytokine storms and studies that show vitamin D combating respiratory infections. It also quoted former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, who said in March that regular physical activity and adequate vitamin D levels probably have the most scientific evidence to increase resistance to COVID-19 infection.

Solius is working with leading phototherapy and vitamin D experts to develop and execute its own trials to study how the companys kiosks could treat and/or prevent COVID-19.

Foundational research strongly suggests a link between vitamin D and COVID-19 outcomes, Wise said. We look forward to adding to this body of research and investigating the impact our technology may have on supporting human health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Solius light therapy uses a narrow spectrum of ultraviolet light that can stimulate the production of critical hormones and peptides. In 2018 it started rolling out light therapy kiosksin Vancouver, B.C., that help users increase vitamin D levels.

The therapy is an alternative to vitamin D pills, a solution that Soliuspreviously told GeekWireisnt sufficient to address the problem of vitamin D deficiency.

An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of vitamin D, according toHarvard University, and research shows that deficiency is a more pressing problem than once thought.

Wise said the company expects FDA approval for its kiosks next year.

We are excited to invest in SOLIUS as its mission is to provide the benefits of the sun without the harmful rays to unlock the healing powers of the human body, Wei-Wu He, executive chairman at HLI, said in a statement.

Solius has raised $18 million to date. The 7-year-old company has seven employees. Wise replaced former CEO Rick Hennessey, who relocated to Florida for family reasons.

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Skincare Tips To Help You Take Good Care Of Your Skin – Longevity LIVE

Whats the largest organ in the human body? The heart? Perhaps the kidney? Nope, think again. The largest organ in the human body is the skin. In fact, the average adult human skin spans 21 square miles and contains 11 miles of blood vessels. To put it in perspective, thats twice the height of Mt. Everest. No wonder skincare is such a booming economy!

Besides fascinating fun facts, your skin plays a crucial role in ensuring your optimum health. It provides proper regulation of body temperature and acts as a defense mechanism against invaders such as toxins and allergens. While skin plays a significant role in protecting the body, it is also the most vulnerable organ. There are at least 3,000 documented skin disorders. It is for this reason that taking care of your skin isnt a luxury its a necessity.

A google search on good skincare will reveal an almost dizzying variety of tips and tricks. Cutting through the clutter and finding what works for you can be frustrating. Thats why well make it easy for you. Lets do a deep dive into the proven steps to proper skincare. Before that, however, lets conduct a mind surgery.

For a good number of people, healthy and glowing skin is only a daydream or a reserve of pop stars and celebrities. Others consign themselves to the notion that natures genetic lottery hasnt been too kind to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. No matter the type of skin you have, good skincare can make it look better and healthier.

Of course, you may not glow like your favorite celebrity or model, but youd certainly look better than when you started. All it takes is consistency, dedication, and patience. Dont expect to see results right off the bat. Just like any organ in the body, the skin needs time to demonstrate results. One of the most common reasons people dont give extra attention to their skin is because they think their efforts wont make a difference. Breaking this barrier is the first step to achieving good skincare. Here are other proven steps to making your skin glow.

Any dermatologist worth their salt would tell you that skincare is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one skin type may not necessarily work for another. Many factors play a role in determining how the skin looks. These factors include age, skin disorders, and DNA, amongst others.

One of the key factors is the type of skin in question. Its vital you know your skin type as it would have far-reaching effects on what products and procedures you can use. Some estimates peg the number at seven or even more, but there are at least five different skin types. Lets examine what each of these skin types entails.

This type of skin lacks oil. It is usually flaky and often gets cracked. Its not what you would call an ideal skin. Its pores are typically small with visible lines and it hardly stretches out. This skin type is likely to sport some red patches.

Oily skin features a greasy and shiny appearance. Oil glands naturally produce oil on the surface of every skin. With oily skin, the glands go into overdrive secreting more than necessary. This skin type usually has large pores and is prone to breakouts, particularly acne breakouts.

Normal skin straddles the line between dry and oily skin. It has little or no blots. Its sensitivity is just right, and its pores are almost invisible. It can handle most irritations without breaking out. Some people refer to normal skin as healthy skin, and it is considered the most desirable skin type.

Sensitive skin is one that typically overreacts to almost anything. You can develop this skin if you over-scrub or do not take care of your original skin type. One of the skin types that can quickly morph into a sensitive one is the dry skin. Sensitive skin is prone to skin diseases such as acne or contact dermatitis. If you have this skin type, be sure to avoid triggers that may cause irritation or inflammation. Some of these triggers include alcohol, stress, and even smoking.

As the name suggests, combination skin is a mixture of different skin types. In other words, one person can have varied skin types in different places. One part may be dry while another may be oily, particularly the T-region. It means youll need a combination of solutions to keep the skin healthy and moisturized. You can read this article to find out more about skin types and how to take care of them.

Proper skin cleansing is fundamentally about removing any material that clogs the pores of the skin. Substances like dirt, dead skin cells, and makeup can clog the surface, but a good cleansing regime helps the skin breathe. In a general sense, bathing is the way to cleanse your skin. You must bathe or shower at least once or preferably twice a day to keep your skin moist and refreshed.

The first place most people look at when they meet you is your face. So, your cleanup should start from there, and your face should always feature prominently in any cleansing routine. But how hard could it be? Doesnt it just involve splashing some water over the skin and scrubbing a bit? Well, not quite. Theres more to facial cleansing. Here are a few helpful tips to follow:

It is for good reason that medical personnel often prescribe water as the first response to many diseases. In fact, medical practitioners regard water as the best medicine. It has several benefits to the body, and listed below are some of them.

If youre a water addict, your immune system will benefit greatly. Your immune system is essentially your bodys defense against diseases and toxins. Without a healthy immune system, youre vulnerable to many diseases, and your skin will suffer for it. Earlier, we mentioned that there are at least 3000 diseases associated with the skin. A robust immune system is a surefire way to ward off all intruders.

No one needs to tell you when you stand before a glowing skin. When it isnt glowing, everyone will know. Your skin will betray you if youre not taking in enough water: it will be cracked, flaky scaly, and dry. On the other hand, the skin surface of a person who drinks enough water is likely to be soft and supple.

Studies show that taking in water has a direct bearing on weight loss. If youre overweight, your body is likely to suffer stretch and strain. Maintaining a healthy weight is key to ensuring healthy skin, and gulping down glasses of water is a natural and safe way to shed the extra pounds.

Imagine your stool without water. How about urination? How would you even sweat without water? Hard to imagine, isnt it? Thats because water is such an essential part of our bodys processes. Additionally, guzzling on water helps the skin maintain a stable temperature, a process known as homeostasis. All these benefits of drinking water ultimately have far-reaching effects on the skin. In addition to drinking water, eat foods that can help you stay hydrated.

Its no surprise that some have labeled collagen supplements as the fountain of youth. To understand the reason for that statement, youd need to appreciate what collagen is. Collagen is the bodys most abundant protein. It makes up 75% of the average adults dry skin mass.

Others refer to collagen as the scaffolding of the skin. It ensures the integrity of the bodys tissues, bones, and tendons, and it plays a vital role in promoting skin health. As the body ages, it supplies less and less collagen. By the age of 30, the bodys collagen supply begins to decrease. This situation creates a deficit that needs addressing. Thankfully, there are supplements like collagen peptides that are an excellent resource to help you gain and maintain a glowing skin.

Whether you have oily, healthy, sensitive, or dry skin, you have to keep your skin hydrated. As mentioned earlier, water helps to moisturize the skin. However, it is not the only moisturizer for your skin. Look for moisturizer products with a hyaluronic acid-base. The acid is known to have an excellent hydrating ability. You can also opt for a humidifier. Such products help keep the air and atmosphere humid, thereby keeping your skin moist.

As much as youd want to take the first steps to get good skin by yourself, a dermatologist brings so much more to the table. These skin doctors are trained over several years to know how to preserve and take care of any skin type. Look for one who is trained, appropriately licensed, and can make time for you. If youre looking for cosmetic solutions, you can go to a specialist cosmetic dermatologist. Theyd examine your skin and make treatment recommendations for you.

Even if you dont want to have skin that gets the glares and the stares, you wouldnt want any skin disorder disturbing your skin. To understand how to take care of your skin, youd need to understand the complicated nature of the skin. Know your skin type so you can use the right remedies. Clean your skin regularly through bathing and facial cleansing to keep your youthful glow. Drinking lots of water is a fool-proof strategy for gaining good skin health.

Additionally, collagen supplements have a way of shoring up your skin and keeping it youthful. However, dont forget to consult your dermatologist for expert opinion and advice. Take advantage of all of the steps listed in this article to give your skin a worthwhile treat.

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How Loneliness Hurts Us and What to Do About It – Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

When Dr. Vivek Murthy served as the U.S. Surgeon General during part of the Obama and Trump administrations, he became increasingly concerned at how many people across the country were experiencing loneliness. Even in the hubbub of populated cities, many didnt have close personal relationships, a supportive group of friends, or a sense of belonging within a community, all of which are central to our well-being.

In his new book, Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, Murthy synthesizes the research on loneliness, giving us a primer on what it is and how it hurts our physical and mental health and decreases our longevity. He also dispenses advice on how to build better relationships and create a more relationship-centered society.

I spoke to him about his book and its implications, both generally and during this time of sheltering-in-place, where social connection is even harder to come by.

Jill Suttie: Research shows that we tend to underestimate other peoples loneliness compared to our own. Why do you think that is, and how does it affect loneliness?

Vivek Murthy: I think part of the reason we underestimate the loneliness of people is that its often hidden. Loneliness, unfortunately, carries stigma with it. People who feel lonely often are ashamed to admit it. They think its equivalent to admitting that they are not likable or that theyre socially insufficient in some way.

It can be hard to admit loneliness, even to a spouse. We can be at a party, surrounded by people, and still feel lonely. We often look around us and see people who are seemingly leading happy livescertainly on their social media feedsand we assume that were the only ones who are struggling.

Also, loneliness is hard to see because it doesnt always look like the stereotype of a person sitting alone in a corner. Loneliness can actually manifest in different ways with different people. It can look like irritability and anger, fatigue, reclusiveness, depression, or anxiety. We may chalk these up to other conditions or concerns, but many of these states have their roots (at least partially) in loneliness.

JS: You write that a third of Americans over 45 years old consider themselves to be lonely. Is that pattern common around the world or more unique to the U.S.?

VM: Many societies that would consider themselves part of modern-day culture are finding that they have high levels of loneliness among older populations. There are several reasons why thats happening. One is that, as people get older, sometimes they experience greater illness, which can limit their ability to physically go out and see others. Second, as people get older, they often encounter difficulties with hearing and vision, and not being able to hear well, in particular, can be a significant barrier to engaging with others.

Its important to note that in the United States health care system, we tend to focus on physical illness and dont focus enough on mental health or on vision, dental care, or hearingareas where we really need to support people. You see that reflected in reimbursement policies; its still expensive for many older adults to get hearing aids, even if they have coverage from Medicare.

Some of these practical barriers to connecting with others become significant as we get older, but theres also a cultural element here. In the United States and other modern societies, there is extraordinary value thats placed on youth, and as people get older, they often feel less useful to society or less valued simply because theyre not young anymore. If we feel were just a burden on other people, that can impact how we engage with other people and how fulfilling our interactions are.

JS: You write that we need three levels of connectionintimate (partner or spouse), relational (circle of friends), and collective (community)to avoid loneliness. Why is community important?

VM: As human beings, we evolved to need each other and to be part of a community. Theres something deeply ingrained in us about wanting to be a part of a shared identity. So, we find ourselves gravitating toward various affinity groups based on shared religious beliefs or shared race and ethnicity or shared nationality or shared interest, and we derive a lot of meaning and value from a common identity with others.

One thing that COVID-19 is highlighting for so many people experiencing physical distancing is not only how important relationships with family and friends are, but also how meaningful our interactions with neighbors, relatives, and strangers in our communities are. How nice it would be to just sit in a coffee shop and work while being surrounded by strangers or to go and shoot hoops on the basketball court with other people! There is a sense of connection we experience, even with strangers, thats very valuable, that makes you feel like youre part of something bigger.

When you understand that we need intimate connection, good friends, and community, you start to recognize why somebody can be in a deeply fulfilled marriage and still feel lonely. And that doesnt mean that your spouse isnt giving you what you need; it just means that we need different types of connection in our life.

JS: You write that loneliness is bad for you, but solitude can be good. What are the differences between these?

VM: Its important to recognize that loneliness is a subjective state. Its not about how many people you have around you; its about how you feel about the connections that you have in your life. Loneliness results when the connections we need are greater than the connections we have.

Solitude is an experience of being alone, but its pleasant, centering, and grounding, and its actually quite important in maintaining our emotional well-being. If we allow ourselves moments of solitude and let the noise around us settle, we can reflect on whats happening in our life and simply be in a world that is constantly about doing and taking action. When we approach other people from a place of being grounded and centered, we find our interactions are often more positive, because we can show up more authentically as ourselves.

I believe that in this time of turmoil, when the world seems to be racing faster and faster, the moments of solitude are even more important than they were before. Those few minutes that we take to simply be, to feel the wind against our face, to feel gratitude by remembering three people or three things to be thankful for, can be really grounding and renewing.

JS: The current pandemic is presenting some unique challenges for people in staving off loneliness. What can we do?

VM: Loneliness was a problem long before we had COVID-19. But I worry that the physical separation were being forced to observe, and the fear that many people are experiencing right now (about other people being infected and transmitting infections to them), run the risk of deepening our separation from each other, contributing to a social recession that is just as important as the economic recession we will be facing.

It doesnt have to be that way. We can use this moment to step back and take stock of our relationships and ask ourselves, What role do we want people to play in our lives?

We can use this moment to take simple steps to strengthen our connections now for after the pandemic is over. One is making a commitment to spend at least 15 minutes a day with people we lovewhether on video conference or by phone. That time can be valuable in helping elevate our mood and make others feel better, too.

Second, we can focus on the quality of the time we have with other people, by listening carefully and by sharing more openly when were with others. One of the most tangible ways to do that is eliminating distraction. Like many people, Ive been guilty of catching up with a friend on the phone while also looking at my inbox or jotting down a question that just popped into my mind.

Even if you spend less time with someone, making that time count is really important. Five minutes of conversation where were open, listening deeply, and showing up fully is often more fulfilling than 30 minutes of distracted conversation.

Third, you can look for ways to serve others, recognizing that service is a powerful antidote. When were chronically lonely, our focus shifts inward and our threat level rises. Over time, our sense of ourselves starts to erode as we start to believe that the reason were lonely is that were not likable. But service is powerful, because it breaks those harmful cycles by shifting the focus from ourselves to someone else in the context of a positive interaction.

Serving others also reaffirms to us that we have value to bring to the world. During this time of COVID-19, service can look like checking on a neighbor, calling a friend to see how theyre doing, delivering food to a friend who might be struggling to telework and homeschool their children. Service can be a lifeline in terms of connection.

JS: Do you hold out hope that the mutual concern and cooperation were seeing during the pandemic will last into the future?

VM: We were designed as human beings to be connected with each other and to help and support each other, and we see those instincts arise during times of crisis. When a hurricane or a tornado devastates a community, people rise up and come together to face the adversity. The challenge is that they often retreat back to their ways of life prior to that and the lessons of community often get forgotten.

I think with COVID-19, were seeing a pandemic that well remember for the rest of our lives. The intensity, duration, and challenge of this experience are unlike anything weve seen in our lifetime. I hope that will increase the chance that we can hold on to the lessons that we are learning now about the power of community, the importance of relationships, and the truth of our interdependence.

I think one of the most important challenges of our time is deciding whether to continue down the path of deepening loneliness or use this opportunity to choose a different way forward, to build a people-centered life and society. In a truly people-centered world, we prioritize our relationships and where we put our time, attention, and energy. We also design workplaces to strengthen human connection and design schools and curricula to give children a foundation for healthy relationships from the earliest ages.

And we recognize that relationship is at the heart of healthy dialogue and, without dialogue and community, people cant talk about the big challenges theyre facing and find a way forward. When were faced with big challengeslike climate change, future pandemics, and health care and economic disparitieswe need to be able to work together, which stems from our ability to talk to and truly listen to one another. You dont bring people together in dialogue just by putting them in the same room and hoping something happens; dialogue is built on relationships.

Medicine is intuitively built on an understanding of relationships, but that wasnt a prominent part of my training. Our doctors and nurses need to be able to understand just how important loneliness is for the health outcomes that theyre trying to optimize. They should be able to identify loneliness when it exists and have a conversation with patients about it, without taking on the entire burden of solving loneliness themselves.

We need more partnerships between the health care system and community organizations, which can step in and help support people who need stronger connections. This is whats behind the social prescribing movement in the U.K. and other countries, where health care systems are partnering with community organizations to identify people who are struggling with loneliness and then getting them resources, support, and the community they need.

Once we ask the question, How do we put people first?, we get a different answer than if our primary objective is to maximize revenue or maximize power or another outcome thats not human-centered. If I had a single credo for this book, it would be three simple words: Put people first. Thats the credo we need to guide ourselves in our own lives and as we design our institutions and public policy.

Continued here:
How Loneliness Hurts Us and What to Do About It - Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Combination Of Fasting Diet And Vitamin C Could Help Tough Cancer Treatment: Study – NDTV Food

The combination, according to the scientists help delayed tumour progression in mice

Previous studies have hinted at the link between diet and cancer treatment, according to the latest one published in the journal Nature Communications, afasting-mimicking diet could be more effective at treating some types of cancer when combined with vitamin C. The study was conducted by the scientists from USC and the IFOM Cancer Institute in Milan.

The combination, according to the scientists help delayed tumour progression in multiple mouse models of colorectal cancer; whereas in some mice, it caused disease regression.

"For the first time, we have demonstrated how a completely non-toxic intervention can effectively treat an aggressive cancer," said Valter Longo, the study senior author and the director of the USC Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and professor of biological sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

"We have taken two treatments that are studied extensively as interventions to delay ageing-- a fasting-mimicking diet and vitamin C -- and combined them as a powerful treatment for cancer," added Longo.

While it is a challenge for many cancer patients to fast, a much safer option would be a low-calorie, plant-based diet that causes cells to respond as if the body were fasting, according to the researchers.

A low-toxicity treatment of fasting-mimicking diet plus vitamin C may have the potential to replace more toxic treatments, the findings suggested.

Recent studies have pointed at the efficacy of vitamin C in battling cancer, especially if it is combined with a potent treatment.

Through this new study, the research team tried to investigate whether a fasting-mimicking diet could enhance the high-dose vitamin C tumour-fighting action by creating an environment that would be unsustainable for cancer cells but still safe for normal cells.

"Our first in vitro experiment showed remarkable effects. When used alone, fasting-mimicking diet or vitamin C alone reduced cancer cell growth and caused a minor increase in cancer cell death. But when used together, they had a dramatic effect, killing almost all cancerous cells," said Longo.

The study also provided clues about why previous studies of vitamin C as a potential anticancer therapy showed limited efficacy. By itself, a vitamin C treatment appears to trigger the KRAS-mutated cells to protect cancer cells by increasing levels of ferritin, a protein that binds iron.

During their investigation, scientists reduced levels of ferritin, which helped them increase vitamin C's toxicity for the cancer cells. And with this finding, they were also able discover that colorectal cancer patients with high levels of the iron-binding protein have a lower chance of survival.

"In this study, we observed how fasting-mimicking diet cycles are able to increase the effect of pharmacological doses of vitamin C against KRAS-mutated cancers," said Maira Di Tano, a study co-author at the IFOM, FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology in Milan, Italy.

"This occurs through the regulation of the levels of iron and of the molecular mechanisms involved in oxidative stress. The results particularly pointed to a gene that regulates iron levels: heme-oxygenase-1," added Tano.

The research team's prior studies have shown slow progression rate due to fast mimicking diet, making chemotherapy more effective in tumour cells while protecting normal cells from chemotherapy-associated side effects.

However, they stressed upon the fact that the combination of the diet with vitamin C enhances the immune system's anti-tumour response in breast cancer and melanoma mouse models.

The team's goal was to study if the non-toxic combination interventions would work in mice, and that it would look promising for human clinical trials.The team is now investigating the effects of the fasting-mimicking diets in combination with different cancer-fighting drugs.

(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)

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Combination Of Fasting Diet And Vitamin C Could Help Tough Cancer Treatment: Study - NDTV Food

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

Survival of the fittest for DTC brands – Retail Dive

Alex Song is CEO of Innovation Department. Views are the author's own.

While COVID-19 deals a major blow to almost every retail vertical (grocery, wellness and drug stores as the primary exceptions), direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are in an especially vulnerable state. Even before the pandemic turned consumer activity upside down, we were already seeing flaws in the DTC model. The implosion of athletic apparel company Outdoor Voices represented the wider trend of putting influencer status ahead of sound business practices. And the disastrous Casper IPO shined a light on the vulnerability of hot-out-of-the-gate brands that lack a solid plan for customer retention and longevity.

Already in 2020, we have seen Brandless and Super Heroic shut down and the Federal Trade Commission block the Harry's, Edgewell merger. The economic decline, unicorn bubble burst and disappointing news in the industry have turned the DTC landscape into a push for the survival of the fittest.

So what will it take for DTC brands to not only survive in this current environment but to thrive?

Facing an uncertain market, businesses around the world have taken the initial critical step: protecting their cash flow. Brands have taken actions within their control by limiting their expenses and fostering their marketing and sales pipelines.

The next move must be a careful analysis of the supply chain factors a business is far less able to control. Most factories are either closed or running at half capacity (at best) and fulfillment centers are operating at a reduced capacity while under directives to prioritize products deemed essential. Output has stalled and shipments are delayed. Each part of operations is vulnerable: sourcing, supply chain, fulfillment and distribution.

It's time to build beyond plan A, which has likely not been dependable since the beginning of March. DTC brands must account for ever-changing variables. For example, if a business has nurtured a relationship with a fantastic seller abroad, but customs delays mean the time from order to delivery is simply not sustainable, it's time to dig into the supplier landscape to explore new relationships.

This is no time to act out of desperation by sacrificing long-term sustainability for short-term wins. Growing DTC brands must remember the fundamentals of scaling. Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is bound to be lowest at the early life stages of a brand when customers looking for the next big thing are willing to overlook near-term sacrifices. But in later stages of growth, brands are pulling customers from the mainstream majority a more discerning audience so CAC will only become higher. At this phase of acquisition, a business must have a keen understanding of that customer's lifetime value to justify increased spending.

Even with digital advertising costs down in light of reduced competition, if brands simply try to fill the top of their funnel, without planning how they'll nurture leads to maximize lifetime value (LTV), they're setting themselves up for massive disappointment (and revenue loss) in the future.

Look at Casper. The DTC mattress brand's revenue may have grown by 43% from 2017 to 2018, but its overall economic earnings that represent cash flow went from negative $78 million to negative $95 million in the same period. After a customer purchased a mattress (a fairly easy sell), the brand had no significant plan for what would come next. End of relationship.

Meanwhile, Warby Parker took eyewear, a product traditionally associated with low customer LTV, and flipped the equation on its head by decreasing the cost. The brand made it common for customers to shift from one pair of everyday glasses to one for each outfit by offering affordable prices, stellar user experience, and engaging marketing. And they're now offering contact lenses, a product with even more powerful unit economics and reorder rates.

A tough economy is not the time to abandon marketing. It's the time to tweak it and become even more laser-focused on community engagement. While reduced budgets will force brands to sacrifice some of the more expensive mediums, staying engaged with customers is crucial. Glossier founder Emily Weiss has proven, perhaps better than anyone, the power of authentic community-building with the creation of her online beauty gathering, "Into the Gloss." Users sharing their interests, beauty tips, and favorite products built a community that not only resulted in sales but truly drove demand.

DTC brands can take a page out of Glossier's book and double down on their content strategy in a time when people are striving for authenticity and more human interactions (not sales calls). And considering it costs five times more to acquire a customer than to retain one, nurturing relationships is also a more budget-friendly way to steer marketing.

It was never a good idea to focus solely on one distribution channel. Harry's recognized the need for wider distribution and brilliantly partnered with Target in 2016. It is much more expensive to drive traffic to a business's own website than to piggyback on the clout of retail behemoths like Amazon, Target and Walmart. Plus, customer behavior naturally favors those bigger marketplaces. Two-thirds of shoppers begin their searches not on Google, but Amazon. If a business conducts all of its sales exclusively through its own channels, it removes itself from 66% of searches.

Now is the time for DTC brands to investigate diverse sales channels especially as the failure of other brands leaves both virtual and physical shelf space for new entrants.

Consumer habits will forever change as a result of COVID-19, and businesses have to keep up. We're not talking about a temporary glitch. Following the 2003 SARS outbreak in China and subsequent desire for more online vs. in-store shopping, Chinese retail king Alibaba saw its valuation grow to about $500 billion.

Customer behavior and marketplace dynamics are undergoing massive changes. With a disciplined operational plan and a little luck, DTC brands that survive will come out of this struggle stronger than ever.

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Survival of the fittest for DTC brands - Retail Dive

Recommendation and review posted by Alexandra Lee Anderson

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