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A Look At The Healthcare Jobs Of The Future

With each passing year comes a whole new series of ingenious innovations, especially in STEM fields. During this past year, a majority of the leading edge developments revolved around finding ways to improve upon the traditional standard of medical care by integrating more technology into the field of healthcare.

As we enter the first few months of the new year, companies all over the globe have found themselves in a mad dash to create 2021’s next big thing. As reported in the Apploi 2021 healthcare trends report, governments and private equity firms around the globe have finally begun to realize just how important holistic healthcare is.

Private equity firms alone have already invested a record of $1.37B this year and with the funds that governments have set aside for mental health initiatives – community care, a new approach to mental and physical health, appears to be this year’s next frontier.

The concept of community care is built on the idea of increasing the amount of interpersonal acts of compassion in order to provide a more well-rounded approach to medical care, but what does that actually look like?

The Impact of Community Care

future healthcare jobs

The community care approach to physical health would actually be based on a concept documented in a recent Lancet article that depicts an increase of monitoring devices installed in homes, on smartphones, in public places, and healthcare facilities that would have the ability to routinely record and upload patient data in real time.

This may raise some red flags as far as privacy is considered. Having access to raw, biometric, and physical data on patients would go a long way towards decoding the effects that a person’s social determinants can have on their health. Understanding those links would go a long way in being able to treat the whole patient rather than just their symptoms.

Now as the community care approach relates to improving mental healthcare, Apploi offers several solutions in their 2021 report. Last year’s big push to improve the standard of medical care has caused countless insurers and employers to re-examine their own care policies, which revealed several glaring gaps in protocol as it relates to gaining access to care.

Many have opted to rely on peer support in order to fill said gaps, causing peer support to become monetized in ways it’s never been. Several educational institutes have also agreed to adopt the community care technique, mainly by increasing their efforts to attract more underrepresented minority groups in the hopes that the psychiatric field will one day include a more diverse workforce.

The Future of Mental Healthcare

healthcare jobs of the future for mental health

Universal mental health screenings will soon become a routine, societal norm within primary, community, and long-term care in order to help identify if someone is feeling symptoms and intervene as early as possible. Increasing the public visibility when dealing with mental health will significantly contribute to reducing societal stigmas while simultaneously increasing the access to care, another important factor in being able to treat the patient as a whole.

It wasn’t until very recently that projects like this one wouldn’t have been immediately labeled as excessive or too cost-prohibitive to sustain. Luckily, Apploi didn’t waste any time in advocating for better. For far too long patient healthcare has been viewed in how many zeros it could generate at the end of a check rather than how much good it could do.

The community care approach may prove to be more expensive than other methods in the beginning; however, the light it shines on traditionally taboo aspects of the field is invaluable. Hopefully widespread implementation, especially as it applies to the mental health aspect of the plan, will eventually lead to the end of the societal stigma and ability to finally give mental healthcare “the attention and the funding it deserves”.

Achieving that would be momentous as studies show that with heightened awareness and enough funding, the market size for behavioral health is projected to reach USD $350B by 2025 alone. The medical advances of 2020 have certainly proved to advance the standard of medical care up to a certain point, but it is Apploi’s community care proposal that is going to take up all the way. What do you think the healthcare jobs of the future will look like?

Please include attribution to https://apploi.com/ with this graphic.

Apploi’s 2021 Healthcare Trends Report

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Startups at CES showed how tech can help elderly people and their caregivers

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a harsh spotlight on the challenges many elderly people face. Older adults are among the highest-risk groups for developing cases that need hospitalization and nursing homes were especially vulnerable to outbreaks. While dealing with COVID-19, the elderly have also faced many other problems, including the difficulty of accessing medical care for chronic conditions during lockdowns and isolation.

Many of these issues won’t go away after the pandemic. According to the United Nations, the global population of people 65 and over is growing faster than any other age group. At the same time, there is a critical shortage of caregivers, especially for elderly people who want to continue living at home instead of moving into nursing homes.

Tech can help in many ways: by helping caregivers (and reducing burnout), allowing seniors to perform health monitoring at home and creating tools to combat isolation. During CES, there were several “age-tech” presentations. One of the most notable was AARP Innovation Lab, the non-profit’s startup accelerator program. It presented nine companies at the virtual show.

Zibrio's smart scale for assessing postural stability, or balance

Zibrio’s smart scale for assessing postural stability, or balance

One common theme among AARP’s group was tech that helps elderly people “age in place,” or stay in their homes or communities instead of moving into a nursing home. For example, Wheel Pad designs accessible home and work spaces that can be installed into existing structures and sites. Mighty Health is an app that pairs users with health coaches, certified trainers and personalized nutrition plans, while Zibrio, a scale that assesses users’ balance to predict if they are at risk for a fall, can also be incorporated into at-home routines.

Other startups from AARP Innovation Lab focus on helping caregivers, too. For example, FallCall Solutions’ creates Apple Watch apps that send alerts if a fall is detected and help family members check on users. Another app, called Ianacare, helps family members coordinate caregiving tasks and ask for support. End-of-life planning is one of the most emotionally difficult processes for families, and Cake, an “end-of-life platform” helps by providing tools for estate and health care planning, as well as resources to help relatives cope with caregiving issues and grief.

Other startups center on medical care. For people with chronic conditions, Folia Health helps monitor the progress of treatments. On the clinical side, Embleema’s software allows clinical investigators to share data and design studies, making pharmaceutical research more efficient.

Other noteworthy age-tech startups at CES included Nobi, a smart lamp that automatically turns on when users stand up and sends alerts to family members if they fall. Nobi can also be used in residences and nursing homes.

Caregiver Smart Solution's app for caregivers to coordinate tasks

Caregiver Smart Solution’s app for caregivers to coordinate tasks

Caregiver Smart Solutions is a multi-faceted platform that makes it easier for seniors to stay at home with a machine learning-based app for early detection of potential health issues, fall sensors, monitors and emergency buttons. For people with incontinence, DFree, a wearable device, can reduce stress by monitoring how full their bladder is with an ultrasound sensor and keeping track of their average time between bathroom visits. It’s available for both consumers and health care facilities.

A diagram of companion robot Cutii's features

A diagram of companion robot Cutii’s features

For elderly people living in nursing homes, Rendever is a virtual reality platform that wants to help reduce isolation. It can be used with reminiscence therapy, which guides individuals with dementia through experiences that remind them of their pasts, and to allow virtual travel to landmarks. Cutii, a companion robot, also seeks to reduce loneliness. While companion robots have been a mainstay of CES for years, Cutii sets itself apart with entertainment like music, games and live events. It also has video call and night patrol features.

5 Easy & Healthy Tips to Stop Smoking

Cigarette smoking is injurious to health. Anti-smoking advertisements first started in the late 1960s and have been a significant global campaign ever since. Whether it is a motion picture or an advertisement; cigarette smoking scenes always come with a statutory warning that it is cancerous.

There are multiple health risks involved due to cigarette smoking and it has been proven numerous times. Despite public awareness, it is difficult to suddenly wake up one day and stop. Smoking is mostly done to cope with anxiety, stress, boredom, and even depression. To stop a daily habit is tough, but to stop an addiction is challenging. Sudden withdrawal leads to craving, weakness, mood swings, sweats, etc.

The battle against cigarette smoking is won halfway when you decide to quit and work on your routine and habits. Take a look at the following easy tips to follow to quit smoking.

Involve your family and friends

The best way to initiate this journey is to intimate your friends, family, colleagues, etc. Most of the time, it is due to your social circle that influences you to smoke. It is important to address daily habits and routines but more importantly, you must make a declaration so that they can support you through this journey.

Firstly, your peers who smoke would not offer or invite you to smoke. Secondly, your family members would stop you from smoking or distract you from craving for it. The journey is challenging. However, constant support and encouragement from people around you will make all the difference.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Nicotine is the core addictive agent in cigarettes. This is the reason behind the shocking and discomforting withdrawal symptoms after you quit. With NRT, you are provided a small quantity of nicotine sans the toxic agents that are found in tobacco cigarettes.

Symptoms like nausea, insomnia, cravings, mood swings, etc., can be regulated and controlled through Nicotine Replacement Therapy. It is available in the form of lozenges, patches, inhalers, sprays, and gums.

Patches work slower compared to lozenges, gum, inhalers, and sprays. However, the effect lasts for a longer time. Mostly, the latter is recommended for intense cravings. Instead of using a single NRT product, a combination of NRT products is mostly advised.

Dietary changes

tips on how to stop smoking

Every addiction withdrawal syndrome has an indirect connection with your diet. The same is the case with smoking. A study revealed that most people like to smoke a cigarette after a heavy meaty meal. On the other hand, foods like vegetables, fruits, and cheese do not make you crave a cigarette.

Another study revealed that smoking after a meal increases the risks of lung and bowel cancer. Therefore, swap your filet mignon with a fresh veggie pizza.

Also, regulate the consumption of fizzy drinks, alcohol, and caffeine-rich beverages like coffee or tea. These drinks enhance the flavor of cigarette smoking. Therefore, opt for fresh juices or water while you are out clubbing or meeting friends for meals.

Another habit to adopt should be to engage immediately after your meals. You could either sit with your family to talk or do the dishes. Anything to distract you from craving for an after-meal puff.

Therapies & Support Groups

There are a number of things you could rely on to distract and heal yourself. Indulge in therapies like acupuncture that is known to release endorphins that relax the body. This would help in controlling withdrawal symptoms.

Another great tip is behavioral therapy, which helps an individual adopt a new lifestyle and learn new habits and skills. Good habits come from adopting a healthy lifestyle and ritual every single day.

Hypnosis is another great way to have you relaxed and determined to quit smoking. Consult expert hypnotists who have experience in a similar case like yours.

Nothing is better than spending time with people who are sailing on the same boat as you. Join a support group that would help you quit smoking and stay motivated to stick to this new journey.

Make a list of reasons to quit

tip on how to stop smoking

The life expectancy of a smoker cuts down ten years shorter than non-smokers. So, motivate yourself to stay determined by listing reasons that would make you give up smoking, whether that’s starting a family, becoming an athlete, or both. List them as reminders to keep going.

All in all, the above tips would help you give up smoking once and for all. Remember to stay positive throughout the journey. It would be best if you stay determined and go slow and not go cold turkey.

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How Advances in Medical Technology Will Improve Nursing Homes

As America marches further into the twenty-first century, the nation’s population continues to get older. By 2030, the first of the 77 million baby boomers will reach the age of 85. In 2034, seniors will outnumber children for the first time in the nation’s history. Of this growing group of senior citizens, 3 in 4 of them will require high-level, long term care. This likely means they will need a nursing home.

Despite the continuous upward trajectory of demand, nursing homes are unpopular among Americans. Only 19% of those polled think that nursing homes make seniors better off. So how do people end up in nursing homes? It happens because seniors can no longer care for themselves. Most don’t possess the resources to pursue other alternatives.

The average nursing home resident needs 4 hours of personalized nursing care every day due to diseases like dementia or arthritis. For most nursing home residents, 2 or more daily tasks are impossible for them to accomplish alone. Care like that is hard to achieve outside of a nursing home.

how do technology affect elderly

Unfortunately, meeting senior’s medical needs currently isolates them socially. Moving away from friends, familiar places, and well-established routines causes depression in 40% of seniors. 55% of residents said they didn’t see enough of their families, something that generates a sense of loss and abandonment in nursing home populations.

These social woes don’t just leave emotional wounds; they worsen individuals’ physical health as well. Loneliness has been linked to a 400% increase in mortality, 68% increase in hospitalization, and 50% increased chance of developing dementia.

18% of all suicide deaths come from senior citizens, a greater proportion than any other age group. For senior citizens to make it through so much life only to end it in a state of misery is a tragedy that both can and should be prevented.

It is vital for nursing homes to change their ways. They have to find methods to either increase social outcomes for residents or give seniors the tools they need to maintain old routines and live outside nursing homes.

As Rosalie Kane, Ph.D. professor at the University of Minnesota, said, “nursing homes are places to live… Health care needs might be met at the expense of drastically changing someone’s daily life and routines for the worse. The challenge is to pay attention to quality of life as an outcome in itself, and see how health care may be related to quality of life.”

Advances in medical technology are improving nursing home care quality all across the board. Some of these innovations can even help seniors regain independence and return home. Technology that is available today includes Aiva voice assistant, which gives seniors an easier way to communicate with other residents, family members, and caregivers without physical proximity.

Nothing beats in-person gathering, but helping seniors stay in touch with the people they left behind in their move to a nursing home is one way to improve emotional and mental health outcomes. Another new innovation that is currently available is Solo-Step, a rehabilitation harness that prevents fall-related injuries, letting users walk without the assistance of another person. These devices are available for installation already, and the longer they’re on the market, the more chances they’ll have to spread to nursing homes across the country.

solo step rehabilitation harness
Via solostep.com

Other innovations that are still in development include The Kidney Project, an artificial kidney that would remove the need for dialysis at one third the cost, and Neuro Rehab VR, which uses cutting edge VR (virtual reality) tech to help individuals recover from stroke and brain injuries.

Neuro Rehab will incorporate physical therapy programs customizable to each patient’s need and operate with a video game-like interface to motivate a speedier recovery. New inventions have the potential to give aging people a chance at a brighter future in spite of the difficulties they currently face.

As Elaine Ryan, Vice President of Government Affairs for State Advocacy at AARP, says, “[current events have] made us painfully aware that we can’t ignore our most vulnerable people. Americans always respond to a crisis. And there is hope that, with innovative ideas and bold action, they will again.”

Source

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Anxiety Buster: A Three-Step System To Help You Get Rid of Panic Attacks

Have you been struggling with anxiety? Then tell me if this sounds familiar:

  • You’re on edge – and on the verge of tears – almost all the time and you don’t know why.
  • Sometimes, you get really jittery and lose focus, even if you’re in the middle of a task at work
  • You’ve had times where you thought you had no control over your body. You had a bubbly feeling in your stomach, and you were gasping for air with every breath. And maybe you even got so nervous, you worried you were going to die.

If you’re suffering from panic attacks, these sensations might seem incredibly familiar to you… but when you really think about it, they just don’t make any sense.

In your mind, you know you are safe – and yet you feel like your life is in danger. Your anxiety levels skyrocket and you see it coming: your next panic attack. You hope it wouldn’t be in public and that people wouldn’t notice… but they might. You panic even more, your mind racing and you’re out of breath.

I can totally relate to how you are feeling.

Having dealt with anxiety before, I know it’s not an easy feeling. But in the past two years, I’ve discovered a three-step process that has helped me bust my anxiety and get rid of panic attacks for good. Today, I’d like to share this system with you.

Step 1: Allow yourself to feel the fear

Panic attacks are a clear sign that you’ve been suppressing fearful emotions in your day-to-day life. Instead of allowing yourself to feel the fear when it hits, you try to hide it and as your mountain of fear grows, it becomes harder and harder to suppress – until it eventually triggers severe anxiety or panic attacks.

During a panic attack, you lose control of your emotions and all that built-fear is finally released. As such, you can think of panic attacks as a cleansing mechanism of your body to get rid of excess fear.

Now, of course, panic attacks are not a particularly pleasant experience – and I can imagine that you want to find less stressful, healthier ways to deal with your emotions.

That’s why, the next time you feel on edge (or have a full-blown panic attack), try to lean in to the fear.

If you’ve never let yourself feel your fear before, it can be scary. You might even start shaking or hyperventilating, and you might worry that your life is going to end. I’ve been in that mind-space before, and I can tell you: a panic attack won’t kill you.

No need to obsess about your health, just try to breathe as calmly as possible, and let whatever happens happen.

Step 2: Let your anxiety spread through your entire body

getting rid of panic attacks

Your anxiety, no matter how bad it seems, is only a temporary state. You might feel like your panic is endless, and you might be so trapped in your emotions that you lose track of time and feel threatened in the present.

But even during a panic attack, you might be able to remember that you once felt differently, whether you were happy or angry. And to get out of your present, uncomfortable state as quickly as possible, you need to let your anxiety spread through your entire body.

You can also turn this into a game: see if you can feel your anxiety in your hands, wrists, and elbows. See if you can make it spread up all the way up to your shoulders, to your heart and chest and into your stomach. Take it from your stomach through your liver and kidneys to your pelvis. Gently shift your fear from your pelvis to your thighs and down your legs – all the way to your feet and into the ground.

Keep focusing on your breath as you relive all the thoughts that contributed to your fear, and you’ll soon notice that your panic begins to fade.

Step 3: Let go of your panic and open up to the next emotion that comes your way

It’s important to avoid staying trapped in your panic and fearful thoughts. Therefore, once you have fully felt all the negative emotions, mentally prepare to let go of your fear. You can visualise your panic dissipating, with the waves of fear gently moving on and away from your body.

Extend a warm welcome to the next sensations that come your way – whether they’re a feeling of relief, exhaustion or happiness.

You’ll feel much better afterwards – and gradually your panic attacks will become less and less frequent until they disappear altogether (at least that’s what happened for me).

Final thoughts

get rid of panic attacks

This simple system has changed my life – through it, I’ve been able to overcome my anxiety without medication and I’ve been panic-free for the past six months. I am sure you can get similar results if you apply this anxiety-busting system regularly. But if you are having a rough time, or if you struggle with severe anxiety and depression, do reach out to doctors, counsellors or therapists in your area to get professional help.

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Exercise Equipment Review: Best Stuff for Effective Home Training

The recent world pandemic is a threat to your fitness too. People worldwide are worried that staying leisurely at home will add to the excess calories in the body. We know that the gyms are closed, hence, you cannot depend on the gym equipment for an efficient workout. But have you ever given a thought to home training? If not, then do think of the facilities provided by home training.

Firstly, you don’t have to pay any membership fees in your own home. Secondly, you can exercise freely away from people’s eyes, and thirdly, you don’t have to depend on the gym time table for a workout session. You just need to spend a moderate amount of money to buy the best equipment to set your own home gym.

If you are worried about space consumption by the home training equipment, then the good news is that many gym equipment companies manufacture small, space-friendly equipment. Read on to know more about such equipment.

Dumbbells

If you have less space, dumbbells are going to be of great help to you for maintaining your arms, abs, and back. They are the best home strength training equipment that can be kept anywhere and do not demand much maintenance. Dumbbells come in different sizes. We suggest you to invest in the size that you are most comfortable with.

Do not pick one that’s too heavy if you are just a beginner. Start with the lighter ones and then target for the heavier ones. Weight training at home with dumbbells will help you maintain your body shape perfectly.

We also recommend you buy brands that manufacture dumbbells made of cast iron and are coated with neoprene. The neoprene coating makes the dumbbell durable and non-slippery. The non-slippery texture will help you exercise effectively, even when sweating profusely.

A Yoga Mat

exercise equipment yoga mat review

The benefits of yoga are widely known. Therefore, yoga is an essential part of home training. But to ensure an effective yoga session, you will have to invest in a good yoga mat that will help you exercise with comfort.

A yoga mat is highly suggested for home training because performing yoga on the floor can hurt your back. If you are planning to use a towel or a carpet instead, then know that the postures you can perform are limited. Hence, it is always advisable to buy a yoga mat.

Invest in a yoga mat that has a non-slippery surface on both tides. This will help you avoid falling while doing hard yoga postures. We also suggest you invest in a yoga mat with moisture-control technology that will ensure the mat’s easy maintenance. Certain yoga postures will also help you in strength training at home without equipment.

A Jumping Rope

A jumping rope is one of the best cardio equipment. It is also proven that around 10 minutes of workout using a jumping rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging. Therefore, it is a must for your home training equipment collection.

A jumping rope is a great burnout equipment to use to strengthen the intensity of other exercises. You can use it for a two-minute burnout while performing squats, push-ups, bicycle kicks, and so on. For a more intense result, we suggest you use a weighted jumping rope. A weighted jumping rope is an amazing equipment for weight training for women at home. Also, invest in a rope whose size is adjustable as per your convenience.

Kettlebells

If you have always wondered how to do strength training at home, then kettlebells answer that. Unlike dumbbells, kettlebells do not have the weight proportionately divided throughout. We do not recommend kettlebells for strength training for beginners at home because they require more skill and strength. Beginners can stick to dumbbells.

Kettlebells help you strengthen your core, back, arms, and also legs. Therefore, it helps you to keep your entire body healthy. Kettlebell as a home training equipment provides a lot of freedom as it comes in different weights. Therefore, you must own kettlebells for effective weight training at home.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands might look negligible in front of dumbbells or kettlebells, but trust us, they are one of the best equipment for strength training at home. These bands add resistance to workouts like donkey kicks, jumping squats, hip bridges, and so on.

Resistance bands stimulate the workouts by pushing the muscles to work harder. You must invest in these bands for powerful resistance training at home. They come in three different resistance levels: light, medium, and heavy. Most of the bands are made of plastic, but the problem with plastic bands is that they affect the workout by rolling up the thighs.

Therefore, we recommend you invest in wider cotton bands since they remain fixed throughout the home training session.

Medicine Balls

Medicine balls are highly recommended for strength training for weight loss at home. With these, you can do a lot of abdominal workouts to lose belly fat. Thus, medicine balls are perfect home training equipment for a full body workout.

Moreover, you can perform different high-intensity interval workouts using the equipment. It also does not require much space in your home and is easy to maintain. Therefore, squeeze out the benefits of a medicine ball at its best during home training.

Treadmill

Treadmill, undoubtedly, is the best training equipment for high-intensity interval training workouts at home. You can perform robust cardio by running indoors on a treadmill, which will help you to keep your heart healthy and build your core.

We suggest you invest in a treadmill with back wheels so that you can move it easily whenever and wherever required. Also, it will be better if you can find a brand that offers a foldable treadmill. A foldable treadmill is easy to store and is more convenient.

Ankle and Wrist Weights

Every part of your body deserves equal attention in a workout session. Therefore, you must also invest in ankle and wrist weights. This helps you to gain the benefits of home health aide training. When you have strong wrists and ankles, you can perform a lot of other exercises smoothly.

They help gain a free range of motion and create a more challenging home training session. You can wear these weights while doing any leg and arm exercises. When you use them, you increase the load against gravity, which helps you increase your body strength.

A Stationary Bike

exercise equipment stationary bike review

Cycling is known to be an effective workout for years. We know that the pandemic might have curbed your movements outside the house. So to continue enjoying the benefits of cycling, it will be beneficial to install a stationary bike in your home training area. A stationary bike helps to strengthen your arms and legs. It also helps your body build resistance at different levels.

We suggest you invest in a bike that has an LCD showing the time spent and the number of calories burnt in every cycling session. Make sure that you add cycling to your fitness regime to keep your whole body fit and strong.

Massage Rollers

Massage rollers help you plan a post-workout routine that can make your body overcome soreness due to the overworking of muscles. You can use a massage roller in almost every part like your legs, quads, and stomach. Massage rollers are also decent equipment for a waist training exercise at home.

A roller helps your body to relieve the stress after a workout. You can also use it to alleviate stress and make your day less tiring. It does so by increasing the ease of blood flow in the body. When your body gets more blood supply, it relieves you and helps increase your energy levels. Therefore, you must buy a roller for its post-workout benefits during home training.

Conclusion

We hope that you have learned about the right equipment you need to build a perfect home training set-up for yourself. Always remember that you have one body, and that body is your most important asset for the entirety of your life. Therefore, it is very important to spend time and a little part of your income to care for yourself.

Working out also helps in building a stronger immune system, and we all know how important it is to have strong immunity, especially these days. When are you planning to build a home training environment for yourself and which equipment will you install? Do keep us updated!

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Tencent backs Chinese healthcare portal DXY in $500M round

DXY, a 20-year-old online healthcare community for Chinese consumers and healthcare organizations like Pfizer, announced this week that it has raised $500 million in its Series E round led by private equity firm Trustbridge Partners.

Existing backer Tencent and Hillhouse Capital’s early-stage focused GL Ventures also participated in the round, which lifted the firm’s total funding to over $680 million to date. DXY’s earlier investors include Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital, Legend Capital and DCM.

The company started out as a knowledge-sharing platform for doctors and has over time added a consumer-facing aspect by bringing wellness advice and medical consultation services to the public, that is, steps that patients can take at home before having to go to the hospital.

As the pandemic took hold, hospitals and people around the world rushed to shift their activities online, spurring demand for healthcare apps. DXY responded swiftly and was among the first in China to introduce a real-time COVID-19 tracker at the beginning of the outbreak.

Today, healthcare organizations can also use DXY as an advertising channel, a learning platform as well as a recruiting site, ways for the company to generate revenue.

Since its inception, the site has attracted some 130 million consumers, more than 9,000 medical institutions, and 50,000 doctors who have provided online consultation. The platform has a current user base of 20 million and counts Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca among its major clients.

DXY plans to spend its new proceeds on buttressing the two pillars of its business — support for healthcare professionals and services for consumers. It will do so by strengthening cooperation with hospitals, consumer goods enterprises and pharmaceutical companies, including jointly funding R&D in products or new consumer applications.

On the consumer front, the company faces some strong opponents in China including the likes of SoftBank-backed Ping An Good Doctor, Alibaba Health, JD Health, and WeDoctor, which is also backed by Tencent.

The article is updated on December 29, 2020 with more details on the investment.

FDA authorizes Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, as expected after an independent panel commissioned by the administration recommended its approval earlier this week. This is the second vaccine now authorized for use in the U.S. under EUA, after the Pfizer -BioNTech vaccine was approved last week.

Moderna’s vaccine could begin being administered to Americans by “Monday or Tuesday” next week, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking to NBC’s Today show in a new interview. That’s in keeping with the timelines between the Pfizer EUA and the first patients actually receiving the vaccine last week.

Like Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s is an mRNA therapy. That means that it contains no actual virus — just genetic instructions that tell a person’s body to create a specific protein. That protein is more or less identical to the one that SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, uses to attach to a host’s cells and replicate. Moderna’s vaccine causes a person to create just the protein, which on its own is harmless, and then their natural defenses via their immune system react to that and develop a method for fighting it off. That defense system is “remembered” by the body, while the vaccine itself naturally dissolves after a brief time, leaving a person with immunity but nothing else.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has yet to be approved for use in the U.S., uses a weakened and modified common cold virus that doesn’t spread in humans to create the spike protein in recipients, resulting in the body generating its own immune response. That’s a much more tried-and-tested method for creating a vaccine, but both Moderna and Pfizer’s mRNA therapies have shown to be very effective in preliminary data from their large Phase 3 clinical trials.

FDA grants emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, distribution to begin within days

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, the New York Times first reported on Friday night, and later supported by The Wall Street Journal. This EUA follows a recommendation by an independent panel of experts commissioned by the FDA to review Pfizer’s application and provide a recommendation, which the panel unanimously supported earlier this week.

Following this authorization, shipment of the vaccine are expected to begin immediately, with 2.9 million doses in the initial shipment order. Patients in the category of highly vulnerable individuals, which include healthcare workers and senior citizens in long-term care facilities, are expected to begin receiving doses within just a few days not was the EUA is granted.

This approval isn’t a full certification by the U.S. therapeutics regulator, but it is an emergency measure that still requires a comprehensive review of the available information supplied by Pfizer based on its Phase 3 clinical trial, which covered a group of 44,000 volunteer participants. Pfizer found that its vaccine, which is an mRNA-based treatment, was 95% effective in its final analysis of the data resulting form the trial to date – and also found that safety data indicated no significant safety issues in patients who received the vaccine.

On top of the initial 2.9 million dose order, the U.S. intends to distribute around 25 million doses by the end of 2020, which could result in far fewer people actually vaccinated since the Pfizer course requires two innoculations for maximum efficacy. Most American shouldn’t expect the vaccine to be available until at least late Q1 or Q2 2021, given the pace of Pfizer’s production and the U.S. order volume.

Still, this is a promising first step, and a monumental achievement in terms of vaccine development turnaround time, since it’s been roughly eight months since work began on the Pfizer vaccine candidate. Moderna has also submitted an EUA for its vaccine candidate, which is also an mRNA treatment (which provides instructions to a person’s cells to produce effective countermeasures to the virus). That could follow shortly, meaning two vaccines might be available under EUA within the U.S. before the end of the year.

How Alibaba and JD.com compare in their healthcare endeavors

China’s tech circle is shifting its attention to online healthcare this week as JD Health is set to go public in one of Hong Kong’s largest IPOs this year.

Like Amazon, China’s e-commerce firms Alibaba and JD.com have been working to conquer the massive healthcare industry. The offerings are wide-ranging, reaching everything from around-the-clock delivery of medicines, sale of consumer health services like plastic surgery, online diagnosis for patients, to digital solutions for hospitals (like appointment-booking) and advertising services for drugmakers.

Alibaba Health began as an investment portfolio of the e-commerce firm and grew into a subsidiary through episodes of consolidations over the years. JD Health, on the other hand, was spun out from JD.com in 2019 and quickly began to attract flows of large investments.

The move into healthcare is part of the behemoths’ goal to be a one-stop-shop for everything. Here are some numbers for gauging how the digital health giants compare with each other:

Revenue

In terms of revenue sources, both companies rely mostly on the sales of medicines (both over-the-counter and prescription) and other healthcare products like vitamin supplements. Both have a direct-to-consumer drug business, whereby they are more involved in the supply chains, but they also serve as a marketplace for third-party suppliers, in which case they monetize by charging commission fees. They each have a smaller but growing services segment targeting consumers, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

Alibaba Health – 7 billion yuan or $1.07 billion (six months ended September)

JD Health – 8.8 billion yuan or $1.35 billion (six months ended June)

Profitability

Alibaba Health posted its first profitable earnings this year, pocketing 278.6 million yuan in the six months ended September, up from a loss of 7.6 million yuan from the same period last year.

In the six months ended June, JD Health incurred a loss of 5.4 billion yuan, compared to a profit of 236.3 million yuan in the same period of 2019. The loss was mainly due to fair value changes after issuing additional convertible preferred shares.

Active users

Though Alibaba Health generated less revenue, the platform enjoys a larger user base, thanks to Alibaba’s sprawling ecosystem. In the year ended June, a total of 250 million users made purchases through the online pharmacy of Tmall, Alibaba’s business-to-consumer marketplace. Meanwhile, Alibaba Health’s direct-to-consumer drugstore saw 65 million annual active users.

In comparison, 72.5 million people had at least made one purchase through JD Health’s platform in the past year.

Doctor resources

Both companies provide online health consultation services, which saw a surge in demand during the COVID-19 outbreak. Alibaba Health had a network of over 39,000 doctors by September, compared to JD Health’s pool of over 65,000 doctors, both in-house and third-party.

Sleepwalking: Causes, Treatments, and Common Myths

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about sleep? Chances are, it’s cozy beds, lazy mornings, and that pang of sadness at the thought that you’re not getting as much as you’d like.

But for so-called sleepwalkers, sleep is associated with entirely different feelings. These include mystery, adventure, and, sometimes, even danger.

Sleepwalking has been a fascinating phenomenon for centuries. Equally represented in classical art (Shakespeare’s Macbeth or Bellini’s La Sonnambula), pop culture, and thrilling news articles, it’s a captivating subject for both doctors and laymen.

But why do people sleepwalk? And is there anything you can do about it?

Somnambulism

people sleepwalk

According to its simplest definition, sleepwalking or somnambulism is “an abnormal condition of sleep in which motor acts (such as walking) are performed.” It affects 6.9% of the world’s population but it is prevalent among children, with adults suffering much less often.

The act of sleepwalking happens in the NREM (deep) phase of sleep, approximately two hours after falling asleep. Most people affected will sit up, walk around, or talk during a sleepwalking episode. Nonetheless, there have been reports of people doing more complex actions as well, like leaving their house or even driving.

Although the condition is still a relative mystery, we know that it’s most often caused by:

  • insufficient rest
  • stress and anxiety
  • fever
  • substance abuse
  • breathing issues such as sleep apnea
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • medications like Ambien

But wait, there’s more – patients rarely remember their actions during the night, but they will often feel the consequences of poor sleep the following day. Most often, they will feel exhausted, find it difficult to focus, and suffer from a bad mood.

Some research suggests that somnambulism in adulthood could cause health issues like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive deterioration. For this reason, it needs to be understood and treated – particularly if it still occurs regularly after childhood.

The Myths

Seeing that somnambulism is a strange occurrence and relatively rare after adolescence, there are many misconceptions about it.

Perhaps the most common one is that you should never wake up a sleepwalker, as it may cause them harm.

Now, while some sleepwalkers may become agitated or show resistance when you try to help them during the night, this is nothing but a myth. If a loved one is a somnambulist and they’re performing actions that may cause them or others harm, you should always try to get them to safety.

While waking them up may be the easiest solution, it could cause disorientation. So, gently guiding them back to bed is going to be your best course of action.

Another common misconception about the condition is that it’s harmless. And, yes, in most cases, this is true. However, some patients may suffer from more severe symptoms. These could require more elaborate precautions.

If you or a person in your household has a tendency to do more complex actions in their sleep, you will need to have a few safety rituals in place:

  • Make sure that you lock all doors and windows.
  • Hide keys and put dangerous items out of reach.
  • Finally, remove tripping hazards, and do your best to make the space as safe as possible.

This way, you’ll have done your best to prevent any accidents.

Sleepwalking Treatments

Unfortunately, there is still no such thing as a 100% effective treatment for sleepwalking. Instead, for most somnambulists, the goal will be to address any underlying causes and hope that sleep patterns will return to normal as a consequence. And the most obvious place to start is taking a closer look at sleeping habits and patterns.

For most people, the cause of sleepwalking is exhaustion or a breathing problem. In these cases, taking steps to fix these issues should decrease the chances of the episodes repeating themselves. Positive sleep hygiene has multiple benefits on overall health. Not only is it an effective self-care tactic, but it could also be the only treatment required for sleepwalking.

Stress can also increase the chances of somnambulist activity. So, addressing stress levels during the day and finding effective ways to relax before bedtime can lower the likelihood of sleepwalking. Overall, it’s not a bad idea to do some light exercise during the day, take a warm bath before bed, and do some reading. All these actions may help the body and mind wind down and prepare for a good night’s sleep.

why people sleepwalk

Of course, the symptoms could be caused by medication, illness, or substance abuse. In these cases, you should consult with a medical professional. They will adjust drug dosage, prescribe medication, or introduce therapy such as anticipatory awakenings. These will help prevent unwanted nighttime activity and the chances of serious injury.

The Takeaway

As you can imagine, sleepwalking is a complicated occurrence. The medical community is still trying to figure out all the causes and best treatments. Notwithstanding, the consensus is that it tends to be a harmless habit.

If you’re a parent of a somnambulist child, start by paying closer attention to their sleeping habits and bedtime routine. Make small changes. Try to manage energy and stress levels and ensure they’re getting enough sleep during the night. This may be all the remedy they need.

If, however, the condition continues into adulthood, it’s not a bad idea to consult with a medical professional. Generally, a doctor will have a better way to diagnose and treat somnambulism. They will detect any underlying causes and prescribe the right therapy. This way, they’ll be able to keep you or your loved ones safe from unwanted nighttime adventures.

The post Sleepwalking: Causes, Treatments, and Common Myths appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

YC-backed LemonBox raises $2.5M bringing vitamins to Chinese millennials

Like many overseas Chinese, Derek Weng gets shopping requests from his family and friends whenever he returns to China. Some of the most wanted imported products are maternity items, cosmetics, and vitamin supplements. Many in China still uphold the belief that “imported products are better.”

The demand gave Weng a business idea. In 2018, he founded LemonBox to sell American health supplements to Chinese millennials like himself via online channels. The company soon attracted seed funding from Y Combinator and just this week, it announced the completion of a pre-A round of $2.5 million led by Panda Capital and followed by Y Combinator .

LemonBox tries to differentiate itself from other import businesses on two levels — affordability and personalization. Weng, who previously worked at Walmart where he was involved in the retail giant’s China import business, told TechCrunch that he’s acquainted with a lot of American supplement manufacturers and is thus able to cut middleman costs.

“In China, most supplements are sold at a big markup through pharmacies or multi-level marketing companies like Amway,” Weng said. “But vitamins aren’t that expensive to produce. Amway and the likes spend a lot on marketing and sales.”

Inside LemonBox’s fulfillment center

LemonBox designed a WeChat-based lite app, where users receive product recommendations after taking a questionnaire about their health conditions. Instead of selling by the bottle, the company customizes user needs by offering daily packs of various supplements.

“If you are a vegetarian and travel a lot, and the other person smokes a lot, [your demands] are going to be very different. I wanted to customize user prescriptions using big data,” explained Weng, who studied artificial intelligence in business school.

A monthly basket of 30 B-complex tablets, for instance, costs 35 yuan ($5) on LemonBox. Amway’s counterpart product, a bottle of 120 tablets, asks for 229 yuan on JD.com. That’s about 57 yuan ($9) for 30 tablets.

Selling cheaper vitamins is just a means for LemonBox to attract consumers and gather health insights into Chinese millennials, with which the company hopes to widen its product range. Weng declined to disclose the company’s customer size, but claimed that its user conversion rate is “higher than most e-commerce sites.”

With the new proceeds, LemonBox is opening a second fulfillment center in the Shenzhen free trade zone after its Silicon Valley-based one. That’s to provide more stability to its supply chain as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts international flights and cross-border trade. Moreover, the startup will spend the money on securing health-related certificates and adding Japan to its sourcing regions.

Returnees adapt

Screenshot of Lemonbox’s WeChat-based store

In the decade or so when Weng was living in the U.S., the Chinese internet saw drastic changes and gave rise to an industry largely in the grip of Alibaba and Tencent. Weng realized he couldn’t simply replicate America’s direct-to-customer playbook in China.

“In the U.S., you might build a website and maybe an app. You will embed your service into Google, Facebook, or Instagram to market your products. Every continent is connected with one other,” said Weng.

“In China, it’s pretty significantly different. First off, not a lot of people use web browsers, but everyone is on mobile phones. Baidu is not as popular as Google, but everybody is using WeChat, and WeChat is isolated from other major traffic platforms.”

As such, LemonBox is looking to diversify beyond its WeChat store by launching a web version as well as a store through Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace.

“There’s a lot of learning to be done. It’s a very humbling experience,” said Weng.

Singapore-based mental health app Intellect reaches one million users, closes seed funding

Theodoric Chew, co-founder and chief executive officer of mental health app Intellect

Theodoric Chew, co-founder and chief executive officer of mental health app Intellect

Intellect, a Singapore-based startup that wants to lower barriers to mental health care in Asia, says it has reached more than one million users just six months after launching. Google also announced today that the startup’s consumer app, also called Intellect, is one of its picks for best personal growth apps of 2020.

The company recently closed an undisclosed seed round led by Insignia Ventures Partners. Angel investors including e-commerce platform Carousell co-founder and chief executive officer Quek Siu Rui; former Sequoia partner Tim Lee; and startup consultancy xto10x’s Southeast Asia CEO J.J. Chai also participated.

In a statement, Insignia Ventures Partners principal Samir Chaibi said, “In Intellect, we see a fast-scaling platform addressing a pain that has become very obvious amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that pairing clinically-backed protocols with an efficient mobile-first delivery is the key to break down the barriers to access for millions of patients globally.”

Co-founder and chief executive officer Theodoric Chew launched Intellect earlier this year because while there is a growing pool of mental wellness apps in the United States and Europe that have attracted more funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, the space is still very young in Asia. Intellect’s goal is encourage more people to incorporate mental health care into their daily routines by lowering barriers like high costs and social stigma.

Intellect offers two products. One is a consumer app with self-guided programs based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that center on issues like anxiety, self-esteem or relationship issues.

The other is a mental health platform for employers to offer as a benefit and includes a recently launched telehealth service called Behavioural Health Coaching that connects users with mental health professionals. The service, which includes one-on-one video sessions and unlimited text messaging, is now a core part of Intellect’s services, Chew told TechCrunch.

Intellect’s enterprise product now reaches 10,000 employees, and its clients include tech companies, regional operations for multinational corporations and hospitals. Most are located in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India, and range in size from 100 to more than 3,000 employees.

For many small- to mid-sized employers, Intellect is often the first mental health benefit they have offered. Larger clients may already have EAP (employee assistance programs), but Chew said those are often underutilized, with an average adoption rate of 1% to 2%. On the other hand, he said Intellect’s employee benefit program sees an average adoption rate of 30% in the first month after it is rolled out at a company.

Chew added that the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more companies to address burnout and other mental health issues.

“In terms of larger trends, we’ve seen a huge spike in companies across the region having mental health and wellbeing of their employees being prioritized on their agenda,” said Chew. “In terms of user trends, we see a significantly higher utilization in work stress and burnout, anxiety and relationship-related programs.”

Intellect’s seed round will be used to expand in Asian markets and to help fund clinical research studies it is currently conducting with universities and organizations in Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Communicating with the Hard of Hearing (HOH) Does Not Have To Be Hard. Read These 7 Tips!

Listening is demanding!

You might not agree with this statement unless you are part of the 466 million people in the world who are hard of hearing. And the WHO expects this number to rise to 630 million by 2030, and over 900 million in 2050!

Having been diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of ten, I have been wearing hearing aids for about forty years now. From personal experience, I’ve come up with tips to help you accommodate people who are hard of hearing so that they can enjoy social interactions.

By interacting with others, they’ll feel less isolated and that will encourage them to further socialize. Instead of hiding in a quiet corner, that person wearing the hearing aids can have fun mingling with others just as anyone else in the room.

Why is listening a challenge for the Hard of Hearing (HOH)?

Listening is a challenge because you miss so many words. This can create funny situations if your response is much different than what was expected. Because what you have heard is not at all the same as what was said!

Unfortunately, if you have only recently been diagnosed with hearing loss, you might not appreciate the humour, since you are still battling to come to terms with this new way of living. You will often withdraw and avoid social situations in order not to feel embarrassed. And, to avoid the fatigue from concentrating so hard to make sense of what is said.

The worst thing you can do to a person with hearing loss it to respond with “Never mind” when asked to repeat something they have missed. They experience it as an instant dismissal, showing a lack of respect, and making them feel as if they are not important.

Let us talk about how you can help to make social situations better for the HOH.

How can you effectively communicate with the Hard of Hearing?

When it comes to effective communication, all the 7 Little-Known Tips for Effective Communication applies. Still, there are some other tips to follow that will help when communicating with people with hearing loss.

Always get our attention before speaking to us

Remember that if we do not look at you, it is unlikely that we will hear you (or know that you are talking to us). We also find it hard to determine the direction sounds are coming from. This makes it difficult for us to focus on the sounds we hear.

Look at us while talking

Not only will this help us to hear more words, but we also use body language clues and lip-reading to assist with comprehending what we hear.

Give us context

Since we miss so many words or sometimes only hear parts of words, comprehension becomes difficult without any context to guide us. If during a conversation we hear “ot”, it may be pot, rot, or lot. The context will help us to figure out the right word and help us to correctly follow the conversation.

Do not cover your face or mouth when talking

communicate with a hearing impaired person

Not only does this dampens the sound, but it also robs us of a valuable aid (lip reading) that helps us to follow a conversation.

But what about masks?

Due to the pandemic, everybody must wear masks to protect themselves and others. Masks pose a serious challenge for the HOH. Not only does it dampen sound, but also lip-reading cannot be utilized to aid in comprehension.

To assist the hard of hearing, make sure that you face us when talking. Pull down your mask if it is safe to do so. For example, if you are also wearing a clear facial screen or working behind a protective screen.

If this is not possible, you can raise your voice and try to speak as clearly as possible, (but please, do not scream!) If all else fails, simply write down what you need to say.

Volume does not help

When you realize the person did not hear you, the instinct is to speak louder. But this does not help as it distorts the sound. And you form the words differently, which make it harder to lip-read. You should try and speak clearer, or re-phrase, rather than repeat.

Be aware of environmental factors

Even normal hearing people struggle in noisy environments. The older type analogue hearing aids increase volume on all sounds (voices and background noise). This makes it difficult for people with hearing loss to follow conversations in noisy environments as it is impossible to pick up voices against all the background noise.

The new digital hearing aids do a much better job of cutting out background noise but it is still not perfect.

Bad lighting can also be a hindrance since it makes lip-reading impossible if you cannot see people’s faces.

In this type of situation, allow the HOH person to choose the setting which is optimally suited for them to follow the conversation. Or, take the courtesy to have a conversation with them in a quiet corner.

Group conversations are a challenge

communicating with a hearing impaired person

People with hearing loss can only focus on one person at a time.

This means that, often, we will miss the first part of the sentence when a different speaker starts talking. And there is no way to predict who the next speaker will be. This is hard to overcome, but it helps if the person next to you can repeat things that you have missed, or fill you in if the topic of the conversation changes.

But most of all, it’s important that everyone in the group understands if the person with hearing loss does not participate that much in the conversation.

For most of you, hearing and listening are effortless. Something that just happens without you putting any effort into it. But not for people with hearing loss. Even though hearing aids help, it is not like glasses which take you from your blurred vision to perfect sight.

Which one of these tips will you put in practice today? Because some of these tips can also help to improve your communication in general!

The post Communicating with the Hard of Hearing (HOH) Does Not Have To Be Hard. Read These 7 Tips! appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

DNA Testing for a Healthier Diet

Have you ever felt frustrated by diets? Have you ever struggled with weight loss? Have you been discouraged by eating “healthy” food that made you feel bloated or have low energy?

Most people have run into issues with their diet at some point. While it’s true that just about nobody does well on a diet full of sugar, fried and fatty snacks, and processed foods, it’s also true that everyone’s body is totally unique. The diet that helps your friend or your sister feel their best might not work for you at all.

We’re learning more and more about how the body works all the time. DNA testing has given us a window into our unique genetic code, empowering us to learn more about our similarities and differences.

Now, we have the ability to use DNA testing to discover which food choices work best for individual people. Here’s what you need to know about this exciting new breakthrough and why turning to your DNA could be the answer to a healthier life.

There Is No Such Thing As “One Diet Fits All”

dna testing help with weight loss

We’re all humans, and we all have similar nutritional needs. But that doesn’t mean we should all be eating the same things. Research is showing that there’s no such thing as a diet that works for absolutely everyone.

We all have different dietary needs. Even identical twins respond differently to fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and other components in food due to differences in habits, stress, sleep, exercise, and gut microbes. Basically, depending on how you live your life, you will have different nutritional needs!

With that said, genetics do play a role in how we respond to food. Nutrigenomics is a term for using genetic testing to help individuals tailor a healthy diet that works for their body. DNA testing can help to give you a framework for a diet that you can tinker with as needed.

The Positives of Aligning Your Diet to Your DNA

Genetic testing is used in many applications, from prenatal testing to genealogy to crop development. The more we know about the genes of an organism, the more we understand the way it develops and behaves. DNA testing doesn’t take all the guesswork out of creating a personalized diet, but it can help you understand more about your body and what it needs.

There are several benefits to aligning your diet to your DNA. First, you might be able to learn more about what types of food help or harm your body. You might be able to cut out a lot of trial and error in the process of designing a healthy diet that will keep you operating at your peak. And finally, you could get a head start on optimizing your current and future health and weight.

Can Artificial Intelligence Help You Make Smarter Food Choices?

Without advanced technology and data processing, nutrigenomics wouldn’t be possible. Big data and artificial intelligence (AI) can make connections and spot patterns that are difficult, time-consuming, or even impossible for human researchers.

Artificial intelligence already has a range of applications in healthcare. But could it also be used to help people make smarter food choices? We already use AI to aid in diagnostics by allowing these systems to interpret and analyze patient data to find connections and risk factors.

It’s not much of a stretch to think that one day, we could input a person’s health data into the system and have the AI analyze it and provide dietary recommendations. Since we know that lots of different lifestyle factors have an impact on these recommendations, AI could create customized plans much more quickly.

Benefits of a More Personalized Diet

dna testing helping with weight loss

Maintaining a healthy diet is challenging for most people. It becomes even harder if the latest fad diet simply doesn’t agree with your body chemistry. That’s where personalized diets can make a huge difference—they take into account lots of different factors and set people up for success. They also make sticking to a healthy diet easier and more enjoyable!

Getting your DNA tested won’t automatically make you healthier. You still have to do the work and learn how to stick with healthy choices. With that said, nutrigenomics can be a useful tool in your journey to better health. It can give you the information you need to make positive changes in your life. Just remember: not one single approach works for everyone!

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Mirror founder Brynn Putnam on life with Lululemon — and whether or not she sold too soon

Brynn Putnam has a lot to feel great about. A Harvard grad and former professional ballet dancer who opened the first of what have become three high-intensity fitness studios in New York, she then launched a second business in 2016 when — while pregnant with her son — she was exercising at home and couldn’t find a natural way watch a class on her laptop or phone. Her big idea: to install mirrored screens in users’ homes that are roughly eight square feet and through which they can exercise to all manner of streamed and on-demand exercise classes, paying a monthly subscription of just $39 per month.

If you’ve followed the home fitness craze, you already know these Mirrors quickly took off with celebrities, who gushed about the product on social media. Putnam’s company also attracted roughly $75 million in venture funding across several fast rounds. Indeed, by the end of last year, people had bought  “tens of thousands” of Mirrors, according to Putnam, and she was beginning to envision Mirrors as content portals that might feature fashion, enable doctors’ visits, and bring both kids’ classes and therapy into users’ homes. As she told The Atlantic back in January, “We view ourselves as the third screen in people’s homes.”

Then, in June, the company revealed it had sold for $500 million in cash — including a $50 million earn-out — to the athleisure company Lululemon. For Putnam, the deal was too compelling, allowing her to secure the future of her company, which continues to run as a subsidiary. Investors might have liked it, too, given that it meant a fast return on their investment, not to mention that Mirror had steep competition, including from Peloton, a growing giant in the home fitness market.

The deal seems to be clicking. Just today, Lululemon announced that it is installing Mirrors in 18 of its now 506 U.S. locations, including in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Lulemon hasn’t started selling products directly through Mirror yet, but “shoppable content” is “certainly on our radar” too, says Putnam. Meanwhile, Mirror’s revenues, expected earlier this year to reach $100 million, are now on target to surpass $150 million in revenue, she says.

Still, as the pandemic has raged on, it’s easy to wonder what the young company might have grown into given the amount of time that people and their children are spending at home and in front of their screens. Late last week, we put the question to Putnam, who continues to manage a team of 125 people. Our chat, lightly edited, follows. You can listen to the full conversation here.

TC: People who follow the company know why you started Mirror, but how, exactly, did you start Mirror?

BP: In the case of Mirror, I had this concept for the product, and then really, the first step was buying a Raspberry Pi, a piece of one-way glass, and an Android tablet, and assembling it in my in my kitchen to see if this idea in my mind would be able to work and come to life.

TC: Did you take any coding classes? People might not imagine that a former ballet performer with a chain of fitness studios would put something together like that in her kitchen.

BP: No, I’ve been very fortunate to have a husband who has a bit of a development background. And so he helped me to put the first little bit of code into the Mirror and just really ensure that the concept I had in my mind could be brought to life. And then from there, obviously, over time, we hired a team.

TC: Are they manufactured in the States? In China? How did you start figuring out how to put those pieces together?

BP: I had heard a lot of hardware horror stories about teams working with design agencies to design these beautiful products and who, by the time they actually got to manufacturing, found out that something wasn’t feasible about their design when it came to commercialization or just running out of money in the process. So I actually went backwards. I drew a sketch on a napkin and did a small set of bullets of the things that I thought were really just crucial to make the product a success. And then I went to find factories in China that were familiar with digital signage, working with large pieces of glass, large mirrors, learned about their systems and processes, and then brought it back to the U.S. to a local manufacturer here on the East Coast to refine into a prototype. And then we eventually moved to Mexico when we were ready to scale.

TC: The mirror is about $1,500 dollars. How did you go about winning the trust of consumers that would lead them to make such a sizable investment?

BP: When you’re when you’re building an innovation product, you can’t really compete on specs and features like you do with phones or laptops. So you’re really building building a brand, which means that you’re telling stories. And in our case, we spent a lot of time, from the very early days, really imagining the life of our members and figuring out how to craft that story and tell that story.

And then we were fortunate early on to have members fall in love with the product. And then they started to tell our story for us. So once you have that customer flywheel that starts to kick in, your job becomes much easier.

TC: You had actors, celebrities, designers, and social media influencers talking about their Mirrors. Was it just a matter of sending it off to a few people who started getting online and sharing [their enthusiasm for the product] with their followers? Was it that simple?

BP: We knew that we wanted to make big bets early on to make the Mirror brand seem larger and more established than it was, because it’s a premium product in a new category. And we wanted people to trust in us and the brand. And so we did things like out-of-home advertisements quite early, we moved into television quite early, and we also did some very strategic early celebrity placements. But the way in which the celebrity placements grew and expanded was very much not intended and was just kind of a fascinating early example of the network effects of the product. One celebrity would get it and then another would see it in their home. Or they would see it in their stylist’s home or their agent’s home. And it spread through that community very, very quickly in one of the earliest examples of member love for us.

TC: How did you convince early adopters that your business had staying power, and were investors persuaded as quickly?

BP: Trying to assure customers that they wouldn’t invest in this Mirror, and then the company would go out of business in a few years and they would be they’d be left with a piece of hardware but no access to the content or the community that they’d fallen in love with was very important. It was one of the factors in deciding to partner with Lululemon and have the incredible brand stability and love of such a premium global brand.

In terms of fundraising, I think we were we were really fortunate to have a product that once you saw it, you got it and fell in love with it in a market that was clearly big and growing, with a really good competitive data point in Peloton.

TC: Who started that conversation with Lululemon? Were you talking to Peloton and other potential acquirers?

BP: I’ve been really fortunate to actually work with Lululemon for my entire fitness career. There was a team of Lululemon educators here in New York who were the very first clients of my studio business, and frankly, in many ways were responsible for helping that business to grow and thrive and to give me confidence as a first-time small business owner. Then we reconnected with Lululemon about a year before the acquisition as an investor; they made a small minority investment in the company. And we began to work together on various projects . . .From there, really, the partnership just grew. Mirror was not for sale. We were not looking for an acquirer. But it’s really your responsibility as a founder to always be weighing your vision, your responsibility to your team and your responsibility to your shareholders. And so when the opportunity presented itself — before COVID actually — it felt like really just too good an opportunity to pass up.

TC: But you also you had ambitions of turning this into a much broader content portal where you would maybe have doctor visits and other things, which I would think won’t happen now.

BP: The vision for Mirror very much remains the same and we’re excited to continue to expand the types of content that we offer via the Mirror platform, really with an eye toward any type of immersive experience that makes you a better version of yourself. So I think you will see a broader range of content from us in the coming years.

TC: You’ve mention in the past as a selling point that Mirror is a product that’s used by families. Is there children’s programming or is that coming soon?

BP I think one of the things that surprised us but delighted us about Mirror has been the number of households that have over two members. More than 65% of our households have over two members, which means that you’re often getting younger members of the household involved. I do think that is a function of both the versatility of the platform and the fact that multiple people can participate in more content. At the same time, we’ve actually seen the number of users under 20 grow about 5x during the COVID months as young adults have returned home to be with their their families or teenagers have started doing remote schooling. So we’ve leaned into that with what we call “family fun” content that’s designed to be performed by the whole family together.

TC: Do you see a secondary market for refurbished Mirrors in the future? Will there be a second version, if there isn’t already?

BP: We’ll obviously continue to to refine the hardware over time, but the real focus of the business is through improving the content, community and experience, and so for us — unlike Apple, where the goal is to really release a new model every year and continue to have folks upgrade the hardware — we focus on providing updates via the software and the content, so that we’re continuing to add value onto the baseline experience.

TC: What can people look forward to on this front?

BP: We’re taking a major step toward  building a connected community through our community feature set launching this holiday, including a community feature that enables members to see and communicate with each other and their instructor; face offs that allow members to compete head-to-head against another member of the community and earn points as you hit your target heart rate zones; and friending, so you can find and follow your friends in the Mirror community to share your favorite workouts, join programs together and cheer each other on.

TC: Are you still selling Mirrors to hotels and businesses outside of Lululemon?

BP: We do have B2B relationships. You can find mirrors in hotels, small gyms, buildings, residences, and then obviously direct-to-consumer through the Mirror website, the Lululemon website, and both of our [offline] stores.

TC: When you look at Peloton now and how its stock has completely exploded this year,  do you think ever that you should have hung on a little longer? Do you ever think ‘maybe I sold too soon?’

I’ve woken up every day really for my entire career kind of focused on the same mission but trying to solve the problem and achieve my vision and in different ways. Which is: I really believe that confidence in your own skin is the foundation of a good and happy life. And fitness is an incredible tool for building that confidence that carries over into your personal relationships, your work performance, your friendships. And so for me, that’s always really been the North Star, which is, ‘How do we get more Mirrors into more homes and provide more access to to that self confidence?’ So I spend very little time comparing to competitors and much more time focused on our members’ needs and how to meet them.

Diets & Modern Human: How Staying at Extremes of the Spectrum Ruins Lives

Why are modern humans obsessed with the idea of diets? Why is everybody having this undying desire to feel special? This obsession leads us to follow a diet or a certain health guru, convinced it would guarantee transformation of some sort. As such, we ignore our natural instincts and let an illusion of perfection corrupt our inherent self.

This fantasy, a chimera in your brain, affects both your reality and subconscious. The constant fear of eating the wrong food, anxiously checking labels, and always living on the edge – ask yourself, is this what you wanted out of your health journey?

A lot of young people with a quest to look a certain way, feel healthy, or even mask one of their many addictions, fall into the deep pothole of extreme diets and fad eating protocols. This appetite for health and attention is one of the biggest reasons why 70% of the youth is suffering from at least one form of an eating disorder or a mental health issue.

So, what awaits us at the end of this arduous pathway? Let’s dive deep:

The Fat Phobia

It was at the beginning of the early 1950s when commerce products were introduced to the consumers. And, one such product was the vegetable oil and margarine (hydrogenated fat), which marked the start of the “fall of the fats”.

Soon, people were fed with misleading information about the good fats, animal protein, and some cooked fats, such as butter and ghee. Even though companies had profit and health both in mind, this “shun fat” movement made people paranoid about their health.

They started taking their calories seriously, eating less fats, and dwindled between diets like a pendulum. It was a journey to find a diet that lets them incorporate no fats at all.

The Body Dysmorphia

body dysmorphia

Is the mirror in your room a foe? You may have borderline image dysmorphia. People are not aware of the fact that our brains are 48% cholesterol. There are numerous studies proving that lack of fats and cholesterol in the diet often leads to a condition called body image dysmorphia. An individual suffering from this condition has a distorted sense of existence and often projects their physical insecurities that do not even exist or are ideally not worth mentioning.

Physical attributes become an obsession and a person’s sanity may start to fall apart. For instance, a skinny girl might not feel highly of herself and strive to get even leaner, or an overweight individual thinks he is at a healthy weight. There are also instances when one obsesses over diets, diet plans, and fats in the food. Hence, this malfunction in the brain can warp reality that makes those who suffer from the condition struggle even more.

Disturbing Behavioral Patterns

Notice the youth. Do they seem strange? Ask about their daily calorie intake and the replies shall leave you baffled. The modern human is delusional, often reaching out for that illusion of perfect health. Switching from one diet to another, ridiculous fasting protocols, practices, such as keto, veganism, fruitarianism, and only-seeds diet have wreaked havoc on their bodies.

A study by Harvard University states that lack of certain nutrients like cholesterol causes fits of rage, extreme tattooing, anger issues, sexual abuse, drugs, and even depression. The biggest pharmaceutical weapon- the anti-cholesterol, is often regarded as the culprit behind these self-sabotage tendencies in elderly people or young adults on these medications.

Cognitive Distortion

Cognitive distortion impedes rational thinking and sabotages the doer mindset. A distorted sense of reality, unrealistic goal setting, and negative thought patterns are some of the visible symptoms. People with cognitive distortion find themselves trapped in their erroneous perception of reality.

Myelin, the intricate web of nerves coating the central nervous system, is a thick layer that protects the brain. Myelin needs fats and cholesterol to function properly. People who follow strict diets and focus on the exterior image lack dietary fats and HDL (good cholesterol) in their meals.

The prolonged absence of fats starves the myelin and this triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. Depression, anger issues, and irrational thinking start to unfold. For instance, observe long-term vegans and their speech issues.

Eating Disorders

eating disorders

The cataclysmic events, with their roots in one’s childhood, eventually results into some form of an eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia, and behaviors to recoup the self-sabotage activities, such as self-induced vomiting, laxative overuse, social media, and sexual activities are the connotations that no one likes to talk about.

Past trauma and extreme diets are some of the detected prime culprits. Statistical data on bulimia nervosa shows that 1.7%-2.0% of adult women and 0.5-0.7% of men, globally, suffer from a lifetime eating disorder and visit rehabs to counter relapse. Moreover, the data also states that 17% of the recovered subjects are likely to relapse.

People who suffer from an eating disorder escape frontline diagnosis and are confused with people who are simply losing weight due to stress or some kind of workload. Psychotherapy and complete support from family members are some of the surefire ways to help the patients.

Amenorrhea & Body Hair Epidemic

As much as you would love to admit how social media created unusual gigs, it is equally disappointing to see that it glorifies absurdity as well. Some of the bizarre online activities that gradually became a trend are: fat acceptance (even if it kills you), body hair, acne acceptance, beauty DIYs, and loss of menstrual cycle. Yes, you read it right – loss of period.

A lot of influencers online take this as a normal biological process and regard it as a way to achieve greater consciousness. The medical journals diagnose this condition as amenorrhea. A condition, quite similar to anorexia, wherein the subject loses their period due to malnutrition, as well as malabsorption, and develop body hair. This condition reaches its severity when the individual is declared infertile or incapable to procreate.

There is a strange war between the obvious and some hoax, an altercation between the inner body signals and deep indoctrination. The modern human, unlike hominids in the paleolithic era who listened to their survival instincts, prefers listening to half-baked information.

The extreme diets, the severe health protocols, and all this for what? This is only to shed the skin we are supposed to be in and don something that is totally strange to our real self – both biologically and spiritually.

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8 Skin Care Tips for the Cold Weather

Seasonal changes, especially when transitioning from warmer to cooler months, can be a cause for skin worries. Decreasing temperatures mean a drop in humidity, taking much-needed moisture away from your skin. The cold weather can also leave your face looking duller, prone to cracking and flaking, and even cause acne flare-ups.

Minimizing time outdoors and staying hydrated are good habits to keep up, but they may not be enough to make a significant impact. Much like changing your clothes to suit the season, the best way to battle the cold and prevent dry skin is to make changes to your skincare routine. Here are some tips perfect for keeping your skin healthy in the cold weather.

Use a humidifier

Getting a humidifier can help return and retain the moisture in your skin. It’s recommended to set the humidity level between 45% and 55% to have a significant effect on your skin. Keep the humidifier in your room, office, or any space you spend a bulk of your time in. Luckily, there are different types and sizes of humidifier units that can best suit your space.

Avoid too much heat

While the weather may have you wanting to keep warm and toasty, exposing your skin to excessive heat can also be harmful. Things like turning up the thermostat and taking long hot showers may drive the chill away, but also drive what little moisture your skin has.

Resist the urge to use your heater excessively and opt to layer on clothes and blankets instead. It’s also recommended to limit your showers to 15 minutes or less with warm water rather than hot.

Moisturize well and often

take care of your skin in cold weather

Given that the cold weather can make your skin dry, investing in a good moisturizer is an absolute must. Ideally, your choice of moisturizer should contain ingredients like glycerin, which hydrates the skin, and ceramides, which provides hydration and creates a barrier to lock in the moisture.

When applying your moisturizer after a bath, make sure to pat your skin dry instead of rubbing. Your skin should still be slightly damp as you use the moisturizer on your face. A body moisturizer can address dry skin on other parts of your body exposed to the elements, like your hands.

Adding more moisturizing steps to your routine, such as masks and overnight creams, can help give your skin the boost of moisture it needs further.

Put on sunblock

This may sound counterintuitive during cold weather, especially if it’s cloudy and dark outside. While the sun may not be out, its harmful UV rays can still reach you, causing damage to your skin. On sunnier winter days, the snow can reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your UV exposure and putting your skin at risk.

Sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide are very effective, as these ingredients create a layer that filters out the worst of the UV rays. Make sure to avoid sunscreens with comedogenic ingredients to prevent the chance of breakouts.

Lessen facial exfoliating

During colder months, take a step back from regular exfoliation in your skincare routine. With the weather drying out your skin, you won’t be doing it any favors by using facial scrubs or exfoliating toners. If you’re suffering from dehydrated skin, it’s better to cut it out of your routine entirely until the weather changes.

Go for gentler products

Given that your skin will be prone to drying and irritation in cold weather, you’ll need to switch to mild products. Choose cleansers and toners that don’t strip the natural moisture of your skin.

Astringents like alcohol can work against your efforts to keep the skin hydrated. It’s also advisable to use soaps made with natural oils in order to add another source of moisture for your skin.

Additionally, steer clear of skincare products that have synthetic fragrances and colors, which can aggravate any skin issues. It helps to keep in mind the difference between unscented and fragrance-free—the former makes use of a masking scent while the latter has no additional ingredients and feature the product’s natural smell.

Wear soft clothing

taking care of your skin in cold weather

You may be prioritizing warmth over comfort for your winter wardrobe, but common cold-weather fabrics can aggravate your skin, making it itchy and irritated on top of being dry. If you have to venture out into the cold, having abrasive fabrics like wool and polyester directly on your skin can cause further irritation, especially around the neck area.

Soft fabrics like cotton are a better choice for inner layers and undergarments. Heavier and warmer outerwear can be safely layered on top of these fabrics.

Make sure to keep your hands protected from the elements with gloves or mittens made from fabrics that aren’t abrasive on the skin. If needed, have cotton or silk glove liners handy to layer under wool or other similar fabric gloves.

Change out of wet clothes immediately

Wet clothes and shoes caused by treading through the snow can contribute to further skin irritation and itchiness. Additionally, going out into the cold with damp skin can cause it to get chapped more frequently. Make sure to remove wet clothing as soon as possible and avoid letting wet skin be exposed to the elements.

You can’t change the weather but you can change and adapt to it. By following these steps, your skin will thank you once you return to more fair-weathered months. Should you experience excessive dryness or irritation, it’s best to consult with a dermatologist for a more specialized solution.

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Two Newcomers to the Milk Game: Flax and Pea Milk

There seem to be as many types of milk as there are letters in the alphabet these days, and two of the newer kinds are flax milk and pea milk. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each.

Flax Milk

flax milk

According to Jenna Gorham, a registered dietitian, flax milk can be slightly sweet and thicker than other milk alternatives. It can come unsweetened and in different flavors.

Flax milk contains less protein than cow’s milk but it has more fiber. Most of the fat in flax milk is unsaturated, healthy fats.

In addition, flax milk is safe for everyone to drink (unless you’re allergic to flax seeds, of course).

Flax milk also contains just 50 calories, unlike whole milk which contains 150 calories. Flax milk has less sugar, too, but that’s usually added, so unsweetened flax milk is better. Flax milk can also contain more calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin A than whole milk but might also contain more ingredients than whole milk like natural flavors, sea salt, gum, and more.

And, you don’t need to own a cow to make any of your own at home. You can make flax milk at home with flax seeds or flax oil and water. Allrecipes says you just blend flax seeds and water together a couple times, pour the mix through a nut bag or lined strainer, and then store it in the fridge.

By drinking homemade flax milk, you can get those beneficial nutrients like magnesium, fiber, and healthful fats without the additives.

One Green Planet author Caroline Lennon claims flax milk is also healthier for your heart because it doesn’t contain any cholesterol or lactose. Really, the only downside is the lack of fiber and maybe the taste, depending on your preferences.

Flax milk is high in omega-3 fatty acids, according to Food and Health. A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids could cause rough, scaly skin, and dermatitis. Omega-3s could be involved in cardiovascular health, infant health, neurodevelopment, cancer prevention, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cognitive function, age-related macular degeneration, dry eye disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and others.

The Nutrition Source provides that omega-3 fatty acids are an essential fats, for they play an important role in cell membranes and their function, as well as other bodily processes.

Pea Milk

pea milk

Pea milk certainly is one type of milk I’ve never heard of. And I have to be honest, I strongly dislike peas, so this does not sound appealing in the least. And no, I’m not five. I just really don’t like peas, the green kind (the black-eyed peas I’m okay with).

However, apparently pea milk doesn’t taste like peas. At least that’s what The Washington Post says. Reporter Maura Judkis says pea milk is better for the environment and more nutritious than other alternative milks.

Pea milk is also made differently than other plant milks. Peas are made into a flour that is processed to remove the pea protein. This is then blended with water and other ingredients.

As for its nutritional content, pea milk has less than 100 calories, 8 grams of protein, a high amount of calcium, and good amounts of vitamin D, protein, iron, and vitamin A. This can vary depending on the kind and brand.

According to Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, “peas are one of the best sources of plant-based protein you can eat.” She also claims that regularly consuming such protein can help regulate appetite and promote weight loss. Not to mention, pea protein contains branched-chain amino acids that encourage muscle growth and maintain blood sugar.

Kubala says pea milk is also creamier and richer than other plant-based milks. The best part? It’s dairy-free and hypoallergenic! Plus, unsweetened versions are low in calories and carbs and contain zero sugar.

Takeaways

If you’re up for trying something new, try dabbling in different milks, particularly the newer flax and pea milk. They each come with their own benefits and you might find you like their unique tastes and textures. While flax milk provides some extra fiber, healthy fats, and other minerals to your diet, pea milk can help both you and the environment by being an excellent source of protein and other nutrients.

The post Two Newcomers to the Milk Game: Flax and Pea Milk appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Tips to Stay Sane During Quarantine

An unprecedented global health crisis has forced many countries to implement quarantine and lockdown protocols to contain its spread. Because of this, people are left to stay at home for longer periods of time than they could ever imagine.

Being stuck inside your home doing the same things every day, staring at the same wall day in and day out, can be suffocating. The threat of the virus outside makes you feel anxious and terrified, but the new normal is also causing you immense boredom.

That’s okay, and it’s understandable. Know that feeling bored is a luxury in this trying time. Being bored at home means you’re safe. It’s the best thing you can hope for when millions of people are being affected by the virus outside.

Now, what you can do to curb this boredom, and all the other pressures you feel while isolated at home, is to adapt. Find useful things to make yourself productive, boost your mental health, and help you stay sane, such as the ones below.

Break a sweat

It’s important to remain physically active for metabolic purposes and better mental health. If you used to go to the gym before the virus swept your country, this shouldn’t be a reason for you to stop working on your physique—you can still work out at home.

You can check YouTube for different at-home workout exercises. You can find workouts that don’t require equipment, low impact for beginners, and various activities (e.g., HIIT, barre, yoga, etc.) you can choose from. Alternatively, you can try fitness apps. Staying active not only helps you keep up with your fitness, but it also makes you feel better.

Find a new hobby or expand your interests

to stay sane during quarantine

If your hobbies involve going outside, you might want to check out other pursuits you could do at home. Below are some ideas you can try and see if you’ll get hooked yourself:

  • Coffee home brewing
  • Gardening
  • Sewing
  • Painting
  • Embroidery
  • Repurposing or revamping furniture pieces

On the other hand, you can also expand your interests and skills. Since you have more time to kill at home, you can consider learning a new language, exercising your cooking skills, and upskilling or cross-skilling for your career growth.

Pick up some books

One of the best ways to ease your mind and focus on your time with yourself is by reading. If you still have a few untouched books lying around the house, it’s the perfect time to dust them off and start reading. On the other hand, you can ask your friends or family to hand you a couple of books to read at home.

You can make reading a part of your routine by allotting a couple of hours daily for it. If you want to talk about the books you’ve read, join online book clubs. If there’s none you find interesting, you can always start your own!

Stick to your routine as close as possible

staying sane during quarantine

To help you get a sense of normalcy, try to keep and do your routine pre-pandemic days. Staying at home doing nothing can make you feel lethargic. If you now work from home, get up at the same time pre-quarantine, and take time to get ready for work. If you used to grab some coffee before heading to the office, brew your own cup at home.

Clean up your space

Clutter and unnecessary knick-knacks often cause stress; you just don’t realize it. Keeping things tidy is especially important for your workspace, as it helps boost your productivity and lets you focus better. The last thing you need during this time is more stress at home. Make sure to declutter and keep your place neat as much as possible.

Reframe your mindset

Instead of thinking, “I am stuck at home,” shift your mindset and think about how much time you now have for yourself: “I can finally focus on myself.” Doing something you’ve always wanted to try (e.g., starting a podcast) or you’ve always needed to do but never had the time (e.g., decluttering your wardrobe) during this time can be productive.

This can also lead to shaping a more positive attitude and outlook for the future.

Wrapping it up

Until the world manages to fight the virus and reach a point where it’s safe to gradually go back to normal, the best you can do is make the most of your time at home. Hopefully, the tips above can help you start to organize your day-to-day for the better and inspire you to discover more about yourself.

The post 6 Tips to Stay Sane During Quarantine appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Hidden Cost of Social Distancing

I’ll admit it, when COVID-19 came to town this past March I was secretly excited that we were ordered to quarantine. Finally, I thought, a legitimate excuse to hunker down at home and stop the hustle!

Work slowed down. I embraced my role as chief laundry-doer-dinner-maker-house keeper. I created a cleaning schedule, tackling one section of the house each weekday. I planned all the meals. Once a week I put on my mask and headed to the grocery store to stand in line and wait for my turn to head inside.

With my freshly wiped down cart, I social-distance-shopped while dozens of personal shoppers walked through the aisles, glancing at their phones and filling shopping carts with someone else’s grocery list.

Life felt simple. Every day felt like a staycation. As someone who regularly practiced yoga at a local studio, I was thrilled to be able to rotate through a roster of classes with my favorite instructors, all in the comfort of my own home.

I was so happy and content—until I wasn’t.

Over the last six months of self-imposed quarantine I have gone from feeling secretly validated as a closet introvert, to feeling trapped, aimless, purposeless, disconnected and depressed.

social distancing effects

I know that I am not the only one.

We’ve been asked to stay home in order to stay healthy and to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But a healthy society requires more than the physical health of its members. A healthy society requires its members to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.

Tragically, our collective society is experiencing an erosion of mental and emotional health, because isolating ourselves, or limiting healthy social interaction, has negative consequences, including the manner in which it impacts our neurobiology.

Research shows that social isolation and perceived loneliness are associated with activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), otherwise known as the stress response (fight/flight/freeze). This response is designed to provide us with the ability to quickly defend ourselves from harm (fight), or to help us escape danger (flight).

In moments of perceived danger, our brains and bodies are turbo charged with hormones and biochemicals that are very useful in times of threat or danger. But when this system is chronically activated, as a result of social isolation, it turns from helpful to harmful.

The global pandemic brings no shortage of stressful realities and has impacted every one of us. Loss of jobs and incomes are creating financial stresses. Those who are employed as essential workers are facing health risk stressors. Those who have been impacted by the virus experience the stress of illness and loss.

And all of us are (ideally) practicing social distancing as the new public health initiative, which means that we are all at risk of experiencing the negative impact of the associated chronic stress. These impacts can be felt in a variety of ways, ranging from constant fear or anxiety, to general malaise, to depression, which can cause us to feel constantly exhausted, stuck, unmotivated or immobile (freeze).

Engaging in healthy social interactions does much more for us than we might think. When we have meaningful connections with others, we experience important human emotions like empathy and compassion (which we do when we reach out to someone for support, or lend an ear to someone we care about during a hard time).

These social/emotional experiences stimulate the production of important hormones and biochemicals like oxytocin and vasopressin, which can be mitigators to the development of stress and stress-related issues like depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, the fewer healthy social interactions that we have, the less our brain is able to produce these “feel good” hormones, further heightening our risk or of developing depression and anxiety.

As our mental health erodes, we become susceptible to developing social anxiety or social dysfunction, leading us to isolate further. This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle that feeds itself. Over time we feel like our feet are stuck in quicksand. Reaching out for connection feels impossible, even if we know it’s the helpful thing to do.

If all these weren’t concerning enough, continued isolation and the associated continuous activation of the HPA axis (stress) creates inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is the source of many autoimmune and physical ailments ranging from arthritis to cancer. The negative health implications of prolonged social isolation could be very dire, and won’t be fully recognized for years to come.

What to do?

It’s important to recognize how you are feeling (in your body), even if you don’t necessarily know what you are feeling (in your mind). To become aware of the physiological effects of the chronic stress associated with long-term social isolation, it helps to turn your awareness inward—to your body.

Distressing sensations in your body are the visceral impact of all those toxic stress hormones and can be felt in any number of ways, including a heavy feeling in your chest, sick feeling in the pit of your stomach or tightness in your throat. You might also notice you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Racing heart
  • Jittery legs
  • A general feeling of being trapped or confined

These sensations underpin emotions like fear, anger, irritation, resentment and so on. They are also a good indication that you’re experiencing a feedback loop of stress.

Practicing a variety of simple stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong, and even dancing can interrupt this feedback loop. But if you feel unable to proactively engage in these types of activities (remember that quicksand feeling), simple breathing exercises (like the one described below) can be just as effective.

Breathing can be used anytime and if done correctly, your nervous system will shift from the high rev SNS to the calming and relaxing parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). It’s like turning the flame on a stove from all the way high, to a manageable simmer. If done regularly, your body will eventually learn how to stay calm and relaxed on its own.

Balloon Breath

balloon breathing

Sit or lay down. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Inhale and inflate your belly and chest like a balloon (feel your hands moving as your body inflates). Exhale and let your belly and chest relax. Repeat at least ten times.

Breath and mindfulness practices are a good start for calming your body’s stress response. But to reverse the long-term negative impacts of social isolation, authentic connection with other human beings is a must.

Socializing (as we knew it) is still tightly regulated, but we can find opportunities for authentic connection with friends and family via apps like Facetime, House Party, or the video chat option on Facebook. Support groups like AA, Alanon, cancer support groups and others have all shifted to Zoom, allowing us access from anywhere in the world.

These are some ways in which we can connect with other humans, express care, empathy and compassion, and feel the benefit of all those good biochemicals.

As for me, I’ve been facilitating online TIMBo (trauma informed mind body) groups for women since mid-March. The connection I feel with these women is surprising and remarkable. We may not be in the same room, but over an online platform we share our thoughts, feelings, and struggles.

We connect, resonate, feel compassion, empathy, joy and, sometimes, grief. I thank technology, this program, and these women every day because without the opportunity to connect in such a meaningful way, I’m quite sure the world we’re living in would get the best of me.

So if you’re feeling off, increased social isolation might be at the root. Be proactive, see what’s available, find something that resonates, and start connecting.

We all need each other right now to help us get through these uncertain times. Our health, and the health of our society really does depend on it.

To learn more about TIMBo, go to www.timbocollective.org. Suzanne’s award-winning book, There is Nothing to Fix: Becoming Whole through Radical Self-Acceptance, is available in paperback, kindle, and audiobook.

The post The Hidden Cost of Social Distancing appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Donald Trump tweets that he and Melania have tested positive for COVID-19

Donald Trump tweets that he and Melania have tested positive for COVID-19

Hours after senior White House adviser Hope Hicks was confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus, President Trump confirmed via Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump are also now among the 7.31 million Americans who have tested positive.

Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020

Hicks travelled on Air Force One with the president and other senior staff on Wednesday. After news of her positive test broke, Trump suggested without evidence that the virus had been transmitted to Hicks during hugs from law enforcement or military personnel. Read more…

More about Trump Coronavirus, Culture, Health, and Politics

10 Things Not to Say to Someone with Breast (Or Any Other) Cancer

Welcome to October. The leaves are showing their vibrant fall colors. Pumpkin spice everything can be found everywhere, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month is underway.
Learning that a friend, family member, or coworker has breast (or any other) cancer is hard. Figuring out what to say next is harder. As a two-time cancer survivor, I know that there are plenty of things not to say to a cancer patient because I’ve heard most of them.

I’ve written my experiences and learnings down in my book Again: Surviving Cancer Twice With Love And Lists and I will share with you here important questions, phrases, or topics to avoid.

At least you have a good cancer.

No cancer is a “good” cancer. This is a backhanded way of asking about the patient’s prognosis. Rather than asking for such information, let the individual know that you’re there to listen and let her share what she’s comfortable sharing.

Cancer isn’t as hard as it used to be.

When I was fourteen years old in 1981 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer was really hard, especially when I threw up day after day from radiation treatment and couldn’t go to high school. Thirty-five years later when I was forty-nine—a wife, mom of three, and professional—with breast cancer, cancer still was really hard, especially after I lost my hair, had agonizing bone pain, and diarrhea during months of chemotherapy. While advances in cancer treatment have improved over the years, any treatment stinks. It’s okay to say, “This really sucks.” Because it does and thanks for noticing.

Are you getting the boob job with the tummy tuck?

A lumpectomy or a single or bilateral mastectomy is not a “boob job.” It’s the amputation of some or all of the breast tissue, possibly including nipples, and often resulting in the complete loss of sensation in the chest. Reconstruction, if chosen, may be done with implants or with some form of flap reconstruction where the surgeon may use tissue from other body parts to reconstruct the breasts. These are painful surgeries with fairly long recoveries and leave individuals profoundly changed in their self-identities and in their sex lives. So, not a tummy tuck.

Does it run in your family? Maybe you should have worked out more.

No one asks for a cancer diagnosis. It’s not anyone’s fault if they get one. Please leave the “should have” lectures at home and avoid attributing an individual’s cancer diagnosis to something they may or may not have done, such as the food they ate, their exercise habits, or family history.

My mother, sister, friend, grandma . . . had cancer. She died.

Individuals’ cancer experiences and outcomes are different, and these stories may not always be helpful or comforting, particularly if death is involved. Put yourself in the patient’s shoes, would you want someone to say that to you?

Have you heard about [this new treatment, supplement, anti-cancer diet]?

When I was in treatment, I received much unsolicited advice. I had a great team of medical professionals whom I trusted, and I didn’t want to hear about the latest Internet “cures,” ginger chews for nausea, or turmeric tea’s anti-inflammatory properties. Respect the patient – and her choices.

I Know How You Feel.

No, you don’t. But, you can ask her how she’s feeling.

You’re so brave, strong, an inspiration . . .

do not to say to a cancer patient

While not unkind, these expressions discount how individuals with cancer may feel, which, more often than not, may be sad, angry, terrified, and anxious.

You look great.

Cancer may come with hair loss, weight loss or gain, changes in skin tone, etc. Trust me, the patient knows she doesn’t look great and is probably upset about it. Instead, simply tell the individual how great it is to see her.

Nothing.

not to say to a cancer patient

If you’re not sure what to say, then say so. Don’t ghost your friend, family member, or coworker due to your fear or unease. It’s about her, not you.

So what can you do?

Remember that the person with whom you’re speaking is the same person she always has been. Listen or offer words of encouragement and support. Ask what you can do to help them in practical, concrete ways, such as making meals, taking them to appointments, or picking up children from school. Finally, talk to them about something, anything, other than cancer.

If you would like to learn more, read about my journey in my new book

The post 10 Things Not to Say to Someone with Breast (Or Any Other) Cancer appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Is Your Exercise Causing Good or Bad Pain?

“No pain, no gain” is a famous mantra in the fitness community, but it’s important to know where to draw the line. A little soreness usually means that you’re pushing yourself and building muscle, but not all pain comes with positive results. In fact, if you don’t know how to recognize bad pain, you could be causing potentially serious injuries.

Read on to learn the difference between good and bad pain so you can feel empowered to push yourself to the limit, without crossing the threshold into harmful territories.

Why Do You Get Sore During and After Exercise?

In order to recognize good pain, you need to know why it happens in the first place. Soreness is usually caused by delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This phenomenon is completely normal and usually occurs between 24 and 48 hours after strenuous physical activity, according to WebMD.

While you exercise, your muscles contract, causing microscopic tears in your muscles, as well as inflammation associated with these minor injuries. The soreness you feel after an intense workout is actually your muscles being repaired and growing back even stronger. However, if the pain is severe or lasts for more than a few days, there may be a more serious underlying injury.

How to Recognize Bad Pain

pain and exercise

It’s important that you’re able to recognize when bad pain occurs. That way you can seek treatment, adjust your workout routine, and consider pre-and-post workout supplements that empower your body to heal faster. As a general rule of thumb, when you feel pain, it’s a good idea to back off and allow yourself to heal. This is especially important if the pain is caused by an injury.

Typically, good pain isn’t focused in one specific area, but spread out. For example, it’s normal for your legs to be aching after climbing a large flight of stairs, but if just your right ankle is in pain, that’s a sign of a strain or other injury. An immediate jolt of pain is also a bad sign, as good pain tends to manifest slowly over time. If you feel sudden pain, you should stop what you’re doing immediately.

Good pain can be unpleasant, but it’s usually fairly mild and tolerable. If the pain is overwhelming, it’s probably not caused by delayed onset muscle soreness. Shooting pain and numbness may also be signs of an injury. You should also pay especially close attention to pain in the joints, especially the shoulders, knees, and ankles.

Embrace Proper Techniques

No matter how much exercise you do in a week, it’s crucial that you take the time to learn proper techniques. Once you develop bad habits, it’s difficult to break them, so be vigilant. Make sure you always stretch and warm up before a session, and then give yourself plenty of time to cool down and rest afterward. Nourishing your body with proper nutrition between your workouts will also help in muscle recovery and reducing discomfort.

If you feel like you’re performing exercises correctly, you may want to talk to a professional trainer for advice and guidance. The potential risks just aren’t worth the rewards. Once you know that you’re exercising properly, you’ll feel much more confident and inspired to push yourself.

How to Treat Bad Pain

exercise pain

There’s no single best method for treating a sports injury. Everyone’s body is unique, and injuries can take countless forms. In most cases of mild injuries, simply taking a break for a few days and resting up should have you feeling better. That said, even a minor injury can lead to complications, so be sure to speak to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned.

If simply relaxing isn’t cutting it, you may want to try the PRICE method:

  • Protection
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

PRICE is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll want to protect the injury with a bandage, cast, or splint, stop using it, apply ice every few hours, wrap it (snug but not too tight), and keep the injured area lifted, if possible. Be sure to talk to your doctor about pain relief options if you’re struggling with pain management.

Once the injury has subsided, you may require rehabilitation. Harvard Health Publishing recommends two days of rehab for each day of inactivity due to injury. During the rehabilitation phase, your injury may be vulnerable, so it’s critical that you only perform the proper rehab exercises recommended by a qualified professional.

Prevention Is the Key to Sustainable Exercise

There’s no denying the many physical and mental health benefits of exercise. At the same time, even a minor injury can cause major complications. One injury can lead to another, causing a snowball effect that can be tough to overcome. The best approach is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.

Be mindful before, during, and after each session. Over time, you’ll become more in tune with your body and how it reacts to various levels and styles of exercise. When in doubt, tap out! An extra five minutes isn’t worth months or even years of pain. Work smart so you can work hard. That’s how you keep your active lifestyle sustainable.

If you have ongoing joint pain or are dealing with arthritis, osteoporosis or other health concerns, be sure to check with your primary care doctor with any concerns prior to starting a new workout routine.

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How Adult Daycare Is Fighting The Loneliness Problem

Would it surprise you to learn that chronic loneliness can decrease your lifespan as much as 26%? That works out to two decades less to live your life, which is a bigger decrease than alcoholism or obesity. This is a uniquely western problem — success is measured in the ability to afford to live alone or as a nuclear family, which is actually worse for our health in the long run. There is a real and measurable deleterious effect on health and life expectancy from loneliness, and that also results in higher healthcare and end of life care costs in the long run.

The American Loneliness Problem

In 2018, 54% of Americans said they felt lonely all or some of the time. By 2019 that figure had risen to 61%. These people often report that no one around them shares their interests, that no one really knows them very well, or that no one respects their abilities.

By generation, the younger generations are by far the loneliest. GenZ, Millennials, and GenX are the most lonely generations overall, but loneliness has more dire consequences for the older generations. 18% of suicide deaths are senior citizens, the highest percentage for any age group

77% of those who feel lonely say they lack a social support system. People need friends and neighbors they can depend on for help when they need it, advice they consider trustworthy, and someone to share activities with them.

Unfortunately the American ideal of success often works against this. The cost of living is high, but expectations for a big house, a small family, and two cars is at an all-time high. There are fewer people living in larger houses that necessitate more income, which means less time to spend together as a family, let alone with friends. Multigenerational homes where families would share expenses and be in closer quarters are seen as a failure.

How Health Impacts Loneliness

adult daycare is fighting the loneliness problem

People who have health conditions, physical disabilities, mental illness, and others are more prone to becoming lonely. These conditions already make it more challenging to maintain friendships, and they can often complicate even the simplest act of getting out of the house to enjoy an activity.

There is a 374% higher instance of both depression and psychological distress among people who are in poor health, and people who are lonely are 278% more likely to have chronic health problems. It’s difficult to tell which is causing which, but the correlation is far too strong to ignore.

People with substance abuse problems, chronic physical illnesses, and dementia or Alzheimer’s are more likely to feel lonely. What’s more, people who feel lonely are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, and substance abuse disorders.

Physically, loneliness leads to an increase in norepinephrine levels which can cause spikes in white blood cell counts that leads to inflammation. This can also decrease immunity, leading to still more health problems.

In seniors, increased loneliness can increase the risk of death by 14%.

Adult Daycare To The Rescue

adult daycare

In many communities, community centers provide seniors with access to daytime care. These are places where people can get meals, meet new friends and socialize, have opportunities for exercise that meets their physical needs, and more.

Staving off loneliness can add years to life and life to years. It also has a measurable impact on healthcare and end of life care spending. People who attend adult daycare facilities experience fewer ER visits and hospital admissions, and when they do have to be admitted to the hospital they spend less time there on average. For dementia patients, attending adult daycare staves off cognitive decline.

After a stroke, patients are likely to suffer greater loneliness and feelings they can’t participate in activities like they used to. Unfortunately when patients give into this loneliness it can result in a greater risk of depression and less ability to fully recover. People need others to help with their recovery, and adult daycare centers provide this to people who don’t have communities that can help them.

Loneliness costs us all in terms of health and healthcare costs. Providing seniors and those living with disabilities the opportunity to have their physical and social needs met prevents many preventable problems. Learn more about challenging the loneliness epidemic with adult daycare below.

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

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7 Winter Foot Problems and Tips for Keeping Them At Bay

With winter just around the corner, most of us are already dreaming of long days spent on the slopes followed by leisurely evenings by the fireplace. Even if you aren’t planning to head off for a skiing or snowboarding weekend, there’s no denying the charm of watching snowflakes drift down from the sky while you’re toasty warm indoors!

Except, winter isn’t all cheer and joy. It brings its own fair share of trouble, especially for the feet. Practically everyone suffers some foot problem when the mercury drops, whether it’s a simple case of dry skin, or severe and painful chilblains, stiffness and even foot infections.

Why Are Foot Problems So Common In Winter?

Generally, we tend to take better care of our feet in summer because we’re walking around in open sandals or flip flops most of the time. When the weather gets colder, though, we slap on those heavy boots and forget all about how our feet look and feel. Out of sight, out of mind.

The trouble is, cold and dry weather aggravates your skin, and feet take the brunt of this change because they’re furthest from your core. They get less blood and oxygen than the rest of your body, and have no oil glands to keep skin moisturized. The skin on your feet is generally more prone to dryness, since it can only rely on sweat glands for moisture.

With dry skin and circulation problems come a host of foot-related issues such as inflammation, stiffness and neuropathy, which become even worse in cold weather. Wearing wet boots or the same pair of socks all day also raises the risk of infections such as Athlete’s foot and toenail fungus, unless you’re wearing antimicrobial copper socks.

Let’s look at common cold-weather foot complaints, as well as some of the most effective tips for relieving aches, boosting skin health and caring for your feet in winter.

Top 7 Foot Conditions People Face in Winter

foot problems during winter

Diabetics and the elderly usually suffer from foot issues in winter, but some complaints are common across all age groups and demographics. These include:

1. Dry Feet

Symptoms of dry feet include red, itchy, rough, flaky or peeling skin, as well as rashes, cracks and fissures. Dry feet may not seem like a serious problem, but leaving them untreated can cause numerous complications, including difficulty with movement or walking, pain, chronic burning or itching, and skin conditions such as psoriasis or dermatitis.

2. Chilblains

These itchy, red and swollen spots are a common complaint among people with circulation problems. They happen when your feet are exposed to sudden changes from cold to warm temperatures, which doesn’t allow blood vessels in the skin time to react. Chilblains usually show up on toes, and scratching them may cause cracks or ulcers.

3. Raynaud’s Phenomenon

This disorder of the blood vessels is very common in colder temperatures. The tightening of small blood vessels reduces blood and oxygen circulation in your extremities, leading to blisters, pain, discolored skin and even chilblains. The symptoms of Raynaud’s usually get worse when the temperature changes or drops suddenly.

4. Blisters

Friction from new or ill-fitting shoes often leads to blister development, even in summer. However, these irritating “bubbles” can also happen with comfortable footwear in winter, since you’re constantly wearing shoes and socks that rub against your skin. It’s also difficult to keep them from popping as a result of friction when you’re trying to stay warm!

5. Fungal/Bacterial Infections

When feet are enclosed in tight shoes or thick socks all day, they tend to get warm and sweaty. This creates the perfect environment for bacterial and fungal growth, especially between the toes and under toenails. If you’re heading to the gym instead of outdoors for exercise, you can also pick up germs from dirty floors.

6. Pinched Nerves/Neuromas

The nerve between your third and fourth toe can thicken due to excessive pressure from tight-fitting footwear, etc. It is usually treated with plenty of rest, foot elevation, ice packs, anti-inflammatory medication and a metatarsal pad placed beneath the ball of the foot. However, it also may require surgery or steroid injections in severe cases.

7. Bunions

Some people have a hereditary tendency to develop bunions, but these can also occur as a result of wearing shoes that are too tight, pointy or otherwise ill-fitting. Without proper care and padded footwear, bunions can become more severe and may even require surgical treatment. Chilblains are more common near bunions and calluses too.

Top 7 Tips for Preventing Winter Foot Problems

winter foot problems solutions

While regular foot care should be a part of your daily routine throughout the year, it’s even more important during the colder months. Here are 7 simple and effective ways to keep your feet healthy and prevent foot problems this winter:

1. Avoid sitting or standing too long

Long periods of sitting or standing are no good for your feet, and not only because they cause foot and ankle pain. Remaining in the same position for too long cuts off circulation to your legs and feet, which can lead to aches and pains, tired feet and legs, stiffness in the joints, edema or swelling in ankles and feet, as well as varicose veins and spider veins.

2. Wear copper compression socks

Wearing socks in winter is a good way to provide your feet with additional protection and warmth. Many people use compression wear to boost circulation in their legs, and copper compression socks are your best bet. In addition to graduated compression that enhances blood flow and keeps feet warm, copper infused compression socks also fight infection – and odor-causing bacteria, fungi and viruses, wick away extra sweat and boost skin health.

3. Keep your feet well-moisturized

Most winter foot problems occur due to dry skin, so it’s important to moisturize your feet regularly. After you bathe, shower or wash your feet, dry them thoroughly with a clean towel and use a thick, oil-based moisturizer to lock in moisture and keep the skin from drying out. Avoid using too much, or using harsh or scented products that can cause itching or inflammation, and don’t apply moisturizer between your toes.

4. Make sure you stay hydrated

We tend to drink less water in winter when we aren’t sweating in the heat. However, not drinking enough water is one of the main culprits behind skin dryness, in addition to numerous other health issues. Keep yourself well-hydrated by drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water every day, as well as clear soups or green tea, etc. Eating plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, and foods with omega-3s can also help skin hydration.

5. Don’t wear ill-fitting footwear

Always wear shoes that are comfortable, well-fitting and let your feet breathe, so your skin is not being rubbed raw when you walk around. Avoid footwear styles with a narrow or pointy front, which compresses your toes and increases the pressure on your feet while also reducing circulation. When you’re buying winter boots, try to find a pair that’s roomier than normal and you can wear thick socks without cutting off circulation.

6. Don’t rub or scratch your feet

If your feet and legs feel itchy, avoid scratching or rubbing them. This will only make the inflammation worse, and increase the risk of secondary infection by allowing dirt and germs to enter broken skin. Keep your skin moisturized and use an anti-itching lotion or ointment if necessary. Make sure to trim your toenails regularly after a bath or shower, since they can also damage your skin if they’re too long or sharp.

7. Try home remedies for problems

There are many ways to improve skin health at home, and even get relief from common foot problems. E.g., scrubbing your feet with a pumice stone after soaking them in warm water and Epsom salts can help relieve calluses and corns, while soaking them in water and baking soda can alleviate itchiness. Get a doctor’s opinion before trying any home remedies if you have serious skin conditions or other health issues such as diabetes.

Winter isn’t easy on your feet, but you can reduce the chances or severity of a problem with the right care. Make sure to get a checkup if you face serious or chronic issues, since timely treatment can keep them from getting worse!

The post 7 Winter Foot Problems and Tips for Keeping Them At Bay appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Trump’s latest boast about his ‘very hard’ cognitive test instantly became a bleakly funny meme

Trump's latest boast about his 'very hard' cognitive test instantly became a bleakly funny meme

Of all the many things to be concerned about right now, the mental acuity of Donald Trump is certainly one of them. It’s also one of the things he’s currently talking about incessantly, presumably to avoid discussing the coronavirus pandemic that’s claimed more than 145,000 lives in the U.S. and counting.

Trump’s rambling, non-linear speaking style makes George W. “Is Our Children Learning?” Bush look like the greatest orator of the modern era in comparison. The contrast between his more natural, coherent speech just a few years ago and his tendency to slur words, as well as his habit of sharing thought bubbles like “Could we inject bleach into the body to kill the coronavirus?” right in front of TV cameras and journalists, have long had people speculating that the 74-year-old is experiencing some cognitive decline.  Read more…

More about Memes, Health, Fox News, Donald Trump, and Culture

It’s time to build against pandemics

Rish Joshi
Contributor

Rish is an entrepreneur and investor. Previously, he was a VC at Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI fund), co-founded a fintech startup building an analytics platform for SEC filings and worked on deep-learning research as a graduate student in computer science at MIT.

We’re a few years out from the call to action Bill Gates made in his TED Talk on preparing for pandemics back in 2015, yet the state of scalable software for important workflows like data collection and contact-tracing has greatly lagged expectations during the current pandemic.

The Trump administration’s letter to health agencies regarding data-sharing guidelines asked for daily Excel uploads, and manual contact-tracing efforts without software have proven difficult given the scale of the current pandemic. 

Everything is being built right now. 

Research universities are helping build models used by the CDC for case prediction, and that’s brought to light the dire issues around incomplete data sharing between health institutions and governments. 

Dozens of contact-tracing apps are springing up, surfacing design decisions around privacy, the need for newer technologies beyond Bluetooth for near-field communication and leading companies like Google and Apple to strike partnerships to power cross-platform mobile capabilities.

The good news is that the current efforts are taking seriously the need for better software and driving necessary innovation to help society better prepare for pandemics.

How can detailed case data be shared by hospitals with governments to better predict case and mortality numbers, and used to better allocate medical and labor resources? 

How can software help local and state governments make better policies, and help digitize contact tracing while appeasing privacy concerns?

Software has the ability to power many of these capabilities, and it is creating new opportunities for startups to vet the newly formed appetite for better data and digitized workflows on the part of health agencies, local and state governments and other organizations involved in fighting pandemics.

The Potential Dangers of a Cracked Phone Screen

In the early days of cellular phones when you drop your device, you could just bend down, pick it up, dust it off, and you are good to go. No damage, no nothing.

But today, when you drop your probably very expensive smartphone, which is, let’s be honest, a lifeline none of us can live without it, you are sure to find the shiny and sleek display shattered to million pieces. Yes, it might still work without a hitch but should you really keep on using a smartphone with a cracked screen? The answer is a hard ‘no’. You should either get the screen replaced or buy a new phone.

You might ask, why would I do that if it’s still working? Well, except for the obvious aesthetic reasons, there are some functional, productivity and even health-related issues that can occur when you use a damaged screen. Want to know what these are? Let’s get started.

Harmful Radiofrequency Radiation

According to the National Cancer Institute, smartphones release radiofrequency radiation which is a non-ionizing radiation from the smartphone’s antenna. When using your cracked phone screen, your body will absorb more of this radiation as the added layer of protection is essentially gone.

The IARC has stated that radiofrequency from cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Yes, nothing has been proven yet as The American Cancer Society further explains that more research must be done to firmly say that cell phone use poses no health risks to users. But better safe than sorry, right? So, by default, our trendy, innovative smartphones already pose the possibility of producing detrimental radiation. Hence, your cracked screen only increases its potential to do you harm.

Touch Screen Malfunction

smartphone with cracked screen

If your phone screen is shattered, it’s not going to get better over time, trust me. Fact is, the first thing that will worsen in terms of functionality is the touch screen sensitivity and accuracy of your phone. It may take longer for your display to respond to swipes and taps, or even worse, it will stop responding.

A cracked phone screen is also susceptible to sweat, finger oils, dust, debris that can now easily penetrate under your screen, damaging the phone even more through time.

Eye Strain

Nowadays smartphones come with sleek OLED displays that offer users a great viewing experience and an excellent touch screen accuracy. When your display cracks though, you can wish that great viewing experience farewell.

You ask why?

Well, the tiny fractures on your screen make it harder to read the information on your display. If you want to figure out what you are reading or watching, then you might find yourself straining. How do you know you are straining your eyes?

Check if your eyes are tired and itching and if they are watery or dry. Another sign is increased sensitivity to light and frequent headaches. For sure, no one wants to risk their health because of a cracked screen. Do you know how much a LASIK procedure is? You will be better off just changing that screen.

Splintered Fingers

With a cracked phone screen, you put your fingers (and your health) at risk from cuts when you try to swipe and glide your finger over the uneven and jagged surface. It’s only natural for you to get hurt as a result of your phone screen having serious cracks. Moreover, the blood from your finger can penetrate into the hairline fractures of the screen, promoting germs. Every time you pick up a call and the possibly infected display touches your face or ear, you risk breakouts and other unpleasant infections. An absolute no-no.

Conclusion

And there you have it. A phone with a cracked screen is not only bad-looking, but can also affect your productivity and overall well-being. Make sure to gear up your cell phone with necessary accessories such as protective cases and screen protectors to minimize the risk of damage to your newly acquired gadget. This seemingly minor yet essential step can save you money and protect your overall health in the long run. So, don’t settle for a damaged screen that can very much harm you. Instead, use precautionary measures to keep your precious investment looking new as the first day you got it.

Did you know the risks that come with using a broken smartphone screen? Share with your friends, get educated, and get covered in style!

The post The Potential Dangers of a Cracked Phone Screen appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The 7 Chakras – Types & Benefits

“Chakras” – if you’ve attended a yoga class, there’s a good chance you’ve heard it there. You might have even heard it in some movies or shows when they speak about the blockage or aligning of the chakras. Perhaps, someone has given you advice about working on a particular chakra. Regardless of how you were first introduced to chakras, hearing about it is a long way from knowing and understanding. Of course, you’re not the only one who may be new to this. In that case, let’s delve into the subject of chakras further.

The History Of Chakras

With the increasing popularity and awareness among the masses on yoga and philosophy, Chakras are now a familiar subject.

7 chakras mean

With its roots in the land of saints and yogis – India, chakras are a complex system of the ancient energy form. Initially, they found their mention in the Vedas (ancient holy manuscripts) several years ago.

The word ‘chakra’ denotes wheel. In Sanskrit, it is known as ‘cakra’ and it relates to the various points of energy within the body. They can be considered as the spinning disks that are the source of energy. The chakras are supposed to remain open and in alignment since they are the elements corresponding to the major organs in the body, bundles of nerves and those zones of the body that influence the physical and emotional health.

How Many Chakras Are There?

While there are some who talk about 114 chakras in number, running along your spine are 7 main ones and these chakras are the ones mostly referred to when they are mentioned.
Each of the seven chakras include a corresponding color, name, number, a particular zone of spine and focus on health.

Chakras (7 Main Energy Centres) – A Comprehensive Overview

Chakras can be called the energy centers found in the body. They are present alongside the spine within the astral body. They start from the bottom of the spine and go upwards, towards the crown part of the head.

As each chakra corresponds to the physical, emotional,spiritual, and psychological facets of the life form, it is so explained that any malfunction or blockage in these chakras may result in disorders that may be physical, emotional or psychological by nature. On the other hand, when there is a conscious awareness and these chakras are balanced, it is said to result in sound health and well-being of the individual. And so, asana practices aim towards the stimulation and balancing of these energies in the body.

The Seven Chakras – How To Balance And Stimulate Them

7 chakras meaning

Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra)

Muladhara Chakra or root chakra is found at the bottom of the area of the spine. It is located at the base of the spine amid anus and genitals. The color radiated by this chakra is red and the element it characterizes is the earth. The emotions of self-sufficiency, ambition, stability and survival characterize it.

When there is an imbalance of this chakra, feelings of instability, lack of any ambition or purpose, insecurity and fear and frustration emerge. On the contrary, when this particular chakra is balanced, the individual feels balanced, stable, energetic, confident, strong and independent!

The postures that work to balance this chakra are: Mountain pose or Tadasana and Tree Pose or Vrkshasana.

Swadhishthana Chakra (Sacral Chakra)

Situated along the lower abdomen, the Swadishthana Chakra represents the second chakra. Orange is the color that it radiates, characterizing the element of water. This chakra features the fundamental needs of self-worth, creativity, desires and sexuality. An imbalance in this chakra results in lack of energy, dearth of creativity, emotionally explosive feelings and obsession with thoughts that are sexual.

However, a balanced Swadhishthana Chakra may yield positive feelings coupled with intuition, compassion and satisfaction. This chakra can be worked on by the practice of the balancing asanas such as Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) and Crow Pose (Kakasana)

Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)

Seated above the area of navel, Manipura Chakra or Solar Plexus Chakra characterizes the element of fire and therefore, the color radiated by this chakra is yellow. The energy and emotions of aggression, anger and ego are the features in this chakra. When there is an imbalance in this chakra, the consequences reflect physically via liver problems, digestive issues or diabetes.

It can also have the emotional reflections in the form of depression, low or no self-esteem, perfectionism and anger. Balancing of this chakra brings about energy, focus and confidence in the individual who is seen to be more productive. One can work on this chakra through asanas such as Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), and Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana).

Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra)

Anahata Chakra, or Heart Chakra, as so implied by the name itself, is situated in the region of the heart. It is represented by the color green and characterizes the element of air. This Chakra features the emotions such as compassion, love, passion, attachment and trust.

When there is an imbalance in this chakra, emotion-related problems such as anxiety, lack of trust, fear and jealousy, anger and so on emerge in the individual. A harmonizing of this chakra leads to feeling more optimistic, motivated,friendly, compassionate, caring and understanding. Some of the poses that help in balancing the Heart Chakra are Fish Pose (Matsyasana) and Half Bridge Pose (Ardha Setubandhasana)

Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra)

This fifth Chakra is found on the base part of the throat. It is represented by the color bright blue and characterizes the element of space. The throat chakra features the ability to communicate, faith, expression and inspiration.

An imbalance in this chakra may lead to lack of expression of thoughts, weak feeling, quietness and timidity. The balance of this chakra results in positive expression of self, satisfaction and creativity. Poses such as Plough Pose (Halasana) and Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) stimulate the throat chakra.

Ajna Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)

Ajna Chakra (pronounciation – ‘Agya Chakra’) is situated amid the eyebrows. Represented by the color indigo blue, the chakra is element free. This chakra is applied often as a point of concentration or focus while practicing asanas. This is to enable greater awareness and concentration.

It has been mentioned that when one meditates on the Ajna Chakra, it lets one get rid of his past life karma while liberating him from it and provides intuitional know- how. Its characteristics include self-knowledge, understanding, intuition, insight and intelligence . An imbalance in this chakra may lead to problems of physical nature such as eye strain, blurry vision and headaches.

One might get feelings of ego or, in contrast, being non-assertive or apprehensive about success. The balancing of this chakra leads to freedom from the attachment to the materialistic aspects of the world and a fearless attitude towards death. The asana Headstand (Shirshasana) stimulates the third eye chakra.

Sahasrara Chakra (Crown Chakra)

Situated in the crown region of the head, the Sahasrara Chakra is the seventh chakra. This particular chakra also does not characterize any element and is represented by the color white and/ or violet. This chakra is considered the core of energy, dynamic thought, enlightenment and spirituality. It paves way for the cosmic consciousness and internal surge of wisdom. When not in balance, feelings of frustration, lack of joy and destructive thoughts might manifest. This chakra can be balanced through the practice of Headstand (Shirshasana).

Yoga and the Chakras

As per spiritual science and traditional Indian medicine, the physical body is not only composed of organs, muscles and bones. Rather, there are energy layers surrounding this physical body, which are interlinked metaphysical levels that generate the electromagnetic field of the body – the aura . It has been referred to as the “spiritual body,” “etheric body”, “light body,” or also called the “subtle body”.

Yoga For The Chakras

Each of the chakras utilize yoga as a basic means to balance themselves out as the alignment is created within the physical body through this art form. The subtle body can be rebalanced by practicing the asanas or postures which help to balance the physical body and stabilize it. The chakras are, thus, realigned and the behaviour can be regulated to cope with the outdated patterns, habits and beliefs.

A Fine Balance

The regular practice of yoga is an enjoyable journey that can lead you to the path that will align your chakras. It is yoga and meditation which can help in the balancing of the physical, mental and spiritual being within. Your energy centers will get purified, thereby fostering a sound health, well-being and happy life.

On a serious note, to learn more about chakras, how to perfect them and gain their invaluable insight, you can join a yoga school in India – the birthplace of yoga. There are conducting yoga teacher training programs that will enlighten you on this subject along with other essential aspects of yoga, while also letting you gain a rewarding career in the field of teaching yoga. So, create a life changing experience through a comprehensive yoga course and look forward to a life with positivity and enthusiasm.

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung

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Harnessing The Power Of Sleep

Sleep is an important part of our lives. We are supposed to be spending a third of our lives asleep, but not everyone is making that happen. Lack of sleep can result in a lot of different problems, including an increased risk in type II diabetes, heart disease, mental health issues, as well as a decreased immune system. It’s a stressful time right now, and more people than ever are having trouble catching the appropriate amount of Zzzs. How can we overcome stress and ensure we are getting the rest our bodies and minds need?

The Importance Of Sleep On Health

benefits of sleep

Six in ten of the leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to a lack of sleep. Most people know they are supposed to get eight hours of sleep a night, but only a few actually do. Some people fool themselves into believing they can get by on six hours of sleep or less. Others are so busy with life and work, particularly those who have multiple jobs, that they aren’t able to make the time they need to get adequate rest.

The result of not getting enough rest hinges on cortisol and melatonin levels. These are the hormones that regulate our sleep and wake cycles. When you first wake up in the morning your cortisol levels are higher and your melatonin levels are lower. You’ll have higher blood pressure and lower inflammation and you will feel awake and alert.

As the day wears on your melatonin levels rise and your cortisol levels drop, and right before your typical bedtime is one of the highest levels of melatonin you will have all day. Your blood pressure drops and your inflammation levels rise and you begin to feel drowsy and ready for bed.

During sleep your body is in a rest and repair state. Cytokines are released in order to regulate both innate and adaptive immunity. White blood cells accumulate and fight off the antigens trapped in your lymphatic system.

When people don’t get enough sleep, though, these normal functions aren’t taking place. Too little sleep causes cortisol to build, causing you to live in a perpetual state of stress, which wears down your immune system. This causes your inflammatory processes to kick into overdrive, which lowers cytokine production among other issues. Over time, too much cortisol can lead to increased problems with sleeplessness and daytime fatigue, issues with memory and focus, and decreased immunity.

How To Get Better Sleep Starting Tonight

power of sleep

Maintaining a routine is the most important thing when it comes to getting more and better sleep. Keep a regular schedule. Wake up at the same time every day, regardless of what day of the week it is. Go to bed at the same time every day for the same reason. This gives your body a chance to know what to expect so your hormones can do what they need to do. Keeping your body guessing disrupts your cortisol levels and melatonin levels, so your sleep and wake cycles won’t come naturally.

Manage light levels and other comfort factors in your bedroom. Use light blocking shades if you work during the night and sleep during the day or if there are any lights outside your bedroom window. Stop using screens and anything else that emits blue light at least an hour before bedtime. Try to keep the temperature in your room cool, use a white noise machine if there are any distracting noises, and ensure your bedding is clean and comfortable.

If you still can’t sleep:

  • Make sure you aren’t sabotaging yourself by taking naps during the day.
  • Take an honest look at your caffeine intake – are you getting too much or not cutting it off early enough in the day?
  • Don’t try to keep trying. Get up and read for a while and try again later.

If you are waking up frequently because of nightmares, you’re not alone. Increased stress has been shown to impact quality of sleep and lead to higher levels of negative content in dreams. Oftentimes, dreams during times of stress and trauma are more vivid and more memorable, which can make you feel as though you haven’t slept at all.

It’s time to harness the power of sleep. Learn more from the infographic below.

The Power of Sleep
Source: Online Mattress Review

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Intermittent Fasting: The Fast-er Way To Better Health

What it is and why you should do it

Intermittent fasting is a way people schedule meal times. Kris Gunnars, BSc, describes it as an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. People do it for numerous reasons. People might participate in intermittent fasting to lose weight, eat better, or improve their health and overall quality of life.

Gunnars says fasting affects your body’s hormone levels, insulin levels, cellular repair processes, and gene expression. Some of intermittent fasting’s benefits include:

All these things can lead to improvements in other health aspects as well. For example, a reduction in cholesterol and blood sugar can cause overall better heart health.

We can lose weight through intermittent fasting because, when you don’t eat, insulin levels can go down and fat cells can release stored sugar to be used as energy.

In addition, intermittent fasting can be more convenient than other eating methods or diets. According to Dr. Jason Fung, MD, it can save you time and money. Fasting doesn’t cost anything. It may even have you buying less at the grocery store and you might also spend less time preparing meals.

Fasting versus calorie counting

intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is different from calorie counting because it focuses on limiting the amount of time you spend eating. Calorie counting doesn’t restrict the times you can eat, just how many calories you eat.

People often change what they eat when calorie counting, opting for healthier foods that are less in calories so they can eat more of it. For instance, a carrot might have 41.35 calories while a hamburger might have around 250 calories. You’d be able to eat around six carrots before reaching 250 calories as opposed to one single-patty burger.

In one study, people who practiced intermittent fasting lost the same amount of weight as those who restricted caloric intake. However, the study did suggest that fasting may not be as effective for women. Therefore, it may not be best for everyone. The important thing is you find what works for you and your lifestyle after all.

Moreover, intermittent fasting is considered to be more successful than calorie counting by some because it allows for beneficial hormonal changes more than calorie reduction. Constant intake of food prevents these beneficial changes from occurring, according to Fung. Not to mention the failure rate of calorie deficit diets is a whopping 98 percent!

Calorie counting does hold many benefits, like prolonging the nervous systems’ life-span and type 2 diabetes prevention. It may also may be a better option for certain individuals, but isn’t as flexible as intermittent fasting.

Usually managing what you eat when participating in intermittent fasting isn’t required but there are different intermittent fasting methods and types where it could be beneficial.

Though it isn’t required, there are better ways to break a fast than others. Your first meal after a fasting period can either amplify or hinder your results, according to Stephanie Eckelkamp.

Megan Ramos, director at the Intensive Dietary Management Program, says it is not a good idea to “binge on highly-processed, sugary, or high-carb foods” when breaking your fast because it can undo the effects of the previous fasting period. She suggests breaking a fast with a wholesome, low-carb, high-fat meal.

She also says that ending longer fasts are a little different and should be given more thought than you might give breaking a shorter fast. Short-term fasts (fasts under 24 hours) don’t make the same kind of changes in digestive functions that long-term fasts (fasts longer than 36 hours) achieve.

With long-term fasts, there is more possibility to experience symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. This can occur due to decreased production of digestive enzymes. Eating better food when you break a fast can reduce such symptoms. Try to avoid eating any potentially problematic foods like nuts, seeds, raw vegetables, eggs, dairy, and alcohol.

Ways to fast

intermittent fasting better health

Wikipedia claims there are three methods of intermittent fasting. These include alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding. I am currently participating in daily time-restricted feeding myself. There are various versions of each.

Some popular ways are 16:8, 20:4, 24-hour fasts, 5:2 fast, 36-hour fasts, and extended fasting.

The 16:8 regiment is a plan where you fast for 16 hours a day and eat during the remaining 8 hours. It is a type of time-restricted feeding. It is relatively easy to follow if you start abstaining in the evening before you sleep for the night. Possible times you could then eat could be between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or noon to 8 p.m. It may take some experimenting to find out which time is the best fit for you.

The 5:2 method involves eating regularly for five days and fasting for two days. On the two fasting days, you are allowed to eat up to 500 calories though.

Alternate-day fasting is having fasting days with a calorie intake of 500 calories every other day.

Thirty-six-hour fasts are where you’d fast an entire day, starting after dinner of the previous day and ending the fast at breakfast the next.

There are also variations to these such as the OMAD diet, a 23-hour fast with an hour to eat one meal.

In general, it may be a good idea to try and eat a balanced diet that will keep you feeling fuller longer. Medical News Today advises eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because they are rich in fiber, which contributes to satiety. Also, keep in mind that water and plain tea are usually allowed to consume during fasting periods, too.

Succeeding

Any diet can be hard but like any goal, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. Be sure to set realistic goals. If you are a newcomer to intermittent fasting, don’t try a 20-hour fast to start — 12 hours would be more manageable.

Having a buddy can also help you achieve your fasting goals. Tell someone you are trying it out to stay accountable. And take it one step at a time. What are some smaller markers you can accomplish while practicing intermittent fasting? You could drink more water, go to sleep earlier, or avoid media and exposure to food.

All this can help your chances of success. Just remember to stay committed and remain consistent. Every worthwhile thing takes work to achieve so stick with it.

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Singapore-based caregiving startup launches Homage Health for online and home medical consultations

Homage, the Singapore-based startup that matches families and caregivers, has launched a new service that provides home medical visits, telehealth consultations and medication delivery. Called Homage Health, the service was already being developed before the COVID-19 pandemic, but co-founder and CEO Gillian Tee told TechCrunch that its launch was accelerated because many of the company’s caregiving recipients are elderly or have long-term health conditions, and are at higher risk for the disease.

Backed by investors including HealthXCapital, Alternate Ventures and KDV Capital, Homage launched in 2016 with a caregiving program that focuses on people who need long-term assisted living and rehabilitation care. This integrates with Homage Health because the platform’s caregivers, including nurses, are able to provide in-person support for online consultations with doctors and help followup on recommended healthcare regimens.

Before launching Homage Health, the startup worked with healthcare organizations to deliver mobile medical services, including doctor house calls, for its clients, and telehealth consultations as part of its COVID-19 response. Even before the pandemic, however, there was demand because many clients need regular health screenings.

“Particularly with COVID-19, as an essential service, we felt a higher impetus to ensure our care recipients can continue to gain access to in-home and caregiving services,” she said.

“A key example would be where our care recipients can receive speech therapy through teleconsultations,” she added. “For specific hallmark assessment sessions where a therapy care plan is defined, or where subsequent delivery is adjusted due to progressional improvements made, in-person sessions can be conducted, leading to best health, accessibility and cost outcomes.”

Having caregivers, medical sessions and prescriptions records on one platform also makes long-term healthcare management easier. For example, Homage can provide baseline medical assessment reports for medical and care providers.

Homage prescreens doctors before adding them to the platform. All of them are registered with the Singapore Medical Council, have a minimum of five years practicing medicine and receive medical teleconsultation training. The service can be used to diagnose common conditions, like the cold or allergies, or when prescriptions need to be refilled. It can also provide the follow-up consultations needed by people recovering from strokes or with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease and hypertension.

Homage Health will expand to include more rehabilitation and therapy categories. Basic teleconsultations have a flat fee of SGD $20, excluding prescriptions and delivery fees. Mobile medical services, which start at SGD $180, include at-home blood tests, home visits by doctors and minor surgery like wound care and drainage.

5 Compelling Reasons To Use Compression Garments For Running

Weight loss, better sleep, strong bones – these are just some of the health benefits of running. But when it comes to such exercise, the clothes you wear can also impact its quality. Workout clothes are not made the same way so they can make or break your performance. For this reason, investing in a pair of high-quality compression tights is an excellent upgrade to your present running gear.

Compression tights are usually made of nylon and spandex and are designed to snugly hug your body and legs. These unique features offer several benefits for running. Here are some benefits that should convince you to add compression pants to your running arsenal.

Facilitate Muscle Recovery

benefits of compression pants for running

As in any sport or physical activity, it is important for you to recover quickly from your workout. Sore and aching muscles can interfere with your daily life. If your recovery rate takes too long, you may not be able to perform at optimal levels and make progress on your next run.

Aside from taking time to do warm-up stretches before starting your exercise, you can improve your muscle recovery by wearing compression leggings.

A study conducted by William Kramer, professor of kinesiology in the Neag School of Education, compared one group of women who wore compression garment for five days with another group, which did not wear any compression garment. The group wearing compression clothing was found to have better recovery of muscle strength and power. Furthermore, there was significantly less-perceived muscle soreness in the first group compared to the group not wearing compression garments.

Shield from the Elements

Serious runners don’t let something like the weather stop them from going for a run. For this reason, it is important to invest in good-quality running gear that will give you protection from all kinds of things, from inclement weather to insects.

Compression tights have an added feature of giving your legs an extra layer of protection. Scorching heat, cold winds, and thorny bushes can make your run uncomfortable and even dangerous. Wearing compression leggings gives you full coverage from these elements.

If it is particularly cold, make sure to wear compression tights that are designed for cold climates and with long underwear underneath them. Include other winter running gear, like a winter beanie and gloves to protect your head and hands from the cold.

Improve Circulation

benefit of compression clothing for running

Have you ever run while wearing ill-fitting workout pants or leggings in a fabric that is uncomfortably tight and thick? If you have, then you know how much it can interfere with your movement and general performance. You’ll suffer soreness and even chafing during and after the exercise.

Compression tights are designed to glide on your legs and body like a second skin. This design increases circulation in your legs, so it makes running easier and more comfortable. In addition to providing comfort, compression tights can improve your stamina and speed because it decreases energy expenditure. You focus more on your performance and progress and avoid getting distracted by pain caused by poor circulation.

Do note that some compression tights are made specifically for medical purposes. Take for example those that provide support to pregnant women or to people whose jobs involve standing for hours. These garments may help prevent disorders caused by poor circulation, like varicose veins.

Versatile Design

Different runners have different needs. For these various runs, you’ll need specific running gear to improve your performance. Whether you are into long marathons, short sprints, or recovery runs, there are compression pants that will meet your requirements and help you be at your best.

Some compression leggings are designed specifically for muscle support. This is important for long runs and for runners who are prone to aching and sore muscles. Compression pants with muscle support are also a smart choice if you are doing a recovery run.

There are also compression tights that feature more knee support if you have problematic knees. If you live in an area with particularly cold winters, go for thermal-compression pants, which are designed to keep you warm.

On the other hand, if you live in a humid and rainy location, you can pick compression pants that are lightweight and moisture-wicking, so they dry fast and don’t make you feel dehydrated and too hot while on the move.

Boost Movement

Speed is one of the things you want to improve on when you run, and wearing compression tights can help you constantly break your old record. You may have an ideal weather in mind when you run. Maybe you love running when it is only slightly sunny with no strong winds or rain, but you know you can’t control the weather. You still need to hit the pavement even when it’s cold and windy or even when it’s raining.

Compression tights can help you run faster even in these conditions because they are designed to glide smoothly and snugly on your legs. As a result, there’s less drag compared to wearing pants in a thicker and heavier fabric. Compression pants are also contoured so they reduce wind resistance and will not hamper your stride and movements.

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The Emergence of Telehealth in Wound Care

The healthcare industry is forever evolving. With the intention of delivering health services and information across both short and long distances, many sectors have begun offering remote services. This practice is known as telehealth. With credit to the Wound Care industry, patients have been able to receive help in treating their cuts, gashes, and lesions through virtual means. Below, we will dissect both the wound care and telehealth industries, as well as explain how they’ve joined forces.

The Importance of Wound Care

Wound Care offers solutions to patients having undergone injuries or surgeries resulting in skin ulcers, pressure sores, gashes, and similar cuts. Treatment of these injuries is crucial in igniting the healing process. Commonly, caretakers use wound dressings, antibiotics, antiseptics, and enzymes to prevent the patient’s open wound from becoming infected.

However, things can get far worse for patients who do not seek oversight from a wound care specialist. For example, visits to already overcrowded emergency rooms and hospitals and infections may lead to avoidable amputations and death. And those who have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and others can experience more difficulty when it comes to healing even the most minor wounds.

Those Who Benefit From Wound Care The Most

wound care

The bulk of patients with wounds desperate for specialized care are also the most vulnerable to serious complications. Saying this, the patient demographics needing specialized wound care the most include people:

  • in recovery from recent surgeries,
  • with chronic lung disease or asthma,
  • undergoing dialysis,
  • with diabetes,
  • with circulation problems,
  • in nursing or post-acute residencies,
  • aged 65+,
  • with serious heart conditions,
  • who are immunocompromised,
  • with mobility issues, and
  • who are extremely obese (BMI 40+).

Still, obstacles continue to rise in reaching those who fall into the above-named demographics – with primary reasons rooting to socioeconomic factors.

The Expense of Wound Care

The cost of wound care adds to its complexity. It seems the most crucial health services are often fiscally unobtainable for the ones they will benefit most. American Medicare approximates the fare of acute and chronic wound treatment to range from $28.1B and $91.8 billion each year.

Taking a closer look, surgical wounds cost up to $13 billion annually, and diabetic foot ulcers up to $6.9B. Of course, that’s only a portion of the greater pool of expenses. Chronic, incurable wounds impact nearly 15% of Medicare beneficiaries each year – summating to 8.2 million American seniors. Take note of the previously mentioned demographics when soaking in this data.

Each patient can expect a $3,000-$4,000 bill per wound treatment. However, treating the most expensive wounds can cost nearly $10,000 per incident.

How Telehealth Helps

By expanding wound care into telehealth, patients are ensured immediate assistance to their problems. On top of this, telehealth provides patients the opportunity to minimize their risk of spreading their wound-caused infections to other patients and their providers.

Telehealth also provides elderly patients with brighter solutions. 8.1 million Americans will go on to need some form of long-term care in their lives. This is noteworthy as a huge percentage of elderly patients suffer from wounds while undergoing nursing home care. Here’s who is impacted by this:

  • up to 36% (1.6 million people) of home health patients,
  • up to 35% (500,000 people) of hospice patients,
  • up to 35% (300,000 people) of skilled nursing patients, and
  • up to 27% (219,000 people) of long-term acute care patients.

Even further, up to 2.5 million Americans in senior care facilities may require chronic wound care as we speak.

See Also: Saving Post-Acute Care For Future Generations

The Specialized Digital Platforms Telehealth Requires

wound care telehealth zoom

Right now HIPAA rules are being relaxed, and healthcare providers are able to use the following platforms for patient communications:

  • FaceTime
  • Messenger
  • Google Hangouts
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • GoToMeeting
  • Webex

These are not HIPAA compliant, however. Telemedicine platforms are built specifically to be HIPAA compliant. However, videoconferencing will not always work for wound care telehealth – even the platforms specifically built for healthcare needs. Wound care requires accurate imaging to properly identify the type and condition of injury. Taking this into account, standard definition video or photos are not powerful enough to do the job.

For example, a provider needs high-definition software so they can analyze the patient’s tissue color to help determine the health of their skin. Furthermore, software must be powerful enough for the provider to take wound measurements, as these are critical in accurately assessing the wound for proper treatments. A misdiagnosis due to software can cause the patient to continue suffering, or go on to worsen their condition.

Wound Care Is Essential

Overall, telewound can provide significant long-term benefits. This approach to healthcare is more cost-effective for wound care providers. It is also time-saving and convenient for the patient – improving their satisfaction. Moreover, it helps with selection, authorizing, and education on new products.

Telewound can also provide healthcare professionals to track wound healing with electronic databases through means of image capturing and storing the patients’ wound history.

When technology and people merge, wound care can become a far better experience for the patient. With telewound, we can solve the wound care challenge.

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The ‘PuffPacket’ could help researchers learn when, how and why people vape

Vaping is a controversial habit: it certainly has its downsides, but anecdotally it’s a fantastic smoking cessation aid. The thing is, until behavioral scientists know a bit more about who does it, when, how much and other details, its use will continue to be something of a mystery. That’s where the PuffPacket comes in.

Designed by Cornell engineers, the PuffPacket is a small device that attaches to e-cigarettes (or vape pens, or whatever you call yours) and precisely measures their use, sharing that information with a smartphone app for the user, and potentially researchers, to review later.

Some vaping devices are already set up with something like this, to tell a user when the cartridge is running low or a certain limit has been reached. But generally when vaping habits are studied, they rely on self-report data, not proprietary apps.

“The lack of continuous and objective understanding of vaping behaviors led us to develop PuffPacket to enable proper measurement, monitoring, tracking and recording of e-cigarette use, as opposed to inferring it from location and activity data, or self-reports,” said PhD student Alexander Adams, who led the creation of the device, in a Cornell news release.

The device fits a number of e-cigarette types, fitting between the mouthpiece and the heating element. It sits idle until the user breathes in, which activates the e-cigarette’s circuits, and the PuffPacket’s as well. By paying attention to the voltage, it can tell how much liquid is being vaporized, as well as simpler measurements like the duration and timing of the inhalation.

An example using real data of how location and activity could be correlated with vaping

This data is sent to the smartphone app via Bluetooth, where it is cross-referenced with other information, like location, motion and other metadata. This may lead to identifiable patterns, like that someone vapes frequently when they walk in the morning but not the afternoon, or after coffee but not meals, or far more at the bar than at home — that sort of thing. Perhaps even (with the proper permissions) it could track use of certain apps — Instagram and vape? Post-game puff?

Some of these might be obvious, others not so much — but either way, it helps to have them backed up by real data rather than asking a person to estimate their own usage. They may not know, understand or wish to admit their own habits.

“Getting these correlations between time of day, place and activity is important for understanding addiction. Research has shown that if you can keep people away from the paths of their normal habits, it can disrupt them,” said Adams.

No one is expecting people to voluntarily stick these things on their vape pens and share their info, but the design — which is being released as open source — could be used by researchers performing more formal studies. You can read the paper describing PuffPacket here.

Vietnamese online pharmaceutical marketplace BuyMed raises $2.5 million

BuyMed, a Vietnamese startup that wants to fix Southeast Asia’s complex pharmaceutical distribution networks, announced today it has raised $2.5 million in pre-Series A funding. Investors include Sequoia Capital India’s Surge early-stage accelerator program, and Genesia Ventures. Returning investor Cocoon Capital also participated.

Founded in 2018, BuyMed operates Thuocsi.vn, a pharmaceutical distribution platform in Vietnam. Over the past 12 months, the company says it has tripled its annual revenue, and now plans to add new product lines, including cosmetics, medical devices, supplements and medical services, with the goal of becoming a “one-stop marketplace” for supplies needed by healthcare providers in Southeast Asia.

BuyMed verifies suppliers on its platform, improving safety and reducing the risk of medications making its way into the grey market (or unofficial distribution channels). The startup currently has 700 verified suppliers, distributors and manufacturers on its platform, who serve over 7,000 healthcare providers.

In a press statement, Genesia Ventures general partner Takahiro Suzuki, said, “There is still a tremendous opportunity for growth and improvement in Vietnam’s pharmaceutical supply chain and we believe that BuyMed’s founders have the experience, execution and operational management necessary to tackle this problem.”

BuyMed Co-founder and CEO Peter Nguyen formerly served as a consultant for companies like Eli Lilly, Roche and Siemens, helping them create more efficient operations and supply chains.

Nguyen told TechCrunch that there are no major multi-brand distributors in Vietnam, so most pharmaceutical manufacturers and brands need to set up their own networks. This means the process of getting medications and other pharmaceutical supplies to healthcare providers is highly-fragmented.

There are roughly 200 domestic manufacturers in Vietnam, in addition to imported brands, and their products are handled by over 3,000 distributors. While about 2% of pharmacies in Vietnam are part of a franchise or chain, the vast majority are independent. This means distributors need to serve over 40,000 independent pharmacies and about 5,000 independent clinics.

Nguyen added that fragmentation is similar in many other Southeast Asian markets, giving BuyMed an opportunity to expand across the region.

Thuocsi.vn’s usage has grown over the last 60 days, as more Vietnamese pharmacies source from online channels. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BuyMed has expanded its platform so more of its partners can sell online, and added safety measures like frequent warehouse and office sanitization and a no-contact drop-off and cash collection system.

Can Apps And Video Games Be Medical Treatments?

Just a few decades ago, the idea that you could treat tremors from Parkinson’s disease or help a person with autism live a more integrated life was fantasy. Over the last several decades, treatment and research advanced significantly on those and many other difficult-to-treat health issues. But then, further help came from an unexpected left-field: technology. Advances in general technology have led to new uses for it, and some of those uses include treating health issues. This sector of healthcare technology has become so popular that by 2025 the market for digital therapeutics is expected to reach $7.8 billion.

What Are Digital Therapeutics?

digital therapeutic

Typical medications are chemical compounds that have been proven to treat a specific type of illness or symptom. Thanks to advances in technology, there are new therapeutic interventions for a whole laundry list of issues that include apps, video games, and more. Digital therapeutics are therapeutic interventions driven by technology. They are designed to alleviate the symptoms of certain neurobehavioral or physiological conditions. Many of these treatments are combined with more traditional treatments in order to boost efficacy.

The possibilities when it comes to digital therapeutics are endless. Already, this burgeoning sector of healthcare has shown promising results in treating Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues, obesity, problems of the central nervous system, gastrointestinal issues, and more. These treatments offer hope to those with difficult-to-treat conditions and offer new options for unmet treatment needs. In some cases, it may even decrease reliance on medication.

New Digital Therapeutic Interventions Abound

digital therapeutics appas and video games

New and old technologies are combining to create new treatments all the time. Things like MRIs, ultrasounds, video games, and apps are nothing new. But, when they are put together in new ways or added to new technologies like artificial intelligence, that’s where the magic happens. Exablate Neuro is a perfect example of existing tech being used in new combinations for new treatments. It was developed by scientists in Israel using ultrasound waves guided by MRI to stop Parkinson’s tremors, something that until now has been exceedingly difficult to treat.

Doctors fit a patient with a specialized cooling helmet, kind of like a radiator for your head, which prevents the patient’s skull from overheating during the procedure. Next, the Vim point, the point at which the tremors originate, is located through MRI imaging. Then, high intensity ultrasound waves are used to treat the Vim point and end tremors. There are side effects, but most are mild and temporary.

Video games are another area where advancements are being made to treat certain conditions. Even two or three decades ago, we knew that video games could improve hand-eye coordination, but now the treatments coming from video games are even more impressive. Video games can improve working memory, selective attention, and executive functioning when used appropriately. These improvements can make great strides against a wide array of maladies.

Akili Interactive has developed a number of games that target specific conditions that are very hard to treat. Its Selective Stimulus Management Engine specially designs gameplay to achieve desired results. Algorithms adapt to a specific player and work to coax out desired behaviors, adjusting to each player’s skill level. Sensory and motor stimuli target certain neural pathways and build new links through continued interaction.

The result is the alleviation of symptoms of major depression, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and autism. Developments are also underway to treat lupus, ICU delirium, and traumatic brain injuries. Biofeedback offers the game a way to learn whether the desired result is being achieved. If it’s not, the game can make adjustments. It monitors heart rate, galvanic skin response, eye tracking, respiration, temperature, and more to ensure proper engagement. If engagement lags, the game adjusts to make the player uncomfortable until they comply.

See Also: 5 Positive Effects of Gaming on Your Mental Health

Apps are also being used to treat addiction. Rather than releasing addicts to the recognizance of an app, these apps are being used in conjunction with outpatient treatment. This makes treatment accessible to more people, as inpatient beds are both highly expensive and difficult to find. The apps provide cognitive behavioral therapy to supplement treatment, giving patients greater access to lifesaving treatment even after they have left a facility.

Learn more about the future of digital therapeutics below.
Digital Therapies
Source: Nursing School Hub

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A new FDA-authorized COVID-19 test doesn’t need a lab and can produce results in just 5 minutes

There’s a new COVID-19 test from healthcare technology maker Abbott that looks to be the fastest yet in terms of producing results, and that can do so on the spot right at point-of-care, without requiring a round trip to a lab. This test for the novel coronavirus causing the current global pandemic has received emergency clearance for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and will begin production next week, with output of 50,000 per day possible starting next week.

The new Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test uses the Abbott ID NOW diagnostics platform, which is essentially a lab-in-a-box that is roughly the size of a small kitchen appliance. It’s size, and the fact that it can produce either a positive result in just five minutes, or a negative one in under 15, mean that it could be a very useful means to extend coronavirus testing beyond its current availability to more places including clinics and doctor’s offices, and cut down on wait times both in terms of getting tested and receiving a diagnosis.

Unlike the rapid tests that have been used in other countries, and that received a new type of authorization under an FDA guideline that doesn’t confirm the accuracy fo the results, this rapid testing solution uses the molecular testing method, which works with saliva and mucus samples swabbed from a patient. This means that it works by identifying a portion of the virus’ DNA in a patient, which means it’s much better at detecting the actual presence of the virus during infection, whereas other tests that search the blood for antibodies that are used in point-of-care settings can only detect antibodies, which might be present in recovered patients who don’t actively have the virus.

The good news for availability of this test is that ID NOW, the hardware from Abbott that it runs on, already “holds the largest molecular point-of-care footprint in the U.S.,” and is “widely available” across doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, emergency rooms and other medical facilities.

In total, Abbott now says that it believes it will produce 5 million tests in April, split between these new rapid tests and the lab tests that it received emergency use authorization for by the FDA on March 18.

Testing has been one of the early problems faced by the U.S. in terms of getting a handle on the coronavirus pandemic: The country has lagged behind other nations globally in terms of per capita tests conducted, which experts say has hampered its ability to properly track and trace the spread of the virus and its resulting respiratory disease. Patients have reported having to go to extreme lengths to receive a test, and endure long waits for results, even in cases where exposure was likely and their symptoms match the COVID-19 profile.

12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Few activities have stood the test of 2500 years. Today we still have running, music, writing, swimming and… mindfulness meditation (among scarce others).

Such ancient interests that are still practiced today have a good reason for thriving so many centuries later. But while our ancestors could feel the benefits of meditation, they didn’t have the luxury of modern science to support their claims; it seemed to improve their lives, so they kept doing it.

Now, as western researchers have applied scientific rigor to mindfulness meditation, the results are in… and they’re more incredible than you might have imagined. Below are twelve science-based benefits of mindfulness meditation that will blow your mind.

Make your brain younger

A Harvard neuroscientist and her team wanted to determine whether meditation can change the brain over the long run.

Amazingly, their research found that 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter (brain cells) as 25-year-olds in the prefrontal cortex (a key brain region used for decision-making and memory), which normally declines with age. The scientists concluded that “regular practice of meditation may slow the rate of neural degeneration.”

Meditation has also been shown to fight age-related cognitive decline and even slow cellular aging. While most peoples’ memory and other brain functions decline as they get older, these effects aren’t seen to the same degree in long-term meditators.

Increase pain tolerance by 57%

mindfulness meditation benefits
Meditation has been shown to increase pain tolerance.

Your read that right: After just four days of training in mindfulness meditation, participants in one study found painful hot sensations to be 57% less unpleasant on average.

This may sound too good to be true, but there’s solid neuroscience to suggest why. As you learn to meditate, your brain can begin to separate the physical sensation of pain from your emotional reaction to it. Most of the suffering we experience, scientists have found, is a result of our psychological reaction, rather than the pain itself.

See Also: Easing Back Pain: 7 Things You Can Do To Promote Comfort

Gain back half of your waking life

Harvard researchers found that we spend an average of 47% of our days lost in thought. That’s nearly half of your waking life spent in some kind of mental simulation, daydreaming about the future or past. And the same study found that many of those thoughts are negative!

Mindfulness meditation can help you regain presence and spend less time mind-wandering. As you practice, you’ll spend more time immersed fully in whatever you’re doing and get more out of your life.

Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

In our modern western world, millions of people suffer from anxiety and depression.

This has also led many of them to take up meditation, which has been shown to help with both mental problems. One of the reasons that mindfulness meditation helps in this area is that it teaches you to identify and detach from the harmful stories you might be telling yourself. Anxiety and depression, after all, are both negative narratives that get repeated over and over again in a mental loop.

Become more self-aware

This isn’t something that can be studied in the lab, but it’s one of the first benefits that every meditator notices at some point.

Having sat for some time directing your attention inward during mindfulness meditation, you’ve trained in the art of self-awareness (or what psychologists refer to as “introspective metacognitive awareness”). To put it one way, your mind gets good at observing itself.

This benefit doesn’t just help others, who have to deal with less of your annoying habits, but it’s also a fast path to self-improvement. Us humans are the only species on earth with this skill of “5th-degree metallization,” the mind’s capacity to become aware of its own processes.

Improve your concentration and working memory

In our current distraction crisis, it’s never been more important to have control of our attention. Furthermore, working memory is your ability to hold something in your mind in the short-term and is something that seems to be declining. Could you remember a 7-digit phone number if you had to?

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve both of these key areas of cognitive functioning. So to all the kids drinking insane amounts of caffeine to get better test scores, try meditation instead!

Diminish inflammation

Inflammation is a major underlying cause of many illnesses, including depression, heart disease, acne, and fatty liver disease. While most people look to decrease inflammation by going on a special diet or exercising, there’s another option available that takes just a few minutes each day.

Studies have confirmed meditation’s ability to help diminish inflammation. Because of the mind-body connection, mindfulness meditation benefits your body’s health as well as your brain.

Overcome addictions

Whether to a chemical drug or something more minor, like chocolate, meditation has been shown to help reduce cravings and even addiction.

Addiction recovery centers are now using meditation, along with traditional treatments, to help addicts. Brown neuroscientist Judson Brewer, Ph.D. and his team found that mindfulness meditation was as effective as any other method for helping people quit smoking.

Reduce feelings of stress

mindfulness meditation benefit
One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that this happens less often.

The modern world is full of things that stress us out, from traffic jams to an unreturned text message. But your brain often can’t tell the difference between those minor issues and a lion attacking you on the savannah, as it sets into the motion the fight-or-flight response.

When you meditate, the brain goes from active beta brainwave states to slower and more rejuvenating alpha and theta brainwaves. One of the first things you’ll learn to activate on command is a state of deep relaxation that you can spend more of your time immersed in.

Boost your immune system

Nobody likes getting sick, and oftentimes we think of washing our hands as the best preventative.

But it turns out there’s another way to help bolster a healthy immune system. Some of the top meditation researchers in the world, including Richard Davidson, Ph.D. and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training significantly increased key antibodies compared to a control group.

Cultivate positive emotions, like compassion

While you won’t feel happy all the time, training a mindful mentality will gradually build up positive emotions. You’ll come to appreciate the smaller things in life more and better bear turbulent times.

Meditators commonly report feeling like they can better “surf the waves” of life, even when the ocean waters aren’t perfectly calm. And you also might uncover a natural well of untapped compassion within yourself as your practice continues.

Enhance your sleep

massage therapy deepen sleep

Sleep is something that’s often viewed as a waste of time… until we get a bad night’s sleep and realize how important it is for mental clarity, mood, and productivity.

Shockingly, 40% of U.S. workers chronically under-sleep, costing over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

And while some people try to use various cocktails or drugs to knock themselves out, oftentimes they are just knocking themselves out rather than actually sinking into a restful state.

Better to do it the old-fashioned way with an ancient practice that’s been the hero of our story: mindfulness meditation. In a randomized clinical trial, meditation significantly improved sleep quality and lessened fatigue.

How much would you pay for a “magic pill” that accomplished all of the same benefits of mindfulness meditation? But all it takes is a few minutes each day. And if you’ve tried meditation but it didn’t seem to work, it’s likely that you weren’t taught correctly.

So if you feel like getting all of these benefits for yourself, here’s where to start:

The Best Way to Learn Meditation

Many people find it best to learn from a professional app, where they can meditate on-the-go and access some of the world’s best instructors in their pockets at any time. But most of the apps provide only surface-level instruction and are trying to make a quick buck.

That’s why we recommend one app in particular, the FitMind meditation app, which was created with the help of neuroscientists and monks and takes a more in-depth approach to meditation. Unlike the other apps, you’ll learn over 50 different methods, progressing from beginner to advanced techniques.
fitmind mindfulness meditation benefits

Via fitmindFitMind teaches this same program at Fortune 500 companies, like Amazon and Uber, and was recently named the #1 meditation app for better sleep and less stress by CNET.

If you’re trying to start a meditation practice or take your current practice to the next level to reap the full benefits of mindfulness meditation, we recommend giving the FitMind program a shot.

The post 12 Amazing Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk: New York gigafactory will reopen for ventilator production

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday that the company’s factory in Buffalo, New York will open “as soon as humanly possible” to produce ventilators that are in short supply due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His comments, which were made Wednesday via Twitter, follows previous statements by the CEO outlining plans to either donate ventilators or work to increase production of the critical piece of medical equipment needed for patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. COVID-19 attacks the lungs and can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia. And since there is no clinically proven treatment yet, ventilators are relied upon to help people breathe and fight the disease. There are about 160,000 ventilators in the United States and another 12,700 in the National Strategic Supply, the NYT reported.

Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible. We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2020

Last week, Tesla said in a statement it would suspend production at its Fremont, Calif. factory, where it assembles its electric vehicles, and its Buffalo, N.Y gigafactory, except for “those parts and supplies necessary for service, infrastructure and critical supply chains.”

It isn’t clear based on Musk’s statements when the Buffalo plant would reopen or how long it would take to convert a portion of its factory, which is used to produce solar panels. Musk didn’t say if this was part of a possible collaboration with Medtronic .

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told CNBC on Wednesday that it is increasing capacity of its critical care ventilators and partnering with others such as Tesla. He said Medtronic is open sourcing one its lower end ventilators in less acute situations for others to, to make as quickly as they can. These lower end ventilators, which are easier to produce because there are fewer components, can be used as an intermediary step in critical care.

Tesla is one of several automakers, including GM, Ford and FCA that has pledged support to either donate supplies or offer resources to make more ventilators. Earlier this week, Ford said it is working with GE Healthcare to expand production capacity of a ventilator.

GM is working with Ventec Life Systems to help increase production of respiratory care products such as ventilators. Ventec will use GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more ventilators. The companies did not provide further details such as when production might be able to ramp up or how many ventilators would be produced.

YC startup Felix wants to replace antibiotics with programmable viruses

Right now the world is at war. But this is no ordinary war. It’s a fight with an organism so small we can only detect it through use of a microscope — and if we don’t stop it, it could kill millions of us in the next several decades. No, I’m not talking about COVID-19, though that organism is the one on everyone’s mind right now. I’m talking about antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

You see, more than 700,000 people died globally from bacterial infections last year — 35,000 of them in the U.S. If we do nothing, that number could grow to 10 million annually by 2050, according to a United Nations report.

The problem? Antibiotic overuse at the doctor’s office or in livestock and farming practices. We used a lot of drugs over time to kill off all the bad bacteria — but it only killed off most, not all, of the bad bacteria. And, as the famous line from Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park goes, “life finds a way.”

Enter Felix, a biotech startup in the latest Y Combinator batch that thinks it has a novel approach to keeping bacterial infections at bay – viruses.

Phage killing bacteria in a petri dish

It seems weird in a time of widespread concern over the corona virus to be looking at any virus in a good light but as co-founder Robert McBride explains it, Felix’s key technology allows him to target his virus to specific sites on bacteria. This not only kills off the bad bacteria but can also halt its ability to evolve and once more become resistant.

But the idea to use a virus to kill off bacteria is not necessarily new. Bacteriophages, or viruses that can “infect” bacteria, were first discovered by an English researcher in 1915 and commercialized phage therapy began in the U.S. in the 1940’s through Eli Lilly and Company. Right about then antibiotics came along and Western scientists just never seemed to explore the therapy further.

However, with too few new solutions being offered and the standard drug model not working effectively to combat the situation, McBride believes his company can put phage therapy back at the forefront.

Already Felix has tested its solution on an initial group of 10 people to demonstrate its approach.

Felix researcher helping cystic fibrosis patient Ella Balasa through phage therapy

“We can develop therapies in less time and for less money than traditional antibiotics because we are targeting orphan indications and we already know our therapy can work in humans,” McBride told TechCrunch . “We argue that our approach, which re-sensitizes bacteria to traditional antibiotics could be a first line therapy.”

Felix plans to deploy its treatment for bacterial infections in those suffering from cystic fibrosis first as these patients tend to require a near constant stream of antibiotics to combat lung infections.

The next step will be to conduct a small clinical trial involving 30 people, then, as the scientific research and development model tends to go, a larger human trial before seeking FDA approval. But McBride hopes his viral solution will prove itself out in time to help the coming onslaught of antibiotic resistance.

“We know the antibiotic resistant challenge is large now and is only going to get worse,” McBride said. “We have an elegant technological solution to this challenge and we know our treatment can work. We want to contribute to a future in which these infections do not kill more than 10 million people a year, a future we can get excited about.”

NYC issues iconic guide to banging during coronavirus

NYC issues iconic guide to banging during coronavirus

It’s reasonable to assume that the spread of coronavirus is likely causing a spike in horniness (just look at all these free sex toy offers). We’re scared. We’re trapped inside. We’re lonely. We miss human touch. We need sweet, sexual release.

So in an act of true due diligence, the New York City government released a guide to fucking during the pandemic. And it comes bearing some truly iconic lines, while also delivering extremely pertinent safety information. 

Shortly after it caught the attention of Twitter, though, the guidelines were removed from the government’s website. At the time, NYC Department of Health Press Secretary Patrick Gallahue offered only that, “Our guidance is updated regularly and we are working on having it back up soon.” As of 5:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, the document had returned, unchanged. Read more…

More about Lifestyle, Sex And Relationships, Coronavirus, Culture, and Health

5 Tips for Aging Men And Women to Improve Memory and Focus

Memory and focus are both parts of the psyche negatively affected by age. Fortunately, there are tons of tips on how to keep your memory sharp.

As both memory and focus play integral roles in completing everyday activities, working to keep them sharp can help avoid a number of problems that come with aging. This includes memory loss, decreased independence, physical health problems, and serious mental issues like depression and suicidal thoughts.

Here we have outlined 5 tips for aging men and women to keep their focus and memory strong and ultimately avoid the physical and mental health issues that often accompany memory loss.

Mental Exercise

keeping your memory sharp

Exercising your mind is a great way to keep it young. Saying the word “neurobics” is a brain exercise in itself, but it is, indeed, a real science. Many resources online offer easy-to-use programs and games to work out the brain. For the phone-savvy, there is a wide array of mental exercise games available in the app stores.

Things you already do may also be mental exercises, such as newspaper games like crosswords and Sudoku. Anything that makes you think is contributing to your mental aerobics!

Sleep

Sleep leads to a more focused mind and a well-rested memory. If getting more sleep is something that seems like a difficult challenge, there are many healthy ways to extend the number of hours your mind is at rest.

Some of these coincide with mental exercise, such as reading before bed or listening to music. The easiest way to try to improve your sleep is to simply go to bed when you feel tired, even if it seems early or late.

See Also: Importance Of Sleep: How It Can Put Your Health In Serious Jeopardy

Social Activity

This may be the opposite of sleeping, but it’s just as important for memory and focus improvement. Connecting with individuals, especially new individuals keeps the mind fresh.

Staying in contact with friends or re-building an old friendship is as easy as ever, thanks to technological advances. Calling family or friends and catching up for a while helps trigger memories. Meeting new people, on the other hand, makes the brain focus to realize who they are and what they’re telling you.

There are many avenues for the senior population to meet new people, including senior fitness classes and senior sports leagues like bowling and golf.

Exploration

Though jumping in an RV and going to a place you’ve never been is certainly worthy of being called “exploring”, you can take your brain for an excursion without leaving your town or even your home.

In relation to the social aspects above, going to unfamiliar places strengthens the brain. This can mean a new restaurant in town, a new park down the street or a bookstore that you haven’t been to in a while.

Different environments force the brain to adapt and learn something new. Exposing yourself to these environments can be a very enjoyable form of mental exercise.

Diet

keep your memory sharp

A diet consisting of eating fruits and vegetables is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. Increasing the “good” cholesterol and decreasing the “bad” cholesterol (steak, dairy, fried foods) can be as instrumental in preventing memory loss.

Trying a new healthy restaurant is a great way to exercise the brain with new activities while also starting a healthier diet!

See Also: 5 Practical Tips to Boost Energy and Brain Power

Taking small steps every day to work on your mental processes can pay off largely in the long run. After all, there’s nothing more important than mental health.

The post 5 Tips for Aging Men And Women to Improve Memory and Focus appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

It’s not just you: A Facebook glitch marked authentic coronavirus news as spam

It’s not just you: A Facebook glitch marked authentic coronavirus news as spam

Social platforms and big tech companies have stepped up amid the coronavirus pandemic, moving aggressively to try and combat misinformation and put expert, reliable sources front and center for users. And people have been using Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and various other platforms to share community information, offer help, and shame their peers and parents into social distancing.

But over the past day or so, there was an unexplained spike in removals and flagging of posts relating to the coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. Users on Facebook and Twitter reported that innocuous, informative, or authentic news posts about the outbreak were being flagged as spam or removed. Read more…

More about Facebook, Misinformation, Coronavirus, Tech, and Health

Workers at America’s largest companies are not covered under coronavirus aid package

Workers at America’s largest companies are not covered under a bill passed by the House of Representatives on Friday that is supposed to support American workers impacted by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The bill still has to be voted on by the Senate and approved before it can be signed into law, but its structure leaves a gaping hole in the prevention strategy the government has said is necessary to reduce the COVID-19 outbreak in the US.

“No American worker should worry about missing a paycheck if they’re feeling ill,” said Vice President Mike Pence at the Sunday press briefing from the Coronavirus Task Force. “If you’re sick with a respiratory illness stay home.”

However, millions of Americans potentially don’t have the ability to make that choice under the congressional aid package touted by both Democrats and Republicans. By excluding companies with more than 500 employees from the Congressional aid, the health and welfare of millions of Americans in industries providing goods, manufacturing, and vital services to most of the country is being left up to the discretion of their employers.

Details of the legislative compromise were first reported by The New York Times yesterday. And chart published by The New York Times illustrated just how many companies didn’t have paid sick leave policies in place as the coronavirus began to spread in the US (companies have changed policies to respond to the coronavirus).

Image courtesy of The New York Times

Big technology companies took the lead early this month in changing policies for their workers and by the end of last week many of the country’s largest employers had followed suit. But it looks like their work won’t be covered under the government’s current plan — and that any measures to extend sick leave and paid time off will be limited to a response to the current outbreak.

These large employers have already responded by closing stores or reducing hours in areas where most cases of the novel coronavirus have been diagnosed — and companies operating in most of those states are required by law to offer paid leave to their hourly employees and contractors.

Companies who have responded to the outbreak by changing their time-off and sick leave policies include Walmart, Target, Darden Restaurants (the owner of the Olive Garden restaurant chain), Starbucks, Lowes, and KFC, have joined tech companies and gig economy businesses like Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Instacart, Microsoft, Postmates, Salesforce, and Uber in offering extended leave benefits to employees affected by the coronavirus.

These kinds of guarantees can go a long way to ensuring that hourly workers in the country don’t have to choose between their health and their employment. The inability to pass a law that would cover all workers puts everyone at risk.

Without government stepping in, industries are crafting their own responses. Late Sunday, automakers including GM, Ford, and FiatChrysler joined the United Auto Workers union in announcing the creation of a coronavirus task force to coordinate an industrywide response for the automotive sector.

As the Pew Research Center noted last week, the bill proposed by House Democrats had initially proposed temporary federal sick leave covering workers with COVID-19 or caring for family members with two-thirds of their wages for up to three months; expiring in January 2021. The measure would have also guaranteed private employers give workers seven days of paid sick leave with another 14 days available immediately in the event of future public health emergencies.

Most workers have less than nine days of sick leave covered under current state legislation. There is no national mandate for paid sick leave. After one year on the job, 22 percent of workers have access to less than five days, while another 46 percent of employees can get five-to-nine days of paid sick leave. Only 38 percent of workers have between ten and fourteen days of leave.

The Pew Research Center also reported that the lack of access to paid sick leave increases as wages decline. Over 90 percent of workers receiving hourly rages over $32.21 have some form of paid sick leave. Only about 50 percent of workers who make $13.80 or less have access to some form of paid sick leave. For Americans who make under $10.80 an hour, only about 30 percent receive any sick leave.

How big tech is taking on COVID-19

Over the past week, one thing has become painfully clear for U.S. residents: COVID-19 is going to permeate every aspect of our lives for a long time to come. Those of us in and around tech have been noticing this for months now. First through the impact on our friends and colleagues in Asia, who have been facing fallout from the pandemic head-on for some time, and then through the domino effect on tech conferences.

First there was MWC, then Facebook’s F8, E3, WWDC. The list goes on and on. Yesterday, TechCrunch announced that we would be postponing a pair of our own events. It was the right thing to do, and increasingly not really a choice, to be honest, as more and more cities have banned large gatherings.

Tech has been keenly aware of COVID-19’s impact for a while now because being a tech company is being a global company almost by default. Now, however, the virus’s threat has come to nearly everyone’s back door. If you don’t yet know someone who has been infected with the virus, odds are good you will soon. This is our reality, for now, at least.

If there’s hope to be mustered from this event, it’s in the prospect of people helping people. Coming together, separately, at a safe social distance. The response of the current administration leaves much to be desired at the moment. As yesterday’s press conference involved praise of the “private sector” and a parade of high profile executives, the reality is that many of us may have to rely on corporates and execs to help fill in the gaps of gutted government departments.

There will be plenty of time to call out the inevitable opportunism of corporate America (and it looks like I’m going to have a lot more free time on my hands in the coming months to do exactly that), but for now, let’s note some of the folks who are pitching in by donating supplies or easing some of the burden on a strained and uncertain population.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma today released a statement noting plans to donate 500,000 test kits and one million face masks. The donation follows similar ones to Japan and Europe, following the devastating impact on his own country.

“Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus,” Ma said in a statement. “We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!”

Yesterday, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan announced that his video conferencing platform would be available for free to K-12 schools in Japan, Italy and the U.S. The move comes as the service is seeing a massive spike in downloads as many businesses and schools are attempting to adapt to working and learning remotely.

Earlier this week, Bill Gates, who recently left his position on Microsoft’s board, announced the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was teaming up with Wellcome and Mastercard to fund treatments to the tune of $125 million. Yesterday, Facebook announced it was committing $20 million in donations to support relief efforts. Apple announced a similar $15 million in donations, along with letting customers skip the March payment on their Apple Cards without risking interest payments. IPS like AT&T, Charter, CenturyLink, Comcast, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and Cox, meanwhile, have promised not to overcharge, charge late fees or terminate service, in an attempt to keep people connected.

Likely we’ll continue to see more such announcements in the coming weeks and months as companies struggle with impact to their workforces and bottom lines. Some will no doubt be more crass that others, but there’s little doubt that such gestures will be a big part of our ability to emerge from one of the scariest and most surreal moments in recent memory.

The Link Between Social Media and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can have many forms and they are incredibly common these days. The problem does not target a specific gender or age. It can affect anyone regardless of who they are.

Nonetheless, teenage girls are the demographic category most likely to develop an eating disorder. Researchers claim that an estimated number of 30 million people go through Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, or other deviant eating behaviors in their lifetime.

However, the number has been increasing recently. Some associate this fact with the popularization of social media, drawing close connections between the two. But how exactly are social media and eating disorders connected?

Unrealistic expectations in regards to the body image

social media causes eating disorders

Social media is often the place for people to show themselves in the good light instead of their real selves. Most of the content posted online, both textual and visual, are altered in some way to appear more flawless and close to being ideal.

Long before social media became a thing, images of celebrities and models shown on magazines and televisions were retouched to look perfect. It has been overcome in recent years by people finally realizing that this is a requirement of commercial photography and videography.

However, when it comes to social media, it becomes a problem.

In the past, only a handful of people had the skills to professionally photoshop pictures. Nowadays, editing software has become accessible to everyone. It became extremely easy to alter pictures on mobile devices.

With the use of filters and in-app tools, anyone can make themselves look the way they want. They can fool people that they have clearer skin, higher cheekbones, and tinier waist. And with today’s technology, it is hard to tell the real and the fake images apart.

It starts small.

People start changing tiny details that do not have much effect on the final image. However, step-by-step editing becomes addictive. Eventually, social media users end up altering their appearance to such a point that their photos no longer look like them. Moreover, their photos become way too unrealistic.

This is harmful to both the person who uses the editing apps and those who see the final version of the photo on their feed.

The first ones develop severe body image issues. They feel pressured to match the image they have created which is essentially impossible. This pushes these people to restrict themselves food-wise and adopt unhealthy eating behavior. If left unattended, this could lead to extreme cases of eating disorders.

The latter ones are affected in a similar way. By seeing such content online, they start questioning their personal appearance and become feeling self-conscious. They want to look as flawless as the person they saw on the internet. Subsequently, they start paying much closer attention to their diet and physical activity. This, in essence, is not a bad thing. However, considering the fact that the results they are interested in are impossible to achieve, they might get frustrated. They may end up developing obsessive behaviors since they are too focused on this issue.

See Also: How Social Media Seriously Harms Your Mental Health

Promotion of questionable products

These days, a lot of people use social media as a platform for selling products. While some of them work, others are just clearly questionable.

It does not necessarily have a direct connection to eating disorders, but can definitely be detrimental for overall mental stability. It can cause the development of insecurities related to an individual’s appearance.

Paid weight loss programs and products have always been in high demand. Large corporations see people’s insecurities as a market opportunity.

In the past, such products were mostly advertised on television and in the press. Today, however, with the world rapidly transcending into the virtual plane, marketers have accordingly adjusted their strategy to fit the modern realities. Instead of publishing ads in the newspapers, they turn to famous and popular bloggers or the so-called social media influencers.

Depending on the content the aforementioned influencers share, the average age of their target audience may vary. Nonetheless, the majority of active followers are often teenagers and children on the verge of entering their puberty stage. This age group is the most vulnerable to the effects of what they see online. They try hard to emulate the behavior of the people they look up to.

A number of psychologists claim that at such tender age, teens are more inclined to look up to someone well-liked. They perceive them to have more authority.

Usually, teenagers find a role model outside of their family and circle of friends, most frequently among celebrities. By co-operating with these celebrities (who often are large social media influencers), companies gain access to a big number of easily affected customers.

This is dangerous as it is, but is even more dangerous if slimming and weight loss products are the subject of aggressive marketing.

Usually, the social media influencers who are chosen to promote the products are already fit and toned. They have achieved this look through working out and/or plastic surgeries as opposed to using the weight loss product they advertise.

Teenagers, the category that is most prone to developing eating disorders, start believing that weight loss products are a necessity to achieve the desired look. They purchase them, entering the vicious circle of rapidly developing self-consciousness.

Those products, however, rarely work as advertised. They don’t even bring the anticipated effect. This brings teenagers (or other mentally vulnerable people) to focus on achieving the results in other ways, often much harsher and unhealthy.

They become hung up on the idea of losing weight at all costs. This eventually leads to the adaptation of inadequate and dangerous eating habits.

This problem is unfortunately intrinsic to almost all major social media channels. It happens even though those platforms recognize the aforementioned actions as harmful and are actively trying to fight against it.

See Also: The Millennials’ Mania Over Social Media

Glorification and eating disorders online

social media and eating disorder

On a number of occasions, people who already have an eating disorder are trying to use the powers of social media to find like-minded individuals. For them, it’s a form of a coping mechanism.

This leads to the creation of thematic groups dedicated to eating disorders that frequently surpass the stage of being ‘therapeutic’ and end up being propagandist.

People worship destructive eating behaviors which has a huge effect on those who may be prone to developing an eating disorder. Moreover, by joining the aforementioned groups, people often see such deviant behavior as normal. They see other people practice it and they stop seeing it as something bad.

Cyberbullying

Social media grants a certain degree of anonymity to its users. Unfortunately, a lot of people abuse it and utilize it to be offensive to others.

Cyberbullying is a huge issue in the modern world. While it does not necessarily have a direct impact on the development of eating disorders, it can definitely play a role in it as a side factor.

The post The Link Between Social Media and Eating Disorders appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

‘You’re a monster’: Colbert goes to town on Trump’s weekend of woeful coronavirus leadership

'You're a monster': Colbert goes to town on Trump's weekend of woeful coronavirus leadership

“This is the first crisis of Trump’s presidency that he did not cause himself, and he is shankin’ it,” declared Stephen Colbert in Monday night’s Late Show monologue. The host was summing up a truly dire few days of presidential mishandling, “hunches,” and health misinformation about the worsening coronavirus outbreak, culminating in a Monday market crash where “Wall Street S&P’d itself.”

From wearing campaign merch and declaring non-existent COVID-19 tests to be as “perfect” as his Ukraine phone call during a lab visit, to tweeting poorly thought-through comparisons to the flu, Colbert ran through the president’s not-at-all reassuring lowlights. Read more…

More about Donald Trump, Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Coronavirus, Culture, and Health

A Comprehensive Keto Diet Guide for Beginners

As medicine progresses, it becomes easier to understand our bodies. Realizing how things that we consume impact our health becomes easier, too.

It became clear that when combined with regular physical activity, a proper diet plays a significant role in enabling us to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, balanced and nutritious meals can help reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases, certain forms of cancer, and metabolic disorders.

The problem is how to choose the right nutrition plan.

As it turns out, there is a new diet hype every few years. Moreover, each diet is promoted as a health boost miracle. With so many options, it is not surprising that people get confused. This Keto diet guide aims to clear things up for you.

What is Ketogenic Diet?

You must have heard about Keto diet by now. After all, tons of celebrities, like Halle Berry and Lebron James, are strong proponents of the diet plan.

Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb nutrition plan that has been around for decades. It initially became popular in the 20s and 30s of the last century medicine.

The diet has been used to help with the treatment of more complicated cases of epilepsy in children. It proved to be successful but was set aside after the discovery of anti-convulsant drugs.

However, when it was found that keto diet results were more significant than those of medication, it became popular again. As of recently, experts are becoming increasingly aware that this type of food plan has enormous benefits for the overall health.

How Does Keto Diet Work

When you are on this food plan, you are replacing carbs with fat. Because of this, your body goes into a metabolic state known as ketosis.

Usually, the body burns sugar to produce energy. But with such a low intake of carbohydrates, the level of sugar in the body isn’t sufficient. The body begins to burn fat to get the energy it needs.

There are four different types of ketogenic diet:

  • Standard (SKD) is a typical keto diet for beginners. With this, your carbohydrate intake is about 5%, 75% is fat and 20% protein.
  • High protein is similar to standard keto diet but includes more protein. You will still be consuming only 5% carbs, but the fat-protein ratio changes. Now, it is 60% fat and 35% protein.
  • Cyclical plan (CKD) is different than the previous two because it includes two higher carb days. It means that you will be on a ketogenic diet for five days, followed by two days when you eat more carbohydrates.
  • Targeted plan (TKD) enables you to add carbs when working out.

What to Eat

When you are starting a new food plan, it is necessary to make sure you have all the information on what to eat and what to avoid. Therefore, we present here a keto food list, so you know what needs to be on your plate.

ketogenic diet guide

  • Meat: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, wild game, lamb, goat, organ meats (heart, liver, kidney)
  • Fatty fish: mackerel, tuna, salmon, trout, etc.
  • Shellfish: oyster, mussels, clams, lobster, etc.
  • Nuts: almonds, macadamia.
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables like leafy greens, lettuces, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, mushroom, asparagus, etc.
  • Cheeses, sour cream, yogurt, and kefir, whipping cream, etc
  • Avocados and organic berries
  • Butter and ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil

It is equally important to know what to avoid when you are following a keto diet. Make sure to skip the following:

  • Grains, pasta, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, rye
  • Beans and legumes
  • High sugar fruits
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Sugar
  • Alcohol

When you are starting new projects, like a keto diet, it might be overwhelming when you see all the stuff you cannot eat. There are plenty of keto recipes that can help in understanding how to prepare delicious meals while going towards desired results.

See Also: Essential Tips for People Who Want to Enjoy Ketogenic Diet-Friendly Fast Food

Benefits of Keto Diet

It is time to look at some of the benefits of a keto diet and understand why everybody is so crazy about it.

keto diet guide benefits

  • Weight loss is maybe the main reason why everybody is talking about it. It is a magic trick for losing weight. People are also using keto weight loss pills to speed up the process.
  • It proved to prevent metabolic disorders, such as diabetes type 2,

    because it regulates blood sugar and insulin levels

  • Improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Helps combat epilepsy seizures which is why it was created
  • Improves heart because it helps control HDL and LDL, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels
  • Enhances brain health because ketosis brings neuroprotective benefits. Studies show that people on the keto diet have lower risks of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Also, it seems to be beneficial for people who already have this condition.
  • Enhances endurance
  • Alleviates the symptoms of PMS

See Also: 10 Habits That Can Prevent Heart Disease

Conclusion

People often confuse the keto diet with Paleo and Atkins, thinking it’s all the same. However, these food plans differ a lot.

All three are indeed low carb diets, but they serve different purposes. If your primary goal is to lose weight, then the ketogenic diet is the best choice for you. Apart from its potential health benefits, it can also improve your health and make you satisfied. It seems challenging to follow this plan, but once you get used to it, it will become more of a lifestyle than a diet.

Have you heard about the ketogenic food plan before? Or tried following it? What are your ideas or experiences?

The post A Comprehensive Keto Diet Guide for Beginners appeared first on Dumb Little Man.