Single Dose of Pfizer COVID Vaccine Highly Effective in Previously Infected People


By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

A single dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine provides strong protection against the new coronavirus in people who’ve already been infected, two new British studies say.

The findings provide strong support to experts who say that people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies to the coronavirus require only one dose of the vaccine, The New York Times reported.

The two studies were published in The Lancet medical journal.

One study was led by researchers at University College London and Public Health England, who outlined the benefits of giving a single dose of the vaccine to people who’ve already been infected.

“This could potentially accelerate vaccine rollout,” which, in turn, could prevent dangerous new mutations, they noted.

In the first study, researchers followed 51 health workers. About half had previously been infected and received a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Those who hadn’t been infected received both doses, the Times reported.

In the workers who’d been infected, the single dose of the vaccine boosted their antibody levels more than 140-fold from their highest levels before being vaccinated. The single dose appeared to give them better protection than the two doses did in those who’d never been infected, the Times said.

The second study assessed the immune responses of 72 health workers who were vaccinated in late December. In the one-third who showed signs of having been infected, one dose of the Pfizer vaccine triggered “very strong” antibody responses and “very strong T-cell responses,” referring to another part of the immune system, the Times reported.

It’s not clear how long the vaccine-prompted immune response will last in previously infected people compared to those who haven’t been infected.

Some U.S. researchers are pushing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend only one vaccine dose for people who have recovered from COVID-19, theTimes reported.


Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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NIMH » Let’s Talk About Eating Disorders with NIMH Grantee Dr. Cynthia Bulik


Transcript

Cynthia Bulik: Hello, thank you for joining me today. My name is Dr. Cynthia Bulik. I’m a professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, and I’m founding director of the University of North Carolina’s Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. I’m also a National Institute of Mental Health grantee. We’re in the middle of national eating disorders awareness week. The goal of this observance is to focus on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting life-saving resources and information into the hands of those in need. Eating disorders are serious and often fatal illnesses associated with severe disturbances in people’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

Cynthia Bulik: During the next half hour, I’ll discuss signs, symptoms, treatments, and the latest research on eating disorders. In addition, I’ll discuss some of the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has presented for individuals living with eating disorders. And if there’s still some time at the end, I’ll take a few of your questions from the comments. It’s important to note that I cannot provide specific medical advice or referrals. Please consult with a qualified health care provider for diagnosis, treatment, and answers to your personal questions. If you need help finding a provider, please visit www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or 8255. You can also ask for help in the comments section of this feed and someone from NIMH will assist you. All of the websites and phone numbers that I just mentioned will also be posted in the comments section of this feed so that you can easily access them.

Cynthia Bulik: First I’ll begin by talking about signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia nervosa may see themselves as overweight even when they’re dangerously underweight. People with anorexia nervosa severely restrict the amount of food that they eat, often exercise excessively, and may self-induce vomiting or use laxatives to lose weight. They may weigh themselves frequently and engage in body checking to see if they’ve gained weight. Anorexia nervosa has one of the highest mortality rates of any mental disorder. Many people with this illness die from complications associated with starvation, and others die from suicide.

Cynthia Bulik: Symptoms of anorexia nervosa include extremely restricted eating, very low body weight, a relentless pursuit of thinness, and unwillingness or inability to maintain a normal or healthy weight. They have an intense fear of gaining weight or engage in behaviors that interfere with weight gain even when they’re at very low body weights. They may have a distorted body image, which means seeing themselves as larger than they actually are, or they may engage in behaviors that interfere with weight gain even though they’re at a low weight. People with anorexia find that their self-esteem is heavily influenced by perceptions of bodyweight and shape, and they may not be able to recognize the seriousness of their low body weight. You may also have heard of atypical anorexia nervosa, which is when someone has all of the features of anorexia nervosa, but despite considerable weight loss, they’re still within or above the normal weight range.

Cynthia Bulik: A second type of eating disorder is bulimia nervosa. People with bulimia nervosa have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating an unusually large amount of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. The binge eating is usually followed by behavior that compensates for overeating, such as self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or diuretics, otherwise known as water pills, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of all of these behaviors. People with bulimia nervosa may be slightly underweight, normal weight, or overweight. Symptoms of bulimia nervosa include swollen salivary glands in the neck and the jaw area, acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems, worn tooth enamel, and increasingly sensitive or decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid. They can have a chronically sore and inflamed throat. They can have intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse. They could also have severe dehydration from purging. And they could have electrolyte imbalances, including sodium, calcium, potassium, and other minerals, and this can be quite dangerous and can lead to a heart attack and stroke.

Cynthia Bulik: And then lastly, we’ll talk about binge eating disorder, which is sometimes referred to as BED. Binge eating disorder is also associated with binge eating, but unlike bulimia nervosa, the binge episodes are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. Many people with BED fall into higher weight categories, but they can also be in the normal weight range. BED is actually the most common eating disorder in the United States. Symptoms of binge eating disorder include eating unusually large amount of food in a discrete period of time, such as within a two-hour period, eating even when you’re full or when you’re not hungry, eating rapidly during binges, eating until you’re uncomfortably full, often eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment, feeling depressed, ashamed, or guilty after binge eating, and also in general just feeling distressed about your binge eating.

Cynthia Bulik: Importantly, eating disorders can affect people of all ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, body weights, and genders. Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or in young adulthood, but they can develop at any point during childhood or even much later in life. These disorders affect all genders, although they tend to be more common in women. Some studies suggest that people in the LGBTQ community might be at increased risk for eating disorders. Researchers like me are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interplay of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. We’re using the latest technology and the latest science to better understand the causes of eating disorders.

Cynthia Bulik: One approach involves the study of human genes. We know that eating disorders run in families, and twin studies have told us that the reason they run in families is because of genes. But now we’re working to identify DNA variants that are associated with increased risk of developing eating disorders. As founder and co-chair of the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, I lead a global effort to identify actionable genomic variation in eating disorders. A recent genome-wide association study funded by the Klarman Family Foundation and in part by NIMH suggest that metabolic processes may play an important role in the disorder and offers a promising new avenue of investigation to understand causes of anorexia. To understand factors that contribute to anorexia, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, led by me, combined genetic data from two resources. First was the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative, or ANGI, and the second is the PGCED, or the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Eating Disorders working group. The resulting dataset included almost 17,000 individuals who had anorexia nervosa at any point in their life and 55,000 controls. And that dataset allowed us to conduct a genome-wide association study in which we scanned the entire genome to look for genetic variations that were more common in people with anorexia nervosa than in people without anorexia nervosa.

Cynthia Bulik: Now, everyone has basic variations in the building blocks of their DNA that are called single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs for short. Researchers can examine these SNPs to identify areas of the genome that we call loci that are associated with different traits. Then linking loci to the specific genes that underlie a trait is not always a straightforward process as these loci can span large regions of the genome that include many genes that have different functions. However, those loci provide important clues about the genes and biological pathways that are likely to contribute to a disorder like anorexia nervosa. In this study, we identified eight loci that varied between this large sample of people with anorexia nervosa and people without an eating disorder. And we found that the genetic basis of anorexia overlapped with a variety of other traits, including certain psychiatric diagnoses, physical characteristic, and metabolic indicators. For example, we found that anorexia nervosa was correlated on a genetic level with mental disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. These genetic correlations mirror findings from clinical and epidemiological studies which have shown that people with anorexia are more likely to have anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric disorders compared with the general population.

Cynthia Bulik: Now, intriguingly, the genetic basis of anorexia nervosa also overlaps with factors associated with metabolic traits such as insulin resistance, fasting insulin, and type 2 diabetes. For example, some of the same genetic factors that are associated with decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes are associated with increased risk for anorexia nervosa. So together, these links suggest that genetic variations that are associated with anorexia nervosa may also influence some of the chemical and biological processes in the body that are essential for life. People with anorexia nervosa often have considerable difficulty maintaining healthy body weight even when they’re receiving carefully calibrated nourishment as part of their treatment plan. And these disruptions to metabolism that we identified in this study may help explain why. The findings from this study suggest to us that both metabolic and psychological processes are important factors to consider when we’re studying, developing, and implementing treatments for this serious disorder.

Cynthia Bulik: Encouraged by these findings, we’re expanding this line of research. I’m currently the principal investigator of the global Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative, or EDGI, which is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and is the largest genetic investigations of eating disorders ever undertaken. EDGI is going beyond ANGI to also study the genetic influence on not just anorexia nervosa but also bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. You can learn more about EDGI and other current studies on eating disorders by visiting NIMH’s website which will be shared below in the comments.

Cynthia Bulik: Now, turning to some other ongoing studies, more than 18% of people with binge eating disorder and more than 43% of people with bulimia nervosa report severe impairment as a result of their illness. Now, despite the seriousness of these disorders, only 43% of individuals actually seek treatment, and even fewer receive treatment. These findings highlight the need for scalable, accessible, and personalized treatment options for people with these illnesses. Although treatments for eating disorders such as cognitive behavioral therapy work for many people, they don’t work for everyone, and they don’t allow for intervention in real-time, often requiring people to wait for a scheduled appointment to speak with a clinician. In addition, many people in this country don’t have easy access to a clinician who can provide evidence-based treatment for eating disorders. So having the ability to predict binge and purge episodes and intervene in real-time would support the development and scalability of treatments for binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa.

Cynthia Bulik: In another study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, my research team and I are using an app called Recovery Record which has been adapted for use on a smartwatch to collect a massive amount of clinical, physiological, and behavioral information from people who have agreed to have their data recorded. Our plan is to aggregate those data to predict in real-time when a binge or purge episode is likely to occur. Then we’ll be able to signal people and encourage them to use their tools and strategies to avoid engaging in disordered eating behavior. And right now, researchers and clinicians don’t have the ability to predict binge and purge episodes with any level of reliability. If this NIMH-supported project is successful, it has the potential to lay the foundation for developing large-scale real-time treatment and prevention efforts in the area of eating disorders.

Cynthia Bulik: Next, I’m going to talk a little bit about treatments and therapies for the eating disorders. It’s very important to seek treatment early for eating disorders. People with eating disorders often have other mental disorders such as depression, or anxiety, or problems with substance use. Importantly, complete recovery from eating disorders is possible. Treatment plans are tailored to individual needs and may include one or more of the following: individual, couple, or group psychotherapy, family-based treatment, medical care and medical monitoring, nutritional counseling, and also medication. Psychotherapies such as family-based treatment, or commonly known FBT, where parents of children and adolescents with anorexia or bulimia nervosa assume responsibility for feeding their children appear to be very effective in helping young people gain weight and improve their eating habits and their [inaudible]. The NIMH has also funded us to develop a series of couple-based treatments for adults with eating disorders. We call them UNITE, or Uniting Couples in the Treatment of Eating Disorders. UNITE enlists partners to be active allies in recovery. Both FBT and UNITE treatments show how family members can be our best allies in the treatment of eating disorders.

Cynthia Bulik: Other forms of psychotherapy have also been found to be helpful in the treatment of eating disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps a person learn how to identify distorted or unhelpful thinking patterns and recognize and change inaccurate beliefs, and interpersonal psychotherapy that focusing on the role of interpersonal relationships in recovery from eating disorders. Medications can also play a role in the treatment of eating disorders. Evidence suggests that medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood-stabilizers might also be helpful for treating eating disorders and other co-occurring illnesses such as anxiety or depression. You can check the Food and Drug Administration or the FDA’s website for the latest information on warnings, patient medication guides, or newly approved medications.

Cynthia Bulik: And finally, I want to talk a little bit about how COVID-19 has influenced people who are currently living with eating disorders. People with eating disorders are really struggling during the pandemic. Those who are alone are struggling with a lack of support and are saying that they find themselves swirling around in negative thoughts. Many are also finding it hard to stay motivated to recover. On the other hand, some who are working toward recovery that are living in close quarters with other people are having trouble finding privacy to do things, for example, like have private telehealth sessions with their clinicians. My research team at UNC, together with the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, which is also at UNC, and colleagues in the Netherlands surveyed approximately 1,000 participants who joined a study in April and May of 2020, so early in the lockdowns. We found that studied participants in the United States with anorexia nervosa were reporting increased dietary restriction and fears about not being able to find foods that were consistent with their meal plan. At the same time, people with bulimia and binge eating disorder reported increases in binge-eating episodes and increased urges to binge. Respondents also noted an increase in anxiety levels since 2019 and fears that their eating disorder would worsen due to a lack of structure and a lack of social support. People also highlighted concerns about living in a triggering environment during the pandemic.

Cynthia Bulik: We know that eating disorders thrive in isolation, and having social support can deter individuals with eating disorders from engaging in health-damaging behaviors, like excessive exercise, restriction, or purging. When you’re alone, like during the pandemic, there are no social deterrents, so the eating disorder can escalate unchecked. That is why reaching out and staying connected is so important even if it is virtually, especially as the pandemic continues to drag on.

Cynthia Bulik: We also found that over 80% of US study participants who were already in eating disorders treatment before COVID-19 reported having transitioned to telehealth services. Fortunately – and we followed these people up monthly since the beginning of the study – satisfaction with telehealth has increased as the pandemic has dragged on, and we have all become more creative and comfortable with using that modality. But troublingly, 47% of US participants reported not being in any treatment for their eating disorder. We’re hoping that the wide availability of telehealth options will remain long after the pandemic is in our rearview mirror so that we will continue to be able to deliver evidence-based treatment to people with eating disorders in all corners of the country. We hope the preliminary data that we’re sharing now and additional data collected in this year-long study will inform best practices for clinicians and caregivers and provide a roadmap for eating disorders care. From this work that we’ve done, we’ve created information sheets to help individuals with lived experience, their family members, and their clinicians deal with eating disorders during the pandemic. These sheets can be found on the website of the National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at NCEED, N-C-E-E-D-U-S dot org.

Cynthia Bulik: Now, we have a couple minutes for questions which I will take from the comments, and I will start with the one that is– the first question is, “Why isn’t obesity added as an eating disorder?” That’s an excellent question, and when the DSM-5 was created back in 2013, there was a lot of discussion about whether obesity should be an eating disorder. But interestingly, what we can see – and I’m going to go back to our genetics study, which is quite intriguing – is that in some ways, anorexia nervosa, the same genes that influence obesity also influence anorexia nervosa but in the opposite direction. So we know that there’s a relationship between weight regulation and appetite regulation, but obesity itself is a heterogeneous condition. And when we’re looking at anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, importantly, those disorders occur across the weight spectrum. And I think one of the take-home messages that I really want people to think about today is that eating disorders occur in all body weights. There have been so many myths around that eating disorders only– you can see them because people are underweight. That is not the case. Eating disorders do not discriminate in terms of body weight, body shape, body size, or really any other demographic factor.

Cynthia Bulik: A couple other questions that are popping up in here are whether bulimia and purging are related to thyroid issues. That has actually not been a consistent finding, but anyone who has concerns, especially, for example, if you have a family history of thyroid disease, you should always get that checked out by your general practitioner, your family physician, because one of the things that we really like to recommend for people who are in treatment for any of the eating disorders is that they are monitored carefully by a physician along with their mental health care providers.

Cynthia Bulik: Another question that just popped up is how about other neuropsychological disorders like PANDAS? Now, this is really interesting because I think we’ve seen– and this is basically when a psychiatric illness like autism obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders might pop up after exposure to strep, for example. We have seen this in a subset of people with anorexia nervosa, but again, it’s just a subset. And I think another thing that I’m going to hammer home – and this is what we hope some of our genetic research will lead to – is that even these three disorders that we talked about today – and by the way, they’re not the only eating disorders – we even think that we’re going to be able to find subgroups within anorexia, within bulimia, and within binge eating disorder that are identifiable genetically that might help us unpack the heterogeneity within each of the disorders. And right now, we’re using a one-size-fits-all approach to treat these eating disorders, and one of the goals of this genetic research is to move away from one-size-fits-all and to use the genetic information to help parse out different subtypes, different origins or causes so that we can actually tailor interventions to the underlying biology of a particular individual’s eating disorder.

Cynthia Bulik: And now we’re going to– we’re reaching the end of our time, so we’re going to wrap up with some closing remarks. And we’ve reached the end of our discussion today on eating disorders. I thank you so much for your attention, and for your questions, and for joining me today. And if there are other questions that I didn’t get to, please feel free to put them in the comments, and we’ll try to get to them afterwards and make sure that those answers are posted. So please learn more about eating disorders by visiting the following website, www.nimh.nih.gov/eatingdisorders with no space between eating and disorders. I thank you all so much for your attention today, and I hope that you all stay well.

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The Power of Micro Workouts


Despite what most people might think, you really don’t need much time to work out.

In fact, even ten to twenty (or yes, twelve) minutes of challenging exercise a few times a week is enough to burn fat, build muscle, boost strength, and contribute to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Which means that no matter how busy you are, we all have time to exercise.

After all, just think about how much time you waste on social media, watching TV, or being inefficient throughout your day. You can easily shave a few minutes off your daily tasks and have enough time for a warm-up and a twelve-minute HIIT or circuit workout most days of the week.

But sometimes, the resistance isn’t really about the actual time the workout takes. It’s about the energy it takes to gear up for it.

Maybe your stress levels are over the top, or your energy levels have been so low that you keep talking yourself out of a workout. Or maybe you just don’t want to get all sweaty and have to take a shower afterward.

These are understandable excuses, especially during a pandemic. We’re all struggling right now, myself included. But when it comes to exercise, being healthy and fit isn’t actually as black and white as the fitness world tries to make it seem.

This is one of my gripes with the average person’s understanding of a typical gym workout — they either go to the gym for 45 minutes or none at all.

The reality is that something is always better than nothing when it comes to movement. Getting out for a fifteen-minute walk instead of doing the strength training workout you’d planned on doing that day might not be what you’d hoped for, but it’s significantly better than doing nothing at all.

Doing something movement-related — whether it’s a short walk, a few sets of push-ups or pull-ups, or ten minutes shooting baskets in your driveway or playing catch with your kid is always better than doing nothing at all.

If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, make time to move every day. And if you’re not sure where to start, I have a few suggestions.

Add in Micro Workouts Throughout Your Day 

One extremely effective way to stay fit when you’re busier than normal or have a mental block about doing a full workout is to add in micro workouts during the day.

(I saw someone on Twitter once call these micro workouts “exercise snacks” and thought that was really great.)

Basically, rather than do a full workout, you’ll just add in reps throughout your day.

For example, try sprinkling in some of the following during semi-frequent work breaks:

  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 bodyweight squats
  • 5 pull-ups (get a doorway pull-up bar for convenience)
  • A 10-15 minute walk

The key here is to keep the challenge level fairly low so that you won’t feel a mental barrier to doing the number of reps.

You can play around with what works for you — fewer reps and more sets, or fewer sets and higher reps. Your goal is to find a solution that’s easy enough that you won’t put it off but that challenges you over the course of the day. You can gradually increase the number of reps and sets as you get stronger or keep them the same if your goal is maintenance.

Try Tabata Training

If you have a few minutes to spare, you can also try a Tabata workout. These workouts take only four minutes to complete, but they’re far from easy. To successfully do a Tabata workout, you need to give it all out effort. Pretend like you’re running as fast as you can from a bear during each interval, and you’ll be moving at the right pace.

Although they’re challenging, Tabata workouts are one of the most efficient forms of training. Research conducted by Dr. Izumi Tabata in the 1990’s has shown that Tabata workouts can have similar aerobic benefits as a 60-minute moderate-intensity cardio workout.

Here’s an example of an equipment-free Tabata-style workout you can try:

Set a timer to eight rounds of ten-second and twenty-second intervals — rest on the ten-second ones, then go all-out on the twenty-second ones (8 x :10 x :20).

Cycle through these exercises so that you end up doing four rounds of each:

  1. Burpees
  2. High knees

You can find other Tabata workout ideas here.

Note: Remember to never work out completely cold. Even with a Tabata workout, you should warm up a little beforehand, especially if it’s cold outside.

Stop Your All or Nothing Thinking

If you’re busier than usual or are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, sometimes setting aside time for a “full” workout can feel daunting (yes, even if it’s just twelve minutes). Try and get away from an all or nothing mindset around movement and start adding in mini workouts during the day.

Add in simple exercises like a quick set of push-ups, bodyweight squats, or stretches every 30 to 45 minutes when you’re at home (set a timer if you need to) and go for a short walk to take a break. It may not seem like a lot, but all these short bouts of movement throughout the day add up and will still get you many of the same benefits of a longer, harder workout.

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese proverb

What’s your favorite strategy for adding movement to your day? Share with me in the comments!

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Top Ways to Relieve Body Pain


Top Ways to Relieve Body Pain

Top Ways to Relieve Body Pain : As winter starts to unfold itself, body pain begins to regulate. Weather changes come with their own bunch of problems and body pain is one of the most common of them. When you are into some physical activity, this pain can make you exhausted.

Patients may get instant relief by popping a painkiller pill; however, extensive use of such medications can be dangerous for your internal organs in the long run. So, how to deal with this pain without taking a toll on your health? Well…you can try some easy-to-follow remedies mentioned in this article. Our pain management experts have compiled some natural, inexpensive, and easily available treatments to relieve body pain. The best part — they have no side effects and all of them are tremendously effective.

So, if you are already searching for a pain doctor, you can have a word with Dr. Soloman about these remedies to understand their benefits to your specific pain condition. Note that these treatments are ideal for mild pain symptoms. If you are going through chronic or excruciating pain, your pain doctor can get you the right treatments and medications.

Warm-Up Paining Joints

Patients can apply heat to the affected area as it can relax the tension in the muscles and relieve the pain. Moreover, it improves the blood flow in the sore muscles and reduces stiffness in the joints. Most importantly, the following heat therapies distract your brain from pain.

  • Electric heating pad
  • Hot water bottle
  • Hot bath
  • Warm gel-filled bag

Heat wrap like Thermacare can be useful to apply low-level and continuous heat on the aching joints for several hours.

Use Ice Packs

Inflammation is one of the most common causes of body pain — especially arthritis. Patients can use a cold compress on the aching area as it is beneficial for reducing inflammation. By slowing down the nerve impulses, cold interrupts the pain signals to the brain and offers relaxation.

Try Meditation

Meditation is effective to ease body pain as it has the power to relax your mind and body quickly. You can play the music you like that has no specific meaning, lay down or sit as per your comfort and concentrate on your breathing for some time. You can also enroll yourself in a professional meditation course where a guide can help you learn advanced meditation techniques. You can rely on many mobile applications, online videos, and other easy sources to learn more about this. If you are a beginner at this, start slow. Meditate for around 3 to 5 minutes initially and gradually increase the time to 15 or 20 minutes.

Massages

Massages are enjoyable, especially therapeutic ones. It can improve the blood flow in the affected areas and loosen the stiff muscles. Patients of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis have experienced great results from massages as it helps to relax the mind and eventually keeping the pain at bay.

Try Gentle Stretching Exercises

As your body is meant to move every now and then, inactivity can be dangerous to it. If you are already experiencing pain, it can get even worse due to a lack of movement. Gentle stretching exercises help maintain range of motion and body mobility — offering much-needed relief from pain. Make sure to discuss what stretching exercises would be best for your unique condition with your pain doctor.

Follow Good Sleeping Habits

Your body and mind need sufficient sleep to function properly. Sleep also benefits in pain management and faster recovery. So, when in pain, practicing good habits that promote plenty of sleep and adequate rest can be a great deal. For example — follow the fixed time for sleep, do not overuse electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops, tables before sleeping, make your bedroom a quiet and dark place that promotes sound sleep, etc.

Eat Fiber-Rich Food

Osteoarthritis pain can be reduced with the help of fiber-rich food. This type of diet leads to increased production of short-chain fatty acids in the body which are known for maintaining a healthy balance of the digestive tract’s microbes. Imbalance in microbes can lead to gut dysbiosis and it puts you at great risk of widespread inflammation and arthritis-like diseases.

Acupuncture

The studies are still going to understand the exact effects of this ancient pain relief technique. However, most body pain patients have reported relaxation from the following pain conditions with acupuncture:

  • Sciatica related pain
  • Neck pain
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
  • Knee and hip arthritis

Exercise Regularly

Joint pain can dramatically decrease with the help of the right exercises. Apart from strengthening muscles that provide joint support, exercises lead to increased production of endorphins — a natural chemical body uses to combat pain.

You can discuss what exercises to follow with your pain management expert. He or she will guide you with a plan that suits your unique needs. The most common types of exercises for pain relief are tai chi, pool exercises, and walking.

Conclusion

So, these are some of the most common and easy ways for body pain relief without involving the medications. They may lower the pain in a small amount; however, if you integrate them with other treatments, it can have amazing results for your pain condition. Look forward to practicing the above-mentioned steps and discussing them with your pain doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

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WHY YOU HAVE UNEXPLAINED ACHES IN YOUR BODY AND HOW TO FIX THEM

 

7 Ways to Get FAST Relief from Inflammation, and Joint Pain

 

Eliminate your body pain naturally

 

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5 Tasty Fruit Beers That Re-Use Waste, Piquette-Style


Aluminum cans aren’t the only thing brewers are recycling. Increasingly, brewers are making fruit beers with previously fermented fruits such as blackberries and peaches, plus pressed grape skins and stems, turning waste into beers that you’ll want to drink again and again.

 

 

Part of the trend’s popularity can be traced to surging interest in piquette. It’s a rustic French technique of turning pomace—the skins, pulp, and stems leftover after pressing grapes for wines—into a low-alcohol, wine-like beverage that’s fizzy, fruity, and often only around 5 percent ABV. The method is favored by many natural winemakers, and “we get a lot of inspiration from what is going on in that world,” says Jake Guidry, the brand director for Hopewell Brewing.

The Chicago brewery’s Neon series of sour ales features massive amounts of fruits such as cherries, raspberries, and blueberries. At first Hopewell didn’t recycle the fruit, but it started experimenting and discovered the value of second-use fruit, especially berries. That led the brewery to launch Neonette program of piquette-style beers.

Don’t expect Jamba juiciness. The brewery makes a lower-alcohol base beer then steeps the fruit, letting the subdued fruitiness shine. “We’re getting more of a prickliness and more tannins coming through,” Guidry says. “They’re going to give you a completely different experience with fruit.” Here are five great beers featuring second-use fruit. They’re all worth trying for the first time.

Second-Use Fruit Beers

Courtesy Image

Hopewell Brewing
Neonette, 4.9% ABV

Pét-nat wines informed Hopewell Brewing’s series of Neon sour ales, which are lavishly fruited and packaged in clear glass bottles to better highlight each release’s electric hue. To make its piquette-inspired Neonette beers, the Chicago brewery makes a moderate-strength table beer, then ferments it with previously used Neon fruit such as black raspberries.
[hopewellbrewing.com]

Gigantic Brewing Funquette
Courtesy Image

Gigantic Brewing
Funquette, 6.3% ABV

The Portland, Oregon, brewery partnered with Stillwater Artisanal and St. Reginald Parish, a natural wine producer in Oregon, on this piquette-inspired sipper. Funquette is made by pairing just-pressed pinot gris pomace with a barrel-aged saison inoculated with wild yeast and a bit of fresh wort, a.k.a. the sugar-rich broth that becomes beer. The fermented result is seltzer-fizzy, the gently cutting tartness balanced by a smidgen of fruity sweetness reminiscent of a ripe cantaloupe.
[giganticbrewing.com]

Threes Brewing Thought Experiment Peach
Courtesy Image

Threes Brewing
Thought Experiment Peach, 4.8% ABV

For its Thought Experiment series, Brooklyn’s Threes takes its food-friendly table beer and ages it on fruits previously used in another beer, such as blueberries and cherries. The fruits lend color and flavor, creating spritzy and colorful refreshers reminiscent of sparkling wine. This peachy release (the fruits were previously used in an oak-aged saison) would make for a perfect brunch beer, low enough in alcohol that you can crush the whole bottle.
[threesbrewing.com]

Modern Times Cool Zone

Modern Times
Cool Zone, 3.8% ABV

In pursuit of the perfect poolside beer, the San Diego brewery infused a funky, wood-aged Belgian beer with a “frickin’ mountain” of second-use Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes. Modern Times then added de-aerated water to drop the alcohol to a positively crushable 3.8 percent—less boozy than Bud Light. Think of this as a fruity beer spritzer.
[moderntimesbeer.com]

Grimm Artisanal Ales Little Thief
Courtesy Image

Grimm Artisanal Ales
Little Thief, 3% ABV

The Brooklyn brewery is big on recycling its grains and fruits. For example, Seconds is a low-alcohol dark mild brewed with grains originally used to make a strong imperial stout, while the spent skins and stems of Merlot grapes used to make a barrel-aged sour ale were repurposed for Little Thief. The brightly refreshing Berliner weisse–style sour makes for a fine start or finish to any meal, or most any time of the day.
[grimmales.com]

 


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Covid-19 vaccine: How an EUA can impact the timeline


Emergency use authorization is what its name suggests: a medical product that gets special authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration to be used during an emergency. Sometimes it’s a product that has already been FDA-approved, but for another condition, and sometimes it’s a new product that hasn’t yet received the agency’s green light.

There is a lot of ongoing concern and debate about whether any vaccine candidate should be granted an EUA — or outright approval — without first completing Phase 3 clinical trials.

According to the FDA’s website, during public health emergencies, the agency can use Emergency Use Authorizations “to help make medical products available as quickly as possible by allowing unapproved medical products to reach patients in need when there are no adequate, FDA-approved and available alternatives.”

But that’s only if “the known and potential benefits of the product, when used to diagnose, prevent, or treat the identified disease or condition, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.”

So, in essence, what an EUA does is speed up the process of getting potentially helpful  medical products authorized for a specific use to the public during a health emergency, without the rigorous testing and subsequent scrutiny that’s usually required to get FDA approval — which traditionally takes years.

When the health emergency is over, “then any EUA(s) issued based on that declaration will no longer remain in effect,” according to the FDA. But the manufacturer can still submit documentation to the agency for regular approval.

The EUA hasn’t been around that long. The process was included within the Project  Bioshield Act passed by Congress in 2004, which enabled the federal government to prepare and stockpile new “medical countermeasures” during a declared public health emergency.

Past vaccine disasters show why rushing a coronavirus vaccine now would be 'colossally stupid'

And despite issuing many EUAs over the years, only one vaccine has ever received one – but it was in an unusual and controversial circumstance. In 1997, the Department of Defense began a mandatory anthrax vaccination program. Shortly thereafter, soldiers claimed the vaccine made them sick, so they sued and a judge put a hold on the program in 2003. The Department of Defense asked for an EUA that then overrode the court ruling in 2005, so it could continue vaccinating military personnel — this time on a voluntary basis.

EUAs during this pandemic

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the FDA has granted EUAs many times to a wide range of medical products, such as ventilators; personal protective equipment, including masks; molecular and antigen tests to diagnose Covid-19, and serologic tests to look for antibodies; and even treatments, such as remdesivir  and convalescent plasma.

Hydroxychloroquine also doesn't help Covid-19 patients who aren't hospitalized, new study finds
An EUA can be revoked,as in the case of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. These drugs had already been approved to treat and prevent malaria, and showed promise against the novel coronavirus in laboratory studies. Small early trials in Covid-19 patients added to the optimism, and the medication was touted by President Trump. But larger studies found the medications to be ineffective in treating patients with Covid-19. Additionally, one of the side effects could also potentially be dangerous in people who had pre-existing heart conditions. After about two and a half months with EUA, the emergency authorization was revoked.

Many experts see granting an EUA to a vaccine against Covid-19 as problematic. For one, vaccines are given to healthy people by choice, unlike medications that are given to gravely ill patients who might die without them. So drugmakers have a higher bar, so to speak, to make sure there are no unexpected side effects that make healthy people sick — and the only way to find out is in large-scale trials, like those going on right now.

FDA won't 'cut corners' to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, commissioner says

The FDA has said it would hold a vaccine to a higher standard. Dr. Peter Marks, who heads FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said Thursday that requirements will be stricter than for an emergency use authorization for an experimental drug.

“For us, for a vaccine for which there is adequate manufacturing information, if we going to do an emergency use authorization, it is going to really be like an emergency use authorization plus,” Marks told a seminar hosted by Duke University’s Margolis Center for Health Policy.

On Friday Marks and Hahn said in a joint blog post they’d be issuing more guidance “shortly” about how much higher the bar might be.

They noted it is up to the manufacturer to ask the FDA either for an EUA or full approval, known as a Biologics License Application. With so much at stake, we understand the importance of being as transparent as possible about the work we do, including how we will make decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccines,” Marks and Hahn wrote.

Fauci warns against premature authorization of coronavirus vaccine

The FDA has already said it would want to see an efficacy of at least 50% — meaning any vaccine, to be considered, would need to reduce the risk of infection or of serious illness by at least 50% over a placebo.

In a string of tweets by Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and the dean of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, earlier this month, he noted that “EUAs involve substandard or lesser reviews. How can you justify a substandard or lesser review for something that would be injected in tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of Americans?”

Additionally, Hotez pointed out that the mRNA technology being used in two of the vaccines that are the furthest along in Phase 3 trials — the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine — is “a new technology that has never before been licensed. We have no history or experience on such vaccines. Even more reason for a full/comprehensive review.”

Hotez also brings up the point that in this highly politicized climate, there is a lack of confidence and trust in the government and federal agencies. “We’ve seen how in 2020 the White House has abused the EUA mechanism – remember the EUA for hydroxychloroquine that was revoked? Neither does the White House or Dept. HHS,” he tweeted.

Political subtext

There is also the worry that the President is looking to make a vaccine available for political reasons during the run-up to the November election.

Trump puts pressure on FDA for coronavirus silver bullet ahead of Election Day

President Trump has said several times he thinks a vaccine could be available by Election Day. Without a doubt, the pace of medical innovation has moved faster than ever before, and human vaccine trials began just 67 days after the virus was first identified. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently told public health officials to prepare to distribute a potential vaccine as early as end of October. And FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said he’d consider an EUA before Phase 3 trials are complete.

Still, several government health officials have told CNN the idea that a vaccine could be available to the general public by November 3 is unlikely. “There is a big concern about the sort of political expediency and when this [October] date was being picked … and just picking this date, before the election, sort of stokes those fears that the government isn’t being duly diligent to make sure that any vaccine really is not just efficacious, but has few side effects,” said Dr. Ali Khan, dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and former director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the CDC.

“So, we’re all optimistic that there are currently three vaccines in Phase 3 trials — that maybe one of these vaccines is so excellent that you don’t need to vaccinate 30,000 people to find that it’s going to work. However, the concern is that if you don’t do a full set of these so-called Phase 3 trials, that you will miss rare side effects,” he said on CNN earlier this month.

When a vaccine — or other medical product — is given to enough people, rare side effects can turn up. In 1976, the government  launched a  hastily produced  vaccine about seven months after the Ford administration was led to believe a pandemic caused by a new strain of flu was imminent.

Experts predicted a coronavirus pandemic years ago. Now it's playing out before our eyes

The pandemic never materialized, but 40 million people got vaccinated under a compulsory program. That vaccine was later linked to a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can develop after an infection or, rarely, after vaccination with a live vaccine. The link was never proved, but the program was stopped.

Also, in order to demonstrate efficacy of the vaccine, dozens of people in the placebo group would need to become infected, while very few — if any — infections would be seen in the vaccinated group of trial participants. It may take weeks, if not months, to see that difference between the two populations.

Lack of trust

The lack of public trust and vaccine hesitancy are real. A CNN poll in August showed 40% of Americans do not want to get a vaccine when it becomes available — even if it is cheap and easy to get. Such a low uptake of the vaccine could hurt the country’s ability to get the virus under control and return to normalcy.

If history is any indication, skepticism — if not outright mistrust — about an unapproved vaccine is nothing new. In a study published in 2009, months after the US declared a public health emergency due to the H1N1 influenza and the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic, researchers explored the public’s willingness to use a drug or a vaccine with an EUA (not full FDA approval) by surveying a representative sample of more than 1,500 US adults. 

They found more than 77% of respondents would be moderately, very or extremely worried if offered an unapproved vaccine; 63% said they would not take it.

But there were also some other key factors that would convince respondents that a vaccine authorized under an EUA was safe to use. If the vaccine were administered by a public health professional, 55% of respondents say they would take it. If it came with a fact sheet, just over 57% of those surveyed said they would get it. And if it were administered by their own health care provider, that number shot up to 68%. Transparency is key in gaining trust.

There's a legitimate way to end coronavirus vaccine trials early, Fauci says

Those in charge of the country’s health agencies — Alex Azar at the US Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Francis Collins at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the FDA’s Dr. Stephen Hahn and the CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield — have all tried to reassure Americans that politics will not play a role in when a vaccine becomes available.

Fauci has said he believes a vaccine will likely come closer to the end of the year, and that he wouldn’t be comfortable with making a vaccine widely available unless the scientific evidence backed it up. “I’m not a regulator. I mean, I just do the science. I’d report the science in an accurate way, and certainly if I saw interference, I would be very disturbed and call it out,” Fauci told CNN’s Jim Acosta on “The Situation Room.”

As for an emergency use authorization, “I would not be comfortable with a vaccine unless it was shown in a clinical trial clearly to be safe and effective,” Fauci said during an interview on NBC’s “Today.” 

Dr. Luciana Borio, the former acting chief scientist at the FDA, agrees that a vaccine must be shown to be safe and effective first and foremost.

But if a vaccine is shown to be safe and effective in adequate and well-controlled clinical trials, it should not be withheld until all the stringent licensure requirements for FDA approval are met, because some of the requirements cannot be generated quickly.

“Safe & effective vaccines can save lives and help contain the pandemic,” Borio tweeted. “The EUA is the most appropriate regulatory mechanism for distributing vaccines that have been shown to be safe & effective in phase 3 RCTs (randomized controlled trials) but have not yet met all of the FDA’s standards for licensure.” 

Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser to Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s Covid-19 vaccine program, said that “it would be unethical” to not move quickly to put out a Covid-19 vaccine if it is proven to work.

“If we know a vaccine is 70% or 80% or 90% effective, it would be unethical to hold it back,” Slaoui said during a CNN interview on Friday.

9 vaccine makers sign safety pledge in race for Covid-19 vaccine

On Tuesday, nine biopharmaceutical companies, including those who are furthest along in their vaccine testing programs, signed an unusual pledge to uphold “high ethical standards,” suggesting they won’t seek premature government approval for Covid-19 vaccines.

They pledged to “Only submit for approval or emergency use authorization after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase 3 clinical study that is designed and conducted to meet requirements of expert regulatory authorities such as FDA.”

In fact, later that same day, AstraZeneca, one of the signatories of the pledge, said it had paused its trials globally because of an unexplained illness in one volunteer in the UK. The drugmaker called the halt “a routine action.”

AstraZeneca pauses coronavirus vaccine trial after unexplained illness in volunteer

“In large trials, illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully. We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline,” AstraZeneca said in a statement sent to CNN.

According to the FDA’s guidance, any vaccine — whether under emergency authorization or approved — needs to either prevent disease or at least decrease severity by at least 50%.

Despite all the intrigue, it may be worthwhile to circle back to the original criteria for an EUA — in particular, the stipulation that it only be granted when ”there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.”

While most people understandably don’t want to hear it, there is a reasonable alternative, which has worked well  in many places around the world, and that is abiding by basic public health measures: wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, practicing good hand hygiene and staying away from large, especially indoor crowds — especially indoors.

Following those rules will significantly reduce the likelihood of people getting sick, and slow the transmission of the virus. It will also buy us more time to make sure we get the evidence supporting the vaccine totally nailed down.

CNN’s Jen Christensen, Shelby Lin Erdman, and Nadia Kounang contributed to this report.



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Evidence of disturbed gene activity in the brain as a result of heart problems — ScienceDaily


Heart problems cause disturbed gene activity in the brain’s memory center, from which cognitive deficits arise. Researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) come to this conclusion based on laboratory studies. They consider that they have found a possible cause for the increased risk of dementia in people with heart problems. In mice, a specific drug which is known to affect gene activity alleviated the mental deficits. The involved experts see these results as potential approaches for therapies. The study data are published in the scientific journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

In Germany, about four million people are affected by what is called “heart failure”: Their heart muscle is too weak to pump enough blood through the body and is therefore abnormally enlarged. Physical fitness and quality of life suffer as a result. Moreover, affected individuals have an increased risk of developing dementia. “People with cardiological problems and heart failure in particular may experience noticeable cognitive deficits and increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Possible reasons include impaired blood supply to the brain and dysfunction of the hippocampus, which is the memory’s control center,” explained André Fischer, research group leader at the DZNE’s Göttingen site and professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at UMG. “Yet, there is a lack of therapies to effectively treat cognitive deficits in people with heart problems. This is because it is completely unclear which deficiencies are triggered in neurons. There was no data on this so far.”

Stressed Cells

Now, a team led by Prof. André Fischer and Prof. Karl Toischer (Clinic of Cardiology and Pneumology at UMG and DZHK’s Göttingen site) is presenting findings on this subject for the first time. The researchers observed in mice that impaired gene activity developed in the hippocampus as a result of heart problems. “In memory tests, mice with heart failure performed significantly worse than their healthy mates,” Fischer explained. “We then examined the neurons of the hippocampus. In the mice with heart failure, we found increased cellular stress pathways and altered gene activity in neurons.”

Tight Windings

The genome of a mouse — and also of humans — comprises around 20,000 genes. In any given cell, however, only a part of them is active, switched on, so to speak. This is not a mere on or off state: the activity can be strong or less strong. This depends, among other things, on how tightly the DNA (the thread-like molecule that carries the genome) is wound and how accessible the genes on it are. In both mice and humans, the DNA is more than a meter long. But in a cell, the molecule is so tightly packed that it fits into the nucleus. “Genes can only be active if they are accessible to the cell’s machinery. To this end, the DNA needs to be wound a little more loosely at the relevant sites. This is similar to a ball of yarn with loops sticking out of it,” said Fischer. In the current study, the DNA was found to be more tightly wound in neurons of mice with heart problems than in healthy mates. Various genes important for hippocampal function were therefore less active than in healthy mice.

A Drug Improved Memory

The scientists identified chemical changes in the histones as the cause of the tight winding. Histones are special proteins: The DNA wraps around them, much like yarn around a spool of thread. Fischer’s research group has been studying histones and other players that influence gene activity for quite some time — in technical jargon they are called “epigenetic mechanisms.” In this context, the researchers are also investigating drugs. In previous studies, they were able to show that the cancer drug “vorinostat” can alleviate genetically driven as well as age-related memory problems in mice. Currently, vorinostat is being investigated for the therapy of people with Alzheimer’s in a clinical trial of the DZNE. In the current study, the scientists treated mice with heart failure with this drug. They found that the heart’s pumping capacity did not change significantly, but memory performance improved.

Interdisciplinary Cooperation

“Vorinostat has been shown to act on histones and thus on gene activity. Our study thereby provides initial clues about the molecular processes that contribute to cognitive dysfunction following heart problems, and it indicates potential approaches for therapy,” Fischer commented on the results. “Fact is, however, that we do not yet understand why, as a result of heart failure, gene activity in the hippocampus is disturbed. What is the role of the deficient blood supply to the brain? Does the troubled heart release substances that affect the histones? We intend to investigate this in patients with heart problems. As with our current study, which involved experts from neuroscience and cardiac research, we aim to address these questions in an interdisciplinary way.”

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Best toys for kids that they will love for their birthday



Great birthday gifts for kids. (Markus Spiske via Unsplash/)

Shopping for toys for kids can be the ultimate exercise in trial and error. Young children are cute and cuddly, but they aren’t as predictable as older kids and adults who have settled into lifelong preferences. Just when you think you have them all figured out in the gift-giving department, they’ll throw you unexpected curveballs. Since children change so much from year to year, that can make buying birthday gifts for kids a particular challenge.

Babies are easier because they can’t give you any real feedback on first-birthday presents. Once they grow into toddlers, though, you’ve really got to up your gift-giving game. Ultimately, the best birthday gift ideas will differ from kid to kid, but while you’re deciding which way to go, there are several tips that should help you with the process. Most importantly, think safety first. A kid’s birthday gift should be age-appropriate and not pose any threat to their well-being.

Fun always goes over well, but gifts with educational value will be even more beneficial in the long run. And since kids can be fickle and grow out of what they love today by tomorrow, it’s never a good idea to spend too much money on one gift. If you keep it within reason price-wise, in the unfortunate event that your choice doesn’t go over so well, you’ll have a little more to spend to get them something else. Now that we’ve gotten the preliminary considerations out of the way, let’s go shopping for toys for kids.

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  • Best sensory toys for kids: <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/BunMo-Sensory-Autistic-Children-Fidgets/dp/B088SZ9SPH?ascsubtag=amzn1.osa.99d6ed3b-2c0d-4650-aac5-ed4bd360a187.ATVPDKIKX0DER.en_US&crid=157A97YV22D91&cv_ct_cx=sensory+toys&cv_ct_id=amzn1.osa.99d6ed3b-2c0d-4650-aac5-ed4bd360a187.ATVPDKIKX0DER.en_US&cv_ct_pg=search&cv_ct_we=asin&cv_ct_wn=osp-single-source-earns-comm&dchild=1&keywords=sensory+toys&pd_rd_i=B088SZ9SPH&pd_rd_r=63b68d2b-4c92-4355-90b1-704a422faf7e&pd_rd_w=iK6fe&pd_rd_wg=ks6o2&pf_rd_p=f4a3aafa-93d3-4be9-a7f4-4d5c2eff701a&pf_rd_r=W5YXQ4JXFG53NHBRGTR3&qid=1613718822&sprefix=sensory+toy%2Caps%2C183&sr=1-1-64f3a41a-73ca-403a-923c-8152c45485fe&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-toys-for-kids-birthday-pcr-20&linkId=d27ad07ab6b13fa7dd5c7c19c61d87ee&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl” target=_blank>BunMo XL Pop Tubes Sensory Toys for Autistic Children</a>
  • Best wooden toys for kids: <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/WOOD-CITY-Toddler-Montessori-Toddlers/dp/B087FTYHST?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B087FTYHST&pd_rd_r=74334fd3-2e1f-4791-8f8c-c76ae89ce1d1&pd_rd_w=QQD50&pd_rd_wg=g7Rlm&pf_rd_p=16b28406-aa34-451d-8a2e-b3930ada000c&pf_rd_r=T2TVQH18QD4NVSTD2W22&psc=1&refRID=T2TVQH18QD4NVSTD2W22&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-toys-for-kids-birthday-pcr-20&linkId=429fc26265cdbe1ba0378eed014ef067&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl” target=_blank>WOOD CITY Wooden Car Ramp Racer</a>
  • Best science toys for kids: <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/NATIONAL-GEOGRAPHIC-Dual-Student-Microscope/dp/B01ICAU41E?ascsubtag=amzn1.osa.41f57a29-ed25-437b-ae5a-a113c219bec2.ATVPDKIKX0DER.en_US&crid=2PV36I7SJX9BW&cv_ct_cx=science+toys&cv_ct_id=amzn1.osa.41f57a29-ed25-437b-ae5a-a113c219bec2.ATVPDKIKX0DER.en_US&cv_ct_pg=search&cv_ct_we=asin&cv_ct_wn=osp-single-source-earns-comm&dchild=1&keywords=science+toys&pd_rd_i=B01ICAU41E&pd_rd_r=4a58afbf-d5d4-4bcd-8444-bfd24210e7c9&pd_rd_w=mGrdK&pd_rd_wg=KQMR2&pf_rd_p=f4a3aafa-93d3-4be9-a7f4-4d5c2eff701a&pf_rd_r=5CPQ0W8QGYBEA11YQA1Z&qid=1613719467&s=toys-and-games&sprefix=science+toys%2Ctoys-and-games%2C173&sr=1-1-64f3a41a-73ca-403a-923c-8152c45485fe&linkCode=ll1&tag=popularscience-best-toys-for-kids-birthday-pcr-20&linkId=e37f0aa25eaf1bc9a24db7b38488b360&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl” target=_blank>NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Dual LED Student Microscope</a>

How to pick out fun toys for kids

Have no idea what to get the child in your life? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Birthday gifts and toys for kids are just a click away. For better or for worse, the opportunities are fairly endless, so let’s narrow them down.

Best outdoor toys for kids: Lifetime Geometric Dome Climber Play Center

This comes in three different heights to accommodate kids from 3 to 10—and it can hold up to 600 pounds of weight.

This comes in three different heights to accommodate kids from 3 to 10—and it can hold up to 600 pounds of weight. (Amazon/)

The best outdoor toys for kids? Every childhood deserves a great set of monkey bars, and with a good set-up in the backyard, there’s no need to make special trips to the playground. This free-standing climbing structure doesn’t require a cement base, and it reaches a height of up to five feet, six inches, depending on which size you get. There are no dangerous lead-based materials involved, and it’s stain- and UV-resistant to retain its original color. The monkey bars come in six different color combinations, so you can get one to match the favorite colors of the kids who will be playing on it.

Best ride on toys for kids: Kidzone DIY Race Electric Ride On Bumper Car

This battery-powered item requires no assembly, comes in 10 colors, and reaches a maximum speed of .75 miles per hour.

This battery-powered item requires no assembly, comes in 10 colors, and reaches a maximum speed of .75 miles per hour. (Amazon /)

Ride-on toys are good for kids because they promote physical activity and independence and help build their confidence. They assist in the development of motor skills and mind-body connections that will come in handy when they’re old enough to ride a bike. Even if they won’t be getting behind the wheel of a car for many years, these toys help children develop skills that will become increasingly important. This ride-on electric car is safe for children from 18 months old and can spin a full 360 degrees with the use of a joystick or remote control. A protective border keeps drivers safe when the vehicle bumps into walls and furniture. Just be sure to strap in the little one with the safety belt

Best water toys for kids: HONEY JOY Inflatable Water Slide

The set-up includes a carrying bag for storage and portability and four patches to cover up accidental tears.

The set-up includes a carrying bag for storage and portability and four patches to cover up accidental tears. (Amazon/)

Who doesn’t love fun in the sun with water? This inflatable bouncy house brings it on, with integrated water sports, a pair of slides, a climbing wall, and a basketball rim. An inflatable basketball, by the way, is included. This is perfect on days when parents can’t make it to the beach or to the local waterpark. All they have to do is set this up in the backyard, and let the fun and games begin. It’s durable, stable, and big enough to hold up to three children ages 3 to 10 with lots of space to play. It is a bit of an investment, but it can provide hours of active entertainment at a playdate for three. Just add water.

Best educational toys for kids: ThinkFun Zingo Sight Words

This match-up’s mix of pictures and letters can also help children improve their spelling skills.

This match-up’s mix of pictures and letters can also help children improve their spelling skills. (Amazon/)

There’s no reason why children can’t have fun and learn at the same time. That’s where these educational toys for kids come into play. The best birthday gifts for kids are the ones that will provide hours of entertainment while also offering them mental and intellectual stimulation. This Bingo-style game can be played by up to six pre-kindergarten to second-grade kids, and it can help kids recognize essential words. A winner of ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids Award, it’s perfect for future word nerds.

Best STEM toys for kids: ThinkFun Gravity Maze Marble Run Brain Game

This comes with a game grid, nine towers, and a target piece, and the levels of its challenges range from beginner to expert.

This comes with a game grid, nine towers, and a target piece, and the levels of its challenges range from beginner to expert. (Amazon/)

STEM toys help train the geniuses of tomorrow by sharpening their cognitive reasoning and problem-solving skills. This kids’ toy includes 60 different games that will help young users develop crucial reasoning abilities. The goal is to set up the towers so that the marble falls from the top all the way down to a target tower below. It may sound simple enough, but it helps kids develop spatial reasoning and planning skills.

Best robot toy for kids: SGILE RC Robot Toy

This can keep going for 60 minutes after two hours of charging using the USB cable.

This can keep going for 60 minutes after two hours of charging using the USB cable. (Amazon/)

An imaginary friend can help a child get through tough times, and a real-life robot toy can be an equally beneficial diversion, offering fun and games as well as a learning experience. This robot toy for kids can perform up to 50 motions by tapping on the remote control, including walking, dancing, and even singing. Wheels underfoot help it move along on smooth surfaces, and it’s able to move forward, backward, left and right, with a built-in sensor helping it to avoid walls, furniture, and other physical obstacles. It doesn’t take an adult to figure it out. A child can use one button on the remote control to enter a variety of movements and let the robot do the rest. Kids love remote controls, and mastering the use of this one is a skill that will definitely come in handy later on.

Best building toys for kids: LEGO Ideas 123 Sesame Street 21324 Building Kit

There are more than 1,300 parts, but don’t worry. Step-by-step instructions are included to assist the little one.

There are more than 1,300 parts, but don’t worry. Step-by-step instructions are included to assist the little one. (Amazon/)

Here’s to future architects. Even if the little one doesn’t grow up to design skyscrapers, building toys for kids can provide the building blocks to excellent spatial skills. They’ll probably watch Sesame Street on TV, and This LEGO set for kids will allow them to recreate the fictional neighborhood on their own. All the favorite characters are included, as well as Elmo’s bedroom and Bert and Ernie’s apartment. At 9.4 inches high, 14 inches wide, and 8 inches deep, it’s large enough to impress young builders but compact enough to not overwhelm them. LEGO is always a great brand for kids’ toys.

Best sensory toy for kids: BunMo XL Pop Tubes Sensory Toys for Autistic Children

This comes in three different sizes: four-, eight- and 12-packs.

This comes in three different sizes: four-, eight- and 12-packs. (Amazon/)

Sensory toys are great for children with autism because they can help them relax, calm down, and focus when they’re faced with a triggering situation. The fun, colorful tubes relieve anxiety through tactile stimulation, and the four-tube option comes in XL configurations that can be connected together to form one or two larger ones that make excellent hula hoops. You can also get an eight-pack of mini tubes that kids can connect and wear as a bracelet or wrap around their fingers.

Best wooden toys for kids: WOOD CITY Wooden Car Ramp Racer

Minimal assembly required. Simply put together the parking lot and start driving.

Minimal assembly required. Simply put together the parking lot and start driving. (Amazon /)

Miniature cars can keep young kids occupied for hours. Throw in a ramp race track, and it becomes more than just fun and games. These wooden toys for kids enhances hand-eye coordination in toddlers, and as they come to understand how the parts connect and work together, it will improve their thinking skills. The seven cars start at the top and flip at the end of each ramp onto the next until they reach the ramp at the bottom. The brightly colored cars provide visual stimulation, and the car parts are firmly attached together so there is no risk of a wheel falling off and ending up in a toddler’s mouth.

Best science toys for kids: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Dual LED Student Microscope

Kids can pull it out of the box and immediately get started on examining earthworm specimens, brine shrimp, and daisy leaves—all of which are included.

Kids can pull it out of the box and immediately get started on examining earthworm specimens, brine shrimp, and daisy leaves—all of which are included. (Amazon/)

Kids love toys that let them mimic adult activities. Every future scientist needs a good starter microscope, and this is a great science toy for kids to start with. It comes with more than 50 accessories, including 10 curated pre-prepared slides of biological specimens so kids can work up to creating their own using the included blank slides and covers, tweezers, eye-droppers, and Petri dish. The two sets of glass lenses offer 20 and 50 times magnification for viewing that’s up close and personal, as well as upper and lower LED lights.

The bottom line on the best toys for kids

Looking for the perfect toys for kids can be a challenge, but it need not be an insurmountable one. You should be able to find some birthday gift ideas among this list of kids’ toys. Just think safety first, and remember: When it comes to birthday gifs for kids, fun plus educational is an unbeatable combination.

Thank you for dropping in and seeing this post involving current Healthy Living news titled “Best toys for kids that they will love for their birthday”. This news update was brought to you by MyLocalPages as part of our national news services.

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Weekly CEO Update: It’s understanding and communicating the ‘WHY?’ that really matters in the workplace


As we near the 12-month mark of the disruption and change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and look to learn from those subsequent changes and challenges across many workplaces, I had the chance to reflect on and discuss these issues for the public sector as part of a Mandarin webinar this week.

Looking back and looking forward in a period of constant churn and change is difficult… and on reflection it’s the ‘why’ we’ve done things in the workplace, and how we’ve communicated this that really piqued my interest.

It was also the understanding that we need to pace ourselves, and manage expectations going forward by encouraging each other to take the time to plan, think and reflect for the year ahead, especially following the year that has been and the sustained peak for many.
In the public sector, many departments and thousands of public servants, both state and federal, have had to ‘surge’ from March last year to deliver new policies, programs and systems, and have had to maintain that surge for 12 months now.

For those on the frontline of service delivery, be it the many people who administered and processed nearly 40,000 COVID tests in a single day in Melbourne, or those providing home delivery services, or trucking resources around the country and across borders, the stress levels and challenges have been high and constant.

At Mental Health Australia one of the ways we’ve tried to manage the sustained stress and challenges resulting from COVID is to elevate the conversations in the workplace and not assume they are occurring. By this I mean talking about how the changes are working, where they are not working, and identifying team-based opportunities for improvement and reflection.

For those not on the frontline, who have been fortunate to be able to work from home, this has meant missed interpersonal benefits of being present in workplaces, so we’ve had to look for ways to schedule it in. We’ve had to do more than assume, and work together to find the balance of what works for some people, what works for others, and then what works as a team.

The additional challenges of working from home and knowing when to stop, and what is work, and what is home time, has really challenged people, especially in the public sector, and again when workplaces, managers and leaders reflect on this, and the sustained nature of such activity, there will be a lot to learn both positive and challenging.

Personally, and having started in this role during the pandemic, leading Mental Health Australia in this type of environment has been tough, but equally rewarding. And I’m sure that has been the case across many organisations and sectors, particularly the public sector where changes in an office working environment, or post-election changes, or the machinery of government changes, have always thrown up challenges.

In every workplace there has always been the need to respond to critical issues, crises and change and we need to acknowledge that these have only been amplified as a result of COVID.

Ultimately what the pandemic has shown us is that there is no certainty, so managing uncertainty has become part of our day-to-day business. Acknowledging this, and understanding and managing change in an organisation, is about over communicating and involving people to engage both with the problems and with the solutions.

We know that when there IS NOT good communication about the ‘why?’ behind changes people are often left to try and understand it themselves. When the uncertainty and change is constant like we have experienced together through this pandemic, the why, why, why is even more important, especially how it fits with an organisations values and how it is communicated.

Reflecting and learning from the ‘why?’ we did things — why we need to make changes and how we communicated then and now — can only help organisations and individuals move forward in 2021, and that can only benefit workplace mental health.

Mental Health Australia is a proud member of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and to find out more, including a number of COVID specific resources available to small, medium and large workplaces, please click here.

Have a good weekend.

 

Leanne Beagley
CEO


The Select Committee on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention is now calling for submissions by 24th March 2021. The Committee has been established to consider a range of strategic reviews of the current mental health system, and whether the recommendations are fit for purpose to address the fallout from bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. Mental Health Australia will be developing a submission pointing the Committee to previous policy positions and submissions relevant to their deliberations. Members are welcome to provide input to this process by emailing policy@mhaustralia.org

On Monday we have a Mental Health Australia Governance Committee meeting and then I’m meeting with Mohammad Al-Khafaji from the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA)

On Tuesday I’ll be taking part in the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities COVID-19 Health Advisory Group meeting and on Wednesday I’ll be meeting with Pain Australia CEO, Carol Bennett.

On Thursday the National Safety and Quality Community Mental Health Service Standards Advisory Group Meeting will be held and then later that day I’ll be meeting with the Australian Borderline Personality Disorder Foundation.

 

Communicate your news or upcoming events to more than 5,000 people in the mental health ecosystem weekly.

Mental Health Australia members are invited to send us news, announcements, events or other notices for inclusion in the Weekly CEO Update newsletter. To do so, simply fill out this form by COB each Wednesday for your notice to appear in the newsletter the following Friday.

Member Profiles

Blue Knot Foundation
Blue Knot Foundation is Australia’s National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma, empowering recovery and building resilience for the more than five million adult Australians (1 in 4) with a lived experience of complex trauma, including childhood trauma and abuse, their families and communities.


Movember
Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men. Movember’s areas of focus include prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

The Australian Department of Health’s implementation plan sets out principles to ensure that information and services for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program are delivered in appropriate languages and formats for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and within appropriate facilities and locations. You can access the plan here.

Commissioned by the National Mental Health Commission, Blue Knot Foundation and BEING – Mental Health Consumers, have prepared the Living with and Healing from Complex Trauma report. The report integrates lived experience evidence with the latest clinical and research evidence to better inform practitioners and services within the mental health and related sectors about complex trauma, its impacts and their relationship to mental distress.

Read more


At a time of increasing public interest and government focus on the reduction of suicide, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) taskforce on suicide prevention has released a new position statement. The new statement acknowledges suicide is complex but there is substantial evidence regarding clinical and social measures which can help to prevent suicide.

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Most Australians (86%) took steps to manage their physical health and two in three (67%) took steps to manage their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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A report on loneliness, an issue which clouds the lives of many Australians and exposes them to increased risk of depression and other illness, has called for a national plan of action to address the often unrecognised condition. A significant proportion of Australians (15%) were considered to be experiencing high levels of loneliness, according to a 2019 survey, yet there remain significant gaps in knowledge and community awareness of the extent and impact, the report finds.

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With more than a third of Australians now drinking alcohol daily, compared to 6% pre-COVID-19, researchers are developing a digital tool to help communities manage the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. A team of researchers from the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) has been awarded one of 10 NSW Ministry of Health COVID-19 Research Grants, designed to fund research in priority areas to directly support the NSW Health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more


Yahoo News Australia has teamed up with Lifeline Australia to launch a new content series to raise awareness of mental health and the real-life struggles of Australians. The new ‘What’s Up?’ series shares original stories from everyday Australians who have been affected by mental illness.

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The National Mental Health Commission has launched the Mental Health Safety and Quality Engagement Guide. The Commission has developed this guide for consumers and carers to strengthen their role in safety and quality initiatives. This was an action in the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. The Guide aims to empower and support our mental health workforce to engage in meaningful partnerships, to improve the safety and quality of mental health services.

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A new Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) governance standard is now in place which requires registered charities to take reasonable steps to join the National Redress Scheme if an application has been made, or is likely to be made, against them. Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said this would allow institutions which have been named as failing to join the Scheme to be stripped of their charitable status and, therefore, lose associated tax concessions.

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A group of leaders with first-hand personal experience of the mental health system are demanding radical change from the Victorian Royal Commission, due to release its report next week.  They say a radical overhaul is needed and the urgent need to embark on transformative change will be made difficult by terms of reference that limited focus on abuse, and by the failure to appoint a Commissioner who has lived experience of mental health issues and of using the system.

Read more

The Black Dog Institute is seeking expressions of interest in becoming a National Network Member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Centre. The Centre aims to advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to be embedded across mental health and suicide prevention initiatives. Find out more here.

Like breathing, swallowing is essential to everyday life. Around one million Australians have a swallowing difficulty, which can occur at any stage of life. Swallowing Awareness Day 2021, 17 March, is an opportunity to bring attention to swallowing disorders and to connect people with speech pathologists, the professionals who can help. The strong correlation of mental health conditions and swallowing conditions reinforce the importance of speech pathology involvement in the mental health system. Find campaign resources here.

Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia have been asked by the Australian Government to renew the 2013 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy (NATSISPS) in consultation with stakeholders and community members. The NATSISPS will be available for comment here in the coming weeks.

  

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages and checking out this story regarding Mental Health and related news named “Weekly CEO Update: It’s understanding and communicating the ‘WHY?’ that really matters in the workplace”. This news update is brought to you by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our World sports news services.

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What Goes into Each Bottle of Northern Chill?


When most people think of electrolytes, it usually involves brightly-colored and artificially-flavored sports drinks that supposedly aid us in the gym. Problem is, a lot of those are overflowing with more added sugars and empty calories than electrolytes.

Northern Chill Alkaline Mineral Spring Water is naturally made with minerals and electrolytes, which helps give you an added performance boost during every workout—without any added sugar.

But what are electrolytes, and why are they so important? Electrolytes serve different functions in the body, including helping maintain nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and fluid balance running smoothly.

And while there are other lesser-known ways to consume your electrolytes, including yogurt, pickles, and even a pretzel, the best way to get your daily fill of electrolytes is in alkaline water.

Northern Chill, sourced from a glacier created aquifer in Polar, WI, is a naturally-alkaline mineral spring water that undergoes zero processing, meaning the natural levels of minerals and electrolytes are preserved in each bottle, giving you the best performance boost for your buck.

What does that mean? With no calories or added  sugar, you can get all the minerals and electrolytes you need for that heavy-duty squat session, 10-mile run or 10 rounds in the ring from a bottle of Northern Chill.

Here is a list of some of the minerals and electrolyte that can help you reach top performance, all of which can be found in a bottle of Northern Chill.

Bicarbonate: This mineral helps regulate the pH level in the body, helps your digestive system function properly, and protects against acid reflux and heartburn. For athletes, bicarbonate has been shown to help reduce muscle fatigue, helping you squeeze out a few more reps, or miles, each workout.

Calcium: As well as being a key mineral for overall teeth and bone health, calcium has been shown to help circulate blood, move muscles, and release hormones. It’s an extremely vital mineral for athletes, particularly female athletes, as heavy training can cause a drop in hormone levels.

Magnesium: Along with helping regulate muscle and nerve functions as well as blood pressure, magnesium also is essential in helping produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s main source of energy. Magnesium also helps with calcium absorption.

Sodium: Since athletes lose this mineral through sweating, sodium is arguably the body’s most important mineral. It also helps balance the water levels in and around your cells and maintain blood pressure levels. Cramping up during a workout? Chances are you’re in need of sodium replenishment as sodium is known to help reduce muscle cramping.

Chloride: This electrolyte is essential for helping maintain hydration among athletes. It complements both sodium and potassium in helping balance acids in the body as well as moving fluids in and out of cells.

Potassium: The third-most-prevalent mineral in the human body, potassium helps kidney and heart function including the prevention of kidney stones. It also helps regulate nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and helps maintain blood pressure.

Courtesy of Northern Chill

Thank you for dropping in and checking this news update on current Healthy Living and related news called “What Goes into Each Bottle of Northern Chill?”. This news release is brought to you by My Local Pages as part of our local news services.

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