With the lazy days of summer right around the corner, many parents are getting nervous that their kids will be a little too idle without school and activities. However, a new study says that more sleep is actually a good trade-off for keeping kids active. While you still want to make sure your kids are moving and grooving, you can feel a little better about them catching those extra zzz's.
Researchers from the University of South Australia wanted to find the optimal balance between children's physical activity, their sleep, and sedentary time during a 24-hour day, so parents could be more informed about how to structure their child's day.
For the study, researchers examined 1,179 children between the ages of 11 and 12 years old and recorded their BMI, waist girth, body fat, and had the children fill out a survey on their mental well-being. They found that even though exercise had a greater and faster impact on physical health and well-being, the kids in the study were able to achieve the same 7.4 percent reduction in BMI by doing at least one of the following activities:
Researchers added that kids may significantly improve their mental health by doing at least one of the following activities:
"International guidelines suggest that children need 9-11 hours' sleep, 60 minutes of physical exercise, and no more than two hours of recreational screen time per day, yet only seven percent of children are regularly meeting these goals," says Dr. Dumuid, lead researcher of the study. "With so many competing priorities and commitments, it's helpful to know which activities deliver the greatest 'bang for your buck.'"
For busy families, it can be hard to make sure their kids are getting the right balance of activity, sleep, and free time. So, researchers hope this study will help parents think about their day-to-day schedules. While kids should be outside riding their bikes, swimming, or participating in some sort of physical activity, getting kids to bed earlier so they can get a full night's rest is also important for their physical and mental health.
"Exploring trade-offs between children's activities is a promising way for families to make healthy choices that suit their regular family schedule," says Dr. Dumuid. Since being a parent is all about being flexible, researchers hope this study will give parents a break from feeling guilty about their busy schedules.
Why Does Skin Itch?
The problem with having skin is that it’s not blemishless and can burn very badly and is liable to develop rashes or sores, not to mention cancers, and—at once more benign and, in the moment, just as miserable as any of these things—it can itch. Some itches, of course, are perfectly pleasant, particularly those that can be easily scratched. But all itches, low-level or consuming, present the same question: why? Why do we itch? What is its evolutionary purpose? What, over millions of years, was itching honed to accomplish, and where does this itch-sensation come from? For this week’s Giz Asks, we reached out to a number of experts to find out.
Associate Biologist (Dermatology) at Massachusetts General Hospital and Head of the Lerner Lab, whose goal is to understand the mechanisms that underlie the sensation of itch to develop effective anti-itch therapies
The traditional understanding of itching is that we have the sensation in order to remove bugs, or whatever other environmental stimuli are interacting with our skin. There’s a lot of support for this concept, although I do take some issue with it, given that one of the most common itches is from mosquito bites, and by the time you know a mosquito is there, it’s gone.
A number of us feel the reason we itch is to help stimulate the immune system to become activated and to recognize something in the environment that shouldn’t be there—it helps turn on the immune system to fight off insults. It’s a nervous system thing, an example of the tight connection between the nervous system and the immune system and the barrier of the skin, which otherwise protects us, to keep things out.
Then there’s the question of why scratching an itch often feels quite good. Not all itches are pleasurable, of course, but they often are—it can feel really good, if you have dry skin, to jump in the shower and start scratching. One of the reasons it’s pleasurable, I think, is to get you to scratch, to further activate the immune system and make sure it gets the right signal.
Assistant Professor, Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital
100% of the population experiences acute itch at some point in their lives, but it’s quite startling when you consider the number of people suffering from chronic itch, defined as experiencing itch most days of the week for over 6 weeks. Anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of the general population, and up to 40 percent of certain medical populations, experience chronic itch—it’s a real problem.
Why we itch is an interesting question and involves communication between multiple cell types in the skin or mucosa and the nervous system. At a high level, we feel itch when cells in our skin release signaling molecules that activate peripheral nerve fibers that in turn relay that itch signal to the spinal cord and up to the brain. In the brain, these chemical signals are interpreted as itch. Skin cells that can release these itch-inducing signals include the cells that make up the skin, called keratinocytes, but also the immune cells that populate and guard your skin. Sometimes these cells are triggered to release factors in response to exogenous (outside) agents like chemicals, irritants, plants or insects, and other times they are driven by endogenous (internal) factors released by the immune system when you have inflammatory skin diseases (like eczema or psoriasis), fungal infections, diseases of other organs (like liver or blood diseases), or by medications you take.
Occasionally, your itch nerves can be damaged or diseased and will simply trigger unsolicited itch sensations. This type of mistaken signal can happen anywhere along the neural pathway, from the skin to the spinal cord to the brain. In this case, people feel itchy even without a rash.
Director of Dermatopathology and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at UC Irvine
The neurobiology of itch is complex and is still not well understood. Itch is similar to pain in the sense that both are considered noxious, or unpleasant, stimuli. Both pain and itch are mediated by sensory nerves which communicate through the spinal cord to various parts of our brain. However, our behavioral response to each is different. To pain, we respond with withdrawal. To itch, our response is to scratch. That’s the definition of itch: any sensation that causes a desire to scratch.
So what causes itch? Well, anything that affects the itch pathway can cause the sensation of itch—from the skin to the spinal cord to the brain itself.
More practically, dermatologists broadly think of itch in two categories: “itch with rash” and “itch without rash.” The former is easier to identify and treat: These would be skin problems like hives, bug bites, eczema, psoriasis, etc. The primary cause of itch in “itch with rash” is usually in the skin itself, so we are able to directly address those causes.
In “itch without rash,” it can be more difficult to identify the underlying cause, and thus may also be more difficult to treat. In these cases, it can be an issue of the sensory nerves or the central nervous system itself. It can also be a systemic problem—there are certain systemic disorders that can cause itch, including medication side effects, thyroid disease, kidney dysfunction, biliary obstruction, and certain forms of cancers, among other things.
Itch that is purely related to nerve problems is not uncommon. Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the nervous system, and these patients can experience itch due to the dysfunction of the nerves without any skin causes. There is a phenomenon termed pruritus of the elderly. (Pruritus is the clinical term for itch.) In these cases, there’s nothing wrong with the skin, and it is thought that the itch is due to age-related dysfunction of the nerves in your skin. Another example is spinal cord abnormalities leading to the sensation of itch. For example, if you’ve gotten into a car accident and injured your spine, or if you developed a disc herniation, these traumas to your spinal cord can lead to the misfiring of the sensory nerve pathway, leading to a sensation of localized itch. The abnormality impinging on the nerves will cause the nerve to inappropriately fire, sending a message to your brain that you’re itchy in one spot even though there’s nothing in that area of the skin that is truly stimulating the ends of those nerves.
Itch is hugely disruptive to the lives of those who suffer from it—can you imagine night after night of not being able to sleep because you’re too itchy? A recent study revealed how chronic itch can cause insomnia, mood disorders, disruptive thoughts, stress and even suicidal thoughts, and can severely impact personal relationships.
Finally, an interesting phenomenon is something called contagious itch—that is, when you encounter someone who is itching and scratching themselves, you start to feel itchy and compelled to scratch yourself as well. We don’t really understand it, but it’s really interesting. A lot of work still needs to be done to understand the various pathways of itch, and how the brain processes it.
Male mosquitoes won't bite you. For one thing, they cannot—males are hopelessly bad at finding humans and lack a specialized stylet to pierce your skin. But even if they could bite you, they would not want to. They refuse blood meals served to them in the lab through netting, even as their female counterparts engorge on what must appear to be a free lunch.
Now, a new study from the laboratory of Rockefeller's Leslie Vosshall helps explain why. It appears that both mosquito sexes share the same neurons and brain structures needed to find humans, but that this hardware is hidden in the male mosquito brain, locked behind a simple genetic switch. Mutate the right gene, the researchers discovered, and male mosquitoes begin buzzing toward human scents in search of a prize that they do not even want.
Beyond clarifying why the male insects don't naturally swarm toward humans, the findings might also contribute to our understanding of how female mosquitoes spread diseases that claim millions of lives.
"This opens up a path into the mosquito brain," says lead author on the study Nipun Basrur, a Ph.D. student in Vosshall's lab. "We really had no idea what circuits in the brain might dictate how female mosquitoes sense humans and make decisions to bite them. Now that we know which gene is controlling them, we can look inside the brain and investigate further."
Basrur and colleagues began their work by examining a gene called fruitless, which is known to control courtship behavior in fruit flies. When they knocked out the analogous gene in male mosquitoes, these insects, like fruit flies, failed to mate effectively with females. But the scientists chose to investigate further, suspecting that the mutation might also impact male mosquitoes' desire for blood.
When offered warm blood through a net, however, mutant males abstained just like non-mutant males, even as female mosquitoes partook. When exposed to body heat, females liked what they felt. Mutant males, true to their sex, remained unimpressed by the promise of a blood meal—suggesting the corrupted gene doesn't play a role in feeding behavior, per se.
But when the scientists offered these mutant males a human arm, they suddenly swarmed. "This was a truly unexpected—and spectacular—finding," says Vosshall, who is the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor as well as an HHMI investigator. "We had never seen males interested in the scent of a human before."
Later tests confirmed that, while mutant male mosquitoes still lacked the desire to drink blood and the ability to sense body heat, turning off the fruitless gene had allowed their brains to process the unique smell of a live human—activating a repressed urge to seek out humans just like a female. "This suggests that male mosquitoes actually possess the neural circuits required to hunt humans," Basrur says. "Removing fruitless appears to reveal this latent behavior in males."
An exciting, if theoretical, application would be one day using this information to masculinize female mosquitoes, blocking their ability to spread disease. Initial attempts to do so in the lab, however, rendered the female mosquitoes unviable due to blood-feeding and egg-laying defects. Of more immediate interest is the discovery that the neural circuits that females use to detect humans lie dormant in the male mosquito brain, guarded by a single gene.
Future studies from the Vosshall lab will investigate these latent neurons, continuing to explore how sex differences are encoded in the brain and determined by genes. "For a long time, the assumption was that sex-specific behaviors came from sets of neurons entirely specific to that sex," Basrur says. "But recent work, including our study, has shown that both sexes often have the same neurons and that genetics controls how they are used."
50 And Over Looking For Love
Online dating can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! Whether you're looking for a new relationship, someone for a fun date, or someone to simply chat with, we've got the ultimate list of dating sites that are perfect for people who want to meet singles 50 and over!
No more mindless swiping, connect with singles who are just as driven, experienced, and well-established as you are. Here are the best dating sites for senior singles 50 and over:
Consistently ranked at the top for dating apps for senior citizens, eharmony is a go-to for singles who want to veer away from one night stands and matches that don't really "connect" with you. Committed to helping senior singles find love, marriage, and a long-term relationship, eharmony has a Compatibility Matching System that narrows the field from thousands of members to individuals who share the same interests and goals within your geographical area. So, whether you're a single senior in Florida, a single senior in San Francisco, or in New York - eharmony will help find the best person for you.
The basic membership is meant for people trying to get a sense of how the site works, but if you're truly interested in finding someone who's in it for the long-haul, then upgrading to a premium membership is well worth it.
The membership allows you to see your match's photos, who has viewed, you, your match's distance, and unlimited messaging. You're also guaranteed compatible and substantial matches as eharmony uses machine learning technology to sift through members' preferences, photos, and profile content to find you the best connection possible.
If you're a senior citizen looking to date, then you've most likely heard about match.com. Considered one of the world's largest online dating networks, finding the right person for you is just a photo click away.
Sorting out matches is as simple as filtering your age group, narrowing the search by city, and delving into one of the many communities the site has. While you may want to join the senior singles community, there are other groups as well - such as divorced, Christian, gay singles, single parents, and more.
OkCupid came onto the dating scene in 2004 and has since then garnered over 50 million registered users. To make sure that senior citizens find someone that they can genuinely connect with and are compatible with, OkCupid's sign-up includes answering a questionnaire - while a lot of people may find this tedious, the questions are actually pretty fun.
The questions include, "Would you rather share a kiss in a tent or a kiss in Paris?" and "Would you rather go to a concert or watch a sports game?" It's questions like these that help OkCupid match like-minded people so that it isn't so hard to get the ball rolling.
Dating in your 20s and 30s is a far cry from dating when you're in your 50s or older, which is something that OurTime.com understands well. Knowing that most of its clientele is no longer "hunting" for conquests nor playing the field, OurTime is for senior singles who are looking to settle down for committed relationships, are looking for pen-pals, friends, and even marriage partners.
Their website has several success stories including widowed singles who matched and ended up getting married again, a single mother who's found a great man, and more.
Considered one of the best senior citizen dating apps in the United States, SilverSingles has over 50,000 new sign-ups a week and is able to match around 2000 couples on a monthly basis. They're able to do so by requiring the users to take a personality test, they then have an algorithm that takes the results into account when looking for someone suitable.
Sign up is for free and the member's profile is straightforward with a substantial amount of information that shows the user's personality and character - the downside though is that you have to upgrade your subscription to actually see the person's profile pictures. They aren't readily available to people using the service for free.
SeniorMatch was developed in 2003 and has consistently ranked among one of the top senior dating sites in the US. Strictly for seniors, the site does not let anyone younger than 45 to join the site - thus ensuring that all of the members are of a specific age group.
The standard membership is free and allows you to send 50 "winks" to other members to express your interest in them, but you won't be able to message them. Being able to initiate conversations is something reserved for premium members.
7. Elite Singles
Elite Singles or EliteDating is so serious about matching you with the right person that not only do they make use of an extensive questionnaire that analyzes major facets of your personality, thus creating a kickass personality profile for you - but instead of overwhelming you with several matches, EliteDating picks out three to seven suitable senior singles for you every day.
EliteDating is for serious and confident singles who are ambitious and are mostly into culture, the environment, politics, and more. Per their site, 70% of their members have at least a bachelor's degree and are well-established professionals who are successful in their careers and are now looking for a partner to share that success with.
With 40 million members worldwide, Zoosk is popular with senior singles due to its simple registration, functionality, and easy-to-use design. It doesn't take more than 10 minutes for you to sign-up and to make your profile which includes basic information like your gender, your gender preference, birthday, email address, and location.
Once the account is activated, senior singles can easily interact with other users via chat room or direct messages. Being able to connect with other senior singles with Zoosk is as easy as 1-2-3!
LoveBeginsAt.com is a dating site for people 40 and over who are looking for great conversations, love, and marriage. Apart from the dating profiles that other sites have, LoveBeginsAt has exclusive members events such as local single nights with quality and like-minded people. There are several blogs and tips from dating experts that are meant to help members make the most out of their dating profile and their experience.
Whether you're newly dating after a divorce, a single parent or someone who's never really been in a relationship, these online dating sites for singles 50 and over are perfect for you.
Hoarding is the compulsive purchasing, acquiring, searching, and saving of items that have little or no value. The behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal—for a hoarder and family members.
The descriptions below are typical of someone who hoards:
People hoard for many reasons, among them the belief that their possessions will be useful or valuable in the future, have sentimental value, are unique and irreplaceable, or because they can’t decide where something goes, it’s better just to keep it.
Hoarding vs. Collecting
Hoarding is not the same as collecting. In general, collectors have a sense of pride about their possessions, and they experience joy in displaying and talking about their possessions and conversing. They keep their collection organized, feel satisfaction adding to it, and budget their time and money.
Hoarders generally experience embarrassment about their possessions and feel uncomfortable when others see them. Their clutter often takes over functional living space, and they feel sad or ashamed after acquiring additional items. Also, they often incur great debt, sometimes extreme.
Effective treatment is available from qualified mental health professionals, who can also help the affected family members.
cities for singles across the US
SINGLES TEND TO view Valentine’s Day like losing football teams view the Super Bowl — a tradition they’d rather forget, perhaps even despise, yet would totally embrace if circumstances were slightly different. Well, being single on Valentine’s Day — or any day, for that matter — doesn’t have to be a bitter experience. There are hundreds of cities all across the US ideally suited to the single lifestyle. Whether your goal is to find your spouse, a steady relationship, or a string of emotionally toxic one night stands, the dating scene in many US cities is strong enough to get even the most cynical singles back in the game.
WalletHub compared 182 cities across the US, using metrics like nightlife options, single population, online dating opportunities, number of dating venues, active Tinder users, social clubs, weather, taxi fare cost, and more. They broke these statistics down into three categories — Economics, Fun & Recreation, and Dating Opportunities — and assigned each category a grade based on a 100-point scale. The results shed some much-needed light on the top 10 cities for singles across the US.
Hint: Pretty much everywhere that isn’t New York.
10. Portland, Maine
Economics score: 55.2
Fun & Recreation score: 42.45
Dating Opportunities score: 77.23
Total score: 62.26
The smallest city on the list by far, Portland’s showing in the top 10 is particularly impressive. It’s probably no surprise that the city ranked poorly for Fun & Recreation, as it’s simply not big enough to compete with larger cities with more entertainment venues, but its relative affordability and solid Dating Opportunities score make Portland a must-visit for singles in New England.
9. Seattle, Washington
Economics score: 39.34
Fun & Recreation score: 70.79
Dating Opportunities score: 70.81
Total score: 62.94
If you play your cards right, you really shouldn’t be sleepless in Seattle in 2020. Like many major cities, going out in Seattle means you should carve out some room in your monthly budget, but a good balance of Fun & Recreation and Dating Opportunities make it all worth it. Seattle also ranked in the top five for cities with the best gender balance, so while you’re passing those rainy days in the bar, at least you won’t be lacking options.
8. Madison, Wisconsin
Economics score: 62.52
Fun & Recreation score: 40.11
Dating Opportunities score: 80.39
Total score: 63.78
Remember that scene from Love Actually where Colin arrives at an “average American bar” in Wisconsin, and immediately picks up three stunning women? Dating in Wisconsin isn’t that easy, but it’s probably easier than you thought — in Madison, anyway. The city ranks the highest in the top 10 for Dating Opportunities, and while men shouldn’t expect to wander into a dive bar and be swarmed by dozens of beautiful women, the male-female balance is actually among the best in the country.
7. Los Angeles, California
Economics score: 38.56
Fun & Recreation score: 61.57
Dating Opportunities score: 77.66
Total score: 63.87
Everyone knows LA is expensive, but you may not have realized that it has one of the best gender balances in the country, as well as some of the most plentiful online dating opportunities. Sure, it’s more expensive than San Diego, but it also scored seven points higher in Food & Recreation. And for better or worse, since everyone in LA works unconventional jobs, partying until 5:00 AM on a Tuesday night is the norm, not the exception.
6. Chicago, Illinois
Economics score: 39.13
Fun & Recreation score: 76.05
Dating Opportunities score: 71.00
Total score: 64.29
Chicago is among the least affordable cities on the list when it comes to going out for food and drinks, but it makes up for it with its abundance of nightlife venues and high number of singles looking to mingle. Given its historically low temperatures in winter, which often keep people indoors, its high singles ranking is a testament to the quality of its entertainment venues and the number of singles willing to brave the cold for a date.
5. Portland, Oregon
Economics score: 51.03
Fun & Recreation score: 64.26
Dating Opportunities score: 73.74
Total score: 64.54
Portland might not be the most affordable city to find love, but it’s certainly one of the most fun. In addition to its high Dating Opportunities score, Portland ranked in the top five for cities with the most nightlife options. Between its abundance of local breweries, live music venues, and restaurants, there are no shortage of places to bring your date if you don’t mind shelling out some extra cash.
4. San Diego, California
Economics score: 47.36
Fun & Recreation score: 69.57
Dating Opportunities score: 71.65
Total score: 65.06
San Francisco might dominate the scene in Northern California, but SoCal isn’t exactly coming up short. San Diego and Los Angeles both made the top 10, and it’s not exactly a surprise. Warm weather means outdoor adventures, patio seating, and beach days — all of which are great date ideas. In addition to being home to a wide range of dating opportunities, San Diego also placed first overall in the general-balance category. So if you strike out at a bar, you can’t use the “bad ratio” as an excuse.
3. San Francisco, California
Economics score: 30.69
Fun & Recreation score: 75.01
Dating Opportunities score: 78.09
Total score: 65.47
Thanks to its low unemployment rate, plentiful dating opportunities, and abundant nightlife, Northern Californians can look to San Francisco for their dating needs. The city scored dismally in the affordability category, as the Bay City is notoriously pricey, but its redeeming social aspects certainly compensate for that. Indeed, it ranked in the top five overall for the most nightlife per capita — so whether you’re looking for places to meet people or the perfect date spot, you won’t be starved for options in San Francisco.
2. Denver, Colorado
Economics score: 52.45
Fun & Recreation score: 59.70
Dating Opportunities score: 79.68
Total score: 66.19
Scoring highly across the board, Denver is still fairly affordable, compared to the number one city, meaning you can take your date out for a meal, movie, and drinks without clipping coupons for the next two weeks. Denver even came in second overall for cities with the best gender balance, ranking just behind San Diego. Colorado as a whole did well in the rankings, with Colorado Springs coming in at 45th on the list and Aurora at 104th.
1. Atlanta, Georgia
Economics score: 50.71
Fun & Recreation score: 72.15
Dating Opportunities score: 79.72
Total score: 69.27
If you’re single, desperately seeking a relationship, and relatively location independent, move to Atlanta. WalletHub named it the best city for singles in the US, despite it ranking 134th in the Economics category. That means its other merits — like plentiful online dating opportunities, share of single population, active Tinder users, and dating venues — are pretty overwhelming.
And even if you don’t happen to be a resident of one of these cities, don’t lose heart just yet. At least you’re not living in Pearl City, Hawaii, which came in dead last with a total score of 36.50.
Stepping Around Human Misery
Attending a meeting near Union Station in Washington, D.C., requires me to park a few blocks away and then walk under a bridge to an office building. People in business attire, like me, step carefully around the homeless men and women who have pitched tents under the bridge. They look filthy and miserable, especially in winter.
The persistence of large numbers of homeless Americans is one of the signal policy failures of the past two generations. A 2015 survey found that more than half a million people are homeless on any given night. According to Mentalillnesspolicy.org, about 45 percent of them are suffering from mental illness. When they are not on the street, many severely mentally ill people wind up in even worse surroundings. Jane Brody of The New York Times reports that "the country's three largest facilities housing the mentally ill are jails: the Twin Towers in Los Angeles, the Cook County Jail in Chicago and Rikers Island in New York City." More mentally people are in jails and prisons than in hospitals.
Some homeless people are on the streets or in shelters due to misfortunes that no human society ever completely eliminates, but most are afflicted by mental illness or have substance abuse problems or both. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 60% of the chronically homeless have mental health issues.
Governments at every level spend billions on the homeless, yet the numbers sleeping on the streets remain high. In Republican and Democratic administrations, in liberal and conservative regions, thousands of disabled people, some veterans who have served their country, sleep under bridges and in abandoned buildings, and eat out of trash bins.
This is the long tail of the de-institutionalization policy adopted in the 1960s, when America closed down most of its mental hospitals, dumping the mentally ill onto the streets and calling it compassion. Films like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" cemented the public perception that mental health treatment (especially electroshock therapy) was thinly veiled torture. Since 1955, there has been a 95% reduction in the number of psychiatric beds available. To be sure, there were abuses in asylums, but our experience over the past 50 years has shown that we cannot do without them entirely without paying a price. It costs more to house a mentally ill person in prison than it would in a mental hospital, and prisons are ill-equipped to meet the needs of people whose minds are their worst enemies.
While we certainly need more beds for psychiatric patients, mental hospitals are not the only option for helping these needy people. Programs like Assisted Outpatient Treatment permit judges to supervise patients' compliance with drug and therapy regimens and have been shown to reduce harmful behaviors, arrest rates, homelessness and victimization among the severely mentally ill.
Governments have also failed to prioritize treating the severely mentally ill. Many research and treatment dollars go to the "worried well" rather than to those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. The National Institutes of Mental Health, for example, released a draft of its five-year plan for research in December 2019. It was heavily weighted toward basic brain research at the expense of more pressing research needs.
Dr. E. Fuller Torrey of the Treatment Advocacy Center, while acknowledging that some basic brain research is called for, listed a number of areas that cry out for research. A few examples: 1) Patients complain that when they are prescribed generics, they don't do as well. Study is needed into the efficacy of generic drugs for psychiatric cases. 2) Many drugs prescribed for mental disorders have only been studied for acute effects. More research is needed into their long-term effects. 3) Electroconvulsive therapy is underused in the U.S. compared to other advanced nations (thanks, "Cuckoo's Nest"). Evidence from other nations suggests that it is safe and effective. Controlled, randomized trials are needed. 4) Probiotics have shown promise for the treatment of mental disorders. More study is needed. 5) Four studies have shown a significant connection between cat ownership in childhood and schizophrenia. Studies of toxoplasmosis are needed.
In the 1960s, we persuaded ourselves that closing down mental hospitals was the humane solution to a problem. Today, we are arguably tolerating an even less humane model. The mentally ill, so vulnerable and in need of care, are crowding emergency rooms, languishing in prisons and sleeping under bridges. It's a cliche to say that this should not be the case in the wealthiest country in the world, but it's true.
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If you have the money, what not buy an expensive Swiss watch or Italian sports car?
According to a new study, it turns out that luxury goods are not always “feel good” purchases. Some consumers worry they may not deserve these items, sparking feelings of inauthenticity that fuel what researchers call the “impostor syndrome.”
“Luxury can be a double-edged sword,” said Boston College Carroll School of Management Associate Professor of Marketing Nailya Ordabayeva. “While luxury consumption holds the promise of elevated status, it can backfire and make consumers feel inauthentic, producing what we call the ‘impostor syndrome from luxury consumption.'”
The researchers draw their conclusions based on nine studies, encompassing surveys and observations of patrons of the Metropolitan Opera and shoppers at Louis Vuitton in New York City, vacationers on Martha’s Vineyard, and other luxury consumers.
In contrast to previous studies in this area, “we find that many consumers perceive luxury products as a privilege which is undue and undeserved,” the researchers said in the study, which was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
As a result, consumers feel inauthentic while wearing or using these products, and they actually act less confident than if they were sporting non-luxury items.
For example, “one participant said she felt very shy when she wore a gold necklace with diamonds that she owned because it is not in her character to wear luxurious jewelry,” even though she could afford it, the researchers noted in at the study.
This effect is mitigated among consumers who have an inherently high sense of entitlement, and also among non-entitled-feeling consumers on occasions that make them feel special, such as their birthday.
“Luxury marketers and shoppers need to be aware of this psychological cost of luxury, as impostor feelings resulting from purchases reduce consumer enjoyment and happiness,” said Ordabayeva. “But boosting consumers’ feelings of deservingness through sales tactics and marketing messages can help. Ultimately, in today’s age that prioritizes authenticity and authentic living, creating experiences and narratives that boost people’s personal connection with products and possessions can yield lasting benefits for consumers and marketers alike.”
Ordabayeva’s co-authors on the study were Harvard Business School doctoral student Dafna Goor, Boston University professor Anat Keinan, and Hult International Business School professor Sandrine Crener.
When getting ready to sell your house, there’s a lot to worry about—home staging, repairs, keeping rooms tidy for home tours, and more. But there’s also one important thing that many sellers forget to do: hide their prescription drugs.
Sorry to break it to you, but some "buyers" touring your home might just be rooting around for valuables, and you might be surprised by which medications fit the bill.
Here's what sellers need to know about the risks of prescription drugs at open houses, and how to keep all of their belongings safe.
Which drugs to hide during an open house
When preparing for an open house, plenty of homeowners put away their expensive jewelry, electronics, and checkbooks. But prescription drugs often get overlooked since they're generally tucked away in medicine cabinets and drawers.
Although the painkiller OxyContin may be the most commonly abused prescription drug (and at highest risk for theft), also high on the list are attention deficit disorder medications like Concerta and Adderall, depression and anxiety medications like Zoloft and Xanax, and sleep aids like Ambien.
Plus, prescriptions aren't the only drugs that could get swiped for recreational use. For example, over-the-counter cough suppressants (e.g., NyQuil) can be abused by being mixed with alcohol or other drugs. And sinus medications containing pseudoephedrine, like Sudafed, can be used to make meth. Even the heartburn medication Prilosec has been known to be abused due to the euphoric effect it has when taken with methadone.
Make sure these, and all other medications, are removed from your medicine cabinet. Even if a medication seems innocuous, it's better to be safe than sorry.
How to keep your belongings safe
If you’re getting ready to show your home, walk around the house thinking like a stranger. What’s easy to pick up? What might be easy to sell? This is a great guideline for medications, but also for hiding anyvaluables in your home. Think about wine, perfume bottles, expensive lotions, even your designer tie collection.
Since it can be hard to know what thieves are looking for, try walking around the house with a real estate agent to make sure you’ve noticed everything. Make sure you don't leave your checkbook in an unlocked drawer; and hide your laptop, tablet, and cellphone.
The safe way to discard old pills
After a good sweep of your medicine cabinet, you might find yourself with a few bottles of pills you don’t need anymore. While your instinct might be to simply trash them before an open house, there’s a better way to dispose of them.
Many homeowners are making use of Deterra bags, and other drug-deactivation systems, to safely dispose of medications. Deterra bags work by using an activated carbon pod, which, when mixed with warm water, absorbs the active ingredients in pills, patches, and liquids, rendering the drugs inactive.
“We’re giving them to agents to give to homeowners when they’re buying or selling homes,” says former Nevada Realtors president Heidi Kasama, a supporter of RALI, the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative.
According to Nevada Business, RALI partners are distributing 500,000 pouches to residents of Nevada. Many other supporters of the initiative have had the opportunity to pass them out as well.
If you don't have access to a drug-deactivation bag, there are other ways to dispose of your unused medications. Drugs can be flushed down the toilet, but only if they are on the FDA's flush list. If they are not on the list, the FDA recommends mixing the drugs with an unappealing substance like cat litter or dirt, putting the mixture in a sealed plastic bag, and throwing it away in the trash.
The FDA also states that it's important to make sure you scratch out the information (like your name and what drug you were prescribed) on the prescription bottle.
If flushing and throwing medications away are not possible, you can always turn unused drugs into your nearest drug take-back location.
Why 'hidden' isn't always 'safe'
Once you’ve found everything of value, you may be wondering what to do with it. Your first instinct might be to hide valuables in a closet or in a drawer, but buyers often look in closets (to see how much storage space there is) and they can easily open drawers.
“When I tell owners to put valuables away, I recommend to not hide them in some obvious place, but put some thought into it, or put items in a safe,” Kasama says.
But if you don't have a safe, you might consider locking valuables in a desk drawer, buying a large (and heavy) trunk with a lock to store your valuables, or even putting them in the trunk of your car. If you have friends or family you trust living nearby, you might even ask if you can store a few boxes of your most precious items there.
Ask your real estate agent to keep an eye on buyers
Even if you think you’ve cleared out all your valuables, it’s still important to watch potential buyers in your house.
Of course, most of the time, the homeowner will be away when the house is being shown, so make sure your real estate agent is keeping an eye out for you.
Allison Jung, a real estate agent in Las Vegas, says she finds power in numbers when it comes to preventing theft in open houses.
“I have another agent, escrow or lender partner attend the open house with me,” Jung explains. “That way we can station ourselves in different parts of the house to keep an eye on things.”
Kasama says she’s always on the lookout for suspicious activity.
“We had a showing once, and four people came in,” she recalls. “They immediately split up and took off in two directions and didn't seem to want to listen to anything about the house. A big red flag. We called after them and said they had to all stay together and we would tour them through the house. They left very shortly after that, which tells me they were not there to look at the house.”
UFO videos released by the Navy
Cue “The X-Files” music and put on your tinfoil hats. We’re going for a ride.
Last month the U.S. Navy confirmed that three videos of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) taken by airplane pilots a few years ago are indeed authentic. (Notice we’re not saying “unidentified flying object,” or UFO.) This means the videos went through the U.S. military, so it can be assumed they have not been computer-generated or altered.
Three clips dubbed “FLIR1,” “Gimbal” and “Go Fast” show two encounters between Navy aircraft and UAP. The object was tracked by the aircraft’s Raytheon RTN, +0.20% AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) Pod, and in all three videos, it performed maneuvers that cannot be executed using current aviation technology.
Commander David Fravor, who flew one of the fighters in the video (“Gimbal”), describes the object as “Tic Tac”-shaped, 40-feet long, with no wings, exhaust or discernible propulsion. After some maneuvering, the object ended up hovering above the water. Moments later, it rapidly ascended to 12,000 feet and finally accelerated away at a speed the commander suggested was “well above supersonic.”
When asked if a human pilot could survive such an acceleration in a modern aircraft, Fravor responded with a resounding “no.” Acceleration of that magnitude would wreak havoc on the human body: broken bones, shifting of organs, burst blood vessels and even death would occur as the body was crushed with G-forces it could not withstand.
But let’s consider for a second that the mysterious object in question was manned by a human pilot. In that case, the vehicle would have to be equipped with the technology capable of reducing the inertial mass of the object by generating gravity waves to reduce G-forces during acceleration.
Perhaps this could be achieved if the outer shell of the craft were turned into a cavity wall filled with gas, which would vibrate thanks to microwave emitters. This description was taken from a patent the U.S. Navy applied for in 2016, which says such a peculiar craft could move with great ease through air, space or water by being enclosed in a vacuum plasma bubble or sheath.
That could be the UAP that Fravor saw during his documented flight. Gravity manipulating tech at play could explain how the craft was able to effortlessly perform certain maneuvers such as suddenly turning sideways without losing altitude (aka knife-edge flight) in the FLIR1 video, or rapidly changing in-flight direction without visible inertia.
While the patent for the mysterious craft was approved last year, there is no indication that it was built or tested. Then again, it’s hard to imagine that a military aircraft equipped with this kind of technology would get any publicity.
If it indeed was this craft in the video, it was built and tested prior to the patent application. However, it could be that the cat got out of the bag. That could be why the Navy reluctantly acknowledged the authenticity of the footage, while also outlining that it wasn’t cleared for public release.
So far, the pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place. Then again, at about the 1:17 mark in the video above, one pilot says: “There’s a whole fleet of them. Look on the ASA.” ASA is most likely AESA, the APG-79 radar’s “search while track” feature that enables it to follow multiple targets without degradation to its search capability. Having one experimental craft exposed during a mission is a likely event, but what about a whole fleet?
We have two possibilities: First, there was more than one mysterious aircraft at the location, but it’s unlikely any of them was our patented vehicle.
Another explanation could be that because of the vacuum sheath or another type of stealth technology surrounding the UAP, radar erroneously reported multiple bogies, where in fact there was only one.
That would also explain why the pilot had a hard time locking on to the target in “FLIR1” and “Go Fast” videos. The speed must have played a role as well. Clinicians have a saying: Common things are common. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
So what do you think is more likely? A Navy experimental aircraft, inadvertently uncovered by pilots, or an alien UFO? My bet is on the latest Navy patent, but I’m open to suggestions. Please share them in the comment section below. You can take your tinfoil hat off now.
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