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  • Sat, 24 Oct 2020 17:00:00 GMT
    On 13 October 2020, the French health authorities officially reported 13 laboratory-confirmed cases of Mayaro fever in French Guiana, France.

    In September 2020, the Institut Pasteur de la Guyane (IPG) (member of the French National Reference Laboratory for arboviruses) identified two cases of Mayaro virus infection (MAYV) confirmed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and one probable case found positive for Mayaro antibodies. The case-patients presented dengue-like symptoms and joint pains, and tested negative for dengue by RT-PCR.
  • Tue, 13 Oct 2020 13:30:00 GMT
    On 30 September 2020, the French Guiana Regional Health Agency (ARS) reported the first detection of Oropouche virus (OROV) in French Guiana. On 22 September 2020 the Pasteur Institute in Cayenne (a member of the French National Reference Laboratory for arboviruses) notified the France IHR National Focal Point of seven laboratory-confirmed cases of Oropouche virus infection in the village of Saül. These cases were identified following clinical investigations of an unusually high number of dengue-like illnesses in the village. Between 11 August and 25 September, there were 37 clinically-compatible cases of Oropouche virus disease identified in Saül. The results of serology for dengue, chikungunya, and Zika were negative, and seven of nine cases tested positive for OROV by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

    Among the 37 clinically-compatible cases, most cases are male (60%) and the median age is 36 years (range 3-82 years). The most represented age range is 15 to 54-years-old (19 cases) followed by 0 to 14-years-old (10 cases). A peak of cases was observed in mid-September however, the outbreak investigation remains ongoing.
  • Thu, 01 Oct 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    From 1 January through 13 September 2020, a total of 4,594 suspected cases of monkeypox, including 171 deaths (case fatality ratio 3.7%), have been reported in 127 health zones from 17 out of 26 provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The first epidemic peak was observed at the beginning of March 2020 (epi week 10), with 136 cases reported weekly (Figure1). From 1 January through 7 August, the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) received 80 samples from suspected cases of monkeypox, of which 39 samples were confirmed positive by polymerase chain reaction. Four out of the 80 specimens were skin lesions (crusts/vesicles), the remaining samples were blood. There is no further information at this time regarding the outcome of these 80 patients whose samples were tested. Confirmatory testing remains ongoing.

    During the same period in 2019, 3,794 suspected cases and 73 deaths (CFR 1.9%) were reported in 120 health zones from 16 provinces while a total of 2,850 suspected cases (CFR 2.1%) were reported in 2018.
  • Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    On 28 August 2020, the National IHR Focal Point of Chad notified WHO of an outbreak of chikungunya in Abéché, eastern Chad.
  • Thu, 03 Sep 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    Three months after the declaration of the eleventh Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the number of confirmed cases continues to increase, and the geographic spread of the outbreak continues to expand.

    As of 1 September 2020, 110 cases (104 confirmed and six probable) including 47 deaths (case fatality ratio 43%) have been reported from 36 health areas in 11 health zones. In the past 21 days (12 August – 1 September 2020), 24 confirmed cases have been reported in 15 health areas across eight health zones. To date, three healthcare workers have been affected, making up 3% of all cases. In addition, 48 people have recovered from EVD to date.
  • Tue, 01 Sep 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    On 9 August 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health, Sudan notified WHO of the detection of a
  • Sat, 01 Aug 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    On 23 July 2020, the France IHR National Focal Point reported a confirmed autochthonous (locally acquired) case of yellow fever in a 14-year-old male in French Guiana. On 17 July 2020, the case was laboratory confirmed at the French National Reference Centre for arboviruses, Institute Pasteur Cayenne.

    The case-patient had severe disability, and developed dengue-like symptoms on 12 July. On 16 July, he was hospitalized in an intensive care unit in Cayenne, French Guiana, with consciousness disorders and acute liver failure, and died on 19 July.
  • Thu, 23 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    The health zone of Rethy in Ituri province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has seen an upsurge of plague cases since June 2020. The first case, a 12-year-old girl, reported to a local health centre on 12 June experiencing a headache, fever, cough, and an enlarged lymph node. She died on the same day and further deaths from the community due to suspected cases of plague were subsequently reported.

    From 11 June though 15 July, six out of 22 health areas have been affected within Rethy health zone (11 villages), with a total of 45 cases including nine deaths (case fatality rate: 20%). All nine (9) cases who died presented with signs of headache, high fever, and painful nodes; four (4) out of the nine (9) cases had cough.
  • Thu, 09 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    On 22 June 2020, the International Health Regualtions (IHR) Focal Point (FP) of Brazil shared a preliminary report with the Panamerican Health Organization, the WHO Regional Office for the Americas of a human infection with Influenza A(H1N2) variant virus (A(H1N2)v). According to the report, the patient, a 22-year-old female, with no comorbidities, worked in a swine slaughterhouse in Ibiporã Municipality, Paraná State, and developed an influenza-like illness on 12 April 2020. The patient initially sought medical care on 14 April and a respiratory specimen was obtained on 16 April as part of routine surveillance activities. The patient was treated with oseltamivir, was not hospitalized and has recovered.

    A real-time RT-PCR test conducted at the public health laboratory identified a non-subtypable influenza A virus. In May 2020, the specimen was forwarded to the Laboratory of Respiratory Virus and Measles, Oswaldo Cruz Institute (FIOCRUZ per its acronym in Portuguese), a national influenza reference laboratory, in Rio de Janeiro. On 22 June, genetic sequencing characterized this virus as an influenza A(H1N2)v virus.
  • Thu, 02 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    Between 1 April and 31 May 2020, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported nine new cases of MERS-CoV infection, including five deaths. The cases were reported from Riyadh (seven cases), Assir (one case) and Northern (one case) Regions. Most cases were and ages of the reported cases ranged from 40 to 96 years.

    Of the cases reported in Riyadh six were from a hospital outbreak in the region between 21 and 31 May 2020: an index case who was a newly admitted patient, and five secondary cases identified through contact tracing. One of the secondary cases was a health care worker and the other four were in-patients admitted due to other health conditions. All four in-patients were bedridden and above 75 years of age. All reported cases had comorbidities with the exception of the healthcare worker.
  • Fri, 26 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    On 25 June 2020, the Minister of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared the end of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu, Ituri and South Kivu Provinces . In accordance with WHO recommendations, the declaration was made more than 42 days after the last person who contracted EVD in this outbreak tested negative twice and was discharged from care.

    The outbreak was declared on 1 August 2018 following investigations and laboratory confirmation of a cluster of EVD cases in North Kivu Province. Further investigations identified cases in Ituri and North Kivu Provinces with dates of symptom onset from May to August 2018. In 2019, the outbreak subsequently spread to South Kivu Province, and on 17 July 2019, the WHO Director-General declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 11 outbreaks have been recorded since the first recognized outbreak in 1976. The 10th EVD outbreak in North Kivu, Ituri and South Kivu Provinces was the country's longest EVD outbreak and the second largest in the world after the 2014–2016 EVD outbreak in West Africa.
  • Thu, 18 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    No new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 27 April 2020 (Figure 1). While this is a positive development, there remains a risk of re-emergence of EVD. It is critical to maintain surveillance and response operations in the period leading up to the declaration of the end of the outbreak, as well as after the declaration – as outlined in the WHO recommended criteria for declaring the end of the EVD outbreak .

    From 11 to 16 June 2020, an average of 2939 alerts were reported per day, of which 2788 (about 95%) were investigated within 24 hours. Of these, an average of 453 alerts were validated as suspected cases each day, requiring specialized care and laboratory testing to rule-out EVD. The number of reported and validated alerts has remained stable in recent weeks. Timely testing of suspected cases continues to be provided from eight laboratories. From 8 to 14 June 2020, 3219 samples were tested including 2513 blood samples from alive, suspected cases; 324 swabs from community deaths; and 382 samples from re-tested patients. Overall, the number of samples tested by the laboratories increased by 3% compared to the previous week.
  • Wed, 17 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    On 15 April 2020, WHO received information regarding a confirmed case of yellow fever in Magandi village, Tchibanga city in Nyanga Province of southern Gabon, 590 km from the capital, Libreville.

    The case is an 83-year-old male with no known vaccination history for yellow fever. He had onset of symptoms on 30 January 2020 and presented to a health facility on 2 February 2020 with abdominal pain and jaundice. Between 2 February and 9 April, he consulted the Urban Health Centre in Tchibanga, the Christian Alliance Hospital in Bongolo and the University hospital in the capital Libreville where the case received anti-malarial treatment and remained hospitalized until his death on 9 April 2020. On 14 April 2020, the laboratory results received from the WHO Regional Reference Laboratory at the Institute Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, confirmed yellow fever infection, by seroneutralisation test. The additional differential diagnostic tests performed were negative for dengue, West Nile fever, chikungunya, Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever, Zika and Rift Valley fever.
  • Thu, 11 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    No new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 27 April 2020 (Figure 1).

    The source of infection of the cluster reported in April 2020 remains unconfirmed.
  • Fri, 05 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    On 20 April 2020, WHO received information regarding a confirmed yellow fever case in Galangashie health area, located 30 km from Mango village, Oti district, Savanes region in the northern part of Togo.

    The case is a 55-year-old woman with no vaccination history for yellow fever. She had onset of symptoms on 31 January 2020 and presented to a health facility on 3 February 2020 with fever and aches. The following day she developed jaundice and a blood sample was taken. On 7 February , the blood sample was transported to the national laboratory. On 10 February , the sample from the case was received at the national laboratory and test results on 17 March were Immunoglobulin M (IgM) positive for yellow fever. The positive yellow fever result was confirmed by the Institute Pasteur in Dakar Senegal, a yellow fever reference laboratory on 14 April 2020 by seroneutralisation.
  • Thu, 04 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    No new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 27 April 2020 (Figure 1).

    The source of infection of the cluster reported in April 2020 remains unconfirmed.
  • Wed, 03 Jun 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    On 31 May 2020, WHO received information that between 18 and 30 May, four deaths were reported from the same quarter (quartier Air Congo) in Wangata Health Zone, Mbandaka city, Equateur Province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Thu, 28 May 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    From 20 to 26 May 2020, no new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Figure 1).
  • Mon, 25 May 2020 00:00:00 GMT
    Between 2 and 8 April 2020, six suspected human cases of dracunculiasis in Duli village, Gog district, Gambella region, Ethiopia, were reported to WHO.

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  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 23:45:52 -0400
    A top-ranking officer in the US Space Force has tested positive for COVID-19, the Air Force said in a statement Wednesday. Gen. David Thompson took a test Wednesday after learning that a close family member he had contact with had tested positive for the virus, according to the statement. He’ll be self-quarantining and working from...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 22:57:55 -0400
    To get a real sense for how this election is going, you need to ignore the national polls in establishment media that have Joe Biden poised for a decisive victory. Look, instead, at the enthusiasm on the ground for Donald Trump and the economic optimism he represents. Try driving from Manhattan through the crucial battleground...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 22:54:08 -0400
    Having a Christmas party could land you on the "naughty" list.
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 22:46:17 -0400
    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, told the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday that a COVID-19 vaccine might be available in the U.S. as early as January. Fauci said the five companies that are working on vaccines probably won’t be ready with their data until December. At least two...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 22:24:36 -0400
    A man in Florida punched an Uber driver in the face when he asked him to put on a mask before getting into the car, a report said Wednesday. The suspect, 30-year-old Christopher Vacha, ordered the Uber at about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday to Treasure Island, near Tampa, the Smoking Gun reported. The driver, 68-year-old Raymond...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 21:57:41 -0400
    French President Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday that the country would move into another nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus as a second wave of the virus has cut rapidly across the nation, a report said. The lockdown, which will go into effect Friday, will last until at least the end of November, the...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 21:51:56 -0400
    The first Super Bowl didn’t sell out, but Super Bowl 2021 might set the record for smallest crowd in attendance. The NFL is planning for 20 percent seating capacity for the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., according to ESPN. Fans will be in pods separated by six feet...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 21:34:08 -0400
    A Michigan couple conspired in an unemployment scheme worth $2.5 million in COVID-19 aid and bragged about buying fancy cars, jewelry and designer clothes on Instagram, prosecutors said Tuesday. Micahia Taylor, 27, and Johnny Richardson, 25, both of Detroit, conspired with Brandi Hawkins, a contract unemployment worker, to file fake claims so they could rake...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 21:19:44 -0400
    Basketball felt like an afterthought on Wednesday. Big East coaches and players talked about their hopes and goals for the upcoming men’s basketball season. There was a preseason poll and individual all-conference honors. But it was secondary. Instead of jump shots, crossovers and dunks, testing, social distancing and quarantine were the most frequently used phrases....
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 20:54:44 -0400
    Flint and financier Sean Beresini plan to exchange vows after Thanksgiving at Flint’s Massachusetts family home in Buzzards Bay.
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 20:43:27 -0400
    Sources say Amell threw his wife a birthday party this month, which he neglected to mention when revealing his diagnosis.
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 20:16:48 -0400
    A British company is under fire after sending COVID-19 word puzzles to a retirement home that included the words “fever,” “ventilators” and “job losses.” The daughter of a 94-year-old resident who lives in Vyner House in York told the York Press she was horrified the puzzle was meant to be “just for fun.” “What were...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 17:33:20 -0400
    They took off in a hurry — but these New Yorkers are on the express line back to the city.
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:49:48 -0400
    Puerto Rico’s health department scrapped a safe sex campaign urging people to masturbate to avoid contracting the coronavirus — after conservative critics said the message rubbed them the wrong way. The public service announcement, which launched on social media Tuesday, featured an image of a thumb fondling a grapefruit next to a statement proclaiming that...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:27:19 -0400
    Nurses comprised the highest percentage of coronavirus hospitalizations over other types of health care personnel, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency assessed data from the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET). Of over 6,000 adults who were hospitalized with coronavirus between March to late May, 5.9% were...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:21:05 -0400
    Despite several deals securing more than 1 billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine, government officials do not expect to be able to vaccinate the full European Union population until 2022, officials reportedly said at a meeting on Monday. “There will not be sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the entire population before the end...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:11:44 -0400
    Germany will be plunged back into lockdown with restaurants, bars and theaters closed for a month to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19, officials announced Wednesday. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors said the partial shutdown will go into force Monday, saying it’s needed after a recent surge in new infections. “We...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:42:39 -0400
    Think you’ve had the worst year ever? Try living in Washington state in 2020. Along with enduring the first US coronavirus case, the Evergreen State was hit by a quadruple-whammy of violence and natural disasters this year— including historic wildfires, murder hornets, the chaotic Capitol Hill Occupation Protest zone and record-high shooting deaths. Here’s a...
  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:11:56 -0400
    LONDON – Musicians are using an interactive hologram based on Victorian technology to reach fans in the locked down world of the coronavirus pandemic. Musion 3D teamed up with Faroe Islands singer Dan Olsen to launch Fanshare, a modern twist on an illusion technique known as Pepper’s ghost involving a huge sheet of glass which...

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  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 17:25:00 -0400

    teal pumpkin halloween food allergies

    Summary List Placement

    Ever since my 2.5-year-old son was diagnosed with severe food allergies, I've thought a lot about how I'll make sure he feels included in group settings growing up. Will I be able to find dairy-free pizza to send along to birthday parties? Will he be able to enjoy birthday cupcakes with classmates?

    He's still young, but I already see a big hurdle ahead: Halloween. For a kid with nut and dairy allergies, most fun-size candy bars are off-limits to him. How do you explain to a kid who's excited about dressing up as a policeman, or Woody from 'Toy Story,' that he can go door to door collecting candy — but he can't eat any of it?

    A food allergy diagnosis has impacted many aspects of our lives

    Like many of the 32 million people with food allergies in the US, Mason's are life-threatening if not properly treated. He had his first anaphylactic reaction — to sesame — at 8 months after trying a bite of hummus; within minutes, he vomited, broke out in hives, and started to have trouble breathing. We had an EpiPen on hand and were later told by the emergency room doctor that the quick administration of epinephrine saved his life.

    Since then, we've learned he is also allergic to eggs, dairy, mustard, and some tree nuts and fish. Even one small bite could send him into anaphylaxis.

    As a food-allergy mom, I'm learning to deal with our new reality on a few fronts. There are the social issues, like making sure my son doesn't feel left out when he goes places where he can't eat the same foods as other kids — although many of these stressors have been put on hold by the pandemic.

    There's also my own anxiety about keeping him safe; learning to read food labels, cook allergen-free meals, and ask the right questions at restaurants. (While packaged foods sold in the US are required to label for the top eight allergens, sesame — the ninth most common — does not yet require explicit labeling. That means I spend a lot of time reaching out to manufacturers about their ingredients and cross-contamination risks.)

    Fairy Painting Pumpkin Teal

    That's why I was thrilled to learn about the Teal Pumpkin Project, an initiative to make kids with food allergies feel included on Halloween.

    A teal pumpkin by your door or in your window indicates you support kids with food allergies

    The premise is simple. Put out a teal pumpkin to indicate that you'll have non-food treats available for kids who need them. They don't need to be fancy or expensive. Stickers, glow sticks, and crayons all make for great trick-or-treat options.

    Of course, Halloween will be different for everyone this year due to the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control CDC) is advising against high-risk activities like traditional trick-or-treating and indoor costume parties. But you can still incorporate non-food options into lower-risk activities, like scavenger hunts or "one way" trick-or-treating — leaving goodie bags of candy spaced out around your yard or driveway. 

    Food allergies are a fast-growing issue for both kids and adults. A recent study found that 8% of American children under age 18 — or one in 13 — have at least one food allergy. That's 5.6 million kids — one or two in every US classroom. Between 1997 and 2011, the prevalence of food allergies in children increased by 50%, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

    So I hope you'll join me in putting out a teal pumpkin this Halloween to put parents at ease, and to allow all kids to feel included.

    SEE ALSO: I spent a month cleaning diapers by hand and confiscating toys, and learned why it's nearly impossible to be a plastic-free parent

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: New Jersey's iconic sloppy joe is made with Russian dressing and cold cuts

  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 17:06:00 -0400
    Summary List Placement
    • At-home workout programs can be just as effective as gym workouts and you don't even need a room full of expensive equipment to use them.
    • Many online programs are designed specifically for the at-home user and only require the use of a gym mat, some resistance bands, or a small set of dumbbells.
    • From weightlifting to dance cardio, there's an at-home workout program for every exercise style — and we've sweat-tested a variety of classes to find the best currently available.
    Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

    With social distancing guidelines still in effect, there continues to be a massive shift in the way people approach keeping fit. Though some gyms and studios have attempted to reopen in a limited capacity, not everyone is comfortable just jumping back into their old routine — and understandably so. 

    Luckily, there are alternative methods to get and/or stay in shape from the comfort and safety of your own homes. This includes creating your own exercise space with minimal equipment, following an at-home workout program to hold yourself accountable, or just getting creative in how you keep active.

    Contrary to popular belief, you don't actually need a gym membership to see the same results you would by frequenting your local 24-Hour Fitness. There's an at-home version of nearly every type of exercise via virtual classes or downloadable fitness guides. So, while your gym membership remains frozen for the foreseeable future, it might be worth investing in an at-home program that keeps you moving and feeling your best. 

    From cardio sculpting exercises to weightlifting guides, at-home workout programs truly run the gamut, and we've done the sweat-tested research needed to narrow down the best options currently available.

    Here are the best home workout programs for gym-level results:

    Updated on 10/28/2020 by Rick Stella: Updated the review copy for Glo and CrushFit Crush60 at Home after more testing, added more to the what else we considered section, and updated the prices and links where necessary.

    The best at-home weightlifting program

    Crush60 at Home is an excellent program for weightlifters of all levels thanks to the program's design and extensive tools for perfecting lifting form and technique.

    Powerlifter and personal trainer, Ben Williamson, founded Crush Fit back in 2014 and started as a one-guide workout program. Now, Crush60 evolved into a comprehensive workout program designed to enhance your performance in the gym. This expansion now also includes four additional ebook guides: Booty Bootcamp, Go!, Mass Effect, and Crush60 Home. After countless rounds of Crush, I can confidently say these strength training programs deliver results, in and outside the gym. 

    Williamson took his best-selling guide and tweaked it so anyone, anywhere could reap the benefits of the program. You simply choose the weight you're most comfortable with and move through the sets at your speed. There are no weight restrictions or time constraints, though there is the occasional burst of HIIT or Tabata.

    I was brand new to the lifting spectrum of fitness when I first discovered Crush, but by the end of the program, I felt like I'd been weight training for years. Each page has cartoon illustrations demonstrating the exercises for that day's sequence, but also comes with interactive features through Adobe Acrobat, including videos of every exercise included in the program. 

    The entire program costs $44.99 which includes 60 days of guides, hand-drawn illustrations, interactive videos, bonus tips to help you achieve your goals, and a progress tracking worksheet. Some workouts do require equipment but if you don't have dumbbells, you can always get creative and use water bottles or canned food. Since it's a one-time purchase, the PDF lives on your computer or phone and is accessible whenever, wherever.  

    Pros: Affordable, purchase includes a 60-day guide, plus videos breaking down each exercise, a progress worksheet to track your results, and a nutrition guide, accessible forever

    Cons: Requires some equipment.



    The best at-home cardio program

    The Sculpt Society focuses on keeping you moving the entire time through its intense workouts by incorporating fun dance moves and routines.

    Take it from someone who was born with two left feet and zero rhythm: Megan Roup's The Sculpt Society is the best at-home cardio workout program I've yet to come across. 

    I first took one of Roup's classes in New York City in 2019 after being drawn to how the professional dancer and celebrity trainer makes dance cardio look so easy and fun. I was instantly hooked. Roup's energy and the athletic approach she took to dance-based fitness quickly made me a loyal fan of her methods.

    When you log into your Sculpt Society account, you're met with a ton of cardio, sculpt, and combination sessions to choose from. Members can also enjoy guided meditations and yoga practices. You're able to pick and choose from the library of videos or commit to The Sculpt Society's 10-week program if you're looking for something more regimented. 

    While Roup's classes are enjoyable, they're also challenging. Her method of exercise consists of dance cardio with bursts of sculpting movements for maximum results and toning. The dance moves are simple enough that anyone at any level can join in, and while Roup uses hand weights, resistance bands, sliders, and ankle weights during sculpting sessions, equipment is never required.

    Pros: Cheaper than a gym or studio subscription, available through Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, FireTV, and Amazon. 

    Cons: Dance sequences can be fast-paced, modifications aren't always explained.



    The best at-home bodyweight program

    Sarah's Day Sweat It To Shred It is flexible to anyone's busy schedule and delivers a fun yet intense 8-week schedule of workouts.

    When Sarah Stevenson titled her at-home workout program, Sweat It To Shred It, the Australian YouTuber wasn't just being cute. Having been one of Sarah's 1.45 million loyal subscribers for years, I was pumped when the bubbly holistic wellness and fitness guru released her ebook back in May of 2017.

    Sarah describes her 8-week program as an "active lifestyle challenge" that's been "designed to be flexible to your lifestyle." It doesn't require any equipment and can be done in your bedroom, living room, backyard, or anywhere you have a little space to move around.

    The program involves four different training styles: Sweaty Shredders, Toning Power (TP), Activity A, and Challenge C. Sweaty Shredders are brutal, but in the best way possible. If you like the feeling of being drenched in your own perspiration, you'll live for these types of workouts. They consist of seven exercises that you'll perform for 30 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest, and repeat six times. These types of workouts are fat burning and really push your body to the limit.

    Toning Power days are my personal favorite. They're all about sculpting your muscles and toning. Each individual exercise targets a different muscle group through explosive movements you perform for one full minute at a time. Each of the three supersets you'll perform on Toning Power days features one power exercise followed by a fat-burning exercise that's meant to get your heart rate climbing (which it easily succeeds in doing).

    Active exercises are choose-your-own-adventure days when you get to choose an activity you love — sports, running, swimming, walking. They're meant to benefit both your physical body and mental state. Then there are the Challenge days where Sarah lays out a unique challenge. These are optional but will still kick your butt if you're looking to put in some extra work.  

    The program is broken down by day of the week, but you don't have to follow it so strictly. Listening to your body means it's important to take rest days when necessary. 

    Pros: Recommends rest days, gets creative with its exercises, features scheduled choose-your-own workout so you don't feel tied down to one program throughout the entire eight weeks, offers plenty of variety

    Cons: The moves aren't broken down anywhere, so if you're unsure how to do an exercise, you have to dig through the internet for an explainer.



    The best at-home program for a tight schedule

    The Bikini Body Training Guide focuses on strength and cardio routines designed for anyone who's constantly busy or working on a tight schedule. 

    If you've not yet done one of Kayla Itsines's BBG workouts, it's time to start. The Australian trainer launched the Sweat With Kayla app, where she continues to roll out strength-and-cardio workouts that do well to get you sweaty on a time crunch. It's the perfect at-home exercise program for anyone looking to get in shape on a tight schedule. 

    Itsines's Bikini Body Training Guide is a 12-week program with four weeks of pre-training. It's also the most thorough exercise document I've ever seen. A quick scroll through the whopping 190-page packet proves Itsines isn't just a physical trainer but also a fitness and health educator. Her mission is to help women keep healthy and live active lives by providing information gathered from personal experience, through client testimonials, and research articles. 

    In addition to the educational material, the Bikini Body Training Guide also includes a glossary that breaks down each of the exercises included in the program, step-by-step, so beginners can perfect their form (which helps prevent injury). Itsines also includes a list of equipment you can gather before starting her program. But what makes this section of the guide even more helpful is the subsequent list of equipment alternatives. 

    BBG was designed in a way that it can be done in a gym or at home, and because not everyone has access to a flat bench or medicine balls, Itsines goes the extra mile to make sure anyone and everyone benefits from her program.

    The biggest drawback of the BBG program is the fixation on the societal standards of a bikini body. While the BBG community is a good example of women supporting women, it can also be triggering for someone who struggles with their body image, as there are countless progress pictures floating around Instagram. Itsines addressed this issue in the past, acknowledging that she regrets naming her program the Bikini Body Guide, as it implies there's only one body fit for a bikini (a notion we know to be false).

    Pros: Supportive community of women on and offline, affordable, offers 12 weeks of workouts.

    Cons: Focuses a lot on aesthetics, might be triggering for anyone with body image issues.



    The best at-home yoga and pilates program

    Whether you're a seasoned yogi or new on the mat, experimenting with meditation, or interested in giving Pilates a try, Glo has a plan for your practice.

    The creators of Glo understand that mindfulness practices are about the individual as much as they are about mastering a technique, and that's why the app caters to your unique preferences. You can either choose your path and follow programs already laid out for you or use the search bar to filter videos based on your preferences. Narrow down your search by practice, time duration, your focus for the day (i.e. waking up in the morning, relaxing before bed, strength training, breathing exercises, etc.), teacher, experience level, and more.

    Glo also allows you to create your own library. Here, you can favorite classes, group them together to create collections, return to programs you've joined and enjoyed, and stay connected to the teachers that resonated with you.

    One of the most unique aspects of the Glo app is its course inclusion. Users can browse through classes that deep dive into techniques and the practice of yoga, how to teach yoga, and even seminars exploring how the body works and how to live a more mindful, connected life. They are in-app purchases and cost anywhere from $54 to $499.

    Pros: Affordable, classes and programs taught by renowned instructors and experts, customizable to your preferences, workouts for all fitness levels.

    Cons: In-app purchases are very expensive.



    What else we considered

    Pound Rockout Results System 

    There is no fitness movement quite like the Pound movement. Following the lead of founder Kristen Potenza, this exercise program puts Ripstix (quarter-pound drumsticks) in your hands and proves that rocking out and working out can be synonymous. This style of working out gained a following thanks to its appearance on the NBC show, This is Us, and is now being taught across the country. 

    It's a unique workout experience designed for all fitness levels that combines cardio and strength training into a 45-minute session. During each class, you'll perform up to a whopping 15,000 reps, perform over 30 extended interval peaks, and run through more than 70 techniques to the music. It's a particularly useful program for stress relief — something everyone could benefit from once in a while.

    Centr App Programs

    Centr is a unique, all-in-one fitness source that's jam-packed with a variety of programs and exercise videos that range from yoga and HIIT to boxing. When you sign up for the app, you're asked to input details like your weight and fitness goals, and based on this information, Centr generates a plan catered to your needs consisting of daily workouts, meal suggestions, and meditative practices. You have the option to stick to the plan or explore the app's catalog of programs, classes, recipes, meditations, and podcasts.



  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 16:05:00 -0400

    Matthew McConaughey weightloss

    Summary List Placement

    The "Dallas Buyers Club" actor Matthew McConaughey has shared how he lost 50 pounds for the role.

    His unusual approach involved eating nothing but fish, egg whites, tapioca pudding — and "as much wine as I wanted to drink."

    "I did not torture myself. I was militant. The hardest part was making the damn choice," McConaughey said on an episode of "The Joe Rogan Experience," which aired on October 22.

    McConaughey played Ron Woodroof, a man who was diagnosed with stage 4 HIV/AIDS in the mid-1980s

    The actor told Rogan he wanted to lose all the weight to show the reality of living with advanced stages of HIV as he paid homage to Woodroof's life and legacy in detail. 

    "It was my responsibility," McConaughey said. "If I looked how I look now and played Ron Woodroof from 'Dallas Buyers Club,' you are out of the movie the first frame." 

    McConaughey went from his usual 188 pounds to 135 pounds in five months. 

    The actor ate small amounts of fish, vegetables, tapioca pudding, and egg whites to stay trim and rarely exercised 

    The actor said he would eat 5 ounces of fish for lunch and dinner, small amounts of vegetables with each meal, and egg whites for breakfast. His daily treat would be a small amount of tapioca pudding. 

    "I found tapioca pudding, and I found the tiniest little antique spoon in New Orleans, a little-bitty sugar spoon, and I would eat it with that so it would last longer," McConaughey told a crowd of reporters at the 2014 Screen Actors Guild Awards.

    Fish is commonly cited by dietitians as a lean source of protein helpful for people looking to lose weight. Vegetables are also considered one of the best weight-loss foods, as they are a low-calorie source of fiber and nutrients.

    Jumping from the calorific diet McConaughey was likely eating to build muscle for his role in "Magic Mike" (which required washboard abs) earlier in the year to this low-calorie diet would also have dramatic results.

    The actor also rarely exercised during his preparation for "Dallas Buyers Club," as it seemed to make no difference in his weight loss. Cutting out muscle-building workouts like lifting weights can decrease your muscle mass, leading to a drop in weight on the scale. 

    "It didn't matter if I was going to the treadmill and burning 2,000 calories a day or not, 2.5 pounds a week," McConaughey said. 

    Read More:

    10 celebrities who have lost more than 50 pounds — and how they did it

    16 celebrities who say they've been pressured to lose weight in order to succeed in Hollywood

    19 actors who lost weight for movie roles

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 15:56:35 -0400
    Summary List Placement
    • Protein cookies are a great way to treat yourself to some extra protein, whether after a workout or anytime throughout the day.
    • A high-quality protein cookie doesn't have a strong aftertaste, has a satisfying texture, and has a balanced protein-to-sugar ratio.
    • Most, if not all, protein cookies contain some amount of artificial sugars and additives, and although many companies advertise "healthy" versions, it's hard to find a protein cookie that's entirely devoid of them.
    • This article has been medically reviewed by Erika Villalobos-Morsink, an MS, RD, and nutritionist based in New York City. 

    Anyone who knows me will tell you: I am a cookie monster. They'll also tell you I'm passionate about fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle — but I won't sacrifice one for the other. I'm all about balance and enjoying the sweeter things in life in moderation. However, when it was brought to my attention there exists an array of baked goods packed with protein, I made it my mission to find the best protein cookies on the market. 

    To reiterate, you can have your cookies and be healthy, too — but there are a few caveats. Protein cookies are a great post-workout snack because they help build and repair muscle tissue and keep you full. 

    However, just because a snack is "high protein," doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy or considered clean eating. At the end of the day, a cookie is a cookie, so in order to identify the healthier alternatives, there are a few key details to keep top of mind.

    What is a protein snack?

    Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert and co-author of Sugar Shock, told Insider that the FDA considers food high protein if it provides you with 20% of the recommended daily value, or 10 grams of protein. However, this doesn't necessarily align with individual needs. 

    "For the purposes of taming hunger to stay focused and productive, a snack with 6 to 8 grams of protein is usually suitable," Cassetty said.

    This still doesn't mean you should just grab anything that has the words "protein" and "cookie" in it off the store shelves. It's important to dig into what exactly is in the snack to determine if it is, in fact, right for your diet. 

    What else to consider

    At the end of this guide, I've included some additional insight from Samantha Cassetty on how to shop for protein cookies and the best methods for spotting the healthier options. During our medical review, dietitian, Erika Villalobos-Morsink, advised that most, if not all, protein cookies are going to contain some amount of artificial sugars and artificial additives. She also advised that serving sizes and what's necessary to fill someone up varies greatly from person to person. 

    As is the case with adding any supplement to your daily intake, we recommend consulting with your doctor first to see if it's right for your diet.

    Here are the best protein cookies: 

    The best protein cookie overall

    Now, I know what you're thinking: This isn't a cookie, it's a cookie bar. And you're correct — but The FlapJacked Soft Baked Cookie Bar checks all the boxes of the above-listed criteria to be crowned the best protein cookie.

    Let's begin with its ingredients list. Each of the brand's three flavors (chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate brownie) is made with pre- and probiotics. The bars offer 10 grams of a combination of whey and pea protein, and are sweetened with organic date paste, organic brown rice syrup, and organic tapioca syrup. The rest of the ingredients list contains whole food ingredients I both recognized and could pronounce. 

    The FlapJacked Soft Baked Cookie Bars also get an A+ for flavor and texture. The cookie itself is soft, but the goodies inside, like chocolate chips, protein crisps, and peanuts, provide a satisfying crunch. They don't leave a strong protein powder-like aftertaste lingering in your mouth either, which, as someone who loathes the taste of protein powder, is much appreciated. These decadent treats taste like a dessert, only they're better for you and sweetened with sugars that come from natural sources. I'd eat one post-workout, but I'd also gravitate towards any of the three after dinner.

    As far as macronutrients were concerned, one FlapJacked bar has 10 grams of protein per serving. The chocolate chip and chocolate brownie protein treats are 180 calories each and contain 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 29 grams of net carbs. The chocolate peanut butter cookie bar is 215 calories, with 10 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 23 grams of net carbs. 

    Pros: Whole food ingredients, low-calorie count, 10 grams of protein per serving, made with pre and probiotics to support a healthy gut, gluten-free

    Cons: Low on fiber



    The best crunchy protein cookie

    Sandwich cookies are a rare breed in the protein cookie category and Buff Bake's confections are a better-for-you sweet that's gluten-free and packs 12g of protein.

    There are a handful of crunchy protein cookies on the market that taste good, but Buff Bake exceeds expectations in all categories. One of the reasons why these treats taste amazing is because they're made from a shortlist of whole foods you'd find listed on a homemade cookie recipe. They come in four flavors — Birthday Cake, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cup, and Snickerdoodle — and each ingredient label lists hormone-free whey protein as its first ingredient. 

    The base of the cookies is also made up of palm oil, cane sugar, gluten-free oat flour, natural flavors, egg, salt, and baking soda. Various additions like almond butter, peanut butter, and chocolate create each individual flavor profile.

    So, let's review: The cookies are gluten-free, non-GMO, free of sugar alcohols, and made with relatively clean ingredients. And as if the ingredients list wasn't reason enough to indulge, the macronutrients of these cookies are just as satisfying. One package of four cookies is 220 calories and contains 12 g of fat, 12 g of protein, 9 g of natural sugar, 2 g of fiber, and 15 g of net carbs. 

    Plus, if you want to trick your brain into thinking you're getting more snackage than you actually are, these cookies are the way to go. Rather than one giant cookie sandwich, one package of these treats contains four smaller-sized cookies to nosh on, breaking up your indulgence. They're great post-workout or as a healthy dessert alternative.

    Pros: Hormone-free protein listed as its first ingredient, excellent portion size, made with real, whole-food ingredients, taste homemade, free of sugar alcohols, gluten-free.

    Cons: Low on fiber



    The best soft protein cookie

    Lenny & Larry's protein cookies succeed in making you forget they're not actually a cookie but do be warned that one cookie is actually two total servings.

    Lenny and Larry's The Complete Protein Cookie was the first protein cookie I ever tried. The year was 2015, and I was coming home from an awesome gym session when I snacked on one of the brand's ginormous chocolate chip cookies in the parking lot of a Planet Fitness. It was soft, flavorful, and I didn't taste a single trace of protein powder. You could say it was love at first bite; I've been a loyal fan ever since. 

    Lenny & Larry's protein cookies are, in a word, big — but that's because one cookie actually yields two servings, so you might want to cut the confection in half and save some for later. These protein snacks are also quite dense: Enriched wheat flour is the first ingredient on the list, which may or may not be why they taste like a bakery dessert. It's also made with chicory root fiber to keep you fuller, longer. 

    All of Lenny & Larry's cookies are non-GMO certified, free of dairy, eggs, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, high fructose corn syrup, and soy, and made with plant-based protein. One serving (aka half of the entire cookie) has, on-average, 210 calories, with 7 g of fat, 8 g of protein, and 5g of fiber to its name. 

    The only major caveat to this cookie is its high sugar content — 12 g per serving, 25 g per cookie, on average. My advice? Save these for a healthy-ish dessert.

    Pros: Perfectly soft cookie, available in many flavors, very filling, vegan-friendly, made with plant-based protein, made without artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, high fructose corn syrup, or soy, non-GMO, high in fiber

    Cons: One cookie is two servings, dense, made with enriched wheat flour, so they're made more like a traditional cookie, high sugar content



    The best plant-based protein cookie

    Nothing about Munk Pack's plant-based protein cookie tastes overly earthy. Instead, these decadent treats are bursting with flavor and packed with good-for-you ingredients. 

    The first thing you'll notice about Munk Pack's protein cookies is their size. They're not quite as big as the Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookie, but they're just as, if not slightly more, dense. However, like the Lenny & Larry's Complete Cookie, Munk Pack's cookies yield two servings, so you might want to save half for later. (But no one's going to judge you for eating the whole thing in one sitting — they're that good.)

    The first ingredient on each of the brand's five flavors (Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Double Dark Chocolate, Snickerdoodle, Coconut White Chip Macadamia Nut, and Oatmeal Raisin Spice) is peanut butter, so you know they're providing some healthy fats. They're also made with gluten-free oats, as well as oat flour, which helps contribute to their volume and the satiety you feel after eating. 

    What I love about this protein cookie is that it's something the majority of snackers can enjoy. It contains zero sugar alcohols, no gluten, no soy, no dairy, and no eggs. Plus, one serving is 160 calories, 6 g of fat, 15 g of net carbs, 3 g of fiber, and 8 g of protein, making it a perfectly nourishing and energizing option. Pack these for your next hike, bike ride, or in your gym bag — they're awesome post-highly intensive activities. 

    Pros: Gluten-free, vegan-friendly, don't have an earthy protein taste, made without sugar alcohols, dairy, soy, and eggs, contain a decent amount of fiber, relatively low carb

    Cons: One cookie is two servings, dense



    The best low-sugar protein cookie

    For anyone who genuinely enjoys the taste of protein (because I know you're out there), look no further than these cookies from Quest

    Three out of the brands five cookie flavors (Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate Chip, and Snickerdoodle) list a protein blend of milk isolate and whey protein isolate as their very first ingredient, so you know these cookies pack a mean punch of the macronutrient. This is the cookie you grab after a workout to replenish your energy and aid in muscle recovery.

    As far as low-sugar protein snacks goes, the macronutrients of Quest cookies are fantastic. Unlike oversized cookies that yield two servings, this big-enough treat is a single serving. The cookies are 220-240 calories, and contain 15-16 g of protein, less than 1 g of sugar, and 9-12 g of fiber each. 

    The biggest caveats of the Quest protein cookies are that they are very high in fat and, though they have less than 1 gram of sugar per serving, they are made with erythritol, a sugar alcohol. If you have a sensitive stomach, I'd suggest passing on these.

    Pros: High in protein and fiber, great for workout recovery.

    Cons: High in fat, strong protein aftertaste, made with sugar alcohols and whey protein which can upset a sensitive stomach.



    What else we considered

    ShrewdFood

    ShrewdFood had my heart at first bite because these cookies pack an incredibly satisfying crunch. They come in two flavors — Oat & Chip and Oat & Berry, both of which are fabulous — but what really sets these protein cookies apart from the rest is its recipe's inclusion of fruits and veggies. One package equates to a serving of fruits and vegetables from 10 different sources, including broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, maitake mushrooms, and papaya. 

    They also contain 1 billion probiotics and are made with prebiotics, so your digestion is well taken care of when you're munching on these miniature snacks. Plus, one serving is an entire 1.65 oz package that yields 8 grams of protein, and I can vouch that you'll be full and feeling good when you reach the bottom of the bag.



    How to shop for protein cookies

    1. Try to avoid artificial ingredients, like sugar alcohols.

    Because protein cookies are processed foods, they can be rich in artificial ingredients, explains registered dietitian, Erin Palinski-Wade. However, most of the protein cookies you see at the store will have some amount of these. 

    "Opt to choose protein cookies made from mostly whole food ingredients and remember they should be enjoyed as a snack on occasion," she told Insider.

    2. Look for cookies with at least 3 grams of fiber

    "An added bonus [when shopping for protein cookies] would be a choice that is rich in fiber (3 grams or more) for an added feeling of satiety," said Plainski-Wade. 

    If you want to go even further, you can pay attention to where that fiber is coming from — i.e. nuts and seeds over functional ingredients like corn fiber or chicory root fiber.

    "Often, a really high fiber count is a sign that you're getting a lot of functional fiber rather than fiber from a whole food source," and, depending on the form, "functional fiber can trigger stomach discomfort," Cassetty added.

    3. Get familiar with different kinds of grains

    "For grain-containing cookies, ideally, the grains should be whole grains like oats or brown rice flour or whole wheat flour," Cassetty said. "If you see 'enriched wheat flour,' it's another way of saying white flour, so it's a sign that the cookie is even more processed than one with whole grain flour."



  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 13:29:00 -0400

    working out happy weight loss

    Summary List Placement

    Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 50, shedding extra weight is tough. If you've tried before and fell short of your goal, it can be hard to stay motivated. 

    But you don't necessarily need to lose a ton of weight to experience health benefits, says Mir Ali, MD, a bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center. 

    In fact, research shows losing as little as 5% of your body weight can improve your health in many ways. Here are 10 proven health benefits of weight loss and tips for how to lose weight safely. 

    1. Helps regulate blood sugar and diabetes

    Losing weight improves insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, says Preeti Pusalkar, a certified clinical nutritionist with Hudson Medical Center, a primary care provider in New York City. 

     

    Excess body fat leads to an increase in adipose tissue, which causes inflammation and interferes with the function of insulin — the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels

    Weight loss reduces adipose tissue, which allows the body to manage blood sugar more effectively. Plus, you don't have to lose that much weight to see results. Research has found that just a 5% reduction in body weight improved blood sugar levels in adults. 

    2. Improved heart health 

     

    Losing weight can also improve heart health by reducing pressure on arteries, meaning the heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood through the body. The result is lower blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels — the "bad" kind of cholesterol that can increase your risk of heart disease, Pusalkar says. 

    And it doesn't matter if you lose weight through diet and exercise or weight-loss surgery like metabolic surgery — you'll reap benefits regardless, according to a large 2020 study.  

    Researchers examined the effects of weight loss surgery on obese patients who either had weight loss surgery or who lost weight through lifestyle changes. The risk of heart disease for the surgical group decreased after a 5% to 10% loss of body weight while the nonsurgical group saw a decrease after losing about 20% of body weight. 

    3. Decreased risk of stroke 

     

    Excess weight can increase blood pressure, and therefore your risk of stroke. This is because high blood pressure puts a strain on your blood vessels, making them stiffer and more likely to cause blood to clot. 

    "Losing weight helps improve the efficiency of the heart due to less constricted blood vessels," Pusalkar says. 

    4. Better sleep 

    Overweight people are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea — a disorder characterized by disrupted breathing while sleeping. Excess weight can increase fat deposits in your neck, which can obstruct your airways. 

     

    If you suffer from sleep apnea, losing weight likely won't entirely cure the condition. However, losing just 10% to 15% of your body weight can improve sleep quality and reduce the severity of sleep apnea in moderately obese patients, according to the National Sleep Foundation

    5. Improved mobility 

    Losing weight alleviates pressure on knees and joints, which can improve mobility, Pusalkar says. A large 2012 study of obese adults with type 2 diabetes found as little as a 1% drop in weight cut mobility limitations, such as difficulty walking or climbing stairs, by more than 7%. 

    6. Higher self-esteem 

    While there is no direct correlation between weight loss and self-esteem, some studies show that weight loss can improve mood and self-confidence. 

    A 2014 review examined 36 studies to determine the psychological benefits of weight loss. Researchers found consistent improvements in body image, self-worth, and general well-being among subjects who lost weight. 

    7. Decreased joint pain 

    Excess weight can cause joints to become stressed, damaged, and inflamed — but losing weight can help.

    A 2018 study examined obese adults with arthritis pain in their knees. Researchers found that losing 10% to 20% of body weight resulted in less pain and improved joint function than losing just 5% of body weight, which did not show any significant joint pain benefits.   

    The reason likely has to do with how quickly joints wear down when under additional stress from excess weight. "As the smooth surface at the ends of bones, or cartilage, becomes damaged and worn, you feel pain and stiffness in the joint," Pulsalkar says.

    8. Boosts energy 

    Because weight loss can improve sleep, you might also feel more energized during the day, Pulsalkar says. Excess weight also means your body has to work harder to move. Therefore, shedding some pounds means you use less energy to move. It also improves respiratory function, which can also make you feel more energized.

    9. Higher sex drive

     

    While research on the correlation between excess weight and sex drive is still emerging, weight gain has been shown to increase sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in your blood. This can lower free testosterone levels and decrease your libido, Pulsalkar says. 

    10. Reduced risk of certain cancers 

    According to the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be the cause of about 11% of cancers in women and about 5% of cancers in men. Obesity increases your risk of developing several different cancers, including:

    • Endometrial cancer
    • Breast cancer (in women past menopause)
    • Kidney cancer
    • Liver cancer
    • Pancreatic cancer

    The exact link between excess weight and cancer is still unknown, but researchers believe inflammation due to visceral fat — the fat surrounding vital organs — is to blame. Losing weight could lower your risk of developing these cancers.

    Takeaways 

    Some people may need to lose significantly more weight to experience some of these benefits, Ali says. But for the most part, losing as little as 5% of your body weight can lead to many health benefits, like improved heart health and decreased risk of diabetes. But, before starting any weight loss program, it's important to talk with your doctor about the right plan and goals for you.

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 13:07:00 -0400

    dna crime lab

    Summary List Placement

    There are likely hundreds of men in the United States, if not more, who suffer from a just-discovered genetic disease that causes symptoms including blood clots in veins, recurrent fevers, lung system abnormalities, and — in 40% of patients — death. 

    Researchers from the National Institutes of Health discovered the disease, named VEXAS, by working backwards: Rather than grouping people with similar symptoms and searching for biological explanations, they searched the genetic makeup of 2,500 people for variations that could be linked to the wide-ranging symptoms of their undiagnosed inflammatory conditions. 

    "We had many patients with undiagnosed inflammatory conditions who were coming to the NIH Clinical Center, and we were just unable to diagnose them," said Dr. David B. Beck, clinical fellow at NHGRI and lead author of the paper, which was published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine said in a statement.

    "That's when we had the idea of doing it the opposite way. Instead of starting with symptoms, start with a list of genes. Then, study the genomes of undiagnosed individuals and see where it takes us."

    Using that method, the scientists eventually identified three middle-aged men who all had the same mutations in a gene called UBA1. They later discovered 22 other men with the same mutations and similar symptoms, like blood clots and fevers. 

    The research team named the disease VEXAS after its key characteristics: vacuoles (unusual cavity-like structures in certain cells), E1 enzyme (which is related to UBA1), X-linked (per the chromosome it's connected to), autoinflammatory (meaning the immune system accidentally attacks the body) and somatic (since the condition seems ot pop up sometime during the patient's life, rather than at birth).

    The researchers suspect VEXAS has only been found in men because it's linked to the X chromosome, of which men only have one. Women's additional X chromosome, they hypothesize, could be protective in this case. 

    Since the paper was published, 25 more patients with the syndrome have been found, but the study authors expect the true prevalence to be much higher, according to NBC News, since there are nearly 125 million people in the US with some form of a chronic inflammatory disease. 

    "This fascinating discovery is of immediate importance to rheumatologists and has far-reaching consequences of general clinical interest," Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad and and Mary-Claire King, researchers who weren't involved in the study, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

    For scientists, the revelation that the "genome-first" strategy works may help identify other previously undiscovered genetic conditions. 

    For healthcare professionals, these discoveries will help diagnosis and treat patients with inflammatory conditions, and may improve the classification system for those diseases, the researchers hope.  

    For patients who've been battling mysterious symptoms and searching for effective treatments to no avail, the discovery is a game-changer, too. 

    "We don't always have a diagnosis, so we say, 'Well, let's throw the kitchen sink at the patient,'" Dr. Natalie Azar, an assistant clinical professor of medicine and rheumatology at NYU Langone, told NBC. "This opens up a whole world of potential therapeutics down the line."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:59:00 -0400

    Paris coronavirus

    Summary List Placement

    Since Paris declared a state of emergency on October 17, introducing a 9 PM to 6 AM curfew, the streets have been eerily empty at night.

    The city's police were diligent about handing out fines for infractions earlier in the pandemic to people who weren't wearing a mask or violated quarantine, and most residents don't want to risk it now.

    On the face of it, it looks like the strict measure — set to last at least six weeks to curb the soaring rates of coronavirus in the capital and across the country — is working. 

    But it's also led to a buzzing culture of secretive parties that run from 8:59 PM to 6:01 AM.

    With clubs closed, and bars and street parties off-limits, this has now become the norm for socializing, mainly among people in their 20s. Speaking to Insider, four Paris party-goers said the curfew felt so heavy-handed and "totalitarian" that it is driving them to party in any way they can, from warehouse raves to all-day and night house parties.

    "For young people, not feeling the risk of the coronavirus, this measure is one measure too many," Clem, a 23-year-old in Paris who asked to omit her last name for privacy reasons, told Insider.

    Keeping it a secret

    In some cases, these parties are essentially very long house parties. 

    Clem is going to a housewarming this weekend that will run from noon until 8:59 PM, with the option to stay longer if you are willing to go all night.

    "You just have to be ready to party from noon til 6 AM," Clem told Insider.

    Paris curfew

    There are bigger parties, too, organized through word of mouth or on Facebook. 

    A 29-year-old journalist from London, who is spending a couple of months in Paris and spoke on the condition of anonymity for professional reasons, told Insider about the warehouse party "with BDSM vibes" that they're attending this weekend. It has been running since the curfew was imposed, exclusively through word of mouth. 

    "The basic premise is that you are given a code," they said. "You then text the code to a phone number and details are sent to you of where to go. It's a car park location on the outskirts of Paris. Then a taxi or bus picks you up and takes you to the party."

    The party, hosted inside a warehouse from 9 PM to 6 AM, is €15 to €30 ($18-$35) depending on how late you arrive. Alcohol is included in the price.

    Those kinds of big organized raves can be a gamble. Clem planned to go to a secret two-day rave last week, organized through Facebook, but the police turned up halfway through (on Saturday at 11 AM).

    Buying delivery driver jackets to skirt the rules

    Certain groups are eligible for exemptions to the curfew rule, including food delivery drivers. 

    That has led to a spate of jokes on Instagram and Twitter, suggesting people buy jackets from Deliveroo, the biggest food delivery service in Paris, to skirt the rules.  

    Insider spoke to one 26-year-old art student in Paris who did just that. 

    Paris curfew

    The student, who did not want to share his identity for fear of getting fined, told Insider he bought it on eBay for €39. "People were joking about it but I found one and I thought, why not? If it means I can see my friends and not be worried. I have not used it yet, but I will. It's kind of cool anyway so I don't mind if I don't really need it for the curfew."

    It seems he may not need it; a 27-year-old Paris resident who spoke to Insider said she has been getting Ubers after curfew without a problem. Ubers are allowed to run after-hours in service of people with exemptions, but she said the drivers "never" ask to see proof, and police don't check. 

    Police are playing whack-a-mole with parties

    Parisian police are likely aware of the situation, just as they were about the notorious weekendly rave in Bois de Vicennes, a park in the southeast of Paris that hosted DJs and thousands of people from May to September to replace the shuttered clubs.

    "It was not official, it was not legal, but it was OK because it was happening all the time and the cops would just come at 8 AM," Clem told Insider. "We had a great DJ, we would rave all night, and then you have the cops coming in the morning when everyone is going home."

    Since curfew began, cops have been turning up to some choice raves here and there, but their directive is to patrol the streets. 

    They can be seen stationed outside subway entrances at the start of curfew each night, but, of the six people Insider asked, none had seen police activity beyond that.

    Paris curfew

    COVID-19 cases are rising in France

    Despite the push-back, President Emmanuel Macron is doubling down.

    The nightly curfew, first mandated in eight regions of the country, was recently extended to another 38 last week. It now affects over half of France's 67 million residents.

    Until at least December 1, people living in curfew zones will be barred from leaving their homes during those hours, unless it's to walk a dog, go to work, or for essential travel.

    Case numbers give a hint as to why. France recorded 52,000 new cases on Tuesday, a daily high. Before September, the highest number of cases recorded in a single day in France was 8,000, on March 31.

    That quickly plummeted. From May to August, there was never more than 2,000 a day, and usually just a couple of hundred. During August, however, there was a surge, culminating in 4,982 cases recorded on September 1. Things unraveled from there.

    "We lost control of the epidemic but that doesn't date from yesterday. We lost control of the epidemic several weeks ago already," Dr. Eric Caumes, of Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, told Franceinfo.

    Outdoor gatherings are banned, but there is no limit on indoor gatherings in Paris 

    A key gripe among Paris residents is that the curfew seems nonsensical. 

    "It's worse to stay at your friend's all day or all night," than to have small gatherings on the street, Clem said.

    Paris curfew

     

    Scientists across the world, including at the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agree that coronavirus likely acts differently indoors than it does outdoors, thriving in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

    While some cities (such as Marseilles, an early hot spot) have a ban on gatherings of 10 or more, in Paris, up to 1,000 people are allowed to gather.

    Tonight, however, Macron will address the nation anew. He is expected to bring in tighter measures, including gathering limits in more cities, and possibly instituting a nationwide lockdown, according to the Guardian.

    Young Parisians are angry and tired

    No one wants their party shut down by police. But few seem to mind that this is an open secret. In a way, Clem said, they want the authorities to know.

    "We're trying to send a sign to the government. We can't stand this, this is too much. It's like a totalitarian state."

    A better messaging strategy from the government could help, said Vaile Wright, director of clinical research at the American Psychological Association.

    "Instead of it being something taken away, it needs to be framed in the sense of community and civic duty and coming together as humans to stop the spread," Wright said.

    Having a clear message in a constantly shifting pandemic is difficult, and each time it changes, public trust is eroded a bit more.

    "Science can change, and that's a really confusing message for people," Wright told Insider. "Different places are doing different things, and things keep changing in response to a very uncertain situation. All that lends itself to confusion, distrust, and those feed into behaviors that may not be in our best interest."

    But as we've learned from other areas of health behavior, any kind of regimen is hard to stick to. 

    Paris France Coronavirus

    Kyle Bourassa, a psychology researcher at Duke University, likens the lockdowns to a diet regime — people are good at getting weight off initially, but very bad at keeping it off long term.

    "There's the constant draw of seeing family and friends that makes it so hard. The long term was always going to be hard for us," Bourassa said.

    Since the pandemic started, Clem said, everyone she knows has been diligently trying to comply with the rules. 

    "People were really embracing everything."

    But with the curfew, she felt a shift. 

    "This was something that really broke something in young people. People are struggling to keep jobs, how we live. People are laughing about us having all-night parties but — you will put some measures, we will do worse."

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  • Wed, 28 Oct 2020 09:00:00 -0400

    GettyImages 1229055834

    Summary List Placement

    Alyssa Beird spent most of quarantine at her mom's house with just a pull up bar and a 20-pound dumbbell at her disposal. The American Ninja Warrior veteran, who also works as a fifth grade teacher, had to get creative with her home workouts to stay in shape for Season 12.

    The popular obstacle course competition, based on the Japanese TV series Sasuke, returned for an abridged 12th season that kicked off in September. The first episode of the two-part final airs Wednesday.

    At the onset of the pandemic, it was unclear if ANW Season 12 was going to happen, eight-time competitor Joe Moravsky told Insider. The National Ninja League champion took a few months off from training and got back to the gym when he heard the show was going ahead with the season.

    The season took place in an indoor bubble set up at St. Louis' Dome at America's Center. Competitors and crew were required to submit a negative COVID-19 test before entering, and family and friends usually seen on the sidelines cheered on their ninjas via video chat.

    Other contestants powered through lockdown with at-home training, virtually meeting up for Zoom workouts and eventually getting back to the gyms when restrictions eased up. With various levels of resources within reach, they stuck to some key exercises that prepared them for the high-stakes obstacle course.

    Insider spoke with ANW competitors and a fitness coach about how to build a workout fit for a ninja warrior.

    Most "fun" ninja obstacles are rooted in pull up strength

    Beird said her home workouts revolved around pull ups, which she did in sets of 15 between other core, legs, and shoulder exercises.

    "The stuff we would usually do at gyms — like hanging, swinging, all the fun stuff — is really rooted in pull up strength, so I was making sure to get in multiple sets of pull ups each day," Beird told Insider.

    Noam Tamir, owner and founder of TS Fitness in NYC, said pull ups mainly work the back muscles, along with the core, biceps, and grip strength. This combination is essential for ANW obstacles like the Salmon Ladder and variations on jumping bars.

    To really work the core, Tamir recommends practicing a hollow body hold, where you lie on your back and lift your shoulder blades and legs off the ground. Then, you can try adopting that posture while doing pull ups. 

    Beird said the traditional hollow body hold (done on the floor) is a great core workout for beginners, and you can modify it by kicking your feet or crunching upwards.

    Plyometrics prepare ninjas for explosive movements on the course

    Plyometrics, or jump training, are exercises where muscles exert maximum force in a short interval of time. Almost any exercise can be turned into a plyometric with the addition of explosive power, Tamir said, like adding a clap to a traditional push up or turning squats into jump squats.

    Beird said she did lunge jumps— where she starts in a lunge with one foot forward and both knees at 90 degrees, then jumps and switches her legs in midair — to get the "fast-twitch muscle reaction" required in so many ninja obstacles.

    Even something as simple as short, quick sprints can help athletes develop the explosive speed required to summit the 14-and-a-half foot Warped Wall.

    Jesse Labreck, an ANW competitor who holds the record for the most final buzzers hit by a woman, said "really intense burpees" were a staple of her training during lockdown. To up the ante on any plyometric exercise, you can add handheld weights or sandbags, Tamir said.

    Building endurance is essential for pushing through the course

    Labreck operates a ninja gym in Naperville, Illinois, so she was able to have 24/7 access to obstacles even when the gym was closed to the public. Still, she tuned into Zoom workouts run by trainer and ANW contestant Jimmy Choi that anyone could do at home.

    She told Insider that Choi's workouts were basically regular high intensity interval training, or HIIT workouts, with the addition of advanced elements like handstands.

    HIIT workouts involve pushing yourself to 100% for an interval of 30 to 60 seconds of exercise, followed by a shorter period of rest. This style of workout is known to burn more calories than steady-rate cardio, and it comes with other health benefits such as improving oxygen and blood flow.

    Beird also structured her workouts around intervals of 30 seconds of working out, then 20 seconds of rest. She would typically do 5 sets each of three different exercises that worked her core, legs, and shoulders, with 15 pull ups between each exercise set.

    "I'm trying to get my heart rate to stay up and make myself tired, but then still push through and get basically a full body workout," Beird said.

    Read more:

    HIIT workouts are linked to better mental health and longer, healthier lives, according to a new study

    I tried working out like Kim and Khloe Kardashian for two weeks, and found the younger sister has the better routine

    What it's like to go to a Barry's Bootcamp workout in the middle of a pandemic

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 17:25:00 -0400

    ashley graham

    Summary List Placement

    Supermodel Ashley Graham revealed she has drunk her own breastmilk "more than once" and, she said, it "tastes good."

    Playing a game of "Never Have I Ever" on an episode of the Ellen DeGeneres show on Monday, Graham told guest hosts Stephen "tWitch" Boss and Allison Holker about the experience.

    "You know, just to try a little bit. It tastes good," Graham said as she laughed. 

    She's hardly the only adult to do so.

    In recent years, there has been a growing trend in the US of adults drinking human breastmilk under the misconception that it can be good for fitness.

    However, it can come with some risks. 

    Drinking human breastmilk has no proven benefits for adults

    The idea that drinking breastmilk can be helpful to athletes who want to build muscle has circulated from Mongolia to the US. But there is no evidence this is true. 

    Bruce German, a professor of food and chemistry at the University of California-Davis,  said on Netflix's "(Un)well" that human breastmilk has a pretty poor nutritional makeup, high in saturated fat and low in protein. 

    Another reason some adults are trying breastmilk is in hopes to cure cancer, but this – like the athlete theory — also lacks evidence. 

    Insider's Anna Medaris Miller previously reported that, while some studies have suggested human breastmilk can combat cancer cells in a lab, these results have yet to be successful in human trials. 

    Breastmilk can carry bacteria and environmental contaminants

    While there is no overt danger in trying a little breastmilk out of curiosity, drinking it consistently can expose you to some risks. 

    You should especially be wary of breastmilk purchased online, as scientists evaluated 100 samples of online breastmilk and found a majority of them were contaminated with harmful bacteria, poorly packaged, or diluted with cow's milk. 

    "That was really alarming," Sarah Keim, an epidemiologist at Nationwide Children's hospital in Columbus who conducted the research, said during the episode of (Un)Well. 

    Read More: 

    Men are drinking human breast milk to grow muscle and beat cancer. It's unproven, and it could have dangerous downsides.

    Netflix's '(Un)Well' delves into the dark side of fasting, essential oils, tantric sex, and other popular 'wellness' trends

    A woman had to seek medical attention after eating essential oils for weeks on end, triggering full-body swelling and rashes

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 17:14:00 -0400

    nxivm thumb

    Summary List Placement

    Nxivm founder and leader Keith Raniere was sentenced to life in prison for child sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor, which he did under the guise of a multi-level marketing scheme billed to help people reach their professional goals.

    HBO's docuseries "The Vow" has also reignited interest in the alleged sex cult's inner workings.

    "The Vow" recounts how Raniere, who was charged with sex trafficking and forced labor in June 2019, and his close circle, pushed science-backed psychological methods to the extreme, under the guise of self-help, in order to manipulate Nxivm followers.

    In the most severe cases, women were recruited to Nxivm secret women-only group "DOS" (Latin for Dominus Obsequious Sororium, or "master over slave"), branded with Raniere's initials, and asked to limit their caloric intake and/or have sex with Raniere. Nxivm also manipulated members into providing "collateral," or private information that could be used as blackmail if they abandoned the organization.

    Raniere shaped Nxivm self-help teachings, which he dubbed the "Executive Success Program" (ESP), around the idea that a person's past experiences affect their current decision-making and how they move through the world. Raniere said people who stuck with these psychological techniques could be relieved of their emotional baggage and think more freely.

    In doing this, Raniere abused of a key hallmark of psychotherapy, according to therapist Kelly Scott.

    "So much of therapy, at least the way that I practice, is exactly that," Scott told Insider. "It's looking at what brought you into the door for therapy. What's hurting right now? What's the problem? And then panning out and recognizing the cluster the data points create, and understanding the origin of those patterns that are causing so many problems in your life."

    Though helpful when practiced in a safe space like a therapist's office, Raniere ultimately used members' self-reflections and vulnerabilities to gaslight and abuse them later.

    Nxivm leaders used a classic therapy technique

    The most common way Nxivm members would therapize their actions was through an EM, or "exploration of meaning" — a term Raniere created. 

    During an EM, a member and a high-ranking Nxivm teacher would sit in chairs, facing each other, while a group of other members watched. The member would explain an area of their life they were having trouble in, like feeling anxious about a job interview, and the teacher would ask questions to see if the anxiety was rooted in a specific memory or pattern in their past.

    "The Vow" shows footage from some of these sessions, and when Scott watched them, they reminded her of a specific type of therapy called EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.

    EMDR involves a person recounting a traumatic event in their life to a therapist so they can better process it and move forward.

    Much like Raniere's EM method, EMDR starts with a harmful or negative belief a person has about themselves, like "I'm not worthy of love," and a therapist then helps them pinpoint a specific memory that led to or reinforced that belief. Then, an EMDR patient better understands how their current behaviors are reflections of a belief they were previously taught.

    Other members watched EMs to create positive reinforcement and 'fetishize vulnerability'

    EMDR is done one-on-one, with a patient speaking confidentially to a therapist in an office.

    But with Raniere's EM method, a Nxivm member shared their vulnerable and traumatic past in front of a crowd. When Raniere or another high-ranking member running an EM deemed the member had a breakthrough, the audience clapped and cheered in celebration.

    According to Scott, this set-up intentionally creates positive reinforcement, so members want to share even more vulnerable information.

    "The group is providing influence and pressure on the person to expose themselves. They're getting positive reinforcement when they do [expose themselves]. People are cheering, people are smiling, people are are reinforcing it," Scott said.

    Vulnerability can lead to helpful mental and emotional breakthroughs when expressed in a safe space, but Raniere's methods removed that safe space under the guise of accountability.

    Nxivm taught members that if they shared the most fragile parts of themselves with an audience, everyone in that audience could make sure they wouldn't fall back on their previous negative ways of thinking and acting.

    In reality, this framework only turned vulnerability into a commodity or "highly valued currency," Scott said.

    "I think there is a way that group absolutely fetishizes vulnerability. Actually, the more accurate way of saying that is they fetishize exploitation," she said, adding that the group mentality allowed more and more people to buy into that system.

    Nxivm taught members that natural trauma responses were personal faults

    In the fourth episode of "The Vow," an anonymous former member dubbed "Jane" who was part of the women-only group DOS, recounted how she had a dissociative response when she had sex with Raniere.

    According to Scott, disassociation, or feeling outside of your body during a traumatic event, is a natural way humans protect themselves from physically, mentally, and emotionally scarring events.

    Jane said she felt pressured into sex, because Raniere said doing so would help her face her fears and get closer to her goals. But when she said the experience was unhelpful, DOS leaders chalked it up to a mental block she had to work through with more EMs.

    "It's a way of dismantling people's self protection. It's wildly manipulative," Scott said.

    Although Raniere used psychology-backed methods, he appeared to weaponize them to gaslight members into ignoring their intuitions and bending to his every request. 

    "The fact [Raniere's method] has some elements of very valid theory, that makes it so dangerous because it's something that feels reasonable on the surface," Scott said.

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 16:46:24 -0400
     Summary List Placement

    LIT STRENGTH MACHINE

    • The LIT Strength Machine bills itself as an all-in-one strength and cardio system that aims to innovate the way people keep fit at home.
    • The machine itself is a water-powered rower that features an anchor system for attaching additional equipment like resistance bands or a strength bar.
    • With a library of live and on-demand workout classes, the Strength Machine is a unique approach to at-home fitness that raises some questions about its long-term value. 
    • Though it delivers sweat-inducing workouts, the lack of an on-board monitor and fitness stat tracking means it loses much of its value if/when the subscription to its classes runs out.
    • Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.

    If there's a lesson we've learned during this forced renaissance of home fitness, it's that necessity is the mother of innovation. We've all had to find replacements for at least one of our usual exercises due to not having a traditional gym's plethora of equipment at our disposal. Some solutions vary between stop-gap supplementations to full-blown replacements for the workouts we thought we needed. Indeed, many people are realizing that maybe they didn't need a gym to begin with.

    Much of that depends on the versatility of the equipment on hand and how inventive one can be in using it. For an extremely rudimentary example, that could be something as simple as realizing the barbell used for bench presses can also be used for bicep curls. It's not using it the wrong way, per se, just in an entirely different style — and that's to the barbell's credit.

    All of this is to say that I can't decide if the LIT Strength Machine is a clever attempt at providing a versatile, all-in-one fitness solution, or just a hodgepodge of ideas tacked onto another exercise machine destined to become an attic-bound dust collector.

    LIT Strength Machine review 2020

    The LIT Strength Machine ($1,750) is billed as an "all-in-one strength and cardio piece of equipment" which is technically correct, given that the core component of this fitness system is a simple yet sturdy water rowing machine. LIT's machine endeavors to be far more than that with the addition of sturdy anchor points welded onto the device's frame to accommodate two pairs of resistance bands. These, along with provided handle attachments and the on-demand LIT Method online coaching, aims to be all the gym you'll ever need.

    The centerpiece is that water-based rower, a machine that features a polycarbonate tank and a solid tubular steel frame. Out of the box, it's fairly easy to assemble, with every tool provided in the packaging as well as a pump to accurately fill the water tank. These types of rowing machines have grown in popularity amongst stationary rowers for the way they naturally mimic the resistance felt in real-world rowing, with the feedback dependent on the amount of effort you put in — the harder you pull, the stronger the resistance, just like actual rowing.

    AT HOME STRENGTH MACHINE

    Two long and two short resistance bands are anchored along both sides of the device, with each pair providing different levels of tension to match whatever exercise you choose. These work in tandem with a bag of accessories that include a "Strength bar" attachment to mimic a barbell, a mobile device mount, and individual clip-on handles.

    Resistance bands have proven their versatility, becoming essential parts of gyms, home or otherwise. In theory, the combination of having a solid rowing machine affixed with a few resistance bands for the sake of variety seems like a clever one. It's LIT's hyper-specific execution that muddies the water.

    The LIT Method

    A purchase of the LIT Strength Machine includes three months of complimentary access to the LIT Method on-demand training videos. After that, a membership's price range varies from $24.99 a month to $240 a year. If you've experienced any of the now ubiquitous on-demand fitness classes available, you should have a basic idea of what you're getting into.

    LIT Method itself was founded by Justin and Taylor Norris, who, along with a roster of other certified personal trainers, lead participants in high-energy, low-impact routines designed to utilize every aspect of the machine — the rower, the resistance bands, the space around the machine, etc. 

    If you're looking for a fast-paced, high-energy experience guided by highly enthusiastic fitness experts, look no further. While there are several on-demand routines designed for a variety of different goals, all of them will be an intense, heart-racing experience with hardly any break in the action.

    Classes will certainly have participants rowing along, but Justin and Taylor mix things up with different tempos and pull variations, and you won't be seated for long. Before you know it, you're up using the machine's seat as an ab roller, doing lateral raises with the resistance bands, or performing myriad different movements before hopping back onto the Strength Machine's saddle.

    Even at the beginner level, expect to walk away from each session thoroughly drenched with a well-earned layer of sweat. If LIT's home version is this intense, one can only imagine how much of a ride an in-person class must be.

    It doesn't take too many classes, however, to realize that the LIT Method experience can be a bit overwhelming if you weren't already a die-hard fan of the brand and its workouts.

    Get LIT, fam

    Man Using Strength Machine

    All of it — the classes, the Strength Machine, and the savvy alternative workouts — work effectively in concert, there's no question, and I'm sure that a membership to LIT Method's studio is a blast, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you're considering bringing that experience home. First, the LIT Method machine doesn't take up any more space than a typical rowing machine and it's easy to stow away, but the extra bag of attachments is kind of annoying to accommodate.

    That's a minor gripe but it's worth mentioning as it plays into other issues, beginning with the on-demand classes. Logging into the LIT Method video library presents you with all the available classes, many that feature the LIT Strength Machine, but lots more without. It makes for great variety, and there are classes added on a regular basis, but not all workouts accommodate the machine, especially older content. To be clear, there are tons of classes that do use it, and it's hard to imagine anyone exhausting the available content.

    When it comes to the classes, the trainers tend to forget there are people at home attempting to keep up. Each class lists the instructor teaching it, the equipment you'll need during, the length of the class, and its recommended skill level. Even with these cues, I still felt unprepared at times when it came to grabbing the required gear. The LIT Method may be about nonstop action, but you'll definitely find yourself pausing to either get your gear together or to make extra room you didn't know was going to be necessary.

    It's clear that Justin and Taylor are knowledgeable fitness pros who've skillfully crafted routines based on very thoughtful use of the equipment, but in these instances, I'd prefer to see them more effectively teach skills to use elsewhere. You're given just enough information to keep up with the session. There are introductory classes but even a small amount of guidance in the normal classes would be welcome.

    Life after LIT?

    The biggest disappointment with the LIT Strength Machine is the machine itself, which feels like a waste of a decent rower. This is mostly to say that those looking at LIT for a more traditional rowing machine experience will need to look elsewhere.

    While classes do incorporate rowing and even variations on different rows, don't expect a traditional rowing class — the whole of the workout, and the machine's intent, is completely different. There is some guidance to allow users to sync with the current workout's tempo but most of the classes are more of a hybrid approach to rowing fitness than something like the Ergatta rower that favors proper form. Here, it's more about incorporating the resistance bands and some floor work in addition to the rowing. 

    Perhaps its most puzzling aspect is the omission of any sort of digital monitor. This made me wonder that if I wasn't using the machine for LIT's workouts, would I be able to use it for much else? The absence of measuring even basic metrics like RPM, speed, or distance traveled also means there's no way to track any progress if you decide to train between LIT sessions or — more critically — after the subscription ends.

    LIT Method views the machine and its workouts as an experience-based approach to fitness. Because of that, the brand chose not to include a monitor or any stat-tracking on purpose. Instead of relying on metrics for motivation, LIT wants users to focus on performing exercises correctly and enjoying the overall experience. With almost every other at-home workout machine offering some form of metric feedback, this decision strays not just from what much of the industry offers, but what most people are used to. It may be intentional but it still raises eyebrows, nonetheless.

    I also just couldn't help but wonder if the Strength Machine was really that beneficial for me or not. With other home workout devices bundled with an online service, when the subscription inevitably ends, I'm left with some transferrable skills like being a better cyclist or at the very least, a functioning machine to train on.  

    I'd argue that though the LIT Strength Machine technically works, it's incomplete without a monitor and isn't a piece of training equipment I'd be motivated to return to. The connected workout machine you spend $1,750 on should check more boxes than this was able to do — perhaps it's that an experience-based approach to working out just isn't for me. 

    The bottom line

    LIT Strength Machine

    Bringing a pricy piece of gym equipment into your home takes a great deal of consideration, especially now, when we're all rethinking how we stay fit. Home gyms are still homes, without a traditional gym's available space or budget, so getting the most out of your gear is critical. It's fortunate that much of today's equipment comes bundled with some sort of online coaching to extend the value of your purchase, and while LIT Method's fun fitness experience might burn twice as bright, its flame lasts half as long.

    • Should you buy it? In its current iteration, it's hard to recommend. Without any sort of metric feedback or much replayability if your membership lapses, it lacks the kind of extended versatility of similar machines. Spending $1,750 on an interactive workout machine is no drop in the investment bucket — and the LIT Machine should offer far more extended value for that sticker price. It is a unique attempt at all-in-one fitness that needs more refinement to truly be worth its cost.
    • What are your alternatives? Though there aren't any machines that are exactly like the LIT Strength Machine, the closest in terms of experience would be something like Ergatta's rower or the Hydrow row machine. Both of these are standard interactive at-home rowers, though each comes with its own built-in screen that offers a deep well of exercises, workout feedback, and the kind of addictive gamification that does well to make you look forward to the next day's workout.

    Pros: All-in-one strength and cardio machine that delivers sweat-soaked workouts, unique design that incorporates resistance band workouts with rower-based routines, offers upbeat classes

    Cons: Clunky execution, lack of built-in monitor limits some access, no output of workout stats, loses a lot of its value without a continued app subscription

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 16:18:00 -0400

    Chrissy Teigen

    Summary List Placement

    Chrissy Teigen experienced a pregnancy loss on October 1 after being hospitalized and receiving multiple blood transfusions

    In a heart-wrenching letter published to Medium on Wednesday, Teigen revealed doctors diagnosed her with partial placental abruption before her pregnancy loss. 

    "I had always had placenta problems," Teigen wrote. 

    Placental abruptions can cause heavy bleeding and cut off oxygen to the baby

    Teigen wrote that she had always had placental problems, but this pregnancy was her first abruption, which she and her doctors monitored closely. 

    Placental abruptions occur when the placenta detaches partially or fully from the inner uterine wall, according to the Mayo Clinic. This can lead to heavy bleeding for the parent carrying the fetus, and cause oxygen and nutrients to be cut off to the baby entirely. 

    About 1% of all expecting parents have abruptions, and they cause fetal death in 15% of cases.

    Abruptions typically occur after the 20th week of pregnancy. Common symptoms include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, back pain, and contractions, according to the American Pregnancy Association. 

    Teigen said she was 16 weeks pregnant when the bleeding started. 

    "In bed, I bled and bled, lightly but all day, changing my own diapers every couple of hours when the blood got uncomfortable to lay in," Teigen wrote, musing about her newfound appreciation for adult diapers. 

    Left untreated, abruptions like Teigen's can put both the baby and mother in danger

    Though Teigen was later hospitalized to receive blood transfusions in an attempt to give Jack, her 20-week-old baby, the fluids he needed to survive, the bleeding would not stop. 

    "After a couple nights at the hospital, my doctor told me exactly what I knew was coming — it was time to say goodbye. He just wouldn't survive this, and if it went on any longer, I might not either," Teigen wrote. "We had tried bags and bags of blood transfusions, every single one going right through me like we hadn't done anything at all."

    Doctors induced delivery for Teigen on October 1. 

    "My mom, John and I each held him and said our own private goodbyes, mom sobbing through Thai prayer," Teigen wrote. "I asked the nurses to show me his hands and feet and I kissed them over and over and over again."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 15:27:58 -0400

    running outside exercise sunlight

    Summary List Placement
    • To increase serotonin levels, you should exercise regularly, improve your diet, get more light, try massage therapy, and use certain supplements. 
    • Low serotonin levels may be associated with depression, so it's important to boost serotonin if you want to improve your mood and feel happier. 
    • This article was medically reviewed by David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute's Pacific Brain Health Center at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
    • Visit Insider's Health Reference library for more advice.

    Have you ever wondered why you suddenly feel happier after exercising or getting a really relaxing massage? There may be a reason for that. Serotonin, known as the "happy chemical" in your brain, is heightened by doing these activities. 

    In fact, knowing how to naturally enhance your serotonin levels may help boost your mood. Here's how to increase serotonin levels and tips to integrate these practices into your daily life. 

    What is serotonin?

    Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, meaning that brain and nervous system cells use it to communicate with one another. It's a hormone that maintains our mood and general well-being, while also regulating several brain functions like appetite, learning, sleep, memory, and cognition. 

    If your serotonin levels are low, you may be more susceptible to depression. To boost your mood, you can increase serotonin levels naturally in the following ways: 

    1. Exercise regularly

    According to a 2016 review, exercise can increase serotonin levels, as well as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activity. The BDNF gene makes a protein that stimulates nerve cells and is found in areas of the brain that control body weight, eating, and drinking. BDNF and serotonin levels are thought to be related in regulating mood. 

    "Because exercise stimulates BDNF activity, it is commonly associated with an improved mood," says Mimi Winsberg, MD, a psychiatrist in San Francisco and co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Brightside, a mental health provider. "To put it simply, that's why exercise makes you feel better." 

     

    Any type of exercise that you enjoy — from walking to yoga to cycling — can be effective at boosting serotonin. Winsberg recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times per week. 

    2. Improve your diet  

    Serotonin is derived from the essential amino acid known as tryptophan. Because your body does not naturally produce it, you must get tryptophan from your diet.

     

    Incorporating foods into your meals that contain high amounts of tryptophan can increase serotonin levels. Some foods you can eat with high levels of tryptophan include:

    • Salmon
    • Eggs
    • Soy products like tofu and soy sauce
    • Poultry like chicken and turkey
    • Spinach
    • Seeds and nuts like pumpkin seeds and walnuts

    3. Get more light

    If you've ever heard of the term seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), then you know how vital sunlight can be to your happiness and wellbeing. As winter approaches, it starts getting darker much earlier in the day, which may affect your mood and make you more prone to sadness. 

    "The brain produces serotonin in response to sun and daylight," says Winsberg. "Lack of exposure to sun and daylight can cause SAD, which resembles depression in its clinical picture. If you are prone to depression or seasonal affective disorder, getting out once a day in mid-day for a short walk can be very helpful." 

     

    If you spend most of your days indoors due to work or school, you may want to invest in a specialized lamp that you can use in lieu of being outside. There are tons on the market that are specifically targeted to those who may experience seasonal depression. 

    According to Winsberg, using it within the first hour of waking up for 20 to 30 minutes per day (at a distance of 2 feet, without looking directly at the light) can be especially effective. 

    4. Try a massage 

    According to a 2005 review, massage therapy can effectively boost serotonin levels by an average of 28%.

    This is due to a decrease in cortisol, which is known as your "fight-or-flight response," or built-in alarm hormone, which lets you know when you're in danger. In other words, it keeps you on high alert and with a rapid heart rate. Massages are able to decrease cortisol and increase serotonin, making you calmer and thus helping to regulate your mood.

    "This type of safe and nurturing touch can come from a loved one, partner, or a professional massage therapist," says Winsberg.

    5. Use supplements 

    Certain supplements can quickly boost serotonin levels by increasing tryptophan, the amino acid that you can get from the foods listed above. It's always important to check in with a doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you also take prescription medication. 

    Winsberg says you should not take these supplements if you're already on antidepressants like SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. 

    But if you aren't, some supplements you can take to boost serotonin include:

    • SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine). Negative effects of SAMe are not common, but it may negatively impact those who are immunocompromised or have bipolar disorder. 
    • St. John's Wort. This supplement works for some people, but not all. It may make other medications like hormonal birth control, cancer treatment drugs, or blood clotting medication less effective.
    • 5HTP. A 2013 study found this supplement may work just as well as antidepressants, but only for those with early symptoms of depression. 

    Takeaways 

    Overall, there are many ways to increase serotonin levels naturally. From food and light to massages and supplements, a happier mood may be just one simple step away. However, you should begin consulting a doctor when depressive symptoms become moderate or severe. 

    "When symptoms enter the moderate to severe range and begin to interfere with social and occupational functioning, medication can be a helpful addition to manage and treat symptoms of depression," says Winsberg. "If you are unsure where on the range your symptoms fall, taking a free online evaluation can help figure out the best immediate next step."

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 15:18:00 -0400

    medical health pregnancy baby parenting childbirth health junk food healthy food veggies vegetables fruits cooking nutrition fitness vitamin vitamins medicine pills drugs pharmacy supplement exercise gym cox 2

    Summary List Placement

    The Food and Drug Administration has released a recommendation for pregnant women to avoid common painkillers during week 20 or later while pregnant. 

    Specifically, the FDA is suggesting women avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and celecoxib (Celebrex).

    NSAIDS may cause "rare but serious kidney problems" in fetuses, according to the FDA. That, in turn, can lead to low amniotic fluid levels. 

    "Amniotic fluid provides a protective cushion and helps the unborn babies' lungs, digestive system, and muscles develop," the FDA recommendation reads. 

    Low amniotic fluid, called oligohydramnios, is associated with an increased risk of birth defects, miscarriage, and stillbirth. 

    The association between NSAIDs and kidney disease had previously been established, but the FDA said it wanted to make the warning more widely known, the recommendation said. 

    NSAIDs are also associated with increased risk of heart disease for the infant when they're used after 30 weeks. 

    The FDA plans to update the drug facts label for over-the-counter NSAIDs to reflect the recommendation that they not be used after 20 weeks. The organization also recommends that doctors use ultrasounds to monitor amniotic fluid levels for women who are on NSAIDs for longer than 48 hours. 

    Women who are currently taking NSAIDs should talk to their doctors, the FDA said.

    "Because many OTC medicines contain NSAIDs, it is important to read the Drug Facts labels to find out if the medicines contain NSAIDs. If you are unsure if a medicine contains NSAIDs, ask a pharmacist or health care professional for help," the FDA release read. 

    There's one important exception to the new recommendations. Women who are taking low-dose aspirin, commonly taken by those who have had early-onset pre-eclampsia and preterm delivery, should continue taking their medication.

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 14:37:00 -0400

    NXIVM cult surivor 4x3

    Summary List Placement

    When therapist Rachel Bernstein invites her newest patient into her Encino, California, office, she welcomes them to search the area for cameras and recording devices that could be hidden under her desk or behind decor.

    Bernstein hasn't planted any listening devices, but as a therapist who specializes in helping former cult members heal, she's familiar with the extreme distrust they have towards licensed therapists like herself.

    "There is a number of groups, especially groups like Scientology, that make people terrified of going for therapy," Bernstein told Insider.

    She's seen former Scientology members break out into sweats and search frantically for locks her door, which to them is a sign she might trap them there.

    Now, Bernstein is treating eight former members of NXIVM, a sex cult covered up as a multi-level marketing company that sold self-improvement courses. One of those former members is India Oxenberg, who was part of NXIVM's secret sorority of sex slaves, called DOS. Oxenberg helped produced the four-part Starz docuseries "Seduced," which details how she became entangled in the cult and made a sex slave.

    NXIVM founder and leader Keith Raniere was arrested on seven charges including sex trafficking and forced labor in June 2019, after he employed science-backed psychological methods to manipulate members into sex, branding themselves, and sharing private information.

    HBO's new docuseries "The Vow" has brought conversations about the cult back to the surface, as former members open up on-camera about the manipulation they experienced.

    According to Bernstein, who also hosts a podcast about her work called "Indoctrination," treating a former cult member requires building back lost trust and instilling self-confidence and self-forgiveness that the cult stripped away from its members.

    Bernstein lets patients interview her to build trust

    Some former cult members come to Bernstein on their own, while others were referred to her by family or friends who staged interventions. All of them have extreme anxiety and fear rooted in trust issues.

    "They've had their trust abused by the person in the position of authority, so they're going to be very nervous about you then taking advantage of them and controlling them," Bernstein said. "When they walk in the room, there's often this worry that now they're forfeiting their power and they are going to kind of take you through your paces, which I actually invite them to do."

    Bernstein first invites them into her office, but doesn't close the door, and she allows them to look around for cameras, recording devices, and locks.

    For the patients who are too afraid to enter at all, Bernstein will do a session on a bench outside of her office building, or meet them in the common area, if no other patients are around.

    Unlike traditional therapy, where the therapist keeps their own life private and the patient does all of the talking, Bernstein tells her patients they can ask her anything about herself.

    She also sits in a chair that is lower than any other furniture in her office, to visually represent that she's not an authority figure or someone patients should fear.

    "I want there to be a visual of really seeing eye to eye," she said.

    Re-learning to trust your gut instincts

    The goal is to help patients build up the confidence, boundary-setting, and self-love they lost while in a cult.

    Cult leaders train their followers to believe their gut instincts are wrong, and breed them to be co-dependent on the leader, Bernstein explained.

    In NXIVM, for example, Raniere said that if someone felt scared or anxious, it meant they were being held back by their "limiting beliefs," and should ignore their gut instincts. He consistently used this method (known as the "NXIVM flip") and was eventually able to apply it in harmful ways, manipulating some followers to have sex with him, brand themselves, or be blackmailed.

    To undo this co-dependency, Bernstein has to walk a fine line.

    "You don't want them to become dependent on you because they're used to deferring to somebody else," she said, adding that she usually sees these patients for two years at most to prevent codependency.

    A cult survivor might ask Bernstein, "What do you think about that?" or "What should I do?" Instead of offering advice right away, Bernstein asks her patient the exact same question.

    "I want to validate that they actually have a mind that they can use, that they could trust. They have instincts that they can follow. And that's very important because that was robbed from them when they were in the cult," she said.

    Extreme guilt, and a tendency to overshare

    Guilt is a common thread in Bernstein's sessions. 

    She helps her patients to process feelings of guilt for joining the cult in the first place, bringing new members into the cult, or leaving behind the cult's mission. For former NXIVM members, who joined what is billed as a "self-improvement course," that often involves feeling guilty about abandoning the goal of self-improvement.

    Another common habit among former cult members is sharing too much information. That's because cult leaders often teach, "there's no limit. There's no boundary. If someone asks you a question, you answer it, and you don't have to do that in real life," Bernstein said.

    Bernstein will often cut off a patient if they being to overshare.

    If a new patient reveals the darkest secrets right away, Bernstein tells them she's glad they feel comfortable, and then says, "I think this is probably your knee-jerk reaction to someone in a position of authority. You don't know me yet."

    When she asks a patient a personal question, she always adds that they don't have to answer if they don't want to, to take pressure off.

    Accepting, and processing, negative emotions

    Bernstein's patients tend to have trouble processing emotions like sadness, anger, and fear, because cult leaders often tell their followers these feelings are bad and should be ignored.

    "There are a number of people who have really been traumatized, and also most people who are born and raised in cults, and have no idea how to manage their emotions because they're taught to not have any negative ones," Bernstein said. "You can be happy. You can be joyful. You can be honored. You can be in gratitude of a leader, but if you're angry, that's bad."

    In their post-cult lives, survivors might blame themselves or fall into depression when they feel sad or angry, because they're not sure how long it will last. That can also lead to substance abuse.

    To show that these feelings aren't inherently bad, Bernstein takes a fact-based approach, explaining how emotions are chemical responses that occur in our bodies.

    "Once people learn there's not something inherently wrong with those emotions, but it's just that the cult leader couldn't handle them, that helps to undo it a bit because then they don't feel that they're evil people for having those feelings," Bernstein said.

    'I'll hold onto this for you'

    As a mother, Bernstein said her work often feels personal, especially when it comes to working with young folks who have been sex-trafficking victims.

    "I'm taking notes because I need to take notes, but I'm thinking, 'I don't know how I'm going to re-read that,'" she said of the horrifying events her patients might share.

    To take care of her own emotional wellbeing during these moments, Bernstein focuses on where her patients are now, rather than the disturbing places they've been.

    "What I do is, I think, 'I'm so glad they're free and they get to tell their story,'" she said.

    According to Bernstein, when survivors open up about their pasts it's a sign to her they're "getting the message that there are people in this world who can handle [their stories]. You know, give it to me, I'll hold onto this for you. You don't have to deal with this all by yourself anymore."

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 13:38:00 -0400

    woman moisturizing face

    Summary List Placement

    Dry, cold winter air can spell a nightmare for your skin, especially when paired with the toasty heat of radiators indoors.

    It's extra important to be mindful about hydrating your skin during the fall and winter months, dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, told Insider. This might mean trading in your regular moisturizer for a heavier cream, or opting for a gentle cleanser instead of bar soap.

    "The products that you're using in the summer are not always the best products to be using in the winter," Garshick said. "Sometimes skincare just has to evolve with the seasons."

    Exfoliating is also an essential piece of skincare during any season, Garshick said, as it clears away dead cells from your skin's surface and allows other products, like moisturizer, to fully penetrate the skin.

    Most people should exfoliate two or three times a week, but that can vary depending on how sensitive your skin is. You can also experiment with manual or mechanical exfoliants, like facial scrubs or brushes, versus chemical exfoliants that contain acids.

    Insider spoke with dermatologists about what moisturizers and exfoliants are best for different skin types this winter.

    If you have dry skin during the winter, make sure you're being gentle

    Everything from exfoliation to towel-drying can be extra harsh on dry skin, so make sure every step of your skincare routine is gentle and won't take away too much natural moisture, Garshick said. 

    She recommends taking short, medium-warm showers, patting dry with a towel, and applying a thick layer of moisturizer to your face and body. Regular bar soap can strip the skin of its natural oils, so she recommends using a hydrating cleanser if your skin is especially dry.

    Joshua Zeichner, MD, recommended using a manual exfoliant during the winter because you can control the level of exfoliation based on how much pressure you use on the skin.

    "Look for ultra gentle exfoliating ingredients like sugars, bamboo, or rice bran that are less likely to disrupt the skin barrier," he told Insider.

    If exfoliating with a scrub is leaving your skin red and sensitive, Garshick suggested using an exfoliating lotion like AmLactin, which contains lactic acid for gentle exfoliation along with hydrating ingredients.

    Use a humectant to draw moisture into your skin and keep it there

    Those with dry skin should look for a moisturizer that both brings moisture in and seals the skin barrier to keep it there.

    Garshick recommended choosing a moisturizer that contains a humectant, or a substance that retains moisture. Hyaluronic acid, for one, can hold nearly 1,000 times its weight in water and will draw that moisture into your skin.

    Glycerin is another powerful natural humectant. It pulls water from the air into the skin's outer layer and helps form a protective barrier to prevent future moisture loss, Debra Jaliman, MD, wrote in an email to Insider.

    For winter skincare, Jaliman recommended CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream, which contains hyaluronic acid to draw moisture in and ceramides to restore the barrier that helps your skin retain that moisture.

    If you have oily skin, you can stick to a lighter moisturizer and a chemical exfoliant

    While some people experience drier skin during the winter, others are oily year round and may not require a thick moisturizer.

    Those with oily or combination skin can stick to a light lotion or gel moisturizer, which will provide enough hydration without causing acne or clogging pores, Jaliman said.

    As for exfoliating, people with oily skin may opt for a chemical exfoliant that contains salicylic acid, Garshick said. Salicylic acid dually strips away dead skin cells and clears pores of acne-causing debris, but it's a bit harsher than other exfoliants.

    "Just be careful not to go at your face as if you are scrubbing a frying pan," Zeichner said of chemical exfoliants. "A toner or pad is meant to be gently wiped once over the face."

    Read more:

    A dermatologist explained why my simple skincare routine is 'a big no-no,' and how to fix it

    How ceramides can help moisturize and repair skin — and why you should add them to your skincare routine

    5 harmful ingredients to avoid in skincare products

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 12:49:00 -0400

    Pregnancy Black woman pregnant belly

    Summary List Placement

    Dr. Chaniece Wallace, a pediatric chief resident at Indiana University School of Medicine, dedicated her career to caring for young lives. She was excited to use that gift in her personal life too, as she and her husband were expecting a daughter due November 20.

    "We had discussed all of the many possibilities of her bright future and the limitless paths she could follow," Wallace's husband, Anthony Wallace, wrote on a GoFundMe page, adding that his wife "had a special way of being empathetic with her patients and making each one of them feel special." 

    But Wallace never got that chance, dying in childbirth after their daughter, named Charlotte Azaela, was born prematurely via C-section, Anthony Wallace wrote Monday. Wallace had developed pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure that's more common in Black women. 

    "Chaniece fought with every piece of strength, courage, and faith she had available," Anthony Wallace wrote.

    Wallace's death has roiled both the local and national medical community, with colleagues demanding change to a healthcare system in which maternal mortality rates are at least 2.5 times higher in Black women than white women.

    The GoFundMe page, which supports Anthony Wallace and Charlotte, who remains in the neonatal intensive care unit but is "doing exceptionally well," has already raised more than $76,000. The goal was $5,000. 

     

    Pre-eclampsia, one of the most preventable causes of maternal death, disproportionately affects Black women

    According to the GoFundMe page, Wallace developed symptoms of preeclampsia on October 20, the same day her daughter was born. Over the next two days, she underwent surgery and experienced a ruptured liver, high blood pressure, and poorly functioning kidneys, Anthony Wallace wrote. 

    Pre-eclampsia, a condition Beyonce also had, causes women to develop high blood pressure and usually protein in her urine, and can also lead to swelling in their legs, hands, face, or whole body, according to Harvard Medical School. If it develops into eclampsia, women experience seizures and may be at higher risk of stroke.

    "In parts of the world with more limited medical care, preeclampsia and eclampsia cause many women to die during pregnancy," the Harvard website says. "Fortunately, with appropriate prenatal care and monitoring, most women with preeclampsia and eclampsia and their babies survive just fine." 

    But the outlook is bleaker for Black women in America, whose rates of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are about 60% higher than white women, and who are more likely to experience poor outcomes from the condition, one 2017 report out of the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found. 

    Racial disparities persist in maternal mortality rates 

    In the US, Black women are at least two and a half more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth, or immediately postpartum than white women. Other statistics show pregnancy-related deaths for Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women over 30 years old are four to five times as high as they are for white women.

    The pregnancy-related mortality ratio for black women with at least a college degree is 5.2 times that of white women, the same data, out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found

    Doctors and researchers have pointed to a variety of factors that could help explain the outcomes, including socioeconomic status and access to prenatal treatment, but as a physician, Wallace's death highlights other factors, like racial bias in the medical system. 

    "To this day, Black people are less likely to get the same treatment in terms of pain medication, they're more likely to wait longer in the ER, they're less likely to be taken seriously — it's a holdover from the days of slavery," Dr. Jennifer Lincoln, an OB-GYN, said on TikTok in response to the death of Nicole Thea, a London-based social media star, who died July 11 along with her unborn child at 8 months pregnant. 

    Lincoln highlighted a study showing that 50% of doctors and residents surveyed falsely believe Black people experience pain differently than white people, leading to inappropriate treatment. 

    Sayida Peprah, a psychologist and doula, previously told Insider implicit bias in the medical system can also play out when a Black mother is dismissed when she raises a concern, a Black father is dissuaded from asking questions because the healthcare providers perceive him as hostile, or a clinician puts less effort into caring for a Black infant or mom due to "unconscious influences around the lack of value of their lives."  

    In her TikTok, Lincoln told healthcare professionals "check your implicit bias" and urged women of color to speak up if they feel they're not getting appropriate care. 

    "If this is happening to you, ask to speak to a different nurse, a different doctor, report them, speak up," she said. 

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 11:33:00 -0400

    newborn baby hospital

    Summary List Placement

    Earlier this year, Laura and Scott Van Doormaal turned to the internet to help save their daughter's life, raising $2.5 million on GoFundMe for a drug infusion that could save her. But then luck intervened, and Lucy Van Doormaal, who was born with the rare genetic condition spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), got the treatment for free. 

    "In an incredible turn of events, we found out Lucy was randomly selected by the drug company, Novartis/AveXis, to receive treatment through the managed access program," the Van Doormaals shared on GoFundMe back in August. 

    The program is meant to help children in countries where the treatment — Zolgensma — isn't yet approved for use. That includes Canada, where the family lives. The program was just launched this year and will provide treatment to 100 children, the company told CNN

    "While we aren't providing specific numbers at this time, we can confirm that already the program has enabled children across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America (including Canada) to receive treatment who may not have otherwise had access to the therapy," a Novartis Gene Therapies company spokesperson said.

    Immediate results from a life-saving treatment

    Lucy received the infusion on September 9 at British Columbia Children's Hospital in Vancouver, according to the family's GoFundMe campaign.

    "It was a day charged with emotions as we finally took a deep breath of relief," her parents wrote on GoFundMe. Right away, they noticed some improvements in Lucy's muscle control. 

    "We noticed an immediate difference," Laura Van Doormaal told CNN. "The biggest changes are her head control, really quickly after the treatment she was able to hold her head up which is something she's never done before."

    Although it's not clear what the future holds for Lucy, that quick progress has left the Doormaal family hopeful. 

    "She can sit with some support and hopefully one day she'll crawl," Van Doormaal said. "Maybe one day she'll even walk. That's really an optimistic dream, I know, but we like to have high expectations and we don't want to hold her back."

    Since Lucy received treatment for free, many people asked what would happen to the $2.5 million that the family raised from people around the world. In early October, the family posted to GoFundMe, explaining their intentions for the funds and allowing anyone to request a refund of their donation. 

    Although the update didn't go into specifics, it said that a "large portion" of the funds would be donated to seven other Canadian babies who have the same condition as Lucy. For at least one of the babies, Eva Batista, that will mean that she's able to access treatment. 

    Funds will also be donated to Muscular Dystrophy Canada and the hospital where Lucy received her infusion. Finally, some money will be set aside for "Lucy's future and complex medical needs." 

    Now that treatment has been administered, the family is scaling back from GoFundMe to focus on Lucy's care, they wrote on Sept. 17.

    "Our quest for Zolgensma was exhausting yet uplifting. In many ways it changed us as parents, bringing us to extremely dark places but also showing us the amazing strength of human kindness and community. We feel so fortunate to have reached our goal of providing this treatment for Lucy. You are all a huge part of this success."

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  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 10:37:04 -0400

    Surrogacy TikTok

    Summary List Placement

    When Jennifer Parson signed on to be a gestational surrogate in 2019, she thought she knew what to expect — but after the coronavirus pandemic hit, she took on a lot more than she bargained for.

    Traditionally, the undertaking includes a matching process with a compatible family, an embryo transfer, a pregnancy, a birth, and, just a few hours later, the rewarding moment when the newborn is placed in the arms of proud parents. 

    "When surrogacy was brought to my attention, I just loved the idea of being able to help complete a family," Parson told Insider.

    After giving birth to twins for a German couple in 2014, Parson, a teacher's assistant from Tucson, Arizona, looked forward to bringing the same joy to a couple from Shenzhen, China that she was matched with through a surrogacy agency. Growing numbers of Chinese parents, NPR reported, have hired American surrogates to navigate the country's ban on surrogacy and birth limits.

    "You get matched in a way that's very similar to an online dating profile. And when I saw them, I loved everything about them," she recalled. "So we got on a Skype call, and it was an instant connection. We knew we wanted to move forward in the process."

    But thanks to COVID-19, the experience was very different from the first time around.

    After a successful embryo transfer, a healthy pregnancy, and the birth of a baby girl on June 9, Parson was not able to pass the newborn along to ecstatic parents.

    International travel restrictions rendered the couple unable to make the trip from Shenzhen to Tucson, and they were not permitted to travel to the United States until August 30 — over two months after their daughter's birth. 

    Ultimately, Parson and her family cared for the child she carried until the parents could make the trip from China

    A post shared by Jennifer (@j3nnj3nn89) on

    As Parson reached the final months of her pregnancy, her family, the surrogacy agency, and the parents-to-be began to discuss what would happen under the unique circumstance in which the parents could not travel to meet their child. 

    "We eventually started saying, 'Okay, we have to think about the reality of what happens in the event that they can't be here.' Because at first, that's not where your mind wants to go," Parson said. "You're automatically trying to think of a more positive outcome. But it was out of our hands."

    She was told she could place the newborn with a nanny provided by the agency until the parents arrived — but when the couple asked about another option, Parson and her husband didn't hesitate. 

    "When the parents reached out to us personally to ask if we'd be comfortable [caring for the baby], it wasn't even a question for us," she said. "It was an immediate response. We already felt like they were our family, and we wanted them to be able to lean on us for any support they needed."

    After the baby was born — and named Jennifer, in her surrogate's honor – she went home to join Parson, her husband, and their four children. 

    The transition, Parson said, was smooth. 

    While remembering how to install a car seat wasn't "quite like riding a bike," she recalled, the entire family adjusted to their new roles seamlessly. 

    "Embracing another baby into the household just seemed very natural for everyone," she said. "And [baby Jennifer] made it easy on us. She was such a good baby."

    When baby Jennifer's parents arrived in the United States in late August, they stayed in an RV outside Parson's home for several weeks while they adjusted to their new roles as parents.

    "It was a pretty emotional process," Parson said. "But I think that after the fifth day, she definitely started to understand and acclimate to her parents and she got some of the biggest smiles I've ever seen when they were talking to her. So it was definitely one of those where it really puts it into perspective that this was the right thing to do."

    After three weeks of getting to know each other, the two families said their goodbyes and the new parents brought their baby girl home to Shenzhen.  

    The story, Parson would discover, was meaningful to a much wider audience than the two families involved. After posting about her experience on TikTok, she went viral.

    On October 3, exactly one year after the initial embryo transfer, Parson posted a video chronicling the two families' journies 

    In the clip, she recounted the surrogacy process, explained the travel obstacles, shared photos of baby Jennifer's first few months, documented the infant's first meeting with her parents, and shared the footage of the families saying their goodbyes as they parted ways. 

    To date, the video has racked over 730,000 views on TikTok and inspired thousands of comments from emotional viewers. 

    "How completely selfless," one commenter wrote. "I would have such a hard time letting go after taking care of her!"

    "What a beautiful thing you did for them," another said. 

    Parson said she posted the video just after saying her goodbyes at the airport and was trying to process the emotions of the day. 

    "At that point, I told myself to just feel everything because it's important to process what you're going through," she explained. "And with everything we'd documented, I just wanted to put it out there. It just felt like an expression of everything we'd gone through."

    The amount of positivity she and her family have received, she said, has been overwhelming. 

    "There was so much love that surrounded the situation. There was just this outpouring from people," she said. "It's been so nice to be able to share our experience — and I think this is the kind of story people needed to see out of this year."

    Parson is continuing to share updates on baby Jennifer, and she hopes to continue a relationship with the family

    Baby Jennifer and her parents, Parson reports, have made it through their mandated quarantine period post-travel and are adjusting to life back home. 

    "We've kind of flip-flopped because at first, I was sending them daily updates, and now they're seeing me daily updates," Parson said. "And I can tell that they have the same type of excitement to share all the new developments with me."

    Eventually, she hopes the two families can reunite in China for a visit. 

    "They've actually said, 'You guys need to come here,'" Parson said. "I hope that we can have a lifelong friendship. I'm super excited for them for all these new milestones and for everything that's coming."

    Read more:

    When her daughter couldn't get pregnant, a 51-year-old mom volunteered to be her surrogate

    Kristen Wiig said that undergoing IVF for 3 years was the 'most difficult time' of her life 'emotionally, spiritually, and medically'

    6 ways for kids to celebrate Halloween safely, from drive-thru trick-or-treating to at-home candy hunts

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    I wrote a call to action for the tech community to dive deeper into the future of innovation this coming decade. Where are some of the hot spots going to come from though? Below, I have assembled a very loose set of five clusters broadly categorized into “wellness,” “climate,” “data society,” “creativity,” and “fundamentals” that […]
  • Tue, 27 Oct 2020 10:30:17 +0000
    NeoLight, a startup company that’s working to bring hospital-grade neonatal care technologies to the home, has raised $7 million more in financing. Dignity Health and Honor Health Systems came in to support the company along with previous investors like the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his wife Ashley and other, undisclosed investors.  Initially intended […]
  • Sun, 25 Oct 2020 19:23:41 +0000
    Almost eight months after the White House first announced it would move from containment to mitigation efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, the administration is now pinning its hopes on vaccines to inoculate the population and therapies to treat the disease. Months after announcing it would be working with technology giants Apple […]
  • Fri, 23 Oct 2020 21:28:43 +0000
    Research papers come out far too rapidly for anyone to read them all, especially in the field of machine learning, which now affects (and produces papers in) practically every industry and company. This column aims to collect the most relevant recent discoveries and papers — particularly in but not limited to artificial intelligence — and […]
  • Fri, 23 Oct 2020 06:10:02 +0000
    Don’t call it StopCovid anymore. France’s contact-tracing app has been updated and is now called TousAntiCovid, which means “everyone against Covid”. The French government is trying to pivot so that it’s no longer a contact-tracing app — or at least not just a contact-tracing app. Right now, TousAntiCovid appears to be a rebranding more than […]
  • Thu, 22 Oct 2020 07:10:30 +0000
    French startup Alan is building health insurance products. And 100,000 people are now covered through Alan . I caught up with the company’s co-founder and CEO Jean-Charles Samuelian-Werve so that he could give us an update on the product. Alan has obtained its own health insurance license and is a proper insurance company. It doesn’t […]
  • Wed, 21 Oct 2020 14:18:14 +0000
    SoftBank’s Opportunity Fund has made the health insurance startup Vitable Health the first public commitment from its $100 million fund dedicated to investing in startups founded by entrepreneurs of color. The Philadelphia-based company, which recently launched from Y Combinator, is focused on bringing basic health insurance to underserved and low-income communities. Founded by Joseph Kitonga, […]
  • Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:30:19 +0000
    Before Nick Macario launched Verifiable, the Austin-based company that just raised $3 million for its API toolkit that verifies healthcare credentials, he ran a series of other businesses designed to offer public credentials for professionals. His first foray into the world of identity management services was the personal website builder, branded.me. After that company was […]
  • Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:48:14 +0000
    The European Union has switched on cross-border interoperability for a first batch of COVID-19 contacts tracing apps that use Bluetooth proximity to calculate the exposure risk of smartphone users after a pilot of the system last month. National apps whose backends are now linked through the gateway service are Germany’s Corona-Warn-App, the Republic of Ireland’s […]
  • Fri, 16 Oct 2020 13:00:48 +0000
    With thousands of gyms across the country forced to close during the pandemic, there’s been an unprecedented opportunity for fitness companies pitching an at-home solution. This moment has propelled public companies like Peloton to stratospheric highs — its market cap is about to eclipse $40 billion — but it has also pushed venture capitalists toward […]
  • Thu, 15 Oct 2020 17:08:25 +0000
    Oxford scientists working out of the school’s Department of Physics have developed a new type of COVID-19 test that can detect SARS-CoV-2 with a high degree of accuracy, directly in samples taken from patients, using a machine learning-based approach that could help sidestep test supply limitations, and that also offers advantages when it comes to […]
  • Thu, 15 Oct 2020 13:34:47 +0000
    Savana, a machine learning-based service that turns clinical notes into structured patient information for physicians and pharmacists, has raised $15 million to take its technology from Spain to the U.S., the company said. The investment was led by Cathay Innovation, with participation from the Spanish investment firm Seaya Ventures, which led the company’s previous round, and […]
  • Thu, 15 Oct 2020 07:00:46 +0000
    Longevity, as far as startups are concerned, tends to be a moonshot-y space where technologies like biotech and AI are experimentally applied in a sort of modern day alchemical quest — and the great hope is to (somehow) ‘hack’ biology and substantially extend the human lifespan. Or even end death altogether. Coming considerably closer to […]
  • Wed, 14 Oct 2020 14:00:24 +0000
    Playbook, aiming to be the Patreon of fitness content, has raised an additional $9.3 million in Series A funding from E.ventures, Michael Ovitz, Abstract, Algae Ventures, Porsche Ventures and FJ Labs. The pandemic has hit the personal trainer and fitness industry incredibly hard. With gyms closed, trainers’ primary funnel for new customers has been shut […]
  • Wed, 14 Oct 2020 13:12:58 +0000
    New York’s Twentyeight Health is taking the telemedicine services for women’s health popularized by companies like Nurx and bringing them to a patient population that previously hadn’t had access.  The mission to provide women who are Medicaid or underinsured should not be deprived of the same kinds of care that patients who have more income security […]
  • Wed, 14 Oct 2020 12:00:11 +0000
    When’s the last time you worked out your soul? A mid-spin pep talk at SoulCycle might make you shed a tear, but not in the way that the co-founders of Coa, Alexa Meyer and Dr. Emily Anhalt, want. The founders, instead, want people to ask themselves: When was the last time you worked out (just) […]
  • Tue, 13 Oct 2020 16:16:25 +0000
    Launched almost 18 months ago, Numan joined the growing list of sites targeting men’s health, such as Roman and Hims, for example. Numan launched aiming to promote accessible medical remedies for erectile dysfunction but has since expanded into other areas to building a brand around pharmaceuticals on subscription. It has now closed a £10 million […]

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