Sunday, June 23

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Are you an addict? 1 in 8 older adults are hooked on so-called junk food and it may be affecting your brain and body

According to a 2023 report from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, sponsored by AARP, nearly half of older adults experience at least one symptom of junk food addiction - sugary sodas, salty chips and fatty fast food - such as intense cravings, an inability to stop eating once they start, or withdrawal symptoms when they try to resist. The term “ultra-processed” refers to foods that have been altered by the addition of super-flavoring agents to create irresistible tastes; preservatives to prolong shelf life; food dyes to alter hues; and refined fats and carbohydrates that have been stripped of fiber and other nutrients to improve their texture and appearance. While difficult, overcoming addiction to junk food is possible. Support groups like Overeaters Anonymous can benefit some, so...
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A Common Health Disorder You’ve Probably Never Heard Of (and Lord forbid, might have)

The heart and kidneys are so closely intertwined that health experts have coined a new term to define patients who are at risk for their related illnesses. It’s called cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome, and research suggests it’s exceptionally common. The American Heart Association says 1 in 3 U.S. adults have three or more risk factors for CKM syndrome, and it appears most adults are affected to some degree, a reflection of risk factors from being overweight to having chronic conditions like diabetes. How likely are you to have CKM? The AHA has a calculator.
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Caitlin Clark and the WNBA are getting a lot of attention. It’s about far more than basketball

Some of the atmosphere in the public and media that has swirled around the professional women’s league since the season started last month has been less fun time and more culture war, with rookie Caitlin Clark as the unwilling eye of the storm. The white, 22-year-old University of Iowa college standout and No. 1 draft pick has become a canvas for all sorts of projections in her debut season with the Indiana Fever. She, and the predominantly Black and brown women playing in the league alongside her, seem to have become the latest proxies for longstanding American issues from race, gender and sexual orientation to who gets to take (or is thrust into) the spotlight and who gets ignored. That a young white woman is being put in the central role, with Black and brown women relegated to sup...
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How to Know When High Temperatures Are Getting Dangerous—And What to Do to Stay Safe in a Heat Wave

The Midwest and East Coast are in the middle of a heat dome, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Heat waves are getting hotter as global warming leads to more extreme weather, and 2023 was the hottest year on record. Some scientists say 2024 is poised to be even hotter overall. As temperatures rise, so do concerns about heat-related illnesses. According to the National Weather Service, heat kills more people in the U.S. than hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes combined. Doctors are also still learning about how poor sleep quality on hot days can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. Here's a brief guide to preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke— and what cities around the U.S. are doing to help residents stay safe.
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Why Do People Toss Shoes Over Power Lines? Is there an ominous meaning?

‘Shoefiti’ is everywhere—but not everyone agrees on what it means. Some suspect it's innocent, while others ascribe darker meanings to a dangling pair of kicks. One popular theory holds that the shoes may be a signal that there’s gang activity in a given neighborhood. Tying the laces of shoes together and tossing them over the lines is a form of staking out territory. Or the shoes could mark that someone had been killed or “knocked […] out of his shoes.” Other stories echo the idea that the shoes could be an impromptu memorial. An adjacent explanation is that the shoes are a kind of advertisement to illicit drug consumers that narcotics are available in the area. [Read more]
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Willie Mays, baseball’s electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ leaves us with a million memories

Mays, who died Tuesday at age 93, still represents the gold standard for an all-around ballplayer and might do so forever. He could hit, run, field and throw with equal aplomb. “If he could cook, I’d marry him,” manager Leo Durocher once said. Beyond his skills and his gaudy stats, Mays brought an irresistible ebullience to the diamond. The “Say Hey Kid” performed with a showman’s flair, making basket catches in center field, taking daring chances on the base paths, winning four home run crowns, 12 Gold Glove Awards and laughing all along with that gleeful high-pitched voice. His idea was to please the crowd! Mays even wore a cap one size too small to ensure that it would fly off cinematically whenever he darted across the field. With his incandescent style, Mays forever made the game...
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How Do We Know When to Pee? (Surely you know the answer!)

The human bladder is, at the most basic level, a stretchy bag. To fill to capacity—a volume of 400 to 500 milliliters (about 2 cups) of urine in most healthy adults—it must undergo one of the most extreme expansions of any organ in the human body, expanding roughly sixfold from its wrinkled, empty state. Scientists used to think that our bladders were ruled by a relatively straightforward reflex—an “on-off” switch between storing urine and letting it go. Now they've learned it’s much more complex than that. An intricate network of brain regions that contribute to functions like decision-making, social interactions and awareness of our body’s internal state, also called interoception, participates in making the call. Scientists estimate, for example, that more than one in ten adults ha...
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The Olympics are in Paris this summer, but Team USA’s uniforms are distinctly American.

Ralph Lauren is once again the official outfitter of Team USA for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the designer just revealed this year’s looks for the opening and closing ceremonies. At the opening ceremony parade July 26, athletes will sport a navy wool blazer with red and white tipping, adorned with Ralph Lauren’s classic pony logo on one side and the Team USA Olympics logo on the other. The uniforms for the closing ceremony Aug. 11 will have a sportier feel. Athletes will wear a racing-style jacket emblazoned with various Team USA logos as well as the Ralph Lauren pony logo, against a color-blocked backdrop of red, white and blue.
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It’s time to suck it up and have “the talk” with your parents. Older adults are likely to need mental health help but are leery about seeking it.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 4 adults age 65 and older likely has some mental health issue. And yet recent research suggests that few older adults are prone to seek the mental health help they need. But many of our parents or grandparents have grown up with a cultural stigma against seeking mental health treatment, except in the most severe cases. It can be difficult to a parent struggling with anxiety, depression, or unresolved trauma but how do you bridge that generational gap and start a conversation without inadvertently causing an argument? Don’t give up. Here are a few ideas that might help. [More]
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Needed drugs could get cheaper. Expiring patents will allow generic competition, lowering prices for consumers

A drug’s wholesale price drops an average of 39% after one single generic drug competitor and with four generic competitors, the price plummets 79%, resulting in billions of dollars in savings. But before generic versions of a drug can enter the market, a drug manufacturer’s patent must first expire. Here are some of the world’s best-selling drugs whose patents are expiring by 2030. Start the Slide Show.