The high demand for nurses in the USA

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In recent years the demand for nurses all over the world has risen dramatically, especially in the United States. The medical facilities in the USA are facing a crisis in staffing, which is likely to get worse over the next decade. 

The reason behind this rapid increase in job opportunities is a long term effect that nurses should see as a benefit and an encouragement for them to work in their specialty and improve their life experience too. 

Many reasons cause the nurse shortage in the USA. 

One of the primary reasons for the increase is because the population in the United States is already aging. The more the high number of elders, the more the demand for medical care and attention. This is because more people have medical problems and illnesses led by aging. 

Another factor contributing to the nurse shortage in the US is because a high population of the current nurses has already gotten to their retirement age. Many qualified and retired nurses are quitting their jobs. Because of this factor, the US does not have enough human resources in the medical sector, which majorly comprises of nurses. 

Besides, the number of graduates in nursing each year is not sufficient to fill the gap left by the quitting and retiring nurses. The youth in the US are not interested in the nursing field. Another reason is that the nation does not have enough nursing schools to encourage more nurses. 

Due to this challenge, many hospitals and health care facilities are struggling to look for certified and qualified staff nurses. The high demand has led to tight competition in recruiting of nurses

This is good news to global qualified and experienced nurses since they can look for nursing jobs in the USA medical facilities with ease. Medical administrators are highly employing foreign nurses. 

To become a nurse in the US; legally, there are multiple papers you should fill out since different states have different rules. For you to qualify and become a registered nurse in the US, you must meet the following requirements:

1. You must have undertaken a post-high school nursing program. Meaning you must be a high school graduate and went for nursing qualifications. 

2. You should be a certified nurse or have a nursing license at home. This implies that you are legally authorized to practice nursing in the nation where you trained, or where you are living. 

3. You must have experience of one year in your specialization. If you are not a specialist nurse, your specialty would be as an adult nurse. 

4. You should also be able to communicate in English fluently. If you are not an English native, you will be required to produce evidence that you can talk to the needed standards. This means you will have to do an English language test in speaking, reading, writing, and listening. 

If you meet the four qualifications, then you are qualified to secure a nursing job in the United States of America. 

Additionally, you will need a visa to get to the US. There are three visa alternatives to working in the United States. 

First, you can apply for a green card visa. To get the permission, you should qualify for all the requirements above, and sit and pass the “Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School examination.” This visa takes the longest time to get; however, it is the better option to go for if you want to live for a long time in the US. With the green card, you can also secure a permanent nursing job. 

The second option is applying for an H-1B visa. This visa needs you to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. With a vocational nursing qualification, you will not be allowed an H-1B permit. 

The third alternative is getting an H-1C visa. The government of the US gives five hundred H-1C permits to health workers every year. 

Many hospitals in the United States are looking for nurses from other countries to suffice the human resource demand they have. So it is recommendable for nurses to grab the chance now when the need for nurses is still high. 

If you were thinking of securing a nursing job in the USA was not possible, you were wrong. You should start on your applications right now when medical recruiters are desperately looking for you to employ. …

Lifestyle changes doctors wish patients would make

The alarming state of chronic disease and health inequities exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for people outside the medical community. There is a growing need for people to commit to making lifestyle changes to help prevent chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, patients are often uncertain of what changes they should make to improve their health and well-being.

Underlying good health is key to better outcomes among those who do acquire SARS-CoV-2, said Dexter Shurney, MD, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. “That’s why we see an increase in severity of COVID among those that are unhealthy and have those comorbidities. The same lifestyle issues that increase chronic disease risk also hamper immunity—everything goes together,” he said.

Dexter Shurney, MD

Dexter Shurney, MD

Here is what Dr. Shurney had to say about what lifestyle changes patients should make to reduce chronic disease and improve their health during the pandemic and beyond.

Discover how the pandemic has shined a spotlight on chronic disease prevention priority.

Follow whole food, plant-predominant diet

“A whole food, plant-predominant diet is one of the most important things—it’s important because people tend to forget the power that eating ‘real’ food can have on their health,” said Dr. Shurney. “If your child comes to you and says, ‘I want to eat cake and ice cream three times a day,’ you’d say, ‘No, you can’t do that. That’s not healthy.’

“Yet a lot of us fill our bellies every day with junk food that doesn’t really do our body good. In fact, added sugar and unhealthy fats actually harm our bodies,” he added. “Physicians can help by having better conversations about this and really encourage their patients to do better.

“Plant-predominant is important since it provides the only source of natural fiber, contains no cholesterol, on average is 64 times higher in antioxidants, and if unprocessed—whole food—is lower in calories,” said Dr. Shurney. “Beyond merely recommending they lose weight, give them a plan.”

Learn about four ways to help patients with chronic disease make dietary changes.

Maintain regular physical activity

“For physical activity, you should do 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week,” said Dr. Shurney. “But it’s not that you have to do everything to the max. Even if you can just stand up more and not sit as much—even that can be quite beneficial.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, physical activity has been hard for many to obtain, “but if you can just get out and do a brisk walk, there are a lot of benefits,” said Dr. Shurney. “For patients who are getting up in age, walking is just fine, and it is something most of us can do inside or with a mask outside.”

Discover how patients can start—and stick with—key lifestyle changes.

Get restorative sleep

“The sweet spot is actually seven to eight hours of sleep,” said Dr. Shurney. However, people who get less than seven hours of sleep have higher odds of developing type 2 diabetes.

A potential culprit “in our society right now is blue light—which we get from TV, our cellphones and video screens,” he said. “We need to shut those devices down at least 30 minutes before going to bed because blue light depresses our melatonin levels and we need melatonin to fall asleep.

“We also need to increase our exposure to bright light during our waking hours. Sunlight is the best,” added Dr. Shurney. “What this does is depresses our melatonin during the day and allows for a great rise at night when it’s needed for sleep.”

Learn about six things doctors wish patients knew about “coronasomnia.”

Find relaxation time to manage stress

“Exercise helps us to relax, so that’s always good,” said Dr. Shurney, adding that “if we get outside, we’re going to get our sun, we’re going to get our exercise and it’s going to relax us. It all works together.”

“The other thing we can do is we can learn how to control our breathing,” he said. By spending “10 minutes on a breathing exercise in the morning and in the afternoon, it will calm us down.”

Find out how to combat COVID-19’s disparate mental health impact.

Limit alcohol, quit smoking

Avoiding risky substances like alcohol and smoking can also go a long way. But the approach to getting someone to quit “varies from individual to individual and that’s true for all motivation to effect lifestyle behavior change,” said Dr. Shurney. For smoking, “it’s a matter of trying to frame the conversation so patients believe that they’re going to see not only long-term benefits, but short-term benefits as well, and that they can be successful.”

“We always seem to place smoking in this category of stop today so that 20 years from now you don’t die from lung cancer or COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]. Twenty years is a long time in the future,” said Dr. Shurney, adding that “we need to show people that there are short-term benefits.”

Learn about the eight things physicians should know about the latest on smoking cessation.

Keep positive social connections

It is even more imperative during the pandemic to maintain positive social connections, especially when stay-at-home orders and physical distancing requirements remain across the country.

“It’s been reported that social isolation and loneliness can be devastating to our health. In fact, loneliness has the negative health …

Healthy lifestyle: 5 keys to a longer life

GettyImages-157773084

March 25, 2020

How is it that the United States spends the most money on healthcare, and yet still has the one of the lowest life expectancies of all developed nations? (To be specific: $9,400 per capita, 79 years, and 31st.)

Maybe those of us in healthcare have been looking at it all wrong, for too long.

Healthy lifestyle and longevity

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a massive study of the impact of health habits on life expectancy, using data from the well-known Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). This means that they had data on a huge number of people over a very long period of time. The NHS included over 78,000 women and followed them from 1980 to 2014. The HPFS included over 40,000 men and followed them from 1986 to 2014. This is over 120,000 participants, 34 years of data for women, and 28 years of data for men.

The researchers looked at NHS and HPFS data on diet, physical activity, body weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption that had been collected from regularly administered, validated questionnaires.

What is a healthy lifestyle, exactly?

These five areas were chosen because prior studies have shown them to have a large impact on risk of premature death. Here is how these healthy habits were defined and measured:

1.   Healthy diet, which was calculated and rated based on the reported intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, and unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.

2.  Healthy physical activity level, which was measured as at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity daily.

3.   Healthy body weight, defined as a normal body mass index (BMI), which is between 18.5 and 24.9.

4.   Smoking, well, there is no healthy amount of smoking. “Healthy” here meant never having smoked.

5.   Moderate alcohol intake, which was measured as between 5 and 15 grams per day for women, and 5 to 30 grams per day for men. Generally, one drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. That’s 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

Researchers also looked at data on age, ethnicity, and medication use, as well as comparison data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research.

Does a healthy lifestyle make a difference?

As it turns out, healthy habits make a big difference. According to this analysis, people who met criteria for all five habits enjoyed significantly, impressively longer lives than those who had none: 14 years for women and 12 years for men (if they had these habits at age 50). People who had none of these habits were far more likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Study investigators also calculated life expectancy by how many of these five healthy habits people had. Just one healthy habit (and it didn’t matter which one) … just one… extended life expectancy by two years in men and women. Not surprisingly, the more healthy habits people had, the longer their lifespan. This is one of those situations where I wish I could reprint their graphs for you, because they’re so cool. (But if you’re very curious, the article is available online, and the graphs are on page 7. Check out Graph B, “Estimated life expectancy at age 50 according to the number of low-risk factors.”)

This is huge. And, it confirms prior similar research — a lot of prior similar research. A 2017 study using data from the Health and Retirement Study found that people 50 and older who were normal weight, had never smoked, and drank alcohol in moderation lived on average seven years longer. A 2012 mega-analysis of 15 international studies that included over 500,000 participants found that over half of premature deaths were due to unhealthy lifestyle factors such as poor diet, inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol intake, and smoking. And the list of supporting research goes on.

So what’s our (big) problem?

As the authors of this study point out, in the US we tend to spend outlandishly on developing fancy drugs and other treatments for diseases, rather than on trying to prevent them. This is a big problem.

Experts have suggested that the best way to help people make healthy diet and lifestyle change is at the large-scale, population level, through public health efforts and policy changes. (Kind of like motorcycle helmets and seat belt legislation…) We have made a little progress with tobacco and trans-fat legislation.

There’s a lot of pushback from big industry on that, of course. If we have guidelines and laws helping us to live healthier, big companies aren’t going to sell as much fast food, chips, and soda. And for companies hell-bent on making money at the cost of human life, well, that makes them very angry.…

What is the Best Cardiovascular Exercise for Overall Health?

It’s long been documented that cardiovascular exercise is good for your health. But have you ever wondered exactly what cardiovascular exercises are best if you’re looking to kickstart your health and fitness regime? If so, we’ve broken down the best cardiovascular exercises for your health and why you should do them.

What Are The Benefits Of Cardiovascular Exercise? 

As well as making running for the bus easier, the benefits of exercise are more than just feeling generally ‘fitter’. In fact, according to the NHS, cardiovascular exercise can reduce your risk of developing illnesses such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Not only that but it’s said to lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

If you often find yourself tossing and turning in the night, cardiovascular exercise is also thought to improve sleep quality. And if that wasn’t enough, regular exercise can reduce stress by improving our self-esteem.

If you’re looking for a sign to start exercising again – this is it.

Cardiovascular Exercises To Do At Home  

If you’re looking to get healthy again, it can be tricky knowing where to start. If you struggle to distinguish your burpees from your mountain climbers, we’ve put together some exercise you can do from the comfort of your own home.

  • Marching in place – If you’re looking for a low-impact exercise, marching in place will help raise your heart rate and get you moving.
  • Air jump rope – If you don’t have a skipping rope handy, a great exercise to get you moving is doing an imaginary jump rope.
  • Arm circles – make bingo wings a thing of the past with these handy arm circles, ideal for all fitness levels.
  • Jumping jacks – a high intensity exercise, jumping jacks offer a quick energy release and can be done virtually anywhere. Even while waiting for your bus!

Cardiovascular Exercises To Do Outside 

Some of the best exercises that you can do are those that take place outdoors. As well as helping you get fit, exercising outdoors allows you to embrace nature and get some fresh air at the same time.

Some of the best outdoor exercises include:

Jogging  

A great way to get fit if you’re on a budget, jogging burns a significant number of calories in a short time, making it a great way to maximize the time spent exercising. In fact, it’s thought that running burns approximately 13.2 calories per minute!

Cycling  

Cycling is a great way to get from A to B and see the world at the same time. Whether you decide to make the most of your commute to work by cycling or explore some mountain trails – it’s a great way to get fit.

If cycling is something that interests you, you could look at cycle insurance to ensure that if you are unfortunately in an accident and your bike is damaged, the insurance will be there to cover you.

Outdoor Swimming  

If you’re brave enough, outdoor swimming is a great way to get fit.  What’s more refreshing than an early morning dip in chilly water?

In Conclusion

The bottom line is that however you choose to get fit, you won’t regret it. Whether you opt for some quick and easy at-home exercises or cycling to work – however you start, you’ll be pleased you did.

*collaborative post…

Many Patients, Doctors Unaware of Advancements in Cancer Care

Genesis Cancer Care Institute | Quad Cities, IA & IL | Genesis - Genesis  Health System

Sept. 27, 2021 –Sept. 29, 2021 — Many patients with cancer, as well as doctors in fields other than oncology, are unware of just how much progress has been made in recent years in the treatment of cancer, particularly with immunotherapy.

This is the main finding from two studies presented at the recent European Society for Medical Oncology annual meeting.

The survey of patients found that most don’t understand how immunotherapy works, and the survey of doctors found that many working outside of the cancer field are using information on survival that is wildly out of date.

When a patient is first told they have cancer, counseling is usually done by a surgeon or general medical doctor and not an oncologist, said Conleth Murphy, MD, of Bon Secours Hospital Cork, Ireland, and co-author of the second study.

Non-cancer doctors often grossly underestimate patients’ chances of survival, Murphy’s study found. This suggests that doctors who practice outside of cancer care may be working with the same information they learned in medical school, he said.

“These patients must be spared the traumatic effects of being handed a death sentence that no longer reflects the current reality,” Murphy said.

After receiving a diagnosis of cancer, “patients often immediately have pressing questions about what it means for their future,” he noted. A common question is, “How long do I have left?”

Non-oncologists should refrain from answering patients’ questions with numbers, Murphy said.

Family doctors are likely to be influenced by the experience they have had with specific cancer patients in their practice, said Cyril Bonin, MD, a general practitioner in Usson-du-Poitou, France, who has 900 patients in his practice.

He sees about 10 patients with a new diagnosis of cancer each year.

In addition, about 50 of his patients are in active treatment for cancer or have finished treatment and are considered cancer survivors.

“It is not entirely realistic for us to expect practitioners who deal with hundreds of different diseases to keep up with every facet of a rapidly changing oncology landscape,” said Marco Donia, MD, an expert in immunotherapy from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, said.

That landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, particularly since immunotherapy was added to the arsenal. Immunotherapy is a way to fine tune your immune system to fight cancer.

For example, in the past, patients with metastatic melanoma would have an average survival of about 1 year. But now, some patients who have responded to immunotherapy are still alive 10 years later.

Findings From the Patient Survey

Answer honestly, how often do you conduct patient surveys?

It is important that patients stay well-informed because immunotherapy is a “complex treatment that is too often mistaken for a miracle cure,” said Paris Kosmidis, MD, the co-author of the patient survey.

“The more patients know about it, the better the communication with their medical team and thus the better their outcomes are likely to be,” said Kosmidis, who is co-founder and chief medical officer of CareAcross, an online service that provides personalized education for cancer patients

The survey was of 5,589 patients with cancer who were recruited from CareAcross clients from the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

The survey asked them about how immunotherapy works, what it costs, and its side effects.

Almost half responded “not sure / do not know,” but about a third correctly answered that immunotherapy “activates the immune system to kill cancer cells.”

Similarly, more than half thought that immunotherapy started working right away, while only 20% correctly answered that it takes several weeks to become effective.

“This is important because patients need to start their therapy with realistic expectations, for example to avoid disappointment when their symptoms take some time to disappear,” Kosmidis said.

A small group of 24 patients with lung cancer who had been treated with immunotherapy got many correct answers, but they overestimated the intensity of side effects, compared with other therapies.

“Well-informed patients who know what to expect can do 90% of the job of preventing side effects from becoming severe by having them treated early,” said Donia, of the University of Copenhagen.

Most cancer patients were also unaware of the cost of immunotherapy, which can exceed $100,000 a year, Kosmidis said.

Results of the Doctor Survey

Referring Doctors Surveys with Spectos Healthcare

The other survey presented at the meeting looked at how much doctors know about survival for 12 of the most common cancers.

Murphy and colleagues asked 301 non-cancer doctors and 46 cancer specialists to estimate the percentage of patients who could be expected to live for 5 years after diagnosis (a measure known as the 5-year survival rate).

Answers from the two groups were compared and were graded according to cancer survival statistics from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland.

Both groups of doctors had a hard time estimating the survival of common cancers.

Non-oncologists accurately predicted 5-year survival for just two of the cancer types, while the cancer specialists got it right for four cancer types.

However, the non-cancer doctors had a more pessimistic outlook on cancer survival generally and severely underestimated the chances of survival in specific cancers, particularly stage IV breast cancer. The survival for this cancer has “evolved considerably over time and now reaches 40% in Ireland,” Murphy pointed out.

“These results are in line with what we had expected because most physicians’ knowledge of oncology dates back to whatever education they received during their years of training, so their perceptions …

25 Health and wellness blogs worth checking out

To save you some time, we identified 25 of the best wellness blogs the internet has to offer. Whether you’re interested in staying fit, trying healthy new recipes, clearing your mind—or all of the above—these blogs will help you create a healthier lifestyle for yourself. Bookmark this list to keep them handy when you need them most.

Fitness blogs

1. The Balanced Life with Robin Long

Why follow? As a fitness instructor and mom of four, Robin Long’s motto is “Grace over guilt.” She offers a variety of free Pilates and barre workouts designed to help busy women fit at-home exercise into their regular routine. The Balanced Life offers far more than workout videos, though. You’ll also find a supportive membership community, a blog filled with healthy recipes and intentional living tips and targeted workout series to help you meet your fitness goals.

2. ACE Fitness

Why follow? The American Council on Exercise (ACE) hosts this fitness and healthy lifestyle blog. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to implement these wellness tips! The ACE Fitness blog has accessible workouts everyday people can do at home. From fun family workouts that parents and kids can do together to targeted fitness and stress-reduction tips for your age group, this blog will encourage you to make your health a priority, without a gym membership.

3. Run to the Finish

Why follow? The running community has its own specific fitness and nutrition needs, and the Run to the Finish blog is here to address them. Whether you’ve just taken up the sport or you’re a marathon finisher, this blog touches on concerns specific to runners at all levels, including dealing with knee pain, working in strength training and finding the best gear to keep you safe and comfortable on your runs.

4. Yoga with Adriene

Why follow? If reaping the many benefits of yoga is part of your wellness plan, Yoga with Adriene can help you get there. With hundreds of free yoga videos at varying intensities, people at all levels can find something accessible for them. Adriene has yoga workouts for every health scenario imaginable, from gentle stretching to relieve stress to kick-starting digestion after a big meal.

5. Born Fitness

Why follow? This fitness blog simplifies the sometimes confusing world of exercise. interviews experts in fitness and nutrition, then creates useful articles featuring the top tips and advice from the pros. Head to this sleek, easy-to-search site for science-based answers to your biggest fitness questions.

Nutrition blogs

6. Running on Real Food

Why follow? This plant-based food blog isn’t just for vegans! Here you’ll find recipes designed to fuel your body with whole foods without sacrificing flavor. Whether you tickle your taste buds with No-Bake Brownie Bites or Vegan Black-Bean Burritos, Running on Real Food has the simple recipes you need to create healthy and delicious meals at home.

7. Fit Foodie Finds

Why follow? Lee Funke, founder of Fit Foodie Finds, leads her followers in finding balanced, healthy recipes without labelling foods “bad” or “off-limits.” This site is a great resource for nutritious recipes that are simple to prep ahead of time, resulting in delicious homemade hummus or Asian broccoli salad that are ready to grab-and-go during your busy week. Funke also writes openly about her struggle with depression and anxiety and the wellness strategies she uses to prioritize her mental health.

8. FWDfuel

Why follow? This unique nutrition blog is geared toward helping athletes and people who live active lifestyles. FWDfuel features recipes and advice for dietary changes to avoid fatigue and inflammation, improve digestion and identify food sensitivities—all while maintaining the energy you need to stay active. FWDfuel is written by nutrition experts, including one who currently works with the Cleveland Cavaliers!

9. Nutrition Stripped

Why follow? After migraines and lethargy led her to rock bottom, dietician and nutritionist McKel Hill finally found her calling: the world of nutrition. She launched Nutrition Stripped as a way to encourage readers to experience their bodies as they were meant to function. She does this through lifestyle articles, recipes, interviews and other handy resources.

10. The Roasted Root

Why follow? Blogger Julia Mueller sees food as medicine, and she thinks you should, too! The Roasted Root is home to countless recipes created to reduce inflammation and prevent illness. You can’t go wrong with goodies like Paleo Espresso Chocolate Chunk Cookies or 30-Minute Thai Basil Chicken. If you want a diet that leads to a holistically healthy body, this is the place to start.

Mental health and mindfulness blogs

11. Dear Therapist

Why follow? This weekly Atlantic column is hosted by licensed marriage and family therapist Lori Gottlieb. At Dear Therapist, you’ll find answers to questions from real readers, from the relatable (“I can’t stand my sister-in-law”) to the dramatic (“My girlfriend had an affair with my coworker.”). Gottlieb tackles them all with empathy, compassion and honesty—and her responses have takeaways that anyone can use to improve their own mental and emotional well-being.

12. NAMI blog

Why follow? As the official blog of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the NAMI blog offers evidence-based advice surrounding a variety of mental health issues, without any judgment or shame. From raising a child with OCD to explaining what it’s like to experience hallucinations, this blog covers it all. NAMI also offers readers the chance to “ask the expert” any burning questions …

Healthy living

11 Facts About Healthy Living | DoSomething.org

A healthy lifestyle is important for everyone. When we look after our physical health, we feel better too – fitter, more relaxed and better able to cope with things. This is especially important when you have a mental illness.

There are lots of ways of being healthy that feel good as well as doing you good.

Benefits of healthy living

What you gain by living more healthily includes:

  • feeling better mentally – regular exercise can lift your mood and help you feel better
  • saving money – eating junk food, smoking, and drinking sugary drinks or alcohol are all expensive habits
  • fewer health problems – living a healthier lifestyle means a lower risk of developing many illnesses
  • taking control of your life – getting healthy helps you feel in control of your life.

Getting healthy

‘Healthy living’ means maintaining a healthy lifestyle and introducing habits that improve your health. It can be difficult to change old habits, but there are steps you can take to become healthier. An important first step is identifying less healthy habits and learning new, positive ones to replace them, such as:

  • eating healthy foods and balanced meals
  • sleeping well and managing stress
  • practicing safe sex, drinking alcohol responsibly and not abusing drugs
  • being physically active
  • staying connected with others
  • being aware of any health risks related to your illness and its treatment, and working with your doctor to monitor these and then take action
  • taking responsibility for your overall health including having regular check-ups for your eyes and teeth.

How to develop positive health habits

2020 Healthy Living During Extraordinary Times

The key to developing positive habits that you are more likely to keep is to:

Start slowly

Change just one thing at a time  see the benefits that can come from eating more balanced meals or, exercising more or quitting smoking

Make small changes – an achievable change is more likely to become a habit you keep.

Go slowly – making a change gradually can be easier than all at once.

Build on what you already do – for example, if you enjoy walking, try extending your usual route by a manageable amount. 

Remember, increasing or adding even one new health behaviour can make a big difference to your health.

Work around challenges

There are things you can do to manage any extra challenges related to your illness and it’s treatment – such as drowsiness, sugar cravings or lack of motivation. Steps you can take include:

  • organise daily activities around side-effects of medication, for example, if you are drowsy in the morning, organise exercise for the afternoon.
  • discuss things with your doctor – there may be another medication you can try, or ask for referral to a specialist such as a dietitian or psychologist for expert advice.

Staying healthy

Being healthy is about more than getting fit and feeling better, it’s about staying that way too. Tips to help you stay motivated include:

  • schedule regular check ups with your doctor to monitor your progress and for that extra push you may need to keep going.
  • reward yourself – feel good about developing healthier habits by rewarding yourself with something nice.
  • overcome slip-ups – if you slip-up, be realistic and start again.

Finding Support

Heart-Healthy Living | NHLBI, NIH

There are lots of ways to get the support you need to help stay healthy. An important step is finding a good GP (general practitioner) you are comfortable discussing your health with. Seeing the same GP each time means you can work together to manage your health and organise check-ups as needed.

Having someone else as a ‘support person’ can make all the difference in keeping up healthy habits. Talk with your friends, family, mental health program or case worker. Don’t forget other services in your area that you can draw on too.…

4 key principles of web design

If you’ve ever researched web design principles, you’re probably more than familiar with the following attitude: “Web design is just so easy these days. With lightning-fast internet speed and sophisticated browsers, designers hardly have to deal with any of the restrictions that shaped the early days of the web. A website is, more than ever, a designer’s canvas.”

This may be true enough from the perspective of someone already comfortable with the basics, but if phrases like “CSS responsive grid system” and “Google Web Fonts” are alien to you, then jumping into the supposedly “oh-so-easy” world of web design may still seem a daunting proposition.

In recognition of this, we put together a truly basic set of web design basics with the beginner in mind. Of course, it’s never a bad idea to review the fundamentals, even if you consider yourself a wiz.

1. Grid systems
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Manuscript via Graphics.com; New York Times grid overlay via Design O’ Blog

Since the invention of the codex in the 1st century, the grid has determined how we read. Thousands of variations, involving different arrangements of rows and columns, have emerged over time.

Think of the way text and images are arranged in books, newspapers and magazines. These are the systems that were more or less directly carried over onto the web, and they work. Word to the wise: many a designer has attempted to avoid the grid in the name of “creativity”; many such websites go unread.

In a world where people are as, if not more likely to browse the web on phones and tablets than on traditional computers, the issue of “responsive design”—designs that translate to smaller screen sizes in a smooth and intentional manner—is also paramount.

responsive-ready grid system
Profound Grid is an example of a compatible, responsive-ready grid system

To make our lives easier, a huge number of pre-fabricated grid systems have emerged which are responsive, compatible with major coding languages, and generally free to download.

Some popular ones are 960.gsSimple Grid and Golden Grid System, but the list of good options is truly enormous, with some being more complex than others. Here’s a good article from WebDesignerDepot to get you started.

Of course, if you’re feeling adventurous or feel your project demands a truly unique solution, then by all means, create your own.

2. Visual hierarchy
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The Build conference website puts hierarchy principles to use

We recently wrote a full article on this subject, so we’ll be brief here. Basically, it’s a known fact that in most cultures, people read left-to-right and top-down. However, it is also a known fact that, within these parameters, reading behavior follows a much more complex set of rules. This is especially true on the internet where people actually “scan” pages much more than they “read” them.

Good web pages are built in response to these measured reading patterns by placing important elements, like the logo, call to action or a key image, along the axes that the reader is expected to scan. These conventionally take either an “F” or a “Z” shape.

F-pattern demonstration
F-pattern demonstration via Nielsen Norman Group

Beyond that, visual hierarchy is about signaling to readers what should be read first and what should be read next. After page placement, this may involve strategies like font size, spacing, direction and typeface pairing, as well as the use of color highlights.

3. Web-safe fonts
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Open Sans
Open Sans is a nice web font from Google Web Fonts

In 2014, the term “web-safe fonts” already feels like something of an anachronism. Back in the early days of the internet, browsers supported a very limited number of fonts—typically just ones that were already installed in users’ word processing software—and if you deviated from these, some visitors would just wind up seeing random symbols.

Today, it is still true that certain fonts are supported by most browsers while others fonts are not, but the number of web-safe options has exploded thanks to the adoption of what is known as @font-face embedding in most modern browsers. Indeed, many designers complain of having too much to choose from.

Fee-based font services include TypekitWebINK and Fontspring. You can find nice free fonts, too, if you do a little searching through free services like Google Web Fonts. Here is a recent roundup of nice free web fonts by CreativeBloq.

Google Web Fonts
Arvo is another nice font from Google Web Fonts

Now that you know where to look, there are just a few general rules to keep in mind:

  • Serif fonts are for headlines
    In web design, serif fonts are always reserved for headlines, because at smaller sizes they become hard to read. Body text should generally be sans-serif.
  • Keep fonts minimal
    To reduce clutter, keep the number of different fonts on a website to a minimum. Two or three at the most. Check out our recent article on smart font pairing for more information.
  • Don’t take up too much space
    Remember that some font files can be pretty enormous, and this could potentially slow the load time of a website.

4. Images and colors

Hype!
Hype! is bold, yet monochrome

The principles of image and color placement are not especially unique to web design, so we won’t go into too much depth here. The main maxim to keep is: don’t overdo it.

For colors:

  • Keep your color palette minimal
    Like fonts, just stick to 2 or 3. They should

Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2: Can vaccine boosters stop its spread?

The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is more transmissible than preexisting variants, and it has rapidly become the dominant variant in several countries, including India and the United Kingdom. Some reports suggest that existing COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective in preventing infection with Delta. Can additional booster shots help?

Can vaccine boosters help keep the Delta variant at bay? Here’s what we know so far. Image credit: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Over the past few months, the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has spread widely in countries around the world, becoming the dominant variant in many places.

Its rapid spread has recently led countries, such as Australia, to reinforce strict lockdowns, as emerging dataTrusted Source suggest the variant is more infectious than preexisting ones, such as the Beta variant, and that it may be able to bypass existing COVID-19 vaccines in some cases.

Prof. Sir Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, which has contributed to the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, has even commented that, in his opinion, the highly transmissible Delta variant has made achieving herd immunity an impossibility.

“The Delta variant will still infect people who have been vaccinated. And that does mean that anyone who’s still unvaccinated at some point will meet the virus […], and we don’t have anything that will [completely] stop that transmission,” he told The Guardian.

Additionally, recent data have also suggested the immunity provided by COVID-19 vaccines fades considerably over time, which also means vaccinated individuals become more susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2.

However, some scientists and pharmaceutical companies argue that offering an additional booster shot of some of the most widely authorized COVID-19 vaccines could provide an effective way to keep the Delta variant at bay.

But what does the evidence say so far, and how are countries worldwide responding to the notion of incorporating additional booster shots in their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns?

Preliminary data suggest booster effectiveness

While published data on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine boosters against the Delta variant are not yet available, some of the pharmaceutical companies that produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines have announced that recent clinical trials support this perspective.

According to Pfizer’s 2021 second-quarter earnings report, receiving an additional booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine after having had the initial two doses increases the amount of Delta variant antibodies fivefold in 18-to-55-year-olds and 11-fold in 65–85-year-olds.

In answer to queries from Medical News Today, a Pfizer spokesperson explained that this “conclusion is based on initial data from the ongoing booster trial of a third dose of the current BNT162b2 vaccine and laboratory tests.”

“The booster trial builds on the phase 1/2/3 trial and is part of the companies’ clinical development strategy to determine the effectiveness of a third dose against evolving variants,” they noted, adding that Pfizer “expect[s] to publish more definitive data about the analysis in the coming weeks.”

This third dose would be identical to the two doses of the currently authorized Pfizer vaccine. However, the company is also investigating how an “updated” vaccine dose, altered to target the Delta variant specifically, would fare.

A Pfizer spokesperson told MNT:

“The ongoing booster trial is evaluating the safety and tolerability of the current BNT162b2 vaccine. While we believe a third dose of BNT162b2 has the potential to preserve the highest levels of protective efficacy against all currently known variants, including Delta, we are remaining vigilant and are also developing an updated version of the vaccine that targets the full spike protein of the Delta variant. The first batch of the mRNA for the trial has already been manufactured, and we anticipate the clinical studies to begin in August, subject to regulatory approvals.”

Moderna has also said that an additional booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine would be able to keep the Delta variant at bay.

The company made this announcement, initially, in its own second-quarter financial report, which states that “[r]obust antibody responses have been observed from existing Moderna booster candidates against COVID-19 in phase 2 studies.”

“In a phase 2 study, vaccination with 50 [micrograms] of three different Moderna mRNA booster candidates induced robust antibody responses […] against important variants of concern, including Gamma (P.1); Beta (B.1.351); and Delta (B.1.617.2),” the report also states.

The three boosters under investigation included their currently authorized shot, as well as two more experimental candidates.

According to Moderna’s report, the levels of neutralizing antibody generated after the third booster shot were similar to those registered after two 100 microgram doses of their currently authorized vaccine.

Are booster shots already authorized?

Following these findings, both Pfizer and Moderna have been seeking authorization for their respective booster shots from countries that have already authorized their main COVID-19 vaccines.

So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the distribution of third booster shots of both the Pfizer and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines — but only for those who are immunocompromised, and therefore at higher risk of infection with emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.

Israel has also recently authorized the distribution of third shots of the Pfizer vaccine, which is now available to “people over 50, healthcare workers, people with severe risk factors for the coronavirus, [and] prisoners and wardens.”

While the United Kingdom has not yet authorized additional booster shots, unofficial reports indicate it has ordered millions of extra doses for a …

8 tips for healthy eating

Tips for healthy eating

These 8 practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating and can help you make healthier choices.

The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.

If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you’ll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight.

You should also eat a wide range of foods to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet and your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.

It’s recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules).

Most adults in the UK are eating more calories than they need and should eat fewer calories.

1. Base your meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates

Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals.

Choose higher fibre or wholegrain varieties, such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes with their skins on.

They contain more fibre than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help you feel full for longer.

Try to include at least 1 starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the calories of fat.

Keep an eye on the fats you add when you’re cooking or serving these types of foods because that’s what increases the calorie content – for example, oil on chips, butter on bread and creamy sauces on pasta.

2. Eat lots of fruit and veg

Vibrational Food to Nourish Your Body

It’s recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.

Getting your 5 A Day is easier than it sounds. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit?

A portion of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables is 80g. A portion of dried fruit (which should be kept to mealtimes) is 30g.

A 150ml glass of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie also counts as 1 portion, but limit the amount you have to no more than 1 glass a day as these drinks are sugary and can damage your teeth.

3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish

Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals.

Aim to eat at least 2 portions of fish a week, including at least 1 portion of oily fish.

Oily fish are high in omega-3 fats, which may help prevent heart disease. 

Oily fish include:

  • salmon
  • trout
  • herring
  • sardines
  • pilchards
  • mackerel

Non-oily fish include:

  • haddock
  • plaice
  • coley
  • cod
  • tuna
  • skate
  • hake

You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned, but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.

Most people should be eating more fish, but there are recommended limits for some types of fish.

Find out more about fish and shellfish

4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

Saturated fat

You need some fat in your diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat you’re eating.

There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.

On average, men should have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day. On average, women should have no more than 20g of saturated fat a day.

Children under the age of 11 should have less saturated fat than adults, but a low-fat diet is not suitable for children under 5.

Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as:

  • fatty cuts of meat
  • sausages
  • butter
  • hard cheese
  • cream
  • cakes
  • biscuits
  • lard
  • pies

Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados.

For a healthier choice, use a small amount of vegetable or olive oil, or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee.

When you’re having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.

All types of fat are high in energy, so they should only be eaten in small amounts.

Sugar

Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.

Sugary foods and drinks are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules or calories), and if consumed too often can contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.

Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies.

This is the type of sugar you should be cutting down on, rather than the sugar found in fruit and milk.

Many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of free sugars.

Free sugars are found in many foods, such as:

  • sugary fizzy drinks
  • sugary breakfast cereals
  • cakes
  • biscuits
  • pastries and puddings
  • sweets and chocolate
  • alcoholic drinks

Food labels can help. Use them to check how much sugar foods contain.

More than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g means the food is high …

COVID-19, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Memory Loss: What We Know

COVID-19 May Accelerate Alzheimer's and Other Cognitive Issues
  • Researchers are learning more about how COVID-19 may impact memory.
  • In one study1 in 10 patients have been reporting memory problems after mild cases of COVID-19 that did not require hospitalization, even 8 months after disease.
  • People who have recovered from COVID-19 but presented with cognitive decline are more likely to be in poorer physical health and have low O2 saturation in their blood.
  • COVID-19 may heighten the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and COVID-19 can cause an increase in blood-based molecular biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.

COVID-19’s immediate physical effects have been vastly studied, but much remains a mystery regarding long-term complications.

In particular, scientists are scrambling to understand the disease’s long-term effects on neuropsychological health.

Neurological signs of COVID-19, both short and long term, may include symptoms such as the loss of smell and taste and cognitive and attention deficits, known as “brain fog.”

And now, new research shows how COVID-19 continues to affect the brain long after recovery and how some symptoms may be precursors to more serious health problems in the future.

Here is a roundup of the latest studies and newest research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) on COVID-19 and its neurocognitive effects.

Memory problems 8 months after disease

As part of a Norwegian study published in the JAMA Network OpenTrusted Source, scientists reached out to more than 53,000 participants between Feb. 1 and April 15, 2020. These adults included those who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, those who tested negative, and a sizeable number of untested individuals to represent the general population.

Over 13,000 participants responded to the questionnaire sent out by Arne Søraas, PhD, from Oslo University Hospital in Norway, and his colleagues and around 9,000 followed up.

The mean age of participants was 47, and 66 percent of the participants were women.

Søraas and his team found that more than 1 in 10 patients reported memory loss 8 months after testing positive.

At least 41 percent of those who reported having memory problems months after infection said their overall health had also worsened over the past year.

Of those who tested positive 8 months after infection, approximately 11 percent reported memory loss, and 12 percent had problems concentrating.

Those who tested positive were twice as likely to report cognitive problems.

They also reported more memory problems than those who tested negative or the untested population.

In addition, more than 50 percent of patients experienced persistent fatigue, with 20 percent saying this limited their work and general life activities.

The symptoms reported relatively equally by the three groups were feeling depressed, having less energy, or having pain.

“Self-reported memory problems are also a risk factor for later mild cognitive impairment or dementia,” they said.

Although the self-reported nature of memory problems may not present a 100 percent accurate picture, past studies have listed them as a risk factor for developing dementia or mild cognitive impairment later in life.

The findings, according to the authors, suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may negatively impact memory even 8 months after having a mild case of the disease, and this can be associated with a worsening of health and Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), the medical term coined for long COVID in expert circles.

Finding a link between long COVID-19 and an impact on cognition

Meanwhile, new research reported at the virtual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2021 in Denver found links between COVID-19 and persistent cognitive deficits.

One of the most significant initial findings presented at AAIC 2021 was from a Greece and Argentina consortium, which suggested that:

  • Older adults frequently experience lasting cognitive impairment, including persistent lack of smell, after recovering from COVID-19.

The other key findings were:

  • COVID-19 patients presenting with neurological symptoms are likely to have biological markers in their blood that indicate brain injury, neuroinflammation, and Alzheimer’s.
  • Individuals who experience cognitive decline after COVID-19 are more likely to have low blood oxygen levels after short periods of physical exertion as well as be in an overall poorer physical condition.

“These new data point to disturbing trends showing COVID-19 infections leading to lasting cognitive impairment and even Alzheimer’s symptoms,” Heather M. Snyder, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific relations, said in a statement.

“With more than 190 million cases and nearly 4 million deaths worldwide, COVID-19 has devastated the entire world. It is imperative that we continue to study what this virus is doing to our bodies and brains.”
– Heather M. Snyder, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association VP of medical and scientific relations

Link between cognitive impairment and loss of smell

Another study analyzed 300 older adult Amerindians from Argentina who had COVID-19, 3 and 6 months after initial infection.

Over half of the patients showed persistent problems with forgetfulness. At the same time, 1 in 4 had additional problems with cognition, including issues with language and executive dysfunction, such as difficulty organizing, misplacing items, and not being able to deal with frustration.

These setbacks, the research found, were associated with persistent problems in the smell function but not with the severity of the original COVID-19 disease.

“We’re starting to see clear connections between COVID-19 and problems with cognition months after infection,” said Dr. Gabriel de Erausquin of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Long School of Medicine.

“It’s imperative we continue to study this population, and others around the world, for …