Smoke Less, Drink Less?

FRIDAY, July 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Smokers who try to give up tobacco drink less alcohol than other smokers, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed survey data from nearly 6,300 smokers in England, including 144 who said they had attempted to quit smoking the week before they were surveyed.

Those who tried to quit cigarettes drank less alcohol and were less likely to binge drink than those who did not try to quit.

“These results go against the commonly held view that people who stop smoking tend to drink more to compensate. It’s possible that they are heeding advice to try to avoid alcohol because of its link to relapse,” said study lead author Jamie Brown, from University College London.

The reasons for the findings aren’t clear. Smokers may reduce their alcohol consumption when trying to quit smoking to lower the risk of relapse, or people who drink less may be more likely to quit smoking, the researchers suggested.

If the latter is true, smokers who are heavier drinkers may need additional help to quit smoking, according to Brown.

The findings were published July 21 in the journal BMC Public Health.

“We can’t yet determine the direction of causality. Further research is needed to disentangle whether attempts to quit smoking precede attempts to restrict alcohol consumption or vice versa. We’d also need to rule out other factors which make both more likely,” Brown said in a journal news release.

More information

The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.

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Karlie Kloss Says Running the Marathon Was the Best Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Training

Karlie Kloss made her return to the Victoria’s Secret runway in Shanghai.

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After a two year hiatus from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Karlie Kloss made her grand return to the runway in Shanghai. And the supermodel feels right at home with the Angel squad.

“This is the greatest show on Earth. It’s really special to be back here with all my girls and in the famous pink robe and just getting ready for the show here in Shanghai,” she told PEOPLE backstage at the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. “It’s a very, very special runway and it’s a very special year have this big show in China.”

Kloss last walked the runway in 2014 (alongside Taylor Swift!), and shortly thereafter ended her contract with the brand because of other commitments. But Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show head Ed Razek told PEOPLE at the time that “she will always be an Angel to me.” And he wasn’t kidding, inviting the model to return whenever she wanted to.

“It just felt like the right time. It’s like riding a bike, getting back out there and wearing the wings,” she shared. “I was in rehearsals and had my wings on and I kind of had a ‘pinch me’ moment. I never thought I’d be back out here and it was really special. Being on the Victoria’s Secret Runway makes me feel invincible.”

RELATED PHOTOS: 21 Years of the Fantasy Bra!

Earlier the month, Kloss ran the New York City marathon, and said it was the best physical training she could have ton to get VS runway ready.

“I just ran the marathon and that was one of the greatest physical and mental challenges that I ever willingly signed up for, and I’m kind of addicted to it now,” she shared. “I want to do it next year and maybe run another one in between. I’ve always dreamed of doing it and it was tough, but it was a great way to train for this runway.”

RELATED PHOTOS: See how the Angels worked out for the show!

Kloss also maintains that a healthy diet, even after the show, has been key to her lifestyle.

“I think all of us treat ourselves like athletes and we’re constantly traveling and on the road and all of us to train and have energy to do our job and to workout and feel strong you have to eat properly and really fuel your body and your mind,” she said, before adding, “I’m looking forward to a delicious meal after the show — I heard rumors there is going to be pizza at the so I look forward to that!”

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Want to Keep an Aging Brain Sharp? Try the Stairs

TUESDAY, March 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Aging Americans looking to maintain a healthy brain may want to switch from elevators to stairs, new research suggests.

Fitness seemed key to sharper minds as people got older, a Canadian study found, as was more time spent reading and studying.

The findings show “that education and physical activity affect the difference between a physiological prediction of age and chronological age, and that people can actively do something to help their brains stay young,” said lead investigator Jason Steffener, a scientist at Concordia University in Montreal.

“This is encouraging because it demonstrates that a simple thing like climbing stairs has great potential as an intervention tool to promote brain health,” Steffener said in a university news release.

The researchers used MRI scans to assess the physical brain health of 331 healthy adults, aged 19 to 79. Those who could climb more flights of stairs and those with higher levels of education had “younger” brains, the researchers found.

Specifically, physical brain age was nearly one year lower for each year of education, the study found. For every flight of stairs climbed per day, physical brain age was slightly more than a half year younger, the researchers said.

However, the study only showed an association between these factors and brain health. It wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study was published recently in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

Steffener pointed out that there are already many ‘Take the stairs’ campaigns in office environments and public transportation centers. He said this study suggests that these campaigns should also be expanded for older adults to help them work on keeping their brains young.

“In comparison to many other forms of physical activity, taking the stairs is something most older adults can and already do at least once a day, unlike vigorous forms of physical activity,” he said.

More information

The Alzheimer’s Association has more on brain health.

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11 Celeb-Approved Workouts for a Toned, Sculpted Butt

Ever caught yourself envying J.Lo’s derrière, or Lea Michele’s toned tush? If so, you’ve come to the right place: Below, we’ve collected the go-to butt workouts of celebrities with famously sculpted booties. Of course, DNA plays a big role in the shape of one’s backside, and these stars are blessed with exceptionally good genes. But you can still borrow their moves to attack the muscles hiding deep under your glutes, for a firmer, tighter behind. From Sofia Vergara’s high-knee step-ups to Kourtney Kardashian’s resistance band circuit, these exercises will bring you closer to the :peach: of your dreams. So back away from the padded Spanx, and read on to learn how to build a better bottom.

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How Taking a Break in Your Relationship Can Actually Make It Stronger

Any Friends fan knows that taking a break from a relationship can get tricky: Remember when Ross and Rachel hit pause and Ross ran into “the hot girl from the Xerox place with the belly button ring”?

Yeah, that didn’t end well. And perhaps unsurprisingly, taking a break IRL can get complicated too. But in some cases, time apart can actually help strengthen a couple’s bond, according to therapists.

“Of course if one person initiates a break because they’ve really just identified someone else they want to hook up with, that’s not the best plan,” says Holly Richmond, PhD, a sex therapist in Los Angeles. For a break to be helpful rather than hurtful, the partners need to share the same expectations for their time off, she says.

Rachel Needle, PsyD, a psychologist at the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida, agrees: “If you decide you don’t want to end the relationship, but that you cannot continue on the road you’re on, taking a break with a plan in mind— either attending therapy together or working on specific issues within yourself—can lead to a healthier relationship.” 

RELATED: This Couples Therapist Says Infidelity Can Make Some Marriages Stronger

Here, experts share a few tips for couples considering a breather:

Determine the purpose of the break together

Do you need space to clear your head? Or maybe you and your partner both want some time to reconnect with yourselves. Establishing an end goal will help give your break meaning.

It may also help you figure out the best way to approach it, says Alexandra Katehakis, PhD, a sex therapist in Santa Monica, California. “If the aim of the break is to decide whether you want to be in the relationship or not, then no communication for a designated time allows you to make some decisions.” But if an issue like infidelity or sex addiction is at play, it may make sense to do what’s called a “therapeutic separation,” she says, and meet weekly with a therapist.

Be clear about boundaries

Discuss how long the break will last, how often you’ll communicate or see each other (if at all), and whether you’ll still follow one another on social media. “You wouldn’t believe how triggering social media can be for couples who have decided to take a break,” says Richmond. 

And make sure you talk about whether or not it’s okay to hook up with other people during your time off, says Katehakis. “If one person decides to have sex outside the relationship and the other assumes monogamy, the break can do more harm than good.”

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Use the time wisely

When you are away from your partner, be mindful of how you feel. It’s not uncommon for people to say they’ve “lost themselves” in a relationship, says Richmond; if you feel more like yourself when you’re without your partner, that might be a sign that the relationship isn’t the best fit. But if the time apart makes you and your S.O. appreciate each other in new ways, you may come back to couplehood even closer than you were before.

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Blackpool plans new museum venue

Venue in 5-star hotel complex would cost £10.4m
Jonathan Knott, 14.11.2017

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5 Yoga Poses for Better Digestion

There’s nothing worse than feeling, ahem, backed up. Squats, twists, and lunges are great yoga moves to stimulate your digestive tract. Give these 5 poses a try.

There’s nothing worse than feeling, ahem, backed up especially this time of year as we start to break out our swimsuits and fitted dresses. Drinking lots of water, eating lighter foods, and practicing yoga can all help get things moving again.

Squats, twists, and lunges are great yoga moves to stimulate your digestive tract. Squatting gets everything moving downward, twists massage the internal organs, and lunges help stretch the psoas (a muscle that connects your trunk to your legs) and abdominal region, which aids in processing and eliminating our food. Give these 5 poses a try.

Awkward chair pose
Stand with feet together and squat back in to an imaginary chair as you lift your arms above you. Pull in your lower abdominals and stretch up through the front body. Sit back as deeply as you can and hold the pose for 5 to 8 breaths. Awkward chair works your larger muscle groups (buttocks, quads, etc) and gets your metabolism going. It also moves energy downward in the lower body as you lift up and breath deeper in the upper body.

Lunging twist
Lunge back with your right leg and take a twist to your left. Place your right hand outside your left foot and stretch your left arm upwards. If you can’t get your right hand and shoulder outside of your front knee, place the hand on the inside of the foot. Twist from your waist and move with your breath, using the strength of your legs to support you. This works the larger muscles groups again and also massages the abdominal muscles and twists the internal organs to help stimulate digestion. Hold for 5 breaths.

Photo: Appcession

Low lunge twist with quad stretch
Lower your right knee to the floor and reach back with your left hand to catch the right foot as you lift your right heel up toward your buttocks. This stretch is awesome for digestion: It’s a twist but also a stretch in the front thigh, psoas, and groin. Often times when our hip flexors and psoas are tight, they interfere with our internal organ function, including digestion. Stretching the front of the body helps get things moving. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths.

Photo: Appcession

From the lunging quad stretch, release your right foot and bring your left knee back to meet your right. Lower down on to your belly. Place your hands near your shoulders or slightly forward and start to lift your upper body off the mat. Keep your pubic bone on the mat and make sure your shoulders are down and away from your ears. Stay here for 5 breaths and feel your tummy stretching as well as getting a little gentle pressure on it. It’s a great stretch for the front body.

Photo: Appcession

Child’s pose
Stress is often to blame for digestion issues, and child’s pose offers us a place to unwind and calm down. From cobra, press into your hands and lift your hips up and back until your buttocks are resting on your heels and you can lay your chest on the floor. Stretch your arms forward or back alongside your waist. This move stretches your hips, back, shoulders, and waist and also puts a gentle pressure on the belly. Let your mind relax let your shoulders release and stay here a good 8 to 10 breaths.

Photo: Appcession

NOW: Repeat on the other side
From child’s pose you can round up or stretch back to downward dog then make your way up to the front of the mat and gently come up to standing. Repeat the entire sequence, stepping back with the left foot this time and twisting to the right. Go through until you hit child’s pose again; then, from child’s pose round up and lay down on your back for corpse pose or final relaxation. In final relaxation you can even place your hands on your belly and envision your stomach relaxing and letting go.

Kristin McGee is a leading yoga and Pilates instructor and healthy lifestyle expert based in New York City. She is an ACE certified personal trainer who regularly trains celebrity clients in New York and Los Angeles. She serves as Health’s contributing fitness editor and is frequently seen on national TV. Her latest in a large collection of fitness DVDs is YogaSlim. Follow her on Twitter @KristinMcGee and like her page on Facebook.

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Cochlear Implants: A Different Kind of ‘Hearing’

Cochlear implant worn by a child (600x400 JPEG)


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Your elderly uncle is hard of hearing and has a difficult time understanding conversation—so much so that he’s feeling frustrated and left out. His hearing aids aren’t helping much.

Your one-year-old daughter was diagnosed with severe hearing loss in both ears, and you’re worried about her ability to learn and understand speech. How will she learn to communicate?

For both of these cases, a cochlear implant may be an option.

What are cochlear implants? Who uses them and why? And how does the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) play a role? The cochlea is the part of the inner ear that contains the endings of the nerve which carries sound to the brain. A cochlear implant is a small, electronic device that when surgically placed under the skin, stimulates the nerve endings in the cochlea to provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.

“A severe to profound hearing loss in both ears prevents a person from understanding speech and communicating in everyday conversations. Cochlear implants can increase hearing and communication abilities for people who don’t receive enough benefit from traditional hearing aids,” says Srinivas Nandkumar, Ph.D., chief of the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Devices Branch at FDA.

How Does It Work?

A cochlear implant consists of an external part that sits behind the ear and an internal part that is surgically placed under the skin. Usually, a magnet holds the external system in place next to the implanted internal system. The FDA has approved cochlear implants for use by individuals aged one year and older.

Here’s how it works:

  • A surgeon places the cochlear implant under the skin next to the ear.
  • The cochlear implant receives sound from the outside environment, processes it, and sends small electric currents near the auditory nerve.
  • These electric currents activate the nerve, which then sends a signal to the brain.
  • The brain learns to recognize this signal and the wearer experiences this as “hearing.”

“A cochlear implant is quite different from a typical hearing aid, which simply amplifies sound,” says Nandkumar. “Using one is not just a matter of turning up the volume; the nerves are being electrically stimulated to send signals and the brain translates and does the rest of the work.” Moreover, cochlear implant wearers need to undergo intensive speech therapy to understand how to process what they are hearing.

Cochlear implants don’t restore normal hearing, says Nandkumar. But depending on the individual, they can help the wearer recognize words and better understand speech, including when using a telephone.

Does Age Matter?

According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for young children who are deaf or severely hard-of-hearing, using a cochlear implant while they are young exposes them to sounds during an optimal period to develop speech and language skills. Several research studies have shown that when these children receive a cochlear implant at a relatively young age (for example, at 18 months) followed by intensive therapy, they tend to hear and speak better than those who receive implants at an older age.

But adults and older children who have acquired severe to profound hearing loss after they have acquired speech can also do very well with an implant, partly because they are post-lingual (that is, already have learned to speak a language). “At that point, a person has to get used to the fact that what he hears sounds differently and more ‘machine-like’ than it did when he had more hearing,” Nandkumar says. “Whereas someone who was profoundly deaf at birth will adapt at a very early age to a cochlear implant and the way in which it processes sound.”

Conversely, people who are deaf since birth and have not gotten implants until they are a bit older (for example, 8 years of age) may not derive as much benefit from cochlear implants.

FDA Regulation of Cochlear Implants

Before manufacturers can bring a new cochlear implant to market, they must submit studies and data to FDA scientists, who will review the information for safety and effectiveness. Cochlear implants are designated as Class III devices, meaning they receive the highest level of regulatory scrutiny. This is because they are surgically implanted near the brain, which increases health risk. Other risks, while minimal, include injury to the facial nerve, meningitis , perilymph fluid leak (fluid from the inner ear leaks through the hole created to place the implant), and dizziness or vertigo.

The Future of Cochlear Implants

Scientists continue to look for ways to improve cochlear implants and how they function once implanted. For example:

  • Companies are developing more sophisticated strategies that help to minimize background noise and increase the noise-to-sound ratio, helping the user to better focus and understand speech.
  • Hearing science researchers also are looking at the potential benefits of pairing a cochlear implant in one ear with either another cochlear implant or a hearing aid in the other ear.

“A cochlear implant won’t restore hearing the way that eyeglasses can fully restore vision,” Nandkumar says. “But companies are developing increasingly sophisticated processing strategies that can reduce background noise and increase the signal-to-noise ratio, in an effort to improve the quality of speech the wearer hears.”

November 10, 2016

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Session proposals and delegate booking open for Belfast 2018

Deadline for proposals is 1 March
Will Adams, 15.11.2017

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Inside One of Reese Witherspoon and Naomi Watts’ Favorite Workouts: Burn 60

The signature workout combines treadmill cardio with circuit training.

This article originally appeared on

In between filming movies like A Wrinkle in Time that take her all over the world, Reese Witherspoon is a regular at Burn 60 fitness studio.

The busy star — plus other celeb fans like Naomi Watts — joins the group classes at the Brentwood, California gym as often as possible for their signature workout, which combines treadmill cardio with circuit training.

“It’s a smart way to get the most bang out of your buck if you have limited time, because you spend half of your time doing strength training work with resistance bands and dumbbells and barbells and body weight, and half of the time on the treadmill getting your cardio in,” trainer Keith Anthony tells PEOPLE. “So it’s really for the busy professional or busy mom trying to squeeze a workout in.”

Some Burn 60 classes are mostly running — perfect for fans of the sport like Witherspoon, who’s often spotted on a run by her home — while others incorporate more of Anthony’s favorite circuit movements.

“I LOVE a reverse lunge with a dumbell, because it targets the glutes so well and gives you a nice stretch in the hip flexors. That’s one of my go-to strength movements,” he says. “I also love combo movements for the arms like a bicep curl to a shoulder raise to an overhead press to a tricep kickback. Your arms just get smoked.”

One thing that Anthony, who has been at Burn 60 for over a decade, is particularly proud of is how well he can shape the workouts to his clients.

“Everyone who comes in the door I know because they’ve been coming for such a long time,” he says. “I know what their fitness goals are and their injuries and their bodies. It’s a group fitness workout, but I can really tailor it to each person.”

But because it is a group class, Anthony makes sure that everyone is held to the same standard — and the celebs do not get any special treatment.

“I don’t tailor the workout to any of the celebrities in the room. The workout is tailored to whoever is in the room that day,” he says. “The movement that’s best for the famous people are the movements that are best for the moms who are bankers and landscapers and full-time moms. It’s the same movements. There’s no secret sauce.”

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