I wish I could say that I’m immune to the allure of setting New Year’s resolutions. But I think just about as long as I can remember, I’ve set some kind of goal come the first week of January. And like so many who make a list of wishes and goals, I set at least one fitness-related resolution.
For the last five years or so, one of these goals (if not more) has been centered around running: run a 10K, then a half marathon, then a full marathon, then get faster, qualify for international races — the list goes on. Some of these goals I’ve attained, others I haven’t. But as the year ends and it comes dangerously close to the time to make new goals, I find myself less than enthusiastic about setting any fitness goals — namely running goals — for 2021.
There’s, of course, the practical reason: we simply don’t know what will happen in the coming months, so setting goals tied to organized racing seems impractical. But beyond that, there’s the mental weight of it all. Typically, setting my New Year’s fitness goals is fun for me. I’ve spent a whole year working toward my goals and I’ll spend the next working toward the new ones.
However, I’ve learned to adjust to canceled races, a fully remote work life that’s caused me to adapt my home into a fitness studio, a living space, and an office, and socially distanced runs where I actively try to avoid others — not to mention a forced training break. I’m not the same runner who sat down this time last year with a laundry list of boxes to check off. I’m not faster. In fact, I’m much, much slower. I didn’t run a single race this year — a first for me in eight years. I haven’t been able to tick off any of my “big” goals for the sport.
I’m a runner that’s no longer motivated by setting PRs at races, collecting medals, and sub four-hour marathons. Sure, those will still be things that I strive for one day long in the future. But not now. Instead, I’m a runner who just misses her sport. Like so many, I’ve had to take a break from the thing I love. While there have been some highs (no one likes a 20-mile training run, trust me), there have also been some lows. Seeing what you love no longer look like it once did is hard. At first I thought it was just my training plans that were changing, but I soon realized that it was me who was really changing.
Running, in some capacity, will always be there for me if I seek it out. The way in which I enjoy my sport and the milestones that surround it may look different, but the consistency and mental clarity that lacing up my trainers and running gives me will always be there — with or without a marathon on the calendar.
The 21st century began with the first draft of the human genome, and with it, the promise of immense new powers to treat, prevent and cure disease.
In high-income countries like Australia, rates of heart disease were falling, and life expectancy was rising.
Over the past two decades, lots has changed about the factors that affect our health, wellbeing and how long (and well) we live.
So what do we know now that we didn’t then, and how far have we come?
As part of Radio National’s Big 20 series, Dr Norman Swan speaks to three leaders in their field to find out what’s happened in dementia research, cancer care and chronic disease over the last 20 years.
Chronic disease has been getting worse
Dr Norman Swan talks to Professor Chris Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Dr Swan: Take us back to the year 2000. What was the pattern of disease?
Professor Chris Murray: In the year 2000, right before the big push globally on reducing health problems in low income settings, we were pretty much nearing the peak of the HIV epidemic and, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, we still had a very large number of deaths under age five — 12 million or so a year.
We hadn’t yet had the big efforts to control malaria. And many middle-income countries were right in that transition from a profile of disease burden dominated by infectious diseases and starting that shift towards cancer, heart disease, chronic kidney disease.
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Hear the full interviews with Dr Norman Swan on the Health Report podcast.
In the high-income world — Australia, Europe, North America — the [disease burden] looked pretty similar. It was already heavily dominated by heart disease and cancer, chronic kidney disease, but there was less obesity back then, there was less diabetes, and we were still back in the heyday of heart disease coming down pretty rapidly.
Dr Swan: What has happened in the two decades since?
Professor Murray: We’ve seen really dramatic progress bringing down child death rates.
In a place like Niger in West Africa, the improvements are just spectacular. You’ve probably halved child death rates in that period … bringing [it] down below the 5 million mark because of antiretrovirals for HIV.
There has been real progress on controlling malaria because of bed-net programs. So just lots of progress racked up, until COVID, on a number of fronts in the low-income world.
Then at the other end of the spectrum in the high-income world, we’ve seen heart disease progress slow, and in some places reverse.
We’ve seen this steady rise of obesity and bringing with it diabetes, high blood sugar, bringing up blood pressure levels in some countries, despite all the therapies that exist for them.
In the middle-income world we’ve seen progress but we’ve seen the rise of ambient air pollution in the last two decades. It’s becoming a bigger and
Dr. Carolyn Borow has delivered more than 3,500 babies in her 41 years as a family doctor. But she hasn’t delivered one since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Instead Borow, like many medical professionals, has gone virtual, doing all those appointments about pregnancy complications, sore throats and COVID fears via computer and FaceTime. In fact, the only time she’s been in a hospital recently was when she herself had surgery.
“I am definitely going through baby withdrawal,” said Borow, who works out of Allina Health in West St. Paul and Eagan. “I’d never planned that at some point I’m not going to be doing this. Only a pandemic would keep me from it.”
At a time when a growing number of veteran doctors are suddenly considering retirement, Borow is finding renewed purpose in her work.
A 2020 survey of 2,300 U.S. physicians by the nonprofit Physicians Foundation reported that 37% of doctors said they would like to retire within a year. Many expressed fear for their personal health, including 28% who had “serious concerns” about catching COVID-19.
Borow, though, sees value in her shifting work experience.
“I thank everybody who is making these appointments,” Borow said. “Because it has allowed me to still feel meaningful. Because I had no intention ever of not continuing to serve people.”
Initially, to cut down on coronavirus exposure, Allina limited the number of its doctors going in and out of United Hospital in St. Paul, where Borow has worked. So, Allina hired doctors to serve full time in the hospital.
Secondly, because of her age and medical risks during the COVID crisis, Borow decided to curtail her in-person contact with patients. She went virtual on the fly.
“It was all new to me,” she said of distance doctoring. “But in my motivation to serve people, I just learned it quickly.”
Borow is as busy as ever. An empty nester with a retired husband, she dons her scrubs every morning — in the clinic, she used to wear streets clothes and a lab coat — and sits at an Allina-issued computer in her son’s old bedroom in their Mendota Heights home. Her two cats sometimes scratch at the door. But Borow is diligent and determined, officially working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (actually, two nights until 6) and on-call every other weekend. Of course, that doesn’t include the two or three hours every night of paperwork and the pre-shift prep for her appointments.
She also spends a half-day per week in the clinic signing forms, wearing a mask and shield over her glasses.
With a different virtual patient scheduled every 20 minutes, the doctor is much more punctual than in her days at the clinic, where an assistant could warn an impatient patient that the physician is running late.
“I have openings every day, people can get right in, which was never the case before,” Borow said. “Although before, we could work someone in with double booking.”
She’s now able to see patients
Peter Andre works up a sweat in tiny vest as he launches his fitness channel after 34 years in the gym
PETER Andre has launched his first ever online fitness classes after 34 years of training in the gym.
The 47-year-old stripped off to a tiny vest as he revealed his new exciting venture called Get Fit With Peter Andre.
A source exclusively told The Sun: “Peter has wanted to do something with health and fitness for such a long time and now tonight he’s launching his first fitness video!
“It’s free to subscribe so join in and start your fitness journey!”
The first video is a 10 minute HIIT workout that can easily be done at home without any equipment.
Speaking from his home gym, Peter tells fans: “It’s great to finally do this, I’ve been training since I was 13 years old, I’m 47 now.
“I’ve gone through so many different stages of training where I did all the weight training, watched everything I ate and was kind of bulky.
“Then I did the other ones where I was just cardio based and I was really shredded and then as time went on I found all the different things I liked – a combination of everything.
“What I want to do in these videos is show you all the different things you can do.
“So if you’re at home and you have no equipment I’m going to give you 10 minute little HIIT training.”
The first video is available to watch on Peter’s YouTube channel and there will be a new workout added every Monday.
Last week, Peter delighted fans by stripping naked to sing his hit Mysterious Girl in the shower.
He sizzled in a video shared with his 1.6 million Instagram followers – 25 years after he first released Mysterious Girl.
Peter crooned the track from his second studio album, Natural, and showed off the incredible abs that helped make him famous.
He captioned the TikTok video: “They dared me to do it and I was like ‘hell yeah’ 🐠🏝🌴 #mysteriousgirl @tiktok #backtothemusic”
Fans didn’t complain, as Paddy McGuinness’s wife Christine commented: “Yeeessssss 👏😂”
Another said: “Excellent, loved that song 😊”
Pete’s debut single Drive Me Crazy, released in 1992, peaked at number 72 in the Australian charts
But he became a huge hit when his tracks Mysterious Girl and Flava went global.
Peter reminded fans of his former glory last week, sharing a 90s throwback snap of himself when he was just 21-years-old.
In the snap a baby faced Pete can be seen rocking a bandana in his hair, an opened checkered shirt and a necklace hanging around his neck.
A Halifax-area dentist facing hundreds of accusations of professional misconduct spanning decades, including using excessive force while treating children, has had his licence suspended indefinitely.
The Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia said it convened an emergency meeting of its complaints committee Wednesday to consider recent allegations made against Dr. Errol Gaum, a registered dentist who was most recently practising in Bedford.
Gaum’s suspension is effective immediately, the board said Thursday in a brief news release. The board declined an interview with CBC News and would not specify the number of complaints received about Gaum.
The announcement comes about one week after Ryan Binder took to Facebook to share his six-year-old daughter’s “unacceptable” experience with Gaum on Nov. 10.
“It’s a really good day today,” Binder told CBC News on Thursday. “It’s a good start.”
Dentist told girl, 6, to ‘shut up,’ says father
He said his mother took his daughter, Peyton, to Gaum’s clinic to have a tooth pulled. He alleged Gaum covered the girl’s mouth and plugged her nose in an attempt to stop her from crying while she was in his dentist chair. When she persisted, Binder said Gaum told her to “shut up.”
Binder said his mother could hear her granddaughter crying and voiced her concerns to the receptionists, but she wasn’t permitted into the treatment room.
Binder’s post on Facebook, which had been shared 24,000 times as of Thursday, led to an uproar on social media and hundreds of other allegations of professional misconduct. None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Binder said that in the first 24 hours after posting, he received more than 300 messages from people with similar stories about Gaum.
A public Facebook group called The Victims of Dr. Errol Gaum created Nov. 11 has amassed more than 1,800 members. The group, which was prompted by Binder’s post, has dozens of posts from people sharing stories that span decades.
Gaum had been registered with the Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia since 1971.
Police investigating reports of assault
Binder said he’s looking for assurance from the dental board that Gaum’s licence will not be reinstated. He’s also calling for criminal charges to be laid.
He said his family called police the day of his daughter’s appointment and were scheduled to give statements Thursday afternoon.
Police “are investigating numerous reports that a man who was working as a dentist assaulted patients at numerous locations over a period of time from the 1970s to this year,” said Const. John MacLeod, a spokesperson for Halifax Regional Police, in an email.
“The investigations are in the early stages and no further information is available at this time,” he said.
Similar experience in 1980s
Stephanie Grant, now 44, said she was a patient of Gaum’s as a child in the early 1980s. Grant said she had an experience similar to Peyton Binder’s when she was around nine years old. She
- An Alaska dentist that stood on a hoverboard while extracting a patient’s tooth has been sentenced to 12 years in jail.
- Seth Lookhart also piled up a mountain of other charges and was convicted of embezzlement and other crimes.
- Despite his conviction, Lookhart says he hopes to return to his career in the future.
If you weren’t already afraid or at least a little bit uneasy about going to the dentist, you probably will be after reading about 35-year-old Seth Lookhart. Lookhart, who practiced dentistry in Alaska, was perhaps the worst dentist in the country during his time seeing patients. A court decided that he wasn’t just bad at being a dentist, he is also a criminal, and will now serve a dozen years behind bars for his crimes.
Lookhart’s sentence was 20 years with 8 years suspended, and a decade of probation afterward. He is barred from practicing dentistry during this entire time and it’s safe to say that his medical career is likely over. Hopefully.
So, what exactly did Lookhart do to warrant the label of “worst dentist?” Well, for starters he performed a tooth extraction on a sedated patient while he rode a hoverboard in the operating room. He videotaped his stunt and sent it around to friends. He also embezzled money, filed false Medicaid claims and pocketed the cash, and performed anesthesia “thousands of times” despiting having no training or legal clearance to do so.
On top of that, the court learned during a trial in January that patients of Lookhart would often awaken from their operation and realize that the troubled dentist had performed the wrong procedure on them. Sometimes Lookhart would extract the wrong tooth or do something to the patient that hadn’t been agreed upon. Yeah, he’s pretty terrible.
His sentencing isn’t the end of his troubles, however, as he now faces additional charges and demands for restitution from his clients as well as the state of Alaska, which says it will seek $2 million to cover the cash that Lookhart embezzled from the Medicaid system.
Despite all of this, Lookhart says he’s still hopeful that he can return to his dentist career at some point in the future. “Looking back, I can’t say exactly when I began to go off course,” Lookhart said, according to KTUU. “While I do not doubt that I was able to render care and alleviate the pain to many people who were in dire need, I also know that I could have and should have maintained better discipline and focus while serving a patient base I came to love.”
That’s pretty bold considering the list of charges he was just sentenced for. The state is pushing for a permanent ban on his ability to practice dentistry, but that final ruling has not yet come down.
In 2014, Jyoti Dabas was working in a consulting company in Gurugram but could not see herself being in the same space for the next 10 years. To venture a different path, she took a sabbatical to explore a place in the fitness industry.
She also used the time to study alternative medicine and get certified as a personal trainer and dabbled in corporate wellness as well.
“I wasn’t entirely sure of what I wanted to do in the fitness industry and so started a personal blog, answering common questions on fitness and weight loss. And I made sure to provide science-backed solutions from research papers,” she told HerStory.
On a friend’s recommendation, she connected with Jitendra Chouksey and the team behind the Facebook group. SQUATS, now known as Fittr, a fitness startup backed by Sequoia and actor Suniel Shetty.
In 2016, Jyoti founded Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Science, an online fitness training platform. Started with a mere Rs 3,000 fee to set up the learning management system, INFS clocked sales worth Rs 10 lakh in the first month.
The INFS journey
Jyoti emphasises that she has designed the courses by combining her knowledge of both diet and exercise. Over the years, the modules have been improvised by researchers and scientists from across the world.
Today, it offers courses in two categories – foundations of fitness for self and on becoming a professional trainer, priced at Rs 20,500 and Rs 8900, respectively. It also holds workshops, webinars, and short skill-based training sessions in the price range of Rs 900 and Rs 2,500.
Jyoti says it was a conscious choice to set nearly half the price offered for similar courses in the market.
She adds that students will be able to recover their fee amount in a month by working on a freelance basis. She further claims that online trainers at INFS earn Rs 30,000 at the entry level and attain the potential to earn Rs 3 lakh per month, depending upon their talent and years of experience.
More than 90 percent of trainers at Fittr, its sister-concern, have INFS certification.
The founder seizes every opportunity to interact with the students, be it on group chat sessions and social media “to understand where they are in the journey, the roadblocks, and how we can improve them.”
“The team is expanding in size phenomenally. We are adding more courses and I have to look and make sure we are addressing the right needs in the market,” Jyoti adds.
The COVID-19 outbreak initially caused a slight dip in students enrolling for courses in March and April but it has skyrocketed in the last few months.
“It is because people thought the coronavirus will go away in a few months and now when they realise it is here to stay has led to a surge in our business.” Jyoti says increased consciousness about health and immunity and the need for skill development has worked in their favour.
It helped that the platform
Governments in predominantly wealthy countries are negotiating to buy nearly 8.8bn doses of prospective Covid-19 vaccines in a “frenzy of deals” that could mean many poor countries would not get access to immunisation until at least 2024, a report says.
None of the 320-plus potential vaccines in development have been approved for use, but countries have already struck advance purchasing agreements for 3.73bn doses of the most promising candidates, with negotiations underway for another 5m doses, the study by Duke University’s global health innovation centre calculated.
However, manufacturers will only be able to produce so much of the successful candidates, with researchers estimating it could take three to four years to supply enough vaccine to immunise the global population. That means many wealthy countries may be able to vaccinate their entire populations several times over before most people in low-income countries are immunised, the report said.
“Countries are acting in their own interests, which makes senses,” said Andrea Taylor, an assistant director at the Duke centre. “The problem it leads to is a pattern of behaviour globally where we are limited in the number of doses we can produce in the first year or two … And so many are getting taken off the market and snatched up and reserved for high-income countries, leaving potentially very little for low- and middle-income countries.”
The World Health Organization has overseen the creation of a scheme called Covax in which signatory countries can access an equal share of successful vaccine candidates – first for healthcare and security workers and eventually for a minimum of 20% of their populations.
But many wealthy countries had invested in the Covax facility and struck their own deals directly with pharmaceutical companies, Taylor said, cutting down on the pool of doses that would be equitably distributed. “They’re giving with one hand and taking with the other,” Taylor said.
Ethiopia, for example, will receive enough doses of successful vaccines to cover 20% of its population under Covax, but has not struck any other side deals, meaning most of its citizens could go unvaccinated for years after British residents have been immunised.
Another issue facing poorer countries is that some lack cold-chain supply infrastructure and so will be unable to access vaccine candidates that require storage in freezing temperatures, or others that need to be stored in high heat.
The first hundreds of millions of doses of a Johnson & Johnson candidate that can be stored for several months at normal fridge temperatures – easing its rollout in poorer countries – have already been purchased in large numbers by the US, UK, EU and Canada, the report said.
The study confirmed that Covax has purchased enough vaccine so far to immunise about 250 million people – well short of the 1.14 billion people it has pledged to cover.
Much has been written about the U.S. coronavirus response. Media accounts frequently turn to experts for their insights – commonly, epidemiologists or physicians. Countless surveys have also queried Americans and individuals from around the world about how the pandemic has affected them and their attitudes and opinions.
Yet little is known about the views of a group of people particularly well qualified to render judgment on the U.S.‘s response and offer policy solutions: academic health policy and politics researchers. These researchers, like the two of us, come from a diverse set of disciplines, including public health and public policy. Their research focuses on the intricate linkages between politics, the U.S. health system and health policy. They are trained to combine applied and academic knowledge, take broader views and be fluent across multiple disciplines.
To explore this scholarly community’s opinions and perceptions, we surveyed hundreds of U.S.-based researchers, first in April 2020 and then again in September. Specifically, we asked them about the U.S. COVID-19 response, the upcoming elections and the long-term implications of the pandemic and response for the future of U.S. health policy and the broader political system.
Overall, the results of our survey – with 400 responses, which have been published in full in our recent academic article – paint a picture of a damaged reputation to government institutions. Surveyed scholars also believe the poor government response will shift the politics of health care. At the same time, our findings don’t show strong belief in major policy changes on health.
Parceling out the blame
We first asked respondents how much responsibility various actors bear for the lack of preparedness in the U.S. Here scholars overwhelming assign blame to one source: 93% of respondents blamed President Trump for the overall lack of preparedness “a lot” or “a great deal.” Moreover, 94% in April and 98% in September saw political motivations as the main drivers of the president’s actions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as Congress, also deserve a significant amount of blame, survey respondents said. At the other end of the spectrum, scholars were relatively content with the response by local and state governments as well as that of the World Health Organization.
Notably, perceptions grew significantly more negative for all entities between April and September. This likely reflects frustrations with the continued inability to rein in the spread of the virus.
Effects on the political system and health policy
Respondents also offered a particularly grim view of the long-term implications of the failed coronavirus response for the United States.
Survey after survey has shown that partisanship influences individuals’ perceptions of the coronavirus pandemic. Early research indicates that right-leaning media and presidential communication may have significantly contributed to these discrepancies and increased polarization.
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Many women have depression symptoms after giving birth, but for some postpartum depression hangs on for years, a U.S. government study finds.
Of nearly 4,900 new mothers researchers followed, one-quarter had depression symptoms at some point in their child’s first three years. And for about half of them, the symptoms either started early on and never improved, or took time to emerge.
It all suggests women should be screened for postpartum depression over a longer period, said lead researcher Diane Putnick.
“Based on our data, I’d say screening could continue for two years,” said Putnick, a staff scientist at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in Bethesda, Md.
Right now, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatricians take on the task of postpartum depression screening. It says they should screen mothers for symptoms at their baby’s routine check-ups during the first six months of life.
That’s both because postpartum depression usually arises in that period, and because babies have frequent check-ups during those months, according to Putnick. So pediatricians are, in a sense, best positioned to catch moms’ depression symptoms, she said.
On the other hand, pediatricians are also limited in what they can do. Mothers are not their patients, so they do not have access to medical records to get the bigger picture — including whether a woman has a history of clinical depression. And they can only suggest that mothers follow-up with their own provider.
“What happens after women are screened?” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, chief medical and health officer for the nonprofit March of Dimes.
“The recommendation is excellent,” he said, referring to the AAP advice to pediatricians. “It’s a great starting point.”
But women’s primary care doctors need to be involved, Gupta said, particularly since postpartum depression can persist, or surface relatively later after childbirth.
For the new study, published online this week in Pediatrics, Putnick’s team used data on 4,866 women in New York state. All took part in a research project on infertility treatment and its impact on child development.
During the study, mothers completed a five-question survey on depression symptoms when their baby was 4 months old, and then again when their child was 1, 2 and 3 years of age.
The study was done before the AAP recommendations came out, Putnick said, and it’s not clear what kind of screening or follow-up women might have gotten from their own providers.
Based on the study screening, new mothers followed four different trajectories: Three-quarters had few depressive symptoms throughout the three-year period; almost 13% had symptoms when their baby was 4 months old, but improved afterward; 8% initially had few symptoms, but developed more as their child grew older; and 4.5% had persistent depression symptoms.
Putnick stressed that the women only screened positive for symptoms. They were not diagnosed with clinical depression, and it’s unclear how many would need treatment, such as talk therapy or medication.
But the findings show that postpartum depression symptoms can be long-lasting, or arise relatively