Swimming in Cold Water Might Help Ward Off Dementia

If you’re fast approaching middle age (like I am) or are staring down the later years of your life and hoping to spend most of them lucid and enjoying the fruits of your labor, then keeping your mind in tact is likely something that interests you.

Dementia is scary, and it affects so many of our family and friends – which is why there’s so much research that goes into finding ways to combat it.

Most recently, a team from Cambridge University found that people who regularly swim outdoors in the winter had elevated levels of a protein that plays a key role in forming brain connections.

Image Credit: iStock

The protein in question has been found to help protect the brain against other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, too.

Professor Giovanna Mallucci, the Associate Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute, talked about the results in an online lecture.

Researchers have known for some time that the process of forming new synapses declines over time, and also that this process can be influenced by temperature. Hibernating mammals, for example, experience a loss of synapses when they sleep through the winter, but they are restored upon awakening in the spring.

A previous paper, published in Nature, revealed that a “cold shock” protein in the brain – RBM3 – is responsible.

In mice, exposure to freezing temperatures caused a loss of synapses… but that their RBM3 levels skyrocketed as they warmed up, allowing them to form healthy new ones.

Image Credit: iStock

Researchers then measured RBM3 levels in a group of outdoor swimming enthusiasts, all of whom became hypothermic during their chilly dips.

When compared to a group of non-swimmers, the ones who swam in cold water had higher levels of RBM3 in their blood, leading to the belief that hypothermic conditions does trigger the release of this key protein in humans, too.

This foundation is exciting and strong, but without peer-reviewed research or other, similar findings, we can’t say for sure that taking winter dips in the water will keep your brain healthy for years to come.

Image Credit: iStock

Letting yourself get too cold, or wandering too far down the path to hypothermia, is also deadly – so don’t try this at home until the scientists are sure it’s something that works.

So… just don’t do it alone. Or do it at the gym if they have a cold dip pool. We just don’t want you to drown or get hurt.

The good news for those of us how HATE being cold? If the RBM3 protein is shown to help regenerate skills, we’ll likely see the development of drugs that can help stimulate the desired responses without having to go swimming in the freezing cold.

Three cheers for science!

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People Are Sharing Things They’ll Miss About Lockdowns

Guess what, everyone?

The pandemic isn’t over yet! Not even close, in fact…

And, while we’re seeing a lot of people out there ACTING like things have improved, we all need to be smart about wearing a mask, keeping our distance from people, and washing our hands.

Regardless of all those pesky FACTS, people have been tweeting out what they’re going to miss about lockdown…whenever that happens. It’s good to dream, I guess…let’s take a look at what people had to say! Stay safe out there!

1. That’s a good thing.

Trust me, you’ll be able to hibernate this whole winter.

2. Awwwwww. Keep on enjoying that.

Looks like a good companion.

3. That is definitely a positive thing.

Let’s all keep ’em clean when this is over, okay?

4. The perfect excuse…

What’s YOURS?

5. They’re always there for you.

You gotta love that!

6. All kinds of experiments going on.

That can be good or bad…just ask your pets.

7. All kinds of good stuff.

You still have a good amount of time to enjoy all of this.

8. Pretty steady where I’m at.

That’s cheap!

9. Livin’ the life.

Like I said, lockdown ain’t going anywhere, so keep on enjoying it.

10. Guest appearance!

You know your co-workers love it!

11. Family is everything.

I’m sure they love having you there!

12. Oh come on, lighten up…

Give people a chance! It’s worth it!

Sorry, folks, but we still have quite a ways to go before we can get back to normal again…

Now we want to hear from you!

How are you spending your time during the lockdown?

Talk to us in the comments! And stay safe out there!

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Flight Attendant’s Video Highlights All of the (Many) Things You Should Never Touch on an Airplane

We’re all thinking more about germs and what we touch when we’re in public these days, and that goes double for indoor, confined spaces like airplanes. And while you’re probably not under any kind of illusion that commercial aircraft are super duper clean places, this flight attendant’s TikTok should probably still come with some kind of trigger warning.

Seriously, if you were a germaphobe before the whole pandemic situation, you might not want to subscribe to Kat Kamalani’s TikTok.

Kat has gone viral will all kinds of insider videos, in which she shares tips, tricks, and behind-the-scene knowledge from the airline industry.

Image Credit: TikTok

This video, though, shows all of the places on airplanes that people touch and touch and touch – and that only get cleaned at the end of the day.

As someone with a fairly severe peanut allergy, I’ve known for years that planes don’t really get cleaned between flights – which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, either, given how quick the turnaround is between deplaning and boarding the next set of passengers, right?

Image Credit: TikTok

If I don’t wipe down everything in my tiny sphere, I will end up with puffy eyes and more sneezes than I can clean up with a travel pack of Kleenex.

Which means someone (or many someone’s) have been there before me, touching everything in sight with peanut oil on their fingers.


Flight attendant hack. GROSS things on airplane. #flightattendants #fyp #flightattendantlife #lifehack #travelhacks

♬ original sound – Kat Kamalani

So, Kat’s video is just confirming all of that for me – and now you, too.

Her video has been viewed over 1.2 million times.

The next time I travel, I’m going to bring plenty of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer along for the ride…providing I can find them on the shelves.

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Hospital Workers Discuss Regrets They’ve Heard From Dying Patients

I’d like to think that when my time is up, I’ll have no regrets.

But I guess you never really know what that will be like until you reach the end of the road, right? I think that we can all agree that listening to people talk about regrets when they’re close to passing away has to be very hard…

Let’s take a look at these stories from folks on AskReddit.

1. Needed more time.

“I worked as an oncology nurse right out of nursing school. I was barely 21 years old.

Had a patient about my age who was dying of lung cancer. A few hours before he died I sat with him and he was telling me how much he wished that he would have had more time-to maybe fall in love, marry, have kids. He was so young.

He asked me to call his parents and he died shortly after they arrived. It was awful. His regrets were more about the life not lived. Many older patients had some interesting life stories and most wanted to tell them before they died.

Most were at peace with the life they lived. Many regretted working so much and not spending enough time with family.”

2. Cover up your skin!

“I was a hospice nurse. One of my elderly patients had skin cancer, a huge malignant melanoma on the side of his neck that was growing rapidly.

He had been a farmer all his life and never married. One night we were talking and I asked him if there was anything he wished he had done differently in his life, and he thought about it a minute and said he wished he had worn a hat when he was farming.

I wish he did too.”

3. I’m sorry I can’t help you.

“There was an old man. I’d play cards with him.

We’d talk about working on the farm we had. He was a nice guy. He figured out I was being physically abused. His health started declining and he couldn’t play cards or get out of bed. The last time I saw him.

He said he was sorry he wasn’t younger and that he couldn’t help me. Almost 25 yrs ago and I still remember him.”

4. Not yet.

“”Not yet! I can’t die yet. I still have so much growing to do. I want to see my children and grandchildren grow up…”

I am a physician trainee who has done a decent amount of palliative care. I have been privileged to hear many stories and be part of many deaths, but I still can’t explain why it is that certain lines remain with me and hit me so much harder.

The gentleman who told me the line above was in his late 60s-early 70s. It made me reflect on how I view patients in this age group – yes, much older than myself, but still with growing and living to do.”

5. A love story.

“I think of a woman in her 50s I met early on in my training.

She and her female partner had never married – partly due to laws, partly because it had never seemed important. When she was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer, they regretted never making that step.

I attended their small wedding in the hospital. She died a few days later.”

6. Heartbreaking.

“I had a patient who I was in the room with when her doctor explained she only had a few weeks to live. I knew her well, spent quite a bit of time talking to her up to the news.

The days that followed, she seemed to have accepted she was dying. She lived this beautiful, independent, and successful life, maybe not money successful, but just plain happy.

Anyways when I was helping her to the tub on day 10 since receiving the news, she just broke down crying and couldn’t stop crying about how much she wished she didn’t put her dog down b/c they could have died together.

Come to find out her dog was on his death bed too. I guess she put her dog down a few days before going into the hospital, she knew her life was over so she put him down first. She hated herself for it and for the fact she blew the opportunity for them to spend their last moments together. Really heartbreaking to watch, to hear that unfold.

She passed early in the morning two days later. I took a couple of mental health days off after she passed and spent some time looking up dogs to adopt and new jobs to apply for.”

7. Over a boy.

“I had a 17 year old girl that came in on a Tylenol overdose.

I normally don’t listen or really even get invested with patients because it’s usually the same faces on a loop but she kept trying to strike up a conversation and eventually I relented and she told me how stupid she was and it was over a boy and where she was going to go to college and what she wanted to do and basically her life story.

I left and she was stable in the ER. Next day I came in and asked if she went home or if she was in an inpatient unit. They told me she died a few hours after my shift.

It’s been like 5 years and thinking about it I start crying like a baby. I don’t cry. I think the last time I cried other than this was my grand pa passing but even that I can discuss without crying now.

Her death is the only thing that completely breaks me down.”

8. Different regrets.

“Top regret was not spending time with family and/or lost time due to a family feud.

Probably number two was wasting their life with their spouse (for various reasons) when they could have possibly been with someone they loved/met a soul mate.

Number three was usually not accomplishing a bucket list item such as living in a foreign country.”

9. This is horrible.

“27 year old male who tried to end his life, died from the injuries. I still remember it clearly, he told me his entire life story. I didn’t sleep for a few days after hearing it and sometimes it still haunts me to this day.

He was bullied in middle school straight until the end of high school. He had mild Aspergers and was quite intelligent but because of his looks and weird mannerisms he was picked on.

Then it got worse.

The girls would make him drink out of the toilet, the guys would chokehold him until he passed out or tied him up inside the gym and woke up alone after school ended, only to go home and get beaten by his parents for being late.

The girls would often make up fake accusations and he’d be suspended, only to be beaten up by parents once more. The guys would steal his clothes and toss them in the dumpster only for him to go crawling in it while naked.

The girls would replace his lunch with rotten food or feces, the guys would pelt him with rocks. It was just unf*cking believable.

He finished high school but just barely, dropped out of college and left home to go into the service industry but it only got worse for him there as he couldn’t do well with stress.

He had his own issues, said he was one of those incels and his only reason for living was so that others could abuse him to make themselves feel better. Told me he tried to end it because he was tired of it and also financially broken by then (this was around 2008 mind you).

He said he wish he stood up for himself from the start, perhaps things would have turned out differently for him.

He passed away a few days later while I was off shift. We all knew inside that he wasn’t going to make it from the start given his injuries, but I still listened to the story and it haunts me to this day.

I hope he’s at peace now.”

10. Didn’t get the surgery.

“I remember of this 40 year old patient that I had was dying from breast cancer that spread throughout her body. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years earlier and had a mastectomy.

The doctor recommended for her to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction due to high risk of recurrence of cancer. She said that she wanted to keep her breast (a real breast rather than an implant) incase she remarries and will be somewhat whole.

She regretted not getting the bilateral mastectomy. If she did, she would not gotten cancer in her remaining breast and dying at such a young age. The patient never ended up marrying after all.

A week later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I instantly told the doctor that I want a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I also had an aggressive form of cancer.

My doctor kept pushing a lumpectomy which I probably would’ve gotten before I have heard how much she regretted her decision. I feel that she actually saved my life sharing and opening up with her regret of all time.”

11. A better father…

“He wished he had been a better father to his daughter.

He wished they had reconnected. His dementia prevented him from remembering they had reconnected years before and that she visited often.

I wish I could have made him aware that he had accomplished his last wish. But he died not really understanding that.”

12. What they didn’t get to do.

“I’m a hospice social worker, so I have the honor of getting to listen to peoples’ life stories, including favorite memories and regrets. Most regrets center around what they didn’t get to do, like never traveling to Italy when their family was originally from Naples.

Some regret not getting specific education – wanting to go to college but never doing it. Some regret their choice in partner, especially when alcohol/drug abuse was involved, or cheating. Many express a sadness that looks a lot like regret if they are estranged from family. And some have anticipatory grief from knowing they will miss a milestone, like the birth of a grandchild.

Some regret not taking better care of their health (people with COPD who regret ever having a cigarette). In general life is long and time smooths some of the rough edges, so people tend to focus on the good.”

13. More time.

“I work in a hospital. Whenever someone is at the end of their life, they always just want to be with their loved ones.

Any regrets I’ve heard is always family related. They wanted more time with the people they love. Most people are at peace with things though.

People also tend to wish they took their health seriously.”

14. Frank.

“He was one of my first patients as a nursing student, named Frank. He was 92.

After knowing him a few days, he disclosed to me his regret was outliving everyone he loved.. that he and his wife hadn’t had kids, and he was “all that was left” and that he wanted to see his wife again.

I wasn’t sure how to respond , so I just listened… and it made me realize how living so long isn’t great if everyone you love is gone.

He passed away later that week, and while I distinctly recall some of my classmates being upset, I felt relief for him. I knew he was where he wanted to be. I’ve had many patients since, but you tend to remember your first ones.”

Have you ever heard any last words from someone?

Patients? Friends? Loved ones?

Please share your stories with us in the comments.

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This Chart Could Help You Decide What Time to Put Your Kid to Bed

Bedtimes can be sort of controversial because everyone does things differently, and yet everyone thinks they’re right.

Here’s my take: you can’t really win. Your kid is going to sleep or not according to their whims.

If you put them to bed early, they’ll wake up at the crack of dawn, but if you put them to bed late, they might still be up with the sun.

Image Credit: iStock

If you miss your window, and they get overtired? Forget having an evening to watch television and veg with your partner, my friend.

If you’re wondering what the experts have to say about appropriate bedtimes for your child’s age, this handy dandy chart should be able to help.

One thing we know for sure is that kids need more sleep than adults, and not getting enough can negatively impact their ability to thrive and learn throughout the day – which is why it makes sense that an elementary school is who posted the chart to Facebook in the first place.

Helpful information!

Posted by Wilson Elementary on Friday, August 28, 2015

Parents have a lot of thoughts, many of which are that it’s not exactly possible to make these bedtimes happen for a slew of reasons – sports, illness, schoolwork, etc.

That said, I think the point is to remind parents that sleep is important, and kids who are under 13 shouldn’t be allowed to set as late a bedtime as they would like.

There’s been plenty of discussion, considering the post has 64,000 reactions, 463,000 shares, and over 14,000 comments, but the people who posted it are staunch in their belief that guidelines aren’t rules, and both have to be applied to individual children and families.

Image Credit: iStock

You know your child best, and you know what scheduling demands exist in your life, but don’t forget to make sleep a priority.

Hopefully that means you’ll get some much-needed shuteye of your own!

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People Share Important Facts That Could Save Lives

Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter the most.

And sometimes those little things are facts that most people don’t know about that could end up saving their lives one day.

Hey, we only get one shot at this life thing, so we might as well soak up all the knowledge we can, especially when it comes to our health and well-being.

Here’s what AskReddit users had to say about little-known facts that could save lives.

1. Just in case.

“Take Benadryl to the forest with you.

The forest is full of life forms you do not usually come into contact with, in other words a treasure trove of allergies you didn’t know you had.

A hiker carrying Benadryl saved my brothers best friend after he stepped in a hornet’s nest with no known allergies.”

2. Am I being followed?

“If you think you’re being followed, take four lefts or four rights.

You went in a circle. If they are still behind you, you’re being followed.

Call 911.”

3. What’s that smell?

“If something stinks like fish or something similar around your room or around your house, check the outlets, most likely they are overheating.

Smell around the house and find the stench. If it goes unnoticed there will most likely be an electrical fire.

Almost happened to me, in the bathroom.”

4. That wouldn’t be good.

“If you see someone drowning give them something to grab onto.

If you get close to them they will instinctively grab onto you, endangering both of you.”

5. Hmmm…

“Essential oils have a high risk of causing seizures, organ failure, and death in children and pets.

So it’s best to just not use them around them at all.”

6. Know your location.

“Always know the address where you are at, especially if you are in a hotel or on vacation.

I work emergency services and the it can literally be the difference between life and death in some cases especially if you cannot stay on the phone!

Stay safe out there people!”

7. Wilderness survival.

“If you’re lost in the wild, don’t follow herbivores thinking they’ll show you to food while also not attacking you.

Herbivores WILL attack you if they feel threatened, and the difference between them and carnivores is that if you prove to a carnivore you’re not worth it then they’ll leave you alone, but if a herbivore attacks you, it means it’s downright angry at you.

Practically nothing you do will make it stop. Just don’t follow dangerous animals in general, whether they’re carnivores, herbivores or omnivores.”

8. In the water.

“If you fall into water with your pants on, you can use them as a makeshift life vest.

Kick off your shoes. Remove your pants (this is the hardest part). Tie the pant legs together with a square knot (two overhand knots). Place the knot behind your head. Grab the pant opening on both sides, lift it out of the water, then slap it down on the water surface. This will capture air in the pants.

Repeat until they inflate enough. Pinch the opening closed and hold it with one hand.”

9. Don’t eat!

“If your stomach ever gets stabbed/shot, you’ll get super hungry and the last thing you should do is eat.

When you eat, blood rushes to your stomach so eating when it’s been cut could lead you to bleed out.”

10. Follow the leader.

“If a service dog comes up to you without it’s human, follow it.

They are trained to find a person to bring back and assist if their owner needs assistance that’s out of their paws.”

11. I didn’t know that.

“You can die from carbon monoxide just by riding on or near the back of a boat.

Happens to people all the time.”

12. Interesting.

“This might seem like an obvious one but kids who wear darker colored coats/clothes are much more likely to be kidnapped.

The brighter your kids clothing the 1. Less likely it is that they’ll be kidnapped and 2. The more likely it is that the kidnapping event will be witnessed And therefore stopped or -at the very least- the investigation will start sooner, and you’re more likely to get a description of the kidnapper.

So basically, make your kids wear bright colors. Make them get bright winter coats and neon backpacks. Orange, Red, bright pink, and lime green are supposed to be the best colors.”

13. Sleep apnea.

“There are 22 million people in the U.S. right now who have sleep apnea, yet only 20% of them will seek treatment. If neglected, sleep apnea leads to memory loss, cognitive damage, chronic fatigue, and even heart attacks.

When we are awake, our throat muscles contract to keep the air passage in our throats open. However, when we sleep, our throat muscles relax, and if your throat is narrow enough, the sagging tissue can block your air passage. The most noticeable symptom of a blocked airway is SNORING.

If you snore, go to your ENT and ask for a sleep study, especially if you are overweight or over the age of 50, as these conditions dramatically increase your chances of having sleep apnea.

You’re probably wondering how sleep apnea can cause long term memory loss and heart attacks.

When your air passage closes, your brain goes into emergency mode to open your throat. Unfortunately, this also will yank you out of REM sleep. The lack of quality sleep over time can cause memory loss and fatigue. A different mechanism causes heart attacks.

When your air passage closes, your heart is suddenly forced to work harder to circulate the little oxygen left in your blood. This event can occur hundreds of times a night, and it is very stressful on your heart. Over time, this can trigger a heart attack.

Do yourself a favor and see your doctor about sleep apnea. By doing so, you’ll improve your memory, stop waking up exhausted, have a healthier heart, and you’ll won’t snore anymore.

The difference is night and day. I promise.”

14. Don’t say a word.

“If you’re ever in legal problems abroad, do nothing, say nothing and sign nothing until a diplomatic agent from your embassy or consulate is with you.

It may mean being stuck in a holding cell for days, but it’s better than what you can potentially get yourself in.”

How about you?

Do you know any facts that might help save a life?

If so, please share them with us in the comments! Thanks!

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