The Observer view on best medical practice for pregnant women | Observer editorial

13/08/2017 Observer leader 0

The ideal birth is the one that is safest for mother and baby

The announcement by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) on Saturday that it will finally abandon its “normal birth” campaign is overdue but welcome. By promoting “normal” over medical births, the campaign has for too long dangerously implied that a non-medical birth is superior to one in which doctors are involved. Given that we have had firm evidence for more than two years that, in the very worst cases, normal birth ideology has contributed to the tragic and unnecessary deaths of women and babies, the only question is why it has taken the RCM so long to act.

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A Fun Fashionista Day at The Met Costume Exhibition

12/08/2017 helen 0

Being a fashionista at heart (although I now wear yoga leggings most days), I so look forward to my yearly visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) Costume Exhibition with my BFF J and BFF N. It is a high point of the summer. This year was no exception. The exhibition was a feast for the eyes and I can’t wait to share my photos.

Are you ready for a visual extravaganza?

The 2017 “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” exhibition features the Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, who designs under the label Comme des Garçons. Kawakubo is in her mid-70s today and is a true artist. The exhibition is mesmerizing with clothes artfully displayed atop and inside geometrically arranged white display cases and cylinders.

Are you ready to be transformed by fashion as art?

“Her fashions not only stand apart from the genealogy of clothing but also resist definition and confound interpretation. They can be read as Zen koans or riddles devised to baffle, bemuse, and bewilder,” notes the printed guide. “At the center of her work are the koan mu (emptiness) and the related notion of ma (space), which coexist in the concept of the ‘in-between.'”

Are you ready to channel your inner fashionista?

We followed the map around the exhibition, which led us on a path through nine expressions of Kawakubo’s ‘in-betweenness’: Absence/Presence; Design/Not Design; Fashion/Antifashion; Model/Multiple; High/Low; Then/Now; Self/Other; Object/Subject; and Clothes/Not Clothes.

The duality of the designs reminded me of my yoga studies and the duality and equanimity we try to create with yoga poses. In fact, it was so Zen in the exhibition hall at times I wished I could have put down a mat and done yoga among the clothes. (I wonder if The Met would like to have me host a Kawakubo yoga session. Maybe I should ask them.)

Are you ready for my Insta-worthy Kawakubo photos?

Ooh, ahh, ooh, ahh! 

Drumroll please! 

1. Absence/Presence: “My clothes and the species they inhabit are inseparable—they are one and the same. They convey the same vision, the same message and the same sense of values.”  Rei Kawakubo (2017).

 

5.2 High/Low: “There’s value in bad taste.” Rei Kawakubo (2008).

7. Self/Other: From Kawakubo’s Cubism spring/summer 2007 collection.

7.3.4 Child/Adult: “Focuses on ensembles that not only challenge the rules of age-appropriate dressing but also engage the concept of kawaii (cuteness)—a key aspect of Japanese popular culture.” This pink floral dress features an oversize stuffed teddy bear camouflaged within frills. (Spring/summer 2014).

8. Object/Subject: These Body Meets Dress—Dress Meets Body dresses and coats are padded with goose down. Spring/summer 1997.

9.1 Form/Function: “Personally, I don’t care about function at all … When I hear ‘Where could you wear that?’ or ‘It’s not very wearable,’ or ‘Who would wear that?’ to me it’s just a sign that someone missed the point.” Kawakubo 2009 and 2014

9.4 War/Peace: From the Blood and Roses 2015 Collection. “Roses and Blood appear in both literal and abstract form, and both are represented through the color palette—poppy red.”

9.4 War/Peace: From the Flowering Clothes Collection, autumn/winter 1996-97.

9.7 Order/Chaos: Collection 18th-Century Punk. “The clothes conflate the pneumatic structures and hyperbolic silhouettes of the 1700s with the leitmotifs of 1970s punk.” Autumn/winter 2016-17.

Did you like the photos? Which outfit would you wear? Leave a comment and LMK. (Personally, I would like to try on the red gingham with the goose down humps. Rihanna wore one of the dresses from the Punk Collection at the 2017 Met Gala.)

If you are a fashionista like me and want to be inspired by the entire exhibition I encourage you to take a trip to The Met, where Rei Kawakubo designs are on display through September 4. Or go to this link, scroll down the page to The Met video, and watch the video narrated by Met Costume Institute Curator Andrew Bolton.

This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.

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Costume exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a study in the duality of design—and a feast for the eyes.

A Fun Fashionista Day at The Met Costume Exhibition

12/08/2017 helen 0

Being a fashionista at heart (although I now wear yoga leggings most days), I so look forward to my yearly visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) Costume Exhibition with my BFF J and BFF N. It is a high point of the summer. This year was no exception. The exhibition was a feast for the eyes and I can’t wait to share my photos.

Are you ready for a visual extravaganza?

The 2017 “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” exhibition features the Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, who designs under the label Comme des Garçons. Kawakubo is in her mid-70s today and is a true artist. The exhibition is mesmerizing with clothes artfully displayed atop and inside geometrically arranged white display cases and cylinders.

Are you ready to be transformed by fashion as art?

“Her fashions not only stand apart from the genealogy of clothing but also resist definition and confound interpretation. They can be read as Zen koans or riddles devised to baffle, bemuse, and bewilder,” notes the printed guide. “At the center of her work are the koan mu (emptiness) and the related notion of ma (space), which coexist in the concept of the ‘in-between.'”

Are you ready to channel your inner fashionista?

We followed the map around the exhibition, which led us on a path through nine expressions of Kawakubo’s ‘in-betweenness’: Absence/Presence; Design/Not Design; Fashion/Antifashion; Model/Multiple; High/Low; Then/Now; Self/Other; Object/Subject; and Clothes/Not Clothes.

The duality of the designs reminded me of my yoga studies and the duality and equanimity we try to create with yoga poses. In fact, it was so Zen in the exhibition hall at times I wished I could have put down a mat and done yoga among the clothes. (I wonder if The Met would like to have me host a Kawakubo yoga session. Maybe I should ask them.)

Are you ready for my Insta-worthy Kawakubo photos?

Ooh, ahh, ooh, ahh! 

Drumroll please! 

1. Absence/Presence: “My clothes and the species they inhabit are inseparable—they are one and the same. They convey the same vision, the same message and the same sense of values.”  Rei Kawakubo (2017).

 

5.2 High/Low: “There’s value in bad taste.” Rei Kawakubo (2008).

7. Self/Other: From Kawakubo’s Cubism spring/summer 2007 collection.

7.3.4 Child/Adult: “Focuses on ensembles that not only challenge the rules of age-appropriate dressing but also engage the concept of kawaii (cuteness)—a key aspect of Japanese popular culture.” This pink floral dress features an oversize stuffed teddy bear camouflaged within frills. (Spring/summer 2014).

8. Object/Subject: These Body Meets Dress—Dress Meets Body dresses and coats are padded with goose down. Spring/summer 1997.

9.1 Form/Function: “Personally, I don’t care about function at all … When I hear ‘Where could you wear that?’ or ‘It’s not very wearable,’ or ‘Who would wear that?’ to me it’s just a sign that someone missed the point.” Kawakubo 2009 and 2014

9.4 War/Peace: From the Blood and Roses 2015 Collection. “Roses and Blood appear in both literal and abstract form, and both are represented through the color palette—poppy red.”

9.4 War/Peace: From the Flowering Clothes Collection, autumn/winter 1996-97.

9.7 Order/Chaos: Collection 18th-Century Punk. “The clothes conflate the pneumatic structures and hyperbolic silhouettes of the 1700s with the leitmotifs of 1970s punk.” Autumn/winter 2016-17.

Did you like the photos? Which outfit would you wear? Leave a comment and LMK. (Personally, I would like to try on the red gingham with the goose down humps. Rihanna wore one of the dresses from the Punk Collection at the 2017 Met Gala.)

If you are a fashionista like me and want to be inspired by the entire exhibition I encourage you to take a trip to The Met, where Rei Kawakubo designs are on display through September 4. Or go to this link, scroll down the page to The Met video, and watch the video narrated by Met Costume Institute Curator Andrew Bolton.

This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.

Pull Quote: 
Costume exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a study in the duality of design—and a feast for the eyes.
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Long Description: 
Costume exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a study in the duality of design—and a feast for the eyes.

The growing gulf in life expectancy shows how austerity has deepened inequalities

12/08/2017 Denis Campbell 0

The prime minister vowed to fight health injustice. These new figures must be a wake-up call

Public health experts sometimes rework the map of a city’s train or underground system to illustrate the wide differences in life expectancy between wealthy areas and poor ones. For example, every one of the eight stops travelled on the London tube’s Jubilee line east from Westminster, the heart of government, to post-industrial Canning Town in the East End counts for up to a year in diminished life expectancy.

In Glasgow, in the course of the seven-stop trip south-east from Jordanhill to Bridgeton, the average male life expectancy drops from 75.8 years to 61.9 years. In Newcastle upon Tyne, adults living near the airport can hope to remain free of disease and disability – to enjoy healthy life – until just before they turn 75. But a few miles east in Byker that enviable period typically ends before the official retirement age, at just 63.8 years.

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The growing gulf in life expectancy shows how austerity has deepened inequalities

12/08/2017 Denis Campbell 0

The prime minister vowed to fight health injustice. These new figures must be a wake-up call

Public health experts sometimes rework the map of a city’s train or underground system to illustrate the wide differences in life expectancy between wealthy areas and poor ones. For example, every one of the eight stops travelled on the London tube’s Jubilee line east from Westminster, the heart of government, to post-industrial Canning Town in the East End counts for up to a year in diminished life expectancy.

In Glasgow, in the course of the seven-stop trip south-east from Jordanhill to Bridgeton, the average male life expectancy drops from 75.8 years to 61.9 years. In Newcastle upon Tyne, adults living near the airport can hope to remain free of disease and disability – to enjoy healthy life – until just before they turn 75. But a few miles east in Byker that enviable period typically ends before the official retirement age, at just 63.8 years.

Continue reading…

Health inequality gap ‘is still growing’ in England, new Department of Health data shows

Poor people face years of failing health and earlier death compared to the rich, despite government pledges to reduce inequality

The health gap between rich and poor is growing in England, according to shocking figures compiled by the Department of Health.

Despite government pledges to reduce inequalities in areas such as life expectancy and susceptibility to disability and disease, those living in the most deprived areas of the country run a greater risk of premature death, seeing a child die soon after it is born, and of ending up in hospital as an emergency case. Differing health outcomes for the rich and the poor were identified by Theresa May last year as a “burning injustice”.

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Health inequality gap ‘is still growing’ in England, new Department of Health data shows

Poor people face years of failing health and earlier death compared to the rich, despite government pledges to reduce inequality

The health gap between rich and poor is growing in England, according to shocking figures compiled by the Department of Health.

Despite government pledges to reduce inequalities in areas such as life expectancy and susceptibility to disability and disease, those living in the most deprived areas of the country run a greater risk of premature death, seeing a child die soon after it is born, and of ending up in hospital as an emergency case. Differing health outcomes for the rich and the poor were identified by Theresa May last year as a “burning injustice”.

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How Safe and Effective Is Your Sunscreen?

12/08/2017 helen 0

HealthDay News

FRIDAY, Aug. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News)—It may be easier than ever to find sunscreen with all the right stuff, but be sure to read the label or you could still get burned.

Most sunscreens sold at major U.S. retailers and their websites now offer broad-spectrum protection, are water-resistant and have an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher as the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends, a new study found.

But more than a third of sunscreens sold by several of the nation’s largest retailers fell short. Forty-one percent of sunscreens did not meet all three recommendations, researchers from the University of Miami and University of Michigan reported.

Tanning and bronzing products, in particular, tended to be lacking, the researchers said.

In a follow-up to a 2014 study, the researchers checked more than 470 sunscreens available at big pharmacy websites to see if they met the AAD guidelines.

“Even in just three years, we’ve seen pretty impressive improvement,” said Dr. Matilda Nicholas, a board-certified dermatologist at Duke Health in Durham, N.C. “But I think there’s still confusion, based on what my patients ask me.”

The study found:

  • More than 8 out of 10 sunscreens sold at two chains have the recommended SPF of 30 or higher.
  • More than 9 out of 10 products checked give broad-spectrum protection, meaning they block both UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays. UVA penetrates the skin more deeply and is thought to cause more skin aging. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn. Both cause skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States, affecting 1 in 5 Americans, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
  • More than three-quarters of sunscreens evaluated are water-resistant for 40 to 80 minutes.
  • In all, about 70 percent of products met all three AAD recommendations. As with the 2014 study, tanning and bronzing products were far less likely to do so.

“We had hypothesized that not much would have changed, but there were some positive results and hopefully, we will continue to move in the right direction,” said study corresponding author Dr. Ariel Eva Eber, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

She said the availability of more products with broad-spectrum protection was especially positive.

“It’s the one thing that maybe a general person would not understand about,” Eber said. “They hear about SPF and water resistance, but if someone just went aimlessly to pick sunscreen off a shelf, they’d probably end up with one with broad-spectrum coverage, and that’s encouraging.”

Alex Webb of Hillsborough, N.C., spends a lot of time outdoors. He hikes, hunts and fishes and works part-time for a construction company. Like many baby boomers, he had some bad sunburns as a kid, boosting his skin cancer risk. So he tries to be careful.

“When I’m out in the sun, I apply sunscreen, wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses,” said Webb, 64. “I also have a couple of SPF long sleeve shirts of thin material for hot weather. I look for some shade and take an umbrella for the beach.”

He’s also extra careful at the shore, mindful that the reflection from water and sand “seems to make you burn quicker.”

That’s savvy strategy, according to Duke’s Nicholas, who noted many people seem confused about sun protection. She suspects it’s because there are so many different sunscreens—from lotions to foams to sprays.

Her No. 1 recommendation: Look for a product containing zinc oxide.

The same ingredient in diaper creams, zinc oxide blocks both UVA and UVB rays, Nicholas said. For kids and adults who sweat or swim a lot, zinc oxide sticks are easy to use. Products containing titanium dioxide are also effective sunblockers, she added.

“If you choose zinc oxide 30 SPF or higher, it’d be pretty hard to go wrong. But I remind my patients that no sunscreen will work if you don’t use it,” Nicholas said.

And, she added, don’t be stingy. Most people use too little product. A golf-ball-sized glob will provide head-to-toe coverage for most, and it should be reapplied every two hours—at least.

If you’re swimming or sweating a lot, reapply every 40 to 80 minutes as directed on the label. Products designed for wet skin can be slathered on without toweling off, and different formulas have different feels, Nicholas said. Choose one that offers good protection and has a feel you like.

Be wary of so-called “natural” products with herbal ingredients, she advised, and compare product labels. Products marketed for infants often have ingredients identical to others but may cost more.

The safest strategy is also the cheapest.

“It’s hard for people to hear this, but sometimes it’s just best to seek shade in the middle of the day,” Nicholas said. “In the summer, it’s really challenging to completely protect yourself.”

The study was published as a letter in the August issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

SOURCES: Ariel Eva Eber, M.D., University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Matilda Nicholas, M.D., Ph.D., dermatologist, Duke Health, and associate professor, dermatology, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Alex Webb, outdoorsman/construction worker, Hillsborough, N.C.; August 2017, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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It may be easier than ever to find sunscreen with all the right stuff, but be sure to read the label or you could still get burned.

What I’m really thinking: the woman with breast cancer

12/08/2017 Anonymous 0

I grieve for the family celebrations I may miss, growing older with my husband, having grandchildren

There are days when I’m full of anger and sadness, and other moments when I appreciate the miracle of life. Every gesture, song or conversation now carries a deeper meaning. The intensity of hugging my husband and daughters is often unbearable, and I grieve every day for the life that cancer took away from me.

Stage four cancer sucks optimism, hope and eventually even breath. It’s like being in a very slow but inevitable fatal car crash that you replay in your mind over and over. At first, you try to navigate yourself through oncology terminology, treatments, diagnosis, scans, but later you realise there is no safety belt or steering wheel to hold on to. I have incredible support and love, but I often feel very alone in my thoughts and experiences. I can’t relate to others who have the privilege of good health or the power to improve their situations.

Related: What I’m really thinking: the eldest child

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