The 1 Lipstick Makeup Artists Always Have in Their Kits

Not to brag, but I’ve had full lips since birth, so properly showing them off is an absolute necessity for me. While I always make sure to keep them properly hydrated with a good lip balm, choosing the right lipstick shade and texture is also key to making sure they look their best. With so many types of lipsticks on the market, it can be really hard to narrow down the best options for my lips, and I almost always have questions. Will this matte lipstick keep my lips hydrated enough? Is this color too over-the-top for my skin tone?

Whether I’d like to admit it or not, I often tend to stick with my tried and true favorites when it comes to dressing up my lips—which is likely a choice between three or more different nudes. Since makeup artists are pros when it comes to using the best products, I asked a few artists for their expert recommendations.

Human gut study questions probiotic health benefits

Probiotics are found in everything from chocolate and pickles to hand lotion and baby formula, and millions of people buy probiotic supplements to boost digestive health. But new research suggests they might not be as effective as we think. Through a series of experiments looking inside the human gut, researchers show that many people’s digestive tracts prevent standard probiotics from successfully colonizing them. Furthermore, taking probiotics to counterbalance antibiotics could delay the return of normal gut bacteria and gut gene expression to their naïve state. The research publishes as two back-to-back papers on September 6 in the journal Cell.

“People have thrown a lot of support to probiotics, even though the literature underlying our understanding of them is very controversial; we wanted to determine whether probiotics such as the ones you buy in the supermarket do colonize the gastrointestinal tract like they’re supposed to, and then whether these probiotics are having any impact on the human host,” says senior author Eran Elinav, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. “Surprisingly, we saw that many healthy volunteers were actually resistant in that the probiotics couldn’t colonize their GI tracts. This suggests that probiotics should not be universally given as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ supplement. Instead, they could be tailored to the needs of each individual.”

While past studies have investigated similar questions, they have all used patients’ excrement as a proxy for microbe activity in the GI tract. Instead, Elinav, his colleague Eran Segal, (a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute), and their teams spearheaded by Niv Zmora, Jotham Suez, Gili Zilberman Schapira, and Uria Mor of the Elinav lab collaborated with Zamir Halpern, Chief of Gastroenterology at the Tel Aviv Medical Center to measure gut colonization directly.

In the first study, 25 human volunteers underwent upper endoscopies and colonoscopies to sample their baseline microbiome in regions of the gut. 15 of those volunteers were then divided into two groups. The first group consumed generic probiotic strains, while the second was administered a placebo. Both groups then underwent a second round of upper endoscopies and colonoscopies to assess their internal response before being followed for another 2 months.

The scientists discovered that the probiotics successfully colonized the GI tracts of some people, called the “persisters,” while the gut microbiomes of “resisters” expelled them. Moreover, the persister and resister patterns would determine whether probiotics, in a given person, would impact their indigenous microbiome and human gene expression. The researchers could predict whether a person would be a persister or resister just by examining their baseline microbiome and gut gene expression profile.

They also found that stool only partially correlates with the microbiome functioning inside the body, so relying on stool as was done in previous studies for many years could be misleading.

“Although all of our probiotic-consuming volunteers showed probiotics in their stool, only some of them showed them in their gut, which is where they need to be,” says Segal. “If some people resist and only some people permit them, the benefits of the standard probiotics we all take can’t be as universal as we once thought. These results highlight the role of the gut microbiome in driving very specific clinical differences between people.”

In the second study, the researchers questioned whether patients should be taking probiotics to counter the effects of antibiotics, as they are often told to do in order to repopulate the gut microbiota after it’s cleared by antibiotic treatment. To look at this, 21 volunteers were given a course of antibiotics and then randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first was a “watch-and-wait” group that let their microbiome recover on its own. The second group was administered the same generic probiotics used in the first study. The third group was treated with an autologous fecal microbiome transplant (aFMT) made up of their own bacteria that had been collected before giving them the antibiotic.

After the antibiotics had cleared the way, the standard probiotics could easily colonize the gut of everyone in the second group, but to the team’s surprise, this probiotic colonization prevented the host’s normal microbiome and gut gene expression profile from returning to their normal state for months afterward. In contrast, the aFMT resulted in the third group’s native gut microbiome and gene program returning to normal within days.

“Contrary to the current dogma that probiotics are harmless and benefit everyone, these results reveal a new potential adverse side effect of probiotic use with antibiotics that might even bring long-term consequences,” Elinav says. “In contrast, replenishing the gut with one’s own microbes is a personalized mother-nature-designed treatment that led to a full reversal of the antibiotics’ effects.”

Segal adds, “This opens the door to diagnostics that would take us from an empiric universal consumption of probiotics, which appears useless in many cases, to one that is tailored to the individual and can be prescribed to different individuals based on their baseline features.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

How exercise generates new neurons, improves cognition in Alzheimer’s mouse

A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team finds that neurogenesis -inducing the production of new neurons — in the brain structure in which memories are encoded can improve cognitive function in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Their investigation shows that those beneficial effects on cognition can be blocked by the hostile inflammatory environment present in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and that physical exercise can “clean up” the environment, allowing new nerve cells to survive and thrive and improving cognition in the Alzheimer’s mice.

“In our study we showed that exercise is one of the best ways to turn on neurogenesis and then, by figuring out the molecular and genetic events involved, we determined how to mimic the beneficial effects of exercise through gene therapy and pharmacological agents,” says Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, vice-chair of the Department of Neurology and co-director of the Henry and Alison McCance Center for Brain Health at MGH and senior author of the paper published in Science.

Lead author, Se Hoon Choi, Ph.D., of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit adds, “While we do not yet have the means for safely achieving the same effects in patients, we determined the precise protein and gene targets for developing ways to do so in the future.”

Adult neurogenesis — production of new neurons occurring after the embryonic and, in some animals, neonatal periods — takes place in the hippocampus and another brain structure called the striatum. While adult hippocampal neurogenesis is essential to learning and memory, how the process impacts neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease has not been well understood. The MGH team set out to investigate how impairment of adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) contributed to Alzheimer’s disease pathology and cognitive function in a mouse model and whether increasing AHN could reduce symptoms.

Their experiments showed that AHN could be induced in the model either by exercise or by treatment with drugs and gene therapy that promoted the birth of neural progenitor cells. Behavioral testing of animals revealed limited cognitive benefits for animals in which neurogenesis had been induced pharmacologically and genetically. But animals in which AHN was induced by exercise showed improved cognitive performance and reduced levels of beta-amyloid.

“Although exercise-induced AHN improved cognition in Alzheimer’s mice by turning on neurogenesis, trying to achieve that result by using gene therapy and drugs did not help,” Tanzi explains. “That was because newly born neurons, induced by drugs and gene therapy, were not able to survive in brain regions already ravaged by Alzheimer’s pathology, particularly neuroinflammation. So we asked how neurogenesis induced by exercise differs.”

Choi says, “We found the key difference was that exercise also turned on the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF — known to be important for the growth and survival of neurons — which created a more hospitable brain environment for the new neurons to survive. By combining drugs and gene therapy that both induced neurogenesis and increased BDNF production, we were able to successfully mimic the effects of exercise on cognitive function” Choi is an assistant professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Tanzi adds,”The lesson learned was that it is not enough just to turn on the birth of new nerve cells, you must simultaneously ‘clean up’ the neighborhood in which they are being born to make sure the new cells survive and thrive. Exercise can achieve that, but we found ways of mimicking those beneficial cognitive effects by the application of drugs and gene therapy that simultaneously turn on neurogenesis and BDNF production.”

In another part of the study, the investigators found that blocking neurogenesis in young Alzheimer’s mice shortly after birth led to more pronounced cognitive deficits later in life. “We will next explore whether safely promoting neurogenesis in Alzheimer’s patients will help alleviate the symptoms of the disease and whether doing so in currently healthy individuals earlier in life can help prevent symptoms later on,” says Tanzi, the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at HMS. “We are very excited to now investigate ways of implementing our new findings to more effectively treat and prevent this terrible disease.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Gender identities disrupted — and reinforced

New Northwestern University research analyzing the ways children’s gender narratives reinforce or disrupt gender inequality found that older children — and girls — are more likely to tell alternative narratives that disrupted the gender status quo.

In the study, a racially diverse group of more than 230 children, ages 7 to 12 years old, told four types of narratives about their gender identities. The analysis revealed two “master narratives” (difference and genderblind), which are shared cultural stories defined as those that reinforce the existing gender hierarchy and “alternative narratives” (incongruent and counternarrative) as those that disrupt it.

“To date, master narratives have only been used with emerging adults,” said Onnie Rogers, author of the study and assistant professor of psychology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. “But by middle childhood, children are capable of narrating stories about their own lives and about gendered experiences.”

Rogers said a surprising result was the consistency of the use of the “difference” narrative across age and racial groups. Younger and older children, black and white children were equally likely to tell this narrative, which speaks to the ubiquity of the master narrative.

Children who told “difference” narratives spoke about gender in ways that emphasized the differences between boys and girls.

For example, a third-grader defined what being a boy means to him in one word: “Sports.” Girls in the “difference” narrative similarly relied on stereotypes and group comparisons. Being a girl is important, according to one fifth-grader, “because I don’t really like boys’ clothes…I like being a girl because girls are pretty.”

When asked to imagine how things would be different if he was not a boy, one fifth-grader said: “It would be a lot different because you wouldn’t be able to play football or anything.”

The “difference” narrative was the primary version of the master narrative, capturing 61 percent of the sample.

“The idea of not being able to play or be anything if navigating the world as a different gender exemplifies an ideology of difference,” said Rogers, also a faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.

In a second master narrative, “genderblind” children characterized gender as inconsequential: “It [gender] doesn’t really matter because you’re still a human being,” said a fourth-grade girl.

Very few children, 3 percent, were coded in this narrative type.

Rogers said it’s conceivable to interpret these genderblind narratives as children who do not want to discuss gender or held egalitarian values, and thus more representative of an alternative narrative.

“But, given that ‘blindness’ and ‘silence’ exacerbates rather than attenuates social inequality, it seems compelling that this narrative may function to reinforce rather than disrupt the master narrative,” she said.

The “incongruent” narrative was one of the two alternative narratives, capturing 22 percent of the sample.

Incongruent narratives characterized children whose gender stories seemed to express conflict or discordance, as they espoused one of the master narratives but also questioned it.

For example, a second-grade girl, when asked what she likes about being a girl, said: “I like everything about being a girl!” Yet, when asked if there is anything hard about being a girl, said: “I don’t like being a girl and being treated like — sometimes people treat me like trash.”

Rogers said the incongruent narrative was the most interesting pattern they discovered.

“As we analyzed the data, we discovered that children were speaking in two voices — a voice of society, what they are ‘supposed to say’ and a more authentic voice that seemed to represent their own experiences,” she said.

The final alternative narrative type, the “counternarrative,” which was 13 percent of the sample, more explicitly challenged the master narrative.

When asked how important being a girl is, a fourth-grader answered: “A lot, because some people think that boys are better, and I just want to change that.” A sixth-grade girl explained how it was unfair that boys did not let her join their “boy game” at recess.

“Children who told counternarratives stood apart because they explicitly stated that there are inequalities related to gender,” Rogers said. “We mostly discuss the ways in which children reinforce gender stereotypes or align themselves with gender norms, but children also question and resist these gender scripts.

“If we had not intentionally considered the ways in which children might challenge gender master narratives, we might have missed the ‘incongruent’ children because through one lens, they were reinforcing gender norms. But, they were also disrupting it, and this may be a developmental moment to intervene and support healthy resistance to gender norms that are unhealthy for society,” Rogers said.

“‘I’m Kind of a Feminist’: Using Master Narratives to Analyze Gender Identity in Middle Childhood” published this week in the journal Child Development.

Kiernan Shipka Is Allergic to One of Her ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Costars

Kiernan Shipka might be prepared to cast a spell or two as the star of the upcoming The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series, but there’s one fellow cast member she wasn’t quite able to charm IRL. As Kiernan shared in a new interview, it was her four-legged sidekick that she had some trouble getting along with.

While chatting with Vulture about her role in the planned Netflix reboot of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Shipka said she’s actually allergic to Sabrina’s talking pet cat Salem.

“The cat is the one cast member I don’t get along with,” she said.

Fans first met Salem back in February, when the show’s creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacas introduced Twitter to “Greendale’s latest resident.”

According to Shipka, there are actually five cats portraying the role of Salem on the show. And, it turns out, she’s allergic to at least one of them. In fact, she says she found out about her allergy when she developed hives after picking up one of the cats.

Pet allergies can be serious (and sometimes spooky) business.

As SELF wrote previously, an allergy to animals stems from the immune system’s reaction to proteins found in their saliva and dead skin cells. Being around those allergens can cause symptoms including nasal congestion, sneezy, itchy or watery eyes, and a cough in someone who’s sensitive to them, the Mayo Clinic explains. And, if you come into direct contact with an animal you’re allergic to, your skin may react as well, causing itchiness or a rash (like hives).

Although those symptoms are generally well managed by over-the-counter medications, they can become more serious. For instance, if your pet allergies are also one of your asthma triggers, you might also experience a shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain or tightness, or difficulty breathing—symptoms that may require medical attention.

At the most serious end of the spectrum, someone might develop anaphylaxis, a condition in which the airways close that can be deadly if not treated quickly. (Luckily, pet allergies are not one of the more common causes of anaphylaxis, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.)

So, being forced to work with an adorable yet allergen-shedding feline friend probably wasn’t Shipka’s favorite situation—with good reason. But hopefully she picked up some good antihistamine potions along the way.


5 Diet Tips You Should Ignore, According to a Registered Dietitian

If you feel like everyone’s a nutrition expert lately, you’re not alone. The sheer amount of diet tips and random nutrition advice online can be overwhelming and confusing, especially because a lot of the time it actually seems to make sense or come with enough anecdotal evidence and testimonials that it starts to feel pretty damn persuasive. The truth is that a lot of this advice is from people who, while eminently qualified to make choices for their own lives and bodies, may (OK, probably) are not qualified to be giving health advice to other people. I know, it’s really frustrating.

Nutrition and weight loss claims are especially ubiquitous, but the good news is that if you know what to look for, you can disregard wide swaths of advice, rather than having to dig deep into the minutiae of every single thing you come across.

I’m here to debunk the biggies for you, so you can never wonder about or fall for them again.

1. This food/supplement/product boosts your metabolism.

I want to get this out of the way first, because it’s the one I see most often. Nothing you consume will boost your metabolism in a substantive way and nothing you consume will burn fat or calories. The only way to burn fat is to burn calories and the only way to do this is a) by living and breathing (most of the calories we burn in a day come from the energy our bodies put into keeping us alive and all our systems working and this is called our basal metabolic rate, b) digesting food, and c) exercise and movement. Ignore diet tips that tell you otherwise.

So-called fat-burning foods (like caffeine and chili peppers) or other products may speed your metabolism a little bit (like, a TINY bit), but they won’t speed it up enough to have meaningful effect on an effort to lose weight or fat. Take chili peppers, which contain a compound called capsaicin. The idea is that the heat from this ingredient spikes your adrenaline, causing your body to crank up the calorie burn. The problem with this theory is that even though it sounds possible, nothing we eat raises our metabolism high enough or for long enough to cause any appreciable weight loss. One small study divided its 25 participants into two groups—people who eat spicy foods regularly and those who do not, and then gave each group a typical serving (about one gram) of hot peppers with lunch. The study found that those subjects who did not eat spicy foods regularly experienced enhanced energy expenditure and reduced appetite. Of course, it could be that subjects decided to stop eating when their mouths started to feel the burn, rather than that the peppers have a magical weight loss property. Indeed, the researchers concluded that the red pepper’s effects seem to be both metabolic and sensory.

Furthermore, the study authors concluded that long term consumption of spicy foods might desensitize people to the sensory effect of hot pepper, so after a while, who knows if those initial benefits would still be possible? But even if the effect remained, the study found that four-and-a-half hours after eating, the subjects who ate red pepper burned 10 more calories than those who did not. So, you know, not much.

Bonus FYI: Drinking ice water doesn’t boost metabolism either, and neither do any other vitamins, minerals, or supplements.

2. You’ll lose X pounds in X time

Do you have a crystal ball that can accurately predict the future? Neither do I. Neither does anyone offering diet advice. That’s why, when someone claims that you’ll lose a specific amount of weight—or even any weight at all—in a certain time frame, you should take that promise with a grain of salt.

We’re all different in terms of genetics, life circumstances, activity levels, and preferences. Those variables make it impossible to project how much weight you’ll lose as a result of an intervention, even if other people (or even if you) have lost weight from that same (or any) intervention in the past. Ignore “pounds you’ll lose” promises, and focus on how healthy and complete an eating plan is. Just as important, pay attention to how it will make you feel. Is it restrictive? Sustainable? Does it teach you how to prepare and portion food? Does it emphasize fresh, whole foods? If something is just for quick weight loss or it seems too good to be true, that’s a big red flag.

3. To be healthy, stop eating legumes/grains/all sugar/a particular food or good group

Sure, there will always be people who can’t tolerate certain foods. Most of us, however, don’t have a problem with the lectins in legumes, the gluten in grains, and the sugar in a reasonable amount of fruit. Cutting those healthy foods out of your diet because someone has scared you into not eating them is unnecessary and unfortunate. The more full-of-whole-foods your diet is, the healthier it is, and the easier it is to maintain. Plus, physical health is one thing, but how about your emotional health? What’s a restrictive diet costing you emotionally? Is it preventing you from living the parts of your life that you enjoy, such as spending meals with friends and family? Is it causing you anxiety and guilt about food and eating? This is also relevant to health and wellness, so if you’re following an eating plan you feel is costing you big emotionally, it’s time to step back.

4. A turmeric latte is a healthier latte

Adding “superfoods” into your life is fine, but they won’t undo or balance out the less healthy aspects of your diet or even make what you eat any “healthier.” So-called superfoods like matcha, turmeric, maca, cacao nibs, and all the others are surely delicious and have their place in a healthy diet, but they don’t have quasi magical properties that aid longevity or optimize your health. So, eat your potato chips fried in coconut oil, but remember: they’re still chips. My point is, when making choices to optimize the healthfulness of your diet, adding in tiny amounts of ingredients, seasonings, and toppings here and there won’t make as much of an impact as, for example, eating less sodium or eating more vegetables. That’s not a reason to not eat that stuff, it’s just a reason to disregard any advice that eating more of it will do something for your health.

5. You can trust my diet advice: I’m a doctor/celebrity trainer/health influencer

It’s sometimes hard to figure out who you can trust for credible nutrition advice. Even though some of us have education, training, and licensing, there are a lot of people out there dispensing advice that’s based solely on their their personal experiences, questionable science, or some combination of the two. Even a credential like an M.D. doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is equipped to tell you, a person who is very much an individual, what will hands down, 100 percent work for you. What’s even more confusing is that there are plenty of people who are conversant enough in the language of health and wellness that they can string together advice that sounds valid, even plausible. But remember, just because someone sounds knowledgeable, it doesn’t mean they actually are, and more importantly it doesn’t mean they’re qualified to be giving out advice. Anyone can Google any health problem, and even spend a significant amount of time researching it, but it’s another thing completely to take on the responsibility—and legality—of diagnosing and counseling other people about their condition and diet. In some cases, misguided advice can be unhelpful or even dangerous.

To wrap it all up, here are a few red flags to watch out for: Anyone using only animal research or very small studies to back up their claims, an “expert” with no formal nutrition training or licensing, anyone who recommends a highly restrictive diet, anyone trying to convince you to try a diet just because it worked for them, and, of course, anyone whose advice involves you buying a thing from them. If you encounter any of this advice, run. Or, at the very least, be highly skeptical and ask a registered dietitian to weigh in on the advice.

Abby Langer has been a Registered Dietitian since 1999. Educated at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Loyola University in Chicago, Abby has worked extensively both in clinical nutrition, and nutrition media and consulting. She has won awards for her teaching and has served for three years on her regulatory college’s council. Abby is passionate about all aspects of nutrition, from physiology to teaching to cooking. Her approach to nutrition is permissive and relaxed, and she is a true believer in living your best life without dieting. Abby’s counseling and writings focus on body respect and intuitive-style eating. She has written in depth about debunking fad diets and nutrition myths. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

8 Contact Lens Rules People With Dry Eyes Should Always Follow

It’s a misconception that dry eyes and contact lenses are like oil and water. Sure, having dry eyes means the tear film meant to moisturize your eyeballs isn’t working as well as it should, but it doesn’t rule out your ability to wear contacts. It can, however, make the whole thing a little more challenging, Alisha Fleming, O.D., an optometrist at Penn Medicine, tells SELF. “Improper contact lens wear and care can cause dry eye issues and can also exacerbate dry eye issues,” Dr. Fleming says. If you have dry eyes and wear contacts (or want to), follow these rules to make the experience go as swimmingly as possible.

1. Wash your hands really well before you touch your lenses. (Yes, every time.)

It seems obvious, but be real, how often do you do this? If your answer isn’t “every single time, even when I’m exhausted and my bed is calling to me,” that’s a problem. Touching your contacts with clean hands makes it less likely that you’ll transfer infection-causing pathogens from your fingers to your lenses and into your eyes, Nicky Lai, O.D., associate professor of clinical optometry at The Ohio State University, tells SELF.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) specifically recommends washing your hands with water and mild soap, then thoroughly drying them with a lint-free towel before you handle your lenses.

2. Never sleep in your contacts.

Doing so puts you at a higher risk of developing an infection on your cornea (the transparent, dome-shaped surface of your eye), the AOA says. That’s because sleeping in your contacts doesn’t allow your eyes to receive as much oxygen as they otherwise would, creating a potential breeding ground for things like bacteria, Dr. Lai says. Corneal infections can also lead to corneal ulcers, which are essentially sores on the surface of your eye.

Even if you escape that fate, sleeping in your contacts can mess with your natural tear film and make your dry eyes worse, Dr. Lai says, so it’s a no-go all around.

3. Use fresh lenses as directed instead of trying to extend your contacts’ wear time.

If you wear your lenses until they’re practically crumbling out of your eyeballs, this one’s for you. Somewhere on the box your contacts come in, it should tell you how often to wear a fresh pair. Make your eye doctor proud—and keep your eyes safe—by following those instructions.

Even if you’re meticulous about cleaning your lenses after every wear, debris can build up on them over time, making it harder for tears to spread evenly across your eyeballs, Vivian Shibayama, O.D., an optometrist and contact lens specialist with UCLA Health, tells SELF. As you can imagine, this won’t do your dry eyes any favors. And if you’re not meticulous about cleaning your lenses while using them for way too long, it’s even easier for them to collect irritating debris and microorganisms like bacteria that can cause infection.

4. Change out the solution in your lens case daily.

Topping off the solution in your contact lens case makes sense from a thrifty perspective, but it’s not a good idea. Instead, the AOA recommends dumping out the old stuff and putting in new solution every day.
“After the lens is removed from the case and placed on the eye, the case should be emptied and rinsed with contact lens solution, then set upside down to dry on a clean tissue paper,” Dr. Lai says. “Reusing contact lens solution decreases the effectiveness of the disinfection properties of the solution,” Dr. Lai explains, which can lead to issues like inflammation and infection. Here are other contact lens case mistakes you should never make, FYI.

5. Use rewetting drops even when your eyes don’t feel dry.

Artificial tears are often the first line of defense if you have dry eyes. You should actually use them even when your eyes feel fine because that helps to prevent dryness from cropping up, the Mayo Clinic says. “I tell my patients to use drops like sunscreen,” Dr. Shibayama says. “They should be used before the eyes feel dry, just like we use sunscreen before we become burned.”

6. Let your eyes breathe by going contacts-free for a few hours a day.

While it’s tempting to wear your contacts from the time you open your eyes until you conk out at night, this really isn’t a great when you have dry eyes. “It’s a good idea to let the eyes breathe for a few hours without the lens,” Dr. Shibayama says. This allows your eyes to get good exposure to oxygen and receive nourishment from your natural tear film without lenses in the way.

Dr. Shibayama’s general rule: You should take your contacts out at least two hours before bedtime or try to wear them for two fewer hours than the time you’re awake. So, if you sleep for eight hours a day, you’re awake for 16, meaning you shouldn’t wear your lenses any longer than 14 straight hours. You can obviously play around with this a bit to figure out how much time off your eyes need, but the takeaway is that it’s good to give them some kind of break.

7. See your eye doctor every year (or however often is necessary to keep your prescription up-to-date).

When your schedule gets packed, eye doctor appointments may get short shrift. The thing is that you need to see your eye doctor at least once every two years as a baseline. If you use contact lenses, it should be more frequent than that to make sure your prescription is up-to-date, evaluate your tear film, and see if the contacts you use still work best for your eyes, Dr. Lai explains.
“Don’t wait until there is a problem before seeing your eye doctor,” Dr. Shibayama says. “This will ensure the longevity of your ability to wear contact lenses and reduce complications.”

8. If your brand of contacts is irritating your dry eyes, ask your doctor about special lenses made for this health issue.

There’s a slew of contact lens brands and types on the market, but some are designed to help people with dry eyes, the Mayo Clinic says. If your dry eye is severe, your doctor may recommend special contacts called scleral or bandage lenses, which help protect the surface of your eyes and lock in moisture. Who knew thirst traps could be as good in your eyes as they are on social media?


How to Know if Your Seemingly Harmless Cough Is Actually Asthma

Having a cough is a clear sign that something just isn’t right in your lungs. It can be easy to chalk it up to something like a lingering cold, your partner’s smoking habit, or another obvious culprit, but sometimes a cough can actually point to a sneaky health condition like asthma.

For the record, you don’t just have to live with a constant cough, even if it feels like yours has been with you since birth. “I have patients who come in and say, ‘I don’t have any problems, but I have a cough,’” Raymond Casciari, M.D., a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, tells SELF. “But a cough is never normal.”

If you’re coughing, it means your lungs are trying to eject irritants or goopy fluids like mucus, the Mayo Clinic explains. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that coughing happens to be a hallmark of asthma, which messes with the tubes that carry air in and out of your body. Under normal circumstances, these airways do their job with no trouble. But if you have asthma, your airways overreact to triggering substances by tightening, swelling, and pumping out too much mucus. All that adds up to having more trouble breathing than usual. You may also experience symptoms like wheezing (a whistling noise when you breathe), chest pain or tightness, and yup, a cough, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

So, how do you know if your hacking might indicate that you have asthma? Here are signs to keep in mind.

1. Your cough never really goes away.

In most cases, a “regular” cough from something like a cold will annoy the crap out of you for a week or so and then recede. But an asthma cough “tends to be more severe and last longer than a normal cough with illness,” pulmonologist Ryan Thomas, M.D., director of the Multidisciplinary Severe Asthma Team at Michigan State University, tells SELF. A chronic cough like the one that often signals asthma lasts for eight weeks or more, the Mayo Clinic explains. “If the cough is always there, there’s a reason for that,” Dr. Casciari says. “It’s probably not going to go away on its own.”

2. It’s usually a dry cough, too.

Asthma typically causes a dry, non-productive cough (meaning you don’t expel substances like mucus), according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). It’s a little confusing that asthma can cause you to have a dry cough even though you may produce more mucus than usual, but it’s usually because that extra mucus is in the smaller parts of your airways deep in your lungs, so it’s harder to get it all the way up to your mouth, Dr. Casciari explains.

Since few things in life are black and white, it’s still possible to have a wet asthma cough, especially if you have an infection like bronchitis, Dr. Casciari says.

3. The cough gets worse when you’re exposed to certain triggers.

If you have asthma, your symptoms will typically flare up in the face of triggers, although the connection might be so subtle you don’t realize it at the time. While everyone’s triggers can be different, some of the most common ones are pollen, animal dander, dust mites, mold, smoke, air pollution, cold air, exercise, and stress, the ACAAI says.

4. You have other asthma symptoms, like wheezing.

“Wheezing … happens when air is moving through narrowed passages,” Dr. Casciari says. “That is exactly what asthma is—the airways are narrowed, and air is trying to get through there.” So, if your cough comes along with evidence of compressed airways such as trouble breathing, wheezing, and chest discomfort, it’s pretty likely you’re dealing with asthma, Dr. Casciari says.

With that said, it’s possible to have a form of this health condition called cough-variant asthma in which your only symptom is a persistent cough that arises when you’re exposed to a trigger. Asthma with a single symptom is peak sneakiness, but it can happen.

5. You cough a ton at night.

Asthma coughs tend to get worse at night. It’s not really known why this happens, but it might be due to the fact that your body can release higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol while you sleep. This may cause more inflammation in your body (and your airways), setting you up for more coughing, Dr. Casciari says.

If triggers like dust mites and animal dander are all over your bed and pillows, that might be a factor, too. Here are some changes you can make in your bedroom to cut back on asthma disrupting your sleep.

6. Over-the-counter cough medications aren’t doing jack.

These drugs are usually designed to decongest you or suppress your cough, but they won’t really help if you have asthma, the ACAAI says. “They may cause a temporary change in a situation like an upper respiratory infection, but they’re not effective in something like asthma, which is an intrinsic condition,” Dr. Casciari says. Translation: They don’t interrupt asthma’s pathophysiology in your body, so you’re not going to get relief.

If you have a cough and you suspect it’s due to asthma, it’s time to talk to your doctor and try to get diagnosed.

They’ll probably want to put you through some lung function tests, like a spirometry (which measures how much air you can blow out after taking a deep breath along with how fast you can expel it), the Mayo Clinic says. Other options include a peak flow test, which measures how hard you can breathe out, and exposing you to methacholine, a mild asthma trigger, to see if your airways narrow.

If your doctor diagnoses you with asthma, they may recommend long-term preventive medications, like allergy drugs to control your response to triggers and corticosteroids that cut down on inflammation, the Mayo Clinic says. Your doctor may also suggest you try quick-relief treatments like an inhaler with short-acting beta agonists to help relax your airways during an asthma attack.

It may take some time to nail down your exact course of treatment (which you should then detail in an asthma action plan), but do your best to stick with it. Life is so much better without an ever-present cough as your annoying sidekick.


Goop Settles Lawsuit Over ‘Unsupported’ Vaginal Egg Health Claims With $145,000

By Cyrus Farivar for Ars Technica

On Tuesday, Gwyneth Paltrow’s company, Goop, settled a lawsuit brought by the Santa Clara County District Attorney and nine other state prosecutors, which had claimed that the company’s questionable products—including vaginal eggs—”were not supported by competent and reliable science.”

The company claimed that its Jade and Rose Quartz eggs, after inserted into the vagina, “could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “Goop advertised that the Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, a blend of essential oils meant to be taken orally or added to bathwater, could help prevent depression.”

In addition to paying $145,000 in civil penalties, the company has now agreed to refund any customers who bought those eggs or the Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend between January 12, 2017 and August 31, 2017.

Paltrow’s company has also agreed to no longer make any claims “regarding the efficacy or effects of any of its products without possessing competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the claims.”

In addition to Santa Clara County, the settlement is between Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Solano, and Sonoma counties. The case was originally filed last Friday in Napa County Superior Court.

“Goop provides a forum for practitioners to present their views and experiences with various products like the jade egg. The law, though, sometimes views statements like this as advertising claims, which are subject to various legal requirements,” Erica Moore, Goop’s chief financial officer, said in the statement sent to various media outlets, including Ars, and admitted no wrongdoing. “The Task Force assisted us in applying those laws to the content we published, and we appreciate their guidance in this matter as we move from a pioneer in this space to an established wellness authority.”

Heather Wilson, a company spokeswoman, provided Ars with the statement, which characterized the legal dispute as an “honest disagreement.” Wilson also noted that to date, no one has filed for a refund.


No ‘changing room moment’ for men as they age

The research, published in the journal Ageing and Society, was conducted by Professor Julia Twigg from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.

For the research on how men respond to fashion and clothing choices as they age Professor Twigg conducted 24 in-depth interviews with men aged between 58 and 85 from a variety of social backgrounds and sexual orientations.

From this, it was clear that men did not face the same ‘changing room moment’ as did women when they saw themselves in the mirror and realised that the item was now ‘too young’. Most remained comfortable in the outfits they had worn earlier in their lives, particularly if their careers required them to dress in a certain way.

For instance, those from ‘creative’ industries continued to dress in stylish, fashionable manner while others had a smart-casual style, mixing blazers with trousers and ties and shirts as they wanted. Others embraced retirement as a chance to expand their wardrobe and add more colour to their clothing, with some embracing the shift in cultural norms that means pink is now an acceptable colour for men, for example.

Furthermore, they saw clothing worn by younger men that they did acknowledge as ‘too young’ for them — such as hoodies, trainers, and tight jeans — as ‘silly’ and viewed it with contempt and so something they would never want to wear.

However, the men interviewed did have a strong negative reaction to clothing that they thought would mark a clear end to masculinity and the onset of a decline of life — with elasticated trousers viewed with horror.

This concern of a loss of masculinity in clothing choices also related to the idea of wearing dirty or unkempt clothing. Several of the men interviewed relayed stories of men they knew who they viewed with a mix of mild disdain or pity when they saw them in a poorly dressed state, as it suggested to them that they had lost their inherent masculinity and were effectively giving up.

Notably, many linked this situation to the loss of a wife who was seen as previously responsible for ensuring this did not happen.

Finally, despite being confident in their dress choices, several men admitted that changes in body size that come with old age impacted their ability to dress as they wished, with some noting the ways clothes ‘shrink in the wardrobe’.

Commenting on the research Professor Twigg said: ‘It is clear men have a different relationship to dress from women, and the research shows that this continues into later life. There is less in the way of age anxiety in their choices, but there are clearly issues that affect how they dress and how this changes as they get older.’

Professor Twigg has conducted numerous in-depth studies on the cultural and social responses people have to the clothing they wear. This includes a prior study of how age impacts female responses to clothing and the perception that there is a cut-off point at which certain items become ‘unwearable’ to women for fear of appearing ‘foolish’.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Kent. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.