Here are 5 things you may regret at the end of your life, from a nurse who works with the dying.

You might think watching people die would depress a person. It actually taught her how to live.

Bronnie Ware spent years as a palliative care nurse, helping patients be as comfortable as possible in the time just before their deaths. She compiled their stories and the most repeated regrets she heard them utter in their final days.

Do you ever imagine what the final years and months and days of your life will be like?

Shared originally on her blog, ”
Inspiration and Chai,” here are the top five regrets, with quotes from her blog as she recorded them.

Regret #1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Are you living your best life right now? What’s stopping you?

Dreaming of living a different life than the one you have now? Image by
Jorge Royan.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.” Bronnie Ware

Regret #2: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

This one speaks for itself.

That desk looks like instant stress before the workday has even started. Image by
Alan Cleaver/Flickr.

Regret #3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

What if getting the words out is essential to your growth as a human?

Feelings aren’t just useless emotions. Expressing them can be the first step to self-actuating and becoming a newer version of yourself. Image by
Garry Knight/Flickr.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.” Bronnie Ware

Regret #4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Is there someone you treasure who you haven’t spoken with in much too long?

They’re so important to us and somehow we think that “life” getting in the way is a good enough reason to go without seeing them. Image by
Jason Hutchens.

“Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.” Bronnie Ware

Regret #5: I wish that I had let myself be happier.

If you didn’t wake up joyful today, why not? What can you do to change that?

Who was the last person you giggled ridiculously with? Call them. Right now. Image by
Adina Voicu.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.” Bronnie Ware

Were there any regrets on this list that felt familiar to you? Others that you didn’t see listed?

These are five universal wake-up calls we all need to be reminded of.
There’s no shame in tagging all the friends you need to call when you share this.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/here-are-5-things-you-may-regret-at-the-end-of-your-life-from-a-nurse-who-works-with-the-dying?c=tpstream

London fire: Six killed as Grenfell Tower engulfed – BBC News

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Media captionOne eyewitness said he saw people blinking lights within the building

At least six people have died after a huge fire raged through the night at a west London 24-storey tower block, and police expect that number to rise.

Eyewitnesses described people trapped in the burning Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, screaming for help and yelling for their children to be saved.

Firefighters, who rescued many people, were called at 00:54 BST and are still trying to put out the fire.

Police say there may still be people in the building who are unaccounted for.

The ambulance service said 69 patients had been taken to six hospitals across London, with 18 in critical care. A further 10 patients made their own way to hospital.

During the night, eyewitnesses said they saw lights – thought to be mobile phones or torches – flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows – some holding children.

It is understood that “several hundred” people would have been in the block when the fire broke out shortly after midnight, most of them sleeping.

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Media captionMickey, a resident of Grenfell Tower: ‘It was like a horror movie’

Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said the recovery operation would be “complex and lengthy”, and the number of fatalities was expected to rise.

He declined to give any details of the number of people who may be missing.

He said it was likely to be some time before police could identify the victims, adding that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the fire.

An emergency number – 0800 0961 233 – has been set up for anyone concerned about friends or family.

At 13:00 BST, Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said firefighters expected to be on the scene for at least another 24 hours.

She said there were concerns that people were still inside the tower and she urged all residents to make sure they had reported themselves to police so that the authorities know they are safe.

‘Absolutely appalling’

Prime Minister Theresa May is “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life”, said Downing Street.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt praised the “heroic” response from the emergency services and the NHS hospital staff “working tirelessly to help”.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is to demand a government statement in Parliament on Thursday on the tragedy, the BBC understands.

There must be a “full inquiry” into the fire, newly-elected Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad told the BBC.

Speaking outside the Rugby Portobello Trust emergency centre, the Labour MP said the fire was “absolutely appalling”.

“The ferocity of that fire was extraordinary and terrifying,” she said. “This must never happen again.”

Police and fire minister Nick Hurd was due to chair a cross-party meeting to look at how the government can assist the emergency services and local authorities.

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Media captionDavid Benjamin says he was woken by a neighbour banging on the door

Paul Munakr, who lives on the seventh floor, managed to escape.

“As I was going down the stairs, there were firefighters, truly amazing firefighters that were actually going upstairs, to the fire, trying to get as many people out the building as possible,” he told the BBC.

He said he was alerted to the fire not by fire alarms but by people on the street below, shouting “don’t jump, don’t jump”.

Eyewitness Jody Martin said: “I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window… hearing screams.

“I was yelling at everyone to get down and they were saying ‘We can’t leave our apartments, the smoke is too bad on the corridors.'”

Michael Paramasivan, who lives on the seventh floor with his girlfriend and young daughter, said he ignored official advice to stay in your home.

“If we had stayed in that flat, we would’ve perished. My gut instinct told me just to get the girls out. I wrapped the little one up because of the smoke and I just got them out.”

Another resident, Zoe, who lives on the fourth floor, said she was woken by a neighbour banging on her door.

“The whole landing was thick with smoke. The smoke alarms weren’t going off but the way it spread so quickly from the fourth floor, all the way up to the 23rd floor was scary.”


At the scene

Image caption Mirna, Fatima and Zainnb are among those missing

By Lucy Manning, BBC News

They have lost their homes and for some, tragically their relatives.

At times there is the sound of sobbing as the word goes round that someone is missing, someone is feared dead.

I’ve spent the day inside the community centre where survivors have gathered.

Downstairs in the hall families sit at tables and wait for news.

One family told me they hadn’t heard from their brother, sister and three children – Mirna, Fatima and Zainnb. Other relatives were out searching hospitals. There was still no news.

Outside the centre, Sawsan was with a group of women. For one it was too much, she was on the floor crying. Sawsan hasn’t heard from her mum, sister, brother-in-law and nieces. She spoke to them when the fire started but nothing since.

Inside the centre, families are being helped with food, housing and medical treatment. It’s busy and everyone is helping. Just not with the one thing they need – information about whether their relatives are safe.

Christabel told me how lucky her father had been. He tried to fight the fire but made it out alive.

Ed was saved when a friend called him to tell him to get out the building. “I’m lucky” he says. But they have lost everything.


Grenfell Tower, built in 1974, is part of the Lancaster West Estate, a sprawling inner-city social housing complex of almost 1,000 homes.

Robert Black, chief executive of the tower’s management company, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, said: “The fire at Grenfell Tower is devastating and the reports of injury and losses of life absolutely heartbreaking.

“Along with my colleagues, I have been supporting residents since the early hours, working with the emergency services and the community.”

The BBC’s Andy Moore, who was at the scene through the night, described watching debris falling from the building, and hearing explosions and breaking glass.

Grenfell Tower, North Kensington

  • 120 flats

  • 24 storeys

  • 20 residential levels

  • 4 community/podium levels

  • 2016 refurbishment completed

AFP

Image copyright PA
Image caption London fire crews said it was a “large and very serious incident”
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There are 120 flats in the residential block

The London Fire Brigade said a structural engineer had checked the building and determined it was not in danger of collapse and that rescue teams were safe to be inside.

Initially, it was feared that the building, which appears to be gutted, could collapse.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was devastated by the horrific scenes, attended by more than 250 firefighters and 100 ambulance medics.

Questions will need to be answered over the safety of tower blocks, he told BBC Radio.

“We can’t have a situation where people’s safety is put at risk because of bad advice being given or if it is the case, as has been alleged, of tower blocks not being properly serviced or maintained,” he said.

Matt Wrack, of the Fire Brigades Union said something had clearly gone badly wrong with fire prevention procedures at the building.

Firefighters would normally fight a fire in a tower block from the inside, going up the fire escape, and fighting using the internal dry-rising mains, he said, but that’s not been possible in this case.

Construction firm Rydon said recent building work which it carried out on the block “met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.

Image caption Refurbishment work completed in 2016 included more residential areas in the four lower ‘podium’ levels

Appeals are being made on social media for news of missing friends and relatives, who might have been caught in the blaze.

Emergency rest centres have opened for those now homeless at Latymer Community Centre, St Clement’s Church, Harrow Club and Rugby Portobello Trust. There are also local collections under way for spare clothes, toys, blankets and toiletries.

People are being advised by police to stay away from the area, where roads remain closed and nearby residents have been evacuated as a precaution.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The London Fire Brigade said a structural engineer had checked the building
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption More than 70 people have received treatment in hospital
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Smoke could be seen from miles away

Safety concerns

Grenfell Tower underwent a two-year 10m refurbishment as part of a wider transformation of the estate, that was completed last year.

Work included new exterior cladding and a communal heating system.

The 24-storey tower, containing about 120 flats, is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) on behalf of the council.

Before and during the refurbishment, the local Grenfell Action Group claimed that the block constituted a fire risk and residents warned that site access for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted”.

Construction firm Rydon, which carried out the refurbishment, said it was “shocked to hear of the devastating fire” and added that the work “met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.

Council leader Nick Paget-Brown said the buildings were regularly inspected, but a “thorough investigation” was needed.

Read more on safety concerns here.

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Are you in the area? Did you witness the events? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with your stories. Do not endanger yourself.

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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40269625

What Anxiety Actually Is, Because Its More Than Just Worrying

Anxiety is the restless nights of sleep, as you toss and turn. Its your brain never being able to shut off. Its the thoughts you over-think before bedtime and all of your worst fears become a reality in dreams and nightmares.

Its waking up tired even though your day just started.

Anxiety is learning how to function with sleep deprivation because it took you until 2 am to shut your eyes.

Its every text you wonder Its a double or triple text in case you messed up. Anxiety is answering texts embarrassingly fast.

Anxiety is the time you spend waiting for an answer as a scenario plays out in your mind of what they could be thinking or are they mad?

Anxiety is an unanswered text that kills you inside

even though you tell yourself,

Anxiety is that critical voice that says It’s believing every negative scenario you can come up with.

Anxiety is waiting. It always feels like you’re waiting.

Its the inaccurate conclusions drawn as your mind takes off and you have no choice but to follow its destructive lead.

Anxiety is apologizing for things that dont even require the words,

Anxiety is self-doubt and a lack of confidence both in you, yourself and those around you.

Anxiety is being hyper aware of everyone and everything. So much so, you can tell if theres a shift in someone merely by their tone or word choice.

Anxiety is ruining relationships before they even begin. It tells you, Then you jump to conclusions and ruin it.

Anxiety is a constant state of worrying and panicking and being on the edge. Its irrational fears.

Its thinking too much, its caring too much. Because the root of people with anxiety is caring.

Its sweaty palms and a racing heart. But on the outside, no one can see it. You appear calm and at ease and smiling but underneath is anything but that.

Anxiety is the art of deception for people who dont know you. And for the people who do, its a constant stream of phrases like, or or Its friends listening to these conclusions youve drawn and not really understanding how you got there. But they’re there trying to support you, as things go from bad to worse in your mind.

Anxiety is wanting to fix something that isnt even a problem.

Its the stream of questions that make you doubt yourself.

Its turning back around just to double check.

Anxiety is the uneasiness at a party because you think all eyes are on you and no one wants you there. Anxiety is that extra shot you take and it seems like youre finally relaxing. Until you wake up the next day hungover, full of regret and wondering what you said to who and do you owe them an apology?

Anxiety is the overcompensating and trying too hard to please people.

Anxiety is being everywhere on time because the thought of being late would put you over the edge.

Anxiety is the fear of failure and striving for perfection. Then beating yourself up when you fall short.

Its always needing a schedule or a plan.

Anxiety is that voice inside your head thats saying

Its trying to exceed peoples expectations even if youre killing yourself to do so. Anxiety is taking on more than you can handle just so you are distracted and not overthinking something.

Anxiety is procrastination because you’re paralyzed with fear of failing so you hold it off.

Its the triggers that set you off.

Its breaking down in private and crying when youre overwhelmed but no one will ever see that side of you. Anxiety is picking up and trying again because the only thing worse than overcoming other people is overcoming you and your own demons.

Its beating that critical voice that says,

Anxiety is the want and the need to control things because it feels like this thing in your life is outside of your control and you have to learn to live with it.

But more than anything anxiety is caring. Its never wanting to hurt someones feelings. Its never wanting to do something wrong. More than anything, its the want and need to simply be accepted and liked. So you try too hard sometimes.

And when you come across friends who begin to understand, they help you through it.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kirsten-corley/2017/01/what-anxiety-actually-is-because-its-more-than-just-worrying/

Democratic attorneys escalate legal fight against Trump

The Trump resistance movement cheered when Democratic attorneys general in several states sued to block the president’s plan to bar travelers from some Muslim majority countries.

But with far less fanfare in the months since, an emboldened coalition of Democratic state attorneys general has unleashed a torrent of lower-profile litigation they argue is necessary to protect public health, the environment and consumers from a Republican White House.

State attorneys from Massachusetts to New York to California, often working together, have brought more than 40 legal actions against the Trump administration over the last seven months. The pace, which both parties describe as unprecedented, has produced an average of one lawsuit or legal motion every five days since Trump’s inauguration, not including many more letters, legal threats and formal comments to federal agencies.

“Donald Trump and his administration has been out there in ways that are illegal, that are unprecedented, that don’t seem to understand some of the basics of the rule of law,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “It’s required constant vigilance from Day 1.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. But the frequency and variety of the legal challenges — from cases involving the energy efficiency of ceiling fans to gender reassignment surgeries at the Veteran’s Administration — have sparked criticism that Democrats may be playing politics with their states’ legal resources.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who chairs the Republican Attorneys General Association, said she’s increasingly concerned that her Democratic colleagues are “using these lawsuits for grandstanding to challenge the president.”

“I grow concerned that their intentions are not as pure as they should be,” Rutledge said, acknowledging that Republican attorneys general aggressively fought President Barack Obama’s moves on the environment, health care and consumer protection during his two terms.

Democrats acknowledge that the pace of their legal actions is extraordinary. But they insist they’ve been given little choice by an inexperienced Trump administration that they accuse of taking extraordinary steps to ignore the law.

“We bring our cases based on the merits and it’s just that there are a lot of merits these days,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  He added, “There are things that don’t get a lot of attention that could be tremendously harmful.”

In mid-June, Democratic attorneys general from Maryland and Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump violated the so-called “emoluments clause” in the Constitution that bars members of the federal government from accepting money from foreign governments.

A day later, few noticed when a coalition of 11 attorneys general sued the Trump administration for delaying energy efficiency standards for common appliances like air conditioners and freezers.

In early July, 19 Democratic attorneys general sued Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for delaying a rule, years in the making, intended to protect students from predatory lending related to for-profit colleges. That same day, six attorneys general intervened in another lawsuit against Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency for allowing the use of a pesticide they said was linked to health problems in children.

Just 24 hours later, Democratic attorneys general from 14 states urged a court to overturn a class action settlement arranged by gun-maker Remington trigger defects on rifles. And over the next three weeks, coalitions of Democratic attorneys general sued the EPA for delaying implementation of rules related to chemical accident safety and smog.

“We’re busy,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. “It’s been made easy by the Trump administration because of their lack of foresight in the way they’ve approached some of these things.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro estimates his office is involved with roughly 50 legal actions against the Trump administration. Aware that Trump won Pennsylvania in last fall’s election, he casts his aggressive steps in apolitical terms.

“I would hope that I would never have to file another legal action against the federal government, the Trump administration,” Shapiro said. “But that would require the Trump administration to follow the rule of the law.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/13/democratic-attorneys-escalate-legal-fight-against-trump.html

6 Healthy Habits That Could Be Doing You More Harm Than Good

Why does everyone think theyre like, the healthiest person in the world? If you did one spin class, stopped at Sweetgreen afterwards, and suddenly think you’re worthy of starting some #fitspo Instagram account, you need to chill. People (not me) need to realize theyre not qualified to be giving health advice online, and tbh most things people believe to be super healthy are just wrong. The internet is filled with a lot of bullshit wellness advice, so were here to set the record straight, starting with these six habits that you need to get over.

1. Eating A Super Early Dinner

Someone once made up a lie that eating late at night makes you fat. I mean, if youre ordering Chinese Fast Wok at 11pm, youre probably not the face of health, but food timing doesnt actually matter. Some psychos people like eating early because they dont like going to bed feeling super full, but there are actually no proven health benefits to eating dinner at 6pm. Like, yeah it’s the one time you’ll get a Sugarfish reservation, but its not actually making you lose weight. In fact, a lot of people eat an early dinner and then get hungry for a snack later on, so they end up eating more than they would have if they just waited a couple hours to eat in the first place.

2. Going On High-Fat, Low-Carb Diets

The newest fad seems to be these weird high-fat, low-carb diets. People swear by the Ketogenic lifestyle, which basically means eating no carbs and just pounding meat and avocados all day. I mean, its not healthy. Just because Demi Moore lost a few pounds on the Atkins diet doesnt mean its right for everyones body. The theory behind these diets is that your body goes into ketosis (which sounds like a serious condition but what do I know), so your insulin levels lower and your body burns fat quicker. Were not here to question some scientists in a lab in Missouri, but youre better off skipping the extreme high-fat diets and just eating a balance of fats, protein, and carbs. Like, try eating a vegetable for once in your life.

3. Doubling Up On Workouts

With ClassPass leading the nicegirl fitness community and your local SoulCycle front desk staff offering you free classes, people are doubling up on workouts, thinking theyre being fucking heroes for staying on a spin bike for 90 minutes straight. I mean, we get the logic behind it: The more exercise you do, the more calories you burn, so the skinnier you get. However, your body isnt a calculator, and the extra workouts could just be depleting your metabolism completely. If youre doing an excessive amount of cardio, you could be overtraining your body and slowing down your metabolism, which will actually make you gain weight in the long run. Stick with one class. Like, how much free time do you have?

4. Eating A Ton Of Protein

Protein is another trend that has gotten v popular recently. All of a sudden, your grandmother is eating protein bars, 90-pound models are buying bodybuilding protein powders, and your favorite peanut butter brand is adding whey protein isolate to their products. Everyone thinks we need an excessive amount of protein to be healthy, and its just not true. Obviously protein is good for us and we need it to survive, but you dont need to be adding in protein supplements to everything you eat. Its important if youre looking to put on some muscle, but if youre replacing fruits and veggies with Quest Bars, youre overdoing it. The average American eats way too much protein in the first place, which could, in the future, lead to issues like an increased risk for diabetes and kidney problems. Just saying, you probably don’t need that protein powder in your smoothie anyway.

5. Avoiding Egg Yolks

People in the 80s started shunning egg yolks from healthy diets in fear of high cholesterol levels. Nowadays, that myth has been completely debunked, but people still seem to hate on egg yolks. While its true that egg yolks have a tiny bit of fat in them and egg whites have none, there are a ton of health benefits to the yolks, like iron, folate, and a ton of essential vitamins. Eating the yolk isnt going to give you heart disease or make you fat, so stop stressing about only ordering egg white omelets if you dont even like them. Order the regular omelet.

6. Obsessing Over Superfoods

The whole superfood craze has become a little insane. We have nothing against some green juice and quinoa every now and then, but just because Gwyneth Paltrow swears by her daily goji berries, it doesnt mean we should start doing the same thing and think we’re gonna look like her. Were not saying superfoods arent good for you, but you shouldnt be loading up on aai bowls just because you heard they have antioxidants in them. Do you even know what an antioxidant is? Like, if youre literally sprinkling chia seeds on everything you eat just because you heard that Kourtney Kardashians trainer told her to do that, youve gone too far. 

 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/6-healthy-habits-that-are-doing-more-harm-than-good

War Is Coming, The End Is Near, And The Tweets Are Fire

Unsplash / Dawn Armfield

If you haven’t heard about the threat of war between North Korea and the U.S., you have apparently stayed far away from all social media, news stations, and civilization in general, in which case, why are you even reading this? Go back to living in blissful ignorance.

For the rest of us: if you’re kind of scared, you aren’t alone. Ever since the news that North Korea has been developing it’s nuclear weapons (and that the U.S. is certainly a target), the political atmosphere has been a little uneasy, and it doesn’t help that Trump is, per usual, adding to the fire.

Is anyone really surprised? Hardly. No one loves a good pissing contest more than Donald J. Trump. But also, can we not right now??? We get it, your dick is bigger, now put the phone down.

We might as well come to terms with the fact that this is inevitably the end. But it’s OK, guys nuclear war may be on the horizon, but at least the tweets are fire.

All we can do is hope we get to experience everything we want to before it all ends, like the series finale of Game Of Thrones.

Good luck out there, friends, and remember: if you ever feel like crying as your life spins out into an existential crisis, just check Twitter.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/callie-byrnes/2017/08/war-is-coming-the-end-is-near-and-the-tweets-are-fire/

Cladding to be stripped from Queen Elizabeth University Hospital – BBC News

Cladding similar to that used in the fire-hit Grenfell Tower in London is to be removed from Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital building.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said “forensic checks” had identified cladding similar to, but not the same as, that used in the London tower.

The board stressed that the hospital was designed to be “one of the most fire safe buildings in the country”.

But they said the cladding would be removed as a “precautionary measure”.

Cladding made from an aluminium composite material is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire which engulfed Grenfell Tower in June.

Scottish local authorities and other organisations have been undertaking checks ever since, with some schools and other buildings found to have used it.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that checks by external technical advisors had identified cladding on the hospital, which opened in April 2015, “of a type similar to, but not the same as, Grenfell”.

The board said Health Facilities Scotland and their National Fire Advisor had given “renewed assurances” that the hospital was “an extremely safe building”, but said panels would be removed “as a purely precautionary measure”.

They said this move would “make sure the public, our patients and our staff have full confidence in the safety of the hospital”.

‘Safety paramount’

Work on removing the panels, which are present in three external sections of the building, will take place “at the earliest possible opportunity”.

The board said hospital management teams are working on plans to minimise any impact on patient care.

The Scottish government’s working group on building and fire safety, which was set up in the wake of the Grenfell fire, held its fourth meeting earlier on Thursday.

Members – which include Communities Secretary Angela Constance and housing minister Kevin Stewart – discussed the Glasgow hospital cladding, but were reassured by fire service representatives that safety audits of the building were satisfactory.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Patient safety is paramount and that is why further forensic checks are currently taking place across the whole NHS estate in Scotland.

“Following the identification of a type of aluminium composite material on the QEUH of a similar type to, but not the same as Grenfell, I am reassured that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have decided that the material should be removed as a precautionary measure.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-40893545

Texas abortion bill criticized for ‘forcing’ women to buy ‘rape insurance’

The Texas House passed this week a GOP-backed bill which requires women to pay for a separate health insurance supplement for non-emergent abortions.

The legislation, which passed with a final vote of 92 to 46 Wednesday, bars insurance plans from covering elected abortions. Should a woman want insurance to help alleviate the costs from a non-emergent abortion, she would need to purchase an additional insurance supplement.

The bill does not provide exceptions for rape or incest.

Because of that, opponents of the H.B. 214 bill which still has to pass Texas Senate have said it requires women to purchase rape insurance.

Read on for a look at what the bill does and how rape insurance came to be.

What is rape insurance?

Democrats who spoke out against the bill said they did so because it would force women to buy insurance in case of a rape.

Democratic State Rep. Chris Turner compared the proposed plan to a person who has basic health insurance who has to add on a vision plan or someone who has a simple home insurance plan but adds on flood insurance.

DEMOCRATS DIFFER: SHOULD PARTY BACK ANTI-ABORTION CANDIDATES

No woman plans to be raped. No parent plans for their child to be a victim of incest, Turner told Fox News. The idea that a woman would be forced to consider purchasing for herself – or a parent would be forced to purchase for their child – essentially a rape insurance policy should be abhorrent.

“No woman plans to be raped. No parent plans for their child to be a victim of incest.”

– State Rep. Chris Turner

He continued, I think its abhorrent, its sick, its cruel.

Turner introduced an amendment to the bill that would include an exception for cases of rape and incest, but it failed.

A Republican lawmaker who voted for the bill both Tuesday and Wednesday declined to comment on the record but did say the term rape insurance was offensive and exploited rape victims for a political gain.

Has it been used before?

This isnt the first time the term rape insurance has been used in conjunction with a bill backed by anti-abortion lawmakers and activists. Currently, 10 other states restrict all private insurance coverage of abortions.

INDIAN GIRL, 10, GRANTED ABORTION AFTER RAPE

Michigans Republican-led legislature approved a controversial abortion bill in 2013 that prohibited insurers from paying for abortions unless a woman already had purchased a separate coverage plan.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a similar measure, but it was still passed through the states little-known citizen-initiated law when the anti-abortion group “Right to Life of Michigan” garnered enough signatures to pass it.

Then-state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, the minority leader at the time, said she was grateful that she was not impregnated when she was raped more than two decades ago.

As a legislator, a lawyer and a mother of two girls, I think the fact that rape insurance is even being discussed by this body is repulsive, she said.

NEW ARKANSAS ABORTION LAWS BLOCKED BY FEDERAL JUDGE

Idaho, Kentucky and Missouri placed restrictions on abortion coverage in 1980. And since 2011, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Utah have also enacted restrictions for women who wish to use insurance to help cover abortions, according to a Think Progress report.

Utah does have an exception for victims of rape, incest or fetal impairment.

What have other responses been to the bill?

State Rep. John Smithee, the Republican who authored the bill, has defended the legislation as he said it gives individuals more options.

The bill simply provides the individual with the option to purchase coverage for elective abortions or not, Smithee said in a statement to Fox News. It is nothing more than allowing the individual to make the choice rather than the insurance company.

“A woman who is victimized by the perpetrator of a rape would still be fully covered for her medical expenses under the terms of her insurance just as she is now,” Smithee continued. “The only procedure not covered would be the actual abortion. That is true today in the vast majority of policies whether this legislation passes or not. Thus, to characterize this legislation as having anything to do with rape victims is pure political rhetoric of the worst sort.”

This isnt about who can get an abortion. Its about who is forced to pay for an abortion, he previously said.

ALASKA LAWMAKER CENSURED OVER ABORTION COMMENT

Heather Busby, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, slammed the bill and criticized some politicians for remaining single-mindedly fixated on pushing abortion out of reach in our state.

Texans should be able to make reproductive health decisions, including the decision to have an abortion, with dignity and respect and without politicians interfering with abortion coverage bans like HB 214, Busby said in a statement to Fox News.

“Texas Right to Life,” an anti-abortion non-profit, said following the bills passage in the state House that anti-abortion Texans are one step closer to no longer involuntarily subsidizing the abortions of others through their premium[s] and tax dollars.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/09/texas-abortion-bill-criticized-for-forcing-women-to-buy-rape-insurance.html

Welltory packs a lot of science into its app to measure your stress levels

Theres a lot of talk about the quantified self, but one of the grey areas remains working out your levels of stress. Usually this requires hardware devices. Now a New York-based startup thinks its come up with an approach based on specially developed algorithms and machine learning using simple heartbeat readings taken with a smartphone app.

Welltory (iOS, Android) has also now closed its second investment round, raising $1 million from business angels. This is being used to launch the next version of the app, which is aimed at cutting down your stress levels and boosting your productivity. Luckily the app is, in my opinion, a joy to use in terms of interface and over-all usability.

Heres their idea: Google Analytics for humans, complete with AB-testing features and KPI goals. The idea is to work out the effect of how, for instance, morning meditation, working from home or a diet change might affect stress and energy levels. You then keep what works for you and discard what doesnt.

While the main measurement comes through measuring your heartbeat, using the same PPG technology found in most pulse oximeters, it then applies variability algorithms to assess the state of the autonomic nervous system the bodys stress and recovery regulation center. Thats how they come up with stress and energy levels.

In fact, this is the same technique used by professionals in sports. The Red Wings hockey team relies on HRV analysis to track training and recovery with Firstbeat. Similarly, NBA players like DeAndre Jordan and Matthew Dellavedova wear HRV-based WHOOPs during games.

But Welltory is aiming to bring this kind of monitoring to the masses.

Competitors in this space are usually hardware-based, such as the aforementioned WHOOP (which is a $500 device) and Firstbeat, which has several hardware partners.

Welltory is free as a basic version, but the paid version of the Welltory app has a Quantified Self Dashboard, which lets users collect data about their lifestyles.

It also can be synced with fitness trackers and Fitbits, Apple Health and Google Fit to collect data about sleep, nutrition and physical activity. It also supports RescueTime (a desktop-based productivity tracker), home weather stations that track your surroundings and more.

Over time it generates charts for you to work out correlations between behaviors. So for instance, you can see if walking an extra mile a day helps stress levels, or see if meditation sessions are affected by the weather that day.

Jane Smorodnikova, co-founder, says the Quantified Self remains a mystery to most, so bringing all the data together in one interface helps explain it. They can see how their activity influences their stress, how many hours of sleep they need to recover properly and what lifestyle habits influence their productivity at work. Stress and energy measurements is the key that connects the dots of your lifestyle data and makes it easy to get real insights.

Welltory says it currently has 125,000 users and 650,000+ heart rate variability measurements. Its also got a healthy growth in paid users.

Co-founders Alexander Lyskovsky, Jane Smorodnikova and Pavel Pravdin are all quantified self aficionados who come from engineering backgrounds who wanted an approach based on science and hard data. They were advised by Professor Roman Baevsky, a space medicine expert who is currently a consultant at NASA and the Mars 500 project, who applied heart rate variability to the space program in the 1960s.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/08/welltory-packs-a-lot-of-science-into-its-app-to-measure-your-stress-levels/

UK South Asian women ‘hiding cancer because of stigma’ – BBC News

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Media caption‘I kept my chemotherapy a secret’

A number of UK women from South Asian backgrounds who have cancer hide it because of a perceived stigma about the disease, the BBC has learned.

One woman chose to “suffer on [her] own” through chemotherapy for fear of her family’s reaction, and questioned whether God was punishing her.

Experts said others were seeking help too late, causing preventable deaths.

In one case a woman sought treatment only when her breast was rotten. She later died as the cancer had spread.

‘Very dark days’

Pravina Patel, who told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme about her own experience, stumbled upon a lump in her breast when she was 36.

She grew up in a strict Indian community where even talking about the disease was considered shameful. When she was diagnosed, she decided to hide it.

“I just thought if people hear the fact that I’ve got cancer, they’re going to think it’s a death sentence,” she said.

She remembered worrying that people would say she had lived a “bad life” and God was punishing her for it.

Ms Patel continued to keep the disease a secret when seeking treatment, saying she felt “extremely lonely” during chemotherapy.

“I was going through chemo sessions on my own… I had some very dark days,” she explained.

Image caption Researcher Pooja Saini says some women are afraid having cancer “might affect their children because no one would want to marry them”

Pooja Saini, the lead researcher at CLAHRC North-West Coast, a research arm of the NHS that looks into health inequalities, said her own review into the issue “really surprised” her.

“Some women went to the extent of not even having treatment because, if they went, people would know as they’d lose their hair,” she explained.

She added others “feared it might affect their children because no-one would want to marry them”.

It is difficult to say how widespread the problem was, because little information has been collected on ethnicity and mortality.

But in 2014, research from Bridgewater NHS found Asian women between 15 and 64 years old had a significantly reduced survival rate for breast cancer of three years.

Ms Saini said her research suggests the influence of men in the family and elders in the wider community may be contributing to the issue.

“If they didn’t think women should go for screening, then they didn’t go,” she said.

Cultural expectations

The stigma surrounding cancer in South Asian communities spans different forms of the disease.

Ms Patel said there was a reluctance for women to go for a smear test because they did not want to be “defiled” or be considered “no longer pure”.

She has now completed her chemotherapy and is in remission.

Ms Patel and her husband got divorced during her treatment – something she says was partly because of cultural expectations about how a wife should be.

Image caption Madhu Agarwal says many South Asian women are seeking help too late

Some experts are concerned that women are suffering unnecessarily.

South Asian women are more likely to be from poor, deprived backgrounds, meaning their levels of awareness of cancer are likely to be lower.

National screening statistics show people from ethnic minority communities do not go for screening as much as their white counterparts.

Madhu Agarwal, a cancer support manager who has worked in the field of cancer for more than 30 years, fears this is leading to South Asian women dying unnecessarily.

“Because of the ignorance of not presenting early, not examining the breasts… the disease has already spread [when they do seek help] and it’s very difficult to manage it with treatment.

“Then the mortality is high, so there is a stigma attached – that when you get cancer you’re going to die.”

She said one of her patients had come for treatment so late that her breast was “fungating” and “rotten”.

She recalled: “It was smelling so much that you couldn’t even sit next to it.”

The woman – who had young children – died because the cancer had by then spread to other parts of her body, Ms Agarwal explained.

Image caption Samina Hussain says one of her family told her to wear the hijab to hide her cancer

The Victoria Derbyshire programme has heard several other accounts of the effects the stigma surrounding cancer can have.

Samina Hussain said one of her family told her to wear hijab to hide her cancer, saying “you can cover this up now”.

Iyna Butt said her aunt refused chemotherapy as she felt “God had given [cancer] to her”.

‘Help save women’

Ms Saini is now calling for more data on screening uptake by ethnicity to be recorded, so findings can be used to provide more tailored support to communities.

Public Health England’s screening director Anne Mackie said when Ms Saini’s research is published it will look to implement its suggestions.

“We’ve got every reason to believe that will help save women from [South] Asian backgrounds’ lives as well as others from deprived backgrounds,” she said.

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40802527