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Blood, spit and swabs: can you trust home medical-testing kits?

Is posting off your bodily fluids to a DIY health-testing company the future of healthcare or just too much information? On a dark February morning, I wake grainy with sleep and head to the kitchen. Before making toast or coffee, I unscrew the cap from a tiny test tube and spit into it. Over and over, but its surprisingly difficult to fill up a whole vial. It takes 10 minutes before my frothy deposit reaches the marked minimum line. My housemate sips her coffee. Are you ill? she asks. No,…

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Modern myths about cancer from chemicals in food to wifi

The idea that lifestyle changes have made the disease more common is a gross exaggeration but increasingly prevalent. We separate fact from fiction Cancer is not up there with one species of dinosaur suffered from blood-vessel tumours and misinterpretations of some small studies and claims by self-styled wellness gurus that cancer is a man-made disease have fed the belief that cancer is modern. While that does not mean anyone concerned about cancer should visit their local natural history museum for information, thinking of cancer as a result of modern life…

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Know thyself by writing your first novel

Dig deep inside, battle self-doubt and become the person you know you can be. Richard Skinner on the healing powers of writing a novel Writing a novel is a scary prospect. Theyre so long and winding, they can seem never-ending. The main obstacle might seem to be starting the terror of the blank page but the real stumbling block lies elsewhere. There is no reason in the world why you cant write a novel and the only thing stopping you from doing so is yourself. It seems such an insurmountable…

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Would you like a jobbymoon?

Weve had honeymoons, babymoons, staycations and bizcations now the latest portmanteau trend offers you time out ahead of a career move. But is it a holiday? Name: Jobbymoon Age: The coinage is new, if the thing is not. Appearance: To the untrained eye, a holiday. Is it not a holiday? Its like a holiday, but different. What is it then? To be honest, its an allegedly emerging trend with an ill-advised name. I was going to say: whatever it is, it sounds disgusting. Sounds disgusting feels great! Well, I remain…

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Cant sleep? Tell yourself its not a big deal | Oliver Burkeman

Theres growing evidence that thinking of yourself as an insomniac is a major part of the problem Note to publishers: in my view, theres an unfilled gap in the wellness market for a book on how sleep isnt really that important. In contrast to thats not what the science says. But you know what? Unlike all those other books, this one would help people sleep. Because take it from an intermittent bad sleeper: theres nothing more likely to keep an insomniac up at night, or turn a good sleeper into…

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‘Social media has poisoned us’: young Britons on why they are unhappy

From student debt to loneliness, young people in Britain share their reasons for why the happiness of 16 to 25-year-olds is so low Research says that young Britons are unhappy and lack confidence in themselves and their future. But what are the reasons for this? According to the Princes Trust the results from its UK Youth Index shows that three out of five regularly feel stressed about jobs and money, with half saying they experienced a mental health problems, and that the figures should Guardian callout said their enormous student…

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The girther movement: is Donald Trump fatter than the White House doctor says?

A physical examination of the US president has declared him to be in great physical shape. But some are questioning his vital statistics Shortcuts Last modified on Wed 17 Jan 2018 09.42EST Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Hey guys, on a cheeseburger-in-bed diet, you too could look like me Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP Name: The girther movement Age: One day old. Appearance: Questioning, sceptical, suspicious. Is it like the like Trump, maintained that Barack Obama was born in Kenya was found to be in great physical shape.…

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Why we fell for clean eating

The long read: The oh-so-Instagrammable food movement has been thoroughly debunked but it shows no signs of going away. The real question is why we were so desperate to believe it In the spring of 2014, Jordan Younger noticed that her hair was falling out in clumps. Not cool was her reaction. At the time, Younger, 23, believed herself to be eating the healthiest of all possible diets. She was a gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free, grain-free, legume-free, plant-based raw vegan. As The Blonde Vegan, Younger was a wellness blogger in New…

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Hollywoods grim century of fat-shaming: from Greta Garbo to Chle Grace Moretz

The film industry has a long and unhealthy obsession with the weight of its female stars. The more who speak up like Moretz did this week the more chance there is of change This week, 20-year-old actor Chle Grace Moretz said she had been body-shamed by a male actor on set when she was 15. He was her co-star at the time, in his 20s, cast in the role of her love interest, and he said he would never date her in real life, because she was too big. It…

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HRT and vaginal moisturisers? Here’s what really helps menopausal women

Products claiming to fix the menopause are now a multibillion-dollar global industry. We asked the experts for their advice on what works and what doesnt Even though 80% of women going through the menopause will get symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats (and in 25% of cases they will be severe enough to affect quality of life), few are confident talking about it. A Kathy Abernethy, chair of the British Menopause Society, says: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is absolutely the best treatment for hot flushes and sweats that…

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How to conquer our obsession with eternal life | Matt Haig

Our anti-ageing quest only increases anxiety, says Matt Haig. Instead, we need to understand the tricks of time As a culture, we are obsessed with ageing. We have always been obsessed but now, paradoxically, in an era where we live longer than ever, we fear it more than ever before too. There is, of course, a whole industry devoted to capitalising on our fears of the natural ageing process and its a lucrative one. In fact, the anti-ageing industry, which is the largest part of the beauty industry, is now…

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To the Bone confirms there are (almost) no good movies about anorexia

The Netflix drama, which stars Lily Collins, leans on some outdated tropes. But only a handful of novels and films have evoked the reality of the illness, or explained why so many women turn their unhappiness on themselves No talk about food. Its boring and its unhelpful, announces To the Bone, the much-discussed upcoming film about anorexia, starring Lily Collins and distributed by anorexia, which is why almost almost none exist. How to depict a mental illness that unlike, say, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder has such a well-known and hard-to-fake…

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From Viagra to Valium, the drugs that were discovered by accident

From Alexander Fleming onwards, the lives of millions have been transformed and saved by treatments that scientists were not even looking for When scientists in New Zealand discovered that a meningitis vaccine antibiotic, which he called penicillin. For his accidental discovery, he shared the Nobel prize for medicine in 1945 with Florey and Chain, Oxford chemists who perfected the process of penicillin mass production in time to treat infected battlefield injuries sustained in the second world war. When I woke up just after dawn on 28 September, 1928, I certainly…

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Sense of purpose aids sleep, US scientists find

People who felt they had a strong purpose in life suffer from less insomnia and sleep disturbance, says neurologist The secret to a good nights sleep later in life is having a good reason to get up in the morning, according to US researchers who surveyed people on their sleeping habits and sense of purpose. People who felt they had a strong purpose in life suffered from less insomnia and sleep disturbances than others and claimed to rest better at night as a result, the study found. Jason Ong, a…

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