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TIKTOK MADE ME BUY IT AMAZON MUST HAVES AMAZON FINDS



TIKTOK MADE ME BUY IT AMAZON MUST HAVES AMAZON FINDS

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LA NUOVA FRONTIERA DEI SOLARI

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Negli ultimi anni, il mercato dei solari si è evoluto tantissimo.

Ricerca, ricercatezza, prevenzione sono diventati fattori chiari per lo sviluppo di prodotti che proteggono la nostra pelle dagli effetti negativi dei raggi solari, che possono portare eritemi, macchie, invecchiamento precoce e persino tumori alla pelle.

Sono ben lontani i tempi in cui mi abbronzavo selvaggiamente sulla spiaggia con mia cugina versandoci della birra addosso (non chiedetemi perché). Siamo cresciuti con il mito che “essere abbronzati è più bello” e, per quanto in parte possano ancora sentirsi in parte d’accordo, crescendo ho imparato a prendermi cura della mia pelle, del mio corpo e della mia salute in maniera più smart e consapevole, partendo proprio dalla prevenzione.

Oggi, perciò, ho voluto fare una chiacchiera con Eva Casagli, co-founder di Biofficina Toscana, in occasione del lancio della loro nuova linea estiva, per scoprire quali sono le nuove frontiere dei solari.

solari biofficina toscana

FILTRI FISICI O FILTRI CHIMICI?

La nuova linea di protezioni solare contiene filtri UVA e UVB di ultima generazione e non nano, ocean safe e resistenti all’acqua, rispettosi della pelle ma anche dell’ambiente marino.

A differenza degli altri prodotti Biofficina Toscana che tutti noi amiamo e conosciamo, le nuove protezioni solari (Crema Viso Solare Age Control SPF50 e Latte Solare Spray SPF30) NON sono completamente biologici, ma c’è un perché.

“Il progetto di produrre dei solari per viso è corpo è partito 3 anni fa, e ci abbiamo molto tempo per mettere a punto dei prodotti di cui potessimo essere veramente orgogliosi” – spiega Eva. “Il problema è che il panorama delle protezioni solari è molto controverso e confuso, e noi siamo voluti andare fino in fondo per trovare le formule giuste per i nostri acquirenti.

All’inizio siamo partiti con i soli filtri fisici, per essere completamente bio. Ma purtroppo con i filtri fisici subentrano due grandi limitazioni e problematiche.

Il primo è che la texture del prodotto risulta pesante, non setoso, poco piacevole, può rilasciare scie ecc. Per ovviare a questo problema bisognerebbe usare filtri nano (cioè più piccoli), ma qui sorge il secondo problema: ci sono infatti molti dubbi e perplessità nei confronti dell’utilizzo di filtri nano, perché essendo appunto molto piccoli penetrano nel circolo sanguigno, e possono raggiungere tutti gli organi – linfonodi compresi – causando potenzialmente interferenze endocrine. In sostanza, si teme che i filtri nano possono far male alla pelle perché penetrano TROPPO in profondità.

Inoltre, nessuno studio scientifico dimostra in maniera incontestabile che questi filtri fisici proteggano realmente ad ampio spettro dai filtri UVA e UVB, quindi per noi non aveva senso mettere in commercio un prodotto del genere. Abbiamo così dovuto prendere la decisione di inserire i filtri chimici all’interno delle nostre protezioni solari, ma anche lì non è facile districarsi tra tante regolamentazioni.”

biofficina toscana solari

L’HAWAII REEF BILL

Proprio sulla sicurezza dei filtri solari, infatti, si è espresso l’Hawaii Reef Bill, un decreto che impedisce la vendita di prodotti solari che contengono alcuni ingredienti considerati dannosi come l’oxybenzone e l’ octinoxate nello stato delle Hawaii. Questo per proteggere l’ecosistema, visto che questi ingredienti sono appunto altamente nocivi per l’ambiente marino.

“Quello che volevamo noi” continua Eva “era innanzitutto che, anche se non completamente bio, i prodotti che andavamo a creare fossero comunque in linea con la nostra filosofia e la nostra etica. Abbiamo quindi deciso di puntare a una formula più pulita possibile come sempre fuori petrolati, parabeni ecc. ed inserire all’interno solo il filtro chimico stesso e i suoi stabilizzatori. Ma, soprattutto, ci tenevamo a produrre delle referenze che non inquinassero l’ambiente marino, escludendo di conseguenza non solo i filtri chimici già banditi dall’HRB, ma anche quelli “in forse”.

I nostri filtri solari di ultima generazione sono approvati dl protocollo delle Hawaii, perché certificati essere SICURI e non nocivi per l’ambiente marino e la barriera corallina. E, soprattutto, non sono nano.

Insomma, ci è voluto un bel po’ di tempo, ma alla fine possiamo affermare di essere arrivati a una formulazione che ci rende soddisfatti al 100%!”

I filtri solari usati da Biofficina Toscana, ve lo dico io, sono molto pregiati e costosi proprio per tutte queste proprietà uniche che hanno, e che li differenziano da tantissimi altri prodotti analoghi che si trovano oggi sul mercato. Nonostante questo, il team di BT ha cercato strenuamente di mantenere il price point quanto più basso possibile e in linea con il loro target di mercato, nel rispetto dei clienti come me che da anni amano e comprano questo marchio italiano.

Le protezioni sono super piacevoli e setose, si assorbono in fretta e hanno una bellissima spalmabilità. In più, la Crema Viso Solare Age Control SPF50 contiene un attivo antiossidante che è naturalmente di colore rosa, e conferisce così un effetto bone mine alla pelle. Inoltre, questi ingredienti antiossidanti importanti contenuti nella formula svolgono appunto un azione antietà, e quindi la protezione è perfetta da utilizzare tutto l’anno non solo in spiaggia, ma anche in città.

I NUOVI PRODOTTI

Oltre alle due nuove protezioni solari, per l’Estate 2024 Biofficina Toscana ha pensato anche a due prodotti senza SPF.

Il primo è il Balsamo Spray Bifasico per i capelli, un prodotto che non appesantisce i capelli, e può essere utilizzato in spiaggia per mantenere le chiome idratate, ma anche post doccia in sostituzione ai più classici balsamo senza risciacqua. Lo spruzzo dell’erogatore è molto preciso e pratico, e il profumo semplicemente favoloso: sembra quasi acqua di cocco fruttata, e ti catapulta immediatamente su una spiaggia dell’Indonesia con un fiore di frangipani tra i capelli!

biofficina toscana solari balsamo spray bifasico

L’altro prodotto è lo Scrub Abbronzatura Perfetta, che io personalmente sto adorando. Si tratta di una pasta esfoliante molto delicata, che non leva l’abbronzatura ma semplicemente le cellule morte, per conferire un colorito più uniforme e duraturo, e ha la stessa fantastica profumazione dello Spray Bifasico.

biofficina toscana scrub abbronzatura perfetta
biofficina toscana scrub abbronzatura perfetta

COSA NE PENSO?

Secondo me è sintomo di intelligenza che un’azienda bio decida di trovare un compromesso nell’interesse del consumatore finale, accettando anche di non creare un prodotto magari non completamente bio, ma che funzioni davvero e che sia rispettoso sia della salute di chi lo utilizza sia dell’ambiente che ci sta intorno.

È questo che fa la differenza tra un’azienda che ha una solida filosofia, una visione, un’etica alle spalle, e chi produce in grandi quantità solo per cavalcare un trend per fare più soldi.

Spesso al consumatore non importa se chi produce è una grande azienda o una piccola realtà, ma questo invece dovrebbe essere qualcosa a cui dovremmo imparare a porre maggiore attenzione.

Proprio come nell’industria alimentare, in cui cerchiamo sempre di più scoraggiare gli allevamenti intensivi e le produzioni di massa a favore di piccoli allevamenti e fattorie, lo stesso dovrebbe accadere nel mondo della cosmesi, dove ci sono aziende che ancora testano sugli animali e che vedono il profitto come una mission.

biofficina toscana solari

Io personalmente sono ben felice di usare solari di cui mi fido, e di affidarmi a un’azienda che opera nell’interesse del consumatore e dell’ambiente, in maniera trasparente ed etica.

Ho avuto la fortuna di provare questi solari in anteprima  esclusiva, e li ho portati con me nel mio viaggio in Marocco: devo dire che anche sotto il sole cocente dell’Africa, sono riuscita a non scottarmi (pur essendo scura ho la carnagione delicatissima) e lo Scrub Abbronzatura Perfetta è stato l’alleato perfetto sia per preparare la pelle all’esposizione al sole, sia dopo per mantenerla bella levigata e luminosa!

I nuovi prodotti solari di Biofficina Toscana sono tutti vegan friendly e testati al nickel (<0,0001%).

Potete trovarli sia in negozio che sul loro sito www.biofficinatoscana.it



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A Capri parata di vip, paparazzi alla ricerca di Victoria dei Måneskin – Capri Press

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A Capri parata di vip, paparazzi alla ricerca di Victoria dei Måneskin  Capri Press



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6 Proven Steps to Kick Cravings


Ok, you did it. You ate some sweets and now you’re feeling guilty, bloated, and like you’ve gained 10 pounds… and you’re craving even more sweets. Here’s what you can do to kick your cravings and detox from sugar.

Understanding Why You Crave Sugar

Sugar activates the reward center of your brain. Every time you eat sweets, your body releases serotonin and dopamine. These hormones make you feel good in the same way anti-depressants, cigarettes, alcohol, and heroin do.

So why doesn’t broccoli trip this reward system as well? Well, healthy meals do in fact trigger dopamine, but the levels are lower and trail off much faster than when you consume sugar. It’s the long-acting effect of sugar that has us seeking out the next sweet high versus broccoli high.

The more sugar you consume, the more it blunts your brain’s reward system. Like any addict, it takes increasingly higher doses to achieve the same lasting high– another reason why you don’t crave broccoli; a broccoli high is nothing compared to a sugar high.

Constant activation of this system leads to a loss of control to say ‘no’ when sweets are in front of you. Even if you could muster the strength to walk away, cravings will follow suit. The lesson here is that cravings are not about will-power and motivation. Cravings are about your brain chemistry.

So the trick is to re-train your brain to crave broccoli and other good-for-you things.

This is how you do it.

6-Step Sugar Detox to Kick Cravings to the Curb

Step One: Hydrate

You already know that dehydration triggers hunger. It also triggers cravings for sugar too. The reason why is that like salt, sugar will retain water in your system. When people say that the first few pounds lost on a low-carb diet are ‘just’ water weight, they’re half-right. It’s sugar + water weight.

Losing those first few pounds is a positive sign that your body is shifting from a state of constant sugar consumption and dehydration to level blood glucose levels and hydrated, healthy cells.

Try to get at least 60 ounces of water in a day, especially in the first few days of a sugar detox. It will keep your mouth and hands busy, and your tummy full.

If you tire of water, two other beverages that work to keep you hydrated are warm broth and sugar-free electrolyte drinks. Broth is soothing, and also contains salts that help offset the dehydrating effects when you first lower your blood sugar levels. Sugar-free electrolytes are also a smart choice, they come in many flavors and can balance out other salts your body needs such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Step Two: Fast

Don’t skip over this step if you are serious about kicking sugar for good. Fasting on non-caloric beverages for 24 to 48 hours is the best way to flip the switch on sugar addiction.

You won’t be as hungry as you think, especially after you’ve gone off-program. There are calories to spare, and enough stored glucose in your liver to last a day without your body going hungry.

Sure, you might feel the urge to eat here and there, but that will have more to do with your learned behaviors. A fast will also help you identify behavioral triggers that prompt you to eat. It’s useful to realize the difference between physical hunger and a wired behavior brought on by anxiety, depression, stress, or habit.

Step Three: Go Cold-Turkey

Going cold-turkey is the most efficient way to kick the sugar habit. The typical American diet has about 13% of its calories from sugar. According to the World Health Organization, that number should be no more than 5%.

That means that unless you are already committed to a low-sugar diet, you are probably physically addicted to sugar. While 13% of calories in your diet doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s enough to have you craving sugar whenever its available. And if sugar isn’t available, your body is smart enough to find any simple carb like bread, pasta, and chips to satisfy the urge of another blood glucose spike. Once your total sugar calories drops to 5% or below, those urges decrease.

In the absence of sugar, broccoli will actually start to taste sweet to you– triggering the reward center of your brain. This increased sensitivity is where you can become more addicted to broccoli. The difference with a broccoli (or other healthy food addiction) is that you aren’t constantly craving the next high.

That’s the magic moment of ‘food serenity’ that signals peace between you, your body, and the food you eat.

Step Four: Eat Real Food

Sugar can be found in 74% of packaged foods at the grocery store. That means that in order to get rid of sugar addiction, you’ll need to focus on real, whole foods. With few exceptions, foods like meats, eggs, nuts, vegetables, and cheese can be counted on to not have hidden sugars.

Starches, breads, potatoes, fruits, and pasta spike blood sugar levels; they are seen by your body as similar to sugar and lead to blood sugar spikes. A successful detox is dependent on keeping high blood sugar levels from spiking your reward center again.

While most of us are familiar with low-carb diet, it doesn’t necessarily take zero carbs a day to detox from sugar. Our Weight Loss Coaches have found that most people can kick sugar, lose weight, and even get into ketosis at around 30-50 grams of complex carbs obtained mostly from vegetables.

Eat real, whole foods whenever you feel hungry. If you tried fasting, you’ll know the true difference between hunger and cravings. If you are still learning the difference and feel hungry– eat! Just don’t eat sugar or starchy carbs. Trying to restrict calories when you have cravings can lead to a disastrous sugar binge, undoing all the work you’ve put into your detox.

Step Five: Exercise

A UK study has found that a simple 15-minute walk is enough to effectively reduce cravings. Exercise releases feel-good hormones that can take the place of a sugar rush. As with broccoli, in the absence of sugar you can re-train your brain to feel that rush from exercise.

It’s worth considering how an aversion to exercise can be caused by sugar addiction itself. Your brain wants the bigger high. People who lower their sugar intake, which in turn increases their sensitivity to the rewards of exercise find that not only do they have more energy to do things– they WANT to do them, too.

So at a minimum, make sure you get at least 20 minutes or 2,000 steps in every day. If you can do more, do it.

Step Six: Be Kind to Yourself

It’s no joke that sugar detox is hard. That’s why it is sometimes called the ‘carb-flu.’ Feeling tired, achey, irritable, nauseous, and even coming down with a cold are all things that happen when you detox.

The best thing you can do is heed step one: stay well-hydrated. You can also take your over-the-counter pain reliever of choice to help with any aches and pains.

You should also make it a point get enough rest. Hormones called ghrelin, leptin, and corisol that control hunger and cravings are affected by a lack of rest.

Done correctly, it takes about 2 to 3 days to detox from sugar. You’ll know it’s happened because your cravings will diminish, your energy will increase, and you’ll crave healthy foods more than unhealthy ones. If it takes longer than 3 days, it’s time to check for hidden carbs and sugars in your food and beverages. Reading the labels on everything for a day or two can usually help you find the culprit.

If you are still having troubles finding hidden sugars or with the detox steps listed here, you can always call and talk with one of our Weight Loss Coaches at 1-800-273-1686.

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About the Writer: 100 pounds ago, Jan knew what it is like to be obese, unhappy, and stuck. She has spent the last 17 years as a fitness writer, trainer, yoga teacher, and Weight Loss Coach. Today, she’s proud to be a part of the Personal Trainer Food team so she can continue her goal to help others live their fullest lives possible. Email Jan@PersonalTrainerFood.com if you have any questions!

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Weight loss results not guaranteed and are based on various factors. Copyright © 2024 Personal Trainer Food, All rights reserved.



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Can brief text messaging reduce repeat hospital-treated self-harm?

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Self-harm is defined as “intentional self-poisoning or injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose” (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2022, p. 81). Rates of self-harm have become more prevalent, with 25.7% of women, and 9.7% of men, reporting self-harm across their life (McManus et al., 2016). Differential rates of self-harm have been reported for those who identify as LGBTQ+ (Liu et al., 2019), those from non-white ethnic backgrounds (Bhui et al., 2007) and those from deprived socio-economic backgrounds (Geulayov et al., 2022). Self-harm is also linked with suicidality (Geulayov et al., 2019). Overall, self-harm is a complex and life-threatening phenomenon; one that warrants significant attention.

The present study, by Stevens and colleagues (2024), seeks to identify whether a brief text message intervention could aid in reducing the number of times that people need to return to hospital for self-harm treatment. The randomised controlled trial (RCT), by Steven and colleagues (2024), is the first to explore this type of intervention on a broader population in Australia. Previous research has been focused on specific populations, like military personnel, therefore, this study has the potential to contribute to the interventions’ generalisability to a wider group of people.

Could brief text messages reduce the number of times people need to re-present to hospital for self-harm treatment? 

Could brief text messages reduce the number of times people need to re-present to hospital for self-harm treatment?

Methods

Stevens et al., (2024) conducted a parallel RCT which compared participants who received treatment as usual (TAU), with participants who received TAU, plus nine brief short message service (SMS) messages over 12 months, after their discharge from three hospitals in New South Wales, Australia.

The SMS intervention included three different messages sent to participants on a rotating schedule. All SMS messages were personalised with the participants name, included an expression of concern for participant wellbeing, and included details of available local mental health services and crisis lines. The messages were developed by consultants with lived experience.

Once enrolled, participants were stratified by first and subsequent self-harm presentation as there was significant variability amongst participants. After stratification, participants were then randomly assigned and enrolled by clinicians into either the TAU or TAU plus SMS condition. The allocation sequence was concealed.

The study also interestingly used a single-consent Zelen design (Zelen, 1979) which has been discussed in previous a previous blog by Lucy Maconick (2022). The Zelen design is a modification to a usual RCT, whereby participants in the intervention group only are asked to provide consent after randomisation. As the study used a Zelen design, this meant that the participants were not blinded to being in the SMS condition.

Results

The study enrolled 431 participants into the TAU group and 373 participants into the TAU plus SMS group. There was a larger proportion of females (n=520) to males (n=284). The study had main three primary outcomes, and two secondary outcomes.

Primary outcomes

  • The number of times that people repeated self-harm, and needed hospital treatment for this, reduced significantly at 12 and 24 months, after receiving TAU plus the SMS intervention, with a relative risk reduction (RRR) of 22%. The authors state that at the 24-month follow-up, this 22% equates to 123 less people re-presenting for self-harm treatment in the SMS group.
  • Females had higher rates of re-presentation for self-harm, but the effect of the brief text message was significant and larger for females compared to males, where there was no difference between TAU and TAU plus intervention regarding the frequency of repeat, hospital treated, self-harm.
  • There was no difference, between TAU and TAU plus intervention, in the time between when participants first presented to hospital with self-harm, to when they presented to hospital again for self-harm, over the 24-month follow-up period.

Secondary outcomes

  • There was no difference between TAU and TAU plus intervention regarding the proportion of participants who repeated self-harm or not, over the 24-month follow-up period of the study, meaning the intervention did not reduce the number of times people repeated self-harm.
  • Throughout the study, over the 24-month period, there were a total of 16 deaths.
  • The study also analysed suicide rates amongst the 16 deaths and sadly found that there were 4 suicides across the 24-month period. The authors stated that the suicides occurred in the TAU group only.
People presented fewer times to hospital for treatment of their repeat self-harm at 12 and 24 months, after receiving the brief text message intervention.

People presented fewer times to hospital for treatment of their repeat self-harm at 12 and 24 months, after receiving the brief text message intervention.

Conclusions

Overall, this study shows that a brief text message intervention could reduce the number of times that people return to hospital for treatment of repeat self-harm. The authors also state that “the 22% reduction in repetition of hospital-treated self-harm was clinically meaningful” (Stevens et al., 2024, p. 106). This is an important finding, given how easily implementable such an intervention could be, as it is brief and automated. However, the authors argue that it is likely that more studies are needed to establish further efficacy and economic feasibility of the SMS intervention.

The intervention helped to reduce repeat self-harm re-presentations to hospital, but further research is needed to ensure the efficacy and affordability of the intervention.

The intervention helped to reduce repeat self-harm re-presentations to hospital, but further research is needed to ensure its efficacy and affordability.

Strengths and limitations

The RCT, by Stevens et al., (2024), was the first to explore a brief SMS intervention in a population beyond a narrow demographic. By exploring a wider population, this study provided evidence that the intervention could have efficacy in hospital settings, where a large proportion of the population seek self-harm treatment. As this was an RCT, the study was randomised, which is another strength, as this helps to improve internal validity. It was also good to see that messages included in the intervention were created by people with lived mental health experience, likely improving their appropriateness.

However, the study used non-standardised TAU condition. Although this could be argued as more accurate, as there is variability in clinical settings, it could confound results. Witt et al. (2018) state that non-standard TAU is a significant source of heterogeneity in studies that investigate self-harm interventions, and it is imperative to have clarity regarding what constitutes TAU. Although the authors did detail what TAU was likely to consist of, they stated that it varied, which could have influenced outcomes. For example, if one participant received a care plan that did not include psychological therapies, compared to another participant that did receive psychological therapies, this could have caused confounding variables.

Another main limitation was the single-consent Zelen design. Although the Zelen design can improve drop-out rates, as participants may be happier to be allocated to the treatment condition (Homer, 2002), the single-consent Zelen design asked for consent in the treatment group only, which the authors state led to increased attrition rates, which could have led to attrition bias. Participants in the treatment condition were also aware of their allocation, which could have altered participant behaviour, ultimately impacting the validity of the study. Additionally, the study did not make clear whether the researchers were blinded, so this may have further impacted the findings.

Although an interesting addition to research, the study has left some concerns and questions regarding validity.

Although an interesting addition to research, the study has left some concerns and questions regarding validity.

Implications for practice

Self-harm is a significant burden on the wellbeing of the Australian population (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019), therefore the implications of the reduction in repeat self-harm event rates are significant for patients, services and practitioners.

Qualitative research has demonstrated that brief SMS interventions may be helpful to people who are self-harming by fostering a sense of feeling supported through caring messages, and information about services, if urgent mental health support is needed (Duan et al., 2020). This approach to patient aftercare therefore may reduce demand on stretched Australian emergency departments (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2023), as messages encourage patients to use support helplines for preventative self-harm care. However, prior to implementation, further research must explore why patients are re-presenting less, and whether crisis lines, or supportive messages, are a casual mechanism by which re-presentation rates are reduced. Knowing the exact casual mechanisms will ensure interventions are efficacious, ease demand, and achieve the best outcomes in terms of self-harm reduction.

As the UK experiences the same difficulties as Australia, like high demand for urgent services (Pines et al., 2011), and increases in self-harm (McManus et al., 2016), the same implications apply. As the NHS moves towards providing Enhanced Primary Care Services, which include mental health services for people with more complex presentations, such an intervention may offer practitioners an easily implementable tool which could help reduce escalation to secondary care and improve mental health literacy; both outcomes have the potential to enhance patient safety and experience in primary care, especially for more at-risk patients. Further research is needed to explore an SMS intervention in primary care settings to determine the efficacy of the intervention.

Finally, the cost-effectiveness of the intervention must be examined. There is evidence to suggest that digital health interventions can be cost-effective (Gentili et al., 2022), which could make an SMS intervention feasible in the NHS, without adding significant financial burden. In the Talking Therapies service that I work within, the service has an established automated SMS service, which may be the case across other services, so it could be easily implementable with little additional resources.

Overall, a brief SMS intervention could be implemented within mental health services to reduce burden on urgent services and improve the wellbeing of the recipients, however, more research is needed regarding mechanisms of change, generalisability and economic viability before adoption.

Further research should explore the cost-effectiveness of the intervention, to support the viability.

Further research should explore the cost-effectiveness of the intervention, to support the viability.

Statement of interests

No conflicts of interest to declare.

Links

Primary paper

Stevens, G. J., Sperandei, S., Carter, G. L., Munasinghe, S., Hammond, T. E., Gunja, N., de la Riva, A., Brakoulias, V., & Page, A. (2024). Efficacy of a short message service brief contact intervention (SMS-SOS) in reducing repetition of hospital-treated self-harm: randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 224(3), 106–113. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2023.152

Other references

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). The health impact of suicide and self-inflicted injuries in Australia. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/burden-of-disease/health-impact-suicide-self-inflicted-injuries-2019/contents/about

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2023). Emergency department care. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/myhospitals/sectors/emergency-department-care

Bhui, K., McKenzie, K., & Rasul, F. (2007). Rates, risk factors &amp; methods of self harm among minority ethnic groups in the UK: a systematic review. BMC Public Health, 7(1), 336. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-7-336

Duan, S., Wang, H., Wilson, A., Qiu, J., Chen, G., He, Y., Wang, Y., Ou, J., & Chen, R. (2020). Developing a Text Messaging Intervention to Reduce Deliberate Self-Harm in Chinese Adolescents: Qualitative Study. JMIR MHealth and UHealth, 8(6), e16963. https://doi.org/10.2196/16963

Gentili, A., Failla, G., Melnyk, A., Puleo, V., Tanna, G. L. Di, Ricciardi, W., & Cascini, F. (2022). The cost-effectiveness of digital health interventions: A systematic review of the literature. Frontiers in Public Health, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.787135

Geulayov, G., Casey, D., Bale, E., Brand, F., Clements, C., Farooq, B., Kapur, N., Ness, J., Waters, K., Patel, A., & Hawton, K. (2022). Socio-economic disparities in patients who present to hospital for self-harm: patients’ characteristics and problems in the Multicentre Study of Self-harm in England. Journal of Affective Disorders, 318, 238–245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2022.08.106

Geulayov, G., Casey, D., Bale, L., Brand, F., Clements, C., Farooq, B., Kapur, N., Ness, J., Waters, K., Tsiachristas, A., & Hawton, K. (2019). Suicide following presentation to hospital for non-fatal self-harm in the Multicentre Study of Self-harm: a long-term follow-up study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 6(12), 1021–1030. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30402-X

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McManus, S., Bebbington, P., Jenkins, R., & Brugha, T. (2016). Mental Health  and Wellbeing in England: the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23646/1/

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Floating Wind Madness in Maine – Watts Up With That?

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By David Wojick

The Government of Maine has really big plans for floating wind, a floating net zero fantasy, in fact. Since floating wind power is the next big green thing, it is worth taking a close look at this ruinous vision.

Floating wind is a fad, not an established technology. It has yet to be built at utility scale or tested in a hurricane. The world’s biggest grid-connected system is a tiny 50 MW and just came online off Scotland.

The cost of floating wind is necessarily much greater than fixed wind. A fixed wind tower sits on a simple monopile, while a floating tower sits on a huge complex structure called a floater. We are talking about massive 500-foot towers with 500-ton turbines on top and 300-foot blades catching the wind.

The floater has to be large enough to keep this monster tower from blowing over. Then, it has to be even bigger to contain enough air to be buoyant. It also has to be anchored to the ocean floor in ways that require a lot of different mooring lines.

The small existing floating generator systems cost around three times what fixed wind costs per MW, but the big and hurricane-proof generators might cost even more. Over a hundred designs have been proposed, which shows just how immature Floating wind technology is.

Which brings us to Maine’s floating green dream, a costly nightmare for its people. When it comes to electricity use, Maine is a small state with average generation of just around 1,500 MW. But in an act of madness, they passed a law saying they will buy 3,000 MW of floating wind. Fixed wind is not an option because the Gulf of Maine is too deep.

How do they justify buying so much floating wind? Simple, it is a net zero fantasy. They have a 115-page “Maine Offshore Wind Roadmap” that explains it.

For a start, they shut down all their existing combustion generators, mostly burning either gas or wood. Maine is 90% forest, so there is a lot of wood. Then, they electrify all the other forms of combustion. For example, 60% of homes are heated with fuel oil, so they switch to heat pumps or something that works in really cold weather. Of course, all the cars and trucks are electric.

The projected cost of the 3,000 MW of floating wind is huge. Using the reported three times fixed wind figure, I get a rough estimate of $50 billion for construction and an equal amount for financing and profit, giving a total cost of around $100 billion. It could be a lot more once large-scale and hurricane-proof technology is developed if it ever is.

Apparently, the astronomical cost is no object because it is never mentioned. Not in the law, roadmap, or various technical support documents. Jobs are frequently mentioned, but they are part of the cost. But then, too, there is the much larger cost of the energy transition, without which the floating wind is simply not usable.

Clearly, the floating wind development may never occur, which brings us back to the present day, where things get really crazy. The State of Maine has started the process to build a huge new port specifically to handle this floating wind fantasy. I am not making this up.

With fixed wind, the shore facility is merely a marshaling yard where the pieces are held until barged out to the offshore site for assembly. There are just four big pieces: the monopile, tower, turbine, and blade set.

Floating wind is completely different because the huge floater is built at the port. The tower, turbines, and blade set are mounted on the floater there as well. Then, the whole assembly is towed to the site and anchored to the sea floor using eight or more mooring lines.

So this is really a highly specialized shipyard, a floater factory, not a port. There will have to be one or more dry docks to build the huge floaters in, plus a great deal of specialized equipment, especially cranes. Reportedly, steel floaters for a 15 MW turbine could typically weigh 3500 to 4500 tons, while concrete floaters would be in the range of 17,000 to 22,000 tons.

The final configuration is completely unknown until the floater design is finalized. Note, too, that this shipyard might only be in operation for the few years it takes to build 3,000 MW of floating wind generators.

The presently estimated cost of this shipyard/port is a bit under a billion dollars but it could easily be more depending on the complexity of the design. The cost of a unique new system tends to go way up when the engineering is actually done.

Starting this billion-dollar port project now is just foolish. It is highly likely that the required energy transition will not occur. The electricity will be very expensive, perhaps four to five times the present cost. Plus, we have no idea what the technology will look like, assuming it can be made to work in the tempestuous waters off Maine.

The people of Maine are unlikely to accept these onerous conditions, nor should they. This whole nutty project needs to be reconsidered.

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Accelerating Business Growth with Universal EV Chargers – A Win-Win Partnership 


Introduction: In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, staying ahead of the curve is essential for success. For gas stations, hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, and other businesses, embracing innovation is key to attracting customers and increasing revenue. Universal EV Chargers offers a unique opportunity for businesses to tap into the growing electric vehicle market while enhancing their bottom line. In this blog, we’ll explore how partnering with Universal EV Chargers can drive business growth and create a win-win scenario for both business owners and their customers. 

The Electric Vehicle Revolution: The shift towards electric vehicles is undeniable, with more drivers making the switch to cleaner and more sustainable transportation options. As the demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, businesses have a valuable opportunity to capitalize on this trend by offering EV charging services. By installing Universal EV Chargers, businesses can attract a new segment of eco-conscious customers and differentiate themselves in the market. 

Partnering with Universal EV Chargers: At Universal EV Chargers, we understand the importance of making EV charging accessible and convenient for both businesses and customers. That’s why we offer chargers at no cost to qualified properties, allowing businesses to enhance their amenities without any upfront investment. Additionally, we provide profit-sharing options that allow businesses to earn revenue from charging fees, creating a sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership. 

Benefits for Businesses: Partnering with Universal EV Chargers offers a range of benefits for businesses: 

  1. Attract More Customers: By offering EV charging services, businesses can attract electric vehicle owners who are actively seeking places to charge their vehicles. 
  2. Enhance Customer Experience: EV charging stations provide added convenience for customers, increasing satisfaction and loyalty. 
  3. Drive Revenue Growth: Through profit-sharing options, businesses can generate additional revenue from charging fees, creating a new stream of income. 
  4. Differentiate From Competitors: Businesses that offer EV charging services stand out from competitors and position themselves as forward-thinking and environmentally conscious establishments. 

Case Studies: Many businesses have already experienced success by partnering with Universal EV Chargers. For example, a gas station owner Mesquite, Texas saw a significant increase in foot traffic and fuel sales after installing EV chargers, while a hotel in Hillsborough, North Carolina reported higher occupancy rates and positive feedback from guests. These case studies highlight the tangible benefits of embracing electric vehicle charging solutions. 

How to Get Started: Getting started with Universal EV Chargers is simple and hassle-free. Our team will work closely with businesses to assess their needs, determine eligibility for no-cost chargers, and develop a customized profit-sharing agreement. From installation to ongoing support, we provide comprehensive assistance every step of the way. 

Conclusion: In conclusion, partnering with Universal EV Chargers offers businesses a unique opportunity to drive growth, attract customers, and differentiate themselves in the market. With no-cost chargers and profit-sharing options, businesses can tap into the electric vehicle market while enhancing their bottom line. Embrace the future of transportation and join us in accelerating towards a cleaner, more sustainable future. Contact Universal EV Chargers today to learn more about our partnership opportunities and start reaping the benefits of EV charging services. 

 

Gen X has regrets about retirement savings, study suggests

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Members of Generation X are more concerned about their post-retirement ability to support the lifestyles they’ve grown accustomed to when compared with other generations — including baby boomers and millennials — according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Allianz Life.

In the company’s 2024 Annual Retirement Study, respondents indicated that 62% of Gen Xers “feel confident about being able to financially support all the things they want to do in life,” compared with 82% of baby boomers and 77% of millennials. But more than half of Gen X respondents (55%) also said they “wish that they would have saved more money for retirement,” a feeling that is more severe among Hispanic (63%) and Black (56%) members of the cohort.

“Gen Xers are reaching crunch time for retirement planning. For Gen Xers, retirement is no longer this far off idea. That can feel stressful, but by preparing now, they can create a strategy that will help them seek their ideal retirement,” Kelly LaVigne, vice president of consumer insights at Allianz Life, said in the report. “The good news is that it is never too late to prepare for retirement. You can wish you started sooner, but you’ll never wish that you waited longer.”

The most common action that the cohort is taking toward their long-term financial goals is in paying down debt (64%), building up an emergency fund (58%) and aiming to make choices that result in a material credit-score improvement (55%).

But high costs are also keeping many Gen Xers from saving more for retirement. They say that “expenses for day-to-day necessities (61%), credit card debt (40%) and housing debt (39%)” are the key culprits keeping them from saving more.

“Saving more overall is foundational to retirement,” Lavigne added. “However, Gen X may need to take this a step further and remember that a retirement strategy isn’t just about one big final number in the bank. Once you retire, you are going to need to draw from those assets for income.

”A sound retirement income strategy will help use your assets efficiently and include contingencies for risks that can cause you to spend down savings faster than anticipated. You need to ensure the money lasts.”

Despite the difference a long-term plan can make, few Gen Xers employ one, the study found. Only 35% of Gen X respondents said they use the services of a financial professional, compared to 46% of millennials and more than half of baby boomers. But Gen Xers are also thinking more about retirement than they have before, the results found.

“Nearly two in three (63%) say one of their top three goals in the next five years is to save enough and make plans to live a comfortable retirement,” the report stated. “This increased from 56% in 2023. Gen Xers who are Asian/Asian Americans (68%) were more likely to say this than white (61%), Hispanic (61%), and Black/African American Gen X respondents (55%).”

Older members of Gen X are increasingly approaching retirement age. Most researchers agree that the generation begins around the mid-1960s, and those born in 1965 will turn 59 in 2024.

While most members of the cohort are too young to qualify for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), several leading reverse mortgage lenders offer proprietary reverse mortgages that allow the eligible borrowing age to be as young as 55 in some states.

Fewer homeowners are remodeling, but demand is still ‘solid’

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Skynesher | E+ | Getty Images

Fewer homeowners have been taking on remodeling projects, reports show. But don’t mistake it for a slow market.

The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, an outlook measuring home improvement and repair spending on owner-occupied homes, peaked at 17.3% in the third quarter of 2022. The LIRA has been declining since, and slid 1.2% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the prior quarter.

The NAHB/Westlake Royal Remodeling Market Index by the National Association of Home Builders reflects a similar decline. The RMI, which measures remodelers’ sentiment about the market, peaked at 87 points in the third quarter of 2021, and like the LIRA, has been consistently declining since. In the first quarter of 2024, the measure fell to 66 points, down one point from the previous quarter.

However, the RMI is still in territory where more remodelers see the conditions as “good” rather than “poor,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist of NAHB.

In a release for the group’s first quarter report, NAHB Remodelers Chair Mike Pressgrove noted that “demand for remodeling remains solid, especially among customers who don’t need to finance their
projects at current interest rates.”

Covid lockdowns, inflation influence remodeling activity

The height of the Covid-19 pandemic brought with it a burst of home renovation activity.

Homeowners were eager to invest in the spaces they were spending so much time in: updating key spaces like kitchens and bathrooms, building out home offices and adding pools.

Some also had savings built up thanks to stimulus checks, and from activities they couldn’t do during early lockdowns — and rerouted that money toward home improvements and remodels, said Abbe H. Will, senior research associate and associate director of Remodeling Futures at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. In 2021, owners used cash from savings to pay for nearly four out of five projects, according to a JCHS report.

“We’re coming off such high levels of spending,” Will said.

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As Covid-era savings have dried up, so has that boost in activity.

Homeowners are doing fewer and smaller remodels. Yet they are spending more per project, in part due to broader inflation and higher costs for materials and construction labor.

Homeowners spent an average $9,542 on home improvements in 2023, a 12% increase from a year prior, according to the State of Home Spending by Angi. At the same time, the amount of projects decreased to an average of 2.8 projects in 2023 from 3.2 in 2022. The survey polled 6,400 consumers between Oct. 22 and Oct. 23.

The increase in home improvement spending, along the decrease in projects, suggests inflation corroded household budgets, according to the home services website.

‘We haven’t built a lot of new housing’

While home improvement activity is expected to further moderate from pandemic highs, remodelers continue to be busy with work.

Contributing to demand: Owners are living in their homes for longer and the existing housing stock in the U.S. is getting older. Both factors are going to require homeowners to invest in the upkeep of their properties, experts say.

As of 2024, the typical homeowner’s tenure in their home is 11.9 years, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage site. That’s nearly double the average 6.5 years in 2005.

It’s largely driven by baby boomers aging in place; nearly 40% of boomers have lived in their homes for almost 20 years, while 16% have stayed in their home for at least a decade, Redfin found.

“Aging-in-place remodeling” has turned into a big subsector in the remodeling market as baby boomers move into their retirement years, said Dietz. Instead of relocating, some retirees plan to stay in their neighborhoods or close to family.

“But that means they’re investing in their homes, whether it’s energy efficiency items [or] safety items like lighting and railings,” Dietz said.

However, the real driver for remodels is the aging housing market. In 2021, the median age of all owned homes was 41 years old, according to the 2021 American Housing Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Homes built in the 1980s or earlier make up about 60% of existing stock, according to a U.S. Census data analysis by the NAHB.

“It really speaks to the fact that we haven’t built a lot of new housing over the last decade. That aging housing stock is going to require investment,” Dietz said.

Report: MMA veteran Shannon Ritch allegedly chased with knife, kills man in self-defense

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Shannon Ritch recently found himself in a scary situation.

The 152-fight mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran (58-90, 4 no contests) was in an alleged altercation in Phoenix, Arizona at 9:20 PM local time this past weekend (June 15, 2024), per Fox 10 Phoenix. The report states officers were alerted to a shooting that involved Ritch, 53, and 32-year-old Alejandro Samplina. Ritch allegedly shot and killed Samplina in a Phoenix Twin Falls parking lot, according to the investigation. Ritch claimed the debacle was over a parking issue and that Samplina began chasing him around his car with a knife.

”A self-defense claim consistent with witnesses and surveillance video” was provided by Ritch and the officers let him go. Charges will be submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review.

“Ritch was able to retrieve his handgun from the open door of his vehicle,” Phoenix Police Sgt., Mayra Reeson, said. “Samplina proceeded to walk towards Ritch with the knife in a threatening manner. In response, Ritch fired one round, striking Samplina.”

Ritch last fought when he suffered a 31-second leg lock submission loss to Glenn Sparv in January 2020. “The Cannon” was supposed to make his return to professional action in Doha, Qatar for a boxing match on the fictitious QSM Promotions Rumble of Titans event that was supposed to feature Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Shannon Briggs on June 8, 2024.

Despite the controversy that surrounded the event, Ritch still made the trip out to Doha and maintains something will happen in the future.





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