'This Is Us' Star's Daughter Is Starting High School, & Dad's in Shock

One day, you’re holding your newborn baby, and just a few days later, she’s headed off to high school. OK, it doesn’t really happen quite that fast, but when your baby girl is inching her way toward prom, it can feel like it went by in the blink of an eye. And not even celebs are immune to this trick of time, as actor Justin Hartley knows too well. He spoke to People about his daughter Isabella heading off to high school — and how he just can’t get over it.

"Unbelievable right?" the This Is Us star told the magazine. "It is a shock because I remember feeling like I woke up and she was 10. Then I looked at her again and she was 14."

Don’t worry, Justin. All parents know these feels — even if we’re not on one of TV’s biggest sobfest shows ever. It’s so bittersweet watching your child grow up, from first steps to SATs and everything in between. And guess what? The milestones definitely don’t stop there; thirtysomething "kids" have firsts too! Parenting is a roller coaster, and it doesn’t get any easier — it just gets different.

Congrats, Isabella, and enjoy these new adventures to come. And Dad, you’d better hang on for dear life, because prom’s a-comin’.

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Black Cat Appreciation Day Is This Friday!

It’s that time of year again! Black Cat Appreciation day is this Friday, August 17. And we hope you’ll join us in celebrating our feline friends by considering opening your heart and your home to an adorable black cat or kitten. 

In honor of this special day, the ASPCA Adoption Center will offer a “name your adoption fee” promotion, where adopters who decide to take home a black cat or kitten will be able to decide how much they want to offer for their new pet’s adoption fee. All cats and kittens from our Adoption Center are also up-to-date on vaccinations, microchipped and have been spayed or neutered. 

Below are some of the sweet black cats you could meet at the Adoption Center this Friday.

*Marion is currently living in a foster home. If you are interested in meeting this sweet girl for Black Cat Appreciation Day, please call our Adoptions department in New York City at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4120.

The Adoption Center is also home to plenty of adorable black kittens as well. Stop by on Friday to meet them all! 

Even if you’re not in the Tri-State area, we hope you will still celebrate Black Cat Appreciation Day by heading to your local shelter and giving a black cat or kitten a loving home. If you aren’t ready to adopt yet, help spread the word! 

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Long-term effects of birth control: Is it safe to use indefinitely?

Some people take the birth control pill for much of their adult lives without a break. Others use long-term hormonal contraception devices, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), that can stay in place for several years.

The safety of using long-term hormonal birth control may depend on a person’s risk factors, age, and medical history.

Read on to find out the short-term and long-term effects of birth control.

Short-term side effects

Hormonal methods of birth control contain artificial progesterone or estrogen and progesterone. They affect the hormone levels in a person’s body, so many people experience side effects shortly after taking them.

Not all people will experience side effects. Some side effects will go away within several months as the body adjusts to the hormones. Other side effects may develop after taking hormones for some time.

Possible short-term side effects of birth control include:

  • bleeding between periods, or spotting
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • breast tenderness
  • weight gain
  • mood swings

There are several long-term birth control options. All hormonal methods of birth control, including the pill, patch or implant, may cause similar side effects and long-term risks.

There is no one “best” method of birth control. The best option depends on a person’s lifestyle and medical history.

Most long-term birth control options involve the use of hormones. The hormones work in two main ways: stopping ovulation and thickening the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for the egg and sperm to meet.

Long-term non-hormonal options are also available, including the non-hormonal IUD.

Long-term contraception methods include the following:

  • Birth control pills: Contraceptive pills often contain both artificial progesterone and estrogen. People can also use progesterone-only pills.
  • Contraceptive shots: Contraceptive shots contain progesterone and prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation. A doctor can give a contraceptive shot every 3 months.
  • Contraceptive implants: An implant is a small, thin rod that a doctor inserts under the skin in the arm. It releases hormones that prevent ovulation. The implant protects from pregnancy for up to 4 years.
  • Vaginal ring: A person inserts a vaginal ring inside their vagina. The person leaves the ring in for 3 weeks and then takes it out for 1 week. The ring releases hormones, which prevent ovulation.
  • Contraceptive patch: The patch contains hormones that prevent pregnancy. A person sticks the patch on their back, bottom, or arm. The person changes the patch weekly for 3 weeks then takes the fourth week off. They must repeat this every month.
  • Intrauterine device (IUD): An IUD is a small device that a doctor inserts in the cervix. Currently, IUDs last anywhere from 3 to 12 years. People can get hormonal or non-hormonal versions of the IUD.
  • Surgical Sterilization: Options are available for both sexes. However, these are permanent methods. They are completely hormone-free.


Using hormonal birth control is safe for as long as you need, provided that a doctor has given the okay. People should discuss their individual needs and risk factors with a doctor when deciding whether to stay on hormonal contraception for an extended period.

Consider all the options and discuss all possible health risks and benefits with a healthcare provider.

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Rethinking the stroke rule ‘time is brain’

In 1993, neurologist Camilo R. Gomez, MD, coined a phrase that for a quarter century has been a fundamental rule of stroke care: “Time is brain!”

“Unquestionably the longer therapy is delayed, the lesser the chance that it will be successful,” Dr. Gomez wrote in an editorial 25 years ago. “Simply stated: time is brain!”

But the “time is brain” rule is not as simple as it once seemed, Dr. Gomez now argues in his most recent paper, published in the August, 2018 Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases (published online April 25). Dr. Gomez is a Loyola Medicine stroke specialist and nationally known expert in minimally invasive neuroendovascular surgery.

It is still true that stroke outcomes generally are worse the longer treatment is delayed so it remains critically important to call 911 immediately after the first signs of stroke. But, Dr. Gomez reports, the effect of time can vary greatly among patients. Depending on the blood circulation pattern in the brain, emergency treatment could greatly help one patient, but be too late for another patient treated at the same time.

“It’s clearly evident that the effect of time on the ischemic process is relative,” Dr. Gomez wrote.

About 85 percent of strokes are ischemic, meaning the stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks blood flow to an area of the brain. Starved of blood and oxygen, brain cells begin dying.

Traditionally, there was little physicians could do to halt this ischemic process, so there was no rush to treat stroke patients. But in his groundbreaking editorial, Dr. Gomez wrote that rapid improvements in imaging technologies and treatments might enable physicians to minimize stroke damage during the critical first hours.

“It is imperative that clinicians begin to look upon stroke as a medical emergency of a magnitude similar to that of myocardial infarction (heart attack) or head trauma,” he wrote.

As new treatments such as the clot-busting drug tPA became available, doctors did indeed begin treating strokes as emergencies. In select patients, intravenous tPA was shown to stop strokes in their tracks by dissolving clots and restoring blood flow. Initially, tPA was recommended in select patients within three hours of the onset of symptoms. This therapeutic window later was lengthened to 4.5 hours.

But Dr. Gomez said there should be no hard-and-fast rule governing when therapy can be given because strokes progress differently in different patients. Time is not the only important factor. Also critical is the blood circulation pattern in the brain.

After an ischemic stroke strikes, a core of brain tissue begins to die. Around this core is a penumbra of cells that continue to receive blood from surrounding arteries in a process called collateral circulation. Collateral circulation can keep cells in the penumbra alive for a time before they too begin to die. Good circulation slows down the rate at which the cells die.

In his latest project, Dr. Gomez used computational modeling to identify four distinct types of ischemic stroke based on the collateral circulation. “It is no longer reasonable to believe that the effect of time on the ischemic process represents an absolute paradigm,” Dr. Gomez wrote. “It is increasingly evident that the volume of injured tissue within a given interval after the time of onset shows considerable variability, in large part due to the beneficial effect of a robust collateral circulation.”

Dr. Gomez added that this computational modeling “represents a first step in our journey to enhance clinical decisions and predictions under conditions of considerable uncertainty.”

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Lauren Conrad Confirms Her Son Is a Tiny Drunk Adult

A few years back, at the height of listicle culture, a handful of outlets put together pieces with titles like, "Babies Act Just Like Drunk Adults." The evidence they provided was compelling: Babies are sloppy eaters who often use their hands; babies babble incoherently; babies really struggle with their balance. Now, Lauren Conrad is revitalizing the meme-heavy conversation by commenting on 13-month-old son Liam’s coordination blunders. 

"He is walking. He gets into everything, and he started walking around a lot," LC told People. "He started really [walking] a month and a half ago."

More: Lauren Conrad on Mom-Shaming 

Conrad went on to explain that the walking isn’t what worries her most; Liam desires to pick up the pace, and that leaves her simultaneously laughing and on edge. 

"Now, he is running, which is scary because they’re like little, drunk men," she said. "They’re just constantly falling over, and you’re like, ‘Oh, my God!’" 

Put the milk down, kid. You’re drunk.

Keeping with the my-baby-is-an-old-man theme, Conrad shared that she loves dressing Liam up in adult-inspired clothes. 

"I get to dress him up all day long. It’s so fun," she said. "I’ve always wanted a boy, so I was really excited. But all my friends were like, ‘Oh, but the girl clothes!’ But I really love dressing him … You dress them like tiny men." 

Conrad, who recently released a line of denim for Kohl’s, certainly has a knack for fashion, and it’s clear she’s passing her sense of style along to her son. While she was initially skeptical about posting photos of Liam on Instagram because she wanted to keep some moments private, Conrad has recently become more open to the idea. Over the past few months, she’s shared pictures of Liam walking on the beach (wearing the cutest sweater, BTW), digging into his first birthday cake and trying on mom’s accessories. 

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Public Breastfeeding Is Now 'Protected' in All 50 States, but the Internet Is Skeptical

Though legislation may not stop critics from shaming nursing mothers, women can finally legally breastfeed in public in all 50 states. For years, both Utah and Idaho did not have laws in place to protect breastfeeding mothers who needed to feed their babies in public spaces, but new legislation in the two states means that breastfeeding is now protected by law across the country. However, despite the promising new laws, many people have taken to social media to express their doubts and concerns.

The bill passed in Utah first, stating that "a woman may breastfeed in any place of public accommodation… irrespective of whether the woman’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding,” which aligns with the rest of the country. But the legislation wasn’t exactly passed seamlessly. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Republican Rep. Curt Webb wasn’t on board with the wording.

More: Why Beyoncé’s Confession About Her C-Section Is So Important, Summarized in One Tweet

“This seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all,” Webb reportedly said. “I’m not comfortable with that; I’m just not. It’s really in your face.”

The bill has since cut the latter portion but still reads that women can legally breastfeed in any place of public accommodation. It passed with a vote of 68 – 5.

Idaho’s legislation ran a bit smoother, with a unanimous vote in favor of the bill protecting breastfeeding mothers from indecent exposure and obscenity laws, according to the Idaho Statesman.

"Personally, I find it disappointing that we’re in 2018 and we still haven’t passed this law in Idaho," Rep. Paul Amador, a Republican, reportedly said prior to passing the bill. "I think we can take a proactive stance here through legislation to promote the natural bond and health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. I also believe the health and nutritional choices of our families are best left as decisions for our families, not our government."

Though these two laws are steps in the right direction, many have voiced their doubts and concerns on social media.

More: 3 Crucial Ways to Teach Your Daughter Not to Fear Failure

"Lobbyists from formula companies got the US to oppose a UN resolution voicing support for breastfeeding, so clearly there is vested financial/political interest to suppress it as much as possible," one Reddit user wrote on a now-viral thread on the topic in the subreddit TwoXChromosomes.

Image: Reddit.

The Reddit user is referring to the United States’ recent opposition to a breastfeeding resolution that shocked world health officials in the spring. When hundreds of government delegates gathered in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly, they discussed a resolution intended to encourage breastfeeding. But the U.S. delegation upended deliberations, instead supporting infant formula manufacturers and arguing for the removal of language that calls on governments to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding.” The U.S. delegation also argued for the removal of another part of the resolution that calls on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that are often warned to have damaging effects on children.

More: 7 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman Recovering From Childbirth

While breastfeeding in public space may be legal, then, some worry that nursing mothers will still be suppressed and discouraged.

Another user wrote on the subreddit thread that she didn’t realize breastfeeding in public wasn’t already legal across all states but that the news is good. However, she continued, "[To be fair], though, I don’t think it will have much of an effect on how many babies in the US are breastfed like the article is implying."

Image: Reddit.

The World Health Organization reports that breastfeeding could prevent deaths — 823,000 infant deaths and 20,000 maternal deaths every year worldwide. But a recent UNICEF report also found that in high-income countries, more than 1 in 5 babies is never breastfed as opposed to in low- and middle-income countries, where 1 in 25 babies is never breastfed. In fact, among high-income countries, Ireland, France and the United States have the three lowest breastfeeding rates.

While the legislation means that numbers of breastfed babies may rise, women aren’t convinced that the shaming of women who breastfeed in public won’t stop. And, so long as society continues to shame women, some mothers will inevitably feel less inclined to breastfeed in public.

"It’s still not gonna stop the millions of grown-up babies from whining about it whenever they see it, though," another Reddit user added to the thread, reaffirming concerns over continued mom-shaming.

Image: Reddit.

A Twitter user also brought up another point — women’s bodies are so hypersexualized that society may never be able to acknowledge the fact that breasts were biologically designed for breastfeeding. Even girls’ bodies are hypersexualized. The Twitter user points out that teenagers can’t even show their shoulders in high school.

The new legislation is a step forward for nursing mothers, who now have the law to protect them. But it will certainly still take time — and concerted efforts to unlearn much of what we’ve been told about women’s bodies — for the laws to be socialized.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards and career advice.

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Is Evolution of the Human Brain to Blame for Some Mental Disorders?

THURSDAY, Aug. 9, 2018 — Evolutionary changes in the human brain may be responsible for psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, new research suggests.

The researchers identified long, noncoding stretches of DNA (called “repeat arrays”) in a gene that governs calcium transport in the brain. Their findings were published Aug. 9 in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

“Changes in the structure and sequence of these nucleotide arrays likely contributed to changes in CACNA1C function during human evolution and may modulate neuropsychiatric disease risk in modern human populations,” senior author David Kingsley said in a journal news release. Kingsley is a professor of developmental biology at Stanford University in California.

The study authors suggested that the findings could lead to improved treatment for patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which affect about 3 percent of people worldwide.

Classifying patients based on their repeat arrays may help identify those most likely to respond to current calcium channel drugs, which so far have produced mixed results, Kingsley said.

He added that more research is needed to determine whether patients with a genetic variation of CACNA1C have too much or too little calcium channel activity.

The repeat arrays in the CACNA1C gene occur only in humans. Kingsley said that suggests the arrays may have given humans an evolutionary advantage, even if they increased the risk of conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on schizophrenia.

Posted: August 2018

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How doctors receive feedback is key for antimicrobial programs

(HealthDay)—Anticipation of how providers will receive feedback is important for antimicrobial stewardship programs to consider in informing educational messaging, according to a study published online June 7 in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Tara H. Lines, Pharm.D., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues conducted a 20-question survey of 211 inpatient providers to understand antimicrobial use (AU) attribution scenarios, feedback methods, and implementation barriers. The providers’ specialties were critical care, emergency medicine, infectious diseases, medicine subspecialties, and surgery.

The researchers found that disagreement regarding AU attribution rose as AU scenarios became more complex. Respondents generally agreed on feedback methods, preferring electronic format, quarterly frequency, and grouped by similar services. Providers had a high level of concern about feedback of quantitative AU data accounting for clinical care complexity, illness severity, and accuracy.

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Is this latest chiropractic trend actually effective?

It's a frightening scene straight out of Game of Thrones: a row of people, including me, strapped down to benches with foam bricks placed under our spines and heavy weights dangling from leather masks over our faces, pulling our necks backward.

It’s a treatment for 21st-century afflictions: textneck, iHump, tablet stoop and computer hunch.

It’s a treatment for 21st-century afflictions: textneck, iHump, tablet stoop and computer hunch.

As I lie there, waiting and watching as the clock ticks agonisingly slowly towards its 15-minute alarm, I wonder why I'm subjecting myself to this.

While it might sound primitive, this is becoming a common treatment for some of the 21st century's increasing afflictions: text neck, iHump, tablet stoop and computer hunch.

I first visited this health centre after I hurt my back. The chiropractor took a photo of me standing up straight, or so I thought. The image shocked me. My shoulders were hunched, my back was rounded and my neck was extended forward. I looked horribly like a turtle foraging for earthworms.

Apparently, it was the result of too much stooping to peer at my phone, poor posture at my computer, and slouching over books and newspapers. "You'll have to do something about your posture," the chiropractor told me. "Otherwise this will happen again." I didn't, and it did.

Sceptical but desperate, I enrolled in a course of 20 sessions of Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP). Dr Alex Hopwood at Healthspace in Sydney first did the normal chiro adjustments, then strapped me to a bench with a foam brick under my back.

As I became more used to that, and practised at home, I progressed to having a spinal orthotic under my lower back, another one under my neck, and then those ghastly weights hanging from the strappy leather mask around my face, forcing my neck back.

It was incredibly uncomfortable, but great training in mind over matter. Some people, I noticed, listened to music through headphones, some (remarkably) tried to sleep, others meditated. I just counted the minutes.

Between sessions, I looked up all the literature I could find on the practice, which is apparently all the rage in the US but still in its infancy here. It actually looks promising.

Studies published in reputable journals like The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that controlled trials had positive results in straightening people's backs and lessening the tendency for their necks to crane forward, reducing stress on the spinal cord, nervous system and spinal nerves, and resulting in a gain in overall health.

Hopwood is a passionate CBP advocate. "My mother suffered terrible migraines, so bad she'd sometimes stay in bed for two weeks," he says. "Then we heard about CBP and she decided to give it a go.

"After six months of treatment, she had no more episodes. It was so incredible, I decided to become a chiropractor and certified in spinal remodelling CBP. This does to the spine what braces can do for teeth. It can change people's lives; I've seen it."

The waiting room at Hopwood's practice is full of interesting stories, including that of the Canberra construction project manager driving to Sydney twice a week for treatment on his curved spine so he'd be able to stand up tall next to his bride at their wedding. '

And for me? Before-and-after X-rays have shown that, in six months, my neck has moved from being 22 millimetres forward to just 5 millimetres, while my thoracic spine curve has improved by 25 per cent.

I can actually feel that I'm standing much taller and straighter, and look forward to a future rather more Esmeralda than, well, Quasimodo.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale July 29.

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