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Coronavirus

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Longevity

What can viruses teach us?

Viruses may be primitive—but they do a lot of experiments and adapt fast. Could we learn a thing or two from them? The biosphere is a fancy word for the container that contains all the life on Earth. After 4.5 billion years of evolution, it’s unimaginably complex. So far, a total of 1.3 million species have been identified, out of a basket of between 5.3 million to 1 trillion. This extreme range exists partly because the border between life and non-life is not so clear—and so is the definition of species. Microbes alone can be divided into six major types: bacteria, archaea, fungi, protozoa, algae, and viruses. Most scientists don’t consider viruses a life form. Others disagree. We humans lie at the other end of the evolutionary scale. We’re pretty smart, up to a point. Tools have made us apex predators, but physically we’re not that imposing. As the historian

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Longevity

Canadian government financial aid for seniors

We tend to think that most if not all seniors are okay during the COVID pandemic, but many aren’t. Or need an extra boost. Perhaps you know some seniors that could use these programs. Some have also been impacted by market losses. Here’s what’s on or being planned. Initially, on May 12, the Liberal government announced an added element to the Old Age Support program called the Guaranteed Income Supplement payment. Now they are adding additional support measures. Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) The GIS is available to low-income seniors and comes in the form of a monthly, non-taxable benefit that’s added to the OAS pension. The maximum monthly GIS for a single senior is currently $916. It’s also income-tested and reduced at a rate of 50 per cent when adjusted income tops $18,600, and is eliminated once income is over $40,593. This one-time payment for seniors is available to individuals

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Longevity

How to debunk a conspiracy theory

We’re hearing more and more about conspiracy theories these days. From seemingly benign ones to fantastical ones such as the world being ruled by lizard people. Some can be dangerous for people. Here’s how to debunk a conspiracy theory. Perhaps my favourite statement to people who start going down the rabbit hole of a conspiracy theory is to ask them; “have you ever tried to manage a project involving ten or more people?” If you think about that, it’s an easy first step to realizing why 99.9% of conspiracy theories are pure fantasy. So why do people believe in conspiracy theories anyway? According to Dr. Karen Douglas, a British psychologist who conducted research into this topic, that was published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, there are three primary reasons; The desire for understanding and certainty A desire for control and security The desire to maintain a positive

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Mind

So, Covid’s made you a Hot Mess. Now What?

If in addition to all things covid, you suddenly realize that everything in your life sucks, it may be time to make some changes. And if you’ve graduated from life sucks to official hot mess status, the sooner you fix it, the better. You may not even know where to start, so here’s a foolproof plan that you can work on while stuck at home to get back on track. Stop Blaming Everyone Else. This may actually be the hardest step. When things go wrong we tend to look at others and point the finger. But it simply can’t be everyone else. Taking ownership of mistakes and shortcomings is often painful, but it’s an essential step. Clean up Your Social Media - Nobody cares. Really. Read back through your posts and see how many times you complained, used foul language, or went on a full blown rant. It’s been said that psychiatrists can diagnose

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Longevity

How smartphones can track COVID-19 in Canada

Traditional tech giant enemies Apple and Google have teamed up to develop apps for both iOS and Android phones to track the spread of COVID-19, the Coronavirus. When you have the app installed on your smartphone, it will be able to warn you if you’ve been near someone with the virus in recent days. Sounds a bit creepy perhaps? Both Apple and Google are going to great lengths to assure people their privacy is protected. For instance, you will be notified on your phone where you were near to someone with the virus but you won’t get a name or any other information about them, nor is yours shared. As well, only government health authorities can connect their data to this system and none of the data is allowed to be used for commercial purposes. Both Google and Apple will ensure that the apps can’t share any data with other

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Travel

Why travel after COVID-19 is important

Right now, it’s hard to think about travel when we’re spending our days in our homes and we can barely travel farther than our local grocery store. Imagining travel to sunny destinations or taking a wellness vacation may seem a distant dream.  But traveling will be important for many reasons, not just economic. There have been concerns and re…

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Health

Collaboration to assist the homeless in Toronto

he COVID-19 pandemic is bringing the operations of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to Canada for the first time. MSF provides emergency medical humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or who do not have access to medical care. A non-profit with medical program in 70 countries, MSF is collaborating with Inner City Health Associates (ICHA), Canada’s largest healthcare organization specializing in the care of people experiencing homelessness, at Toronto’s first COVID-19 recovery site for the homeless. MSF brings its medical, technical and logistical advice and extensive global experience leading responses to major infectious disease outbreaks, as well as a commitment to humanitarian principles. ICHA is the clinical services lead for caring for people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak. The 400-bed COVID-19 Recovery Site, slated to open soon, is the product of collaboration across many agencies dedicated to caring for people experiencing homelessness who have contracted

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Health

COVID-19 and the ageing

Canada has done fairly well so far in fighting the Coronavirus Covid-19, but indicators are that the peak is yet to come. Most unfortunately, we’ve seen a significant number of deaths in senior care homes. As of today, the Quebec government has also ordered an investigation into one home over alleged neglect. We know as people over 55, that we are at greater risk than younger generations. But younger age groups are equally at risk and even a toddler died of the virus. Younger generations, especially those under 25 tend to think that they are naturally healthier and also more resistant to the virus. Both points are, according to the WHO, factually wrong. According to Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, some of the reasons older people are greatly impacted by COVID-19 include the physiological changes associated with ageing, decreased immune function and multimorbidity which expose

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Fitness

Benefits of Nordic Walking

In a recent interview with Dr. Taunton, former chief medical officer of the 2010 Olympics talked about how exercise can boost our immune system during COVID-19. He said, “In terms of exercise, that social distance is two meters, the best activities are aerobic so that could be walking, pole (Nordic) walking, cycling, running, golf, cross country skiing, single kayaker. One of the outdoor activities that offer many benefits is Nordic walking. Mandy Shintani, occupational therapist and co-owner Urban Poling and developer of ACTIVATOR poles for older adults and rehab says, “As it is an activity for all ages, it is also an accessible activity that people can do with their children and grandchildren.  There are over 260 independent studies listed on PubMed.com on the benefits of Nordic walking.” To help weigh in the many benefits of Nordic walking, Barb Gormley, the owner of CustomFit Personal Training in Toronto, director of

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