Categories
Abortion Rights health Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers: All these irrelevant mf-ers telling us what to do with our bodies




In the weeks leading up to SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade, Phoebe Bridgers shared that she’d gotten an abortion in fall 2021 while she was on tour. She went to Planned Parenthood and got the medication. She said, “It was easy. Everyone deserves that kind of access.” Of course she’s right. The many people who have shared their stories are essential to mobilizing and activating others in the fight for abortion rights and access. And Phoebe continues to advocate for the same, recently using her Teen Vogue cover interview to reach young readers on the topic.

Phoebe Bridgers is using her platform to advocate for abortion rights and access.

In her October cover story for Teen Vogue, the “Kyoto” singer, 28, reflected on her own abortion last year and why the ​​Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the right to abortion has inspired her to speak up on injustices.

“F— that s—, f— America,” she said of the reversal. “Like all these irrelevant motherf—ers trying to tell us what to do with our f—ing bodies.”

Bridgers explained that she doesn’t want the Supreme Court decision to intimidate women out of doing what’s best for themselves and their bodies.

“Don’t let anybody freak you out about an abortion,” the musician told the outlet. “Because unless you’re doing it in an unsafe way, there are resources for you if you’re trying to get one — and you should f—ing have one, for whatever reason.”

“It’s super safe,” she added while reflecting on her own experience. “Shout-out to Planned Parenthood. I was very held during it.”


Bridgers also recognized that it’s extremely difficult for many people to receive reproductive healthcare services because of the end of Roe, which is why she’s grateful for the many organizations that have stepped up to help provide easier access across the country.

“I just think middle-class, upper-class white people are always gonna have access to health care and abortion, whether it’s through flying [to another state] or even access to f—ing organizations,” she told the outlet. “It’s just so much harder for the people that it was already hard for, so I like the organizations that are making life easier for those people.”

[From People]

What Phoebe says here makes perfect sense. She’s talking about her own experience, emphasizing how safe and cared for she felt by the providers at Planned Parenthood. It seems like she’s trying to make that point for anyone who is scared or anxious about needing abortion care. And what she says about not “let[ting] anyone freak you out about an abortion” is particularly important, especially for young readers. Even people who have do or could have access and want to get an abortion may be intimidated by the SCOTUS decision, afraid of the misinformation, or pressured/guilted by partners or family or friends. I think it’s good that Phoebe is reminding people that it should be their choice alone and it can be done safely. I also appreciate that as a privileged white woman she’s talking about the disparity in access and resources and highlighting the good work of organizations that are trying to make that more equitable.

photos credit: Yuri Murakami/Fotoarena/Avalon, Media Punch/INSTARimages/Cover Images and via Instagram/Teen Vogue

Categories
Chris Hemsworth health

Chris Hemsworth is taking a break from acting following Alzheimer’s genetic testing




Chris Hemsworth has a Disney documentary series called Limitless, in which he “test[s] his body and explore ways to live longer and healthier.” As part of the series, he underwent some genetic tests, and he was originally supposed to receive the results live on camera. However, when production received the results revealing that Chris has a heightened risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, series creator Darren Aronofsky told him privately instead. Chris said the news made him want to take time off from acting, and he’ll do so after completing his promotional duties for Limitless.

Actor Chris Hemsworth says he is taking a break from acting after learning he has a heightened risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The Thor star made the discovery after undergoing tests as part of his Disney documentary series Limitless.

He told Vanity Fair the tests confirmed his “biggest fear”, adding he will now be trying to take “preventative steps”.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and can cause memory problems, confusion and communication issues.

Hemsworth learned that he has two copies of the gene ApoE4, one from his mother and one from his father, making him between eight and 10 times more likely to develop the disease than those without both copies of the gene.

About 2 to 3 per cent of the population carries two copies of the gene.

“It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation,” Hemsworth said, but added the news “really triggered something in me to want to take some time off”.

“If you look at Alzheimer’s prevention, the benefit of preventative steps is that it affects the rest of your life,” he said.

“It’s all about sleep management, stress management, nutrition, movement, fitness. It’s all kind of the same tools that need to be applied in a consistent way.”

He explained that he had not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but had been warned of the heightened risk. “It’s not a pre-deterministic gene, but it is a strong indication,” he said. “Ten years ago, I think it was more thought of as determinant.”

Hemsworth said the original plan for the series would have seen him receive all his genetic test results live to camera – but series creator Darren Aronofsky told him privately once they got the results.

The Marvel star was subsequently given the option of removing any references to Alzheimer’s from the show, but decided to include his genetic risk of Alzheimer’s to improve awareness and understanding.

“My concern was I just didn’t want to manipulate it and over-dramatise it, and make it into some sort of hokey grab at empathy or whatever for entertainment,” he said.

Hemsworth also confirmed to the magazine his grandfather has also been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

[From BBC.com]

Chris is going to head home to Australia to be with his wife, Elsa Pataky, and their three kids. He hasn’t said anything about the length of his break, but it seems like he’ll take as long as possible before he has to do promo or film for something else he has scheduled (he just finished filming on the Mad Max sequel). Maybe Chris wasn’t completely shocked since his grandfather has Alzheimer’s and it is genetic, but that still must be incredibly jarring news to have confirmed. And to find out through something work-related, no less. Production, of course, did the right thing by telling him privately. And they gave Chris the option to omit it from the show, but he chose to include it anyway to increase awareness. It certainly would have been his right to keep that medical information private, especially since it was new to him and he likely didn’t have much time to process it, but it is admirable that he’s sharing in the hopes of educating others, especially about the preventative steps. I wasn’t aware of the preventative steps until reading this article. It’s good that Chris is taking time off to reflect and relax and spend time with family. I imagine he’s regrouping a bit as well, as this might be something that affects the choice and pacing of his projects going forward.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

photos credit: ROGER WONG/INSTARimages.com/Cover Images, Getty and via Instagram

Categories
health Science

RSV cases in seniors are surging across US hospitals

We’ve been talking about the rise in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases and how historic this flu season is supposed to be. I know it sounds like fear-mongering, but we’re seeing evidence of both here in LA. The flu is already spreading around the schools and my neighbors’ day-care just shut down for a couple of weeks due to RSV cases. And I’ve started getting Covid exposure notices from my kids’ high school after not seeing those for months.

When we’ve discussed RSV in the past, we led with the child RSV case rates. That’s because they are the highest affected group, and their surge was unseasonably early. I did try to emphasize however, that the next most affected group were 65 and older. And that while it was hospitalizing kids, it was more likely to kill seniors. Unfortunately, the warnings have come to pass. RSV cases have surged in seniors and hospitalization rates are up 10 times.

The Respiratory Syncytial Virus is affecting children and adults across the United States.

According to new data, about 6 out of every 100,000 seniors have been hospitalized with the virus.

This season, which ranges from mid-September to mid-November, has seen a surge in RSV cases among older adults with hospitalization rates 10 times higher than last season. In previous years the CDC saw an average of 60,000-120,000 hospitalizations and about 6,000-10,000 reported deaths.

Earlier in November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory alert after it observed an increase in RSV detections and RSV-associated emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

While the cases in older adults are significantly lower than the number of children that are being infected with the virus, the CDC has stressed that adults with chronic heart or lung disease, a weakened immune system, or are 65 years and older, are all in danger of contracting the virus.

[From People]

So, that’s not good. Remember that there is no vaccine for RSV. But they do advise getting the flu vaccine because avoiding the flu will minimize complications from RSV. Not to sound like a broken record but I strongly advise returning to masks for the winter. There are three highly contagious viruses running around right now and masks are a first line of defense.

Some good news, if not RSV good news – the new Covid boosters are performing better against the current omicron variants. Hey, we’ll take what we can get, right? And please make sure you get your kids boosted. Response has been underwhelming so far.

Photo: credit: Vlada Karpovich, Yaroslav Shuraev and Rodnae Productions of Pexels

Categories
aging health Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama: ‘Not a lot of conversation about menopause. I’m going through it’

Michelle Obama’s latest book, The Light We Carry, comes out tomorrow. There are so many great excerpts out there because she always writes about the pulse of the nation. Michelle is 58 years old (and a fellow Capricorn). Like most women in their late 50s, Michelle is going through menopause. And like many women her age, menopause was not a topic of conversation. As she noted, “information was sparse.” Now that she’s experiencing it, Michelle is joining Naomi Watts and Beverly Johnson in speaking up about putting menopause into the conversation.

When PEOPLE sat down with Michelle Obama on the eve of her 50th birthday, the then-First Lady said she was hungry for information —from her mother, from girlfriends — about menopause.

“I want to know what I’m getting into,” Obama said back then, noting with a laugh: “My mom is like, ‘Menopause? Yeah, I think I went through it.’ She doesn’t remember anything.”


Eight years later, Obama knows first-hand, but the information still isn’t as available as she would like.

“There’s a lot we don’t know,” Obama, 58, says in an interview previewing her upcoming new book The Light We Carry, on sale Nov. 15.

“There is not a lot of conversation about menopause. I’m going through it, and I know all of my friends are going through it. And the information is sparse.”

Those girlfriends, whom she used to gather together for regular fitness “boot camps” when she was in the White House (earning her the group’s nickname, “Drillmaster”), have given her more than just moral support during this time of physical change.

“I find that when we get together and we’re moving and we’re laughing, then we spend a little time talking about what we’re going through. ‘What’s a hot flash?’ We have girlfriends around the table who are OBGYNs, who have real information. All of that keeps us lifted up.”

Obama’s workouts have changed. “Some of it is menopause, some of it is aging,” she says. “I find that I cannot push myself as hard as I used to. That doesn’t work out for me. That when I tear a muscle or pull something and then I’m out. The recovery time is not the same.”


Her fitness routine is now focused on flexibility, she says: less cardio, more stretching. “You wind up balancing between staying fit enough and being kind enough on your body to stay in the game.”

In The Michelle Obama Podcast, which launched in July 2020, Obama disclosed that, under her doctor’s guidance, she used hormone replacement therapy to treat her hot flashes.

Elaborating on that decision, Obama says now, “I’ve had to work with hormones, and that’s new information that we’re learning. Before there were studies that said that hormones were bad. That’s all we heard. Now we’re finding out research is showing that those studies weren’t fully complete and that there are benefits to hormone replacement therapy.

“You’re trying to sort through the information and the studies and the misinformation. So I’m right there.”

[From People]

What is it with our moms just “forgetting” what menopause was like? Were they so conditioned to not discuss “wimmen matters” that they actually blotted those memories? It’s like parents telling a kid a shot isn’t going to hurt in the hope that that will somehow lessen the actual pain. By pretending menopause is so inconsequential the hot flashes, brain fogs, irritability, mood swings, hair loss, dehydration, fatigue, and general feeling of becoming invisible to the world seem much less of a bother. No thanks. I do much better when I know the enemy I’m fighting.

There’s a lot of discussion about fitness and health in Michelle’s book. It makes sense since that was her cause as First Lady. I love her approach to it in menopause. She said her goals have changed. Like “instead of having ‘Michelle Obama arms,’ I just want to keep moving.” I think that’s key. I shifted my fitness goal in menopause too. I switched from weight loss to strength. I got much stronger (shout out to my trainer Stephanie the Destroyer!) and the upside is, I ended up losing weight. Look, the shot is probably going to sting, and menopause is likely going to suck. But at least now we can get through it together.

Photo credit: Instagram, COver Images and Backgrid

Categories
health Science

This is likely to be the worst flu season in 13 years: flu is early & ‘looks very severe’




As if we didn’t have enough to handle with covid still hanging around, officials are now predicting this is likely to be the worst flu season in 13 years. Officials look at various data to track flu season activity and patterns and apparently pretty much everything just points to bad news. The flu lingered for longer than usual last season, this season it is hitting earlier and harder than is typical, and it is not following the same patterns as it usually does in either hemisphere.

Influenza is hitting the United States unusually early and hard, resulting in the most hospitalizations at this point in the season in more than a decade and underscoring the potential for a perilous winter of respiratory viruses, according to federal health data released Friday.

While flu season is usually between October and May, peaking in December and January, it’s arrived about six weeks earlier this year with uncharacteristically high illness. There have already been at least 880,000 cases of influenza illness, 6,900 hospitalizations and 360 flu-related deaths nationally, including one child, according to estimates released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Not since the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic has there been such a high burden of flu, a metric the CDC uses to estimate a season’s severity based on laboratory-confirmed cases, doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths.

“It’s unusual, but we’re coming out of an unusual covid pandemic that has really affected influenza and other respiratory viruses that are circulating,” said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist who heads the CDC’s domestic influenza surveillance team.

Activity is high in the U.S. south and southeast, and is starting to move up the Atlantic coast.

The CDC uses a variety of measures to track the flu, including estimating the percentage of doctor visits for flu-like illness. But given the similar symptoms that could include people seeking care for covid-19 or RSV, another respiratory virus with similar symptoms, the laboratory data leaves no doubt.

“The data are ominous,” said William Schaffner, medical director for the nonprofit National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and a professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Not only is flu early, it also looks very severe. This is not just a preview of coming attractions. We’re already starting to see this movie. I would call it a scary movie.”

Adding to his concern, he said, is that influenza vaccination is lagging behind where it usually is at this point in the season. About 128 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed so far, compared with 139 million at this point last year and 154 million the year before, according to the CDC.

“That makes me doubly worried,” Schaffner said. The high burden of the flu “certainly looks like the start of what could be the worst flu season in 13 years.”

The number of flu cases this season is already one-eighth of last season’s total estimate of 8 to 13 million cases.

The flu vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing a doctor visit, hospitalization or death is uneven from year to year, and in years past, has hovered between 40 and 60 percent, according to the CDC. But Brammer and others say this season’s vaccine is well matched against circulating strains. That offers a “little ray of sunshine” for what could be a bleak winter, Schaffner said.

[From The Washington Post]

Not only has the flu arrived early, but it looks more severe than it usually does. The number of flu cases at this point in the season is already one-eighth of last year’s total. So we are on track to beat last year’s record. Lovely. Basically, get your flu shots, people. The shot is said to be pretty effective against this year’s strains. And officials attribute part of this flu’s particular strength to covid, the currently circulating respiratory illnesses, and the reluctance to vaccinate. So get the shot and protect yourself and others. Even if you think you can handle the illness, you shouldn’t have to and the people you come into contact with certainly shouldn’t have to either. The flu could affect people for weeks after recovery and could result in complications for the very young, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions. The only way to guard against this triple threat (covid, flu, and RSV in children) is to get as vaccinated as possible.

Photos credit: Andrea Piacquadio and Cottonbro on Pexels and CDC on Unsplash

Categories
Danica Patrick health

Danica Patrick had breast implant illness: ‘trust your intuition, get them removed’

In 2014, Danica Patrick got breast implants. She decided to do it because “it would…


make me feel more feminine and sexy,”
which is why a lot of women get implants. And I assume Danica had the cash for a pretty good plastic surgeon, too. But even with access to high end cosmetic surgery, something went wrong, and it led to a health crisis that took years to solve. In 2017, Danica’s general health declined. She was fatigued, gaining weight and her hair started falling out. A year later, one of her implants solidified, followed by the other. She continued to decline until 2022 when she realized it was the implants causing the problem. That’s when she was diagnosed with Breast Implant Illness (BII).

Danica Patrick is giving an inside look at the five-year health ordeal she experienced due to her breast implants.

Although the first three years with implants went well for Patrick, in 2017 she started noticing changes in her body and energy level, including fatigue, weight gain, dryness and hair loss.

“I thought maybe my hormones were off, so I just said, ‘Dig deeper, Danica, try harder,’” she says of her persistent health problems.

A year later, Patrick says one of her breasts turned rock-hard, and the other followed. “For so many years I didn’t hug people tight because I didn’t feel like pushing these little balloons into them. Whenever I was with a guy, I could not stop thinking that they knew they were fake,” Patrick explains.

“I went down a pretty deep rabbit hole,” she says of trying to get answers. “I had every test that could be done.”

It wasn’t until early 2022 that she realized her implants may be the problem after seeing a series of videos on social media about Breast Implant Illness, or BII.

BII symptoms have been reported with all types of breast implants and can occur immediately after implantation or years later. The top five most common symptoms associated with BII are fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, anxiety and hair loss, according to the FDA.

Along with BII, the FDA has identified a possible association between breast implants and the development of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“When there’s an inflammatory response, it wears your body out. So for women experiencing BII, their system is just not working as it should,” says board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Shaun Parson, who treated Patrick. “It’s important for women to put their health first and their aesthetic goals second.”

In March, Patrick decided to get her implants removed and she says the results were instant. She hopes other women experiencing similar symptoms won’t feel so alone.

“Trust your intuition,” she urges. “Get them removed, and see how you feel.”

[From People]

When I first read that Danica’s implant turned “rock hard,” I thought of course it’s the implants! But it’s always easy to diagnose something when you know the answer already. Those symptoms are synonymous with perimenopause, I’m sure plenty of people wrote it off as that. Even Danica said she thought it was her hormones. But if BII can lead to two different forms of lymphomas, make sure you see a doctor ASAP if you have any of those symptoms listed.

The good news is, Danica said as soon as she removed her implants she started feeling better. I’m sure it would suck to take out something you put in to feel better about yourself. But if it’s literally poisoning you, listen to your body, like Danica said.

And look, I know Danica is not the most popular person. But the message here is about BII and recognizing symptoms, not any of her other BS.

Photo credit: Jordan Hinton/Avalon Red and Instagram

Categories
health Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox on his health setbacks: ‘I broke my cheek, hand, shoulder elbow’

A couple of weeks ago, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Llyod blew up Twitter with an emotional reunion at the New York Comic Con. In the clip, Michael was walked on stage and by an assistant. When Christopher came out a moment later, Michael struggled to get up to embrace him. I assumed it was his Parkinson’s disease. But in his profile in People this week, I learned his mobility issues were due to his Parkinson’s, but not in the way I thought. Michael’s been recovering from injuries resulted from his disease, including breaking multiple bones. Fortunately, after a particularly difficult couple of years, Michael is on the mend and feeling better than he has in a while.

Michael J. Fox, famed for his optimism and tireless activism around Parkinson’s disease, is in a playful mood on a recent day in New York. “I’m rocking and rolling,” says the star, who just finished playing air guitar during a shoot for PEOPLE’s Kindness cover, on stands now.

Following a tough year of breaks and recovery, there’s a mischievous glint in Fox’s eye. The beloved star — who has helped raise more than a billion and a half dollars for Parkinson’s research through his foundation since his 1991 diagnosis with the disease — will soon receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an honorary Oscar recognizing outstanding philanthropic efforts, at the Governors Awards on Nov. 19. But in the background, he has been quietly navigating another challenging chapter. His mother, Phyllis, died in September at the age of 92, and the past year has brought with it a cascade of frustrating new injuries.

The star has weathered difficult periods before. In a memoir two years ago, he chronicled what he called the worst year of his life, a period beginning in 2018 in which a risky spinal-cord surgery to remove a tumor was followed by a painful left-arm break. It ended with his recovery and an African safari with his wife, actress Tracy Pollan, and their four children: son Sam, 33; twin daughters Aquinnah and Schuyler, 27, and youngest daughter Esmé, 21.

But the past year brought new hurdles. “It got worse,” Fox says matter-of-factly. “I broke my cheek, then my hand, then my shoulder, had a replacement shoulder put in and broke my [right] arm, then I broke my elbow. I’m 61 years old, and I’m feeling it a little bit more.”

While Parkinson’s affects Fox’s movement, those around him say the injuries don’t necessarily mean his disease is progressing any faster. He got an infection after surgery for his broken hand, and temporarily not being able to use the hand led to balance issues and falls. He admits the painful incidents put a dent in his sunny outlook. “I was never really a cranky guy, but I got very cranky and short with people,” he says. “I try to nip it in the bud. I always think of these aides who work with me. And I often say to them, ‘Whatever I say, just imagine I said “please” at the beginning and “thank you” at the end. Just take a second and absorb that I might have said that if I was more myself, but I didn’t, so I apologize.’ ”

His recovery has provided an emotional lift. “Just now,” he says, “I’m coming through where the last of my injuries are healing up; my arm is feeling good. Life is interesting. It deals you these things.” Now, he says, “the whole mission is: Don’t fall down. So whatever works to not fall down, whether it’s a walker or a wheelchair, a cane, a guy with a belt around my waist holding onto it — I use all those tools.”

He’s been relying on them less as his strength comes back; weeks ago fans saw Fox walk unassisted across a New York stage for an emotional mini-reunion with his Back to the Future costar Christopher Lloyd. “I’m just getting to where I’m walking steadily again,” Fox says. “I think it’s cool to walk by myself. It is. It’s fantastic.”

[From People]

We talk a lot about exposure and normalizing conversations around topics. This is a great example why that’s so important. While I knew Parkinson’s affected mobility, I never made the (logical) connection of how it led to breaking bones and other injuries. And when I saw that clip of Michael and Christopher, it made me sad. I felt bad for Michael and now I find out he was feeling great about being able to walk unassisted. Next time I’ll know not to read into the situation. We often hear people with disabilities ask us not to feel sorry for them and I need to be better about listening to that.

I love that Michael is still so optimistic yet letting us know that’s he’s also had his moments. I just appreciate everything he’s doing, from raising over a billion dollars for research to public education to his raw honesty about the disease.

Photo credit: People, Instagram and Cover Images