This $15 Product Makes Even the Most Unwearable Shoes Comfortable

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com. 

Getting a new pair of shoes has always been a bittersweet occasion for me. Once the joy of finding that perfect pair—and the tiny, happy rush of the purchase—has worn off, I’m left to grapple with the comfort conundrum: those awful initial wears before your new shoes are broken in (or is it your feet that need breaking in?). Whether it’s the highest heels or the lowest flats, I’ve yet to find a pair that doesn’t literally rub me the wrong way, from the common heel blister, to the painful chafing on the tops of my toes, to those more unexpected issues like booties that bite at the ankle.

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That all changed after I hobbled into the office after a full day of running around New York City to different Fashion Week shows—in heels, of course (it’s a hazard of the job). Our kind associate fashion editor, Flavia Nunez, took pity on my poor feet, dug into her bag, and produced a small miracle.

A seasoned marathon runner, Flavia knows a thing or two about blisters (and shoes) and, thankfully, how to prevent and treat them. The product she handed over is from a brand called Compeed, that, unlike other bandage companies, focuses almost exclusively on blisters. At $9 for a pack of six, they’re a little more expensive than a traditional pack of self-adhesive strips, but hear me out—they’re well worth it. According to their website, the products “use hyrdrocolloid technology that fits like a second skin and stays on all day long.” They’re not kidding. The blister cushions certainly do feel like a second skin, are waterproof, adhere smoothly, do not budge, roll, or wrinkle, and will stay on for days, until you pull them off yourself. You’d probably spend the same amount on bandages that wind up needing to be constantly replaced.

RELATED: 8 Stylish, Comfortable Sandals for Walking All Day

I now keep the conveniently-sized packs in my purse at all times. I'll pop one on at the first sign of chafing or rubbing, but the tiny pads also prevent blisters from happening in the first place—and instantly make the shoe in question wearable. Taking more unorthodox measures, I’ve also used the larger size on the balls of my feet for shoes that don’t have enough padding, put on a double layer to cushion an already-existing blister (immediate relief), and cut the cushions to size to fit an oddly shaped contour or wrap more neatly around a tormented toe.

They can be a little tricky to find in stores, but luckily we have Amazon for that—and yes, they are qualify for Prime.

Source: Mind and Body

5 Things To Know About The Health Issue That Could Shut Down The Government

This article originally appeared on Kaiser Health News. 

Congress must pass a bill this week to keep most of the government running beyond Friday, when a government spending bill runs out. It won’t be easy.

The debate over a new spending bill focuses on an esoteric issue affecting the Affordable Care Act.

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The question is whether Congress will pass — and President Donald Trump will sign — a bill that also funds subsidies for lower-income people who purchase health insurance under the law. These “cost-sharing reductions” (CSR) have become a major bargaining point in the negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, because the spending bill will require at least some Democratic votes to pass.

Here are five things to know about these cost-sharing subsidies: 

How are these subsidies different from the help people get to purchase insurance?

There are two types of financial aid for people who buy insurance from an ACA exchange. People with incomes up to four times the poverty line, or $81,680 for a family of three, are eligible for tax credits to help pay their premiums.

RELATED: Millions of Women Don’t Have Access to Fertility Treatments in the U.S.

In addition to that help, people with incomes up to two-and-a-half times the poverty line, or $51,050 for a family of three, get additional subsidies to help pay their out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and copayments for care, as long as they purchase a silver-level plan. Insurance companies are required in their contracts with the government to provide these cost-sharing reductions to eligible people, then get reimbursed by the government.

Why are cost-sharing reductions suddenly front and center?

The fight dates to 2014, when Republicans in the House of Representatives filed suitagainst the Obama administration, charging that Congress had not specifically appropriated money for the cost-sharing subsidies and therefore the administration was providing the funding illegally.

A year ago, a federal district court judge ruled that the House was correct and ordered the payments stopped. However, she put that ruling on hold while the Obama administration appealed. That’s where things stood when Trump was inaugurated.

If the Trump administration drops the appeal, the funding would cease. However, Congress could also opt to approve funding the payments, which is what Democrats are pushing in the spending bill. 

RELATED: The Scary Reason Healthy People Die After an ER Visit

What would happen if these subsidies are stopped?

At the very least, ending the cost-sharing reductions in the middle of the year would cause a serious disruption in the insurance market. The payments are estimated at $7 billion this year, and $10 billion in 2018. They cover about 7 million people, about 58 percent of those purchasing coverage on the exchanges.

Many experts have predicted that if the subsidies end, some or all insurers might leave their markets entirely, leaving consumers with fewer, or possibly no, choices.

But even if they stay, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that insurers would have to raise premiums on the marketplace silver plans by an average of 19 percent in order to offset that loss of government reimbursement. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)

Ironically, ending the subsidies would actually cost the federal government more money. Premium increases to make up for the lost payments would in turn trigger bigger tax credits for the broader population eligible for help paying their premiums. Those larger tax credits would cost the federal government an estimated $2.3 billion above what it would save on the cost reduction subsidies next year, KFF projected.

RELATED: Repealing Obamacare Would Take Insurance Away From 32 Million Americans and Double Premiums

Who is pushing Congress to fund the subsidies?

In addition to Democrats in Congress who support the ACA, influential health-related groups are urging lawmakers to fund the cost-sharing reductions.

The coalition, which includes America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, points out that the uncertainty surrounding the future of the promised payments could not only disrupt this year’s insurance market, but next year’s as well.

“The window is quickly closing to properly price individual insurance products for 2018,” the groups wrote to Congress on April 12. Most insurers must decide whether they will participate in the health law’s market in 2018 by late June.

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Most Americans don’t support cutting the subsidies as part of a GOP strategy to force Democrats in Congress to help pass a new health law. A new poll reported 60 percent of those surveyed said the president “should not use negotiating tactics that could disrupt insurance markets and cause people to lose health coverage.” On the other hand, two-thirds of Republicans surveyed said Trump “should use whatever negotiating tactics necessary to win support for a replacement plan.”

What does the Trump administration think about this?

Good question. Trump and senior health officials have offered conflicting positions.

On April 10, unnamed officials told the New York Times and other outlets that the administration “is willing to continue paying subsidies” while the lawsuit remains pending, just as the Obama administration did. The next day, however, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services disavowed that statement, saying that “the administration is currently deciding its position on this matter.”

RELATED: The Surprising Thing That Builds Trust Among Neighbors

The day after that, Trump himself said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he was holding back a decision on the payments as leverage. “I don’t want people to get hurt,” he said. “What I think should happen — and will happen — is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”

By the following week, administration officials were dangling the funding for the cost-sharing reductions in the spending bill as a trade for Trump’s request for funding for a border wall. “We don’t like those [subsidies] very much, but we have offered to open the discussions to give the Democrats something they want in order to get something we want,” budget director Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday. “We’d offer them $1 of CSR payments for $1 of wall payments.”

Democrats, however, are not buying what the administration is selling. “The White House gambit to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans, in order to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall that the president said would be paid for by Mexico is a complete non-starter,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a written statement.

Complicating matters further, it is far from clear that Republicans in Congress want to end the cost-sharing payments.

The subsidies are “a commitment made by the government to the insurers and the people,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said at a town hall meeting in his district, according to The Washington Post. “That needs to happen.”

 Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Source: Mind and Body

Woman Says She Had 'No Body Confidence' When She Was 98 Lbs. and Feels Better with Muscles & Curves

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Bethany Tomlinson didn’t feel comfortable with her naturally thin frame, and says gaining muscle definition and curves has helped her to feel better about her body than ever before.

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“I just had no body confidence,” the U.K. university student, 22, tells PEOPLE of her former 7 stone (about 98 lbs.) self. “I picked on myself in the mirror and really tore myself apart.”

Tomlinson says comparing herself to other people on social media added to her insecurity.

“Social media can be really self destructive for young girls in terms of living up to idolized body types and specific looks,” she says.

But it also served as her inspiration when she decided she wanted to start building muscle.

RELATED: 5 Mantras for a Happier, Calmer, More Confident You

“I found some fitness models on Instagram such as Katy Hearn and really fell in love with their more muscular curvy appearance,” says Tomlinson. “I saw their before pictures and they looked similar to me. I was inspired to see how much I could change myself with weight training.”

The business and marketing student began lifting light weights and working her way up to more heavy strength training.

“In terms of exercise, I just pushed and challenged myself more in terms of getting stronger and lifting heavier,” says Tomlinson. “I can now squat double my body weight — this has taken years of consistency and self motivation. My training now consists of lots of compound work like squats and deadlifts followed by isolation work for my glutes and specific areas of my body I would like to improve and grow.”

RELATED: Tracy Anderson Talks Body Confidence, Boosting Your Metabolism, and the Best Advice J.Lo Gave Her

She also had to overhaul her diet. Even though Tomlinson was thin, she had never put an emphasis on healthy eating before.

“[I started] eating a lot more food to curb my fast metabolism,” she said. “I also ate a lot of bad unhealthy food beforehand in hopes it would help me gain weight. What I needed to do was up my intake, but with wholesome, balanced foods with adequate protein, carbohydrate and fat sources.”

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Two-and-a-half years after beginning her transformation, Tomlinson has put on 21 lbs. of muscle and says she feels “massively” more confident.

“But this is not just about my body and how I look — it’s how I feel mentally,” she says. “This journey has lead me to self-acceptance within my body and personally as an individual too. It’s totally changed my life in every aspect.”

Source: Mind and Body

For a Mid-Day Energy Boost, Choose the Stairs Over Soda

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com. 

The next time you feel a 3 p.m. slump coming on, skip the vending machine and head to the stairwell instead. According to a brilliant new study, 10 minutes of stair-walking is better for energy levels and work motivation than the amount of caffeine in a can of soda.

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For the new research, published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, University of Georgia researchers wanted to measure the effects of a simple exercise that could be done in a typical office setting where sedentary workers may only have a few minutes at a time for breaks.

So they enrolled 18 female college students, all of whom reported being chronically sleep deprived, and conducted workplace simulations on three separate days. On two of the days, the participants took capsules containing either 50 mg caffeine (about the equivalent to a can of cola) or a placebo. The other day, they spent 10 minutes walking up and down stairs at a low-intensity pace.

RELATED: Fergie and Josh Duhamel Swear by This Power Smoothie for All-Day Energy

After each intervention, the women were given verbal and computer-based tests to gauge their mood and their performance on certain cognitive tasks. Neither the caffeine nor the exercise caused large improvements in attention or memory. But the women did exhibit a small increase in motivation levels after walking the stairs, compared to a decrease after having caffeine or placebo pills.

Co-author Patrick J. O’Connor, a professor in UGA’s department of kinesiology, says the women also felt slightly more energetic after hitting the stairs. “It was a temporary feeling, felt immediately after the exercise,” he said in a press release. “But with the 50 milligrams of caffeine, we didn’t get as big an effect."

There’s been plenty of research showing that exercising for 20 minutes or more can boost energy levels, the authors wrote in their paper, but this appears to be the first study to look at such a short period of stair walking. They point out that feelings of fatigue were not significantly improved after either intervention, and say that longer bouts of exercise may be required to produce lasting effects. They also note that taking walking breaks outdoors, or with other people, may provide further mood-enhancing benefits.

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And of course, the authors aren’t suggesting that a quick burst of exercise is all you need for overall health. They say more studies are needed to determine the specific benefits of stair-walking—although previous research has shown that spending just 10 minutes on the stairs, three times a week, can have real cardiovascular benefits.

Still, it’s good to know that this quick, zero-calorie energy booster is there when you need it; it’s also free and, in most workplaces, accessible rain or shine. And with recent news linking both regular and diet soda to negative effects on the brain, it’s nice to have an option that’s been shown to work just as well, if not better, than caffeine.

“It’s an option to keep some fitness while taking a short break from work,” said O’Connor. “You may not have time to go for a swim, but you might have 10 minutes to walk up and down the stairs.”

Source: Mind and Body

9 Ways to Spot a Sociopath

When you think of a sociopath, you probably picture Christian Bale in American Psycho, or Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. But like most mental health conditions, sociopathy—or antisocial personality disorder (ASP)—exists on a spectrum; and not all sociopath are serial killers. One study estimated that as many as 3.8% of Americans would meet the condition's diagnostic criteria. So odds are, you know someone who has ASP.

“It’s a syndrome characterized by lifelong misbehavior,” says Donald W. Black, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. “People with an antisocial personality disorder tend to be deceitful, impulsive. They ignore responsibilities and, in the worst cases, they have no conscience.”

The disorder can be relatively mild, he adds: "Maybe they lie, maybe they get into trouble with their spouses, and that’s about it." At the other end of the spectrum are thieves and murderers, says Dr. Black, who is the author of Bad Boys, Bad Men: Confronting Antisocial Personality Disorder (Sociopathy). “Most people are in the middle.” 

RELATED: 10 Subtle Signs of Bipolar Disorder

One thing to note: While we tend to use the terms "sociopath" and "psychopath" interchangeably, they mean different things. Whereas most sociopaths are prone to impulsive behavior and often seen as disturbed or unhinged, a psychopath is cold and calculating, sometimes even charming. “I view [psychopathy] as the extreme end of the antisocial spectrum," says Dr. Black, "because virtually all psychopaths are antisocial, but not all antisocials have psychopathy.”

To be diagnosed with ASP, a person must be at least 18 years old and have a history of aggression, rule-breaking, and deceit that dates back to their childhood. Here are some of the other red flags to watch out for, based on criteria listed in the DSM-V.

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Symptom: Lack of empathy

Perhaps one of the most well-known signs of ASP is a lack of empathy, particularly an inability to feel remorse for one's actions. “Many people with ASP do seem to lack a conscience, but not all of them,” he explains. Psychopaths always have this symptom, however, which is what makes them especially dangerous. “When you don’t experience remorse, you’re kind of freed up to do anything—anything bad that comes to mind,” says Dr. Black.

Symptom: Difficult relationships

People with ASP find it hard to form emotional bonds, so their relationships are often unstable and chaotic, says Dr. Black. Rather than forge connections with the people in their lives, they might try to exploit them for their own benefit through deceit, coercion, and intimidation.

Symptom: Manipulativeness

Sociopaths tend to try to seduce and ingratiate themselves with the people around them for their own gain, or for entertainment. But this doesn’t mean they’re all exceptionally charismatic: “It may be true of some, and it is often said of the psychopath that they’re superficially charming,” says Dr. Black. “But I see plenty of antisocial men in my hospital and in our out patient clinic and I would not use the term charming to describe them.”

RELATED: 11 Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder

Symptom: Deceitfulness

Sociopaths have a reputation for being dishonest and deceitful. They often feel comfortable lying to get their own way, or to get themselves out of trouble. They also have a tendency to embellish the truth when it suits them.

Symptom: Callousness

Some might be openly violent and aggressive. Others will cut you down verbally. Either way, people with ASP tend to show a cruel disregard for other people's feelings.

Symptom: Hostility

Sociopaths are not only hostile themselves, but they're more likely to interpret others' behavior as hostile, which drives them to seek revenge.

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Symptom: Irresponsibility

Another sign that someone might have ASP is a disregard for financial and social obligations. Ignoring responsibilities is extremely common, says Dr. Black. Think, for example, not paying child support when it’s due, allowing bills to pile up, and regularly taking time off work.

Symptom: Impulsivity

We all have our impulsive moments: a last minute road trip, a drastic new hairstyle, or a new pair of shoes you just have to have. But for someone with ASP, making spur of the moment decisions with no thought for the consequences is part of everyday life, says Dr. Black. They find it extremely difficult to make a plan and stick to it.

Symptom: Risky behavior

Combine irresponsibility, impulsivity, and a need for instant gratification, and it’s not surprising that sociopaths get involved in risky behavior. They tend to have little concern for the safety of others or for themselves. This means that excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, compulsive gambling, unsafe sex, and dangerous hobbies (including criminal activities) are common.

RELATED: 10 Signs You Might Be a Narcissist

Can ASP be treated?

Therapy can help manage some of the symptoms and side effects, particularly in milder cases. But it's unusual for a sociopath to seek professional help. “One of the curious things about this disorder is a general lack of insight," explains Dr. Black. "They may recognize that they have problems. They notice that they get into trouble. They may know that their spouses are not happy with them. They know that they get into trouble on the job. But they tend to blame other people, other circumstances,” says Dr. Black. 

The good news is that symptoms of ASP seem to recede with age, says Dr. Black, especially among milder sociopaths and those that don't do drugs or drink to excess. But if you know someone with ASP, the best thing to do is steer clear, warns Dr. Black: "Avoid them. Avoid them as best as you can because they are going to complicate your life."

Source: Mind and Body

Olympian Michelle Carter on Being a Body Positive Icon: 'Some People Are Meant to Be Bigger, and That's Okay'

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Michelle Carter reached her ultimate goal when she won gold at the Rio Olympics, but she soon discovered that made a major impact beyond her medal as a body positive icon.

The shot putter nabbed gold at her third Games, becoming the first American ever to win in the event, and gained a legion of fans for being unabashedly herself.

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“I was pretty amazed by people’s reactions, but it’s something that I truly believe for myself, because I’ve dealt with those issues,” Carter, 31, tells PEOPLE of being seen as a body image role model. “And you go in and out of that, especially when your body changes for whatever reason. And I’m just glad that something that I used to pick up on could help others as well.”

Carter explains that while she’s found her body confidence now, in 2012 she was at a major low. The USA Track and Field athlete, who also works as a makeup artist, was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

“That was hard, because my body was going through so many changes that I didn’t know what was going on,” she says. “I gained over 100 lbs. that I could never lose, my hair was falling out, I was tired all the time, I couldn’t maintain muscle, I had no energy. It gave me some relief that there was something actually wrong with me and I wasn’t crazy, but it was really hard knowing that there is something wrong with my body and I couldn’t fix it.”

RELATED: 13 Body-Positive Influencers You Should Follow on Instagram

Her self-image sunk as her body shifted out of her control, though medicine — and shot put — kept Carter going.

“Even though I was dealing with all of these health issues, I was still doing well during my season,” she says. “It wasn’t the best season, but it was consistent. And I figured if I could be this consistent when I’m not my best, what happens when I get better, where could I be? So I wanted to see what I would be like on the other side.”

And Carter worked on accepting her body.

“I regained my confidence by just accepting what my body is now,” she says. “Because I kept thinking, ‘Oh I’ll lose the weight, I’ll get back to where my body used to be,’ and in actuality, I have a whole different body now. And I have to relearn my body and what it does for me now, and not what used to work for me.”

 

That confidence helped her find the mindset to win gold, and in the days afterwards when she had people doubting that she could be an athlete at her size.

“Athletes can not look the same, and be great in their individual sport,” Carter explains. “The example I like to use is Gabby Douglas. She could not flip in the air if she was built like me, but then Gabby Douglas couldn’t throw the shot put. I was built like this because I was made to throw the shot put.”

“Some people are meant to be bigger, and that’s okay. Because if everybody was built the same, it would be a little boring. We enjoy the differences in each other, and I think that’s what makes all of us beautiful.”

Source: Mind and Body

Simone Biles Breaks Down While Talking About the Year She Was Adopted: 'My Parents Saved Me'

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is taking a stroll — or should we say a Viennese waltz — down memory lane on Dancing with the Stars this week.

In an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming Most Memorable Year Week of the popular dance show, the 20-year-old sheds tears as she recalls one of the most significant years in her life: the year she was adopted.

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“My parents saved me. They’ve set huge examples of how to treat other people and they’ve been there to support me since day one,” Biles says in the clip. “There’s nothing I could say to them to thank them enough. Even though there’s no right words maybe dance will say it for me.”

Biles opens up about being adopted in 2000, saying, “My biological mom was suffering from drug and alcohol abuse and she was in and out of jail. I never had mom to run to.”

She adds: “I do remember always being hungry and afraid.”

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The athlete, who was adopted by her grandparents when she was 6, recalled being placed in foster care at 3 years old.

“Whenever we had visits with my grandpa I was so excited,” Biles says. “That was the person I always wanted to see walk in.”

As she performed her Viennese Waltz to the tunes of Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father” on Monday evening, the gymnast could be seen holding back tears.

At the wrap of her performance, she could be heard sniffling and crying as she shared a tearful embrace with her parents. Asked how she got through the emotional dance, Biles credited “muscle memory.”

Biles earned positive reviews from the judges and walked away with a 36/40.

“She’s just amazing,” her father told host Tom Bergeron. “She surprises me.”

She previously opened up about the upcoming performance in an exclusive blog for PEOPLE.

“It means the world to me that I’m getting the chance to honor [my grandparents] with this dance,” she wrote. “I can’t say thank you enough to them, so hopefully this dance starts it off well. I think it will be a little bit sad but also exciting and I hope it inspires people.”

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

Source: Mind and Body

Night Owls and Early Birds Saw ‘The Dress’ Differently, According to Science

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

We know, we know: You’re tired of hearing about “the dress,” the viral photograph that dominated the Internet back in February 2015, with so many burning questions: Is it white and gold or black and blue? Is it over- or underexposed? And, seriously, why can’t we agree?

More than two years later, an NYU neuroscientist has one possible explanation for why the world was so divided on the optical illusion. And we have to admit, his new study—published today in the Journal of Vision—is pretty fascinating. It may even be worth giving the notorious mother-of-the-bride dress another 15 minutes of fame.

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According to an online survey of more than 13,000 people from around the world, the colors people saw had a lot to do with whether they considered the dress to be in bright light or in a shadow. Of the survey respondents who thought it was in a shadow, four out of five saw it as white and gold. Only about half of those who did not consider the frock to be in shadow agreed.

(For the record, the dress was actually black and blue, and the colors in the photograph were overexposed and washed out.)

This explanation is nothing new; it’s been around since not long after the initial hubbub occurred: Shadows have a blue tint, so we mentally subtract blue light (seeing white as the underlying color) when we assume something is in shadow, while we mentally subtract yellow (the tint of most artificial lighting) when we assume it’s illuminated.

RELATED: Here's What Color and Vision Experts Have to Say About the Blue and Black (or White and Gold?) Dress

But Pascal Wallisch, Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor in NYU’s department of psychology, wanted to know why, exactly, people make these assumptions. So he also asked study participants other questions that might influence their thinking—their age, gender, ethnicity, and even what their daily schedules were like, for example.

“One of my focuses is on sleep research, so naturally I was wondering about light exposure,” says Wallisch. “People who get up early in the morning and those who stay up late at night are exposed to different types of light. And when a light source is unclear, you might expect these people to make different assumptions based on what they’re most used to.”

His hypothesis turned out to be right: People who said they tended to go to bed early and feel best in the morning—whom he calls morning larks—were significantly more likely to see the dress as white and gold, compared to night owls who stay up late and sleep later into the morning.

That could be because, Wallisch explains, morning people spend more of their waking hours in natural daylight and spend more time under a blue sky, whereas night owls spend more time in artificial light.

RELATED: The FDA Just Approved At-Home DNA Tests for 10 Diseases

Of course, many people today—regardless of their chronotype—tend to spend most of their waking hours under artificial light in office buildings and in front of digital screens. Wallisch asked survey participants about these things, too, but saw no real patterns between their responses and their beliefs about the dress. (Nearly everyone in the study spent significant time around artificial light, he says, so it was difficult to draw solid conclusions.)

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Demographic factors such as gender and age had comparatively small effects on the perception of the dress image, as well, with one exception: Around age 65, the percentage of people who saw the dress as white and gold dropped sharply. This may be because of age-related changes to the eye or the brain, the researchers speculate, or it may even be because older adults have had different life experiences—like, perhaps, spending more time outdoors in their younger years.

Wallish says that overall, his findings help broaden science’s understanding of how people perceive color, and why we don’t always see the same thing. “What I see as red and what you see as red may not be the same thing after all,” he says. “Your life history, your experience, affects how your brain factors in important things like light.”

He even goes out on a limb to say that this revelation could have societal and political implications in today’s current climate.

“Right now, most people assume if you don’t agree with them on something it’s because you’re malicious, you’re ignorant, you’re trying to mess with them,” he says. “We might need to start coming to an understanding and respect the fact that different people sincerely see the world differently—and they might not be able to change that.”

Source: Mind and Body

I Was Young And Active, But A Blood Clot In My Leg Almost Killed Me

I'm 24 years old, an avid runner and cyclist, follow a healthy diet, have never smoked, and have no family history of major health problems. In other words, I'm as healthy as they come. So it came as a shock a few months ago when a sudden health issue came close to killing me. 

It started as a bad cramp. I woke up at 3 in the morning to what felt like a charley horse in my left calf, something that I'd experienced plenty of times before. I didn’t think much of it, though, because after about a minute of stretching, it felt better. I went back to sleep.

Over the next two days, those painful jolts in my calf kept coming back. I assumed I must have strained my calf during a workout, so I continued with my daily routine despite the pain. Thinking maybe I just needed to give my legs a break, I eased up my runs and took a couple of Pilates classes instead. I felt fine, so I assumed my leg was on the mend. 

Everything changed on day four. The pain worsened, and the cramps came four to six times a day, lasting for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. That's when I started getting nervous. 

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With a quick Google search on calf cramps, I discovered information about deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. I learned that DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins in the body, usually in the legs, and that symptoms include swelling, warmth, redness, and pain. Aside from the pain, though, I didn't have any other of the listed symptoms. Plus, I didn't think I had any risk factors for the condition.

Later that same night, though, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sleep. I counted down the hours until I could go to Urgent Care. I still didn’t think that it was a blood clot, but I knew that whatever it was, I needed to take care of it immediately.

RELATED: 15 Diseases Doctors Often Get Wrong

When I went to Urgent Care the following morning, the doctor felt around my leg and compared it to my other one.

“Your leg seems fine,” he said. “No swelling, redness, or warmth.”

“But it hurts so much,” I pleaded, hoping that he could give me some comfort in a diagnosis, at the very least.

“Are you on a birth control pill?” the doctor asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Get an ultrasound for good measure, but it’s most likely nothing.”

From Urgent Care I went to the radiologist’s office, where two different technicians examined the blood flow in my leg. They were not allowed to give me any information, but I heard them repeat the word “gastrocnemius” several times. I quickly Googled what that was, and the first hits that came up were about the gastrocnemius muscle, which is located in the calf.

I was instantly relieved, thinking they were referring to simple muscle pain. I even felt slightly embarrassed that I'd gone through the whole production of seeing the radiologist.

That is, until the radiologist entered the room and informed me that I needed to go to the emergency room immediately. “You have a blood clot in your gastrocnemius,” he said. “You need to be treated immediately in case the clot travels from your leg up to your heart or lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.”

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I rushed to the ER. There, the doctors asked if I’d gone on any long trips recently. I had—the day before my pain started, I took a five-hour bus ride. It turns out that DVT risk increases when you sit for extended periods and don't move your legs. The docs blamed my DVT on a combination of that bus ride and my birth control pills, which also increase blood clot risk. 

The doctors also explained that while pulmonary embolism as a result of DVT is rare, my risk was higher than most. I was supposed to fly to Paris just four days later, and another period of prolonged sitting could have prompted the clot to move from my calf to my heart or lungs—potentially killing me. 

Seeking medical help when I did prevented the clot from having a severe impact on my life. I had to take anticoagulants (blood thinners) for three months, could not travel for one month, and had to go off my birth control. That’s it. Canceling a trip to Paris was worth saving my life. 

If there’s one thing I learned from this experience—whether you notice a sudden, persistent leg cramp, or anything in your body that intuitively feels off—don’t hesitate to see a doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Source: Mind and Body