Here’s Why the 2017 Flu Season is so bad

  Australia has recorded 221,853 flu infections so far in 2017, more than any other year. As the flu season comes to an end, we’re beginning to understand why it was so bad. And it wasn’t because of increased, or more sensitive, testing. A better vaccine could have reduced the rates, but not the high-dose Fluzone vaccine doctors were touting at the start of the week. This year’s flu viruses Multiple flu viruses circulate each year and are broadly grouped into two types: A and B. Influenza B viruses have two main strains, while the influenza A viruses are more variable. The influenza As you get each year are usually A/H3N2 – the main player so far this season – or A/H1N1, which lingers on from its 2009 “swine flu” pandemic. This was a...

Why We Feel Nostalgic During the Holidays

The holidays can bring nostalgia, an emotion with important benefits, according to a nostalgia expert. Holidays bring holiday memories, and, often a sense of nostalgia for good times long gone, perhaps even loved ones long gone. This bittersweet nostalgia helps us feel connected, both around the holidays and at other times. And, it can be a salve to those suffering through hard times, according to nostalgia expert Krystine Batcho, a professor of psychology at Le Moyne College in New York. LiveScience spoke with Batcho about this seemingly universal emotional state, why it’s important and why it seems to peak around the holidays. Here’s what she had to say. Q. What is nostalgia? It has been defined differently by different theorists over...

Less Choice, Higher Prices Feared in CVS’ Takeover of Health Insurer Aetna

CVS says patients will benefit from its takeover of health insurer Aetna, but healthcare advocates say past mergers give little reason for hope. (Getty Images) CVS Health says that its $69-billion takeover of insurance giant Aetnawill be good for consumers. That, of course, is unlikely. For the deal to benefit consumers, it would have to result in lower drug prices or lower insurance costs. If past mergers are anything to go by, this won’t happen.  “You don’t need a crystal ball to predict the future here,” said David Balto, a healthcare advocate and former policy director for the Federal Trade Commission. “Mergers like these have a dismal history,” he told me. “They lead to less consumer choice and more...

My Grandmother Found The Love of Her Life at Ninety

“Not too many people our age get to have a romance.” “I have a boyfriend,” said Grandma over the telephone. It was August of 2016, and I was pretending to be in Arizona although I had in fact moved to Istanbul. For years Grandma had been saying that I should stop travelling to Turkey because it was “a very dangerous place.” Having decided that the truth wasn’t worth her worries over coup attempts, mass arrests and repeated bombings (okay, maybe she was just a little bit right), I’d immediately turned the conversation to Grandma’s news. I wasn’t expecting, of course, that her life had suddenly become more interesting than mine. “He’s ninety-three,” she declared. “And such a gentleman.” “I thought you didn’t want one of...

Holidays with Seniors: A Successful Thanksgiving

The Original Thanksgiving Guest It’s Thanksgiving again!  Millions of families across the country–and expats all over the world for that matter–are preparing themselves for turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, candied yams, and I won’t even mention the desserts!  Year after year, it’s the same routine that we all know and love and stress over.  That is, of course, until something or someone throws the routine for a loop.  The common cause: an aging loved one, who is perhaps no longer the independent, lucid and physically capable person they’ve always been. If you’re one of the millions of Americans this year who is more worried about preparing for Nana or Uncle Joe than you are about preparing your...