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A bike that mimics multiple sclerosis presents the disease on a new level.

A clever campaign just might help someone you know.

A bike that mimics multiple sclerosis presents the disease on a new level.

What do you see in this image?

All images via Grey Australia/YouTube.


Looks pretty straightforward, right? A classic 10-speed bike, like you might find in your parent's garage. Nothing exceptional.

But things aren't always how they seem at first glance. In fact, a quick ride on this bike would throw a lot of people off, and that's exactly why a group of Australian designers, neurologists, and advocates created it.

This bicycle was designed to mimic the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

You may know someone who has it. (The disease, not the bike.)

Roughly 2.5 million people out there know what it's like to live with multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, making it hard for the brain to properly talk to the body.

It's mysterious and often frustrating, especially considering that researchers are still unsure what causes it. That, mixed with its unpredictable nature as a disease, makes it hard for people to grasp what it's like to have ... until now.

Here are five clever ways they did it:

Bike = MS? You better believe it. Here we go.

1. This bike looks great on the outside, but the inside tells a different story.

One of the most frustrating parts of MS is that it's considered a hidden disease. You can look completely normal and healthy on the outside but actually be suffering on the inside.

It's one of the reasons many people can't understand what their loved ones are going through. Diagnosing MS is no cakewalk either; its symptoms can be so hard to see that it's hard to determine whether a person has it or not.

This bike looks sharp and ready to hit the road, just like someone diagnosed with MS. But just wait.

2. Be prepared to feel wobbly.


With MS, the instability is real, and this bike was designed with that in mind. The makers purposely built it with crooked wheels, a misaligned frame, and balky tires to create the effect. It's incredibly hard to find your balance when you're riding, and if you took it for a spin, there would be a good chance you'd end up on the asphalt.

People living with MS could relate since they often have problems with walking and feel dizziness.

3. You never know what's going to happen next.


Symptoms of MS vary widely from person to person, but not knowing what's going to happen or when it's going to happen is a common theme.

On the bike, the designers shifted gears, took out teeth on the rear cassette, and used heavy parts to create a jarring, unpredictable feeling when riding.

4. The brakes, seat, and handlebars recreate numbing.


Ever sit in a position too long and your legs go numb? That's sort of what it's like for someone living with MS. Only it's not just your leg. It's different parts of your body, all the time.

Losing sensation in your feet and hands makes you feel like you have to do everything harder to make it work. To replicate this feeling on the bike, after they used thin handlebar tape with ball bearings wrapped underneath, and made the seat super uncomfortable. Hang on or sit for a while and you'll go numb.

5. It takes so much more effort to go anywhere.


For some of us, it's hard enough to roll out of bed and face the day when we're feeling perfectly fine. Someone living with MS has to constantly fight through the day to make it through.

With all the alterations above, riding this bike is also a strain, to put it lightly.

Our bodies are machines, just like a bike.

When something is off, the body reacts and works to find a fix. With MS, there is no permanent fix, but there are ways to ease symptoms and slow disease progression with medicine and physical therapy.

Most people won't get to ride this bike, and, of course, it's nothing compared to the challenge of actually having the disease.

But this unique approach might make MS easier to understand — both mentally and physically.

By improving awareness and relating it to something most people do understand (bikes!), it hopefully can allow people to see MS on a different level.

Created by cycling Paralympian Carol Cooke, bike mechanics, neurologists, folks living with MS, and Grey Australia, the campaign hopes to raise awareness for the disease in advance of the MS Melbourne Cycle in March 2016.

Watch the full campaign ad here:

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via drkristynsommer / TikTok

Parenting is the most important job that most people will ever have in life. Your decisions as a parent will be some of the most important determining factors in whether your child becomes a happy and productive adult or not. It's a huge responsibility.

Parenting is a difficult and important undertaking, but many parents simply repeat the same strategies used by their parents. How often do we hear people rationalize their decisions by saying, "That's what my parents did and I came out ok."

This approach to raising children negates the fact that with every generation there are countless studies done on child development, many of which run counter to popular parenting wisdom from the past.

Dr. Kristyn Sommer, who has a PhD in child development, has received a lot of attention on social media because of her dedication to teaching "evidence-based parenting." This expertise has made her an advocate for strategies that run counter to conventional parenting wisdom and have stirred up a bit of controversy.

Here are five TikTok videos where Sommer shares some of her evidence-based parenting strategies.

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