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Cigna 2017

When Sonia got up to speak at her mother's funeral, she asked every woman in the congregation to stand up too.

"We need to take better care of ourselves," she pleaded to the group

via Cigna/Upworthy.


Sonia's mom died after a heart attack, and she had been one of a long list of family members who were taken too soon by heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, or a combination of the three.

When Sonia looks at pictures of her deceased family members, she sees missed opportunities.

They grew up in a time when nobody talked about their medical history. Many of Sonia's family members didn't even know their medical histories because they only went to the doctor in emergency situations.

"We used the ER as our doctor," she recalled. "That's not maintainable."

Sonia made a life-changing decision that day: to put her health first. Watch her story:

This woman has lost too many family members to preventable diseases. Now she's on a mission to help others so they don't have to experience the loss she did.

Posted by

Upworthy on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

For Sonia's family, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar were the norm.

When she was 9 years old, Sonia lost her grandmother to a stroke. That experience made Sonia realize she wanted to be a nurse. But between her career and taking care of her family, including her ailing mother, Sonia de-prioritized her own health.

When she lost her mother, Sonia realized she could be next in line if she wasn't careful.

via Cigna/Upworthy

Sonia made an appointment with her doctor and learned she was at risk for diabetes, so she took steps to de-stress and improve her health — by meditating, spending time with her family, changing her eating habits, and discovering a love of Zumba.

Ever since, she has been speaking with and inspiring others to do the same by listening to their doctors, their own bodies, and knowing their four health numbers: blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and cholesterol.

According to the CDC, more than 75% of our country's health care spending is on people with chronic conditions, many of which could be prevented or caught earlier with preventive care.

One of those chronic conditions, cardiovascular disease, is the #1 killer of women. Actively knowing key indicators of cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, can help people make changes that stop it before it becomes a true threat.

"I don't think [my family members] knew a lot about these indicators," Sonia added. "They were just living to survive."

via Cigna/Upworthy

It can be hard to make caring for ourselves a priority.

Focusing on our personal health is not an easy thing to do — especially when we have loved ones to take care of. It's important to remember that it's not a selfish thing for us to each take time to focus on our personal health.By taking care of ourselves, we can be better examples for our families and for the next generations.

via Cigna/Upworthy

"When you're healthy, you feel better — mentally, physically, spiritually — you feel better," says Sonia.  "And when you feel better, your family feels better. And when you're family feels better, your community feels better."

Learn more about your four health numbers at Cigna.com/TakeControl.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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