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Pedigree

A black lab named Jedi tends to know what's happening before anyone else.

Like the night he saved his boy, Luke Nuttall.

All images via Dorrie Nuttall, used with permission.


One night in March 2016, 7-year-old Luke was sound asleep. Jedi was able to determine that Luke's blood sugar was dropping to dangerously low levels, even though his monitor said otherwise at the time. Jedi jumped on Luke's mom, Dorrie, to wake her up and get her attention. Sure enough, he was right.

It may have saved Luke's life.

As a diabetic alert dog, Jedi can smell changes in the body. It basically makes him one part playful pup and one part superhero.

From the moment Luke was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a 2-year-old, his family knew they were diving face-first into a lifelong challenge. Type 1 diabetes is a complicated disease and can be emotionally, physically, and socially exhausting. For those it affects, it can become part of every second of every day.

Upon Luke's diagnosis, the Nuttall family knew nothing about Type 1 diabetes or that service dogs could help ease some of the burden. When they learned more about it, they decided to give an 11-week-old black lab named Jedi a shot.

They self-trained Jedi with the help of professionals. Ever since, Luke and Jedi have been quite the pair.

"Jedi can tell us when Luke's blood sugar levels go low, dropping around 75, right around there," said Luke's mom, Dorrie. "He gives visual clues. He will bow if Luke is low and wave if Luke is going high on his levels."

Jedi's always with Luke when there's a problem. He helps alleviate the monotony of diabetes, adding a furry, fun aspect to it. Perhaps most importantly, he makes Luke and his family laugh.

A lot of people know about Type 2 diabetes, but there is less awareness of Type 1.

We don't talk about it enough, and we should: Everyday, about 80 Americans are diagnosed with it, but it goes undetected in many. That can be fatal.

The warning signs can be subtle and can seem to point to a different problem if people don't know what to look for. Before Luke was diagnosed, his mom thought he had strep throat. Luke was a healthy 2-year-old — why would she think diabetes? But it turns out it's common to have flu symptoms, frequent urination, headaches, and blurry vision as part of it. That's why education, which can help lead to early detection, is key.

"Type 1 diabetes is so misunderstood and people don’t really seem to care much about it," Dorrie said. General attitudes around diabetes can make it seem like it's something you've done to yourself, or that you deserved it. That's not the case at all.

Dorrie emphasized the need to educate our younger generations to help shift this way of thinking. "Kids are often better at this then adults since it is something new for them and the correct information becomes their truth," she wrote on Facebook. "In contrast we often have to work harder to try to educate adults because they have to also 'unlearn' things that are not accurate."

That's exactly why Dorrie decided to launch the Facebook page "Saving Luke" to spread awareness about Type 1 diabetes by sharing her family's journey.

"I hope through a story about a boy and his dog that people are starting to look at it different."

With a growing community of 75,000 members, I'd say they're breaking through.

"One message I get all the time on the page is from people who see Luke going through it and how it reminds them that they're not alone," said Dorrie.

"Luke and Jedi" is a documentary coming out soon that follows the journey of the inseparable pair as they fight Type 1 diabetes together.

Service dogs like Jedi come in all shapes and sizes and are trained to work on a host of medical and health conditions.

Not only are these animals amazing, but they can help draw awareness to otherwise overlooked conditions. That's what the Nuttall family is striving to do with Type 1 diabetes.

This boy, his dog, and their family might just be what's needed to make that happen.

As Lorrie put it, "If I can spread awareness and it helps, then I feel like I’ve made a difference. When you have a child diagnosed with something, it’s easy to feel helpless. I’m not a scientist, I can’t find a cure, but this is how I feel like I am making a contribution."

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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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 Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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