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Dying for a better life: South Koreans fake their funerals for life lessons

SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean service is offering free funerals – but only to the living.

More than 25,000 people have participated in mass “living funeral” services at Hyowon Healing Center since it opened in 2012, hoping to improve their lives by simulating their deaths.

“Once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life,” said 75-year-old Cho Jae-hee, who participated in a recent living funeral as part of a “dying well” program offered by her senior welfare center.

Dozens took part in the event, from teenagers to retirees, donning shrouds, taking funeral portraits, penning their last testaments, and lying in a closed coffin for around 10 minutes.

University student Choi Jin-kyu said his time in the coffin helped him realize that too often, he viewed others as competitors.

“When I was in the coffin, I wondered what use that is,” said the 28-year-old, adding that he plans to start his own business after graduation rather than attempting to enter a highly-competitive job market.

South Korea ranks 33 out of 40 countries surveyed in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Better Life Index. Many younger South Koreans have high hopes for education and employment, which have been dashed by a cooling economy and rising joblessness.

“It is important to learn and prepare for death even at a young age,” said Professor Yu Eun-sil, a doctor at Asan Medical Center’s pathology department, who has written a book about death.

In 2016, South Korea’s suicide rate was 20.2 per 100,000 residents, almost double the global average of 10.53, according to the World Health Organization.

Funeral company Hyowon began offering the living funerals to help people appreciate their lives, and seek forgiveness and reconciliation with family and friends, said Jeong Yong-mun, who heads the healing center.

Jeong said he is heartened when people reconcile at a relative’s funeral, but is saddened they wait that long.

“We don’t have forever,” he said. “That’s why I think this experience is so important – we can apologize and reconcile sooner and live the rest of our lives happily.”

Occasionally he has dissuaded those contemplating suicide.

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“I picked out those people who have asked themselves whether … they can actually commit suicide, and I reversed their decision,” Jeong said.

The message of personal value resounded with Choi.

“I want to let people know that they matter, and that someone else would be so sad if they were gone,” he said, wiping away tears. “Happiness is in the present.”

Reporting by Daewoung Kim and Youngseo Choi. Writing by Minwoo Park. Editing by Josh Smith and Karishma Singh

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Tying the Knot Is Tied to Longer Life Span, New Data Shows

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Married folks not only live longer than singles, but the longevity gap between the two groups is growing, U.S. government health statisticians report.

The age-adjusted death rate for the married declined by 7% between 2010 and 2017, according to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Not only is the rate for married lower, but it’s declining more than any other group,” said lead author Sally Curtin, an NCHS statistician.

Statistically, death rate is the annual number of deaths for every 100,000 people. It’s adjusted so that a 26-year-old and an 80-year-old married or widowed or divorced are on equal footing.

The new study reported that the death rate for never-marrieds declined only 2%, while that for divorced people hasn’t changed at all.

Worst off were the widowed, for whom the death rate rose 6%. They have the highest death rate of all the categories, researchers said.

Married men in 2017 had an age-adjusted death rate of 943 per 100,000, compared to 2,239 for widowers. The death rate was 1,735 per 100,000 for lifelong bachelors and 1,773 for divorced men.

Married women had a death rate of 569 per 100,000, two-and-a-half times lower than the 1,482 rate for widows. The death rate was 1,096 for divorcees and 1,166 for never-married women.

Part of the marriage benefit could be explained by the fact that people in good health are more likely to marry, said Katherine Ornstein, an associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Once you’re in a marriage, there are a host of tangible and intangible benefits that give you a health advantage, experts said.

Married people are more likely to have health insurance, Ornstein said, and therefore, have better access to health care.

Being married also means you have someone looking out for you and reinforcing healthy behaviors, said Michael Rendall, director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland.

Continued

“Having somebody there who’s your spouse will tend to promote positive health behaviors — going to the doctor, eating better, getting screened,” he said.

This is particularly true of men, who previous studies have shown derive more health benefits from marriage than women.

“Men tend to have fewer skills than women in terms of looking after themselves,” Rendall said.

Finally, the companionship of marriage staves off health problems associated with loneliness and isolation, Ornstein said.

“Social support and the social engagement that comes with being married is a huge benefit for mental health and physical health,” she said.

All these benefits also explain why widowed people tend to do so badly after the death of their spouse, Ornstein said.

Widows and widowers have to deal with heartache, loneliness and financial stress, she said. They no longer have a partner looking after them, so they are more likely to neglect their health.

The study found some gender differences in trends.

While the death rate for married men and women declined by the same 7%, women’s overall death rate was much lower.

But the death rates among men in all other marital categories remained essentially the same between 2010 and 2017, researchers found.

On the other hand, the death rate for widowed women rose 5%, while the rate for never-married women declined by 3% and remained stable for divorced women.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Sally Curtin, M.A., statistician, U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Hyattsville, Md.; Katherine Ornstein, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor, geriatrics and palliative medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Michael Rendall, Ph.D., director, Maryland Population Research Center, and sociologist, University of Maryland, College Park; NCHS’sHealth E-Stats, Oct. 10, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Evidence Shows Optimism Might Lengthen Your Life

By Alan Mozes        
       HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A sunny outlook on life may do more than make you smile: New research suggests it could also guard against heart attacks, strokes and early death.

In the review of 15 studies that collectively involved almost 230,000 men and women, the findings were remarkably consistent, the study authors added.

“We found that optimists had a 35% lower risk for the most serious complications due to heart disease, compared to pessimists,” said lead author Dr. Alan Rozanski, a professor of cardiology at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City.

That mind-body connection held up across all age groups, said investigators, ranging from teenagers to those in their 90s. That “suggests that optimism may be an asset, regardless of age,” Rozanski noted.

The studies also found the more positive one’s outlook, the less one’s risk for heart trouble or death.

Ten of the studies specifically looked at positivity’s impact on heart health, while nine looked at how a person’s outlook affected their risk of dying from a wide range of illnesses.

Many of the investigations asked basic questions touching on expectations of the future. In response, some participants indicated that they generally felt upbeat despite the uncertainty of what’s to come. Others said they never assume that things will pan out well down the road.

Over time, those who held more positive viewpoints were more likely to remain heart-healthy.

Yet, despite suggesting that “the magnitude of this association is substantial,” Rozanski and his colleagues stressed that the review can’t prove that optimism directly protects against heart disease and premature death.

Still, the team pointed to a whole host of potential reasons why positivity — directly or indirectly — may help stave off illness.

Some of the studies in the review indicated that optimistic people are more adept at problem-solving, better at developing coping mechanisms, and more apt to realize goals. And those are the kind of skills that could drive someone to take a more active interest in monitoring and maintaining their health, the researchers said.

Continued

“Consistent study has shown that optimists have better health habits,” Rozanski noted. “They are more likely to have good diets and exercise,” and they may be less likely to smoke.

“Increasing data also suggests that optimism may have direct biological benefits, whereas pessimism may be health-damaging,” he added. “This biological connection has already been shown for some other psychological risk factors, such as depression.”

Positivity may also work its magic by lowering inflammation and improving metabolism, the authors suggested.

This is not the first study to find such a link. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in August found an upbeat view of life boosted the odds of living to a ripe old age.

Looking ahead, Rozanski’s team pointed to the potential for developing new mind-body treatments, likely in the realm of behavioral therapy, designed to cut down on pessimism and boost optimism.

“However, further research will need to assess whether optimism that is enhanced or induced through directed prevention or intervention strategies has similar health benefits versus optimism that is naturally occurring,” the report cautioned.

The findings were published Sept. 27 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Dr. Jeff Huffman, director of cardiac psychiatry research at Massachusetts General Hospital, cowrote an editorial that accompanied the study.

The review provides “yet more evidence that optimism seems to be an independent predictor of superior cardiac health,” he said.

As to why that is, Huffman agreed that optimism is “associated with more physical activity, healthier diet, and a range of other healthy lifestyle behaviors, and it is likely this association that explains a lot of the benefit.”

But optimism also impacts biological processes, he added. And ultimately, “the mechanism by which optimism leads to better health is likely a combination of biology and behavior.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Alan Rozanski, M.D., professor, cardiology, department of cardiology, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, New York City; Jeff Huffman, M.D., director, cardiac psychiatry research, Massachusetts General Hospital, and associate professor, psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Sept. 27, 2019,JAMA Network Open

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Low Vitamin D Levels, Shorter Life?

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Young and middle-aged adults with low vitamin D levels may live shorter lives, a large study suggests.

The findings come from a 20-year follow-up of more than 78,000 Austrian adults. Researchers found that those with low vitamin D levels in their blood were nearly three times more likely to die during the study period than those with adequate levels.

When it came to the cause of death, vitamin D levels were most clearly linked to deaths from diabetes complications.

The findings were to be presented Friday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, in Barcelona — and are considered preliminary. Experts said they do not prove that low vitamin D levels, per se, cut people’s lives short.

But the results add to a large body of evidence tying inadequate vitamin D to various health effects — beyond the long-recognized consequence of thinner, weaker bones. Studies have also pointed to higher risks of conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, certain cancers, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

“The role of vitamin D in the body appears to be more than simply assisting calcium absorption and bone health,” said Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian who was not involved in the study.

However, the research is “still evolving,” noted Diekman, who has served as president of the nonprofit Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That means it’s still unclear whether boosting your vitamin D intake — through food or pills — will prevent various diseases or lengthen your life.

In fact, a recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, yielded disappointing results: Researchers found that vitamin D supplements did not help prevent type 2 diabetes in people at high risk of the disease.

But that may be in part because supplements later in life might not be enough to prevent a disease, according to Dr. Rodrig Marculescu, the lead researcher on the current study.

Many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, get their start earlier in life, said Marculescu, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria.

Continued

On the other hand, he said, vitamin D supplements might have more of an impact on the odds of dying from a disease.

His team found a clear relationship between blood vitamin D levels and the risk of early death — especially among people who were younger than 60: Those with levels of 10 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter) or less had almost a three-times higher risk of dying during the study, versus those with adequate levels (50 nmol/L).

In contrast, middle-aged and younger people with vitamin D levels at or above 90 nmol/L had a lower death risk than those at the 50 mark.

In general, vitamin D concentrations of 50 nmol/L or higher are considered to be high enough for overall health, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

When the researchers zeroed in on causes of death, it turned out that vitamin D levels showed only weak connections to heart disease and cancer. Instead, people with low levels (below 50) had a more than fourfold higher risk of dying from diabetes complications, versus those with adequate levels.

It’s not clear why. But, Marculescu said, there are plausible reasons that vitamin D levels would be particularly linked to diabetes: The vitamin, which acts as a hormone in the body, helps regulate the immune system. That’s relevant to type 1 diabetes, Marculescu noted, because it is an autoimmune disease.

Vitamin D is also important to the cells that produce the hormone insulin — which regulates blood sugar — and to the body’s sensitivity to insulin. That’s relevant to type 2 diabetes, Marculescu pointed out.

For now, he said, the findings “further strengthen the already very strong rationale for intensifying vitamin D supplementation, especially during childhood and at younger ages.”

Specifically, he pointed to recommendations from the Endocrine Society. They suggest that adults get 1,500 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, while children and teenagers get 600 to 1,000 IU.

The body naturally synthesizes vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin, but cold climates — and concerns about sun exposure — can limit that source.

Diekman suggested that people have their blood vitamin D level checked. If it’s low, she said, talk to your doctor about how to boost it — whether through supplements or foods such as vitamin D-fortified dairy products, juice or cereal.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Rodrig Marculescu, M.D., associate professor, Medical University of Vienna, Austria; Connie Diekman, M.Ed., R.D., food and nutrition consultant, St. Louis, Mo.; Sept. 20, 2019, presentation, European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting, Barcelona, Spain

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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‘Undone’: The Surreal Life in Rotoscope from Kate Purdy & Raphael Bob-Waksberg

***This article originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. ‘19 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 293)***

If you like your animated shows to be grown-up, surreal and a bit unsettling, then get ready to get hooked badly on Undone, the intriguing new offering from Raphael Bob-Waksberg (BoJack Horseman, Tuca & Bertie) and Kate Purdy (The McCarthys, Cougar Town). The half-hour rotoscope animated show, which premieres on Amazon Prime this month, is the kind of mystery that keeps you guessing and entertained until the very last minute.

Undone centers on a 20-something woman named Alma (voiced by Rosa Salazar) , who begins to see visions of her late father (Bob Odenkirk) after a near-fatal car accident and discovers that she has the ability to travel through space and time. The show, which is produced by Bob-Waksberg, Purdy, Noel Bright, Steven A. Cohen and Tommy Pallotta, also features a great, multicultural voice cast that includes Angelique Cabral, Constance Marie, Siddarth Dhananjay, Daveed Diggs, John Corbett, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Sheila Vand and Tyler Posey.

The origin of the show goes back to 2015 when Bob-Waksberg and Purdy were working on the first season of the acclaimed, Emmy-winning Netflix series BoJack Horseman. That’s when they started exploring the possibility of creating a new project that explored complex issues such as mental health and the nature of reality.

“We started talking about our own personal lives and families,” recalls Purdy. “I told him about my grandmother Geraldine, who had schizophrenia, and my own fears about mental health. I was going through a divorce and a hard time in my life, and as a result was discovering all these alternative healing modalities, and meeting shamans around the world. As a result, I came to see our world and our approach to mental health in a new light.”

In the beginning, the producers weren’t quite sure whether the show would be animated or not. Yet, as the different parts began to gel, they realized that the surreal nature of the content made it a natural candidate for animation.

Painterly Vision

One of the driving forces behind the show’s highly artistic look is acclaimed director Hisko Hulsing, an indie Dutch animator who is best known for his award-winning shorts Junkyard and Seventeen. “Our producers Noel and Steve found Hisko, who is absolutely amazing,” says Bob-Waksberg. “It was his idea to use rotoscopy since he wanted to capture the micro expressions of the animated characters’ faces, and we were all on board.” Purdy adds, “We wanted a style that felt real and grounded, but was animated enough so that when crazy things started to happen, you wouldn’t feel like we were suddenly breaking the show. We needed this seamless transition between what was real and what was unreal.”

Undone

Undone

The production of the show is quite different from other animated shows. “It’s almost like we make the show three times,” jokes Purdy. “We first shoot the show in live action in Hollywood. Then that footage is sent to Minnow Mountain Studio (A Scanner Darkly, Waking Life) in Austin, where they rotoscope it and choose which lines to animate for all the expressions and emotionality. Finally, it goes to Submarine Studio in Amsterdam, where Hisko oversees the animation and they oil paint the backgrounds and different elements are added in the compositing process.”

Bob-Waksberg says one of the exciting things about working on the show is the technology’s possibilities. “The thing about working in this medium is that there are not too many projects that are created via rotoscopy, so every time someone experiments, there is an opportunity for more innovation in the process,” he notes. “There are tricks that our animators are using now that weren’t available to us when we started the project. We have found these solutions that make the process run more smoothly. You also have to be careful when you mention other rotoscopy projects, because it’s a very small community. I made a joke about those e-trade [Charles Schwab] commercials one time after a screening, and it turned out that some of the animators actually worked on those spots as well!”

Another great thing about the show is that its central character is a strong, interesting Latinx woman. Purdy says it was very important for her to have diversity on screen and represent many kinds of people and their experiences. “I was born in Austin and raised in San Antonio, and we lived with our family in Mexico for a few years,” explains Purdy. “San Antonio is predominantly Mexican-American and Latinx, and we really wanted to have a realistic representation of the culture, heritage and make-up of that city on the show.”

Undone

Undone

“One of the biggest joys of working on Undone is how much all the amazing collaborators are bringing to the show,” says Bob-Waksberg. “We have these amazing actors who are so expressive and bring each episode alive. Then, there is this wonderful writing staff who took some of our ideas and built upon them in a beautiful way. Of course, then there are the rotoscopers, the animators and the painters and artists. I feel that everyone who comes on board finds a way to elevate the piece. I have to say that everyone who has worked on the show has been a real delight to collaborate with.”

Purdy says she has also been awed by everyone’s contributions. “It’s like labor pains,” she says. “Every process is incredibly painful, when it’s all done, you just think how blissful and beautiful it has all been. I just hope that after they see the first eight episodes, the audience questions the nature of reality and our purpose here, and they think about what they want our answers to be.”

Undone premieres on Amazon Prime Video on September 13.

Undone

Undone

Animation Magazine

We Are Royale, Artolution Bring Refugee Kids’ Art to Life in Animated AR Mural

Creative production studio We Are Royale has partnered with Artolution, an international community-based public art organization, to bring its latest public mural to life with augmented reality. Located in New York City’s East Village, the mural highlights the stories, struggles and dreams of immigrant and refugee youth seeking safety in the United States.

Fifteen teenagers and children from Central America created original artwork for the mural under the mentorship of Artolution artists. The project provided an educational and therapeutic experience for the children, who are clients of KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), a non-profit that provides pro-bono legal services to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children.

The AR experience launched during a public event on August 28 in front of the mural, located on the Key Food supermarket on Avenue A. Using an iOS and Android compatible app (in English and Spanish), visitors can hold their smartphones up to view the mural, and the characters in the artwork will emerge from the wall, moving and dancing — and learn more about this meaningful initiative.

Artolution tasked We Are Royale with bringing vitality the youths’ art through animation and AR. The project marks the second partnership between Artolution co-founder Joel Bregner and We Are Royale, following the mural-based teaser campaign Amazon Prime Video series Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton.

“This project was an incredible experience for all of us who were involved,” said Bergner. “I enjoyed partnering with [We Are Royale ECD and Partner] Brien [Holman] and the whole Royale team as we guided our youth participants in the creation of their own characters, which were manifested through the mural, mask-making, and performance. The animation and augmented reality elements were especially exciting, as this is the first time that an AR mural has been created with youth, so we all had the sense that we were making history.”

For We Are Royale, this project brought together many of the studio’s skill sets and passions: contributing time and resources to social awareness projects, and fluidly designing for various mediums, from character and app design to UX and AR. To create the character animations, We Are Royale took inspiration from the video footage the team shot of the young artists doing their dance choreography at the close of the mural unveiling event last month.

“We wanted to faithfully recreate what the participants created,” said Holman. “While we provided some guidance on how best to design their characters for the animation and AR aspect of the project, the youth actually took the lead in directing us. Ultimately, this was about empowering them through art. It was amazing to see how everyone opened up in the process — and all the credit goes to Joel and his team at Artolution who dedicate their lives to making beautiful initiatives like this happen.”

Bregner concluded, “This creative platform that the project has given these young people is especially important given the challenges that they’ve faced fleeing from violence and conflict, and starting over in a new country. It’s critical that we create these opportunities for displaced children to build community, shape their own narratives, and begin the healing process after the trauma they’ve experienced. The arts and technology are powerful tools to achieve this.”

Artolution

Artolution

Artolution is an international, community-based public art organization based in New York City which seeks to ignite social change through collaborative art-making, bringing together diverse communities in the face of conflict and social exclusion in order to address the trauma and challenges that they face. www.artolution.org

We Are Royale is an award-winning creative production studio with offices in L.A. and Seattle. Founded in 2007, the company is known for its end-to-end creative solutions, diverse capabilities and fluency across platforms. www.weareroyale.com

Animation Magazine

Staying Optimistic Might Lengthen Your Life

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — An upbeat view of life may increase your odds for living to a ripe old age, new research suggests.

The finding stems from a look at optimism and longevity among nearly 70,000 women and 1,400 men. It builds on earlier research linking higher levels of optimism to lower risks of chronic illness and premature death.

“This study took us further by suggesting that optimistic people are more likely to achieve ‘exceptional longevity,’ which we defined as living to age 85 or older,” said study lead author Lewina Lee, a clinical research psychologist with the U.S. National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System.

Compared to their least optimistic counterparts, the most optimistic men and women studied were 50% to 70% more likely to reach that advanced milestone, Lee said.

They were also 11% to 15% more likely to live longer overall, the study found.

The findings held up even after accounting for other influences, such as educational background, marital status, friendships, chronic health problems, and depression, Lee said.

Optimism was also powerful predictor of longevity regardless of a person’s habits when it came to tobacco and alcohol use, exercise, eating well or getting routine medical care.

“Most studies have focused on deficits or problems that increase the risk of dying,” Lee noted. “Our study is novel is that we considered the benefits of a psychological asset — optimism — in promoting longevity.”

The study team suggested that the findings could point the way towards new interventions that might foster optimism and thereby extend life, such as meditation and certain psychotherapy programs.

Lee and her colleagues discuss their findings in the Aug. 26 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They concluded that optimism matters after analyzing data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which focused on women, and the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study, which focused on men.

The women were 58 to 86 years old (average age: 70) when their health habits, overall health and optimistic outlook were first assessed. They were followed for 10 years.

Continued

The men were 41 to 90 years old (average age: 62) when they had a similar assessment and a physical exam in 1986. They were followed for 30 years.

At the end of the tracking periods, researchers found that results for women and men were roughly the same: The more optimistic the individual, the greater the chances for living longer — and the greater the chances for reaching an “exceptional” age.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Debbie Downers are doomed to shorter lives, Lee said. Her team only found an association and not a cause-and-effect link.

“The association between optimism and exceptional longevity was independent of depression,” Lee said. “This suggests that the presence of optimism is more than just the absence of depression,” so that even among those who struggle with depression a little optimism might still work longevity wonders.

Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, said there are many reasons why optimism breeds longevity.

“Optimists experience less stress, because they don’t tend to dwell on negatives and feel more empowered to overcome hurdles,” said Yarrow, who wasn’t involved with the study. “They are less likely to give up, and they bounce back more quickly from problems and setbacks. Stress is a killer and wreaks havoc on our bodies.”

Optimists also are less likely to experience depression, feelings of hopelessness and negativity — factors often linked to poorer health and higher rates of disease, she added.

On top of that, Yarrow said, optimists tend to take better care of themselves and have an easier time making and keeping friends, “a well-documented source of health and longevity.”

She acknowledged that access to money, good food and education and, of course, genetics can also have a big impact on longevity.

But unlike good genes, Yarrow said, “optimism and her powerful sister, gratitude, can be learned.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Lewina Lee, Ph.D., clinical research psychologist, U.S. National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, and assistant professor, psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine; Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., professor emerita, Golden Gate University, San Francisco;Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Aug. 26, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

Pagination

WebMD Health

Watch: ‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ Exclusive Deleted Scene

With the globally beloved animal stars of The Secret Life of Pets 2 ready to make their DVD, Blu-ray and 4K debut on August 27, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has given us a sneak peek at the special features in store on the release. Check out the deleted scene “Wake Up” form Illumination Ent.’s blockbuster sequel below!

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is out now on Digital.

Don’t forget to enter our online giveaway for a chance to win this furry frolic on disc!

Synopsis: Terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be. The voice cast also features Eric Stonestreet, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford in his first-ever animation role: a farm dog named Rooster.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is helmed by returning director Chris Renaud and co-director Jonathan del Val; produced by Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy.

Animation Magazine

Childhood Cancer Steals 11 Million Years of Life: Study

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Researchers are closing in on the toll of childhood cancer, finding it stole 11.5 million years of healthy life lost worldwide in 2017.

Premature death took 97% of that toll, and impaired quality of life about 3%, the study found.

“Estimating the years of healthy life children have lost due to cancer allows policy makers to compare the lifelong implications of childhood cancer with other diseases, potentially helping them determine the most effective way to spend limited resources and identify high-impact cancer-control planning decisions,” said study leader Lisa Force.

Children in the poorest countries accounted for 82% of years of healthy life lost (9.5 million years) worldwide due to cancer in 2017, according to the study. The findings were published July 29 in The Lancet Oncology.

How common is childhood cancer?

The number of new cancer cases in children and teens up to age 19 was about 416,500 worldwide in 2017, the report said.

Children with cancer in high-income countries tend to have good survival, with around 80% surviving five years after diagnosis. But survival is 35% to 40% in most low- and middle-income countries, with some estimates suggesting it could be as low as 20%, the study authors noted.

Also, about 90% of children at risk of developing cancer live in low- and middle-income countries.

The study examined the years of healthy life that children and teens with cancer lose due to illness, disability and premature death, a measurement called disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). One DALY equals one year of healthy life lost.

However, the study was limited to the first 10 years after cancer diagnosis so it likely underestimates the tally, according to the researchers.

“By assessing the global burden of childhood cancer through the lens of disability-adjusted life years, we can more comprehensively understand the devastating impact of cancer on children globally,” said Force, of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

“Our findings are an important first step in establishing that childhood cancer has a role in frameworks that address global oncology and global child health,” Force added in a journal news release.

But future progress will require much work, she explained.

“Improving childhood cancer survival will require considerable planning by policy makers to ensure well-functioning health systems capable of early diagnosis and treatment,” Force said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE:The Lancet Oncology, news release, July 29, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

‘Secret Life of Pets 2’ Comes Home to Sit ‘n’ Stay

Heartwarming, gut-busting animated family blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets 2 is ready to be adopted on disc and digital this summer, through Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Illumination Entertainment’s warm and fuzzy sequel arrives on Digital August 13, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on August 27. DVD and Digital versions are packed with well over an hour of bonus content, including two brand-new mini-movies. Meanwhile, 4K and Blu-ray versions include an exclusive Captain Snowball Motion Comic.

In The Secret Life of Pets 2, terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend, Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he’ll have to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be.

The voice cast also features Eric Stonestreet, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford in his first-ever animation role: a farm dog named Rooster.

Bonus Features (4K, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital):

  • Mini Movie: Minion Scouts – When Margo, Agnes and Edith return from Badger Scout camp, three of the Minions are entranced by the girls’ merit badges. Their own attempt at scout camp results in attracting a bear, eating poison berries and eventually blowing up a dam, creating a massive flood. But, when they arrive back home, the girls share their badges, encouraging the rest of the Minions to try their hand at scouting.
  • Mini Movie: Super Gidget – When Max is kidnapped by an army of squirrels, Super Gidget is the only one who can save him. It turns out that Max’s captor is a flea with the power of mind control. Gidget must use her pluckiness, strength and smarts to save her one true love…until it turns out it was all just a dream.
  • The Making of the Mini Movies – Every Illumination film is accompanied by mini movies that are a production all their own. Each film’s directing partners will explore how the mini movies were made.
  • Deleted Scenes: “Wake Up” – Max and Duke have a new morning routine with Liam. “Duke Explores the Farm” – Duke has a funny interaction with a goat. “Snowball Karate” – Snowball does his superhero warm up. “Secret Confessions” – Dogs gather to talk about their deepest secrets.
  • A Tapestry of a Tail: The Making Of – The plot of The Secret Life of Pets 2 involves multiple storylines ultimately coming together to create a larger than life tale. We talk with the filmmakers, editor and cast about the delicate dance of juggling multiple narratives in one movie.
  • How to Draw – Hosted by Head of Story, Eric Favela, follow the step-by-step tutorial to learn to draw Max, Snowball and Chloe.
  • Frame by Frame: How to Make a Flip Book – In this DIY-style vignette, Head of Story Eric Favela will teach viewers about the essence of animation and how they can create their very own flip book animations at home.
  • Character Pods – Get a closer look at your favorite characters of The Secret Life of Pets 2 with these delightful character pods that might just give away a few more pet secrets. Patton Oswalt – Max; Kevin Hart – Snowbal;l Eric Stonestreet – Duke; Jenny Slate – Gidget; Tiffany Haddish – Daisy; Lake Bell – Chloe; Nick Kroll – Sergei; Dana Carvey – Pops; Bobby Moynihan – Mel; Harrison Ford – Rooster
  • A Party Fit for a Pet – Using stop-motion animation, this step-by-step guide teaches you everything you need to know to throw the very best party for your pet!
  • Pops’ Puppy Training School with Kevin Hart – Join Kevin Hart as he shows off his dog training skills.
  • Pets Yule Log – Sit back and relax in front of this exclusive The Secret Life of Pets 2 themed animated ‘Yule Log.’
  • ‘Panda’ Lyric Video
  • ‘It’s Gonna Be A Lovely Day (The Secret Life of Pets 2)’ Lyric Video

4K & Blu-ray Exclusive:

  • The Further Adventures of Captain Snowball (Interactive) – This animated ‘Motion Comic’ expands the world of our furry hero, Captain Snowball. Using a ‘superhero’ comic book style and custom animation, we discover more about the secret world of our caped crusader with a little help from our viewers. At key moments in the story, the viewer is presented with a choice: left, or right? Fight or flight? Their choice determines our hero’s next move!

4K, Blu-ray & Digital Exclusives:

  • My Buddy and Me – We interview the Illumination cast and crew talking about The Secret Life of Pets 2 while holding (or trying to hold) their pets.
  • Pets with Jobs: A Documentary – We find and profile animals with special jobs – a service dog that detects when its epileptic owner is about to have a seizure; ponies that provide comfort to children with cancer; police dogs that go the extra mile to catch the bad guys. Meet some of the many animals who make the world a better place every day!
  • Relax the Cat: The Secret Life of Pets Massage – A professional pet masseuse shows the cast how to read signs of tension in their pet and use massage techniques to keep their furry babies relaxed and happy!
  • Production Pets – It takes hundreds of people to make an animated movie and a lot of those people have pets that can’t wait for them to come home. This piece is dedicated to all those faithful companions.

Animation Magazine

Watch: Netflix Dates ‘Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling’ Global Launch

Following the news that global streaming giant Netflix had snapped up the highly anticipated Nickelodeon movie, fans around the world can now look forward to reconnecting with Joe Murray’s O-Town gang when Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling premieres on the platform August 9. The movie brings back the classic characters of Nickelodeon animated series Rocko’s Modern Life (1993-1996) in an all-new culture shock adventure.

Synopsis: After being in space for around 20 years, Rocko and his friends attempt to conform to an even more modern life in O-Town, where coffee shops are on every corner, food trucks offer multi-layered tacos, touch-screen O-Phones are being upgraded on a near-constant basis, an instant-print kiosk has replaced Rocko’s old job at Kind-of-a-Lot-O-Comics, and radioactive energy drinks turn their consumers into mutants.

Original series voice actors and newcomers make up the energetic cast: Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Charlie Adler, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Linda Wallem, Steve Little, Joe Murray, Cosmo Segurson, Tom Smith, and Dan Becker

The movie is written by series creator Joe murray with Doug Lawrence and Martin Olson; Murray also directs, with Cosmo Segurson, and exec produces. Lizbeth Velasco is producer. Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling is a Nickelodeon production.

Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling

Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling

Animation Magazine

‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’: A Paw-sitively Perfect Second Act

***This article originally appeared in the June/July ‘19 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 291)***

Five years ago, the team at Illumination Entertainment, led by producers Janet Healy and Chris Meledandri, and directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney hit animation gold with their exploration into The Secret Life of Pets. The movie received great reviews and went on to gross over $ 875 million worldwide, becoming the animation studio’s biggest blockbuster to date.

This summer, Meledandri, Healy, Renaud and new co-director Jonathan del Val (animation director for the first Pets and The Grinch) offer fans another peek into the lives of Max the terrier, Duke the mutt, Snowball the rabbit and all the other animals they come to meet in a colorful new sequel.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The new chapter of the animals’ adventures finds Max (now voiced by Patton Oswalt, replacing Louis C.K.) facing empty nest anxieties as his owner’s child gets ready for preschool. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy, and Snowball (Kevin Hart) attempts to free a white tiger (Nick Kroll) from a circus.

“We started working on concepts for the sequel to Pets while we were finishing the first film,” recalls Renaud, an Illumination studio veteran, who directed the first two Despicable Me movies and The Lorax and exec produced the two Minion movies and The Grinch. Everyone involved loved the characters and felt there was more story to tell. Very early in the process we began focusing on pets and kids.”

Renaud says a sequel is always a bit daunting, because as a director you want to deliver what people liked about the first film but within a completely new and unexpected package. “This means new characters, sets and situations,” he adds. “As filmmakers, creating these new elements becomes the fun part of developing a sequel.”

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

One of The Secret Life of Pets 2’s cool visual elements is the introduction of a farm. Renaud says this new environment allowed the team to create a whole new world with new characters. “Additionally, animals on a farm have a very different perspective on life than our pampered city pets,” he notes. “We used this to create some great comedic and dramatic conflict.”

The sequel, which is penned by Brian Lynch (Minions), brings back Duke (Eric Stonestreet), Gidget (Jenny Slate) and Chloe (Lake Bell), and also welcomes new cast members Rooster the farm dog (Harrison Ford in his first animated role!) and Daisy the Shih Tzu (Tiffany Haddish).

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Janet Healy (Despicable Me movies, Sing), who also produced the first movie, adds “All the characters in The Secret Life of Pets 2 are in some way familiar, they represent the personalities and behaviors we see in our beloved pets every day. Just like we humans, these pets have close friendships, deep loyalties, big problems to solve and heroic deeds to accomplish. The pets in our franchise are a familiar and dear part of our families, and now they are a wonderful part of our film experience.”

According to Renaud, the movie utilized over 200 people in both France (at Illumination Mac Guff in Paris) and the U.S. Besides the Illumination team in Santa Monica, the writer and storyboard artists were based in the U.S. Everyone else on the production, from layout up through animation and final rendering, was located in Paris.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Weaving It All Together

One of the most challenging aspects of the production was the moment when the creative team had to tie all three storylines back together. “Through the course of the film, Max, Gidget and Snowball are operating somewhat independently within their own narrative,” notes Renaud. “But, to make the movie work and create a satisfying ending, we had to figure out how to connect these disparate elements and provide a catalyst into the third act action.”

Renaud admits, “Sometimes you can get trapped into worrying about logic, but you usually find that you need less than you think. It’s the emotion and character stakes that carry the day.”

One of the director’s favorite sequences of the movie arrives in the end. “I don’t want to give anything away, but it truly turned out the way I had originally hoped,” he says. “The whole movie is really a metaphor for modern parenting, and I think this scene captured the genuine emotion of what parents go through as they recognize they can’t control or safeguard every aspect of their children’s lives.”

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Renaud points out that the first Pets movie clearly struck a chord with audiences around the world purely because it was about pets. “We really tried to capture animals as they are, in both attitude and animated performance,” he explains. “I also feel that the question about what your pets do when you’re not home was so simple and compelling, people couldn’t resist watching a movie that attempted to answer that conundrum.”

When asked to compare the sequel to the original, Renaud says the second movie may have a stronger, more nuanced and layered story. “In the first film, we found that we had to tell a very simple story just to have the space to introduce our huge cast of pets,” he says. “In this one, we can forgo the introductions and get right into storytelling.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

The Secret Life of Pets 2

In Pursuit of Perfect Fur

In the five years since the first movie came out, CG animation technology has obviously improved. However, according to Renaud, no new tools were used to produce the animation. It’s just that the old tools kept improving. “For instance, we now review our animation hardware renders with fur on the characters. This is important because a character like Duke can have his whole facial expression wiped out by all of that shaggy fur!”

Since The Secret Life of Pets 2 comes out in the middle of a very jam-packed family movie season — sandwiched between UglyDolls, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Toy Story 4, The Lion King and The Angry Birds Movie 2 — we asked Renaud how he feels about the growing competition. “In reality, every movie made right now seems to be an ‘all audience four quadrant’ family film,” he replies. “This used to be where animated films were unique. However, those days have passed since most parents are happy bringing their young children to the latest superhero movie, science-fiction fantasy or animated reboot. In my view, we have to strive to retain our distinction through unique visual stylization and strong comedy that can only be achieved through broader character animation.”

Snowball vs. Monkey pic

As Healy sees it, the Pets franchise has lasting appeal and will hopefully continue to capture the hearts of moviegoers. “We think this franchise is unique and special because it connects us to our beloved pets in an intriguing and humorous way,” she says. “People in every part of the world adore their pets and wonder what really goes on in their pets’ minds. When they see The Secret Life of Pets films they get a magical, fun insight. The Secret Life of Pets is far more thrilling and busy than we ever could have imagined!”

Renaud says he also hopes moviegoers will relish reconnecting with these lovable, hilarious characters. “I hope the audience will leave the movie theater glad that they had another chance to spend some time with these characters,” says the director. “I know we had a great time working with these guys again, and I’m hoping that joy and fun comes across in this movie!”

Universal/Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 begins its U.S. theatrical run on June 10.

Everything’s Illumination

Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment empire is showing no signs of slowing down.

After unleashing The Secret Life of Pets 2 in theaters this month, the studio will release Minions 2 in July 2020 and Sing 2 in December 2020. Here’s a look at the studio’s amazing box office record to date:

Rank Title Domestic Gross Release Date
1. The Secret Life of Pets $ 368,384,330 7/8/16
2. Despicable Me 2 $ 368,061,265 7/3/13
3. Minions $ 336,045,770 7/10/15
4. Seuss’ The Grinch $ 270,620,950 11/9/18
5. Sing $ 270,395,425 12/21/16
6. Despicable Me 3 $ 264,624,300 6/30/17
7. Despicable Me $ 251,513,985 7/9/10
8. Seuss’ The Lorax $ 214,030,500 3/2/12
9. Hop $ 108,085,305 4/1/11

Source: boxofficemojo.com

Janet Healy

Janet Healy

Chris Renaud

Chris Renaud

Animation Magazine