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September 6, 2019

Weekend reads: The best cities for pets, ranked

Daily Briefing

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    The reason why your aging parents seem so stubborn. Allison Heid, a gerontologist at Penn State and Rowan University, and colleagues, in a recent study found that about 77% of participants, average age 55, reported stubborn behavior by their parents—and that 66% of parents described themselves as stubborn. "The stories [of stubbornness] are endless," Heid said, with children reporting that their aging parents refuse necessary medical attention. The reason behind these disagreements is "mismatched goals," according to Heid. She explained, "When a child steps in, most commonly there's a safety issue," but "[t]he parent may not share those feelings about their capabilities." She added, "If the goal is not shared—the older adult wants to walk to the grocery store himself and the child says, 'I don't think it's a good idea'—that's when conflict can arise."

    Why it's better to focus on one thing. In today's world, distractions are everywhere around (?) us, according to productivity expert Chris Bailey, author of "How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction." In fact, he noted that we switch tasks every 40 seconds—and it takes 26 minutes to resume our focus. Why are we so scattered? "There's a mechanism embedded within our mind's prefrontal cortex called the novelty bias," he explained. "For every new, novel thing we direct our attention at, our mind rewards us with a hit of dopamine." But the problem isn't the distraction, per se, according to Bailey. "If there's one big misconception about focus, it's that the problem is distraction. The problem is that our minds are overstimulated," Bailey explained. Instead of focusing on limiting distractions, people should focus on lowering how overstimulated their mind is. The only way to do this is to intentionally make ourselves bored, according to Bailey. According to Bailey, boredom allows to hyperfocus and be more present in all aspects of our lives, including work, hobbies, and relationships.

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    A clue to the mystery of recurrent, resistant UTIs. For nearly 50 years, Nannell Mann, now age 82, has suffered from UTIs, and while her infections were once easily treatable, they've since grown resistant to many antibiotics. To get help with the problem, Mann in 2012 reached out to Matt Mulvey, a microbiologist at the University of Utah who researches bacteria that cause UTIs. Over five years, Mulvey studied Mann's urine and stool samples and found that her UTIs were caused by a strain of E. Coli called ST131 that's found in drug-resistant UTIs and was living in Mann's gut. While antibiotics could clear Mann's infection, Mulvey wanted to learn why it kept coming back. He suspects the bacteria may go into a dormant state to escape antibiotics, and targeting this mechanism might help address recurrent UTIs. 

    Gone to the dogs. A new report from WalletHub ranks the top city for pets, and Scottsdale, Arizona, ranks No. 1. For the rankings, WalletHub considered three factors: "pet budget," or the cost of pet-related expenses such as veterinary care; "pet health and wellness," which included factors such as number of dog-friendly restaurants; and "outdoor pet friendliness," which focused on things outside, such as dog parks. After Scottsdale, Orlando ranked No. 2. Detroit ranked last.

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