Taylor Swift Reveals Her Mother Has Cancer

This morning Taylor Swift tweeted her fans a Tumblr link to a letter she wrote about her mother, Andrea Finlay’s, recent cancer diagnosis.

For Christmas this year, I asked my mom that one of her gifts to me be her going to the doctor to get screened for any health issues, just to ease some worries of mine. She agreed, and went in to get checked. There were no red flags and she felt perfectly fine, but she did it just to get me and my brother off her case about it.

The results came in, and I’m saddened to tell you that my mom has been diagnosed with cancer. I’d like to keep the details of her condition and treatment plans private, but she wanted you to know.

The letter goes on to encourage fans to remind their parents to go to the doctor and get checked. She doesn’t reveal what type of cancer it is or the prognosis. You can read the rest of the letter here.

(h/t: TMZ)

Bad News for Pa. Anti-Vaxxers: Bill Would Eliminate “Philosophical” Exemptions

flu vaccine

Pennsylvania legislators are considering a bill to toughen the state’s immunization requirements by removing one of the pathways to opting out.

There are three such pathways now: A medical exemption, a religious exemption, and a philosophical exemption. HB 883 — introduced this week by Rep. Becky Corbin, a Chester County Republican — would eliminate the philosophical exemption, and raise the paperwork barriers to gaining a religious exemption, requiring affidavits signed by a healthcare provider.  Read more »

Why We Should All Be Taking Cold Showers

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Shutterstock

I always thought taking a cold shower was kind of like putting on a fur coat to take your dog for a walk in the middle of August: weird, incredibly uncomfortable, and beneficial to no one — until today.

Today, I came across a piece on Fast Company, headlined “The Scientific Case for Cold Showers,” which dispelled my misconceptions about, well, cold showers. I thought, So there’s actually a reason to take cold showers? People who willingly step under a faucet spewing ice-cold water first thing in the morning aren’t simply insane? How intriguing. 

The piece is a first-person account of a guy’s struggle to become a cold-shower convert in order to reap the benefits, touted in scientific studies: increased energy, soothed sore muscles, improvements in memory, and even a treatment for depression.

The bone-chilling (har har) fear of taking a cold shower keeps the author from diving in for a while, but eventually he gets up the nerve up to turn down the heat (he actually starts off warm then gradually lowers the water temperature until it’s cold), and it’s official: After one cold shower, he’s a cold-shower convert! He says cold showers make him feel more energetic, alert and happy. I was convinced he was lying, because how on Earth could a cold shower make someone happy? But then I scrolled down to the comments section.  Read more »

The Checkup: 11 Science-Backed Health Reasons to Get a Dog This Weekend

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Shutterstock

• Not only do dogs make for the perfect cuddle buddies and Netflix-marathon partners, they’re also really good for our health: Having a dog around can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of getting cardiovascular disease — they can even be trained to sniff out cancer! (You can start looking for your new furry friend by perusing our weekly adoptable running dogs.) [Greatist]
Read more »

New Jersey May Tighten Vaccine Requirements

flu vaccine

Some New Jersey legislators want to make it tougher for state residents to claim religious exemptions to otherwise-mandatory vaccinations, the Courier-Post reports.

The number of New Jersey public school students citing such objections to avoid vaccines has quadrupled in recent years, from 1,500 to 9,000; in 2008 the state told schools to accept claims of religious objections without question. That policy is now being reconsidered by lawmakers.

Long story short: They’re no longer willing to take claims of faith (natch) on faith. Read more »

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