64-Year-Old Woman Completes 103 Mile Swim

image by Jacques Descloitres

After almost 53 hours, 64-year-old Diana Nyad successfully completed her fifth attempt in 35 years and became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

She was 8 years old when she first dreamed about swimming across the Straits of Florida, and 29 when she first tried the swim. She demonstrates now that “you can dream at any age”.

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/02/world/americas/diana-nyad-cuba-florida-swim/index.html

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/sep/11/diana-nyad-defends-swim-from-skeptics

image by: Jacques Descloitres

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Clean Up The World Weekend

image by Marvel (based upon a NASA image)

This weekend (20th-22nd Sep), now in its 21st year, CUTW 2013 will include such activities as planting trees, cleaning parks or beaches, conserving water or running environmental awareness-raising and education initiatives – whatever the local need might be.

It began in 1987 when Ian Kiernan, having seen the devastating effects of rubbish and pollution, decided it was time to take action. In 1990 the first national, community-based clean up day was organised in his home country of Australia. In 1993 Clean Up the World was launched with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme and 30 million people in 80 countries were mobilised.

http://www.cleanuptheworld.org/en

image by: Marvel (based upon a NASA image)

Peace Day 2013

Peace One Day concert

A week from today, on Saturday 21st September, live stream of the 24-hour global transmission (including a historic concert in front of the Peace Palace in The Hague) will be available here on It’s Good News Week.

Founded in 1999 by Jeremy Gilley, Peace One Day is a non-profit organisation which aims to make 21 September, an annual day of global unity. He figured that “When you build a house, you start with one brick. If we want to build peace, we should start with one day”.

In 2001 the member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on 21 September – Peace Day. On Peace Day in Afghanistan there was a 70% recorded reduction in violent incidents (source: United Nations Department of Safety and Security).

http://peaceoneday.org/welcome

Significant Reduction in Crime

photo by AlteregoThere were 69 armed robberies of banks, building societies and post offices in England and Wales last year, compared with 500 a year in the 1990s. Last year fewer than 10,000 cars were stolen in New York, compared with around 147,000 in 1990.

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21582004-crime-plunging-rich-world-keep-it-down-governments-should-focus-prevention-not
photo by: Alterego

Decline in Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People

picture by Albert RoosenboomA Health and Social Care Information Centre survey of 7,590 young people aged 11 to 15 reports a significant reduction over the decade 2002-2012 in those who had drunk alcohol, smoked cigarettes or used drugs:

YEAR:                  2002                     2012

alcohol                 61%                      43%

cigarettes            42%                      23%

drugs                    27%                      17%

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/10202902/Smoking-drinking-and-drug-use-fall-dramatically-among-children.html

picture by: Albert Roosenboom

Mental and Physical Health of 90-Somethings Shown to be Improving Significantly

photo by Ann Gordon

A new large-scale study published in The Lancet contradicts the assumption that a longer old age will inevitably be accompanied by more ill health.

In 1998 researchers in Denmark assessed 2,262 people born in 1905, when they were aged 92 to 93, using a series of thorough mental and physical tests designed to assess factors such as memory, grip strength and mobility. In 2010 a further 1,584 people born in 1915, when they were aged 94 to 95, were assessed using the same tests. Despite being 2 years older, those born in 1915  scored significantly better than those born in 1905 on both the cognitive tests and the activities of daily living score, demonstrating that they were mentally much sharper and found day-to-day life easier.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2813%2960777-1/abstract

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/10/age-mental-decline/2505371/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2359797/Todays-90-somethings-sharpest-older-peoples-health-improves-dramatically.html

photo by: Ann Gordon

Asthma Significantly Reduced Since Smoking Ban

smoking ban

In England, where asthma affects almost 5.9% of the population and one in every 11 children, two independent studies have demonstrated significant reductions in asthma attacks since smoking was banned in public places in July 2007.

The first study, by researchers at Imperial College London, examined the number of children admitted to hospital with symptoms of asthma. They showed the reduction was equivalent to 6,802 fewer hospital admissions in the first three years of the law coming into effect and 12.3% fewer admissions in the first year with subsequent reductions in the following years. Prior to the implementation of the ban, hospital admissions for children suffering a severe asthma attack were increasing by 2.2% per year.

The second study, by researchers at the University of Bath, examined the 502,000 emergency admissions for asthma among adults aged 16 and over in England between April 1997 and December 2010. They showed the reduction was equivalent to 1,900 fewer A&E admissions for adult asthma patients each year since the ban and that results were consistent across the country. Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, commented “This is important new research that further demonstrates how the smoking ban has dramatically improved people’s lives”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9815253/Number-of-children-admitted-to-hosptal-with-asthma-falls-since-smoking-ban.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/apr/16/smoking-ban-fewer-asthma-patients

photo by: Coyau