Kiwis’ expanding waistlines and higher BMIs are forcing us to adopt new sleep positions to help them breathe – according to new research.
Around half (48%) of adult New Zealanders sleep on their side – a position which researchers say increases in preference as we age and our Body Mass Index (BMI) rises.
The new research from mattress retailer Ecosa also found that as we age we tend to move away from sleeping in other positions such as on our back, stomach and ‘freestyle’ (a variation in sleep position).
The sleep position preference study which collected data from more than 730 Kiwis from around the country found that around a sixth (17%) of us prefer to sleep on our backs, a tenth (8%) sleep on our stomachs and a further quarter (27%) are freestyle sleepers.
Ecosa CEO Ringo Chan says the New Zealand data is consistent with European research which found similar proportions of sleep position preference among adults.
“The New Zealand study results are in line with international data which showed one in every two adults prefer to sleep on their side.
“In addition to showing a correlation between an increase in age, the researchers also noted that preference for this position also increases with weight and BMI,” he says.
Chan says understanding your sleep position is important as it can be associated with a wide range of health concerns ranging from respiratory issues through to premature wrinkles.
He says while the reasons for our preferences in sleep position are not fully understood by scientists, a number of theories have been put forward.
“Researchers have suggested that the reason the side position preference increases with age is due to loss of flexibility of the spine and/or the extra effort required for breathing in the front position.
“Side sleeping also helps to open our airways to allow for steady airflow to the lungs.
“Lying on your back and assuming a neutral body position typically results in the least amount of strain on your head, neck and spine however studies show links between this position and snoring,” says Chan.
He says sleeping on your stomach may make breathing regularly a challenge because airway passages could be compromised and others may experience neck pain or tingling in joints and muscles due to poor circulation.
Chan says research has also found a link between this position and the development of facial wrinkles. Skarpsno ES, Mork PJ, Nilsen TIL, Holtermann A. Sleep positions and nocturnal body movements based on free-living accelerometer recordings: association with demographics, lifestyle, and insomnia symptoms. Accessible here  Goesel Anson, Michael A.C. Kane, Val Lambros, Sleep Wrinkles: Facial Aging and Facial Distortion During Sleep, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 36, Issue 8, September 2016, Pages 931–940, https://doi.org/10.1093/asj/sjw074
New Zealanders living with cataracts are set to benefit from the launch of a new treatment that will allow patients to experience high-quality vision at both intermediate and far distances.
Around 370,000 New Zealanders are estimated to be living with cataracts, which has been identified as one of the leading causes of blindness and low vision in the country. By 2020, nearly 22,800 New Zealanders are projected to have cataract-related vision loss and around 2,000 are expected to have cataract-related blindness.
Although the condition is prevalent in New Zealand and across the rest of the world, cataracts are highly treatable with safe and effective surgical procedures. One of the existing treatment options for cataracts involves replacing the lens in the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL) – the most common being a monofocal lens with a fixed focus for one distance.
A new, next-generation monofocal IOL known as TECNIS Eyhance™ IOL is an important first for the monofocal IOL category, as most available monofocal lens only correct vision to help patients with cataracts see things at a distance, and thus do not improve the intermediate vision that is required for many important daily tasks.
With the progress made in treatment options, the number of cataract surgeries performed worldwide is climbing, and post-operative outcomes are also improving. In New Zealand, cataract removal is one of the most common eye operations performed today, with approximately 30,000 procedures conducted every year2.
While cataracts are treatable, those living with the condition are still required to choose between their near and far vision, prior to the lens replacement procedure, according to Dr. Dean Corbett, consultant ophthalmologist and surgeon at Auckland Eye.
“Despite the advancements in technology, patients are still forced to make a trade-off decision on their vision with existing treatment options. While they are able to have corrected vision at a distance, they still require glasses for near and intermediate activities, which include day-to-day tasks such as computer and desk work,” he added.
Christoph Vonwiller, regional vice-president, Surgical, Asia Pacific & Japan, Johnson & Johnson Vision – whose company developed the new IOL – said the lens is a significant improvement over current treatment options.
“TECNIS Eyhance™ IOL is a game-changing product from our innovation pipeline that builds upon the legacy of the TECNIS® family of IOLs and the proven design of our one-piece platform.”
“Our post-surgery outcomes have shown that most patients can perform certain activities with greater ease following the implantation of the new IOL, such as being able to walk on uneven surfaces, and to engage in activities of personal interest.
“This solution is testament to Johnson and Johnson Vision’s commitment to work with eye care professionals to connect cutting-edge insights, science and technology to preserve and enhance sight for life,” added Mr Vonwiller.
TECNIS Eyhance™ IOL has been approved by Medsafe, making it a treatment option for New Zealand patients when a monofocal IOL is being considered.
 Blind Foundation, Blindness and Low Vision in New Zealand – Latest statistics.  Access Economics, Clear Focus – The economic impact of vision loss in New Zealand in 2009.  SingHealth, Cataracts  Lee CM & Afshari NA. The global state of cataract blindness. Ophthalmol 2017; 28(1):98-103.  Employed by Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, Inc.  Data on File, Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, Inc. 2018. DOF2018CT4015
PNG’s Star Mountain Plaza, which will host leaders from around the world at the APEC forum, is expected to open ahead of its planned schedule according to developers.
The landmark Star Mountain Plaza conference, accommodation and retail development is a multi-use facility, designed to help PNG attract more overseas visitors in future generations.
Mineral Resource Development Companies (MRDC) managing director Augustine Mano says construction on the venue is now expected to be completed in September – two months prior to the start of APEC.
Mr Mano says the project is on schedule due to the efforts of more than 800 team members who have worked in shifts 24 hours a day to ensure its early completion
This workforce is expected to increase by a further 200 over the next six weeks as the interior fit out progresses.
“It has been truly humbling to see the passion and national pride that our local workforce has brought to this project. Their dedication has helped us bring to a life a project which will showcase the best of PNG to the world’s leaders later this year,” he says
Mr Mano made the comments during an onsite event with local press and stakeholders who also had the opportunity to tour the venue and hear about the handover of the first phase of construction – the hotel and convention centre.
“Our project will be delivered in multiple phases enabling Hilton to gradually assume control, It is with great pleasure that we can officially handover the the first area of the new five star hotel and Kutubu convention centre to Hilton.
“Over the coming weeks, more areas of the development will be handed over in the lead up to the final construction completion date on 13 September 2018,” he says.
Mr Mano says in addition to the conference venue the introduction of the Hilton Hotel brand to the PNG market marks a coming of age for the nation.
“The opening of the 212 room Hilton Port Moresby will have wide ranging and long term benefits for the country.
“The first guests will be welcomed at the hotel soon after the construction is completed,” he says.
Data from independent reports project the Star Mountain Plaza development to bring in more than $235 million Kina in tourism revenue and other economic benefits over a 20 year horizon.
“We are creating a legacy asset for future generations of Papua New Guineans. Along with the economic benefits of building the convention centre itself, we have also had the chance to train the local workforce in a wide variety of trades – something that will benefit the community for years to come,” he says.
Mr Mano says the development has overcome a shortage of skilled local labour by introducing onsite training programmes for its workers and has set a new benchmark for workplace health and safety standards.
“This has been a model construction site guideline by international standards. We wanted to demonstrate how projects should be run and wanted to ensure that Star Mountain Plaza was not only known for its economic benefits to the country, but also its social contribution,” he says.
Workers employed by the company have had free access to healthcare which included vision testing and free glasses for themselves and family members.
“Our hospital screening programme identified almost half of our workers needed prescription lenses for previously undiagnosed vision conditions. By providing them with free glasses we have helped provide a safer workplace environment for them and their colleagues,” he says.
Other workplace benefits included the provision of three catered meals daily, unlimited bottled water and the supply of electrolyte supplements to prevent dehydration. Staff were also offered immediate access to private hospital care paid for by the company.
The completed project will feature over 5600m² of planting, 566m² of artificial turf, water features and hard landscaping more than 12,000 examples of PNG’s flora, planted in one of the one of the nation’s largest ever landscaping projects of its kind.
Mr Mano says it aims to showcase the nation’s rich natural flora in the middle of Port Moresby to world leaders, business leaders and other international visitors for years to come.
For more information visit https://www.starmountainplaza.com/
Forget water, food and shelter – Kiwis now believe WiFi, smartphones, a daily coffee and hot showers are the basic necessities of life according to new research.
The Rinnai Smart Cylinder survey found that almost half (48%) of New Zealanders said a hot shower is a greater necessity of life than the internet (29%), a smartphone (13%) and coffee (10%).
A good soak isn’t a priority for all generations however; more than half (53%) of millennials aged 18-24 ranked WiFi as a greater essential than a hot shower, with just a quarter (25%) of respondents in this age group voting for the latter.
And when it comes to having those light bulb moments, half of Kiwis (50%) felt their bed was the best place in the house to think, with the shower the next most popular place for almost a fifth (18%) of those surveyed. Almost a tenth (7%) said the toilet was the most thought-provoking part of the house for them, while a further six percent said the kitchen.
With winter not far away, almost three quarters (74%) of New Zealanders believe they could reduce their hot water usage if required with millenials more likely (84%) to believe they could conserve water than those in the Generation X or Baby Boomer (62%) age brackets.
When asked what activities they engaged in while showering, singing was the most common with six in ten Kiwis passing the time in this way while washing – another 48% said they listened to music as well. Half (50%) of New Zealanders admitted to sharing the shower with a partner while six percent of respondents said they liked to multitask and ate food while showering.
Debt lead the charge when respondents were asked what they would do with the money if they were to save 10% on their water heating costs. The majority (57%) said they would put this towards paying down some form of debt such as the mortgage or credit card.
However more than a quarter (28%) – and a higher proportion of the youngest and the oldest respondents, said they would spend it on travel, while more than a tenth (12%) said they would go on a shopping spree. Just three percent of Kiwis said they would donate the windfall to charity.
People who hog the shower have been a catalyst for household hot water arguments according to more than four in ten (41%) respondents. The incidence of ‘hot water’ related tension was more likely to have occurred among younger respondents and decline with age.
Rinnai managing director Ray Ferner says as we move away from the traditional Kiwi quarter acre lifestyle, with more people living under one roof, greater pressure has gone on hot water supply.
“Kiwis are now more likely to live in intensified housing environments than past generations but the capacity of the hot water cylinder hasn’t really changed over time to accommodate – their cylinder may be several decades old but the number of people flatting or living together is significantly higher than when their dwelling was first constructed.
“This can mean more pressure on water supply, increased strife amongst household members, especially as they compete for a hot shower,” he says.
The research was carried out in conjunction with the launch of the company’s new Rinnai Smart Cylinder which learns a household’s water usage habits and only heats what’s needed, allowing for lower power bills and less stress on renewable energy resources.
Kiwi programmers have successfully taught a computer to distinguish between a cat’s face and its rear-end in a move developers say will help improve relationships with the notoriously aloof animal.
The team of programmers who created the digital technology spent months training the computer to make the physical distinction.
The three strong team leveraged an artificial intelligence network which can identify objects within images. The developers labelled over 8,000 images showing dozens of different breeds of cats from different angles. They then trained a deep neural network by manually highlighting the unique characteristics of the cat’s features within each image until software could make the distinction by itself.
This field of machine learning technology also has applications in protecting wildlife – for example a computer can be taught to identify a poacher stalking a tiger from a real time video feed streamed from drones – using facial recognition software to identify the animal and a human face in close proximity. The software can then automatically alert authorities with the location – giving them the chance to rescue the animals.
Lead developer David Arcus said while there was a light hearted purpose behind this version of the technology, they hope that others will be inspired to use it for the benefit of animals.
“What we wanted to do was find a fun way to bring cat owners closer to their pet.
“Kiwi cat owners can upload an image of their cat to a free website set up by the developers. If the computer’s AI identifies it as the rear end of a cat, it determines that the owner needs a closer relationship with their pet and will send them a new type of food product called Creamy Treats designed to be hand-fed to cats; thereby giving them more face-to-face time with their pet.
Arcus says while cats can have a reputation for being antisocial, some experts suggest this is a myth. The reason behind this is a natural protection mechanism, where they are always alert to their surroundings and remain constantly onguard – something humans misinterpret as disinterest.