Posts tagged with "The Cut"

‘Summit’ talks: What on Earth is the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’?

July 22, 2020

On July 20, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a detailed, colorful poster entitled New York Toughdepicting the surge of the coronavirus pandemic within the state as a steep mountain that New Yorkers worked hard to flatten by their cooperative actions to shelter in place, shut down all nonessential businesses, test for the virus, social distance and wear masks; and support the healthcare heroes who work at the front.

But in addition to this familiar visual metaphor, Claire Lampen, a writer for New York Magazine’s The Cut, noted that the poster “…also features a bunch of highly specific yet bewildering symbols: ‘Winds of Fear’ bluster around the mountain as the crisis builds; a mask mandate at the mountain’s peak helps usher New York into its first phase of reopening; and the economy, portrayed as a river (?), feeds into the “Sea of Division” (??).

However, “perhaps the most perplexing detail,” Lampen says, “is the “Boyfriend Cliff”—represented by a little crag [midway up the right side of the mountain] with a small man dangling from its tip.”

“Is the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’ where we dispose of … boyfriends once we are through with them? Does the ‘Boyfriend Cliff’ refer to a boyfriend named Cliff?” she asks.

Or does the “Boyfriend Cliff” symbolize your relationship falling off a cliff when you and the significant other you don’t live with, who (again) may not be a boyfriend, realize you won’t be seeing each other for a few months due to social-distancing recommendations.

Some think it’s a personal reference made by the governor. For example, Syracuse.com seems pretty certain the “Boyfriend Cliff” harks back to a comment Cuomo previously made at a press conference, concerning his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo, her boyfriend (not named Cliff), and the Cuomo family’s Spaghetti Sundays.

Chrissy Teigen, who weighed in on Twitter, seems to agree with this reading. She reminded Cuomo that he had claimed to “like the boyfriend,” prompting Cuomo to clarify, “We do like the  boyfriend. Alll boyfriends face a steep climb.”

The Cut contacted Cuomo’s office for answers. Two days later, Peter Ajemian— Cuomo’s senior deputy communications director—offered an explanation. According to Ajemian, the “Boyfriend Cliff” is simply “an ongoing‎, playful bit the governor has been doing publicly with his family over the past few months to help lighten spirits during an incredibly difficult time.” And why a cliff? There is so much we still don’t know.

Research contact: @TheCut

Tripping the light fantastic: Is light therapy for you?

March 11, 2020

Many consumers are “going into the light” these days—not seeking “the rapture” or eternity, but instead pursuing its radiant, restorative properties. Indeed, devotees believe, light therapy—also known as photomedicine or photobiomodulation—promises a host of physical and psychological benefits.

According to New York Magazine’s popular feature, The Cut, the following is only a partial list of what one company promises that sitting under a small panel of red lights will improve: athletic performance and recovery (owing to faster muscle recovery and joint repair), sleep (thanks to increased melatonin production and a “healthy circadian rhythm”), and skin quality (as a result of reduced inflammation and increased collagen production).

The red lights, in this case made by Joovv, represent just one of dozens of at-home therapies based on the idea that light can change us on a cellular level.

This past summer, the journal, Frontiers in Medicine, published an issue dedicated to photomedicine, heralding improvements from exposure to the lights that could help minimize the effects of aging, skin cancer, and psoriasis; as well as autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. There’s even some evidence that neurological problems, including Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injuries, can be improved with light therapy.

It does make intuitive sense that light could change the skin: For example, we know that a baby born with jaundice will often be treated with light. And many people claim they have seen their seasonal depression lift after using a SAD lamp.

Light-therapy devicesuse different kinds of light, from invisible, near-infrared light through the visible-light spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue), stopping before the harmful ultraviolet rays.

So far, according to The Cut, the effects of red and near-infrared light are the most studied; red light is often used to treat skin conditions, whereas near infrared can penetrate much deeper, working its way through skin and bone and even into the brain. Blue light is thought to be especially good at treating infections and is often used for acne. The effects of green and yellow light are less understood, but green might improve hyperpigmentation, and yellow might reduce photoaging.

For red and near-infrared light, scientists speculate that the light interacts with something called cytochrome c oxidase, or CCO, a photosensitive enzyme found within the mitochondria. When CCO finds light, it converts it to energy and uses that energy to do whatever that cell is supposed to do—only more efficiently.

Sounds promising? Yes, says The Cut. Still, there are a few claims about light therapy we should know not to fall for

Any at-home device that makes confident promises about green or yellow light is to be met with skepticism; the evidence just isn’t there yet. Pulsing red light, a hypnotizing effect some devices offer, should be regarded with interest mixed with some suspicion. (Dr. Jared Jagdeo, director of the Center for Photomedicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, told The Cut of firmly of pulsing red light, “Nobody knows the function of that. Anyone who claims to know the function of it, they’re just hypothesizing.”)

Finally a few words to the wise from The Cut: Anything cheaper than a few hundred dollars is probably ineffective, and prescribing yourself light therapy for some ailment instead of visiting a doctor is inadvisable.

Research contact: @NYMag