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Is caffeine the addiction we need to give up?

 - Food - Jul 9 SHARE ON:

Caffeine has entered our lifestyle as a booster many of us need to survive. With many downing cup after cup of teas and coffees to barely make it through the day, the latest research on the substance has revealed some interesting, albeit shocking, revelations about the hot beverage and its effects. 

Around 90% ingest the substance on a daily basis, with caffeine being the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. It is also the only one children are allowed to ingest in the form of fizzy drinks. Caffeine is not considered a drug by most however, even though being caffeinated is actually an altered state of human consciousness. 

This means our normal day-to-day awareness is being replaced by a caffeine-induced and boosted state of mind. Withdrawal from the substance actually leads to symptoms such as headache, fatigue, lethargy, concentration difficulty, motivation decrease, dysphoria and irritability. 

It might come as a surprise to many that humanity’s use of caffeine is quite recent. The impact was drastic – it altered and sharpened minds, made different types of work possible and cleared minds fogged by alcohol. By the 15th century, coffee was being cultivated in east Africa and traded across the Arabian peninsula. 

It was allegedly used by religious Sufis to stay concentrated during their religious observances. Buddhist monks also used tea to stay awake during meditation. But as history progressed, a far more sinister side-effect was noted. 

English neuroscientist on the faculty at University of California Matt Walker (author of Why We Sleep) is on a quest to alert the public on how we are not getting enough sleep, and the little we are is of little quality. And caffeine, although not directly bad for you, is stealing sleep from anyone who cannot stay away from it. 

The lack of sleep, according to Walker and research, contributes to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, heart failure, depression, anxiety and obesity. In short, the shorter you sleep, the shorter your lifespan. Walker revealed how 25% of caffeine consumed at noon would still be circulating in the brain by the time one goes to bed. 

Despite screens, alcohol, work schedules and other factors being detrimental to sleep, caffeine poses more problems because people turn to it to fix their sleep problem. Caffeine creates a problem and then continues to make it worse because it is mistakenly thought of as the solution. 

Many of us aren’t quite ready to go cold-turkey on caffeine anytime soon. Many researchers however recommend trying and testing what happens when caffeine is cut out of one’s consumption for a period of time. Many report feeling quite unnerved at first, but later discover a clear headedness and deep sleep many only dream of. 

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Japan bans spectators at Olympics events in and around Tokyo

 - COVID-19 - Jul 9 SHARE ON:
Japan bans spectators at Olympics events in and around Tokyo

After a state of emergency was declared in Tokyo, the Olympics will be held largely without spectators after the Japanese government’s ruling. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the COVID-19 state of emergency on Thursday evening as the Delta variant continued to spike the number of daily infections being registered. Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto apologised to ticket holders and explained that this was the only choice available to mitigate the spread. 

Proceeding with no fans in the capital’s stadiums will likely mean the organisers need a taxpayer bailout for ticket holder refunds. Tokyo’s population will also be urged to stay at home as the International Olympic Committee holds the world’s biggest sporting event in their stadiums and streets. Running from July 23rd to August 8th 2021, the Olympics will only allow spectators for certain sports which are taking place elsewhere in the country, such as baseball and football. 

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Photo Source: The New York Times

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Community policing to be extended by 2023

 - Local - Jul 9 SHARE ON:
Community policing to be extended by 2023

A target has been set to extend community policing to all of Malta and Gozo by the year 2023. This scheme is designed to allow officers to continuously operate and carry out foot patrols in the same area. This will also encourage a stronger bond between people living and working in the locality with the community police. This news was revealed during a press conference in which police commissioner Angelo Gafa heralded the initiative as successful. 

The first pilot community project two years ago yielded positive results as surveys indicated that people’s trust in the police had grown. The latest press conference addressed the extension to a further nine localities. Gafa also highlighted the benefits social media had as it led to police connecting better to people. 

Marsa, Hamrun, Tarxien, Kalkara, Cospicua, Vittoriosa, Senglea, St Julian’s and Santa Venera are the latest locales to benefit from the scheme. Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri spoke on how the extension of the scheme led to more security in the communities being covered. 

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Photo Source: Malta Police Force FB

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Here’s why you should get vaccinated…

 - COVID-19 - Jul 9 SHARE ON:
Here's why you should get vaccinated...

Malta currently has 252 active cases, most of which are unvaccinated. The three hospitalised COVID-19 patients are also unvaccinated. Through the vaccine, which the health ministry has highlighted as the most effective and possibly sole weapon against the virus, Malta’s health care system eased on its pressures. It also allowed for herd immunity to be achieved on March 24th 2021.

Vaccine hesitancy still plays a huge role against the rollout of the jab. Many still fear possible side effects, seeing the jab as a risky experiment upon oneself. However, the current epidemiological situation in Malta points to the vaccine doing its intended job. It is far riskier to experiment with the possibility of getting infected with COVID-19 which has immense, possibly fatal, repercussions. 

The effort is also a collective one. Herd immunity can only be maintained if more people are vaccinated. Not getting the jab runs the risk of letting variants mutate and become more difficult to contain, rendering the fought for herd immunity useless. 

The medical enterprise’s work on making the jab safe and effective has saved countless  lives. Developing immunity through vaccination means there is a reduced risk of developing the illness. It also protects people around you, as you are less likely to spread the virus to someone else. This is crucial for vulnerable people during a pandemic. 

Reports of adverse side effects and death following receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are rare. More than 331 million doses of the jab were administered in the USA from December 14th 2020 and July 6th 2021. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reported 0.0018% deaths among people who received a vaccine. Despite this, the FDA still requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if, it is unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. 

For those still hesitant, consultations are still highly recommended to ensure safety and also ease the fear that comes with vaccination. But for the general population, for which the vaccine has proved to be effective and safe, the jab is essential in our path back to normalcy. 

Here are some resources for any other vaccine questions and COVID-19 related information:

World Health Organisation 

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System 

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Photo Source: Stat News

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