Tuesday November 12, 2019

Researchers Design Tool that Customises Caffeine Intake for Alertness

It also enables users to automatically obtain optimal caffeine timing and doses to achieve peak alertness at the desired times, said the study

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Researchers have designed a web-based caffeine optimisation tool with effective strategies to maximize alertness while avoiding excessive caffeine consumption.

Using multiple sleep-deprivation and shift-work scenarios, the researchers have generated a caffeine-consumption guidance, according to findings published in the journal Sleep.

Their analysis found that the solutions suggested by the quantitative caffeine optimisation tool either required on average 40 per cent less caffeine or enhanced alertness by an additional 40 per cent.

“The tool allows an individual to optimize the beneficial effects of caffeine while minimizing its consumption,” said study lead author Jaques Reifman from the US Army Medical Research.

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The findings showed that people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea. Pixabay

In the tool, the users can input several factors – the desirable peak-alertness periods within a sleep/wake schedule, the minimum desirable level of alertness and the maximum tolerable daily caffeine intake.

The tool allows users to predict the alertness of an “average” individual as a function of sleep/wake schedule and caffeine schedule.

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It also enables users to automatically obtain optimal caffeine timing and doses to achieve peak alertness at the desired times, said the study.

“For example, if you pull an all-nighter, need to be at peak alertness between, say, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and desire to consume as little caffeine as possible, when and how much caffeine should you consume?, This is the type of question the tool was designed to answer,” Reifman said. (IANS)

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Researchers Say That Free Internet Access Must be Considered as a Human Right

Currently, some 2.3 billion people live without affordable Internet access

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Internet Access
Internet Access is no luxury, but instead a moral human right and everyone should have unmonitored and uncensored access to this global medium - provided free of charge for those unable to afford it. Pixabay

With political engagement and debates increasingly taking place online, free Internet Access must be considered as a human right, as people unable to get online — particularly in the developing countries — lack meaningful ways to influence the global players shaping their everyday lives, researchers have stressed.

Basic freedoms that many take for granted including free expression, freedom of information and freedom of assembly are undermined if some citizens have access to Internet and others do not, said the team from University of Birmingham.

Kerala, for instance, has declared universal Internet access a human right and aims to provide it for its 3.5 crore people by the end of this year.

“Internet access is no luxury, but instead a moral human right and everyone should have unmonitored and uncensored access to this global medium – provided free of charge for those unable to afford it,” commented Dr Merten Reglitz, Lecturer in Global Ethics at the University of Birmingham.

Internet could be a key way of protecting other basic human rights such as life, liberty and freedom from torture — a means of enabling billions of people to lead “minimally decent lives”, said the study published in the Journal of Applied Philosophy.

“Without such access, many people lack a meaningful way to influence and hold accountable supranational rule-makers and institutions. These individuals simply don’t have a say in the making of the rules they must obey and which shape their life chances,” lamented Reglitz.

Exercising free speech and obtaining information is now heavily dependent on having Internet access.

Much of today’s political debate took place online and politically relevant information is shared on the Internet — meaning the relative value these freedoms held for people ‘offline’ had decreased.

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With political engagement and debates increasingly taking place online, free Internet access must be considered as a human right, as people unable to get online. Pixabay

The study cited several examples of Internet engagement that helped hold government and institutions to account like the ‘Arab Spring’ and #MeToo campaign.

The European Union recently launched the “WiFi4EU” initiative to provide ‘every European village and city with free wireless Internet access around main centres of public life by 2020.

The UN’s International Telecommunication Union estimated that by the end of 2018, 51 per cent of the world’s population of 7 billion people had access to the Internet.

“Universal Internet access need not cost the earth — accessing politically important opportunities such as blogging, obtaining information, joining virtual groups, or sending and receiving emails does not require the latest information technology,” said Reglitz.

Currently, some 2.3 billion people live without affordable Internet access.

“Web-capable phones allow people to access these services and public internet provision, such as public libraries, can help get people online where individual domestic access is initially too expensive.”

The human right to Internet access was similar to the global right to health, which cannot require globally the highest possible medical treatment, as many states are too poor to provide such services and thus would face impossible demands.

Internet Access
Universal Internet Access need not cost the earth — accessing politically important opportunities such as blogging, obtaining information, joining virtual groups, or sending and receiving emails does not require the latest information technology. Pixabay

Instead, poor states are called upon to provide basic medical services and work toward providing higher quality health care delivery.

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Similarly, such states should initially offer locations with public Internet access and develop IT infrastructure that increases access, the study noted. (IANS)