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One in five people aged over 55 admit to feeling peer pressured into drinking MORE alcohol

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one in five people aged over 55 admit to feeling peer pressured into drinking more alcohol

One in five people aged over 55 years of age admit to feeling peer pressured into drinking more alcohol than they otherwise would, a study has found. 

The investigation by independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware found that peer pressure is felt by all ages — but impacts older generations in different ways.

While they may think they are ‘older and wiser’ and immune to such influence, seniors are still vulnerable but less likely to identify peer pressure as being overt.

Instead, older adults tend to see pressure to drink more as part of being sociable — or as a mere form of ‘friendly banter’. 

One in five people aged over 55 years of age admit to feeling peer pressured into drinking more alcohol than they otherwise would, a survey has found (stock image)

One in five people aged over 55 years of age admit to feeling peer pressured into drinking more alcohol than they otherwise would, a survey has found (stock image)

One in five people aged over 55 years of age admit to feeling peer pressured into drinking more alcohol than they otherwise would, a survey has found (stock image)

DRINKING SAFELY 

UK charity Drinkaware has advised that — if people do drink alcohol — that they keep track of their consumption.

Drinkers should stay within the Chief Medical Officers’ low-risk drinking guidelines, they added.

These recommend drinking no more than 14 units per week, with such spread over at least three days.

Drinkaware also advocates for people taking at least three drink-free days every week.

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‘Whether it’s topping up someone’s glass without asking, encouraging a group to buy in rounds or incorporating drinks into social rituals, peer pressure comes in many guises,’ said Drinkaware Evidence and Research Associate Emma Catterall.

‘Our study shows that being older doesn’t make us immune to the peer pressure to drink. In fact, it suggests we actually just don’t recognise pressurising behaviours.’

In their study, Dr Catterall and colleagues reviewed 13 existing studies into peer pressure in the context of alcohol consumption among adults — alongside Drinkaware’s online survey of 2,145 adults into peer pressure.

The researchers found that younger people are more likely to identify peer pressure as being overt or even aggressive — making them more likely to regard such influence as being negative. 

Accordingly, over 60 per cent of drinkers aged 18–34 said that pressure to drink was common among their peers.

This figure fell to 29 per cent among adult drinkers between the ages of 35–54, however, and 20 per cent of those aged 55 or above. 

However, the researchers also found that while young people tend to drink less frequently than their seniors, they are more likely to binge drink when they do.

In fact, only 44 per cent of under 35-year-olds reported drinking at least weekly, compared with 52 per cent of those aged 35–54 and 58 per cent of over 55s.

Yet 67 per cent said that they indulged in binge drinking — compared with 61 per cent of 35–54-year-olds and just 45 per cent of those aged 55 or above.

Regardless of the age group, the research suggested that peer pressure can be significant in increasing the amount of alcohol that people drink — and that most who gave in to the influence reported regretting the indulgence later.

‘In the majority of cases, pressure to drink isn’t malicious and may not even be conscious. But if we drink more alcohol as a result of pressure, we could be risking our health,’ Dr Catterall added.

‘We all need to know how to recognise when we’re being pressured to drink or when we’re pressuring someone else to drink.’

‘Being aware can help us with strategies to avoid caving in, or make sure others don’t feel like they have to drink alcohol if they don’t want to.’

The investigation by independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware found that peer pressure is felt by all ages — but impacts older generations in different ways. While they may think they are 'older and wiser' and immune to such influence, seniors are still vulnerable but less likely to identify peer pressure as being overt (stock image)

The investigation by independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware found that peer pressure is felt by all ages — but impacts older generations in different ways. While they may think they are 'older and wiser' and immune to such influence, seniors are still vulnerable but less likely to identify peer pressure as being overt (stock image)

The investigation by independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware found that peer pressure is felt by all ages — but impacts older generations in different ways. While they may think they are ‘older and wiser’ and immune to such influence, seniors are still vulnerable but less likely to identify peer pressure as being overt (stock image)

The research also suggested that many people develop strategies to dodge pressure to drink further — including driving to social events to avoid having to drink, or pretending that their soft drink is in fact alcoholic.

In addition, some people reported choosing to spent time with friends who were moderate- or non-drinkers in order to avoid pressure to drink more.  

‘The danger is that if people interpret peer pressure, or encouragement to drink, as part and parcel of convivial drinking culture, it could become seen as acceptable behaviour,’ said Dr Catterall.

‘The reality is that peer pressure to drink, in whatever form, encourages people to drink more than they might intend. And this can have consequences for their health.’

The full findings of the study were published in the journal BMC Public Health.

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Stellar explosions created calcium found in our teeth and bones

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stellar explosions created calcium found in our teeth and bones

Rare stellar explosions produced half the calcium in the universe, including what is in our teeth and bones, according to a new study.

The unique bursts, called ‘calcium-rich supernovae,’ remained elusive among the scientific world, but a recent examination provided the first glimpse into its last month of life and detonation.

Although calcium comes from stars, calcium-rich supernovae produce massive amounts of the nutrient all living things need to survive in just seconds.

Researchers have recently located SN 2019ehk, 55 million light years from Earth, which emitted the most calcium ever observed in a singular astrophysical event. 

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Rare stellar explosions produced half the calcium in the universe, including what is in our teeth and bones The unique bursts are called 'calcium-rich supernovae' (artist impression)

Rare stellar explosions produced half the calcium in the universe, including what is in our teeth and bones The unique bursts are called ‘calcium-rich supernovae’ (artist impression)

Wynn Jacobson-Galan, a first-year Northwestern graduate student who led the study, said: ‘These events are so few in number that we have never known what produced calcium-rich supernova.’

‘By observing what this star did in its final month before it reached its critical, tumultuous end, we peered into a place previously unexplored, opening new avenues of study within transient science.’

SN2019K was spotted by Joel Shepherd while observing the spiral galaxy Messier 100, located 55 million light years from our planet.

The bright burst appeared in the frame as an orange dot, leading him to report the anomaly to a community astronomical survey.

Researchers have recently located SN 2019 ehk, 55 million light years from Earth, which emitted the most calcium ever observed in a singular astrophysical event. Pictured is an image snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope

Researchers have recently located SN 2019 ehk, 55 million light years from Earth, which emitted the most calcium ever observed in a singular astrophysical event. Pictured is an image snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope

‘As soon as the world knew that there was a potential supernova in M100, a global collaboration was ignited,’ Jacobson-Galan said.

‘Every single country with a prominent telescope turned to look at this object.’

Stars produce calcium, but only a small amount is created when it burns through its supply of helium.

Calcium-rich supernovae, on the other hand, produce massive amounts of calcium within seconds.

Raffaella Margutti, senior study author and assistant professor of physics and astronomy in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, said: ‘The explosion is trying to cool down.’

‘It wants to give away its energy, and calcium emission is an efficient way to do that.’

This occurs because the hot ball of material created by the explosion is trying to reach an equilibrium with its environment, Jacobson-Galan said.

‘Calcium-rich supernovae produce just enough additional calcium in the explosion to provide an efficient means of emitting photons that in turn release heat,’ he said. ‘Nature chooses the path of least resistance and calcium provides that path when enough of it is present in a supernova.’

And the team found that SN 2019 ehk produced the most calcium ever observed in an event.

‘It wasn’t just calcium rich,’ Margutti said. ‘It was the richest of the rich.’

The Hubble Space Telescope has peered deep into this galaxy 25 years prior, but this was before the explosion occurred and did not register the event.

‘It was likely a white dwarf or very low-mass massive star,’ Jacobson-Galan said. ‘Both of those would be very faint.’

‘Without this explosion, you wouldn’t know that anything was ever there,’ Margutti added. ‘Not even Hubble could see it.’

SUPERNOVAE OCCUR WHEN A GIANT STAR EXPLODES

A supernova occurs when a star explodes, shooting debris and particles into space.

A supernova burns for only a short period of time, but it can tell scientists a lot about how the universe began.

One kind of supernova has shown scientists that we live in an expanding universe, one that is growing at an ever increasing rate.

Scientists have also determined that supernovas play a key role in distributing elements throughout the universe.

In 1987, astronomers spotted a ‘titanic supernova’ in a nearby galaxy blazing with the power of over 100 million suns (pictured)

In 1987, astronomers spotted a ‘titanic supernova’ in a nearby galaxy blazing with the power of over 100 million suns (pictured)

There are two known types of supernova.

The first type occurs in binary star systems when one of the two stars, a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, steals matter from its companion star.

Eventually, the white dwarf accumulates too much matter, causing the star to explode, resulting in a supernova.

The second type of supernova occurs at the end of a single star’s lifetime.

As the star runs out of nuclear fuel, some of its mass flows into its core.

Eventually, the core is so heavy it can’t stand its own gravitational force and the core collapses, resulting in another giant explosion. 

Many elements found on Earth are made in the core of stars and these elements travel on to form new stars, planets and everything else in the universe.

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People who take Vitamin D and calcium twice a day are less likely to suffer from vertigo

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people who take vitamin d and calcium twice a day are less likely to suffer from vertigo

People who take Vitamin D and calcium twice a day are less likely to suffer from vertigo — the debilitating condition that affects balance — a study has found.

‘Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo’ (BPPV) is a disorder of the inner ear in which changes in the position of one’s head result in a sensation of spinning or motion.

Each attack can last up to a minute — and may also be accompanied by nausea. 

To treat BPPV, doctors employ a series of head movements on patients to help shift the particles in the ears that cause the sensation — but the symptom often recurs.

Experts estimate that around 86 per cent of people who suffer from  BPPV find that it regularly interrupts their daily life, or forces them to take sick days from work.

People who take Vitamin D and calcium twice a day are less likely to suffer from vertigo — the debilitating condition that affects balance, pictured — a study has found (stock image)

People who take Vitamin D and calcium twice a day are less likely to suffer from vertigo — the debilitating condition that affects balance, pictured — a study has found (stock image)

In their study, neurologist Ji-Soo Kim of the Seoul National University College of Medicine in Korea and colleagues recruited more than 950 patients with BPPV who had previously been successfully treated with the head movement technique.

The researchers split the participant into two groups — one on which they conducted an intervention with supplements, and the other to form a control.

The 445 people in the first group had their vitamin D levels taken at the study’s start — and the 348 with levels under 20 nanograms per millilitre were started on 400 international units of vitamin D and 500 milligrams of calcium twice daily.

In contrast, the 512 people in the control group did not have their vitamin D levels monitored, nor did they receive supplements.

The researchers found that the individuals in the intervention group who were given supplements had fewer vertigo episodes after an average of one year than those in the control group.

Specifically, the supplement receivers had 0.83 attacks each year on average — 24 per cent less than those in the control group, who had around 1.1 attacks per year. 

'Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo' (BPPV) is a disorder of the inner ear in which changes in the position of one's head result in a sensation of spinning or motion, pictured. Each attack can last up to a minute — and may also be accompanied by nausea (stock image)

‘Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo’ (BPPV) is a disorder of the inner ear in which changes in the position of one’s head result in a sensation of spinning or motion, pictured. Each attack can last up to a minute — and may also be accompanied by nausea (stock image)

‘Our study suggests that for people with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, taking a supplement of vitamin D and calcium is a simple, low-risk way to prevent vertigo from recurring,’ said Dr Kim.

‘It is especially effective if you have low vitamin D levels to begin with.’

In fact, those who started with vitamin D levels under 10 nanograms per millimetre saw a 45 per cent reduction in their vertigo recurrence rate, while those starting with vitamin D levels at 10–20 nanograms per millimetre saw only a 14 per cent drop.

Furthermore, a total of 38 per cent of the people in the intervention group went on to have another attack of vertigo, compared to 47 per cent in the control group.

‘Our results are exciting because so far, going to the doctor to have them perform head movements has been the main way we treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo,’ Dr Kim added.

‘Our study suggests an inexpensive, low-risk treatment like vitamin D and calcium tablets may be effective at preventing this common, and commonly recurring, disorder.’

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Neurology.

How vertigo can leave the world spinning

Individuals with vertigo experience the sensation of having their surroundings spinning around them. The condition is not usually a sign of underlying illness. However, it is possible for vertigo to be related to inflammation in the inner ear (labyrinthitis), or ear infection.

In a very severe form vertigo is called Ménière’s disease, the sufferer may collapse and experience vomiting and/or ringing in the ears during an attack. Sometimes, antihistamine drugs are prescribed in an effort to control attacks, but these are not always effective.

On a dietary level, avoiding sugar and foods that release sugar quickly into the blood stream such as white bread, white rice, and potatoes can help. These foods can upset the balance of sugar in the blood stream which seems to bring on symptoms in many sufferers.

Opting for foods that release sugar slowly such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. Another thing likely to help maintain blood sugar levels is to eat regular meals, perhaps with healthy snacks such as fresh fruit and nuts (preferably raw) in between.

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Sicilian Mafia could be dismantled via social network analysis

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sicilian mafia could be dismantled via social network analysis

The Sicilian Mafia and similar criminal groups could be dismantled by using social network analysis to map members’ connections, a study has claimed.

Criminal networks like those underpinning the Sicilian Mafia have unusual features that make them both difficult to analyse but also resilient to outside disruption. 

Experts from the UK and Italy used data gathered by law enforcement on a real-life Mafia syndicate to test different ways of identifying the most crucial members.

They identified a technique that can pick out the individual members whose arrests would most disrupt the wider operation of the criminal organisation.

The method could be applied to help best target other criminal groups, including terrorist organisations.

The Mafia and similar criminal groups could be dismantled by using social network analysis to map member's connections, a study has claimed. Pictured, Marlon Brando playing Mafia don Vito Corleone in the 1972 American crime film 'The Godfather'

The Mafia and similar criminal groups could be dismantled by using social network analysis to map member's connections, a study has claimed. Pictured, Marlon Brando playing Mafia don Vito Corleone in the 1972 American crime film 'The Godfather'

The Mafia and similar criminal groups could be dismantled by using social network analysis to map member’s connections, a study has claimed. Pictured, Marlon Brando playing Mafia don Vito Corleone in the 1972 American crime film ‘The Godfather’

In their study, Lucia Cavallaro of the University of Derby, Annamaria Ficara of the University of Palermo and colleagues compiled data from wiretaps and stakeouts involving the activities of two Mafia clans active in southern Italy in the early 2000s.

‘Our datasets relate to a Mafia syndicate acting as a link between prominent criminal families operating in the two main cities of southern Italy — Palermo and Catania,’ Dr Cavallero said.

‘Phone calls were derived from eavesdropping and the meetings from police surveillance.’

From this data, the team created simulations of the criminal network — and tested out ways to measure each member’s individual level of influence within such.

This allowed the researchers to determine the best analytical method for law enforcement to use to select effective targets for individual arrests or police raids.

The researchers found that a network-measuring approach called ‘betweenness centrality’ was the most effective at selecting the targets whose arrest would most disrupt the simulated criminal network.

This approach works well, the experts explained, because it was good at identifying those individuals that play important roles in maintaining different paths of communication within the criminal network. 

‘By neutralising fewer than five percent of the affiliate — either through sequential arrests or police raids — the efficiency of the network dropped by 70 per cent,’ Dr Cavallero explained.

In their study, the researchers compiled data from wiretaps and stakeouts involving the activities of two Mafia clans active in southern Italy in the early 2000s. From this data, the team created simulations of the criminal network (pictured, maps made from meeting surveillance, left, and phone calls, right) ¿ and tested out ways to measure each member's individual level of influence within such

In their study, the researchers compiled data from wiretaps and stakeouts involving the activities of two Mafia clans active in southern Italy in the early 2000s. From this data, the team created simulations of the criminal network (pictured, maps made from meeting surveillance, left, and phone calls, right) ¿ and tested out ways to measure each member's individual level of influence within such

In their study, the researchers compiled data from wiretaps and stakeouts involving the activities of two Mafia clans active in southern Italy in the early 2000s. From this data, the team created simulations of the criminal network (pictured, maps made from meeting surveillance, left, and phone calls, right) — and tested out ways to measure each member’s individual level of influence within such

‘Compared to other types of social networks, criminal networks present particularly hard challenges,’ said Dr Cavallero.

‘Our work has significant practical applications for perturbing the operations of criminal and terrorist networks.’

The researchers have made their datasets and analytical source code publicly available online for other experts and law enforcement agencies to work with.

With this study complete, the team said that potential avenues for future researcher might include analysing how criminal networks reorganise after disruption.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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