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Daily Archives: June 4, 2022

Chart: Japan Birth Rate Down to 1.3 in 2021

The number of births is the lowest ever.

Source : 日本経済新聞社

In Pictures: 1967 Iso Grifo GL Series I 4-Speed

Source : Bring A Trailer

That Morning Cup of Coffee May Extend Your Life

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Folks who take their coffee with a little cream and sugar have reason to rejoice, health-wise.

A new study shows that coffee’s potential health benefits persist, even if you add a bit of sugar to your java.

People who drink any amount of unsweetened coffee are 16% to 21% less likely to die early than those who don’t imbibe, based on data drawn from more than 171,000 British participants without known heart disease or cancer.

And even folks who take their coffee with sugar saw some health benefits, researchers found.

Sweetened coffee drinkers who downed an average 1.5 to 3.5 cups a day were 29% to 31% less likely to die during an average seven-year follow-up than non-coffee drinkers, according to findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“On average, even when your coffee is a little bit sweetened, it still seems to be potentially beneficial and at least not harmful,” said Dr. Christina Wee, the journal’s deputy editor, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study.

Don’t rush out to order that caramel macchiato just yet, though — people in the study tended to add modest amounts of sugar to their brew, experts noted.

On average, people put about 1 teaspoon of sugar in each cup of coffee, said Wee and Anthony DiMarino, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.

“This is roughly only 16 extra calories, which is not significant,” said DiMarino, who wasn’t involved with the study. “In contrast, most specialty coffees run hundreds of calories from sugars and fats.”

For this study, a team led by Dr. Chen Mao of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, analyzed dietary data provided by participants in the UK Biobank, a database with health information from a half-million people in the United Kingdom.

Participants were tracked for an average seven years to see whether coffee drinking affected their overall risk of death, as well as their risk of death from cancer or heart disease.

Researchers found that unsweetened coffee reduced participants’ risk of death regardless how much they drank, with a “sweet spot” of maximum benefit around 2.5 to 3.5 cups a day.

Sweetened coffee also had health benefits, as long as the person drank fewer than 4 cups a day. Folks who drank more than 4.5 cups of sugary coffee a day had a slight increase in their risk of early death.

Sweetened or unsweetened, coffee also appeared to consistently reduce the risk of death from specific causes such as cancer or heart disease, the researchers found.

There are lots of theories about why coffee might be good for you, experts said.

“Coffee contains nearly 1,000 botanical compounds, most of which have not been studied yet,” DiMarino said. “Coffee does provide nutrients such as B vitamins, potassium and riboflavin, which are essential to health. Moreover, coffee provides different anti-inflammatory compounds, which help reduce our risk of cancer.”

Finally, he added, coffee has been shown to improve alertness, memory and mental function. “These effects would certainly help us be more aware and make less mistakes,” DiMarino said.

Wee noted that coffee also contains chlorogenic acids, which have an anti-clotting effect in the blood. That could potentially prevent heart attacks or strokes caused by clots.

Other research teams are looking at ways in which coffee might help people by improving gut health, enhancing efficient fat storage, and protecting the liver, said Dr. Alan Rozanski, a cardiologist with Mount Sinai Morningside in New York City.

“These are pathways that are being elucidated and we need more work to define them, but the interactions are there and there are good solid reasons to understand why this drink is OK for your health,” said Rozanski, who wasn’t part of the study.

Still, Wee noted, doctors remain somewhat concerned about the caffeine in coffee, which can increase your heart rate and alter your metabolism in other worrying ways.

“But we have studies that show if you’re a regular caffeinated coffee drinker, your body sort of develops a tolerance to it,” she said. “When you first start to drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, you may have a more pronounced physiologic response. But after a while, like with all things your body sort of acclimates, so it doesn’t seem like the harm of moderate amounts of coffee drinking persists.”

At the same time, a study like this shouldn’t prompt people who don’t like coffee to start drinking the stuff, Wee added.

“We can cautiously conclude there doesn’t seem to be harm, and so if you’re already a coffee drinker, no need to change,” Wee said. “Now whether or not you should start drinking coffee to get its benefits, that’s less certain.”

Source: HealthDay

China Says a Third of Electricity Will Come from Renewables by 2025

China will aim to ensure that its grids source about 33% of power from renewable sources by 2025, up from 28.8% in 2020, the state planning agency said on Wednesday in a new “five-year plan” for the renewable sector.

China’s total renewable energy consumption is set to reach about 1 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent (TCE) by 2025, as the country bids to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in total energy use to 20%, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.

Non-fossil fuels accounted for 15.4% of total primary energy consumption in 2020.

China, the biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases, has pledged to raise total wind and solar capacity to 1,200 gigawatts by 2030, almost double the current rate, with plans to build large-scale renewable energy bases in northwestern desert regions.

Climate groups were hoping that China would set a strict energy consumption target for 2025 as it prepares to bring total greenhouse gas emissions to a peak before 2030.

Though China has yet to announce a formal energy cap, the new non-fossil fuel energy consumption figure implies that total primary energy use could reach 5 billion tonnes of standard coal by 2025.

The NDRC said renewables would account for more than half of new energy consumption growth from 2021-2025 period, but China still has leeway to build more fossil fuel-fired power plants over the period as it focuses on improving energy security.

China is aiming to start cutting coal consumption in 2026, but in the meantime could put as much as 150 gigawatts of new coal capacity into operation by then, according to research from the State Grid.

Source : Reuters

The Dynamic COVID-Zero Strategy in China

Jue Liu, Min Liu and Wannian Liang wrote . . . . . . . . .

Since its outbreak in late 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has remained a global pandemic for nearly two years, which poses a huge test on the resilience of global public health system. After experiencing the large-scale epidemic in February 2020, China has entered a normalization stage of prevention and control since May 2020. In response to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, China adopted a new strategy called “Dynamic COVID-zero” from August 2021. This strategy is a summary of China’s experience in dealing with the spread of the Delta variant, considering how to control the epidemic at a higher level, at a lower cost, and in a shorter time. The most important purpose is to minimize the impact of the epidemic on the economy, society, production, and people’s normal lives, and to balance the prevention and control of this disease with socioeconomic stability. For instance, multiple outbreaks that occurred in Beijing were controlled in 2 maximum incubation periods (within 28 days) by this strategy.

The “Dynamic COVID-zero” strategy is a transitional strategy to be adopted after a successful containment strategy, when the population immunity barrier is not yet established in the face of continued risk of foreign importation and high transmission of variants. This is different from the traditional containment and mitigation strategies. The core is to take effective and comprehensive measures to deal with localized COVID-19 cases precisely, to quickly cut off the transmission chain, and to end the epidemic in a timely manner (to “find one, end one”). In other words, China took precise prevention and control measures to quickly find, control, and cure infected people in each cluster outbreak within a specific geographic region to avoid affecting social and economic development in other regions, so as to achieve the maximum effect at the lowest cost. When there is a local recurrence, epidemic prevention staff will quickly find the close contacts using new technologies like big data analysis before the spread in the golden response time (within 24 hours after each outbreak). The aim is to find and control potential infected individuals in advance and try to end the outbreak within one or two maximum incubation periods. The formulation and implementation of this strategy requires extensive community involvement, government funding guarantees, application of new technology, motivating mechanisms, constraint mechanisms, and a resilient health system. Moreover, the scientific suggestions from multidisciplinary experts (for example, public health, clinical medicine, big data analysis, sociology, economics, management, and informatics discipline, etc.) are adopted in a timely manner to support decision making.

With the rapid development of molecular biology technology and the wide use of big data analysis, nucleic acid screening can quickly find the source of infection hidden in the population. Strict quarantine and management measures can be subsequently implemented. Big data technology can quickly identify close contacts and risk groups, helping to implement precise prevention and control measures. Compared with severe acute respiratory syndromes (SARS) in 2003, the resilience of China’s health system has been improved, and new technologies such as nucleic acid testing and big data analysis have effectively ensured the implementation of the “Dynamic COVID-zero” strategy.

“Dynamic COVID-zero” strategy sums up China’s experience in dealing with Delta, Omicron, and other variants, which has advantages in reducing infection. In general, governments adopt country-specific prevention and control strategies based on their COVID-19 situation, health resources, response capacity and final goals. No matter what kind of strategy a country takes, concerted and sustained efforts are needed to end the COVID-19 pandemic globally, especially for curbing the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Source : China CDC

Infographic: Which Countries Trust Their Government, and Which Ones Don’t?

See large image . . . . . .

Survey: Trustworthiness of People

Source : VIsual Capitalist