Irish cops list spending plans after spate of Dublin street attacks – dpa international

The Irish government is to spend €10 million on policing in Dublin after being accused of sitting on its hands in the wake of several muggings, beatings and stabbings, some of them targetting visitors. “While policing alone cannot solve many of the factors which contribute to criminality or people feeling unsafe, high visibility policing is crucial to providing reassurance for all who live in, work in or visit our capital city,” said under-fire Justice Minister Helen McEntee on August 22. The spending will cover deployments of armed police, police dogs, checkpoints and will see police working overtime. McEntee’s statement and the police’s outlining of how the funding is to be spent came ahead of a court appearance by two teenagers arrested after a recent attack on British tourists in the tourist-trap Temple Bar district of the capital. 

Taking drugs adds to risk of heart attack, going by French hospital data – dpa international

“Compared with other non-using heart patients, users were more likely to die or to require emergency intervention for events such as cardiac arrest or acute circulatory failure,” the medics warned. They found only half of all patients whose urine samples suggested they had taken drugs actually admitted to it. A third of the patients younger than 40 had taken drugs, the tests suggested, while 25% of all drug-using patients had dabbled in more than one substance.

Americans increasingly split over spliffs, sparking health warnings – dpa international

An increasing number of people are seeing smoking a joint, including passive or second-hand inhaling, as less harmful than cigarettes.  That’s according to a new study published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open journal. “While rates of cigarette use are declining, more US adults are using cannabis,” reported the researchers, who were led by Beth Cohen, a doctor at the University of California, San Francisco. However, as Americans ditched the cigarettes, they “increasingly” have “perceived daily smoking and secondhand exposure to cannabis smoke as safer than tobacco smoke.”

Making a hash of it: legal cannabis linked to rise in related poisoning – dpa international

Decriminalization could be behind an increase in cannabis poisoning, including among children. That’s going by the results of 30 studies into the legalization of cannabis and its impact on acute poisoning, which were analyzed by University of Sydney researchers and published by the journal Addiction. The findings pointed to a “general rise in the rate of cannabis poisoning after cannabis legalisation or decriminalisation,” with the apparent rise in the number of children being affected down to the relaxation of rules enabling more consumption of cannabis-laced snacks. “Increased availability and use of edibles appears to be an important driver of the increase in poisonings, particularly among children,” said the university’s Rose Cairns, mentioning the likes of gummies and chocolates.

US embassy warns Dublin visitors to ‘keep a low profile’ – dpa international

US citizens in Ireland should be “vigilant” while out and about in capital Dublin, according to the country’s embassy. The July 25 warning came after an American tourist was left fighting for his life after being attacked by a gang of teenagers close to O’Connell Street, Europe’s widest thoroughfare, and next door to one of Ireland’s main police stations.  The brutal beating of 57-year-old Stephen Termini, which was captured on CCTV, came in the wake of a June street assault that hospitalised Oleksandr Hrekov, a visiting Ukrainian actor. In 2019, 1.7 million Americans visited Ireland, a country where tens of millions of US citizens claim ancestry. The US is Ireland’s biggest source of foreign investment – with Meta, Twitter and Amazon all among the companies which have their European or regional headquarters in Dublin – and is also Ireland’s number one trade partner.

DDoS cyber-attacks on the rise as criminals mimic state-level hackers – dpa international

Recent months have seen a surge in attempted direct denial of service (DDoS) cyber-attacks, according to web security business Cloudflare. In a report covering the second quarter of 2023, Cloudflare analysts said they had found “an alarming uptick in highly-randomized and sophisticated HTTP DDoS attacks over the past few months,” suggesting the technique, once the preserve of “state-level and state-sponsored threat actors,” is being more widely used by criminals. DDoS is an old-school cyber warrior tactic that tries to take down websites by bombarding them with more hits than they can handle, leaving them inaccessible, much as a traffic jam leaves a truck driver unable to get to his or her delivery drop, according to US-based Cloudflare. However, the newer and more widespread DDoS attacks appear subtler than the bulldozer-style approach deployed in the past by state actors, having been “deliberately engineered” by the “threat actors” to get around defences by “adeptly imitating browser behavior very accurately.”

LSD and MDMA can help figure out brain disorder treatments, scientists say – dpa international

Mind-altering drugs such as LSD and ketamine are potential narcotic landmarks on a “roadmap” to develop treatments for neurological disorders. According to research published in Science Advances, the effects of such drugs, including ayahuasca and MDMA, show up on brain scans in similar locations to conditions such as schizophrenia and depression, meaning the drugs could prove a help with research into treatments. The research team, led by Andrea Luppi of The Alan Turing Institute at the University of Cambridge, analysed neuroimaging data for over 1,400 people and found that brain activity patterns affected by such drugs to be “associated with brain regions affected by certain psychiatric and neurological disorders.”

Tough childhoods lead to poor health in middle age, going by US survey – dpa international

Abusive parents, divorce, estrangement, early introduction to to drugs and alcohol: Any of all of these contribute to a tough childhood, which in turn can cause premature ageing and relatively poor health later in life. A team of US academics studied almost 900 people over two decades and found “adverse childhood experiences” to be associated with age acceleration. The study used data – starting from 1985, taken with participants’ consent – from the US Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which entailed eight follow-up assessments until 2016. Participants were asked whether they had in their own eyes been subjected to various forms of negligence, physical violence, household substance abuse, verbal and emotional abuse or household dysfunction. 

Marijuana ‘munchies’ don’t make you fat, but for a bad reason – dpa international

The “munchies” are perhaps the most misunderstood curiosity of getting stoned, and researchers and smokers alike have long puzzled over why regular cannabis users can often binge eat without becoming overweight. Avid cannabis users are indeed often “leaner and less prone to diabetes” than the toke-averse, experts say in new research. After giving THC, the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, to adolescent mice, researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Medical School say they think they have figured out why, cannabis users typically stay thin despite being prone to the munchies. It’s not really good news for stoners who are proud of staying trim.

Getting more sun could help against opioid “scourge,” US medics say – dpa international

Vitamin D has been touted as beneficial in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus (Simon Roughneen)

DUBLIN –A lack of Vitamin D “strongly exaggerates the craving for and effects of opioids,” according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital. The vitamin, which has been touted for potentially reducing the effects of coronavirus, is produced naturally in the human body after exposure to sunlight. So not getting outdoors enough means “potentially increasing the risk for [opioid] dependence and addiction,” according to the research, which was published on Friday by the journal Science Advances. For those living in cloudier regions, Vitamin D supplements could help address “the ongoing scourge of opioid addiction.”