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Archive for November, 2012

Barley and Kale Salad with Golden Beets and Feta

Pack this main dish into single-serving containers the day before travel. The flavor will improve overnight (and sturdy kale won’t wilt). We like to keep meals cool with disposable ice packs, which we throw away just before security; the salad will be good for a couple of hours at room temperature. Don’t forget the plastic forks!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 medium golden beets (about 1 bunch), trimmed
  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar
  • Ingredient Info

    Tuscan kale, also called black kale, dinosaur kale, Lacinato kale, or cavolo nero, has long, narrow, very dark green bumpy leaves and is available at farmers’ markets and some supermarkets.

Preparation

  • Whisk 1/4 cup oil, white wine vinegar, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add kale and shallots; mix until completely coated. Cover and chill until kale is tender, at least 3 hours.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Arrange beets in a small baking dish and drizzle with a little oil. Season with salt and turn beets to coat. Cover with foil. Bake beets until tender when pierced with a thin knife, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces (you should have about 2 cups).
  • Cook barley in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 45 minutes. Drain barley and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool completely.
  • Add beets, barley, and feta to kale. Drizzle salad with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar; fold gently to combine. Season to taste with pepper and more rice vinegar, if desired. DO AHEAD Salad can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Bonappetit

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Pocket Releases Latest iOS Update, Includes New Tools Plus Bug Fixes

Pocket Releases Latest iOS Update, Includes New Tools Plus Bug Fixes

Pocket 4.2.6 has launched in the App Store. The update is available for the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad.

New are improvements to Evernote sharing, including notebook selection, preservation of tags, comments, and the option to include the full article. Pocket’s sharing to Evernote now supports the 印象笔记 service in China.

Tweet Attribution has also been redesigned. It now supports replying, favoriting, retweeting, opening a tweet in Safari, and opening a person’s Twitter profile in Safari.

Finally, Pocket for iPhone and iPad now lets users share to the popular Twitter app Tweetbot.

General Fixes:

  • Toolbar buttons are now easier to tap
  • The Pocket logo at the top of the list will no longer appear visually distorted
  • Fixed an issue where items in the list were occasionally not tappable
  • Fixed an issue where authorizing 3rd-party apps would hang on older devices

Reader Fixes:

  • Rotation lock now works properly in the Reader
  • ESPN Insider subscribers can now log in by going to Options > Manage Site Subscriptions
  • A number of other bug fixes and improvements
  • Sharing Fixes:
  • Fixed issues when logging in to Pinboard and Delicious
  • App.net has much improved error handling and some fixes when adding comments to shared items
  • The font size has been increased when sharing to Buffer

Pocket is free to download. The save-for-later service is also available as a native Mac application.

Appadvice

Highest-ever HIV diagnoses in gay men

HIV
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system

The number of gay and bisexual men being diagnosed with HIV in the UK reached an “all-time high” in 2011, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

It said there had been a “worrying” trend since 2007, with more and more new cases each year.

Nearly half of the 6,280 people diagnosed last year were men who had sex with other men (MSM).

Overall, one in 20 MSM are infected with HIV.

Of those diagnosed in 2011, nearly two-thirds had not been to a sexual health clinic in the previous three years.

HIV

HIV

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and on its own it does not kill you.

The virus can survive and grow only by infecting, and destroying, the immune system.

This continual assault on the immune system makes it weaker and weaker until it is no longer able to fight off infections.

Without treatment, it takes about 10 years from infection to the development of Aids – acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

It is then that “opportunistic infections”, ones a healthy immune system could fight off, become deadly.

People can die from pneumonias, brain infections, diarrhoeal illnesses as well as certain tumours such as lymphoma and cervical cancer.

The HPA said the figures showed there was “room for improvement” in testing people in at-risk groups.

Dr Valerie Delpech, the organisation’s head of HIV surveillance, told the BBC: “Obviously this is a serious illness and it is worrying that we’re still seeing a lot in men who have sex with men and this is a record year.

“Transmission in the UK is largely sexual, so safe sex is the best way to prevent yourself getting HIV.”

Rising

The total number of people living with HIV in the UK rose to 96,000, up from 91,500 the previous year. The issue is most intense in London.

Due to advances in drug treatment, having HIV should not affect life-expectancy.

However, the data suggests that one in four people with HIV are completely unaware of the infection, meaning they cannot receive treatment and may still be spreading the virus.

The chief executive of the National Aids Trust, Deborah Jack, said: “It is vitally important that gay men test at least once a year for STIs [sexually transmitted infections] and HIV, and every three months if they’re having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.

“HIV-negative gay men diagnosed with an STI should really treat it as a ‘wake up call’. You are at serious risk of getting HIV in the near future and need to take steps to prevent that happening – such as consistent condom use and reduction in number of sexual partners.”

Sir Nick Partridge, the chief executive at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “HIV is an entirely preventable condition, yet each year we see thousands more people across the UK receive this life-changing diagnosis.

“Reducing undiagnosed HIV by encouraging those in high-risk groups to test more regularly is one way we can put the brakes on the spread of infection.”

BBC

Let’s make malnutrition visible

A young child in India eats a piece of fruit

Malnutrition is an “invisible crisis” – ignored by development agencies and governments. Taken more seriously, argues Lawrence Haddad, Director of the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, it could be eradicated in 20 years.

I was in India and I asked a group of journalists, “In your opinion, what percentage of the children in your country are malnourished?” They said 20%. The rate is, in fact, twice as high.

This surprised them.

They were alarmed when I told them that India’s celebrated economic growth is not doing much to reduce child malnutrition.

And they were speechless when I told them India has a higher rate of child malnutrition than sub-Saharan Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa has not done any better in terms of progress on child malnutrition. In fact, the rates of child malnutrition have been stuck at about 40% for the past 30 years.

We have to get more political about malnutrition reduction”

I want to tell you what malnutrition is, why I believe it matters so much, why it is so persistent – even in countries experiencing rapid economic growth – and what we can do about it.

Most people think malnutrition is all about not having enough food or enough of the right kind of food to eat. This is a big part of the story. But there are many other links in the chain.

If children are drinking dirty water or are playing in areas where people are defecating in the open, diarrhoea will ensure that the nutrients are not absorbed and that appetite will be depressed.

If children do not receive enough attention from parents and carers, they will fail to receive the stimulation and interaction that helps convert food intake into growth.

A table showing rates of malnutrition in Ethiopia, Zambia, India, Bangladesh, Peru and Brazil

So dealing with malnutrition means fixing all the links in the chain – food, health, sanitation, water and care.

The problem starts for some children even before they are born. Their mothers are malnourished and their bodies cannot cope with the demands of pregnancy leaving their babies malnourished in the womb. These babies are born malnourished. And the deprivations that children face early on, if not corrected within the first 1000 days after conception, will be locked in for life.

This is because in pregnancy, and during a child’s first two years, the key software of life is being laid down – the immune system and cognitive functions to name but two.

For example, we know that children who are malnourished at the age of three go on to do less well in school and are more likely to die from infection. As adults they earn lower wages, are much more likely to live in poverty, and are at greater risk of the diseases of middle age such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Most malnourished children appear healthy – there is no obvious distress”

At a human level, this is tragic. At a national level this has serious consequences for economic growth, poverty reduction and social mobility. In essence, countries that pursue routes to development that neglect nutrition are building on quicksand.

So we need to focus on what works to reduce malnutrition.

Broad-based economic growth helps, but is not a panacea. Nutrition will not just take care of itself. Rising income needs to be guided towards investment in policies that work.

We know that breastfeeding is vital for child growth in environments where water is not clean, and where nutrients are in short supply.

We know that handwashing with soap helps prevent diarrhoea. We know that fortifying flour and salt with key vitamins and minerals bolsters nutrient intake for those with low quality diets. We know that deworming improves nutrient absorption by the gut.

So if we know the causes of malnutrition, the terrible toll it exerts on people and on societies, and what to do about it, then we may wonder why it is so persistent.

A major reason is that malnutrition is an invisible crisis.

We are all familiar with pictures of children who are obviously malnourished – we can see their bones through tightly-stretched skin, their eyes are glazed, their hair thinning, their stomachs bloated. They are in obvious distress and seeing them first hand is a chastening experience.

But the truth is that most malnourished children appear healthy. There is no obvious distress and they do not seem thin.

Lawrence Haddad and his two children
Haddad’s children are from Cambodia – where malnutrition is a big problem

My wife and I adopted our daughter from an orphanage in Cambodia 11 years ago. At that time our daughter was malnourished, but not in ways that were obvious to her excellent carers or to us.

When we went back to Cambodia 18 months later to adopt our son, the orphanage staff who remembered our daughter couldn’t believe how much she had grown in 18 months. Most forms of malnutrition are invisible.

This invisibility means that parents, community health workers and politicians are unaware of the extent of the problem.

Find out more

  • Lawrence Haddad’s essay is part of the BBC Radio 3 series Why Poverty
  • It will be broadcast on Thursday 29 November at 22:45 GMT,

Another reason for malnutrition’s persistence is that many things need to fall in place to reduce it. Giving children better-quality diets is undermined if they have chronic diarrhoea.

Breastfeeding is difficult to do if women are expected to work long hours in garment factories. If children are more likely to get sick rather than better when they visit a low-quality health facility, then the impact of better sanitation is going to be blunted.

So, every link in the nutrition chain needs to be strong. And this is a massive challenge. Nutrition often gets left out of the equation.

This was really reinforced by a presentation I attended by a dynamic non-governmental organisation operating in South Asia.

I asked the head of the NGO why they it wasn’t doing more in nutrition. He said: “We would like to, but there is no one to argue with”. Nutrition is everybody’s business, but nobody’s responsibility.

So in the face of all these challenges, is the lack of progress in reducing malnutrition inevitable? Absolutely not. There are success stories to inspire and sustain us.

People filling up water bottles from a water tanker in New Delhi
Clean water is part of the package of what’s needed to reduce malnutrition

Fundamentally we have to make nutrition visible, we have to help governments become more responsive and we have to find ways to act in concert for nutrition.

Ultimately we have to get more political about malnutrition reduction.

And the success stories point the way.

Brazil’s Zero Hunger programme was driven by the values of that country’s labour movement, by electoral politics, and by the personal conviction of then President Lula, someone who had known poverty and hunger as a youngster.

We can eradicate malnutrition in 20 years – I really believe that with all my heart”

In Vietnam, the success in reducing malnutrition was fuelled by economic growth, but also by an ethos that reducing inequality mattered and this led to important investments for the poorest.

In Mexico, a successful cash transfer programme made the receipt of money conditional on visits to health centres, generating a doubly positive impact on nutrition.

But Peru is my favourite inspiration because it is a citizen-led story. In 2006, a group of Peruvian and international NGOs got together to challenge the presidential candidates to sign a pledge to do something about malnutrition if they were elected.

The NGOs were so effective, even the candidates who had never thought about the malnutrition (and there were plenty of those) had to sign up to the pledge. And when Alan Garcia was elected as president, money, laws and policies were quickly committed to malnutrition reduction.

But governments have many priorities, and not all face elections. Their attention needs to be dragged towards malnutrition.

A young boy on his family's farm in Acaua, in Piaul western Brazil
It’s often hard to tell if a child is malnourished or not

This means recruiting people to social movements – people who will stand up for nutrition, who will not let it drop, who will assume responsibility for leading efforts to reduce it. The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN) is leading the way.

It is a movement of individuals and organisations who are determined to make nutrition more visible, to raise resources for it, to support governments which do something about it. To not let it drop. It involves many organisations worldwide, including my own.

SUN has been going for two years now, and is beginning to make a difference to policies, thinking and spending. The true test will be whether malnutrition rates actually fall.

There are about 170 million young children who are malnourished, and there are many more adults who are suffering from the terrible legacy of malnutrition early in their own lives.

But we can eradicate malnutrition in 20 years. I really believe that with all my heart.

BBC

‘Unnecessary’ high salt levels in cheese, health group warns

 

Cheese
Roquefort was found to be the saltiest cheese
By Anna-Marie Lever Health reporter, BBC News

Large amounts of unnecessary salt are being added to cheese, the health pressure group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), has warned.

The group analysed 722 cheese portions of 30g each and found many contained more salt than a bag of crisps.

The saltiest type was roquefort at 1.06g per 30g. But within varieties salt content varied – suggesting it is possible to reduce levels.

The Dairy Council said cheese provided a wide range of nutrients.

Too much salt is known to raise blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The survey looked at over 30 different cheese varieties from seven supermarkets over four months up to November 2012, assessing salt content in a standard 30g portion size.

The saltiest cheese varieties were the blue cheese Roquefort, with 1.06g of salt in a 30g portion, feta and halloumi.

The cheese varieties with the lowest salt levels were mozzarella, emmental and wensleydale.

Within cheese varieties there was also a large variation in salt content between products.

How salty?

  • Recommended daily maximum: 6g
  • Roquefort, 30g portion: 1.06g salt
  • Bacon rasher: 0.9g
  • Halloumi, 30g: 0.81g
  • Seawater, 30g: 0.75g
  • Cheddar, 30g: 0.52g
  • Packet of crisps: 0.5g
  • Mozzarella, 30g: 0.30g

The survey found that for gorgonzola, one cheese product was nearly six times saltier than the least salty, and large differences were also seen in wensleydale and cheddar.

Cash said salt intake should be less than 6g a day – about a teaspoon – and urged consumers to choose either a lower salt version or eat less cheese.

Cash chairman Prof Graham MacGregor said: “Even small reductions will have large health benefits. For every one gram reduction in population salt intake we can prevent 12,000 heart attacks, stroke and heart failure, half of which would have been fatal.

“The Department of Health must now stop its delaying tactics and set new much lower targets for cheese manufacturers, and make sure they achieve them. The cheese industry must comply if we are to save the maximum number of lives”

Benefits of cheese

But others warned the conclusions Cash has drawn from its research paint an incomplete picture.

Dr Judith Bryans, director of the Dairy Council, a non-profit-making organisation, said: “The Cash survey is mixing up the effect of cheese on health with the effect of salt on health.

“Cheese provides a wide range of nutrients including protein, vitamins and important minerals such as calcium.

“Salt is an integral part of the cheese-making process. It is not added for taste or flavour but for safety and technical reasons.

“Cheese manufacturers have worked very hard to reduce salt levels in their products and worked constructively and positively with government agencies to do this whilst producing products which are nutritious, safe and acceptable to the consumer.”

Around 700,000 tonnes of cheese are consumed by UK households a year, and cheese is the third biggest contributor of salt to the UK diet after bacon and bread.

The Department of Health said it was tackling salt levels in food.

Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: “Soon we will have a single front-of-pack labelling scheme which will make it easier for people to compare products, and choose the healthier options available.

“Through the Responsibility Deal, we are in discussions with industry about how they can further reduce the salt levels in their food.”

BBC

Whooping cough: Three more babies die in outbreak

Baby being vaccinated
Pregnant mothers and their babies are now being immunised against whooping cough

Three babies died from whooping cough in October as one of the worst outbreaks of the disease in decades continues, Health Protection Agency figures for England and Wales show.

It brings the number of deaths in newborns, who are most at risk of fatal complications, to 13 this year.

There were 1,614 infections last month, bringing the total to 7,728 this year.

A UK-wide campaign to vaccinate pregnant women, to pass protection on to their children, is under way.

There are surges in whooping cough cases every three to four years. However, the current outbreak has affected nearly 10 times as many people as the previous outbreak in 2008.

There have been more than 1,600 cases reported in Scotland and around 200 cases in Northern Ireland, but no deaths.

Immune system

Whooping cough

  • It is also known as pertussis and is caused by a species of bacteria, Bordetella pertussis
  • It mostly affects infants, who are at highest risk of complications and even death
  • The earliest signs are similar to a common cold, which then develop into a cough and can even result in pneumonia
  • Babies may turn blue while coughing due to a lack of oxygen
  • The cough tends to come in short bursts followed by desperate gasps for air (the whooping noise)
  • Adults can be infected – but the infection often goes unrecognised

The infection can stop a baby breathing or lead to pneumonia, brain damage, weight loss and death.

Newborns are most vulnerable as they are too young to be vaccinated – doses are given at two, three and four months of age.

Pregnant women, between 28 and 38 weeks, are now being offered a whooping cough vaccine. It should prompt the mother’s immune system to create more antibodies to attack the whooping cough bacterium. The antibodies should pass from the mother to the child in the womb and offer protection when a baby is born.

In August, there were 72 infections in children under one. That fell to 67 when the vaccination programme started in September and fell again to 46 in October. However, it is too soon to tell if vaccination is making a difference.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation at the HPA, said: “The October figures show a continuing rise in the overall number of whooping cough cases.

“While there has been a decline in the number of infant cases it’s important to emphasise that it’s too early to see any impact from the pregnancy vaccination programme.

“We strongly recommend all pregnant women take up the offer of vaccination.”

Graph showing cases of whooping cough

Routine vaccination was introduced in 1957. Before then cases could affect more than 100,000 people and kill 300 in a single year.

Health experts do not know why the outbreak is so large this year, especially as vaccination for whooping cough is at record levels.

One theory is that the bacterium that causes the infection, Bordetella pertussis, has mutated.

Another idea is that tight control of whooping cough is part of the problem. People’s immunity to whooping cough is boosted throughout life by being regularly exposed to it.

However, after years of low levels of whooping cough the whole population may have been left more vulnerable to the infection.

BBC

美国为士兵研发口服疫苗 对抗花粉过敏

春天是个美丽的季节,百花盛开,许多鸟儿会在树上快乐的唱着歌,人们也终于摆脱了冬天的寒冷和臃肿。然而,对于过敏症患者来说,这是个最难以容忍的季节,因为有大量的花粉。美国国防高级研究计划局(DARPA)正在为过敏人群研发新口服疫苗。

春天是个美丽的季节,百花盛开,许多鸟儿会在树上快乐的唱着歌,人们也终于摆脱了冬天的寒冷和臃肿。然而,对于过敏症患者来说,这是个最难以容忍的季节,因为有大量的花粉。美国国防高级研究计划局(DARPA)正在为过敏人群研发新口服疫苗。

研究人员认为,他们已经找到了一种解决方案。他们希望能够铲出花粉的内容物,只留下低过敏性的外壳。然后科学家们将疫苗填充到花粉外壳中。之所以这样做,是希望疫苗借着花粉外壳的保护在消化过程中存活下来,以确保疫苗最终到达目的地。

如果成功的话,口服疫苗很可能优先为军人使用。为了更有效地为士兵服务,DARPA已经资助了许多健康、医疗项目。DARPA最近资助的项目有,创造微型传感器用于体内诊断,治疗,并开发出人体微型生物芯片器官,使药物检测的速度更快。

该口服疫苗项目是由DARPA资助美国德州理工大学研发的。

医药日报发布

 

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