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Archive for January 27, 2013

Iceberg Wedge with Warm Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing


  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese
  • Buttermilk (optional)
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large head of iceberg lettuce, cut into 6 wedges, each with some core attached
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced


  • Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add blue cheese and stir until well blended. If too thick, thin with buttermilk by tablespoonfuls to desired consistency. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
  • Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until golden brown and beginning to crisp. Arrange lettuce on plates. Spoon dressing over. Using slotted spoon, transfer warm bacon from skillet onto salads, dividing equally. Garnish with red onion.

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NCI QuitPal was developed by the National Cancer Institute using the latest evidence-based smoking cessation methods and behavior change theory.

Available on the App Store

Swine flu infected ‘fifth of people’


By James GallagherHealth and Science reporter, BBC News

At least 20% of people, including half of schoolchildren, were infected with swine flu during the first year of the pandemic in 2009, according to data from 19 countries.

It is thought the virus killed 200,000 people around the world.

A World Health Organization-led study looked for evidence of the body’s immune system fighting the virus.

It showed large numbers of people had been infected, although not all would have developed full-blown flu.

The H1N1 virus first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread around the world.


What is a virus?

H1N1 virus
  • Virus particles – known as virions – are tiny particles responsible for viral infection
  • Typically 100 times smaller than human cells
  • Viruses present wherever there are cells to infect and are most common biological entities on earth
  • Influenza kills a very small proportion of those it infects but viruses such as HIV, polio and smallpox (now eradicated) can be more deadly

An international group of researchers looked at more than 90,000 blood samples before and during the pandemic in countries including India, Australia and the UK.

They looked for antibodies which are produced when the body is infected with H1N1.

By comparing the figures before and during the pandemic, the researchers can determine how many people were infected as the virus spread around the world.

Approximately 24% of people had been infected overall, but half of school-age children showed signs of infection.

One of the researchers, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove from Imperial College London, said fewer than two in every 10,000 people infected died during the pandemic.

“However, those that did die are much younger than in seasonal flu so the years of life lost will be much more,” she told the BBC.

“The figures drive home how incredibly infectious the virus is,” she said.

Many older people, who typically die during outbreaks of flu, were protected as they had been exposed to the virus decades before.

Prof John Oxford, a virology expert at Queen Mary, University of London, said the figures “make sense”.

“It was the busiest virus on the block and it displaced other influenza viruses – it was the only virus in town.”

He said a similar pattern would be expected in other countries which were not analysed in the study.


Flu, weather drain blood donation supplies

Blood donations

Agencies are encouraging healthy individuals to give blood.(Photo: Toby Talbot, AP)


While there are no shortages yet, agencies are experiencing low levels in several types of blood and are encouraging people to give blood if they’re healthy.

As flu and frigid weather force many people across the nation to stay bundled up inside, blood banks are reporting donors are canceling appointments and supplies are dropping.

“The American Red Cross is seeing a lower-than-expected turnout,” says Stephanie Millian, director of biomedical communications at the American Red Cross. “We’ve even had seven blood drives canceled because of the weather in the Great Lakes area. Flu season is hitting us in other parts of the country. ”

While none of the agencies responsible for collecting blood is reporting a shortage, they are experiencing low levels in several types of blood and are encouraging people to give blood if they’re healthy.

About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital will require blood transfusions, according to America’s Blood Centers. Blood is used to treat accident victims, cancer patients, hemophiliacs and surgery patients.

The greatest need is for O-negative blood, a type often called for in emergencies because it’s a type any patient can use, says Millian. Only 7% of people are O-negative.

“We like to keep a five- to seven-day supply of all blood types on hand, and we’re under a three-day supply now,” says Jim Fox, director of communications at the New York Blood Center. Bone-chilling temperatures in New York fell into the teens this week, with wind chills below zero.

“When it’s as cold outside as it’s been here, most people like to stay indoors,” Fox says. “But people with leukemia and other cancers don’t have that option. They need blood transfusions. When we get weather like we’ve been having, we start to worry about supplies.”

Mother Nature might help out soon. A warming trend is expected next week across parts of the nation. The flu is reported in all 50 states but is leveling off in many, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. However some parts of the country, especially the Southwest and Northwest, are showing increases.

In Arizona, parts of Texas and in the Northwest, where United Blood Services serves hospitals, it is seeing a drop in donations and a rise in demand.

“We’re struggling to fill blood orders for 145 hospitals in the Arizona area,” says Sue Thew, spokeswoman for United Blood Services in Arizona.

Demand is above normal, Thew said, because hospitals delay many elective surgeries until after the holiday season.

“Hopefully, we can get everyone feeling better soon and back to giving blood,” says Ashley Messick, communications specialist for United Blood Services. “It’s not only people with the flu who are staying away but also their caregivers. We need to restock levels. We’re meeting needs now by shifting blood around to areas where it’s needed.”


Chemical defects ‘last generations’

Genetic analysis

Genetic changes may be passed down the generations

Scientists believe they have shown exposure to certain chemicals in the womb can cause changes that are passed through generations.

There is no firm evidence of this in humans, but Washington State University research showed a clear effect in rats.

They isolated defects linked to kidney and ovary disease and even obesity.

The work implicates a class of chemicals found in certain plastics, as well as one found in jet fuel.

The idea of “epigenetics” – that parents do not just pass their genes to their children, but subtle differences in the way those genes operate – is one of the fastest growing areas of scientific study.

Your great-grandmother’s exposures during pregnancy may cause disease in you”

Dr Michael SkinnerWashington State University

The work of Dr Michael Skinner centres around the effects that certain chemicals can have on these processes, if the female is exposed at key points during pregnancy.

So far they have documented measureable effects from a host of environmental pollutants including pesticides, fungicides, dioxins and hydrocarbons.

However, they stress that the results are not directly transferable to humans yet, as the levels of chemicals used on the rats were many times more concentrated than anything a person would experience in normal life.

There is no data on even how an animal would respond at different doses, and no clues as to how the chemicals are causing these changes.

Environmental impacts

The studies, published in the journals PLoS One and Reproductive Toxicology, looked at the impact of phthalates, chemicals found in some forms of plastics, and a substance called JP8, found in jet fuel.

Rats exposed to phthalates had offspring with higher rates of kidney and prostate disease, and their great-grandchildren had more disease of the testicles, ovaries and obesity.

Female rats exposed to the hydrocarbon JP8 at the point in pregnancy when their male foetuses were developing gonads had babies with more prostate and kidney abnormalities, and their great-grandchildren had reproductive anomalies, polycystic ovary disease and obesity.

Dr Skinner said: “Your great-grandmother’s exposures during pregnancy may cause disease in you, while you had no exposure.

“This is a non-genetic form of inheritance not involving DNA sequence, but environmental impacts on DNA chemical modifications.

“This is the first study to show the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease such as obesity.”

Andreas Kortenkamp, professor of human toxicology at Brunel University, said the results were “potentially very interesting”, but much more work would need to be carried out before any impact on humans could be considered.

He said: “This is an exploratory study, but the authors themselves are clear that the data do not allow the possible risk to people to be assessed.”

“There is a currently a lack of information about the dose-response relationship, and at this stage we are very unsure about the mechanisms that are involved.”


Older fathers: what’s behind the trend?

Man holding his new-born baby

Men may be waiting until they feel they can properly provide for their children before becoming fathers
Older fathers are no longer unusual. For the past 10 years, statistics show that nearly two-thirds of babies have been born to fathers aged 30 and over.

Are men taking longer to find their perfect mate – or has austerity just made them more focused and career-minded?

David Kesterton, parenthood and community project manager at the Family Planning Association, says there are a variety of sensible and practical reasons why men are having children later in life.

“There’s the economic reason that causes people to delay having children, the desire to focus on careers and the difficulties of buying your own home when young,” he says.

But he also speculates that it’s to do with the rise in second marriages for men, sometimes with younger women, which can mean becoming a father again at a more advanced age.

And of course we are all feeling healthier and living longer too.

“Forty is the new 30. Both men and women feel they have the energy for parenting later in life,” Kesterton says.

Stable family

Elizabeth Duff, senior policy adviser for the parenting charity NCT, agrees that potential parents are now tending to wait until they have the means to cope with bringing a baby into the world.

“This trend may be due to parents waiting until they are best placed to welcome their baby into a financially stable family setting, in addition to fewer teenage mothers, following moves to discourage very early parenthood.”

We can’t see changes in sperm quality so we suspect there is something happening to his DNA – or he’s having less sex.”

Dr Allan PaceySheffield University

When the 2011 figures from the Office of National Statistics are broken down, 29% of fathers were 30-34, 21% were aged 35-39 and 10% aged 40-44. Only 4.6% were 45 years or over.

So much for the grey-haired brigade. The figures suggest that men who become fathers in their 50s and 60s, such as Rod Stewart (66), Sir Paul McCartney (61), Clint Eastwood (66), Frank Skinner (55) and Gordon Brown (55), are still relatively uncommon.

A good thing perhaps, since research shows that men – as well as women – have a biological clock.

While a woman’s ability to reproduce greatly reduces after a certain age, which explains why only 0.3% of mothers in 2011 were over the age of 45, men can go on creating children as long as they can have sex.

Yet it is not all good news for the male of the species.

‘Lower IQ’

Dr Yacoub Kalaf, consultant in reproductive medicine and surgery at Guy’s Hospital, says that research suggests there is an age after which men suffer from reproductive ageing.

“Men over 45 may have offspring which have a higher likelihood of a neuro-cognitive disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. They could also be expected to have a slightly lower IQ.”

He cautions that these health risks are very small and that environmental factors must be taken into account as well. In the end, he says, when to have children is a very personal choice.

“Careers, experience, family – they all dictate when you start having children.

“If the choice is between taking a small risk or not having a child together, the couple will always opt for going for a child.”

Scientific studies show that around the age of 40, men also become less fertile.

‘Don’t wait’

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at Sheffield University, says experts do not yet know exactly why.

“We can’t see changes in sperm quality so we suspect there is something happening to a man’s DNA – or he’s having less sex.

“Research suggests older men find it harder to become fathers – and that is probably a sexual function issue.

“In any event, my advice would be for men to have children as young as possible – don’t wait until your 50s.”

The Family Planning Association runs Speakeasy courses helping parents to communicate with their children about difficult subjects like growing up, relationships and sex.

Although David Kesterton says it is harder to attract fathers to participate, he says older fathers can have a different relationship with their children.

“On the one hand, the older generation fathers are more conservative in what they feel confident talking about – but they also have the perspective of wisdom.

“Younger parents can feel closer to their children, but be more caught up in their pressures.”

Whatever your age, being an approachable father is always the best kind.


福氣啦! 過年哪些食物容易讓人發福?










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