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Archive for July 17, 2013

Zucchini Fritters

zucchini-fritters-646

INGREDIENTS

Soy Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Crushed red pepper flakes

Fritters

1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), grated

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning

1 large egg

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup vegetable oil

PREPARATION

Soy Dipping Sauce

Mix vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Fritters

Place zucchini in a colander set in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then wring zucchini dry in a clean kitchen towel. Place zucchini in a large bowl and gently mix in egg, flour, chives, and cornstarch; season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, drop 1/4-cupfuls zucchini mixture into skillet, flattening slightly; cook until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to a paper towel–lined plate; season with salt. Serve with soy dipping sauce.

DO AHEAD: Fritters can be made 30 minutes ahead. Keep warm in a 200° oven.

via Zucchini Fritters Recipe: Bon Appétit.

An app to make maids smarter – YouTube


A mobile application to equip domestic workers with crucial knowledge about taking care of the elderly will soon be made available.

via An app to make maids smarter – YouTube.

via An app to make maids smarter – Videos | The Star Online.

Sharp rise of 8% in UK animal experiments

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There was an increase in mutant mice used

The number of animal experiments carried out in the UK rose by 8% in 2012, according to Home Office figures.

The rise is due to an expansion in the use of genetically modified animals.

According to the way the Home Office classifies statistics, procedures on GM animals were higher than the number on non-GM animals for the first time.

Campaigners criticised what they said was the government’s failure to deliver on a post-election pledge to cut the number of procedures.

About 4.11 million scientific experiments on animals took place in 2012, an increase of 317,200 on the previous year.

The number of GM animals increased by 22%; this year saw 1.91 million genetically modified (GM) animals used compared to 1.68 million non-GM animals.

Mutant mice


Analysis

image of Pallab Ghosh
Pallab GhoshScience correspondent, BBC News

Since the coalition’s commitment to reduce the use of animals, the number used in research and the number of experiments has steadily continued to rise and there is no reason to believe that that trend won’t continue.

I asked the head of animals in the Home Office’s science regulation unit, Dr Judy MacArthur Clark, whether her department would ever be able to deliver on the coalition government’s commitment to “reduce the use of animals in scientific research”.

She replied: “We are reducing the use of animals in many areas and we are working on a delivery plan that will tease out what is meant by the phraseology of the commitment”.

So that would be a “no”. Her answer also suggests that Dr MacArthur Clark’s delivery plan might backtrack from the commitment to reduce the use of animals in absolute terms and replace it with a promise to try really hard to reduce the use of animals wherever possible, which has been the policy of successive governments since 1998.

Dr MacArthur Clark also said that the Home Office believed that a “significant number” of genetically modified animals suffer mildly or hardly at all. Her unit has commissioned research to establish whether this is true. If so it would go some way to helping the department’s cause because if the GM animals are removed from the figures, they would show a 2% drop in the use of animals rather than an 8% increase.


Mice were the most frequent animals used, accounting for about three-quarters, or 1.98 million procedures.

After mice, rats and fish were the most common species used. There was also a 22% increase in the use of non-human primates such as Old World Monkeys, a group which includes macaques and baboons.

The number of procedures involving animals with harmful genetic mutations rose by 13%, with mutant mice accounting for the majority.

The government report said: “The overall level of scientific procedures is determined by a number of factors, including the economic climate and global trends in scientific endeavour.

“In recent years, while many types of research have declined or even ended, the advent of modern scientific techniques has opened up new research areas, with genetically modified animals, mainly mice, often being required to support these areas.”

Lord Taylor, minister for criminal information, said that the government “provides a commitment to work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research” which is “an ambitious but achievable goal”.

He added: “We recognise that the use of animals in scientific research is a small but essential function in improving our understanding of medical and physiological conditions, the research and development of new medicines and the development of leading edge medical technologies and is necessary to ensure the safety of our environment.”

‘Broken promise’

In 2010 the coalition government pledged to promote higher standards of animal welfare.

They stated: “We will end the testing of household products on animals and work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research.”

Referring to this pledge, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (Buav) said the continued rise in testing amounted to “a broken promise”.

Michelle Thew, chief executive of Buav, commented: “The Government has failed for a third year on its post-election pledge to work to reduce the number of animal experiments and, as a result, millions of animals continue to suffer and die in our laboratories.

“This lack of progress is completely unacceptable. We need to see meaningful and lasting changes for animals in laboratories.”

‘Essential part’

Dominic Wells from the Royal Veterinary College said: “We are in an era of developing treatments for rare diseases in a way that we were could not have predicted five years ago. We are the victims of our own success and this has inevitably led to the use of more animals.”

Dr Ted Bianco, acting director of the Wellcome Trust said that the scientific community is deeply committed to reducing the numbers of animals used in research, but despite significant progress, “animals remain an essential part of helping us understand disease and develop much-needed new treatments”.

“This year’s increase reflects the use of powerful techniques to help us model with greater accuracy human disease. In particular, the inclusion of genetically-modified mice, whose breeding alone counts as a procedure, is largely behind this increase, but will ultimately allow us to reduce the number of animals used.”

via BBC News – Sharp rise of 8% in UK animal experiments.

Dementia risk in UK going down, suggests study

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Experts hope the downward trend will continue

Older people’s risk of getting dementia is going down in the UK, research suggests.

A study in the Lancet reveals a smaller proportion of older people living in Britain now have the condition than experts had predicted.

Researchers say it could be a reflection of improving public health.

The work looks at three areas of England – Cambridgeshire, Nottingham and Newcastle – and compares dementia rates in people born 20 years apart.

Based on 1991 trends, experts had predicted 8% of over-65s would have dementia in 2011.

The actual figure for 2011 turned out to be just over 6%, the Cambridge University team discovered.


This could be because known risk factors for dementia are on the decline”

Co-researcher Prof Tony Arthurfrom the University of East Anglia

Applied to the whole UK, it would mean there are 214,000 fewer cases of dementia than predicted – a 24% reduction.

This suggests there are 670,000 people living in the UK with dementia, rather than the 800,000 – 900,000 figure that experts currently cite.

Managing disease

Prof Carol Brayne and colleagues who carried out the analysis say the UK is still seeing more cases of dementia year on year as a whole because of the nation’s ageing population.

More people are living to increasingly old ages, at which they are expected to be at the highest risk of dementia.

But for the individual, the study findings appear to be good news.

Co-researcher Prof Tony Arthur, from the University of East Anglia, said: “When you compared the two cohorts born 20 years apart you see that dementia prevalence has gone down.

“This could be because known risk factors for dementia are on the decline.”

He said there had been improvements in managing cardiovascular disease, which has been linked to an increased risk of dementia.

“More people are spending more time in education as well which might be protective,” he added.

Dr Eric Karran of Alzheimer’s Research UK said the study was robust and made reliable comparisons by looking at two groups of over-65s from the same geographical regions and using the same assessment and analysis tools, 20 years apart.

“One interpretation of the findings is that general health and health management has improved to the extent that it has helped reduce dementia risk, which is encouraging news for us all,” he said.

“However, this study clearly demonstrates that the risk of dementia can change with time, and for future birth cohorts it will be important to track, for example, the effects of the increase in obesity in the general population.”

The Alzheimer’s Society agreed, saying: “While this is good news, this is one study which needs careful examination and may not indicate a continuing trend.

“For example, we also know that other risk factors such as obesity are in fact increasing.

“Dementia remains the biggest health and social care challenge facing the UK. Today’s research doesn’t mean we can take our eye off the ball. With no cure, few effective treatments and an economic impact dwarfing that of cancer and heart disease, more research is needed to identify the causes of dementia and how to reduce people’s risk.”

The results are part of the MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study of more than 15,000 older people.

via BBC News – Dementia risk in UK going down, suggests study.

Sixth Legionnaires’ case linked to Renfrew area

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This is the sixth case of Legionnaires’ Disease linked to the Renfrew area

 

A sixth case of Legionnaires’ Disease has been identified by health officials in the Renfrew area.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) said the new case was responding well to treatment at home and has not required hospital treatment.

The previously five cases, which were also in the Renfrew area, have all recovered and left hospital.

The health board and Health and Safety Executive are continuing investigations into the source of the outbreak.

Dr Gillian Penrice, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s consultant in public health, said: “Given the two week incubation period of the disease it was always a possibility that some further cases may be identified.

“I am pleased however that this individual has a mild form of the disease and is responding well to treatment at home.”

Dr Penrice added: “We have notified all community GPs and our frontline hospital teams to keep this outbreak uppermost in their minds when dealing with patients displaying symptoms of headache, fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties, stomach pains and diarrhoea.”

Anyone with these symptoms is urged to contact NHS 24 or their own GP.

via BBC News – Sixth Legionnaires’ case linked to Renfrew area.

Lobbyists puff and blow over new EU tobacco rules

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Olivier Hoedeman criticises the tobacco industry’s lobbying tactics in Brussels

 

Olivier Hoedeman takes people on unusual tours of Brussels – he opens their eyes to the billions of euros that multinationals, unions and campaign groups spend trying to shape – even rewrite – the European laws made there.

The research and campaign coordinator of Corporate Europe Observatory – which monitors lobbying – pauses outside a smart office block, a few streets away from the European Parliament.

He points to the second floor and the offices of British American Tobacco. It has seven full-time lobbyists here and Mr Hoedeman says the tobacco industry as a whole employs around 100 in Brussels, spending more than 5m euros (£4.3m; $6.6m) a year.

Those numbers have grown as the industry fights proposed new regulation.

The European Commission is beefing up the Tobacco Products Directive, to try to dissuade young people from smoking.

So, for example, there would be a ban on menthol cigarettes and some other flavourings and bigger pictorial health warnings on packets.

Lobbying battlefield

Tobacco firms “directly lobby MEPs, trying to meet with him or her to talk them into tabling amendments, but also [organise] social events, like dinner parties for MEPs’ assistants,” Mr Hoedeman says.

“We have already seen in several of the votes of committees of parliament that the Commission’s proposals are being weakened. It shows they’re gaining ground and achieving that goal.”


Linda McAvan MEP

Why don’t they just operate like every other company that lobbies the European Parliament? ”

Linda McAvanMEP

The lobbying appears to be having an impact. Almost 1,500 amendments to the tobacco directive have been tabled.

The EU’s health ministers, for example, voted to drop a ban on slim cigarettes, and reduce the size of the graphic health warnings, from the 75% the European Commission wanted, to 65%.

But last week the parliament’s public health committee voted to keep that ban, as well as a ban on cigarette flavourings, and backed the 75% target. So more hard bargaining lies ahead, and the full parliament will vote on 10 September.

The EU has an online database of lobbyists called the Transparency Register. But it does not tell the whole story: the register is voluntary and hundreds of lobbyists simply choose not to reveal themselves. There is no information about whom they have lobbied.

Special rules are supposed to apply to the tobacco industry. The EU has signed up to a World Health Organization treaty which says politicians should avoid meeting tobacco companies; if they must, the meeting has to be transparent.

But the British MEP piloting the tobacco legislation through parliament, Linda McAvan, says that away from the main lobbying battlefield the tobacco companies have been firing salvoes below the radar.

She accuses one of ringing her constituency office, posing as a representative of small retailers to demand an urgent meeting.

‘Legal company’

EU Commissioner Tonio Borg with cigarette pack, 19 Dec 12
Tonio Borg from Malta is now negotiating for the EU Commission on the revised directive

 
Other tobacco lobbyists, she said, have been handing out anonymous amendments to MEPs, in the hope they will be put forward.

“If they think it’s legitimate, why are doing it like that? Why don’t they just operate like every other company that lobbies the European Parliament and just send it out in a normal email? I think they know that if people know they’re from the tobacco industry, they’ll be suspicious of the arguments they make,” said Ms McAvan.

Ronan Barry describes himself as a corporate affairs professional for British American Tobacco and heads their Brussels lobbying operation, which cost nearly 1m euros to run last year.

He says his company is always open and honest, and he does not recognise the tactics described by the MEP.

He believes tobacco companies have as much right to meet MEPs as any other business and says the scale of the tobacco lobby is often exaggerated.

“We sell a legal product and are a legal company and therefore have a role to play in communicating our point of view to people who make decisions that impact upon us.

There are certainly at least as many lobbyists arguing against our positions as there are arguing for them, so it’s not true to say there are armies of us here lobbying,” said Mr Barry.

A British Conservative MEP, Martin Callanan, echoed that view. “This idea they put across that it’s a sort of David and Goliath – these industrial giants with thousands of well-paid, suited lobbyists and only one or two little NGOs representing the oppressed common man is very, very far from the truth – it’s the other way round if anything.”

On average, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Brussels get 43% of their funding from EU institutions.

‘Billions of euros’

In the past year the lobbying debate on both sides has been overshadowed by a scandal involving the former commissioner who was supposed to be driving the tobacco directive, John Dalli.

At the centre of so-called “Dalligate” is an allegation that a friend of Mr Dalli asked for 60m euros to overturn a ban on snus – a moist chewing tobacco which you put under your lip.

Mr Dalli and his friend both strenuously deny the allegation.

An investigation by Europe’s anti-fraud office Olaf says that although it has circumstantial evidence linking Mr Dalli to the bribe request, that evidence is not conclusive.

Speaking from his home in Malta, Mr Dalli claims he is the victim of a conspiracy: “I was considered as a person who was very hard on the tobacco industry and they didn’t want that during their campaign.

“I’m already hearing about a lot of dilution that is being made to the directive because of the tobacco lobbies that have been very active.

“I’m afraid that what’s going to go through, if it goes through, is not as effective as one would like and what is the gain? The gain is billions of euros.”

via BBC News – Lobbyists puff and blow over new EU tobacco rules.

澱粉恐懼症上身?恐酮酸中毒易復胖

說到國內外名人愛用的減肥方法,「吃肉減肥法」可說是赫赫有名且沿用已久。吃肉減重法號稱可幫助身體燃燒脂肪,達到快速瘦身的目地,瘦身,重點是飲食內容必須謹守「高蛋白、低澱粉」的原則。

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不吃澱粉只吃肉類等蛋白質的減重法,可能會造成身體出現酮酸中毒的現象。

神內科吳栢瑞醫師指出,許多民眾在沒有專業人士的指導下逕自施行吃肉減重法,甚至將澱粉視為減重大敵,使得向來以米飯麵包為主食的人對澱粉類是又愛又怕,徒增減重的壓力。再者,在沒有專業指導的狀況下,長期吃高蛋白飲食對腎臟負擔極大,還有可能有酮酸中毒的危險。

強迫身體加班 系統過勞機制破壞

徐暉然藥師指出,當人體吸收的碳水化合物不足時,身體沒有足夠的醣,只好燃燒蛋白質和脂肪來供應能量,這個燃燒的過程會產生酮體(ketone bodies),然而酮體是無法被身體吸收利用的,因此身體還必須加班將這些酮體排出體外,而在這排出的過程因為會帶走大量的水分與離子,所以能達到減輕體重的效果。

不過,當人體收到醣類不足的訊息,擔心能量無法繼續供應時,會更努力將攝取的食物轉變為脂肪,且加倍儲存起來,以備應變不時之需。此時,若未能注意正確的食物選擇,脂肪的儲存量會比以往更甚,且更容易復胖。

增腎臟負擔 膽固醇升高

至於其他的負面影響,徐暉然藥師也指出,高蛋白飲食會增加腎臟負擔,腎功能受損者更會加速腎臟惡化的速度;高蛋白食物所含的普林(purine)量也偏高,在人體代謝後會增加尿酸濃度,誘發痛風發作。而高膽固醇和飽和脂肪飲食也會增加血液膽固醇(CH)和壞膽固醇(LDL)濃度,易引起血管動脈硬化,增加心血管疾病的發生機率。

另外,肉類食物偏酸,維生素B、C和纖維素含量較少,也缺乏鈣、磷等成分,雖然很耐餓,但因為缺乏人體必要的營養素,易導致代謝功能紊亂,引起手腳發軟、嘴巴發臭、長痘痘等現象。

矯正代謝 體內平衡打造永瘦體質

坊間流行的哪一種「單一飲食減重法」,大多強調能快速、有效減重,但是沒有任何一種食物是可以完整人體所需的所有營養素,因此飲食上首重均衡攝取,才是能夠長久維持體重的最大前提。

如果真的怕攝取澱粉會長肉,徐暉然藥師表示,可以選擇低GI值的澱粉類,並將澱粉放在早、午兩餐吃,晚餐則以清淡蔬果、蛋白質食物為主,就可以享受澱粉不發胖。

via 澱粉恐懼症上身?恐酮酸中毒易復胖 | 20130717 | 華人健康網.

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