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Archive for September 1, 2013



Getodo – Easy to-do lists and tasks (4 stars with 105 User Ratings) 
iPhone App 
$0.99 → Free 

Getodo is an iPhone task management app that connects you and other users and allows you to create tasks to complete for one another. Did your husband forget the milk? Send him a reminder via Getodo and it will pop up on his iPhone. You do have to create an account, but once you’ve done that, you’ll find that the incredibly easy and intuitive gesture based controls (similar to Clear, another popular to-do app) will have you acting like a “get things done” pro in no time. Grab it today for yourself and your friends/family and get things done.

via Best Free Apps of the Day on 8/31. AvgNite Cam, HT Recorder for iPad, Lens Lab, & More! | App Chronicles.

Chicken Tikka Masala



6 garlic cloves, finely grated

4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger

4 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise

3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup tomato paste

6 cardamom pods, crushed

2 dried chiles de árbol or 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish

Steamed basmati rice (for serving)



  • Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.
  • Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.
  • Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.
  • Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs. DO AHEAD: Chicken can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat before serving.

via Chicken Tikka Masala – Bon Appétit.

‘Molecular basis’ for jet lag found

Scientists believe they have figured out why it takes us so long to adapt when we travel to new time zones.

Researchers at Oxford University say they have found the “molecular brakes” that prevent light resetting the body clock when we fly – causing jet lag.

Experiments, reported in the journal Cell, showed “uncoupling” these brakes in mice allowed them to rapidly adapt.

Researchers hope the discovery will help find new drugs for jet lag and mental health treatments.

The body clock keeps us in tune with the pattern of day and night. It means we sleep at night, but also affects hunger, mood and blood pressure.

Light acts like a reset button to keep the clock to time, but when we fly around the world it takes time for our body clocks to adjust. The resulting fatigue, which can last for days, is known as jet lag

Master clock

The research team, funded by The Wellcome Trust, was trying to figure out why people do not instantly adapt. They looked in mice as all mammals have the same core body clock mechanisms.

They focused on the “master clock” in a part of the brain, which keeps the rest of the body in sync, called the suprachiasmatic nuclei

They were looking for sections of DNA that changed their activity levels in response to light.

This provides a molecular basis for jet lag and as a result new targets for potentially developing new drugs”

Prof Russell FosterOxford University

They found a huge numbers of genes were activated, but then a protein called SIK1 went round turning them all off again. It was acting as a brake by limiting the effect of light.

Experiments to reduce the function of SIK1 meant the mice could rapidly adjust their body clock when it was shifted six hours – the equivalent of a flight from the UK to India.


Prof Russell Foster told the BBC: “We reduced levels by 50-60%, which is big enough to get a very, very big effect. What we saw was the mice would actually advance their clock six hours within a day [rather than taking six days for untreated mice].

“We’ve know there’s been a brake on the clock for some time, but we had absolutely no idea what it is, this provides a molecular basis for jet lag and as a result new targets for potentially developing new drugs.”

He said some mental health disorders including schizophrenia were linked to an out-of-tune body clock, so these findings may open up new areas for research.

The brakes are likely to be in place to prevent the body clock from becoming erratic and being reset by artificial or moon light.

Dr Akhilesh Reddy, a specialist in the body clock, at the University of Cambridge, was very confident that treatments would follow as “it is a very drugable target and I would suspect there are lots of potential drugs already developed”.

He told the BBC: “We have known a lot about the basis of jet lag and why it occurs.

“This shows how you can get into the brain and manipulated the clock, which is why this study is important.

“We have drugs which can make the clock shorter or longer, what we need is to shift it to a new time zone and that is what they have done.”

via BBC News – ‘Molecular basis’ for jet lag found.

Blueberries, not fruit juice, cut type-2 diabetes risk

Blueberries and apples contain high levels of anthocyanins

Eating more fruit, particularly blueberries, apples and grapes, is linked to a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes, suggests a study in the British Medical Journal.

Blueberries cut the risk by 26% compared with 2% for three servings of any whole fruit – but fruit juice did not appear to have the same effect.

The research looked at the diets of more than 187,000 people in the US.

But Diabetes UK said the results of the study should be treated with caution.

Researchers from the UK, US and Singapore used data from three large studies of nurses and health professionals in the US to examine the link between fruit consumption and the risk of contracting type-2 diabetes.

What is type-2 diabetes?

Diabetes is an incurable condition in which the body cannot control blood sugar levels, because of problems with the hormone insulin.

In type-2 diabetes, either the pancreas cells do not make enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react properly to it. This is known as insulin resistance.

What is diabetes?

In these studies, 6.5% of participants (12,198 out of 187,382) developed type-2 diabetes.

The studies used food frequency questionnaires to follow up the participants every four years, asking how often, on average, they ate a standard portion of each fruit.

The fruits used in the study were grapes or raisins, peaches, plums or apricots, prunes, bananas, cantaloupe, apples or pears, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries and blueberries.

The researchers’ analysis of the data showed that three servings per week of blueberries, grapes and raisins, and apples and pears significantly reduced the risk of type-2 diabetes.

While all fruit was shown to reduce the risk, these fruits appeared to be particularly effective.

The researchers said this could be due to the fact these fruits contain high levels of anthocyanins, which have been shown to enhance glucose uptake in mice. The same fruits contain naturally-occurring polyphenols which are known to have beneficial effects.

The juicing process gets rid of the fruit, just leaving fluids which are absorbed more quickly.”

Prof Qi SunHarvard Medical School

In the study paper, they wrote: “Fruits have highly variable contents of fibre, antioxidants, other nutrients, and phytochemicals that jointly may influence the risk.”

But the glycaemic load of different types of fruit – the quality and quantity of carbohydrate they contain – did not fully explain the results, the study said.

Juice effect

When they looked at the effects of fruit juice consumption, the researchers found a slightly increased risk of type-2 diabetes.

The study calculated that replacing weekly fruit juice consumption with whole fruits could bring health benefits.

For example, replacing fruit juice with blueberries could reduce the risk of contracting type-2 diabetes by 33%, with grapes and raisins by 19%, apples and pears by 13% – and with any combination of whole fruit by 7%.

Replacing fruit juice with oranges, peaches, plums and apricots had a similar effect.

Qi Sun, study author and assistant professor at Harvard School of Public Health, said, in general, fruit juices contained less of the beneficial compounds found in whole fruits.

Pouring orange juice
Whole fruits are preferable to fruit juice, the study says

“The juicing process gets rid of the fruit, just leaving fluids which are absorbed more quickly, causing blood sugars and insulin levels to rise if they contain sugars.

“To try to minimise the risk of type-2 diabetes as much as possible it is reasonable to reduce fruit juice consumption and increase consumption of whole fruits.”

Experts say the best way to reduce your risk of developing type-2 diabetes is to eat a balanced, healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables and to be as physically active as possible.


Dr Matthew Hobbs, head of research for Diabetes UK, said the study provided further evidence that eating plenty of whole fruit was a key part of the balanced diet that will minimise the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

However, he said the links between type-2 diabetes and specific types of fruit or fruit drinks should be treated with caution.

“Some of the findings are based on a number of assumptions and models which may have distorted the results significantly.

“For example, the researchers used surveys to ask participants how often they ate certain foods. This type of survey can often be unreliable as people are more likely to remember certain types of food.”

Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester, said the large study showed that eating any fruit is good.

“Eating all kinds of fruit works and there is still a reduction in risk.

“The government recommends eating five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.”

via BBC News – Blueberries, not fruit juice, cut type-2 diabetes risk.

Insomniacs’ brains lose focus, scans suggest


Brain scans of people who say they have insomnia have shown differences in brain function compared with people who get a full night’s sleep.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, said the poor sleepers struggled to focus part of their brain in memory tests.

Other experts said that the brain’s wiring may actually be affecting perceptions of sleep quality.

The findings were published in the journal Sleep.

People with insomnia struggle to sleep at night, but it also has consequences during the day such as delayed reaction times and memory.

The study compared 25 people who said they had insomnia with 25 who described themselves as good sleepers. MRI brain scans were carried out while they performed increasingly challenging memory tests.

One of the researchers, Prof Sean Drummond, said: “We found that insomnia subjects did not properly turn on brain regions critical to a working memory task and did not turn off ‘mind-wandering’ brain regions irrelevant to the task.

“This data helps us understand that people with insomnia not only have trouble sleeping at night, but their brains are not functioning as efficiently during the day.”

A sleep researcher in the UK, Dr Neil Stanley, said that the quality of the sleep each group was having was very similar, even though one set was reporting insomnia.

He said: “What’s the chicken and what’s the egg? Is the brain different and causing them to report worse sleep?

“Maybe they’re perceiving what happened in the night differently; maybe what is affecting their working memory and ability to focus on the task at hand is also causing insomnia.”

via BBC News – Insomniacs’ brains lose focus, scans suggest.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital ‘shackled’ to fast food contract

The hospital’s food court includes a hamburger chain and a pizza chain


The boss of a Cambridge hospital has told the BBC he would like to ban fast food from the site, but is “contractually shackled” to provide it.

Dr Keith McNeil, chief executive of Addenbrooke’s, already plans to ban smoking at the site from January.

He was asked if he also planned to ban fast food, and remove certain outlets from the hospital’s food court.

Dr McNeil said: “If we could we would, but at the moment we’re contractually shackled… but that’s next, yes.”

The hospital has a number of cafes and restaurants, including a burger chain and a pizza chain.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Addenbrooke’s, did not want to comment further on Dr McNeil’s statement.

But a spokesman said the hospital offered a number of healthy food options to staff, visitors and patients using the food court.

He added: “We continue to work with our retail partners to ensure there are balanced food choices available… and are implementing further healthy options in the very near future.”

The hospital’s contract with Gentian, a company which owns and manages retail facilities within NHS hospitals, runs until 2024.

via BBC News – Addenbrooke’s Hospital ‘shackled’ to fast food contract.

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