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Archive for October 8, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup

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INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon kosher salt

10 whole black peppercorns

4 medium carrots, peeled, halved crosswise

2 celery stalks, cut into 3 pieces

2 onions, cut into eighths

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs thyme

3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, smashed

1 4-pound chicken

4 cups low-salt chicken broth

1 cup egg noodles

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

PREPARATION

Combine salt, peppercorns, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, parsley sprigs, and ginger in the pressure cooker pot. Place chicken on top; add broth and 3 cups water. (The liquid should not rise above the 2/3 marker.) Lock lid in place, making sure vent is sealed. Press Warm; set timer for 24 minutes and press Start to cook.

Let pressure release naturally. Remove lid and transfer chicken to a platter to cool. Strain broth into a large bowl. Remove carrots and let cool completely; discard other solids from strainer. Slice carrots into rounds. Remove skin from chicken and shred meat from the bones. Discard skin and bones.

Return broth to the pot. Press Warm; set timer for 20 minutes (add or subtract time as needed) and press Start. Bring to a boil; add shredded chicken, carrot rounds, and noodles and cook until noodles are al dente, about 10 minutes, depending on thickness of noodles. Press Cancel to stop cooking. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.

via Chicken Noodle Soup – Bon Appétit.

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via Best Free Apps of the Day on 10/7. iPoe, ColorPix, Life Charge, & More! | App Chronicles.

Microscopic ‘bacterial zoos’ built out of jelly

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Bacteria, green, in their zoo, coloured red

 

A “bacterial zoo” with microscopic cages built out of jelly has been constructed by US scientists.

Their findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could transform understanding of how bacteria behave in communities.

The bugs have different properties, which can make infections hard to treat, when they form colonies.

UK researchers said bacterial communities were poorly understood and the technology could lead to progress.

Big groups of bacteria can acquire antibiotic resistance where lone bacteria would be vulnerable. The nature of a community can affect how serious an infection becomes in open wounds or in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis.

Upgrade

Scientists have been growing bacteria in Petri dishes in the laboratory for more than a century.

But they do not replicate all the conditions inside the body and they cannot be used to manually build colonies of bacteria, one bacterium at a time.

Bacterial culture

A team of researchers at the University of Texas have used 3D printing to build colonies.

They mixed bacteria with a special form of gelatin and let it set so the bacteria were suspended like cocktail fruit in jelly.

They then fired a laser at the gelatin-bacteria mix.

The structure of the gelatin was altered at the point the laser beam was focused. The targeted gelatin proteins hooked up to each other so that when the rest of the gelatin was washed away it left the “cage”.

It allowed the researchers to build cages around individual, or small groups of bacteria in whatever shape they chose. By building up a number of cages, they could eventually build a “zoo”, with every bacterium exactly where the researchers wanted it.

The walls of the cage were able to keep the bacteria in place, but allow nutrients and signals to pass between cages.

Prof Jason Shear, from the University of Texas, said experiments had shown that one species of bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, could become more antibiotic resistant when growing with another Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

He told the BBC that the new technology could start to tackle questions about bacterial communities: “If a cluster develops antibiotic resistance, how large does it have to be, how many cells, what density is needed, is a low oxygen environment key?

“We’re starting to see that it really does matter how cells arrange themselves, it affects how antibiotic resistant a colony is, so it may ultimately inform therapies.”

Prof Ross Fitzgerald, from the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I think it is safe to say we know very little about bacterial communities.

“There are millions of bacteria in the gut, but we don’t know much about how they function or relate to each other and infectious diseases are often caused by more than one pathogen, co-infection is more common that we’d thought in the past.

“I think this technology does provide an opportunity to simulate better in the laboratory various bacterial communities that can be present in an infection.”

via BBC News – Microscopic ‘bacterial zoos’ built out of jelly.

New encephalitis outbreak in India’s Uttar Pradesh

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Over 6,500 children have died of encephalitis in the region since the first case was detected in 1978

 

Fifteen children have died in the past few days in a fresh outbreak of viral encephalitis in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, taking this year’s toll to 358.

The disease usually occurs during the monsoon season in Gorakhpur and adjoining areas and children are the worst affected.

More than 200 patients are still being treated at government hospitals.

At least 6,500 children have died of encephalitis in the region since the first case was detected in 1978.

Gorakhpur and adjoining districts which border Nepal in the foothills of the Himalayas are low-lying and prone to floods, providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes which commonly transmit the virus.

The Press Trust of India on Tuesday reported that 15 children had died of the disease in the past few days, taking this year’s toll in the state to 358.

Doctors say affected patients come from between 10 and 12 districts in the region, and are mostly the rural poor.

Until 2005, doctors say that the the majority of deaths were caused by Japanese encephalitis, a mosquito-borne virus.

Regular outbreak

But in the past seven years, children have been dying of other forms of viral encephalitis, the exact cause of which is unclear.

The diseases cause headaches and vomiting and can lead to coma, brain dysfunction, seizure and inflammation of the heart and kidney.

Doctors say children between the age of six months and 15 years are the worst affected.

A fifth of the children who survive have to live with neurological weaknesses, doctors say.

The government says it has tried to check the regular outbreak of encephalitis in the region.

Last week, India launched a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis as part of a national programme to fight the virus.

“Beginning with the first report in 1955 in Tamil Nadu state, the Japanese encephalitis virus has now spread to more than 171 districts in 19 states,” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said at the launch of the vaccine.

In 2005, a virulent outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in Gorakhpur killed 1,000 people, mostly children. This was the worst outbreak since 1978.

via BBC News – New encephalitis outbreak in India’s Uttar Pradesh.

UK firm seeks to market world’s first malaria vaccine

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Experts say that if malaria is to be defeated, the battle against it must be unrelenting

 

British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline is seeking regulatory approval for the world’s first malaria vaccine after trial data showed that it had cut the number of cases in African children.

Experts say that they are optimistic about the possibility of the world’s first vaccine after the trial results.

Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year.

Scientists say an effective vaccine is key to attempts to eradicate it.

The vaccine known as RTS,S was found to have almost halved the number of malaria cases in young children in the trial and to have reduced by about 25% the number of malaria cases in infants.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is developing RTS,S with the non-profit Path Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Many millions of malaria cases fill the wards of our hospitals,” said Halidou Tinto, a lead investigator on the RTS,S trial from Burkina Faso.

Mosquito larvae file photo
Malaria is caused by protozoan parasites that are transmitted by the bites of mosquitoes

“Progress is being made with bed nets and other measures, but we need more tools to battle this terrible disease.”

The malaria trial was Africa’s largest-ever clinical trial involving almost 15,500 children in seven countries.

The findings were presented at a medical meeting in Durban, South Africa.

“Based on these data, GSK now intends to submit, in 2014, a regulatory application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA),” GSK said in a statement.


Malaria

  • Malaria remains the leading cause of illness and death around the globe
  • Worldwide, a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds
  • The parasitic disease, carried by mosquitoes, kills around 800,000 people a year
  • Ninety per cent of all malaria cases are in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Making malaria vaccine available for routine use will be a major hallmark
  • But it will only be part of the solution to tackling this preventable infection
  • Bed nets, insect repellents, malaria drugs and targeted killing of mosquito breeding grounds are also key, say experts

Q&A Malaria

The company has been developing the vaccine for three decades.

The statement said that the hope now is that the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) may recommend the use of the RTS,S vaccine from as early as 2015 if EMA drugs regulators back its licence application.

Testing showed that 18 months after vaccination, children aged five to 17 months had a 46% reduction in the risk of clinical malaria compared to unvaccinated contemporaries.

But in infants aged six to 12 weeks at the time of vaccination, there was only a 27% reduction in risk.

A spokeswoman for GSK told the AFP news agency that the company would file its application to the EMA under a process aimed at facilitating new drugs for poorer countries.

UK politician Lynne Featherstone, International Development Minister, said: “Malaria is not just one of the world’s biggest killers of children, it also burdens health systems, hinders children’s development and puts a brake on economic growth. An effective malaria vaccine would have an enormous impact on the developing world.

“We welcome the scientific progress made by this research and look forward to seeing the full results in due course.”

via BBC News – UK firm seeks to market world’s first malaria vaccine.

MEPs tighten anti-tobacco laws aimed at young smokers

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BBC News asked a doctor and the owner of an e-cigarette shop in Paris for their views on the new law

 

Euro MPs have voted to tighten tobacco regulations aimed at putting young people off smoking, but some measures do not go as far as originally planned.

They rejected a European Commission proposal to treat electronic cigarettes as medicinal products – a move that would have restricted sales.

They backed a ban on cigarette flavourings – but with a five-year delay in the case of menthol.

Slim cigarettes will not be banned. EU ministers must now consider the plans.

Among other measures, MEPs voted on Tuesday to put health warnings on 65% of each cigarette pack, as opposed to the proposed 75%.

Linda McAvan, the Labour MEP steering the legislation, said 65% was still “a long way towards plain packaging”.

The current requirement for health warnings is for 30% minimum coverage on one side and 40% on the other.


Analysis

Duncan CrawfordBBC News, Strasbourg

MEPs spent hours debating these proposals. One said: “Smoking kills, it’s that simple”, arguing for the tougher regulations. But some questioned whether the proposals would significantly reduce smoking rates. Others were concerned about job losses.

In the end this was a mixed result for health campaigners. No ban on slim cigarettes, a delayed ban for menthol, health warnings to cover 65% of the packet – as opposed to the 75% proposed.

On e-cigarettes, proposals to regulate them as medicines EU-wide were rejected. That might pose complications for the UK Government; the regulator there has already backed the tougher regulations. Before the vote, EU officials had complained loudly about tobacco lobbyists trying to get MEPs to water down the plans and, from today’s evidence, it appears they were successful.

Still, this isn’t the end game for the legislation. There will now be negotiations between the European Parliament and the EU member states to decide on the final laws.

Packs of 10 cigarettes, considered popular among younger smokers, will also be banned.

Fourteen EU states already have 20 as the minimum, four stipulate a minimum of 19, and in the UK and Italy the minimum is 10.

Smaller than normal packs of roll-your-own tobacco will still be allowed under the new rules.

It was the European Parliament’s first reading of a draft tobacco directive which could become law in 2014. It would then take two more years to become law in each of the 28 EU member states.

There has been intense lobbying of MEPs by the tobacco industry and health campaigners.

Conservative and Liberal MEPs welcomed the amendments made to the original proposal from Labour’s Linda McAvan.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms McAvan said she was disappointed that slim cigarettes were not banned.

But cigarette packaging made to look like lipstick or perfume containers – attractive to girls – will disappear, she noted.

There will now be further negotiations with the Council – the grouping of relevant EU ministers. MEPs may manage to avoid a second vote and fast-track the legislation so that it is adopted before the May 2014 European elections.

The proposals also include a ban on words like “light”, “mild” and “low tar”, deemed to be misleading, and a ban on oral tobacco – called snus – although Sweden would retain its exemption.

EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg called the vote “positive”. “I am confident that the revised Directive on Tobacco Products can still be adopted within the mandate of the current Parliament,” he said.

But Carl Schlyter MEP, health spokesman for the Greens, called it “a shameful day for the European Parliament, as a centre-right majority, led by the EPP group, has done the bidding of the tobacco industry and voted for weaker rules”.

E-cigarette controversy

The UK has already said e-cigarettes will be licensed as medicine from 2016.

Sales of the tobacco-free devices have boomed worldwide since bans on smoking in public places were introduced.

E-cigarette (June 2013)
E-cigarettes run on a rechargeable battery and turn nicotine and other chemicals into an inhalable vapour.

But campaigners say their growing popularity is dangerous.

They argue that e-cigarettes undermine years of anti-smoking efforts and could be especially damaging to children and non-smokers.

The devices are designed to replicate smoking behaviour without the use of tobacco. They turn nicotine and other chemicals into a vapour that is inhaled.

Manufacturers of e-cigarettes say the products have the potential to save millions of lives.

Anti-smoking campaigners say young people especially are being tricked into taking up smoking.

“Tobacco products should look and taste like tobacco products,” saidCommissioner Borg, presenting the proposals.

The legislation would allow member states the option of plain, non-branded packaging “in duly justified cases”.

The Commission says almost 700,000 Europeans die from smoking-related illnesses each year – equal to the population of Frankfurt or Palermo. The costs for healthcare in the EU are estimated to be at least 25.3bn euros (£20.6bn; $33.4bn) annually.

In 2009‐10, sales of tobacco products generated nearly £9bn ($14.6bn; 11bn euros) in taxes for the UK government, about 2% of all receipts from taxation, a government report said.

via BBC News – MEPs tighten anti-tobacco laws aimed at young smokers.

治疗糖尿病利多于弊 腹腔镜手术减低疼痛

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诺希山在嘉宾陪同下, 参观工作坊参展摊位, 聆听工作人员讲解如何操作医疗仪器。

 

(沙登7日讯)卫生总监拿督诺希山说,用于治疗糖尿病及肥胖问题的腹腔镜手术对病患利多于弊,不但能把疼痛减至最低,手术所造成的伤口不大,但这种手术在我国并不普及。

最短时间内恢复体力

他说,病患在手术后住院天数短,且可在最短的时间内恢复体力。

“由于国人对这类手术所知不详,才误认手术对身体健康带来伤害。

“只要有先进的设备及由拥有丰富经验的医疗团队施手术,它将能令国人改观。”

诺希山今日为马来西亚内窥镜与腹腔镜手术协会主办的第二届肥胖与腹腔镜手术疗程工作坊主持开幕仪式时,促国人无需对该手术感到恐惧。

出席嘉宾包括工作坊筹委会主席王庆华、马来西亚代谢与腹腔镜手术协会主席诺西山慕达医生及各医院代表等。

诺希山说,很多肥胖人士因体积庞大,减肥疗程已无法带来任何效果,加上肥胖引发的糖尿病等问题,因此,医生最后会建议他们进行腹腔镜手术。

他解释,手术并不是治疗糖尿病及肥胖问题的唯一办法,国人也可靠均衡饮食及适量运动,保持身体健康。

via 2013年10月08日 – 治疗糖尿病利多于弊 腹腔镜手术减低疼痛 – 全国 – 南洋网.

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