‘Dream Fountain’ Afternoon Tea of Kirby Cafe in Tokyo in Japan

The tea set will be available until November. The price is 2,948 yen (tax included).

Common Eye Conditions Tied to Higher Risk for Dementia

Ernie Mundell and Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Diseases that can rob you of vision as you age also appear to be tied to an increased risk for dementia, a new study finds.

Specifically, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetes-related eye disease were linked with a higher likelihood of dementia, researchers in China said. However, one other common eye ailment, glaucoma, was not linked to dementia risk.

The new study can’t prove that vision problems cause dementia, only that the two appear to be associated, the researchers stressed. Risks for dementia rose even higher if other chronic ills were added in.

“Newly developed hypertension, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and depression mediated [affected] the association between cataract/ diabetes-related eye disease and dementia,” noted the researchers led by Dr. Xianwen Shang, an ophthalmologist at Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou. His team published the findings Sept. 13 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

One expert in the United States agreed that the findings don’t mean that eye trouble causes dementia.

“The exact mechanism or reason that the eye disease could increase someone’s risk of dementia was not fully discussed in the study,” said Dr. Matthew Gorski, an ophthalmologist at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y.

For example, he said, “since cataracts are a treatable, reversible condition, I would be curious what effect cataract surgery has on one’s risk of developing dementia. It is also interesting that glaucoma, another potentially blinding eye condition, was not associated with an increased risk of dementia and raises further questions as to how these diseases are related to dementia.”

In the new study, Shang’s group collected data on more than 12,300 British adults, ages 55-73, who took part in the UK Biobank study. The participants were assessed between 2006 and 2010 and followed up until early 2021.

Over that time more than 2,300 people developed dementia.

The researchers found that compared with people who did not have vision conditions at the start of the study, the risk of dementia was 26% higher among those with age-related macular degeneration, 11% higher in those with cataracts, and 61% higher in those with diabetes-related eye disease. Glaucoma was not tied with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but it was linked with a higher risk of vascular dementia, such as can happen after a stroke.

Participants who had diabetes, heart disease, stroke and depression along with vision problems had an even greater risk of dementia as were those with more than one vision problem, the researchers noted.

Dr. Mark Fromer is an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Reading over the findings, he said they suggest that older people with illnesses affecting multiple organs — including the eyes — have higher odds for dementia.

“There may be an additive effect of ophthalmic and systemic diseases” on dementia risk, Fromer said.

For his part, Gorski said “patients should use the results of this study as a reminder of the importance of having regular eye exams with your eye doctor, especially as you get older.”

Source: HealthDay

Pea, Basil and Feta Fritters with Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups frozen peas, quickly defrosted (you can use the pan you’ll fry the fritters in)
3/4 cup plain/all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
2/3 cup whole milk
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
30 fresh basil leaves, torn into small shreds
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and black pepper, to season
3-1/2 oz prosciutto, to serve

Roasted Tomatoes

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. For the roast tomatoes, put the halved cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes until the tomatoes are lightly caramelized. Turn the oven off.
  4. Make the fritters. Lightly defrost the peas over medium heat in a saucepan.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, egg, milk and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Stir in the crumbled feta, torn basil and defrosted peas. Season well.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the frying pan/skillet. Spoon 1-1/2 tablespoons of batter per fritter into the hot pan. Cook the fritters in batches over medium heat until you see small holes appearing on the surface.
  7. Gently flip with a spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer to the still-warm oven while you make the rest.
  8. Serve the fritters with the roasted tomatoes and prosciutto.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: 100 Ways with Eggs


Today’s Comic

Chuckles of the Day




A woman went to the doctors office. She was seen by one of the new doctors, but after about 4 minutes in the examination room, she burst out and ran down the hall screaming. An older doctor stopped her and asked her what the problem was, and she explained. After listening, he had her sit down and relax in another room.

The older doctor marched back to the first and demanded, “What’s the matter with you? Mrs. Terry is 63 years old, she has four grown children and seven grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?”

The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and said, “Does she still have the hiccups?”

* * * * * * *

Father O’Neal answers the phone.

“Hello, is this Father O’Neal?”

“It tis!”

“This is the IRS. Can you help us?”

“I can!”

“Do you know a Sean Flanders?”

“I do!”

“Is he a member of your congregation?”

“He is!”

“Did he donate $10,000 to the church?”

“He will!”




New Studies Find Evidence Of ‘Superhuman’ Immunity To COVID-19 In Some Individuals

Michaeleen Doucleff wrote . . . . . . . . .

Some scientists have called it “superhuman immunity” or “bulletproof.” But immunologist Shane Crotty prefers “hybrid immunity.”

“Overall, hybrid immunity to SARS-CoV-2 appears to be impressively potent,” Crotty wrote in commentary in Science back in June.

No matter what you call it, this type of immunity offers much-needed good news in what seems like an endless array of bad news regarding COVID-19.

Over the past several months, a series of studies has found that some people mount an extraordinarily powerful immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Their bodies produce very high levels of antibodies, but they also make antibodies with great flexibility — likely capable of fighting off the coronavirus variants circulating in the world but also likely effective against variants that may emerge in the future.

Immunity To COVID-19 Could Last Longer Than You’d Think

“One could reasonably predict that these people will be quite well protected against most — and perhaps all of — the SARS-CoV-2 variants that we are likely to see in the foreseeable future,” says Paul Bieniasz, a virologist at Rockefeller University who helped lead several of the studies.

In a study published online last month, Bieniasz and his colleagues found antibodies in these individuals that can strongly neutralize the six variants of concern tested, including delta and beta, as well as several other viruses related to SARS-CoV-2, including one in bats, two in pangolins and the one that caused the first coronavirus pandemic, SARS-CoV-1.

“This is being a bit more speculative, but I would also suspect that they would have some degree of protection against the SARS-like viruses that have yet to infect humans,” Bieniasz says.

So who is capable of mounting this “superhuman” or “hybrid” immune response?

People who have had a “hybrid” exposure to the virus. Specifically, they were infected with the coronavirus in 2020 and then immunized with mRNA vaccines this year. “Those people have amazing responses to the vaccine,” says virologist Theodora Hatziioannou at Rockefeller University, who also helped lead several of the studies. “I think they are in the best position to fight the virus. The antibodies in these people’s blood can even neutralize SARS-CoV-1, the first coronavirus, which emerged 20 years ago. That virus is very, very different from SARS-CoV-2.”

In fact, these antibodies were even able to deactivate a virus engineered, on purpose, to be highly resistant to neutralization. This virus contained 20 mutations that are known to prevent SARS-CoV-2 antibodies from binding to it. Antibodies from people who were only vaccinated or who only had prior coronavirus infections were essentially useless against this mutant virus. But antibodies in people with the “hybrid immunity” could neutralize it.

These findings show how powerful the mRNA vaccines can be in people with prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2, she says. “There’s a lot of research now focused on finding a pan-coronavirus vaccine that would protect against all future variants. Our findings tell you that we already have it.

“But there’s a catch, right?” she adds: You first need to be sick with COVID-19. “After natural infections, the antibodies seem to evolve and become not only more potent but also broader. They become more resistant to mutations within the [virus].”

Hatziioannou and colleagues don’t know if everyone who has had COVID-19 and then an mRNA vaccine will have such a remarkable immune response. “We’ve only studied the phenomena with a few patients because it’s extremely laborious and difficult research to do,” she says.

But she suspects it’s quite common. “With every single one of the patients we studied, we saw the same thing.” The study reports data on 14 patients.

Several other studies support her hypothesis — and buttress the idea that exposure to both a coronavirus and an mRNA vaccine triggers an exceptionally powerful immune response. In one study, published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, scientists analyzed antibodies generated by people who had been infected with the original SARS virus — SARS-CoV-1 — back in 2002 or 2003 and who then received an mRNA vaccine this year.

Remarkably, these people also produced high levels of antibodies and — it’s worth reiterating this point from a few paragraphs above — antibodies that could neutralize a whole range of variants and SARS-like viruses.

Now, of course, there are so many remaining questions. For example, what if you catch COVID-19 after you’re vaccinated? Or can a person who hasn’t been infected with the coronavirus mount a “superhuman” response if the person receives a third dose of a vaccine as a booster?

Hatziioannou says she can’t answer either of those questions yet. “I’m pretty certain that a third shot will help a person’s antibodies evolve even further, and perhaps they will acquire some breadth [or flexibility], but whether they will ever manage to get the breadth that you see following natural infection, that’s unclear.”

Immunologist John Wherry, at the University of Pennsylvania, is a bit more hopeful. “In our research, we already see some of this antibody evolution happening in people who are just vaccinated,” he says, “although it probably happens faster in people who have been infected.”

In a recent study, published online in late August, Wherry and his colleagues showed that, over time, people who have had only two doses of the vaccine (and no prior infection) start to make more flexible antibodies — antibodies that can better recognize many of the variants of concern.

So a third dose of the vaccine would presumably give those antibodies a boost and push the evolution of the antibodies further, Wherry says. So a person will be better equipped to fight off whatever variant the virus puts out there next.

“Based on all these findings, it looks like the immune system is eventually going to have the edge over this virus,” says Bieniasz, of Rockefeller University. “And if we’re lucky, SARS-CoV-2 will eventually fall into that category of viruses that gives us only a mild cold.”

Source : NPR