In Pictures: Decorative Sushi

Kazari Maki Sushi

Sunday Funnies

Faster Heart Rate Linked to Diabetes Risk

An association between resting heart rate and diabetes suggests that heart rate measures could identify individuals with a higher future risk of diabetes, according to an international team of researchers.

In a four-year study of 73,357 Chinese adults, researchers observed that faster heart rates were positively associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes. Researchers also found that faster heart rates were associated with impaired fasting glucose levels and a conversion from impaired fasting glucose levels to diabetes among the same population.

“In this study, we measured resting heart rate among about 100,000 Chinese adults and followed them for four years,” said Xiang Gao, associate professor of nutritional sciences, Penn State and a study senior author. “We found participants with faster heart rates, suggesting lower automatic function, had increased risk of diabetes, pre-diabetes, and conversion from pre-diabetes to diabetes. Each additional 10 beats per minute was associated with 23 percent increased risk of diabetes, similar to the effects of a 3 kilogram per meter square increase in body mass index.

“We further combined our results with those of seven previously published studies including 97,653 men and women in total, on the same topic, and we found a similar association — individuals with fast heart rate had 59 percent increased risk of diabetes relative to those with slow heart rate.”

The researchers published their results in a recent issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology.

“This suggests that faster heart rate could be a novel pre-clinical marker or risk factor for diabetes,” Gao said.

Disease markers may indicate an increased risk of getting a disease, but only that and do not cause the disease.

Diabetes mellitus is a worldwide epidemic. Roughly 12 percent of Chinese adults have diabetes and 50 percent have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, is blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

The researchers measured heart rates during a baseline exam administered in 2006-2007. After about five minutes rest, they recorded heart rates using a 12-lead electrocardiogram with participants lying on their backs.

During a four-year follow-up exam, the researchers identified 17,463 prediabetic cases and 4,649 diabetes cases. They examined glucose every two years, beginning in 2006.

Researchers excluded all individuals with diabetes during the first testing in 2006-2007.

All participants of the study were employees of the Kailuan Coal Co., Ltd., a coal mining company in China. The same medical group covered their health insurance policies. Therefore, they cannot be viewed as a representative sample for the general Chinese population. The researchers based their diagnosis of diabetes and pre-diabetes status on a single measure of fasting plasma glucose.

However, when combining these results with those of seven previously published papers including subjects with different social and cultural backgrounds, researchers found a similar association between heart rate and diabetes risk.

Source: Penn State University

Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Creamy Curry Gravy


1 large cauliflower head, leaves,
tough stem removed and washed
Water to blanch
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

Curry Gravy

2 teaspoons oil
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 dry red chili or chili flakes, to taste
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup ground cashew or 1/3 cup soaked cashews
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon raw sugar or 1/2
teaspoon maple syrup


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt, turmeric and chili and blanch/cook the whole cauliflower. Cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side (top and bottom – flip after 4 minutes).
  2. In a pan, add oil and heat on medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until golden, 6-7 minutes.
  3. Add ginger, garlic chili and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the spices and mix.
  5. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, fenugreek leaves. Mix and cook covered until tender. Mash them a bit in between, 8-10 minutes.
  6. Cool slightly, then blend with coconut milk and cashews into a smooth thick pureé. Taste and adjust salt and spice.
  7. Oil the baking dish if desired. Place the blanched cauliflower in the baking dish and slowly drop the gravy on top to cover the entire head of the cauliflower. Pour gravy again after a few minutes so the cauliflower is drenched well. Some gravy will fall on the side. Keep about a 1/3 of the gravy to serve on the side later.
  8. Bake in pre-heated 400F oven for 40-45 minutes till the cauliflower is dry to touch and gravy thickens a bit. Turn the dish around after 30 minutes.
  9. Heat the remaining gravy to just about a boil so it thickens and serve on the side.
  10. Serve hot as is or with flat breads (Naan/Roti), or salads or quinoa. Chop and fill up wraps or burgers.
  11. For a nut-free version, omit the cashews or use 2-3 tablespoons powdered sunflower seeds

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Source: Vegan Food Magazine

Fusion Food – Cold Soba with Warm Potato Chips

Ultrasonic Production of Skimmed Milk

Recently, scientists from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have jointly demonstrated cream separation from natural whole milk at liter-scales for the first time using ultrasonic standing waves — a novel, fast and nondestructive separation technique typically used only in small-scale settings.

At the 169th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), being held May 18-22, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the researchers will report the key design and effective operating parameters for milk fat separation in batch and continuous systems.

The project, co-funded by the Geoffrey-Gardiner Dairy Foundation and the Australian Research Council, has established a proven ultrasound technique to separate fat globules from milk with high volume throughputs up to 30 liters per hour, opening doors for processing dairy and biomedical particulates on an industrial scale.

“We have successfully established operating conditions and design limitations for the separation of fat from natural whole milk in an ultrasonic liter-scale system,” said Thomas Leong, an ultrasound engineer and a postdoctoral researcher from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology at the Swinburne University of Technology. “By tuning system parameters according to acoustic fundamentals, the technique can be used to specifically select milk fat globules of different sizes in the collected fractions, achieving fractionation outcomes desired for a particular dairy product.”

The Ultrasonic Separation Technique

According to Leong, when a sound wave is reflected upon itself, the reflected wave can superimpose over the original waves to form an acoustic standing wave. Such waves are characterised by regions of minimum local pressure, where destructive interference occurs at pressure nodes, and regions of high local pressure, where constructive superimposition occurs at pressure antinodes.

When an acoustic standing wave field is sustained in a liquid containing particles, the wave will interact with particles and produce what is known as the primary acoustic radiation force. This force acts on the particles, causing them to move towards either the node or antinode of the standing wave, depending on their density. Positioned thus, the individual particles will then rapidly aggregate into larger entities at the nodes or antinodes.

To date, ultrasonic separation has been mostly applied to small-scale settings, such as microfluidic devices for biomedical applications. Few demonstrations are on volume-scale relevant to industrial application, due to the attenuation of acoustic radiation forces over large distances.

Acoustic Separation of Milk Fat Globules at Liter Scales

To remedy this, Leong and his colleagues have designed a system consisting of two fully-submersible plate transducers placed on either end of a length-tunable, rectangular reaction vessel that can hold up to two liters of milk.

For single-plate operation, one of the plates produces one or two-megahertz ultrasound waves, while the other plate acts as a reflector. For dual-plate operation, both plates were switched on simultaneously, providing greater power to the system and increasing the acoustic radiation forces sustained.

To establish the optimal operation conditions, the researchers tested various design parameters such as power input level, process time, transducer-reflector distance and single or dual transducer set-ups etc.

They found that ultrasound separation makes the top streams of the milk contain a greater concentration of large fat globules (cream), and the bottom streams more small fat globules (skimmed milk), compared to conventional methods.

“These streams can be further fractionated to obtain smaller and larger sized fat globules, which can be used to produce novel dairy products with enhanced properties,” Leong said, as dairy studies suggested that cheeses made from milk with higher portion of small fat globules have superior taste and texture, while milk or cream with more large fat globules can lead to tastier butter.

Leong said the ultrasonic separation process only takes about 10 to 20 minutes on a liter scale — much faster than traditional methods of natural fat sedimentation and buoyancy processing, commonly used today for the manufacture of Parmesan cheeses in Northern Italy, which can take more than six hours.

The researchers’ next step is to work with small cheese makers to demonstrate the efficacy of the technique in cheese production.

Source: Acoustical Society of America (ASA)

Video: How Toilet Posture Affects Your Health

Educational video about the effects of improper toilet posture and how it can affect your health.

Watch video at You Tube (3:11 minutes) . . . .

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