Gadget: Intelligent Oven

June, a countertop smart oven was designed by former employees of Apple, Google, and GoPro.

The oven, which costs $1,500, essentially allows you press one button and cooks your meal at the perfect temperature without your having to do anything else. June contains a built-in camera and a processors that identifies the foods you insert so that it can cook them at the proper settings. It even connects to a live streaming app so you can check the progress of your meal.

Watch video at You Tube (1.19 minutes) . . . . .

Layered Chocolate-scented Mexican Chicken Dish

Ingredients

3-5 dried New Mexico chiles
2 tbsp oil
1 onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 cup raisins
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1/8 cup minced cilantro
1/4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
4 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/4 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely ground
7 flour tortillas (10-inch diameter)
1 cup warm refried beans
1 cup guacamole
1/4 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
salsa, for garnish
1 cup sour cream, for garnish
8 sprigs cilantro, for garnish

Method

  1. Place chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak 30 minutes. Remove and cut in thin strips. Reserve 1 cup soaking liquid.
  2. In a large saucepan place oil, onions, and garlic and cook until softened (7-8 minutes). Stir in chile strips, reserved soaking liquid, salt, cinnamon, raisins, cumin seed, cilantro, chocolate, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add chicken and 3 tablespoons ground almonds and stir to thicken.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  4. To assemble torta, place a tortilla on an ovenproof serving dish. Spread with half the chicken mixture. Top with another tortilla. Spread with 1/2 cup refried beans, top with another tortilla, and spread with half the guacamole. Repeat layers, top with a tortilla, and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  5. Bake torta until piping hot and cheese has melted (about 20 minutes). To serve, cut into 8 wedges, and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Garnish with salsa, sour cream, and cilantro sprigs.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Tortilla International

Scientists Distinguish Molecules Most Capable of Fighting Prostate Cancer

Scientists from MIPT (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology), MSU (Moscow State University), and National University of Science and Technology “MISIS” provided an overview of the most promising compounds which can be used as medications for prostate cancer. The article was published in the Journal of Drug Targeting.

A team of researchers from the four research centers — Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow State University, National University of Science and Technology (MISIS), and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) — provided an overview of molecules capable of assisting in the fight against prostate cancer and in the diagnosis of this illness. Also authors compiled a list of the most promising compounds.

Researchers have identified 11 compounds of great promise. All these substances are currently tested in clinical trials. In other words, at the stage of preclinical studies they demonstrated the necessary qualities.

Sometimes researchers spend more than ten years before they can produce a new registered drug from a promising molecule. Initially, the scientists check the substance on cell culture — this gives them a chance to prove that the above substance can actually slow or stop tumor growth. After that, they conduct tests on animals — it is necessary to filter out substances which are effective only in ideal conditions of a test tube, but not in a real organism. Then they perform clinical trials, whereby at the first stage they are only checking the safety – not effectiveness, and whether or not the potential drug reaches the target.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Today, the majority of anti-cancer therapies are not selective enough and may have a detrimental effect not only on cancer cells, but on the healthy cells of the body as well. That is why it is so important to develop such drugs that would attack the cancer cells exclusively, which will increase the effectiveness of treatment and reduce the negative impact of therapy on the body as a whole. However, to ensure the drug selectivity, the scientists need some object which is present only in cancer cells – and not anywhere else: a cancer marker.

The well-known marker for prostate cancer is PSA (prostate specific antigen), which is already used in medicine for the diagnosis of prostate cancer. However, for a number of reasons, PSA is considered as an insufficiently precise target. A promising alternative for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer is PSMA (prostate specific membrane antigen). In the case of cancer, prostate tissues contain almost 10 times as many of these markers as healthy tissues of the prostate gland. Also, diagnosis by means of this marker can detect the tiniest metastases (secondary distant tumors).

“PSMA is one of the most promising biological targets for the development of new hybrids of selective PSMA ligands with antitumor medicinal substances or molecular diagnostic tools for their targeted delivery to the site of the disease – particularly in the case of prostate cancer,”says Yan Andreevich Ivanenkov, Ph.D (biology), Head of the Laboratory of Medical Chemistry and Bioinformatics, a lecturer in MIPT.

Biocatalyst and target

PSMA, known in English language literature as a prostate specific membrane antigen, catalyzes the hydrolysis of N-acetylaspartylglutamate into N-acetylaspartate and glutamate. This precise PSMA function was taken into account in order to compile a list of the most promising substances, which form the basis of drugs used for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Hydrolysis is the chemical breakdown of a compound of organic molecules into other compounds: for example, during hydrolysis of proteins, the latter are split into amino acids.

As the authors of the review article state, all molecules capable of binding to PSMA can be divided into three groups: antibodies, aptamers, and ligands.

Antibodies are proteins synthesized by the immune system. Aptamers are peptide molecules or fragments of DNA/RNA, capable of selectively binding to specific target molecules. Ligands are substances of a rather arbitrary nature which interact with the biocatalist, whereby, as a rule, we are talking about direct interaction with its active center: exactly with that part of the molecule which allows it to perform its main function.

Comparing all three groups, the researchers concluded that ligands are the most promising group. Ligands, in our case, are molecules the size and weight of which are most suitable for synthesizing. Besides, they also have good pharmacokinetic parameters.

Pharmacokinetics: This is a science of transformation of chemical substances in the organism. With regard to drugs, it describes what happens to them after they enter the blood vessels or stomach. Any drug that is accepted for clinical trials must neither break down into useless pieces prior to contact with the target, nor produce toxic effects.

From phosphorus to urea and its derivatives

Historically – and we should emphasize that scientists of the whole world have been searching for the ligands compatible with PSMA since the 1990s – phosphorus compounds were among the first ligands of PSMA, which showed high efficacy on cancer cells. However, their pharmacokinetic parameters were insufficient for the conduct of clinical trials.

Later, compounds with -SH groups have become alternatives to phosphorus-containing chemicals. They demonstrated high bioavailability when taking medication by mouth (oral administration), and also they better penetrated the cell membrane. However, these drugs had insufficient selectivity and metabolic stability. That is, they adversely affected not only cancer cells and, besides, they mutated in the course of biochemical reactions in the body.

New class of ligands needed to be free of the deficiencies of their predecessors. The next candidates for treating prostate cancer were the compounds formed on the basis of urea. Currently, this is the most widely studied type of PSMA ligands.

Urea, also known as carbamide, is used by mammals for the excretion of nitrogen-containing waste from the organism. Apart from this, urea modifications — nitrosourea and similar compounds — have long been used for chemotherapy, thanks to their ability of blocking DNA replication (synthesis of new molecules) and, consequently, cell division.

"It is impossible to give a precise answer to the question of how soon PSMA ligands will appear in the clinic. On average, the development of a new medication can take up to 10 years. Currently, these molecules (as potential drugs for the diagnosis of prostate cancer) are in the first and second phases of clinical trials. However, the fact that the PSMA-diagnostics allows the monitoring of tumor growth and development of metastasis, makes this an attractive target for future developments of drugs. The first results are already there, and they are very promising," Anastasia Aladinskaya, an employee of the Laboratory of Medical Chemistry and Bioinformatics, concludes.

Source: EurekAlert!

Infographic: FAQ about Wine Answered with Science

See large image . . . . .

Source: Business Insider

Why Grapefruit and Medication Can Be a Dangerous Mix

Steve Mitchell wrote . . . . . .

This citrus fruit isn’t the only problem. Tangelos and Seville oranges also pose the same risk.

February is National Grapefruit Month, but before you down a glass of the juice in celebration, be sure to check whether it’s safe to pair grapefruit with the medication you take. Both grapefruit juice and the fruit itself can interact with more than 50 drugs—such as cholesterol-lowering statins, high blood pressure medications, and allergy drugs—raising the risk of side effects and other problems. Here’s how to know if you can safely enjoy grapefruit with your medication.

Grapefruit and medication could cause problems in two ways. First, grapefruit can block a key drug-metabolizing enzyme in your body, which in turn could lead to an increase in the blood levels of certain drugs. If that happens, it increases the risk of experiencing a side effect from that drug. On the flipside, it can also block absorption of certain drugs in your intestines. In that case, you could have less of the drug in your bloodstream than what you need, so the drug might not be effective for its intended purpose.

Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much of the fruit for a grapefruit and medication interaction to happen: As little as 1 cup of juice or two grapefruit wedges can be enough to cause problems, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

If you regularly eat grapefruit or drink its juice, find out if your medication interacts with the fruit, says David Bailey, Ph.D., a pharmacologist at the University of Western Ontario who first identified the dangerous interaction of grapefruit and medications. A phrase such as “Do not take with grapefruit” should be on the label or package insert that came with your medication, but you can also ask your physician or pharmacist, Bailey says.

Watch out for These Grapefruit and Medication Interactions

Medications that pose an interaction risk include:

  • Some statins, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor and generic), pravastatin (Pravachol and generic), and simvastatin (Zocor and generic).
  • The high blood pressure medication nifedipine (Afeditab, Procardia, and generic).
  • The organ transplant rejection drug cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, and generic).
  • The anti-anxiety drug alprazolam (Xanax and generic).
  • The anti-arrhythmia drug amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone, and generic).
  • The allergy medication fexofenadine (Allegra).

If there’s an interaction risk with your medication, one option is to stop eating the fruit or drinking the juice while you are on the drug, Bailey says. The FDA also recommends skipping tangelos and Seville oranges (used to make orange marmalade) because those affect the same enzyme as grapefruit juice.

Another option is to ask your physician whether there is an alternative medication that doesn’t interact with grapefruit.

If you find out that a medication you’ve already started taking poses an interaction risk, talk to your doctor before stopping it, because that could cause a sudden drop in the levels of medication in your blood.

Source: Consumer Reports


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