In Pictures: Prosciutto Goldfish

Thai-style Endive Boats with Pulled Roasted Duck and Apple

Ingredients

2 roasted duck breasts
1/2 Fuji apple, shredded
1 tbsp fried dried shrimp
2 tbsp ground roasted peanut
2 stalks celery, diced
3 stalks endive

Dressing

3 to 4 tbsp Thai seafood and plum BBQ sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar

Garnish

10 mint leaves
1 tbsp deep-fried garlic slices

Method

  1. Remove skin of duck. Tear off the meat in small pieces. Stir-fry briefly with a little oil. Remove and drain.
  2. Mix duck with all the other ingredients (except endive) and the dressing.
  3. Separate leaves of endives. Spoon salad on individual leave.
  4. Garnish with mint leaves and deep-fried garlic before serving.

Makes 4 servings of appetizer

Source: Xi Yan Cuisine

New Treatment Shows Promise for Crippling Knee Arthritis

For those who suffer debilitating arthritis in their knees, researchers report in a small study that just one injection of stem cells can reduce pain and inflammation.

The idea is experimental: Extract stem cells from a patient’s own body fat — cells known for their ability to differentiate and perform any number of regenerative functions — and inject them directly into the damaged knee joint.

“While the goal of this small study was to evaluate the safety of using a patient’s own stem cells to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, it also showed that one group of patients experienced improvements in pain and function,” noted Dr. Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was not involved in the study.

“In fact, most of the patients who had previously scheduled total knee replacement surgery decided to cancel the surgery,” Atala noted.

“These results are encouraging, and it will be interesting to see if these improvements are seen in larger groups of study participants,” he added.

Atala is editor-in-chief of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, the journal that recently published the results of the 18-patient study.

The French and German researchers point out that osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal disease among adults, a so-called “wear-and-tear” chronic condition that often affects the knee joint.

Typified by the ongoing breakdown of the cartilage that connect joints and bones, the progressively degenerative disorder ultimately gives rise to severe inflammation, significant pain and often crippling disability.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis risk is driven by genetics; obesity; injury and joint overuse; other forms of arthritis; and metabolic disorders that can throw a person’s iron or growth hormone levels out of whack.

No treatment can halt osteoarthritis’ progress, and “no therapy is able to restore [damaged] cartilage tissue,” noted study author Dr. Christian Jorgensen, head of the clinical unit for osteoarticular diseases at Lapeyronie University Hospital, in Montpellier, France.

To explore the potential of stem cell therapy, the study authors focused on 18 French and German men and women, aged 50 to 75, all of whom had struggled with severe knee osteoarthritis for at least a year before joining the study.

Between April 2012 and December 2013, all of the patients first underwent liposuction to extract fat-derived samples of a specific type of stem cell. The researchers noted that these particular stem cells have been shown to have immune-boosting and anti-scarring properties, as well as the ability to protect against cell “stress” and death.

A third of the patients received a single “low-dose” injection of their own stem cells directly into their knee. Another third received a “medium-dose” injection, involving a little more than four times the amount of stem cells, while the remaining group received a “high-dose” injection packed with roughly five times as many stem cells as the medium-dose group.

After six months, the study team found that all three groups showed improvements in terms of pain, function and mobility.

However, only those in the low-dose group were determined to have “statistically significant” improvements in terms of both knee pain and function recovery.

Apart from one case of chest pain (about three months after the injection), only a few patients experienced mild side effects.

The team concluded that the stem cell treatment results were “very encouraging.” The opinion was echoed by Atala, who suggested that “the study shows yet another potential treatment using stem cells.”

At the same time, Jorgensen and his colleagues stressed that more research with more patients will be needed before the approach can be considered a breakthrough.

That effort has already begun, with a second two-year trial now underway involving 150 patients at 10 different clinical centers across Europe.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Yokai Watch (妖怪ウォッチ) Character Bento

Each bento is sold for Yen 490 (about US$ 4.80).

The Pizza Slice that Comes at a Price

A recent study has shown that emissions in major cities caused by restaurants such as pizzerias and steakhouses using wood burners can be damaging to the urban environment.

The findings published in the journal Atmospheric Environment points out the underlining pollution causes of the Latin American city of Sao Paulo in Brazil. This work is a collaborative effort by ten leading air pollution experts from seven universities, led by the University of Surrey’s Dr Prashant Kumar from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, under the umbrella of University Global Partnership Network (UGPN).

The Latin American megacity of São Paulo is the only megacity worldwide that uses a much cleaner bio-fuel driven fleet. With about 10% of Brazil’s total population, Sao Paulo’s inhabitants fill their vehicles with a biofuel comprising of sugarcane ethanol, gasohol (75% gasoline and 25% ethanol) and soya diesel.

Dr Kumar said: “It became evident from our work that despite there not being the same high level of pollutants from vehicles in the city as other megacities, there had not been much consideration of some of the unaccounted sources of emissions. These include wood burning in thousands of pizza shops or domestic waste burning.”

Despite feijoada (a pork and bean stew) being the often hailed Brazil’s national dish, pizza is revered by the residents of Sao Paulo. The ‘pizza day’ is celebrated every July and the neighbourhood pizzeria is the Sunday dinner with the family venue for most of the city’s residents. People of all ages line up for hours outside pizzerias every Sunday evening and the city is home to around 8,000 pizza parlours that produce close to a million pizzas a day and can seat up to around 600 people a time. In addition to the 800 pizzas a day being made using old-fashioned wood burning stoves, a further 1,000 a day are produced for home delivery, with Sunday being the busiest day of the week.

Dr Kumar continued, “There are more than 7.5 hectares of Eucalyptus forest being burned every month by pizzerias and steakhouses. A total of over 307,000 tonnes of wood is burned each year in pizzerias. This is significant enough of a threat to be of real concern to the environment negating the positive effect on the environment that compulsory green biofuel policy has on vehicles.”

Co-author Prof Maria de Fatima from the University of Sao Paulo added, “Although the huge number of passenger vehicles and diesel trucks are the dominant contributor to particle emissions, at least we understand the impact that this is having on the environment and can factor in solutions. The important contributions to particle emissions gained from burning of wood and the seasonal burning of sugar cane plantations need to be accounted in future studies as they are also significant contributors as a pollutant.”

Additional co-author Prof Yang Zhang from the North Carolina State University explained, “Once in the air, the emitted pollutants can undergo complex physical and chemical processes to form harmful secondary pollutants such as ozone and secondary aerosol. While most studies in Brazil have focused on impacts of vehicle emissions on air quality and human health, the impacts of emissions from wood/coal burning and meat-cooking in pizzerias and restaurants are yet to be quantified”

In addition, another part of the problem is the impact of the neighbouring Amazon rainforest. Biomass burning from the south southern edge of the forest can be transported across the Atlantic coast to Brazil and had to be included in the qualitative assessments of the city air pollution.

Citing this recent work, Dr Kumar, continued: “We believe that the contents of this new direction article provide an unprecedented approach in examining the adverse impact of air pollution in such a unique megacity as São Paulo.”

Professor Vince Emery, Senior Vice-President of Global Strategy and Engagement, University of Surrey commented: “This is another excellent example of how global challenges such as air pollution in cities need global networks to identify the problems and ultimately create innovative solutions”.

Paul Smith, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey added “It is great to see that the seed funding invested by UGPN partners has facilitated internationally co-authored work in such an important research area”.

Source: University of Surrey


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