Gadget: Ice Shaver

Made by the long-established Japanese knife manufacturer Kai (貝印)

The price of the shaver is 16,200 yen (tax included).

French-style Braised Chicken Breasts, Fennel, Tomatoes, and Garlic


6 small fennel bulbs, 3 lb total, trimmed
2 tomatoes, diced or 14-1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 skinless, bone-in chicken breast halves, 5 oz each, trimmed of visible fat
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley


  1. Cut each fennel bulb in half lengthwise through the base. Cut each half into 4 wedges.
  2. In a large nonstick frying pan, combine the tomatoes, wine, orange zest, garlic, vinegar, and pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Arrange the chicken and fennel over the tomato mixture, spooning a bit of the sauce over them. Cover and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout and the fennel is tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a warmed platter.
  5. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and sprinkle with the parsley.
  7. To serve, divide among individual plates.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Mayo Clinic

In Pictures: Cold Noodles for Hot Summer

How Physical Exercise Prevents Dementia

Numerous studies have shown that physical exercise seems beneficial in the prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia in old age. Now researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have explored in one of the first studies worldwide how exercise affects brain metabolism.

In order to further advance current state of knowledge on the positive influence of physical activity on the brain, gerontologists and sports physicians at Goethe University Frankfurt have examined the effects of regular exercise on brain metabolism and memory of 60 participants aged between 65 and 85 in a randomised controlled trial. Their conclusion: regular physical exercise not only enhances fitness but also has a positive impact on brain metabolism.

As the researchers report in the current issue of the medical journal “Translational Psychiatry”, they thoroughly examined all the participants in the SMART study (Sport and Metabolism in Older Persons, an MRT Study) by assessing movement-related parameters, cardiopulmonary fitness and cognitive performance. In addition, magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) were used to measure brain metabolism and brain structure. Following this examination, the participants mounted an exercise bike three times a week over a period of 12 weeks. The 30-minute training sessions were individually adapted to each participant’s performance level. The participants were examined again after the end of the programme in order to document the effects of this physical activity on brain metabolism, cognitive performance and brain structure. The researchers also investigated to what extent exercise had led to an improvement in the participants’ physical fitness. The study was conducted by the Gerontology Department of the Institute of General Medicine (headed by Professor Johannes Pantel) and the Department of Sports Medicine (led by Professor Winfried Banzer).

As expected, physical activity had influenced brain metabolism: it prevented an increase in choline. The concentration of this metabolite often rises as a result of the increased loss of nerve cells, which typically occurs in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Physical exercise led to stable cerebral choline concentrations in the training group, whereas choline levels increased in the control group. The participants’ physical fitness also improved: they showed increased cardiac efficiency after the training period. Overall, these findings suggest that physical exercise not only improves physical fitness but also protects cells.

Source: Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Study: Positive Attitude Toward Aging = Better Mood

A study of older adults finds an individual’s awareness of aging is not as static as previously thought, and that day-to-day experiences and one’s attitude toward aging can affect an individual’s awareness of age-related change (AARC) – and how that awareness affects one’s mood.

“People tend to have an overall attitude toward aging, good or bad, but we wanted to know whether their awareness of their own aging – or AARC – fluctuated over time in response to their everyday experiences,” says Shevaun Neupert, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and lead author of a paper on the study.

For the study, researchers enrolled 116 participants between the ages of 60 and 90. Each participant took a survey to establish baseline attitudes toward aging. For the following eight days, participants kept a log of daily stressors (such as having an argument), completed a daily evaluation of age-related experiences (such as “I am becoming wiser” or “I am more slow in my thinking”), and reported on their affect, or mood.

“We found that people’s AARC, as reflected in their daily evaluations, varied significantly from day to day,” says Jennifer Bellingtier, a recent Ph.D. graduate from NC State and co-author of the paper. “We also found that people whose baseline attitudes toward aging were positive also tended to report more positive affect, or better moods.”

“People with positive attitudes toward aging were also less likely to report ‘losses,’ or negative experiences, in their daily aging evaluations,” Neupert says.

“However, when people with positive attitudes did report losses, it had a much more significant impact on their affect that day,” Neupert says. “In other words, negative aging experiences had a bigger adverse impact on mood for people who normally had a positive attitude about aging.”

The study expands on previous work that found having a positive attitude about aging makes older adults more resilient when faced with stressful situations.

The paper, “Aging Attitudes and Daily Awareness of Age-Related Change Interact to Predict Negative Affect,” is published in the journal The Gerontologist.

Source: PsychCentral

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