3-D Printed Food Could Change How We Eat

Imagine a home appliance that, at the push of a button, turns powdered ingredients into food that meets the individual nutrition requirements of each household member. Although it may seem like something from science fiction, new research aimed at using 3-D printing to create customized food could one day make this a reality.

Jin-Kyu Rhee, associate professor at Ewha Womans University in South Korea, will discuss his new research and the potential of 3-D printing technology for food production at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting during the 2018 Experimental Biology meeting to be held April 21-25 in San Diego.

“We built a platform that uses 3-D printing to create food microstructures that allow food texture and body absorption to be customized on a personal level,” said Rhee. “We think that one day, people could have cartridges that contain powdered versions of various ingredients that would be put together using 3-D printing and cooked according to the user’s needs or preferences.”

3-D printing of food works much like 3-D printing of other materials in that layers of raw material are deposited to build up a final product. In addition to offering customized food options, the ability to 3-D print food at home or on an industrial scale could greatly reduce food waste and the cost involved with storage and transportation. It might also help meet the rapidly increasing food needs of a growing world population.

For the new study, the researchers used a prototype 3-D printer to create food with microstructures that replicated the physical properties and nanoscale texture they observed in actual food samples. They also demonstrated that their platform and optimized methods can turn carbohydrate and protein powers into food with microstructures that can be tuned to control food texture and how the food is absorbed by the body.

“We are only in early stages, but we believe our research will move 3-D food printing to the next level,” said Rhee. “We are continuing to optimize our 3-D print technology to create customized food materials and products that exhibit longer storage times and enhanced functionality in terms of body absorption.”

Source: Science Daily

Stir-fried Vermicelli with Pork and Vegetables

Ingredients

6 oz lean pork strips from leg or loin
1 tsp cornstarch
2-1/2 tsp sodium-reduced soy sauce, divided
1 tbsp canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup celery, diagonally sliced
1/2 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup bean sprouts
1 cup cooked vermicelli
1-1/2 tbsp green onions, sliced

Method

  1. In a small bowl combine pork strips, cornstarch and 1 tsp soy sauce. Toss together to coat pork. Cover and refrigerate for 25 minutes.
  2. In a skillet heat canola oil. Add pork strips, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add celery and red pepper. Stir-fry 2 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and bean sprouts. Stir-fry 2 minutes.
  5. Add vermicelli, green onions and the remaining 1-1/2 tsp soy sauce. Toss together and heat through. Transfer to serving plates.
  6. Garnish with additional sliced green onions before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Heart and Stroke Canada

In Pictures: Character Bento

Charaben

Mid-Life Stresses May Be Tied to Late-Life Dementia Risk

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Anxiety during middle age might signal impending dementia, a new analysis suggests.

Although millions of Americans suffer from moderate to severe anxiety, it’s not clear how it is linked to dementia or if treatment could nullify the risk, British researchers say.

“We investigated anxiety levels that are significant enough to warrant being clinically diagnosed with anxiety, rather than just exhibiting some symptoms of anxiety,” said senior researcher Natalie Marchant. She’s an assistant professor at the University College London’s division of psychiatry.

To look for a possible connection between anxiety and dementia, Marchant’s team pooled data from four previously published studies that included a total of nearly 30,000 people.

The weakness of this type of study, called a meta-analysis, is that it can’t account for the quality of the studies included, or the strength of common threads the researchers find.

Although the reason for the potential association between anxiety and dementia isn’t known, and this study did not prove that one causes the other, Marchant thinks a biological explanation is possible.

“Anxiety is linked to an abnormal response to stress on a biological level,” she said. “And there is increasing interest in the influence of stress and inflammation on brain cells in the development of dementia.”

An abnormal stress response may speed brain cell aging and breakdowns in the central nervous system, thereby increasing vulnerability to dementia, the study authors suggested.

Although it might be that anxiety leads people to engage in unhealthy behaviors, the studies the researchers examined accounted for lifestyle factors, such as smoking and alcohol use, so these factors are unlikely to explain the relationship, Merchant added.

“Given the long time interval between the assessment of anxiety and the diagnosis of dementia — on average greater than 10 years — the findings from our review indicate that moderate to severe anxiety may be a potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia,” she explained.

If anxiety is a risk factor for dementia, this has implications for being able to better identify people at risk and to intervene early to reduce the risk, Marchant said.

But it’s not clear if treatment could curb this risk or whether non-drug therapies — such as mindfulness and meditation — which are known to reduce anxiety, might help.

“Therapies already exist to reduce anxiety, for example talking therapies and mindfulness interventions, so the next step is to study whether these therapies could also reduce risk for dementia,” Merchant said.

A lot remains unknown about the relationship between anxiety and depression and dementia, said Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association.

“There is a well-known link between depression as a risk factor for dementia,” Fargo said.

While depression might be a cause of dementia, he noted, it’s just as likely that it is an early sign of dementia.

Fargo agreed that it’s not known if treating anxiety or depression with drugs or non-drug therapies could slow or prevent dementia.

But treating depression or anxiety is still a good idea, he said. “Certainly, there is very little downside to having your anxiety and depression treated, and there may be potential upsides,” he said.

The report was published online in the journal BMJ Open.

Source: HealthDay

7 Common Mistakes in Measuring Blood Pressure

Crossing your legs or even talking can have a significant impact on your blood pressure reading according to the American Heart Association, which identifies seven common errors that can lead to inaccurate blood pressure readings.

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month and the American Heart Association, the nation’s largest volunteer health organization, is bringing to light these measurement mistakes – all of which can lead to an artificially high reading:

  1. Having a full bladder – This can add 10-15 points to your reading. You should always empty your bladder before measuring blood pressure.
  2. Slouching, unsupported back/feet – Poor support when sitting can increase your reading by 6-10points. Make sure you’re in a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor or a footstool.
  3. Unsupported arm – If your arm is hanging by your side or you have to hold it up during a reading, you may see numbers up to 10 points higher than they should be. Position your arm on a chair or counter, so that the measurement cuff is level with your heart.
  4. Wrapping the cuff over clothing – This common error can add 5-50 points to your reading. Instead, be sure the cuff is placed on a bare arm.
  5. When the cuff is too small – Your pressure may read 2-10 points higher. Ensure a proper fit. Your healthcare provider can help you with this.
  6. Sitting with crossed legs – While polite, it could increase a blood pressure reading 2-8 points. It’s best to uncross your legs as well as ensure your feet are supported.
  7. Talking – Answering questions, talking on the phone, etc. can add 10 points. Stay still and silent to ensure an accurate measurement.

The effects of each mistake aren’t additive. However, “These simple things can make a difference in whether or not a person is classified as having high blood pressure that requires treatment,” said Michael Hochman, M.D., MPH, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a member of the American Heart Association’s Blood Pressure Task Force. “Knowing how to measure blood pressure accurately at home, and recognizing mistakes in the physician’s office, can help you manage your pressure and avoid unnecessary medication changes.”

In clinics, proper measurement may be the exception to practice rather than the norm. At a high blood pressure symposium in Pittsburgh this January, healthcare professionals and clinicians were tested on accurately measuring blood pressure. Of 30 participants, only three passed. “This suggests we must better educate our clinicians and healthcare professionals regarding the proper techniques to accurately measure blood pressure. More accurate blood pressure measurements will empower our clinical teams to aggressively reduce hypertension prevalence and improve overall cardiovascular health in our country,” said Sean Stocker, Ph.D., who chaired the symposium. Stocker is director of Basic and Translational Research at the University of Pittsburgh Hypertension Center and president-elect of the American Heart Association Great Rivers affiliate.

“We need to raise awareness among clinicians about the overall benefit of getting an accurate measurement. If we make a concerted effort to get good measurements, that can lead to correct diagnoses, faster treatment and improving blood pressure control rates,” Hochman said.

Across the country, local experts are tackling their community’s blood pressure problems by encouraging healthcare providers, clinics and health systems to enroll in a national program called Target: BP. The program was created through a collaboration between the American Heart Association and American Medical Association.

Target: BP includes a blood pressure improvement program that starts with helping healthcare providers identify and correct errors in blood pressure measurement. The program also provides guidance for creating a clear treatment plan and partnering with patients to enable ongoing self-management – including teaching them to measure their blood pressure accurately at home.

“Getting an accurate measurement is the first stage in ensuring patients receive the most appropriate care and prevention for heart disease and stroke,” Hochman said. “High blood pressure is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease in the country. If we can get this one health factor under control, there would be a huge impact on reducing strokes and heart disease.”

Source: American Heart Association


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