New Burger

Avocado Cheese Salsa Burger

The burger from Freshness Burger Japan features Australian 100% grass fed beef, red cheddar cheese, avocado and spicy salsa sauce.

The price is 730 yen plus tax.

Omelette with Pea Shoot and Cheese


4 large eggs
4 tbsp water
salt and pepper
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup pea shoots
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 avocado diced
pinch red pepper flakes


  1. Using a whisk or fork, beat 2 eggs with 2 tbsp water. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 tsp oil in a non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, pour in half the egg mixture. As the egg mixture sets around the edge of pan, use a spatula to gently push cooked portions toward the center of pan. Tilt and rotate pan to allow uncooked egg to flow into empty spaces.
  3. When the surface of the egg looks moist, add 1/2 of each the shoots, cheese, peas and avocado. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
  4. Fold omelette in half with a spatula and let the bottom brown slightly before sliding onto a plate.
  5. Repeat cooking method for second omelette.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Manitoba Egg Farmers

In Pictures: Foods of Casamia in Bristol, U.K.

Refined British Cuisine

The restaurant – Named recently the UK’s best restaurant outside London

In World First, University of Hong Kong Scientists Develop Flu Drug Using Genes from the Virus Itself

Mary Ann Benitez wrote . . . . . . . .

A team of Hong Kong scientists on Friday claimed a “vital breakthrough” in the fight against flu by developing a treatment using genes from the virus itself to boost resistance in infected mice.

The discovery could lead to more effective drugs for human patients as new strains of the flu rapidly emerge across the globe, raising the risk of a pandemic.

Researchers from the department of microbiology at the University of Hong Kong’s Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine said their “virus against the virus” approach was a world first, and worked through what they termed a double-knockout effect.

It involved isolating the virus’ defective interfering genes and dual-functional proteins, and using them to develop an antiviral drug.

Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, chair of infectious diseases at the department, said the team tested whether a fusion of proteins TAT-P1 and three genes called DIG3 could help laboratory mice with swine flu strain H1N1 2009 or bird flu fight off the illness. H1N1 became a pandemic that year.

The scientists designed the DIG3 genes to inhibit the growth of the flu virus and induce broad anti-flu activity.

They then had to formulate a gene delivery system to introduce DIG3 to the virus cells. This was done using proteins from HIV by fusing TAT and P1 peptides.

The DIG3 genes then exerted their antiviral activity by inhibiting acid production inside the target cells’ endosomes and attacking infected cells.

Laboratory tests showed delivery of the genes to the airway of mice either one to two days before or six hours after infection with a bird flu virus or 2009 H1N1 strain could “reduce body weight loss, improve survival and decrease the amount of flu virus in the lung”.

“It shows that DIG3/TAT-P1 is effective for both prophylaxis and treatment,” the team said.

This method of “cheating” the virus was effective almost 100 per cent of the time in fighting off bird flu in mice, and in 50 per cent of cases against the 2009 H1N1 strain.

A provisional patent has been filed in the United States and the team’s findings published in the prestigious Nature Communications science journal.

The antiviral treatment could in the future be delivered by a nasal spray like zanamivir, known under the trade name Relenza.

However, the HKU team, which also includes postdoctoral fellow Dr Zhao Hanjun and clinical associate professor Dr Kelvin To Kai-wang, would need about HK$100 million (US$12.74 million) to develop the drug and market it.

Zhao said their technique had “important implications for the future treatment of flu” as well as other viral infections such as Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

“This is the first time defective interfering genes have been shown to protect flu-virus-infected mice,” he said, and the “first gene delivery system with antiviral activity against the flu virus”.

Yuen told the Post he was confident investors in mainland China would be interested in the treatment as there was a great deal of money being spent on drug development across the border.

“The important thing is to get things done,” he said. “Another pandemic could come so easily … because the population is growing, the number of pigs and chickens is growing … It might not be longer than 30 years.”

With large swathes of the world population potentially lacking immunity to any new flu strain, an outbreak could spark a pandemic similar to the Spanish flu (H1N1) of 1918, Asian flu (H2N2) in 1957, Hong Kong flu (H3N2) of 1968 or Mexican flu (H1N1) seen in 2009.

Source : SCMP

Greater Levels of Vitamin D Associated with Decreasing Risk of Breast Cancer

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine suggest higher levels of vitamin D are associated with decreasing risk of breast cancer. Their epidemiological study is published in the June 15 online issue of PLOS ONE, in collaboration with Creighton University, Medical University of South Carolina and GrassrootsHealth, an Encinitas-based nonprofit organization that promotes vitamin D research and its therapeutic benefits.

The scientists pooled data from two randomized clinical trials with 3,325 combined participants and a prospective study involving 1,713 participants to examine the association between risk of female breast cancer and a broad range of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations, which was chosen as the marker because it is the main form of vitamin D in blood.

All women were age 55 or older. The average age was 63. Data were collected between 2002 and 2017. Participants were free of cancer at enrollment and were followed for a mean period of four years. Vitamin D levels in blood were measured during study visits.

Over the course of the combined studies, 77 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed for an age-adjusted incidence rate of 512 cases per 100,000 person-years.

Researchers identified the minimum healthy level of 25(OH)D in blood plasma to be 60 nanograms per milliliter, substantially higher than the 20 ng/ml recommended in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine, a health advisory group to the federal government. Some groups, such as GrassrootsHealth, have advocated higher minimums for health blood serum levels of vitamin D, as much as 50 ng/ml. The matter remains hotly debated.

“We found that participants with blood levels of 25(OH)D that were above 60 ng/ml had one-fifth the risk of breast cancer compared to those with less than 20 ng/ml,” said principal investigator and co-author Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. Risk of cancer appeared to decline with greater levels of serum vitamin D.

Multivariate regression was used to quantify the association between 25(OH)D and breast cancer risk, with the results adjusted for age, body mass index, cigarette smoking and intake of calcium supplements, said first author Sharon McDonnell, an epidemiologist and biostatistician for GrassrootsHealth. “Increasing vitamin D blood levels substantially above 20 ng/ml appears to be important for the prevention of breast cancer.”

Garland, who has previously studied connections between serum vitamin D levels and several types of cancer, said the study builds upon previous epidemiological research linking vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of breast cancer. Epidemiological studies analyze the distribution and determinants of health and disease, but it has been argued that they do not necessarily prove cause-and-effect.

“This study was limited to postmenopausal breast cancer. Further research is needed on whether high 25(OH)D levels might prevent premenopausal breast cancer,” Garland said. The population was also mainly white women so further research is needed on other ethnic groups.

“Nonetheless, this paper reports the strongest association yet between serum vitamin D and reduction in risk of breast cancer,” Garland said.

Garland and others have advocated the health benefits of vitamin D for many years. In 1980, he and his late brother Frank C. Garland, also an epidemiologist, published an influential paper that posited vitamin D (produced by the body through exposure to sunshine) and calcium (which vitamin D helps the body absorb) together reduced the risk of colon cancer. The Garlands and colleagues subsequently found favorable associations of markers of vitamin D with breast, lung and bladder cancers, multiple myeloma and adult leukemia.

To reach 25(OH)D levels of 60 ng/ml, said Garland, would generally require dietary supplements of 4,000 to 6,000 international units (IU) per day, less with the addition of moderate daily sun exposure wearing very minimal clothing (approximately 10-15 minutes per day outdoors at noon). He said the success of oral supplementation should be determined using a blood test, preferably during winter months.

The current recommended average daily amount of vitamin D3 is 400 IU for children up to one year; 600 IU for ages one to 70 years (including pregnant or breastfeeding women) and 800 IU for persons over age 70, according to the National Academy of Medicine.

A 2009 paper published in the Annals of Epidemiology by Garland and colleagues recommended a healthy target level of serum 25(OH)D of 40 to 60 ng/ml, based on an expert consensus panel. This statement was published in Annals of Epidemiology (2009). Oral doses of vitamin D are often not specified since different individuals require different intakes to achieve targeted serum range. Except under medical supervision and monitoring, intake of vitamin D3 must not exceed 10,000 IU per day. Blood serum levels exceeding 125 ng/ml have been linked to adverse side effects, such as nausea, constipation, weight loss, heart rhythm problems and kidney damage.

Source: University of California, San Diego

Read also at Medical News Today:

Low vitamin D levels may raise bowel cancer risk . . . . .

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