Hybrid Snack: Donug

A Scot who invented a snack as a last minute entry for a food festival has landed a $100,000 (£57,000) investment on the Australian version of Dragon’s Den.

Glaswegian Crag Carrick crossed a chicken nugget with a doughnut and came up with the Donug.

It went down so well at food festivals that he took the idea to TV show The Shark’s Tank where businesswoman Naomi Simson said she could see it being sold at “every sports ground”.

Crag, 36, was a well-known face in the Glasgow music scene before he moved to Melbourne in 2011.

He started out as a bouncer at King Tut’s and later built up the live music venue Bloc.

The idea for the Donug came about when he was working as a consultant, troubleshooting on short-term contracts in the hospitality industry.

At the start of the year, one of his contacts asked him to work on a chicken nugget festival.

The event needed more exhibitors and he was asked if he had any ideas.

Speaking to BBC Scotland news website, Crag says: “I had an idea and bought some chicken from the butcher on the way home.

“My wife is a phenomenal chef of high repute in Melbourne – high above the nugget sphere.

“But she is also married to a Scotsman and knows my tastes well.

“I have cooked her up chicken pakora, a Chinese-style chicken curry you only really get in Scotland, tattie scones and black pudding.

“So we messed around with a few recipes and different spice combinations.

“After a few aborted attempts we came up with the Donug, then we made some sauces. One of them is the Glasgow chicken curry.”

They had five days to turn it around for the festival so they roped some friends to help make 1,000 of them and set up a stall.

The Donug was a runaway success and sold out in about six hours.

Customers were already talking about them on social media and asking where they could try them next.

After the event, Crag did some homework.

He registered the name as a trademark and then tried another event.

The same thing happened.

After spotting an advert for the Australian version of Dragon’s Den – The Shark Tank – Crag tried his luck with an application.

He says appearing on the show was “daunting”.

“You have no rehearsals, you don’t get to meet anyone beforehand,” he says.

“Businesses go on this looking for investment and at that stage I didn’t really have a business.

“I just went in and spoke about my belief in the product.”

The sharks were initially not keen.

Investor Andrew Banks, internet entrepreneur Steve Baxter, pet firm Greencross founder Glen Richards and Boost Juice founder Janine Allis decided not to invest.

However, RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson surprisingly offered the pair $100,000 for 25% of the business.

Crag thinks the whole experience has been worth more than the cash injection.

He says: “I just thought if I get a deal from this it will be great protection. No-one will try to steal our idea if we have been on this show.

“And it has opened so many doors. We have had lots of great enquiries from really big players, medium players and small players.

“I’m not reinventing the wheel, not trying to change the world. I am just doing something that is fun.”

Source: BBC

Drinking Alcohol Can Raise Cancer Risk. How Much Is Too Much?

Allison Aubrey wrote . . . . . . . . .

A little bit of alcohol has been shown to be protective of heart health. But how does drinking influence cancer risk?

A new study finds that light drinkers have the lowest combined risk of developing cancer and dying prematurely — even lower than people who don’t drink at all. But here’s the rub: In this study, “light” drinking is defined as one to five drinks per week.

“It seems to reassure light drinkers,” says study co-author Andrew Kunzmann, a researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.

Researchers studied about 100,000 adults who lived in cities across the U.S., including Birmingham, Ala.; Boulder, Colo.; Los Angeles; and Pittsburgh. The participants were in their mid-50s to early 70s when the study began, and they each completed a survey about their alcohol consumption. Researchers tracked their health for about nine years, and they found that the more a person drank, the higher their risk of getting cancer and dying.

“We definitely think [the findings] give a bigger picture of what’s going on,” Kunzmann says. For this study, he collaborated with researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. The study is published in the scientific journal PLOS Medicine.

The study adds to the evidence that cancer risk may rise when people drink more than one drink per day, but the increase is modest. Moderate drinkers in the study had about a 10 percent increased risk of getting cancer.

Not surprisingly, the study finds that heavy drinkers are most at risk. For instance, men who drank three or more drinks per day were three to four times more likely to develop cancer of the esophagus and liver cancer. Other alcohol-related cancers include colorectal cancer and breast cancer in women.

“This study reinforces [the evidence] that people who drink a lot have higher rates of cancer and higher rates of dying from those cancers,” says Noelle LoConte, an oncologist and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin. She was not involved in the study, but NPR asked her to review the evidence.

The study comes at a time when the American Society of Clinical Oncology, a group of cancer doctors, is trying to spread awareness about the risks of excessive alcohol consumption. LoConte is the lead author of the group’s recent statement calling for policies aimed at reducing alcohol consumption.

“We’re not proponents of complete abstinence. There probably is an amount of drinking that’s OK,” LoConte says. “But from a cancer-prevention standpoint, drinking the least amount of alcohol possible would be the best strategy.”

Many studies have pointed to the risks of excessive drinking, yet “we do not think that most Americans are aware of the link between alcohol and cancer,” LoConte says.

Most people know that too much sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer and that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer. But a survey done by ASCO last year found that 7 in 10 adults did not recognize drinking alcohol as a risk factor for cancer.

When it comes to the lifestyle factors and habits that people can control — or change — to reduce their risk of disease, alcohol is pretty high up on the list. “Alcohol is estimated to be the third-largest modifiable risk factor for cancer,” says Susan Gapstur, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society.

About 19 percent of cancers are linked to smoking, 8 percent are linked to obesity or excess body weight — and about 5 percent are linked to alcohol.

Alcohol is also estimated to be the third-largest contributor to overall cancer deaths in both men and women, Gapstur says. “Strikingly, alcohol is estimated to account for 39,060 breast cancers [in the U.S.] per year in women,” she says.

One step toward cutting back is to be more aware — and more realistic — about how much you drink. “The first thing we need to talk about is: What is a drink?” says LoConte.

A drink is a single shot of liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer. It’s easy to consume more than you realize. Some mixed drinks contain multiple shots of liquor, and some craft beers have higher concentrations of alcohol.

Current guidelines recommend that women consume no more than one drink per day, and men consume no more than two drinks per day.

But LoConte says this may turn out to be too much. “I think this study, as I reviewed it, looked like a safer amount would be one drink a day for everybody, regardless of gender,” LoConte says.

At least that’s what the study suggests. More research is underway.

Source: npr

Roman-style Gnocchi Made with Semolina Flour


3 cups whole milk
teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semolina (3 ounces; sometimes labeled “semolina flour”)
3 large eggs
7 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


  1. Bring milk with the salt to a simmer in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add semolina in a slow stream, whisking, then simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 12 minutes (mixture will be very stiff).
  2. Remove from heat and stir in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 6 tablespoons cheese and 3 tablespoons butter. Spread into a 1/2-inch-thick slab on an oiled baking sheet using a lightly oiled rubber spatula, then chill, uncovered, until cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
  3. Cut out rounds from gnocchi with cookie cutter dipped in cool water (incorporating scraps as you work) and gently transfer rounds (they will be very soft), slightly overlapping, to buttered baking dish.
  4. Chill gnocchi, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 450°F, with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  6. Melt remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons butter and brush over gnocchi, then sprinkle with remaining tablespoon cheese.
  7. Bake in upper third of oven for 10 minutes, then switch dish to lower third of oven and continue to bake until gnocchi are slightly puffed and lightly browned, about 10 minutes more.
  8. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Gourmet Italian

Researchers Pinpoint New Subtype of Prostate Cancer

Researchers led by the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center have identified a new subtype of prostate cancer that occurs in about 7 percent of patients with advanced disease.

The subtype is characterized by loss of the gene CDK12. It was found to be more common in metastatic prostate cancer compared with early stage tumors that had not spread.

Tumors in which CDK12 was inactivated were responsive to immune checkpoint inhibitors, a type of immunotherapy treatment that overall has had limited success in prostate cancer.

“Because prostate cancer is so common, 7 percent is a significant number. The fact that immune checkpoint inhibitors may be effective against this subtype of prostate cancer makes it even more significant. This is an exciting prospect for patients who have CDK12 alterations and may benefit from immunotherapy,” says senior study author Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology.

Researchers at the Rogel Cancer Center will lead a multisite clinical trial to assess checkpoint inhibitors as a treatment for metastatic prostate cancer with CDK12 loss.

In this study, published in Cell, researchers looked at DNA and RNA sequencing data from 360 tumor samples from patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. This is an aggressive, advanced form of the disease in which the cancer has spread throughout the body and no longer responds to traditional hormone-based treatments. Tumor samples were from U-M’s Mi-ONCOSEQ program and from samples collected through the Stand Up To Cancer-Prostate Cancer Foundation Dream Team.

Researchers found loss of CDK12 in only about 1 percent of early prostate cancer samples. That jumped to 7 percent for metastatic cancer, which indicates a more aggressive form of the disease.

“It suggests that those early stage patients who have CDK12 loss are the ones who will develop metastatic disease. This could be a harbinger in early cancer,” Chinnaiyan says.

By following the mechanism of how CDK12 loss impacts the cell, researchers found a process in which cells create neoantigens that are foreign to the immune system. This boosts immune-fighting T-cells, which may explain why these patients benefit from immune checkpoint blockade.

This suggests that a precision medicine approach to prostate cancer could help better direct immunotherapy treatment. It could also explain why some prostate cancer patients have had exceptional responses to immunotherapy while the treatment has had lackluster results overall in prostate cancer.

The team first recognized a possible role for CDK12 in a 2015 paper that evaluated the genomic landscape of advanced prostate cancers. CDK12 has also been linked to ovarian cancer.

Little is known about CDK12 on a molecular basis, but scientists do know that CDK12 regulates several critical cellular processes and is essential for development. Eliminating it is likely lethal to most cell types. So why can tumors lose CDK12 and survive? Researchers suspect cancer must inherit something that allows it to grow in the face of CDK12 loss. More study is needed to understand this.

“This very promising study suggests that CDK12 loss may be a biomarker for identifying prostate cancer patients who may respond to checkpoint immunotherapy,” says Howard Soule, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief science officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

“The Prostate Cancer Foundation is proud to have funded this team, which continues to make foundational strides in identifying actionable genomic mutations in prostate cancer and using this information to identify new classes of precision treatments that can be used to improve the lives of men with prostate cancer.”

Source: Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan

Gout in the Elderly Linked to Higher Risk of Dementia

The results of a study presented today at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2018) suggest that gout is associated with a 17-20% higher risk of dementia in the elderly.

Gout is a very common condition. It is caused by deposits of crystals of a substance called uric acid (also known as urate) in the joints, which leads to inflammation. Periods of time when patients are experiencing gout symptoms are called flares. Flares can be unpredictable and debilitating, developing over a few hours and causing severe pain in the joints. Guidelines for the treatment of gout recommend lowering uric acid levels, although maintaining too low levels is a concern because uric acid is thought to protect the brain.

“We welcome these results as they contribute to our understanding of the relationship between uric acid and dementia,” said Professor Robert Landewé, Chairperson of the Scientific Programme Committee, EULAR. “Previous studies have shown contradictory results with some indicating an increased risk of dementia, while others reporting the opposite.”

“Our study found a considerable increased risk of dementia associated with gout in the elderly,” said Dr. Jasvinder Singh, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA (study author). “Further study is needed to explore these relationships and understand the pathogenic pathways involved in this increased risk.”

The study included 1.23 million Medicare beneficiaries, of which 65,325 had incident dementia. In an analysis which was adjusted for various potential confounding variables including demographics, comorbidities and commonly used medications (HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.13-1.21), the results showed that gout is independently associated with a significantly higher risk of dementia.1 The association was larger in older age groups, females, black race, and people with higher medical comorbidity.

Subgroup analyses indicated that gout was associated with a significant 20-57% (p<0.0001) increase in dementia in patients without key comorbidities; coronary artery disease (CAD), hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or hypertension. However, this was not the case in patients with each of these comorbidities, except in patients with CAD.

Source: EurekAlert!

Today’s Comic