New Sweet at McDonald’s Stores in Japan

Double Chocolate Melts

The sweet features soft chocolate bread with sweet cocoa flavour covered in rich chocolate sauce.

It will be available for a limited time period for the price of 330 yen (tax included).

Coffee Custard

Ingredients

butter, melted, for custard cups
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup dark chocolate shavings (about 1 ounce)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place a roasting pan three-quarters full of hot water in the oven.
  3. Brush four 6-ounce custard cups with butter and set aside.
  4. Combine cream, milk, and espresso in a small saucepan and scald.
  5. Whisk together egg yolks, egg, sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Add a little of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk well. Add the remaining milk mixture and whisk again to combine well. Strain mixture through a sieve.
  6. Pour into the custard cups and place in water bath in oven, making sure that the water comes three-quarters of the way up sides of cups. Bake until the custard is set, about 35 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and water bath and cool for about 20 minutes.
  8. Loosen custards with a knife and invert onto serving dishes, sprinkle with chocolate. Alternatively, refrigerate and turn out when needed.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: What to Have for Dinner

Cakes for Shichi-Go-San Festival (七五三节)

Taditional festival day in Japan for seven-year-old girls, five-year-old boys and three-year-old boys and girls, held annually on November 15

Many Common Medicines Could Alter Your Microbiome

Some widely used drugs alter the population of microbes in the gut, and a number raise the risk of antibiotic resistance, a new Dutch study shows.

The gut microbiome includes at least 1,000 species of bacteria and is influenced by a number of different factors, including medication. Research suggests that changes in the gut microbiome are associated with obesity, diabetes, liver diseases, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

“We already know that the efficiency and the toxicity of certain drugs are influenced by the bacterial composition of the gastrointestinal tract and that the gut microbiota has been related to multiple health conditions; therefore, it is crucial to understand which are the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome,” said lead researcher Arnau Vich Vila, from the University Medical Center Groningen.

In this study, the researchers examined 41 commonly used drug categories and assessed 1,883 fecal samples from people who did and didn’t take the drugs, including some with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Eighteen of the drug categories had major effects on the gut microbiome, and eight increased the risk of antimicrobial resistance.

The categories with the biggest impact on the microbiome were:

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), used to treat indigestion, peptic ulcer, H. pylori eradication, gastro reflux and Barrett’s esophagus.
  • Metformin, used to treat type 2 diabetes.
  • Antibiotics, used to treat bacterial infections.
  • Laxatives, used to treat and prevent constipation.

The gut microbiomes of PPI users had higher levels of upper gastrointestinal tract bacteria and increased fatty acid production, and metformin users had higher levels of potentially harmful E. coli bacteria.

Seven other drug categories were associated with significant changes in bacterial populations in the gut, according to the researchers.

For example, the use of SSRI antidepressants by people with IBS was associated with increased levels of the potentially harmful bacteria species Eubacterium ramulus.

Meanwhile, the use of oral steroids was associated with high levels of methanogenic bacteria linked with obesity and an increase in body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on weight and height).

The study was to be presented Wednesday at the UEG (United European Gastroenterology) annual meeting, in Barcelona. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Our work highlights the importance of considering the role of the gut microbiota when designing treatments and also points to new hypotheses that could explain certain side-effects associated with medication use,” Vila said in a meeting news release.

Source: Healthday

Study: What’s Good for the Heart is Good for the Brain

Emory University researchers are giving us double the reasons to pay attention to our cardiovascular health — showing in a recently published study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease that good heart health can equal good brain health.

The American Heart Association defines ideal cardiovascular health (CVH) across seven modifiable risk factors (blood sugar, serum cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index, physical activity, diet and cigarette smoking). Higher CVH scores point to better heart health and lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Prior studies have indicated that ideal CVH also benefits brain health and cognitive aging. However, it was unclear how genes and/or environment played into the relationship between cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive decline.

By studying pairs of twin brothers from the Vietnam Era Twin (VET) registry, researchers were able to observe the relationship between CVH and cognitive performance across all participants that may be explained by genetics and/or exposures or behaviors that are shared by members of the same family.

Twin studies are a special type of epidemiological study that allow researchers to examine the overall role of genes and environment in a behavioral trait or disorder. Identical twins share 100 percent of their genetic material, while fraternal twins share on average 50 percent of genetic material. For a given trait or medical condition, any excess similarity between identical twins compared with fraternal twins, is likely suggestive of genes rather than environment. Twin studies can serve to differentiate between “nature vs. nurture.”

“Our study across the entire sample of twins confirmed that better CVH is associated with better cognitive health in several domains,” says senior author Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, Wilton Looney Professor of Cardiovascular Research, Rollins School of Public Health, and professor, division of cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine. “The analyses further suggested that familial factors shared by the twins explain a large part of the association and thus could be important for both cardiovascular and brain health.”

To determine whether these familial factors were genetically or environmentally driven, researchers further stratified the within-pair analysis to determine whether the relationship between CVH and cognitive function was different between identical and fraternal twins.

The within-pair association was similar in identical and fraternal twins. Therefore familial factors, such as early family environment, early socioeconomic status and education, and parenting — rather than genetics — may be important precursors of both cardiovascular and brain health — thus explaining some of the association between CVH and cognition.

“Improving population-level CVH scores, which are extremely low in the United States, has the potential to reduce the burden of dementia along with heart disease,” says study co-author Ambar Kulshreshtha, MD, PhD, assistant professor of family and preventive medicine, Emory University School of Medicine. “Because CVH factors are modifiable, prevention of cardiovascular risk factors and promotion of a healthy lifestyle beginning early in life should achieve the best results for promoting not only cardiovascular health, but also cognitive health.”

Source: Science Daily


Today’s Comic