No Evidence of Novel Coronavirus Transmitted via Aerosol: Chinese Expert

The novel coronavirus normally does not suspend or float in the air for long, and currently no evidence has shown that the new virus can be transmitted through aerosol, a Chinese expert said Sunday.

Feng Luzhao, a researcher of infectious diseases with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, made the remarks at a press conference.

Currently, the virus is mainly transmitted via respiratory droplets and contact, said Feng, adding that the virus is normally transmitted within a range of one to two meters.

He suggested that people use napkins, hands or arms to cover their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing to prevent splashing droplets.

Source: Xinhua Net


Read also at BMC:

Recognition of aerosol transmission of infectious agents: a commentary . . . . .

Deconstructed Vegan Pecan Pie

Ingredients

Pie Crackers
olive oil cooking spray
3 sheets phyllo dough (12″X16″)
1 cup maple sugar

Pecan Pie Filling

5 tablespoons vegan butter
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cups maple syrup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
8 ounces extra firm silken tofu
2 cups pecans (toasted, roughly chopped)

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 (15 ounce) can full fat coconut milk (chilled overnight)
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. To toast the pecans, in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add pecans in a single layer. Cook until toasted and fragrant, tossing occasionally to avoid burning, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Chopped the pecan and set aside.
  2. To make the Pie Crackers, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  3. Place one sheet of phyllo down, spray evenly with olive oil spray and evenly sprinkle 1/3 of the maple sugar over the top. Place a second sheet of phyllo on top, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/3 of remaining maple sugar. Top the 2 layers with the last sheet of phyllo and spray with olive oil and sprinkle the rest of the maple sugar evenly on top.
  4. Cut the phyllo into 3×4-inch rectangles and place on the prepared baking sheet, you should have 16 squares.
  5. Place another sheet of parchment on top of the squares and a baking sheet on top to weigh down the squares. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  6. Remove from the oven, leaving the oven on, and allow crackers to cool.
  7. Reduce temperature of the oven to 350ºF.
  8. Make the Pecan Pie Filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the vegan butter, dark brown sugar, maple syrup, and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking for 2 minutes more. Stir in the vanilla extract, vinegar and salt and set aside.
  9. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, add the tofu and pulse until smooth. Add the maple syrup mixture to the tofu until combined. Remove filling to a large bowl and stir in the chopped pecans.
  10. Place six 4-ounce ramekins in a large deep roasting pan. Divide the pecan pie filling between the ramekins.
  11. Place the roasting pan in the center of the oven and before closing the door, create a water bath by slowly filling the roasting pan with water so it comes about halfway up the side of the ramekins.
  12. Bake at 350ºF until the edges of the pie filling is set and the center has a slight jiggle to it, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
  13. Make the Coconut Whipped Cream. Remove the can of coconut milk that has been chilling in the refrigerator overnight and scrape the coconut cream that has risen to the top of the can and remove to a large chilled bowl.
  14. Whisk the coconut cream until soft peaks form and add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whisk until medium peaks form.
  15. To serve, top each ramekin with a dollop of coconut whipped cream. Serve with pie crackers on the side.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Chef Carla Hall

Vegan Bacon Made from Parsnips Goes on Sale in the U.K.

Many people say they could not go vegan if it meant giving up bacon, but we vegans have plenty of options available to us when it comes to replacing the tastes and textures of bacon.

From tofu to aubergines, vegan cooks have long been getting creative with making bacon alternatives from a variety of different vegetables and ingredients.

Now online healthy food retailer, musclefood, is getting in on the action by launching its own vegan bacon made entirely from strips of parsnips.

According to the website, the meat-free bacon is “unbelievably delicious flavour and a succulently moist, crispy texture that’s undeniably ‘meaty’.”

Available to purchase from musclefood.com, the vegan bacon comes in a kit, priced at £1.50, featuring ready-cut parsnip strips and a mouth-watering marinade made from liquid smoke, yeast, garlic, soy sauce, and black pepper for a delicious umami flavour.

Not only is the bacon meat-free, but it’s also made with all-natural ingredients and contains no artificial colours or preservatives.

To make the vegan bacon at home, simply marinade the parsnip for half an hour before placing the slices into a pre-heated regular oven on a lined baking tray for around 12 to 15 minutes.

Healthy alternative

“It can sometimes be hard for Brits who want to cut down their intake of animal products to get over the hurdle of giving up foods they’ve grown fond of over the years,” Amy Kershaw, Head of Product Innovation at musclefood.com, said in a statement.

“A comforting bacon butty or a filling fry up are staples of our national cuisine, so we’ve decided to dispel the myth that following a vegan diet or cutting down on meat has to be about abstinence.

“Our new completely plant-based bacon kit means that you can enjoy a fresh and healthy alternative to real bacon, without fuelling concerns about harming animals or the planet.

“By following a few simple steps provided with the ingredients, home cooks can turn humble parsnips into tempting vegan bacon ready for the breakfast table or other meals.”

Source: Vegan Food and Living

How a Happy Relationship Can Help Your Health

Eighties rocker Huey Lewis was right: The power of love is a curious thing, and it might just save your life. Or at least make it longer and healthier.

Studies have shown supportive relationships in general and marriage in particular can be healthy for you.

A 2017 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found unmarried people with heart disease were 52% more likely to have a heart attack or die from a cardiovascular problem after nearly four years compared with married heart patients. Overall, the death rate for married people is lower than for those who were never married, divorced or widowed, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Imaging studies show that viewing pictures of one’s romantic partner activates brain regions related to mood and pain regulation. Thinking about a partner also may boost energy by positively affecting blood glucose levels.

That all aligns with striking findings showing the power of supportive relationships of all kinds.

Dr. Robert Waldinger is director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, which has been tracking two groups of men since 1938. His TED talk on “What makes a good life?” has been viewed tens of millions of times. Among other things, the study has found stable relationships at midlife are a better predictor of being healthy and happy 30 years later than cholesterol levels.

The clearest message from the study, he tells the audience, is this: “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

Where does this power come from? “That is the $64,000 question,” he said in an interview.

One theory is that good relationships calm people down from the fight-or-flight response that kicks in when they’re scared or angry, said Waldinger, a psychiatrist and professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Stress hormones released at such moments can be harmful. But, he said, “If you have a really lousy day and something bad happens, and you go home and there’s somebody you can talk to about it, you can almost literally feel your body decompress as you talk about what was wrong. Especially if you have somebody who’s a good listener and maybe says a few encouraging things.”

Studies have shown physical intimacy, such as holding hands or hugging, can lower levels of stress hormones.

But relationships play a bigger role beyond regulating stress, said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University in Utah. A supportive partner might encourage you in healthy ways – to exercise or eat better or see a doctor when you need one.

She led a trailblazing 2010 analysis published in the journal PLOS Medicine that looked at data from 148 studies involving more than 300,000 people. It found the odds of being alive at the end of a study’s given time period was 50% higher for those with the strongest social relationships compared with people without such ties. As a predictor of survival, this is on par with the effect of quitting smoking.

Other studies led by Holt-Lunstad focused on the health effect of marriage itself. The lesson there: Quality matters.

The work found people in happy marriages had lower blood pressure than people who weren’t married. But people in strained marriages fared worse than single people.

Elements of a positive relationship, whether it’s a marriage or something else, include trust and security, she said. As does how well you respond to your partner’s needs – “the extent to which you are both giving and receiving, so it’s not a one-way kind of relationship.”

Waldinger said a relationship doesn’t have to be perfect to provide a health benefit. The research isn’t conclusive, he said, but experts think the key may be simply knowing that somebody has your back.

“It wouldn’t have to be a marital relationship,” he said. “It wouldn’t have to be a live-in relationship. It could be somebody you just know will be there in a heartbeat if you need them.”

A “bedrock of affection” seems vital to good, stable relationships, he said. In one of his earlier studies, for example, he found angry arguments did not presage a failed marriage, so long as affection was underlying the relationship.

“It turns out some couples really do quite well arguing, getting things off their chests and being done,” Waldinger said.

All happy marriages might not be alike, he said. “I suspect that it’s more about compatibility than anything. You know, some people in relationships want a whole lot of contact, and a whole lot of sharing and emotional intimacy, and other people don’t really want that much at all. And one isn’t better than the other.”

Holt-Lunstad said more people need to understand that relationships have a huge influence on physical well-being, particularly when it comes to heart health.

People are used to hearing messages about the importance of exercising and not smoking, she said. “We need to start taking our relationships just as seriously as we take those things.”

Source: American Heart Association

Lower Protein Diet May Lessen Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Zachary Sweger wrote . . . . . . . . .

A plant-based diet may be key to lowering risk for heart disease. Penn State researchers determined that diets with reduced sulfur amino acids — which occur in protein-rich foods, such as meats, dairy, nuts and soy — were associated with a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. The team also found that the average American consumes almost two and a half times more sulfur amino acids than the estimated average requirement.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. A subcategory, called sulfur amino acids, including methionine and cysteine, play various roles in metabolism and health.

“For decades it has been understood that diets restricting sulfur amino acids were beneficial for longevity in animals,” said John Richie, a professor of public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine. “This study provides the first epidemiologic evidence that excessive dietary intake of sulfur amino acids may be related to chronic disease outcomes in humans.”

Richie led a team that examined the diets and blood biomarkers of more than 11,000 participants from a national study and found that participants who ate foods containing fewer sulfur amino acids tended to have a decreased risk for cardiometabolic disease based on their bloodwork.

The team evaluated data from the Third National Examination and Nutritional Health Survey. They compiled a composite cardiometabolic disease risk score based on the levels of certain biomarkers in participants’ blood after a 10-16 hour fast, including cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and insulin.

“These biomarkers are indicative of an individual’s risk for disease, just as high cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” Richie said. “Many of these levels can be impacted by a person’s longer-term dietary habits leading up to the test.”

Participants were excluded from the study if they reported having either congestive heart failure, heart attack or a reported change in diet due to a heart disease diagnosis. Individuals were also omitted if they reported a dietary intake of sulfur amino acids below the estimated average requirement of 15 mg/kg/day recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Medicine.

To meet this daily requirement, a person weighing 132 pounds might eat, throughout the course of a day, a medium slice of bread, a half an avocado, an egg, a half cup of raw cabbage, six cherry tomatoes, two ounces of chicken breast, a cup of brown rice, three quarters of a cup of zucchini, three tablespoons of butter, a cup of spinach, a medium apple, an eight-inch-diameter pizza and a tablespoon of almonds.

Nutritionists collected information about participants’ diets by doing in-person 24-hour recalls. Nutrient intakes were then calculated using the U.S. Department of Agriculture Survey Nutrient Database.

After accounting for body weight, the researchers found that average sulfur amino acid intake was almost two and a half times higher than the estimated average requirement. Xiang Gao, associate professor and director of the nutritional epidemiology lab at the Penn State University and co-author of the study, published today (Feb. 3) in Lancet EClinical Medicine, suggested this may be due to trends in the average diet of a person living in the United States.

“Many people in the United States consume a diet rich in meat and dairy products and the estimated average requirement is only expected to meet the needs of half of healthy individuals,” Gao said. “Therefore, it is not surprising that many are surpassing the average requirement when considering these foods contain higher amounts of sulfur amino acids.”

The researchers found that higher sulfur amino acid intake was associated with a higher composite cardiometabolic risk score after accounting for potential confounders like age, sex and history of diabetes and hypertension. They also found that high sulfur amino acid intake was associated with every type of food except grains, vegetables and fruit.

“Meats and other high-protein foods are generally higher in sulfur amino acid content,” said Zhen Dong, lead author on the study and College of Medicine graduate. “People who eat lots of plant-based products like fruits and vegetables will consume lower amounts of sulfur amino acids. These results support some of the beneficial health effects observed in those who eat vegan or other plant-based diets.”

Dong said that while this study only evaluated dietary intake and cardiometabolic disease risk factors at one point in time, the association between increased sulfur amino acid intake and risk for cardiometabolic disease was strong. She said the data supports the formation of a prospective, longitudinal study evaluating sulfur amino acid intake and health outcomes over time.

“Here we saw an observed association between certain dietary habits and higher levels of blood biomarkers that put a person at risk for cardiometabolic diseases,” Richie said. “A longitudinal study would allow us to analyze whether people who eat a certain way do end up developing the diseases these biomarkers indicate a risk for.”

Source: The Pennsylvania State University


Today’s Comic