New Character Donuts of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Japan

Barbapapa (バーバパパ) Donuts

The price of the box of three donuts is 1,200 yen (tax included)

Lamb Cutlet with Romesco Sauce

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds boneless lamb leg steaks, cut 1/2 inch thick and lightly pounded
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 roasted red pepper from a jar
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup salted roasted almonds
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons snipped chives
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.
  2. Put the flour, eggs and panko in 3 shallow bowls; season each with salt and pepper. Dredge the lamb in the flour, then dip in the eggs and coat with panko. Transfer the lamb to a plate.
  3. In a blender, combine the tomato, roasted pepper, garlic, almonds, vinegar and sugar and process until smooth.
  4. With the machine on, add the 1/4 cup of olive oil in a thin stream and blend until creamy. Season the romesco sauce with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil until shimmering. Add the breaded lamb cutlets and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels and transfer to plates.
  6. Spoon some of the romesco sauce over the lamb and garnish with the goat cheese, chives and parsley. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Chef Jose Garces

Study: Paper Towels Beat Air Dryers Against Viruses

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

Frequent hand-washing with soap and water is key to preventing the spread of coronavirus, but what’s the best way to dry your hands afterward?

In a new, small study, British researchers found paper towels were better than the air dryers often found in public restrooms at getting rid of germs that are still on your hands after you wash them.

“Good hand-washing practice should be followed by proper hand-drying. Paper towels can help reduce the spread of microbes and should be a preferred method of hand-drying, especially at a time when good hand hygiene is the most effective measure to prevent COVID-19,” said study author Ines Moura, a research fellow at the University of Leeds.

The method used to dry hands can help reduce microbial contamination, not just on hands but also on the body and the environment outside the washroom, she explained.

“Paper towels were more efficient in reducing this contamination,” Moura said. “This is particularly important in hospital toilets because these facilities are used by patients, health care professionals and visitors, and increasingly only offer jet air dryers as an option for hand-drying.”

Proper hand-washing means vigorously washing your hand with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Dr. Miriam Smith, chief of infectious disease at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in New York City, said, “Jet drying appears to enhance the potential for aerosolizing and transmitting microbes. In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, paper towel drying, rather than jet drying, should be considered in public facilities in an effort to contain the spread of SARS CoV-2.”

For the study, four volunteers washed their hands after being contaminated with a bacteriophage (a virus that infects bacteria and is harmless to humans). They dried their hands with either paper towels or an air dryer in a hospital public washroom. All participants wore an apron. After drying, they were asked to cross their arms with aprons on, then rest their hands on armchairs.

The researchers then took samples from surfaces they touched, such as the armchairs, doors, stair rails, elevator buttons, chairs, phones and intercoms, etc.

Both paper towels and air dryers significantly reduced the virus from contaminated hands, but on all the surfaces tested, more contaminate was found after air drying than after using paper towels.

In fact, average surface contamination was more than 10 times higher after air drying than after using paper towels, the researchers found.

Also, more than five times the contamination was found on the aprons and clothing and surfaces touched by clothing after air drying than drying with paper towels. Only after air drying was contamination found on the armchairs via the crossed arms, the researchers noted.

Transferring germs to environmental surfaces can happen from hands that are still contaminated after hand drying, but also from clothing that has been contaminated during hand drying, the researchers explained.

Richard Condit, professor emeritus of molecular genetics and microbiology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, wasn’t surprised by the findings.

Earlier studies of the efficacy of air dryers found that air dryers blew contaminants from hands all over the place, he said.

“It’s too bad, really,” Condit said. “As a microbiologist, I recognized the potential for contamination from the get-go, and since reading older articles confirming my suspicions, the next-generation air dryers have given me the creeps.”

In particular, he noted the type of air dryer where you insert your wet hands in the sleeve-shaped opening. “You will often see a puddle of liquid pooled in the bottom from previous use. This must be contaminated with microbes,” Condit said. “Unfortunately, until some safer alternative to electric forced-air dryers appears, I’ll go with paper towels.”

The findings were scheduled to be presented at the now-canceled meeting of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: HealthDay

Why Did the World Shut Down for COVID-19 But Not Ebola, SARS or Swine Flu?

Kaleigh Rogers wrote . . . . . . . . .

When reports of a new virus circulating in China’s Hubei province first began to emerge, I was cautious about overreacting. I’ve reported on health long enough to know that just because a pathogen is new doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a crisis.

Of course, I quickly realized this isn’t just any virus. We’re currently battling a global pandemic unlike any we’ve seen in over a century.

But it’s also not the first modern virus we’ve faced. In the past two decades, the world battled Ebola, SARS and more than one major flu outbreak. Those left tragedies in their wake but didn’t cause the same level of societal and economic disruption that COVID-19 has. As a result, they can help us understand this new coronavirus — to capture how unique our new reality is, it helps to look back at similar outbreaks that threatened to upend society, but ultimately stopped short.

SARS and MERS: Deadly, but not easily spread

In late 2002, an emerging pathogen that likely spilled over from the animal world started to cause severe respiratory illness in China. Sound familiar? Through the first half of 2003, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) spread through 26 countries, infecting at least 8,098 people and killing at least 774.

If the name didn’t give it away, SARS was caused by a virus similar to the one that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, but it didn’t have nearly the same impact. This is in spite of having a relatively high case fatality rate of 9.6 percent, compared to the current estimate for COVID-19: 1.4 percent.

Another respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, has an even higher case fatality rate of 34 percent. But it’s also led to fewer deaths than what we’ve already seen from COVID-19: As of January 2020, there have been 2,519 cases of MERS and 866 associated deaths from the infection.

SARS and MERS didn’t cause the same level of devastation that COVID-19 has largely because they aren’t as easily transmitted. Rather than moving by casual, person-to-person transmission, SARS and MERS spread from much closer contact, between family members or health care workers and patients (or, in the case of MERS, from camels to people directly). These viruses also aren’t spread through presymptomatic transmission, meaning infected people don’t spread it before they have symptoms. Once people got sick, they typically stayed home or were hospitalized, making it harder for them to spread the virus around.

“By and large, except for a couple of mass transmission events, almost all of the transmission of SARS was within the health care setting, when you have an aerosol-generating event like intubating someone or dialysis,” said Stephen Morse, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “So basically, you could control SARS by improving infection control and prevention in the hospitals.”

This differs significantly from COVID-19, which can be spread by people without symptoms (whether those people go on to develop symptoms eventually, or are entirely asymptomatic throughout their infection, is not yet known). It also spreads easily from person to person. Put together, that means that people who don’t know they’re infectious could still be out and about, and their casual interactions are enough to spread the virus to other people. This is why social distancing has become such a crucial part of our strategy to combat the virus’s spread.

Swine flu: Easily spread, but not as deadly

In the spring of 2009, a new version of the H1N1 influenza virus — the virus that caused the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic — emerged and began to spread rapidly. The swine flu killed anywhere from 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide in its first 12 months, through April 2010, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and may have infected over 1 billion by the end of 2010.

The swine flu spread easily person-to-person, just like COVID-19, and possibly even from people who were presymptomatic. Its R0, or R-naught, a measure of how many people an infectious person could infect, is between 1.4 and 1.6. This is a little lower than COVID-19, which experts estimate has a R-naught of between 1.5 and 3.5, but it still means H1N1 is a very infectious virus.

So why didn’t the swine flu overwhelm our health care systems and grind our economies to a halt? The main difference is that it ended up being a much milder and less deadly infection. There are a range of estimated case fatality rates for swine flu, but even the highest, less than 0.1 percent, are much lower than the current estimates for COVID-19.

“The 2009 pandemic, the H1N1 swine flu, that [disease] spread very, very well, but the fatality rate was quite low, and that’s the reason why it wasn’t dubbed as a particularly serious pandemic,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, in a February livestream.

Even with such a low case fatality rate, the swine flu had a high overall death toll due in part to how easily it spread. With an even higher case fatality rate and perhaps even a higher rate of transmission, COVID-19 has required drastic measures to prevent its spread.

Ebola: Very severe, but hard to contract

Ebola first emerged in 1976, and the world has weathered outbreaks at various points since then, including one in West Africa from 2014 to 2016. It’s a severe disease that kills, on average, 50 percent of people who become infected, according to the World Health Organization. Yet just over 11,000 people died during the 2014-2016 outbreak, which was largely isolated to the region where it emerged.

Similar to MERS and SARS, Ebola is not easily transmittable. Infected people don’t spread the virus until they start showing symptoms, and even then the virus is hard to catch because it is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluid of an infected person, like blood, sweat, and urine, rather than through the kind of particles produced when someone sneezes or speaks. Unless you’re nursing patients (either at home or in a hospital setting) or tending to their body after they’ve died, it’s unlikely you’d acquire the infection.

Ebola also tends to cause pretty severe and identifiable symptoms, such as fever and fatigue followed by vomiting and diarrhea. Not only can infected people not spread the virus until they’re sick, but once they become sick, they’ll know it.

“If you want to see illnesses which are controllable, they all have transmission very much tied to symptoms, and this includes SARS and Ebola,” said William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “If you’re in an Ebola zone, you can be pretty sure whether or not the person you’re talking to is a potentially risky contact.”

This makes it easier to isolate infected individuals and protect health care workers to limit the spread, which is what occurred in the 2014-2016 outbreak. It’s a striking difference from COVID-19, which we know can be spread without any symptoms at all, and even when people get sick, some people might have symptoms so mild that they’re not sure they have COVID-19 in the first place.

In each of these cases, the viral outbreak lacked one of the key components that COVID-19 has that allowed it to tip over into a global pandemic. “SARS-CoV-2 is kind of a perfect storm,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University who specializes in infectious diseases.

COVID-19 can be mild enough that some people who have it don’t know they have it. It’s also easily spread, can be transmitted by presymptomatic people and is severe enough to kill a significant share of those who have it. All combined, the novel coronavirus has led to an outbreak that is unusually difficult to track and control. The seismic shift in our everyday lives is happening for a reason.

Source: FiveThirtyEIght

Being Right-brained or Left-brained Comes Down to Molecular Switches

Scientists may have solved one of the most puzzling and persistent mysteries in neuroscience: why some people are “right-brained” while others are “left-brained.”

The answer lies in how certain genes on each side of the brain are switched “on” and “off” through a process called epigenetic regulation. The findings may explain why Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders frequently affect one side of the body first, a revelation that has far-reaching implications for development of potential future treatments.

The study was led by Van Andel Institute’s Viviane Labrie, Ph.D., and published in the journal Genome Biology.

“The mechanisms underlying brain asymmetry have been an elephant in the room for decades,” Labrie said. “It’s thrilling to finally uncover its cause, particularly given its potential for helping us better understand and, hopefully one day, better treat diseases like Parkinson’s.”

Each cell in the brain has the same genes but it is epigenetics that dictate whether those genes are switched “on” or “off.” Labrie and her collaborators found numerous epigenetic differences between the hemispheres of healthy brains that are linked to variations in gene activity. Notably, these differences, or asymmetry, could make one side of the brain more vulnerable to neurological diseases.

For example, epigenetic abnormalities on one side of the brain could make that hemisphere more susceptible to the processes that cause the death of brain cells in Parkinson’s. The differences in cell death across hemispheres leads to the appearance of the disease’s hallmark symptoms, such as tremor, on one side of the body before the other. As the disease progresses, symptoms on the side first affected often are more severe than symptoms on the other side of the body.

The findings also give scientists a vital window into the various biological pathways that contribute to symptom asymmetry in Parkinson’s, including brain cell development, immune function and cellular communication.

“We all start out with prominent differences between the left and right sides of our brains. As we age, however, our hemispheres become more epigenetically similar. For Parkinson’s, this is significant: people whose hemispheres are more alike early in life experienced faster disease progression, while people whose hemispheres were more asymmetric had slower disease progression,” Labrie said. “Many of these changes are clustered around genes known to impact Parkinson’s risk. There is huge potential to translate these findings into new therapeutic strategies.”

Labrie is already starting to look at this phenomenon in other neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The study is one of the first to parse the molecular causes of brain asymmetry. Early research on the left versus right brain was conducted in the mid-20th century by Roger Sperry, whose groundbreaking work with split-brain patients earned him a Nobel Prize.

Source: VAn Andel Institute


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