Character Sweets

Amavier Japanese Wagashi (アマビエ和菓子)

Amavier is a monster that people hope it will kill the coronavirus.

The price for a box of six pieces of sweets is 1,820 yen (tax included).

Hamburger with False Ketchup, Mustard and Onion

Ingredients

150 g ground beef
2 eggs
rocket leaves
olive oil
pepper
salt

False Ketchup

200 g red fruits
2-1/2 tbsp water

False Mustard

mustard powder or seeds
water

False Onion

1 pear

Method

  1. To make the false ketchup, heat the water. When it starts to boil, add the fruit and cook until it softens. Liquidize this mixture to obtain a thin sauce and put aside.
  2. To make the false mustard, mix the mustard and water in a blender to obtain a smooth paste. (This will have a strong taste, so do not use too much mustard.) Put aside.
  3. To make the false onion, wash the pear, cut it in 4 and remove the seeds. Slice it thinly. (As pear flesh goes brown very quickly when exposed to the air, leave its preparation until the last moment.)
  4. Mix the meat in a bowl with the eggs, salt, and pepper. Make a few balls and squash them so that they are 1 to 2 cm thick, depending on your taste.
  5. Put a few drops of oil on a griddle and cook the hamburgers over high heat for about 2 minutes. If you prefer the meat well done, continue cooking over lower heat.
  6. Finally, prepare the serving plate, put a hamburger in place and then put some pear slices on top of it. Put another hamburger on top, and then add some more pear slices. Accompany the dish with the mustard, ketchup, and rocket leaves.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: Paleo

Video: Why Does Hand-washing Work?

Watch video at You Tube (1:02 minutes) . . . . .

Our Ability to Focus May Falter After Eating One Meal High in Saturated Fat

Fatty food may feel like a friend during these troubled times, but new research suggests that eating just one meal high in saturated fat can hinder our ability to concentrate – not great news for people whose diets have gone south while they’re working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study compared how 51 women performed on a test of their attention after they ate either a meal high in saturated fat or the same meal made with sunflower oil, which is high in unsaturated fat.

Their performance on the test was worse after eating the high-saturated-fat meal than after they ate the meal containing a healthier fat, signaling a link between that fatty food and the brain.

Researchers were also looking at whether a condition called leaky gut, which allows intestinal bacteria to enter the bloodstream, had any effect on concentration. Participants with leakier guts performed worse on the attention assessment no matter which meal they had eaten.

The loss of focus after a single meal was eye-opening for the researchers.

“Most prior work looking at the causative effect of the diet has looked over a period of time. And this was just one meal – it’s pretty remarkable that we saw a difference,” said Annelise Madison, lead author of the study and a graduate student in clinical psychology at The Ohio State University.

Madison also noted that the meal made with sunflower oil, while low in saturated fat, still contained a lot of dietary fat.

“Because both meals were high-fat and potentially problematic, the high-saturated-fat meal’s cognitive effect could be even greater if it were compared to a lower-fat meal,” she said.

The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Madison works in the lab of Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State. For this work, Madison conducted a secondary analysis of data from Kiecolt-Glaser’s study assessing whether high-fat meals increased fatigue and inflammation among cancer survivors.

Women in the study completed a baseline assessment of their attention during a morning visit to the lab. The tool, called a continuous performance test, is a measure of sustained attention, concentration and reaction time based on 10 minutes of computer-based activities.

The high-fat meal followed: eggs, biscuits, turkey sausage and gravy containing 60 grams of fat, either a palmitic acid-based oil high in saturated fat or the lower-saturated-fat sunflower oil. Both meals totaled 930 calories and were designed to mimic the contents of various fast-food meals such as a Burger King double whopper with cheese or a McDonald’s Big Mac and medium fries.

Five hours later, the women took the continuous performance test again. Between one and four weeks later, they repeated these steps, eating the opposite meal of what they had eaten on the first visit.

Researchers also analyzed participants’ fasting baseline blood samples to determine whether they contained an inflammatory molecule that signals the presence of endotoxemia – the toxin that escapes from the intestines and enters the bloodstream when the gut barrier is compromised.

After eating the meal high in saturated fat, all of the participating women were, on average, 11 percent less able to detect target stimuli in the attention assessment. Concentration lapses were also apparent in the women with signs of leaky gut: Their response times were more erratic and they were less able to sustain their attention during the 10-minute test.

“If the women had high levels of endotoxemia, it also wiped out the between-meal differences. They were performing poorly no matter what type of fat they ate,” Madison said.

Though the study didn’t determine what was going on in the brain, Madison said previous research has suggested that food high in saturated fat can drive up inflammation throughout the body, and possibly the brain. Fatty acids also can cross the blood-brain barrier.

“It could be that fatty acids are interacting with the brain directly. What it does show is the power of gut-related dysregulation,” she said.

The statistical analysis accounted for other potential influences on cognition, including depressive symptoms and the participants’ average dietary saturated fat consumption. The women in the study ate three standardized meals and fasted for 12 hours before each lab visit to reduce diet variations that could affect their physiological response to the high-fat meals.

The findings suggest concentration could be even more impaired in people stressed by the pandemic who are turning to fatty foods for comfort, Kiecolt-Glaser said.

“What we know is that when people are more anxious, a good subset of us will find high-saturated-fat food more enticing than broccoli,” she said. “We know from other research that depression and anxiety can interfere with concentration and attention as well. When we add that on top of the high-fat meal, we could expect the real-world effects to be even larger.”

Source: EurekAlert!

Tiny RNA that Should Attack Coronavirus Diminish with Age, Disease

Toni Baker wrote . . . . . . . . .

A group of tiny RNA that should attack the virus causing COVID-19 when it tries to infect the body are diminished with age and chronic health problems, a decrease that likely helps explain why older individuals and those with preexisting medical conditions are vulnerable populations, investigators report.

MicroRNAs play a big role in our body in controlling gene expression, and also are a front line when viruses invade, latching onto and cutting the RNA, the genetic material of the virus, says Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, aging researcher in the Department of Medicine and Center for Healthy Aging at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

But with age and some chronic medical conditions, the attacking microRNA numbers dwindle, reducing our ability to respond to viruses, says Dr. Carlos M. Isales, co-director of the MCG Center for Healthy Aging and chief of the MCG Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.

Much like not having enough troops on the ground in an actual war, the coronavirus is then better able to do what it does naturally, which is hijack our cell machinery so it can replicate, say the researchers who report in the journal Aging and Disease what appear to be key microRNA involved in responding to this virus. They have a longer-term goal of identifying the biggest hitters and replenishing those troops.

They looked at the RNA sequence of actually two coronaviruses, SARS, which surfaced in 2002, and SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, and the sequence of the microRNAs that appeared to be attacking the virus, then used computer simulation to figure out which would logically fit together like puzzle pieces. Their perusal included four samples of SARS and 29 samples of SARS-CoV-2, taken between January and April 2020 from five continents covering 17 countries from the United States to Germany to Thailand.

They found 848 microRNAs that target the SARS genome and 873 microRNAs that target SARS-CoV-2 genome. They found 558 of the microRNAs fighting SARS also present in SARS-CoV-2, while 315 microRNAs were unique to SARS-CoV-2, and 290 were unique to SARS. MicroRNAs most proficient at attacking SARS-CoV-2 showed more than 10 target sites and might ultimately be found to be the most proficient at fighting the virus, which, in a few months, has changed much of the way the world functions.

They also found the microRNAs targeting SARS-CoV-2 were associated with more than 72 biological processes — from the production of molecules to the immune response — and that many are known to become dysregulated and/or diminish in number with age and with underlying medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a likely factor in the increased disease presentation and death rates seen in these individuals, the investigators say.

An example is microRNAs like miR-15b-5p, which has a high affinity for SARS-CoV-2, but is downregulated in coronary artery disease, says corresponding author Fulzele. In healthy, younger people, these microRNAs whose nature is to bind to the virus, are more apt to do as they should and prevent replication, he adds.

In the 29 worldwide samples of SARS-CoV-2, 19 had identical microRNAs, which indicates the virus has a fairly uniform presence internationally and that any effective treatments or vaccines should have broad impact, Isales says.

Next steps include studies in culture and lab animals to ensure findings are consistent with the computer analysis of human microRNAs in this study.

“The most important and striking feature of COVID-19 is the increased case fatality rate in aged individuals,” the investigators write, with the CDC reporting that nearly half of patients requiring hospitalization are age 65 and older, and these more senior individuals account for about 80% of the deaths. Fulzele, Isales and their colleagues wanted to know more about why.

“My perspective is there is a key set of microRNAs that are important in triggering this abnormal response, in making older patients more susceptible,” says senior author Isales. “We are looking at microRNAs in general dropping, but there is a specific subset that is key. The question is whether we can we target those as a therapy.”

Cocktails of multiple key microRNA, potentially given through the nose, might help restore sufficient levels of the key virus fighters, the investigators say.

They already are moving toward producing synthetic microRNA that could supplement this frontline weakened by age or disease, Fulzele says. Future studies also include pinning down which microRNA would be most impactful as an adjunct therapy, for example with the drug remdesivir, under study now for COVID-19, which works to stop the virus’ pirating of healthy cell machinery.

Another question to pursue is whether some younger people, who also are seriously sickened by SARS-CoV-2 infection, already don’t make sufficient numbers of some of the key protective microRNA, Isales says.

The microRNA present in the cells of our body typically target both the 3’-UTR (three prime untranslated region) region of the virus, the section of messenger RNA that contains regulatory regions that influence gene expression and protein function, as well as the coding region that ultimately produces a protein, unless they are outnumbered.

“Normally your immune cells would go in and destroy them but you have this large viral load as they continue to replicate and you have all this abrupt inflammatory response,” says Isales, which ultimately results in the cytokine storms that help destroy rather than protect organs. He thinks the reduced number of key microRNA critical to the body attacking the virus is an enabler of the disaster than can follow.

SARS and SARS-CoV-2 sequences used in the study were received from the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the GISAID, an international initiative to share data from the influenza viruses and the SARS-CoV-2 strain. The genome sequence of SARS and SARS-CoV-2 were retrieved from GenBank, the National Institutes of Health’s genetic sequence database. The scientists used the whole viral genome sequence for microRNA target analysis.

SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, first surfaced in China and spread worldwide but while it was more deadly than the current coronavirus, it was not as infectious so less people ultimately died than are succumbing to COVID-19, Isales says. Worldwide, 8,098 people were infected with SARS and 774 died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Near the end of the first week in May, there were nearly 1.3 million SARS-CoV-2 cases confirmed in the United States alone and more than 76,000 deaths.

People age 65 and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, are considered at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Underlying medical conditions include problems like serious heart conditions, chronic lung disease and moderate to severe asthma, and people with a compromised immune system such as individuals with cancer or who have had an organ transplant, the CDC says. Obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis and liver disease are among the other conditions.

Source: Augusta University


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