What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked 3-course Italian-style Dinner

French Lemon Chicken

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 head garlic
2 cups chicken stock, homemade or low sodium
2 tbsp olive oil
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method

  1. Grate enough peel from lemon to make 1 tbsp. Remove any remaining peel and white pith from lemon and cut flesh into thin slices.
  2. Separate garlic into cloves, cut off root ends but do not peel. Add to chicken stock in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer three minutes. Strain stock and reserve. Peel garlic cloves. If garlic cloves are large, cut in half lengthwise.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season breasts with salt, pepper and thyme, and fry skin-side-down four to five minutes or until golden brown. Turn over and fry second side for one minute. Remove breasts.
  4. Place skin-side-up in oiled ovenproof dish that fits chicken snugly. Discard fat from skillet. Scatter lemon slices and garlic cloves around chicken. Sprinkle sugar on lemon slices.
  5. Add wine to skillet, bring to boil, reduce by half. Stir in stock, brandy and grated zest. Bring to a boil, stirring. Add cream and continue to boil until slightly thickened, about five to eight minutes. Stir in parsley.
  6. Bake chicken for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is tender but not dry. Remove chicken and any lemon bits to serving platter. Scatter over garlic cloves. Remove any fat and pour any juices into sauce.
  7. To serve, pour sauce over chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Lucy Waverman

Urine Test Reveals Quality of Your Diet – and Whether It’s Best for Your Body

Kate Wighton wrote . . . . . . . . .

Scientists have completed large-scale tests on a new type of five-minute urine test that measures the health of a person’s diet.

The test also produces an individual’s unique urine ‘fingerprint’.

Scientists at Imperial College London in collaboration with colleagues at Northwestern University, University of Illinois, and Murdoch University, analysed levels of 46 different so-called metabolites in the urine of 1,848 people in the U.S.

Metabolites are considered to be an objective indicator of diet quality – and are produced as different foods are digested by the body, say the research team, who published their findings in the journal Nature Food.

Dr Joram Posma, author of the research from Imperial’s Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction said: “Diet is a key contributor to human health and disease, though it is notoriously difficult to measure accurately because it relies on an individual’s ability to recall what and how much they ate. For instance, asking people to track their diets through apps or diaries can often lead to inaccurate reports about what they really eat.

“This research reveals this technology can help provide in-depth information on the quality of a person’s diet, and whether it is the right type of diet for their individual biological make-up.”

Tracking alcohol and meat intake

The findings revealed an association between 46 metabolites in urine, and types of foods or nutrients in the diet. For instance, certain metabolites correlated with alcohol intake, while others were linked to intake of citrus fruit, fructose (fruit sugar), glucose and vitamin C.

The team also found metabolites in urine associated with dietary intake of red meats, other meats such as chicken, and nutrients such as calcium. Certain metabolites were also linked with health conditions – for instance compounds found in urine such as formate and sodium (an indicator of salt intake) are linked with obesity and high blood pressure.

Professor Paul Elliott, study co-author and Chair in Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine at Imperial said: “Through careful measurement of people’s diets and collection of their urine excreted over two 24-hour periods we were able to establish links between dietary inputs and urinary output of metabolites that may help improve understanding of how our diets affect health. Healthful diets have a different pattern of metabolites in the urine than those associated with worse health outcomes.”

Precision nutrition

In a second study also published in Nature Food by the same Imperial team, in collaboration with Newcastle University, Aberystwyth University, and Murdoch University and funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the Medical Research Council and Health Data Research UK, the team used this technology to develop a five-minute test to reveal that the mix of metabolites in urine varies from person to person.

The team says the technology, which produces an individual’s urine ‘fingerprint’, could enable people to receive healthy eating advice tailored to their individual biological make-up. This is known as “precision nutrition”, and could provide health professionals with more specific information on the quality of a person’s diet.

Dr Isabel Garcia-Perez, author of the research also from Imperial’s Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction explained: “Our technology can provide crucial insights into how foods are processed by individuals in different ways – and can help health professionals such as dieticians provide dietary advice tailored to individual patients.”

Dr Garcia-Perez added that the team now plan to use the diet analysis technology on people at risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers say this urine ‘fingerprint’ can be used to develop an individual’s personal score – called the Dietary Metabotype Score, or DMS.

Difference in body fat

In their experiments, the team asked 19 people to follow four different diets – ranging from very healthy (following 100 per cent of World Health Organisation recommendations for a balanced diet), to unhealthy (following 25 per cent WHO diet recommendations).

The team found that people who strictly followed the same diet had varied DMS scores.

The team’s work also revealed that the higher a person’s DMS score, the healthier their diet. A higher DMS score was also found to be associated with lower blood sugar, and a higher amount of energy excreted from the body in urine.

The team found the difference between high energy urine (i.e. high DMS score) and low energy urine (low DMS score) was equivalent to someone with a high DMS score losing an extra 4 calories a day, or 1,500 calories a year. The team calculate this could translate to a difference of 215g of body fat per year.

The next step is to investigate how a person’s urine metabolite fingerprint may link to a person’s risk of conditions such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Re-write food tables

Professor Gary Frost, co-author of the research and Chair in Nutrition and Dietetics at Imperial said: “These findings bring a new and more in-depth understanding to how our bodies process and use food at the molecular level. The research brings into question whether we should re-write food tables to incorporate these new metabolites that have biological effects in the body.”

Professor John Mathers, co-author of research and Director of the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University said: “We show here how different people metabolise the same foods in highly individual ways. This has implications for understanding the development of nutrition-related diseases and for more personalised dietary advice to improve public health.”

Source: Imperial College London

Adhesive Film Turns Smartwatch into Biochemical Health Monitoring System

Matthew Chin wrote . . . . . . . . .

UCLA engineers have designed a thin adhesive film that could upgrade a consumer smartwatch into a powerful health monitoring system. The system looks for chemical indicators found in sweat to give a real-time snapshot of what’s happening inside the body. A study detailing the technology was published in the journal Science Advances.

Smartwatches can already help keep track of how far you’ve walked, how much you’ve slept and your heart rate. Newer models even promise to monitor blood pressure. Working with a tethered smartphone or other devices, someone can use a smartwatch to keep track of those health indicators over a long period of time.

What these watches can’t do, yet, is monitor your body chemistry. For that, they need to track biomarker molecules found in body fluids that are highly specific indicators of our health, such as glucose and lactate, which tell how well your body’s metabolism is working.

To address that need, the researchers engineered a disposable, double-sided film that attaches to the underside of a smartwatch. The film can detect molecules such as metabolites and certain nutrients that are present in body sweat in very tiny amounts. They also built a custom smartwatch and an accompanying app to record data.

“The inspiration for this work came from recognizing that we already have more than 100 million smartwatches and other wearable tech sold worldwide that have powerful data-collection, computation and transmission capabilities,” said study leader Sam Emaminejad, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. “Now we have come up with a solution to upgrade these wearables into health monitoring platforms, enabling them to measure molecular-level information so that they give us a much deeper understanding of what’s happening inside our body in real time.”

The skin-touching side of the adhesive film collects and analyzes the chemical makeup of droplets of sweat. The watch-facing side turns those chemical signals into electrical ones that can be read, processed and then displayed on the smartwatch.

The co-lead authors on the paper are graduate student Yichao Zhao and postdoctoral scholar Bo Wang. Both are members of Emaminejad’s Interconnected and Integrated Bioelectronics Lab at UCLA.

“By making our sensors on a double-sided adhesive and vertically conductive film, we eliminated the need for the external connectors,” Zhao said. “In this way, not only have we made it easier to integrate sensors with consumer electronics, but we’ve also eliminated the effect of a user’s motion that can interfere with the chemical data collection.”

“By incorporating appropriate enzymatic-sensing layers in the film, we specifically targeted glucose and lactate, which indicate body metabolism levels, and nutrients such as choline,” Wang said.

While the team designed a custom smartwatch and app to work with the system, Wang said the concept could someday be applied to popular models of smartwatches.

The skin-touching side of the film collects and analyzes the chemical makeup of droplets of sweat.

The researchers tested the film on someone who was sedentary, someone doing office work and people engaged in vigorous activity, such as boxing, and found the system was effective in a wide variety of scenarios. They also noted that the stickiness of the film was sufficient for it to stay on the skin and on the watch without the need for a wrist strap for an entire day.

Over the past few years, Emaminejad has led research on using wearable technology to detect indicator molecules through sweat. This latest study shows a new way that such technologies could be widely adopted.

“We are particularly excited about our technology because by transforming our smartwatches and wearable tech into biomonitoring platforms, we could capture multidimensional, longitudinal and physiologically relevant datasets at an unprecedented scale, basically across hundreds of millions of people,” Emaminejad said. “This thin sensing film that works with a watch shows such a path forward.”

The other authors, all from Emaminejad’s lab, are Hannaneh Hojaiji, Zhaoqing Wang, Shuyu Lin, Christopher Yeung, Haisong Lin, Peterson Nguyen, Kaili Chiu, Kamyar Salahi, Xuanbing Cheng, Jiawei Tan and Betto Alcitlali Cerrillos.

At UCLA, staff members at the Center for Minimally Invasive Therapeutics, the Nanoelectronics Research Facility and UCLA Library’s Lux Lab contributed to building the devices.

Components of the study were supported by the National Science Foundation; the Henry M. Jackson Foundation; a Stanford Genome Technology Center Distinguished Young Investigator Award (with Intermountain Healthcare); the Brain and Behavior Foundation, through its NARSAD Young Investigator Grant; and the PhRMA Foundation.

UCLA has applied for a patent on the technology.

Source: UCLA

Drug Might Relieve Low Back Pain in Whole New Way

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

A new nonopioid pain reliever could be welcome news for people who have difficult-to-treat back pain.

Tanezumab is what’s called a monoclonal antibody. And it might offer extended relief from chronic lower back pain, a large, new study finds. However, a serious side effect remains a concern.

Tanezumab works differently from other treatments, as it blocks nerve growth factor, a protein that causes pain, researchers say.

“It appears that we are on the cusp of developing new drugs, which treat chronic pain by turning down the sensitivity of the nervous system, which is a whole new way of approaching the problem of chronic pain,” said lead researcher Dr. John Markman. He’s a professor of neurosurgery and neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York.

“This is very important because we haven’t really had drugs with a new way of affecting chronic pain developed in maybe 100 years,” Markman said.

This phase 3 trial was funded by drugmakers Pfizer and Eli Lilly and Co. Twelve-hundred patients were randomly assigned to one of two doses of tanezumab or placebo. Another 600 patients received the opioid tramadol.

The higher dose of tanezumab reduced pain and also improved function, the researchers said.

Currently, opioid painkillers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are the only medications for chronic lower back pain. But opioids can be addictive, and NSAIDs can cause serious gastrointestinal bleeding.

If these drugs don’t work, the alternative is spinal fusion surgery, and that’s not always effective, Markman said.

Tanezumab is given by injection about every two months. It has none of the side effects of opioids or NSAIDs.

It does, however, have one very serious side effect that affects up to more than 2% of patients. The drug has been linked to joint deterioration that may require joint replacement.

This concern is the major focus of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current review of the drug as a treatment for chronic pain from severe osteoarthritis, Markman said.

The current study was done in 191 sites in eight countries in North America, Europe and Asia. It involved patients who did not get pain relief after trying at least three different pain drugs, including opioids.

Patients underwent treatment for a little over a year. At four months, patients taking 10 milligrams of tanezumab reported significantly more pain relief than those using the placebo.

Also, after four months, more patients taking the experimental drug reported pain relief than those taking tramadol.

Markman said the drug “is very promising and really represents a step forward.”

Lower back pain affects 80% of Americans, and in as many as 20% of cases can become chronic and debilitating and disruptive, said Dr. Yili Huang, director of pain management at Northwell Health Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

“Any potentially effective new treatment is truly exciting,” said Huang, who was not involved in the study.

Many of the currently available treatments for chronic lower back pain act on the same anti-inflammatory or opioid receptors, he said. “Treating a new target along the pain pathway can open the door to potentially safer and more effective treatments,” Huang noted.

Medical treatment of lower back pain is becoming increasingly challenging as many medications may have dangerous long-term side effects that can lead to cardiovascular disease, addiction, and kidney and liver disease, Huang said.

“The efficacy of tanezumab in treating pain in patients who have already failed treatment with these medications, including opioids, is very encouraging, but we must not discount the very small chance of it causing potentially devastating serious joint problems,” he said.

“Like all treatments, we must weigh the risks and benefits before proceeding, but it is a welcome addition to the treatment toolbox,” Huang added.

Because the drug doesn’t yet have FDA approval, Markman said it’s too early to estimate the cost. But like most new drugs, he said it will likely be expensive.

The report was published online in the journal Pain.

Source: HealthDay


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