What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked Asian-style Dinner

Dessert

Oven-baked Parmesan Chicken

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 scallions (spring onions), finely chopped
finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup butter, melted
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
green beans, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, scallions, lemon zest, and butter in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Using a fork, press the mixture onto the chicken breasts to coat them evenly.
  4. Transfer to a roasting pan.
  5. Bake until tender and cooked through, 20-30 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.
  7. Add the lemon juice and parsley to the pan juices and mix well. Pour these juices over the chicken and serve hot with green beans.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

Gadget: BeanBon Lets You Roast Coffee Beans on Your Countertop

Chris Albrecht wrote . . . . . . . . .

If the first pandemic-spurred lockdown drove us all to bake bread, perhaps quarantine 2.0 will inspire people to roast their own coffee beans. If so, devices like the BeanBon could become all the rage.

Launching on Kickstarter today, the BeanBon is a countertop home coffee roasting appliance system that can roast up to 120 grams of raw coffee beans at a time. Users can choose from three modes:

  • SmartMode: Select from one of eight pre-set profiles to roast coffee with the push of a button. Adjustments can be made in the accompanying app.
  • Creator Mode: Lets users manually control different roasting parameters such as heat, exhaust levels, roast time, etc. Settings can be saved and shared with the BeanBon community.
  • Guru Mode: Allows users to experiment with the roast profiles created by professional coffee roasters.

Any raw coffee bean can be used, and BeanBon offers a curated selection on its site for purchase. There is even a special “BeanBon X Champs” variety that includes a QR code to use special Guru Mode roasting instructions.

The Kickstarter for the BeanBon launched today, and you can pick one up for $699. Company materials say the device will start shipping in September of this year.

The BeanBon is the creation of a Taiwanese company called avigo, and we reached out to them because there were some details left out of their English-language press materials. Namely, they also didn’t include any information about the availability/cost/shipping of coffee beans to the U.S.

The BeanBon device and raw bean market is very similar to the Kelvin home roaster, which costs just $249 for for pre-orders (though the Kelvin doesn’t have a connected mobile app). The Kelvin is supposed to ship to backers next month, that’s almost a two year delay from the original ship date.

That’s good to know if you are interested in the BeanBon. Backing hardware projects on Kickstarter is definitely buyer beware because there are many risks associated with moving a prototype to production.

But given that this pandemic tragically doesn’t show any signs of slowing, there’s a good chance you’ll still be stuck at home (in the U.S.) whenever the BeanBon ships.

Source: The Spoon

Total-body Dynamic PET Successfully Detects Metastatic Cancer; First Patient Results

Results from the first study using uEXPLORER to conduct total-body dynamic positron emission tomography (PET) scans in cancer patients show that it can be used to generate high-quality images of metastatic cancer. The research was presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting on July 11-14.

While static PET provides a simple snapshot of radiopharmaceutical concentration, dynamic PET with tracer kinetic modeling can provide parametric images that show how tissue is actually behaving. Parametric images have the potential to better detect lesions and assess cancer response to therapy. This potential, however, has not been fully studied in the clinic because conventional PET scanners have a limited axial field-of-view and are not capable of simultaneous dynamic imaging of lesions that are widely separated in the body.

“The focus of our study was to test the capability of uEXPLORER for kinetic modeling and parametric imaging of cancer,” explained Guobao Wang, PhD, associate professor and Paul Calabresi Clinical Oncology K12 Scholar in the department of radiology at the University of California (UC), Davis, in Sacramento, California. “Different kinetic parameters can be used in combination to understand the behavior of both tumor metastases and organs of interest such as the spleen and bone marrow. Thus, both tumor response and therapy side-effects can be assessed using the same scan.”

A patient with metastatic renal cell carcinoma was injected with the radiotracer 18F-FDG and scanned on the uEXPLORER total-body PET/CT scanner. The static PET standardized uptake value (SUV) was calculated and kinetic modeling was performed for regional quantification in 16 regions of interest, including major organs and multiple metastases. The glucose influx rate was calculated and additional kinetic modeling was implemented to generate parametric images of the kinetic parameters. The kinetic data were then used to explore tumor detection and tumor characterization.

Multiple metastases were identified on the dynamic PET/CT scan, confirming that it is feasible to perform total-body kinetic modeling and parametric imaging of metastatic cancer. Parametric images of glucose influx rate showed improved tumor contrast over SUV in general, and specifically led to improved visibility of cancer lesions detection in the liver. Total-body kinetic quantification also provided multi-parametric characterization of tumor metastases and organs of interest.

“Total-body dynamic imaging and kinetic modeling enabled by total-body PET have the potential to change nuclear medicine into a multi-parametric imaging method, where many different aspects of tissue behavior can be assessed in the same clinical setting–much like the information gained from different sequences in an MRI scan,” said Ramsey D. Badawi, professor in the department of radiology and co-director of the EXPLORER molecular imaging center, UC Davis. “The total-body parametric imaging technique is not limited to 18F-FDG; it is applicable to all radiotracers. It is also not limited to cancer but can be broadly applied to evaluate disease severity and organ interactions in many other systemic diseases. We expect a profound impact in the field of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.”

Source: EurekAlert!

First Comprehensive Review of COVID-19’s Effects Outside the Lung

After only a few days caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients at the start of the outbreak in New York City, Aakriti Gupta, MD, realized that this was much more than a respiratory disease.

“I was on the front lines right from the beginning. I observed that patients were clotting a lot, they had high blood sugars even if they did not have diabetes, and many were experiencing injury to their hearts and kidneys,” says Gupta, one of the first Columbia cardiology fellows to be deployed to the COVID intensive care units at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

In early March, there wasn’t much clinical guidance on the non-respiratory effects of COVID-19, so Gupta decided to coalesce findings from studies that were just beginning to appear in the literature with what the physicians were learning from experience.

Gupta, along with senior author Donald Landry, MD, PhD, chair of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, organized senior co-authors, and Gupta, along with two other colleagues, Mahesh Madhavan, MD, a cardiology fellow at CUIMC, and Kartik Sehgal, MD, a hematology/oncology fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, mobilized clinicians at Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and Mount Sinai Hospital, among other institutions, to review the latest findings on COVID-19’s effect on organ systems outside the lungs and provide clinical guidance for physicians.

Their review—the first extensive review of COVID-19’s effects on all affected organs outside the lungs—was published on July 10 in Nature Medicine.

“Physicians need to think of COVID-19 as a multisystem disease,” Gupta says. “There’s a lot of news about clotting but it’s also important to understand that a substantial proportion of these patients suffer kidney, heart, and brain damage, and physicians need to treat those conditions along with the respiratory disease.”

Blood Clots, Inflammation, and an Immune System in Overdrive

“In just the first few weeks of the pandemic, we were seeing a lot of thrombotic complications, more than what we would have anticipated from experience with other viral illnesses,” says Sehgal, “and they can have profound consequences on the patient.”

Scientists think these clotting complications may stem from the virus’s attack on cells that line the blood vessels. When the virus attacks blood vessel cells, inflammation increases, and blood begins to form clots, big and small. These blood clots can travel all over the body and wreak havoc on organs, perpetuating a vicious cycle of thromboinflammation.

To combat clotting and its damaging effects, clinicians at Columbia, many of whom are co-authors on this review, are conducting a randomized clinical trial to investigate the optimal dose and timing of anticoagulation drugs in critically ill patients with COVID-19.

The untempered inflammation can also overstimulate the immune system, and though doctors initially shied away from using steroids to globally suppress the immune system, a recent clinical trial has found that at least one steroid, dexamethasone, reduced deaths in ventilated patients by one-third. Randomized clinical trials are underway to target specific components of thromboinflammation and the immune system, such as interleukin-6 signaling.

“Scientists all over the world are working at an unprecedented rate towards understanding how this virus specifically hijacks the normally protective biological mechanisms. We hope that this would help in the development of more effective, precise, and safer treatments for COVID-19 in the near future,” says Sehgal.

Straight to the heart

Clots can cause heart attacks, but the virus attacks the heart in other ways, one author says.

“The mechanism of heart damage is currently unclear, as the virus has not been frequently isolated from the heart tissue in autopsy cases,” says Gupta.

The heart muscle may be damaged by systemic inflammation and the accompanying cytokine release, a flood of immune cells that normally clears up infected cells but can spiral out of control in severe COVID-19 cases.

Despite the degree of heart damage, physicians were not able to utilize the diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, including heart biopsies and cardiac catheterizations, that they would normally use during the early stages of the pandemic given the need to protect personnel and patients from viral transmission. This has changed as the disease prevalence has gone down in New York CIty.

Kidney failure

Another surprising finding was the high proportion of COVID-19 patients in the ICU with acute kidney damage.

The ACE2 receptor used by the virus to gain entry into the cells is found in high concentrations in the kidney and could likely be responsible for the renal damage. Studies in China reported renal complications, and in New York City, clinicians saw renal failure in up to 50% of patients in the ICU.

“About 5 to 10% of patients needed dialysis. That’s a very high number,” Gupta says.

Data regarding long-term renal damage are currently lacking, but a significant proportion of patients will likely go on to require permanent dialysis.

“Future studies following patients who experienced complications during hospitalizations for COVID-19 will be crucial,” notes Madhavan.

Neurological effects

Neurological symptoms, including headache, dizziness, fatigue, and loss of smell, may occur in about a third of patients.

More concerning, strokes caused by blood clots occur in up to 6% of severe cases and delirium in 8% to 9%.

“COVID-19 patients can be intubated for two to three weeks; a quarter require ventilators for 30 or more days,” Gupta says.

“These are very prolonged intubations, and patients need a lot of sedation. ‘ICU delirium’ was a well known condition before COVID, and the hallucinations may be less an effect of the virus and more an effect of the prolonged sedation.”

“This virus is unusual and it’s hard not to take a step back and not be impressed by how many manifestations it has on the human body,” says Madhavan.

“Despite our subspecialty training, as internists, it’s our job to keep all organ systems in mind when caring for the patients in front of us. We hope that our review, observations, and recommendations can help other clinicians where cases are now surging.”

Source: Columbia University Irving Medical Center


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