Chuckles of the Day




Beware of Dog

Upon entering the little country store, a stranger noticed a sign saying, “DANGER! BEWARE OF DOG!” posted on the glass door. Inside, he noticed a harmless old hound dog asleep on the floor besides the cash register.

He asked the elderly store manager, “Is THAT the dog folks are supposed to beware of?”

“Yep, that’s him,” he replied.

The stranger couldn’t help but be amused. “That certainly doesn’t look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?”

“Because,” the owner replied, “before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him.”




Risk of Dementia Rises Significantly with Severity and Number of Strokes

Having an ischemic stroke increases dementia risk, and that risk escalates with the number and severity of strokes, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2021. The virtual meeting is March 17-19, 2021 and is a world premier meeting for researchers and clinicians dedicated to the science of stroke and brain health.

Ischemic stroke is the most common stroke type, accounting for 87% of all strokes. It occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the brain is obstructed. Stroke is the leading preventable cause of disability in adults, and severity of stroke is a main determinant of poor functional outcome after stroke.

“Studies have shown that stroke is a strong predictor of dementia. What isn’t clear is how stroke severity and having more than one stroke impact dementia risk,” said study author Silvia Koton, Ph.D., MOccH, R.N., FAHA, head of the Herczeg Institute on Aging at Tel Aviv University and head of the Ph.D. program in the department of nursing, Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel. “Our study uniquely characterizes the link between stroke and dementia and sets the stage for prevention strategies aimed at reducing the risk of dementia after a stroke.”

Researchers studied the health information of nearly 15,800 adults (aged 45-64 years) at baseline (enrolled from 1987-1989) from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, which is an ongoing, prospective study in four U.S. communities (Forsyth County, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Washington County, Maryland). Researchers used follow-up data from three decades of the ARIC database, which includes the enrollment period starting in 1987 and continuing throughout 2019 with data collected at both in-person visits several years apart and follow-up telephone calls conducted yearly until 2012 and twice each year through 2019.

Using all the available information in ARIC to study the link between stroke occurrence, stroke severity and dementia, the researchers found:

  • The risk of dementia in individuals who had at least one ischemic stroke was 2 times higher than for those with no stroke.
  • Dementia risk increased with the severity and number of ischemic strokes.
  • Adults who had one stroke were almost 80% more likely than those with no stroke to have dementia.
  • The dementia risk jumped to 8.5 times more likely for people who had three or more strokes during the study period, from 1987 to 2019.
  • Among adults with severe stroke, the risk of dementia was almost five times higher than for those with minor stroke.

“The association of stroke occurrence and stroke severity with dementia risk was surprisingly strong, and the continued rise in risk of dementia after the first stroke and each subsequent stroke was a remarkable finding,” Koton said.

“Our findings emphasize the importance of preventing stroke to prevent dementia and to maintain high levels of physical and cognitive function and quality of life, especially at older ages,” Koton said. “Stroke is largely preventable. Treatment and control of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, together with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular physical activity and no smoking, are crucial for the prevention of stroke and dementia.”

Researchers only studied ischemic stroke. “Analyzing the impact of other stroke subtypes on dementia risk would be important,” Koton added. “Next, we plan to study the link between stroke and mild cognitive impairment as well as between stroke and changes in cognitive performance over time. Future studies will also include information on brain imaging that will help to evaluate possible effects of vascular brain lesions in addition to stroke.”

Gadget: Tofu Press

Used to get rid of some water to make firmer tofu

How Does the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Compare to Other Coronavirus Vaccines?

Maureen Ferran wrote . . . . . . . . .

1. How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine work?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is what’s called a viral vector vaccine.

To create this vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson team took a harmless adenovirus – the viral vector – and replaced a small piece of its genetic instructions with coronavirus genes for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

After this modified adenovirus is injected into someone’s arm, it enters the person’s cells. The cells then read the genetic instructions needed to make the spike protein and the vaccinated cells make and present the spike protein on their own surface. The person’s immune system then notices these foreign proteins and makes antibodies against them that will protect the person if they are ever exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the future.

The adenovirus vector vaccine is safe because the adenovirus can’t replicate in human cells or cause disease, and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can’t cause COVID–19 without the rest of the coronavirus.

This approach is not new. Johnson & Johnson used a similar method to make its Ebola vaccine, and the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is also an adenovirus viral vector vaccine.

2. How effective is it?

The FDA’s analysis found that, in the U.S., the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was 72% effective at preventing all COVID-19 and 86% effective at preventing severe cases of the disease. While there is still a chance a vaccinated person could get sick, this suggests they would be much less likely to need hospitalization or to die from COVID-19.

A similar trial in South Africa, where a new, more contagious variant is dominant, produced similar results. Researchers found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be slightly less effective at preventing all illness there – 64% overall – but was still 82% effective at preventing severe disease. The FDA report also indicates that the vaccine protects against other variants from Britain and Brazil too.

3. How is it different from other vaccines?

The most basic difference is that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an adenovirus vector vaccine, while the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both mRNA vaccines. Messenger RNA vaccines use genetic instructions from the coronavirus to tell a person’s cells to make the spike protein, but these don’t use another virus as a vector. There are many practical differences, too.

Both of the mRNA-based vaccines require two shots. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose. This is key when vaccines are in short supply.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine can also be stored at much warmer temperatures than the mRNA vaccines. The mRNA vaccines must be shipped and stored at below–freezing or subzero temperatures and require a complicated cold chain to safely distribute them. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be stored for at least three months in a regular refrigerator, making it much easier to use and distribute.

As for efficacy, it is difficult to directly compare the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with the mRNA vaccines due to differences in how the clinical trials were designed. While the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are reported to be approximately 95% effective at preventing illness from COVID–19, the trials were done over the summer and fall of 2020, before newer more contagious variants were circulating widely. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines might not be as effective against the new variants, and Johnson & Johnson trials were done more recently and take into account the vaccine’s efficacy against these new variants.

4. Should I choose one vaccine over another?

Although the overall efficacy of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is higher than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should not wait until you have your choice of vaccine – which is likely a long way off anyway. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is nearly as good as the mRNA-based vaccines at preventing serious disease, and that’s what really matters.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine and other viral-vector vaccines like the one from AstraZeneca are particularly important for the global vaccination effort. From a public health perspective, it’s important to have multiple COVID-19 vaccines, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a very welcome addition to the vaccine arsenal. It doesn’t require a freezer, making it much easier to ship and store. It’s a one-shot vaccine, making logistics much easier compared with organizing two doses per person.

As many people as possible need to be vaccinated as quickly as possible to limit the development of new coronavirus variants. Johnson & Johnson is expected to ship out nearly four million doses as soon as the FDA grants emergency use authorization. Having a third authorized vaccine in the U.S. will be a big step towards meeting vaccination demand and stopping this pandemic.

Source : The Conversation

Paella with Chicken and Sausage

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds chicken meat, dark and light, on the bone with the skin intact, cut through the bone into smaller segments of breast and thigh meat
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh, Spanish-style chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into coin-size rounds
1 onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 cup hot water for 10 minutes
1 cup Valencia or other Spanish rice, picked over
2-1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium, store-bought chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh green peas or defrosted frozen peas

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Set the paella pan over medium heat. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and let it get nice and hot. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the pan, and brown it all over, about 8 minutes.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Add the sausage slices to the pan and brown them for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
  6. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the soaked saffron threads with their liquid, the rice, and broth, stir, and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and let simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven. Stir in the peas, return the pan to the oven, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  9. Serve the paella from its pan or a festive serving dish or bowl. Present it with a large spoon so people can take the heaps they’ll want.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Nightly Specials


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