Easter French Toast of Ivorish (アイボリッシュ)in Japan

Available at most Ivorish stores between March 25 and April 25, the price of the new dish is 1,430 yen (tax included).

Common Household Chemicals Tied to Preemie Births

Even when women do their best to have a safe pregnancy, chemicals commonly found in the home could still raise their risk for premature delivery, a new study shows.

The chemicals — called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) — are used as flame retardants in items like furniture and carpets.

For the study, researchers analyzed blood samples from over 3,500 pregnant women, including 184 whose babies were born early, for blood levels of PBDEs. Nearly all had detectable levels of PBDEs in their blood. Women were divided into four groups based on those levels.

After accounting for other risk factors for premature birth — such as ethnicity, age and smoking during pregnancy — the researchers found that women with the highest PBDE levels had 75% higher odds for suddenly going into early labor after an otherwise normal pregnancy, compared to women with the lowest levels.

Women with PBDE concentrations above 4 nanograms per milliliter of blood were about twice as likely to deliver early via cesarean section or induced labor due to safety concerns for mother or baby, the study found.

The researchers found no increased risk of preterm birth among women with PBDE levels below that level, according to the report published online recently in the Journal of Perinatal Medicine.

“Our findings illustrate that flame retardants may have a tremendous impact on childbirth even if exposure occurred early on in the pregnancy,” said lead author Morgan Peltier, associate professor of clinical obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at NYU Long Island School of Medicine in Mineola, N.Y.

“Although PBDE chemicals are used with good intentions, they may pose a serious health concern that may have lasting consequences for children,” Peltier added in an NYU news release.

There are an estimated 15 million preterm births worldwide each year.

Preterm birth is a leading cause of newborn death and has been linked with long-term neurological disorders including cerebral palsy, schizophrenia and learning problems.

Previous research suggested a link between PBDE exposure and preterm birth, but those studies focused on exposure to the chemicals late in pregnancy, specifically among white and African American mothers.

Peltier said the new study is the first to examine PBDE exposure in the first trimester of pregnancy, and it also included Asian and Hispanic women.

Source: HealthDay

In Pictures: Desserts Around the World (5)

Knafeh, Levant

Kouign Amann, Brittany, France

Kulfi, India

Lemon Tart, France

Linzer Torte, Austria

M’hanncha, Morocco

Study: Green Communities Lower Stroke Risk

Michael Merschel wrote . . . . . . . . .

The greener the neighborhood, the lower the stroke risk, a new study suggests.

Researchers matched images gathered from space to health data from residents to come up with their findings. The work adds to evidence that shows where someone lives affects their health, said study co-author Dr. William Aitken. He is a cardiology fellow at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida.

“There’s a lot of evidence that our natural environment does influence health, and we wanted to look at it particularly with stroke,” Aitken said.

The study used records from more than 249,000 Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older who lived in Miami-Dade County in 2010 and 2011. The records were matched against satellite measures of their neighborhood’s greenness – “whether that be trees or shrubs or grasses or whatnot,” Aitken said.

Researchers adjusted for factors such as gender, income and race and ethnicity. They also took into account whether residents had health factors – such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol – that would affect their risk of having a stroke.

When compared to people residing in the least-green areas, those living in the most-green had a 20% overall lower risk of a stroke or transient ischemic attack, also known as a TIA or “mini-stroke.”

Specifically, the greenest neighborhoods correlated with 26% lower odds of TIA and 16% lower odds of ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. The odds of hemorrhagic stroke weren’t reduced by a statistically notable amount.

But overall, the apparent effect of greenery was noteworthy, Aitken said. He estimated the increased stroke risk of living in the least-green neighborhoods as compared with the most-green may be comparable to what someone would get from developing diabetes.

The study was presented Wednesday at the American Stroke Association’s virtual International Stroke Conference. It’s considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Previous research using the same Medicare data linked green spaces to reduced risk for heart disease and heart attacks.

Aitken said he and his colleagues couldn’t account for how much time people spent outside or how they interacted with the environment. But he said there are several possibilities.

Dr. Elizabeth Jackson agreed.

“It makes sense to most people that if you’ve got walking paths and green spaces, people will tend to take advantage of them,” said Jackson, the Bourge Endowed Professor in Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Jackson, who was not involved in the study, noted that in the urban park near her, “It’s not hard to see lots of different people walking and running,” or doing outside yoga or aerobics classes.

People who don’t have access to such spaces or who face safety or other barriers to getting outside would have fewer opportunities to be physically active, which she called “super important” to their health.

Jackson, who helped write an American Heart Association statement on housing and cardiovascular risk in 2020, said green spaces might also provide a buffer against problems such as stress and air pollution.

Aitken said the study could help leaders and policymakers think about the potential of fighting stroke in large swaths of people at once, instead of just individuals.

It can be tough to convince large numbers of people to get regular exercise, quit smoking and watch their blood sugar and cholesterol, he said. But nudging cities to incorporate more green spaces and providing encouragement for people to spend “a little more time in the environment, maybe that would affect everybody living in that area.”

Jackson praised the researchers for being part of a trend of not just looking at people in isolation but “thinking about the whole person – where they live, where they work, where they play.”

Source: American Heart Association

Honey Snail


1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
8 tablespoons lukewarm milk
1-1/2 cups flour
1 pinch salt
1 oz vanilla sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened


2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 egg white
2 tablespoons mixed nuts, chopped


  1. In a small bowl mix the baking powder and the sugar in the warm milk.
  2. Sift the flour, salt and vanilla sugar into a large bowl, make a well in the center and pour in the milk mixture, the eggs, lightly beaten, and the grated lemon peel.
  3. Work the flour slowly into the liquid ingredients, and lift the dough repeatedly.
  4. Cover the bowl with a light cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in volume.
  5. Put the dough on a lightly floured board, cover with the softened butter or margarine, and work it into the dough with lightly floured hands. Form a long roll 1-1/2 inches thick.
  6. Butter a 12-inch pie pan and put in the roll, forming it into a spiral starting from the center.
  7. Prepare the topping. Beat the butter with the sugar, honey and egg white. Cover the dough with the mixture and sprinkle with the chopped nuts.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven (350°F) for 30 minutes or until risen and golden. Serve hot or cold.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Cook’s Book

Today’s Comic