Baskin-Robbins Launched a New Oat-based Ice Cream in Canada

Emily Holloway wrote . . . . . . . . .

Baskin-Robbins Canada is the first ice cream chain in the country to offer an oat milk-based option. Following the release of their first non-dairy flavour last year – Chocolate Extreme, which was made with an almond base – this new flavour is Non-Dairy Strawberry Streusel, featuring sumptuous streusel pieces and cinnamon-y granola that are complemented by a tart strawberry ribbon.

“We’ve been working very hard to find the best possible plant-based options,” says Natalie Joseph, spokesperson for Baskin-Robbins Canada. “Offering a wide diversity of flavours has been an important part of our DNA for the past 75 years–50 in Canada–since we started selling ice cream. I’m sure this new flavour will have many customers swirling in delight thanks to its fruity, fresh and creamy taste.”

Source: Eat North

New Drug Shows Promise Against Tough-to-Manage Asthma

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

An experimental injectable drug appears more versatile than existing medications in treating people with different forms of severe, hard-to-control asthma, clinical trial results show.

There are many different types of asthma brought on by many different triggers, and a number of monoclonal antibody medications — called “biologics” — have been crafted to target distinct asthma triggers.

This new drug, tezepelumab, is yet another monoclonal antibody, but it targets an inflammatory protein thought to play an early role in many different types of asthma, said researcher Dr. Andrew Menzies-Gow, director of the lung division at Royal Brompton Hospital in London, England.

A phase 3 clinical trial found that tezepelumab is effective in quelling severe asthma among patients who had widely varying causes of their shortness of breath, according to a report published May 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Phase 3 is the final stage required for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

“Managing severe asthma is challenging, with multiple inflammatory pathways often contributing to the complexity of a patient’s disease,” Menzies-Gow said. He added that the results of this clinical trial “underscore the potential of tezepelumab to transform treatment for a broad population of severe asthma patients, regardless of their type of inflammation.”

For example, patients benefited from the drug whether or not they suffer seasonal allergies, the results showed.

Asthma is a common lung problem. Between 5% and 10% of people with asthma suffer from severe symptoms and frequent asthma attacks even though they are on the maximum available treatment, Menzies-Gow said.

Tezepelumab blocks a protein called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) that promotes multiple inflammatory processes that have all been linked to asthma attacks, the study authors said in background notes.

The researchers tested tezepelumab in more than 1,000 people, with about half randomly assigned to receive an inactive placebo and the other half receiving monthly 210 mg injections of the drug.

The trial participants were chosen to reflect the different causes of severe asthma. For example, about half had elevated levels of eosinophil, a type of white blood cell that promotes swelling throughout the entire respiratory system rather than just the airways.

Dr. James Li, an allergist-immunologist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who was not involved with the research, said, “In this particular study, the subjects had to have had two asthma exacerbations in the previous 12 months — so, uncontrolled asthma. It’s for the worst cases, so to speak.”

After a year’s treatment, patients on tezepelumab experienced fewer asthma attacks and better lung function, asthma control, and health-related quality of life than those on placebo, the researchers reported.

Further, the patients improved regardless of the specific problem causing their asthma:

People with a low eosinophil count had a 41% reduced rate of asthma attacks, while those with a high count had a 70% reduction.
People affected by seasonal allergies had a 58% reduction in asthma attacks, while asthmatics not sensitive to allergens had a 51% reduction.
“The current biologic treatments that we have are used in subsets of severe asthma,” Li said. “This particular medication showed effectiveness regardless of eosinophil count or allergy status.”

This drug will add to the arsenal of biologic drugs available to treat people with severe asthma, said Dr. Richard Lockey, an allergy specialist in Tampa, Fla., and past president of the World Allergy Organization.

“Most of the drugs that we already have available show this kind of efficacy, but this may interfere with more inflammatory pathways,” Lockey said, saying it could prove the first choice in treating some forms of asthma and a back-up option for others.

Tezepelumab also proved safe, with no significant side effects, the experts noted.

The FDA granted tezepelumab its Breakthrough Therapy Designation in 2018, which is intended to expedite the development and regulatory review of promising new drugs.

Source: HealthDay

In Pictures: Desserts Around the World (8)

Sticky Rice with Mango, Thailand

Sticky Toffee Pudding, United Kingdom

Tarte Tatin, France

Tiramisú, Italy

Tres Leches Cake, Mexico and Central America

Trifle, United Kingdom

Tub Tim Krob, Thailand

5 Things to Know About Blood Pressure Before It’s a Problem

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

Blood pressure is more than just numbers your doctor writes on a chart.

To explain it, Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, medical director of the Hypertension Clinic at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, talks about plumbing.

Think of blood vessels as pipes in a house, she said. Those pipes feed blood to the whole body. If the pressure in them gets too high, it can damage the pipes or whatever they connect to – such as the heart, brain or kidneys.

“Controlling it doesn’t just matter to one of those organs. It matters to all of those organs,” said Nesbitt, also a professor of medicine and associate dean of student diversity and inclusion at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

In other words – high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a big deal. Here are five things you might not know about it.

You should start thinking about it before you have it.

Blood pressure tends to increase as people age. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore it until it’s a problem, said Dr. Raymond Townsend, director of the hypertension program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

It rarely has symptoms. “So unless you check it, you don’t know,” he said.

It could be wreaking invisible havoc, for example, by aging the circulatory system, Townsend said. “You may be 60 years old, but if you’ve had untreated high blood pressure for a while, your blood vessels may be 80.”

High blood pressure affects 121.5 million U.S. adults, American Heart Association statistics show. It is defined as a systolic pressure (the top number) of 130 or higher or a diastolic pressure (the bottom number) of 80 or higher that stays high over time.

People who are Black; have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke or kidney disease; and women who had blood pressure issues during pregnancy should pay extra attention, Nesbitt said.

The good news, Townsend said, is if you spot high blood pressure before it does damage, “you’re in the primary prevention game. And that’s where you want to be. Because we have great evidence to show that managing your blood pressure will keep your heart, brain and kidneys working a whole lot longer.”

Managing it protects your brain.

If high blood pressure damages your brain’s blood vessels, bad things can happen. A stroke is one. But the risk goes beyond strokes.

Neurologists are finding that dementia is a vascular disease, which means high blood pressure can cause a little damage in lots of small areas of the brain, Nesbitt said. “And because you’ve got a little damage in a lot of places, then you have the sum total of all of those areas that just don’t function so well anymore.”

Townsend said studies suggest people whose blood pressure is better controlled tend to score better on tests of cognitive function.

Lowering blood pressure isn’t a cure-all for brain health, he said, but prevention is key. “The goal is to preserve it at its high level when you’re 30 or 40 years of age.”

Black Americans need to pay special attention.

Hypertension is far more common in Black adults in the U.S. than in adults of other races and ethnicities. Yet it’s less of a problem for people of African heritage living in other countries. “Which makes you question why it is so much more prevalent in America than in other places,” Nesbitt said.

Systemic problems, such as the fact that Black Americans are more likely to lack access to healthy food or safe places to exercise, are significant factors. So is the stress of dealing with racism.

“What we are looking at is a manifestation of the living conditions of Black Americans,” she said. “And because we have rampant examples of differences in how we live, and how we experience the world every day, those things have a toll on our physical health. And blood pressure’s one of the first things that we see that makes that difference very evident.”

Watching sodium? Remember potassium, too.

Sodium has long been singled out for its relationship to high blood pressure. But many experts these days emphasize the importance of the sodium-potassium balance, Townsend said.

Potassium helps regulate blood flow. And if you’re eating a lot of processed foods, you’re probably getting too much of the former and not enough of the latter, Nesbitt said.

The DASH or Mediterranean diets offer a healthy balance of nutrients. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, sweet potatoes and low-fat dairy products.

Little changes can make a big difference.

For decades, Townsend said, researchers have known the most important predictor of blood pressure when you’re older is excess weight.

But you don’t have to go to extremes to help blood pressure, he said. “You may be 40 or 50 pounds overweight, but if you lose 10 or 15, not only are you headed it in the right direction, often you begin to see some benefit.”

There isn’t a quick fix for high blood pressure, Nesbitt said. But you don’t have to fix everything at once.

“I always talk to patients about the changes that you can make that you will commit to,” she said. Someone having four alcoholic beverages a day might cut back to one or two for a sustained period. Once they develop that habit, they can attack the next.

“It is important that we keep focus on that we’re not doing this for vanity’s sake,” she said. “We’re doing this for your healthy lifestyle and longevity. This is for the long run.”

Source: American Heart Association

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Brown Butter Pear


8 ounces gingersnap cookies, crushed
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large, ripe Bartlett pears—peeled, cored and cut into thin wedges
1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Make th cheesecake. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the gingersnaps with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and a pinch of salt until fine crumbs form. Add the softened butter and process until moistened.
  3. Using your fingers, press the crumbs into the bottom of a buttered 9-inch springform pan in an even layer and brush any crumbs off the side of the pan.
  4. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Let the crust cool slightly, then wrap the bottom of the pan tightly in aluminum foil so it’s watertight. Set the pan in a large, deep skillet or a small roasting pan.
  5. Rinse out the food processor bowl and wipe it dry.
  6. Add the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, vanilla and the remaining 2/3 cup of sugar and process for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. Add the eggs and pulse to blend. Add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and process for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  7. Carefully pour the filling over the crust.
  8. Set the skillet in the oven and carefully pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for about 55 minutes, until barely jiggly in the center. Carefully transfer the skillet to a rack and let the cheesecake cool.
  9. Remove the foil and refrigerate the cheesecake until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  10. Prepare the pears. In a large skillet, cook the butter over moderately high heat until lightly browned and nutty-smelling, about 3 minutes.
  11. Add the pears and cook, turning once, until softened and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  12. Add the sugar and cook, turning once, until the pears are glazed, about 1 minute.
  13. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake and remove the springform ring. Cut the pumpkin cheesecake into wedges and serve with the warm pears.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Source: Chef Jane Tseng

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