Older Adults Having a Poor Sense of Smell May Face a Higher Risk of Pneumonia

Emilie Lorditch wrote . . . . . . . . .

An acute loss of smell is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19, but for two decades it has been linked to other maladies among them Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Now, a poor sense of smell may signify a higher risk of pneumonia in older adults, says a team of Michigan State University researchers.

“About a quarter of adults 65 years or older have a poor sense of smell,” said Honglei Chen, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics within Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. “Unlike vision or hearing impairment, this sensory deficit has been largely neglected; more than two-thirds of people with a poor sense of smell do not know they have it.”

In a first-of-its-kind study, Chen and his team found a possible link between poor sense of smell and a higher risk of pneumonia hospitalization. They analyzed 13 years of health data from 2,494 older adults, ages 71-82, from metropolitan areas of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee. This study aimed to examine whether a poor sense of smell in older adults is associated with a higher future risk of developing pneumonia.

Chen’s research was published in the journal The Lancet Healthy Longevity.

The participants were given a Brief Smell Identification Test, or B-SIT, using common smells such as lemons and gasoline to determine if their sense of smell was good, moderate or poor. Then, the participants were monitored for the next 13 years using clinical exams and follow-up phone calls to identify hospitalization due to pneumonia.

The researchers found that compared with participants who had a good sense of smell, participants with a poor sense of smell were about 50% more likely to be hospitalized with pneumonia at any time point during the 13-year follow-up. Among participants (with a poor sense of smell) who never had had pneumonia before, the risk of having the first-ever pneumonia was about 40% higher.

“To our knowledge, this study provides the first epidemiological evidence that poor olfaction (sense of smell) is associated with a long-term higher risk of pneumonia in older adults,” said Yaqun Yuan, a postdoctoral fellow in Chen’s research group.

This study provides novel evidence that a poor sense of smell may have broader health implications beyond its connections to Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

“This is just an example of how little we know about this common sensory deficit,” Chen said. “Either as a risk factor or as a marker, poor sense of smell in older adults may herald multiple chronic diseases beyond what we have known about. To understand what this common sensory deficit means for our health, we need to think outside of the box.”

Source: Michigan State University

Car Transforms into a Korean BBQ Eat-out

Constantine Spyrou wrote . . . . . . . . .

There’s a Korean BBQ car driving around the streets of Southern California, and it has the ability to bring an entire KBBQ restaurant experience to your driveway.

The “KBBQ Car,” designed by Chef Chris Oh, was created as a way to bring a Korean BBQ restaurant to people during the pandemic. It took a few months to design, and the results are both sleek and spectacular.

Inside of the car is a motorized table, complete with a barbecue grill in the center, room for cheese corn/egg, and even a wall-mounted TV. The car also has strobe lights, speakers, and a feature that allows it to lower itself so the table is at an appropriate height for eating.

The table can seat four people at a time, so if your household or friends want to go big on a meal, this could be a fun way to get together and bring the restaurant to your driveway.

Depending on the experience that you book, there will be variety of meats and Korean side dishes available, and there might even be soju or beer you can get as well. One of the more recent limited-time bookings of the KBBQ car also featured A5 wagyu beef, so getting high-end like that is also a possibility.

The standard experience comes in at $500, and can be booked through the KBBQ car’s website. It comes with 4 pounds of meat (there’s an option to add on more), 2 bottles of soju (with the option to add more) and Korean beer, plus a variety of sides and steamed rice. You can choose from honey gochujang pork belly, Kalbi shortrib, bulgogi ribeye for your meat options.

More premium option add-ons include a bottle of Korean vodka, or a $150 upgrade to add A5 wagyu beef.

At this time, the Korean BBQ Car is only available in Southern California.

Source: FoodBeast

Obesity in Teens, Higher Risk of Stroke Before 50

Denise Mann wrote . . . . . . . . .

Strokes are on the rise among people younger than 50, and new research suggests that packing on the pounds during the teen years is a big reason why.

The more overweight you were from ages 16 to 20, the greater your risk of having a stroke before age 50, the new study shows.

“Given ongoing trends of adolescents who are overweight and obese in the U.S., Israel and other Western countries, the future burden of stroke among young adults is expected to rise further,” said study author Dr. Gilad Twig. He is an associate professor in the medical corps of the Israel Defense Forces and the Department of Military Medicine at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The researchers looked at teen body mass index (BMI) and first stroke before age 50 among 1.9 million Israeli males and females. Two nationwide databases were used: the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli National Stroke Registry. All study participants had a complete physical between 1985 and 2013 when they were 16 to 20 years old. They were ranked from underweight to obese, according to their BMI. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.)

Follow-up between 2014 and 2018 showed there were 1,088 strokes, at an average age of 41. Some occurred before age 30.

Overweight teens had twice the risk of having a stroke before turning 50. With obesity, they had a 3.4-times higher risk for stroke, when compared to folks in the low-normal BMI group.

Even those with BMIs in the high-normal range were more likely to have a stroke before 50 than those with lower BMIs, the study showed.

The new findings were seen in men and women and held even after researchers controlled for type 2 diabetes, which is known to increase stroke risk.

Exactly how teenage obesity affects stroke risk is not fully understood yet. The study can’t say for sure that losing weight in your 20s, 30s or 40s will reduce your risk of having a stroke before age 50, as researchers didn’t look at weight loss or gain during these decades.

But “our findings underscore the importance of effective treatment and prevention of high normal and excessively high BMI during adolescence,” Twig said.

Strokes are on the rise among young people, said Dr. Deepak Bhatt, executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center in Boston. “The causes are multifactorial and include increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and, in some cases, illicit drug use,” he said.

Weight loss can reduce your risk of stroke, as well as the risks of heart attack, heart failure and diabetes, among other health problems, added Bhatt, who was not involved in the new study.

“The researchers have identified what appears to be a modifiable risk factor for ischemic stroke in the young — being overweight or obese in adolescence,” Bhatt said. “These data provide yet another compelling reason to encourage adolescents to be physically active and eat a healthy diet.”

You’ve been warned, said Daniel Lackland. He is a professor of epidemiology at the Medical University of South Carolina and an expert volunteer at the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

The new findings don’t mean you are powerless if you were overweight or obese as a teen, said Lackland, who was not part of the study. “Quit smoking if you smoke, and if you lose weight, you lose your risk for diabetes and high blood pressure, which is at the top of the barrel for stroke risk factors,” he said.

The bottom line? “If you lose the weight,” Lackland added, “you might not eliminate your risk for stroke, but you will certainly reduce your risk of having a stroke at an early age.”

The study appears in the journal Stroke.

Source: HealthDay

Halibut with Sun Dried Tomato and Chèvre Sauce


9 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and patted dry
1-1/2 cup 2% evaporated milk
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
6 halibut steaks (about 1-1/2 lb total)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch salt
1 tbsp canola oil, divided


  1. In a double boiler over medium high heat, combine tomatoes and milk and simmer for 10 minutes until tomatoes begin to soften. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to food processor. Whirl until mixture is pureed; some tomato bits may remain. Add goat cheese and continue to whirl until smooth.
  2. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1-1/2 tsp oil over medium heat, swirling to coat pan. Place 3 fillets in pan, searing the underside. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Flip fillets over and continue to cook, adjusting heat so that fillets brown, but do not burn. Cook until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
  4. Remove to serving dish and keep warm, either by covering with foil or placing in preheated 200°F (100°C) oven. Repeat with remaining fish fillets.
  5. When all fish is cooked, place one fillet on a plate and top each fillet with 2 tbsp of the sauce before serving. Reserve remainder of sauce for another use.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Dietitians of Canada

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