Taiwan Festival at Baskin Robbins Japan

A large collection of Taiwanese flavored ice creams

A new flavor “Sunny Pineapple Cake”

Israel Sees Probable Link between Pfizer Vaccine and Myocarditis Cases

Jeffrey Heller wrote . . . . . . . . .

Israel’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday it had found the small number of heart inflammation cases observed mainly in young men who received Pfizer’s (PFE.N) COVID-19 vaccine in Israel were likely linked to their vaccination.

Pfizer said in a statement that it was aware of the Israeli observations of myocarditis and said no causal link to its vaccine had been established.

It said adverse events are thoroughly reviewed and Pfizer meets regularly with the Vaccine Safety Department of the Israeli Ministry of Health to review data.

In Israel, 275 cases of myocarditis were reported between December 2020 and May 2021 among more than 5 million vaccinated people, the ministry said in disclosing the findings of a study it commissioned to examine the matter.

Most patients who experienced heart inflammation spent no more than four days in the hospital and 95% of the cases were classified as mild, according to the study, which the ministry said was conducted by three teams of experts.

The study found “there is a probable link between receiving the second dose (of Pfizer) vaccine and the appearance of myocarditis among men aged 16 to 30,” it said in a statement. According to the findings, such a link was observed more among men aged 16 to 19 than in other age groups.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory group last month recommended further study of the possibility of a link between myocarditis and mRNA vaccines, which include those from Pfizer and Moderna Inc.

In a May 24 meeting, the CDC advisory group said that the data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) – which relies on individuals to report results – showed a higher than expected number of observed myocarditis or pericarditis cases in 16– to 24-year-olds.

However, the group also said data from another database -Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) – did not show that rates of myocarditis or pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination differed from expectations. The VSD has data from nine healthcare organizations and can be used to compare vaccinated populations to unvaccinated ones.

Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said that parents should still vaccinate their kids because of the known risks of COVID-19, including multi-system inflammatory syndrome.

“This issue of a transient myocarditis associated with a vaccine is at the moment a theoretical and unproven risk,” Offit said. “So I think that in the world of trying to weigh relative risks, the disease is a greater risk.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week that heart inflammation after receiving the Pfizer vaccine had been no cause for concern as such incidents were similar rate to those in the general population. It added at the time that young men were particularly prone to the condition.

Israel had held off making its 12- to 15-year-old population eligible for the vaccines, pending the Health Ministry report. In parallel to publishing those findings, a ministry committee approved vaccinating the adolescents, a senior official said.

“The committee gave the green light for vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds, and this will be possible as of next week,” Nachman Ash, Israel’s pandemic-response coordinator, told Radio 103 FM. “The efficacy of the vaccine outweighs the risk.”

Israel has been a world leader in its vaccination rollout.

With COVID-19 infections down to just a handful a day and total active cases at just 340 across the country, the economy has fully opened, though restrictions remain on incoming tourism.

About 55% of Israel’s population has already been vaccinated. As of Tuesday, restrictions on social distancing and the need for special green vaccination passes to enter certain restaurants and venues were scrapped.

Source: Reuters

In Pictures: Food of Ryota Kappou Modern in Central, Hong Kong

Modern Japanese Seasonal Cuisine in Kappou Style

The Michelin 1-star Restaurant

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Linked to Increased Ischemic Stroke Risk Later in Life

Adults who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were more than three times as likely to have an ischemic stroke later in life compared to adults who do not have OCD, according to new research published today in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

“The results of our study should encourage people with OCD to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as quitting or not smoking, getting regular physical activity and managing a healthy weight to avoid stroke-related risk factors,” said study senior author Ya-Mei Bai, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the department of psychiatry at Taipei Veterans General Hospital and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University College of Medicine, both in Taiwan.

Worldwide, stroke is the second-leading cause of death after heart disease. Stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when blood and oxygen flow to the brain are interrupted, usually by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). Less common is stroke from a burst blood vessel that causes bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). In both types of stroke, immediate treatment is critical to prevent brain damage, disability or death. The abbreviation F.A.S.T. can help people remember the warning signs and what to do: F-face drooping, A-arm weakness, S-speech difficulty, T-time to call 9-1-1.

OCD is a common, sometimes debilitating, mental health condition characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make a person feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors characteristic of OCD, such as hand washing, checking on things or continuously cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions. Previous research found that OCD often occurs after stroke or other brain injury. What remained unclear was whether the reverse is true: can OCD increase stroke risk?

To find out, researchers examined health records from 2001-2010 from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database to compare stroke risk between 28,064 adults with OCD and 28,064 adults who did not have OCD. The average age at diagnosis with OCD was 37 years, and women and men were nearly equally represented in the data. Researchers compared stroke risk between the two groups for up to 11 years.

The analysis found:

  • Adults with OCD were more than three times as likely to have a stroke from a blood clot compared to adults who did not have OCD; the greatest risk was among adults ages 60 and older.
  • OCD was an independent risk factor for ischemic stroke even after controlling for other factors known to increase stroke risk, including obesity, heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes.
  • No difference in risk was found for a hemorrhagic stroke (burst blood vessel).
  • Similarly, medications to treat OCD were not associated with an increased risk of stroke.

“For decades, studies have found a relationship between stroke first and OCD later,” Bai said. “Our findings remind clinicians to closely monitor blood pressure and lipid profiles, which are known to be related to stroke in patients with OCD.”

Limitations of the study were that only stroke among patients who sought health care were included, so some cases may have been missed; and information on disease severity was not included along with family medical history or environmental influences. The study also was observational, so it could only show an association between OCD and later stroke; it does not prove cause and effect.

“More research is needed to understand how the mental processes connected to OCD may increase the risk of ischemic stroke,” Bai said.

Source: American Heart Association

Japanese-style Yurinchi

Ingredients

4 chicken thigh fillets, skin on (about 800 g)
1/2 cup potato flour or cornstarch
about 1 litre canola oil, for shallow-frying
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce, to serve

Yurinchi Sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 large spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp grated ginger

Method

  1. Lightly coat the chicken in the potato flour and set aside, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep frypan to 180°C and shallow-fry the chicken thighs, one or two at a time, for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Keep the cooked thighs warm on a wire rack in a low oven while you cook the remaining chicken.
  4. Make the yurinchi sauce. Mix together all the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Arrange the shredded lettuce on a large plate. Slice the chicken thighs into 2 cm slices and place on the shredded lettuce. Pour over the yurinchi sauce and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Adam’s Big Pot


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