Singaporean University Introduces “Asia Pacific’s First Alt-Protein University Course”

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), one of the top universities in Asia, has approved a new course called “Future Foods – Introduction to Advanced Meat Alternatives”.

NTU claims the new course is the first one in the Asia Pacific region to focus on alt-protein. It will be open to students on the Food Science & Technology program, and will potentially be made more widely available if there is enough interest.

Students will learn about the science of producing alt-protein products via plant-based, cell-cultured, and fermentation methods. The course has been developed in collaboration with GFI’s global network of scientists.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) took a similar step back in 2018, when it launched a course called “Future of Food: Plant-based Living” in collaboration with the Green Monday Foundation.

NTU’s course aims to tackle a shortage of scientists and technologists in the Asia Pacific alt-protein sector. The region is the fastest-growing in the world for alt-protein, and there are concerns that a lack of skilled workers could hold back progress. Some are calling for scientists in other fields, such as genetics, bioengineering, and bioinformatics, to move into the area of alt-protein research.

Universities have long been at the forefront of alt-protein research, from the development of cell-cultured pork at Seoul University to the creation of an algae-based tuna alternative by University of San Diego spinoff Triton Algae Innovations. But this research is only possible if workers have the appropriate experience and education.

“No technology, no matter how groundbreaking, will take off without a skilled workforce trained to push it forward,” said a spokesperson for GFI APAC. “This new course takes us one step closer to closing that gap.”

Source: Vegconomist

Sleep Apnea Worsens Heart Disease, Yet Often Untreated

Health care experts urge increased awareness of obstructive sleep apnea among people with cardiovascular disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association, published today in Circulation, the Association’s flagship journal.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs in 40% to 80% of people with cardiovascular disease, yet it is under-recognized and undertreated, according to the statement. OSA occurs when an upper airway obstruction causes repeated episodes of disrupted breathing during sleep. Symptoms include snoring, lapses in breathing, fragmented sleep and daytime sleepiness. In general, about 34% of middle-aged men and 17% of middle-aged women meet the criteria for OSA.

“Obstructive sleep apnea can negatively impact patients’ health and increase the risk of cardiovascular events and death. This statement is to encourage increased awareness, screening and treatment as appropriate for sleep apnea,” said Chair of the scientific statement writing group Yerem Yeghiazarians, M.D., FAHA, professor of medicine and the Leone-Perkins Family Endowed Chair in Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Risk factors for OSA include obesity, large neck circumference, craniofacial abnormalities, smoking, family history and nighttime nasal congestion. OSA is associated with several cardiovascular complications:

  • high blood pressure – OSA is present in 30-50% of people with high blood pressure, and up to 80% of those who have resistant, or hard-to-treat high blood pressure;
  • heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death;
  • Stroke;
  • worsening heart failure;
  • worsening coronary artery disease and risk of heart attack;
  • Pulmonary hypertension (PH) – as many as 80% of people with PH have OSA; and
    Metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes.

While there’s no consensus that screening for OSA alters clinical outcomes, the high prevalence of OSA among people with cardiovascular disease, along with evidence that OSA treatment improves patient quality of life, are reasons to screen and provide treatment, according to the statement writing group.

“Patients report better mood, less snoring, less daytime sleepiness, improved quality of life and work productivity with OSA treatment,” Yeghiazarians said. “In addition, screening advances have changed how we diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea. For example, many patients do not have to go to an overnight sleep study center anymore. There are now sleep devices approved by the FDA that patients use at home and send back to their doctor for assessment. And, while a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is one form of treatment, there are numerous therapeutic options – from positional therapy and weight loss to oral appliances and surgery – depending on the cause and severity of someone’s OSA.”

The authors suggest:

  • Screening for OSA in patients with resistant or difficult to control hypertension, pulmonary hypertension and atrial fibrillation that recurs despite treatment.
  • Screening for OSA via a sleep study for some patients with heart failure, especially if sleep-disordered breathing or excessive daytime sleepiness are suspected.
  • Treating patients diagnosed with OSA with available therapies, potentially including lifestyle and behavior modifications and weight loss.
  • When possible, treating patients with severe OSA with a CPAP machine.
  • Treating mild to moderate OSA cases with oral appliances that adjust the jaw and tongue placement during sleep to prevent obstructed breathing.
  • Routine follow-up including overnight sleep testing to confirm if treatment is effective.

“Improvements in home diagnostic tools and more research on ways to identify cardiovascular risk in people with OSA are needed,” Yeghiazarians said. “Still, the overall message is clear: we need to increase awareness about screening for and treating OSA, especially in patients with existing cardiovascular risk factors.”

Source: American Heart Association

In Pictures: Vegan Donuts in the U.S.

Too Many Older Americans Are Taking Daily Aspirin

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

Many older adults are still taking a daily baby aspirin to ward off first-time heart problems — despite guidelines that now discourage it, a new study finds.

Researchers found that one-half to 62% of U.S. adults aged 70 and up were using low-dose aspirin to cut their risk of heart disease or stroke. And aspirin use was common even among those with no history of cardiovascular disease — a group for whom the drug may do more harm than good.

The study authors estimated that nearly 10 million Americans who fall into that category are using aspirin.

The numbers are concerning, said senior researcher Dr. Rita Kalyani, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore.

Current guidelines, she said, generally discourage people aged 70 and up from routinely using aspirin to prevent a first-time heart attack or stroke.

That’s, in part, because aspirin is not benign: It carries a risk of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract or even the brain — risks that typically go up with age. And some recent trials have failed to show that low-dose aspirin really does lower the odds of first-time heart attacks or strokes.

That all may be confusing, and surprising, to people who’ve long believed that aspirin is a heart champion.

“It’s confusing even for health care providers,” said Dr. Wilson Pace, chief medical officer at the DARTNet Institute, in Aurora, Colo.

What is clear, Pace said, is that aspirin can benefit people with known cardiovascular disease — either clogged heart arteries or a history of heart attack or stroke.

Where things get murky is in the prevention of a first-time heart attack or stroke.

Years ago, Pace said, guidelines came out “strongly in favor” of low-dose aspirin for people considered to be at high risk of developing heart disease in the next 10 years (because of risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes).

But based on recent studies, the thinking has changed.

Now, the latest guidelines from the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association say aspirin can be considered for “select” patients aged 40 to 70 who are not at increased risk of bleeding.

When it comes to older adults, the guidelines caution against “routine” aspirin use for primary prevention.

That’s something of a “hedge,” said Pace, since there might be some cases where aspirin is a reasonable choice for an older adult at high risk of cardiovascular trouble.

But for the most part, he said, they do not need the drug for primary prevention.

“If you’re 75 and have diabetes, I wouldn’t start you on aspirin,” Pace said. “I’d go with a statin.”

He noted that statins, which lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, “clearly help prevent primary disease.”

Of course, Pace added, many older adults on aspirin actually started taking it years ago. He encouraged those patients to talk with their doctor about whether it’s still necessary.

Pace wrote an editorial published with the study June 21 in JAMA Network Open.

The findings are based on over 7,100 U.S. adults aged 60 and up who took part in a federal health survey.

Among those in their 70s, preventive aspirin use was common: Just under 62% of people with diabetes were using aspirin, as were 48.5% of those without diabetes.

And while some participants did, in fact, have a history of cardiovascular disease, most did not. Yet, their rates of aspirin use were high, the findings showed.

Among all study participants with no risk factors for cardiovascular problems, 20% were taking aspirin. And among those whose only risk factor was diabetes, 43% were on aspirin, according to the report.

But guidelines discourage aspirin use in adults aged 70 and older, Kalyani said, regardless of whether they have diabetes.

Kalyani agreed that older adults who’ve been taking aspirin for years should talk with their doctor about whether it’s still warranted.

Any decision to use preventive aspirin, she said, “has to come down to the individual.” That means patients should talk with their doctor about their personal risk of heart attack or stroke, as well as their risk of bleeding.

It’s also important to consider whether you’re doing other things to curb the risk of cardiovascular trouble — like taking a statin or controlling high blood pressure with medication and lifestyle changes, she added.

Because aspirin is readily available over-the-counter, Pace noted, people may mistakenly assume it’s harmless. But no one should start using it to prevent disease without talking to their doctor first, he said.

Source: HealthDay

Lime and Coconut Green Vegetable Curry


3 kaffir lime leave, shredded
1-1/2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
3 long green chilies, seeded and roughly-chopped
2 green onions (scallions), roughly chopped
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups coconut water
3/4 cup coconut milk
200 g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 medium zucchinis (courgettes), sliced
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons lime juice
Thai basil leaves, to serve


  1. Place the-kaffir lime leaf, ginger, garlic, coriander, chili, onion, sugar and lime rind in a small food processor. Process to a coarse paste.
  2. Place 1 tablespoon of the paste in a bowl, add the coconut, mix to combine and set aside.
  3. Add half the oil to the remaining paste in the food processor and process until smooth.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a large deep-sided frying pan over-high heat. Add the paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  5. Add the coconut water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 4 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Add the Brussels sprout, cover and cook for 4 minutes.
  7. Add the zucchini and broccolini, cover and cook for a further 4 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  8. Stir in the lime juice and spoon the curry into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the shredded coconut mixture and top with the basil to serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Life in Balance

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