Chuckles of the Day






Speed Limit

Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a State Police Officer sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH.

He thinks to himself, “This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!” So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.

Approaching the car, he notices that there are five very old ladies – two in the front seat and three in the back – wide-eyed and white as ghosts.

The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I don’t understand. I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”

“Ma’am,” the office replies, “You weren’t speeding but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”

“Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly… Twenty-two miles per hour!” the old woman says, a bit proudly.

The State Police officer, trying to contain a chuckle explains to her that “22” was the route number, not the speed limit.
A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

“But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask… Is everyone in this car ok? These women seem awfully shaken and they haven’t uttered a single peep this whole time,” the officer asks.

“Oh, they’ll be alright in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 119.”

* * * * * * *

Retirement Home

An elderly man in a retirement home asked a woman living there if she could tell hem how old he was?

She said yes, she could.

He said no, you won’t be able to guess.

She insisted she could. She told him to drop his pants and turn all the way around.

He did, and she said, “You’re 94”.

“How did you do that?” he exclaimed.

“You told me yesterday,” she replied.





Eating More Plant Foods May Lower Heart Disease Risk in Young Adults and Older Women

Eating more nutritious, plant-based foods is heart-healthy at any age, according to two research studies published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.

In two separate studies analyzing different measures of healthy plant food consumption, researchers found that both young adults and postmenopausal women had fewer heart attacks and were less likely to develop cardiovascular disease when they ate more healthy plant foods.

The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations suggest an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes and non-tropical vegetable oils. It also advises limited consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugary drinks.

One study, titled “A Plant-Centered Diet and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease during Young to Middle Adulthood,” evaluated whether long-term consumption of a plant-centered diet and a shift toward a plant-centered diet starting in young adulthood are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in midlife.

“Earlier research was focused on single nutrients or single foods, yet there is little data about a plant-centered diet and the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Yuni Choi, Ph.D., lead author of the young adult study and a postdoctoral researcher in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis.

Choi and colleagues examined diet and the occurrence of heart disease in 4,946 adults enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. Participants were 18- to 30-years-old at the time of enrollment (1985-1986) in this study and were free of cardiovascular disease at that time. Participants included 2,509 Black adults and 2,437 white adults (54.9% women overall) who were also analyzed by education level (equivalent to more than high school vs. high school or less). Participants had eight follow-up exams from 1987-88 to 2015-16 that included lab tests, physical measurements, medical histories and assessment of lifestyle factors. Unlike randomized controlled trials, participants were not instructed to eat certain things and were not told their scores on the diet measures, so the researchers could collect unbiased, long-term habitual diet data.

After detailed diet history interviews, the quality of the participants diets was scored based on the A Priori Diet Quality Score (APDQS) composed of 46 food groups at years 0, 7 and 20 of the study. The food groups were classified into beneficial foods (such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains); adverse foods (such as fried potatoes, high-fat red meat, salty snacks, pastries and soft drinks); and neutral foods (such as potatoes, refined grains, lean meats and shellfish) based on their known association with cardiovascular disease.

Participants who received higher scores ate a variety of beneficial foods, while people who had lower scores ate more adverse foods. Overall, higher values correspond to a nutritionally rich, plant-centered diet.

“As opposed to existing diet quality scores that are usually based on small numbers of food groups, APDQS is explicit in capturing the overall quality of diet using 46 individual food groups, describing the whole diet that the general population commonly consumes. Our scoring is very comprehensive, and it has many similarities with diets like the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Healthy Eating Index (from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service), the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet,“ said David E. Jacobs Jr., Ph.D., senior author of the study and Mayo Professor of Public Health in the division of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis.

Researchers found:

  • During 32 years of follow-up, 289 of the participants developed cardiovascular disease (including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, heart-related chest pain or clogged arteries anywhere in the body).
  • People who scored in the top 20% on the long-term diet quality score (meaning they ate the most nutritionally rich plant foods and fewer adversely rated animal products) were 52% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, after considering several factors (including age, sex, race, average caloric consumption, education, parental history of heart disease, smoking and average physical activity).
  • In addition, between year 7 and 20 of the study when participants ages ranged from 25 to 50, those who improved their diet quality the most (eating more beneficial plant foods and fewer adversely rated animal products) were 61% less likely to develop subsequent cardiovascular disease, in comparison to the participants whose diet quality declined the most during that time.
  • There were few vegetarians among the participants, so the study was not able to assess the possible benefits of a strict vegetarian diet, which excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy and eggs.

“A nutritionally rich, plant-centered diet is beneficial for cardiovascular health. A plant-centered diet is not necessarily vegetarian,” Choi said. “People can choose among plant foods that are as close to natural as possible, not highly processed. We think that individuals can include animal products in moderation from time to time, such as non-fried poultry, non-fried fish, eggs and low-fat dairy.”

Because this study is observational, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship between diet and heart disease.

In another study, “Relationship Between a Plant-Based Dietary Portfolio and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Findings from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Prospective Cohort Study,” researchers, in collaboration with WHI investigators led by Simin Liu, M.D., Ph.D., at Brown University, evaluated whether or not diets that included a dietary portfolio of plant-based foods with U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved health claims for lowering “bad” cholesterol levels (known as the “Portfolio Diet”) were associated with fewer cardiovascular disease events in a large group of postmenopausal women.

The “Portfolio Diet” includes nuts; plant protein from soy, beans or tofu; viscous soluble fiber from oats, barley, okra, eggplant, oranges, apples and berries; plant sterols from enriched foods and monounsaturated fats found in olive and canola oil and avocadoes; along with limited consumption of saturated fats and dietary cholesterol. Previously, two randomized trials demonstrated that reaching high target levels of foods included in the Portfolio Diet resulted in significant lowering of “bad” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), more so than a traditional low-saturated-fat National Cholesterol and Education Program diet in one study and on par with taking a cholesterol-lowering statin medication in another.

The study analyzed whether postmenopausal women who followed the Portfolio Diet experienced fewer heart disease events. The study included 123,330 women in the U.S. who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term national study looking at risk factors, prevention and early detection of serious health conditions in postmenopausal women. When the women in this analysis enrolled in the study between 1993 and 1998, they were between 50-79 years old (average age of 62) and did not have cardiovascular disease. The study group was followed until 2017 (average follow-up time of 15.3 years). Researchers used self-reported food-frequency questionnaires data to score each woman on adherence to the Portfolio Diet.

The researchers found:

  • Compared to women who followed the Portfolio Diet less frequently, those with the closest alignment were 11% less likely to develop any type of cardiovascular disease, 14% less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 17% less likely to develop heart failure.
  • There was no association between following the Portfolio Diet more closely and the occurrence of stroke or atrial fibrillation.

“These results present an important opportunity, as there is still room for people to incorporate more cholesterol-lowering plant foods into their diets. With even greater adherence to the Portfolio dietary pattern, one would expect an association with even less cardiovascular events, perhaps as much as cholesterol-lowering medications. Still, an 11% reduction is clinically meaningful and would meet anyone’s minimum threshold for a benefit. The results indicate the Portfolio Diet yields heart-health benefits,” said John Sievenpiper, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study at St. Michael’s Hospital, a site of Unity Health Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and associate professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto.

The researchers believe the results highlight possible opportunities to lower heart disease by encouraging people to consume more foods in the Portfolio Diet.

“We also found a dose response in our study, meaning that you can start small, adding one component of the Portfolio Diet at a time, and gain more heart-health benefits as you add more components,” said Andrea J. Glenn, M.Sc., R.D., lead author of the study and a doctoral student at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and in nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto.

Although the study was observational and cannot directly establish a cause-and-effect relation between diet and cardiovascular events, researchers feel it provides a most reliable estimate for the diet-heart relation to-date due to its study design (included well-validated food frequency questionnaires administered at baseline and year three in a large population of highly dedicated participants). Nevertheless, the investigators report that these findings need to be further investigated in additional populations of men or younger women.

Source: American Heart Association

What’s for Lunch?

Cold noodles with chicken and summer vegetables at Otoya in Tokyo, Japan

The price is 980 yen (tax included).

Does Testosterone Influence Success? Not Much, Research Suggests

It is already known that in men testosterone is linked with socioeconomic position, such as income or educational qualifications. Researchers from the University of Bristol’s Population Health Sciences (PHS) and MRC Integrated Epidemiology Unit (IEU) wanted to find out whether this is because testosterone actually affects socioeconomic position, as opposed to socioeconomic circumstances affecting testosterone, or health affecting both. The findings are published in Science Advances.

To isolate effects of testosterone itself, the research team applied an approach called Mendelian randomization in a sample of 306,248 UK adults from UK Biobank. They explored testosterone’s influence on socioeconomic position, including income, employment status, neighbourhood-level deprivation, and educational qualifications; on health, including self-rated health and BMI, and on risk-taking behaviour.

Dr Amanda Hughes, Senior Research Associate in Epidemiology in Bristol Medical School: Population Health Sciences (PHS), said: “There’s a widespread belief that a person’s testosterone can affect where they end up in life. Our results suggest that, despite a lot of mythology surrounding testosterone, its social implications may have been over-stated.”

First, the team identified genetic variants linked to higher testosterone levels and then investigated how these variants were related to the outcomes. A person’s genetic code is determined before birth, and generally does not change during their lifetime (there are rare exceptions, such as changes that occur with cancer). This makes it very unlikely that these variants are affected by socioeconomic circumstances, health, or other environmental factors during a person’s lifetime. Consequently, any association of an outcome with variants linked to testosterone would strongly suggest an influence of testosterone on the outcome.

Similar to previous studies the research found that men with higher testosterone had higher household income, lived in less deprived areas, and were more likely to have a university degree and a skilled job. In women, higher testosterone was linked to lower socioeconomic position, including lower household income, living in a more deprived area, and lower chance of having a university degree. Consistent with previous evidence, higher testosterone was associated with better health for men and poorer health for women, and greater risk-taking behaviour for men.

In contrast, there was little evidence that the testosterone-linked genetic variants were associated with any outcome for men or women. The research team concluded that there is little evidence that testosterone meaningfully affected socioeconomic position, health, or risk-taking in men or women. The study suggests that – despite the mythology surrounding testosterone – it might be much less important than previously claimed.

Results for women were less precise than results for men, so the influence of testosterone in women could be studied in more detail in the future using larger samples.

Dr Hughes added: “Higher testosterone in men has previously been linked to various kinds of social success. A study of male executives found that testosterone was higher for those who had more subordinates. A study of male financial traders found that higher testosterone correlated with greater daily profits. Other studies have reported that testosterone is higher for more highly educated men, and among self-employed men, suggesting a link with entrepreneurship.

“Such research has supported the widespread idea that testosterone can influence success by affecting behaviour. There is evidence from experiments that testosterone can make a person more assertive or more likely to take risks – traits which can be rewarded in the labour market, for instance during wage negotiations. But there are other explanations. For example, a link between higher testosterone and success might simply reflect an influence of good health on both. Alternatively, socioeconomic circumstances could affect testosterone levels. A person’s perception of their own success could influence testosterone: in studies of sports matches, testosterone has been found to rise in the winner compared to the loser.”

Source: University of Bristol

Pineapple-glazed Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs, 5 oz each, trimmed of visible fat
3-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2/3 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup pineapple chunks
3 green (spring) onions, thinly sliced, including green portions

Method

  1. Coat a large nonstick frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the chicken and ginger and cook, turning the chicken every few minutes, until the chicken is well browned on both sides, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the pineapple juice and soy sauce. Pour into the frying pan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Uncover and add the sesame seeds and pineapple chunks. Continue cooking, turning the chicken occasionally, until it is opaque throughout and the liquid remaining in the pan has reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes.
  4. To serve, arrange the chicken, ginger, and pineapple on a large platter. Spoon an equal amount of glaze over each piece of chicken. Garnish with the green onions.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Mayo Clinic


Today’s Comic