Sushi Tozzo of Furuichian (古市庵) in Japan

Tuna sushi made to the shape of Maritozza

The price of the limited edition sushi is 389 yen (tax included).

Smart Sensor Equipped Chair May Help Office Workers Reduce Their Back Pain Woes

Low back pain (LBP) is no stranger to office workers. In Japan, 1 out of 10 otherwise healthy office workers suffer from LBP. Stretching and exercise help alleviate the pain, but workers often do this when it is too late. But what if our chairs could alert us before the pain worsens?

Now, researchers at Tohoku University have developed a new prediction method that employs pressure sensors installed on a conventional office chair. The sensors detect workers’ movements on the chair dynamically and quantitatively.

The “smart chair” was tested in a real-life setting outside of the lab. Amassing data from 22 study participants over a period of three months, the research group combed through the information to investigate the dynamics of sitting behavior and identify a predictable LBP progression.

Further aided by various machine learning methods, the researchers discovered a common motif present in the sitting behavior of most participants. They pinpointed small motions in the body trunk that prevent the fixation of vertebral joints, therefore avoiding LBP’s progression. The frequency of this motif could be used to predict the worsening of LBP throughout the day when compared to a morning reference state.

The research group hopes to apply the technology to other areas of the body. “Although the current method focused on LBP, we hope to collect data relating to the head and neck regions to be able to predict and prevent stiff necks and headaches,” said paper coauthor Ryoichi Nagatomi.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

Source: Tohoku University

Krispy Kreme Halloween Donuts

Use of Ritalin, Other Stimulants Can Raise Heart Risks for Older Adults

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

ADHD medications are increasingly being prescribed to older adults, and they may cause a short-term spike in the risk of heart attack, stroke and arrhythmias, a large new study suggests.

Stimulant medications, such as Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall, are commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But they are also increasingly being prescribed “off-label” to older adults, to combat conditions such as severe drowsiness, appetite loss and depression.

The new findings add to evidence that the drugs can pose heart risks.

Researchers found that on average, older adults starting on a stimulant showed a 40% increase in their risk of heart attack, stroke or ventricular arrhythmia within 30 days.

Ventricular arrhythmias are rhythm disturbances in the heart’s lower chambers, and some can be fatal.

In the study, stimulant users had double the risk of dying within a month of starting a stimulant, compared to older adults who were similar in terms of health but not using a stimulant.

The absolute risks were relatively small, said lead researcher Mina Tadrous, an assistant professor of pharmacy at the University of Toronto.

Over one year, 5 out of 100 stimulant users had a heart “event,” the study found. That compared with between 3 and 4 of every 100 non-users.

And the increased risk appeared limited to the first 30 days of use, Tadrous said. Over the longer term — six months and one year — stimulant users were not at greater risk of heart trouble.

Why? It’s not clear, but Tadrous said it may be because of monitoring.

Doctors have long known that stimulant medications can raise blood pressure and heart rate. In fact, the drugs carry warnings about those effects, particularly for people with established heart disease.

So doctors and patients are likely checking for red flags — a spike in blood pressure or symptoms like chest palpitations — and if they come up, the drug may be stopped, Tadrous explained.

Over the longer term then, older adults who remain on stimulants may be those who are less likely to have heart and vascular side effects.

For the study, Tadrous and his colleagues looked at data on more than 30,000 adults over 65 living in Ontario, Canada. The group included more than 6,400 patients who started a stimulant prescription between 2017 and 2019. Researchers compared each of those patients with four others who were similar in terms of health and demographics but were not prescribed a stimulant.

The stimulant medications included amphetamine, dextroamphetamine (brands such as Dexedrine and ProCentra), methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta and other brands), and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse).

On average, older adults prescribed stimulants were 40% more likely to land in the emergency room or be hospitalized for a heart complication within 30 days.

The sharpest increase was in the risk of ventricular arrhythmia, which was three times higher compared with other older adults.

For patients already on stimulants, Tadrous said the lack of longer-term excess risks could be seen as reassuring.

But, he said, doctors should remain “vigilant” in monitoring blood pressure and other markers of heart health in those patients.

Dr. James Kirkpatrick is chair of American College of Cardiology’s Geriatric Cardiology Section Leadership Council.

He said the lack of longer-term risks was the most interesting finding from the study. It’s not clear why that is, Kirkpatrick said, but he agreed that patient monitoring might explain it.

Kirkpatrick, who was not involved in the study, noted that for some older adults, the symptoms for which stimulants are prescribed can be so debilitating, the potential for heart effects could be worth the benefits of treatment.

“Individual patients have individual needs,” he said. “It’s always about balancing the benefits and risks.”

Older adults already on a stimulant should not stop taking it on their own, Kirkpatrick advised. If they have concerns, he said, they should talk to their doctor.

Kirkpatrick agreed that ongoing monitoring is important. And ideally, he said, older adults should regularly have a medication “review” with their doctor, to talk about which drugs they still need and where a change might be better.

The findings were published in JAMA Network Open.

Source: HealthDay

Foie Gras Pâté with Pear and Saffron Chutney

Ingredients

1 lb 2 oz very fresh chicken or duck livers
1-1/4 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 thyme sprig
1-1/2 cups ruby port
12 oz foie gras, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices sea salt and black pepper
pear and saffron chutney (see recipe below)
toasted slices of brioche or country bread

Method

  1. Cut off any discolored or bloody parts from the livers, then soak the livers in the milk for 1 to 2 hours. Tip them into a strainer to drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan and add the shallots, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes until the shallots are soft and golden brown.
  3. Pour in the port and bring to a boil. Let it boil until reduced down to a syrupy consistency.
  4. While the port is reducing, sauté the foie gras slices in a hot, dry skillet until golden brown and slightly caramelized. This will only take about 30 seconds on each side. Remove to a colander set over a bowl and set aside.
  5. Pour off the excess oil from the pan and return to the heat. Season the chicken or duck livers with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Fry for about 5 minutes, turning them over halfway, until the livers are well browned, but still pink in the middle. Tip into the colander to join the foie gras.
  6. Remove the thyme from the port mixture. Tip the livers and foie gras into a food processor and add the reduced port with the shallots and garlic. Season well. While still hot, blend to a smooth paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Spoon the pate into four ramekins and immediately cover each one with plastic wrap. Let cool completely, then chill until ready to serve. Serve with slices of toasted brioche and pear and saffron chutney on the side

Makes 4 servings.


Pear and Saffron Chutney (Makes 2-1/4 1b)

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups peeled and diced onions
1-1/4 cups peeled, cored, and diced apples
1-1/4 cups golden raisins
1 tbsp orange rind
juice of 2 oranges
1 cinnamon stick
1-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1-1/2 oz minced fresh gingerroot
generous 1 cup white wine vinegar
2-1/4 1b pears, peeled, cored, and diced
1-3/4 cups superfine sugar
1/4 tsp saffron strands, infused in 1 tbsp warm water

Method

  1. Except for the pears, sugar, and saffron, put all the ingredients into a large nonreactive pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds.
  2. Add the sugar and saffron and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Tip in the diced pears and cook gently, uncovered for about 1 to 2 hours until the chutney is thick and syrupy. The chutney is ready when you can draw a line across the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  4. Spoon into sterilized jars and seal while still hot. Store in a cool place if not serving immediately

Source: Gordon Ramsay’s Maze


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