Hokkaido Pure Cream Tiramisu Style Maritozzo of Seijo Ishii in Japan

Pure fresh cream and mascarpone from Hokkaido are used. Granulated sugar is added instead of white sugar, so the cream is not too sweet. Also the brioche dough is kneaded with espresso powder.

Glycerin Is Safe, Effective in Psoriasis Model

Toni Baker wrote . . . . . . . . .

Patients with psoriasis have reported that glycerin, an inexpensive, harmless, slightly sweet liquid high on the list of ingredients in many skin lotions, is effective at combatting their psoriasis and now scientists have objective evidence to support their reports.

They found that whether applied topically or ingested in drinking water, glycerin, or glycerol, helps calm the classic scaly, red, raised and itchy patches in their psoriasis model, Dr. Wendy Bollag, cell physiologist and skin researcher at the Medical College of Georgia and Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center and her colleagues report in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

The studies also provide more evidence of the different ways glycerin enables the healthy maturation of skin cells through four stages that result in a smooth, protective skin layer. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated problem that typically surfaces in young adults in which skin cells instead multiply rapidly, piling up into inflamed patches.

“We have experimental data now to show what these patients with psoriasis are reporting,” says Bollag, who nearly 20 years ago first reported in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology that glycerin, a natural alcohol and water attractor known to help the skin look better, also safely helped it function better by helping skin cells mature properly.

Bollag’s early report led to many anecdotal reports from individuals and their reports ultimately led to the newly published study.

Topically, glycerin is known to have a soothing, emollient effect. But another key part of its magic, which Dr. Bollag has helped delineate, is its conversion to the lipid, or fat, phosphatidylglycerol, which ultimately regulates the function of keratinocytes, our major skin cell type, and suppresses inflammation in the skin.

Glycerin gets into the skin through avenues like aquaporin-3, a channel expressed in skin cells, and the MCG scientists have shown that once inside, aquaporin 3 funnels glycerin to phospholipase-D-2, an enzyme that converts fats in the external cell membrane into cell signals, ultimately converting glycerin to phosphatidylglycerol.

In 2018, Bollag and team reported that topical application of phosphatidylglycerol reduced inflammation and the characteristic raised skin patches in a mouse model of psoriasis. This time they decided to look at the impact of its widely available precursor glycerin.

For the new studies, they used imiquimod, which is known to produce psoriasis-like plaques on humans using it for problems like genital warts and some skin cancers, to produce an animal model. The mice either drank the sweet natural alcohol or the scientists applied it topically. Either way, glycerin helped reduce development of the characteristic skin lesions, the scientists report, a finding which helps underline that glycerin works in more than one way to improve the skin condition.

Externally, glycerin showed its action as an emollient because even in mice missing phospholipase-D-2, it was beneficial. Additionally, topically it appears to compete with hydrogen peroxide for space inside the aquaporin 3 channel. Hydrogen peroxide is commonly known as a mild antiseptic but we produce it as well and at low levels it’s a cell signaling molecule. But at high levels, hydrogen peroxide produces destructive oxidative stress, which can actually cause psoriasis.

The scientists found that topical glycerin reduced the levels of hydrogen peroxide entering skin cells. When they added glycerin and hydrogen peroxide at the same time directly to skin cells, they found that glycerin protected against the oxidative stress from hydrogen peroxide.

“Glycerol is basically outcompeting the hydrogen peroxide in getting in there and preventing it from being able to enter and increase oxidative stress,” Bollag says. Oil and water don’t mix, so yet another way glycerin may be helpful is by supporting the skin’s major role as a water permeability barrier so that, as an extreme, when we sit in a bathtub the bath water doesn’t pass through our skin so we blow up like a balloon, she says.

On the other hand, when glycerin was ingested by the mice missing the phospholipase- D-2, which converts fats or lipids in a cell’s membrane to signals, it simply did not work, Bollag says, which confirmed their earlier findings that internally anyway, glycerin pairs with the enzyme to produce the signal essential to skin cell maturation.

Some of their other most recent work is detailing more about how phosphatidylglycerol decreases inflammation.

Bollag would like next steps to also include clinical trials with dermatologists and patients and is working to find a formulation scientist who can make what she thinks will be the optimal combination: glycerin and phosphatidylglycerol in the same topical cream.

The addition of phosphatidylglyerol itself, rather than just the glycerin that makes it, is essentially a backup since there is some evidence that in psoriasis the essential conversion of glycerin to phosphatidylglycerol is not optimal. Bollag’s lab and others have shown reduced levels of aquaporin 3 in psoriasis, which likely means less phosphatidylgycerol, so making more glycerin available may help, albeit not as efficiently, raise the availability of this lipid essential to normal skin cell proliferation.

Moving quickly into clinical trials should be comparatively easy since, as with glycerin, there already is experience with the use of phosphatidylglycerol in humans. For example, it’s a component of some high-end cosmetics, Bollag says.

She suspects that this sort of two-punch combination, could help keep early signs of psoriasis at bay and, with more advanced disease, use existing psoriasis treatments to get the skin condition under control then start applying glycerin to help keep it that way.

Bollag and her colleagues reported in 2018 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that in a mouse model of psoriasis, phosphtidylglycerol reduced inflammation and the characteristic raised skin lesions of psoriasis.

While its exact cause is unclear, psoriasis is an immune-mediated condition and patients have higher levels of inflammation, as well as too many skin cells being produced then maturing abnormally. The heightened inflammation also puts them at increased risk for problems like heart disease.

Biologics used to treat psoriasis work different ways to stem this overactive immune response but in addition to their high cost, can put the patient at risk for problems like serious infections and cancer. The only side effect she has seen in about 20 years of working with glycerin and the clinical and cosmetic use already out there, is it can leave the skin feeling slightly sticky.

Our bodies can make glycerol from the carbohydrates, proteins and fats that we eat or already have in our body.

Source: Augusta University

In Pictures: Food of Tosca di Angelo in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Fine Dining Modern Italian Cuisine

The Michelin 1-star Restaurant

Shape, Size of Brain Arteries May Predict Stroke Risk

The size and shape of the blood vessels in your brain may help predict your risk of an often-fatal type of stroke, called an aneurysm, a new study finds.

An aneurysm is a bulge in an artery wall.

“A subarachnoid hemorrhage is the most dangerous type of stroke and occurs when a brain aneurysm leaks or ruptures, causing bleeding into the brain, killing more than 50% of affected people,” said Dr. Arjun Burlakoti, a University of South Australia neuroanatomist.

For the study, Burlakoti conducted imaging tests of 145 patients and found people with varying sized brain arteries have greater odds of an aneurysm.

The brain images of people with aneurysms showed that the four arteries that enter the brain box, divide into segments and supply blood to the brain, were not in proportion to each other. This increases peaks in blood pressure and predisposes them to ballooned blood vessels, Burlakoti explained.

Where the front part of the brain arterial network differs in left and right diameter ratio by up to 1.4, people have an 80% risk of developing aneurysms in that area, the most common location of ruptured aneurysms. Those with symmetrical ratios below 1.4 have an 8% equivalent risk, the researchers noted.

Nearly half of those who have a burst brain aneurysm die. Only one-third will recover without disabilities, the study authors said. Brain aneurysms cause almost 500,000 deaths worldwide each year, half of them in people under age 50, with women at greater risk.

“A lot of small, unruptured aneurysms go undetected in commonly used imaging techniques. They may not be diagnosed until they grow sufficiently to cause symptoms or rupture, often when it is too late,” Burlakoti said in a university news release.

The main symptom of a ruptured aneurysm is a sudden, severe headache, often with double vision, nausea and vomiting, a stiff neck, muscle weakness, confusion, seizures and cardiac arrest.

If found early, aneurysms can be monitored and slowed by controlling blood pressure with medication, diet and lifestyle changes. They can also be removed with an operation, but that can be risky and cause brain damage or stroke. It’s only recommended if there is a high risk of rupture, the researchers said.

“Based on our findings, MRI and CT angiograms will determine whether people have asymmetrical brain arteries and, if so, they should be screened regularly for cerebral aneurysms,” Burlakoti said.

The report was published online recently in the journal BMJ Open.

Source: HealthDay

Pigeon Breasts with Pine Nuts and Lemon

Ingredients

6 young pigeons
2 oz tritto (see recipe below)
2 oz pine nuts
4 tbsp olive oil
juice and rind of 1 lemon
2/3 cup marsala wine

Method

  1. Remove the breasts from the pigeons. Keeping the blade very close to the high-ridged breast bone, a swift stroke of the knife from back to front will have the breast hanging on by the skin only. Cut through the skin.
  2. Brown the tritto in a very large pan. Roughly chop the carcasses. As the tritto browns, add them, cover with water and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer.
  3. In a frying pan (skillet) containing no oil, toast the pine nuts until they begin to brown. Remove them from the heat immediately – they will continue to cook a little of their own accord.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and drop in each pigeon breast. Cook for no more than 10 seconds on each side. The breasts will puff up. Remove the skin then slice each breast through across the horizontal – i.e. flat – plane. Seal the raw sides of each breast for a further 2-3 seconds in the hot oil.
  5. Pour away most of the oil and return the pan to a high heat. Add the lemon juice, rind and the marsala and reduce until you have a thick syrup, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in 2/3 cup of the pigeon broth made from the carcasses and reduce again.
  7. Toss the breasts into the sauce and re-heat for half a minute. Remove the breasts from the pan, pour the sauce over them, and sprinkle the browned pine nuts on top.

Makes 4 servings.


Tritto

Ingredients

1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 glove garlic
1/2 stick celery
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
6 fresh sage leaves
enough olive oil to cover when the ingredients are packed

Method

  1. Very finely dice all the ingredients into 1/8-inch dices with a food grinder or food processor. Sift the pieces together so they are thoroughly mixed.
  2. Cover with olive oil. THe tritto should be packed quite tightly. Do not use for at least 12 hours.

Source: The Complete Italian Cookbook


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