Meatless Soybean Ham Cutlet Burger of Komeda Coffee in Japan

The burger is available for a limited time at most stores nationwide for 610 yen (tax included).

How Alzheimer’s Disease Affects Women

Gina Shaw wrote . . . . . . . . .

More than 6 million people 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, and almost two-thirds of them are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. That discrepancy is explained in part by the fact that women tend to live longer than men: The risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after age 65. After age 85, it’s nearly one in three.

But that’s not the whole story, experts say. “The increased prevalence is not just because women live longer; our research shows it’s also because they can start the disease earlier,” says Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona and a leading neuroscientist in the field of Alzheimer’s and the aging female brain. “The menopause state in midlife is associated with a decline in the brain’s ability to utilize glucose as its primary fuel and an increase in neuro-inflammatory responses in the brain. That combination is a dual hit for the female brain.”

Other factors are probably at play as well. For example, the majority of Alzheimer’s caregivers—more than 60 percent—are women, and studies have found that individuals who care for a partner with dementia have a greater risk of developing the disease themselves. “Caregiving takes a huge toll on women’s health,” says Liliana Ramirez-Gomez, MD, a neurologist in Massachusetts General Hospital’s memory disorders, comprehensive neurology, and behavioral neurology units. “Women caregivers have higher rates of mood and stress disorders and sleep disturbances, all of which are risk factors for dementia.”

Studies also have found that women who worked outside the home experienced slower memory decline later in life, findings that build on other research suggesting that the mental stimulation of a job may help build cognitive reserves against dementia. “In the middle of the 20th century, women were participating in the workforce at much lower rates than they do today, and that could be a factor in dementia rates among older populations,” says Mary Ellen Quiceno, MD, FAAN, director of clinical research for the pharmaceutical company Janssen, where she leads trials of novel drug therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.

Other experiences in a woman’s life, such as pregnancy, also may contribute. “We know that cardiometabolic factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of dementia,” says Michelle Mielke, PhD, professor in the departments of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. “But do high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy impact your later risk? We don’t know much about that. We need to take a life span approach to understanding Alzheimer’s risk among women, taking into account things like pregnancy history, contraceptive use, and menopause.”

A new report from Women’s Health Access Matters found that doubling National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for women-focused Alzheimer’s research would pay for itself three times over. Currently, only 12 percent of NIH funding for dementia research goes to projects focused on women. The report suggests that an increased investment would add more than $930 million to the U.S. economy by reducing health care costs and time spent in nursing homes. It might also save both women and men from experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

“There is now a major emphasis on looking at women’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, especially during the menopausal transition,” says Dr. Quiceno. “We need women, and particularly women of color, to be involved in clinical trials to help us understand these risk factors and whether or not new drugs will work for them. We want to be able to tell people what they can do about their brain health in a way that’s specific to them, to provide the right advice and the right treatments.”

Dr. Ramirez-Gomez encourages her patients to protect their brains by getting regular exercise; eating a healthy, mostly plant-based diet; preventing or controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes; sleeping seven to eight hours a night; challenging their brains with a new hobby or a stimulating activity; managing stress through meditation or mindfulness; and engaging socially.

“And if you are a woman caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, take care of yourself,” she says. “It’s so important to have an extended network of support to help provide care for the person living with dementia. The stress on you really can take a toll on your physical health. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Source: Brain&Life

Company Unveils Plant-Based Ribs

Next Meats Co Ltd, a food tech company based in Tokyo and now operating in the US, has recently announced the launch of a new version of its popular short rib product: the Next Yakiniku Short-Rib 2.0.

Last month, the pioneering Japanese brand announced it has developed three new products: “NEXT Pork”, “NEXT Tuna”, and “NEXT Milk”, set for imminent commercial release. In June, the company announced a new collaboration with Wayback Burgers, a popular US burger chain and one of the fastest-growing burger franchises in the country.

The “Next Yakiniku” range includes Short-Rib and Skirt-Steak variants, attracting keen fans and strong media interest since it was launched last year at Yakiniku Like, a popular barbecue franchise with branches all over Japan. Previously, plant-based meat was not widely available in restaurants in Japan. Now, Next Yakiniku is available in supermarkets nationwide and is offered in a variety of other restaurants. It is also now available in other countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The revised Short-Rib 2.0 has a firmer texture and the shape has been flattened and enlarged so that it looks even more like sliced beef. It also contains 5% more protein than before and the sauce is tastier, making it even closer to the taste of a real Japanese beef steak.

Next Yakiniku Short Rib 2.0 will first be available in Japan through the company’s e-commerce website, then in retail stores and restaurants, and finally overseas. Next Meats plans to continue selling the older Short Rib 1.1 as well.

Ryo Shirai, co-founder of Next Meats Co. and CEO of Next Meats Holdings, said at the press conference that he is pleased to finally present the results of years of research and hopes that the updated Next Yakiniku Short Rib 2.0 can inspire more people to try Next Meats products and other plant-based foods.

Source: Vegconomist

Study: Breastfeeding May Help Prevent Cognitive Decline

A new study led by researchers at UCLA Health has found that women over the age of 50 who had breastfed their babies performed better on cognitive tests compared to women who had never breastfed. The findings, published in Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, suggest that breastfeeding may have a positive impact on postmenopausal women’s cognitive performance and could have long-term benefits for the mother’s brain.

“While many studies have found that breastfeeding improves a child’s long-term health and well-being, our study is one of very few that has looked at the long-term health effects for women who had breastfed their babies,” said Molly Fox, PhD, lead author of the study and an Assistant Professor in the UCLA Department of Anthropology and the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. “Our findings, which show superior cognitive performance among women over 50 who had breastfed, suggest that breastfeeding may be ‘neuroprotective’ later in life.”

Cognitive health is critical for wellbeing in aging adults. Yet, when cognition becomes impaired after the age of 50, it can be a strong predictor of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), the leading form of dementia and cause of disability among the elderly – with women comprising nearly two-thirds of Americans living with the disease.

Many studies also show that phases of a woman’s reproductive life-history, such as menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause can be linked to a higher or lower risk for developing various health conditions like depression or breast cancer, yet few studies have examined breastfeeding and its impact on women’s long-term cognition. Of those that have, there has been conflicting evidence as to whether breastfeeding might be linked to better cognitive performance or Alzheimer’s risk among post-menopausal women.

“What we do know is that there is a positive correlation between breastfeeding and a lower risk of other diseases such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease, and that these conditions are strongly connected to a higher risk for AD,” said Helen Lavretsky, MD, the senior author of the study and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

“Because breastfeeding has also been found to help regulate stress, promote infant bonding and lower the risk of post-partum depression, which suggest acute neurocognitive benefits for the mother, we suspected that it could also be associated with long-term superior cognitive performance for the mother as well,” added Dr. Fox.

To find out, the researchers analyzed data collected from women participating in two cross-sectional randomized controlled 12-week clinical trials at UCLA Health: 1) The “Brain Connectivity and Response to Tai Chi in Geriatric Depression and Cognitive Decline,” included depressed participants. 2) The “Reducing Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease in High-Risk Women through Yoga or Memory Training that included non-depressed participants with some subjective memory complaints and a risk for heart disease.

Among the two trials, 115 women chose to participate, with 64 identified as depressed and 51 non-depressed. All participants completed a comprehensive battery of psychological tests measuring learning, delayed recall, executive functioning and processing speed. They also answered a questionnaire about their reproductive life-history that included questions about the age they began menstruating, number of complete and incomplete pregnancies, the length of time they breastfed for each child and their age of menopause.

Importantly, none of the participants had been diagnosed with dementia, or other psychiatric diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, alcohol or drug dependence, neurological disorders or had other disabilities preventing their participation or taking any psychoactive medications. There was also no significant difference in age, race, education or other cognitive measures between the depressed and non-depressed participants.

Key findings from the researchers’ analysis of the data collected from questionnaires on the women’s reproductive history revealed that about 65% of non-depressed women reported having breastfed, compared to 44% of the depressed women. All non-depressed participants reported at least one completed pregnancy compared to 57.8% of the depressed participants.

Results from the cognitive tests also revealed that those who had breastfed, regardless of whether they were depressed or not, performed better in all four of the cognitive tests measuring for learning, delayed recall, executive functioning and processing compared to women who had not breastfed.

Separate analyses of the data for the depressed and non-depressed groups also revealed that all four cognitive domain scores were significantly associated with breastfeeding in the women who were not depressed. But in the women who were depressed, only two of the cognitive domains – executive functioning and processing speed – were significantly associated with breastfeeding.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that longer time spent breastfeeding was associated with better cognitive performance. When they added up all the time a woman spent breastfeeding in her life, they found that women who did not breastfeed had significantly lower cognitive scores in three out of four domains compared to women who had breastfed for 1-12 months, and in all four domains compared to the women who had breastfed for more than 12 months. Women who had breastfed the longest had the highest cognitive test scores.

“Future studies will be needed to explore the relationship between women’s history of breastfeeding and cognitive performance in larger, more geographically diverse groups of women. It is important to better understand the health implications of breastfeeding for women, given that women today breastfeed less frequently and for shorter time periods than was practiced historically,” said Dr. Fox.

Source: EurekAlert!

Zucchini Fritters with Pistou

Ingredients

1 pound zucchini, grated
2/3 cup flour
1 egg, separated
1 tablespoon olive oil
oil for shallow, frying
salt and ground black pepper

Pistou (a Provençal cold sauce)

1/2 ounce basil leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2/3 cup olive oil

Method

  1. Make the pistou. Crush the basil leaves and garlic with a pestle and mortar to make a fairly fine paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese and lemon rind. Gradually blend in the oil, a little at a time, until combined, then transfer to a small serving dish.
  2. Make the fritters, put the grated zucchini in a strainer over a bowl and sprinkle with plenty of salt. Leave for 1 hour, then rinse thoroughly. Dry well on paper towels.
  3. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the center, then add the egg yolk and oil. Measure 5 tablespoons water and add a little to the bowl.
  4. Whisk the egg yolk and oil, gradually incorporating the flour and water to make a smooth batter. Season and let sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir the zucchini into the batter. Whisk the egg white until stiff, then fold into the batter.
  6. Heat 1/2-inch of oil in a frying pan. Add spoonful of batter to the oil and fry for 2 minutes until golden. Drain the fritters on paper towels and keep warm while frying the rest. Serve with the sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Healthy Mediterranean Cookbook


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