Character Donuts of Floresta in Japan

Little Twin Stars Donuts and Donut Balls

The price of the donut is 520 yen each and the donut balls are sold for 690 yen. Both prices include tax.



Brain Changes Link Menopause With Higher Alzheimer’s Risk

Denise Mann wrote . . . . . . . . .

Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men, and a new study shows that certain brain changes known to increase this risk may accrue during menopause.

Women who have gone through menopause have more white matter hyperintensities in their brains than premenopausal women or men of the same age, researchers found. These are tiny lesions seen on brain scans that are linked to an increased risk of cerebral small vessel diseases, including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and problems with thinking and memory.

“At a younger age, on average, there are no discernible differences between men and women, [but] older women have more of these abnormalities than men of similar age, and this gap occurs around menopause and widens thereafter,” said study author Dr. Monique Breteler. She is the director of population health sciences at the German Center of Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn, Germany.

The new findings point to menopause as an important turning point, she said.

“Whether it is the occurrence of menopause itself [and the related change in hormone levels], or rather, that menopause occurs as a result of and marks [other] underlying mechanisms, remain to be investigated,” Breteler said.

The study included 3,410 people who were aged 54, on average. Of these, 58% were women, and 59% of these women were postmenopausal. Fully 35% of all participants had high blood pressure, and for half of them, their high blood pressure was not under control. Folks underwent MRI brain scans, and researchers calculated the amount of white matter hyperintensities in their brains based on these images.

There were no differences in the average amount of white matter hyperintensities seen among premenopausal women and men of a similar age.

But postmenopausal women had more white matter hyperintensities than men, and the increase in these brain biomarkers accelerated at a faster rate after menopause, the study showed. What’s more, postmenopausal women also had more white matter hyperintensities than premenopausal women of similar ages.

Women with uncontrolled high blood pressure also had higher amounts of this brain biomarker compared to men, and this was unrelated to menopausal status, the study found.

There were no differences in white matter hyperintensities among postmenopausal and premenopausal women using hormone therapy, suggesting that hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause may not have a protective effect on the aging brain, Breteler noted.

Now, researchers plan to continue their research. “The overarching focus is, of course, on finding modifiable causes of cerebral small vessel disease,” Breteler said.

The study appears online in the journal Neurology.

Outside experts point out that there are things women can do to protect their brain as they age.

“There has been a lot of research done on women and brain aging and the role that menopause may play, and the new study suggests that menopause may be a high-risk time for vascular brain aging,” said Rebecca Thurston. She is the Pittsburgh Foundation Chair in women’s health and dementia at the University of Pittsburgh and a past president of the North American Menopause Society.

It may not be the drop in estrogen during menopause that causes these brain changes, Thurston said. Instead, they could be related to hot flashes and/or sleep problems.

There are things women can do today to protect their brains as researchers search for answers. This starts by treating high blood pressure, not smoking, engaging in regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, getting good-quality sleep, and not consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. “All of these things are important for brain health,” Thurston said.

Dr. Howard Fillit said there may be a role for hormone replacement therapy for some women during menopause. He is the founding executive director and chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation in New York City.

“Estrogen declines dramatically with ovarian failure at menopause and has pervasive effects on the brain, bones and other organs,” Fillit said. Women should have a conversation with their doctor about the benefits and risks of replacement hormones.

“Controlling high blood pressure is also critically important to prevent microvascular disease on the brain,” he added.

Source: HealthDay


In Pictures: Melon and Granita Desserts of Royal Host in Japan


5 Steps for a Heart-healthy Grilling Season

Laura Williamson wrote . . . . . . . . .

The smells of summer have returned: sunscreen, freshly cut grass and burgers sizzling on the grill.

For many families, backyard barbecues are a staple of summer dining. But often the foods people associate with summer grilling – including ribs, sausages, hot dogs and hamburgers – are processed or high in saturated fat and sodium, which contribute to heart health risks. And studies show cooking meat at high temperatures can cause harmful chemical reactions that raise the risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The good news is, you don’t need to close the lid on grilling. Food experts say there are steps outdoor chefs can take to make backyard barbecues healthier, while still loaded with flavor.

Choose healthier proteins

People often choose fatty meats and grill them for prolonged periods of time, said Penny Kris-Etherton, Evan Pugh University professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania. “What we’d really like people to do is choose healthier meats, like chicken and fish.”

But if beef it must be, go lean, she said.

Pre-cook or cut up your meat

The harmful chemicals associated with cancers and cardiovascular disease accumulate the longer fatty muscle meat – beef, pork, fish or poultry – is cooked or the higher the temperature, starting around 300 or 350 degrees.

Cutting leaner meat into smaller pieces that cook faster can lower some of those risks, Kris-Etherton said. “Either pre-cook the meat beforehand so it doesn’t grill too long, turn down the temperature, or cut it into smaller pieces. Add some vegetables and make shish kabobs.”

Removing or avoiding charred edges and minimizing fat dripping onto the heat source, which increases harmful chemicals, also can help.

Spice it up

Adding pepper and other spices to meat before grilling it may greatly reduce harmful chemical reactions, according to unpublished research led by J. Scott Smith, a professor of food science at Kansas State University in Manhattan. (The findings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.)

You need about a teaspoon of pepper or other spices for a quarter-pound burger, he said. While mixing the spices into the burger is fine, it’s only necessary to get them onto the surface of the meat. “That’s good enough, because all of this occurs on the surface,” he said. “The chemical reactions are from high heat, which doesn’t get into the interior of the meat.”

Smith’s research shows that using marinades containing herbs that are members of the mint family, such as basil, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano and marjoram, are just as effective as black pepper. Antioxidants in seasonings such as garlic and paprika also help block the formation of chemical compounds, he said.

If you’re mixing spices into a marinade, coating the surface of the meat is sufficient, Smith said.

Other research shows a wide range of spices and herbs that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may help lower the risk for cardiovascular disease. Kris-Etherton said using marinades or dry rubs that contain spices also reduces the need for salt to flavor food.

“You can make a really delicious rub without sodium,” she said. “Use dried herbs and spices to rub on meats and vegetables before you put them on the grill.”

Eat your veggies

Grilling vegetables is a great alternative to meat, Kris-Etherton said. In addition to popular choices such as corn, there are many flavorful vegetables to choose from.

“Grill some sweet potatoes – they are absolutely delicious – or green pepper, onions or zucchini,” she suggested.

Choose heart-healthy sides

Opting for whole-grain buns and side dishes such as bean salads are another way to make backyard barbecues better for heart health, Kris-Etherton said.

She suggested using low-sodium canned beans for simplicity. “Rinse them off, make a salad out of them with fresh parsley and tomatoes and onions, and jazz them up!”

Source: American Heart Association


Coffee Ice Cream with Caramelized Pecans


4 cups milk
1 tbsp demerara sugar
6 tbsp finely ground coffee or 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 egg plus 2 yolks
1-1/4 cups double cream
1 tbsp caster sugar

Caramelized Pecans

1 cup pecan halves
4 tbsp soft dark brown sugar


  1. Heat the milk and demerara sugar to boiling point. Remove from the heat and sprinkle on the coffee. Leave to stand for 2 minutes, then stir, cover and cool.
  2. In a heatproof bowl, beat the egg and extra yolks until the mixture is thick and pale.
  3. Strain the coffee mixture into a clean pan, heat to boiling point, then pour on to the eggs in a steady stream, beating hard all the time.
  4. Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until it thickens. Cool, then chill in the fridge.
  5. Whip the cream with the caster sugar. Fold it into the coffee custard and freeze in a covered container. Beat twice at hourly intervals, then leave to freeze firm.
  6. To caramelize the nuts, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Put them into the oven for 10-15 minutes to toast until they release their fragrance.
  7. On the top of the stove, dissolve the brown sugar in 2 tbsp water in a heavy-based pan, shaking it about over a low heat until the sugar dissolves completely and the syrup clears.
  8. When the syrup begins to bubble, tip in the toasted pecans and cook for a minute or two over a medium heat until the syrup coats and clings to the nut.
  9. Spread the nuts on a lightly oiled baking sheet, separating them with the tip of a knife, and leave to cool.
  10. Store when cold in an airtight tin if they are not to be eaten on the same day.
  11. Transfer the ice cream from the freezer to the fridge 30 minutes before scooping it into portions and serving with caramelized pecans.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: The Ultimate Desserts Cookbook

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