IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  July 1, 2012

A taste of Italy on a sesame seed bun

It's something like a French dip but with a lot more zing, and it can even be made with leftovers.

It's an Italian beef sandwich: so delicious it is claimed by chefs worldwide.
While it bears the name of Italy, most chefs agree it originated in the United States. Both Chicago and New York claim it.

Like the French dip, it begins with thinly sliced pieces of roast beef immersed in au jus and a mixture of Italian spices and peppers. Some recipes even add a vegetable, like carrots or pizza sauce, but for purists, it's basically a "momma mia" version of the neighboring French dip.

It can be made with leftover beef roast, prime rib, slices of shaved steak or even deli roast beef trimmed into slender slices.

The French Dip from Little Italy

2 pounds leftover or deli roast beef, shaved steak, or prime rib
1 large can restaurant grade au jus
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium jar, hot banana peppers
1 teaspoon fresh or refrigerated garlic buds
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 small sprig of rosemary
1 package 8-count sesame seed buns
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes.

In a large pan, place the au jus. Add the thin strips or small chunks of roast beef, diced onion, dried tomatoes and bell pepper and spices. Save the hot banana peppers in a bowl for garnish.

Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for at least an hour.
Use a straining spoon to ladle the mixture onto the buns.

Provide a small condiment bowl to hold the juice for each helping.
Garnish with the hot banana peppers; salt, and pepper to taste. The sandwiches are even better when the buns are toasted and a slice or melted provolone cheese is added to each.

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Flu drug offers new hope in brain injury cases

A new study shows a flu medicine seems to help brain injury.

Before being treated with the flu medication amantadine, patients in a new study were either in a vegetative state or minimally conscious, showing some signs of awareness. After four weeks on amantadine, more people could give reliable yes-or-no answers, follow commands or use a spoon or hair brush, all of which they couldn't do at the start. The average age of patients was 36

Co-leaders of the study at Boston's Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital say this inexpensive drug was able to speed patient recovery more than any drug used before, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Amantadine was approved for flu in the mid-1960s. Years later, researchers found it improved Parkinson's symptoms. It was found to have an effect on the brain's dopamine system.


Nuts to you

We mean walnuts, of course. When it comes to antioxidant quality, walnuts are at the top of the ground and tree nut category regarding health benefits, according to Food & Function.

They rank them above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, macadamias and all other nuts.

Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania says, "A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidant as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don't eat a lot of them."

All nuts contain high-quality protein that can substitute for meat. They also have vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. They are dairy- and gluten-free.
Studies link regular eating of nuts or peanut butter with decreased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, gallstones, type 2 diabetes and other conditions.

About seven walnuts a day deliver the health benefits.


Chuckles Corner

All physical activity reduces Alzheimer's risk

An important new study shows that any physical activity, not just exercising, is linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

The finding should be considered by people in middle age, since the disease develops for years before any symptoms occur. Protective activities included washing dishes, cooking, cleaning, gardening and even playing cards.

Study subjects had no signs of dementia at the start of the study, which is part of the ongoing Memory and Aging Project at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

This is the first study to use an objective measure of physical activity in addition to self-reports. Participants wore an actigraph on their wrists to assess levels of activity. Those in the bottom 10 percent for physical activity were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's.

Quoted in USA Today, study leader, physician Aron Buchman says, "The implication of this study is really astounding. Exercise is good, without a doubt, but his study is about more than exercise. People who might not be able to exercise can tailor activities that are right for them."


New bronchial treatment approved for severe asthma

Individuals with severe and persistent asthma may choose to have the bronchial thermoplasty (BT) procedure. It is recommended for those whose asthma is not well controlled by medications such as Advair, Symbicort or Dulera.

The treatment uses the Alair System, the first device-based asthma treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It's used in a minimally invasive outpatient procedure and requires three treatments, each focusing on a different area of the lungs. They are scheduled three weeks apart. It is available in most large hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic, Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas, and Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

About 98 percent of patients experience significant improvements. Patients must be at least 18 years old.

In the United States, asthma causes 10 million hospital visits, 2 million emergency room visits, 500,000 hospitalizations, and 4,000 deaths each year.


It happens the same day, not just in the future

Physical activity generates feelings of enthusiasm.

Everyone knows that habitual exercise is good for you, especially in the long term. But when considering physical activity, many people wonder what's in it for them right now. Immediate gratification would be a big plus.

You can have it, right now, today. A new study shows that people who get at least 15 minutes of physical activity during the day are more likely to be enthusiastic and excited about almost everything. So if you are looking for more gusto in your life, physical activity is one way to get it.

The study, reported in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, found that people tend to be more excited and enthusiastic just on days when they are more active. That should offer encouragement to those who are intimidated by the idea of starting an exercise program. Instead of wondering about long-term goals, they can think about the benefits for today.

The research involved 200 people who reported their activities, sleep quality and quantity, and their mood or mental state throughout the day. Those who were more active also tended to sleep better, the study found.

Other research links physical activity with levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which can lead to these positive emotions.

Though the 200-person study was small and short, only eight days, there's little risk in getting some exercise to see how it affects your own inner zest.
At the very least, it will be good for your heart and help to tone you up. If you get an enthusiastic exercise high, so much the better.


Lose weight with chocolate?

Chocolate lovers finally catch a break after being frowned upon for decades. Recent research shows that eating chocolate five times a week or more can actually help you lose weight, improve heart health and control cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure levels.

Its health benefits stem from antioxidants that can help you absorb fewer calories from fat. Some diet tips:

1. Give yourself a daily allotment of chocolate. Having boundaries is important. Decide how many of your daily calories will be from chocolate.

2. Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Dark is lower in calories, and is more filling, so you can eat less to feel satisfied, according to Science Daily. Dark chocolate also has appetite-suppressing properties.

3. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins in your diet. Enjoying a variety of foods can keep your calorie count low and your nutrient count high.


Sunscreen prevents 'liver' spots

Lentigo, also known as liver, age or sun spots, are patches of melatonin, the substance that protects your skin from sun exposure. They have nothing to do with the liver and are harmless.

Wearing sunscreen on your hands, arms, legs and face will help to prevent future spots from forming in those areas say doctors at Johns Hopkins.


To prevent skin cancer:

FDA pushes for more-informed daily sunscreen use.

Even the most dedicated daily sunscreen users may not be using the right kind of product, and many are not using enough of what they do use, says the Food and Drug Administration.

Three types of products are involved: Sunscreen. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. People with fair skin should use SPF 30

Antioxidant cream. Face cream containing antioxidants helps to prevent the sun's rays from causing free-radical damage, which can accelerate aging and wrinkles. Some sunscreens also have antioxidants.

Makeup. Cosmetics with SPF act as an extra shield against the sun, especially when their SPF comes from a natural sunscreen like zinc oxide.

Dermatologists quoted in The Wall Street Journal suggest applying makeup before sunscreen.

  • FDA guidelines say any product with an SPF of 14 or lower and products without broad spectrum status must carry a message saying they are effective only against sunburn, not to prevent skin cancer.
  • The terms "sunblock," "waterproof," and "sweat proof" can no longer be used, though it will take some time to clear these products from store shelves. All sunscreens must warn users to reapply every two hours.
  • Dermatologists at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York say sunscreen should be applied every day, but not nearly enough people now do it.
  • To correctly apply sunscreen in the morning, start with one ounce, the amount equal to one shot glass. Measure and apply it to all parts of the body that will be exposed to daylight.

    More than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Melanoma, the most dangerous form, is rising in most age groups. It increased eightfold in women ages 18 to 29 from 1970 to 2009


    Virtual colonoscopy screening could prevent thousands of cancer deaths

    Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. But up until now, only about 60 percent of Americans were screened for it.

    Those who eat a lot of fatty foods, smoke, drink or are overweight are more likely to have polyps or growths.

    Many people have avoided having the colonoscopy that could save their lives. Doctors at Duke University say the ease of virtual colonoscopy is prompting more people to get the test.

    Computerized tomographic colonography is as effective as traditional colonoscopy at identifying polyps. The procedure is relatively noninvasive and requires no sedation. It still requires taking a special laxative before the procedure to clean out the colon.

    In a standard colonoscopy, a long flexible tube with a camera attached is inserted in the rectum and moved up through the colon. Any polyps or growths that are found can be removed at that time. The negatives include possible bleeding, perforation of the intestine, or adverse reaction to the sedative.

    In virtual colonoscopy, no sedative is used. Carbon dioxide is blown into the colon to inflate it using an enema tip that is minimally inserted into the rectum.

    The patient then passes through a machine that takes a three-dimensional view of the entire colon and rectum.

    Any growths found must be removed through a separate procedure.
    A recently study reported in the New York Times, shows that, in the 20 years following polyp or growth removal, the colorectal cancer death rate was reduced by 53 percent.


    World watched first step for man

    This month marks the 43rd anniversary of Apollo 11's historic flight to the moon. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were to become the first humans to ever set foot on the moon.

    It all happened July 20, 1969

    In May of 1962, President John F. Kennedy was concerned that our country was falling behind the Soviet Union in both technology and prestige. Putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade would change that.
    The Lunar Module, nicknamed the "Eagle," touched down on the moon's surface at Tranquility Base. Armstrong reported "The Eagle has landed." After taking his first step, he said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." The Apollo camera broadcast this event to the world.

    More than half the world's population was aware of the mission's success.

    The Soviet Union tried to jam Voice of America radio broadcasts, but word spread through newspapers and TV. The crew spent 2.5 hours conducting experiments and collecting lunar surface material, then unveiled a plaque affixed to a leg of the descent ladder and read aloud, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." It was signed by Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin, and President Richard Nixon. The astronauts also planted an American flag on the moon and received a call from President Nixon, who called it the "most historic telephone call ever made."

    Excitement has risen again for space fans. Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon and a self-described space enthusiast, has used his personal finances to search that Atlantic Ocean for the five engines that thrust the Apollo 11 astronauts into space.

    Bezos' salvage team found five of the Eagle's engines 14,000 feet below the surface of the sea on March 28, 2012. He hopes to retrieve at least one of them so it can join other artifacts in the museum.

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