WHAT'S THE BUZZ

Protection against food-borne illness

A new study has revealed that microwave reheating of hotdogs or frankfurters for 75 seconds at high power can offer protection against pathogens that cause foodborne illness.

Microwave ovens are commonly used to cook and reheat food; however, these appliances often provide non-uniform heating, which may produce hot and cold spots within food products being heated. The uneven distribution of heat could lead to the survival of pathogens in contaminated food cooked in microwave ovens.

During the study, researchers evaluated different power and time combinations of microwave oven heating for inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes on inoculated and stored frankfurters.

The study showed that highest reductions of Listeria monocytogenes contamination were obtained when frankfurters were reheated at high power for 75 seconds. Standing time after treatment may also play a role in obtaining a more uniform distribution of heat, by conduction, after the microwave power is off and can improve microbial destruction in food.

Biofeedback is the best stress-buster

Iowa State University has opened a Biofeedback Centre for students to help them deal with stress. Directed by Student Counselling Service psychologist Todd Pietruszka, the centre is free and open to all ISU students.

The centre has adopted technologies like video games and guided meditations to teach relaxation techniques, concentration skills and healthy coping responses. Pietruszka said: “Biofeedback is a fancy name. It really means getting information about your physical responses and using that information to take action”.

Devices for good night’s sleep

Many people have sleep related problems — some cannot catch sleep, some cannot wake up, and others are troubled because they get less sleep. Dr Carol Ash, Somerset Medical Centre, New Jersey, has highlighted many options for the troubled souls. Some of the gadgets pointed out by him to help people with sleep problems are:
1. Good Nite Sleep Lite — meant for kids, just learning to sleep properly. A blue, smiling moon indicates the time for sleeping and a bright, smiling sun replaces it when it is time to get up.

2. Brookstone Tranquil Moments Sound Therapy System — uses peaceful sounds or white noise to induce a sound sleep by forcing out all distractive thoughts from the mind.
3. iPhone / iPod Touch/Blackberry Applications — the iTones store offers nearly 40 soothing sounds to make people slip into a cozy sleep.

4. iPhone Proactive Sleep Alarm Clock — records and monitors sleeping time bed depending on the duration of the time set on the alarm. It also tracks how many times the sleep is broken at night depending on the number of times a button is pressed.

Swine flu vaccine may lead to autism

The swine flu vaccine being used in Britain contains an additive the use of which in children’s jabs was stopped five years ago, over fears that it could lead to autism.
Pandemrix, which has received the green light from European drugs regulators to be given to children over six months old and pregnant women, contains the mercury-based compound Thiomersal, which has not been used in childhood vaccines since 2004.

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