This Thanksgiving, Thankful for: Great Food

From wife Maryruth's loose-leaf compiled cookbook. We have an extravagantly productive tall Rangpur lime tree. The Rangpur lime is, I think, the Bangladesh-originated hybrid of the mandarin orange and lemon trees. Its fruit looks like a Mandarin orange, yet smells and tastes like a key lime mixed with a Meyer lemon.



1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumb
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter melted
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh Rangpur lime juice
2 whole large eggs or 3 medium eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lime zest
1/4 teaspon finely ground vanilla bean

Directions (makes one large pie)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands.
Press the mixture firmly into an 8-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, 2/3 of the zest, and eggs.
Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, combine the sour cream, ground vanilla bean, and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. Sprinkle the remaining lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled.

Paukaa Supreme+ Autumnal Oolong.

As local as it gets: snipped from the two small camellia sinensis trees in the back yard. Good aroma, delicate taste, yet wonderful iced.

A New PHYTONOSIS: Acanthocystis turfacea chlorella virus 1 and Human Cognitive Impairment

So, what are phytonoses? Phytonoses are diseases which can spread from plant to human. Do they exist? Apparently, yes. Just in from the NIH and the National Academy of Sciences:

A group led by Dr. Robert Yolken at Johns Hopkins University has been studying the links between viral infections and brain development. They were analyzing viruses taken from the throats of 33 healthy adults who were participating in a study that involved the assessment of cognitive functioning. Unexpectedly, the researchers discovered genetic sequences from Acanthocystis turfacea chlorella virus 1 (ATCV-1). ATCV-1 is a type of Chlorovirus, which infects green algae. These viruses are common in fresh water, such as lakes and ponds, but weren’t thought to infect humans or animals.

To further investigate, the group teamed with Dr. James Van Etten, an expert on algal viruses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Their work was supported in part by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). Results appeared online on October 27, 2014, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A sequence-specific assay detected ATCV-1 in throat samples from 40 of 92 (44%) people in the study. The team next examined the link between ATCV-1 and performance on a battery of cognitive tests. ATCV-1 was associated with decreases on tests of visual processing. There was no difference on tests of general knowledge.

Studies in people can involve many complex factors, so the scientists infected a group of mice with ATCV-1. The exposed mice performed worse than control mice in several cognitive tests, such as navigating mazes. The researchers next studied gene expression in the hippocampus, a brain region essential for learning, memory, and behavior. Exposure to ATCV-1 was associated with significant changes in the regulation of over 1,000 genes.

“People have conducted studies looking for more conventional viruses and bacteria in throat swabs, but the way those studies were done meant that they could have easily missed the ones that we work with,” Van Etten says.

More study will be needed to learn how ATCV-1 may alter cognitive functioning. If confirmed, these findings hint that other yet-unknown viruses may have subtle effects on human health and behavior.

So, there are many questions. Does the viral presence cause or follow from brain pathology? If it is a cause, is the sub-minimal cognitive impairment reversible if virus is removed? Is the causative pathophysiology actually invasion of brain as a very low-grade encephalitis, or is the action via a remote toxic effect? Especially, is this organism a newly found cause of the many thousands of cases of unidentified meningoencephalitis and encephalitis seen yearly?

There is much of human virology yet to be learned.

Aloha Friday: Hawaiian Swing Music

Some sweetly upbeat retro 40's style Hawaiian swagger style music by Kahulanui: Nani Waimea, Nani Wai'ale'ale.

Nani Waimea - Words & Music by Sam Koki
Nani Waimea
Ku`u home Kamuela
Lei o ka heke
Lei o Hawai`i

Ku`u pua milimili
Anuanu Humu`ula ê

Ku`u `âina aloha
`Âhê nani Waimea
Beautiful Waimea
My home in Kamuela

Best wreath
Wreath of Hawai`i

My flower to caress
Coolness of Humu`ula

Land that I love
Yes, Waimea is beautiful
Source: Humu`ula is a place name on the slopes of Mauna Kea

Artificially Sweetened Soft Drinks May Increase the Risk of Stroke

This week JAMA published an epidemiological study of 451,743 Europeans from 10 countries which suggested there is an increased risk of m...