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The simple tweaks that can prevent dementia (plus delicious recipes to help beat it)

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the simple tweaks that can prevent dementia plus delicious recipes to help beat it

Today, and every day, roughly 190 Britons will die from dementia – about 1,350 every week – and numbers are steadily and ominously rising.

It is by far our biggest killer, having overtaken heart disease five years ago as fatalities from heart attacks and strokes continue to decline. Within the next few years, more than one million Britons will be living with the degenerative brain condition.

It’s a statistic made all the more shocking when you consider that the dementia death toll is almost four times the number claimed each week at the moment by the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

But despite these grim figures there is hope, as the latest medical evidence suggests that whether you develop dementia is not simply down to fate.

Dementia, a degenerative brain condition, is by far our biggest killer, having overtaken heart disease five years ago as fatalities from heart attacks and strokes continue to decline

Dementia, a degenerative brain condition, is by far our biggest killer, having overtaken heart disease five years ago as fatalities from heart attacks and strokes continue to decline

Dementia, a degenerative brain condition, is by far our biggest killer, having overtaken heart disease five years ago as fatalities from heart attacks and strokes continue to decline

Although incurable, a staggering 40 per cent of cases could be prevented in the first place, according to a global report revealed at the Alzheimer’s Association International Congress last week.

Lifestyle factors, such as diet, lack of exercise – and even hearing loss – are responsible for a whopping 340,000 of Britain’s 850,000 dementia cases, says the report. The leading scientists behind the new study identified 12 risk factors that make us more likely to develop the disease. Crucially, it’s within our power to address each one of them if we want to stay healthy into old age.

The risks begin to mount in childhood, the report said, but even making small lifestyle changes into your 70s could have a significant impact.

The report represents a huge leap forward in the understanding of the disease. Three years ago, the same research group became the first to prove how much of dementia is preventable, revealing the role of obesity, smoking, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Hearing loss, if untreated, depression and too little exercise also contribute to an individual’s risk, while lack of education and social isolation were also factors flagged by the experts.

Now, three more avoidable dangers have been added to that list based on new data: traumatic head injury, air pollution and heavy alcohol consumption.

The authors, from The Lancet’s Commission on Dementia, a group of international experts, say the findings should be a wake-up call for us all, and urged everyone to take responsibility for their own health. They said: ‘Around 40 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by eliminating these risk factors.’ So what can we do? Well, making changes to diet and lifestyle has a significant effect, not just on reducing the chances of developing dementia but also keeping the mind sharper and younger.

Around 40 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by 'eliminating risk factors', such as giving up smoking, said experts (file photo)

Around 40 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by 'eliminating risk factors', such as giving up smoking, said experts (file photo)

Around 40 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by ‘eliminating risk factors’, such as giving up smoking, said experts (file photo)

A recent Swedish study found that being a healthy weight, keeping blood pressure in check and staying fit and active were three key factors found to significantly improve mental performance. More than 500 participants, aged 60 to 77, were advised to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fish and low-fat dairy, while exercise plans involved strength training at a gym plus group exercises to improve aerobic fitness, such as jogging and aerobics. 

The researchers followed them for two years and found they performed better in mental tests by the end, having boosted their overall health. Similar lifestyle changes were linked to a 37 per cent reduced dementia risk in another trial involving 3,000 volunteers. Indeed, just making a change to one area, such as giving up smoking, was found to have a big knock-on effect.

It’s something I take seriously, because I’ve seen first-hand how devastating dementia can be. I was 17 when my much-loved granny, Olive, died of the disease, aged 74, having spent two years being cared for by my mum, her only child, in our family home.

Olive suffered from Lewy body dementia, the second most common type after Alzheimer’s, accounting for ten to 15 per cent of cases. Looking back now, the risk factors described by The Lancet’s Commission were all there. My grandfather Jimmy, married to Olive for 40 years, collapsed and died from an aortic aneurism aged 65, just two weeks after retiring from his job as a draughtsman at the Rolls-Royce plant in East Kilbride, south of Glasgow. Her world fell apart. In time, neighbours moved on. Friends passed away.

Adored: Jo Macfarlane as a baby, sitting on granny Olive’s knee before her dementia set in. Olive suffered from Lewy body dementia, the second most common type after Alzheimer’s

Adored: Jo Macfarlane as a baby, sitting on granny Olive’s knee before her dementia set in. Olive suffered from Lewy body dementia, the second most common type after Alzheimer’s

Adored: Jo Macfarlane as a baby, sitting on granny Olive’s knee before her dementia set in. Olive suffered from Lewy body dementia, the second most common type after Alzheimer’s

A fall meant she feared going out and she spent a lot of time alone in her empty house, staring out of the window. She began to forget to eat.

When she came to live with us in Fife, 80 miles away on the opposite coast of Scotland, the warm, adoring woman who’d doted on my two younger sisters and me was vanishing, bit by bit.

Every morning the house was woken by her fearful wails ‘Help me! Help’, as she opened her eyes and, again, had no idea where she was. 

Living near a busy road increases the chance of dementia by 10%

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Most painfully, she forgot she had a daughter or grandchildren. When it was explained to her gently one day, she sobbed bitterly: ‘No one ever told me I had a daughter.’

It’s a story that will no doubt resonate with thousands of British families, on whom the burden of care so often falls. 

The cost of treating and supporting the dementia population in the UK is £34.7 billion a year, and it’s set to nearly treble by 2040. Unpaid carers, like my mum, save the economy a further £13.9 billion a year.

Imagine if the emotional – and economic – burden could be lifted significantly. A one per cent reduction in dementia cases would mean 8,500 fewer people living with the disease. 

Eliminating all 12 risk factors, the report’s authors say, could save 340,000 from being struck by it – 40 per cent of the 850,000 people estimated to have dementia in the UK.

In this special Mail on Sunday Health section, we’ll explain how to reduce your risk – from looking at ways to combat heart disease and diabetes, to highlighting surprising methods of prevention, such as improving your hearing.

There is still much about dementia risk that science can’t explain, but there is cause for optimism. Armed with new knowledge, it’s never been more possible to alter the course of our later lives for the better.

Brain-boosting breakfasts

Crustless quiche with feta, peas and spinach

Bake for 30–35mins, or until just set and golden. Serve warm or cold (267 calories per serving)

Bake for 30–35mins, or until just set and golden. Serve warm or cold (267 calories per serving)

Bake for 30–35mins, or until just set and golden. Serve warm or cold (267 calories per serving)

SERVES 4

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Handful of peas
  • 1 bagful fresh spinach, or 200g of frozen spinach, defrosted and with the excess water squeezed out
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/GM 4. Fry the onion over a medium heat for 5-10mins, or until softened. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and stir in half the cheese, half the onions and season well.

Pour the egg mixture into a non-stick dish and scatter over the remaining onion as well as the peas, spinach and remaining cheese. Bake for 30–35mins, or until just set and golden.

Serve warm or cold, sliced into wedges.   

Peach and apricot breakfast pots

In 2 small glasses, layer the apricots and peaches, followed by yoghurt (305cal per serving)

In 2 small glasses, layer the apricots and peaches, followed by yoghurt (305cal per serving)

In 2 small glasses, layer the apricots and peaches, followed by yoghurt (305cal per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 1/2 400g tin peaches
  • 1/2 400g tin apricots
  • 4 tbsp low-fat
  • Greek yogurt
  • Handful of oats
  • 50g chopped nuts

Toast the oats lightly in a pan on a low heat, stirring frequently, until they reach a golden colour (roughly 5mins).

In 2 small glasses, layer the apricots and peaches, followed by a layer of yogurt, followed by another layer of fruit, until you reach the top of the glass.

Top with a sprinkle of the toasted oats and nuts.

Banana and peanut butter overnight oats

In the morning, loosen with a little water or milk if needed (380 calories per serving)

In the morning, loosen with a little water or milk if needed (380 calories per serving)

In the morning, loosen with a little water or milk if needed (380 calories per serving)

SERVES 1

  • 50g rolled oats
  • 100ml skimmed milk
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp low-fat
  • Greek yogurt

The night before, stir the skimmed milk and the cinnamon into your oats.

In the morning, loosen with a little water or milk if needed. Top with chopped banana, yogurt and a drizzle of peanut butter.

Blistered tomatoes on toast

Turn up the heat and allow tomatoes to sizzle until the skins start to blister (213cal per serving)

Turn up the heat and allow tomatoes to sizzle until the skins start to blister (213cal per serving)

Turn up the heat and allow tomatoes to sizzle until the skins start to blister (213cal per serving)

SERVES 1

  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Pinch of dried mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large slice wholemeal or rye bread

Gently fry the garlic in 1 tsp of oil for 1min, then add the cherry tomatoes and mixed herbs. Turn up the heat and allow the tomatoes to sizzle until the skins start to blister.

Toast the bread and drizzle the remaining tsp of oil on the bread.

Place the tomatoes on top and season with salt and pepper.

Baked eggs with greens and yoghurt

Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper, then mix (343 calories per serving)

Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper, then mix (343 calories per serving)

Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper, then mix (343 calories per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 1/2 100g pack of fresh spinach, or 80g frozen spinach, with water squeezed out
  • 2 spring onions, chopped 
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt
  • 2 slices rye or wholemeal bread, toasted

Heat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/GM 6. If using fresh spinach, put it in a colander, then pour over a kettle of boiling water to wilt the leaves.

Squeeze out excess water. In a large, oven-proof pan, heat the oil before frying off the spring onions for a couple of minutes until softened.

Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper, then mix. Make two small wells in the pan and crack in two eggs. Put the pan in the oven for 12-15mins, then serve with yogurt spooned on top, alongside the toast.

Life-enhancing lunches

Roast sweet potato stuffed with smoky black beans

Cut the cooked sweet potato in half and spoon the bean mixture inside (343cal per serving)

Cut the cooked sweet potato in half and spoon the bean mixture inside (343cal per serving)

Cut the cooked sweet potato in half and spoon the bean mixture inside (343cal per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 tin black or kidney beans
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of chilli powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/GM 6. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast for 45-60mins.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the garlic, paprika, cumin and chilli, if using. Cook for 1min. Add the drained beans, 50ml of water and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir thoroughly.

Cook until this is all warmed through. Remove from the heat and, just before serving, stir in the lime juice.

Cut the cooked sweet potato in half and spoon the bean mixture inside.

Meatballs and beans in tomato sauce

Place 4 meatballs in each bowl with sauce and serve alone, or with bread (450cal per serving)

Place 4 meatballs in each bowl with sauce and serve alone, or with bread (450cal per serving)

Place 4 meatballs in each bowl with sauce and serve alone, or with bread (450cal per serving)

SERVES 4

For the meatballs:

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 slice stale or toasted wholemeal bread
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 courgette, diced
  • 1 tin butter beans, or any other variety

Blitz the bread in a blender  to make breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl and mix thoroughly with the beef, garlic, egg and seasoning.

Roll into small balls – about 16 – and place on a plate in the fridge. Gently fry the garlic for 1-2mins, then add the onion, pepper and courgette and fry for a further 5mins, until browned slightly.

Next, add the tomatoes, beans and purée. Fill the empty tin with water twice, add this to the mix and leave to simmer for 15mins.

In another pan, fry the meatballs for 12mins. Taste the sauce and check for seasoning.

Place 4 meatballs in each bowl with the sauce and serve alone, or with bread.

Buttery white beans and tuna

Add a final drizzle of oil and some chopped fresh herbs if you have any (329cal per serving)

Add a final drizzle of oil and some chopped fresh herbs if you have any (329cal per serving)

Add a final drizzle of oil and some chopped fresh herbs if you have any (329cal per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 1 tin butter beans
  • 1 tin tuna in spring water
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of dried mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread
  • Chopped fresh herbs (optional)

Finely chop the garlic and fry in the olive oil for 2-3mins. Add the drained beans, salt and pepper and mixed herbs. Cook until warmed through. Finely chop the onion and drain the tuna and gently toss into the warmed mixture. 

Serve alongside one slice of toasted bread. Add a final drizzle of oil and some chopped fresh herbs if you have any.

Sardine, tomato and pepper pizzettes

Drizzle over sardine oil and place on middle shelf of oven for 15-25mins (391cal per serving)

Drizzle over sardine oil and place on middle shelf of oven for 15-25mins (391cal per serving)

Drizzle over sardine oil and place on middle shelf of oven for 15-25mins (391cal per serving)

SERVES 2

For the dough:

  • 150g plain flour
  • Half a sachet fast-acting dried yeast (4g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 120ml tepid water

For the topping:

  • Tin sardines in oil
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 green or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 4 black olives, finely chopped
  • Pinch of dried mixed herbs

Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/ GM 6. Make the dough by adding water to yeast and stirring until dissolved, then gradually pour wet mixture into flour and salt until it has dough consistency.

Mix together into a ball, then knead for 10mins before leaving dough to double in size for 30mins. Break off 4 palm-sized balls and leave remaining dough in fridge or freezer for later use.

Roll the 4 chunks of dough into mini pizzas and prick bases. Drain sardines but retain 1 tbsp oil.

Thinly spread tomato purée on bases, then add sardines, cherry tomatoes, peppers, chopped olives and herbs. Drizzle over sardine oil and place on middle shelf of oven for 15-25mins.

Chicken and roasted vegetable salad

Season with sprinkle of salt, then roast for 20-25m until chicken is cooked (531cal per serving)

Season with sprinkle of salt, then roast for 20-25m until chicken is cooked (531cal per serving)

Season with sprinkle of salt, then roast for 20-25m until chicken is cooked (531cal per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 150g broccoli florets
  • 150g cauliflower florets
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • Large handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g salad leaves or lettuce (any kind you like)

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 210C/Fan 190C/GM 8. In a bowl, mix the chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, pepper, cherry tomatoes and olive oil until all is coated.

Put the chicken and vegetables in a baking tray that’s large enough so everything rests in a single layer. Season with sprinkle of salt, then roast for 20-25mins until chicken is cooked through.

When cooked, slice the thighs. Whisk dressing ingredients in a salad bowl, then add the chicken, vegetables and salad leaves. Mix well before serving.

Delectable dinners

Courgette and minty potato parmesan tart

Put in the centre of the oven for 25mins or until the egg has set (502 calories per serving)

Put in the centre of the oven for 25mins or until the egg has set (502 calories per serving)

Put in the centre of the oven for 25mins or until the egg has set (502 calories per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 1/2 roll (160g) of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 4 new potatoes, boiled and sliced
  • 1 courgette, sliced lengthways or in round slices
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tsp fresh mint, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/GM 6. Place the pastry on a lined, greased baking tray and fold the edges up and inwards to create a thin crust. Arrange the potato and courgette on the pastry, then gently pour the egg on top.

Sprinkle with the lemon zest and parmesan. Put in the centre of the oven for 25mins or until the egg has set and the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped mint.

Crunchy cod and sweet potato chips with smashed minty peas

Dip the cod fillets into the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25m (520cal per serving)

Dip the cod fillets into the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25m (520cal per serving)

Dip the cod fillets into the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25m (520cal per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 2 skinless fillets of cod
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 slice stale or toasted bread
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 170g frozen peas
  • Sprig of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp butter

Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/GM 6. Chop the sweet potato into bitesize chunks, place in a baking dish, drizzle with oil and sprinkle on the paprika. Roast for 45mins.

Blitz the bread into crumbs and mix with a pinch of salt, pepper and the lemon zest. Dip the cod fillets into the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25mins.

Boil the frozen peas until slightly overcooked, then gently mash with mint and butter. Squeeze the juice of the lemon on the fish.

Stuffed peppers with a ‘meaty’ mushroom filling

Top with the pepper ‘lids’, cover in foil and bake for 35-40mins (345 calories per serving)

Top with the pepper ‘lids’, cover in foil and bake for 35-40mins (345 calories per serving)

Top with the pepper ‘lids’, cover in foil and bake for 35-40mins (345 calories per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 200g mushrooms (any kind), diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 slice wholemeal bread
  • Handful of walnuts
  • 4 tsp pesto

Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/GM 7. Make breadcrumbs by blitzing the bread in a blender, or finely chopping. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms for 5mins, until tender. 

Turn off the heat and add garlic, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, walnuts and pesto until thoroughly combined. Slice the top off the peppers and remove the seeds. Place in a roasting tin and spoon the mushroom filling into the pepper cavities. 

Top with the pepper ‘lids’, cover in foil and bake for 35-40mins.

Easy one-person paella

Stir the seafood mix into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 5m (565 calories per serving)

Stir the seafood mix into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 5m (565 calories per serving)

Stir the seafood mix into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 5m (565 calories per serving)

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 sausage, divided into small balls (or a handful of chicken breast chunks)
  • 1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  • 75g brown rice, or paella rice if you can’t get brown
  • 1 tbsp white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 100g frozen seafood mix
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the sausage balls, onion and garlic for 8mins. Then add paprika, herbs and rice, stirring continuously. 

Splash in the wine and, once it has evaporated, stir in the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock. Season and cook for 10-15mins, stirring occasionally until rice is almost cooked. 

Stir the seafood mix into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 5mins, or until the seafood is cooked through. Squeeze over the lemon juice.  

Chickpea and courgette parmigiana

Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and parmesan, then bake for 35-40m (422cal per serving)

Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and parmesan, then bake for 35-40m (422cal per serving)

Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and parmesan, then bake for 35-40m (422cal per serving)

SERVES 4

  • 6 courgettes, sliced into 1cm lengths
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 2 balls mozzarella, sliced
  • 25g breadcrumbs
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/GM 6. Coat the courgette slices in oil and sear the slices in a pan for 3-4mins each side, then set aside.

In the same pan, cook the onion and garlic until soft. Heat the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas in a saucepan, adding the cooked onion mixture, salt and pepper and letting it bubble for a few minutes.

Spoon some of the tomato mixture into the base of an ovenproof dish, then layer with courgette and mozzarella. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.

Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and parmesan, then bake for 35-40mins until bubbling and golden brown on top.

Perfect puds  

Spiced compote with honey yogurt and nuts

Heat rhubarb in a small pan, using dessertspoon of syrup and a splash of water. Add cinnamon and allspice and simmer until rhubarb has disintegrated (222 calories per serving)

Heat rhubarb in a small pan, using dessertspoon of syrup and a splash of water. Add cinnamon and allspice and simmer until rhubarb has disintegrated (222 calories per serving)

Heat rhubarb in a small pan, using dessertspoon of syrup and a splash of water. Add cinnamon and allspice and simmer until rhubarb has disintegrated (222 calories per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 1/2 tin of rhubarb in light syrup, or apples or pears
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 4 heaped tbsp low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped nuts
  • 2 tsp runny honey

Heat rhubarb in a small pan, using dessertspoon of syrup and a splash of water. Add cinnamon and allspice and simmer until rhubarb has disintegrated.

Allow to cool and serve with 2 tbsp yogurt each, a sprinkling of nuts and a drizzle of honey.

Chocolate mousse with raspberries

Fold in egg white – whisked to stiff peaks – followed by chocolate. Spoon mixture into 2 small glasses or espresso cups and put in fridge for at least 30mins (296 calories per serving)

Fold in egg white – whisked to stiff peaks – followed by chocolate. Spoon mixture into 2 small glasses or espresso cups and put in fridge for at least 30mins (296 calories per serving)

Fold in egg white – whisked to stiff peaks – followed by chocolate. Spoon mixture into 2 small glasses or espresso cups and put in fridge for at least 30mins (296 calories per serving)

SERVES 2

  • 1/3 of a 100g bar of dark chocolate
  • 2 tsp sweetener
  • 3 tbsp low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • 50g raspberries

Melt chocolate in a glass bowl, placed over a pan of boiling water. Add sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add half yogurt to the bowl and mix, then transfer to another bowl before stirring in the rest of the yogurt. 

Fold in egg white – whisked to stiff peaks – followed by chocolate. Spoon mixture into 2 small glasses or espresso cups and put in fridge for at least 30mins.

Serve alongside a handful of raspberries.

Tinned pear and nut crumble

Mix together, first with a spoon, then with your fingers, until you have a rough, crumbly mixture. Scatter over the peaches, then bake for 35mins (264 calories per serving)

Mix together, first with a spoon, then with your fingers, until you have a rough, crumbly mixture. Scatter over the peaches, then bake for 35mins (264 calories per serving)

Mix together, first with a spoon, then with your fingers, until you have a rough, crumbly mixture. Scatter over the peaches, then bake for 35mins (264 calories per serving)

SERVES 6

  • 3 x 410g tinned pears in juice
  • 140g plain flour
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 1 tbsp sugar or sweetener
  • 30g cold butter, diced
  • 50g hazelnuts, or any nuts you like
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/GM 6. Drain the pears, but reserve the juice. Tip pears & juice into a baking dish or 6 ceramic pots. In a bowl, mix flour, oats, butter, sugar, nuts and cinnamon. 

Mix together, first with a spoon, then with your fingers, until you have a rough, crumbly mixture. Scatter over the peaches, then bake for 35mins until golden and crunchy on top.

Home-made stracciatella gelato

After the last stir, melt the chocolate either slowly in a microwave, or in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. While stirring the gelato, pour in the chocolate (174 calories per serving)

After the last stir, melt the chocolate either slowly in a microwave, or in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. While stirring the gelato, pour in the chocolate (174 calories per serving)

After the last stir, melt the chocolate either slowly in a microwave, or in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. While stirring the gelato, pour in the chocolate (174 calories per serving)

MAKES 10 PORTIONS

  • 375ml whole milk
  • 2-3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 190ml double cream
  • 100g dark chocolate

The night before making the gelato, place a bowl in the freezer. Next day, pour the milk and sugar into a medium pot and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has just dissolved.

Take off the heat and stir in cream, then let mixture cool before placing it in the bowl that’s been chilling in the freezer. Leave in fridge for 3hrs before transferring to freezer. Stir ice cream 3-4 times, roughly every 4hrs, to break up ice crystals – or use a blender.

After the last stir, melt the chocolate either slowly in a microwave, or in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. While stirring the gelato, pour in the chocolate, then place in freezer for 30mins before serving.

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Health

Coronavirus outbreak spread to 929 meat plant workers in five weeks

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coronavirus outbreak spread to 929 meat plant workers in five weeks

Meat plants in the US and abroad have been especially hard-hit by coronavirus – and an outbreak at one South Dakota facility spread like wildfire to more than 900 workers in just five weeks, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report reveals. 

Dozens of meat and poultry processing plants across the US have overwhelmed by coronavirus, which is transmitted easily in confined spaces with a high density of people in them. 

The South Dakota plant’s outbreak quickly exploded from a first case diagnosed in March to 929 of its 3,635 employees by April 25. 

Two of those employees died of the disease that has ravaged the world. 

Yet, the processing plant did not begin to close down until April 12, by which point, 369 cases had already been confirmed, a fact that has the CDC urging similar facilities to take more aggressive action as soon as a first case is identified. 

An outbreak of coronavirus at a Souh Dakota meat plant exploded from one case confirmed in March to 929 employees and 210 contacts by late April, a CDC report reveals

An outbreak of coronavirus at a Souh Dakota meat plant exploded from one case confirmed in March to 929 employees and 210 contacts by late April, a CDC report reveals

An outbreak of coronavirus at a Souh Dakota meat plant exploded from one case confirmed in March to 929 employees and 210 contacts by late April, a CDC report reveals

The CDC report does not name the meat plant its report describes, but the details appear very similar to those of a Smithfield facility near Sioux Falls that was the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the US for a brief time in April. 

After the South Dakota Department of Health confirmed the first case of coronavirus at the plant on March 24, the meat plant did trace the person’s contacts there and tested them. 

By April 2, that process had led to the diagnosis of 19 cases of coronavirus. 

Following the identification of that considerable cluster, the facility stepped up its screening, testing anyone with coronavirus-like symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath. 

Even that modestly increased effort in testing turned up a massive number of additional infections. 

As of April 11 – just two-and-a-half weeks after the first case was identified – 369 workers at the factory had coronavirus. 

Nealy 370 people at the plant had already been infected by the time it began its phased shut down on April 12, a CDC graph shows

Nealy 370 people at the plant had already been infected by the time it began its phased shut down on April 12, a CDC graph shows

Nealy 370 people at the plant had already been infected by the time it began its phased shut down on April 12, a CDC graph shows 

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A dozen cases had been cause to test. Hundreds were cause for closing the facility down, which it began to do on April 12. 

But the closure was done in phases and much of the damage had likely been done. 

By the time the CDC finished its investigation of the factory – at the request of the state’s health department – 929 people had been infected. 

That represented more than a quarter of the meat processing plant’s total workforce. 

According to the CDC report, an average of 67 new cases were being identified a day at the peak of the outbreak at the facility. 

Unsurprisingly, the virus spread most quickly through three departments where employees could not maintain six feet of distance between them throughout their long workdays.  

The infection spread fastest in departments like 'cut' portion of the facility where employees work less than six feet apart from one another (file)

The infection spread fastest in departments like 'cut' portion of the facility where employees work less than six feet apart from one another (file)

The infection spread fastest in departments like ‘cut’ portion of the facility where employees work less than six feet apart from one another (file) 

Nearly 40 employees and nine contractors had to be hospitalized. 

Two of the employees died. 

Infectious disease experts believe that people who are exposed over and over again to greater loads of coronavirus are more likely to get severely ill if they contract coronavirus. 

A meat plant, in that sense, is a perfect petri dish for infections, as it spreads to workers who return day after day to work shoulder-to-shoulder in the confines of the facility. 

In April, meat plants like the South Dakota one were considered the driving force of coronavirus hotspots across the US. 

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The CDC report sheds light on how outbreaks spread beyond the walls of the factories themselves. 

Of the 2,403 contacts of the meat plant workers, 210 – about 10 percent – contracted coronavirus, too, illustrating how the single facility fueled the larger community’s outbreak. 

‘This large outbreak of COVID-19 among employees at a meat processing facility highlights the potential for rapid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in these types of facilities,’ the CDC investigators wrote in their report. 

‘Factors that might have contributed to infection among employees at this facility include high employee density in work and common areas, prolonged close contact between employees over the course of a shift, and substantial SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the surrounding community.’   

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Menopausal women may be denied entry to airports using temperature scanners for Covid-19

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menopausal women may be denied entry to airports using temperature scanners for covid 19

Menopausal women may be unfairly denied entry to airports, pubs and restaurants if they have their temperature checked, it is feared.

Temperature detection devices — used in the fight on coronavirus — measure heat in the skin, which experts say can spike during a ‘hot flush’.

Doctors behind an app for women going through say hot flushes could be mistaken for having a fever — a tell-tale symptom of Covid-19.

Dr Ornella Cappellari, of Meg’s Menopause, said: ‘It is paramount to put in place measures which will allow menopausal women unbiased treatment when entering places such as airports because they may be experiencing a physiological reaction.’  

Temperature detection devices, such as handheld forehead scanners being used in restaurants and offices, are not considered reliable for spotting coronavirus.

The gadgets are not accurate at measuring the core body temperature and only give a rough estimate, scientists say. 

And some people with Covid-19 never develop a high temperature, therefore would be allowed to breeze through temperature checks despite being contagious. 

Menopausal women are feared to be unfairly denied entry to airports, pubs and restaurants if they get their temperature checked by scanners. Heathrow has started trialling temperature screening of passengers (pictured)

Menopausal women are feared to be unfairly denied entry to airports, pubs and restaurants if they get their temperature checked by scanners. Heathrow has started trialling temperature screening of passengers (pictured)

Menopausal women are feared to be unfairly denied entry to airports, pubs and restaurants if they get their temperature checked by scanners. Heathrow has started trialling temperature screening of passengers (pictured)

Temperature check devices work by measuring the temperature of the skin, so in theory, would detect the changes caused by a hot flush. They do not measure the body's core temperature. Pictured, a nurse taking a travellers temperature at Sydney Airport

Temperature check devices work by measuring the temperature of the skin, so in theory, would detect the changes caused by a hot flush. They do not measure the body's core temperature. Pictured, a nurse taking a travellers temperature at Sydney Airport

Temperature check devices work by measuring the temperature of the skin, so in theory, would detect the changes caused by a hot flush. They do not measure the body’s core temperature. Pictured, a nurse taking a travellers temperature at Sydney Airport

Putting a thermometer into an armpit, mouth, ear or other body cavity is known to be the most accurate way to measure temperature. 

It gives a reading for the body’s core temperature, which may rise in order to help fight illness. A high temperature is regarded as anything within the range of 38°C and 41°C.

Temperature scanners — including thermal imaging and temperature ‘guns’ pointed at the forehead — do not measure the body’s core temperature. 

HOW DO TEMPERATURE CHECKS WORK? 

Temperature checks are done with either portable ‘guns’ pointed at the forehead or with thermal imaging cameras.

Both detect heat being radiated from the skin using infrared sensors.

Thermal cameras detect heat radiating from the body using infrared technology and estimate the core temperature. They measure heat distribution across the body.

Portable devices also use infrared sensors to detect skin temperature changes, but do not provide an image. They measure temperature in one spot, usually from the head, and give a number on screen.

However, both pieces of kit can only give an idea of temperature of the skin, and not inside the body, which is what a thermometer would do.

Therefore they are not as accurate as a medical device which takes a patient’s’ temperature. 

But they may have some usefulness during the Covid-19 pandemic for spotting potential sick people.

If a person is flagged as potentially having a high temperature, they may be denied entry to a venue. But this would depend on the policy of each place.

They are controversial because a temperature above the normal range does not necessarily mean someone has the coronavirus – they may be unwell with something else. And people have variations in their temperature daily and women see fluctuations through their menstrual cycle.

They can also miss Covid-19 patients who do not have the symptom of a high temperature, or not symptoms at all. 

The World Health Organization says thermal camera says temperature screening ‘may not be very effective’ as a singular tool for detecting Covid-19.  

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Instead, they measure skin temperature which, although tends to correlate with spikes in core body temperature, can vary depending on the environment and activity.

The devices can only make an estimation of core body temperature by measuring heat radiating from the skin using infrared technology.

For this reason, Dr Cappellari fears menopausal women will be picked up if they are having a hot flush.

A hot flush — which can last for several minutes — causes the skin to heat up. 

It starts when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen in an attempt to cool the body down. 

Scientists believe the process is triggered by fluctuation in hormone levels, which drastically change during the menopause.

Dr Cappellari, a former University College London researcher, said: ‘Most women experience hot flushes, which can cause a rise in skin temperature detectable by Covid-19 temperature checks.

‘The menopause is a delicate phase of transition for most women. You can sail through it very easily — or not.’ 

Derek Hill, a professor of medical imaging science from University College London, agreed that a thermal camera may wrongly flag a hot flush as a high temperature.  

He told MailOnline: ‘Hormonal changes results in blood vessels dilating. The thermal camera might pick it up because the blood goes to the skin.’

But he insisted that it was unlikely because temperature checks often focus on the forehead — the most clearly exposed area of skin.

Hot flushes tend to centre around the chest and neck, which are often covered by clothing, Professor Hill said. 

Professor Hill added that it was unlikely any action would be taken against women going through the menopause for a number of reasons, and therefore is ‘not something to worry about’.

Firstly, if they were taken aside for further investigations, a thermometer would prove they do not have a fever. 

And he said a hot flush will be over quicker than the time it takes for a thermometer check to be taken. A fever, on the other hand, is prolonged.  

Professor Hill added that thermal imaging cameras are not designed to look for people who potentially have a fever, and are used more traditionally in medical research.

‘They aren’t designed or tested to do this,’ he said, adding that they are not medically approved, either.

An expert in medical imagine science admitted temperature detection devices may flag women having a hot flush as a potential Covid-19 case, but would unlikely result in any action (Fiumicino airport, Italy)

An expert in medical imagine science admitted temperature detection devices may flag women having a hot flush as a potential Covid-19 case, but would unlikely result in any action (Fiumicino airport, Italy)

An expert in medical imagine science admitted temperature detection devices may flag women having a hot flush as a potential Covid-19 case, but would unlikely result in any action (Fiumicino airport, Italy)

MHRA SAYS TEMPERATURE SCANNERS CANNOT DIAGNOSE COVID-19 

The UK medicine health regulators warned in July that thermal cameras and other such ‘temperature screening’ products, some of which make direct claims to screen for Covid-19, are not a reliable way to detect if people have the virus.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) urged for manufacturers and suppliers of thermal cameras to avoid making such claims. 

There is little scientific evidence to support temperature screening as a reliable method for detection of Covid-19 or other febrile illness.

Temperature readings come from measuring skin temperature rather than core body temperature. In either case, natural fluctuations in temperature can occur among healthy individuals.

Furthermore, infected people who do not develop a fever or who do not show any symptoms would not be detected by a temperature reading and could be more likely to unknowingly spread the virus.

Graeme Tunbridge, MHRA Director of Devices, said: ‘Many thermal cameras and temperature screening products were originally designed for non-medical purposes, such as for building or site security. Businesses and organisations need to know that using these products for temperature screening could put people’s health at risk.

‘These products should only be used in line with the manufacturer’s original intended use, and not to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms.’ 

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: ‘As pubs and restaurants begin to reopen, it’s important businesses do not rely on temperature screening tools and other products which do not work.

‘The best way to protect customers and minimise the risk of catching the virus is to always follow social distancing guidelines, wearing a face mask on public transport and enclosed public spaces, and regularly washing your hands.’

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They can produce wrong results — either a ‘false positive’, when someone is detected as having a fever when they do not — or a ‘false negative’ — when they do have coronavirus but are not detected.

It can take several days for infected patients to develop a fever, meaning they may not show up on the devices. Some never develop a fever at all.

Therefore, they could be allowed entry into places while they are infectious.  

Considering the inaccuracies, Professor Hill believes it is unlikely venues will be allowed to turn people away based solely on the readings of no-contact temperature scanners.

But it cannot be ruled out that some supermarkets and workplaces may deny entry if the a person’s reading is even suggestive that they have a fever. 

The medicine regulator in the UK recently stressed that temperature screening products cannot be used to diagnose Covid-19 because there is not evidence to support their use — and reminded suppliers of they should not make such claims.

Health Minister Lord Bethell said in July: ‘As pubs and restaurants begin to reopen, it’s important businesses do not rely on temperature screening tools and other products which do not work.’

Temperature scanners are now in place at some UK travel ports, including Bournemouth Airport and Portsmouth ferry port, and are being trialled elsewhere. 

Heathrow is currently testing thermal imaging in terminal 2 and will feed the results to the UK government. 

It says for now there will be no action against holiday-makers who are detected. 

However, when the trial launched in May, John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, told BBC Radio 4’s Today the technology ‘could be part of a future common international standard to get people flying again’. 

Professor Hill said there will be many people who disagree with this because thermal imaging is not a reliable measurement of body temperature. 

But he added: ‘Many people would argue, and I’d be one of them, it’s not necessarily wrong to use these device this way for mass reading. 

‘But you’d be much better to measure it with an infrared thermometer [one entered in the ear] with a CE mark.

‘They certainly shouldn’t be used to say if someone has a fever. But they might be useful for detecting people who need a real temperature check.’ 

Alex Casson, an electrical engineer at the University of Manchester, said thermal scanners are not very sensitive. 

He told MailOnline: ‘They’re only accurate to around 0.5 degrees so very difficult to get precise readings.’  

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Coronavirus US: Families east of Portland’s 82nd Avenue at risk

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coronavirus us families east of portlands 82nd avenue at risk

Portland neighborhoods with mostly minority families and crowded public housing have higher rates of the novel coronavirus

Stumptown has become a tale of two cities with blacks and Hispanics living east of 82nd Avenue, also known as Cascade Highway, at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.  

An analysis from Willamette Week found that residents of this area were more than twice as likely to fall ill compared to those living west of 82nd.

The towns with higher rates are far from where the nightly protests have been occurring, dispelling the myth that demonstrations are causing outbreaks.

Health experts say that people of color are more likely to have a lack of healthcare access, more chronic health conditions and are work so-called ‘essential jobs,’ putting them at higher risk of exposure.  

Neighborhoods east of 82nd Avenue in Portland have been seeing higher rates of coronavirus, more than double, than towns on the west side (above)

Neighborhoods east of 82nd Avenue in Portland have been seeing higher rates of coronavirus, more than double, than towns on the west side (above)

Neighborhoods east of 82nd Avenue in Portland have been seeing higher rates of coronavirus, more than double, than towns on the west side (above)

ZIP code 97233, east of 82nd, currently has a case rate of 115.7 per 10,000 people compared to ZIP code 97201, to the west, which has a rate of 21.5 COVID-19 cases per 10,000. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus in Portland, July 14

ZIP code 97233, east of 82nd, currently has a case rate of 115.7 per 10,000 people compared to ZIP code 97201, to the west, which has a rate of 21.5 COVID-19 cases per 10,000. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus in Portland, July 14

ZIP code 97233, east of 82nd, currently has a case rate of 115.7 per 10,000 people compared to ZIP code 97201, to the west, which has a rate of 21.5 COVID-19 cases per 10,000. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus in Portland, July 14

An analysis shows ZIP codes to the east of 82nd have more crowded public housing, with a population more than double many areas to the west. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus, July 14

An analysis shows ZIP codes to the east of 82nd have more crowded public housing, with a population more than double many areas to the west. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus, July 14

An analysis shows ZIP codes to the east of 82nd have more crowded public housing, with a population more than double many areas to the west. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus, July 14

For the analysis, Willamette Week looked at rental house density for more than 30 ZIP codes in Multnomah County, where Portland is located.

It found several ZIP codes in neighborhoods such as Fairview and Gresham had a higher percentage of overcrowded households than the average in the county.

These areas, located east of 82nd Avenue, also have a higher number of cases than some of the city’s wealthier neighborhoods.

According to data from The Oregonian, ZIP code 97233, located in Gresham, currently has a case rate of 115.7 per 10,000 people.

Meanwhile, ZIP code 97024 in Fairview has a rate of 146.4 coronavirus cases per 10,000 residents.

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The Willamette Week found that this means, east of 82nd Avenue, the rate of infection is 84 cases per 10,000. 

This is much higher than Multnomah’s countywide rate of 56.7 infection per 10,000 people and nearly double the rate on the other side of the avenue.

Neighborhoods located in inner Portland, west of 82nd Avenue and where more affluent families are located, had better rates.

The Oregonian data shows that ZIP code 97212, where Irvington is located, has a case rate of 18.0 per 10,000.

Additionally ZIP code 97201, which is downtown Portland has a rate of 21.5 COVID-19 cases per 10,000.

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The ZIP codes west of 82nd Avenue not only have higher average household incomes, but are also less dense.

For example, 97201 has a population of 18,145 residents, according to The Oregonian. By comparison, 97233 has a population of 41,047.

That’s more than double the number of people, and likely contributing to the spread, health experts say.

Kim Toevs, director of communicable disease for the Multnomah County Health Department, told Willamette Week that crowded housing is definitely a factor driving up cases. 

‘When folks are living together in a smaller house or when there’s more people in a household, it’s trickier for folks to figure out how to navigate not exposing their whole household if they get sick,’ she told the magazine.   

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