Friday, 21 December 2018

Log Post (XIV)

[last poem of 2018]

Human needs
Human aspirations
How to marry all the above?
How to synchronize all of them?
So, the end result (final "blend") can be
Inspirational and

...some challenges for the New Year...

[Log Posts are my poems since I became HoD at Biol Sci at UL; the name "Log Post" is inspired from George Seferis, a Nobel Laureate and one of the top Greek poets ever; Seferis has written three poetry books with the names Logbook I, Logbook II, and Logbook III (1940, 1945, 1955)]

Trends for 2019

What will be big in 2019? NutraIngredients predicts top industry drivers

By Nathan Gray, Nikki Cutler & Will Chu

As we boldly begin our march into 2019, it’s time for the NutraIngredients editors to get out our crystal balls and predict the hottest trends in the European health and wellness space for the year ahead. What’s in store for 2019? 

What are trends for? How to make the most of market reports…

By Virpi Varjonen, Analyst & Strategist at Invenire Market Intelligence

What are the main trends? Where is the market going? These are the regularly asked questions within the food and nutrition industry. But why? And how do we actually get the most out of trends reports?

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Dare to Lead

Just finished the Brene Brown's book "Dare to Lead", I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Brene talks about feelings, emotions, empathy and vulnerability in a uniquely constructive and revolutionary way.

Here is the last paragraph of the book:

"As you think about your own path to daring leadership, remember Joseph Campbell's wisdom: "the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek".
Own the fear,
find the cave,
and write a new ending for yourself, 
for the people you're meant to serve and support, and for your culture.
Choose courage over comfort.
Choose whole hearts over armor.
And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid.
At the exact same time".


Saturday, 15 December 2018

Plastic in animal feeds

this report on the Guardian reveals that a bit of plastic in the animal feeds is ok ...and Legal!!!

A picture taken by farmer Alex Rock of some of the pellets of animal feed. Photograph: Alex Rock

More than 650,000 tonnes of unused food, from loaves of bread to Mars bars, are saved from landfill each year in the UK by being turned into animal feed. The system that strips off the plastic wrappings can’t capture it all, and so in the UK a limit of 0.15% of plastic is allowed by the Food Standards Agency.
The official EU level for plastic permitted in animal feed is zero although in reality many other countries operate within the same 0.15% limit.

Question: is UK part of EU? Yes! 
Question No 2: if so, why European laws are not followed in UK?

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Leadership and feelings

These days I am reading a very interesting book, a book that I found fascinating from the first page.
The title of the book is "dare to lead" and written by Brene Brown.

I am copying here an extract from the book talking about feelings.

"In the Air Force Manual 35-15, which was written in 1948, the seven leadership traits were discussed. One of these traits was Humanness.
The document was talking about emotions.
The pages were full of words and phrases like :
to belong,
a sense of belonging,
friendliness and

This is a military document!
A document talking about leadership...
with mercy,
and kindness,
and belonging
and love!

Yes! The word love was in this 1948 military leadership manual!

This document used a language that speaks to the human experience when it was instructing leaders how to lead people.

And here the comparison with the current manual, the so called "Air Force Doctrine Document 1-1: Leadership and Force Development" (written in 2011).

The current manual does not have any of the words mentioned above.

The most current manual on leadership used phrases like
tactical leadership,
operational leadership,
strategic leadership.

In sanitizing our language, I think we have decreased our comfort with expressing those feelings and holding that same space for others".

on the value of talking about feelings here is another extract

"Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings, or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior".

P.S. here is the TED talk of Brene Brown on vulnerability


Friday, 7 December 2018

Log Post (XIII)

Some strong words that spring out

Courage comes from Cor = heart

In order To Lead
somebody would need
to talk,
to engage,
to connect.

Vulnerability can lead,
should lead to

P.S. The power of Vulnerability

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Report on Krill oil

Krill oil for heart health

The Omega-3 Index test is an important biomarker for heart health.
The market for heart health supplements is thriving. According to Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) data, the market for heart health ingredients has the potential to reach more than US$3 billion by 2020. With that in mind, there are many options for consumers seeking out heart health products.

Omega-3s are considered a strong contender in this market. In fact, research has shown long-chain omega-3s support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, normal blood clotting processes, as well as a regular heartbeat, all of which contribute to keeping both the heart and its arteries healthy.1,2 The anti-inflammatory nutrients found in omega-3s can help balance the body’s level of inflammation, promoting overall health and wellness.

Every person’s omega-3 needs are different and the amount of EPA and DHA one would need to take to raise their Omega-3 Index into the target range will vary. Not all omega-3s are created equal. They vary in structure and function, and only marine-based omega-3s (or long-chain omega-3s) contain EPA and DHA.

Krill oil provides EPA and DHA mainly in the form of phospholipids. The body immediately recognizes phospholipid omega-3s and incorporates them into the cells before carrying them to the tissues and organs that need them the most, such as the heart. On the contrary, other sources of omega-3s are delivered as triglycerides and must be processed in the liver before they can be taken up by the cells and used by the body.

Therefore phospholipid-bound omega-3s, like krill oil, raise one’s omega-3 index more efficiently as compared to other omega-3 oils.

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, krill contains the essential nutrient choline, which is crucial for cell structure, function, and signalling.

Choline is found to positively contribute to cardiovascular, liver and cognitive health. Furthermore, the astaxanthin found in krill oil helps keep its omega-3s naturally fresh and stable.

This is an excerpt from the article, “Raising Omega-3 Levels for Heart Health.” To continue reading, download INSIDER’s Heart Health Digital Magazine.

Andreas Berg Storsve, Ph.D., is the director of R&D at Aker BioMarine. Storsve received his doctorate from the University of Oslo, and is a former Fulbright Scholar at the Athinoula A. Martinos Centre for Biomedical Imageing, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

1. Chowdhury R et al. “Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Ann Intern Med. 2014;160:398-406.

2. Miller PE, Van Elswyk M, Alexander DD. “Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid and blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Am J Hypertens. 2014. DOI: 10.1093/ajh/hpu024.

3. Calder PC. “Marine omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: Effects, mechanisms and clinical relevance.” Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015;1851:469-484.

4. Ramprasath VR et al. “Enhanced increase of omega-3 index in healthy individuals with response to 4-week n-3 fatty acid supplementation from krill oil versus fish oil.” Lipids Health Dis. 2013;12:178.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

When the dietary guidelines on fish are ...wrong

my op-ed column in the International Aquafeed (December 2018)

yogurts: novel products

this is a very interesting story [source: TodayFM 9 July 2017]

Michael Murphy, Co –Founder of ProU Yogurt joined Conall on The Sunday Business Show this week to talk about the Irish yogurt market and the challenge of breaking into it.

Conall was surprised to learn that here in Ireland the yogurt market is worth a massive €260 Million.

The healthy ProU Yogurts company recently secured a €200,000 Retail Listing with SuperValu.

The startup produces a particularly healthy yogurt product, which supplies all your daily Vitamin D requirements and over 80% of your daily calcium requirements.

Michael told Conall all about the challenges and benefits of breaking into the Irish food and dairy market. ProU was first launched at the Bloom Festival in June 2016 and is the first product from Michael and his wife Jane's startup M&J Nutrition.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Bomb Disposal Specialist: Yarrowia lipolytica

Yarrowia lipolytica is found in contaminated soil and water. 

On account of its ability to grow on fats and oils, Y. lipolytica naturally detoxifies oily pollutants in an environmentally-friendly manner. 

This has led to its use in the clean-up of crude oil spills or waste water steams from olive and palm oil mills. This rather unconventional yeast has also been used to degrade soil-based pollutants such as 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and organophosphate insecticides. 

Unlike S. cerevisiae and S. pombe, Y. lipolytica does not produce ethanol; instead, it can convert oily wastes into useful products such as biodiesel, edible oils, citric acid (which is used as an acidity regulator or flavour enhancer) or the building blocks for polymers. 

When it is not cleaning up the environment, working in bomb-disposal or up-cycling waste into useful chemicals, Y. lipolytica can also be found contributing towards the texture and flavour of the cheeses and hams in which it is also found.

Copyright: University of California, Riverside.

[source: Fantastic yeasts and where to find them]

Monday, 3 December 2018

Real FM: Κάθε πρώτη Παρασκευή του μήνα (2)

ελληνικά κρασιά σε μια κάβα στο Λίμερικ, Ιρλανδία

Την ερχόμενη Παρασκευή (7 του μήνα) θα μιλήσουμε ξανά με τον Πολυλογά (τον Γιώργο τον Ψάλτη) όπως κάνουμε κάθε πρώτη Παρασκευή του μήνα στον αέρα του Real FM.

Αυτή την Παρασκευή θα ασχοληθούμε με την υπερφορολόγηση στην Ελλάδα αλλά και για εξαγωγές ελληνικών κρασιών στην Ιρλανδία (βλ. φωτό πιο πάνω).

Μην διστάσετε να μου γράψετε σχόλια, παρατηρήσεις και ότι άλλο θα θέλατε να ασχοληθούμε στο μηνιαίο ραδιοφωνικό μας ραντεβού.

Γιάννης Ζαμπετάκης

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Log post (XII)

Πρώτη του Δεκέμβρη,
μπήκαμε στο δεύτερο
μήνα του Χειμώνα
σύμφωνα με το κέλτικο ημερολόγιο
βλέπεις εδώ ο Χειμώνας
την πρώτη του Νοέμβρη
την πρώτη του Φλεβάρη.
Tο κορμί μουδιασμένο,
σαν να θέλει να ταιριάξει στη
συννεφιά και στο ψιλόβροχο
αλλά το μυαλό...
ψάχνει και βρίσκει
χαραμάδες φωτός και αισιοδοξίας.

Καλό μήνα!

Friday, 30 November 2018


We finally have reached the 10,000 dowload point, thanks all for sharing
our work which you can find here.

Alexandros, Ronan and Ioannis

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

let's talk about FAT

It is in the news every other day.
It is at the back of the mind of thousands of scientists.
For all of us who work in jobs related to Nutrition and fat (i.e. lipids, fat content, full fat or reduced fat foods), it is rather obvious now.
We have been making the same mistake for a considerable length of time.
We were believing that fat is not good, we were designing low fat foods and drinks.
Foods and drinks that had worse sensory properties (since fat=lipids are tasty!) and lower (actually!) nutritional value against a number of chronic diseases.

Few months ago, we decided to put all these ideas and so we wrote there two papers:

1. Dairy Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: Do We Really Need to Be Concerned?

2. Inflammation, not Cholesterol, Is a Cause of Chronic Disease

the message we advocate is simple, very simple:
forget the low fat dairy (milk, butter analogues, yoghurt, drinks like kefir),

FAT IS GOOD! it tastes good but also it has positive nutritional value against cardiovascular diseases.

If you think the same, pass the word around :)

Thanks and say yes to full fat food! It tastes better and it protects your heart better!



Tuesday, 27 November 2018

History: Milesians in Ireland

when did the Greeks come to Ireland? And why?

 Here it is a very interesting read.

further reading:



Pytheas of Massalia (/ˈpɪθiəs/; Ancient Greek: Πυθέας ὁ Μασσαλιώτης Pythéas ho Massaliōtēs; Latin: Pytheas Massiliensis; fl. 4th century BC), was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony of Massalia (modern-day Marseille). He made a voyage of exploration to northwestern Europe in about 325 BC, but his account of it, known widely in Antiquity, has not survived and is now known only through the writings of others.
On this voyage, he circumnavigated and visited a considerable part of Great Britain. He was the first known scientific visitor to see and describe the Arctic, polar ice, and the Germanic tribes. He is also the first person on record to describe the Midnight Sun. The theoretical existence of some Northern phenomena he described, such as a frigid zone, and temperate zones where the nights are very short in summer and the sun does not set at the summer solstice, was already known. Similarly, reports of a country of perpetual snow and darkness (the country of the Hyperboreans) had reached the Mediterranean some centuries before.
Pytheas introduced the idea of distant Thule to the geographic imagination, and his account of the tides is the earliest one known that suggests the moon as their cause. He also may have reached Iceland.[1]

and a link in Greek

Οι Ιρλανδοί έχουν... και ελληνική καταγωγή

novel paper: Characterization of phospholipids from Pacific saury (Cololabis saira) viscera and their neuroprotective activity

on the role of marine phospholipids, this is a very interesting paper.

= = = = = = =
Pacific saury (Cololabis saira) is an important marine commercial fish in the world. The crude Pacific saury viscera (PSV) phospholipids were extracted with supercritical carbon dioxide and organic solvent method using ethanol, yielding 24/100 g phospholipids and 21/100 g (dry weight), respectively. Their fatty acid profiles were obtained using gas chromatography. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and palmitic acid were the major fatty acids. High-performance liquid chromatography equipped with an evaporation scattered light detector was used to quantitatively analyse the major component of the phospholipid extract. Phosphatidylcholine (89 mg/g), phosphatidylinositol (53 mg/g) and phosphatidylethanolamine (40 mg/g) were the main phospholipids, while phosphatidylserine, lysophosphatidylcholine and lysophosphatidylcholine were the minor phospholipids at 5, 15 and 19 mg/g, respectively. The inhibitory effects of PSV phospholipids and the PC fraction, obtained using silica gel column chromatography, on the secretion of amyloid beta (Aβ)1–42 in the supernatant of Chinese hamster ovary cells stably transfected with amyloid precursor protein and presenilin 1 were studied, with soybean phospholipids as the positive control. The results showed that, compared with the model control group, the Aβ1–42 was decreased 69% with PSV phospholipid, 62% with PC fraction and 36% with soybean phospholipids. Taken together, PSV phospholipids were rich in n-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, and may have potential for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease.

Friday, 23 November 2018

on Statin Wars (part 2)

We are told that cholesterol is a major cause of heart disease. Approximately 100 million people are currently taking cholesterol-lowering medications, known as statins, and millions more people are avoiding foods that contain saturated fat and cholesterol. The basic idea is that dietary saturated fat raises cholesterol levels, and these two substances somehow clog-up our arteries, causing a heart attack. This idea is often referred to as the diet-heart hypothesis. However, a number of doctors and researchers have been challenging this hypothesis for decades, and the latest heart disease statistics reveal some alarming facts. Such as:
  • People with high cholesterol tend to live longer
  • People with heart disease are more likely to have low levels of cholesterol
  • Cholesterol-lowering at a population level does not reduce the rate of heart disease
In addition, despite their widespread use, and description as "wonder drugs" statin medications do not extend life expectancy for the majority of people who take them. Cholesterol-lowering has become a huge global industry, generating around $29 billion each year. Have the facts about heart disease, cholesterol and cholesterol medications been distorted by pharmaceutical companies and food manufacturers keen to increase their profits? If the focus on cholesterol has been a mistake, then the greatest cost is associated with the lost opportunity to tackle heart disease.

[source Statin Nation]

Thursday, 22 November 2018

on Statin Wars

[the following info is from here]

Recently, Full Measure with Sheryl Attkisson aired a piece describing some of the financial ties between experts who set the cholesterol clinical guidelines and the pharmaceutical industry. This was something that was included in STATIN NATION way back in 2012 but its very rewarding to see larger parts of the media slowly catching up.

Full Measure is produced by and airs nationally on stations of the Sinclair Broadcast Group. According to their YouTube channel it is available in 43 million households via ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, MyTV, Univision and Telemundo affiliates. Since I am not in the U.S. I didn’t see the broadcast however, someone from the Statin Nation Facebook group kindly informed me about it.
Incidentally, most blog entries are posted on the Statin Nation Facebook page first, so if you use Facebook please follow the page:

Even if you are already aware of the issue concerning clinical guidelines it is still worth watching Sheryl Attkisson’s piece below, since there is an interesting short discussion with a statinator doctor (!!!) who receives quite a lot of money for her views.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Log Post (XI)

what is the "use" of anniversaries?
to remind us that
we are here
alive and kicking
one year more
one year closer
to our own Ithaca

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Log Post (X)

τα ψώνια
των ψώνιων
των κλασσικών ψώνιων
των κατσικών ψώνιων

αναγνωρίζεις γνωστούς πολιτικούς ή
ακόμα και φίλες/φίλους
στο από πάνω τετράστιχο... ;

συμπάσχω μαζί σου...

συν και πάσχω... τι όμορφη λέξη.

Let's talk about 7up

Do you know which the popular soft drink 7up is called "seven up"?

well, according to wikipedia 

A myth exists that the 7 Up name comes from the drink having a pH over 7. That would make it neutral or basic on the scale; however, this is not the case, as the 7 Up pH is close to 3.79, similar to other drinks of the type.[4] The real origin of the name is unclear,[5] though Britvic claims that the name comes from the seven main ingredients in the drink,[6] while others have claimed that the number was a coded reference to the lithium contained in the original recipe, which has an atomic mass around 7.[7] Britvic also claims that the name be a result of the fact that 7 Up was bottled in 7-ounce bottles (Coca-Cola and most other soft drinks were bottled in 6-ounce bottles). Other research has been made and it is known that 7up got the name from the candy bar seven up. A man Pearson sold the name to a company and then discontinued the candy. [6]

Lithium has some uplifting biochemical activities,
7 is the closest number to its atomic weight and...

Grigg came up with the formula for a lemon-lime soft drink in 1929. The product, originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda", was launched two weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929. It contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug, until 1948. 


Sunday, 18 November 2018

Log Post (IX)

Χειμώνας εκεί,
μεγάλη η νύχτα και
λιγοστό το φως της μέρας,
οι μέρες κοντές
και οι νύκτες σκοτεινές και μακριές


στην καρδιά δεν έχουμε χειμώνα
ότι καιρό και να κάνει εκεί έξω

ότι και να θέλουν να μας ταΐσουν
τα ΜΜΕ και οι προύχοντες

στην Kαρδιά έχουμε γιασεμί
και όπως έχει πει και ο

στα δικά του ημερολόγια καταστρώματος (log posts)

Είτε βραδιάζει

είτε φέγγει

μένει λευκό

το γιασεμί.

Friday, 16 November 2018

The Top 10 Food Trends For 2019, According To Whole Foods

Whole Foods just released its 2019 Food Trends forecast, giving consumers a glimpse into the future of food and beverages.Getty



The Top 10 Food Trends For 2019, According To Whole Foods

Pacific Rim flavors is the top trend, with Whole Foods announcing that its Market and 365 Everyday Value brands will launch a new line of products inspired by Pacific Rim fruits like a guava tropical vinaigrette, pineapple passionfruit sparkling mineral water, mango pudding mix and passionfruit coconut frozen fruit bars. It also expect to see ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste to appear on restaurant and home menus in dishes from breakfast to dinner.

Probiotics have been a trend for a few years now, but Whole Foods predicts they will expand beyond the refrigerated section. New strains of probiotics, such as Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 and Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856, are making more shelf-stable applications possible and are starting to appear in pantry staples like granola, oatmeal, nut butters, soups and nutrition bars.

Trend No. 3 tries to be a bit cute as Whole Foods call it Phat Fats, based on the growing popularity of keto, paleo, grain-free and even “pegan” (paleo + vegan) diets. Pointing to a change in the consumers’ mindsets about fat, it predicts that higher-protein and lower-carb diets will continue and even expand to new categories in the store, including nutrition bars, snacks of all kinds, vegan coffee drinks, coconut-butter filled chocolates and even new flavors of ghee that range from sweet to savory.

According to these experts, fat will be back in a big way. Another one of its trends are new ice creams and frozen desserts that have savory swirls of artisanal cheeses.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just the other day said that legalizing hemp to be grown here in the U.S. will be a part of the new farm bill, allowing hemp researchers to apply for grants and make hemp farmers eligible for crop insurance. (Full disclosure: I sit on the annual Hemp History Week committee and endorse their efforts to legalize the crop). Whole Foods predicts that the current offerings (hemp is grown in Canada and is allowed to be sold on store shelves here as hemp oils, seeds and as ingredients in other foods and beverages) will become much broader as researchers find more benefits from other parts of the plant as consumer interest in cannabis continues to accelerate.

Plant-based foods have been on the rise for the past couple of years but the experts at Whole Foods predict that even more people are exploring plant-based snacking. Their palates crave adventure and want a break from meat, seeking ways to add savory umami flavors into snacks and meals. It expects the meat-based snacking world of jerkies, bacons and pork rinds to be the next big trend in plant-based foods. The frozen food section, featuring new pints with innovative bases like avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water, is also building on the plant-based trend.

Sea greens are another trends for 2019. Expect to see seaweed butters, kelp noodles, puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives made from algae, crispy salmon skins and kelp jerkies.

Packaging continues to be one of sustainability efforts biggest issues – but Whole Foods sees brands making the switch to more compostable packaging. It also sees an emphasis on reusable packaging as produce departments try to push a “BYOVB” (bring your own vegetable bag) effort. In addition, traditional single-use packaging is going multi-use (and compostable), with food wraps made from beeswax and waxed canvas or silicone alternatives to the usual plastic storage bags used for sandwiches and snacks.

Innova Market Insights, which analyzes new food and beverage launches to determine industry trends, names snacking as “the definitive occasion” as people redefine what a snack is. Innova shows 10% in annual growth of global food and beverage launches with a snacking claim over the past 5 years. Whole Foods’ experts seems to agree as they see snacks getting an upgrade. They point to charcuterie or cheese boards as examples and see the trend gravitating towards higher-quality snacks that take us back to our childhoods; including artisanal versions of classics like cheese or peanut butter cracker sandwiches.

Whole Foods' last trend is focused on the consumer who is aligning with brands that have similar values and supporting those brands with her shopping dollars. It expect to see more shopper support for brands committed to environmental stewardship, animal welfare, women-owned businesses and farms and support programs to relieve poverty throughout the world.

= = = =
our view: it's great to see that FATS and sea greens will be back, this mean that food with heart healthy fats will be in the epicenter consumer wise and price wise.
In FLIPS (our food lipid research group in UL), we work on these fats and we focus on foods and nutraceuticals rish in heart healthy lipids. 

You can see our latest research:
1.marine related research here
2. dairy related research here.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

let's talk about Nicotine!

I have received few comments about this blog post on smoking.
Most of the comments refer to the fact that smoking kills.
Is it so?
Let's have a read.

Nicotine as Therapy

I am copying from  this PLOS Biology paper (bold sections are my choice)

Nicotine is an alkaloid in the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum, which was smoked or chewed in the Americas for thousands of years before European invaders also succumbed to its pleasures and shipped it back to the Old World. Nicotine has always been regarded as medicinal and enjoyable at its usual low doses. Native Americans chewed tobacco to treat intestinal symptoms, and in 1560, Jean Nicot de Villemain sent tobacco seeds to the French court, claiming tobacco had medicinal properties and describing it as a panacea for many ailments. Higher doses are toxic, even lethal—which is why nicotine is used around the world as an insecticide. Yet few of the horrendous health effects of smoking are traceable to nicotine itself—cigarettes contain nearly 4,000 other compounds that play a role. Until recently, nicotine research has been driven primarily by nicotine's unparalleled power to keep people smoking, rather than its potential therapeutic uses.

Nicotine locks on to one group of receptors that are normally targeted by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are ion channels threaded through cell membranes.
When activated, either by acetylcholine or by nicotine, they allow selected ions to flow across the cell membrane.

In vertebrates nAChRs are all over the autonomic and central nervous sytems and the neuromuscular junction. A nAChR is composed of five polypeptide subunits (Figure 1), but there are many nAChR subtypes made of different subunit combinations, a diversity that helps explain why nicotine can have so many different physiological and cognitive effects.

Figure 1. Schematic Illustration of an Acetylcholine Receptor (Illustration: Giovanni Maki)

Nicotine and the Brain

People with depressive-spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and adult ADHD tend to smoke heavily, which suggested to researchers that nicotine may soothe their symptoms. Common to all these disorders is a failure of attention, an inability to concentrate on particular stimuli and screen out the rest. Nicotine helps.

Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse have shown via functional magnetic resonance imaging that nicotine activates specific brain areas during tasks that demand attention (Box 1). This may be because of its effects, shared with many other addictive drugs, on the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. “Schizophrenia is a disorder largely of the dopamine system,” says John Dani of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dopamine signals in the brain occur in two modes—a kind of background trickle, punctuated by brief bursts. “It's thought that schizophrenics have a hard time separating that background information from important bursts. We've shown that nicotine helps to normalize that signaling by depressing the background but letting the bursts through well,” he says. “I'll be surprised if there's not a co-therapy [to help schizophrenics] that takes advantage of nicotine systems in less than a decade.”

Box 1. Nicotine's Effect on Attention

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse provided the first evidence that nicotine-induced enhancement of parietal cortex activation is associated with improved attention. They compared brain activity during a task demanding sustained attention—rapid visual information processing (RVIP)—with that during an undemanding sensorimotor control task (Figure 2). Group results from 15 smokers (right) illustrate the effects of nicotine and placebo patches in left and right parietal cortex (1 and 2) and left and right occipital cortex (3 and 4). Nicotine significantly increased activation in occipital cortex during both the control and rapid visual information processing tasks, suggesting a general modulation of attention. In contrast, nicotine increased activity in the parietal cortex only during rapid visual information processing, suggesting a specific modulation on task performance.


Smokers also have lower rates of neurodegenerative disorders, and nicotine improves cognitive and motor functioning in people with Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. The prevailing hypothesis is that nicotine increases release of neurotransmitters depleted in those diseases. Dani and his colleagues have recently shown that acetylcholinesterase inhibitors—which block the degradation of acetylcholine and hence prolong its action—used to treat Alzheimer disease also stimulate dopamine release. They suspect that malfunctioning of the dopamine system may be affecting noncognitive aspects of dementia such as depressed mood, and that this might be alleviated by nicotine.


Nicotine and Pain

Nicotine's salutary effects in patients with neurodegenerative and mental disorders have been studied a lot and are fairly well known. Two much newer topics of academic research are nicotine's potential for pain relief and for treating obesity.

Nicotine itself has provided modest pain relief in animal studies.

Although the analgesic effect of drugs that mimic acetylcholine were originally attributed to a different class of receptors, it is now clear that nAChRs play an important role in the control of pain.

For instance, epibatidine, a drug that is extracted from the skin of an Ecuadorian frog and that acts at nAChRs, has been shown to be 200 times more potent than morphine at blocking pain in animals. Current animal research is aimed at discovering just where, how, and which classes of nAChRs work against pain, with the aim of developing more selective drugs.

Meanwhile, nicotine is also being investigated as an analgesic in humans. For example, Pamela Flood, an anesthesiologist at Columbia, is investigating nicotine's future as a postoperative analgesic. She recently completed a pilot study of 20 women undergoing gynecological surgery. All the women had access to unlimited morphine and also got either a single 3-mg dose of nicotine nasal spray or a placebo. The placebo group had peak pain scores of eight out of a possible ten in the first hour after surgery. Women who got nicotine averaged a pain score of five. Despite the small sample size, Flood says, the results were highly significant. “As far as I know this is the first clinical study to use nicotine for analgesia, and it was much more successful than I ever would have imagined.”


Nicotine's Future

Developing new drugs that selectively target specific subtypes of nicotine receptors is an expensive, albeit potentially lucrative, proposition. And therein lies a question. Will nicotine-based therapy consist mostly of costly new drugs from the pharmaceutical industry? Or can less expensive nicotine products like the patch, chewing gum, and nasal spray—which are generally intended for smoking cessation but widely available, usually without prescription—find their way into the world's medicine cabinets?

“It's a little early to call whether nicotine will be used itself as a therapeutic agent or whether these more specific drugs that are being produced or maybe even used in combination with other drugs may be the most important way to go,” says Dani. But he doesn't see the medicinal use of plain nicotine as very likely. Dani points out that the body's own agent, acetylcholine, acts over milliseconds to activate nicotinic receptors, whereas nicotine itself stimulates these receptors for hours. That lengthy action means that, although nicotine activates the receptors, it then often turns particular receptor subtypes off again, a process called desensitization. “It's hard to predict inside of a body what you're getting. Am I getting an activation or am I turning the receptors off?”
Yet much of the work to date showing nicotine's effectiveness on a huge range of disorders has involved products available at any drugstore and intended to help people quit smoking. Newhouse is using patches for mild cognitive impairment. Flood has demonstrated pain relief with nasal spray and will use patches in her next study. And Role feels that gum hasn't been adequately explored for its therapeutic potential. Nicotine gum, she notes, is a better imitator of smoking than the patch because it delivers brief hits rather than a steady supply. She's also uncertain whether natural nicotine has been studied enough. But Role also points out that nicotine has its serious problems—addictive potential, cardiovascular damage, and (especially when delivered through the mucosa) cancer.

Dani says, “People are probably going to have to find creative ways to understand which subtypes of nicotinic receptors they're turning on and which ones they're desensitizing. Maybe drug delivery methods will matter. Maybe subtype specificity will matter. It's less than a decade that we've known how important nicotinic receptors are. Now we have to move forward from there.”
“We've made an enormous amount of progress on understanding the biology of these receptor systems and how to target them. What has been trickier has been to develop an appropriate pharmacology that allows one to selectively target agents for particular therapeutic purposes with an adequate safety index,” Newhouse says.

“But some of the drugs that are coming on in human trials now are very promising. So I'm cautiously optimistic that we're on the road to developing some useful nicotinic therapies.”

Figure 2. The Brain on Nicotine (Image: Elliot Stein, National Institute on Drug Abuse)


we want local food!

‘Local brands are winning hearts and minds’: Rising demand for local food in Europe

By Katy Askew
European consumers are increasingly interested in buying locally produced products, with local and national brands “winning hearts and minds”, according to new research.

Does the perfect pint exist?

the answer is here

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Loopholes lead to food tragedy

Letter to the Editor; Sunday Times; 11/11/18

an excellent article on Refugees

The body of Alan Kurdi is carried away after he, his mother and brother drowned off Turkey

I just read this article on the Sunday Times

"Refugees head back to drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi’s town"

moving piece...

“Here they had a nice house and a nice job, and in Europe what are they going to do — work in a restaurant? Better to come back here and live.”
Locals estimate that about 30 people have returned to live in Kobane, which before the Syrian war had a population of around 40,000. Unlike many other parts of Syria it is now relatively safe and under local Kurdish control.
There are also dangers, however. Locals worry that Turkey could invade as part of its conflict with the Kurdish militia forces. The fear is leading some returnees to keep their German visas — secretly moving back to Syria without the knowledge of the European authorities.
“It’s good to have the visa, just in case,” said one young man, who moved back to Kobane five months ago from Hamburg to open a shop. “But I want to live here, not in Germany.”


Saturday, 10 November 2018

Fermented dairy products could protect against heart attacks

Men who eat plenty of fermented dairy products have a smaller risk of incident coronary heart disease than men who eat less of these products, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. A very high consumption of non-fermented dairy products, on the other hand, was associated with an increased risk of incident coronary heart disease.

Earlier studies have shown that... (the full story is here).

= = = = = = =

our view: We fully agree that fermented dairy are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds. It is not surprising that in the Med diet pyramid, cheese and yogurt occupy a lower shelf, i.e. they need to be consumed on a daily basis.

The Impact of Nutrition and Statins on Cardiovascular Diseases

Paperback ISBN: 9780128137925
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st January 2019
Page Count: 320 


The Impact of Nutrition and Statins on Cardiovascular Diseases presents a summary of the background information and published research on the role of food in inhibiting the development of cardiovascular diseases. Written from a food science, food chemistry, and food biochemistry perspective, the book provides insights on the origin of cardiovascular diseases, an analysis of statin therapy, their side effects, and the role of dietary intervention as an alternative solution to preventing cardiovascular diseases. It focuses on the efficacy of nutrition and statins to address inflammation and inhibit the onset of disease, while also providing nutrition information and suggested dietary interventions.

Key Features

  • Includes a bioscience approach that focuses on inflammation and revisits the lipid hypothesis
  • Presents the view that nutritional interventions have considerable value, not only for reducing cardiovascular risk for CVDs patients, but also acting as the best precaution for otherwise healthy people
  • Advocates that nutritional habits that are formed at a young age are the best way to tackle the global epidemic that is CVDs


Nutrition researchers, CVDs and public health researchers, CVDs clinicians, Nutritionists and Dietitians, Students in health related fields, Food Chemists and Food Biochemists (Academic, R+D, industrial), Regulatory bodies

Table of Contents

1. The Origin of Chronic Diseases with Respect to Cardiovascular Disease
Ronan Lordan, Alexandros Tsoupras, and Ioannis Zabetakis2. Inflammation
Ronan Lordan, Alexandros Tsoupras, and Ioannis Zabetakis3. Inflammation and Cardiovascular Diseases
Alexandros Tsoupras, Ronan Lordan, and Ioannis Zabetakis4. The Lipid Hypothesis and The Seven Countries Study
Ronan Lordan, Alexandros Tsoupras, and Ioannis Zabetakis5. The Role of Cholesterol in Atherosclerosis, CVD, and Dietary Patterns
Alexandros Tsoupras, Ronan Lordan, and Ioannis Zabetakis6. Statins: Rationale, Mode of Action, and Side-effects
Sherif Sultan, Ashwini D’Souza, Ioannis Zabetakis, Ronan Lordan, Alexandros Tsoupras, Edel P Kavanagh, and Niamh Hynes7. Cardiovascular Risk: Assumptions, Limitations, and Research
Alexandros Tsoupras, Ronan Lordan, and Ioannis Zabetakis8. Diet and Cardiovascular Disease: The Mediterranean Diet
Audrey Tierney, Ronan Lordan, Alexandros Tsoupas, and Ioannis Zabetakis9. Nutrition Versus Statins in Primary Prevention: Where do we Stand Now?
Ioannis Zabetakis, Ronan Lordan, and Alexandros Tsoupras View more >


No. of pages:320
Copyright:© Academic Press 2019
Published:1st January 2019
Imprint:Academic Press
Paperback ISBN: 9780128137925

About the Author

Ioannis Zabetakis

Ioannis Zabetakis has studied and worked in Greece, the UK and Ireland. Originally, a chemist, he fell in love with food science (sensory and functional properties of food). After an academic career in the Universities of Leeds and Athens spanning 15 years, where he developed a strong interest on lipids and cardiovascular diseases, Ioannis joined the University of Limerick in Ireland where he is focusing on the cardioprotective properties of food lipids with an emphasis on dairy and aquaculture products. He has written over 70 papers and 2 patents, promoting a healthier diet and lifestyle that will render us less dependent on medicines.

Affiliations and Expertise

Lecturer and Course Leader, Biological Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick

Ronan Lordan

Ronan Lordan graduated with a first-class honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Education from the University of Limerick in 2015. In 2016, he returned to the University of Limerick to begin his PhD scholarship in the study of the role of dietary polar lipids in inflammation and cardiovascular disease. He has lectured on various topics including lipids chemistry, genetics, and health and has published several peer-reviewed papers.

Affiliations and Expertise

Biological Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick

Alexandros Tsoupras

Alexandros is a Chemist-Biochemist with studies (BSc-MSc-PhD) in Athens University (Greece), where he has also worked as a Postgraduate Research/Teaching Assistant and Postdoctoral Research/Teaching Associate. After a Postdoctoral Semester at Albany Medical College (USA) he also worked as a Part-time Tutor/Instructor/Lecturer of Chemistry-Biochemistry in several private/public Schools/Post-Secondary Institutes and Universities/Colleges. Afterwards, he was selected by the “Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection” as a Public Scientist (Region of Attica, Greece). Alexandros is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland.

Affiliations and Expertise

Chemist-Biochemist, Department of Biological Sciences, School of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Engineering


"Low-level inflammation is the core underlying cause of most illness and disease. This evidence-based book shines a ground-breaking light on inflammation’s negative effect with regard to heart disease and the use of statins. This is a book that all health practitioners should have on their shelves." --Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, bestselling author of ‘How to Fight FATflammation’

Friday, 9 November 2018

ποιος ξένος καρπώνεται την υπεραξία των Ελληνικών καρπών ;

Μετά από 8 χρόνια μνημονιακής λαίλαπας, το ζητούμενο για τον τόπο σήμερα είναι να αποκτήσει άμεσα ένα σχέδιο δημιουργίας νέων θέσεων εργασίας.

Η χώρα μας αιμορραγεί με διπλό τρόπο: τα καλύτερα μυαλά φεύγουν κάθε μέρα που περνά προς το εξωτερικό ενώ νέοι άνθρωποι αυτοκτονούν.

Άρα το πρώτο ζητούμενο για την (εκάστοτε) κυβέρνηση ΣΉΜΕΡΑ
είναι να δώσει πλήρεις και σαφείς απαντήσεις σε τούτα τα ερωτήματα:

Πώς μπορούμε να δημιουργήσουμε δουλειές με σίγουρο μέλλον και καλό εισόδημα;

Και γιατί να είναι τόσο δύσκολο και με μπόλικη γραφειοκρατία να στήσουν οι νέοι άνθρωποι μια καινούργια επιχείρηση;
Όσο δύσκολα και να φαίνονται τα ερωτήματα αυτά, η απάντηση (θα έπρεπε να) είναι απλή.

Βιώνοντας κάθε μέρα για πάνω από δεκαπέντε χρόνια αυτό το ερώτημα και προσπαθώντας να κάνω την απάντησή του πράξη στην καθημερινή μου διδακτική και ερευνητική πρακτική, ιδού μερικές σχετικές σκέψεις. Η Ελλάδα είναι ένας ευλογημένος τόπος. Είναι ένας τόπος με θεϊκό κλίμα και με τέτοια χλωρίδα, πανίδα και εδαφολογική γεωμορφία, που «γεννά» τα καλύτερα στον κόσμο τρόφιμα της Μεσογειακής Διατροφής (π.χ. κρασί, τυρί, λάδι). Αυτά τα τρόφιμα έχουν τεράστιο εξαγωγικό δυναμικό που ακόμα και σήμερα μένει ανεκμετάλλευτο. Και το χειρότερο είναι ότι δεν υπάρχουν ακόμη οι πολιτικοί για να σχεδιάσουν πολιτικές αξιοποίησης αυτών των τροφίμων και συνάμα δημιουργίας χιλιάδων θέσεων εργασίας.

Ένα παράδειγμα: η Λέσβος είναι ένα νησί που έχει τόσα λιόδεντρα όσος και ο πληθυσμός της Ελλάδας. Συνεπώς το ελαιοπαραγωγικό δυναμικό του νησιού είναι απλώς τεράστιο. Η πλειονότητα του λεσβιακού ελαιολάδου πωλείται «χύμα» έως και προς 2 ευρώ / κιλό σε Ιταλούς και Ισπανούς, οι οποίοι το συσκευάζουν και το μεταπωλούν (ως ιταλικό ή ισπανικό, φευ!) με τελική τιμή για τον καταναλωτή έως και 30 ευρώ / κιλό (ναι! Το είδα με τα ίδια μου τα μάτια σε μια κωμόπολη έξω από το Παρίσι πριν από λίγες εβδομάδες).

= = =

οι παραπάνω γραμμές έχουν γραφτεί πριν από λίγα χρόνια εδώ, αλλά παραμένουν εντυπωσιακά επίκαιρες και ΣΉΜΕΡΑ.
Με αυτά τα θέματα θα μιλάμε με τον Πολυλογά (τον Γιώργο τον Ψάλτη) κάθε μήνα στον αέρα του Real FM.

Μην διστάσετε να μου γράψετε σχόλια, παρατηρήσεις και ότι άλλο θα θέλατε να ασχοληθούμε στο μηνιαίο ραδιοφωνικό μας ραντεβού.

Κλείνω μουσικά...

over and out για Σήμερα,

Γιάννης  Ζαμπετάκης


Thursday, 8 November 2018

5 Basic Things Everyone Should Know Before They Start Drinking In College

Let's, just for one second, be 100%, completely realistic.

For one second, and one second only, and then we can refer back to plausible deniability and stuff like that. You are going to have experiences with drinking in college. Even if you're not actually drinking, there is going to come a time in your college career where you will be somewhere where people are drinking and it is entirely possible that you won't know what to do. And that makes sense, and that is fine, but that's also why I'm here.

[the rest of the story is here]

"Low Fat" V "Full Fat"

Things in Food Science, as things in Life, are generally not black and white, we have some shades of grey areas, not sure if they are 50 or more, but they are definitely some grey areas.

In this article, a head-to-head approach has been used.
The title is

Low fat dairy versus Full fat dairy

It's a very interesting read!

Delighted that our recent dairy paper (9.7k downloads this morning) made it into the conclusions section (copied below).

"Bodies of evidence are suggesting dairy foods, irrespective of fat content, have minimal risk of the potential harmful effects of bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and risk of cancer death. Fermented dairy such as yogurt, kefir, and cheese may be beneficial for heart health. The choice of full fat or reduced fat should be made based on your whole diet pattern, rather than an historical aversion to full fat dairy"

Fermented dairy all the way :)



Wednesday, 7 November 2018

1 November 1969: A Norfolk vineyard

A woman empties a basket of grapes into a larger vessel during the annual harvest in Hambledon, Hampshire, 1975. Photograph: Milton Wordley/Getty Images

I have special ties with this month, so here is a moving story.

1 November 1969: A Norfolk vineyard may well be the first to have been harvested in this part of East Anglia since the Middle Ages


Surprisingly enough, the wine growers of England do not regard the climate as their biggest hazard; they are much more worried about bird damage, for unlike the Frenchmen, we do not tend to shoot (and eat) virtually anything which flies. The other thing they are worried about is the exorbitant rate of duty on their wines which is levied by the Customs and Excise. It amounts to 4s 113⁄4 d a bottle, which gives only an advantage of about 4​1⁄4 d a bottle over European wines imported in bulk. This is no way to reward a growing home industry.

European Patent EP 2 953 478 granted

Our first EU just accepted; EP 2 953 478
Production Method of fish feed enriched with polar lipids and method to enrich Farmed fishes
in collaboration with Nireus S.A.

Constantinos DEMOPOULOS
Current Assignee
Antonopoulou Smaragdi
Demopoulos Constantinos
Nireus Aquaculture SA
Zabetakis Ioannis
Original Assignee
Antonopoulou Smaragdi
Demopoulos Constantinos
Nireus Aquaculture SA
Zabetakis Ioannis
Priority date

The invention relates to the production of fish feed with olive ingredients intended for farmed freshwater and saltwater fish and the aquaculturing of freshwater and saltwater fish which are fortified or enriched through their feeding with ingredients derived from olive processing byproducts. The invention also relates to the fortified or enriched fishes as such. In particular the invention relates to fishes if the families of Sparidae, such as gilthead seabream - binomial name: Sparus aurata - and Moronidae, such as seabass - binomial name: Dicentrarchus labrax. The fish feed contains olive kernel, including polar lipids with anti-Platelet Activating Factor action and the weight content of the olive kernel in the fish feed being in a range from 3.1 % to 7.7 % of the weight of the fish feed. According to the invention, fishes from the family of Sparidea or the family of Moronidae contain in their flesh biologically active polar lipids from olive kernel that act as Platelet Activating Factor inhibitors or agonists. The consumption of these fishes prevents the formation of atherosclerotic lesions in in vivo experiments with rabbits.

Related publications

1. Effects of olive pomace and olive pomace oil on growth performance, fatty acid composition and cardio protective properties of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) and sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

2. Structure and cardioprotective activities of polar lipids of olive pomace, olive pomace-enriched fish feed and olive pomace fed gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata)

Monday, 5 November 2018

Allergy and fatal Anaphylactic shock

Natasha, 15, collapsed on a British Airways flight from London to Nice on 17 July 2016 after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette she bought at a Pret outlet at Heathrow airport.


The second customer collapsed and died on 27 December last year after buying the sandwich in a store in Stall Street, Bath.


these two deaths have been linked with the same company in UK...
Why authorities have not taken any action against the company?

How many deaths do we need for authorities to penalize the company? 

What is the missing link of these two deaths?
What needs to be improved?
Which food legislation is not complete?

So many questions and so few competent answers...


P.S. deaths like the two above have occurred in Ireland as well with the most recent being this one...

Sunday, 4 November 2018

στον αέρα του Real FM

Με τον Γιώργο τον Ψάλτη γνωρίστηκα, το 2011 ή 12 θαρρώ, όταν έβγαινα στο Ανεμολόγιο (όταν ήταν μεταμεσονύκτιο στον Skai 100,3 12-5πμ και εκείνος είχε την επόμενη εκπομπή 5-7πμ ,
από τότε γίναμε φίλοι με τον Πολυλογά, είναι από τους καλύτερους και πιο ντόμπρους Δημοσιογράφους που έχω γνωρίσει, τότε που δίναμε τις μάχες μας για τον Ασωπό μαζί με τον π.Γιάννη Οικονομίδη και τον αείμνηστο Θανάση (my Dear Watson) Παντελόγλου που έφυγε από κοντά μας τον Νοέμβρη του 2014...

Σήμερα, το Ανεμολόγιο έχει γίνει prime time εκπομπή στον Real FM 97.8 αλλά ο Πολυλογάς σταθερός στο πρωινό δίωρό του 5-7πμ έχοντας μεταγραφεί στον Real FM εδώ και λίγα χρόνια.

Από την ερχόμενη Παρασκευή, ξεκινάμε με τον Πολυλογά μια επτάλεπτη συνομιλία σε μηνιαία βάση, θα μιλάμε για Τρόφιμα, εξαγωγές τροφίμων και Εξωστρέφεια Ελληνικών επιχειρήσεων τροφίμων.

Εδώ μπορείτε να διαβάσετε μερικές σχετικές σκέψεις.

Αν θέλετε να μιλήσουμε για κάτι συγκεκριμένο στείλτε μου μήνυμα στο ή στο twitter @yanzabet

καλημέρα σε όλες
καλημέρα σε όλους

Γιάννης - Datura - Zαμπετάκης


Κλείνω μουσικά...Ανεμολόγιο.