master chef judges_311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Just like sugar, in very large amounts salt is very harmful to the human body.
It used to be thought that most of the excess sodium chloride in our diets comes
from canned and other commercial food products, but now, a blood pressure
specialist at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer maintains that gourmet
restaurants are serving up too much salt as well.
Sharabi, head of the hypertension institute at the hospital and chairman of the
Israel Hypertension Society, says this is a new trend. Even one dish at some
fancy eating places abroad have more salt than the recommended maximum for a
A study on salt in restaurant food was conducted recently by
CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health). Sharabi said that as elite chefs
have to compete with each other, instead of spending fortunes on the most
expensive ingredients, some of them use the “cheap trick” of adding salt to make
their dishes stand out.
The Sheba physician says he has seen signs of
Israeli chefs adopting the trick.
An international campaign in 25
countries, including Israel, to increase awareness of excessive use of salt was
held last week.
The Health Ministry announced recently it will require
restaurants to list the amount of salt in what they serve. Sharabi said this is
a positive development, as creating more public awareness of the harmful effects
of sodium will increase public demand for better food and change the food
industry as well.
GAMING YOUR WAY TO BETTER KEYHOLE SURGERY As eye-hand
coordination is so important in surgeons performing laparoscopic procedures, it
my be a good idea for doctors to start playing with Nintendo’s Wii game console.
A study at the University of Rome showed that playing with the console improved
certain measurable skills involved in key-hole surgery. The findings were
published in the journal PLoS One.
Previous studies have assessed the
effect of playing video games on hand-eye coordination and spatial attention. In
the current research, the authors combined these two aspects by analyzing how a
four-week training regimen on the Wii impacted the laparoscopic skills of
post-graduate residents in the first or second year of their surgical training.
Half of the surgeons were assigned to a training regimen on the Wii while the
other half were not. Before and after the regimen, all the participants’
performances were tested on a laparoscopic simulator.
The study found
that participants in both groups improved their skills over the month-long week
period, but those who had been trained on the Wii had a significant advantage
over the other group in their performances on several specific metrics, such as
economy of instrument movement.
The study concludes that Wii might be a
helpful, inexpensive and entertaining part of the training of young
laparoscopists, in addition to a standard surgical education based on simulators
and the operating room.
COOLER SPERM ARE MORE FERTILE The higher quality
of human sperm in the winter months may explain the ups and downs of fertility
through the year, according to research conducted at Soroka University Medical
Center and published recently in the American Journal of Obstetrics and
Dr. Eliahu Levitas of the Beersheba hospital’s fertility and
in-vitro fertilization unit checked nearly 6,500 semen samples and studied their
quality (number of sperm and their motility or speed of movement) along with the
month in which they were provided.
Motility of the sperm has a lot to do
with success in impregnation.
Between 2005 and 2010, nearly 80,000 babies
were born at Soroka.
The study showed that in the autumn months of
September, October and November, 22,732 babies were born over five years,
compared to only 17,753 over five years in the spring months of March, April and
May. Levitas said that this seems to reflect the negative influence of heat on
the testicles, which are outside the body. Couples who have fertility problems,
he advises, should pay more attention to the seasons and “increase their
efforts” during the colder months.