UNO instructor named ‘Chef of the Year,’ and other higher-education news

University of New Orleans instructor Ricardo Fredricks has been named Chef of the Year by the New Orleans chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

The award recognizes an outstanding chef who demonstrates the highest level of professionalism by helping programs that give back to the city’s culinary community.

Fredricks has taught at UNO for 26 years in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration. He holds a master’s degree in hospitality management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a bachelor’s degree in business from UNO.

“This is a fantastic honor for chef Ricardo Fredricks and UNO’s hotel, restaurant and tourism administration program,” said John Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration. “It’s even more impressive when you consider New Orleans’ status as a renowned culinary city with world-class restaurants and top chefs.”

The American Culinary Federation is the largest professional chefs organization in North America, with more than 200 chapters and 20,000 members.

Tulane studying effect of aspirin on elderly

Tulane University researchers are participating in an international five-year study testing whether low doses of aspirin can help older people live well for longer by delaying the onset of illnesses.

The study is funded by the National Institute on Aging.

About 19,000 people in the United States and Australia will take part in the study. In the United States, 2,500 people will be enrolled at about 37 sites.

Leading the Tulane study are professors William Robinson III and Eboni Price-Haywood.

Earlier studies have shown that low doses of aspirin can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack in middle-aged people and may prevent some forms of cancer and cognitive decline. It remains unclear whether the overall benefits of aspirin in older people are greater than the risks, such as bleeding.

The Tulane researchers are seeking to enroll African-American and Hispanic men 65 and older and members of other ethnicities who are 70 and older.

Participants will take either a low-dose aspirin tablet or a placebo tablet for a period of five years. All participants will receive annual check-ups tracking key measurements of their health and well-being.

Those interested in participating in the study should contact Alexandria Augustus, clinical research coordinator, at (504) 988-6124.

Study: Inflammation proteins may benefit children

A study by the LSU Health Sciences Center has revealed that many of the pro-inflammatory proteins linked to obesity in adults appear to protect children prior to puberty.

The research team, led by LSU Health Sciences Center professor Melinda Sothern, studied healthy obese and non-obese African-American and white children between the ages of 7 and 9.

They examined circulating pro- and anti-inflammatory molecules, abdominal fat, body mass index, insulin resistance, fatty tissue beneath the skin, fat in the liver, and total fat in order to better understand the role inflammation plays in the development of obesity and insulin resistance.

“We found that relationships between pro-inflammatory and metabolic markers commonly observed in adults were reversed in healthy, African-American and Caucasian obese and non-obese children who had not yet entered puberty,” Sothern said.

Although the pro-inflammatory proteins associated with obesity may cause damage to the heart, blood vessels and insulin function in adults, researchers found that in young children they appear to be helpful.

The researchers posed a number of possible explanations for their findings.

Normal growth may temporarily increase inflammation, and the presence of the inflammatory biomarkers may actually preserve glucose stability, they said. It may also be possible that inflammatory environments are crucial for defending the body against infection, allergies and other maladies prior to puberty. Lastly, they noted, both metabolism and inflammation are affected by physical activity, which is higher in young, healthy children than adults.

The findings are published online in the International Journal of Obesity. The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.