Waffles for our Lady.
If you were in Sweden today or yesterday, chances are you’d eat waffles! March 25 is the day for eating waffles, or våfflor, as they are called in Swedish. This tradition to eat waffles on Jungfru Marie bebådelsedag or Vårfrudagen (Lady Day) came about when people lazily began to pronounce Vårfrudagen as våffeldagen. A mistake that has made many people happy as it means våfflor med grädde och sylt (waffles with whipped cream and jam) are being served almost anywhere you go. Waffles is an old dish, dating back to the Middle Ages, when they were grilled over an open fire and the waffle-irons were different than the ones used today. In those days, the irons had a scissor-like grip with two plates in the front, which made a square waffle, but already with the check pattern that Swedish waffles still have today. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the round waffle-iron that makes heart-shaped waffles was invented. Waffles used to be a food eaten everyday, dressed up or down depending on occasion. The ingredients varied. The simplest waffles contained only flour and water, but for festive affairs cream, sugar, butter and eggs were added. Eating waffles with cream and jam, like Swedes do today, became popular at the beginning of the 20th century. It was something most people enjoyed with their coffee after their Sunday walk. In those days there were several “våffelbruk” around Stockholm and other cities and towns where one would gather. Enjoy one of these waffle recipes! Hallonvåfflor: (Raspberry waffles): 1.2 cups milk, 2 eggs, 4 oz cornstarch, 8 oz flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 3 Tablespoons raspberry jam or 4 oz frozen raspberries, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 Tablespoons cooking oil. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Beat milk and eggs and stir in the jam (if you are not using frozen berries). Add the dry mixture and the oil into the milk mixture and mix. If you are using frozen berries add them now. Let the batter sit somewhere cool for 15-20 minutes before you bake them. For something less dessert-like, try the Våfflor med örter (Waffles with herbs): 4 oz freshly cut herbs, like dill, chives, basil and/or tarragon, 75 g butter, 2 eggs, 3 cups milk, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 pressed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon baking powder. Melt the butter and let it cool. Beat milk, flour, egg and baking powder to an even batter. Stir in the melted butter, the herbs, salt and garlic. Let cool for a bit before baking. You will need a Swedish våffeljärn for these recipes.

Brain blood in real time.
Swedish researchers make it possible to measure cerebral blood flow directly and continuously. For the first time, it has become possible to measure cerebral blood flow directly and continuously, even though this varies more than previously thought, by using technology developed by researchers at Lund Institute of Technology. The advance in medical technology consists of sophistication software that eliminates previous procedures that were time consuming and expensive. This permits doctors to swiftly determine the correct medication for patients suffering strokes or head injuries. Researchers are now endeavoring to integrate their development with an array of existing equipment in other hospitals.

Royal castle by Carl Philip.
Svenskt Tenn recently invited to a press breakfast to uncover Prince Carl Philip’s latest design. The only thing the guests were told in advance was that the former royal castle, Tre Kronor, had been Carl Philip’s prime source of inspiration. What was then uncovered? A cast iron fire screen portraying the castle, which burnt down in 1697. Carl Philip said he began making sketches of Tre Kronor in September last year and presumably Svenskt Tenn liked the idea. The fire screen is cast in sand moulds, one form for each new screen, and the process from casting to the hand grinding of the windows and all the details take three days. It has been named “The castle is on fire”, and when placed in front of an open fire with flames crackling behind it, it must look quite like its name. It costs SEK 13,500 ($1,864.80) and is sold at Svenskt Tenn. www.svenskttenn.se

High blood pressure – good prognosis.
Patients admitted to intensive heart care with chest pains have a better chance of surviving if they have high blood pressure. This is shown in a study by scientists at Linköping University in Sweden published in the world's largest medical journal JAMA. High blood pressure is usually associated with poor prognoses in heart disease. But that means blood pressure monitored at rest. The new findings show that it is important to factor in the situation in which the blood pressure is measured. The study, by researchers Ulf Stenestrand, Fredrik Nyström, Magnus Wijkman, and Mats Fredriksson of Linköping University, comprised 119,151 patients admitted to intensive heart care for acute chest pain between 1997 and 2007. The data was retrieved from RIKS-HIA, a register that covers all Swedish intensive heart care units. The blood pressure first measured upon admission was related to the risk of the patient dying during the care period or within a year. It turned out that the higher the upper, systolic, pressure was, the lower was the risk of dying. Among patients who had more than 162 mm Hg, the fatality risk was 22 percent lower than for those in the interval 128-144. The latter in turn ran a 40-percent lower risk of dying than those whose systolic blood pressure was under 128 mm Hg.
"The really big news in the study is that the risk continued to decline at even higher levels, all the way up to 200 mm Hg, after which the reduction in risk leveled off," says Fredrik Nyström, professor of internal medicine.
 The differences between the various groups were even clearer when the researchers examined the patients' risk of dying only from cardiovascular disease. The improved prognosis was also valid for high-risk groups, such as diabetics, smokers, and obese patients. 

It was previously known that low blood pressure can be associated with poor prognoses for certain types of heart disease, but in those cases the low blood pressure was caused by heart failure. 

RIKS-HIA, the Swedish registry of intensive heart care, was created in 1991 by Ulf Stenestrand and Lars Wallentin, now professor of cardiology at Uppsala University. Now all 74 hospitals that receive heart patients in Sweden are covered, as are those in Iceland and on the Finnish island of Åland in the Baltic. Ulf Stenestrand, who was an associate professor at Linköping University and chief physician at the heart clinic at Linköping University Hospital, died in February, only 49 years old.

Mother under arrest.
A Malmö mother was arrested after having hit her daughter with a frying pan. Why? Because of a huge telephone bill. According to police the 45-year old mother hit her 13-year old daughter in the head and on her legs with the frying pan, she also grabbed her throat, but the 13-year old managed to get away and call police. The police arrested the mother, now suspected for assault. The girl seems to have gotten away with only minor injuries and a headache.