Europe's oldest living person has survived COVID-19 after testing positive just weeks before her 117th birthday. Sister André, a French nun who was born in 1904, tested positive in the retirement home where she lives in Toulon, southern France, on January 16, according to the home’s communications director, David Tavella. André, who was born Lucille Randon, showed no symptoms from the virus and didn’t even know she was infected until she received her positive test. Despite no visitors being allowed because of strict COVID protocols, André is preparing to celebrate her 117th birthday today, Thursday 11th February. She will reportedly receive video messages from her family and the local mayor, as well as taking part in a video Mass, Tavella said. André's birthday meal will feature her favorites: foie gras, baked Alaska and a glass of red wine, Tavella added. Remarkably, André has lived through two world wars, as well as the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that infected around 500 million people. While Andre is the oldest living person in France today, she’s not the oldest in the world. That crown is held by Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who was born in 1903, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). * Image credit Gérard Julien/AFP/Getty Images
Drinking red wine (in moderation) could be good for your gut, according to researchers from the UK. The team from King’s College London says red wine contains compounds that help increase the number of different types of bacteria that live in the gut. The micronutrients, known as polyphenols, are more abundant in red wine vs. beer, cider and white wine, and act as fuel for microbes living inside the bowel. Polyphenols are found in many fruits and vegetables, including the grapes used to make red wine. The researchers say even just one glass of red wine a fortnight can make a difference, but warn that their findings should not be used as an excuse to binge drink. Publishing its research in the journal Gastroenterology, the team said the “friendly” bugs in our gut help keep us healthy. Even small changes in our gut microbiota – the community of bugs that live there – can make us more susceptible to conditions like obesity, heart disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The gut microbiota of people who drink red wine was found to be more diverse than that of those who do not drink wine. Furthermore, the more wed wine consumed, the greater the levels of diversity – although it’s important to note that nobody involved in the trial was a heavy drinker. Speaking about the findings of their research, Dr Caroline Le Roy said: “If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, red wine is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial effect on you and your gut microbes, which in turn may also help weight and risk of heart disease.”
Last Thursday saw the official uncorking of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau – an event that left many people across the world very happy indeed. Beaujolais Nouveau is a very young and fruity red wine which is released annually every third Thursday of November at midnight. The occasion is celebrated with parties, fireworks and other merriment. Produced in the Beaujolais region of France, Beaujolais Nouveau is designed to be drunk soon and with gusto. But how can that be achieved if you’re a wine lover living on the other side of the world? Well quite easily as it happens; especially when 2,000 tonnes of the stuff was flown to Asia on six Boeing 747 airplanes this month. According to Parisian customs, Cathay Pacific loaded six of its biggest planes with Beaujolais Nouveau and sent them bound for Hong Kong; where the precious cargo could then be distributed to other countries in the region. This meant that even wine lovers in Asia could enjoy a glass of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau on Thursday too. Japanese people, especially, are big Beaujolais Nouveau fans and quaffed more than eight million bottles of it in 2013 alone. It highlights how highly revered French wine is and shows why France has recently regained its top wine producer crown having played second fiddle to Italy for a few years. With this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau now on sale, it’s the perfect time to consider a trip to France for surgery with us.