People who regularly drink green tea may have a lesser risk of mental decline as they grow older, researchers have found.
Their study, of more than 1,000 Japanese adults in their 70s and beyond, found that the more green tea men and women drank, the lower their odds of having cognitive impairment.
The findings build on evidence from lab experiments showing that certain compounds in green tea may protect brain cells from the damaging processes that mark conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
But while those studies were carried out in animals and test tubes, the new research appears to be the first to find a lower risk of mental decline among green-tea drinkers, according to the study authors.
They speculate that the possible protective effects of green tea may help explain Japan’s lower rate of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, compared with Europe and North America.
Dr. Shinichi Kuriyama and colleagues at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine report the findings in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The study included 1,003 adults age 70 and older who completed detailed questionnaires on their diets over the previous month, as well as their overall physical health and lifestyle habits. They also completed a standard test of cognitive functions such as memory, attention and language use.
The researchers found that older adults who drank two or more cups of green tea per day were about half as likely to show cognitive impairment as those who drank three cups or less each week. Men and women who averaged one cup per day fell somewhere in between.
The connection between green tea and mental function persisted when the researchers accounted for overall diet and factors such as smoking and exercise habits.
However, the findings cannot demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship.
The study was observational, not a controlled experiment, and there may be something about green-tea drinkers that explains the link between the beverage and sharper mental function, Kuriyama told Reuters Health.
For example, healthier, more active individuals may simply drink more green tea — which, in Japan, is often consumed in social settings.
"We think that the potential protective effects of green tea should be confirmed in further studies," Kuriyama said.
Given the high prevalence and heavy burden of dementia, the researchers conclude, any benefit of drinking green tea could have a "considerable" public health impact.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2006.
Genmai-cha: a blend of traditional Green Tea and Roasted Brown Rice.
2 T. rice 4 c. water Green Tea
Put the rice in a small, cast-iron skillet and set over a med-low flame. Stir the grains until they turn dark in spots and give out a nice roasted aroma. Put the rice kernels into a small pot. Add 4 cups boiling water. Simmer for 1 minute. Cover, and turn off the heat. Let the "Rice Tea" steep for 3 minutes. Now add some dry Green Tea (enough to make 4 c.) to the "Rice Tea". Cover, and let steep another 3 minutes. Strain and serve.
NOTES: The Rice Tea is nice by itself and the Genmai-cha makes a great ice tea.
DAVE BOLING; THE NEWS TRIBUNE Published: February 19th, 2006 02:30 AM
TURIN, Italy – On a cold morning when an inversion pushed the fog down into a ground-hugging layer, I sought out the famed Shroud of Turin, the most controversial religious artifact in the world.
I can tell you this: It’s easier to find the farmers market.
In this town, the museum housing Egyptian art is well- promoted, as are shopping venues and galleries.
But there are no street signs: Shroud Ahead. No arrows to follow. No designated bus stops.
And upon reaching the Duomo di San Giovanni Battista (Cathedral of St. John the Baptist), no outward signage proclaims this to be the residence of the lengthy piece of fabric that is purported to have been the burial cloth of Christ.
There are no guards, armed or otherwise.
To come within a few feet of the cloth’s container, one must only open the front door of the chapel, proceed up the aisle along the left wall and look left.
While two men and a woman knelt in prayer in the pews, I was the only person there Friday morning questing for the shroud. It appears that the famed artifact, the authenticity of which has been fiercely debated around the world for centuries, is not a box-office draw in its hometown.
So it is with celebrity; locals get casual about its presence.
Of course, it is not scheduled to be taken out of its container for full public viewing until the year 2025. Still, its presence is extremely understated.
Perhaps this cautious decorum seems curious only when filtered through an American’s skewed perception.
If the shroud were not in Turin, but in, say, Tacoma, by now there would have been a Shroud Dome, a ShroudWorld Fair and Exposition Center, and perhaps a Six Flags over The Holy Shroud Theme Park complete with a Shroud Hilton and a ShroudView Sheraton serviced by the Sea-Tac Shroud Shuttle, for your convenience.
But it has been in Turin since the 1400s, brought here by crusaders and taken into possession by the wealthy ruling House of Savoys. In 1453, Louis of Savoy folded it into squares and put it into a vault in Chambery, France. A fire in 1532 did considerable damage as metal melted from the container and burned through the cloth. The heat also singed its edges. In 1578, it was returned to Turin.
At the cathedral, a full-sized replica of the roughly 14-by-4 foot cloth is displayed near the entry. Toward the main altar is a side chapel where the shroud is kept behind glass. The shroud is not visible – only its cloth-covered rectangular container.
“In this chapel the Holy Shroud lies horizontally in a shrine made of aluminum and glass covered with a large damask cloth,” a small sign reads.
An enlarged replica of the “face” portion of the cloth hangs above the shrine, like a portrait. A spray of thorns is atop the shrine. A small wooden kneeler is positioned in front. A box for offerings is opposite the shrine.
Connection to Christ just implied
The Duomo is of Renaissance design and is large and ornate, but not as spectacular as many in Europe.
A few miles away is the Museo della Sindone (Museum of the Shroud). The museum features a brief informational movie, and in the basement, related artifacts.
It seems that those at the museum are careful to make no specific claims that this is the burial cloth of Christ. But possible explanations of the marks and images are offered.
The tie-dyed effect was caused by the folding of the cloth combined with subsequent damage by the fire and water seepage.
The replicas appear to show the image of a man with a beard, long hair and various wounds.
The film at the museum points to “blood” seepage from the head as if caused by a crown of thorns, with similar stains at the wrists and feet. The facial image is said to show a fractured nose and lacerations and contusions.
A large stain at the thorax is thought to be from a deep wound believed to have been made post-mortem. On the part of the cloth that would have covered the corpse’s back, signs of flogging are said to be visible.
Some evidence points to hoax
The pattern of blood stains adheres to the traditional account of Christ’s crucifixion, but no explanation can be made for the facial and body-outline images that the museum tour suggests were caused by “an unknown source of radiation.”
The museum further reports that tests have uncovered traces of human blood and also pollen from plants known to exist only around Jerusalem. But it also cites scientific studies made in 1988 that carbon-dated the cloth fibers to somewhere between 1260 and 1390, which would signify that the shroud is an elaborate and artful hoax.
Others have contended that the “blood” stains contain paint pigments.
After a morning of inquiry and observation, I got no answers and saw no actual cloth. Perhaps that is the nature of a shroud.
But it was interesting. And if someone comes to Turin, a visit to the shroud’s home and museum seems obligatory.
WARSAW, Poland – A French church spokesman expressed caution about a forensic scientist’s announcement that he would analyze what might be the remains of St. Joan of Arc.
"The precise origin of these objects isn’t known – all we have are some fragments of cloth and human rib," said Bertrand Vincent, spokesman for France’s Tours Archdiocese. "Even if these are confirmed as belonging to a young woman of the period, who was burned to death, this won’t prove it’s Joan of Arc. For now, the church is showing maximum prudence and reserve."
Philippe Charlier, professor at Raymond Poincare Hospital, west of Paris, announced that he would analyze the fragments allegedly retrieved from below the stake in Rouen, France, where St. Joan was executed in 1431 at age 19.
In a telephone interview with Catholic News Service Feb. 17, Vincent praised Charlier’s "professional expertise and good intentions" and said that Tours would "take note" if the project were "conducted seriously, with proper results."
"However, unless something extraordinary is achieved, and it’s proved beyond all reasonable doubt that these are Joan of Arc’s remains, the church will not consider them the relics of a saint," the spokesman added.
Vincent said that Father Jean-Louis Gaudier of Chinon had consented to Charlier’s examination of the bone and cloth, which have been housed in a Chinon church museum since 1938.
However, he added that the remains, which were located at a Paris pharmacy in the 19th century, were not regarded as "church objects."
St. Joan, a peasant girl from Domremy in eastern France, was burned as a witch and heretic in May 1431 after leading a French army against English invaders and lifting the siege of Orleans.
The national heroine, who was canonized in 1920, reputedly heard the voices of saints as a young girl and was widely credited with altering the course of the 1337-1453 Hundred Years’ War and strengthening French nationhood.
Copyright (c) 2006 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
LISBON (AFP) – More than 250,000 Roman Catholic faithful are expected at services in Portugal as the remains of the last of three shepherd children who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in 1917 were to be moved to the shrine of Fatima.
Sister Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, the eldest of the three children who said the Virgin appeared to them on six occasions near Fatima, then a small farming town, died at the age of 97 on February 13 last year.
She was buried in the graveyard of the Carmelite convent in the central city of Coimbra, some 70 kilometres (45 miles away), where she had lived in virtual isolation as a Roman Catholic nun since 1948.
A private mass was held at the convent on Sunday morning before her remains were to be moved at 12:30 pm (1230 GMT) to the shrine at Fatima, built on the site where the visions are said to have taken place.
As was Sister Lucia’s request, she will be laid to rest near the remains of her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, the two other children who said they saw the mother of Jesus Christ.
Jacinta and Francisco died of respiratory diseases within three years of the visions, which transformed Fatima, about 110 kilometres north of Lisbon, into one of Catholicism’s most revered sites that is visited by millions of people each year.
The high point of the ceremonies is expected to be a mass held at the Fatima shrine at 3:00 pm (1500 GMT) after Sister Lucia’s remains are placed in their final resting spot, with pilgrims expected from around the world at the open-air service.
The children said the first sighting of the Virgin was on May 13, 1917 and that Marian apparitions took place for another five months, ending abruptly in October.
Sister Lucia was the only one of the three children who claimed to have heard clearly what the Virgin said, including three prophecies about key 20th-century events.
The first two were interpreted as predicting the end of World War I and the start of World War II, and the rise and fall of Soviet communism.
But the third "secret" of Fatima was not unveiled until 2000, spawning dozens of books and Internet sites which speculated it was a doomsday prophecy foretelling the end of the world.
When it finally was revealed, the Vatican said it foretold the attempted assassination attempt of then pope John Paul II in 1981.
The shooting by a Turkish gunman who opened fire on the head of the Roman Catholic Church in St. Peter’s Square came on May 13 — the same day as the first of the reported Fatima visions in 1917.
John Paul II visited Fatima three times, spending a few minutes with Sister Lucia on each trip.
Jacinta and Francisco were beatified, a key step on the path to possible sainthood, by John Paul II in May 2000 in a ceremony attended by more than 600,000 people. Sister Lucia is also expected to be beatified.
AMSTERDAM — The Catholic Cathedral in Roermond is to host the beatification of Mother Maria Teresa of St. Joseph on 13 May this year.
A pilgrimage through France and the Netherlands will be held to mark the ceremony for the German founder of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus (DCJ).
The ceremony is being held in the Netherlands because Pope Benedict XVI has changed the rules. He decreed such ceremonies no longer should no longer take place automatically in the Vatican. Instead the ceremony takes place in the bishopric where the candidate is buried.
The headquarters of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus is in the Dutch city of Sittard and Mother Maria Teresa is buried there.
Beatification is considered to be one step away from sainthood in the Catholic Church. One miracle must be proven to have taken place through the intercession of the person to be beatified. Though this requirement is waived if the candidate died a martyr’s death.
Mother Maria Teresa of St. Joseph was born Anna Maria Tauscher on June 19, 1855 in Sandow, Germany, which is now in Poland. She came from a deeply religious Protestant pastor’s family but was accepted into the Catholic Church in 1888.
She founded the Carmel of the Divine Heart of Jesus on 2 July 1891.
February 18th, 19th & 20st 2006 (Presidents Day Weekend)
Imagine yourself under martial law in a town occupied by the Confederate army. Suddenly a cannon blasts, smoke fills the air, and a hundred Union soldiers come rushing in. Before you can turn to run, a battle is raging before your very eyes.
Authentic Encampments See what life was like for soldiers on both sides. Open pit cooking, canvas tents, no frills here!
Anthony Hopkins has just wrapped up his work on Beowulf, the computer-animated silver screen adaptation of the great epic poem. Hopkins (who plays Hrothgar, king of the Danes) says that he liked working with Robert Zemeckis very much, and found the process of creating such a film to be "interesting." He called the work "strange but fun," and "odd but enjoyable." Often stars will discuss the merits of film making in this style, and Hopkins agrees that it has its strengths- but he is quick to point out his criticisms as well. "People say you have a lot of freedom. Well, you don’t, actually."
Hopkins then goes on to describe in not-so-technical detail, the process of acting in this film. He talks about wearing a wetsuit sort of thing with dots all over it, and standing still for a "T-pose" so that the computer guys can "take you into the computer." He also discusses the dots that they put all over his face which leave sticky marks when taken off at night, among other sorts of issues. His impression? "Big deal. But, no, it’s interesting. I don’t know why they bother to do it that way. Why not just do a blue screen and photograph the actors?" You can catch Hopkins, sticky-mark free, in Beowulf when it opens in November of 2007.