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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Field Notes

Archaeologists Uncover Oldest Known Image of Saint Paul
The fresco, which dates back to the 4th Century A.D., was discovered during restoration work at the Catacomb of Saint Thekla but was kept secret for ten days. During that time experts carefully removed centuries of grime from the fresco with a laser, before the news was officially announced through the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. (Nick Pisa, Telegraph)

All We Know Is That the Bones Are Old Enough
For a faith that's seen too many relics turn out to be fake, scientific proof that bones found at the Vatican date from the first century is being treated as victory. "This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul," Pope Benedict XVI declared Sunday. He may be convinced, but that's not proof they are the remains of St. Paul, experts warn. (Stuart Laidlaw, Toronto Star)

Faith-Healing Cases Challenge Courts
Legal and religious scholars say it's becoming more difficult for courts to decide when to honor the religious beliefs of parents and when to order conventional medical treatment for extremely sick children. (Rose French, Associated Press)

Can Art Help People Heal?
Can the power of the arts to soothe, transform and inspire be enlisted to treat—and perhaps even prevent—heart disease? These are the questions driving a fledgling organization called the Foundation for Art & Healing. With the help of an eclectic group of researchers, artists, and health-care providers, the Brookline, Massachusetts, foundation is mapping out a research agenda intended to determine whether artistic expression could be a valid clinical intervention—along with exercise, healthy diets and medicines—for reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease. (Ron Winslow, The Wall Street Journal)

Teens Who Believe They'll Die Before 35 Are More Likely to Take Risks
What's recently been discovered, and is intriguing for teens and the people who love them, is that there seems to be a connection between having a fatalistic take on life and behaving in ways that actually make it more likely that you will die—or at least be sick and miserable—instead of blossoming into a healthy young adult. (Nancy Shute, On Parenting, U.S. News & World Report)