In Pictures: Character Foods and Drinks of Moomin House Cafe in Tokyo Dome City, Japan

Characters of the Moomin, Finnish fairy tales


Hearty Soup with Pancetta, Cannellini Bean and Swiss Chard


1 cup dried cannellini beans, picked over, broken beans discarded, or two 14-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 sprig fresh rosemary + 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz thick-cut hot pancetta, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup diced leek, white and light green part only
1 cup diced carrot (about 2 carrots)
2 tsp chopped garlic
6 cups sodium-reduced chicken broth
1/2 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, cut into chiffonade (about 3 cups)
grated Romano cheese for garnish


  1. If using dried cannellini beans, cover beans with 2 inches of cold water in a large bowl and soak for 12 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
  2. Place the beans in a medium pot with the sprig of rosemary and 1 bay leaf; cover with 2 inches of water. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary; drain the beans and set aside. Beans can be cooked one day in advance, cooled and refrigerated in their cooking liquid until needed.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until fat has rendered and the pancetta is golden brown. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Add the leek, carrots, garlic and chopped rosemary to pancetta oil and cook over medium heat until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining bay leaf and the chicken broth, scraping any flavourful browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the drained beans and simmer for 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Return the pancetta to the pot, add the Swiss chard and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the bay leaf. Serve in warmed soup bowls and garnish with Romano cheese.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Style At Home magazine

New Dessert from Umami Burger in Tokyo, Japan

Ice Slider with Ben and Jerry ice cream sandwiched between chocolate buns

Vanilla ice cream with mango sauce

Chocolate fudge brownie ice cream with chocolate sauce

Strawberry cheesecake ice cream with strawberry sauce

Video: High-Tech Urban Vegetable Farms

The challenge of providing fresh produce to consumers and restaurants in big cities has been an opportunity for Gotham Greens. Co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri explains how his commercial-scale urban farming company has expanded from its startup roots.

Watch video at Bloomberg (2:51 minutes) . . . . .

Noninvasive Eye Scan could Detect Key Signs of Alzheimer’s Years before Patients Show Symptoms

Cedars-Sinai neuroscience investigators have found that Alzheimer’s disease affects the retina — the back of the eye — similarly to the way it affects the brain. The study also revealed that an investigational, noninvasive eye scan could detect the key signs of Alzheimer’s disease years before patients experience symptoms.

Using a high-definition eye scan developed especially for the study, researchers detected the crucial warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease: amyloid-beta deposits, a buildup of toxic proteins. The findings represent a major advancement toward identifying people at high risk for the debilitating condition years sooner.

The study, published in JCI Insight, comes amid a sharp rise in the number of people affected by the disease. Today, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to triple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“The findings suggest that the retina may serve as a reliable source for Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis,” said the study’s senior lead author, Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, PhD, a principal investigator and associate professor in the departments of Neurosurgery and Biomedical Sciences at Cedars-Sinai. “One of the major advantages of analyzing the retina is the repeatability, which allows us to monitor patients and potentially the progression of their disease.”

Yosef Koronyo, MSc, a research associate in the Department of Neurosurgery and first author on the study, said another key finding from the new study was the discovery of amyloid plaques in previously overlooked peripheral regions of the retina. He noted that the plaque amount in the retina correlated with plaque amount in specific areas of the brain.

“Now we know exactly where to look to find the signs of Alzheimer’s disease as early as possible,” said Koronyo.

Keith L. Black, MD, chair of Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Neurosurgery and director of the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, who co-led the study, said the findings offer hope for early detection when intervention could be most effective.

“Our hope is that eventually the investigational eye scan will be used as a screening device to detect the disease early enough to intervene and change the course of the disorder with medications and lifestyle changes,” said Black.

For decades, the only way to officially diagnose the debilitating condition was to survey and analyze a patient’s brain after the patient died. In recent years, physicians have relied on positron emission tomography (PET) scans of the brains of living people to provide evidence of the disease but the technology is expensive and invasive, requiring the patient to be injected with radioactive tracers.

In an effort to find a more cost-effective and less invasive technique, the Cedars-Sinai research team collaborated with investigators at NeuroVision Imaging, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, University of Southern California, and UCLA to translate their noninvasive eye screening approach to humans.

The published results are based on a clinical trial conducted on 16 Alzheimer’s disease patients who drank a solution that includes curcumin, a natural component of the spice turmeric. The curcumin causes amyloid plaque in the retina to “light up” and be detected by the scan. The patients were then compared to a group of younger, cognitively normal individuals.

Source: EurekAlert!

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Clinical Study Shows That Retinal Imaging May Detect Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease . . . . .

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