July 26, 2007

From Cyndi A.:

Re: Obesity found to spread socially (July 25):

But “It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber,” Fowl­er said, “that we’ve not only shown that obes­ity is con­ta­gious but that thin­ness is con­ta­gious.”

I may not be a scientist but wouldn’t another ways to explain this is “birds of a feather flock together”? I’ve never lost a single pound sitting in the break room with the skinny people and none of them have gained weight sitting with us.

Cyndi A.
Newburgh In

July 25, 2007

From John S. Torday:

Re: Claim of reversed human evolution provokes skepticism, interest (Feb. 27): we have also suggested that evolution can be reversed during injury to the lung [see reference], as a way of understanding why the lungs of emphysema patients look and even behave like frogs’ lungs.

The rationale is based on the idea that the molecular signaling mechanisms that have ‘driven’ the lung phenotype [form] from fish to reptile to man and bird have been amplified through natural selection. When these signaling genes are injured, the structure can revert back to a simpler/evolutionarily earlier structure/function relationship which is the equivalent of a phylogenetic [evolutionary] predecessor, man to frog.

In this way the organism can survive until it can reproduce, using the same physiologic principle, but in a somewhat less efficient form. Physicians actually take advantage of this relationship by generating positive pressure on the lung when they apply mechanical ventilation to the patient (called CPAP)- that’s how frogs breathe! They actually force air into their lungs actively, because they don’t have a diaphragm. By understanding the interrelationships between physiologic structure and function between phyletic [evolutionary] groups we can better understand human disease from first principles of physiology. And by dissecting out the molecular signaling mechanisms that have determined structure and function, we will be able to diagnose and treat disease based on the biologic principles by which they were formed through evolution, rather than on the way they appear to function.

Perhaps the genetic defect that’s associated with reverting to quadrupedal locomotion in the Unter Tan study will provide insight into why man is bipedal.

John S. Torday, MSc,PhD
Department of Pediatrics and
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, The Henry L. Guenther Laboratory
for Cell/Molecular Research
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Los Angeles, Calif.

Reference: J.S. Torday, V.K. Rehan, 2007. The evolutionary continuum from lung development to homeostasis and repair. Am. J. Physiol. Lung Cell Mol. Physiol. 292, L608-L611.

From Deborah Crowe:

Re: How fear memories take hold (July 16): Any help for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder is good. Yet I believe we should be wary of drug use when there is a known thearapy that has proven to be effective.

As a long time victim of PTSD, I can tell you that Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR -- see www.emdr.com) has been extremely helpful in easing my suffering. I hope you will share the research surrounding EMDR so that others may find relief.

Deborah Crowe, Seattle, WA

From Robert H. Galloway:

Re: Renewable energy wrecks environment, scientist claims (July 24): What I’ve been saying, more or less, for years. How do you get anyone to listen? Ethanol just doesn’t pencil out for the most rudimentary observer. Nuclear wins hands down.

Rant ON:

Idiot Jimmy Carter nixed breeder reactors and nuclear waste fuel reprocessing. It may take another century to undo the Carter damage.

Rant off.

I’d live inside the reactor building before I’d go back to the pre-air conditioning era. I lived much of my life before air conditioning in the Midwest. It ain’t habitable territory without air conditioning. The American South is worse. The number one solution to pollution is to limit population. Got that one figured out? Thanks for the insight.

July 05, 2007

From atkins60 54 peop lepc.com:

Re: New World’s first gunshot victim identified (June 20): I am writing in response to your article on America’s first gunshot victim, an Inca “rebel” who was shot in the back of the head with a musket ball. I would first like to say that the use of the term “rebel” is not only innaccurate but blatantly prejudicial. “Patriot” might be a more appropriate term since the Inca’s who died were resisting invaders of their homeland.

I would also like to criticize your inclusion of the comment by your military expert from West Point that the Spanish conquisidors “really knew how to use” their muskets. That ranks right down there with the expression that “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” as repulsive. We cannot undo the past, but we can at least have the courage to admit the wrongs done, and the European invaders of this continent committed horrible acts against its native peoples.

I have to date found your articles interesting, but this is not the first time I’ve been “turned off” by the very unscientific prejudicial tone in one of them; it’s merely the first one that contained clear statements that I could put my finger on.

(Editor’s note: Historical writings do describe the Inca actions as an uprising or rebellion. Such words by no means must imply something negative. Many successful modern nations were founded on rebellions, something that used to be widely remembered though now perhaps it is being forgotten. We would also like to correct a small inaccuracy above, which was that the expert’s quote did not actually include the word “really.”)