Promising new Alzheimer’s model
“Memories can’t wait” (SN: 3/12/11,
p. 24) was a well-written analysis of the
problems facing those of us working in
the field of geriatric psychology. The
new research model based on inflammation is very promising. From a
cost-benefit standpoint, early diagnosis
and preventive treatment of potential
Alzheimer’s patients will be essential
for Medicare to survive.
Joe Roberts, Jackson, Miss.
I read with interest the article titled
“ ‘Diabetes belt’ cinches the South”
(SN: 4/9/11, p. 14). Looking at the map,
I noticed that the high diabetes rates
in the western states seem to correlate
strongly with American Indian reservations. Have there been any studies that
indicate Native Americans have higher
incidences of diabetes? If so, is it lifestyle or biology?
Other areas of the map, specifically
in southwest Wyoming, Colorado and
northern New Mexico, seem to show
a lower incidence of diabetes, which
may be worth more study. I wonder if
this is due to something in the lifestyle
that can be exported or to the climate
or elevation, which cannot. Or per-
haps the lower rates are caused by bad
or limited data. In any case, studying
areas with lower rates might give as
much useful information as studying
the counties of high incidence.
The reader makes a good observa-
tion — there is a high prevalence of
diabetes on some American Indian res-
ervations, which is reflected in the map.
Study coauthor Lawrence Barker of
the CDC acknowledged this during an
interview. And indeed, the lower rates
in some areas may point to new strate-
gies in lowering diabetes rates in other
communities. The lower rates may be
explained by something straightforward
such as a healthier lifestyle, though the
data used in the map do not address
underlying causes. — Nathan Seppa
The problem, as discussed in the David
Nichols interview (“The costs of putting knowledge into the wrong hands,”
SN: 2/26/11, p. 32), is not with the free
exchange of knowledge but rather with
the government’s drug prohibition policy. By suppressing the relatively safer
drug MDMA (ecstasy), moralists are
acting with the same ruthlessness that
led to, during alcohol prohibition, the
poisoning (“denaturing”) of industrial
alcohol — a policy that resulted in an
estimated 10,000 deaths.
Terry Franklin, Amherst, Mass.
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May 7, 2011 | SCIENCE NEWS | 33