In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR March 8, 1963 Mr. Milburn P. Akers* Editor, The Chicago Sun-Times 401 North Wabash Avenue Chicago 11, Illinois Dear Mr. Akers: This is the first formal letter that I havewritten to anewspapereditor inmy six years in public information activities at the Argonne National Laboratory and The University of Chicago on a matter critical ofeditorial content that has appeared in his publication. However, I feel that I cannot permit to go without comment an editorial which was published in the Chicago Sun-Times on February 7, 1963. The reason for the delay ofthis letter is the fact that it has taken me some weeks to complete the research required for an intelligent reply based on the facts ofthe matter rather than emotion. First, let me quote the editorial which was given prominent, two-column display on your editorial page under the title, "A Few Budget Cats and Dogs": While we are on the subject of government spending and deficits (see editorials above) we may as well round out this page by calling attention to some ofthe items on which the government has spent money recently, and which may strike the average person as questionable expenditures to say the least. Sen. Paul Douglas (D-IIl.), one of the New Frontier travelers, cited these projects and grants ofthe National Institutes ofHealth as examples ofwhere taxpayers' money goes: "The Oral Health of Icelandic Peoples," $14,030; "Investigation of Information Contained in Echoes," $13,837; "Studies in Silent Thinking," $26,565; "Red Tuna and Yellow Fat Diseases in the Cat," $19,965; "A Stereotaxic Atlas ofthe Beagle Brain," $9,775. It may be that all ofthese studies are useful in some areas ofmedicine but medicine and medical research in this country have many private universities and foundations devoted to exploring the unknown. A government that can't pay its bills and that is operating on credit could certainly let private money take on the study of cat diseases and beagle brains and apply tax money to less esoteric matters. We may be as wrong about this as the late Charles Wilson was when he called the sputnik a "bauble in the sky,' but we haven't been shown, yet. This surprising editorial, I wish to note again, ended with the sentence: "We may be as wrong about this as the late Charles Wilson was when he called the sputnik a 'bauble in the sky,' but we haven't been shown, yet." I hope that you still are in a mood to be shown. * [This letter, although addressed to the editor ofanother publication, has come to our attention and is being printed in Perspectives because the issue is so important.—Ed.] 393 The Chicago Sun-Times is one ofthe most influential newspapers in the United States. The Sun-Times, with a well-known posture offairness, has been a respected supporter of the people's "right to know." I am certain, therefore, you will in fairness print this letter in full, without deletions, so that your readers will be aware ofthe facts. They have been reviewed with a number ofprominent researchers on the faculty ofThe University of Chicago as well as with responsible officials ofthe National Institutes ofHealth in Washington , D.C. Their answers support the position that these research projects, whose titles may sound absurd to the uninformed editorial writer, actually are both reasonable and reasonably important. Herewith, then, follows a documentation on each ofthe research projects questioned in your editorial: The Oral Health ofIcelandic Peoples: By the age of 50 most of our population lose teeth because of periodontal disease. By age 65, almost all the population has suffered from this disease. It is painful, annoying, disabling—and expensive. By studying the incidence ofthe disease in its different manifestations in different peoples, with different foods, different climate and different customs, we may be in a position to make a sizeable contribution to the health and pocketbook ofthe average American. A study ofthe oral health ofIcelandic people was taken by a University ofAlabama team under the supervision of Dr. Joseph F. Volker, Dean of the School of Dentistry and Vice President in charge ofHealth Affairs. Dr. Volker is both a Ph...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 393-397
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.