Publishing a redacted form of the manuscript would have satisfied the need for scientists to exchange general data to fight any future pandemic and yet protect security needs. Unfortunately, these changing times will force us to reevaluate and redesign our traditional approach to sharing scientific discoveries in favor of the greater good.
Claude E. Gagna
New York Institute of Technology
In “The Ultimate Social Network,” Jennifer Ackerman writes about the “benefits” of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori on the digestive system and its possible role in controlling obesity. She describes H. pylori's maligned status in the medical world as a “nasty rap” because of its role in causing peptic ulcers.
Ackerman neglected to mention H. pylori's role in stomach cancer. Whereas only 1 to around 2 percent of H. pylori patients develop gastric cancer, H. pylori infection makes you nearly six times more likely to develop the disease.
This hits close to home for me. My father, brother and I were diagnosed with H. pylori, and I was found to have stage IV gastric cancer. Scientific research into the complex relation between H. pylori and humans is critical. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that this bug is a killer.
Shaker Heights, Ohio
After reading Backyard Brains co-founder Greg Gage's description of his company's SpikerBox kit in “When Cockroach Legs Dance” [Advances], I immediately found a YouTube video of Gage hooking it up to his iPhone. His device allows you to hear the neural activity in a cockroach leg that is made to dance. I was amazed and thought how much I would have liked to use it in my classroom.
I taught seventh grade life science for 40 years and always believed it was essential to provide memorable interactive experiences. Our schedule included an 80-minute lab period each week, and it was my pleasure to fill that time with highly motivating hands-on activities. Frequently, when students from previous years came to visit, the conversation would turn to experiences they remembered from those activities. Often these students had gone on to careers related to biology.
I have been retired for a year now. The school administrators have done away with the weekly lab because of schedule changes. I am devastated that after all those years, they never understood the tremendous importance of all those hands-on lab experiences. They really need to see a dancing cockroach leg hooked up to an iPhone!
In “The Right Way to Get It Wrong,” by David Kaiser and Angela N. H. Creager, Phycomyces is described as an alga. It is a fungus.
This article was originally published with the title Letters.