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Vitamin Guru Pauling Is Gratified That Other Scientists C the Light : Health: New research supports what he has maintained for years: that Vitamins C and E protect against some diseases. He also chides world leaders for ignoring global misery and warns of violence.


PALO ALTO — Two-time Nobel laureate Linus Pauling says he is heartened by recent findings that large doses of Vitamin E may help prevent heart disease and that Vitamin C may prevent certain cancers.

For a quarter of a century Pauling has researched Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta-carotene. He advocates taking very large doses of vitamins to prevent heart disease and cancer.

Although some medical colleagues have said his theories are far-fetched, recent evidence appears to support them.

"In the old days I was mentioned as being an example of one of those quacks," said Pauling, his shock of white hair tucked under a trademark black beret.

"Friends of mine, scientists, have said to me, 'You had a great reputation 20 years ago. Why did you spoil it by getting into this crackpot activity?' " he said.

"My answer is: 'I became interested.' "

Pauling, now 92, spoke at his Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in May. Pauling established the institute to continue his work after retiring from the faculty of Stanford University at age 72.

Pauling also expressed concern with global misery and the lack of effort world leaders have put into solving the world's problems.

Violence among ethnic and religious groups, starvation and a deepening gap between rich and poor in coming years will lead to "catastrophes" of one sort or another, he said. World leaders must address those problems more aggressively.

"The United States and other leading nations of the world need to be more active, more vigorous, in finding solutions to the misery that most people live today," he said.

Pauling received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 after years of speaking out about the threats of nuclear war and the harm to humans from atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. He received his first Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1954 for pioneering work on the chemical bonds that hold molecules together.

"We no longer are in the danger we were in for 40 years of the possibility of extinction of the human race," he said, referring to the end of the U.S.-Soviet confrontation. "But we still aren't making enough progress to eliminate war--small wars--in the world."

Pauling, who in quarter-page ads in the New York Times two years ago criticized President George Bush's intention to attack Iraq, called the Gulf War "an immoral act" and "a slaughter of the Iraqi people" that accomplished nothing.

Despite the world's problems, however, Pauling remains hopeful.

"I think, in general, decade after decade, century after century, the world has gotten better. That's largely because of scientific discoveries," he said.

Pauling had no specific recommendations concerning the world's problems, but believes that the gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" is widening. The result could be increasing violence.

"Most of the countries in the world, most of the people in the world, do not get their share of the world's wealth," he said.

"Even in the United States, we have these rich people who've made billions in the stock market or other ways," he said. "It's hard to find social justification for their existence."

Although humanitarian work has come to be important to him, Pauling's life has largely been devoted to science.

He commutes from his seaside home south of Carmel to his award-packed office in Palo Alto only occasionally, answering letters of admiration from around the world. His son, Linus Pauling Jr., directs the work of the institute's staff.

Pauling revealed last year that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December, 1991, saying he fought the disease with a combination of cancer-fighting drugs and--what else?--Vitamin C.

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