I once suffered from clinical depression for a few months ["Infection … and Then OCD," Dec. 5]. There was no obvious cause, and my reactions to both herbal remedies and prescription drugs were strange. Then a routine annual physical exam revealed a prostate infection. The cure for the infection also cured the depression.
It is wise to check for a purely physical cause for depression, especially if it has no obvious link to a traumatic event.
Thank you for publishing Kathryn Joosten's experiences with battling her lung cancer and for pointing out how little funding is raised for this No. 1 killer ["Breathe In, Take a Quiz," Nov. 7]. I have been undergoing chemotherapy for my lung cancer for the last 21/2 years. I see many pink reminders about breast cancer, but when I (rarely) wear my gray lung cancer pin, I am asked what it is for.
I'm all for pizza — as long as it's topped with soy cheese and lots of vegetables — but it's absurd for Congress to allow schools to "count pizza as a vegetable" if it contains two tablespoons of tomato paste ["Pizza Becomes the Latest Hot Potato," Nov. 28]. The next thing you know, some food makers and politicians will want to classify strawberry-glazed donuts and cherry Coke as fruit. Schools have an ethical responsibility to serve wholesome, nutritious food, and they can easily provide at least twice as many vegetables — as the USDA has requested — by serving tasty vegan meals, such as black bean and corn chili, hummus and veggie wraps, and vegetable soup. Is that really so difficult?
Research Specialist, PETA Foundation
I am appalled and upset that James Fell thinks treadmill runners are "on dope" ["Try Running Outside Instead," Oct. 31]. As a runner for 31 years, I know how it feels running in the open road and on treadmills. I broke both wrists, almost was hit by cars and suffered a slight tear on my right meniscus while running outside. After seeing my orthopedist, he recommended running on a track, grass and treadmill.
I've been running on treadmills for 13 years. I continue to run and finish road races. I applaud everyone who performs any type of exercise, be it on a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical or running outside. They all contribute to our health and well being. Mr. Fell should not criticize how we exercise.
Can life be the exception?
Jill Adams describes the shortage of dozens of lifesaving drugs, many for cancer, and for some a death sentence without them ["Taking Stock of Drug Dearth," Nov. 14]. Here's why. The Food and Drug Administration requires a re-submittal to the agency for any change whatsoever in the manufacturing procedure or supplier of the raw material. So if Plant A blows up and you want to get it from Plant B, start all over again with the bureaucratic process. The FDA did grant an exception for one drug to come into the U.S. this year: Prisons can now import unapproved Pentothal to execute prisoners. Can cancer centers get some items to save lives? Will anyone do something to stop this craziness?
Dr. Marvin Sugarman
The first question I think one should ask about which Medicare Advantage plan to choose is: Is this a for-profit health insurance company ["Making the Right Choices," Nov. 14]? If it is, watch out — that company will be beholden to shareholders long before it will be concerned about paying your medical claims. And the question before this one is: How did we ever, as a country, agree that healthcare for profit is acceptable?