AS A REGISTERED dietitian and nutrition educator, I feel compelled to comment on your article “Health/Vitamin Complex” (June). Nutrition is a science, a subspecialty area of biochemistry, and is therefore based on facts. It is not a topic that can be debated like philosophy, politics or religion, which are based on faith and beliefs. Articles such as this one, which claim to portray various experts in nutrition with opposing views, only serve to confuse the consumer. In reality, the only expert quoted in the article was Dr. Wiggans. Many people claim to be nutrition experts when they have no formal education in the subject. The credentials of Mr. Wingo and Mr. Sparks as nutrition authorities are only vaguely alluded to. In addition, most people who recommend excessive intakes of nutrient supplements stand to gain financially from doing so, either by the sale of a book, a service or the product itself. However, Dr. Wiggans has nothing personally to gain as a result of his position. I am especially concerned by the statement in the last paragraph that says “there is little conclusive evidence for any position.” The scientific literature strongly supports the position of Dr. Wiggans.
I would like to suggest to the consumer who is totally confused about nutrition due to the proliferation of misinformation by the popular press, a book entitled Vitamins and “Health” Foods: The Great American Hustle by Victor Herbert and Stephen Barrett. Among other things, the authors list 17 ways to differentiate between a nutrition expert and a food quack.
Neva Hudiburgh, M.S., R.D.
Department of Nutrition
and Food Sciences
Texas Woman’s University
“VITAMIN COMPLEX,” portrays the dispute between scientists and commercial purveyors of vitamins and nutritional supplements as a balanced disagreement between peers, with both sides lacking enough objective information to provide concrete, objective advice to the public. This position may be good journalism, but it seriously distorts the facts. There is a large body of scientific information dealing with vitamins and nutrition, laboriously developed over many centuries, but especially in the past few decades by scientists working in laboratories and clinics producing information and publishing their results in such a way that any capable scientist can perform the same experiments and produce the same results.
Parenthetically, it is worth noting that contrary to the assertions of the vitamin salesmen, medical students learn a great deal about vitamins and nutrition in these most fundamental aspects. What they do not learn is the burlesque pseudoscience that is the main stock in trade of the commercial salesman of each week’s sensational new method or cure. That body of pretended knowledge is composed of a lurid mishmash of unsubstantiated personal testimonies, fake experiments, corrupt “science” published in bogus scientific journals, honest placebo effects reported as medication effects and rank commercial exploitation.
We believe that the reading public wants and deserves a reliable guide through this golden age of medical nonsense that we live in. Until someone picks up the challenge, readers who wish to arm themselves with accurate information may begin by consulting Health Quackery, by the editors of Consumer Reports Books.
A.D. Roberts, M.D.
Associate Dean and Professor of Internal Medicine
Southwestern Medical School of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas
IN REFERENCE to the June trivia quiz, “So You Think You Know Everything About Dallas,” please note:
Bonnie Parker, 23, was embalmed on the afternoon of May 23, 1934, in the converted back room of a furniture store in Arcadia, Louisiana. Her brother brought her body back to Dallas on May 24. A memorial service was held at 3 p.m. on the 25th at the McKamy-Cambell Funeral Home on Forest Avenue (now called Martin Luther King Drive). She was buried in the Fishtrap Cemetery, only to be moved, after nearly 30 years, to make way for a freeway.
This information is available in several newspapers including the Dallas Times Herald, The Dallas Morning News and The Dallas Dispatch. Books on the subject include Ambush, by Ted Hinton; Public Enemy #1, by Floyd G. Hamilton; and Fugitives, by Nell Barrow Cowan and Emma Krause Parker.
John Neal Phillips
AS A LIFELONG resident of Dallas, I always enjoy articles such as “So You Think You Know Everything About Dallas.” It always brings back memories of something almost forgotten.
With reference to item 16, I do not know how the three top hot rod clubs in Dallas in the Fifties were selected, but I think that there were other clubs that were not mentioned that were more active. There was an association of clubs known as North Texas Timing Association (NTTA), which operated the old Caddo Mills drag strip. Caddo Mills was the oldest drag strip in the country when it closed in the early Sixties, having begun operations in 1949. The clubs of NTTA included Accelerators, Ramrods, Cleburne Creepers, Chaparrals, Gear Grinders, Arlington Auto Club and Quartermilers.
Don H. Deere
A MATTER OF OPINION
OBVIOUSLY, your magazine is not a supporter of Judge Leftwich (see “Inside Dallas,” June; Thumbs Up to Republican voters for defeating Judge Snowden Leftwich). Your personal vote is your prerogative, and I have no quarrel with it, no matter how stupid it may appear to be. Judge Leftwich had a close parallel on the bench in the person of the late Judge Bill Bart-lett. Both were the sons of prominent Dallas attorneys. Their fathers had instilled in them the belief that attorneys – whether they did so or not -were supposed to be above reproach in the practice of their profession. When they were not, which included many of the younger attorneys, shamefully through ignorance, the two judges would point such matters out.
You can give all the Thumbs Up awards to all the voters who voted to suit your purposes -it’s your magazine -and you can make all the asinine statements you FROM OUR READERS
want, like, “Fort Worth tends to have better judges than Dallas because law practice is not so lucrative in that city.” That’s laughable. But you ought to be ashamed of yourselves, and realize that you cheapen your magazine when you do it.
I WAS VERY surprised and disappointed by Lee Cullum’s comments about transit in the June issue (“Editor’s Page”). From all her years at KERA, I know she has only the highest regard for accurate, in-depth reporting. It must be that she is receiving a great deal of misinformation on the current mass-transit situation. The Interim Regional Transportation Authority (IRTA) is a disservice to the citizens of Dallas.
As for Dallas’ transportation problems, most of them are deeply rooted in the basic political structure of the city. As long as there is no land-use planning and the real-estate developers are allowed to build pretty much when, what and where they want, traffic congestion on city streets is going to continue to get worse. The simple truth is that mass transit won’t work very well in Dallas, no matter what the IRTA says to the contrary. The city is just too sprawling. If the developers continue to build at the present rate, we will steadily lose ground on congestion. Until things change drastically, we need to retain and improve our bus system.
In the end, the greatest damage caused by the IRTA may be that it is diverting attention from the real transportation problems and, when we finally realize it, we may be in the same mess that Houston is in today. Houston has had a Regional Transportation Authority for almost four years.Norman V. Butler