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Friday’s letters – Sarasota Herald

Regarding “Alzheimer’s sleuths follow a caffeine trail”:

The article, concerning the research by Chuanhai Cao and me — showing “caffeinated coffee” as protective against Alzheimer’s disease — was generally appropriate. But I must address the comments by Michael Mullan, director of Sarasota’s Roskamp Institute. Rather than encouraging further exploration of caffeine/coffee as therapeutic against the disease, he dismisses the evidence with broadly based and unfounded criticisms. Mullan appears to be in the mold of researchers who believe that only a synthetic, patentable drug will be effective against Alzheimer’s — but he is almost certainly wrong.

Mullan’s comment that our “story” is not widely embraced by other researchers is not accurate. For example, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease recently devoted an entire special issue to caffeine/coffee as a therapeutic against the disease. Mullan’s biased comments should be interpreted in the context that he has a “synthetic” compound that he and the Roskamp Institute are pursuing as a therapeutic against Alzheimer’s — nilvadipine (a anti-hypertensive). I will at any time put all of the data we and our colleagues have published that is supportive of caffeine/coffee against all the data he has published on nilvadipine. The disparity in real science between these two would be striking.

Given that Alzheimer’s starts in the brain one or two decades before symptoms occur, I suspect the good people of Sarasota would rather be taking in a “natural” three to five cups of caffeinated coffee per day during that long period than making drug companies rich by paying for a “synthetic drug” like nilvadipine for decades.

Gary W. Arendash, Ph.D.

The writer is a research professor, Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

Shareholder profits rule

Monday’s op-ed column “Germany’s model economy” contains very important information, defining in a few paragraphs what has happened to America, our middle class, and our economy. Germany is a major force in the global market, and has maintained its high industrial production with small to mid-sized, specialized manufacturing plants, and strong unions which give the workers a voice in corporate decisions. The workers have a recognized stake in the nation’s economic stability, rather than having shareholder profits rule decisions.

Corporate focus on shareholder profits while ignoring the public good is destroying America.

Germany’s political system of social democratic principles is based on ethical ideas about social justice which are in line with capitalistic modes of production and fit well with the global economy.

America went off the tracks when capitalism lost its recognition of the need for a government strong enough to regulate its activities and protect the people from the harm uncurbed greed and arrogance can unleash on an economy.

Every American who wonders what ever happened to our robust economy, which was based on a strong working class, should read Monday’s op-ed column and then read Tuesday’s front-page article regarding the current annual incomes of corporate executives.

Most of America’s wealth is now in the pockets, mansions, airplanes and countless luxury items of the top 4 percent of our fellow citizens. Arrogance and greed govern, but we still have the Constitution’s power if we choose to stand together and vote our own interests.

Millison Brace

Palm-Aire

Progressive tax rates

Regarding “U.S. income gap widens as executives prosper”:

The income gap between the typical worker and upper management, reported in Tuesday’s Herald-Tribune, exemplifies what is wrong with our country. As was pointed out, over the last 40 years, greed has taken over.

The usual explanation, that the CEO needs to be compensated at these rates because of his responsibilities and the resultant viability of the company, is dubious to say the least. This rate of compensation is there whether the company is profitable or not.

This compensation scheme is not likely to change, so I propose that the country revert to the progressive tax rates that were in place in the early 1950s. This seems to be a more acceptable solution than the downtrodden and repressed workers taking to the streets, as is happening in other countries.

Andrew Kujawski

Venice

Teaching with heart

As a retired public school teacher, I’d like to commend your guest columnist, Elizabeth Ellis, for keeping the faith with her students at the middle- and high-school levels.

Perhaps I can cheer her up. The two most satisfying years of my life were my last two years of teaching. By that time I’d long since learned to ignore all blandishments, criticisms and brickbats.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, to mine own self be true.

Believe it or not, I resolved not to go home at the end of each workday until I’d completed correcting all papers. At first the kids didn’t trust me, then they started asking before each class: Were their papers corrected yet?

I must admit, sometimes I was a bit late getting home for supper, but teaching had become a joy.

To hell with contracts, unions, pay scales. My advice: Follow your heart.

Larry von Hake

University Park

Draft Friedman in 2012

Run, Tom, run! Thomas Friedman, you have my vote. I’ve been reading your op-ed columns for years and am convinced what a great president you’d make.

In your column “100 days is not enough,” you say “we need to do four things at once in the hope of maintaining American greatness: spend, cut, tax and invest.” Also noted is that we could use “a Third Party candidate who could run in 2012.” That person is you!

Barbara Liss Chertok

Sarasota


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