The Weekly Newsmagazine of Science
Volume 155, Number 24 (June 12, 1999)
In your article "A call for more college science and math" (SN:
4/10/99, p. 239), you report on the findings of an expert panel
that concluded that undergraduates should be required to take
more science and math courses to help them make "technically competent
decisions about their health, communities, and economic lives."
As someone with multiple physics degrees, I can state from experience
that very little I learned in my math and science courses is much
help in making such decisions. When I worked on a friend's farm,
I learned more about health, communities, and economic lives than
I did in any college course. Perhaps we should require more farmwork
from college students.
The correlation of coronary artery atherosclerosis with hostility
("Bad attitude may be bad for heart," SN: 4/17/99, p. 255) fills
in the causal chain shown by J.C. Barefoot, W.G. Dahlstrom, and
R.B. Williams in 1983. Medical students scoring high on the hostility
scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory had markedly
elevated coronary risk when followed up 25 years later. Similar
results were obtained by Barefoot and others in a 1989 study of
Paul E. Meehl
University of Minnesota
It's all in the water
In response to the report "Souping
up and other tricks produce satiety" (SN: 4/24/99, p. 261),
I'd like to suggest that the ineffectiveness of drinking water
in providing satiety, as opposed to water used to 'soupify' the
casserole, may be a result of swallowing compared with chewing.
Maybe power to satiate depends on both amount of chewing and
the volume ingested. It would be interesting to test this possibility
by checking whether the amount of chewing correlated with portion
size in the second study reported in this article.
Louis A. Mulieri
I noted that the article concluded that water in different forms
may have different effects on satiety. I think an alternative
hypothesis is more attractive: In the process of soup making,
chemicals are leached out of the vegetables into the water. I
suspect that the chemical leached out is magnesium. Magnesium
is known to induce satiety. To confirm this hypothesis, cholecystokinin
levels and caloric intake could be measured after soups with differing
levels of magnesium are administered.
On hearing of the soup experiment a few months ago, I started
several of my patients on soup with meals and magnesium supplements.
Not enough time has yet passed to assess the effects.
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