Web edition: August 26, 2011
Print edition: September 10, 2011; Vol.180 #6 (p. 31)
I reviewed this very interesting story (“Seismologists in a rumble over quake clusters,” SN: 5/7/11, p. 5) this morning, and it occurred to me that the connection between all of these very severe earthquakes might possibly be the change in weight distribution throughout the planet, resulting from temperature increases due to climate change with the melting of the glaciers: decreased weight where the glaciers were and increased weight of water on the ocean floors. Also, it seems as though the majority of them are clearly distributed around the rim of the Pacific Ocean (the “Ring of Fire”).
James R. Stewart Jr., Londonderry, N.H.
Researchers have linked melting glaciers and ice sheets to increased earthquake activity in places such as Greenland, Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. Removing overlying ice generally speeds up
the slip rate along geological faults.
The Parkinson’s bug
The story on a possible link between Helicobacter pylori and Parkinson’s disease (“Ulcer bug may trigger Parkinson’s, SN: 6/18/11, p. 18) was intriguing. Unfortunately, it was all mouse research. Are scientists going after human data, such as looking at the rate of Parkinson’s disease in persons who have had their Helicobacter eradicated as an ulcer preventive?
William Check, Evanston, Ill.
The article speculates that one way H. pylori might cause Parkinson’s is by modifying cholesterol into a toxic form. In August 2007, Science News reported that a drug, simvastatin, may reduce rates of Parkinson’s as well as dementias by roughly 50 percent. Might the drug produce its protective effect by either counteracting the action of H. pylori on cholesterol or by reducing the amount of cholesterol available to the bacteria?
Nancy Sutter Axford, Sacramento, Calif.