A Mother Writes
Thank you so much for all of your research, effort, and time put into teaching us the truth in this area of traditional nourishment. Having followed your healthful food advice and recipes for almost two years now, I just wanted to share some of my experiences.
While I am aware there are those who aren’t sure what to believe when they learn of your “revolutionary” diet suggestions (“I don’t know about this. It’s so different from what I’ve been told.”), I immediately recognized your words as truth because of other research I had been doing. So, as my manner is, after I listened to a tape about traditional diets, I attacked my kitchen cupboards, pantry and refrigerator with great zeal, gathering two very large boxes of canned, bottled, and packaged “foods” containing soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup and disposed of them. (Not fit for man or beast!)
My husband asked what I was doing, to which I replied, “I’m getting us healthy again!” He scratched his head and walked out the door. Well, it was close to mealtime and the pantry was bare. I stood there scratching my head for a while (runs in the family). Off to the grocery store I went. While driving the forty miles to get there, I had plenty of time to get excited about my quest for healthful food. I started reading labels like never before and immediately came to the realization that I needed bifocals to read print that small–what are they trying to hide anyway? Once that situation was taken care of, shopping became much easier because there was hardly anything in the store that was worth buying. I began finding alternative places to shop. We live in a very rural area and now buy meat, eggs and various other items from local farmers–and they are so good. We also joined a food co-op to get bulk and other foods we cannot get at the store.
My next challenge came at home at mealtime. Try convincing your family members who bring their magnifying glass and scalpel to the table to remove any fat from their meat, much less that fat is GOOD for them. I thought I would set a good example and so ate the fat with exuberance. They looked at me in horror and continued microscopically trimming all fat from their plates. After a month or so of whining about the fat on their meat, I decided that I would just be quiet and let them eat in peace. Drat!
I tried recipe after recipe trying to find those that my family would eat. Each night they came to the table with faces that reminded me of the famous painting by Grant Wood, “American Gothic.” You know, the one with the man and woman who have absolutely no expression on their faces whatsoever. Since I wanted to see excitement for the good food they were eating, I decided that I needed to back off a bit. The best way to get my family introduced to this new style of eating was subtly and gradually.
In the past I questioned my family’s use of ketchup and margarine. Were they trying to cover up the taste of the food? Were my cooking skills being challenged? Whatever the reason, I figured condiments and such would be a good start because they used them. I began making lacto-fermented ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. Now instead of questioning, I say, “Don’t you want some ketchup on that? Here, have some more butter, it’s so good tasting.” The smiles have returned to our kitchen table. My son doesn’t ask “What’s for dinner?” with a look of dread, but with anticipation.
In conversations with moms about getting back to these traditional diets, I’ve noticed that many feel very badly that they were feeding their families the unhealthy foods promoted by our society. I went through this, too. But we have to always realize that we did the best we knew to do. Just like our parents did for us. Had they known better, they would have fed us differently. Had we known better, we would have fed our families differently. But we didn’t know, and did the best we could with the information we had. NOW, I know better. NOW if I feed them unhealthy foods, I should feel badly. As a wife and mother, the health of my family is my greatest responsibility and privilege. Now I have some of the knowledge to carry out that responsibility with joy. Thank you so much.
Glen Haven, MN
Hemp and Humans
I have been reading a book called The Year 1000: What Life was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium — An Englishman’s World by Robert Lacey. In a chapter called “July: The Hungry Gap,” he writes about the period of near starvation that would occur every summer for poor people before the August harvest was ready. You’ve probably heard of the LSD-like mold that grew on rye. But he also writes, “This hallucinogenic lift was accentuated by the herbs and grains with which the dwindling stocks of conventional flour were amplified as the summer wore on. Poppies, hemp and darnel were scavenged, dried and ground up to produce a medieval hash brownie known as ‘crazy bread.’ So even as the poor endured hunger, it is possible that their diet provided them with some exotic and artificial paradises. ‘It was as if a spell had been placed on entire communities,’ according to one modern historian.” (p.102)
I liked this passage because it seems to back up your contention that hemp products were not for normal human consumption.
Editor’s Response: Be sure to read our article “Instead of Soybeans…Hemp and Kenaf.”
I doubt very much if you could do anything about this tale of woe. It descends on me every summer in California–the land of fruit, milk and honey. I used to do battle through the mail to agriculture and legislators to no avail.
Consider what the University of California has done to our fruit supply. Years of research have perfected fruit that shows great color very early, when it is dead green inside. Then it is overwatered for fullness (which dilutes what little nutrient and sugar it may contain), and it is picked too early, before the tree has had any chance to do its chemical magic of ripening.. This is great for the fruit grower who apparently doesn’t have a conscience, for he gets it off to market with no bruising, and it looks so great that it keeps fooling us in the supermarkets where we don’t have enough sense to know that if it has no aroma, it has no taste. Year after year we take green fruit home to the kiddies, many of whom have never tasted a piece of tree-ripened fruit and have actually developed a taste for green peaches and plums.
If we leave it on the counter or window sill to ripen, it will eventually shrink and petrify. It doesn’t even rot. We usually have to throw away at least 50 percent of fruit bought from the supermarket. The supermarket loves this kind of merchandizing for there is no waste–something markets took for granted in more enlightened times when the aroma of fresh fruit in a market was enough to enthrall in the 1930s. Yes, I am old enough to remember when fruits smelled good.
This is not only bad for our population, it is bad for agriculture. I have friends in Hong Kong who work at importing produce from different parts of the world and a few years back, they bought a container of fruit from California growers. Much to their dismay, the fruit would not ripen although it looked fine. They will no longer buy from California, of course.
We can still get pears because they will ripen nicely, and often apricots will, but not always. I haven’t eaten a crisp Washington apple in five years. They are all mealy because they are two or three years old before they reach the supermarket. I know what happens there because my brother has worked for an apple producer near Yakima for years–they put them in cold storage until the price is right. Or refuse to sell when they overproduce. Nice people. I keep telling my friends–don’t buy fruit at the supermarket unless it is organic; and those who have fruit trees in their yards should share.
More Fishy Business
Farmed salmon, like farmed shrimp, is increasingly offered to the public as some bountiful gift of nature. Yet, out of sight, under the waterline, vast amounts of pollution, disease transmission, usage of chemicals and pesticides make industrial fish farms biological time-bombs. Precisely because the damage is not in view, proponents of aquaculture insist there is no downside to their activities.
In Washington State and British Columbia, nonnative Atlantic salmon are raised in open net pens. Over one million Atlantic salmon have escaped in the last few years in this region. They have been found all the way to the Bering Sea off Alaska. A researcher at the University of Victoria has found escaped Atlantic salmon successfully colonizing streams. They are now breeding in the wild, and aggressively defend their territory after establishing residency. They are carnivorous. Documentary film footage has shown tiny Atlantic salmon eating eggs being laid by a female salmon.
The aquaculture industry is sometimes promoted as a way to relieve pressure on wild salmon stocks. It finds acceptance among politicians and large economic interests who would rather find a replacement for wild salmon than protect habitat and clean, free flowing rivers.
The author of the article on fish farms (“Is Something Fishy Going On?“) presented very useful information about the harmful effects of undisclosed food additives. Forristal reports that the FDA’s requirements for labeling of additives has been largely ignored.
My concerns about pesticides and their harmful impacts also led me to call the FDA several years ago. I was referred to their Center for Veterinary Medicine, which regulates the fish farm industry. I received a list of drugs used in controlling diseases and lice in net pens. The CVM has approved the use of oxytetracycline, ormetoprim and sulfamerazine and also has a category of “Investigational New Animal Drugs” which allows antibiotics and other drugs to be used under certain conditions, even if they are not specifically approved for use on finfish. Some drugs listed for conditional use are amoxicillin, chloramine-T, copper sulfate, cypermethrin, erythromycin, formalin, human chorionic gonadotropin, 17-methyltestosterone, MS-222, Ovaprim and potassium permanganate.
With the large number of escaped fish in our region, there have been attempts to have them declared a game fish for sports takings. The fish could be in the middle of a cycle of medications, which would have harmful effects on humans (and on foraging marine species). The withdrawal times are several weeks or more. Romet-30, a combination of sulfadimethoxine and ormetoprim for control of furunculosis has a withdrawal time of 42 days; MS-222, known as tricaine meth-anesulfonate has a withdrawal time of 21 days.
Formalin, a pesticide solution containing formaldehyde gas, is used to control fungi on fish eggs. Pyrethroid insecticide cypermethrin is used to control sea lice. Anti-foulants are used to prevent organisms, such as barnacles and algae, from accumulating on and damaging aquaculture enclosures. Children are more susceptible to pesticides, particularly those which affect the nerves, and exposure during critical times at levels believed to be safe for adults could result in permanent brain and nervous system damage.
The report from the CVM states “There are few veterinarians in the field of aquatic medicine for aquaculture.” So, we have an exploding industry with little oversight, largely controlled by foreign interests, exploiting the oceans to harvest pelagic fish to produce fish meal. The salmon excrete voluminous amounts of feces, killing old growth kelp forests under pens and affecting resident and migratory marine life. Contaminants are not contained.
There is a global campaign to control food production and take it away from small harvesters and farmers. Proponents of industrial aquaculture utilize public waterways to raise large quantities of seafood, yet are not paying the costs of cleaning up the pollution that results. As long as they can keep from being closely scrutinized, their profits will come at the public’s expense. There is growing alarm in Scotland, Norway, Chile, Canada and the US about the damage caused by the salmon aquaculture industry and, in the mid-oceans, of the problems of large scale shrimp aquaculture. Unfortunately, it may be too late to undo the harm caused by industrial fish farming, when the public finally awakens.
Your very capable writer, Linda Forristal, must be inundated with requests for other articles, but I urge continued research in this area. The aqua-culture industry cannot be allowed to destroy our coastal environment, risk the health of humans and marine life with pesticides, chemicals and additives, and threaten the existence of wild salmon and pelagic fish.
Editor’s Response: See also our article on “The Business of Wild Salmon.”
A Visit to Vanuatu
Obesity and diabetes, two conditions that go hand in hand, have become major health problems in America and around the world. Obesity may be considered by some to be only a cosmetic matter, but diabetes and the cardiovascular diseases that often accompany obesity are serious medical problems that significantly affect the quality and duration of life.
During a recent visit to the island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, we sought to experience first hand two different diets, where the incidence of obesity and diabetes is significantly different in two genetically similar peoples living under different conditions.
The first site visited was Bokissa, a small island neighboring the big island of Santos. The island is inhabited by a small group of Melanesians most of whom work serving a small resort. Additional service people, equally untouched by Western ways, come each day from neighboring islands. All the fruits and vegetables are grown in the gardens of the island; the fish is caught by local fishermen; and the pork, chicken and beef are from animals raised in the immediate area. This included fruit bats, a treat for some, but about as tasty as owl. There we ate to our hearts’ content a menu prepared in the native style (which was wonderful by the finest gourmet standards.) The food was cooked in pits under the fire, a method used for centuries.
The second site visited was Erakor, an even smaller island that is only a ten-minute ferry trip from Port Villa, the capital of Vanuatu. The food served on the island was the same as was served in the capital city. The menus were strongly influenced by the French and British who had ruled the island nation until 1980, as well as by the cultures of India, Asia, Australia and America. We ate, therefore, the kind of diet one would encounter in any major city in the Western world or their counterparts in Australia or New Zealand. This food, too, was good but noticeably different from on Bokissa. It was not the light salads, fresh fruits, and naturally raised meats, but was the heavy, starchy, richer, sauce-covered foods of the West. Fast foods, including sweets and soft drinks, were readily available.
The striking physical difference between the peoples of the two areas was the virtual absence of obesity on Bokissa and its obvious presence in Port Villa. These observations were subjective, but they are consistent with those made after careful systematic studies recently conducted in these islands. A 1991 study published in the Medical Journal of Australia compared three groups of people in Vanuatu: civil servants working in the urban area; a transitional group living only a portion of their lives in the urban area; and a fully rural group. The incidence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity was significantly greater with the greater the degree of urbanization.
Our first hand experiences led to several important insights. First, they provided an appreciation of the relative amount of physical activity of people in rural versus urban communities. Another 1991 study published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that the Aborigines were no more and possibly less active in their native habitat than in the urban areas. This was difficult to comprehend until we witnessed for ourselves the life-style of the peoples in these two disparate environments. The rural people indeed are relatively sedentary compared to what Americans perceive as a normal workday. Granted they have no cars, but the distances they walk are minimal. So too is the manual labor they perform. Their gardens are well tended, but only a short period of time each day is required for maintenance. The same goes for fishing and other activities sustaining their life-style.
Another insight, and perhaps the most important to us, is our observation that people eat what is readily available to them. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to miss the significance of an observation that is commonplace. Clear acknowledgment that the vast majority of us eat what is readily available may be key to any effort to modify our diet. It is one thing to know that the diet of ancient man is the one appropriate for the metabolic system of modern man; it is something else to have ready access to the right foods. Unless such foods are before us when we grocery shop and eat, the information is irrelevant.
Raymond and Ingrid Peterson
Editor’s Response: We are intrigued by studies showing that primitive peoples actually engaged in less physical activity than moderns, when an argument often cited in opposition to the consumption of high-fat foods is the notion that people living in modern societies are not as physically active as their ancestors. See also Geoffrey Morell’s article on “Vanuatu: An Island Paradise in Transition” in our In His Foosteps section.
Trouble in Paradise
Recently I called into a radio show about alternative health. I explained that my family ate organic food, cooked together, shared breakfast and dinner and hadn’t needed a doctor in over 20 years. The first response (and only one) of the hosts was, “Did you work during that time? No one with a nine-to-five job has time to do things right. I need my medication when my nose starts dripping.” Since I write parenting books, I was intrigued that lack of time for family life was their main excuse for needing doctors! Of course I told them I had indeed worked all along, but made priority decisions so that family and health would not be compromised.
As a child I had an experience similar to that of Weston Price. My family spent six weeks each summer traveling to different parts of the world. Our favorite was the Pacific Islands, so I was there four times, from 1958 to 1968. In that space of time, we noticed dramatic changes in the children on the islands. My father was a gynecologist (infertility specialist) and my mother was an anthropologist/sociologist, so we noticed these things! When our cruise ship arrived, the crew told us we had to wait to disembark because the Sara Lee coffee cakes got off first. They told us they would be sold out of the stores within 24 hours.
On our first visit, the children were round-faced, with wide beautiful smiles and gleaming even teeth. They always smiled, laughed and ran around playing. By the last visit, they looked like poor Americans with pinched faces, darkened uneven teeth and sullen expressions. There was more picking on one another than playing. The South Pacific was no longer paradise. During that time, the French completely transformed Papecte, Tahiti for their nuclear program and American Samoa was likewise changed. Even in Hawaii the same thing was evident.
As a cub reporter in Richmond, Virginia, in 1970, all this came back to me when I covered a conference on health research. I interviewed a Hungarian doctor who said he was investigating whether Hungarians had such resistance to cancer and heart disease because of their high paprika consumption. Suddenly I knew that traditional diets were the key to health. Also in 1972, I visited my aunt and uncle, Helen and Scott Nearing, gurus of simple compassionate living, whose homestead still stands for organic farming par excellence. They wrote the Living the Good Life books. Leaders of the vegetarian movement, they nevertheless ate cheese for health reasons. He lived to 100, she to 91, in great health. They composted with seaweed from Maine.
Another interesting point. One of the recent discoveries for joint health is cetyl myristolate. This is found in butter. My husband and I are about the only people we know over 50 who don’t feel stiffness and soreness associated with aging, and we are also the only ones we know who never stopped eating butter! Coincidence? Not in my book.
West Chester, PA
Editor’s Response: Randy is the author of several books on parenting including The 7 Secrets of Successful Parenting.
Longevity in Iowa
I am so happy to be a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation. My grandmother lived to be 105. She lived on the kind of farm you would like to have return. It was in Iowa and had all the farm animals (and birds–she made a four-inch thick mattress from down she picked from her own geese.) She had nine babies, all at home. Five of her children lived well into their 90s. She touched her toes ten times every night when she was 100! She had a large organic garden.
I have access to two large “health food” stores. They sell lots of soy products but other things too. I can’t wait to take them one of your brochures. Best of luck to the foundation.
Jane Thorson Greenleaf
Editor’s Response: We do appreciate the efforts of our members in getting the word out by distributing our informational brochure.
I teach at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition . . . I studied comparative physiology and one of the things I explain to students is how much the herbivore digestive system differs from that of humans. Foregut fermenters [such as cows, sheep and goats] live off good quality protein obtained from the huge microbial die-off that occurs daily in their foreguts. They also recycle urea. Hindgut fermenters [such as rabbits] practise coprophagy–they eat the fermented, useful faeces made in their caecum and obtain many nutrients that way. This is a convincing argument for vegans who say we can get enough protein in this kind of diet. Clinically many nutritionists are seeing a lot of protein deficiency because of misguided thinking.
In regard to hominids, I have read the debate on the diet they may have been eating–from fish (Strandloper) to largely hunted meat to largely foraged vegetable matter supplemented with meat. But there is one thing we all seem to be forgetting – this debate will say something about how our digestive tracts have evolved, but it really doesn’t say anything about longevity. From an evolutionary point of view, man only has to live long enough to procreate. We have to ask ourselves what the average life span was of hominids and what they were dying of. From what I have heard, ancient man was very old by age 40. I don’t know whether this applies to man four or even six million years ago. It seems likely that it was a short and harsh existence.
Editor’s Response: We will never be able to determine the average lifespan in paleolithic communities, but Price and many others found evidence of great old age in several primitive population groups.
Butter and Tooth Decay
I am writing this letter to lend you my support and assistance. I am a follower of Weston Price and his studies. As a dentist, I have seen the difference that butter makes when it is added to the diet of children. I have also witnessed first hand the devastating effects of a vegan diet thrust upon growing children. They end up with caries, failure to thrive or slow growth, no fingernails, poor immune integrity and poor health overall.
I try to educate my patients about the importance of butter and fats in general. I show them how butter hardens teeth and stops decay. I have seen butter work (stop caries) in 18 children now. I want to help you in the education of America for better nutrition and health. We must seek truth and not cling to lies!
Ted Spence, DDS, NS
Returning to Local Foods
I try to implement Price’s work on a personal level with myself and my family, as well as professionally. Reeducating the public, from food that goes into one’s mouth to the soil and cultivation techniques of how food is produced, is one of my passions and a large part of my current work.
I live in a rural area in the Hudson Valley of New York and would love to see a renaissance in pasture-raised animal farming for meat and dairy. I live in an area that has been losing its farms but still has a lot of agricultural land that is not being used. A goal I wish for our area is to try to produce as much food locally as we can. We have a CSA that supplies our veggies. My husband and I grow an organic herb, fruit and flower garden. The herb garden and surrounding fields and woods supplies us with most of our medicines. We belong to a small milk collective of six families that take turns driving one-and-one-half hour to Hawthorne Valley to get biodynamic raw milk and cheese. I would like to see our town, as well as every other town, have its own pasture-raised dairy, meat and produce farm.
Editor’s Response: Dina is head of a local chapter in the Hudson Valley.
Soy and Chronic Fatigue
Thank you for your exposé of soy. I believe it was one contributor to my five-year bout with chronic fatigue syndrome. It is amazing that even the health food stores have been deceived by the agri-business corporation cartels on this one. It is hard to find products that do not contain soy lecithin. Is lecithin a safe extract from soy?
Editor’s Response: Lecithin is extracted from the oil sludge left after removing the oil from the beans and is likely to contain high levels of pesticides and solvents. See the excerpt “Soy Lecithin: From Sludge to Profit” from Kaayla Daniel’s book The Whole Soy Story.
More Soy Woes
Thank you for the work of the Foundation alerting people to the dangers of soy. If only I had known 20 years ago. But perhaps I can tell you something that will help others. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed and had chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia for 17 years. The doctor said it was all “in my head.”
Years later I went to a complementary practitioner and he said to give up the soy as it showed strong in the allergy tests. I had no soy for two weeks. Energy was coming back, my mind was clearing and I felt like I had a future again. One Saturday at bedtime I drank the little box of soy milk to see what would happen. I went to bed to read and “dozed off.” (I now recognize the dozing off not as sleep but as an allergic reaction.) The next morning as I tried to get up I fell back onto the bed and was very weak and spacey and even the next day I had little energy.
It was hard to believe that soy could cause such a reaction so I did it again a few days later. Driving to work an hour or so after eating some soy product I began to be so sleepy I could not see the road. At the office I sat at the desk and passed out. After a half hour the worst passed but I was incredibly tired all day. My mouth tasted tinny, my ears felt stuffy and I had no appetite except later a craving for sweets.
I did not consciously eat any more soy but once in a while I would get it inadvertently, like in a corn muffin. I now read all labels carefully. If I have any tamari sauce flavoring, I get spacey and weak and sleepy and know it will peak in an hour and lessen and then coffee and passive work is all that will do until a night’s sleep. I am limited as to where I can get a meal because so many places use soy oil for cooking. I can literally go to sleep at the wheel. Many times I have pulled over and lain my head on the opposite seat for half an hour till the worst is passed. For years I believed I was going senile at a youthful time and missed a lot of activities and creativity that I could have enjoyed because of this farce of telling us that soy is good for us. I think it is a serious allergen and people need to know.
Editor’s Response: See also Kaayla Daniel’s article Recovery from Soy: Part 1–A Strategy for Dealing with Soy Allergies.
I was wondering whether there are any links between soy’s adverse effects in humans directly and/or links between food crops, livestock and human diets with Alzheimer’s and other diseases like BSE. I live in a small port town on the east coast of the UK and some of us have noticed possible causal links between the unloading of the raw products (soya), certain complaints such as higher than normal asthma-like conditions and possible links to Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Some of us are also very concerned that food retailing interests and political vested interests are not being honest in these matters. Remember that this stuff now is now in almost two-thirds of all the food we eat. Thus a high dependency on cheap foods which have a high concentration of soybean derivatives carries an unacceptable health risk that should be made public.
Great Yarmouth, UK
Editor’s Response: As a matter of fact, a study published in the March 1, 1997 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology described occasional days when large numbers of asthma sufferers, sometimes more than 200 people, sought treatment at the Charity Hospital in New Orleans over a period of nearly 20 years, between 1953 through the 1960s. Investigation into the weather patterns and historical vessel cargo data from the New Orleans harbor identified the presence of vessels carrying soy as the probable cause. Prevailing low winds carried the soy dust from two grain elevators to the area near the hospital. Similar outbreaks of epidemic asthma near the harbor in Barcelona, Spain were also traced back to the release of soy dust when shipments arrived.
I am writing regarding your Caustic Commentary (Summer 2000 issue) remarks on the phenomenon of orphaned children reported in the Wall Street Journal, in which you write that mortality rates from cancer have risen dramatically for those in the 40-50 age group. The Wall Street Journal article actually stated the following: “And despite huge medical advances in the past two decades, mortality rates from cancer and heart disease will rise dramatically as adults go from their 20s and 30s into their 40s and 50s.”
My reading of this sentence is different from yours. The confusion comes form the reporter’s use of the phrase “rise dramatically.” On careful reading, this does not refer to a rise over time in age-comparable death rates, but rather to a comparatively higher death rate as people advance from one age bracket to another. This is a crucial difference. It means that death rates in the 40s and 50s, contrary to your published statement, have not “risen dramatically” against a historical baseline. Quite the opposite, according to the article, they have fallen slightly: “Yet, death rates for men and women in that age category have dropped only slightly–down just 3 percent.” Further, while the article does suggest a rising incidence of children orphaned by parental cancer and heart disease, the reporter is quite explicit about the actual cause of this. He does not attribute it to a higher death rate in the mid-life age bracket–how could he, since he expressly reports a decline in that rate–but rather to the advancing age at which couples are raising children.
“More and more couples, particularly those with two careers or involving second marriages, are having children. In 1980, about 23 babies were born to every 1,000 women age 35 to 44. . . In 1996, the rate had risen to 42 per 1000. Similarly, about 560 babies were born to every 1,000 men at age 35 to 44 in 1980; by 1996 that number increased more than 20 percent. By this account, then, mid-life death rates have fallen, not risen and any increased number of orphans reflects “older parenting.” More children are being raised by parents in the older age bracket, where death rates, even though falling over time, are higher than they are for younger parents (and presumably, always have been.)
Modern dietary trends, as Price argued, may well be injurious. My concern is that, by associating his work with flawed or unscientific reasoning, you place his credibility at risk along with your own.
San Anselmo, CA
Editor’s Response: Thank you for your comments and for insisting on accurate reporting. In the paragraph on “Affluent Orphans,” we clearly stated that we did not agree with the Wall Street Journal’s conclusions. However, we should have also made it clear that we do not agree with claims that cancer rates are declining, or that there is no more cancer in the 40-50 age group than there was a generation ago. It is important to distinguish between figures on morbidity and mortality. Mortality rates have declined somewhat, due to innovations in treatment, a fact that allows groups like the American Cancer Society to claim that the situation is improving. However, the incidence rates, or morbidity, continue to increase, resulting in more cancer cases overall in all age groups, including the 40-50 age group, compared to a generation ago, and possibly also more deaths because there are more paople with the disease. According to our information, deaths from heart disease in this age group have also increased compared to the 1940s and 1950s, in spite of improvements in care.