Home Science Readers Reply to the July 2020 Difficulty

Readers Reply to the July 2020 Difficulty



In “Treating Sufferers with out the Scale,” Virginia Sole-Smith describes doctor Louise Metz’s strategy to points round weight and consuming that have an effect on people’ well being. I couldn’t agree extra with Metz, whose approach entails encouraging more healthy behaviors somewhat than specializing in weight.

In the course of the previous 27 years of my follow of inside medication earlier than my retirement, I handled many lots of of individuals with consuming problems whose physique mass index (BMI) ranged from malnourished to morbidly overweight. They taught me a lot about learn how to deal with all of my sufferers. Because the article notes, for various racial, cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic teams, there are big disparities in societal attitudes and acceptance, in addition to in remedy obtained from the medical neighborhood. As well as, I imagine one of many biggest disparities is manifested in gender: Males are far much less prone to expertise bias towards obese individuals than girls. Males even have consuming problems that aren’t as usually acknowledged as they’d be in girls.

A. LEE TUCKER, JR. Nashville, Tenn.

In “The Racist Roots of Preventing Weight problems,” Sabrina Strings and Lindo Bacon assert that “blaming black girls’s well being situations on ‘weight problems’ ignores … critically vital sociohistorical components.” Additionally they say that prescribing weight reduction is ineffective and that “the simplest and moral approaches … ought to purpose to … [tackle] racism, sexism and weightism.” That technique offers solely a partial resolution to enhance African-American well being.

As a Black lady and a doctor, I’ve personally and professionally seen the deleterious results of weight problems that stretch past subjective aesthetics. I agree that forcing people to evolve to particular physique sorts which are rooted in racism, classism and sexism is unhealthy and probably dangerous. However given the proof of the elevated all-cause mortality related to weight problems—particularly at a BMI larger than 35—it could be a disservice to not handle it in African-People. The work Strings and Bacon describe doesn’t invalidate the necessity for weight problems remedy in African-American sufferers with ailments associated to the situation. Reasonably it reemphasizes that such remedy should comprehensively handle diet, bodily exercise, habits and, if wanted, medicine or bariatric surgical procedure.

Moreover, for Black individuals globally, it’s important to include the results of private and systemic racism, in addition to different psychosocial components, into obesity-treatment planning to really create lasting weight reduction and optimum well being.

SYLVIA GONSAHN-BOLLIE by way of e-mail


“The Darkest Particles,” by William Charles Louis and Richard G. Van de Water, describes how neutrinos emanating from the solar transition from one of many three recognized “flavors” to a different en path to Earth. The “Neutrino Flavors” field illustrates how the cumulative contribution of a neutrino’s three mass states determines its taste in the course of the course of its journey. The particle is proven with a sharply outlined mass state mixture related to an electron neutrino at its supply and one indicating a tau neutrino at its vacation spot. However the graphic appears to counsel that between these factors, the neutrino passes by way of a lot of mass state mixtures. Do the three flavors embody a large sufficient vary of mixtures to account for all the transit? If not, what’s the neutrino when it isn’t one among them?

Kingsburg, Nova Scotia

I assume that there’s settlement that the tau and electron neutrinos are, respectively, considered probably the most and least huge of the three recognized flavors. Within the “Neutrino Flavors” field, an illustration of the three mass states of the conventional hierarchy produces the anticipated consequence. In the meantime the illustration of the inverted hierarchy appears to suggest that the electron neutrino’s predominant mass state (mass 1) will not be the smallest state however the intermediate one.

But to keep up the anticipated rank order of the lots within the inverted hierarchy, the “extraordinarily small mass” should be the electron neutrino’s second most outstanding mass state (mass 2). If it have been mass 3, because the illustration reveals, then the tau neutrino—which is dominated by that state—would simply be the least huge of the three flavors. Is the illustration in error?

by way of e-mail

THE AUTHORS REPLY: To reply Malinen: If the neutrino begins out as a pure electron neutrino, then will probably be in a superposition of the three recognized flavors because it travels from its supply. Due to this fact, if the particle is detected downstream from that supply, it’ll have completely different possibilities of being an electron, muon or tau neutrino. If the sum of those possibilities is measured to be lower than one, then that consequence can be proof that the neutrino’s taste is the doable fourth “sterile” kind that we focus on in our article.

In reply to Van: The figures of the three mass states are appropriate. As they present, the electron neutrino consists of a superposition of those completely different states somewhat than having a single mass. The particle’s most dominant mass state is mass 1, adopted by mass 2 after which mass 3. Neutrino oscillation experiments have proven that mass 2 is heavier than mass 1. But it isn’t recognized at current whether or not mass 3 is heavier than mass 1 (the conventional hierarchy) or lighter (the inverted hierarchy). As a result of the muon and tau neutrinos consist of various superpositions of those three states, it isn’t appropriate to say the tau neutrino is both heavier or lighter than the electron or muon neutrinos.


In “Justice for Rape Victims” [Science Agenda], the editors point out that there are states and areas that aren’t utilizing accomplished rape kits to arrest perpetrators. It might be extraordinarily useful when you would make a listing of the native and state governments which are failing to behave on the finished kits. Then your readers might contact the suitable company and request motion.

JOE PASSANISE Vacation, Fla.

THE EDITORS REPLY: We want to thank Passanise for his request. In reality, we now have created a knowledge visualization exhibiting the place every state stands in processing its kits, which you’ll be able to see on-line at www.scientificamerican.com/untested-rape-kits


“One Million Seed Sorts,” by Mark Fischetti and Accurat [Graphic Science; July 2020], features a legend that states, “Space signifies variety of seeds for that genus.” It appears extra prone to me that it signifies the variety of seed samples. In any other case the circles wouldn’t fall into neat dimension models.

SIMON LEVAY West Hollywood, Calif.

THE EDITORS REPLY: The circle sizes within the graphic mirror the variety of seeds per genus (as appropriately labeled) somewhat than the variety of seed samples. However LeVay brings up a superb level that we didn’t handle straight on the web page: The circles do fall into suspiciously “neat dimension models.” To suit them on a grid—and to make the smallest seed collections seen—the size that knowledgeable their dimension was primarily based on ranges as a substitute of steady values. Every circle’s space was calculated based on seed numbers. However these numbers have been first consolidated into discrete bins for finest match, with the help of an algorithm.


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