Darkness in El Dorado - Archived Document
Anthropological Niche of Douglas W. Hume
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Internet Source: USA TODAY, Life 9D, September 28, 2000
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USA TODAY

September 28, 2000

Was deadly measles outbreak intentional?

Michelle Healy ; From staff and wire reports

A book by an investigative journalist alleges that University of Michigan researchers infected native South Americans with measles during the 1960s, killing hundreds. In Darkness in El Dorado, to be published by W.W. Norton & Co., Patrick Tierney suggests that, in a nightmarish genetics test, anthropologists gave a vaccine to the Yanomami people, knowing it would make them sick. The charges triggered a response this week from the "extremely concerned" American Anthropological Association, which plans to meet in November to examine the accusations. Anthropologist Terry Turner of Cornell University reviewed the book and rejects the idea of a genetics test, instead suggesting that the scientists may have intended to see how disease resistance spreads among people new to an ailment -- a possibility he calls "still horrifying."

Ringing the alarm on teens' sleep needs

Parents, teachers and administrators responsible for the education of children need to pay closer attention to young people's sleep needs, particularly the needs of adolescents, a health advocacy group urges. "A sleepy child can't learn," says Richard Gelula, executive director of the National Sleep Foundation. In a "Wake Up Call" to educators, issued today, the NSF recommends the creation of "sleep-smart schools" that include a sleep education curriculum and a review of school start times that more adequately respond to teens' biological shift to a later sleep/wake cycle. Studies show that teens need between 8.5 hours and 9.25 hours of sleep each night. During the school week, however, only 15% of teens sleep 8.5 hours or more. More than 25% sleep less than seven hours.

Whole grains great at reducing stroke risk

Women who eat lots of whole-grain foods can significantly reduce their risk of stroke, a study says. Those who ate the most whole grains -- the equivalent of two to three slices of whole-grain bread daily -- were 30% to 40% less likely to have an ischemic stroke than women who ate less than half a slice or the equivalent daily, finds the study in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. Most of the estimated 600,000 strokes reported each year nationwide are ischemic, caused by an obstruction such as a blood clot that reduces the blood supply to the brain. Whole grains eaten by study participants included whole-wheat bread, whole-grain cereal, popcorn, wheat germ, oatmeal and couscous.

Early alcohol use linked to car accidents

In another argument against underage drinking, researchers find that people who began drinking while underage are up to three times more likely to get hurt in car crashes and other alcohol-related accidents than those who started at 21 or later. Boston University researchers examined data from a 1992 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism survey of 42,862 randomly selected adults. About half said they had started drinking before age 21. People who start drinking young "may be less fearful of injury and situations that pose risk of injury," says the report in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.