B.U. Bridge
SHA benefit auction to
honor Lisa Frost and
Heather Ho, Thursday,
November 14, 7:30 to 10 p.m., Omni Parker House
Week of 8 November 2002 · Vol. VI, No. 11

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American Prospect: CIA and scholars need to work together

“A day doesn’t go by that somebody comes into my office and asks, ‘How do I get into the intelligence system?’” says Arthur Hulnick, a CAS associate professor of international relations and a 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency. This interest, reports the November 18 American Prospect, is a far cry from the height of the Iran-Contra scandal 15 years ago, when students nationwide were arrested in connection with anti-CIA protests. Since last year’s attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, student applications to the CIA have increased dramatically, in part because students and professors want to contribute to the national defense. This has brought universities and the military and intelligence establishments closer than they’ve been since the 1960s. Intelligence experts predict that the current openness could help them to finally bridge the gulf between universities and the national security establishment that was created by the Vietnam War.

Time: Watch your homocysteine

Homocysteine, an amino acid produced in the body, has been cited as an important risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Researchers have shown that elevated homocysteine levels can triple the chance of heart disease and significantly increase the risk of stroke and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. However, other studies have shown that for most healthy people, monitoring homocysteine levels is not absolutely necessary, reports the November
4 issue of Time. The bottom line, says Peter Wilson, a MED professor of medicine who wrote an editorial accompanying two Journal of the American Medical Association articles on the topic, is that “if you’re already at high risk for heart disease, having your homocysteine levels tested is probably appropriate. If you’re in good health, there’s no point.”

The Repository: Big money builds big appetites

The nation’s giants of the food and snack industry spend billions of dollars annually to entice Americans to buy processed and fat-laden foods, says Ellen Ruppel Shell, a COM associate professor of journalism and codirector of COM’s Knight Center for Science and Medical Journalism. Public health campaigns, however, spend only a fraction of that amount to persuade Americans to eat healthier. As a result, reports the Canton, Ohio, Repository on November 5, too much eating and too little exercise have led to one of the deadliest epidemics in modern times — obesity — according to public health officials. “There is no such thing as an obese personality or being orally fixated,” says Shell, author of a new book on the subject entitled The Hungry Gene: The Science of Fat and the Future of Thin. “These are myths. The reality is we have 300-pound 14-year-olds going to McDonald’s and the clerk still asks, ‘Want to supersize it?’” Shell says the relentless exposure to food is messing with our minds and our bodies in more ways than one. We may think we have to have a slice of chocolate cheesecake after a restaurant meal, she submits, even when we are completely full. “The food industry’s job is not to sell simple nourishment; we have too much food,” she says. “Its job is to sell sizzle long after we have had our fill of steaks.”


8 November 2002
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