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Everybody's Column

Cognitive loss is indeed associated with statins

I am deeply saddened that Dr. Edward Stehlik (March 6 Another Voice) is so unaware of his own medical literature. Peoples Pharmacy deserves an apology from him, for it is providing a valuable service to readers everywhere. His statement that statins are unassociated with cognitive loss is false and a disservice to patients everywhere.

Our statin research has documented more than 500 cases of statin associated transient global amnesia (TGA) as the tip of the iceberg of thousands of cases of forgetfulness, confusion and disorientation also being reported to our National Institutes of Health-funded statin study. Many of these are now in the medical literature.

Dr. Matthew Muldoon's two landmark studies in the American Journal of Medicine reported an astounding 100 percent cognitive loss in Mevacor and Zocor users if sufficiently sensitive testing is done. Leslie Wagstaff and others gleaned "60 cases of statin associated TGA" from their review of FDA's Medwatch files in Pharmacotherapy 2003.

But the most impressive documentation I have thus far is from Pfizer's own reports on its clinical evaluation phase of Lipitor. Pfizer cited 11 cases of serious cognitive loss in its 2,503 original study patients. This is a ratio of five per thousand. Translating Pfizer's own data to the 30 million Lipitor users today tells us to expect 150,000 cases of TGA from just this one statin.

Duane Graveline, M.D.

Merritt Island, Fla.


Blitz highlights difficulty of parking legally in city

How can enforcement of city laws by the city's police officers be considered a form of protest? Perhaps instead of complaining about the police for doing their job, we should be complaining about the rules that they are enforcing. Why are there so many places that we can't park?

Why is it that the city enforces alternate parking in all seasons? There is no snow removal in the summer. The school buses and the garbage collectors come by before most streets force all vehicles to one side. I believe it is to provide additional revenue for the city, mostly at the expense of city residents who don't have driveways to park in.

But now it is a crisis because suburbanites who come into the city to go to Shea's, Sabres games or shop in Elmwood Village are getting the same treatment. What this parking ticket blitz has illuminated is how difficult it is to park in this city legally.

Matthew Wood



Trapping animals is barbaric practice

Those with a respect for wildlife cannot comprehend the thought process of the animal trapper who was responsible for the suffering of the coyote that was found injured on the side of the Niagara Thruway, as reported in the Feb. 27 News.

Even though the trap that harmed this particular coyote was illegally set, thousands of other coyotes are killed each year with the blessing of the State Department of Environmental Conservation, which profits from the sale of trapping licenses.

The same steel-jaw leghold trap that the DEC permits trappers to use has been deemed inhumane by the American Veterinary Medical Association and has been banned in 89 countries. A leghold trap can break bones, tear tendons and lacerate the skin of animals unfortunate enough to fall victim to its deadly jaws. The trapped animal will then be shot, bludgeoned or strangled to death by the trapper upon his return.

We agree with the statement made by Joel Thomas, an SPCA wildlife administrator and veterinary technician: "Trapping is never the answer to wildlife as a perceived nuisance or an actual nuisance." It is an inhumane, barbaric practice.

Joe Miele

Vice President, Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, New Paltz


Region needs to eliminate inequalities in health care

Current discussions on hospital closings should engage us all to rethink how we can eliminate the glaring inequalities in health care that minorities receive.

Buffalo is underserved by health care providers and facilities. Predominantly minority neighborhoods on the East and West Sides rely on hospital emergency departments as sources of primary care. They provide acute care, not ongoing preventative care, and are expensive. Some illnesses, such as asthma, are made worse by poor housing conditions. Thus, the public winds up paying for substandard housing, repeated emergency room visits and hospitalizations. This increases Medicaid costs.

We currently have two separate and unequal systems for outpatient health care. One serves predominantly white patients who receive care in private practitioners' offices; the other serves predominantly minority patients in hospital- or community-based clinics. The latter system provides less continuity of care and is more expensive.

Research has shown that having a regular physician for health care is associated with greater satisfaction, fewer emergency room visits and a more preventative approach to care. Preventive care will lower health costs, result in a productive work force and reduce racial disparities.

Jamson S. Lwebuga-Mukasa, M.D.

UB Associate Professor of Medicine



Some theatergoers recall when Buffalo was a launching point

Kudos to Studio Arena Theatre and "The Ring of Fire." Richard Huntington stated in the March 5 News: "Besides the potential for making Buffalo the launching point for future productions" and quoted Cindy Abbott Lettro: "To have the preview here and then for it to go on to Broadway is tremendously exciting." I remind those of us who are old enough to remember when Buffalo was a launching point for future productions.

If I remember correctly, Buffalo's most lustrous actress, Katharine Cornell, once said she "would perform every play she appeared in, in Buffalo first, for if it survived the Buffalo audience, it would survive anywhere." In the Erlanger Theater's heyday, we were offered the opportunity to see Cornell and many others in numerous plays. Studio Arena should be honored for carrying on Cornell's strong commitment to theater in her hometown. Keep up the good work. Studio Arena deserves the support of all of us in the Greater Buffalo region.

Sylvia Volk

Artisans and Company



Bishop should reconsider plan to shutter churches

If you haven't read Mary Kunz Goldman's March 6 commentary, pull The News out of the recycle box now. What a great article. She speaks of dying neighborhoods, closing Catholic churches and the irony of the Diocese of Buffalo worrying more about the bottom line than the bottom half.

Goldman speaks of Mother Teresa, who walked the filthy streets of Calcutta because she saw the dignity of every soul, even if their pockets where empty. We all know the saying, "What would Jesus do?" Perhaps we should ask, "Where would Jesus be?" I think he would be in the places Goldman describes: the forgotten corners of Buffalo and the graffiti-covered, shuttered churches deserted because there is no longer enough money in the collection plate each Sunday.

Before there were cathedrals, there were missions. Maybe it's time to reinvent those missions. After all, isn't that where the need is most?

I am in no position to preach or pass judgment on anyone, but Goldman's article touched me. I hope Bishop Edward Kmiec will look long and hard at this issue before more churches in Buffalo are shuttered.

Paul Weslow


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