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Vitamin D research is promising

Readers' Letters
by: Jeffrey Basinger, Mari Martinez, manager of Tan Republic on West Burnside Street, uses the shop's high pressure tanning bed as a source of vitamin D, which she says helps elevate her mood. A growing number of scientists across the country believe that lack of sun exposure and vitamin D are responsible for Oregon's high rate for a number of diseases.

Thanks to Peter Korn for writing a well-balanced article on vitamin D (really a hormone), pointing out how researchers are hoping to further clarify its importance in health, especially in pregnancy (Prescription: More sun, July 29).

I cannot wait for doctors Carol Wagner and Bruce Hollis to publish their 'official' data from their completed study of almost 500 pregnant women in South Carolina, half given 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day and the other half 400 IU (what's in a standard prenatal vitamin). These doctors have already shown a high incidence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women, even in sunny South Carolina. If child psychiatrist Gene Stubbs' research (based on a paper by John Cannell, M.D.) proves true that autism is associated with low vitamin D levels in pregnancy, then the mental health of our future generations will be improved.

Pregnant women should ask their doctor to test their 25 hydroxy-vitamin D level, because many are deficient and don't know it. Being overweight or obese is another risk factor for vitamin D deficiency, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported in January 2010 that 34 percent of the U.S. population is obese.

Oregon is fortunate to have doctors (Adrian) Gombart, (Eric) Orwoll and Stubbs doing vitamin D research and for the Portland Tribune to make it of front-page importance.

Mary McCarthy, M.D.

Psychiatrist

Northwest Portland

Get your vitamin D in Eastern Oregon

In response to the 'Prescription: More sun' (July 29), one thing Portlanders can do to get vitamin D between November and February is to visit Eastern Oregon.

There's plenty of sun and interesting places from Condon to Baker City and their local economies could use a boost from tourism.

Let's support Oregon and not places like Arizona!

David Hudson

Northeast Portland

Subtle racism persisted in Portland

Interesting article (Racism in Portland: What are we doing?, July 1). I commend such an article for being presented, and the responses are interesting and insightful (Recognize racism, then change it, Readers' Letters, July 22).

Race has always been a hot-button issue. Why? Because our nation was founded, built and enriched by the work of slaves (Native Americans/African Americans) that served as 'free' labor. We struggled, we amended, we adapted, but in some ways we didn't change.

The tactics employed to segregate were increasingly subtle. In the early 1980s, the City Club of Portland issued a report that showed the banking industry and lenders were purposely redlining (denying loans outside a certain area) African Americans to North Portland.

Oregon was one of a few states that had exclusionary laws for African Americans, and even in the 1960s - less than 20 years before my own birth - African Americans were routinely denied loans, equipment and even government aid that allowed them to participate in the political or socioeconomic process for anything other than consumption.

These things didn't happen that long ago, and it's a process to forgive/forget when many from the African American community have lived through such extreme injustices that were never addressed. It's not 'just get over it,' and I commend the sensitivity of those involved trying to learn, address and grow together.

Cupid Alexander

North Portland

Take a hard look at racism

I really enjoyed your My View article, Carla Randall (Whites need to deepen understanding of race, July 8).

White privilege is not a new concept or talking point. It's been around for a long time, but most of white America has not been consciously aware of it. Continue the good work, Carla, it's refreshing to see that some whites are taking a hard look at racism and understanding the complex levels of it.

I am a white male, and I'm fully aware that there are a lot of (people) out there who may not identify themselves as being a 'racist,' but whose actions and words would suggest that they are completely clueless.

Grant M. Beardsley

Eugene

Anosognosia is a real condition

The letter from Kent Reedy in 'Outpatient care is best option for mentally ill' (Aug. 19), again, contains an egregious error.

Anosognosia is not, in fact, a 'made-up' condition. It's in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR), the standard diagnostic reference book used virtually universally (i.e., not just in this country). While it is true that there typically are no blood tests or other strictly empirical measures for many neurological conditions, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the medical authority on psychiatric/neurological conditions, and the DSM is a research-based, international reference to diagnosis.

Here is precise language addressing his point:

'NOTE: Anosognosia is a neurological symptom present in approximately 50 percent of persons with schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder. It causes a lack of insight into one's medical condition, resulting in treatment refusal.'

Diagnostic information about anosognosia is contained in the current edition of the DSM.

Doris A. Fuller

Communications Director, Treatment Advocacy Center

Arlington, Va.