Magnesium's RoleI read with interest your article "More...


June 26, 1994

Magnesium's Role

I read with interest your article "More calcium throughout life urged" (June 9) and applaud your efforts to bring this information about calcium to your readers. However, I was disappointed to see that your story covered only that which related to calcium and omitted relevant and serious discussion about magnesium.

Data were presented in the discussion periods at the National Institutes of Health consensus conference as to the importance of calcium's interrelations with other nutrients, and I stressed, in particular, magnesium.

Magnesium is essential for numerous bodily functions. An excess of calcium relative to magnesium can adversely affect the availability of magnesium for those activities.

Since magnesium significantly influences the use of calcium by the body, when its supply is inadequate even high intakes of calcium may not be appropriately utilized.

Thus, when considering altering the recommended intake of calcium, it is important to determine how much magnesium would be needed to achieve an optimal ratio of calcium and magnesium.

While coverage of calcium intake is important, your readers need to know the role magnesium plays and what the optimal calcium-to-magnesium ratio is. The calcium story is incomplete otherwise.

Mildred Seelig, M.D.

Chapel Hill, N.C.

The writer is adjunct professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina.

Medical Subsidy

Dr. Marvin J. Rombro's letter June 15 said that, based on his experience, he was dubious of stories regarding health care not given.

I do not question that he has never had a patient needing care who did not receive it. I am sure that is true of many doctors who have been in practice for 42 years.

Many medical facilities, however, do not follow that example of compassion.

The Sun carried an article describing a process a number of hospitals employ to avoid the legal requirement to provide care to persons who cannot pay. This is to lease out operating rooms and other facilities to "independent entities" not required by law to provide care to anyone unable to pay.

It is particularly disturbing to me that some of these hospitals are associated with the Christian church, whose founder said that "those who have not given to the least of these, have not given to me . . ."

In addition, the care allegedly provided to persons who cannot pay is not truly "given" by the providers. It is passed on, as allowed by law, to those who can.

This approach, carried to the limit, would lead to everyone canceling health insurance.

All medical services would be paid by those few sufficiently rich to afford $10,000 office visits and $1 million hospital stays.

I believe it would be much fairer if the costs of services for those who cannot pay were paid by a tax openly applied to everyone.

Any individual or organization desiring to provide medical services as charity should certainly be permitted to do so.

This should not be offset, however, by tax exemptions as business expenses or surcharges on other individuals' bills.

The current approach, for all practical purposes, burdens companies providing medical insurance to their employees' families to subsidize companies that do not.

illiam F. List


Navy Athletic Expenses Not Improper

I was very disappointed in The Sun's June 13 article "Academy sport group spent as it slashed."

It implied that funds accrued by the Naval Academy Athletic Association (NAAA) as a non-profit organization were spent in a manner inconsistent with NAAA's mission to support academy athletics. That is simply not true.

The article takes issue with certain NAAA expenditures at a time when four sports were either eliminated or others reduced to a club status.

Cost was just one of many factors that entered into the academy's decision to reorder the priorities in Navy's varsity athletic program.

After an extensive review and survey of our midshipmen's interests -- both as fans and participants -- we found that women's fencing ranked third from the bottom, men's fencing among the bottom five and pistol also near the bottom.

In addition, none of the sports dropped or reduced to club status are Patriot League sports, and none of the sports dropped from varsity status offered opportunities to compete with Army.

Army dropped men's fencing in 1979, never fielded varsity teams in women's fencing, women's gymnastics or men's volleyball, and, like Navy, dropped pistol as a varsity sport in 1993.

The article also questioned NAAA's purchase of a condominium that I currently use and suggested that the property's purchase was not reported in the NAAA tax report.

My contract includes a provision that housing be provided, and with the renovation of my former residence on Porter Road at the academy, it was a sensible and prudent financial decision to purchase a house rather than continue to pay rent for a residence.

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