To combat cancer, sprouts must be nourished with care...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 13, 2001

To combat cancer, sprouts must be nourished with care

As the Johns Hopkins researchers who discovered broccoli sprouts rich in the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, we are obviously gratified by The Sun's endorsement of the imperative to eat more vegetables, especially broccoli sprouts, to reduce the risk of chronic diseases ("Broccoli for the masses," editorial, Nov. 2).

However, readers should be aware of certain facts:

Broccoli sprouts were never sold by anyone prior to the announcement of our discovery in 1997.

Immediately after the announcement, sprout growers, foreseeing the opportunity created by this totally unexpected finding, began flooding the market with broccoli sprouts.

Unfortunately, our analyses revealed they contained low or highly variable levels of sulforaphane and some contained virtually none. In fact, some were not even sprouts of broccoli at all.

Thus the effort to secure patent protection for sprouts containing high levels of these compounds was essential to ensure the public received broccoli sprouts with the potential to help them.

And thus we have supported the commercialization of the Hopkins-licensed broccoli sprouts, which are grown under scientifically defined and rigorously monitored conditions from selected seeds to provide uniformly high levels of the active compound. No other sprout does so.

Paul Talalay

Jed W. Fahey

Baltimore

The writers are members of the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

What Robert E. Lee Park needs is a different name

The Sun's article "Leashes become a bone of contention" (Oct. 30) reported on a public meeting over issues concerning Robert E. Lee Park in Baltimore County, but didn't say whether one obvious issue arose: the name of the park.

Surely we should not be honoring the leader of the fight for slavery; this isn't Virginia, after all. I propose we rename the park "Thurgood Marshall Park."

Henry Cohen

Baltimore

Western High should be model for school for boys

It was truly gratifying to read about the successful female students of Western High School ("Contentedly not coed," Oct. 24). We should all be impressed with Western's long, rich and proud tradition.

I contend that an all-male school, with unique focus and mission, a dedicated male-centered principal, creative and committed teachers, renovated labs and no girls to distract them would have the same results with male students that Western has experienced over the years.

Without a doubt, male students are preoccupied with impressing their female counterparts with their brawn and not their brains, and ignore their studies.

It is time to either create an all-male school with resources comparable to Western High School's to meet the unique challenges facing male students, or encourage parents with male children to make a mad dash to the all-girls school on Falls Road with a tradition of succeeding against the odds.

Richard A. Rowe

Baltimore

Gas station won't enhance a vital city crossroads

We drive past the corner of Liberty Heights Avenue and Hillsdale Road daily and refer to this intersection as "the four corners of life" ("Neighbors call for market, not gas station," Nov. 5).

On one corner was the supermarket; across Hillsdale is the Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School; across Liberty Heights is the University Health Clinic; and finally across Hillsdale is the Howell Funeral Home.

We need food to eat; we go to school; we get sick and need health care; and we die.

A gas station can be found, where it belongs, not at the center but on the periphery. Let the "four corners of life" stand.

Bessie Speers

Tom Speers

Baltimore

Phones, other distractions don't belong in drivers' hands

I want to express my support for Kevin Cowherd's opinion on hand-held cell phone use in automobiles and any other distraction that puts the driver - and others - in danger ("New York calls attention to a major driving hazard," Nov. 5).

Believe it or not, I have actually witnessed a driver shaving while at the wheel on Interstate 83. Of course, first you have to observe such idiocy, and then somehow arrest the perpetrator - which is more easily said than done.

But the first step, we must agree, is to make such reckless acts illegal.

Franklin Littleton

Baltimore

Making all states secular could be the key to peace

As philosophy, religion can be of great comfort and guide mankind. Practiced as dogma, religion can oppress and corrupt the human mind.

As guiding principles, all religions encourage and promote goodness in the individual. But when religion is the law of the land, it blindfolds the individual and polarizes one group or nation against another. It robs people of individual liberty - and the nation of vision.

As the great keeper of freedom in today's world, the United States should initiate a discussion in the United Nations proposing that all member states denounce the notion of religion-based states. At least let the charter require that to be a member of the U.N. Security Council the country must be secular.

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