Dr. Henry Blackburn (“In defense of U research,” July 18) writes that recent criticisms of the Seven Countries Study, of which he was a director, are “false and misleading.” Because I am the only critic cited by name, one can fairly assume that this charge is directed toward me.

The specific inaccuracies he alleges are (1) that Ancel Keys rejected hundreds of dietary surveys and (2) that Keys surveyed Crete only during Lent. In my book, I write that only one of three dietary surveys conducted in Crete occurred during Lent (page 40, “The Big Fat Surprise”). And the fact that Keys rejected the thousands (not hundreds) of dietary questionnaires can be seen in the paper that is the principal dietary analysis for the study (Kromhout, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1989, 49, 889-94, page 891). The chart on page 891 shows that he included dietary data from fewer than 500 people. Therefore, my criticisms are neither “false” nor “misleading.”

Blackburn further states that it is unfair to portray Keys as the sole promoter of the idea that saturated fat causes disease. I agree; various political and institutional factors subsequently helped promote this hypothesis, and these I describe at length in my book. Yet the Seven Countries Study was pioneering in its time and has had an outsized impact on nutrition policy; it is therefore fair and right that it should be scrutinized.

Nina Teicholz, New York


The writer is author of “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”


Crime? A concern, but just part of the story

On one hand, the crime rate has increased in my north Minneapolis community (“Day-to-day public safety is urgent, too,” editorial, July 20). This is where I’ve lived for most of my life, so I’m concerned and want to see that change. I want more police in the community and fewer “catch and release” judges.

On the other, there are a lot of good things to our story. Most of us are law-abiding community members. We have parks, creeks, lakes and a golf course. Did you know that north Minneapolis is home to one of the nation’s largest World War I memorials and a Civil War memorial? We are home to three public libraries and some wonderful community restaurants, bars and local businesses. Local events are a part of community life, including Live on the Drive, Juneteenth, Harvest Fest and Holiday on 44th.

I want to see the local media start to feature all the good things we have in north Minneapolis.

Buzzy Bohn, Minneapolis



I’d take in one of those kids, but won’t have to

In response to a July 21 letter writer’s challenge, count me as one who is willing to assist undocumented children who are crossing into our country. I have the time, space and Spanish fluency.

The letter writer’s final point, however — that those willing to help should be prepared to “take care of those children for the rest of their lives” — makes no sense. These children have already endured physical and emotional hardships of a degree that I, as an adult, couldn’t imagine surviving. They have walked for hundreds of miles, have hopped trains, have been robbed, abused and threatened, and have endured hunger and sleeplessness. They have been separated from loved ones. In some cases, their parents have risked everything to help the children reach safety, choosing the only option that seems available. These people have a courage and resilience our country should welcome.

Most of the children will be united with families in the United States, or, if it can be determined to be safe, returned home. For those who end up staying here with nonrelatives, I would imagine that once they finish their educations they will be more than motivated to repay the people and country who took them in by becoming compassionate, hardworking residents. They will not expect to be taken care of for the rest of their lives, just as most of our immigrant ancestors had no such expectation.

Martha Bordwell, Coon Rapids

• • •

It’s sad. That comment is in reference to the classless reader who wants prolife people to “shut up” or become a foster parent for one of the undocumented children who have crossed our southern border.

It’s very possible to be genuinely prolife and be totally unable to take in a child. Many seniors live in housing that does not permit children, except as visitors. Other older people struggle just to live independently themselves. There are younger prolife people who are seriously disabled, even emotionally, and know they would be counterproductive as a parent. There are young, prolife adults who have just graduated and still live at home. There are even prolife people who are homeless themselves. A little sensitivity informs us that there are many other individuals whose circumstances or unsettled lives excuse them from raising a child, or another child.

In the meanwhile, rest assured there are many individuals and families who believe elective abortion is an evil, and also wholeheartedly want to foster or adopt one of those immigrant children.

Perhaps most of all, just be aware that being prolife simply means supporting a principle. It does not have to be a lifestyle.

Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park



Franken has stuck to the important issues

A July 21 letter writer criticizes U.S. Sen. Al Franken for not expressing outrage over a number of issues, including “Fast and Furious,” Benghazi, investigations of IRS discrimination against conservatives and NSA spying. Franken has expressed concern over the NSA privacy issues. The others are phony concerns that, on reviewing the endless hours of partisan House investigations, appear to be baseless. Franken deserves praise for not wasting time and taxpayer dollars on these ridiculous issues.

William O. Beeman, Minneapolis

• • •

As the political advertisements begin, I was struck by the one for U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden. This commercial included white kids and white football uniforms; there was no diversity.

I am a financially conservative independent who leans liberal socially. I consistently struggle to find a candidate who really connects with my belief system, and McFadden’s ad failed to impress.

Dave Packard, Plymouth



In tragic photos, a symbol of forgiveness

The July 19 Star Tribune pictured two fields of sunflowers: One in Ukraine, where searchers were looking for the remains of Malaysian Flight 17, and one in Gaza, with Israeli tanks moving deeper into the area. I was reminded of Simon Weisenthal’s book “The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.” With these two conflicts going on, there is much to forgive.

Heather Simso, Minnetonka