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Thank you for articles on children and microbes

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2015 - Spring

Contents

What a wonderful recent edition of Yale Medicine [Spring 2015]! Two articles particularly affected my pediatric mindset and got me thinking (a little harder to do at my age): “How children rebound from their worst nightmares” and “A bug’s journey.”

I have been concerned about so many children in our prosperous country receiving little “parenting” or supervision. Surrogate “caregivers,” in my mind, just can’t cut it. Without instruction or modeling, a child doesn’t just automatically metamorphose into a good kid that has no need for behavior-modifying drugs. Contrast the prosperous with the opposite—occupants of a Syrian refugee camp.

I witnessed penicillin as both a miraculous germ killer and as the ineffective antibiotic it became for strains of Staphylococcus aureus: first as a Navy hospital corpsman treating the “sins” of returning Marines with aqueous penicillin delivered by a syringe with a huge needle on one end; and later, witnessing the discovery that newborns with Staph pneumonia were dying in spite of penicillin’s being administered. As time progressed, I realized that I needed more knowledge of how our immune systems work and how pathogens could outsmart us. I attended seminars on immunology that, I have to admit, were over my head. If only I had read this article 40 (maybe 50) years ago. I loved the teaching of the difference between RNA viruses and DNA bacteria in the context of their mutation “mistakes” or other means of change.

A very interesting edition. Thank you.

Ralph K. Campbell, M.D. ’50
Polson, Montana