National Geographic : 2007 Jun
incentive for the teaching of a healthy lifestyle to our nation's children. Many large hospitals feature a fast-food restaurant within their facili ties. It would seem that it pays best for the entire health industry when we are sick. With the banning of trans fats and public smoking, there appears to be a changing of public values along with a recognition of our own role in the prevention of illness. Until people realize that it is their responsibility to be healthy, not their doctor's, ill nesses like heart disease will remain a major problem. BILL REUTER Hutchinson Island, Florida It is fascinating to look at the pictures of transplanting an artificial heart. What's more amazing is the dedication of the surgeon and the rest of the medical community in helping people stay alive. I salute them; they are the true heroes. JOSEPHINE ORTEGA Cherry Hill, New Jersey The annual one million angioplasty procedures, 400,000 coronary artery bypass grafts, 2,000 heart transplants, and a soon-to-be flood of artificial hearts are very expensive and greatly tax this country. Such economic concerns in our aging popula tion may force a system of national health care with fair and easy free access for our entire population. JAMES H. NELSON, M.D. Puyallup, Washington Desolate Majesty I take exception to the word "desolate" in the article about the Big Bend region of the Chihuahuan Desert. Many species of animals inhabit the area. The plants that survive in that harsh environment are a wonder. In my visit last June I found the area one of the more "alive" places I have been. PAUL WILDING Dallas, Texas Write, Email, Fax Write National Geographic Magazine PO Box 98199 Washington, DC 20090-8199 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Fax 202-828-5460 Include name, address, and daytime telephone. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. It is what makes incubators, baby bottles and car seats possible. It is chemistry.