Letter: CJD warnings

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Steve Connor's report "Cystitis drug may help to prevent CJD" (26 November) helpfully publicised the need to discover whether pentosan polysulphate might prevent or arrest the development of CJD in persons already infected.

Are the Department of Health taking notice of this drug due to Dr Stephen Dealler's very noisy methods of goading officialdom? Over the decades, as a scientist, I may have mistakenly chosen to use quieter, more carefully reasoned methods for suggestions, warnings or criticisms on CJD-related topics - of my several attempts, only my 1976 warning of CJD-contaminated human growth hormone yielded any positive official response.

I do not think that there is a shred of evidence for the assertion by Dr Dealler that the children of those who have died from human BSE are at higher risk of also being infected. Needless distress will result from his statement. Is such hype needed to provoke official action? Put more generally, do those with a poor "signal-to-noise ratio" tend to become government advisers?

Dr A G DICKINSON

Lasswade, Midlothian

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