The Sex Drive (Cont'd)

Lori McKay {Letters, June 16} demonstrates once again that intelligent inquiry into the nature of biological differences between males and females cannot take place without charges of sexism being leveled.

Ms. McKay states, "Biologically, one would think another woman would be her {the mother's} best partner, as they are not only as capable of protecting the children as males are but also of nourishing them if their natural mother dies."

Is she suggesting that it would be acceptable to her for males to impregnate females and then abandon them, whereupon the

mothers form "partnerships" with other women to raise the children to adulthood? If the role of an organism is to ensure the survival of its genes through its offspring, then women who would serve as "surrogate fathers" would not be perpetuating their own genes and have little to gain in this arrangement.

The behavior pattern of dominant males mating with as many females as possible and females seeking the strongest male with whom to mate is so prevalent in the animal kingdom (e.g. horses, elephant seals) that such observations can hardly be labeled sexist. They are simply observations of one reproductive pattern in the animal kingdom that may help us to understand some aspects of human behavior such as the sex drive.

It is true that the cerebral development of humans may free us from some instinctual drives. It is true we may not be slaves to our genetic and physiological structure, but neither can we assert that we are completely divorced from the phylogenetic origin of our species. Bruce C. Rather Kensington

What Nurses Do

I find it ironic that a physician could be allowed to judge how nurses should function {Health Policy, June 16}. I am sure physicians would not tolerate nurses' making public statements about how doctors should do their jobs.

Dr. Richard Inskip's statements reveal a very narrow concept of what it is that nurses do. Contrary to his statement, my "training" (bachelor of science in nursing and master of science to be completed this year) prepared me not only to act independently, but, more important, to think independently. Very little of most nurses' jobs involve functions dependent upon physician input and/or supervision.

Nurses spend a great deal of time utilizing their education and experience teaching people what they need to know to stay well, to maximize their recovery from illness or surgery, in addition to assisting them in using their unique strengths to cope with chronic or terminal illness.

Nurses observe and assess the person's spiritual and emotional needs in addition to whatever disease entity the physician might be concerned about. They then can decide whether medical intervention or nursing intervention is more appropriate -- or a combination of the two.

A nurse does not need the physician to supervise nursing interventions any more than the physician needs a nurse to supervise his or her medical performance.

Dr. Inskip and colleagues would do well to spend a day or a week with a nurse and see what nursing care is really all about. Mary C. Beard, RN Bowie

Alcohol and Performance

It is not necessary to hazard any psychosocial explanation for why alcohol abusers get better grades in medical school than do their classmates {The Cutting Edge, June 16}. There is an alternative hypothesis. It may, indeed, be likely that alcohol abuse aids learning!

Tolerance and improved performances are the cardinal symptoms of early adaptive stage alcoholism. In this early hidden stage of alcoholism in adults, the only visible difference between alcoholics and nonalcoholics is improved performance in alcoholics when they drink.

Improved performance is the result of metabolic and tissue tolerance to alcohol's effects, which can inexorably lead to the middle addictive and late deteriorative stages of the disease without appropriate intervention.

Hopefully, these researchers will be able to follow these subjects longitudinally for many years. Without adequate intervention, they are at high risk for alcoholism. Theodore Ernst Director of Outpatient Services Substance Abuse Services Fairfax

Good Advice

The last line of your Health Section cover page June 23 uses bad English. "The Question: How did such a good idea turn out so bad?" Bad should, of course, be badly.

It is bad enough that young people have such a tough time reading and writing. However, it would help if our daily newspapers set good standards in English usage. Edith K. Pollner Bethesda

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