July 1, 2013
to be posted on nobabies.net

Michael Bloomberg
c/o Bloomberg School of Public Health
615 N Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(410) 995-5000

Dear Michael Bloomberg:
Forgive me for snailing, but I could find no email address for you.  I read with interest the article that points out how generous you have been to Johns Hopkins.  (Jeffrey Mervis How Long Cam the US Stay on Top?  SCIENCE vol. 340 no. 6139 June 21, 2013 page 1394) 

When I was studying at Harvard Medical School that institution was generally considered to be “number one.”  Johns Hopkins is now “number one,” and evidently you are much of the reason.  Well done.  It is fine with me.  I believe there is a moment in “The Exorcist” when the detective asks Father Damian where he studied.  The reply was, “Harvard, Johns Hopkins, places like that.”  It sounded like a good line to me so when my early career plan to take over a radiology department in Ethiopia under the aegis of Project Hope got spoiled because rebels were shelling the hospital I took a position at Baltimore City Hospital, which involved being on the Johns Hopkins Faculty at the lowest-of-the-low position of “part time clinical instructor.” 

What I am looking for is a screaming genius with an interest in the welfare of the public, the ability to organize people and utter lack of fear.  So far I have been able to fund my own research and I do not see that changing for years to come, but I think I can say pretty definitely that there is no money in this, only a chance to have a go at an ancient dragon that has been having its way with us for far too long and is now stronger than ever. 

The phenomenon I deal with is inbreeding depression and outbreeding depression.  I am trying to work out the mechanism.  Most people don’t even know that outbreeding depression exists so here is a link that shows it:
Some of the scientist who wrote articles I reference clearly know it is real.  I shall attach a paper that addresses the mechanism. 

My work on a mechanism has been successful to the point that I have enough evidence for at least a glimmer suggesting I am on the right track.  Within a year or two I should have publishable results, assuming my investments let me continue to work.  But alas there is a pressing issue.  It is possible (although I have no evidence at all) that modern obstetrical practice is producing a demographic catastrophe.  It should affect people born ten to fifteen years ago but the coming availability of the morning after pill will mask it for another five or ten years, years we desperately need if my suspicion is correct.  It will take me, as I said, a couple more years to complete what I am doing now if my calculations are correct.  Then it will take at least two or three more to see whether it is clinically important.

Money, except for survival, would do me no good.  To speed things up would require making the proper contacts and persuading somebody to pick the ball up and run with it; I have no expectation that this will happen.  But you could do it.  Unquestionably you have the mind and the moxie to get to the bottom of it and sufficient resources and calling in a few favors should get it done in a couple of years.  It is one thing to sponsor work by good people.  It is far more fun to do it yourself.  You could be the lead, or if you wished the only, author of a paper that needs to be done anyway and that just might avert a public health tragedy.

Let me know if you are interested. 


M. Linton Herbert MD

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