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The Study of Death

I couldn't agree more with your Editorial on death and dying.1 However, you did fail to observe two important reasons why the process of dying is not studied more often: First, it is an infrequent event in humans, although one could claim it just as difficult to study the events during a heart attack or stroke. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there is tremendous social pressure against animal research, and to study experimentally the process of dying would inflame those impassionate over

David Levitsky

I couldn't agree more with your Editorial on death and dying.1 However, you did fail to observe two important reasons why the process of dying is not studied more often: First, it is an infrequent event in humans, although one could claim it just as difficult to study the events during a heart attack or stroke. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there is tremendous social pressure against animal research, and to study experimentally the process of dying would inflame those impassionate over animal research. These reasons don't justify why death is not studied more often, but it helps explain the slow progress in this field.

David A. Levitsky

Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Professor of Nutrition and Psychology, Cornell University dal4@cornell.edu

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