Letters to the Editor

Why I am Voting for Ed Markey

To the Editor,

Nobody asked, but as a neuroscientist at the Harvard-MIT Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging here in Charlestown, I wanted to explain part of why I am voting for Ed Markey on September 1.

I study an illness often called ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ but more appropriately called myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME. Most cases of ME begin with a viral infection, but for reasons we’re trying to understand, patients never fully recover. Patients with ME can be very sick, sometimes housebound for many years. I work with ME patient advocacy organizations here in Massachusetts, and Sen. Markey has been showing up to events, and advocating for research in Washington DC. For several years now, Sen. Markey has been the single leading voice for these patients in the entire Congress.

It turns out that this groundwork was prescient: with COVID19, we are seeing cases of so-called “Long COVID” – individuals who are not fully recovering from COVID19 even months after the most acute symptoms have resolved. On its surface, this appears to have similarities with ME. It will take research to understand the similarities between Long-COVID and ME, and it will take research to understand how we can help these patients get back to the lives they want and deserve. I’m glad Sen. Markey is in office, already way ahead on this issue.

Scientists have been arguing for years that a respiratory pandemic like COVID19 was a matter of when, not if. There’s yet another terrible epidemic on the way, and neither the “when” nor the “if” are up for debate: it’s coming. I’m talking about Alzheimer’s disease. Unless we make drastic research gains, by the time the Baby Boomers all retire, there will be 15 million Alzheimer’s cases in the US. It will overwhelm our medical system. Senator Markey understands this, and again has been the singular leader on making near-term investments because a long-term disaster is looming. He has proposed bipartisan legislation to direct funding towards stopping this oncoming freight train with research.

The advocacy organization USAgainstAlzheimer’s said, “Few have fought as hard to advance Alzheimer’s research and caregiver support policy as Senator Markey, a true champion in the fight to stop the disease by 2025… as co-chair of the Alzheimer’s Task Force, (Senator Markey) will continue to spearhead the effort to advance the type of dramatic investment necessary to speed our pace towards an effective treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s so that we can prevent the next global health and financial catastrophe.” My hope is that Sen. Markey’s efforts will allow unconventional but promising leads to be pursued, like the research of Dr. Robert Moir of Harvard Medical School – who tragically died of glioblastoma late last year – demonstrating that amyloid-beta “plaques” of Alzheimer’s disease form in response to viral infection in the brain. Support for smart outside-the-box thinking is what we need, and Markey’s forward-thinking leadership is an important part of the puzzle.

From support for the chronically ill to writing bipartisan Alzheimer’s legislation, to writing the Green New Deal, to opposing the escalation of our nuclear weapons arsenal, I’ve generally been impressed at Sen. Markey’s ability to be in the lead – literally the leading voice on Capitol Hill – on issues that will require work today for a better tomorrow.

Michael VanElzakker PhD


Dan Ryan Has My Vote

To the Editor

On September 1, 2020, independent-minded voters like myself will be making important decisions that will impact the direction of where our community and neighborhood will be going.

The COVID-19 Lockdown and all the divisive partisan politics going around requires sound, steadfast, and honest leadership. Dan Ryan has been a strong steward of our community, steering us quietly and humbly towards the greater good and bringing us together on critical issues and difficult moments.

That’s why he has my vote. He had my vote then; he has my vote now.

Dan Ryan fought hard to bring quality public education, affordable housing, championed the environment, pushed for good wages and mitigated Encore Casino to protect Charlestown’s interests. As our hometown legislator, he advocates wisely for our more vulnerable citizens who suffer from substance abuse. As our hometown community organizer and activist, he navigates our grassroots to curb overdevelopment of our beloved neighborhood, insuring that Charlestown will remain family and pet-friendly.

Dan delivers. He is not just talk and promises.

Voting for Dan Ryan is voting for OUR best interests. Dan Ryan knows how to work with public officials, community leaders, business leaders and grassroots to make good things come true.


Betty King

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