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Editorial - Nº 8 of Uruguay Ciencia - September 2009

Most people are not well informed about health issues affecting other individuals, in spite of the fact that doctors are present in everyone’s life quite regularly. There are many diseases unknown to many people until a relative or friend is affected by them. This is not a problem as both the activities and the possession of knowledge has been partitioned centuries ago for the better functioning of the society as a whole. But there are other diseases familiar to everybody, such as the flu, -as they suffer from it every year or as relatives, colleagues, workmates, etc. regularly do- and even so, when a pandemic, such as influenza “A” pandemic of 2009 appears and medical reports can be seen on TV, newspapers, or in the Internet, people are bewildered. It seems that it is not flu what they are talking about, the disease so widely known.

How can it they report that so many people have died because of the flu when we are told that this new influenza virus is more benign than seasonal influenza? Why all this fuss over a new flu, when we already know that flu is caused by a mutating virus and that that is why the vaccine is changed every year and that on top it is not a 100 % effective? In an attempt at answering these questions, Uruguay Ciencia includes in this issue an article by Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Jorge Facal that deals with a topic that cannot be left aside: A/H1N1 Influenza.

We could neither leave aside an article concerning the “International Year of Astronomy”, known as such due to the impressive amount of activities carried out at international and national level, -some of which Tabaré Gallardo will be informing us of-, in order to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the discoveries made by Galileo Galilei by observing the stars through a telescope. His book Sidereus Nuncios (Sidereal Messenger), in which he describes said observations, became widely known, and, in Julio Fernández words, launched him to fame. Besides, due to his skills as a communicator, the notoriety of his disagreements with the Catholic Church, and his great knowledge of the scientific method, Galileo is considered to be the initiator of the science based on the experimental results.

This year we also celebrate 150 years of the publication “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life”, which is generally known as “On the Origin of Species”; so 2009 is Darwin’s year as well. In the next issue we will include an article on Darwin’s works and his legacy.

Two articles of this issue came as collaborations. One of them deals with the genetic study performed on the Uruguayan Cimarron dog, famous and loved by many people because of the answer given by our national hero José Artigas to the Portuguese General Carlos Lecor (who intended to buy Artigas’ surrender with titles and other benefits) in which he said that should he ever run out of men to fight, he would use Cimarron dogs instead. The other article, very interesting indeed, informs about the great amount of large and medium-sized mammals regarding its habitat in the department of Rivera.

In this issue, several institutions use this magazine to communicate with the readership of Uruguay Ciencia, since for some it is the only way to be informed of the news in the scientific field; and for others, a means of learning what is happening in other spheres of the field in which they develop their activity, that is to say, Science, Technology and Innovation. It is our desire that soon, other companies and institutions, taking advantage of the synergy that joint communication implies, use this tool created for the benefit of everyone.

 

Patricia Linn
Director of Uruguay Ciencia

 
     
     
 
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