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Letters: Researching Rare Diseases, Only Children


It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. James in Laurel Hill, Fla., emailed during our conversation about research into rare diseases. "I would like to affirm the comment made by your guest about rare disease research leading to help for more common diseases," he wrote. "My nephew has brittle bone disease. Some aspects of his treatment have been used to help mend broken bones in accident victims, so research into rare disorders can definitely lead to treatment for others."

We also talked last week about some of the benefits of being and having an only child. Riva wrote from Sacramento: "My husband and I had some difficulty getting pregnant with our first child, who's now 4 years old. I'm now 37, and I have no desire to have another one. I agonized over this in silence for two years until I finally told my husband, who was completely supportive. I felt I was a failure as a woman for not wanting a second child. People ask me all the time when I'm having my second one, as if having only one is somehow a shortfall, on our parts. But my son is happy, my husband and I have a great relationship, and we don't see a need to add another child to our family right now - or possibly ever.

Another listener, Elizabeth, emailed with a different perspective: I'm an only child from a smallish family. My husband and I have one daughter and are expecting another in September. While only having one child would have been easier, I was insistent that I not have an only child. I was so bored during the holidays and vacations, growing up; and constantly being the center of everyone's attention was exhausting.

And a correction. During a program on the future of the FBI, one of our guests included the Black Panthers among groups that often bombed U.S. targets in the '60s and '70s. While a handful of people with links to the Black Panther Party were accused of bombings, historian Jane Rhodes tells us it was not an activity generally associated with the group.

And finally, during our conversation with Margot Adler, we read an email about one, colorful New York character who called himself Moondog. He was also a musician and composer. We wanted to let you hear one of his songs. He called this one "Viking 1."


CONAN: If you have a correction, comment or question for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is Please, let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow us there @totn. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.