DOWN THE TUBE
The latest sports craze in California is tubing, or floating down a river in a truck-tire inner tube. It is proving to be a deadly game. Heavy snows in parts of the Sierra Nevada caused high spring runoffs, and in the last six weeks, according to a Los Angeles Times survey of 10 counties, 41 people have been reported missing and presumed drowned. Charles Williams, the Kern River water master, says 14 people have drowned on his river thus far this year. Although the raging flow on the Kern has eased (it was 280% above normal), Williams expects tubing will be a continuing problem simply because so many people are now doing it. Moreover, he notes that there is no way to keep tubers off a river even when conditions are dangerous, because "the law of the land is that if a stream is navigable, it's open to the public."
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Are most sports fans out of their minds? That's putting it strongly, but Dr. H. L. Newbold, a New York physician and author, believes that about 60% of the fans attending an event have what he terms "altered moods." Their moods, which can prompt them to start fights, shout abuse at the officials or throw litter on the floor, ice or field, have been altered not by the score but by tobacco smoke or foods containing substances to which the fans may be allergic or hypersensitive. These foods, Newbold claims, can affect the brain cells and cause fans to become agitated and aggressive.
According to Dr. Newbold, foods likely to cause trouble at sporting events include hot dogs, hot dog or hamburger rolls (or any food containing wheat products), beer, soda and ice cream (or any other food containing sugar or milk products). A former ice-cream freak himself and a onetime member of the Northwestern medical school faculty, Newbold switched from internal medicine to psychiatry and eventually nutrition and allergy as he sought to identify agents that might trigger depression, aggression or schizophrenia. To diagnose allergies, Newbold places various substances in solution under a patient's tongue. In difficult cases, he puts patients on a five-day fast, during which they consume only pure spring water, and then has them eat one food at a time.
Newbold, who advocates a diet of vegetables, fresh boiled beef and fruit, says his clinical experience has shown that diet also is often the cause of migraine, bursitis, asthma and tennis elbow. Tennis elbow? "Yes, tennis elbow," says Dr. Newbold. "You get tennis elbow from playing tennis, but tennis is the precipitating factor, not the cause. The most common cause is wheat and wheat products."
RETURN OF A NATIVE
Decimated decades ago by dams and pollution, Atlantic salmon continue to stage a comeback in New England rivers (SCORECARD, Aug. 29, 1977). The state of Maine, which spent $1.2 million to construct fishways on the Penobscot, is experiencing record catches on that river and the Narraguagus. As of last week, anglers had caught 240 salmon on the Penobscot, approximately triple the number taken during the same period last year. Indeed, anglers caught 24 salmon in one day on the Penobscot, a record for any Maine river in this century.
Fish from the Penobscot have been used in efforts to create a salmon strain that will contend with the waters of Long Island Sound and home in on the Connecticut River. A program to restore the Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut began in 1966, and for years the results were disheartening with rarely a returning fish. But this year a total of 65 fish have been taken from the Connecticut system, 14 of them from below the dam in Holyoke, Mass. and 51 from the tributary Farmington River, which hasn't had a salmon run since the late 18th century.
The Berkshire (Mass.) National Fish Hatchery has managed to keep 44 of the fish alive for breeding, and if half of them turn out to be females, which should happen on average, they will yield almost 200,000 eggs. As a rule of thumb, a third of the eggs should eventually develop into 2-year-old fish that can be released, and of those 60,000 fish, somewhere between 600 and 1,800 should return to the Connecticut as adults.
As Matt Connolly, director of Fish and Game for Massachusetts, says, "We're making tremendous progress. The importance of our recoveries is that we see the feasibility of creating a strain of Connecticut River salmon."
MOVING UP IN THE WORLD