The Weekly Newsmagazine of Science
Volume 155, Number 12 (March 20, 1999)
Breast milk is best milk
Shame on you for failing to include an editors' note that mother's milk is
the best food for all babies, especially premature infants ("Preemie
diets linked to IQ," 12/5/98, p. 358). Studies have shown that human
infants who are fed human milk have better brain development and thus higher
IQ scores than their formula-fed contemporaries. Numerous other benefits of
breast milk include better infant resistance to disease, lower incidence of
obesity in adulthood, and lower incidence of various female cancers in the
nursing mother. Past articles in Science News have discussed benefits
of breast-feeding. Too bad you missed another opportunity to get the word out.
Don't discount psychoanalysis
I appreciated your article on the Freud exhibit very much ("Dr. Freud
goes to Washington," SN: 11/28/98, p. 347). I have one minor comment,
however. You quote Drew Westen as reporting that there is no solid evidence for
the effectiveness of psychoanalysis or psychotherapy beyond 2 years after the
completion of treatment. Although there are studies that do demonstrate the
long-term effectiveness of psychotherapy, a more important point involves the
difficulty in assessing long-term gains for all psychiatric and psychological
treatments because of the complex interactions of multiple variables and the
unanticipated vagaries of life.
The American Psychoanalytic Association
New York, N.Y.
The objective vision thing
The lack of creative thought in science as it is practiced today is the
obvious place for well-deserved criticism ("Objective visions," SN:
12/5/98, p. 360). The true criteria of objectivity, however, remain as always
reproducibility and the ability to predict a result not yet obtained. And the
clever experiment is still the one in which the experimenter has seen what
everyone has seen and thought what no one has thought. That such substantial
leaps occur rarely must be true, almost by definition, but that they still do
occur cannot be denied. The very state of the body of knowledge today is
testimony to that fact.
Joseph F. Gennaro Jr.
There's vroom to grow, too
As a former auto mechanic, I read the article "Fill 'er up . . . with veggie oil"
(SN: 12/5/98, p. 364) with great interest. You may be interested to know that
Bugatti, a very successful competing marque during the '20s and '30s
(especially in Formula 1 racing), designed their engines specifically to be
lubricated with refined castor oil. Most of the owners of now-vintage Bugattis
still insist on using castor oilnot only from a sense of dedication to
Bugatti, but also because this derivative of the castor bean is still
considered to be an excellent lubricant.
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