Web edition: June 15, 2012
Print edition: June 30, 2012; Vol.181 #13 (p. 31)
The article that extols statins’ purported benefits for conditions ranging from infection to cancer (“Another side to statins,” SN: 5/5/12, p. 30) does not reflect the balance of evidence. Both favorable and adverse mechanisms apply. We regularly hear from patients who have suffered serious adverse effects, for whom data had not supported expectation of net benefit with statin use but who were prescribed statins by exuberant physicians influenced by the promise of benefits extolled in worshipful, imbalanced (if well-intentioned) articles like this.
Beatrice A. Golomb, Athena Hathaway Meskimen and Hindu Rao, San Diego, Calif.
Primed for priming
Concerning the recent article “The hot and cold of priming” (SN: 5/19/12, p. 26), I want to give a shout-out to Joseph Cesario of Michigan State University, who says that priming critics are threatened by evidence that complex thinking doesn’t require conscious thought. This parallels a maxim in the animal behavior course that I teach. Namely, just as we need to investigate consciousness as a factor in other animals’ behavior, we need to recognize that much of our human behavior is subconsciously driven. We are not always consciously “rational” in our actions, but often are consciously rationalizing behavior to ourselves and others that was primed and enacted subconsciously.
J. Roger Eagan, Queensbury, N.Y.
A Science Stats graphic showing the relationship between body piercings and alcohol consumption (SN: 5/19/12, p. 4) incorrectly labeled the units of alcohol content as grams per liter of exhaled breath. The correct units are milligrams per liter of exhaled breath.