Letters from the February 17, 2007, issue of Science News

Fear factor

In response to “The Predator’s Gaze” (SN: 12/9/06, p. 379), I write as a psychiatrist and a mother. My ex-husband is now in prison, and my son likely carries the genes of sociopathy. The quality of fearlessness mentioned in the article seems to be one of the temperamental traits most associated with the development of sociopathy. Fear would seem necessary for the development of guilt and therefore conscience, but fearless children can develop a conscience by way of empathy.

Liane J. Leedom
Fairfield, Conn

Mitigating factor

“Bitter Pill: Costs surge for new schizophrenia drugs” (SN: 12/9/06, p. 371) shares a common deficit with many other reports addressing cost-effectiveness of the medications used to treat schizophrenia. It is clearly true that the newer medications are much more expensive than the older ones, but tardive dyskinesia (TD) rates have plummeted by about 99 percent with the advent of the modern antipsychotic medications. To put it bluntly, TD is a form of brain damage. When these facts are presented to patients, they always prefer to try the modern antipsychotic medications.

Gregory V. Richardson
Anderson, Ind

Factor worth considering

“Milk Therapy: Breast-milk compounds could be a tonic for adult ills” (SN: 12/9/06, p. 376) states that “human-breast milk is not available for sale.” When I was breast-feeding my children, had I known that my breast milk could help people suffering from disease or that it could have helped scientific research, I certainly would have been willing to donate extra milk. While the concept may raise ethical questions, this might be a worthwhile discussion for scientists.

Janice Knapp-Cordes
Framingham, Mass

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