Letters from the September 2, 2006, issue of Science News

B line

“A Vexing Enigma: New insights confront chronic fatigue syndrome” (SN: 7/1/06, p. 10) implies that there’s not an available cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. I was amazed to find no mention of vitamin B12. I can attest to the remarkable effect.

Earl L. Pye
Oak Hills, Calif

Limited evidence suggests that vitamin B12 absorption may be impaired in some people with chronic fatigue syndrome. No published clinical trial has evaluated B12 as a therapy for the disorder.—B. Harder

Mellow? Hello?

It’s true that as we grow older, many aggravations that we used to take seriously seem to lose edge (“Older but Mellower: Aging brain shifts gears to emotional advantage,” SN: 6/24/06, p. 389). Some of us, however, become grumpy, cantankerous oldsters. It’s generally recognized that a positive outlook on life has a favorable effect on general health. If that’s correct, then the “mellow oldsters” might have been a self-selected sample.

Dov R. Aleksandrowicz
Ramat Gan, Israel

Perhaps it’s because I’m only 49 that it seems all too easy to turn this article around by a slightly different wording: “Older and more cynical: Aging brain shifts gears to become an emotional cripple.” OK, that’s too much, but have we not heard of the miserable old man?

Peter Morgan
New Haven, Conn

Spot before your eyes

The photo “Planet-making disk has a banana split” (SN: 7/1/06, p. 5) looks to me more like a solar eclipse, complete with a clear-cut circular blackout in the center and flares.

Mike Patterson
Grand Rapids, Mich

The similarity is because astronomers used an occulting disk on the telescope to block the glare of the central star.—R. Cowen

More Stories from Science News on Humans