In “E-Waste Hazards: Chinese gear recyclers absorb toxic chemicals” (SN: 7/14/07, p. 20), researchers found “astronomical concentrations” of deca-BDE in the residents of Guiyu, and the article cites studies showing that related PBDEs harm brain development in mice and rats. So, has any actual increase in brain-development problems been found in people in and around Guiyu?
Joanne Raisner Narad
Los Altos, Calif.
The researchers know of no such health-effects assessment. They say that it would be hard to distinguish the effects of PBDEs from those of other factors in a worker’s environment and that no scientist can ethically dose people with PBDEs to see what happens.—S. Webb
Science News headlines, in your inbox
Headlines and summaries of the latest Science News articles, delivered to your email inbox every Thursday.
Thank you for signing up!
There was a problem signing you up.
Busting the clot buster
Subscribe to Science News
Get great science journalism, from the most trusted source, delivered to your doorstep.
As an experienced emergency physician, I can assure you that physicians who choose not to use tPA for stroke are not, as characterized, “insufficiently trained or too conservative” (“Brain Attack,” SN: 7/14/07, p. 26). There has been, to my knowledge, no study that has shown decreased mortality with the use of tPA for acute stroke. Most of the emergency physicians I know do their best to treat patients on the basis of the best available evidence and to avoid being caught up by marketing like the brain-attack program that ensnared this story.
Pelican Rapids, Minn.
There is a lot of research going on in risk detection and stroke prevention. An example is magnetic resonance imaging to detect unstable carotid-artery plaque, which can rupture, block brain arteries, and cause a stroke. Let’s try to prevent the stroke so that we don’t have to attempt a rescue afterward.
Nayak L. Polissar
Winners and losers
“Check on Checkers: In perfect game, there’s no winner,” (SN: 7/21/07, p. 36) stated that the last player with pieces on the board is the winner. This is not accurate. In fact, no pieces have to be jumped at all for a game to have a winner. The all-encompassing rule is that the last player who has no available move when it is his or her turn is the loser.