Letters on scientific research, generic drugs and food ads for kids

July 25, 2011
Harming the birds

I was reading “Researchers find that birds know enough to turn up their noses at grammatical errors” [July 5] with interest until I read “Finally, Abe [of Kyoto University] chemically destroyed an area of the brain . . . .” This was not done to help cure some horrible disease. It was done to “demonstrate that it is vital for registering faulty grammar.” What was an interesting story became a “who cares?”

It may be necessary to use animals in some potentially lifesaving research (although I doubt that), but to harm these lovely creatures in this way for this reason is appalling.

Jean Busby, Manassas

Generics can be different

“Giving you just what the doctor ordered” [July 12] left out an important detail about generic medications.

It is important to recognize that a generic medication is similar but not identical to the original “brand name” medication. The FDA requirements for a generic medication are that it be within an acceptable bioequivalent range, typically between 80 percent and 125 percent of the innovator product. This has the potential to result in a noticeable difference to a patient. As an example, if one generic medication is on the high end of this range and another generic is on the low end, this can result in up to a 40 percent difference when the generic medication dispensed to the patient changes.

Julie Hauer, Natick, Mass.

Sugar is just one factor

The food companies’ guidelines for children’s food stress sugar content [“Firms offer to curb food ads for kids,” July 19]. What is missing is the all-important factor of dietary fiber. I am often struck by the promotion of breakfast cereals for children with barely one or even fewer grams of fiber per serving, and that is a criterion applying to cereal for adults as well. At least two and preferably three or more grams per serving are recommended and should be incorporated in marketing guidelines.

Daniel Mann, Bethesda

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