Joining Forces In his January 31 Perspective, Phil Primack called on public agencies to partner with Boston’s academic brainpower. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is doing just that, recently co-hosting a “Hackathon” with MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media. Just two years ago the MBTA was suing “hackers” for breaking into the Charlie Card system. Now, with new leadership at MassDOT, we’re embracing those same bright minds to build LED screens, iPhone applications, and websites that are useful for commuters. It’s all part of Governor Patrick’s push for a new type of civic engagement in which state government collaborates with citizens to improve outcomes for all.
Chris Dempsey and Josh Robin / MassDOT Developers Initiative Boston
One Love Regarding “One Child Is Enough” (Miss Conduct, January 31), I have a 15-year-old son who is a single child (sounds better to me than “only child”), and when someone asks if I have other children, I simply say, smiling, “No, we stopped at perfection!” It’s a friendly way of answering the question that always elicits a smile.
Kate Ullman / Jamaica, Vermont
Meds and Weight Thank you for publishing Paula J. Caplan’s excellent piece (Perspective, January 24) about the underappreciated link between weight gain and psychiatric medications. I’m not qualified to comment on the desirability and effectiveness of these medications from a psychiatric point of view, but it’s essential that patients be told about the risk of weight gain (frequently far more significant than package inserts imply). Independent research should be conducted to assess the true prevalence of these side effects and the FDA asked to update prescribing information.
Dr. Omar Ali / Brookfield, Wisconsin
My city, Somerville, is working on the problem of obesity, and Caplan’s article was a timely addition to the discussions. It did occur to me that
Alex Pirie / Somerville
As a psychologist, I, too, often see young children taking neuroleptic and “mood stabilizing” drugs, causing weight gain and a host of other problems. To offset this harm, we see doctors prescribing stimulant medications, which cause growth suppression and other problems. I’m amazed at medical practitioners’ hesitance to refer these youths to psychologists and counselors who don’t rely upon such interventions and obtain equal to superior results in the long term.
Toby Tyler Watson / Sheboygan, Wisconsin