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Sleep disorders

EDITOR: While I applaud the sentiments in Saturday's editorial ("ADHD: A lower bar is no solution"), your readers should know of recent research that sheds new light upon the increase of attention deficity hyperactivity disorder diagnoses.

Researchers have established that many children with daytime dysfunctions that are currently defined as ADHD, impulse control and learning disorders may be having their problems driven or at least exacerbated by various disorders of sleep, including but not limited to sleep deprivation. These include what is called sleep disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea. Thus the epidemic that the editorialists describe may be a different epidemic than it appears to be.

Hopefully, this new research will lead to a greater degree of collaboration between educational and health care professionals who will include sleep evaluations in children receiving diagnoses wrongly or rightly as above.

I also believe that school districts themselves must take into account this new science of sleep in designing their daytime programs. At Stanford, the birthplace of sleep medicine, no classes are held before 9 a.m. How many of our children needing even more sleep could profit from this?

DR. PETER V. MADILL

Sebastopol

Time for knife control?

EDITOR: Didn't Macy's check Dylan Quick's background ("Texas man stabs 14," Wednesday)? Did K-Mart? I guess we will have to pass a bill to ban 10-inch kitchen knives or any knife that looks like an assault knife. What are we going to do now? First it's AR-15s with high-capacity magazines and now it's kitchen knives. Fourteen stabbed, and he didn't use an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine. What's this world coming to?

FRANCOIS P. JERINS

Windsor

Slippery slopes

EDITOR: Mike Ford ("Why just two?" Letters, Friday) decried the expansion of the definition of marriage using a version of the slippery slope argument. Does he have a reason to be concerned?

I can imagine that in 1856 when the definition of "voter" was expanded to include all white men when North Carolina became the last state to remove property ownership as a requirement, that conservatives of the day made a similar argument: "What next? They'll be wanting to let slaves vote, or women." Or a favorite right-wing concern, "They'll want their pets to vote."

Well, yes, we did take that slope, but only as far as it made sense. Marriage between any two consenting adults can make sense without polygamy making sense. Conservatives on the other hand don't seem to have a problem redefining "person" to include four-cell zygotes. Shouldn't what's good for the goose be good for the gander, or another goose as the case may be?

TED ROLLHEISER

Sebastopol

Healdsburg Plaza

EDITOR: Congratulations to Healdsburg for making the top 13 most beautiful plazas in the nation ("A nearly perfect plaza," April 4). Two out of three photos accompanying the story feature the Sandborn Memorial Fountain. Our family stands vindicated for speaking out against the city's plans to eliminate the fountain when the gazebo was added to the plaza several years ago.

NANCY HEILESEN SANDBORN

Sebastopol

Take whistles away

EDITOR: Corporate farms and associations must be protected from vile employees who want to secretly document animal abuse and food safety ("Taping farm cruelty becoming a crime," Sunday).

Here are some guidelines to stop these criminal employees: Be sure to strip search all employees entering farm areas to confiscate secret audio and recording devices; suspend the First Amendment's freedom of speech; lobby Congress to stop drones from flying over corporate farms; make sure government oversight agencies are powerless and tied up in red tape; make it a crime to report animal abuse by employees — whoops, sorry, Indiana, Arkansas and Pennsylvania have already done this, and a number of states are moving ahead on this angle.

As a nation, we cannot let the wimpy sentiments of humane animal treatment and food safety take hold. We must take away the "whistle" from the whistle-blowers.

SHIRLEY PHILLIPS

Santa Rosa