Although millions of Americans take psychoactive medicines (e.g. Prozac and Ritalin), few social scientists believe biological theories and findings should be integrated with research on human behavior. Four topics illustrate current studies linking politics and the life sciences: () Developments in genetics and medicine indicate that governmental policies have greatly underrated the dangers posed by radiation and the social transformations that will result from DNA sequencing. () Research on brain structures and neurochemistry shows how toxic chemicals undermine normal emotions and behavior. Heavy metal burdens are higher in violent criminals, and exposure to these toxins is significantly correlated with rates of violence (controlling for socioeconomic, ethnic, and demographic factors). () An untested chemical used to treat water supplied to 140 million Americans significantly increases both odds of dangerous lead uptake and behavioral dysfunctions in children and adults. () The complexity of gene-environment interactions challenges accepted theories of gender, sociopolitical inequalities, ethnocentrism, and history. Such research in biopolitics can illuminate policy controversies in education, substance abuse, and crime.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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