Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bad Science on Breast Feeding

The breastfeeding story is more complicated than you think

"To conduct their research, the authors of the studies, published in the medical journal The Lancet, combed through the massive amount of medical literature that has amassed on the best way to feed infants -- and found it is rife with low-quality studies and potentially biased results. They had to root out many studies in order to get to their estimate of breastfeeding's true benefit.

The popular notion of breast milk as a panacea has stemmed from dozens of studies that have reported benefits ranging from a lower risk of asthma to increased IQ. But flaws in some of the studies tracking long-term health effects raise questions about the magnitude -- and at times the existence -- of some of those advantages. Many fail to properly control for factors such as the mothers' education and wealth. When those effects are accounted for, the benefits almost always shrink.


In other words, some of the advantage that studies ascribe to mothers' milk can be explained by infants' environments and parents, particularly in high income countries. For some researchers, that raises questions about whether efforts aimed at increasing breastfeeding rates in high-income countries will have the expected results.

"Sure, the children might be slightly better off because of being breastfed," said Cynthia Colen, a sociologist at Ohio State University. "But we haven’t changed anything about the environment in which they live: lead in the water, under-performing schools. I don’t think you’re really solving the problem; it's almost passing the buck.""
More Darwinian-type correlation-as-causation type bogus science.

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