April 17, 2009

DT Friday Freakout: Spawning Season Edition

Sun's out, it's getting warmer, it looks like a great weekend--for random and preliminary medical research news to undermine your confidence in the way you're parenting!
Since April is Autism Awareness Month, we'll start there:

  • Were you aware autism is reversible? That's the finding of a--oh, it's just a theory floated by Yeshiva researchers. Based on "decades of anecdotal observations that some autistic children seem to improve when they have a fever." [press release via sciencedaily; abstract via sciencedirect, what a horrible url]

  • Also, autism is caused by Vitamin D deficiency, according to a recent study of...an article in a magazine published by a company that sells Vitamin D supplements. [life extension mag]

  • Holy crap, there's lead and cancer-causing chemicals in flouride, which is in our tap water! "Controversial fluoridation schemes are promoted by special-interest groups such as the American Dental Association (ADA) which claims adding fluoride chemicals to public water supplies reduces tooth decay," says a new, uh, press release published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Google Groups - Flouridation News Releases, formerly known as rec.flouride.conspiracynuts.wtf. [it's f-ing usenet, people!]

The preceding three links were all courtesy of the idiots surefire Nobel contenders at the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association - Research Foundation, who recently decided to subscribe me to their "Wellness Family Newsletter." Thanks!

  • Home births are "as safe as hospital," says the BBC. The study of all births in the Netherlands, actually found that midwifed home births had no higher infant mortality rate than midwifed hospital births. The UK's NHS is making a big push to increase home birth as an option for low-risk pregnancies. [bbc; abstract at bjog via dt freakout correspondent sara]
  • Sure the economy sucks, but on the, uh, bright side, business has never been better in the kid beating and baby shaking industries. [ap/yahoo via the awl]
  • An Australian study of 3,600 births found that being upright--walking, kneeling, sitting, squatting, anything but lying down--shortened first stage labor by an average of an hour. [sciencedaily, abstract via interscience]
  • A British study of snacky, pregnant sheep links high glycemic foods to infant obesity. The stock photo on this story is ridiculous. [sciencedaily]
  • A 20-year study of catch & release bass fishing--seriously--at the University of Illinois found that catchability is inherited. Also, fishing during spawning season is especially harmful to the population. Male bass are the sole caregivers, and if they're away from their nests for even a few minutes, other fish swoop in and eat the eggs and young. Says U of I ecologist David Philipp, "You don't remove the adults during reproduction." Words to live by. [eurekalert]


"Home births are "as safe as hospital," says the BBC. The study of all births in the Netherlands, actually found that midwifed home births had no higher infant mortality rate than midwifed hospital births."

That's an extremely misleading title. They found that low-risk pregnancies have no difference - essentially the claim is based on culling any possible unfavourable outcomes. I could claim that giving birth in a desert with no assistance is as safe as a hospital birth if I was allowed to cull data that way.

congratulations on nailing the concept of the Friday Freakout.

Rodger and others, you may find compilations of the research useful in making your own conclusions instead of seeing through the filter of the reporters. I recommend "The Thinking Women's Guide to a Better Birth," which is a good place to start, whether you are in favor of hospital or home birth.

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