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Friday, January 21, 2011

Peggy O'Mara Humps the Corpse of Andrew Wakefield's Career

They just can't let it go.

Mothering Editor and Publisher Peggy O'Mara interviews Dr. Andrew Wakefield; coauthor of a 1998 study that suggested a link between Crohn's Disease and the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine in some children. He has been accused of incorrectly linking the MMR vaccine with autism. In this special interview, Wakefield discusses the current controversy surrounding his research.

There's a list of supposedly "peer reviewed" articles over there.

Conversation at TWWS:

...and I took the time to read two of these citations, and neither do what MDC is claiming (i.e. replicating findings with regards to MMR, nor supporting his findings with regards to MMR). I love how they just make shit up. I hate how most people won't do their due diligence and take it at face value

Kind of throws a bucket of water on all that "research" we're supposed to be doing online...

did you notice how three of the articles that support his views have him listed as an author.

Yes, well, at least they're not by Big pHarma. Heh.

but they're all officially cited and shit. you're not supposed to actually look them up

Right.

There should be a name for that fallacy: Appeal to PubMed, or something.

Appeal to PubMed is actually a 101 Level Course at Google University, I think.

Just the title needs to sound plausible. No one actually READS those articles, right?

You Can't Make This Up

So, if you were an educator or a public health worker or someone who could design a PSA, what would you do?

An excellent Q. From an advertising perspective, if I were to design an advertisement (& I am in marketing full time), you need to follow the guidelines: "Interrupt, Engage, Educate, & Offer."

To interrupt (grab attention) I'd start with, "You CAN NOT TRUST your OB." Maybe with an image of a wolf in a doc's lab coat (i.e. "wolf in sheep's clothing.") Something deliberately controversial to grab attention & generate interest. This also elicits fear, which is a good advertising concept to get attention & get interest so people read the ad.

It sounds horrible but that is the fact of the matter. American women can't blindly trust their HCPs because American maternity care providers are, on the whole, not practicing evidence-based medicine. I'd say "OB" in the ad b/c that really is synonymous with "maternity care provider" in the US. & the fact is that I believe it's still 91% of births that are attended by OBs.

Then, to educate & offer, I'd suggest resources like movies BoBB, Orgasmic Birth, & books like Pushed, Thinking Woman's Guide. or maybe if it were a local ad (billboard, local TV only), I'd direct them to local resources like LLL & ICAN meetings, Baltimore has 2 local "birth circles," or websites that are good at summing up facts like childbirth connection, etc.

My MW has a bumper sticker in her office that says, "BIRTH IS NORMAL! The biggest secret in American obstetrics." I like this phrase too, but it doesn't elicit FEAR the way "You CAN NOT TRUST your OB" does - it doesn't give a WARNING the way that phrase does to entice people to TAKE ACTION in order to question what they're told & get educated to advocate for themselves & ensure they get evidence-based medicine.

So if I were to design a PSA, that's my knee-jerk reaction.

This could be you!!!!


The rest of the post can be found here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Homeopathy: Cure or Con?

Marketplace, a Canadian consumer watchdog program aired a piece on homeopathy.

Erica Johnson investigates one of the country's fastest growing alternative health treatments: homeopathy. Ontario homeopaths are about to become the first province in Canada to regulate homeopathy — lending credibility to this unproven practice.

Canada's leading consumer ally takes a long hard look at the theories, and the remedies. For the first time in Canada, we conduct a test of homeopathic medicines, investigating the science behind these so-called medicines. In light of our results, we ask both the Ontario government and Health Canada why they are lending credibility to the homeopathic industry. Johnson also meets up with a rep from the world's leading manufacturer of homeopathic medicines, who admits that even the company says how homeopathty works is a mystery.

Watch, as we witness a Vancouver group of skeptics taking part in a group overdose of homeopathic remedies. Perhaps most disturbing we learn that some homeopaths are treating cancer patients with homeopathic remedies. A leading cancer specialist says there is no role for homeopathy in the treatment of cancer, that it is a "scam that is not evidence-based."

The comments are the usual, really.

You can see the program in it's entirety on Youtube.

Monday, January 17, 2011

BBC News Article on Netmum Survey

Mothers admit to parenting lies, Netmums survey says


Many mothers are under so much pressure to appear like perfect parents that they cover up how much television their children watch or what they cook their families, according to a survey.

Such "white lies" also extend to how much "quality time" mothers spend with their partner, website Netmums said its survey of 5,000 people suggested.

The parenting site said mothers often made each other feel "inadequate".

"Mums need to be more honest with each other," said Netmums' Siobhan Freegard.

The website is calling for a more honest approach to family life and an end to the guilty subterfuge of mothers who feel unable to achieve an idealised view of parenthood.
Sleeping, not baking

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed said they had been less than honest with other mothers about how well they were coping and almost half covered up financial worries.

Almost a quarter of mothers admitted to downplaying how much television their children actually watched - and one in five "span a yarn" over how long they played with their children.

Ms Freegard, co-founder of the site, said there had been another example of a mother who was exhausted and went back to bed during the day, but explained her failure to answer the phone as being because her hands had been covered in flour while making cookies.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

It's just very difficult to put your hands up and admit that you parent differently to your friends”

The need to keep up a good impression among other parents becomes even more important for mothers who are living far away from their own extended families, she said.

But the survey suggested that this fear of not being a perfect parent was not driven by images of celebrities in glossy magazines.

Instead the sense of inadequacy was caused by peer pressure from other mothers at the school gate or the nursery, the survey found, with more than nine out of 10 comparing themselves to other mothers.

The website is launching what it calls The Real Parenting Revolution, which encourages parents to accept the reality of how they live, rather than feeling bad about not living up to a myth of perfection.

"It's the imperfections that make us human," Ms Freegard said.
'Profound pressures'

One mother, known as Becky, who responded to the survey explained that it was difficult to be honest: "My friend was telling me about how she limited her son's access to the PlayStation and I agreed, telling her that I also limited my son to an hour a day, after homework.

"After I'd said it, I kicked myself for not telling the truth - I mean, it's no big deal.

"It's just very difficult to put your hands up and admit that you parent differently to your friends."

Parenting expert and sociologist Frank Furedi said that parents were under "profound pressures" from society. He said that a culture of parenting "incites parents to lie and to turn child-rearing into a performance."

He added that even with the best intentions, reports such as these increased the pressure on parents: "Parents are always being judged in one way or another - including by this report. The real solution is to lay off parents and publish less reports."

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos said that it was common for people to feel that they were being judged in a variety situations. She advised parents to avoid comparing themselves with others.

"You're in competition with no-one but yourself - all you can do is the best for you and your kid."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

From the unassisted childbirth forum...

Armed and prepared birth warriors...

Which method is best to take a newborns temperature, and how often should it be taken after birth

Doesn't she sound ready for any emergency?

Some of the responses:

I never once took his temp, but maybe that was just me. I wasn't aware of any reason to take it. I do have a temporal thermometer that i use for him and for my 4 year old.
And...
The best way to keep a brand new baby warm is skin to skin contact. Take off your top and just diaper baby then cover both of you with a nice cozy blanket. Easy as pie! If you'd like, you can have for partner put towels and blankets in the dryer while your pushing out your little one or plug in a heating pad and put it inside a pillow case with receiving blankets and towels to use after birth.

Note for anyone that Googles heating pads and newborns: the manufacturers instructions state that you should NEVER, EVER used a heating pad with an infant.

Further advice found in the thread.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to Get Comfortable Not Vaccinating

From the forums:
For me, coming to the conclusion of being comfortable to go the non-vax route, I have had to accept in my mind that sometimes death is inevitable. Part of my faith in God includes believing that he has a plan, even though sometimes I may not like that plan. There are very sad cases where non-vaxed children get a "VPD" and die from it. But there are also many, many cases where fully-vaxed children die from something that is not preventable. To what extent are they going to keep making vaccines for things? Is there going to be a vaccine against cancer eventually? The list just keeps growing! We simply can NOT prevent every bad thing from happening, unfortunately...we are NOT God
Shorter version:  because we cannot vaccinate for everything, we should not vaccinate for anything. 
.

Mothering Mag in the Blogosphere

Science-Based Medicine did a huge post on MDC and Mothering, today:

Mothering magazine: Peddling dangerous health misinformation to new mothers

In reaction to the Randi Foundation post last week.

for the blog

I think that in a few ways my kids got lucky because I managed to see the falacy of MDC before they were born. But my life might have been different if I hadn't found the craziness there. I wouldn't have spent so long depressed, that's for sure.

I found MDC when I first started TTC. There was a lot of information there and I made the decision to stick around. There were lots of women to talk with and posts were answered quickly, usually from several people. Where else could you get so much information? I started out in a thread with lots of other women who were in my position - waiting to see what the pregnancy test would show. After three months, I started to wonder what the deal was. I wasn't having regular cycles. But MDC insisted all was fine. Try this tea. Try this herb. Try taking your temperature to see when you ovulate. Above all, avoid the doctor, because they'll harp on about 28 day cycles and not listen to you. I tried it all. And still nothing. In 6 months I had had 4 periods, each cycle lasting nearly 45 days. Normal! was the cry at MDC. Some women just have really long cycles. If there's a temperature shift then you're ovulating and all will be fine. Meanwhile, I was a disaster emotionally. Most of the women I had started off with in the TTC threads had moved on to pregnancy. Here I sat, with a mostly new group of women. It's normal, was all I heard. About 8 months into this adventure was when I finally gave up the herbs and teas and saw an OB who listened to me (despite the MDC battle cry) and immediately suggested that something was wrong and started going through a few tests to see if she could regulate my menstrual cycle. It took a long time for me to conceive and not without a good bit of help. But after 17 months of trying, I was pregnant.

Sadly, the pregnancy would ultimately be ended because of MDC. Despite my experience in the TTC forums, I continued drinking koolaid. My body could do this (it couldn't get pregnant, but it would be all set with pregnany, right?). I found out I was carrying twins and things seemed to be going well. I liked my OB despite the MDC assertion that OB's were evil and homebirth with a midwife was the only way to go. I couldn't quite shake the feeling that something was wrong. As I got further along in my pregnancy, I would have wierd pains. At 15 weeks, MDC assured me that it was all normal. Round ligament pain, they said it was and that I would be fine. So at 20 weeks when I had yet another bout of these pains, I tried to ignore it, tell myself that all was good. In reality my brain was screaming at me that I was being an idiot. But I had MDC behind me. But when the pain hadn't eased up by the next morning, I decided to go see the OB. It was way too late though. I had been in labor all night, and was nearly totally effaced. My babies were born that night, 4 months to soon, far to little for the NICU team to help.

After that I was done with MDC. I spent time in the forum for moms who had lost babies and did get pregnant again (twice, actually!) with medicine and care from an RE. And although both of my babies came early, I paid much more attention to my doctors. I, apparently, am not a functioning woman because my body doesn't birth babies right. MDC would tell you so. I have been damaged (it was probably the vaccines... ). But I disagree now. There is a place for doctors. They do listen to you, if you don't walk into their office with an attitude. And they will help, to the best of their ability. They don't want to lose babies either.