Friday, September 14, 2012

Parenting Media This Week: Allergies, Breastfeeding Professors, Pot and Pertussis


Here's a selection of the most fabulous lines drawn from the parenting media this week.

Snarkiest Comment comes from Abigail Zuger, M.D. reviewing in the New York Times Epidemic of Absence, a book by Moises Velasquez-Manoff who says we get sick because we're too clean (i.e.the Super Hygiene Hypothesis):
But Mr. Velasquez-Manoff’s ambitious compendium of data and supposition — a great dense fruitcake of a book whose 680 end notes, the author notes apologetically, refer to only a minority of the 10,000 studies he consulted* — spins it all out in the most positive possible way with an energy, eloquence and desire to believe that is both breathtaking and a little scary.
The final insult:
Even the most critical reader has to give Mr. Velasquez-Manoff credit for the prodigious task he has undertaken as he shovels around reams of data, most of which he lacks the expertise to interpret.  
*As if anyone would publish let alone read a book with 10,000 end notes. 


Comment/Article Most Likely to Cause Controversy comes from Adrienne Pine, anthropology professor at  American University, responding to criticism after she breastfed her feverish daughter while giving a lecture:
If I considered feeding my child to be a “delicate” or sensitive act, I would not have done it in front of my students. Nor would I have spent the previous year doing it on buses, trains and airplanes; on busy sidewalks and nice restaurants; in television studios and while giving plenary lectures to large conferences. I admit those lectures haven't always gone so well (baby can get fidgety), but as a single parent without help or excess income, my choice has been between sacrificing my professional life and slogging through it.
Comment Most Out of Touch with the Social Demands of Collegiate Life  comes from Lisa Belkin in Parentry column at Huffington Post commenting on a student in Pine's lecture who tweeted his objections to said breastfeeding-assisted lecture:

Since when is it okay for a student to be tweeting in the middle of a class?
Answer: Since it's been okay to disrupt a lecture with a sick baby.

Most Ridiculous Comment/Article Intended to Cause Controversy comes from pot-smoking former back-pain sufferer and father of three Mark Wolfe in an op-ed at the New York Times:

But for me, at least, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. I find the time I spend with my children to be qualitatively different and simply more fun when I take my medicine (always in private, never in front of them, never too much). I am able to become a kid again, to see things through my daughters’ eyes and experience, if I’m lucky, the wonder of each new game, each new object and sound, as they do.
  Most Refreshing Evidence-Based Comment comes from Dolores Malaspina, a psychiatry professor at NYU cited in the op-ed in the New York Times by Judith Shulevitz Why Fathers Really Matter:
It's the aging man who damages the offspring. 
Damages the offspring. Yikes. Only from the lips of a nurturing academic psychiatrist. 

Comment Most Likely to Confuse Busy Parents comes from Alice Park writing about a new study of the pertussis vaccine (aka Whooping Cough vaccine) supposedly showing how the vaccine loses efficacy over time. Park starts off talking about this declining efficacy:
Researchers say that the childhood immunization against whooping cough fades substantially over time, leaving even fully vaccinated children vulnerable to infection.
So clearly the efficacy declines over time:

In the report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Nicola Klein and her colleagues at the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center found that the efficacy of the pertussis vaccine declined sharply after children received the last of the five recommended childhood shots, increasing their risk of acquiring the disease by 42% each year. In other words, the study showed, a vaccine that was 95% effective to start would be only 71% effective five years later. Researchers say that the childhood immunization against whooping cough fades substantially over time, leaving even fully vaccinated children vulnerable to infection.
Not as effective. Declining efficacy. Got it. Right. Uh, not exactly:
Health experts point out that the current study did not look at DTaP’s effectiveness per se; rather, it assessed the risk of pertussis among a vaccinated group of children. 
Of course. Not a declining efficacy. A risk that rises over time.


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