Saturday, October 21, 2006


For the past week or so, I've been browsing medical blogs to avoid studying for my dreaded (but now completed) pediatrics exam. I've seen the occasional poorly written tome, but for the most part my fellow medical writers are very well-spoken. One thing some of my favorite bloggers have done is incorporate articles into their blogs, sort of an internet book report show-and-tell type of thing. Yes, I realize that makes all of us huge nerds. That fact didn't keep me from feeling totally inspired to do something similar myself, so from now on I will try to review articles on here that might be interesting to someone other than myself. No clinical trials of one ACE inhibitor compared to the new "pharmaceutical company's losing the patent so they changed a hydrogen group on the compound to get a new 7 year patent" drug on here, though. I'll try to keep it sort of not boring.

Like this article I used for my CAT during peds. At my school, a cat is not a feline, but a "critically appraised topic". I had to dissect this article to shreds, pointing out the study groups, the statistics, and... I'm even boring myself with this discussion. The article, however, was fairly interesting.

Apparently, the belief has long been held amongst pediatricians that breast milk will make a baby smarter than the average bear. The first study of breast vs. formula was done in 1929. Since pediatricians love boobies, many studies have been done on this topic, most showing an advantage to the breast milk. One thing none of these studies seemed to adequately account for was the intelligence of the mother compared to the intelligence of the kid. IQ is highly heritable, so it stands to reason that smart moms have smart babies. As it turns out, this study shows that smart moms tend to breast feed in addition to having smart babies. One arm of the study compared sibling pairs where one was breastfed and the other formula-fed and found no difference in intelligence. The milks alone did not make smart or dumb babies. The main reason I cared about this article is for the women who choose to feed formula or who cannot breastfeed. While breastmilk obviously offers many advantages to a baby, later intelligence is NOT one of them. Apparently, there are still pediatricians who will guilt-trip a mom over this issue.

(Der G, Batty GD, Deary IJ. Effect of breast feeding on intelligence in children: prospective
study, sibling pairs analysis, and meta-analysis. BMJ Der et al. doi: 10.1136/bmj.38978.699583.55)

Now that I've sufficiently bored all 3 of you who read this, I'm going to bed to enjoy my weekend with NO SICK KIDS. None. Not a single one. It's awesome.


Chemgirl1681 said...

I like that review...I thought it was pretty stupid to think that breastmilk makes the baby smart, I would think that stimilating them would be way more affective (ie read, speak in full sentences, play with them instead of sitting them in front of a TV). But that's just my two cents being a New Mom of 1 :)

Jenn said...

I totally agree, and those things are actually proven to help increase a baby's language skills...