If work done by Steven Milloy is indicative, parents may be able to relax about letting their children watch "Baby Einstein" videos, and the Journal of Pediatrics and the AAP may have some apologizing to do to Disney.
Apart from illustrating the limitations of peer review and applicability of data, it unfortunately illustrates something I've noticed with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Specifically, they've been willing to publish articles that probably should never have been published--at least without major revisions and qualifications of their conclusions.
Some examples? Sure. On the basis of a discredited study claiming you were more likely to be killed than saved by your own gun (the victims in the Kellerman study were actually killed with someone else's gun, by and large), they've come out against firearm ownership by parents. The proper conclusion of the Kellerman study is that you shouldn't live in a bad neighborhood and have criminals among your friends.
Also, on the basis of a few dozen reports of "failure to thrive" among babies subjected to Gary Ezzo's "Babywise" feeding schedule, they've issued a warning about this program. I am no fan of Ezzo or "Baby-Foolish", but I took a look at the actual data, and there is no significant difference; the overall % for "failure to thrive" is about 1%, so a few dozen cases would be statistically significant only if a few thousand people used his schedule.
Finally, the AAP came out recently with a recommendation against parents sleeping with their babies on the basis of one study that did not attempt to separate different variables related to SIDS and baby smothering. Unfortunately for the AAP's credibility, there are dozens of other studies that do control for these variables (smoking, couch vs. bed, intoxication, etc..) and demonstrate that co-sleeping is not a significant hazard.
Now don't get me wrong; I appreciate pediatricians and their work, and I'm very glad that they are good at recognizing diseases common to children. I just think that when they start telling parents how to live, they're in deeper than they can swim.
Which is, by the way, one statistically significant thing they can tell parents that is more significant than the four things I've mentioned combined. Be careful around the water.
Full-Contact Rugby - by Frank Turk Last week, I made a point to say that nobody wants to be, by analogy, this little fellow: That is, nobody wants to always be the one with ...
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