Thursday, June 15, 2006

Critical look at Breastfeeding?

My wife sent me a link to this New York Times article on the benefits of breastfeeding, and rather than just replying with a single word like "Interesting!" I sent her the following paragraphs that reflected my views on unfounded claims:

I am glad that there are actual trials underway totest some of the hypotheses that are claimed as benefits of breast feeding.
I'm always reminded of the assumed benefits of hormone replacement therapy, which were assumed to be true fortwo generations, and how shocked everyone was about two years ago, when they were all completely debunkedby a long-term double blind trial.
I'm not trying to downplay breast feeding at all, but so many claims are now being made (like less fussyeaters?!) without solid proof that the public support for breast feeding may come tumbling down if some of them are disproven, if no evidence of benefits hasbeen proven beyond a doubt. Do you get my point?
People love to read an article about something like fat (that a link between fat and certain cancers believed to exist were debunked by study last year) and then say - "See! I knew it all along! Those 'experts' don't really know anything, do they?" It's a profound anti-intellectual streak that runs through Americans. Get the proof, and don't rely on what you think must certainly be true.
My wife said that my reply was "worthy of pharmablogger" so I decided to post it here.