Breast feeding compared to smoking. Watch

Huw Davies
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#61
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Tried pubmed for coca-cola and cancer:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum
The predictions from the theory that large-scale consumption of Coca-Cola would prevent cancer and promote coronary heart disease was tested and found to be supported by the results of a long-scale prospective study.
!!!

Okay so it's still bad for you, but that one was surprising.

There is actually quite a lot of anti-coke sentiment and some demand to make it less available to children (restricting advertising and not selling it in schools). Because it makes you fat.

(Original post by horrorboy)
And this http ://www.healthonnet.org/News/HSN/601878.html, how on earth can milk you had as a baby make you less or more socially mobile? People make choices in life.
Being tall also makes you more socially mobile (and makes you earn more), and is linked with good nutrition and protection against disease. Which are both functions of breast milk.

Are you saying the data is wrong, just because it doesn't fit your limited worldview? Human developmental physiology is immensely complicated. Environmental and psychological effects can have real and measurable biological effects.

Evidently you resent being told what to do by well-meaning experts. Which is a perfectly fair perspective. Whether you should be compelled to do what they say, or hectored about it, or left alone, is an entirely seperate issue from whether or not their data and conclusions are correct.
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Jerry Meandering
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(Original post by Anonymous,)
Hi guys I was reading that public breastfeeding thread and thought that I would follow on with this. On another forum Ive been signed up on for about a year everyone is really pro breastfeeding saying that breast feeding kids are smarter, happier less illness throughout life, as though its some essential liquid with which you are doomed for life if you don't recieve. So its quite a hot topic and I wondered if TSR overall has the same attitude, do you think not breast feeding a baby is as bad or worse than breastfeeding AND smoking around babies? I don't since smoking is known to cause certain disease but was just thinking of a debate to start.

Btw does anyone know how I send audio files and pictures on to this forum? I thought it was manage attachments but it won't let me.
We can certainly draw a correlation between breast feeding and kids being smarter, happier, and suffering less illness throughout life, but is there any real causation?
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Renal
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(Original post by horrorboy)
There are studies titled 'breastfeeding may be key to success'. How pathetic is this?
There are news articles with similar titles, but would you care to show us one of these studies with that title?
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horrorboy
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(Original post by Huw Davies)
Tried pubmed for coca-cola and cancer:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

!!!

Okay so it's still bad for you, but that one was surprising.

There is actually quite a lot of anti-coke sentiment and some demand to make it less available to children (restricting advertising and not selling it in schools). Because it makes you fat.



Being tall also makes you more socially mobile (and makes you earn more), and is linked with good nutrition and protection against disease. Which are both functions of breast milk.

Are you saying the data is wrong, just because it doesn't fit your limited worldview? Human developmental physiology is immensely complicated. Environmental and psychological effects can have real and measurable biological effects.

Evidently you resent being told what to do by well-meaning experts. Which is a perfectly fair perspective. Whether you should be compelled to do what they say, or hectored about it, or left alone, is an entirely seperate issue from whether or not their data and conclusions are correct.
I think a lot of the research is junk science thats all. Like them studies which showed that breast feeding increased intellligence but as soon as a larger scale study was done and the mothers intelligence was taken into account no difference was found.

Same with obesity apparantly now the latest studies have concluded that breast feeding does not prevent obesity. There are even studies (someone posted them in a different thread) that conclude that breast feeding increases asthma risk and results in siffer arteries in later life. I think these are from the British medical journal one of the most respected research sites yet how can breastmilk which is the perfect food designed for babies be harmful? It doesn't make sense I know I come across as a stupid know it all but things like this that make me think that a lot of the conclusions of long term complicated studies are not valid enough. Then they are put on the news and people take them to heart.

Bit random but people were talking about energy saving light bulbs causing skin problems last week in college which will be interesting since I heard that by 2010 you will not be able to buy traditional bulbs.
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horrorboy
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(Original post by Renal)
There are news articles with similar titles, but would you care to show us one of these studies with that title?
A University Of Bristol study I doubt you will think much of it http://www.healthonnet.org/News/HSN/601878.html
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Huw Davies
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I don't think much of your identification of the actual study's title (what you link to is a news article). It's the rather sober:
"Breast feeding in infancy and social mobility: 60-year follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

If nothing else, this discussion is doing my Pubmed searching skills a whole lot of good.
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Renal
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(Original post by Huw Davies)
I don't think much of your identification of the actual study's title (what you link to is a news article). It's the rather sober:
"Breast feeding in infancy and social mobility: 60-year follow-up of the Boyd Orr cohort."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

If nothing else, this discussion is doing my Pubmed searching skills a whole lot of good.
Kudos to you for saving me having to pubmed it myself.

**** off to the cretin who's happy to demonstrate that he knows nothing.
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horrorboy
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(Original post by Renal)
**** off to the cretin who's happy to demonstrate that he knows nothing.
Me? cheers Sorry mate I do tend to argue too much with people more intelligent than me its just the way I am, wish I was cleverer actually. Which parts of what I think are wrong?
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Huw Davies
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Your confusion between news reports and study titles. Even when it's explained (and the study linked to).
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alio~
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(Original post by Huw Davies)
Your confusion between news reports and study titles. Even when it's explained (and the study linked to).
So this means he knows nothing? He seems to think more critically than most of the public at least lol, my nan accepts research findings as fact Nothing is black and white Ive seen studies concluding that infant formula has long term benefits over breast milk.

Out of interest what are the proven benefits of breast feeding? Where do you draw the line between research and actual proof in medicine?
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Huw Davies
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(Original post by alio~)
So this means he knows nothing? He seems to think more critically than most of the public at least lol, my nan accepts research findings as fact Nothing is black and white Ive seen studies concluding that infant formula has long term benefits over breast milk.

Out of interest what are the proven benefits of breast feeding? Where do you draw the line between research and actual proof in medicine?
I'm not saying he knows nothing. I was just answering his question.

Studies:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...RVAbstractPlus
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...RVAbstractPlus

The balance of evidence based on reviews (though I can't find one on Cochrane, which would amount to platinum standard for me) is that breast is better in most circumstances. Hence it's recommended by pretty much everyone scientifically respectable.

http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/

There is no "actual proof" in science outside mathematics, if we're being picky. Not even for gravity, or the laws of thermodynamics. However, there are conclusions which can be considered more or less likely based on empirical evidence, which we have in this case.

Critical thinking does not involve kneejerk dismissal of the data at hand based on prejudice against being told (or in this case, advised) what to do. If you tried to argue for the right to smoke in private on the basis that the evidence for smoking's ill-effects are wrong, you'd be considered an idiot.

horrorboy has resorted to several weak arguments, fallacies, and flat-out inaccuracies.
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alio~
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Ah thanks for those. Dismissing breast feeding research is not as bad as dismissing smoking research though is it?

As the first article states

'A history of breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of many diseases in infants and mothers from developed countries. Because almost all the data in this review were gathered from observational studies, one should not infer causality based on these findings. '

The last sentance cannot apply to smoking since it is a fact that smoking can damage health, but it is not a fact that breast feeding has significant long term benefits. Am I right?
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Huw Davies
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Richard Doll's evidence about smoking started with observational studies, too. At the moment the research about smoking causing lung cancer is much more watertight than that about long-term health benefits in breast-feeding, but there is nevertheless quite a lot of the latter and it's not worth dismissing out of hand as horrorboy does.

Without getting too naturalistically fallacious, mammals are known for breastfeeding and it would be surprising if it wasn't to some extent adaptive.

If you search the Cochrane Collaboration for "breastfeeding", there are a load of studies which mention breastfeeding in the background as a given in studies of the effectiveness of initiatives promoting it for example, so our data is quite satisfying.

Will have a look for interventional studies. Likely to soon today as heavy promotion of breastfeeding has only occurred relatively recently.
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alio~
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(Original post by Huw Davies)
Richard Doll's evidence about smoking started with observational studies, too. At the moment the research about smoking causing lung cancer is much more watertight than that about long-term health benefits in breast-feeding, but there is nevertheless quite a lot of the latter and it's not worth dismissing out of hand as horrorboy does.

Will have a look for interventional studies. Likely to soon today as heavy promotion of breastfeeding has only occurred relatively recently.
I think one of horrorboy's points was that too many of the public take the results of research as fact, not sure though.
Do you think that in several decades lack of breast feeding will be found to be almost as harmful as smoking? What confuses me is that there are also studies which show no difference in the long term among those who were breast fed and formula fed yet the studies which support the 'breast is best' hypothesis seem to be taken more notice of. I might be wrong but its just how it seems to me. What are you studying btw?
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Huw Davies
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When a large number of studies are done on a question, the nature of statistics is that there will be a mixture of positive, negative and inconclusive results. This is because of differences in study protocol, the sample used, sample size, and simple random noise. The purpose of systematic reviews is to analyse these data to produce a more accurate conclusion. It is not simply that one looks at some studies and discounts others, but that one looks at many studies and surmises an overall trend.

Barring actual fabrication, the results of research in terms of the data itself are fact. The interpretation of the data however is up for grabs and most of the general public isn't scientifically literate enough to do it themselves. This means that they trust to journalists who tend to be hyperbolic and not great at science themselves, which means that things like sample size, p values, relative vs. absolute risk, etc. aren't considered.

Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column in the Guardian (and blog) has very scathing analysis of media science coverage.

I study preclinical medicine.
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PinkMobilePhone
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(Original post by Huw Davies)
When a large number of studies are done on a question, the nature of statistics is that there will be a mixture of positive, negative and inconclusive results. This is because of differences in study protocol, the sample used, sample size, and simple random noise. The purpose of systematic reviews is to analyse these data to produce a more accurate conclusion. It is not simply that one looks at some studies and discounts others, but that one looks at many studies and surmises an overall trend.

Barring actual fabrication, the results of research in terms of the data itself are fact. The interpretation of the data however is up for grabs and most of the general public isn't scientifically literate enough to do it themselves. This means that they trust to journalists who tend to be hyperbolic and not great at science themselves, which means that things like sample size, p values, relative vs. absolute risk, etc. aren't considered.

Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column in the Guardian (and blog) has very scathing analysis of media science coverage.

I study preclinical medicine.
I must be one of those scientifically illiterate people - because my goodness that really did hurt my head to read.
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Huw Davies
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(Original post by PinkMobilePhone)
I must be one of those scientifically illiterate people - because my goodness that really did hurt my head to read.
Bad news for me: I have to explain my research project in layman's terms in an interview on Friday! I can have another go at explaining if you like.
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alio~
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I think I understood that actually (surprised), so the journalists are probably making breast feeding seem more beneficial than it is? About what percentage of studies have to show a positive result for services like the NHS to advise the public?
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Huw Davies
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It's not down to percentages - some studies are better than others - there is a "hierarchy of evidence" which accords (though not in a rigid fashion) greater weight to some kinds of study. Additionally, large trials are better than small ones. Meta-analysis is a method for combining the results of several small trials to increase their statistical power.

http://www.shef.ac.uk/scharr/ir/unit.../hierarchy.htm

It helps a theory to be consistent with other well-attested facts - in the case of breast-feeding, maternal antibodies are known to protect against post-natal infections, and given millions of years of mammalian evolution breastmilk is likely to be pretty optimal in terms of nutrition.

In horrorboy's specific "key to success" example journalists are exaggerating the importance of the finding. However, breastfeeding is regarded as the better option by everybody in medical science, mostly with a few to the short-term benefits rather than the long-term ones discussed in the article.

Wikipedia's summary seems pretty well backed-up, though I've not checked out the references exhaustively.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding
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alio~
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Your joking by the look of the risk factors in the wikipedia 'infant formula' article most people who were formula fed would be in poorer health than normal lol.

Thanks for explaining everything.
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