Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Study shows that Studies can be hazardous to your mental health

My name is Tony and I'm a researcher. ("Hi Tony")

Whenever I make a large purchase and many times even small purchases, I do extensive research. You want help buying a Digital SLR camera? A Blu Ray player? Home Theater? Drop me a line. I've done the research. Parents...want advice on good learning toys? money saving baby products? sex toys to spice up your marriage? Been there, done that.

I look for every review, article, specification, and try to do a hands on check before I buy. Okay, maybe not the sex toys.

Before I move on to my annoyance of specific studies, let me make one proclamation. If it's man-made, it's a carcinogen. First there was Sweet and Low (saccharin) ..... carcinogen .... then Nutrasweet (Aspartame) .....carcinogen..... Splenda (sucralose) ..... okay, not yet, but give it time (I actually found that it is made by taking sugar and replacing Carbon atoms with Chlorine...yeah, that's sure to be safe). Companies can save trillions of dollars in research money by just subscribing to this simple statement.

Okay, back to the topic at hand. As a researcher, I'm quick to look up information on the "rules" about parenting. You know the ones...they can eat this, they can't eat this, this is okay but only after 6 months, use this but only anally after 3 months (oh, sorry, I did a flashback to the sex toys), formula-bad...whipping out your breast with complete disregard for everyone because it's my right and I don't care what anyone thinks-good. Had to throw that last one in there for shock value. Maybe my "comment per post" record (7 at post time) will triple.

The issue of the day..... peanut allergies. We as a society have become paranoid about everything having to do with how we raise our children, including what we feed them. Now, some are good. Although I think using infant formula is fine, breastfeeding just logically seems to be the best thing to do, if you can. Of course, when I was a baby it was the complete opposite. At that time, 75% of all babies were breastfed (insert Generation X = lazy = direct result of powered baby formula joke here).

I think the problem starts in two places....lawyers and research studies....and then merges into one big clusterf#%k.

One, young people still haven't gotten the word that there are too many law students and not enough lawyer jobs. As a direct result, there is one personal injury lawyer for every 0.5 people in this country. And then the dominoes fall. Personal injury lawyer ads are seen on TV more than all car ads combined = parents picture themselves as Roy Munson in Kingpin's Indecent Proposal spoof swimming in a million dollars after selling Ishmael to the Chris Elliot character = people are ready to sue any doctor who does anything equal or above dropping a tongue depressor on their child's foot.

Two, the ten million studies that are done in this country. Each one contradicting the previous one.

Now, let's merge those two factors. Too many lawyers = too many personal injury lawyers = selling out your buddy's butt for a million dollars = scared doctors + the next study that says X is bad for someone + protective mother = child can't have product X.

According to my wife (paraphrasing from a doctor), a child shouldn't be given peanuts before the age of two (I might not be remembering correctly, it might be 3) as doing this increases the risk that said child will develop a peanut allergy.

I've always been skeptical about what the latest fad is. Dieting is perfect example. Fat is bad, no...Carbs are bad, now you need Acai berries, blah, blah, blah. Selling a video saying "get your ass on a f!@$ing treadmill you lazy piece of s#$t" apparently just won't sell. I just go on common sense.

My thoughts on this (not introducing peanuts until a certain age), before doing any research, have always been:

1. If this is the way to go, then why are peanut allergies so prevalent now when they weren't when I was a child.

If you're in your 30's like me, think back to when you were a kid. Do you remember anyone having a severe peanut allergy or any type of severe allergy? I don't. I remember one kid being lactose intolerant, that was about it. Back then, there were no rules about when to start giving a child peanuts or not eating peanuts when you were pregnant or breastfeeding.

Now, it seems like every class has one kid who will turn to stone if he or she even looks at a peanut. I've read about schools having "no peanut butter" tables for kids with peanut allergies. My nephew has a peanut allergy.

2. The conventional wisdom which always made sense to me was building immunity was important at an early age. This is also why I never prescribed to the killing germ craze. On a side note, does it get any better than the South Park "Chicken Pox" episode where the parents try to deliberately expose their kids to chicken pox, the kids find out and give them the ultimate FU by getting a Herpes-inflicted prostitute to use their parents' toothbrushes? I think not.

OK, being the researcher that I am, I did some googling to find some information about peanut allergies. Strangely I could not easily find the study or article about not introducing a child to peanuts until the age of 2 (hence the mention of age 3 above which I did find here).

What I did find is that maybe my common sense approach has some merit. Imagine that, new study completely contradicts the old study. Honey, Dominic is having a peanut butter sandwich for dinner tonight. :)

Mama won't let me have peanut butter.


  1. Hey- why am I the bad guy??? I'm (we're) following our Dr's instructions and she says not until after the age of 2. Same with strawberries, and no shell fish until age 3.

    Our nephew with the peanut allergy was exposed to peanuts in the very first months of life. His mom had heard about how young kids should not eat peanuts, but didn't think about how she should not eat peanut butter while breast feeding. Would he have developed the allergy anyway? We can't answer that. But it's a definite possibility that's why he has it. I'm (we're) not taking that chance.

    And DUDE, keep our sex toys out of it. Jeez mon!!!

  2. I never said you were the bad guy. I mentioned the doctor was the source.

    The picture was just for a laugh (same as the sex toy reference). Plus, I needed an excuse to use that picture.

  3. I researched the hell out of this one, too, since peanut butter is like the fifth food group at our house. One of the more common sense explanations I've read about the waiting until 2 years old is that by that point most kids are able to clearly communicate to you if they start to have an allergic reaction. So it's more about safely introducing a potentially life-threatening allergen and less about "causing" an allergy.

    For what it's worth, I ate peanut butter both while I was pregnant AND while I was breastfeeding both my kids. Goose is only 9 months old and hasn't eaten it yet, but the Monkeyboy is not allergic to it and loves it. He's eaten a PB&J for lunch every day since, uh, forever. However, I have to say we waited until almost 18 months to introduce him to peanut butter because I was freaked nonetheless.

  4. Jen,

    If that was the reasoning behind it, I could understand it, however that wasn't mentioned in our case.

    And even if that was the reasoning, I think it would then make sense to introduce peanuts/peanut butter in a controlled environment (at a doctor's office) rather than just ruling it out.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. My wife and your wife should hang out so they each have someone to tell them how unreasonable their husbands are.

    Like you, I suspect that society is manufacturing the rise in allergies itself by virtue of the fear mongering that's going on. My wife made me wait until my daughter was three before she tasted the sweet, sweet wonder that is shrimp. (I don't remember how long we waited for PB... not three, but certainly a year and a half if not longer.)

  6. Shellfish are also banned. Not sure if it's 2 or 3 for that one. Also, strawberries until 2. Nuts (and PB) just stick out because of the rise of nut allergies and PB free tables at school.

    I get the impression from Sofia (it's hard to tell with a 3 year old) that one or two kids in her daycare class (about 12 kids or so) can't have peanut butter. The subject came up because we drive it into her head that Dominic can't get a hold of peanut butter filled pretzels or Reese's Puffs cereal.