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Baby Einsteins?

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Have you ever tried to actually read an article printed in a medical journal? I’ve had to do it more than a few times…while working as a reporter, and now, while researching my book, “Mama Knows Breast.” Personally, I find that reading the results of a scientific study is an exercise in skimming and extreme concentration. I’m not a doctor. I don’t play one on TV, and the last science class I took was aptly nicknamed “Physics for Poets.” Science is not my forte. Just give me the bottom line.
Anyway, I just read the latest study that examined the possibility of a link between breastfeeding and intelligence. And here’s the study’s conclusion: “Breast feeding has little or no effect on intelligence in children. While breast feeding has many advantages for the child and mother, enhancement of the child’s intelligence is unlikely to be among them.”
The study was published today in the British Medical Journal, BMJ. Here’s a link. The study notes that since 1929, other researchers have found that children who were breastfed had higher IQ’s. But this new study says some of the earlier research is flawed because it did not consider the mother’s IQ as a factor. Basically, the study published today says that kids inherit their IQ; they don’t get it from breastfeeding.
The authors write, “Children who were breast fed had mothers with higher IQ and with more education and who were older, less likely to be in poverty or to smoke, and more likely to provide a stimulating and supportive home environment.” In other words, the kids were smart because their moms were smart, not because they were breastfed.
As the headline from a Medpage story put it, “Children Inhert IQ From Mom’s Brains; Not Her Milk.” For more news stories on this research, you can go to WebMd, MSNBC, or the CBC.
So why don’t I groove on reading scientific articles? Is it because my mom breastfed me for six months and not longer? I doubt it. I simply didn’t get the math or science gene in the family. It went to my brother, the neurologist. And he got less breastmilk than I did.



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