Science Round Up

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Two studies were released yesterday that have the parenthood set all abuzz.

The first adds to the mountain of evidence that supports the propriety of vaccinating your kids. I almost feel bad for the authors, having to brave the scary waters of this topic. I can't think of any other scientific subject that has caused so much fury and diatribe as of late, can you?

The second comes to the conclusion that school-aged kids need more unstructured playtime and less work.

The conclusions are both pretty retro, lassoing back to a time when recess meant four-square and tag, not time to study for an exam, and when vaccinations were performed as matter of course.

In the bigger picture, these studies make me even more wary of--well--taking studies too much to heart. We as a group (the group being parents) are quite reactionary. The second we became pregnant it seems we developed a third eye and ear, perpetually attuned to the "latest news" on baby dangers, the newest "survey" of toxins. But the rate at which we can get information these days--all the noise of forwarded emails, websites, blogs, newspapers, magazines, tv shows, celebrity opinions--is astonishing and we can probably find two studies concluding exactly opposite things with one simple google search.

So what's a mom to do except try to filter out some of the noise? Recently I've been trying to act with less information, instead of more, as counter-intuitive as that sounds. It goes against every fiber of my being--I was the girl that liked to cross-check World Book with Encyclopedia Brittanica. I suppose it's called trusting your gut. I know my gut couldn't author these two studies (can you imagine the peer review?) but it certainly agrees with them.
10 comments:
Anonymous said...

Agreed. BUt thank god more studies ARE coming out about vaccination. It's criminal that people aren't vaccinating their kids because people like Jenny McCarthy have decided to go on some ill based crusade.

Saima said...

I am going to send the study about playtime to my son's elementary school. I am consistantly amazed at how much work these little kids have. I'm all for getting ahead but at what price and if there is actual evidence that a little more time outdoors is beneficial than it supports my suspicions. Childhood should be some fun no???

nursing mom said...

I couldn't agree more. Look at what all the "studies" convinced our mothers' generation of in terms of nursing: that formula is better! Clearly the practice of breastfeeding is natural and age old and yet, within one generation almost nobody was doing it anymore...

Anu said...

Yes, acting on instinct has been replaced by acting on Google! There is so much information available to us these days, that if we don't choose to just turn it off once in awhile, we'll go crazy.

Pooja said...

Very interesting studies. And you're right: They confirm for me once again that less is more!

Shona said...

Totally hear you, I am learning to take a deep breath and move on whenever the newest and greatest study comes out that says that dairy is bad! cribs are bad! etc etc. it's as if there is an entire industry just to scare all parents.

Shelly said...

it's funny, in the beginning, and when i was pregnant, i would devour anything and everything pregnancy-related or about kids and i think i will do it again when my son gets to each new stage but the moment if elt comfortable in any new role, i let go of all the reading and "noise." i also find that talking to friends is a natural filter--you need good mom friends who have your back and who will tell you what you need to know and vice versa, i thank god for mine.

Savitri said...

while i agree to some extent, it is tehse same studies that show us that BPA is bad for our kids and that the lead in their toys needs to be removed. we need the people doing the studies and we need the watchdogs. but we also need to chill out i agree. it's just a very fine balance.

Esha said...

i know i am in the minority on this but i can see the advanatage and the necessity of more classroom time. american kids lag behind and as it is getting more and more competitive to get into colleges, they need to learn more. plus the kids have extra curriculur activities after school so it's not like they aren't getting outside at all. it's easy to jump on the bandwagon that "kids should be kids" and all that but kids also need to compete in a worldwide market.

Anonymous said...

Man I find that there is moer "noise" in my head than ever. I think it's because I am constantly feeding my child and surfing the internet so as not to go out of my mind with the non stop feeding cyle so of course i hit all the news sites and there is just so much crap crap crap. i guess i could try to read a book but I don't have the attention span for it. It's kinda ironic when you have a baby and you should probably become clear headed that you have to fill it with so much other junk.

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