Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vaccines, Cognitive Function, and Fathers

If you're into the whole are-vaccines-liked-to-cognitive-problems, you're probably already heard that researchers writing New England Journal of Medicine today offered their take: "Our study does not support a causal association between early exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines and immune globulins and deficits in neuropsychological functioning at the age of 7 to 10 years."

This is obviously not usually a forum to discuss epidemiology (though a subject near and dear to my heart), and I wanted to flag the study for one other reason, which was brought to my attention by a sharp-eyed erstwhile colleague of mine. In the methods section, the researchers noted that kids were not to have been given ADHD drugs before they were assessed. Except that's not exactly how they put it:
Mothers were asked to refrain from giving children selected prescription medicines for attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) the day before testing. [emph. mine]
I am sure the medical literature is riddled with this sort of thing, and I miss examples all the time. Still: shouldn't researchers -- of all people -- concede that some times, in some families, it's dad who dispenses the meds?


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