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posted by Dopefish on Wednesday February 26 2014, @05:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the will-somebody-think-of-the-children? dept.

GungnirSniper writes:

"The Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, has found that use of acetaminophen (paracetamol) during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk for HKDs [hyperkinetic disorders] and ADHD-like behaviors in children. More than half of all mothers in the study reported acetaminophen use while pregnant.

The LA Times has a longer and lighter story about the study which reminds us 'that unchecked fevers have been associated with a number of poor health outcomes in babies, including lowered IQs.'

Led by neuropsychologist Miriam Cooper of the University of Cardiff in Wales, the group wrote that without more details on how acetaminophen might lay the foundations for later ADHD, and when and in whom it is most likely to boost risk, the current findings should be interpreted cautiously and should not change practice.

For pregnant women, the study underscores that, even when a medication is billed as safe, the safest route is to take it as rarely as possible and at the lowest effective dose, said UCLA obstetrician Dr. Daniel Kahn, a maternal-fetal health specialist who was not involved in the study.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't?"

 
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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by useless on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:47PM

    by useless (426) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @04:47PM (#7401)

    Ah, ok, I think I see where you may be getting my point confused. Correct me if I'm wrong:
    This study was not an actual clinical trial to test the effects of acetaminophen during pregnancy, or a trial to find the potential causes of ADHD. It was more of a research project on general pregnancy data, and they found an interesting, potential link. Check out the overview of the DNBC to see where their research data came from, and the wide array of follow-up studies it has lead to.

    So there is not really a "flaw" in the report per se, it's that this report did not come from a focused study. Meaning there are no definitive results to base an factual conclusion on.

    Cheers

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by sbgen on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:08PM

    by sbgen (1302) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:08PM (#7437)

    You are right this was not a clinical study, it was epidemiological inquiry. However, the results are definitive and the factual conclusion is that there is enough data in here to formulate a hypothesis to start detailed basic science research. Not everything in medical science need to be clinical study to be of valid concern to public health. I agree that sensationalizing to the general public is not good but then again I read only the actual paper, not the general press.

    --
    Warning: Not a computer expert, but got to use it. Yes, my kind does exist.
    • (Score: 1) by useless on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:32PM

      by useless (426) on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:32PM (#7456)

      Exactly my point. It's a start, not the end.

  • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:19PM

    by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 26 2014, @06:19PM (#7445) Journal

    So there is not really a "flaw" in the report per se, it's that this report did not come from a focused study. Meaning there are no definitive results to base an factual conclusion on.

    The abstract gives numerical results in the form of "hazard ratios" (presumably this [wikipedia.org]) and CIs (which I assume stands for Confidence Intervals). Aren't those definitive enough? If an actual clinical trial to test the effects of acetaminophen during pregnancy had been done instead, and had come up with the same results & confidence intervals, should that have been considered more definitive?

    Notwithstanding the criticisms of epidemiology [oxfordjournals.org], shouldn't all the relevant issues have been factored in to the confidence intervals? So the mere fact that this is yet another result from the Danish National Birth Cohort shouldn't be seen as lessening the validity of the result - should it?