Friday, April 24, 2009

Scientific blarney

Of all the addled-brained studies to fund, this one stands out for the week. Toronto Star:
A new study out of the Hospital for Sick Children found babies whose mothers experienced morning sickness later tested a few IQ points higher than children of mothers who had nausea-free pregnancies.

"In a very popular way it kind of says that this suffering is for a good cause," said Dr. Gideon Koren, a top Sick Kids pediatrician and the senior study author. "So it's very reassuring to know that your severe experience right now is likely to have a good outcome." Indeed, Koren said, the worse the morning sickness, the more pronounced the child's intelligence boost.

"More severe morning sickness as we measure the symptoms predicted better brain development," said Koren, who heads the hospital's Motherisk program. Says Mindel, 38: It's nice to know that it's actually doing some good, even though I feel crappy."

The Sick Kids study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, looked at 121 women who were divided about equally into three groups. One group was comprised of mothers who had morning sickness and took nothing for it; another of women who took a common antinausea drug and a third who were nausea free. Children of mothers in both morning sickness groups were found to have IQ an average three to four points higher than those born of mothers in the symptom-free group when they were tested between the ages of 3 and 7.

"It's not that the kids of women who did not have morning sickness were mentally (deficient) or anything like that," Koren says. "But on a population level (the IQ difference) meant that the morning sickness itself confers better brain development."

Obviously, the research staff at Sicks Kids has run out of good ideas to study let alone using a sample size of only 121 women…I suppose this is a question of taking your comfort where you can but I will say I have had three children and only had a slight morning sickness with the boys and none with the daughter.

The morning sickness lasted maybe two weeks. It was easily cured by a little carbonated spring water and salted matzos crackers upon rising. My 17 year old daughter has just finished her first year of an honours bachelors program in neuroscience – on an academic scholarship to boot. If she decides to do a graduate program in neuroscience maybe I will suggest she studies the brain patterns of academic researchers for her thesis topic.

No comments: