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Allergy research project direct recruitment... hmmmm

(17 Posts)
Lexilicious Tue 13-Oct-09 19:46:24

Not sure how I feel about this. Aside from a bit smug proud of having persevered (still fully BF at 10+3...)

EAT - Enquiring About Tolerance

On the one hand I have read all the website pages and am reassured that it passes standard ethical scrutiny and there's no evidence of food lobby money. It must be difficult to recruit a decent sample size and keep them on the straight and narrow for the whole time. They carefully but gently say that they are all for 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, namechecking the WHO as well as UK govt.

But on the other hand the study wants to introduce... oh hell I'll just cut and paste and light the mumsnet touchpaper put it out there for the considered opinions of mumsnetters.

"If your child is assigned to the Early Introduction Group, you will be asked to continue to breastfeed your baby until at least 6 months of age. However, having checked that your baby has no evidence of having already developed a food allergy, you will also introduce first some baby rice and then some cow?s milk based yoghurt from 3 months of age. Subsequently, you will be asked to introduce some other foods in defined quantities ? peanut butter, fish, wheat, eggs and sesame. By 5 months of age, in addition to still being breastfed, your child will be eating these foods twice a week. One of our dedicated dieticians will offer practical advice and guidance to help you understand how to introduce these foods into your child?s diet and in what quantities.

"If your child is assigned to the Standard Weaning Group, you will be asked to follow the standard UK government weaning guidelines: exclusive breastfeeding until around 6 months of age, and no early introduction (before six months) of certain allergenic foods (cow?s milk, peanuts, wheat, eggs and fish)."

Lexilicious Tue 13-Oct-09 19:47:14

Oh just remembered. My first reaction actually was 'how did they get my address... must have been given it by the HVs. This undermines BF-ing.' But in fact it supports BF-ing because if you've made it to 3 months and join the study you have to sustain it to 6 months whichever group you're in.

NormaStanleyFletcher Tue 13-Oct-09 19:51:09

weaning at 3 mo though?

<<shudder>>

whomovedmychocolate Tue 13-Oct-09 19:51:24

I think they are confusing two things TBH, the sealing of the intestines at around four months, and breastfeeding hmm

Lexilicious Tue 13-Oct-09 19:56:07

sorry about the ?s for apostrophes in the pasted bit. oops

theyoungvisiter Tue 13-Oct-09 20:02:43

eh wmmc?

I don't think they are confusing anything - presumably they are trying to establish whether early introduction of certain allergens does or does not contribute to later allergies. And the easiest and most reliable baseline to do that against would be otherwise exclusive bf.

I wouldn't want to sign my child up for this study because I preferred not to give any solids until 6 months, but I don't think the objectives are confused.

whomovedmychocolate Tue 13-Oct-09 20:17:27

Maybe I'm not explaining myself very well. I was under the impression that the bowels did not seal properly till 17 weeks which was why weaning prior to that increased the level of allergies. Yet it is believed the breastfeeding may be protective against allergies. So I'm unsure if some babies before 17 weeks would have allergies anyway if weaned whether or not they are breastfed.

VirginiaLoveGlove Tue 13-Oct-09 20:22:36

"how did they get my address..."

I wager £100 on .... Bounty!!!!

whelk Tue 13-Oct-09 20:23:21

Well I exclusively bf both my dc to 6mo and both got food allergies. Interested in any rsearch escially given my specialist's suggestion that its best not to delay too much.........

theyoungvisiter Tue 13-Oct-09 20:23:57

well there is some evidence that very early introduction of allergens can help prevent allergies - peanut allergy, for example, spiked after advice was given to exclude peanuts from pregnant mothers and young babies' diets. Whereas in some countries where it's given as an early weaning food, allergies are very low.

But it's not clear how ethnicity and environment etc interacts with that.

So I presume they are trying to mimic the conditions of these countries where peanut (for eg) allergies are very low, while keeping all other influencing factors out. So the physiologically normal baseline would be an exclusively bf baby.

Presumably if they establish that early introduction of allergens is the safest course in an exclusively bf baby, then they can go on to study how that interacts with formula and mixed fed babies.

But of course it's eminently possible that they will discover that late introduction of allergens is safest, in which case I guess they'll have to do a separate study to look at why that doesn't appear to be the case in other countries.

QueenOfFrighteningEveryone Tue 13-Oct-09 20:27:52

I always assumed that part of the reason BF was associated with lower allergy risk is because it does introduce babies to v v low levels of allergens.

I wouldn't be volunteering my child for this study, it just doesn't sit right with me. But at the same time I am v interested in the results [hypocrite]

QueenOfFrighteningEveryone Tue 13-Oct-09 20:31:03

More about the study and its methodology/hypothesis etc.

theyoungvisiter Tue 13-Oct-09 20:34:05

"I wouldn't be volunteering my child for this study, it just doesn't sit right with me. But at the same time I am v interested in the results [hypocrite]"

I feel exactly the same. But I don't think it's hypocritical to be interested in the results. Weaning and bfing is one area where I want to do it my way, so I wouldn't want my choices to be randomised. But there are plenty of other areas of parenting where I wouldn't mind flipping a coin, so I'm sure there are parents out there who will feel that way about weaning.

It sounds like a well-designed study, and since there's some evidence to show that babies in the allergen group may well be safer, they are not just recklessly endangering one group babies over another.

EdgarAllenPoo Tue 13-Oct-09 20:48:52

i would be interested, but i'd prefer not to be assigned to the 6 months ebf group...in case i had a really hungry baby. i made it to 5 mo with ds..but that was wearing a bit towards the end. self-assignation would prejudice the test....and it would be hard to have an afternoon off...

i have often argued on here that the argument for exclusive breastfeeding until 6 mo isn't that strong...so look forwards to this new study.

there was a study of 500 babies in kent that showed exactly the same thing with respect to allergies (ie that duration of BF had an effect, but exclusivity did not.) and i find the american study rubbish flawed, in that some of the babies in the 6 month group still hadn't been given food at the end of the study, and they were all kids with a predispoisiton to allergies.

with respect to gastroenteritic disease there may be an increased risk, but previous studies (eg Belarus) have failed to pick out the effect of EBF from Bf..only whther setting the aspiration had a positive effect....

so yes, i wouldn't see it as risky to participate,but i think it would place quite an onus on you to do certain things whether you felt they were needed or not - rather than taking it at you and your babies pace.

Lexilicious Tue 13-Oct-09 21:10:51

"I wouldn't be volunteering my child for this study, it just doesn't sit right with me. But at the same time I am v interested in the results [hypocrite]"

that probably sums up my feelings actually. And EAP's last paragraph.

side-topic: it can't have been Bounty because it was sent to my parents address where I holed up for the first five weeks. Must be the NHS trust I was signed into for postnatal mw/hv visits. Although for some reason Asda also sends me guff there, and I don't think there even is an Asda in Bromley.

EdgarAllenPoo Tue 13-Oct-09 21:30:07

whoah, must be a quiet night on MN if this one hasn't taken 100 posts yet...

theyoungvisiter Tue 13-Oct-09 21:44:49

I don't think anyone on MN disputes the need for research into this - do they? It's the loons tipping baby rice into their 6 week baby's bottle, or claiming that little DS is "hungry" because he's chewing his fists at 12 weeks that get backs up.

Reckless people wilfully ignoring guidelines because they think they have an "instinct" is one thing. Careful, responsible, impartial scientific research is another.

I think most people can recognise the difference.

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