Tuesday, November 6, 2007

6.8 IQ points! Give me a break!

When reviewing the web today it has become clear that the media is again hyping things today.
A study designed to evaluate the effects of ONE GENE on the role of IQ development in breastfed vs non babies. At first read does this sound like it could be true? I mean does the entire neurodevelopment of IQ hinge on this one gene.

Hsien Lei covers the story over at EyeOnDNA and so does Reuters.

Why is this story fishy at best?

1. According to the authors "We took cells from the children and then analyzed DNA and then we compared how they scored on IQ tests and looked up if they were breast-fed as babies," "It was very straightforward." Retrospective analysis is genetics is never the gold standard! Prospective is.

2. The authors even state (IN THE ARTICLE) that the modification of IQ is not likely to be due solely on this one SNP!

3. This is the FIRST study and replication is essential. But where do you read that at Reuters?

The Sherpa Says: That being said, this could be a pathway. I bring to your attention the age old debate about coffee being good/bad for your heart. When looking at environmental effects through a genomic eye the answer was found. Coffee is good if and only if you process it fast enough. So maybe we should be checking out FADS2 and CYP 1A2.... Let's not jump the gun just yet. Maybe the gene is just a marker and has nothing to do with breastfeeding at all. Just like this previously linked story....

1 comment:

Ethel said...

I breastfed all my 5 children and (sigh)still have to fight with them to do their homework! Can they find the homework compliance SNP while they are it, retrospectively?