Sunday, January 29, 2012

CDC Say What???

OK, so I’m a little late to the table on this one.  Not to mention the fact that I’ve been pretty silent for quite some time.  For anyone who has ever read my blog, you know just how passionate I am about breast feeding.  You also know that I understand that there are certain circumstances when formula feeding is necessary.  If you haven’t read my blog before (or forgot how I feel about this topic), check out this breast feeding post from last year.  OK, now that you’re up to date, let’s dive in, shall we?

Last week Mama Bird brought to my attention a study that was done that resulted in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that women refrain from or delay breast feeding their infants.  It was something that a friend had posted on Facebook.  After spending a considerable amount of time scouring the CDC’s website as well as the rest of the internet to find the study, and I have, I can honestly report to you all, that this is not true.  The bulk of what the search engines returned was several blog posts calling the doctors at the CDC crazies and psychopaths.  But I also uncovered the actual published study as well.

It turns out that, yes indeed, a study was done regarding “Inhibitory effect of breast milk on infectivity of live oral rotavirus vaccines”.  The study centered on groups of women from four countries-India, Vietnam, South Korea, and the United States-and the levels of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) contained in their breast milk.  As it turns out, women in India have higher levels of IgA in their milk and the rotavirus vaccine is less effective in that part of the world.  The women in the United States had lower levels of IgA, and the vaccine is more effective here.  What does this mean?  Well, nothing, yet.  The Findings and Interpretation of the study are as follows:
  • FINDINGS: Breast milk from Indian women had the highest IgA and neutralizing titers against all 3 vaccine strains, while lower but comparable median IgA and neutralizing titers were detected in breast milk from Korean and Vietnamese women, and the lowest titers were seen in American women. Neutralizing activity was greatest against the 2 vaccine strains of human origin, RV1 and 116E. This neutralizing activity in one half of the breast milk specimens from Indian women could reduce the effective titer of RV1 by ∼2 logs, of 116E by 1.5 logs, and RV5 G1 strain by ∼1 log more than that of breast milk from American women.
  • INTERPRETATION: The lower immunogenicity and efficacy of rotavirus vaccines in poor developing countries could be explained, in part, by higher titers of IgA and neutralizing activity in breast milk consumed by their infants at the time of immunization that could effectively reduce the potency of the vaccine. Strategies to overcome this negative effect, such as delaying breast-feeding at the time of immunization, should be evaluated.
Basically, this can be interpreted as such: They doctors that conducted the study think that maybe the natural immunity boosters in breast milk, may be to blame, but they’re really not sure and are thinking about looking into it further.

Personally, I’m not too worried about the subject of vaccinations, we chose to skip several vaccines and tests for Little E due to the risks involved and/or the fact that we felt they were kind of pointless.  We didn’t have all of these things done when we were kids and our generation turned out just fine (for the most part), so why should we subject our child to these things?  As far as I’m concerned, the CDC can keep doing what they are doing, although I think a little more attention to cancer, HIV, and AIDS is called for rather than wondering why the rotavirus vaccine isn’t as effective as they would like it to be.

And one last point, please don’t believe everything you read on the internet.  There are people out there that will twist words just to get attention.  If you see something that looks newsworthy that not on the news, check it out and do some research.  The CDC is a major supporter of breast feeding, and I doubt that they are going to suddenly reverse course over a study that shows other countries have a lower efficacy rate of vaccines because they have higher levels of IgA.  Also, here's a link to the post that seems to have started it all.

On a personal note, for those who have enjoyed my blog in the past and those just happening upon it, I’m back.  I have now fully adjusted my sleep schedule for night shift and plan to write once a week, more should my schedule allow me to do so.  Among the upcoming topics-SPD, defending an icon, and travelling with a toddler.

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