With Apologies to Birchers Everywhere


Everything old becomes new again:


An influential medical journal published a study Monday that links fluoride consumption during pregnancy with lower childhood IQs—a finding that could undermine decades of public-health messaging, fire up conspiracy theorists, and alarm mothers-to-be.

The research was expected to be so controversial that JAMA Pediatrics included an editor’s note saying the decision to publish it was not easy and that it was subjected to “additional scrutiny.”

Go here to read the rest.  I am beginning to think the ancient Greeks were on to something with their Eternal Return cyclical view of history since old issues seem to come back with stubborn regularity under new guises.

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  1. But I was told IQ doesn’t mean anything! (Or does it only mean something when a group has an ax to grind?)

  2. Where did the study participants live? Fluoride can occur naturally in water. Coworker said his teeth were pitted from high concentration of it in the water in the rural area where he grew up.
    Fluoride is added to town water in a tiny amount for cavity prevention. Dentists say there is more decay in adult teeth with the advent of bottled water. Mine told me Danon was the only brand he knew of with fluoride added.

  3. Where did the study participants live?

    Take any “study” with a boulder of salt. For an age that purports to be “scientific” such “studies” often are poorly designed and have an amazing amount of snake-oil and humbug about them, at least in anything health related.

  4. I.Q. is racist. Fluoride is “most monstrously conceived and dangerous white man plot we have ever had to face.”

  5. “I.Q. is racist”
    The Bell Curve – Wikipedia
    The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life is a 1994 book by psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray, in which the authors argue that human intelligence is substantially influenced by both inherited and environmental factors….

  6. To quote Disraeli: “There are lies, there are damned lies, and there is statistics.” (or was it Mark Twain?). Evidently the statistical analysis in the original article was totally flawed (I haven’t been able to access the original), but here is a quote that shoots it all to Hell.

    “Prof Thom Baguley, Professor of Experimental Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, said:

    “First, the claim that maternal fluoride exposure is associated with a decrease in IQ of children is false. This finding was non-significant (but not reported in the abstract). They did observe a decrease for male children and a slight increase in IQ (but non-significant) for girls. This is an example of subgroup analysis – which is frowned upon in these kinds of studies because it is nearly always possible to identify some subgroup which shows an effect if the data are noisy. Here the data are very noisy. A further issue is that the estimate of the decrease in IQ for male offspring is unfeasibility large – at 4-5 IQ points. This level of average deficit would be readily detectable in previous studies and is likely a reflection of bias or very noisy data (the interval estimate here is very wide). As high fluoride areas are not randomly assigned there are also countless uncontrolled confounders. While they did correct for a limited set of covariates, the overall effect was non-significant with and without covariates. In summary it is not correct to imply that the data here show evidence of a link between maternal fluoride exposure and IQ. The average change in IQ is not statistically significant.”

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