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mainstreamparenting.com is live!

So see ya over there!

There’s lots of tweaking left to do, but at least it seems to be working OK overall.

Ch-ch-changes

I know I haven’t been a very good blogger lately. Part of this is just real life (mostly work and kids) interfering with my blogging habit. Some of it, however, is me attempting to make a bit more of this blog than it currently is. I’ve owned the mainstreamparenting.com domain name for a while now, and will be attempting to switch over to a proper website in the near future. So if you can’t access the blog for a little while, you’ll know why.

Wish this technophobe some luck, will ya? :)

Caricaturizations

Once in a while I Google the term “Mainstream Parenting” just to see what’s new (I’m proud to say that this blog is still #1 in the search results :) ). I don’t know why I didn’t find this sooner, as it’s been online for nearly 2 years, but I came across a series of 3 comic strips created in Bitstrips (a website that enables even the non-artistic to create their own comic strips), in which an APer – appropriately, in my opinion, nicknamed “Tokenweirdo”, decided to vent her spleen at mainstream parents and their “wisdom”. You can view the three comic strips here.

You gotta love how the author assumes that 1) mainstream parenting has exactly one method of dealing with any given situation, regardless of age, 2) any negative outcomes are portrayed as a direct result of not APing (because, yanno, APed toddlers never yell “I don’t wanna!” at their parents…) and 3) children and adults are exactly the same.

It’s almost as if I asserted this with regards to an AP parenting practice (excuse my amateurism. In case you were wondering, that was supposed to be a family in bed).

Surely I’ll be going to hell for this

And, kidding aside, I truly hope the poor girl gets the help she needs, but when I read that Alexa Ray Joel (Billy’s daughter) tried to commit suicide with homepathic pills, I couldn’t help but recall the video below…and snicker.

…OK, I actually gave a good belly laugh.

Bye-bye measles, hello mumps?

I saw an almost 2-year-old child this morning who’d been given all his vaccinations. He’d had fever since last night, and this morning his mother noticed that the right side of his face and the area under his lower jaw were swollen. My examination wasn’t conclusive – I wasn’t entirely certain that the infection was in the parotid salivary gland; it might also be a bacterial infection of the surrounding lymph nodes (acute lymphadenitis). But as I’d heard that mumps is now circulating in Borough Park among the ultra-Orthodox Jews – the very same location and demographic which had a measles epidemic a few short months ago, and whose relatives are among the population I serve, it was definitely worth checking to see if mumps had arrived in our area as well.

Continue reading

The ‘Harvard Study’ researchers…in the flesh

I found this interesting ABC piece on infant sleep training (apparently televised last year) over at the Drs. Weissbluth blog. It’s not very long, seems journalistically well-balanced, and there are short interviews with some of the important players in the infant sleep industry: Ferber, T. Berry Brazelton, and pere Weissbluth himself.

Of particular interest to me, though, is the interview with Michael Commons and Patrice Miller, the husband-and-wife team of psychologists from Harvard responsible for the notorious Harvard non-study. You can find it about 3:55 minutes into the video:

Other than the self-satisfied looks on both their faces, I have to say they weren’t quite what I was expecting. I certainly wasn’t expecting them to sink quite so low with comparisons to Hitler and Saddam Hussein’s supposed parenting – which Miller tries to soften just a bit (probably because she belatedly realized how off-the-wall her husband sounds). Even if much of the interview was sane and edited out for brevity…they did say it. Contrast the absolute certainty Commons displays in 2008, as compared to this relatively cautious interview 10 years previously…and it’s not because the duo has done further research into the matter, mind. Nor has anyone else come up with actual research corroborating their conclusions in the interval.

What do you think?

What to do about the flu

Truth be told, I’ve been discussing the flu and flu vaccines – both seasonal and the swine/H1N1 variety – at work for at least 3 months now. We’ve been seeing a lot of swine flu around here – mostly, thank God, mild cases, but I’ve given my share of Tamiflu to ill pregnant women, asthmatics, and even a little girl with leukemia. It’s about time I discussed it here.

Seasonal flu vaccination is in full swing in our clinic. Spurred by the death of a local woman (she was not a patient of my clinic, but lived across the street) and her full-term fetus from swine flu, patients have been getting themselves and their children vaccinated in record numbers this year.

The first H1N1 vaccine doses arrived here in Israel about 2 weeks ago from Switzerland, but in typical Israeli fashion, the Health Ministry decided not to allow their use in pregnant women (who are 4-5 times as likely to die if they contract the flu) and children under 3 years of age. I was told by our local infectious disease specialist this week that the reason for this was because they contained squalene as an adjuvant, and because squalene is not FDA-approved, the Health Ministry decided to await the arrival of vaccine which doesn’t contain it to vaccinate these groups. The rest of us will be getting the vaccine starting December. (Hebrew link to the Israeli Health Ministry’s FAQ on the subject).

Yes, that sound you hear is my head banging on the desk in frustration.

Anyhow, if you’d like some reliable, alarming (but not alarmist) actual information about swine flu, you’ll want to go to the CDC’s website on the subject. I’m putting their flu widget on the sidebar for now as well, so that if you can access the site from anywhere on the blog if you want to be up on the latest.

Of course, no matter what vaccine is under discussion, you can count on the usual anti-vax crazies to come up with horror stories and conspiracy theories. Dr Val Jones and crew give Dr Joe Mercola (and I use the term ‘Dr.’ very loosely here) a well-deserved tongue-lashing; factcheck.org also has an excellent response to all those hysterical emails you might be getting on the subject (like the one on my local email list today, which quoted liberally from websites such as healthfreedomusa.org and naturalnews.com).

Orac, of course, also weighs in on a story being put out by anti-vaxers about a young woman who allegedly developed dystonia after receiving a flu vaccine. The verdict: most probably a psychogenic disorder. (I have to admit that I thought the same thing when I first saw the video in question, but not being an expert on the subject, I would have hesitated to state this categorically without an expert opinion).

EDITED Nov 5th TO ADD: Sure ’nuff

And I really can’t talk about vaccines – H1N1 or otherwise – without exhorting those of you (yes, all 3 of you :) ) who haven’t read this fabulous article at wired.com yet, to go and read it. Now.

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