This is just a share, of course, and lots of people share stuff without bothering to think about the veracity of the BS they have just shared, but this is simply ridiculous.
Two new studies suggest moms who have more kids may live longer!
Oh, my! Isn’t that wonderful? Wow, Nicole will live to be 110 at this rate. Won’t she? It says so, doesn’t it? I mean, it’s an article on the internet, after all, from a site called “Parents.com” (the people who put out Parents magazine.) They aren’t targeting. . . you know. . . parents or anything.
I wonder if they would gleefully post an article like this one.
I see this sort of thing all the time on social media, and that’s why I wanted to talk about it. It’s not really the fault of the consumer. It’s basically the fault of the so-called science journalists, who often know exactly nothing about science.
Nicole’s link goes to a report about two studies. Note first that the person who wrote the subtitle did use every weasel word known to man in it. Studies “suggest.” “May live longer.” That’s good, but it probably isn’t enough.
If you actually read the article, you’ll discover a couple of things.
The first study consisted of a whopping 75 women. Furthermore, these 75 women came from two villages in Guatemala. Can anyone say “no diversity”? What are the odds that these women were related to each other, pray tell? I would discard such a study just on that one fact alone.
But, as is often the case, the researchers themselves, who might be actual scientists, are aware of the limitations of their own studies, and went to some trouble to express at least one reservation. They may have expressed others, of course, but we only know what the “science writer” chose to tell us.
It takes a village. Not a garden shed with no help from anyone, except begging on the internet, because liberty.
The second study involved a wider population (much larger) but is really about twins.
But while we’re at it, go read the second article. Nicole, you especially need to read it. However, I can almost guarantee that you will not.
So, I’ll quote a little bit for you.
Note that the scientists here also use qualifiers (or what I think of as weasel words): “Might be,” “contribute greatly.”
What the first article doesn’t tell us is anything about prenatal care and management of pregnancy. It just went into some indications that if you are lucky and survive having a bunch of babies, then you might live a bit longer than some woman who had no children at all. Maybe. If you live in a village in Guatemala. Maybe.
But both of the articles we’ve looked at here are basically clickbait.
When you’re looking for the real skinny, it’s a good idea to look for stuff straight from the scientists’ mouths. It’s not as pretty to read, of course, and sometimes they use big words, but you get better information.
Mothers who’ve had a lot of babies. The technical term for that is grand multiparity. Parity refers to pregnancy. Multi, of course, means multiple. And grand is defined as more than 7 pregnancies.
Nicole Naugler is a grand multip.
This is from the National Institutes of Health. You’ll notice if you go over there that there are no ads. It’s not clickbait. It’s a far better source than some articles written by “science journalists” who may or may not ever have had a science course higher than high school biology.
What you see is called an “abstract.” It’s a bit like a summary (not exactly, but that’s a close enough for our purposes). However, if you happen to be rabidly interested in the subject, you can click on the PDF link to the right of the screen (on my computer anyway) and download the whole thing. It consists of eight pages, full of tiny writing and some sciency-looking graphs, and a comprehensive list of resource materials.
And their conclusion?
Having multiple babies is risky. Having multiple babies with no prenatal care, with no medical management of labor, in a garden shed is Russian roulette.