Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Comments by max hirsch

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  • “To control for this idea, the researchers included father’s history of medication use as well. They found that the effect of mothers’ antidepressant use far exceeded the effect of fathers. This indicates that it was likely in utero exposure to the antidepressant that was responsible for the effect, rather than the effect of parental behavior.”
    WOW, just… WOW… this is sloppy thinking- or writing! I’m referring to the post overall, including this section.

    Nothing in this post indicates that experiments were conducted- only that studies were done. Studies often find illusory correlations, e.g., maybe the children of mothers who use antidepressants during pregnancy are either more likely to have psychiatric diagnoses because women who elect to risk taking antidepressants during pregnancy tend to carry more genes for mental illness; or parent differently than ones who don’t elect to take such meds; or somehow on average inhabit more stressful environments in some manner that also predispose their children to later diagnoses.
    Nowhere is it mentioned that an experiment was done involving randomized assignment of pregnant mothers to a use or non-use condition, so therefore none of the ‘sensitivity analyses’ etc. can be said to rule out crucial possible differences in those who decided to actually take the antidepressants, diagnosis or not, e.g., that they may have more intense psychological disturbance than those who don’t actually end up taking antidepressants, especially given that with the concerns many mothers have about psych meds during pregnancy, the ones who do take them may typically feel the necessity from a greater degree of disturbance than those who don’t.
    As for controlling for the fathers’ medication use, why would it be hard to hypothesize that one more-disturbed parent would not be enough to have a different net parenting effect overall on a child, especially given that mothers, even in Denmark I expect, are a lot more likely than fathers to be primary caretakers for children?
    I mean… maybe antidepressant use in pregnant mothers DOES itself increase the risk of conditions in their offspring leading to psychiatric diagnoses, but these studies don’t establish any reliable sense of cause.

    Please go back and learn about the fundamentals of research design, Peter!