I am a bit a crusader and this week the snake oil phenomenon is on my radar.
Little bit of background
Every parent sweats the nine months their child is in the womb waiting for the moment the child is born and doctor says “we’ve got five fingers and five toes”
When that doesn’t happen parents tend to go into overdrive and investigate every piece of science and technology to provide the best possible life for their child. Sometimes their love takes them into the unproven science behind cure-alls.
When I was born I had five fingers and toes but about 6 months down the track it became clear that for me everything wasn’t clear, in fact my world was very blurry. On top of this there seemed to be some serious problems with my legs.
So my parents moved heaven and earth to get the best possible science and technology to fix their little girl and they (and me) in the main where rewarded for their efforts
But despite many, many operations, visits to doctors/specialists, eye patches etc. etc. their little girl would always wear glasses and that made them sad.
I think I was about 3 when this photo was taken. Pink dress, pink glasses, pink everything. No doubt about it if I had to wear glasses my mother always made sure I did it with style. Can you believe 50 years later those cats eye glasses are back in fashion.
Wearing glasses in those days wasn’t trendy and every new (proven) thing that came along they made sure I was first in line to take every advantage. On hard contact lenses, soft contact lenses, throw away contact lenses a small fortune was spent but it wasn’t to be glasses became a fixture of my life for 5 plus decades.
But this has all changed. For the past 12 months my eyesight had been rapidly deteriorating, my eyes where really sore and I had permanent headaches. After spending 5 plus decades knowing what is was like to be blind by just taking my glasses off I was starting to get pretty frightened. Having spent my childhood in more hospitals that most people have been in their lifetime I tend to avoid hospitals and doctors like the plague. So I kept putting of the investigative procedures that would get to the bottom of my diminishing eyesight.
But sometimes when you bite the bullet it can lead to good news. I wasn’t going blind I had cataracts (though of course cataract can lead to blindness) Today modern technology means that people with cataracts can often get 20:20 vision. Though I am still finding it hard to believe my cataract operation has given me 20:20 vision in one eye and John and Robyn’s little girl doesn’t have to wear glasses anymore (beyond the “chemist glasses” – and yes I bought the cats eye frames – for reading)
Now when the specialist told me the result I cried with happiness and sadness. Sadness because Robyn died four years ago and she would never know. My mother and I never really got on but she would have been the first person I rang to tell this news because above all I knew she loved me very much and it would have made her the happiest person on the planet.
Now what does all this have to do with the snake oil phenomenon. Well my parents took the high road and followed science and science delivered for them.
This doesn’t always happen and in these cases parents often turn to the unproven and I for one am not going to judge them for that. Everybody who has had a child knows they become your life’s work.
But when I see websites like this The Food Intolerance Network that make claims that A2 milk is a cure-all for almost every evil under the sun, including apparently autism it makes me really cranky.
Now A2 milk is definitely trendy and sales are on the rise and if you happen to have cows with A2 DNA they definitely sell at a premium I can vouch for that.
But the evidence is all anecdotal yet this website quotes this study
There is a medical report of allergies managed by camel milk, which also contains a2 beta casein protein. In this study, eight children with severe food (mainly milk) allergies recovered fully from their allergies by drinking camel milk.
Mmh Camel milk, eight study participants I rest my case
I don’t have a problem with A2 milk per se. If I need to buy milk and A2 just happens to have the longest dating and I need milk with long dating I will buy it but that is the only reason.
Milk is good for you. There is no scientific evidence to say A2 is better than any other milk and its certainly no worse than other milks and I have no problem with it having a place in the supermarket fridge. But as a cure-all it is in the quackery aisle.
It’s time for the quacks and snake oil merchants to leave the room and lets all hope it doesn’t take 5 plus decades to find a genuine scientific positive outcome for autism because I have seen the pain first hand and it is just morally wrong to give people false hope
What the Checkout has to say
Kristen gives A2 milk a B minus for science