One of my first interviews on this blog was with British scientist Fiona Matthews, who studied the effect that a healthy breakfast diet would have on predicting the gender of future offspring. She seemed so confident in her research when answering my questions, but now her results are being called into question.
Dr. Stanley Young of The National Institute of Statistical Sciences in the U.S. headed the reanalysis of Fiona’s research because he was skeptical of the initial findings. His reassesment of the data revealed some flaws in the original interpretation, a fact which Fiona disputes, stating that the Americans weren’t looking at the “bigger picture”.
The infertility experts with WebMD examined both studies and sided with the Americans. Now it looks like the ball is in Fiona’s court as to whether she can defend her research in the face of this criticism.
Well, that’s the beauty of science. It relies on open source research that can be reanalyzed and/or replicated. The idea that a mother’s diet could affect her unborn baby’s gender was an extraordinary claim. It seems that, in this case, the extraordinary claim was not supported by extraordinary evidence. Or, at least, not yet.