quaintpassion, I noticed yesterday that about a month ago, you'd been asked for some information on another group. I happen to have all of that to hand, so I'm posting it here for you (and anyone else) to use as you see fit.
People who ask for peer-reviewed rebuttals of Brewer's research are missing the point by hitting it. As I understand it, Brewer's research was never published nor peer-reviewed. All I can find from him on Pubmed are letters to the editor.
Asking for recent rebuttals of 40-year old unpublished data -- well, that's just not how science works; it would be nice to see midwives who have been working with clients publish a study showing a statistically significant outcome from the Brewer diet, though. I know PhD nutritionists who work specifically in pregnancy nutrition who are willing to be involved and I have spoken with people at the NICHD who are interested in coordinating interested researchers and funding... so I don't think money is likely to be an issue -- I think we just need the population.
Diet in pregnancy has been constantly studied. Cochrane review
of protein and energy supplementation in pregnancy
Tellingly, considering Brewer's proposed mechanism (insufficient dietary protein intake lowers albumin production, leading to leaky blood vessels, swelling, and hypertension), *reducing* women's protein intake does not lead to an uptick in preeclampsia cases. Neither increasing nor decreasing dietary protein intake has been shown to affect the rate at which women develop preeclampsia.
The most recent review
of vitamin C & E supplementation
The most recent review
of oral magnesium supplementation (has no mention of an effect, either positive or negative, on PE rates)
and more anecdotes
from women who ate the Brewer diet throughout their pregnancies and yet developed preeclampsia anyway.
The current understanding of preeclampsia is that it's a conflict between the maternal immune system, and the foreign (and demanding) placenta. We know that the placenta releases soluble factors which create the symptoms of de novo hypertension, proteinuria, swelling, hyperreflexia, elevated liver enzymes, and so forth. We also know that one of the factors is released in response to hypoxia and that the other is released in response to a protein produced by the maternal immune system. I will quickly explain it below and provide the names and university affiliations of the researchers working on it right now.
The idea now is that the mother and baby negotiate to grow a big enough baby to survive, but not so big that it won't fit out the mother's pelvis. This also provides an explanation for why preeclampsia only occurs in higher primates; we're the only ones who went through the upright posture therefore smaller pelvis + bigger brains therefore bigger heads bottleneck. David Haig at Harvard does some work in this area. Research on the hypoxic placenta and the protein it dumps in response
Ananth Karumanchi is at Beth Israel Deaconness in Boston. I believe he is working with Richard Levine and Roberto Romero (both top docs at the NICHD.) Research on the maternal-fetal conflict and the proteins produced by the maternal immune cells and the placenta
For the research on the shallowly implanted placenta
, see Susan Fisher at UCSF.
90% of severe cases of preeclampsia can be detected by Doppler
in the first trimester.Assessing
the soluble factors in conjunction with Doppler will allow us to diagnose women who will develop preeclampsia about six weeks before symptoms appear. All of these researchers I've mentioned are working together to develop a practical screening test.
Here's a link to the most recent NICHD conference
I attended this conference as an observer, if anyone has any further questions.
(edited to repair hyperlinks)