It's one of the worst ideas I've ever seen from the mainstream -- and that's saying a lot.
An outrageous new study is pushing powerful diabetes meds on girls as young as 8 years old who don't even have the disease in a bizarre effort to preserve their fertility decades later.
Researchers claim their study shows that the drug metformin can help prevent polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS -- a
hormonal imbalance that's one of the leading causes female infertility.
In reality, the study doesn't even show that much -- but if it did, there are other safer ways to beat the condition.
I'll get to those in the moment.
First, the details: Researchers recruited 38 8-year-old girls (presumably through their parents) who had some of the key risk factors for PCOS: low birth weight and early appearance of pubic hair.
Half were given metformin for four years between the ages of 8 and 12, while the rest got the drug for just one year at the age of 12.
By 15, the girls who were on the drug for four years were up to 8 times less likely to have some of the later signs of PCOS, including menstruation problems, acne, abnormal hair growth, and higher levels of male hormones.
Obviously, there's no indication of whether or not these girls experienced fertility problems, but the researchers say they plan to track them until the age of 18 to see what else happens.
But really, why bother?
PCOS doesn't have a single "right" answer and there's no surefire cure for it -- and metformin won't turn out to be one, either.
If it works even a little, it's because the condition appears to be related to diabetes: Women who suffer from PCOS have a higher risk of insulin resistance and a higher risk of the disease itself.
The most promising treatment for both PCOS and diabetes isn't a drug -- it's lifestyle changes, and many of the women who've made those changes have been able to get both under control.
One study from 2005 found that six months of a low-carb diet improved weight as well as testosterone and insulin levels in obese women who suffered from PCOS. A study last year found similar results from a low-glycemic diet, which is similar to a low-carb diet.
Since eating right can make anyone healthier at any age, this one's a no-brainer: Don't give a little girl drugs for a condition she doesn't even have -- just put better food on the table every night, and the entire family will benefit.