Thursday, March 09, 2006

Feed Kids Coca?

Well if Ollanta Humala, Perú's presidential candidate, wins the presidency that is exactly what he proposes.

I know coca leaves are part of a strong cultural indigenous heritage in the region, I know coca leaves have medicinal properties, and I also know they are not the same as the chemically produced cocaine. But there is a reason why coca as a medicine lost its edge - it is addictive, and it is still a drug. For example, whether in coca form or cocaine form, they both induce loss of appetite.

Loss of appetite! Imagine, you feed a starving kid coca leaves, not to solve his malnutrition problem, but so he doesn't feel hungry! What the heck kind of solution is that? Of course you are not actually feeding them the leaves, no, but you are making flour from the leaves and then making bread from the flour - so you feed them Coca Bread?

Their bright idea comes from a 1970 study that claims coca leaves are high in protein, vitamins and minerals. One study. In the 1970's. Ever heard of the problem of N = 1? Ever heard of replication to support findings? One Study.

At least there is someone in Perú with the common sense to call this what it is:

But Fernando Rospigliosi, Peru's former interior minister, said other studies have shown those nutrients cannot be absorbed from the leaf into the human body. He called Abugattas' proposal to feed coca to children "criminal."
Criminal. That is exactly right. Read the whole abismal story here.

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