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Archived Comments for: The use of ultrasound to identify milk ejection in women – tips and pitfalls

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  1. Building a better breastpump

    Valerie McClain, n/a

    10 June 2009

    Research using ultrasound to visualize human milk production and ejection is like having a window into a long-held mystery. This technology gives us many opportunities and possibilities to help mothers and babies. Yet technology has consequences and not always positive consequences.

    When I read research papers, I ask myself what is the purpose of this research. It is quite obvious that with ultrasound in the field of lactation, we are seeing the inner workings of the breast in the process of making and ejecting milk. This is discovery and exciting to see. Groundbreaking and breath-taking at the same time. But is this the only purpose of this particular research?

    Research is driven not only by curiosity but by economic motives. Under competing interests in this article it is mentioned that the author receives a salary as part of a research grant from Medela. But what is not mentioned is that Donna T. Geddes is the inventor or co-inventor to numerous patent applications. These patent applications are owned by Medela and involve creating a better breastpump. Those patent applications are: "Breastpump with irregular milk expression sequences," "Method for yielding maximum expression in breastpumping," "Method and Apparatus for Minimum Negative Pressure Controls Particularly for a Breastpump with Breastshield Pressure Control System." I am all for creating a better breast pump. Patents and patent applications would be important to have regarding this technology.

    What I find upsetting is that this is not mentioned under "Competing interests." A simple statement of pending patent applications regarding this research would be sufficient to allow the reader to understand that this research is also about Medela's and the author's economic interests. This does not negate the value of this research. It gives the reader more information in order to evaluate the research.

    Competing interests