International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health

, Volume 82, Issue 8, pp 1031–1041

Interpreting epidemiological evidence in the presence of multiple endpoints: an alternative analytic approach using the 9-year follow-up of the Seychelles child development study

  • Edwin van Wijngaarden
  • Gary J. Myers
  • Sally W. Thurston
  • Conrad F. Shamlaye
  • Philip W. Davidson
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00420-009-0402-0

Cite this article as:
van Wijngaarden, E., Myers, G.J., Thurston, S.W. et al. Int Arch Occup Environ Health (2009) 82: 1031. doi:10.1007/s00420-009-0402-0

Abstract

Purpose

The potential for ill-informed causal inference is a major concern in published longitudinal studies evaluating impaired neurological function in children prenatally exposed to background levels of methyl mercury (MeHg). These studies evaluate a large number of developmental tests. We propose an alternative analysis strategy that reduces the number of comparisons tested in these studies.

Methods

Using data from the 9-year follow-up of 643 children in the Seychelles child development study, we grouped 18 individual endpoints into one overall ordinal outcome variable as well as by developmental domains. Subsequently, ordinal logistic regression analyses were performed.

Results

We did not find an association between prenatal MeHg exposure and developmental outcomes at 9 years of age.

Conclusion

Our proposed framework is more likely to result in a balanced interpretation of a posteriori associations. In addition, this new strategy should facilitate the use of complex epidemiological data in quantitative risk assessment.

Keywords

Methyl mercuryChild developmentRisk assessmentSeychelles child development study

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin van Wijngaarden
    • 1
    • 4
  • Gary J. Myers
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Sally W. Thurston
    • 5
  • Conrad F. Shamlaye
    • 6
  • Philip W. Davidson
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Community and Preventive MedicineUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental MedicineUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biostatistics and Computational BiologyUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  6. 6.Ministry of HealthMahéRepublic of Seychelles