Discussion: The Study Design and Evidence of Medical News
I just got into the habit of reading medical news recently. I used to be in pretty much a tech background and I did not really know how to correctly consume this kind of news. Most of the time I just take what the new tried to explain as it is because just to understand the medical context in the new is already get me worn-out. After some time and some learning through courses, I started to increase my awareness of both the study design and the evidence.
The news that I am going to use in this discussion is about the discovery of the link between placental function and long-term metabolic outcomes of the child. If you are interested you can do your own reading through this link https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210122/Researchers-discover-direct-link-between-placental-function-and-future-metabolic-disorders.aspx.
Analytic: Observational Study
The study design is an “observational” study which is under the analytic study design group. This is very clear from the headline that it is about the link between something that can “influence” the metabolic disease of the child. In this case, it is scoped down to the placenta. The main identity of analytical study is the idea of monitoring the occurrence of the event itself and then analyze the common influence among the evidence.
Evidence: Cohort Study
The main characteristic of a cohort study is the picking of the population before the occurrence of an incident. They enrolled 1,410 healthy pregnant women between 2010–2014, study their placenta, and then monitor the newborn child. If you read the news further, you will also notice that they did not stop the newborn. They also continued to monitor the children once they are 4–6-years-old.
Strengths of Cohort Study
- Can identify the relationship between exposure and disease. In this case of finding the relationship between the state of the placenta and the risk of the diseased child, a cohort study is quite robust being evidence for this kind of study design.
- Can identify other outcomes. As I mentioned that the cohort study is to pick the population before the incident, there can be more than one unexpected outcome that can happen.
- No experiment. This is not an experimental study design so, it will not be caught up with an ethical problem.
Weaknesses of Cohort Study
- Long duration. To study the way something is being, it usually takes quite some time to finish the project.