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Critical appraisal of a prospective cohort study 

Critical appraisal of a prospective cohort study
Critical appraisal of a prospective cohort study

Mark Elwood

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date: 31 July 2021

This chapter presents a prospective cohort study with active follow-up over many years, assessing the relationship between breastfeeding and atopy and asthma. This shows the logistic issues involved and the analysis. The results conflict with some other studies, and the question has yet to be fully answered. The critical assessment follows the scheme set out in chapter 10: describing the study, assessing the non-causal explanations of observation bias, confounding, and chance variation; assessing time relationships, strength, dose-response, consistency and specificity, and applying the results to the eligible, source, and target populations; and then comparing the results with evidence from other studies, considering consistency and specificity, biological mechanisms, and coherence with the distribution of exposures and outcomes. The chapter gives a summary and table of the critical assessment and its conclusions; and comments on the impact of the study and research carried out since.

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