In the article "Association of Arsenic Exposure during Pregnancy with Fetal Loss Loss and Infant Death: A Cohort study in Bangladesh," are the conclusions justified by the data presented?
In the study conducted by Rahman, Ekstrom, Rahman, Golam, Wahed, and Persson, the researchers studied rates of infant mortality over the periods from 1991-2000. The connection they were looking to find was a link between rates of arsenic in the water drank by the pregnant women and the survival and death rate of the infants.
The study was conducted by obtaining the values of arsenic in the wells that provided water to the women in the study. The study included a large sample population consisting of 29,134 pregnant women. The women were identified for the study through a health surveillance system from a specific demographic area. Because Bangladesh has one of the higher levels of arsenic in its tubal-well water, the region made an excellent location for the study.
The study required two separate studies. One study obtained information that included the level of arsenic in tube wells. The second study identified the demographics and history of the pregnant women from 1991-2000. Timelines of when the people in the households drank from the tube wells were collected, and the level of arsenic in the water was measured. Demographic information of the women was also cross-analyzed within the study.
A Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess the data. Spearman’s analysis of variance was applied to determine correlation. The results of the study identified the mean age of the women as 27 with half of the women consisting of illiterate women. None of the pregnant women engaged in smoking or drinking alcohol.
A wide variation existed among the women about how much arsenic intake they had undergone during their pregnancy. A strong correlation existed in the level of education of the women, income status, and the calendar year. The data results support the claim that infant mortality rates were affected by the level of arsenic the pregnant women drank. The amount of data collected and the reliance on a group that provided monthly supervision of the women during their pregnancies as well as the results of the analysis supports and justifies the conclusion of the researchers.