Introduction to observational studies: Part 2

I will continue the introduction to observational studies by explaining some of the common nomenclature that might also be encountered in randomized controlled trials. We often use the terms exposure and outcome . Exposure is a potential risk factor, and we are interested in whether it is associated with the outcome, which could be a condition, disease, health measure, or behavior of interest. For example, if we are assessing the association between orthodontic therapy and periodontal conditions, the exposure is the orthodontic therapy, and the outcome is the periodontal condition, which can be measured as sulcus depth, bone height, and so on. Other examples of exposures and outcomes relevant to orthodontics are shown in Table I .

Table I
Examples of exposures and outcomes relevant to orthodontics
Exposure Outcome
Dental agenesis Canine impaction
Early loss of maxillary deciduous canine Maxillary canine impaction
Orthodontic treatment Dental caries
Nonextraction therapy Third molar impaction
Cleft palate Dental agenesis
Water fluoridation Dental caries
Socioeconomic status Oral hygiene status

Associations of these exposures and outcomes can be explored in observational studies. Please note that these exposures are only examples and can also be outcomes, depending on the research question; the same applies to the examples of outcomes.

Exposures and outcomes are often described with alternative names, which are shown in Table II .

Apr 6, 2017 | Posted by in Orthodontics | Comments Off on Introduction to observational studies: Part 2
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