Alan Leviton, 2018. Biases Inherent in Studies of Coffee Consumption in Early Pregnancy and Risks of Subsequent Events, Nutrient, published online.Print this page
Consumption of coffee by women early in their pregnancy has been viewed as potentially increasing the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and childhood leukemias. Many of these reports of epidemiologic studies have not acknowledged the potential biases inherent in studying the relationship between early-pregnancy-coffee consumption and subsequent events. I discuss five of these biases, recall bias, misclassification, residual confounding, reverse causation, and publication bias. Each might account for claims that attribute adversities to early-pregnancy-coffee consumption. To what extent these biases can be avoided remains to be determined. As a minimum, these biases need to be acknowledged wherever they might account for what is reported.
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