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Translational Epidemiologic Approaches to Understanding the Consequences of Early-Life Exposures
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.
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2016 (English)In: Behavior Genetics, ISSN 0001-8244, E-ISSN 1573-3297, Vol. 46, no 3, p. 315-328Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Prominent developmental theories posit a causal link between early-life exposures and later functioning. Yet, observed associations with early exposures may not reflect causal effects because of genetic and environmental confounding. The current manuscript describes how a systematic series of epidemiologic analyses that combine several genetically-informative designs and statistical approaches can help distinguish between competing theories. In particular, the manuscript details how combining the use of measured covariates with sibling-comparisons, cousin-comparisons, and additional designs can help elucidate the sources of covariation between early-life exposures and later outcomes, including the roles of (a) factors that are not shared in families, including a potential causal effect of the exposure; (b) carryover effects from the exposure of one child to the next; and (c) familial confounding. We also describe key assumptions and how they can be critically evaluated. Furthermore, we outline how subsequent analyses, including effect decomposition with respect to measured, plausible mediators, and quantitative genetic models can help further specify the underlying processes that account for the associations between early-life exposures and offspring outcomes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York, USA: Springer, 2016. Vol. 46, no 3, p. 315-328
Keywords [en]
Causal inference, genetically-informed designs, sibling comparisons, cousin comparisons, developmental origins of health and disease, pregnancy, fetal growth
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Psychology Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-54474DOI: 10.1007/s10519-015-9769-8ISI: 000375616400004PubMedID: 26590988Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84947772168OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-54474DiVA, id: diva2:1064240
Note

Funding Agencies:

Swedish Research Council through the Swedish Initiative for Research on Microdata in the Social and Medical Sciences (SIM-SAM) 

NICHD 

NIMH 

Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-12 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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