Relationship between fetal weight and malformation in developmental toxicity studies

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Journal Article
Teratology, 1991, 44 (2), pp. 215 - 223
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Exposure to developmental toxicants may cause fetal malformations, increase prenatal death rates and reduce fetal weight at term. However, there has been little formal study of the relationship among these effects. Certainly, no statistical methods are currently available to jointly analyze these effects of exposure. As a preliminary step in developing such methods, simple exploratory analyses were conducted using a series of ten studies conducted for the National Toxicology Program. Because fetal weight and malformation status were both reported for all live fetuses, the data permitted an exploration of the correlation between these two outcomes. The data show a clear pattern wherein malformed fetuses tended to be lighter at term than nonmalformed fetuses. While these patterns cannot be used to draw inferences regarding the biological relationship between fetal weight and malformation, they do suggest the potential value in developing statistical models for the joint effect of exposure on fetal weight and malformations.
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