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a) An article titled Risks: Smokers Found More Prone to Dementia states the following:“Researchers analyzed data from 23,123 health plan members who participated in a voluntary exam and health behavior survey from 1978 to 1985, when they were 50-60 years old. 23 years later, about 25% of the group had dementia, including 1,136 with Alzheimer’s disease and 416 with vascular dementia. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers concluded that pack-a-day smokers were 37% more likely than nonsmokers to develop dementia, and the risks went up with increased smoking; 44% for one to two packs a day; and twice the risk for more than two packs.”
Based on this study, can we conclude that smoking causes dementia later in life? Explain your reasoning.
We cannot conclude that because it is an observational study.
However we can see an association.
b) Another article titled The School Bully Is Sleepy states the following:“The University of Michigan study, collected survey data from parents on each child’s sleep habits and asked both parents and teachers to assess behavioral concerns. About a third of the students studied were identified by parents or teachers as having problems with disruptive behavior or bullying. The researchers found that children who had behavioral issues and those who were identified as bullies were twice as likely to have shown symptoms of sleep disorders.”
A friend of yours who read the article says, “The study shows that sleep disorders lead to bullying in school children.” Is this statement justified? If not, how best can you describe the conclusion that can be drawn from this study?
Once again, we cannot conclude it, since it is an observational study.
One way to describe the conclusion is “there is a correlation between sleep disorders and bullying”.