Multivariate GLS meta-analysis on ambient air pollution and congenital heart anomalies
The effects of air pollutants CO, NO₂, O₃, PM₁₀ and SO₂ on congenital heart anomalies are represented by the odds ratio of each disease per unit increase in the concentration of each pollutant. In this study, the effects of air pollutants are summarized using multivariate GLS approach with correlation between outcomes being taken into account, where the correlations are sampled from uniform [-1,1]. Meta-analysis conducted here found no statistically significant increase in odds ratio of any disease. This result is different from what Vrijheid et al. 2011 suggested when correlation is not considered using the same set of data. The difference in conclusions from the two meta-analysis indicate that correlation between outcomes may play an important role when synthesizing effect sizes. Thus, before conduct meta-analysis, a thorough consideration about whether to incorporate the correlation in synthesizing should be given.