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Statistical issues in life course epidemiology

De Stavola, BL; Nitsch, D; Silva, ID; McCormack, V; Hardy, R; Mann, V; Cole, TJ; ... Leon, DA; + view all (2006) Statistical issues in life course epidemiology. AM J EPIDEMIOL , 163 (1) 84 - 96. 10.1093/aje/kwj003. Green open access

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Abstract

There is growing recognition that the risk of many diseases in later life, such as type 2 diabetes or breast cancer, is affected by adult as well as early-life variables, including those operating prior to conception and during the prenatal period. Most of these risk factors are correlated because of common biologic and/or social pathways, while some are intrinsically ordered over time. The study of how they jointly influence later ("distal") disease outcomes is referred to as life course epidemiology. This area of research raises several issues relevant to the current debate on causal inference in epidemiology. The authors give a brief overview of the main analytical and practical problems and consider a range of modeling approaches, their differences determined by the degree with which associations present (or presumed) among the correlated explanatory variables are explicitly acknowledged. Standard multiple regression (i.e., conditional) models are compared with joint models where more than one outcome is specified. Issues arising from measurement error and missing data are addressed. Examples from two cohorts in the United Kingdom are used to illustrate alternative modeling strategies. The authors conclude that more than one analytical approach should be adopted to gain more insight into the underlying mechanisms.

Type: Article
Title: Statistical issues in life course epidemiology
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwj003
Keywords: correlation, lifetime, path analysis, regression, structural equation model, ISCHEMIC-HEART-DISEASE, CAUSAL INFERENCE, LONGITUDINAL DATA, BLOOD-PRESSURE, FOLLOW-UP, CHILDHOOD GROWTH, EFFECTS MODELS, BREAST-CANCER, ADULT DISEASE, FETAL ORIGINS
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/14552
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