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Emerging Themes in Epidemiology

Nicole Rübsamen, Manas K Akmatov, Stefanie Castell, André Karch, Rafael T Mikolajczyk
BACKGROUND: Increasing availability of the Internet allows using only online data collection for more epidemiological studies. We compare response patterns in a population-based health survey using two survey designs: mixed-mode (choice between paper-and-pencil and online questionnaires) and online-only design (without choice). METHODS: We used data from a longitudinal panel, the Hygiene and Behaviour Infectious Diseases Study (HaBIDS), conducted in 2014/2015 in four regions in Lower Saxony, Germany...
2017: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Michael Waller, Gita D Mishra, Annette J Dobson
BACKGROUND: Obtaining population-level estimates of the incidence and prevalence of dementia is challenging due to under-diagnosis and under-reporting. We investigated the feasibility of using multiple linked datasets and capture-recapture techniques to estimate rates of dementia among women in Australia. METHODS: This work is based on the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. A random sample of 12,432 women born in 1921-1926 was recruited in 1996. Over 16 years of follow-up records of dementia were obtained from five sources: three-yearly self-reported surveys; clinical assessments for aged care assistance; death certificates; pharmaceutical prescriptions filled; and, in three Australian States only, hospital in-patient records...
2017: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Mario Bach, Susanne Jordan, Susanne Hartung, Claudia Santos-Hövener, Michael T Wright
BACKGROUND: Epidemiology has contributed in many ways to identifying various risk factors for disease and to promoting population health. However, there is a continuing debate about the ability of epidemiology not only to describe, but also to provide results which can be better translated into public health practice. It has been proposed that participatory research approaches be applied to epidemiology as a way to bridge this gap between description and action. A systematic account of what constitutes participatory epidemiology practice has, however, been lacking...
2017: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Jamie M Madden, Xia Li, Patricia M Kearney, Kate Tilling, Anthony P Fitzgerald
BACKGROUND: There are many examples of physiological processes that follow a circadian cycle and researchers are interested in alternative methods to illustrate and quantify this diurnal variation. Circadian blood pressure (BP) deserves additional attention given uncertainty relating to the prognostic significance of BP variability in relation to cardiovascular disease. However, the majority of studies exploring variability in ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) collapse the data into single readings ignoring the temporal nature of the data...
2017: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Erin N Hulland, Curtis J Blanton, Eva Z Leidman, Oleg O Bilukha
BACKGROUND: Cluster surveys provide rapid but representative estimates of key nutrition indicators in humanitarian crises. For these surveys, an accurate estimate of the design effect is critical to calculate a sample size that achieves adequate precision with the minimum number of sampling units. This paper describes the variability in design effect for three key nutrition indicators measured in small-scale surveys and models the association of design effect with parameters hypothesized to explain this variability...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Mathias Altmann, Christophe Fermanian, Boshen Jiao, Chiara Altare, Martin Loada, Mark Myatt
BACKGROUND: Nutritional surveillance remains generally weak and early warning systems are needed in areas with high burden of acute under-nutrition. In order to enhance insight into nutritional surveillance, a community-based sentinel sites approach, known as the Listening Posts (LP) Project, was piloted in Burkina Faso by Action Contre la Faim (ACF). This paper presents ACF's experience with the LP approach and investigates potential selection and observational biases. METHODS: Six primary sampling units (PSUs) were selected in each livelihood zone using the centric systematic area sampling methodology...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Anna Brown, Oksana Kirichek, Angela Balkwill, Gillian Reeves, Valerie Beral, Cathie Sudlow, John Gallacher, Jane Green
BACKGROUND: Electronic linkage of UK cohorts to routinely collected National Health Service (NHS) records provides virtually complete follow-up for cause-specific hospital admissions and deaths. The reliability of dementia diagnoses recorded in NHS hospital data is not well documented. METHODS: For a sample of Million Women Study participants in England we compared dementia recorded in routinely collected NHS hospital data (Hospital Episode Statistics: HES) with dementia recorded in two separate sources of primary care information: a primary care database [Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), n = 340] and a survey of study participants' General Practitioners (GPs, n = 244)...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Laith Hussain-Alkhateeb, Max Petzold, Mark Collinson, Stephen Tollman, Kathleen Kahn, Peter Byass
BACKGROUND: Verbal autopsy (VA) is a widely used technique for assigning causes to non-medically certified deaths using information gathered from a close caregiver. Both operational and cultural factors may cause delays in follow-up of deaths. The resulting time lag-from death to VA interview-can influence ways in which terminal events are remembered, and thus affect cause-of-death assignment. This study investigates the impact of recall period on causes of death determined by VA. METHODS: A total of 10,882 deaths from the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) with complete VAs, including recall period, were incorporated in this study...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Daniel A Sprague, Caroline Jeffery, Nadine Crossland, Thomas House, Gareth O Roberts, William Vargas, Joseph Ouma, Stephen K Lwanga, Joseph J Valadez
BACKGROUND: It is well known that safe delivery in a health facility reduces the risks of maternal and infant mortality resulting from perinatal complications. What is less understood are the factors associated with safe delivery practices. We investigate factors influencing health facility delivery practices while adjusting for multiple other factors simultaneously, spatial heterogeneity, and trends over time. METHODS: We fitted a logistic regression model to Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) data from Uganda in a framework that considered individual-level covariates, geographical features, and variations over five time points...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Odile Sauzet, Jürgen Breckenkamp, Theda Borde, Silke Brenne, Matthias David, Oliver Razum, Janet L Peacock
BACKGROUND: Dichotomisation of continuous data has statistical drawbacks such as loss of power but may be useful in epidemiological research to define high risk individuals. METHODS: We extend a methodology for the presentation of comparison of proportions derived from a comparison of means for a continuous outcome to reflect the relationship between a continuous outcome and covariates in a linear (mixed) model without losing statistical power. The so called "distributional method" is described and using perinatal data for illustration, results from the distributional method are compared to those of logistic regression and to quantile regression for three different outcomes...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Severine Frison, Francesco Checchi, Marko Kerac, Jennifer Nicholas
BACKGROUND: Wasting is a major public health issue throughout the developing world. Out of the 6.9 million estimated deaths among children under five annually, over 800,000 deaths (11.6 %) are attributed to wasting. Wasting is quantified as low Weight-For-Height (WFH) and/or low Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) (since 2005). Many statistical procedures are based on the assumption that the data used are normally distributed. Analyses have been conducted on the distribution of WFH but there are no equivalent studies on the distribution of MUAC...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Adrian Bauman, Philayrath Phongsavan, Alison Cowle, Emily Banks, Louisa Jorm, Kris Rogers, Bin Jalaludin, Anne Grunseit
BACKGROUND: The issue of poor response rates to population surveys has existed for some decades, but few studies have explored methods to improve the response rate in follow-up population cohort studies. METHODS: A sample of 100,000 adults from the 45 and Up Study, a large population cohort in Australia, were followed up 3.5 years after the baseline cohort was assembled. A pilot mail-out of 5000 surveys produced a response rate of only 41.7 %. This study tested methods of enhancing response rate, with three groups of 1000 each allocated to (1) receiving an advance notice postcard followed by a questionnaire, (2) receiving a questionnaire and then follow-up reminder letter, and (3) both these strategies...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Hiraku Kumamaru, Sebastian Schneeweiss, Robert J Glynn, Soko Setoguchi, Joshua J Gagne
BACKGROUND: Multivariable confounder adjustment in comparative studies of newly marketed drugs can be limited by small numbers of exposed patients and even fewer outcomes. Disease risk scores (DRSs) developed in historical comparator drug users before the new drug entered the market may improve adjustment. However, in a high dimensional data setting, empirical selection of hundreds of potential confounders and modeling of DRS even in the historical cohort can lead to over-fitting and reduced predictive performance in the study cohort...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Veronica Tuffrey, Andrew Hall
BACKGROUND: In 1974 a joint FAO/UNICEF/WHO Expert Committee met to develop methods for nutrition surveillance. There has been much interest and activity in this topic since then, however there is a lack of guidance for practitioners and confusion exists around the terminology of nutrition surveillance. In this paper we propose a classification of data collection activities, consider the technical issues for each category, and examine the potential applications and challenges related to information and communication technology...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Amelia Catharine Crampin, Ndoliwe Kayuni, Alemayehu Amberbir, Crispin Musicha, Olivier Koole, Terence Tafatatha, Keith Branson, Jacqueline Saul, Elenaus Mwaiyeghele, Lawrence Nkhwazi, Amos Phiri, Alison Jane Price, Beatrice Mwagomba, Charles Mwansambo, Shabbar Jaffar, Moffat Joha Nyirenda
BACKGROUND: The emerging burden of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa threatens the gains made in health by the major international effort to combat infectious diseases. There are few data on distribution of risk factors and outcomes in the region to inform an effective public health response. A comprehensive research programme is being developed aimed at accurately documenting the burden and drivers of NCDs in urban and rural Malawi; to design and test intervention strategies...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Lara R Dugas, Miles Fuller, Jack Gilbert, Brian T Layden
The obesity epidemic has emerged over the past few decades and is thought to be a result of both genetic and environmental factors. A newly identified factor, the gut microbiota, which is a bacterial ecosystem residing within the gastrointestinal tract of humans, has now been implicated in the obesity epidemic. Importantly, this bacterial community is impacted by external environmental factors through a variety of undefined mechanisms. We focus this review on how the external environment may impact the gut microbiota by considering, the host's geographic location 'human geography', and behavioral factors (diet and physical activity)...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Laura M Grajeda, Andrada Ivanescu, Mayuko Saito, Ciprian Crainiceanu, Devan Jaganath, Robert H Gilman, Jean E Crabtree, Dermott Kelleher, Lilia Cabrera, Vitaliano Cama, William Checkley
BACKGROUND: Childhood growth is a cornerstone of pediatric research. Statistical models need to consider individual trajectories to adequately describe growth outcomes. Specifically, well-defined longitudinal models are essential to characterize both population and subject-specific growth. Linear mixed-effect models with cubic regression splines can account for the nonlinearity of growth curves and provide reasonable estimators of population and subject-specific growth, velocity and acceleration...
2016: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Marco J Haenssgen
BACKGROUND: The increasing availability of online maps, satellite imagery, and digital technology can ease common constraints of survey sampling in low- and middle-income countries. However, existing approaches require specialised software and user skills, professional GPS equipment, and/or commercial data sources; they tend to neglect spatial sampling considerations when using satellite maps; and they continue to face implementation challenges analogous to conventional survey implementation methods...
2015: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Shannon C Grabich, Whitney R Robinson, Stephanie M Engel, Charles E Konrad, David B Richardson, Jennifer A Horney
BACKGROUND: Epidemiological analyses of aggregated data are often used to evaluate theoretical health effects of natural disasters. Such analyses are susceptible to confounding by unmeasured differences between the exposed and unexposed populations. To demonstrate the difference-in-difference method our population included all recorded Florida live births that reached 20 weeks gestation and conceived after the first hurricane of 2004 or in 2003 (when no hurricanes made landfall). Hurricane exposure was categorized using ≥74 mile per hour hurricane wind speed as well as a 60 km spatial buffer based on weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration...
2015: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
Margaret Anne Hurley
BACKGROUND: Epidemiologists have debated the appropriate time-scale for cohort survival studies; chronological age or time-on-study being two such time-scales. Importantly, assessment of risk factors may depend on the choice of time-scale. Recently, chronological or attained age has gained support but a case can be made for a 'reference relative time-scale' as an alternative which circumvents difficulties that arise with this and other scales. The reference relative time of an individual participant is the integral of a reference population hazard function between time of entry and time of exit of the individual...
2015: Emerging Themes in Epidemiology
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