Statistical Methods in Medical Research (STAT METHODS MED RES )

Publisher: SAGE Publications


Statistical Methods in Medical Research is the leading vehicle for review articles in all the main areas of medical statistics and is an essential reference for all medical statisticians. It is particularly useful for medical researchers dealing with data and provides a key resource for medical and statistical libraries, as well as pharmaceutical companies. This unique journal is devoted solely to statistics and medicine and aims to keep professionals abreast of the many powerful statistical techniques now available to the medical profession. As techniques are constantly adopted by statisticians working both inside and outside the medical environment, this review journal aims to satisfy the increasing demand for accurate and up-to-the-minute information.

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  • Website
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research website
  • Other titles
    Statistical methods in medical research (Online)
  • ISSN
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  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

SAGE Publications

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
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    • Authors retain copyright
    • Pre-print on any website
    • Author's post-print on author's personal website, departmental website, institutional website or institutional repository
    • On other repositories including PubMed Central after 12 months embargo
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Post-print version with changes from referees comments can be used
    • "as published" final version with layout and copy-editing changes cannot be archived but can be used on secure institutional intranet
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this article, we present the novel approach of using a multi-state model to describe longitudinal changes in cognitive test scores. Scores are modelled according to a truncated Poisson distribution, conditional on survival to a fixed endpoint, with the Poisson mean dependent upon the baseline score and covariates. The model provides a unified treatment of the distribution of cognitive scores, taking into account baseline scores and survival. It offers a simple framework for the simultaneous estimation of the effect of covariates modulating these distributions, over different baseline scores. A distinguishing feature is that this approach permits estimation of the probabilities of transitions in different directions: improvements, declines and death. The basic model is characterised by four parameters, two of which represent cognitive transitions in survivors, both for individuals with no cognitive errors at baseline and for those with non-zero errors, within the range of test scores. The two other parameters represent corresponding likelihoods of death. The model is applied to an analysis of data from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (1991-2001) to identify the risk of death, and of changes in cognitive function as assessed by errors in the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination. The model performance is compared with more conventional approaches, such as multivariate linear and polytomous regressions. This model can also be readily applied to a wide variety of other cognitive test scores and phenomena which change with age.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Biomedical data may be composed of individuals generated from distinct, meaningful sources. Due to possible contextual biases in the processes that generate data, there may exist an undesirable and unexpected variability among the probability distribution functions (PDFs) of the source subsamples, which, when uncontrolled, may lead to inaccurate or unreproducible research results. Classical statistical methods may have difficulties to undercover such variabilities when dealing with multi-modal, multi-type, multi-variate data. This work proposes two metrics for the analysis of stability among multiple data sources, robust to the aforementioned conditions, and defined in the context of data quality assessment. Specifically, a global probabilistic deviation and a source probabilistic outlyingness metrics are proposed. The first provides a bounded degree of the global multi-source variability, designed as an estimator equivalent to the notion of normalized standard deviation of PDFs. The second provides a bounded degree of the dissimilarity of each source to a latent central distribution. The metrics are based on the projection of a simplex geometrical structure constructed from the Jensen-Shannon distances among the sources PDFs. The metrics have been evaluated and demonstrated their correct behaviour on a simulated benchmark and with real multi-source biomedical data using the UCI Heart Disease data set. The biomedical data quality assessment based on the proposed stability metrics may improve the efficiency and effectiveness of biomedical data exploitation and research.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Inverse probability weighted estimating equations and multiple imputation are two of the most studied frameworks for dealing with incomplete data in clinical and epidemiological research. We examine the limiting behaviour of estimators arising from inverse probability weighted estimating equations, augmented inverse probability weighted estimating equations and multiple imputation when the requisite auxiliary models are misspecified. We compute limiting values for settings involving binary responses and covariates and illustrate the effects of model misspecification using simulations based on data from a breast cancer clinical trial. We demonstrate that, even when both auxiliary models are misspecified, the asymptotic biases of double-robust augmented inverse probability weighted estimators are often smaller than the asymptotic biases of estimators arising from complete-case analyses, inverse probability weighting or multiple imputation. We further demonstrate that use of inverse probability weighting or multiple imputation with slightly misspecified auxiliary models can actually result in greater asymptotic bias than the use of naïve, complete case analyses. These asymptotic results are shown to be consistent with empirical results from simulation studies.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: It is a common practice to analyze longitudinal data frequently arisen in medical studies using various mixed-effects models in the literature. However, the following issues may standout in longitudinal data analysis: (i) In clinical practice, the profile of each subject's response from a longitudinal study may follow a "broken stick" like trajectory, indicating multiple phases of increase, decline and/or stable in response. Such multiple phases (with changepoints) may be an important indicator to help quantify treatment effect and improve management of patient care. To estimate changepoints, the various mixed-effects models become a challenge due to complicated structures of model formulations; (ii) an assumption of homogeneous population for models may be unrealistically obscuring important features of between-subject and within-subject variations; (iii) normality assumption for model errors may not always give robust and reliable results, in particular, if the data exhibit non-normality; and (iv) the response may be missing and the missingness may be non-ignorable. In the literature, there has been considerable interest in accommodating heterogeneity, non-normality or missingness in such models. However, there has been relatively little work concerning all of these features simultaneously. There is a need to fill up this gap as longitudinal data do often have these characteristics. In this article, our objectives are to study simultaneous impact of these data features by developing a Bayesian mixture modeling approach-based Finite Mixture of Changepoint (piecewise) Mixed-Effects (FMCME) models with skew distributions, allowing estimates of both model parameters and class membership probabilities at population and individual levels. Simulation studies are conducted to assess the performance of the proposed method, and an AIDS clinical data example is analyzed to demonstrate the proposed methodologies and to compare modeling results of potential mixture models under different scenarios.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 07/2014;
  • Article: Editorial.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 07/2014; 23(4):317.
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    ABSTRACT: For time-to-event data in a randomized clinical trial, we proposed two new methods for selecting an optimal treatment for a patient based on the covariate-specific treatment effect curve, which is used to represent the clinical utility of a predictive biomarker. To select an optimal treatment for a patient with a specific biomarker value, we proposed pointwise confidence intervals for each covariate-specific treatment effect curve and the difference between covariate-specific treatment effect curves of two treatments. Furthermore, to select an optimal treatment for a future biomarker-defined subpopulation of patients, we proposed confidence bands for each covariate-specific treatment effect curve and the difference between each pair of covariate-specific treatment effect curve over a fixed interval of biomarker values. We constructed the confidence bands based on a resampling technique. We also conducted simulation studies to evaluate finite-sample properties of the proposed estimation methods. Finally, we illustrated the application of the proposed method in a real-world data set.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Sometimes there is interest in a dichotomized outcome indicating whether a count variable is positive or zero. Under this scenario, the application of ordinary logistic regression may result in efficiency loss, which is quantifiable under an assumed model for the counts. In such situations, a shared-parameter hurdle model is investigated for more efficient estimation of regression parameters relating to overall effects of covariates on the dichotomous outcome, while handling count data with many zeroes. One model part provides a logistic regression containing marginal log odds ratio effects of primary interest, while an ancillary model part describes the mean count of a Poisson or negative binomial process in terms of nuisance regression parameters. Asymptotic efficiency of the logistic model parameter estimators of the two-part models is evaluated with respect to ordinary logistic regression. Simulations are used to assess the properties of the models with respect to power and Type I error, the latter investigated under both misspecified and correctly specified models. The methods are applied to data from a randomized clinical trial of three toothpaste formulations to prevent incident dental caries in a large population of Scottish schoolchildren.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Detecting a treatment-biomarker interaction, which is a task better suited for large sample sizes, in a phase II trial, which has a small sample size, is challenging. In this paper, we investigate how two plausibly available sources of historical data may contain partial information to help estimate the treatment-biomarker interaction parameter in a randomized phase II study. The parameter is not identified in either historical dataset alone; nonetheless, both can provide some information about the parameter and, consequently, increase the precision of its estimate. To illustrate the potential for gains in efficiency and implications for the design of the study, we consider Gaussian outcomes and biomarker data and calculate the asymptotic variance using the expected Fisher information matrix. We quantify the gain in efficiency both through a numerical study and, in a simplified setting, insights derived from an algebraic development of the problem. We find that a non-negligible gain in precision is possible, even if the historical and prospective data do not arise from identical underlying models.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: When data are collected longitudinally, measurement times often vary among patients. This is of particular concern in clinic-based studies, for example retrospective chart reviews. Here, typically no two patients will share the same set of measurement times and moreover, it is likely that the timing of the measurements is associated with disease course; for example, patients may visit more often when unwell. While there are statistical methods that can help overcome the resulting bias, these make assumptions about the nature of the dependence between visit times and outcome processes, and the assumptions differ across methods. The purpose of this paper is to review the methods available with a particular focus on how the assumptions made line up with visit processes encountered in practice. Through this we show that no one method can handle all plausible visit scenarios and suggest that careful analysis of the visit process should inform the choice of analytic method for the outcomes. Moreover, there are some commonly encountered visit scenarios that are not handled well by any method, and we make recommendations with regard to study design that would minimize the chances of these problematic visit scenarios arising.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: With the emergence of rich information on biomarkers after treatments, new types of prognostic tools are being developed: dynamic prognostic tools that can be updated at each new biomarker measurement. Such predictions are of interest in oncology where after an initial treatment, patients are monitored with repeated biomarker data. However, in such setting, patients may receive second treatments to slow down the progression of the disease. This paper aims to develop and validate dynamic individual predictions that allow the possibility of a new treatment in order to help understand the benefit of initiating new treatments during the monitoring period. The prediction of the event in the next x years is done under two scenarios: (1) the patient initiates immediately a second treatment, (2) the patient does not initiate any treatment in the next x years. Predictions are derived from shared random-effect models. Applied to prostate cancer data, different specifications for the dependence between the prostate-specific antigen repeated measures, the initiation of a second treatment (hormonal therapy), and the risk of clinical recurrence are investigated and compared. The predictive accuracy of the dynamic predictions is evaluated with two measures (Brier score and prognostic cross-entropy) for which approximated cross-validated estimators are proposed.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, many vaccines have been developed for the prevention of a variety of diseases. Many of these vaccines, like the one for herpes zoster, are supposed to act in a multilevel way. Ideally, they completely prevent expression of the virus, but failing that they help to reduce the severity of the disease. A simple approach to analyze these data is the so-called burden-of-illness test. The method assigns a score, say W, equal to 0 for the uninfected and a post-infection outcome X > 0 for the infected individuals. One of the limitations of this test is the potential low power when the vaccine efficacy is close to 0. To overcome this limitation, we propose a Fisher adjusted test where we combine a statistic for infection with a statistic for post-infection outcome adjusted for selection bias. The advantages and disadvantages of different methods proposed in the literature are discussed. We compared the methods via simulations in herpes zoster, HIV, and malaria vaccine trial settings. In addition, we applied these methods to published data on HIV vaccine. The paper ends with some recommendations and conclusions.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Two-phase studies are attractive for their economy and efficiency in research settings where large cohorts are available for investigating the prognostic and predictive role of novel genetic and biological factors. In this type of study, information on novel factors is collected only in a convenient subcohort (phase II) drawn from the cohort (phase I) according to a given (optimal) sampling strategy. Estimation of survival in the subcohort needs to account for the design. The Kaplan-Meier method, based on counts of events and of subjects at risk in time, must be applied accounting, with suitable weights, for the sampling probabilities of the subjects in phase II, in order to recover the representativeness of the subcohort for the entire cohort. The authors derived a proper variance estimator of survival by linearization. The proposed method is applied in the context of a two-phase study on childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which was planned in order to evaluate the role of genetic polymorphisms on treatment failure due to relapse. The method has shown satisfactory performance through simulations under different scenarios, including the case-control setting, and proved to be useful for describing results in the clinical example.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In medical and epidemiological studies, the importance of detecting seasonal patterns in the occurrence of diseases makes testing for seasonality highly relevant. There are different parametric and non-parametric tests for seasonality. One of the most widely used parametric tests in the medical literature is the Edwards test. The Edwards test considers a parametric alternative that is a sinusoidal curve with one peak and one trough. The Cave and Freedman test is an extension of the Edwards test that is also frequently applied and considers a sinusoidal curve with two peaks and two troughs as the alternative hypothesis. The Kuiper, Hewitt and David and Newell are common non-parametric tests. Fernández-Durán (2004) developed a family of univariate circular distributions based on non-negative trigonometric (Fourier) sums (series) (NNTS) that can account for an arbitrary number of peaks and troughs. In this article, this family of distributions is used to construct a likelihood ratio test for seasonality considering parametric alternative hypotheses that are NNTS distributions.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014; 23(3):279-292.
  • Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014; 23(3):312-314.
  • Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014; 23(3):308-311.
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical core laboratories, such as Echocardiography core laboratories, are increasingly used in clinical studies with imaging outcomes as primary, secondary, or surrogate endpoints. While many factors contribute to the quality of measurements of imaging variables, an essential step in ensuring the value of imaging data includes formal assessment and control of reproducibility via intra-observer and inter-observer reliability. There are many different agreement/reliability indices in the literature. However, different indices may lead to different conclusions and it is not clear which index is the preferred choice as an overall indication of data quality and a tool for providing guidance on improving quality and reliability in a core lab setting. In this paper, we pre-specify the desirable characteristics of an agreement index for assessing and improving reproducibility in a core lab setting; we compare existing agreement indices in terms of these characteristics to choose a preferred index. We conclude that, among the existing indices reviewed, the coverage probability for assessing agreement is the preferred agreement index on the basis of computational simplicity, its ability for rapid identification of discordant measurements to provide guidance for review and retraining, and its consistent evaluation of data quality across multiple reviewers, populations, and continuous/categorical data.
    Statistical Methods in Medical Research 05/2014;