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Methodology (stat.ME)

Fri, 25 Aug 2023

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1.Multiple imputation of partially observed data after treatment-withdrawal

Authors:Suzie Cro, James H Roger, James R Carpenter

Abstract: The ICH E9(R1) Addendum (International Council for Harmonization 2019) suggests treatment-policy as one of several strategies for addressing intercurrent events such as treatment withdrawal when defining an estimand. This strategy requires the monitoring of patients and collection of primary outcome data following termination of randomized treatment. However, when patients withdraw from a study before nominal completion this creates true missing data complicating the analysis. One possible way forward uses multiple imputation to replace the missing data based on a model for outcome on and off treatment prior to study withdrawal, often referred to as retrieved dropout multiple imputation. This article explores a novel approach to parameterizing this imputation model so that those parameters which may be difficult to estimate have mildly informative Bayesian priors applied during the imputation stage. A core reference-based model is combined with a compliance model, using both on- and off- treatment data to form an extended model for the purposes of imputation. This alleviates the problem of specifying a complex set of analysis rules to accommodate situations where parameters which influence the estimated value are not estimable or are poorly estimated, leading to unrealistically large standard errors in the resulting analysis.

2.Generative Bayesian modeling to nowcast the effective reproduction number from line list data with missing symptom onset dates

Authors:Adrian Lison, Sam Abbott, Jana Huisman, Tanja Stadler

Abstract: The time-varying effective reproduction number $R_t$ is a widely used indicator of transmission dynamics during infectious disease outbreaks. Timely estimates of $R_t$ can be obtained from observations close to the original date of infection, such as the date of symptom onset. However, these data often have missing information and are subject to right truncation. Previous methods have addressed these problems independently by first imputing missing onset dates, then adjusting truncated case counts, and finally estimating the effective reproduction number. This stepwise approach makes it difficult to propagate uncertainty and can introduce subtle biases during real-time estimation due to the continued impact of assumptions made in previous steps. In this work, we integrate imputation, truncation adjustment, and $R_t$ estimation into a single generative Bayesian model, allowing direct joint inference of case counts and $R_t$ from line list data with missing symptom onset dates. We then use this framework to compare the performance of nowcasting approaches with different stepwise and generative components on synthetic line list data for multiple outbreak scenarios and across different epidemic phases. We find that under long reporting delays, intermediate smoothing, as is common practice in stepwise approaches, can bias nowcasts of case counts and $R_t$, which is avoided in a joint generative approach due to shared regularization of all model components. On incomplete line list data, a fully generative approach enables the quantification of uncertainty due to missing onset dates without the need for an initial multiple imputation step. In a real-world comparison using hospitalization line list data from the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland, we observe the same qualitative differences between approaches. Our generative modeling components have been integrated into the R package epinowcast.

3.A note on joint calibration estimators for totals and quantiles

Authors:Maciej Beręsewicz, Marcin Szymkowiak

Abstract: In this paper, we combine calibration for population totals proposed by Deville and S\"arndal (1992) with calibration for population quantiles introduced by Harms and Duchesne (2006). We also extend the pseudo-empirical likelihood method proposed by Chen, Sitter, and Wu (2002). This approach extends the calibration equations for totals by adding relevant constraints on quantiles of continuous variables observed in the data. The proposed approach can be easily applied to handle non-response and data integration problems, and results in a single vector of weights. Furthermore, it is a multipurpose solution, i.e. it makes it possible to improve estimates of means, totals and quantiles for a variable of interest in one step. In a limited simulation study, we compare the proposed joint approach with standard calibration, calibration using empirical likelihood and the correctly specified inverse probability weighting estimator. Open source software implementing the proposed method is available.

4.Calibration plots for multistate risk predictions models: an overview and simulation comparing novel approaches

Authors:Alexander Pate, Matthew Sperrin, Richard D. Riley, Niels Peek, Tjeerd Van Staa, Jamie C. Sergeant, Mamas A. Mamas, Gregory Y. H. Lip, Martin O Flaherty, Michael Barrowman, Iain Buchan, Glen P. Martin

Abstract: Introduction. There is currently no guidance on how to assess the calibration of multistate models used for risk prediction. We introduce several techniques that can be used to produce calibration plots for the transition probabilities of a multistate model, before assessing their performance in the presence of non-informative and informative censoring through a simulation. Methods. We studied pseudo-values based on the Aalen-Johansen estimator, binary logistic regression with inverse probability of censoring weights (BLR-IPCW), and multinomial logistic regression with inverse probability of censoring weights (MLR-IPCW). The MLR-IPCW approach results in a calibration scatter plot, providing extra insight about the calibration. We simulated data with varying levels of censoring and evaluated the ability of each method to estimate the calibration curve for a set of predicted transition probabilities. We also developed evaluated the calibration of a model predicting the incidence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease among a cohort of patients derived from linked primary and secondary healthcare records. Results. The pseudo-value, BLR-IPCW and MLR-IPCW approaches give unbiased estimates of the calibration curves under non-informative censoring. These methods remained unbiased in the presence of informative censoring, unless the mechanism was strongly informative, with bias concentrated in the areas of predicted transition probabilities of low density. Conclusions. We recommend implementing either the pseudo-value or BLR-IPCW approaches to produce a calibration curve, combined with the MLR-IPCW approach to produce a calibration scatter plot, which provides additional information over either of the other methods.

5.Towards more scientific meta-analyses

Authors:Lily H. Zhang, Menelaos Konstantinidis, Marie-Abèle Bind, Donald B. Rubin

Abstract: Meta-analysis can be a critical part of the research process, often serving as the primary analysis on which the practitioners, policymakers, and individuals base their decisions. However, current literature synthesis approaches to meta-analysis typically estimate a different quantity than what is implicitly intended; concretely, standard approaches estimate the average effect of a treatment for a population of imperfect studies, rather than the true scientific effect that would be measured in a population of hypothetical perfect studies. We advocate for an alternative method, called response-surface meta-analysis, which models the relationship between the quality of the study design as predictor variables and its reported estimated effect size as the outcome variable in order to estimate the effect size obtained by the hypothetical ideal study. The idea was first introduced by Rubin several decades ago, and here we provide a practical implementation. First, we reintroduce the idea of response-surface meta-analysis, highlighting its focus on a scientifically-motivated estimand while proposing a straightforward implementation. Then we compare the approach to traditional meta-analysis techniques used in practice. We then implement response-surface meta-analysis and contrast its results with existing literature-synthesis approaches on both simulated data and a real-world example published by the Cochrane Collaboration. We conclude by detailing the primary challenges in the implementation of response-surface meta-analysis and offer some suggestions to tackle these challenges.