Welcome to our research page featuring recent publications in the field of biostatistics and epidemiology! These fields play a crucial role in advancing our understanding of the causes, prevention, and treatment of various health conditions. Our team is dedicated to advancing the field through innovative studies and cutting-edge statistical analyses. On this page, you will find our collection of research publications describing the development of new statistical methods and their application to real-world data. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.




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Clinical prediction models for mortality in patients with covid-19: external validation and individual participant data meta-analysis

Objective: To externally validate various prognostic models and scoring rules for predicting short term mortality in patients admitted to hospital for covid-19.

Design: Two stage individual participant data meta-analysis.

Setting: Secondary and tertiary care.

Participants: 46914 patients across 18 countries, admitted to a hospital with polymerase chain reaction confirmed covid-19 from November 2019 to April 2021.

Data sources: Multiple (clustered) cohorts in Brazil, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Iran, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States previously identified by a living systematic review of covid-19 prediction models published in The BMJ, and through PROSPERO, reference checking, and expert knowledge.

Model selection and eligibility criteria: Prognostic models identified by the living systematic review and through contacting experts. A priori models were excluded that had a high risk of bias in the participant domain of PROBAST (prediction model study risk of bias assessment tool) or for which the applicability was deemed poor.

Methods: Eight prognostic models with diverse predictors were identified and validated. A two stage individual participant data meta-analysis was performed of the estimated model concordance (C) statistic, calibration slope, calibration-in-the-large, and observed to expected ratio (O:E) across the included clusters.

Main outcome measures: 30 day mortality or in-hospital mortality.

Results: Datasets included 27 clusters from 18 different countries and contained data on 46 914patients. The pooled estimates ranged from 0.67 to 0.80 (C statistic), 0.22 to 1.22 (calibration slope), and 0.18 to 2.59 (O:E ratio) and were prone to substantial between study heterogeneity. The 4C Mortality Score by Knight et al (pooled C statistic 0.80, 95% confidence interval 0.75 to 0.84, 95% prediction interval 0.72 to 0.86) and clinical model by Wang et al (0.77, 0.73 to 0.80, 0.63 to 0.87) had the highest discriminative ability. On average, 29% fewer deaths were observed than predicted by the 4C Mortality Score (pooled O:E 0.71, 95% confidence interval 0.45 to 1.11, 95% prediction interval 0.21 to 2.39), 35% fewer than predicted by the Wang clinical model (0.65, 0.52 to 0.82, 0.23 to 1.89), and 4% fewer than predicted by Xie et al's model (0.96, 0.59 to 1.55, 0.21 to 4.28).

Conclusion: The prognostic value of the included models varied greatly between the data sources. Although the Knight 4C Mortality Score and Wang clinical model appeared most promising, recalibration (intercept and slope updates) is needed before implementation in routine care.

Journal: BMJ |
Year: 2022
Citation: 20
Missing data is poorly handled and reported in prediction model studies using machine learning: a literature review

Objectives: Missing data is a common problem during the development, evaluation, and implementation of prediction models. Although machine learning (ML) methods are often said to be capable of circumventing missing data, it is unclear how these methods are used in medical research. We aim to find out if and how well prediction model studies using machine learning report on their handling of missing data.

Study design and Setting: We systematically searched the literature on published papers between 2018 and 2019 about primary studies developing and/or validating clinical prediction models using any supervised ML methodology across medical fields. From the retrieved studies information about the amount and nature (e.g. missing completely at random, potential reasons for missingness) of missing data and the way they were handled were extracted.

Results: We identified 152 machine learning-based clinical prediction model studies. A substantial amount of these 152 papers did not report anything on missing data (n = 56/152). A majority (n = 96/152) reported details on the handling of missing data (e.g., methods used), though many of these (n = 46/96) did not report the amount of the missingness in the data. In these 96 papers the authors only sometimes reported possible reasons for missingness (n = 7/96) and information about missing data mechanisms (n = 8/96). The most common approach for handling missing data was deletion (n = 65/96), mostly via complete-case analysis (CCA) (n = 43/96). Very few studies used multiple imputation (n = 8/96) or built-in mechanisms such as surrogate splits (n = 7/96) that directly address missing data during the development, validation, or implementation of the prediction model.

Conclusion: Though missing values are highly common in any type of medical research and certainly in the research based on routine healthcare data, a majority of the prediction model studies using machine learning does not report sufficient information on the presence and handling of missing data. Strategies in which patient data are simply omitted are unfortunately the most often used methods, even though it is generally advised against and well known that it likely causes bias and loss of analytical power in prediction model development and in the predictive accuracy estimates. Prediction model researchers should be much more aware of alternative methodologies to address missing data.

Journal: J Clin Epidemiol |
Year: 2021
Citation: 53