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Sample records for biochemical confounders nfr

  1. Performance of a novel Viresolve NFR virus filter.

    PubMed

    Brough, Helene; Antoniou, Chris; Carter, Jeffrey; Jakubik, Jocelyn; Xu, Yuan; Lutz, Herbert

    2002-01-01

    Mammalian cell-expressed therapeutic proteins are particularly vulnerable to contamination by endogenous retrovirus-like particles (RVLPs). The Viresolve NFR filter was designed to meet the critical requirement of manufacturing a safe and virus-free therapeutic by retaining RVLPs by a minimum of six log reduction value (LRV). The NFR designation refers to retrovirus removal in a normal flow format. To qualify the product, we tested two model viruses: the 78 nm diameter phi6 bacteriophage and the 80-110 nm diameter Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus (X-MuLV). Robust retention was demonstrated over a wide range of process parameters. Viresolve NFR filters also retain other model adventitious viruses including 70-85 nm diameter Reovirus 3 (Reo3), 70-90 nm diameter Adenovirus 2 (Ad2), and 53 nm diameter PR772 by >6 LRV. In addition to these model viruses, the filter retains >7 LRV of both the mycoplasma Acholeplasma laidlawii and the bacterium Brevundimonas diminuta. Protein passage is shown to be consistently high (95-100%) for a variety of therapeutic protein products, including monoclonal antibodies. Characterization of the filter in specific applications is made simple by availability of ultralow surface area (5 cm(2)) disks, which are shown to scale linearly to the manufacturing scale pleated-filters. Viresolve NFR filters provide consistent water permeability performance (34-37 LMH/psi) and show very little plugging for all feedstocks evaluated. The Viresolve NFR filter incorporates Retropore, a unique asymmetric polyethersulfone membrane, the surface of which has been modified to minimize protein binding. PMID:12153313

  2. Interpretational Confounding or Confounded Interpretations of Causal Indicators?

    PubMed Central

    Bainter, Sierra A.; Bollen, Kenneth A.

    2014-01-01

    In measurement theory causal indicators are controversial and little-understood. Methodological disagreement concerning causal indicators has centered on the question of whether causal indicators are inherently sensitive to interpretational confounding, which occurs when the empirical meaning of a latent construct departs from the meaning intended by a researcher. This article questions the validity of evidence used to claim that causal indicators are inherently susceptible to interpretational confounding. Further, a simulation study demonstrates that causal indicator coefficients are stable across correctly-specified models. Determining the suitability of causal indicators has implications for the way we conceptualize measurement and build and evaluate measurement models. PMID:25530730

  3. Interpretational Confounding or Confounded Interpretations of Causal Indicators?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bainter, Sierra A.; Bollen, Kenneth A.

    2014-01-01

    In measurement theory, causal indicators are controversial and little understood. Methodological disagreement concerning causal indicators has centered on the question of whether causal indicators are inherently sensitive to interpretational confounding, which occurs when the empirical meaning of a latent construct departs from the meaning…

  4. Assessing Sensitivity to Unmeasured Confounding Using a Simulated Potential Confounder

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carnegie, Nicole Bohme; Harada, Masataka; Hill, Jennifer L.

    2016-01-01

    A major obstacle to developing evidenced-based policy is the difficulty of implementing randomized experiments to answer all causal questions of interest. When using a nonexperimental study, it is critical to assess how much the results could be affected by unmeasured confounding. We present a set of graphical and numeric tools to explore the…

  5. The product of the nitrogen fixation regulatory gene nfrX of Azotobacter vinelandii is functionally and structurally homologous to the uridylyltransferase encoded by glnD in enteric bacteria.

    PubMed Central

    Contreras, A; Drummond, M; Bali, A; Blanco, G; Garcia, E; Bush, G; Kennedy, C; Merrick, M

    1991-01-01

    We sequenced the nitrogen fixation regulatory gene nfrX from Azotobacter vinelandii, mutations in which cause a Nif- phenotype, and found that it encodes a 105-kDa protein (NfrX), the N terminus of which is highly homologous to that of the uridylyltransferase-uridylyl-removing enzyme encoded by glnD in Escherichia coli. In vivo complementation experiments demonstrate that the glnD and nfrX products are functionally interchangeable. A vinelandii nfrX thus appears to encode a uridylyltransferase-uridylyl-removing enzyme, and in this paper we report the first sequence of such a protein. The Nif- phenotype of nfrX mutants can be suppressed by a second mutation in a recently identified nifL-like gene immediately upstream of nifA in A. vinelandii. NifL mediates nif regulation in response to the N status in A. vinelandii, presumably by inhibiting NifA activator function as occurs in Klebsiella pneumoniae; thus, one role of NfrX is to modify, either directly or indirectly, the activity of the nifL product. PMID:1683868

  6. The product of the nitrogen fixation regulatory gene nfrX of Azotobacter vinelandii is functionally and structurally homologous to the uridylyltransferase encoded by glnD in enteric bacteria.

    PubMed

    Contreras, A; Drummond, M; Bali, A; Blanco, G; Garcia, E; Bush, G; Kennedy, C; Merrick, M

    1991-12-01

    We sequenced the nitrogen fixation regulatory gene nfrX from Azotobacter vinelandii, mutations in which cause a Nif- phenotype, and found that it encodes a 105-kDa protein (NfrX), the N terminus of which is highly homologous to that of the uridylyltransferase-uridylyl-removing enzyme encoded by glnD in Escherichia coli. In vivo complementation experiments demonstrate that the glnD and nfrX products are functionally interchangeable. A vinelandii nfrX thus appears to encode a uridylyltransferase-uridylyl-removing enzyme, and in this paper we report the first sequence of such a protein. The Nif- phenotype of nfrX mutants can be suppressed by a second mutation in a recently identified nifL-like gene immediately upstream of nifA in A. vinelandii. NifL mediates nif regulation in response to the N status in A. vinelandii, presumably by inhibiting NifA activator function as occurs in Klebsiella pneumoniae; thus, one role of NfrX is to modify, either directly or indirectly, the activity of the nifL product. PMID:1683868

  7. Confounding in the Estimation of Mediation Effects.

    PubMed

    Li, Yan; Bienias, Julia L; Bennett, David A

    2007-03-01

    A mediation effect explains the relationship of a risk factor and an outcome through a mediator variable which is a step in their pathway. Under the assumption of no cycling in the causal relationship, we consider various situations in which a fourth variable may interfere the estimation of a mediation effect as a confounding factor. Our asymptotic results, which are supported by a Monte Carlo study, show that adjusting for confounding factors under certain conditions might lead to biased estimates. A general guideline is provided for when it is appropriate to adjust for confounding factors in estimating a mediation effect. We apply the guideline to the estimation of the mediation effect of Alzheimer's disease pathology in the relationship between the Apolipoprotein E ε4 allele and cognitive function among 125 deceased participants from the Religious Orders Study, a longitudinal, clinical-pathologic study of aging and Alzheimer's disease. PMID:17940582

  8. Confounding in the Estimation of Mediation Effects

    PubMed Central

    Li, Yan; Bienias, Julia L.; Bennett, David A.

    2007-01-01

    Summary A mediation effect explains the relationship of a risk factor and an outcome through a mediator variable which is a step in their pathway. Under the assumption of no cycling in the causal relationship, we consider various situations in which a fourth variable may interfere the estimation of a mediation effect as a confounding factor. Our asymptotic results, which are supported by a Monte Carlo study, show that adjusting for confounding factors under certain conditions might lead to biased estimates. A general guideline is provided for when it is appropriate to adjust for confounding factors in estimating a mediation effect. We apply the guideline to the estimation of the mediation effect of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the relationship between the Apolipoprotein E ε4 allele and cognitive function among 125 deceased participants from the Religious Orders Study, a longitudinal, clinical-pathologic study of aging and Alzheimer’s disease. PMID:17940582

  9. Modeling confounding by half-sibling regression.

    PubMed

    Schölkopf, Bernhard; Hogg, David W; Wang, Dun; Foreman-Mackey, Daniel; Janzing, Dominik; Simon-Gabriel, Carl-Johann; Peters, Jonas

    2016-07-01

    We describe a method for removing the effect of confounders to reconstruct a latent quantity of interest. The method, referred to as "half-sibling regression," is inspired by recent work in causal inference using additive noise models. We provide a theoretical justification, discussing both independent and identically distributed as well as time series data, respectively, and illustrate the potential of the method in a challenging astronomy application. PMID:27382154

  10. Modeling confounding by half-sibling regression

    PubMed Central

    Schölkopf, Bernhard; Hogg, David W.; Wang, Dun; Foreman-Mackey, Daniel; Janzing, Dominik; Simon-Gabriel, Carl-Johann; Peters, Jonas

    2016-01-01

    We describe a method for removing the effect of confounders to reconstruct a latent quantity of interest. The method, referred to as “half-sibling regression,” is inspired by recent work in causal inference using additive noise models. We provide a theoretical justification, discussing both independent and identically distributed as well as time series data, respectively, and illustrate the potential of the method in a challenging astronomy application. PMID:27382154

  11. Resting-state FMRI confounds and cleanup

    PubMed Central

    Murphy, Kevin; Birn, Rasmus M.; Bandettini, Peter A.

    2013-01-01

    The goal of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) is to investigate the brain’s functional connections by using the temporal similarity between blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signals in different regions of the brain “at rest” as an indicator of synchronous neural activity. Since this measure relies on the temporal correlation of FMRI signal changes between different parts of the brain, any non-neural activity-related process that affects the signals will influence the measure of functional connectivity, yielding spurious results. To understand the sources of these resting-state FMRI confounds, this article describes the origins of the BOLD signal in terms of MR physics and cerebral physiology. Potential confounds arising from motion, cardiac and respiratory cycles, arterial CO2 concentration, blood pressure/cerebral autoregulation, and vasomotion are discussed. Two classes of techniques to remove confounds from resting-state BOLD time series are reviewed: 1) those utilising external recordings of physiology and 2) data-based cleanup methods that only use the resting-state FMRI data itself. Further methods that remove noise from functional connectivity measures at a group level are also discussed. For successful interpretation of resting-state FMRI comparisons and results, noise cleanup is an often over-looked but essential step in the analysis pipeline. PMID:23571418

  12. Confounding Effect in Clinical Research of Otolaryngology and Its Control.

    PubMed

    Yu, Yong-qiang; Huang, Dong-yan; Armijo Olivo, Susan; Yang, Huai-an; Bambanini, Yagesh; Sonnenberg, Lyn; Clark, Brenda; Constantinescu, Gabriela; Qian Yu, Jason; Zhang, Ming

    2015-06-01

    Confounding effect is a critical issue in clinical research of otolaryngology because it can distort the research's conclusion. In this review, we introduce the definition of confounding effect, the methods of verifying and controlling the effect. Confounding effect can be prevented by research's design, and adjusted by data analysis. Clinicians would be aware and cautious about confounding effect in their research. They would be able to set up a research's design in which appropriate methods have been applied to prevent this effect.They would know how to adjust confounding effect after data collection. It is important to remember that sometimes it is impossible to eliminate confounding effect completely, and statistical method is not a master key. Solid research knowledge and critical thinking of our brain are the most important in controlling confounding effect. PMID:26149004

  13. The ACCE method: an approach for obtaining quantitative or qualitative estimates of residual confounding that includes unmeasured confounding

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Eric G.

    2015-01-01

    Background:  Nonrandomized studies typically cannot account for confounding from unmeasured factors.  Method:  A method is presented that exploits the recently-identified phenomenon of  “confounding amplification” to produce, in principle, a quantitative estimate of total residual confounding resulting from both measured and unmeasured factors.  Two nested propensity score models are constructed that differ only in the deliberate introduction of an additional variable(s) that substantially predicts treatment exposure.  Residual confounding is then estimated by dividing the change in treatment effect estimate between models by the degree of confounding amplification estimated to occur, adjusting for any association between the additional variable(s) and outcome. Results:  Several hypothetical examples are provided to illustrate how the method produces a quantitative estimate of residual confounding if the method’s requirements and assumptions are met.  Previously published data is used to illustrate that, whether or not the method routinely provides precise quantitative estimates of residual confounding, the method appears to produce a valuable qualitative estimate of the likely direction and general size of residual confounding. Limitations:  Uncertainties exist, including identifying the best approaches for: 1) predicting the amount of confounding amplification, 2) minimizing changes between the nested models unrelated to confounding amplification, 3) adjusting for the association of the introduced variable(s) with outcome, and 4) deriving confidence intervals for the method’s estimates (although bootstrapping is one plausible approach). Conclusions:  To this author’s knowledge, it has not been previously suggested that the phenomenon of confounding amplification, if such amplification is as predictable as suggested by a recent simulation, provides a logical basis for estimating total residual confounding. The method's basic approach is

  14. Methods to control for unmeasured confounding in pharmacoepidemiology: an overview.

    PubMed

    Uddin, Md Jamal; Groenwold, Rolf H H; Ali, Mohammed Sanni; de Boer, Anthonius; Roes, Kit C B; Chowdhury, Muhammad A B; Klungel, Olaf H

    2016-06-01

    Background Unmeasured confounding is one of the principal problems in pharmacoepidemiologic studies. Several methods have been proposed to detect or control for unmeasured confounding either at the study design phase or the data analysis phase. Aim of the Review To provide an overview of commonly used methods to detect or control for unmeasured confounding and to provide recommendations for proper application in pharmacoepidemiology. Methods/Results Methods to control for unmeasured confounding in the design phase of a study are case only designs (e.g., case-crossover, case-time control, self-controlled case series) and the prior event rate ratio adjustment method. Methods that can be applied in the data analysis phase include, negative control method, perturbation variable method, instrumental variable methods, sensitivity analysis, and ecological analysis. A separate group of methods are those in which additional information on confounders is collected from a substudy. The latter group includes external adjustment, propensity score calibration, two-stage sampling, and multiple imputation. Conclusion As the performance and application of the methods to handle unmeasured confounding may differ across studies and across databases, we stress the importance of using both statistical evidence and substantial clinical knowledge for interpretation of the study results. PMID:27091131

  15. Methodological problems with population cancer studies: The forgotten confounding factors

    PubMed Central

    Blaylock, Russell L.

    2015-01-01

    Among clinical physicians it is the population study that is considered to be the “gold standard” of medical evidence concerning acceptable treatments. As new information comes to light concerning the many variables and confounding factors that can affect such studies, many older studies lose much of their original impact. While newer population studies take into consideration a far greater number of confounding factors many are still omitted and a number of these omitted factors can have profound effects on interpretation and validity of the study. In this editorial, I will discuss some of the omitted confounding factors and demonstrate how they can alter the interpretation of these papers and their clinical application. PMID:26097772

  16. Transposon Mutagenesis of the Plant-Associated Bacillus amyloliquefaciens ssp. plantarum FZB42 Revealed That the nfrA and RBAM17410 Genes Are Involved in Plant-Microbe-Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Dietel, Kristin; Beator, Barbara; Dolgova, Olga; Fan, Ben; Bleiss, Wilfrid; Ziegler, Jörg; Schmid, Michael; Hartmann, Anton; Borriss, Rainer

    2014-01-01

    Bacillus amyloliquefaciens ssp. plantarum FZB42 represents the prototype of Gram-positive plant growth promoting and biocontrol bacteria. In this study, we applied transposon mutagenesis to generate a transposon library, which was screened for genes involved in multicellular behavior and biofilm formation on roots as a prerequisite of plant growth promoting activity. Transposon insertion sites were determined by rescue-cloning followed by DNA sequencing. As in B. subtilis, the global transcriptional regulator DegU was identified as an activator of genes necessary for swarming and biofilm formation, and the DegU-mutant of FZB42 was found impaired in efficient root colonization. Direct screening of 3,000 transposon insertion mutants for plant-growth-promotion revealed the gene products of nfrA and RBAM_017140 to be essential for beneficial effects exerted by FZB42 on plants. We analyzed the performance of GFP-labeled wild-type and transposon mutants in the colonization of lettuce roots using confocal laser scanning microscopy. While the wild-type strain heavily colonized root surfaces, the nfrA mutant did not colonize lettuce roots, although it was not impaired in growth in laboratory cultures, biofilm formation and swarming motility on agar plates. The RBAM17410 gene, occurring in only a few members of the B. subtilis species complex, was directly involved in plant growth promotion. None of the mutant strains were affected in producing the plant growth hormone auxin. We hypothesize that the nfrA gene product is essential for overcoming the stress caused by plant response towards bacterial root colonization. PMID:24847778

  17. Air Pollution and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Causal or Confounded?

    PubMed

    Weisskopf, Marc G; Kioumourtzoglou, Marianthi-Anna; Roberts, Andrea L

    2015-12-01

    In the last decade, several studies have examined the association between perinatal exposure to ambient air pollution and risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These studies have largely been consistent, with associations seen with different aspects of air pollution, including hazardous air toxics, ozone, particulate, and traffic-related pollution. Confounding by socioeconomic status (SES) and place of residence are of particular concern, as these can be related to ASD case ascertainment and other potential causal risk factors for ASD. While all studies take steps to address this concern, residual confounding is difficult to rule out. Two recent studies of air pollution and ASD, however, present findings that strongly argue against residual confounding, especially for factors that do not vary over relatively short time intervals. These two studies, conducted in communities around the USA, found a specific association with air pollution exposure during the 3rd, but not the 1st, trimester, when both trimesters were modeled simultaneously. In this review, we discuss confounding possibilities and then explain-with the aid of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs)-why an association that is specific to a particular time window, when multiple exposure windows are simultaneously assessed, argues against residual confounding by (even unmeasured) non-time-varying factors. In addition, we discuss why examining ambient air pollution concentration as a proxy for personal exposure helps avoid confounding by personal behavior differences, and the implications of measurement error in using ambient concentrations as a proxy for personal exposures. Given the general consistency of findings across studies and the exposure-window-specific associations recently reported, the overall evidence for a causal association between air pollution and ASD is increasingly compelling. PMID:26399256

  18. The Threshold of Embedded M Collider Bias and Confounding Bias

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelcey, Benjamin; Carlisle, Joanne

    2011-01-01

    Of particular import to this study, is collider bias originating from stratification on retreatment variables forming an embedded M or bowtie structural design. That is, rather than assume an M structural design which suggests that "X" is a collider but not a confounder, the authors adopt what they consider to be a more reasonable position and…

  19. The fallacy of Ratio Correction to address confounding factors

    PubMed Central

    Karp, Natasha A; Segonds-Pichon, Anne; Gerdin, Anna-Karin B; Ramírez-Solis, Ramiro; White, Jacqueline K

    2014-01-01

    Scientists aspire to measure cause and effect. Unfortunately confounding variables, ones that are associated with both the probable cause and the outcome, can lead to an association that is true but potentially misleading. For example, altered body weight is often observed in a gene knockout, however many other variables, such as lean mass, will also change as the body weight changes. This leaves the researcher asking whether the change in that variable is expected for that change in weight. Ratio Correction, which is often referred to as Normalization, is a method used commonly to remove the effect of a confounding variable. Although Ratio Correction is used widely in biological research, it is not the method recommended in the statistical literature to address confounding factors; instead regression methods such as the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) are proposed. This method examines the difference in means after adjusting for the confounding relationship. Using real data, this manuscript demonstrates how the Ratio Correction approach is flawed and can result in erroneous calls of significance leading to inappropriate biological conclusions. This arises as some of the underlying assumptions are not met. The manuscript goes on to demonstrate that researchers should use ANCOVA, and discusses how graphical tools can be used readily to judge the robustness of this method. This study is therefore a clear example of why assumption testing is an important component of a study and thus why it is included in the Animal Research: reporting of In Vivo Experiment (ARRIVE) guidelines. PMID:22829707

  20. Doubly robust methods for handling confounding by cluster.

    PubMed

    Zetterqvist, Johan; Vansteelandt, Stijn; Pawitan, Yudi; Sjölander, Arvid

    2016-04-01

    In clustered designs such as family studies, the exposure-outcome association is usually confounded by both cluster-constant and cluster-varying confounders. The influence of cluster-constant confounders can be eliminated by studying the exposure-outcome association within (conditional on) clusters, but additional regression modeling is usually required to control for observed cluster-varying confounders. A problem is that the working regression model may be misspecified, in which case the estimated within-cluster association may be biased. To reduce sensitivity to model misspecification we propose to augment the standard working model for the outcome with an auxiliary working model for the exposure. We derive a doubly robust conditional generalized estimating equation (DRCGEE) estimator for the within-cluster association. This estimator combines the two models in such a way that it is consistent if either model is correct, not necessarily both. Thus, the DRCGEE estimator gives the researcher two chances instead of only one to make valid inference on the within-cluster association. We have implemented the estimator in an R package and we use it to examine the association between smoking during pregnancy and cognitive abilities in offspring, in a sample of siblings. PMID:26508769

  1. A flexible, interpretable framework for assessing sensitivity to unmeasured confounding.

    PubMed

    Dorie, Vincent; Harada, Masataka; Carnegie, Nicole Bohme; Hill, Jennifer

    2016-09-10

    When estimating causal effects, unmeasured confounding and model misspecification are both potential sources of bias. We propose a method to simultaneously address both issues in the form of a semi-parametric sensitivity analysis. In particular, our approach incorporates Bayesian Additive Regression Trees into a two-parameter sensitivity analysis strategy that assesses sensitivity of posterior distributions of treatment effects to choices of sensitivity parameters. This results in an easily interpretable framework for testing for the impact of an unmeasured confounder that also limits the number of modeling assumptions. We evaluate our approach in a large-scale simulation setting and with high blood pressure data taken from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The model is implemented as open-source software, integrated into the treatSens package for the R statistical programming language. © 2016 The Authors. Statistics in Medicine Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. PMID:27139250

  2. Air pollutants and health outcomes: Assessment of confounding by influenza

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thach, Thuan-Quoc; Wong, Chit-Ming; Chan, King-Pan; Chau, Yuen-Kwan; Neil Thomas, G.; Ou, Chun-Quan; Yang, Lin; Peiris, Joseph S. M.; Lam, Tai-Hing; Hedley, Anthony J.

    2010-04-01

    We assessed confounding of associations between short-term effects of air pollution and health outcomes by influenza using Hong Kong mortality and hospitalization data for 1996-2002. Three measures of influenza were defined: (i) intensity: weekly proportion of positive influenza viruses, (ii) epidemic: weekly number of positive influenza viruses ≥4% of the annual number for ≥2 consecutive weeks, and (iii) predominance: an epidemic period with co-circulation of respiratory syncytial virus <2% of the annual positive isolates for ≥2 consecutive weeks. We examined effects of influenza on associations between nitrogen dioxide (NO 2), sulfur dioxide (SO 2), particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤10 μm (PM 10) and ozone (O 3) and health outcomes including all natural causes mortality, cardiorespiratory mortality and hospitalization. Generalized additive Poisson regression model with natural cubic splines was fitted to control for time-varying covariates to estimate air pollution health effects. Confounding with influenza was assessed using an absolute difference of >0.1% between unadjusted and adjusted excess risks (ER%). Without adjustment, pollutants were associated with positive ER% for all health outcomes except asthma and stroke hospitalization with SO 2 and stroke hospitalization with O 3. Following adjustment, changes in ER% for all pollutants were <0.1% for all natural causes mortality, but >0.1% for mortality from stroke with NO 2 and SO 2, cardiac or heart disease with NO 2, PM 10 and O 3, lower respiratory infections with NO 2 and O 3 and mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with all pollutants. Changes >0.1% were seen for acute respiratory disease hospitalization with NO 2, SO 2 and O 3 and acute lower respiratory infections hospitalization with PM 10. Generally, influenza does not confound the observed associations of air pollutants with all natural causes mortality and cardiovascular hospitalization, but for some pollutants

  3. Prenatal Paracetamol Exposure and Wheezing in Childhood: Causation or Confounding?

    PubMed Central

    Migliore, Enrica; Zugna, Daniela; Galassi, Claudia; Merletti, Franco; Gagliardi, Luigi; Rasero, Laura; Trevisan, Morena; Rusconi, Franca; Richiardi, Lorenzo

    2015-01-01

    Background Several studies have reported an increased risk of wheezing in the children of mothers who used paracetamol during pregnancy. We evaluated to what extent this association is explained by confounding. Methods We investigated the association between maternal paracetamol use in the first and third trimester of pregnancy and ever wheezing or recurrent wheezing/asthma in infants in the NINFEA cohort study. Risks ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated after adjustment for confounders, including maternal infections and antibiotic use during pregnancy. Results The prevalence of maternal paracetamol use was 30.6% during the first and 36.7% during the third trimester of pregnancy. The prevalence of ever wheezing and recurrent wheezing/asthma was 16.9% and 5.6%, respectively. After full adjustment, the RR for ever wheezing decreased from 1.25 [1.07–1.47] to 1.10 [0.94–1.30] in the first, and from 1.26 [1.08–1.47] to 1.10 [0.93–1.29] in the third trimester. A similar pattern was observed for recurrent wheezing/asthma. Duration of maternal paracetamol use was not associated with either outcome. Further analyses on paracetamol use for three non-infectious disorders (sciatica, migraine, and headache) revealed no increased risk of wheezing in children. Conclusion The association between maternal paracetamol use during pregnancy and infant wheezing is mainly, if not completely explained by confounding. PMID:26305473

  4. [Bias and confounding: pharmacoepidemiological study using administrative database].

    PubMed

    Nojiri, Shuko

    2015-01-01

    The provision of health care frequently creates digitalized data such as hospital-based electronic data, medication prescription records, and claims data collectively termed "administrative database research". The data source and analytical opportunities for study create risks that can lead to misinterpretation or bias the results. This review serves as an introduction to the concept of bias and confounding to help researchers conduct methodologically sound pharmacoepidemiologic research projects using administrative databases. Beyond general considerations for observational study, there are several unique issues related to database research that should be addressed. The risks of uninterpretable or biased results can be minimized by: providing a robust description of the data tables used; focusing on why and how they were created; measuring and reporting the accuracy of diagnostic and procedural codes used; and properly accounting for any time-dependent nature of variables. The hallmark of good research is rigorously careful analysis and interpretation. The promise for value of real world evidence using databases in medical decision making must be balanced against concerns related to observational inherited limitations for bias and confounding. Researchers should aim to avoid bias in the design of a study, adjust for confounding, and discuss the effects of residual bias on the results. PMID:26028416

  5. Determinants of congruency sequence effects without learning and memory confounds.

    PubMed

    Weissman, Daniel H; Jiang, Jiefeng; Egner, Tobias

    2014-10-01

    A common finding in distracter interference (e.g., Flanker) tasks is that the difference in mean reaction time (RT) between incongruent and congruent trials-the congruency effect-is smaller when the previous trial was incongruent relative to congruent. Over the past 2 decades, 2 main accounts of this congruency sequence effect (CSE) have been proposed. One posits that the CSE indexes trial-by-trial adjustments of cognitive control, which are triggered by expectation, response conflict, negative affect, or response suppression. The other holds that the CSE indexes feature integration and/or contingency learning processes that are confounded with congruency sequence in most studies. In 3 online experiments involving over 450 participants, we observed CSEs without such confounds when 2 preconditions were met: (a) stimulus-response translation could be completed more rapidly for the distracter than for the target and (b) the distracter and target appeared at the same location. We also found that CSE magnitude did not vary consistently with the size of the congruency effect. These findings reveal that CSEs can be observed in the absence of feature integration and contingency learning confounds, but impose important new constraints on certain cognitive control accounts of this phenomenon. PMID:25089574

  6. Postglacial hillslope development in paraglacial tributary catchments (ESF-NFR SedyMONT-Norway Project, SedyMONT, Topo-Europe)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laute, Katja; Beylich, Achim A.; Hansen, Louise; Vatne, Geir

    2010-05-01

    Topography and landforms of different spatial scales are generated by different operating processes and are characterized by different variables, evolved over different time periods. Changes in climate affect Earth surface systems and shapes Earth surface processes around the world and seem to have major impacts on sediment dynamics, especially in cold climate environments. Understanding climate and landform development from a Holocene to contemporary time perspective can contribute to document change of the Earth surface systems as well as to detect responsible processes for climatic and topographic change. Analyzing postglacial hillslope development and studying sediment transport within two small deglaciated, subarctic valley systems in Western Norway will improve the understanding of the complex response of mountain landscape formation. The innovative approach of this PhD research project is the combination of knowledge on Holocene process rates with data on subrecent to contemporary sedimentary fluxes, -budgets and process rates using different advanced methods and techniques. The PhD project is part of the NFR funded SedyMONT-Norway Project within the ESF EUROCORES TOPO-EUROPE SedyMONT (Timescales of sediment dynamics, climate and topographic change in mountain landscapes) Programme. Research is carried out within the Erdalen and Bødalen catchments of the Nordfjord valley-fjord system (inner Nordfjord, Western Norway). Both valleys can be described as steep U-shaped and glacier-fed tributary valleys. The runoff regime is complex with a high variability of discharge over the year. Instrumentation in both catchments includes an automatic weather station as well as five stationary stations for continuous and year-round monitoring of runoff, fluvial suspended sediment and solute transport. The main aims of the PhD project are to analyse (i) the spatial distribution of hillslopes, their contemporary structure, controls and current process rates, (ii) the

  7. Carotta: Revealing Hidden Confounder Markers in Metabolic Breath Profiles

    PubMed Central

    Hauschild, Anne-Christin; Frisch, Tobias; Baumbach, Jörg Ingo; Baumbach, Jan

    2015-01-01

    Computational breath analysis is a growing research area aiming at identifying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in human breath to assist medical diagnostics of the next generation. While inexpensive and non-invasive bioanalytical technologies for metabolite detection in exhaled air and bacterial/fungal vapor exist and the first studies on the power of supervised machine learning methods for profiling of the resulting data were conducted, we lack methods to extract hidden data features emerging from confounding factors. Here, we present Carotta, a new cluster analysis framework dedicated to uncovering such hidden substructures by sophisticated unsupervised statistical learning methods. We study the power of transitivity clustering and hierarchical clustering to identify groups of VOCs with similar expression behavior over most patient breath samples and/or groups of patients with a similar VOC intensity pattern. This enables the discovery of dependencies between metabolites. On the one hand, this allows us to eliminate the effect of potential confounding factors hindering disease classification, such as smoking. On the other hand, we may also identify VOCs associated with disease subtypes or concomitant diseases. Carotta is an open source software with an intuitive graphical user interface promoting data handling, analysis and visualization. The back-end is designed to be modular, allowing for easy extensions with plugins in the future, such as new clustering methods and statistics. It does not require much prior knowledge or technical skills to operate. We demonstrate its power and applicability by means of one artificial dataset. We also apply Carotta exemplarily to a real-world example dataset on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While the artificial data are utilized as a proof of concept, we will demonstrate how Carotta finds candidate markers in our real dataset associated with confounders rather than the primary disease (COPD) and bronchial

  8. Carotta: Revealing Hidden Confounder Markers in Metabolic Breath Profiles.

    PubMed

    Hauschild, Anne-Christin; Frisch, Tobias; Baumbach, Jörg Ingo; Baumbach, Jan

    2015-01-01

    Computational breath analysis is a growing research area aiming at identifying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in human breath to assist medical diagnostics of the next generation. While inexpensive and non-invasive bioanalytical technologies for metabolite detection in exhaled air and bacterial/fungal vapor exist and the first studies on the power of supervised machine learning methods for profiling of the resulting data were conducted, we lack methods to extract hidden data features emerging from confounding factors. Here, we present Carotta, a new cluster analysis framework dedicated to uncovering such hidden substructures by sophisticated unsupervised statistical learning methods. We study the power of transitivity clustering and hierarchical clustering to identify groups of VOCs with similar expression behavior over most patient breath samples and/or groups of patients with a similar VOC intensity pattern. This enables the discovery of dependencies between metabolites. On the one hand, this allows us to eliminate the effect of potential confounding factors hindering disease classification, such as smoking. On the other hand, we may also identify VOCs associated with disease subtypes or concomitant diseases. Carotta is an open source software with an intuitive graphical user interface promoting data handling, analysis and visualization. The back-end is designed to be modular, allowing for easy extensions with plugins in the future, such as new clustering methods and statistics. It does not require much prior knowledge or technical skills to operate. We demonstrate its power and applicability by means of one artificial dataset. We also apply Carotta exemplarily to a real-world example dataset on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While the artificial data are utilized as a proof of concept, we will demonstrate how Carotta finds candidate markers in our real dataset associated with confounders rather than the primary disease (COPD) and bronchial

  9. Confounded by sequencing depth in association studies of rare alleles.

    PubMed

    Garner, Chad

    2011-05-01

    Next-generation DNA sequencing technologies are facilitating large-scale association studies of rare genetic variants. The depth of the sequence read coverage is an important experimental variable in the next-generation technologies and it is a major determinant of the quality of genotype calls generated from sequence data. When case and control samples are sequenced separately or in different proportions across batches, they are unlikely to be matched on sequencing read depth and a differential misclassification of genotypes can result, causing confounding and an increased false-positive rate. Data from Pilot Study 3 of the 1000 Genomes project was used to demonstrate that a difference between the mean sequencing read depth of case and control samples can result in false-positive association for rare and uncommon variants, even when the mean coverage depth exceeds 30× in both groups. The degree of the confounding and inflation in the false-positive rate depended on the extent to which the mean depth was different in the case and control groups. A logistic regression model was used to test for association between case-control status and the cumulative number of alleles in a collapsed set of rare and uncommon variants. Including each individual's mean sequence read depth across the variant sites in the logistic regression model nearly eliminated the confounding effect and the inflated false-positive rate. Furthermore, accounting for the potential error by modeling the probability of the heterozygote genotype calls in the regression analysis had a relatively minor but beneficial effect on the statistical results. PMID:21328616

  10. Processed Pseudogene Confounding Deletion/Duplication Assays for SMAD4.

    PubMed

    Millson, Alison; Lewis, Tracey; Pesaran, Tina; Salvador, David; Gillespie, Katrina; Gau, Chia-Ling; Pont-Kingdon, Genevieve; Lyon, Elaine; Bayrak-Toydemir, Pinar

    2015-09-01

    Mutations in SMAD4 have been associated with juvenile polyposis syndrome and combined juvenile polyposis/hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia syndrome. SMAD4 is part of the SMAD gene family. To date, there has been no report in the literature of a SMAD4 pseudogene. An unusual SMAD4 duplication pattern was seen in multiple patient samples using two different duplication/deletion platforms: multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and chromosomal microarray. Follow-up confirmatory testing included real-time quantitative PCR and sequencing of an exon/exon junction, all results leading to the conclusion of the existence of a processed pseudogene. Examination of clinical results from two laboratories found a frequency of 0.26% (12 in 4672 cases) for this processed pseudogene. This is the first report of the presence of a processed pseudogene for SMAD4. We believe that knowledge of its existence is important for accurate interpretation of clinical diagnostic test results and for new assay designs. This study also indicates how a processed pseudogene may confound quantitative results, dependent on placement of probes and/or primers in a particular assay design, potentially leading to both false-positive and false-negative results. We also found that the SMAD4 processed pseudogene affects next-generation sequencing results by confounding the alignment of the sequences, resulting in erroneous variant calls. We recommend Sanger sequencing confirmation for SMAD4 variants. PMID:26165824

  11. The Problem of Confounding in Studies of the Effect of Maternal Drug Use on Pregnancy Outcome

    PubMed Central

    Källén, Bengt

    2012-01-01

    In most epidemilogical studies, the problem of confounding adds to the uncertainty in conclusions drawn. This is also true for studies on the effect of maternal drug use on birth defect risks. This paper describes various types of such confounders and discusses methods to identify and adjust for them. Such confounders can be found in maternal characteristics like age, parity, smoking, use of alcohol, and body mass index, subfertility, and previous pregnancies including previous birth of a malformed child, socioeconomy, race/ethnicity, or country of birth. Confounding by concomitant maternal drug use may occur. A geographical or seasonal confounding can exist. In rare instances, infant sex and multiple birth can appear as confounders. The most difficult problem to solve is often confounding by indication. The problem of confounding is less important for congenital malformations than for many other pregnancy outcomes. PMID:22190949

  12. Confounding effects of indirect connections on causality estimation.

    PubMed

    Vakorin, Vasily A; Krakovska, Olga A; McIntosh, Anthony R

    2009-10-30

    Addressing the issue of effective connectivity, this study focuses on effects of indirect connections on inferring stable causal relations: partial transfer entropy. We introduce a Granger causality measure based on a multivariate version of transfer entropy. The statistic takes into account the influence of the rest of the network (environment) on observed coupling between two given nodes. This formalism allows us to quantify, for a specific pathway, the total amount of indirect coupling mediated by the environment. We show that partial transfer entropy is a more sensitive technique to identify robust causal relations than its bivariate equivalent. In addition, we demonstrate the confounding effects of the variation in indirect coupling on the detectability of robust causal links. Finally, we consider the problem of model misspecification and its effect on the robustness of the observed connectivity patterns, showing that misspecifying the model may be an issue even for model-free information-theoretic approach. PMID:19628006

  13. phMRI: methodological considerations for mitigating potential confounding factors

    PubMed Central

    Bourke, Julius H.; Wall, Matthew B.

    2015-01-01

    Pharmacological Magnetic Resonance Imaging (phMRI) is a variant of conventional MRI that adds pharmacological manipulations in order to study the effects of drugs, or uses pharmacological probes to investigate basic or applied (e.g., clinical) neuroscience questions. Issues that may confound the interpretation of results from various types of phMRI studies are briefly discussed, and a set of methodological strategies that can mitigate these problems are described. These include strategies that can be employed at every stage of investigation, from study design to interpretation of resulting data, and additional techniques suited for use with clinical populations are also featured. Pharmacological MRI is a challenging area of research that has both significant advantages and formidable difficulties, however with due consideration and use of these strategies many of the key obstacles can be overcome. PMID:25999812

  14. Adjusting for confounding by neighborhood using complex survey data.

    PubMed

    Brumback, Babette A; He, Zhulin

    2011-04-30

    Recently, we examined methods of adjusting for confounding by neighborhood of an individual exposure effect on a binary outcome, using complex survey data; the methods were found to fail when the neighborhood sample sizes are small and the selection bias is strongly informative. More recently, other authors have adapted an older method from the genetics literature for application to complex survey data; their adaptation achieves a consistent estimator under a broad range of circumstances. The method is based on weighted pseudolikelihoods, in which the contribution from each neighborhood involves all pairs of cases and controls in the neighborhood. The pairs are treated as if they were independent, a pairwise pseudo-conditional likelihood is thus derived, and then the corresponding score equation is weighted with inverse-probabilities of sampling each case-control pair. We have greatly simplified the implementation by translating the pairwise pseudo-conditional likelihood into an equivalent ordinary weighted log-likelihood formulation. We show how to program the method using standard software for ordinary logistic regression with complex survey data (e.g. SAS PROC SURVEYLOGISTIC). We also show that the methodology applies to a broader set of sampling scenarios than the ones considered by the previous authors. We demonstrate the validity of our simplified implementation by applying it to a simulation for which previous methods failed; the new method performs beautifully. We also apply the new method to an analysis of 2009 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) public-use data, to estimate the effect of education on health insurance coverage, adjusting for confounding by neighborhood. PMID:21287588

  15. Negative Confounding by Essential Fatty Acids in Methylmercury Neurotoxicity Associations

    PubMed Central

    Choi, Anna L; Mogensen, Ulla B.; Bjerve, Kristian S.; Debes, Frodi; Weihe, Pal; Grandjean, Philippe; Budtz-Jørgensen, Esben

    2014-01-01

    Background Methylmercury, a worldwide contaminant of fish and seafood, can cause adverse effects on the developing nervous system. However, long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in seafood provide beneficial effects on brain development. Negative confounding will likely result in underestimation of both mercury toxicity and nutrient benefits unless mutual adjustment is included in the analysis. Methods We examined these associations in 176 Faroese children, in whom prenatal methylmercury exposure was assessed from mercury concentrations in cord blood and maternal hair. The relative concentrations of fatty acids were determined in cord serum phospholipids. Neuropsychological performance in verbal, motor, attention, spatial, and memory functions was assessed at 7 years of age. Multiple regression and structural equation models (SEMs) were carried out to determine the confounder-adjusted associations with methylmercury exposure. Results A short delay recall (in percent change) in the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) was associated with a doubling of cord blood methylmercury (−18.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = −36.3, −1.51). The association became stronger after the inclusion of fatty acid concentrations in the analysis (−22.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] = −39.4, −4.62). In structural equation models, poorer memory function (corresponding to a lower score in the learning trials and short delay recall in CVLT) was associated with a doubling of prenatal exposure to methylmercury after the inclusion of fatty acid concentrations in the analysis (−1.94, 95% CI = −3.39, −0.49). Conclusions Associations between prenatal exposure to methylmercury and neurobehavioral deficits in memory function at school age were strengthened after fatty acid adjustment, thus suggesting that n-3 fatty acids need to be included in analysis of similar studies to avoid underestimation of the associations with methylmercury exposure. PMID:24561639

  16. Smoking and Hormesis as Confounding Factors in Radiation Pulmonary Carcinogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Sanders, Charles L.; Scott, Bobby R.

    2008-01-01

    Confounding factors in radiation pulmonary carcinogenesis are passive and active cigarette smoke exposures and radiation hormesis. Significantly increased lung cancer risk from ionizing radiation at lung doses < 1 Gy is not observed in never smokers exposed to ionizing radiations. Residential radon is not a cause of lung cancer in never smokers and may protect against lung cancer in smokers. The risk of lung cancer found in many epi-demiological studies was less than the expected risk (hormetic effect) for nuclear weapons and power plant workers, shipyard workers, fluoroscopy patients, and inhabitants of high-dose background radiation. The protective effect was noted for low- and mixed high- and low-linear energy transfer (LET) radiations in both genders. Many studies showed a protection factor (PROFAC) > 0.40 (40% avoided) against the occurrence of lung cancer. The ubiquitous nature of the radiation hormesis response in cellular, animal, and epidemio-logical studies negates the healthy worker effect as an explanation for radiation hormesis. Low-dose radiation may stimulate DNA repair/apoptosis and immunity to suppress and eliminate cigarette-smoke-induced transformed cells in the lung, reducing lung cancer occurrence in smokers. PMID:18648572

  17. Counterfactual graphical models for longitudinal mediation analysis with unobserved confounding.

    PubMed

    Shpitser, Ilya

    2013-08-01

    Questions concerning mediated causal effects are of great interest in psychology, cognitive science, medicine, social science, public health, and many other disciplines. For instance, about 60% of recent papers published in leading journals in social psychology contain at least one mediation test (Rucker, Preacher, Tormala, & Petty, 2011). Standard parametric approaches to mediation analysis employ regression models, and either the "difference method" (Judd & Kenny, 1981), more common in epidemiology, or the "product method" (Baron & Kenny, 1986), more common in the social sciences. In this article, we first discuss a known, but perhaps often unappreciated, fact that these parametric approaches are a special case of a general counterfactual framework for reasoning about causality first described by Neyman (1923) and Rubin (1924) and linked to causal graphical models by Robins (1986) and Pearl (2006). We then show a number of advantages of this framework. First, it makes the strong assumptions underlying mediation analysis explicit. Second, it avoids a number of problems present in the product and difference methods, such as biased estimates of effects in certain cases. Finally, we show the generality of this framework by proving a novel result which allows mediation analysis to be applied to longitudinal settings with unobserved confounders. PMID:23899340

  18. Confounding Impacts of Iron Reduction on Arsenic Retention

    SciTech Connect

    Tufano, K.J.; Fendorf, S.

    2009-05-26

    A transition from oxidizing to reducing conditions has long been implicated to increase aqueous As concentrations, for which reductive dissolution of iron (hydr)oxides is commonly implicated as the primary culprit. Confounding our understanding of processes controlling As retention, however, is that reductive transformation of ferrihydrite has recently been shown to promote As retention rather than release. To resolve the role iron phases have in regulating arsenic concentrations, here we examine As desorption from ferrihydrite-coated sands presorbed with As(lll); experiments were performed at circumneutral pH under Fe-reducing conditions with the dissimilatory iron reducing bacterium Shewanella putrefaciens strain CN-32 over extended time periods. We reveal that with the initial phase of iron reduction, ferrihydrite undergoes transformation to secondary phases and increases As(lll) retention (relative to abiotic controls). However, with increased reaction time, cessation of the phase transitions and ensuing reductive dissolution result in prolonged release of As(III) to the aqueous phase. Our results suggest that As(lll) retention during iron reduction is temporally dependent on secondary precipitation of iron phases; during transformation to secondary phases, particularly magnetite, As(lll) retention is enhanced even relative to oxidized systems. However, conditions that retard secondary transformation (more stable iron oxides or limited iron reducing bacterial activity), or prolonged anaerobiosis, will lead to both the dissolution of ferric (hydr)oxides and release of As(lll) to the aqueous phase.

  19. Packet Randomized Experiments for Eliminating Classes of Confounders

    PubMed Central

    Pavela, Greg; Wiener, Howard; Fontaine, Kevin R.; Fields, David A.; Voss, Jameson D.; Allison, David B.

    2014-01-01

    Background Although randomization is considered essential for causal inference, it is often not possible to randomize in nutrition and obesity research. To address this, we develop a framework for an experimental design—packet randomized experiments (PREs), which improves causal inferences when randomization on a single treatment variable is not possible. This situation arises when subjects are randomly assigned to a condition (such as a new roommate) which varies in one characteristic of interest (such as weight), but also varies across many others. There has been no general discussion of this experimental design, including its strengths, limitations, and statistical properties. As such, researchers are left to develop and apply PREs on an ad hoc basis, limiting its potential to improve causal inferences among nutrition and obesity researchers. Methods We introduce PREs as an intermediary design between randomized controlled trials and observational studies. We review previous research that used the PRE design and describe its application in obesity-related research, including random roommate assignments, heterochronic parabiosis, and the quasi-random assignment of subjects to geographic areas. We then provide a statistical framework to control for potential packet-level confounders not accounted for by randomization. Results PREs have successfully been used to improve causal estimates of the effect of roommates, altitude, and breastfeeding on weight outcomes. When certain assumptions are met, PREs can asymptotically control for packet-level characteristics. This has the potential to statistically estimate the effect of a single treatment even when randomization to a single treatment did not occur. Conclusions Applying PREs to obesity-related research will improve decisions about clinical, public health, and policy actions insofar as it offers researchers new insight into cause and effect relationships among variables. PMID:25444088

  20. Confounding variables in the environmental toxicology of arsenic.

    PubMed

    Gebel, T

    2000-04-01

    Arsenic is one of the most important global environmental toxicants. For example, in regions of West Bengal and Inner Mongolia, more than 100000 persons are chronically exposed to well water often strongly contaminated with As. Unfortunately, a toxicologically safe risk assessment and standard setting, especially for long-term and low-dose exposures to arsenic, is not possible. One reason is that the key mechanism of arsenic's tumorigenicity still is not elucidated. Experimental data indicate that either DNA repair inhibition or DNA methylation status alteration may be causal explanations. Moreover, when comparing epidemiological data, it cannot be ruled out that the susceptibility to arsenic's carcinogenicity may be different between Mexican and Taiwanese people. Some other studies indicate that some Andean populations do not develop skin cancer after long-term exposure to As. It is not known yet how this resistance could be mediated. Finally, the situation is even more complicated when taking into consideration that there are several compounds suspected to modulate the chronic environmental toxicity of arsenic, variables that may either enhance or suppress the in vivo genotoxicity and carcinogenicity of the metalloid. Among them are nutritional factors like selenium and zinc as well as drinking water co-contaminants like antimony. Further, yet unidentified factors influencing the body burden and/or the excretion of arsenic are possibly prevailing: preliminary data from own human biomonitoring studies showed a peaking of As in urine samples of non-exposed people which was not caused by elevated exposure to As through seafood consumption. The relevance of these putative confounding variables cannot be finally evaluated yet. Further experimental as well as epidemiological studies are needed to answer these questions. This would help to conduct a toxicologically improved risk assessment, especially for low-dose and long-term exposures to arsenic. PMID:10781883

  1. The importance of confounding in observational before-and-after studies of road safety measures.

    PubMed

    Elvik, Rune

    2002-09-01

    This paper discusses the importance of confounding in observational before-and-after studies of road safety measures. The importance of the approach taken to controlling for confounding factors is shown by means of examples. It is shown that the size of the effect on accidents attributed to a road safety measure can be profoundly affected by which confounding factors are controlled for in an evaluation study, and the way this is done. Simple before-and-after studies, not controlling for any confounding factors should never be trusted and are likely to overstate the effects of road safety measures. PMID:12214957

  2. Structural confounding of area-level deprivation and segreation: an empirical example

    EPA Science Inventory

    The neighborhood effects literature has grown, but its utility is limited by the lack of attention paid to non-random selection into neighborhoods. Confounding occurs when an exposure and an outcome share an underlying common cause. Confounding resulting from differential allocat...

  3. Confounding by dietary patterns of the inverse association between alcohol consumption and type 2 diabetes risk

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Epidemiology of dietary components and disease risk limits interpretability due to potential residual confounding by correlated dietary components. Dietary pattern analyses by factor analysis or partial least squares may overcome this limitation. To examine confounding by dietary pattern as well as ...

  4. Confounding by dietary pattern of the inverse association between alcohol consumption and type 2 diabetes risk

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Epidemiology of dietary components and disease risk limits interpretability due to potential residual confounding by correlated dietary components. Dietary pattern analyses by factor analysis or partial least squares may overcome the limitation. To examine confounding by dietary pattern as well as ...

  5. Systematically missing confounders in individual participant data meta-analysis of observational cohort studies.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Dan; White, Ian; Kostis, J B; Wilson, A C; Folsom, A R; Wu, K; Chambless, L; Benderly, M; Goldbourt, U; Willeit, J; Kiechl, S; Yarnell, J W G; Sweetnam, P M; Elwood, P C; Cushman, M; Psaty, B M; Tracy, R P; Tybjaerg-Hansen, A; Haverkate, F; de Maat, M P M; Thompson, S G; Fowkes, F G R; Lee, A J; Smith, F B; Salomaa, V; Harald, K; Rasi, V; Vahtera, E; Jousilahti, P; D'Agostino, R; Kannel, W B; Wilson, P W F; Tofler, G; Levy, D; Marchioli, R; Valagussa, F; Rosengren, A; Wilhelmsen, L; Lappas, G; Eriksson, H; Cremer, P; Nagel, D; Curb, J D; Rodriguez, B; Yano, K; Salonen, J T; Nyyssönen, K; Tuomainen, T-P; Hedblad, B; Engström, G; Berglund, G; Loewel, H; Koenig, W; Hense, H W; Meade, T W; Cooper, J A; De Stavola, B; Knottenbelt, C; Miller, G J; Cooper, J A; Bauer, K A; Rosenberg, R D; Sato, S; Kitamura, A; Naito, Y; Iso, H; Salomaa, V; Harald, K; Rasi, V; Vahtera, E; Jousilahti, P; Palosuo, T; Ducimetiere, P; Amouyel, P; Arveiler, D; Evans, A E; Ferrieres, J; Juhan-Vague, I; Bingham, A; Schulte, H; Assmann, G; Cantin, B; Lamarche, B; Despres, J-P; Dagenais, G R; Tunstall-Pedoe, H; Lowe, G D O; Woodward, M; Ben-Shlomo, Y; Davey Smith, G; Palmieri, V; Yeh, J L; Meade, T W; Rudnicka, A; Brennan, P; Knottenbelt, C; Cooper, J A; Ridker, P; Rodeghiero, F; Tosetto, A; Shepherd, J; Lowe, G D O; Ford, I; Robertson, M; Brunner, E; Shipley, M; Feskens, E J M; Di Angelantonio, E; Kaptoge, S; Lewington, S; Lowe, G D O; Sarwar, N; Thompson, S G; Walker, M; Watson, S; White, I R; Wood, A M; Danesh, J

    2009-04-15

    One difficulty in performing meta-analyses of observational cohort studies is that the availability of confounders may vary between cohorts, so that some cohorts provide fully adjusted analyses while others only provide partially adjusted analyses. Commonly, analyses of the association between an exposure and disease either are restricted to cohorts with full confounder information, or use all cohorts but do not fully adjust for confounding. We propose using a bivariate random-effects meta-analysis model to use information from all available cohorts while still adjusting for all the potential confounders. Our method uses both the fully adjusted and the partially adjusted estimated effects in the cohorts with full confounder information, together with an estimate of their within-cohort correlation. The method is applied to estimate the association between fibrinogen level and coronary heart disease incidence using data from 154,012 participants in 31 cohorts PMID:19222087

  6. Does exposure prediction bias health effect estimation? The relationship between confounding adjustment and exposure prediction

    PubMed Central

    Dominici, Francesca

    2014-01-01

    In environmental epidemiology, we are often faced with two challenges. First, an exposure prediction model is needed to estimate the exposure to an agent of interest, ideally at the individual level. Second, when estimating the health-effect associated with the exposure, confounding adjustment is needed in the health-effects regression model. The current literature addresses these two challenges separately. That is, methods that account for measurement error in the predicted exposure often fail to acknowledge the possibility of confounding, while methods designed to control confounding often fail to acknowledge that the exposure has been predicted. In this paper, we consider exposure prediction and confounding adjustment in a health-effects regression model simultaneously. By using theoretical arguments and simulation studies, we show that the bias of a health-effect estimate is influenced by the exposure prediction model, the type of confounding adjustment used in the health-effects regression model, and the relationship between these two. Moreover, we argue that even with a health-effects regression model that properly adjusts for confounding, the use of a predicted exposure can bias the health-effect estimate unless all confounders included in the health-effects regression model are also included in the exposure prediction model. While these results of this paper were motivated by studies of environmental contaminants, they apply more broadly to any context where an exposure needs to be predicted. PMID:24815302

  7. Biochemical transformation of coals

    DOEpatents

    Lin, M.S.; Premuzic, E.T.

    1999-03-23

    A method of biochemically transforming macromolecular compounds found in solid carbonaceous materials, such as coal is provided. The preparation of new microorganisms, metabolically weaned through challenge growth processes to biochemically transform solid carbonaceous materials at extreme temperatures, pressures, pH, salt and toxic metal concentrations is also disclosed. 7 figs.

  8. Confounding Factors in the Transcriptome Analysis of an In-Vivo Exposure Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Wackers, Paul F. K.; van Oostrom, Conny; Jonker, Martijs J.; Dekker, Rob J.; Rauwerda, Han; Ensink, Wim A.; de Vries, Annemieke; Breit, Timo M.

    2016-01-01

    Confounding factors In transcriptomics experimentation, confounding factors frequently exist alongside the intended experimental factors and can severely influence the outcome of a transcriptome analysis. Confounding factors are regularly discussed in methodological literature, but their actual, practical impact on the outcome and interpretation of transcriptomics experiments is, to our knowledge, not documented. For instance, in-vivo experimental factors; like Individual, Sample-Composition and Time-of-Day are potentially formidable confounding factors. To study these confounding factors, we designed an extensive in-vivo transcriptome experiment (n = 264) with UVR exposure of murine skin containing six consecutive samples from each individual mouse (n = 64). Analysis Approach Evaluation of the confounding factors: Sample-Composition, Time-of-Day, Handling-Stress, and Individual-Mouse resulted in the identification of many genes that were affected by them. These genes sometimes showed over 30-fold expression differences. The most prominent confounding factor was Sample-Composition caused by mouse-dependent skin composition differences, sampling variation and/or influx/efflux of mobile cells. Although we can only evaluate these effects for known cell type specifically expressed genes in our complex heterogeneous samples, it is clear that the observed variations also affect the cumulative expression levels of many other non-cell-type-specific genes. ANOVA ANOVA analysis can only attempt to neutralize the effects of the well-defined confounding factors, such as Individual-Mouse, on the experimental factors UV-Dose and Recovery-Time. Also, by definition, ANOVA only yields reproducible gene-expression differences, but we found that these differences were very small compared to the fold changes induced by the confounding factors, questioning the biological relevance of these ANOVA-detected differences. Furthermore, it turned out that many of the differentially expressed

  9. Breast milk and cognitive development—the role of confounders: a systematic review

    PubMed Central

    Walfisch, Asnat; Sermer, Corey; Cressman, Alex; Koren, Gideon

    2013-01-01

    Objectives The association between breastfeeding and child cognitive development is conflicted by studies reporting positive and null effects. This relationship may be confounded by factors associated with breastfeeding, specifically maternal socioeconomic class and IQ. Design Systematic review of the literature. Setting and participants Any prospective or retrospective study, in any language, evaluating the association between breastfeeding and cognitive development using a validated method in healthy term infants, children or adults, was included. Primary and secondary outcome measures Extracted data included the study design, target population and sample size, breastfeeding exposure, cognitive development assessment tool used and participants’ age, summary of the results prior to, and following, adjustment for confounders, and all confounders adjusted for. Study quality was assessed as well. Results 84 studies met our inclusion criteria (34 rated as high quality, 26 moderate and 24 low quality). Critical assessment of accepted studies revealed the following associations: 21 null, 28 positive, 18 null after adjusting for confounders and 17 positive—diminished after adjusting for confounders. Directionality of effect did not correlate with study quality; however, studies showing a decreased effect after multivariate analysis were of superior quality compared with other study groupings (14/17 high quality, 82%). Further, studies that showed null or diminished effect after multivariate analysis corrected for significantly more confounders (7.7±3.4) as compared with those that found no change following adjustment (5.6±4.5, p=0.04). The majority of included studies were carried out during childhood (75%) and set in high-income countries (85.5%). Conclusions Much of the reported effect of breastfeeding on child neurodevelopment is due to confounding. It is unlikely that additional work will change the current synthesis. Future studies should attempt to rigorously

  10. Familial Confounding of the Association between Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy and ADHD in Offspring

    PubMed Central

    Skoglund, Charlotte; Chen, Qi; D´Onofrio, Brian M; Lichtenstein, Paul; Larsson, Henrik

    2013-01-01

    Background Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy (SDP) has consistently been associated with increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring, but recent studies indicate that this association might be due to unmeasured familial confounding. Methods A total of 813 030 individuals born in Sweden between 1992 and 2000 were included in this nationwide population based cohort study. Data on maternal SDP and ADHD diagnosis were obtained from national registers and patients were followed up from the age of 3 to the end of 2009. Hazard Ratios (HRs) were estimated using stratified Cox regression models. Cousin and sibling data were used to control for unmeasured familial confounding. Results At the population level maternal SDP predicted ADHD in offspring (HRModerateSDP=1.89; HRHighSDP=2.50). This estimate gradually attenuated towards the null when adjusting for measured confounders (HRModerateSDP=1.62; HRHighSDP=2.04), unmeasured confounders shared within the extended family (i.e., cousin comparison) (HRModerateSDP= 1.45; HRHighSDP=1.69), and unmeasured confounders within the nuclear family (i.e., sibling comparison) (HRModerateSDP=0.88; HRHighSDP=0.84). Conclusions Our results suggest that the association between maternal SDP and offspring ADHD are due to unmeasured familial confounding. PMID:25359172

  11. Structural equation modeling versus marginal structural modeling for assessing mediation in the presence of posttreatment confounding.

    PubMed

    Moerkerke, Beatrijs; Loeys, Tom; Vansteelandt, Stijn

    2015-06-01

    Inverse probability weighting for marginal structural models has been suggested as a strategy to estimate the direct effect of a treatment or exposure on an outcome in studies where the effect of mediator on outcome is subject to posttreatment confounding. This type of confounding, whereby confounders of the effect of mediator on outcome are themselves affected by the exposure, complicates mediation analyses and necessitates apt analysis strategies. In this article, we contrast the inverse probability weighting approach with the traditional path analysis approach to mediation analysis. We show that in a particular class of linear models, adjustment for posttreatment confounding can be realized via a fairly standard modification of the traditional path analysis approach. The resulting approach is simpler; by avoiding inverse probability weighting, it moreover results in direct effect estimators with smaller finite sample bias and greater precision. We further show that a particular variant of the G-estimation approach from the causal inference literature is equivalent with the path analysis approach in simple linear settings but is more generally applicable in settings with interactions and/or noncontinuous mediators and confounders. We conclude that the use of inverse probability weighting for marginal structural models to adjust for posttreatment confounding in mediation analysis is primarily indicated in nonlinear models for the outcome. PMID:25751514

  12. Event-related potential indices of congruency sequence effects without feature integration or contingency learning confounds.

    PubMed

    Larson, Michael J; Clayson, Peter E; Kirwan, C Brock; Weissman, Daniel H

    2016-06-01

    The congruency effect in Stroop-like tasks (i.e., increased response time and reduced accuracy in incongruent relative to congruent trials) is often smaller when the previous trial was incongruent as compared to congruent. This congruency sequence effect (CSE) is thought to reflect cognitive control processes that shift attention to the target and/or modulate the response engendered by the distracter differently after incongruent relative to congruent trials. The neural signatures of CSEs are therefore usually attributed to cognitive control processes that minimize distraction from irrelevant stimuli. However, CSEs in previous functional neuroimaging studies were ubiquitously confounded with feature integration and/or contingency learning processes. We therefore investigated whether a neural CSE can be observed without such confounds in a group of healthy young adults (n = 56). To this end, we combined a prime-probe task that lacks such confounds with high-density ERPs to identify, for the first time, the neural time course of confound-minimized CSEs. Replicating recent behavioral findings, we observed strong CSEs in this task for mean response time and mean accuracy. Critically, conceptually replicating prior ERP results from confounded tasks, we also observed a CSE in both the parietal conflict slow potential (conflict SP) and the frontomedial N450. These findings indicate for the first time that neural CSEs as indexed by ERPs can be observed without the typical confounds. More broadly, the present study provides a confound-minimized protocol that will help future researchers to better isolate the neural bases of control processes that minimize distraction from irrelevant stimuli. PMID:26854028

  13. NFR TRIGA package design review report

    SciTech Connect

    Clements, M.D.

    1994-08-26

    The purpose of this document is to compile, present and document the formal design review of the NRF TRIGA packaging. The contents of this document include: the briefing meeting presentations, package description, design calculations, package review drawings, meeting minutes, action item lists, review comment records, final resolutions, and released drawings. This design review required more than two meeting to resolve comments. Therefore, there are three meeting minutes and two action item lists.

  14. Assessment and Indirect Adjustment for Confounding by Smoking in Cohort Studies Using Relative Hazards Models

    PubMed Central

    Richardson, David B.; Laurier, Dominique; Schubauer-Berigan, Mary K.; Tchetgen, Eric Tchetgen; Cole, Stephen R.

    2014-01-01

    Workers' smoking histories are not measured in many occupational cohort studies. Here we discuss the use of negative control outcomes to detect and adjust for confounding in analyses that lack information on smoking. We clarify the assumptions necessary to detect confounding by smoking and the additional assumptions necessary to indirectly adjust for such bias. We illustrate these methods using data from 2 studies of radiation and lung cancer: the Colorado Plateau cohort study (1950–2005) of underground uranium miners (in which smoking was measured) and a French cohort study (1950–2004) of nuclear industry workers (in which smoking was unmeasured). A cause-specific relative hazards model is proposed for estimation of indirectly adjusted associations. Among the miners, the proposed method suggests no confounding by smoking of the association between radon and lung cancer—a conclusion supported by adjustment for measured smoking. Among the nuclear workers, the proposed method suggests substantial confounding by smoking of the association between radiation and lung cancer. Indirect adjustment for confounding by smoking resulted in an 18% decrease in the adjusted estimated hazard ratio, yet this cannot be verified because smoking was unmeasured. Assumptions underlying this method are described, and a cause-specific proportional hazards model that allows easy implementation using standard software is presented. PMID:25245043

  15. Using instrumental variables to estimate a Cox's proportional hazards regression subject to additive confounding

    PubMed Central

    Tosteson, Tor D.; Morden, Nancy E.; Stukel, Therese A.; O'Malley, A. James

    2014-01-01

    The estimation of treatment effects is one of the primary goals of statistics in medicine. Estimation based on observational studies is subject to confounding. Statistical methods for controlling bias due to confounding include regression adjustment, propensity scores and inverse probability weighted estimators. These methods require that all confounders are recorded in the data. The method of instrumental variables (IVs) can eliminate bias in observational studies even in the absence of information on confounders. We propose a method for integrating IVs within the framework of Cox's proportional hazards model and demonstrate the conditions under which it recovers the causal effect of treatment. The methodology is based on the approximate orthogonality of an instrument with unobserved confounders among those at risk. We derive an estimator as the solution to an estimating equation that resembles the score equation of the partial likelihood in much the same way as the traditional IV estimator resembles the normal equations. To justify this IV estimator for a Cox model we perform simulations to evaluate its operating characteristics. Finally, we apply the estimator to an observational study of the effect of coronary catheterization on survival. PMID:25506259

  16. Restricted spatial regression in practice: Geostatistical models, confounding, and robustness under model misspecification

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hanks, Ephraim M.; Schliep, Erin M.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Hoeting, Jennifer A.

    2015-01-01

    In spatial generalized linear mixed models (SGLMMs), covariates that are spatially smooth are often collinear with spatially smooth random effects. This phenomenon is known as spatial confounding and has been studied primarily in the case where the spatial support of the process being studied is discrete (e.g., areal spatial data). In this case, the most common approach suggested is restricted spatial regression (RSR) in which the spatial random effects are constrained to be orthogonal to the fixed effects. We consider spatial confounding and RSR in the geostatistical (continuous spatial support) setting. We show that RSR provides computational benefits relative to the confounded SGLMM, but that Bayesian credible intervals under RSR can be inappropriately narrow under model misspecification. We propose a posterior predictive approach to alleviating this potential problem and discuss the appropriateness of RSR in a variety of situations. We illustrate RSR and SGLMM approaches through simulation studies and an analysis of malaria frequencies in The Gambia, Africa.

  17. EVALUATING COSTS WITH UNMEASURED CONFOUNDING: A SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS FOR THE TREATMENT EFFECT

    PubMed Central

    Handorf, Elizabeth A.; Bekelman, Justin E.; Heitjan, Daniel F.; Mitra, Nandita

    2014-01-01

    Estimates of the effects of treatment on cost from observational studies are subject to bias if there are unmeasured confounders. It is therefore advisable in practice to assess the potential magnitude of such biases. We derive a general adjustment formula for loglinear models of mean cost and explore special cases under plausible assumptions about the distribution of the unmeasured confounder. We assess the performance of the adjustment by simulation, in particular, examining robustness to a key assumption of conditional independence between the unmeasured and measured covariates given the treatment indicator. We apply our method to SEER-Medicare cost data for a stage II/III muscle-invasive bladder cancer cohort. We evaluate the costs for radical cystectomy vs. combined radiation/chemotherapy, and find that the significance of the treatment effect is sensitive to plausible unmeasured Bernoulli, Poisson and Gamma confounders. PMID:24587844

  18. Distinguishing prostate cancer from benign confounders via a cascaded classifier on multi-parametric MRI

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Litjens, G. J. S.; Elliott, R.; Shih, N.; Feldman, M.; Barentsz, J. O.; Hulsbergen-van de Kaa, C. A.; Kovacs, I.; Huisman, H. J.; Madabhushi, A.

    2014-03-01

    Learning how to separate benign confounders from prostate cancer is important because the imaging characteristics of these confounders are poorly understood. Furthermore, the typical representations of the MRI parameters might not be enough to allow discrimination. The diagnostic uncertainty this causes leads to a lower diagnostic accuracy. In this paper a new cascaded classifier is introduced to separate prostate cancer and benign confounders on MRI in conjunction with specific computer-extracted features to distinguish each of the benign classes (benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), inflammation, atrophy or prostatic intra-epithelial neoplasia (PIN). In this study we tried to (1) calculate different mathematical representations of the MRI parameters which more clearly express subtle differences between different classes, (2) learn which of the MRI image features will allow to distinguish specific benign confounders from prostate cancer, and (2) find the combination of computer-extracted MRI features to best discriminate cancer from the confounding classes using a cascaded classifier. One of the most important requirements for identifying MRI signatures for adenocarcinoma, BPH, atrophy, inflammation, and PIN is accurate mapping of the location and spatial extent of the confounder and cancer categories from ex vivo histopathology to MRI. Towards this end we employed an annotated prostatectomy data set of 31 patients, all of whom underwent a multi-parametric 3 Tesla MRI prior to radical prostatectomy. The prostatectomy slides were carefully co-registered to the corresponding MRI slices using an elastic registration technique. We extracted texture features from the T2-weighted imaging, pharmacokinetic features from the dynamic contrast enhanced imaging and diffusion features from the diffusion-weighted imaging for each of the confounder classes and prostate cancer. These features were selected because they form the mainstay of clinical diagnosis. Relevant features for

  19. Sharp sensitivity bounds for mediation under unmeasured mediator-outcome confounding

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Peng; Vanderweele, Tyler J.

    2016-01-01

    It is often of interest to decompose the total effect of an exposure into a component that acts on the outcome through some mediator and a component that acts independently through other pathways. Said another way, we are interested in the direct and indirect effects of the exposure on the outcome. Even if the exposure is randomly assigned, it is often infeasible to randomize the mediator, leaving the mediator-outcome confounding not fully controlled. We develop a sensitivity analysis technique that can bound the direct and indirect effects without parametric assumptions about the unmeasured mediator-outcome confounding.

  20. An education gradient in health, a health gradient in education, or a confounded gradient in both?

    PubMed

    Lynch, Jamie L; von Hippel, Paul T

    2016-04-01

    There is a positive gradient associating educational attainment with health, yet the explanation for this gradient is not clear. Does higher education improve health (causation)? Do the healthy become highly educated (selection)? Or do good health and high educational attainment both result from advantages established early in the life course (confounding)? This study evaluates these competing explanations by tracking changes in educational attainment and Self-rated Health (SRH) from age 15 to age 31 in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, 1997 cohort. Ordinal logistic regression confirms that high-SRH adolescents are more likely to become highly educated. This is partly because adolescent SRH is associated with early advantages including adolescents' academic performance, college plans, and family background (confounding); however, net of these confounders adolescent SRH still predicts adult educational attainment (selection). Fixed-effects longitudinal regression shows that educational attainment has little causal effect on SRH at age 31. Completion of a high school diploma or associate's degree has no effect on SRH, while completion of a bachelor's or graduate degree have effects that, though significant, are quite small (less than 0.1 points on a 5-point scale). While it is possible that educational attainment would have greater effect on health at older ages, at age 31 what we see is a health gradient in education, shaped primarily by selection and confounding rather than by a causal effect of education on health. PMID:26943010

  1. Combating Unmeasured Confounding in Cross-Sectional Studies: Evaluating Instrumental-Variable and Heckman Selection Models

    PubMed Central

    DeMaris, Alfred

    2014-01-01

    Unmeasured confounding is the principal threat to unbiased estimation of treatment “effects” (i.e., regression parameters for binary regressors) in nonexperimental research. It refers to unmeasured characteristics of individuals that lead them both to be in a particular “treatment” category and to register higher or lower values than others on a response variable. In this article, I introduce readers to 2 econometric techniques designed to control the problem, with a particular emphasis on the Heckman selection model (HSM). Both techniques can be used with only cross-sectional data. Using a Monte Carlo experiment, I compare the performance of instrumental-variable regression (IVR) and HSM to that of ordinary least squares (OLS) under conditions with treatment and unmeasured confounding both present and absent. I find HSM generally to outperform IVR with respect to mean-square-error of treatment estimates, as well as power for detecting either a treatment effect or unobserved confounding. However, both HSM and IVR require a large sample to be fully effective. The use of HSM and IVR in tandem with OLS to untangle unobserved confounding bias in cross-sectional data is further demonstrated with an empirical application. Using data from the 2006–2010 General Social Survey (National Opinion Research Center, 2014), I examine the association between being married and subjective well-being. PMID:25110904

  2. The Table 2 Fallacy: Presenting and Interpreting Confounder and Modifier Coefficients

    PubMed Central

    Westreich, Daniel; Greenland, Sander

    2013-01-01

    It is common to present multiple adjusted effect estimates from a single model in a single table. For example, a table might show odds ratios for one or more exposures and also for several confounders from a single logistic regression. This can lead to mistaken interpretations of these estimates. We use causal diagrams to display the sources of the problems. Presentation of exposure and confounder effect estimates from a single model may lead to several interpretative difficulties, inviting confusion of direct-effect estimates with total-effect estimates for covariates in the model. These effect estimates may also be confounded even though the effect estimate for the main exposure is not confounded. Interpretation of these effect estimates is further complicated by heterogeneity (variation, modification) of the exposure effect measure across covariate levels. We offer suggestions to limit potential misunderstandings when multiple effect estimates are presented, including precise distinction between total and direct effect measures from a single model, and use of multiple models tailored to yield total-effect estimates for covariates. PMID:23371353

  3. Adjusting for unmeasured confounding due to either of two crossed factors with a logistic regression model.

    PubMed

    Li, Li; Brumback, Babette A; Weppelmann, Thomas A; Morris, J Glenn; Ali, Afsar

    2016-08-15

    Motivated by an investigation of the effect of surface water temperature on the presence of Vibrio cholerae in water samples collected from different fixed surface water monitoring sites in Haiti in different months, we investigated methods to adjust for unmeasured confounding due to either of the two crossed factors site and month. In the process, we extended previous methods that adjust for unmeasured confounding due to one nesting factor (such as site, which nests the water samples from different months) to the case of two crossed factors. First, we developed a conditional pseudolikelihood estimator that eliminates fixed effects for the levels of each of the crossed factors from the estimating equation. Using the theory of U-Statistics for independent but non-identically distributed vectors, we show that our estimator is consistent and asymptotically normal, but that its variance depends on the nuisance parameters and thus cannot be easily estimated. Consequently, we apply our estimator in conjunction with a permutation test, and we investigate use of the pigeonhole bootstrap and the jackknife for constructing confidence intervals. We also incorporate our estimator into a diagnostic test for a logistic mixed model with crossed random effects and no unmeasured confounding. For comparison, we investigate between-within models extended to two crossed factors. These generalized linear mixed models include covariate means for each level of each factor in order to adjust for the unmeasured confounding. We conduct simulation studies, and we apply the methods to the Haitian data. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. PMID:26892025

  4. Consistent causal effect estimation under dual misspecification and implications for confounder selection procedures

    PubMed Central

    Gruber, Susan; van der Laan, Mark J

    2014-01-01

    In a previously published article in this journal, Vansteeland et al. [Stat Methods Med Res. Epub ahead of print 12 November 2010. DOI: 10.1177/0962280210387717] address confounder selection in the context of causal effect estimation in observational studies. They discuss several selection strategies and propose a procedure whose performance is guided by the quality of the exposure effect estimator. The authors note that when a particular linearity condition is met, consistent estimation of the target parameter can be achieved even under dual misspecification of models for the association of confounders with exposure and outcome and demonstrate the performance of their procedure relative to other estimators when this condition holds. Our earlier published work on collaborative targeted minimum loss based learning provides a general theoretical framework for effective confounder selection that explains the findings of Vansteelandt et al. and underscores the appropriateness of their suggestions that a confounder selection procedure should be concerned with directly targeting the quality of the estimate and that desirable estimators produce valid confidence intervals and are robust to dual misspecification. PMID:22368176

  5. Confounds in Assessing the Associations between Biliteracy and English Language Proficiency

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Proctor, C. Patrick; Silverman, Rebecca D.

    2011-01-01

    It has long been theorized, if not exhaustively researched, that bilingualism and biliteracy are beneficial in promoting linguistic and academic gains; but the operationalization of these constructs is confounding. In the current study, the authors worked with 118 Spanish-English bilingual Latina/o students and investigated whether Spanish-English…

  6. Nanoparticles as biochemical sensors

    PubMed Central

    El-Ansary, Afaf; Faddah, Layla M

    2010-01-01

    There is little doubt that nanoparticles offer real and new opportunities in many fields, such as biomedicine and materials science. Such particles are small enough to enter almost all areas of the body, including cells and organelles, potentially leading to new approaches in nanomedicine. Sensors for small molecules of biochemical interest are of critical importance. This review is an attempt to trace the use of nanomaterials in biochemical sensor design. The possibility of using nanoparticles functionalized with antibodies as markers for proteins will be elucidated. Moreover, capabilities and applications for nanoparticles based on gold, silver, magnetic, and semiconductor materials (quantum dots), used in optical (absorbance, luminescence, surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy, surface plasmon resonance), electrochemical, and mass-sensitive sensors will be highlighted. The unique ability of nanosensors to improve the analysis of biochemical fluids is discussed either through considering the use of nanoparticles for in vitro molecular diagnosis, or in the biological/biochemical analysis for in vivo interaction with the human body. PMID:24198472

  7. Measures of Biochemical Sociology

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Snell, Joel; Marsh, Mitchell

    2008-01-01

    In a previous article, the authors introduced a new sub field in sociology that we labeled "biochemical sociology." We introduced the definition of a sociology that encompasses sociological measures, psychological measures, and biological indicators Snell & Marsh (2003). In this article, we want to demonstrate a research strategy that would assess…

  8. Biochemical upgrading of oils

    DOEpatents

    Premuzic, Eugene T.; Lin, Mow S.

    1999-01-12

    A process for biochemical conversion of heavy crude oils is provided. The process includes contacting heavy crude oils with adapted biocatalysts. The resulting upgraded oil shows, a relative increase in saturated hydrocarbons, emulsions and oxygenates and a decrease in compounds containing in organic sulfur, organic nitrogen and trace metals. Adapted microorganisms which have been modified under challenged growth processes are also disclosed.

  9. Biochemical upgrading of oils

    DOEpatents

    Premuzic, E.T.; Lin, M.S.

    1999-01-12

    A process for biochemical conversion of heavy crude oils is provided. The process includes contacting heavy crude oils with adapted biocatalysts. The resulting upgraded oil shows, a relative increase in saturated hydrocarbons, emulsions and oxygenates and a decrease in compounds containing organic sulfur, organic nitrogen and trace metals. Adapted microorganisms which have been modified under challenged growth processes are also disclosed. 121 figs.

  10. Biochemical Education in Brazil.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vella, F.

    1988-01-01

    Described are discussions held concerning the problems of biochemical education in Brazil at a meeting of the Sociedade Brazileira de Bioquimica in April 1988. Also discussed are other visits that were made to universities in Brazil. Three major recommendations to improve the state of biochemistry education in Brazil are presented. (CW)

  11. Multiplexing oscillatory biochemical signals.

    PubMed

    de Ronde, Wiet; ten Wolde, Pieter Rein

    2014-04-01

    In recent years it has been increasingly recognized that biochemical signals are not necessarily constant in time and that the temporal dynamics of a signal can be the information carrier. Moreover, it is now well established that the protein signaling network of living cells has a bow-tie structure and that components are often shared between different signaling pathways. Here we show by mathematical modeling that living cells can multiplex a constant and an oscillatory signal: they can transmit these two signals simultaneously through a common signaling pathway, and yet respond to them specifically and reliably. We find that information transmission is reduced not only by noise arising from the intrinsic stochasticity of biochemical reactions, but also by crosstalk between the different channels. Yet, under biologically relevant conditions more than 2 bits of information can be transmitted per channel, even when the two signals are transmitted simultaneously. These observations suggest that oscillatory signals are ideal for multiplexing signals. PMID:24685537

  12. Health Effects of Lesion Localization in Multiple Sclerosis: Spatial Registration and Confounding Adjustment

    PubMed Central

    Eloyan, Ani; Shou, Haochang; Shinohara, Russell T.; Sweeney, Elizabeth M.; Nebel, Mary Beth; Cuzzocreo, Jennifer L.; Calabresi, Peter A.; Reich, Daniel S.; Lindquist, Martin A.; Crainiceanu, Ciprian M.

    2014-01-01

    Brain lesion localization in multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be associated with the type and severity of adverse health effects. However, several factors hinder statistical analyses of such associations using large MRI datasets: 1) spatial registration algorithms developed for healthy individuals may be less effective on diseased brains and lead to different spatial distributions of lesions; 2) interpretation of results requires the careful selection of confounders; and 3) most approaches have focused on voxel-wise regression approaches. In this paper, we evaluated the performance of five registration algorithms and observed that conclusions regarding lesion localization can vary substantially with the choice of registration algorithm. Methods for dealing with confounding factors due to differences in disease duration and local lesion volume are introduced. Voxel-wise regression is then extended by the introduction of a metric that measures the distance between a patient-specific lesion mask and the population prevalence map. PMID:25233361

  13. Histopathological baseline levels and confounding factors in common sole (Solea solea) for marine environmental risk assessment.

    PubMed

    Cuevas, N; Zorita, I; Costa, P M; Larreta, J; Franco, J

    2015-09-01

    Liver and gonad histopathology, biometric parameters and hepatic metal bioaccumulation were assessed monthly over a one-year period in common soles from the Basque continental shelf, in order to determine baseline levels and confounding factors within biomonitoring studies. Biometric parameters and hepatic metal bioaccumulation varied according to season and gender. Accordingly, hepatic histopathological traits presented seasonal variations related to the reproductive cycle. However, the hepatic histopathological index showed that seasonality and gender were not significant confounding factors. Conversely, the gonad histopathological index was modulated by season and gender. As for organ comparison, the liver endured more severe histopathological damage than the gonad. In brief, the sampling period and gender may not affect the estimation of hepatic histopathological indices for biomonitoring purposes. Nonetheless, due to different sensitivities to environmental 'noise' variables, the sampling period and gender differentiation should be thoroughly considered for the assessment of gonad histopathology, biometrics and metal bioaccumulation. PMID:26364682

  14. Understanding Confounding Effects in Linguistic Coordination: An Information-Theoretic Approach

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Shuyang; Ver Steeg, Greg; Galstyan, Aram

    2015-01-01

    We suggest an information-theoretic approach for measuring stylistic coordination in dialogues. The proposed measure has a simple predictive interpretation and can account for various confounding factors through proper conditioning. We revisit some of the previous studies that reported strong signatures of stylistic accommodation, and find that a significant part of the observed coordination can be attributed to a simple confounding effect—length coordination. Specifically, longer utterances tend to be followed by longer responses, which gives rise to spurious correlations in the other stylistic features. We propose a test to distinguish correlations in length due to contextual factors (topic of conversation, user verbosity, etc.) and turn-by-turn coordination. We also suggest a test to identify whether stylistic coordination persists even after accounting for length coordination and contextual factors. PMID:26115446

  15. Wind turbines and idiopathic symptoms: The confounding effect of concurrent environmental exposures.

    PubMed

    Blanes-Vidal, Victoria; Schwartz, Joel

    2016-01-01

    Whether or not wind turbines pose a risk to human health is a matter of heated debate. Personal reactions to other environmental exposures occurring in the same settings as wind turbines may be responsible of the reported symptoms. However, these have not been accounted for in previous studies. We investigated whether there is an association between residential proximity to wind turbines and idiopathic symptoms, after controlling for personal reactions to other environmental co-exposures. We assessed wind turbine exposures in 454 residences as the distance to the closest wind turbine (Dw) and number of wind turbines <1000m (Nw1000). Information on symptoms, demographics and personal reactions to exposures was obtained by a blind questionnaire. We identified confounders using confounders' selection criteria and used adjusted logistic regression models to estimate associations. When controlling only for socio-demographic characteristics, log10Dw was associated with "unnatural fatigue" (ORadj=0.38, 95%CI=0.15-1.00) and "difficulty concentrating" (ORadj=0.26, 95%CI=0.08-0.83) and Nw1000 was associated with "unnatural fatigue" (ORadj=1.35, 95%CI=1.07-1.70) and "headache" (ORadj=1.26, 95%CI=1.00-1.58). After controlling for personal reactions to noise from sources different from wind turbines and agricultural odor exposure, we did not observe a significant relationship between residential proximity to wind turbines and symptoms and the parameter estimates were attenuated toward zero. Wind turbines-health associations can be confounded by personal reactions to other environmental co-exposures. Isolated associations reported in the literature may be due to confounding bias. PMID:27046778

  16. In vivo measurement of 241Am in the lungs confounded by activity deposited in other organs.

    PubMed

    Lobaugh, Megan L; Spitz, Henry B; Glover, Samuel E

    2015-01-01

    Radioactive material deposited in multiple organs of the body is likely to confound a result of an in vivo measurement performed over the lungs, the most frequently monitored organ for occupational exposure. The significance of this interference was evaluated by measuring anthropometric torso phantoms containing lungs, liver, skeleton, and axillary lymph nodes, each with a precisely known quantity of 241Am uniformly distributed in the organs. Arrays of multiple high-resolution germanium detectors were positioned over organs within the torso phantom containing 241Am or over proximal organs without activity to determine the degree of measurement confounding due to photons emitted from other source organs. A set of four mathematical response functions describes the measured count rate with detectors positioned over each of the relevant organs and 241Am contained in the measured organ or one of the other organs selected as a confounder. Simultaneous solution of these equations by matrix algebra, where the diagonal terms of the matrix are calibration factors for a direct measurement of activity in an organ and the off-diagonal terms reflect the contribution (i.e., interference or cross-talk) produced by 241Am in a confounding organ, yields the activity deposited in each of the relevant organs. The matrix solution described in this paper represents a method for adjusting a result of 241Am measured directly in one organ for interferences that may arise from 241Am deposited elsewhere and represents a technically valid procedure to aid in evaluating internal dose based upon in vivo measurements for those radioactive materials known to deposit in multiple organs. PMID:25437522

  17. The importance of scale for spatial-confounding bias and precision of spatial regression estimators

    PubMed Central

    Paciorek, Christopher J

    2010-01-01

    Residuals in regression models are often spatially correlated. Prominent examples include studies in environmental epidemiology to understand the chronic health effects of pollutants. I consider the effects of residual spatial structure on the bias and precision of regression coefficients, developing a simple framework in which to understand the key issues and derive informative analytic results. When unmeasured confounding introduces spatial structure into the residuals, regression models with spatial random effects and closely-related models such as kriging and penalized splines are biased, even when the residual variance components are known. Analytic and simulation results show how the bias depends on the spatial scales of the covariate and the residual: one can reduce bias by fitting a spatial model only when there is variation in the covariate at a scale smaller than the scale of the unmeasured confounding. I also discuss how the scales of the residual and the covariate affect efficiency and uncertainty estimation when the residuals are independent of the covariate. In an application on the association between black carbon particulate matter air pollution and birth weight, controlling for large-scale spatial variation appears to reduce bias from unmeasured confounders, while increasing uncertainty in the estimated pollution effect. PMID:21528104

  18. The confounding effect of cryptic relatedness for environmental risks of systolic blood pressure on cohort studies

    PubMed Central

    Shibata, Kyoko; Hozawa, Atsushi; Tamiya, Gen; Ueki, Masao; Nakamura, Tomohiro; Narimatsu, Hiroto; Kubota, Isao; Ueno, Yoshiyuki; Kato, Takeo; Yamashita, Hidetoshi; Fukao, Akira; Kayama, Takamasa

    2013-01-01

    The impact of cryptic relatedness (CR) on genomic association studies is well studied and known to inflate false-positive rates as reported by several groups. In contrast, conventional epidemiological studies for environmental risks, the confounding effect of CR is still uninvestigated. In this study, we investigated the confounding effect of unadjusted CR among a rural cohort in the relationship between environmental risk factors (body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption) and systolic blood pressure. We applied the methods of population-based whole-genome association studies for the analysis of the genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data in 1622 subjects, and detected 20.2% CR in this cohort population. In the case of the sample size, approximately 1000, the ratio of CR to the population was 20.2%, the population prevalence 25%, the prevalence in the CR 26%, heritability for liability 14.3% and prevalence in the subpopulation without CR 26%, the difference of estimated regression coefficient between samples with and without CR was not significant (P-value = 0.55). On the other hand, in another case with approximately >20% heritability for liability, we showed that confounding due to CR biased the estimation of exposure effects. PMID:24498600

  19. Reporting phenotypes in mouse models when considering body size as a potential confounder.

    PubMed

    Oellrich, Anika; Meehan, Terrence F; Parkinson, Helen; Sarntivijai, Sirarat; White, Jacqueline K; Karp, Natasha A

    2016-01-01

    Genotype-phenotype studies aim to identify causative relationships between genes and phenotypes. The International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium is a high throughput phenotyping program whose goal is to collect phenotype data for a knockout mouse strain of every protein coding gene. The scale of the project requires an automatic analysis pipeline to detect abnormal phenotypes, and disseminate the resulting gene-phenotype annotation data into public resources. A body weight phenotype is a common result of knockout studies. As body weight correlates with many other biological traits, this challenges the interpretation of related gene-phenotype associations. Co-correlation can lead to gene-phenotype associations that are potentially misleading. Here we use statistical modelling to account for body weight as a potential confounder to assess the impact. We find that there is a considerable impact on previously established gene-phenotype associations due to an increase in sensitivity as well as the confounding effect. We investigated the existing ontologies to represent this phenotypic information and we explored ways to ontologically represent the results of the influence of confounders on gene-phenotype associations. With the scale of data being disseminated within the high throughput programs and the range of downstream studies that utilise these data, it is critical to consider how we improve the quality of the disseminated data and provide a robust ontological representation. PMID:26865945

  20. Threats to internal validity in exercise science: a review of overlooked confounding variables.

    PubMed

    Halperin, Israel; Pyne, David B; Martin, David T

    2015-10-01

    Internal validity refers to the degree of control exerted over potential confounding variables to reduce alternative explanations for the effects of various treatments. In exercise and sports-science research and routine testing, internal validity is commonly achieved by controlling variables such as exercise and warm-up protocols, prior training, nutritional intake before testing, ambient temperature, time of testing, hours of sleep, age, and gender. However, a number of other potential confounding variables often do not receive adequate attention in sports physiology and performance research. These confounding variables include instructions on how to perform the test, volume and frequency of verbal encouragement, knowledge of exercise endpoint, number and gender of observers in the room, influence of music played before and during testing, and the effects of mental fatigue on performance. In this review the authors discuss these variables in relation to common testing environments in exercise and sports science and present some recommendations with the goal of reducing possible threats to internal validity. PMID:25756869

  1. Mediation Analysis With Intermediate Confounding: Structural Equation Modeling Viewed Through the Causal Inference Lens

    PubMed Central

    De Stavola, Bianca L.; Daniel, Rhian M.; Ploubidis, George B.; Micali, Nadia

    2015-01-01

    The study of mediation has a long tradition in the social sciences and a relatively more recent one in epidemiology. The first school is linked to path analysis and structural equation models (SEMs), while the second is related mostly to methods developed within the potential outcomes approach to causal inference. By giving model-free definitions of direct and indirect effects and clear assumptions for their identification, the latter school has formalized notions intuitively developed in the former and has greatly increased the flexibility of the models involved. However, through its predominant focus on nonparametric identification, the causal inference approach to effect decomposition via natural effects is limited to settings that exclude intermediate confounders. Such confounders are naturally dealt with (albeit with the caveats of informality and modeling inflexibility) in the SEM framework. Therefore, it seems pertinent to revisit SEMs with intermediate confounders, armed with the formal definitions and (parametric) identification assumptions from causal inference. Here we investigate: 1) how identification assumptions affect the specification of SEMs, 2) whether the more restrictive SEM assumptions can be relaxed, and 3) whether existing sensitivity analyses can be extended to this setting. Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (1990–2005) are used for illustration. PMID:25504026

  2. The confounding effect of cryptic relatedness for environmental risks of systolic blood pressure on cohort studies.

    PubMed

    Shibata, Kyoko; Hozawa, Atsushi; Tamiya, Gen; Ueki, Masao; Nakamura, Tomohiro; Narimatsu, Hiroto; Kubota, Isao; Ueno, Yoshiyuki; Kato, Takeo; Yamashita, Hidetoshi; Fukao, Akira; Kayama, Takamasa

    2013-05-01

    The impact of cryptic relatedness (CR) on genomic association studies is well studied and known to inflate false-positive rates as reported by several groups. In contrast, conventional epidemiological studies for environmental risks, the confounding effect of CR is still uninvestigated. In this study, we investigated the confounding effect of unadjusted CR among a rural cohort in the relationship between environmental risk factors (body mass index, smoking status, alcohol consumption) and systolic blood pressure. We applied the methods of population-based whole-genome association studies for the analysis of the genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data in 1622 subjects, and detected 20.2% CR in this cohort population. In the case of the sample size, approximately 1000, the ratio of CR to the population was 20.2%, the population prevalence 25%, the prevalence in the CR 26%, heritability for liability 14.3% and prevalence in the subpopulation without CR 26%, the difference of estimated regression coefficient between samples with and without CR was not significant (P-value = 0.55). On the other hand, in another case with approximately >20% heritability for liability, we showed that confounding due to CR biased the estimation of exposure effects. PMID:24498600

  3. Sensitivity analysis for direct and indirect effects in the presence of exposure-induced mediator-outcome confounders

    PubMed Central

    Chiba, Yasutaka

    2014-01-01

    Questions of mediation are often of interest in reasoning about mechanisms, and methods have been developed to address these questions. However, these methods make strong assumptions about the absence of confounding. Even if exposure is randomized, there may be mediator-outcome confounding variables. Inference about direct and indirect effects is particularly challenging if these mediator-outcome confounders are affected by the exposure because in this case these effects are not identified irrespective of whether data is available on these exposure-induced mediator-outcome confounders. In this paper, we provide a sensitivity analysis technique for natural direct and indirect effects that is applicable even if there are mediator-outcome confounders affected by the exposure. We give techniques for both the difference and risk ratio scales and compare the technique to other possible approaches. PMID:25580387

  4. A comparison of confounding adjustment methods with an application to early life determinants of childhood obesity.

    PubMed

    Li, L; Kleinman, K; Gillman, M W

    2014-12-01

    We implemented six confounding adjustment methods: (1) covariate-adjusted regression, (2) propensity score (PS) regression, (3) PS stratification, (4) PS matching with two calipers, (5) inverse probability weighting and (6) doubly robust estimation to examine the associations between the body mass index (BMI) z-score at 3 years and two separate dichotomous exposure measures: exclusive breastfeeding v. formula only (n=437) and cesarean section v. vaginal delivery (n=1236). Data were drawn from a prospective pre-birth cohort study, Project Viva. The goal is to demonstrate the necessity and usefulness, and approaches for multiple confounding adjustment methods to analyze observational data. Unadjusted (univariate) and covariate-adjusted linear regression associations of breastfeeding with BMI z-score were -0.33 (95% CI -0.53, -0.13) and -0.24 (-0.46, -0.02), respectively. The other approaches resulted in smaller n (204-276) because of poor overlap of covariates, but CIs were of similar width except for inverse probability weighting (75% wider) and PS matching with a wider caliper (76% wider). Point estimates ranged widely, however, from -0.01 to -0.38. For cesarean section, because of better covariate overlap, the covariate-adjusted regression estimate (0.20) was remarkably robust to all adjustment methods, and the widths of the 95% CIs differed less than in the breastfeeding example. Choice of covariate adjustment method can matter. Lack of overlap in covariate structure between exposed and unexposed participants in observational studies can lead to erroneous covariate-adjusted estimates and confidence intervals. We recommend inspecting covariate overlap and using multiple confounding adjustment methods. Similar results bring reassurance. Contradictory results suggest issues with either the data or the analytic method. PMID:25171142

  5. Clinical and Evoked Pain, Personality Traits, and Emotional States: Can Familial Confounding Explain the Associations?

    PubMed Central

    Dansie, Elizabeth; Succop, Annemarie; Chopko, Laura; Afari, Niloofar

    2014-01-01

    Objectives Pain is a complex phenomenon influenced by context and person-specific factors. Affective dimensions of pain involve both enduring personality traits and fleeting emotional states. We examined how personality traits and emotional states are linked with clinical and evoked pain in a twin sample. Methods 99 female twin pairs were evaluated for clinical and evoked pain using the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) and dolorimetry, and completed the 120-item International Personality Item Pool (IPIP), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS), and ratings of stress and mood. Using a co-twin control design we examined a) the relationship of personality traits and emotional states with clinical and evoked pain, and b) whether genetics and common environment (i.e. familial factors) may account for the associations. Results Neuroticism was associated with the sensory component of the MPQ; this relationship was not confounded by familial factors. None of the emotional state measures was associated with the MPQ. PANAS Negative Affect was associated with lower evoked pressure pain threshold and tolerance; these associations were confounded by familial factors. There were no associations between IPIP traits and evoked pain. Conclusions A relationship exists between neuroticism and clinical pain that is not confounded by familial factors. There is no similar relationship between negative emotional states and clinical pain. In contrast, the relationship between negative emotional states and evoked pain is strong while the relationship with enduring personality traits is weak. The relationship between negative emotional states and evoked pain appears to be non-causal and due to familial factors. PMID:25311873

  6. A comparison of confounding adjustment methods with an application to early life determinants of childhood obesity

    PubMed Central

    Kleinman, Ken; Gillman, Matthew W.

    2014-01-01

    We implemented 6 confounding adjustment methods: 1) covariate-adjusted regression, 2) propensity score (PS) regression, 3) PS stratification, 4) PS matching with two calipers, 5) inverse-probability-weighting, and 6) doubly-robust estimation to examine the associations between the BMI z-score at 3 years and two separate dichotomous exposure measures: exclusive breastfeeding versus formula only (N = 437) and cesarean section versus vaginal delivery (N = 1236). Data were drawn from a prospective pre-birth cohort study, Project Viva. The goal is to demonstrate the necessity and usefulness, and approaches for multiple confounding adjustment methods to analyze observational data. Unadjusted (univariate) and covariate-adjusted linear regression associations of breastfeeding with BMI z-score were −0.33 (95% CI −0.53, −0.13) and −0.24 (−0.46, −0.02), respectively. The other approaches resulted in smaller N (204 to 276) because of poor overlap of covariates, but CIs were of similar width except for inverse-probability-weighting (75% wider) and PS matching with a wider caliper (76% wider). Point estimates ranged widely, however, from −0.01 to −0.38. For cesarean section, because of better covariate overlap, the covariate-adjusted regression estimate (0.20) was remarkably robust to all adjustment methods, and the widths of the 95% CIs differed less than in the breastfeeding example. Choice of covariate adjustment method can matter. Lack of overlap in covariate structure between exposed and unexposed participants in observational studies can lead to erroneous covariate-adjusted estimates and confidence intervals. We recommend inspecting covariate overlap and using multiple confounding adjustment methods. Similar results bring reassurance. Contradictory results suggest issues with either the data or the analytic method. PMID:25171142

  7. Pre-Analytical Parameters Affecting Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Measurement in Plasma: Identifying Confounders

    PubMed Central

    Walz, Johanna M.; Boehringer, Daniel; Deissler, Heidrun L.; Faerber, Lothar; Goepfert, Jens C.; Heiduschka, Peter; Kleeberger, Susannah M.; Klettner, Alexa; Krohne, Tim U.; Schneiderhan-Marra, Nicole; Ziemssen, Focke; Stahl, Andreas

    2016-01-01

    Background Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is intensively investigated in various medical fields. However, comparing VEGF-A measurements is difficult because sample acquisition and pre-analytic procedures differ between studies. We therefore investigated which variables act as confounders of VEGF-A measurements. Methods Following a standardized protocol, blood was taken at three clinical sites from six healthy participants (one male and one female participant at each center) twice one week apart. The following pre-analytical parameters were varied in order to analyze their impact on VEGF-A measurements: analyzing center, anticoagulant (EDTA vs. PECT / CTAD), cannula (butterfly vs. neonatal), type of centrifuge (swing-out vs. fixed-angle), time before and after centrifugation, filling level (completely filled vs. half-filled tubes) and analyzing method (ELISA vs. multiplex bead array). Additionally, intrapersonal variations over time and sex differences were explored. Statistical analysis was performed using a linear regression model. Results The following parameters were identified as statistically significant independent confounders of VEGF-A measurements: analyzing center, anticoagulant, centrifuge, analyzing method and sex of the proband. The following parameters were no significant confounders in our data set: intrapersonal variation over one week, cannula, time before and after centrifugation and filling level of collection tubes. Conclusion VEGF-A measurement results can be affected significantly by the identified pre-analytical parameters. We recommend the use of CTAD anticoagulant, a standardized type of centrifuge and one central laboratory using the same analyzing method for all samples. PMID:26730574

  8. Is the inverse association between selenium and bladder cancer due to confounding by smoking?

    PubMed

    Beane Freeman, Laura E; Karagas, Margaret R; Baris, Dalsu; Schwenn, Molly; Johnson, Alison T; Colt, Joanne S; Jackson, Brian; Hosain, G M Monawar; Cantor, Kenneth P; Silverman, Debra T

    2015-04-01

    Selenium has been linked to a reduced risk of bladder cancer in some studies. Smoking, a well-established risk factor for bladder cancer, has been associated with lower selenium levels in the body. We investigated the selenium-bladder cancer association in subjects from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont in the New England Bladder Cancer Case-Control Study. At interview (2001-2005), participants provided information on a variety of factors, including a comprehensive smoking history, and submitted toenail samples, from which we measured selenium levels. We estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals among 1,058 cases and 1,271 controls using logistic regression. After controlling for smoking, we saw no evidence of an association between selenium levels and bladder cancer (for fourth quartile vs. first quartile, odds ratio (OR) = 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.77, 1.25). When results were restricted to regular smokers, there appeared to be an inverse association (OR = 0.76, 95% CI: 0.58, 0.99); however, when pack-years of smoking were considered, this association was attenuated (OR = 0.91, 95% CI: 0.68, 1.20), indicating potential confounding by smoking. Despite some reports of an inverse association between selenium and bladder cancer overall, our results, combined with an in-depth evaluation of other studies, suggested that confounding from smoking intensity or duration could explain this association. Our study highlights the need to carefully evaluate the confounding association of smoking in the selenium-bladder cancer association. PMID:25776013

  9. Evaluation in medical education: A topical review of target parameters, data collection tools and confounding factors

    PubMed Central

    Schiekirka, Sarah; Feufel, Markus A.; Herrmann-Lingen, Christoph; Raupach, Tobias

    2015-01-01

    Background and objective: Evaluation is an integral part of education in German medical schools. According to the quality standards set by the German Society for Evaluation, evaluation tools must provide an accurate and fair appraisal of teaching quality. Thus, data collection tools must be highly reliable and valid. This review summarises the current literature on evaluation of medical education with regard to the possible dimensions of teaching quality, the psychometric properties of survey instruments and potential confounding factors. Methods: We searched Pubmed, PsycINFO and PSYNDEX for literature on evaluation in medical education and included studies published up until June 30, 2011 as well as articles identified in the “grey literature”. Results are presented as a narrative review. Results: We identified four dimensions of teaching quality: structure, process, teacher characteristics, and outcome. Student ratings are predominantly used to address the first three dimensions, and a number of reliable tools are available for this purpose. However, potential confounders of student ratings pose a threat to the validity of these instruments. Outcome is usually operationalised in terms of student performance on examinations, but methodological problems may limit the usability of these data for evaluation purposes. In addition, not all examinations at German medical schools meet current quality standards. Conclusion: The choice of tools for evaluating medical education should be guided by the dimension that is targeted by the evaluation. Likewise, evaluation results can only be interpreted within the context of the construct addressed by the data collection tool that was used as well as its specific confounding factors. PMID:26421003

  10. The Effect of Clozapine on Premature Mortality: An Assessment of Clinical Monitoring and Other Potential Confounders

    PubMed Central

    Hayes, Richard D.; Downs, Johnny; Chang, Chin-Kuo; Jackson, Richard G.; Shetty, Hitesh; Broadbent, Matthew; Hotopf, Matthew; Stewart, Robert

    2015-01-01

    Clozapine can cause severe adverse effects yet it is associated with reduced mortality risk. We test the hypothesis this association is due to increased clinical monitoring and investigate risk of premature mortality from natural causes. We identified 14 754 individuals (879 deaths) with serious mental illness (SMI) including schizophrenia, schizoaffective and bipolar disorders aged ≥ 15 years in a large specialist mental healthcare case register linked to national mortality tracing. In this cohort study we modeled the effect of clozapine on mortality over a 5-year period (2007–2011) using Cox regression. Individuals prescribed clozapine had more severe psychopathology and poorer functional status. Many of the exposures associated with clozapine use were themselves risk factors for increased mortality. However, we identified a strong association between being prescribed clozapine and lower mortality which persisted after controlling for a broad range of potential confounders including clinical monitoring and markers of disease severity (adjusted hazard ratio 0.4; 95% CI 0.2–0.7; p = .001). This association remained after restricting the sample to those with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or those taking antipsychotics and after using propensity scores to reduce the impact of confounding by indication. Among individuals with SMI, those prescribed clozapine had a reduced risk of mortality due to both natural and unnatural causes. We found no evidence to indicate that lower mortality associated with clozapine in SMI was due to increased clinical monitoring or confounding factors. This is the first study to report an association between clozapine and reduced risk of mortality from natural causes. PMID:25154620

  11. Subliminal psychodynamic activation: an experiment controlling for major possible confounding influences outlined by Fudin.

    PubMed

    Gustafson, R; Källmén, H

    1991-08-01

    40 and 48 subjects participated in two separate experiments aimed at reproducing the subliminal psychodynamic activation (SPA) phenomenon and taking into account the major methodological critique by Fudin (1986, 1990). Subjects were first exposed either to a full or one of all possible partial symbiotic messages and then to their anagram equivalents. Confounding and irrelevant influences were controlled; the results indicate that only the full symbiotic message improved motor performance. This strongly suggests that subjects encode the meaning of the full message and supports an interpretation in terms of an alleviation of an internal symbiotic conflict leading to a state of calmness conducive to improved motor performance. PMID:1945681

  12. Misleading biochemical laboratory test results

    PubMed Central

    Nanji, Amin A.

    1984-01-01

    This article reviews the general and specific factors that interfere with the performance of common biochemical laboratory tests and the interpretation of their results. The clinical status of the patient, drug interactions, and in-vivo and in-vitro biochemical interactions and changes may alter the results obtained from biochemical analysis of blood constituents. Failure to recognize invalid laboratory test results may lead to injudicious and dangerous management of patients. PMID:6375845

  13. Biochemical Reversal of Aging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ely, John T. A.

    2006-03-01

    We cite our progress on biochemical reversal of aging. However, it may be circa 2 years before we have necessary substances at low cost. Meanwhile, without them, a number of measures can be adopted providing marked improvement for the problems of aging in modern societies. For example, enzymes are needed to excrete toxins that accelerate aging; Hg is the ultimate toxin that disables all enzymes (including those needed to excrete Hg itself). Low Hg level in the urine, due to loss of excretory ability, causes the diagnosis of Hg toxicity to almost always be missed. Hg sources must be removed from the body! Another example is excess sugar; hyperglycemia decreases intracellular ascorbic acid (AA) by competitively inhibiting the insulin- mediated active transport of AA into cells. Thus, immunity is impaired by low leucocyte AA. AA is needed for new proteins in aging tissues. Humans must supplement AA; their need same as in AA-synthesizing mammals.

  14. Hamilton study: distribution of factors confounding the relationship between air quality and respiratory health

    SciTech Connect

    Pengelly, L.D.; Kerigan, A.T.; Goldsmith, C.H.; Inman, E.M.

    1984-10-01

    Hamilton, Ontario is an industrial city with a population of 300,000 which is situated at the western end of Lake Ontario. Canada's two largest iron and steel mills are located here; the city historically has had relatively poor air quality, which has improved markedly in the last 25 years. Concern about the health effects of current air quality recently led us to carry out an epidemiological study of the effects of air pollution on the respiratory health of over 3500 school children. Respiratory health was measured by pulmonary function testing of each child, and by an assessment of each child's respiratory symptoms via a questionnaire administered to the parents. Previous studies had shown that other environmental factors (e.g. parental smoking, parental cough, socioeconomic level, housing, and gas cooking) might also affect respiratory health, and thus confound any potential relationships between health and air pollution. The questionnaire also collected information on many of these confounding factors. For the purposes of initial analysis, the city was divided into five areas in which differences in air quality were expected. In general, factors which have been associated with poor respiratory health were observed to be more prevalent in areas of poorer air quality.

  15. Low HbA1c and Increased Mortality Risk-is Frailty a Confounding Factor?

    PubMed Central

    Abdelhafiz, Ahmed H; Sinclair, Alan J

    2015-01-01

    Diabetes mellitus is increasingly becoming an older person disease due to the increased survival and aging of the population. Previous studies which showed benefits of tight glycemic control and a linear relationship between HbA1c and mortality have largely included younger patients newly diagnosed with diabetes and with less comorbidities. Recent studies, which included older population with diabetes, have shown a U-shaped relationship of increased mortality associated with low HbA1c. The mechanism of such relationship is unclear. There was no direct causal link between low HbA1c and mortality. It appears that malnutrition, inflammation and functional decline are characteristics shared by the populations that showed increased mortality and low HbA1c. In these studies functional status, disability or frailty was not routinely measured. Therefore, although adjustment for comorbidities was made there may be a residual confounding by unmeasured factors such as frailty. Thus, frailty or decline in functional reserve may be the main confounding factor explaining the relationship between increased mortality risk and low HbA1c. PMID:26236548

  16. Offspring ADHD as a Risk Factor for Parental Marital Problems: Controls for Genetic and Environmental Confounds

    PubMed Central

    Schermerhorn, Alice C.; D’Onofrio, Brian M.; Slutske, Wendy S.; Emery, Robert E.; Turkheimer, Eric; Harden, K. Paige; Heath, Andrew C.; Martin, Nicholas G.

    2013-01-01

    Background Previous studies have found that child attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with more parental marital problems. The reasons for this association are unclear, however. The association might be due to genetic or environmental confounds that contribute to both marital problems and ADHD. Method Data were drawn from the Australian Twin Registry, including 1296 individual twins, their spouses, and offspring. We studied adult twins who were discordant for offspring ADHD. Using a discordant twin pairs design, we examined the extent to which genetic and environmental confounds, as well as measured parental and offspring characteristics, explain the ADHD-marital problems association. Results Offspring ADHD predicted parental divorce and marital conflict. The associations were also robust when comparing differentially exposed identical twins to control for unmeasured genetic and environmental factors, when controlling for measured maternal and paternal psychopathology, when restricting the sample based on timing of parental divorce and ADHD onset, and when controlling for other forms of offspring psychopathology. Each of these controls rules out alternative explanations for the association. Conclusion The results of the current study converge with those of prior research in suggesting that factors directly associated with offspring ADHD increase parental marital problems. PMID:22958575

  17. Medications and surgical interventions for benign prostatic hyperplasia are potential confounders of prostate-specific antigen.

    PubMed

    Modi, Parth; Helfand, Brian T; McVary, Kevin T

    2010-07-01

    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is the most widely used marker for prostate cancer (CaP) screening and monitoring benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) progression. However, lack of an established abnormal threshold and the presence of other benign processes confound the interpretation of PSA levels. Many factors besides inflammation, trauma, and instrumentation can influence PSA levels; specifically, BPH and its associated medical and surgical therapies frequently complicate the interpretation of this serum blood test. For example, the commonly used 5 alpha reductase inhibitor (5ARI) medications directly affect PSA levels by decreasing prostate volume. The amount of time and potentially even the 5ARI formulary a patient is administered has been implicated to directly impact the degree of reduction in PSA (a proxy for prostate volume). In addition, each of the currently available surgical procedures for BPH appears to remove varying amounts of prostatic adenoma. This directly confounds CaP screening because each procedure is associated with a relatively specific postoperative nadir PSA level, and PSA kinetics are not well described in the literature. Taken together, it is important for clinicians to comprehend that BPH and its associated medical and surgical interventions should directly influence their interpretation of PSA and PSA velocity when screening for CaP or following BPH progression. PMID:20467844

  18. The assessment of cortisol in human hair: associations with sociodemographic variables and potential confounders.

    PubMed

    Dettenborn, L; Tietze, A; Kirschbaum, C; Stalder, T

    2012-11-01

    To inform the future use of hair cortisol measurement, we have investigated influences of potential confounding variables (natural hair colour, frequency of hair washes, age, sex, oral contraceptive (OC) use and smoking status) on hair cortisol levels. The main study sample comprised 360 participants (172 women) covering a wide range of ages (1-91 years; mean = 25.95). In addition, to more closely examine influences of natural hair colour and young age on hair cortisol levels, two additional samples comprising 69 participants with natural blond or dark brown hair (hair colour sample) as well as 28 young children and 34 adults (young age sample) were recruited. Results revealed a lack of an effect for natural hair colour, OC use, and smoking status on hair cortisol levels (all p's >0.10). No influence of frequency of hair washes was seen for proximal hair segments (p = 0.335) but for the third hair segment indicating lower cortisol content (p = 0.008). We found elevated hair cortisol levels in young children and older adults (p < 0.001). Finally, men showed higher hair cortisol levels than women (p = 0.002). The present data indicate that hair cortisol measurement provides a useful tool in stress-related psychobiological research when applied with the consideration of possible confounders including age and sex. PMID:22356099

  19. Antimony: an unlikely confounder in the relationship between well water arsenic and health outcomes in Bangladesh.

    PubMed Central

    McCarty, Kathleen M; Senn, David B; Kile, Molly L; Quamruzzaman, Quazi; Rahman, Mahmuder; Mahiuddin, Golam; Christiani, David C

    2004-01-01

    Recent in vitro studies have suggested a potential role for antimony as a confounder in human health studies related to arsenic in drinking water. We measured tube-well water concentrations of antimony and arsenic in the Pabna region of Bangladesh, where arsenic concentrations are known to be elevated and the concentrations of antimony have not yet been thoroughly documented. Two hundred forty-five tube-well water samples were collected from various regions in Pabna, Bangladesh, as part of an ongoing case-control study. Water samples were analyzed for arsenic and antimony concentrations by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency method 200.8. The arsenic concentrations in the tube-well water samples ranged from < 1 microg/L to 747 microg/L. All 245 water samples had antimony concentrations < 1 microg/L. Based on consideration of the concentrations used the in vitro studies compared with field-observed concentrations, our results do not support the hypothesis that antimony would be a significant confounder in observed relationships between arsenic exposure through drinking water and potential health outcomes in Pabna, Bangladesh. PMID:15175164

  20. Child welfare clients have higher risks for teenage childbirths: which are the major confounders?

    PubMed Central

    Vinnerljung, Bo; Hjern, Anders

    2016-01-01

    Background: Aiming to support effective social intervention strategies targeting high-risk groups for teenage motherhood, this study examined to what extent the elevated crude risks of teenage childbirth among child welfare groups were attributable to the uneven distribution of adverse individual and family background factors. Methods: Comprehensive longitudinal register data for more than 700 000 Swedish females born 1973–1989 (including around 29 000 child welfare clients) were analysed by means of binary logistic regression. The Karlson/Holm/Breen-method was used to decompose each confounding factor’s relative contribution to the difference between crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs). Results: Elevated crude risks for teenage childbirth are to a large extent attributable to selection on observables. Girls’ school failure was the most potent confounder, accounting for 28–35% of the difference between crude and adjusted ORs. Conclusion: As in majority populations, girls’ school failure was a strong risk factor for teenage childbirth among former child welfare children. At least among pre-adolescents, promoting school performance among children in the child welfare system seems to be a viable intervention path. PMID:27085195

  1. Smoking during pregnancy and offspring externalizing problems: An exploration of genetic and environmental confounds

    PubMed Central

    D’Onofrio, Brian M.; Van Hulle, Carol A.; Waldman, Irwin D.; Rodgers, Joseph Lee; Harden, K. Paige; Rathouz, Paul J.; Lahey, Benjamin B.

    2013-01-01

    Previous studies have documented that smoking during pregnancy (SDP) is associated with offspring externalizing problems, even when measured covariates were used to control for possible confounds. However, the association may be due to non-measured environmental and genetic factors that increase risk for offspring externalizing problems. The current project used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and their children, ages 4–10 years, to explore the relations between SDP and offspring conduct problems (CP), oppositional-defiant problems (ODP), and attention deficit hyperactivity problems (ADHP) using methodological and statistical controls for confounds. When offspring were compared to their own siblings who differed in their exposure to prenatal nicotine, there was no effect of SDP on offspring CP and ODP. This suggests that SDP does not have a causal effect on offspring CP and ODP. There was a small association between SDP and ADHP, consistent with a causal effect of SDP, but the magnitude of the association was greatly reduced by methodological and statistical controls. Genetically informed analyses suggest that unmeasured environmental variables influencing both SDP and offspring externalizing behaviors account for the previously observed associations. That is, the current analyses imply that important unidentified environmental factors account for the association between SDP and offspring externalizing problems, not teratogenic effects of SDP. PMID:18211732

  2. Confounding factors in HGT detection: statistical error, coalescent effects, and multiple solutions.

    PubMed

    Than, Cuong; Ruths, Derek; Innan, Hideki; Nakhleh, Luay

    2007-05-01

    Prokaryotic organisms share genetic material across species boundaries by means of a process known as horizontal gene transfer (HGT). This process has great significance for understanding prokaryotic genome diversification and unraveling their complexities. Phylogeny-based detection of HGT is one of the most commonly used methods for this task, and is based on the fundamental fact that HGT may cause gene trees to disagree with one another, as well as with the species phylogeny. Using these methods, we can compare gene and species trees, and infer a set of HGT events to reconcile the differences among these trees. In this paper, we address three factors that confound the detection of the true HGT events, including the donors and recipients of horizontally transferred genes. First, we study experimentally the effects of error in the estimated gene trees (statistical error) on the accuracy of inferred HGT events. Our results indicate that statistical error leads to overestimation of the number of HGT events, and that HGT detection methods should be designed with unresolved gene trees in mind. Second, we demonstrate, both theoretically and empirically, that based on topological comparison alone, the number of HGT scenarios that reconcile a pair of species/gene trees may be exponential. This number may be reduced when branch lengths in both trees are estimated correctly. This set of results implies that in the absence of additional biological information, and/or a biological model of how HGT occurs, multiple HGT scenarios must be sought, and efficient strategies for how to enumerate such solutions must be developed. Third, we address the issue of lineage sorting, how it confounds HGT detection, and how to incorporate it with HGT into a single stochastic framework that distinguishes between the two events by extending population genetics theories. This result is very important, particularly when analyzing closely related organisms, where coalescent effects may not be

  3. Cascaded discrimination of normal, abnormal, and confounder classes in histopathology: Gleason grading of prostate cancer

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Automated classification of histopathology involves identification of multiple classes, including benign, cancerous, and confounder categories. The confounder tissue classes can often mimic and share attributes with both the diseased and normal tissue classes, and can be particularly difficult to identify, both manually and by automated classifiers. In the case of prostate cancer, they may be several confounding tissue types present in a biopsy sample, posing as major sources of diagnostic error for pathologists. Two common multi-class approaches are one-shot classification (OSC), where all classes are identified simultaneously, and one-versus-all (OVA), where a “target” class is distinguished from all “non-target” classes. OSC is typically unable to handle discrimination of classes of varying similarity (e.g. with images of prostate atrophy and high grade cancer), while OVA forces several heterogeneous classes into a single “non-target” class. In this work, we present a cascaded (CAS) approach to classifying prostate biopsy tissue samples, where images from different classes are grouped to maximize intra-group homogeneity while maximizing inter-group heterogeneity. Results We apply the CAS approach to categorize 2000 tissue samples taken from 214 patient studies into seven classes: epithelium, stroma, atrophy, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN), and prostate cancer Gleason grades 3, 4, and 5. A series of increasingly granular binary classifiers are used to split the different tissue classes until the images have been categorized into a single unique class. Our automatically-extracted image feature set includes architectural features based on location of the nuclei within the tissue sample as well as texture features extracted on a per-pixel level. The CAS strategy yields a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.86 in classifying the 2000 tissue images into one of 7 classes, compared with the OVA (0.77 PPV) and OSC approaches (0.76 PPV

  4. Proteasome inhibitor model of Parkinson's disease in mice is confounded by neurotoxicity of the ethanol vehicle.

    PubMed

    Landau, Anne M; Kouassi, Edouard; Siegrist-Johnstone, Rosmarie; Desbarats, Julie

    2007-02-15

    Defects in the ubiquitin-proteasome system have been implicated in Parkinson's Disease (PD). Recently, a rat model of PD was developed using a synthetic proteasome inhibitor (PSI), (Z-lle-Glu(OtBu)-Ala-Leu-al). We attempted to transfer this model to mouse studies, where genetics can be more readily investigated due to the availability of genetically modified mice. We treated C57BL/6 (B6) mice with six intraperitoneal injections of 6 mg/kg PSI in 50 mul of 70% ethanol over a 2-week-period. We found significant decreases in nigrostriatal dopamine in PSI-treated mice compared with saline-treated mice. However, we observed similar decreases in the ethanol-treated vehicle control group. Administration of ethanol alone led to significant long-term alterations in dopamine levels. Ethanol significantly eclipses the effects of PSI in the dopamine system, and therefore is a confounding vehicle for this model. PMID:17230468

  5. Parasitism can be a confounding factor in assessing the response of zebra mussels to water contamination.

    PubMed

    Minguez, Laëtitia; Buronfosse, Thierry; Beisel, Jean-Nicolas; Giambérini, Laure

    2012-03-01

    Biological responses measured in aquatic organisms to monitor environmental pollution could be also affected by different biotic and abiotic factors. Among these environmental factors, parasitism has often been neglected even if infection by parasites is very frequent. In the present field investigation, the parasite infra-communities and zebra mussel biological responses were studied up- and downstream a waste water treatment plant in northeast France. In both sites, mussels were infected by ciliates and/or intracellular bacteria, but prevalence rates and infection intensities were different according to the habitat. Concerning the biological responses differences were observed related to the site quality and the infection status. Parasitism affects both systems but seemed to depend mainly on environmental conditions. The influence of parasites is not constant, but remains important to consider it as a potential confounding factor in ecotoxicological studies. This study also emphasizes the interesting use of integrative indexes to synthesize data set. PMID:22243869

  6. Can Jurors Recognize Missing Control Groups, Confounds, and Experimenter Bias in Psychological Science?

    PubMed Central

    McAuliff, Bradley D.; Kovera, Margaret Bull; Nunez, Gabriel

    2010-01-01

    This study examined the ability of jury-eligible community members (N = 248) to detect internal validity threats in psychological science presented during a trial. Participants read a case summary in which an expert testified about a study that varied in internal validity (valid, missing control group, confound, and experimenter bias) and ecological validity (high, low). Ratings of expert evidence quality and expert credibility were higher for the valid versus missing control group versions only. Internal validity did not influence verdict or ratings of plaintiff credibility and no differences emerged as a function of ecological validity. Expert evidence quality, expert credibility, and plaintiff credibility were positively correlated with verdict. Implications for the scientific reasoning literature and for trials containing psychological science are discussed. PMID:18587635

  7. LD Score regression distinguishes confounding from polygenicity in genome-wide association studies.

    PubMed

    Bulik-Sullivan, Brendan K; Loh, Po-Ru; Finucane, Hilary K; Ripke, Stephan; Yang, Jian; Patterson, Nick; Daly, Mark J; Price, Alkes L; Neale, Benjamin M

    2015-03-01

    Both polygenicity (many small genetic effects) and confounding biases, such as cryptic relatedness and population stratification, can yield an inflated distribution of test statistics in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, current methods cannot distinguish between inflation from a true polygenic signal and bias. We have developed an approach, LD Score regression, that quantifies the contribution of each by examining the relationship between test statistics and linkage disequilibrium (LD). The LD Score regression intercept can be used to estimate a more powerful and accurate correction factor than genomic control. We find strong evidence that polygenicity accounts for the majority of the inflation in test statistics in many GWAS of large sample size. PMID:25642630

  8. gespeR: a statistical model for deconvoluting off-target-confounded RNA interference screens.

    PubMed

    Schmich, Fabian; Szczurek, Ewa; Kreibich, Saskia; Dilling, Sabrina; Andritschke, Daniel; Casanova, Alain; Low, Shyan Huey; Eicher, Simone; Muntwiler, Simone; Emmenlauer, Mario; Rämö, Pauli; Conde-Alvarez, Raquel; von Mering, Christian; Hardt, Wolf-Dietrich; Dehio, Christoph; Beerenwinkel, Niko

    2015-01-01

    Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) exhibit strong off-target effects, which confound the gene-level interpretation of RNA interference screens and thus limit their utility for functional genomics studies. Here, we present gespeR, a statistical model for reconstructing individual, gene-specific phenotypes. Using 115,878 siRNAs, single and pooled, from three companies in three pathogen infection screens, we demonstrate that deconvolution of image-based phenotypes substantially improves the reproducibility between independent siRNA sets targeting the same genes. Genes selected and prioritized by gespeR are validated and shown to constitute biologically relevant components of pathogen entry mechanisms and TGF-β signaling. gespeR is available as a Bioconductor R-package. PMID:26445817

  9. Homophily and Contagion Are Generically Confounded in Observational Social Network Studies

    PubMed Central

    Shalizi, Cosma Rohilla; Thomas, Andrew C.

    2012-01-01

    The authors consider processes on social networks that can potentially involve three factors: homophily, or the formation of social ties due to matching individual traits; social contagion, also known as social influence; and the causal effect of an individual’s covariates on his or her behavior or other measurable responses. The authors show that generically, all of these are confounded with each other. Distinguishing them from one another requires strong assumptions on the parametrization of the social process or on the adequacy of the covariates used (or both). In particular the authors demonstrate, with simple examples, that asymmetries in regression coefficients cannot identify causal effects and that very simple models of imitation (a form of social contagion) can produce substantial correlations between an individual’s enduring traits and his or her choices, even when there is no intrinsic affinity between them. The authors also suggest some possible constructive responses to these results. PMID:22523436

  10. [Use of causal diagrams in Epidemiology: application to a situation with confounding].

    PubMed

    Cortes, Taísa Rodrigues; Faerstein, Eduardo; Struchiner, Claudio José

    2016-08-01

    Epidemiological research still rarely uses causal diagrams, despite growing recognition of their explanatory potential. One possible reason is that many research programs involve themes in which there is a certain degree of uncertainty as to mechanisms in the processes that generate the data. In this study, the relationship between occupational stress and obesity is used as an example of the application of causal diagrams to questions related to confounding. The article presents the selection stages for variables in statistical adjustment and the derivation of a causal diagram's statistical implications. The main advantage of causal diagrams is that they explicitly reveal the respective model's underlying hypotheses, allowing critical analysis of the implications and thereby facilitating identification of sources of bias and uncertainty in the epidemiological study's results. PMID:27509550

  11. Depression and Physical Inactivity as Confounding the Effect of Obesity on Atrial Fibrillation.

    PubMed

    Garimella, Roja S; Sears, Samuel F; Gehi, Anil K

    2016-06-01

    Obesity is associated with an increased likelihood for the development of atrial fibrillation (AF) and with worsened AF symptom severity. However, other factors that are correlated with obesity may confound or mediate the relation of obesity with AF symptom severity. The purpose of this study was to determine if depression and physical inactivity may confound the association of obesity and AF symptom severity. Health status and demographic data were captured by questionnaire for 332 outpatients with documented AF. Weight/height was measured and body mass index (kg/m(2)) calculated. Recent depression symptom severity was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 questionnaire. Physical activity during the last month was assessed by questionnaire. AF symptom severity was assessed using the University of Toronto AF Severity scale. Multivariate linear regression was used to evaluate which factors were associated with AF symptom severity. Obesity in patients with AF is associated with increased depression severity. In bivariate analysis, increasing body mass index (p = 0.001), lower levels of physical activity (p <0.001), and more severe depression (p <0.001) were associated with worsened AF symptom severity. In multivariate analysis, only physical activity and depression persisted as significant predictors of AF symptom severity. In conclusion, although obesity likely contributes to the substrate predisposing to the development of AF, other factors may contribute to or mediate the worsened AF symptoms associated with obesity. Depression symptoms and physical inactivity, factors closely correlated with obesity, may exacerbate symptoms in patients with AF. PMID:27067618

  12. Correlation between heart rate variability and pulmonary function adjusted by confounding factors in healthy adults.

    PubMed

    Bianchim, M S; Sperandio, E F; Martinhão, G S; Matheus, A C; Lauria, V T; da Silva, R P; Spadari, R C; Gagliardi, A R T; Arantes, R L; Romiti, M; Dourado, V Z

    2016-03-01

    The autonomic nervous system maintains homeostasis, which is the state of balance in the body. That balance can be determined simply and noninvasively by evaluating heart rate variability (HRV). However, independently of autonomic control of the heart, HRV can be influenced by other factors, such as respiratory parameters. Little is known about the relationship between HRV and spirometric indices. In this study, our objective was to determine whether HRV correlates with spirometric indices in adults without cardiopulmonary disease, considering the main confounders (e.g., smoking and physical inactivity). In a sample of 119 asymptomatic adults (age 20-80 years), we evaluated forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). We evaluated resting HRV indices within a 5-min window in the middle of a 10-min recording period, thereafter analyzing time and frequency domains. To evaluate daily physical activity, we instructed participants to use a triaxial accelerometer for 7 days. Physical inactivity was defined as <150 min/week of moderate to intense physical activity. We found that FVC and FEV1, respectively, correlated significantly with the following aspects of the RR interval: standard deviation of the RR intervals (r =0.31 and 0.35), low-frequency component (r =0.38 and 0.40), and Poincaré plot SD2 (r =0.34 and 0.36). Multivariate regression analysis, adjusted for age, sex, smoking, physical inactivity, and cardiovascular risk, identified the SD2 and dyslipidemia as independent predictors of FVC and FEV1 (R2=0.125 and 0.180, respectively, for both). We conclude that pulmonary function is influenced by autonomic control of cardiovascular function, independently of the main confounders. PMID:26840706

  13. Measurement confounding affects the extent to which verbal IQ explains social gradients in mortality

    PubMed Central

    Chapman, Benjamin; Fiscella, Kevin; Duberstein, Paul; Kawachi, Ichiro; Muennig, Peter

    2016-01-01

    Background IQ is thought to explain social gradients in mortality. IQ scores are based roughly equally on Verbal IQ (VIQ) and Performance IQ tests. VIQ tests, however, are suspected to confound true verbal ability with socioeconomic status (SES), raising the possibility that associations between SES and IQ scores might be overestimated. We examined, first, whether two of the most common types of VIQ tests exhibited differential item functioning (DIF) favouring persons of higher SES and/or majority race/ethnicity. Second, we assessed what impact, if any, this had on estimates of the extent to which VIQ explains social gradients in mortality. Methods Data from the General Social Survey-National Death Index cohort, a US population representative dataset, was used. Item response theory models queried social-factor DIF on the Thorndike Verbal Intelligence Scale and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales, Revised Similarities test. Cox models examined mortality associations among SES and VIQ scores corrected and uncorrected for DIF. Results When uncorrected for DIF, VIQ was correlated with income, education, occupational prestige and race, with correlation coefficients ranging between |0.12| and |0.43|. After correcting for DIF, correlations ranged from |0.06| to |0.16|. Uncorrected VIQ scores explained 11–40% of the Relative Index of Inequalities in mortality for social factors, while DIF-corrected scores explained 2–29%. Conclusions Two of the common forms of VIQ tests appear confound verbal intelligence with SES. Since these tests appear in most IQ batteries, circumspection may be warranted in estimating the amount of social inequalities in mortality attributable to IQ. PMID:24729404

  14. Adolescent Alcohol Abuse and Adverse Adult Outcomes: Evaluating Confounds with Drinking-Discordant Twins

    PubMed Central

    Rose, Richard J.; Winter, Torsten; Viken, Richard J.; Kaprio, Jaakko

    2014-01-01

    Background Adolescent alcohol abuse is associated with adverse outcomes in early adulthood, but differences in familial status and structure and household and community environments correlate with both adolescent drinking and adverse adult outcomes and may explain their association. We studied drinking-discordant twin pairs to evaluate such confounds to ask: Will between-family associations replicate in within-family comparisons? Methods With longitudinal data from > 3,000 Finnish twins, we associated drinking problems at age 18½ with 13 outcomes assessed at age 25; included were sustained substance abuse, poor health, physical symptoms, early coital debut, multiple sexual partners, life dissatisfaction, truncated education, and financial problems. We assessed associations among twins as individuals with linear regression adjusted for correlated observations; within-family analyses of discordant twin pairs followed, comparing paired means for adult outcomes among co-twins discordant for adolescent problem drinking. Defining discordance by extreme scores on self-reported problem drinking at age 18½ permitted parallel analyses of twins as individuals and discordant twin pairs. Alternate definitions of pair-wise discordance and difference score correlations across the entire twin sample yielded supplementary analyses. Results All individual associations were highly significant for all definitions of discordance we employed. Depending on definitions of discordance, 11 to 13 comparisons of all drinking-discordant twin pairs and 3 to 6 comparisons of discordant monozygotic twin pairs replicated between-family associations. For most outcomes, effect size attenuated from individual level analysis to that within discordant MZ twin pairs providing evidence of partial confounding in associations reported in earlier research. The exception was the General Health Questionnaire; at age 25, GHQ-12 had equivalent associations with age 18½ RAPI across all comparisons

  15. Sediment organic matter content as a confounding factor in toxicity tests with Chironomus tentans

    SciTech Connect

    Lacey, R.; Watzin, M.C.; McIntosh, A.W.

    1999-02-01

    Physicochemical characteristics of sediment unrelated to contaminant levels and bioavailability may influence the outcome of toxicity tests. In particular, sediment organic matter content has the potential to be a confounding factor in toxicity tests using the midge larva Chironomus tentans because the larvae are infaunal and feed on organic matter in the sediments. To examine the possibility, the authors conducted a series of tests using formulated sediments with varying organic matter contents following the standard US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) 10-day C. tentans growth and survival protocol. Formulated sediments made with peat moss, {alpha}-cellulose, and maple leaves were tested. An organic-rich natural sediment diluted with formulated sediment to achieve a range of organic matter contents was also examined. In a final experiment, sediments containing each of the four organic matter sources at the same concentration were tested against one another. Survival was not greatly affected by concentration of organic matter, except at the lowest concentrations in natural sediment, where survival dipped below 70%. In experiments using peat moss, {alpha}-cellulose, and maple leaves, significant differences in C. tentans growth were found at different organic matter concentrations. In contrast, concentration of organic matter in the natural sediment dilution series had little effect on growth, perhaps because much of this material was highly refractory. In the comparison experiment, growth differed significantly among the four sediments, with best growth achieved with {alpha}-cellulose and leaves. These results suggest that both organic matter quantity and quality can be confounding factors in toxicity tests using C. tentans.

  16. Correlation between heart rate variability and pulmonary function adjusted by confounding factors in healthy adults

    PubMed Central

    Bianchim, M.S.; Sperandio, E.F.; Martinhão, G.S.; Matheus, A.C.; Lauria, V.T.; da Silva, R.P.; Spadari, R.C.; Gagliardi, A.R.T.; Arantes, R.L.; Romiti, M.; Dourado, V.Z.

    2016-01-01

    The autonomic nervous system maintains homeostasis, which is the state of balance in the body. That balance can be determined simply and noninvasively by evaluating heart rate variability (HRV). However, independently of autonomic control of the heart, HRV can be influenced by other factors, such as respiratory parameters. Little is known about the relationship between HRV and spirometric indices. In this study, our objective was to determine whether HRV correlates with spirometric indices in adults without cardiopulmonary disease, considering the main confounders (e.g., smoking and physical inactivity). In a sample of 119 asymptomatic adults (age 20-80 years), we evaluated forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). We evaluated resting HRV indices within a 5-min window in the middle of a 10-min recording period, thereafter analyzing time and frequency domains. To evaluate daily physical activity, we instructed participants to use a triaxial accelerometer for 7 days. Physical inactivity was defined as <150 min/week of moderate to intense physical activity. We found that FVC and FEV1, respectively, correlated significantly with the following aspects of the RR interval: standard deviation of the RR intervals (r =0.31 and 0.35), low-frequency component (r =0.38 and 0.40), and Poincaré plot SD2 (r =0.34 and 0.36). Multivariate regression analysis, adjusted for age, sex, smoking, physical inactivity, and cardiovascular risk, identified the SD2 and dyslipidemia as independent predictors of FVC and FEV1 (R 2=0.125 and 0.180, respectively, for both). We conclude that pulmonary function is influenced by autonomic control of cardiovascular function, independently of the main confounders. PMID:26840706

  17. Task-independent effects are potential confounders in longitudinal imaging studies of learning in schizophrenia

    PubMed Central

    Korostil, Michele; Fatima, Zainab; Kovacevic, Natasha; Menon, Mahesh; McIntosh, Anthony Randal

    2015-01-01

    Learning impairment is a core deficit in schizophrenia that impacts on real-world functioning and yet, elucidating its underlying neural basis remains a challenge. A key issue when interpreting learning-task experiments is that task-independent changes may confound interpretation of task-related signal changes in neuroimaging studies. The nature of these task-independent changes in schizophrenia is unknown. Therefore, we examined task-independent “time effects” in a group of participants with schizophrenia contrasted with healthy participants in a longitudinal fMRI learning-experiment designed to allow for examination of non-specific effects of time. Flanking the learning portions of the experiment with a task-of-no-interest allowed us to extract task-independent BOLD changes. Task-independent effects occurred in both groups, but were more robust in the schizophrenia group. There was a significant interaction effect between group and time in a distributed activity pattern that included inferior and superior temporal regions, frontal areas (left anterior insula and superior medial gyri), and parietal areas (posterior cingulate cortices and precuneus). This pattern showed task-independent linear decrease in BOLD amplitude over the two scanning sessions for the schizophrenia group, but showed either opposite effect or no activity changes for the control group. There was a trend towards a correlation between task-independent effects and the presence of more negative symptoms in the schizophrenia group. The strong interaction between group and time suggests that both the scanning experience as a whole and the transition between task-types evokes a different response in persons with schizophrenia and may confound interpretation of learning-related longitudinal imaging experiments if not explicitly considered. PMID:26759790

  18. PERMANOVA-S: association test for microbial community composition that accommodates confounders and multiple distances

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Zheng-Zheng; Chen, Guanhua; Alekseyenko, Alexander V.

    2016-01-01

    Motivation: Recent advances in sequencing technology have made it possible to obtain high-throughput data on the composition of microbial communities and to study the effects of dysbiosis on the human host. Analysis of pairwise intersample distances quantifies the association between the microbiome diversity and covariates of interest (e.g. environmental factors, clinical outcomes, treatment groups). In the design of these analyses, multiple choices for distance metrics are available. Most distance-based methods, however, use a single distance and are underpowered if the distance is poorly chosen. In addition, distance-based tests cannot flexibly handle confounding variables, which can result in excessive false-positive findings. Results: We derive presence-weighted UniFrac to complement the existing UniFrac distances for more powerful detection of the variation in species richness. We develop PERMANOVA-S, a new distance-based method that tests the association of microbiome composition with any covariates of interest. PERMANOVA-S improves the commonly-used Permutation Multivariate Analysis of Variance (PERMANOVA) test by allowing flexible confounder adjustments and ensembling multiple distances. We conducted extensive simulation studies to evaluate the performance of different distances under various patterns of association. Our simulation studies demonstrate that the power of the test relies on how well the selected distance captures the nature of the association. The PERMANOVA-S unified test combines multiple distances and achieves good power regardless of the patterns of the underlying association. We demonstrate the usefulness of our approach by reanalyzing several real microbiome datasets. Availability and Implementation: miProfile software is freely available at https://medschool.vanderbilt.edu/tang-lab/software/miProfile. Contact: z.tang@vanderbilt.edu or g.chen@vanderbilt.edu Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics

  19. An assessment of the possible extent of confounding in epidemiological studies of lung cancer risk among roofers

    SciTech Connect

    Mundt, D.J.; van Wijngaarden, E.; Mundt, K.A.

    2007-07-01

    We evaluated the likelihood and extent to which the observed increased risk of lung cancer may be due to confounding (a mixing of effects of multiple exposures) by co-exposure to other potential carcinogens present in roofing or to lifestyle variables. We conducted a review of the epidemiological and industrial hygiene literature of asphalt-exposed workers. Peer-reviewed epidemiological studies of asphalt fumes, related occupational exposures, and confounding factors were identified from MEDLINE (1966 early 2004). Industrial hygiene studies of asphalt workers were identified through MEDLINE, publicly available government documents, and asphalt industry documents. Using well established statistical methods, we quantified the extent to which lung cancer relative risk estimates among roofers reflect confounding from other exposures, using different prevalence and risk scenarios. The relative risk of lung cancer varied from 1.2 to 5.0 in 13 epidemiological studies of roofers; most studies reported a relative risk between 1.2 and 1.4. Smoking, asbestos and coal tar were the most likely confounders, but the prevalence of these factors varied over time. The results of the study indicate that much of the observed risk reported in epidemiological studies of cancer among roofers is well within the range of what may have resulted from confounding by reasonable and expected levels of smoking, asbestos or coal tar. This may be particularly true for those studies that did not adjust for these confounders and where the exposure was defined as employment in the roofing industry. In addition to poorly defined asphalt exposure, uncontrolled confounding cannot reliably be ruled out in studies of lung cancer among asphalt-exposed roofers. Therefore, it is not possible to conclude whether roofers are at increased risk of lung cancer due to asphalt exposure.

  20. Accounting for Uncertainty in Confounder and Effect Modifier Selection when Estimating Average Causal Effects in Generalized Linear Models

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Chi; Dominici, Francesca; Parmigiani, Giovanni; Zigler, Corwin Matthew

    2015-01-01

    Summary Confounder selection and adjustment are essential elements of assessing the causal effect of an exposure or treatment in observational studies. Building upon work by Wang et al. (2012) and Lefebvre et al. (2014), we propose and evaluate a Bayesian method to estimate average causal effects in studies with a large number of potential confounders, relatively few observations, likely interactions between confounders and the exposure of interest, and uncertainty on which confounders and interaction terms should be included. Our method is applicable across all exposures and outcomes that can be handled through generalized linear models. In this general setting, estimation of the average causal effect is different from estimation of the exposure coefficient in the outcome model due to non-collapsibility. We implement a Bayesian bootstrap procedure to integrate over the distribution of potential confounders and to estimate the causal effect. Our method permits estimation of both the overall population causal effect and effects in specified subpopulations, providing clear characterization of heterogeneous exposure effects that may vary considerably across different covariate profiles. Simulation studies demonstrate that the proposed method performs well in small sample size situations with 100 to 150 observations and 50 covariates. The method is applied to data on 15060 US Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor between 2000 and 2009 to evaluate whether surgery reduces hospital readmissions within thirty days of diagnosis. PMID:25899155

  1. External Adjustment Sensitivity Analysis for Unmeasured Confounding: An Application to Coronary Stent Outcomes, Pennsylvania 2004–2008

    PubMed Central

    Huesch, Marco D

    2013-01-01

    Background Assessing the real-world comparative effectiveness of common interventions is challenged by unmeasured confounding. Objective To determine whether the mortality benefit shown for drug-eluting stents (DES) over bare metal stents (BMS) in observational studies persists after controls for/tests for confounding. Data Sources/Study Setting Retrospective observational study involving 38,019 patients, 65 years or older admitted for an index percutaneous coronary intervention receiving DES or BMS in Pennsylvania in 2004–2005 followed up for death through 3 years. Study Design Analysis was at the patient level. Mortality was analyzed with Cox proportional hazards models allowing for stratification by disease severity or DES use propensity, accounting for clustering of patients. Instrumental variables analysis used lagged physician stent usage to proxy for the focal stent type decision. A method originating in work by Cornfield and others in 1954 and popularized by Greenland in 1996 was used to assess robustness to confounding. Principal Findings DES was associated with a significantly lower adjusted risk of death at 3 years in Cox and in instrumented analyses. An implausibly strong hypothetical unobserved confounder would be required to fully explain these results. Conclusions Confounding by indication can bias observational studies. No strong evidence of such selection biases was found in the reduced risk of death among elderly patients receiving DES instead of BMS in a Pennsylvanian state-wide population. PMID:23206261

  2. A Course in... Biochemical Engineering.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ng, Terry K-L.; And Others

    1988-01-01

    Describes a chemical engineering course for senior undergraduates and first year graduate students in biochemical engineering. Discusses five experiments used in the course: aseptic techniques, dissolved oxygen measurement, oxygen uptake by yeast, continuous sterilization, and cultivation of microorganisms. (MVL)

  3. Is the Association between General Cognitive Ability and Violent Crime Caused by Family-Level Confounders?

    PubMed Central

    Frisell, Thomas; Pawitan, Yudi; Långström, Niklas

    2012-01-01

    Background Research has consistently found lower cognitive ability to be related to increased risk for violent and other antisocial behaviour. Since this association has remained when adjusting for childhood socioeconomic position, ethnicity, and parental characteristics, it is often assumed to be causal, potentially mediated through school adjustment problems and conduct disorder. Socioeconomic differences are notoriously difficult to quantify, however, and it is possible that the association between intelligence and delinquency suffer substantial residual confounding. Methods We linked longitudinal Swedish total population registers to study the association of general cognitive ability (intelligence) at age 18 (the Conscript Register, 1980–1993) with the incidence proportion of violent criminal convictions (the Crime Register, 1973–2009), among all men born in Sweden 1961–1975 (N = 700,514). Using probit regression, we controlled for measured childhood socioeconomic variables, and further employed sibling comparisons (family pedigree data from the Multi-Generation Register) to adjust for shared familial characteristics. Results Cognitive ability in early adulthood was inversely associated to having been convicted of a violent crime (β = −0.19, 95% CI: −0.19; −0.18), the association remained when adjusting for childhood socioeconomic factors (β = −0.18, 95% CI: −0.18; −0.17). The association was somewhat lower within half-brothers raised apart (β = −0.16, 95% CI: −0.18; −0.14), within half-brothers raised together (β = −0.13, 95% CI: (−0.15; −0.11), and lower still in full-brother pairs (β = −0.10, 95% CI: −0.11; −0.09). The attenuation among half-brothers raised together and full brothers was too strong to be attributed solely to attenuation from measurement error. Discussion Our results suggest that the association between general cognitive ability and violent criminality is confounded partly by

  4. Detection rates of geckos in visual surveys: Turning confounding variables into useful knowledge

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lardner, Bjorn; Rodda, Gordon H.; Yackel Adams, Amy A.; Savidge, Julie A.; Reed, Robert N.

    2016-01-01

    Transect surveys without some means of estimating detection probabilities generate population size indices prone to bias because survey conditions differ in time and space. Knowing what causes such bias can help guide the collection of relevant survey covariates, correct the survey data, anticipate situations where bias might be unacceptably large, and elucidate the ecology of target species. We used negative binomial regression to evaluate confounding variables for gecko (primarily Hemidactylus frenatus and Lepidodactylus lugubris) counts on 220-m-long transects surveyed at night, primarily for snakes, on 9,475 occasions. Searchers differed in gecko detection rates by up to a factor of six. The worst and best headlamps differed by a factor of at least two. Strong winds had a negative effect potentially as large as those of searchers or headlamps. More geckos were seen during wet weather conditions, but the effect size was small. Compared with a detection nadir during waxing gibbous (nearly full) moons above the horizon, we saw 28% more geckos during waning crescent moons below the horizon. A sine function suggested that we saw 24% more geckos at the end of the wet season than at the end of the dry season. Fluctuations on a longer timescale also were verified. Disturbingly, corrected data exhibited strong short-term fluctuations that covariates apparently failed to capture. Although some biases can be addressed with measured covariates, others will be difficult to eliminate as a significant source of error in longterm monitoring programs.

  5. Review of methods for handling confounding by cluster and informative cluster size in clustered data

    PubMed Central

    Seaman, Shaun; Pavlou, Menelaos; Copas, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Clustered data are common in medical research. Typically, one is interested in a regression model for the association between an outcome and covariates. Two complications that can arise when analysing clustered data are informative cluster size (ICS) and confounding by cluster (CBC). ICS and CBC mean that the outcome of a member given its covariates is associated with, respectively, the number of members in the cluster and the covariate values of other members in the cluster. Standard generalised linear mixed models for cluster-specific inference and standard generalised estimating equations for population-average inference assume, in general, the absence of ICS and CBC. Modifications of these approaches have been proposed to account for CBC or ICS. This article is a review of these methods. We express their assumptions in a common format, thus providing greater clarity about the assumptions that methods proposed for handling CBC make about ICS and vice versa, and about when different methods can be used in practice. We report relative efficiencies of methods where available, describe how methods are related, identify a previously unreported equivalence between two key methods, and propose some simple additional methods. Unnecessarily using a method that allows for ICS/CBC has an efficiency cost when ICS and CBC are absent. We review tools for identifying ICS/CBC. A strategy for analysis when CBC and ICS are suspected is demonstrated by examining the association between socio-economic deprivation and preterm neonatal death in Scotland. PMID:25087978

  6. Metabolic equivalents of task are confounded by adiposity, which disturbs objective measurement of physical activity

    PubMed Central

    Tompuri, Tuomo T.

    2015-01-01

    Physical activity refers any bodily movements produced by skeletal muscles that expends energy. Hence the amount and the intensity of physical activity can be assessed by energy expenditure. Metabolic equivalents of task (MET) are multiplies of the resting metabolism reflecting metabolic rate during exercise. The standard MET is defined as 3.5 ml/min/kg. However, the expression of energy expenditure by body weight to normalize the size differences between subjects causes analytical hazards: scaling by body weight does not have a physiological, mathematical, or physical rationale. This review demonstrates by examples that false methodology may cause paradoxical observations if physical activity would be assessed by body weight scaled values such as standard METs. While standard METs are confounded by adiposity, lean mass proportional measures of energy expenditure would enable a more truthful choice to assess physical activity. While physical activity as a behavior and cardiorespiratory fitness or adiposity as a state represents major determinants of public health, specific measurements of health determinants must be understood to enable a truthful evaluation of the interactions and their independent role as a health predictor. PMID:26321958

  7. Common confounders of dietary elimination trials contain the antigens soy, pork, and beef.

    PubMed

    Parr, Jacqueline M; Remillard, Rebecca L

    2014-01-01

    Nutritionists and dermatologists recommend avoiding flavored over-the-counter (OTC) products and medications during dietary elimination trials because those products are thought to contain common proteins that may confound the trial. The objective of this study was to determine if there are soy, pork, and beef antigens in flavored OTC products and medications and, if so, could those antigens be identified. Seven products, three OTC products and four veterinary therapeutics, were tested using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for the presence of soy, pork, and beef antigens, in addition to positive and negative controls. All OTC test products produced ELISA results in agreement with their ingredient lists. ELISA testing of veterinary therapeutic products did not agree with either their ingredient lists or product inserts because of other ingredients not listed. Veterinarians should contact manufacturers of oral therapeutics prior to prescribing them to determine other ingredients. Likewise, manufacturers should be contacted regarding "natural and artificial flavors." Lastly, gelatin capsules may contain either beef or pork proteins and should not be administered during a trial. In conclusion, flavored medications contain the common antigens soy, pork, and beef although they may or may not be listed on the ingredient list or product insert. PMID:25028437

  8. Task differences confound sex differences in receiver permissiveness in túngara frogs.

    PubMed

    Bernal, Ximena E; Rand, A Stanley; Ryan, Michael J

    2009-04-01

    In many mating systems, both sexes respond to the same sexual signal. In frogs, males typically call in response to advertisement calls, while females approach male calls in choosing a mate. The costs of signal detection errors are expected to differ between the sexes. Missed opportunities are costly for males because ignoring a signal results in failing to compete with rivals for mates, while their cost for misidentification is lower (time and energy displaying to the incorrect target). By contrast, for females, the cost of misidentification is high (mating with incorrect species or low-quality partner), while their cost for missed opportunity is lower because the operational sex ratio puts females at a premium. Consequently, females should be more selective in their response to signal variation than males. We report that presumed sexual differences in selectivity in túngara frogs (Physalaemus pustulosus) are task-specific rather than sex-specific. As predicted, male túngara frogs are less selective in their vocal responses than are females in their phonotactic responses. Males exhibiting phonotaxis to the same calls, however, are as selective as females, and are significantly more selective than when they respond vocally to the same calls. Our study shows that apparent differences between the sexes emerge from differences in the behaviours themselves and are not intrinsic to each sex. Analogous behavioural differences might confound sex differences in other systems; thus, we suggest consideration of the behavioural plasticity of sex as well as its stereotypy. PMID:19141428

  9. Applying propensity scores estimated in a full cohort to adjust for confounding in subgroup analyses

    PubMed Central

    Rassen, Jeremy A.; Glynn, Robert J.; Rothman, Kenneth J.; Setoguchi, Soko; Schneeweiss, Sebastian

    2012-01-01

    A correctly-specified propensity score (PS) estimated in a cohort (“cohort PS”) should in expectation remain valid in a subgroup population. We sought to determine whether using a cohort PS can be validly applied to subgroup analyses and thus add efficiency to studies with many subgroups or restricted data. In each of 3 cohort studies we estimated a cohort PS, defined 5 subgroups, and then estimated subgroup-specific PSs. We compared difference in treatment effect estimates for subgroup analyses adjusted by cohort PSs versus subgroup-specific PSs. Then, 10M times, we simulated a population with known characteristics of confounding, subgroup size, treatment interactions, and treatment effect, and again assessed difference in point estimates. We observed that point estimates in most subgroups were substantially similar with the two methods of adjustment. In simulations, the effect estimates differed by a median of 3.4% (interquartile [IQ] range 1.3% to 10.0%). The IQ range exceeded 10% only in cases where the subgroup had <1000 patients or few outcome events. Our empirical and simulation results indicated that using a cohort PS in subgroup analyses was a feasible approach, particularly in larger subgroups. PMID:22162077

  10. Do digestive contents confound body mass as a measure of relative condition in nestling songbirds?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Streby, Henry M.; Peterson, Sean M.; Lehman, Justin A.; Kramer, Gunnar R.; Vernasco, Ben J.; Andersen, David E.

    2014-01-01

    Relative nestling condition, typically measured as nestling mass or as an index including nestling mass, is commonly purported to correlate with fledgling songbird survival. However, most studies directly investigating fledgling survival have found no such relationship. We weighed feces and stomach contents of nestling golden-winged warblers (Vermivora chrysoptera) to investigate the potential contribution of variation in digestive contents to differences in nestling mass. We estimated that the mass of a seventh-day (near fledging) nestling golden-winged warbler varies by 0.65 g (approx. 9% of mean nestling mass) depending on the contents of the nestling's digestive system at the time of weighing, and that digestive contents are dissimilar among nestlings at any moment the brood is removed from the nest for weighing. Our conservative estimate of within-individual variation in digestive contents equals 72% and 24% of the mean within-brood and population-wide range in nestling mass, respectively. Based on our results, a substantive but typically unknown amount of the variation in body mass among nestlings is confounded by differences in digestive contents. We conclude that short-term variation in digestive contents likely precludes the use of body mass, and therefore any mass-dependent index, as a measure of relative nestling condition or as a predictor of survival in golden-winged warblers and likely in many other songbirds of similar size.

  11. Spatial analysis of the air pollution-mortality relationship in the context of ecologic confounders.

    PubMed

    Jerrett, Michael; Burnett, Richard T; Willis, Alette; Krewski, Daniel; Goldberg, Mark S; DeLuca, Patrick; Finkelstein, Norm

    Lack of control for confounding by ecological covariates that may relate to sulfate air pollution and mortality was a key criticism of the two studies that were the focus of the Particle Reanalysis Project. To assess the validity of this criticism, we address the question: "Does sulfate air pollution exert health effects when the impact of other individual and ecologic variables thought to influence health is taken into account?" A related question arises from the possibility of autocorrelation in the mortality risks and ecologic covariates. Failure to control for autocorrelation can lead to false positive significance tests and may indicate bias resulting from a missing variable or group of variables. We control for more than 25 individual risk factors and for 20 ecologic variables representing environmental, socioeconomic, demographic, health- care, and lifestyle determinants of health in a two-stage multilevel analysis. Four modeling strategies are used to control for spatial autocorrelation. Of the 20 ecologic variables tested, only sulfate and sulfur dioxide are significant in models that incorporate spatial autocorrelation. Accounting for autocorrelation also reduces the size and certainty of the sulfate effect on mortality when compared to results generated from Cox models where independent observations are assumed. Confidence limits for the sulfate relative risk include unity in models that simultaneously control for sulfur dioxide and autocorrelation. PMID:12959842

  12. Reproductive and socioeconomic determinants of child survival: confounded, interactive, and age-dependent effects.

    PubMed

    Kost, K; Amin, S

    1992-01-01

    Studies of infant and child mortality have evolved to distinguish between two sets of explanatory variables-factors related to reproductive or maternal characteristics and socioeconomic factors, generally described as characteristics of the family or household. Almost all multivariate analyses include variables from each of these two sets, but there has been little consideration of the relationship between them. We examine how these two sets of variables jointly affect mortality. We test first for confounded effects by examining socioeconomic effects while excluding and then including reproductive variables in nested multivariate models. Next, we look for age-dependent effects among the explanatory variables and find that reproductive and socioeconomic factors affect mortality at differing ages of children. Finally, we examine interactive effects of the two sets of variables. We conclude that the higher mortality observed among the low status groups is not a result of greater concentration of poor reproductive patterns in those groups. Instead, higher status groups probably have more resources available for combating the negative effects of the same high-risk reproductive patterns. PMID:1514117

  13. Stream solute tracer timescales changing with discharge and reach length confound process interpretation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmadel, Noah M.; Ward, Adam S.; Kurz, Marie J.; Fleckenstein, Jan H.; Zarnetske, Jay P.; Hannah, David M.; Blume, Theresa; Vieweg, Michael; Blaen, Phillip J.; Schmidt, Christian; Knapp, Julia L. A.; Klaar, Megan J.; Romeijn, Paul; Datry, Thibault; Keller, Toralf; Folegot, Silvia; Arricibita, Amaia I. Marruedo; Krause, Stefan

    2016-04-01

    Improved understanding of stream solute transport requires meaningful comparison of processes across a wide range of discharge conditions and spatial scales. At reach scales where solute tracer tests are commonly used to assess transport behavior, such comparison is still confounded due to the challenge of separating dispersive and transient storage processes from the influence of the advective timescale that varies with discharge and reach length. To better resolve interpretation of these processes from field-based tracer observations, we conducted recurrent conservative solute tracer tests along a 1 km study reach during a storm discharge period and further discretized the study reach into six segments of similar length but different channel morphologies. The resulting suite of data, spanning an order of magnitude in advective timescales, enabled us to (1) characterize relationships between tracer response and discharge in individual segments and (2) determine how combining the segments into longer reaches influences interpretation of dispersion and transient storage from tracer tests. We found that the advective timescale was the primary control on the shape of the observed tracer response. Most segments responded similarly to discharge, implying that the influence of morphologic heterogeneity was muted relative to advection. Comparison of tracer data across combined segments demonstrated that increased advective timescales could be misinterpreted as a change in dispersion or transient storage. Taken together, our results stress the importance of characterizing the influence of changing advective timescales on solute tracer responses before such reach-scale observations can be used to infer solute transport at larger network scales.

  14. Measuring oxidative stress: the confounding effect of lipid concentration in measures of lipid peroxidation.

    PubMed

    Pérez-Rodríguez, Lorenzo; Romero-Haro, Ana A; Sternalski, Audrey; Muriel, Jaime; Mougeot, Francois; Gil, Diego; Alonso-Alvarez, Carlos

    2015-01-01

    Lipid peroxidation products are widely used as markers of oxidative damage in the organism. To properly interpret the information provided by these markers, it is necessary to know potential sources of bias and control confounding factors. Here, we investigated the relationship between two indicators of lipid mobilization (circulating levels of triglycerides and cholesterol) and two common markers of oxidative damage (plasma levels of malondialdehyde and hydroperoxides; the latter estimated from the d-ROMs assay kit). The following five avian species were studied: red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor), marsh harrier (Circus aeroginosus), and Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus). In all cases, plasma triglyceride levels positively and significantly correlated with lipid peroxidation markers, explaining between 8% and 34% of their variability. Plasma cholesterol, in contrast, showed a significant positive relationship only among spotless starling nestlings and a marginally significant association in zebra finches. These results indicate that lipid peroxidation marker levels covary with circulating lipid levels. We discuss the potential causes and implications of this covariation and recommend that future studies that measure oxidative damage using lipid peroxidation markers report both raw and relative levels (i.e., corrected for circulating triglycerides). Whether the observed pattern also holds for other tissues and in other taxa would deserve further research. PMID:25860832

  15. Confounding factors and genetic polymorphism in the evaluation of individual steroid profiling

    PubMed Central

    Kuuranne, Tiia; Saugy, Martial; Baume, Norbert

    2014-01-01

    In the fight against doping, steroid profiling is a powerful tool to detect drug misuse with endogenous anabolic androgenic steroids. To establish sensitive and reliable models, the factors influencing profiling should be recognised. We performed an extensive literature review of the multiple factors that could influence the quantitative levels and ratios of endogenous steroids in urine matrix. For a comprehensive and scientific evaluation of the urinary steroid profile, it is necessary to define the target analytes as well as testosterone metabolism. The two main confounding factors, that is, endogenous and exogenous factors, are detailed to show the complex process of quantifying the steroid profile within WADA-accredited laboratories. Technical aspects are also discussed as they could have a significant impact on the steroid profile, and thus the steroid module of the athlete biological passport (ABP). The different factors impacting the major components of the steroid profile must be understood to ensure scientifically sound interpretation through the Bayesian model of the ABP. Not only should the statistical data be considered but also the experts in the field must be consulted for successful implementation of the steroidal module. PMID:24764553

  16. Platelets confound the measurement of extracellular miRNA in archived plasma.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Adam J; Gray, Warren D; Hayek, Salim S; Ko, Yi-An; Thomas, Sheena; Rooney, Kim; Awad, Mosaab; Roback, John D; Quyyumi, Arshed; Searles, Charles D

    2016-01-01

    Extracellular miRNAs are detectable in biofluids and represent a novel class of disease biomarker. Although many studies have utilized archived plasma for miRNA biomarker discovery, the effects of processing and storage have not been rigorously studied. Previous reports have suggested plasma samples are commonly contaminated by platelets, significantly confounding the measurement of extracellular miRNA, which was thought to be easily addressed by additional post-thaw plasma processing. In a case-control study of archived plasma, we noted a significant correlation between miRNA levels and platelet counts despite post-thaw processing. We thus examined the effects of a single freeze/thaw cycle on microparticles (MPs) and miRNA levels, and show that a single freeze/thaw cycle of plasma dramatically increases the number of platelet-derived MPs, contaminates the extracellular miRNA pool, and profoundly affects the levels of miRNAs detected. The measurement of extracellular miRNAs in archived samples is critically dependent on the removal of residual platelets prior to freezing plasma samples. Many previous clinical studies of extracellular miRNA in archived plasma should be interpreted with caution and future studies should avoid the effects of platelet contamination. PMID:27623086

  17. The confounding complexity of innate immune receptors within and between teleost species.

    PubMed

    Wcisel, Dustin J; Yoder, Jeffrey A

    2016-06-01

    Teleost genomes encode multiple multigene families of immunoglobulin domain-containing innate immune receptors (IIIRs) with unknown function and no clear mammalian orthologs. However, the genomic organization of IIIR gene clusters and the structure and signaling motifs of the proteins they encode are similar to those of mammalian innate immune receptor families such as the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs), leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptors (LILRs), Fc receptors, triggering receptors expressed on myeloid cells (TREMs) and CD300s. Teleost IIIRs include novel immune-type receptors (NITRs); diverse immunoglobulin domain containing proteins (DICPs); polymeric immunoglobulin receptor-like proteins (PIGRLs); novel immunoglobulin-like transcripts (NILTs) and leukocyte immune-type receptors (LITRs). The accumulation of genomic sequence data has revealed that IIIR gene clusters in zebrafish display haplotypic and gene content variation. This intraspecific genetic variation, as well as significant interspecific variation, frequently confounds the identification of definitive orthologous IIIR sequences between teleost species. Nevertheless, by defining which teleost lineages encode (and do not encode) different IIIR families, predictions can be made about the presence (or absence) of specific IIIR families in each teleost lineage. It is anticipated that further investigations into available genomic resources and the sequencing of a variety of multiple teleost genomes will identify additional IIIR families and permit the modeling of the evolutionary origins of IIIRs. PMID:26997203

  18. Choroidal abnormalities and masquerade syndromes confounding the diagnosis of laser-induced eye injuries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hacker, Henry D.; Zwick, Harry; Brown, Jeremiah, Jr.; Dicks, Ronald; Cheramie, Rachel; Stuck, Bruce E.

    2005-04-01

    The diagnosis of a laser-induced eye injury occurring in occupational or military environments is often complicated by confounding symptoms, the possibility of pre-existing pathology, and/or a lack of visual deficits that can be clearly associated with a specific incident. Two recent cases are described that illustrate the importance of a thorough differential diagnosis when coexisting retinal pathologies are present with potentially different (e.g. laser or disease) etiologies. Indocyanine green angiography (ICG) and ocular coherence tomography (OCT) used in combination with standard ophthalmic imaging can provide helpful insights as to the etiology of these lesions. Vascular choroidal abnormalities such as hemangiomas or occult histoplasmosis infection can produce findings that can mimic the leakage that may be evident from neovascular membranes associated with laser injury. Further evaluation with OCT and conventional fluorescein angiography (FA) is helpful to look for the classic signature of retinal disruption and retinal pigment layer changes that are often present in association with laser injury. Furthermore, a careful situational assessment of a potential laser exposure is important to confirm the diagnosis of laser-induced eye injury.

  19. The Scalp Confounds Near-Infrared Signal from Rat Brain Following Innocuous and Noxious Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    He, Ji-Wei; Liu, Hanli; Peng, Yuan Bo

    2015-01-01

    Functional near-infrared imaging (fNIRI) is a non-invasive, low-cost and highly portable technique for assessing brain activity and functions. Both clinical and experimental evidence suggest that fNIRI is able to assess brain activity at associated regions during pain processing, indicating a strong possibility of using fNIRI-derived brain activity pattern as a biomarker for pain. However, it remains unclear how, especially in small animals, the scalp influences fNIRI signal in pain processing. Previously, we have shown that the use of a multi-channel system improves the spatial resolution of fNIRI in rats (without the scalp) during pain processing. Our current work is to investigate a scalp effect by comparing with new data from rats with the scalp during innocuous or noxious stimulation (n = 6). Results showed remarkable stimulus-dependent differences between the no-scalp and intact-scalp groups. In conclusion, the scalp confounded the fNIRI signal in pain processing likely via an autonomic mechanism; the scalp effect should be a critical factor in image reconstruction and data interpretation. PMID:26426058

  20. Assessing confounding, effect modification, and thresholds in the association between ambient particles and daily deaths.

    PubMed Central

    Schwartz, J

    2000-01-01

    I examined the relationship between daily deaths and airborne particles in 10 U.S. cities with varying climatic conditions and seasons in which particle concentrations were high. Airborne particles were associated with significant increases in daily deaths [0.67% increase for a 10 microg/m(3) increase in particles; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.52-0.81%]. This association was the same in summer and winter. To examine potential confounding by other pollutants, I regressed city- and season-specific effect sizes against the relationship between airborne particles and other pollutants. Controlling for other pollutants did not substantially (or significantly) change the estimated effect of airborne particles. Socioeconomic differences between cities likewise did not modify the effect. The increase in daily deaths that occurred out of hospitals (0.89% per 10 microg/m(3); CI, 0.67-1.10%) was substantially greater than the increase in deaths in hospitals (0. 49%; CI, 0.31-0.68%). This is consistent with results previously reported in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and suggests that the particle-associated deaths are not just being brought forward by a few days. It is also consistent with recent animal and human studies of the mechanisms of particle toxicity. Images Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 PMID:10856032

  1. Influence of potentially confounding factors on sea urchin porewater toxicity tests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carr, R.S.; Biedenbach, J.M.; Nipper, M.

    2006-01-01

    The influence of potentially confounding factors has been identified as a concern for interpreting sea urchin porewater toxicity test data. The results from >40 sediment-quality assessment surveys using early-life stages of the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata were compiled and examined to determine acceptable ranges of natural variables such as pH, ammonia, and dissolved organic carbon on the fertilization and embryological development endpoints. In addition, laboratory experiments were also conducted with A. punctulata and compared with information from the literature. Pore water with pH as low as 6.9 is an unlikely contributor to toxicity for the fertilization and embryological development tests with A. punctulata. Other species of sea urchin have narrower pH tolerance ranges. Ammonia is rarely a contributing factor in pore water toxicity tests using the fertilization endpoint, but the embryological development endpoint may be influenced by ammonia concentrations commonly found in porewater samples. Therefore, ammonia needs to be considered when interpreting results for the embryological development test. Humic acid does not affect sea urchin fertilization at saturation concentrations, but it could have an effect on the embryological development endpoint at near-saturation concentrations. There was no correlation between sediment total organic carbon concentrations and porewater dissolved organic carbon concentrations. Because of the potential for many varying substances to activate parthenogenesis in sea urchin eggs, it is recommended that a no-sperm control be included with every fertilization test treatment. ?? 2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

  2. Fat Confounds the Observed Apparent Diffusion Coefficient in Patients with Hepatic Steatosis

    PubMed Central

    Hansmann, Jan; Hernando, Diego; Reeder, Scott B.

    2013-01-01

    Purpose Triglyceride signal contained in peaks near the water peak remain unsuppressed by conventional fat suppression techniques used in diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). In this work we investigated the dependence of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) on liver fat content and whether it is confounded by fat signal. Methods 43 patients underwent liver DWI (b=0,500s/mm2) and single-voxel MR-spectroscopy (MRS). Proton density fat-fraction (PDFF;range 0.23–34.5%) was measured from MRS. A theoretical model was developed to account for the effects of fat on observed ADC, and used to correct the ADC. Linear correlation analysis was performed to assess the relationship between PDFF and ADC before and after correction. Results Linear correlation analysis showed an inverse dependence between observed ADC and PDFF before correction (r2=0.132;p=0.017), and no dependence after correction (r2=0.033;p=0.24). Conclusion The observed decrease in ADC in patients with fatty liver is, at least in part, artifactual due to residual fat signal near the water peak. PMID:23161434

  3. A causal examination of the effects of confounding factors on multimetric indices

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schoolmaster, Donald R., Jr.; Grace, James B.; Schweiger, E. William; Mitchell, Brian R.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.

    2013-01-01

    The development of multimetric indices (MMIs) as a means of providing integrative measures of ecosystem condition is becoming widespread. An increasingly recognized problem for the interpretability of MMIs is controlling for the potentially confounding influences of environmental covariates. Most common approaches to handling covariates are based on simple notions of statistical control, leaving the causal implications of covariates and their adjustment unstated. In this paper, we use graphical models to examine some of the potential impacts of environmental covariates on the observed signals between human disturbance and potential response metrics. Using simulations based on various causal networks, we show how environmental covariates can both obscure and exaggerate the effects of human disturbance on individual metrics. We then examine from a causal interpretation standpoint the common practice of adjusting ecological metrics for environmental influences using only the set of sites deemed to be in reference condition. We present and examine the performance of an alternative approach to metric adjustment that uses the whole set of sites and models both environmental and human disturbance effects simultaneously. The findings from our analyses indicate that failing to model and adjust metrics can result in a systematic bias towards those metrics in which environmental covariates function to artificially strengthen the metric–disturbance relationship resulting in MMIs that do not accurately measure impacts of human disturbance. We also find that a “whole-set modeling approach” requires fewer assumptions and is more efficient with the given information than the more commonly applied “reference-set” approach.

  4. Wrist actigraphy for scratch detection in the presence of confounding activities.

    PubMed

    Feuerstein, Johanna; Austin, Daniel; Sack, Robert; Hayes, Tamara L

    2011-01-01

    Scratching is a symptom of many dermatological disorders, especially atopic dermatitis. For the development of anti-itch medications, there is a need for objective measures of scratching. Wrist actigraphy (monitoring wrist and hand movements with micro-accelerometers) is a promising method for assessing scratching; however, currently available technology has a limited capacity to discriminate scratching from other similar movements. In this study, we investigated methods to improve the specificity of actigraphy for scratch detection on movement data collected from subjects using the PAM-RL actigraph. A k-means cluster analysis was used to differentiate scratching from walking and restless sleep, which are potential confounds for nighttime scratching. Features used in the analysis include variance, peak frequency, autocorrelation value at one lag, and number of counts above 0.01 g's. The k-means cluster analysis exhibited a high sensitivity (0.90 ± 0.10) and specificity for walking (0.98 ± 0.05) and restless sleep (0.88 ± 0.06), respectively, demonstrating the separability of these activities. This work indicates that the features described here can be used to develop a classifier that discriminates scratch from other activities. The described method of scratch detection shows promise as an objective method for assessing scratching movements in clinical trials and longitudinal studies of scratch. PMID:22255131

  5. KIR Genotypic Diversity Can Track Ancestries in Heterogeneous Populations: A Potential Confounder for Disease Association Studies

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Komal Manpreet; Phung, Yume T.; Kohla, Mohamed S.; Lan, Billy Y-A; Chan, Sharon; Suen, Diana L.; Murad, Sahar; Rheault, Shana; Davidson, Peter; Evans, Jennifer; Singh, Manpreet; Dohil, Sofie; Osorio, Robert W.; Wakil, Adil E.; Page, Kimberly; Feng, Sandy; Cooper, Stewart L.

    2014-01-01

    Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) are encoded by highly polymorphic genes that regulate the activation of natural killer (NK) cells and other lymphocyte subsets, and likely play key roles in innate and adaptive immunity. Association studies increasingly implicate KIR in disease predisposition and outcome but could be confounded by unknown KIR genetic structure in heterogeneous populations. To examine this we characterized the diversity of 16 KIR genes in 712 Northern Californians (NC) stratified by selfassigned ethnicities, and compared the profiles of KIR polymorphism with other US and global populations using a reference database. Sixty-eight distinct KIR genotypes were characterized: 58 in 457 Caucasians (NCC); 17 in 47 African Americans (NCAA); 21 in 80 Asians (NCA); 20 in 74 Hispanics (NCH) and 18 in 54 “other” ethnicities (NCO). KIR genotype patterns and frequencies in the 4 defined ethnicities were compared with each other and with 34 global populations by phylogenetic analysis. Although there were no population-specific genotypes, the KIR genotype frequency patterns faithfully traced the ancestry of NCC, NCAA and NCA but not of NCH whose ancestries are known to be more heterogeneous. KIR genotype frequencies can therefore track ethnic ancestries in modern urban populations. Our data emphasize the importance of selecting ethnically matched controls in KIR based studies to avert spurious associations. PMID:21898189

  6. Are We Missing Something Pertinent? A Bias Analysis of Unmeasured Confounding in the Firearm-Suicide Literature.

    PubMed

    Miller, M; Swanson, S A; Azrael, D

    2016-01-01

    Despite the magnitude and consistency of risk estimates in the peer-reviewed literature linking firearm availability and suicide, inferring causality has been questioned on the theoretical basis that existing studies may have failed to account for the possibility that members of households with firearms differ from members of households without firearms in important ways related to suicide risk. The current bias analysis directly addresses this concern by describing the salient characteristics that such an unmeasured confounder would need to possess in order to yield the associations between firearm availability and suicide observed in the literature when, in fact, the causal effect is null. Four US studies, published between 1992 and 2003, met our eligibility criteria. We find that any such unmeasured confounder would need to possess an untenable combination of characteristics, such as being not only 1) as potent a suicide risk factor as the psychiatric disorders most tightly linked to suicide (e.g., major depressive and substance use disorders) but also 2) an order of magnitude more imbalanced across households with versus without firearms than is any known risk factor. No such confounder has been found or even suggested. The current study strongly suggests that unmeasured confounding alone is unlikely to explain the association between firearms and suicide. PMID:26769723

  7. Interpretational Confounding Is Due to Misspecification, Not to Type of Indicator: Comment on Howell, Breivik, and Wilcox (2007)

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bollen, Kenneth A.

    2007-01-01

    R. D. Howell, E. Breivik, and J. B. Wilcox (2007) have argued that causal (formative) indicators are inherently subject to interpretational confounding. That is, they have argued that using causal (formative) indicators leads the empirical meaning of a latent variable to be other than that assigned to it by a researcher. Their critique of causal…

  8. Utility of ethological analysis to overcome locomotor confounds in elevated maze models of anxiety.

    PubMed

    Weiss, S M; Wadsworth, G; Fletcher, A; Dourish, C T

    1998-01-01

    The elevated plus-maze is a commonly used model to identify putative anxiolytic and anxiogenic drugs. However, the validity of elevated plus-maze and other recently developed variants such as the elevated zero-maze has recently been questioned on the grounds that both the reference anxiolytic drug chlordiazepoxide and the psychostimulant d-amphetamine increase open arm exploration and stimulate locomotor activity. These findings suggest that measures of "anxiety" in the elevated maze cannot be adequately dissociated from simple changes in locomotor activity, which may confound the interpretation of results obtained using these models. A variety of approaches to assess drug effects on locomotor activity in the elevated maze have been suggested, including the use of total and closed arm entries, as well as supplementary tests such as exploration of the holeboard apparatus. However, all these approaches utilise the measurement of exploration in a novel environment, and as such, could potentially be influenced by either changes in anxiety or locomotor activity. Recently, it has been shown that ethological measures of "risk assessment", such as stretched-attend postures and head-dipping, are sensitive indicators of drug-effects in the elevated maze. The present study assessed the utility of ethological analysis in dissociating locomotor activity from "anxiety" by comparing the effects of d-amphetamine to those of chlordiazepoxide in the rat elevated zero-maze. The results showed that both chlordiazepoxide and d-amphetamine increase the amount of time spent in the open arms and reduce "risk assessment" without increasing line crossing or rearing. These results confirm that under certain test conditions, psychostimulants are capable of producing "false-positives" in elevated maze models, and that both traditional methods and the ethological measures used in this study fail to unequivocally dissociate drug effects on anxiety from effects on locomotor activity. Further

  9. Comorbidity of intellectual disability confounds ascertainment of autism: implications for genetic diagnosis.

    PubMed

    Polyak, Andrew; Kubina, Richard M; Girirajan, Santhosh

    2015-10-01

    While recent studies suggest a converging role for genetic factors towards risk for nosologically distinct disorders including autism, intellectual disability (ID), and epilepsy, current estimates of autism prevalence fail to take into account the impact of comorbidity of these disorders on autism diagnosis. We aimed to assess the effect of comorbidity on the diagnosis and prevalence of autism by analyzing 11 years (2000-2010) of special education enrollment data on approximately 6.2 million children per year. We found a 331% increase in the prevalence of autism from 2000 to 2010 within special education, potentially due to a diagnostic recategorization from frequently comorbid features such as ID. The decrease in ID prevalence equaled an average of 64.2% of the increase of autism prevalence for children aged 3-18 years. The proportion of ID cases potentially undergoing recategorization to autism was higher (P = 0.007) among older children (75%) than younger children (48%). Some US states showed significant negative correlations between the prevalence of autism compared to that of ID while others did not, suggesting state-specific health policy to be a major factor in categorizing autism. Further, a high frequency of autistic features was observed when individuals with classically defined genetic syndromes were evaluated for autism using standardized instruments. Our results suggest that current ascertainment practices are based on a single facet of autism-specific clinical features and do not consider associated comorbidities that may confound diagnosis. Longitudinal studies with detailed phenotyping and deep molecular genetic analyses are necessary to completely understand the cause of this complex disorder. PMID:26198689

  10. Diffusion Tensor Imaging in Young Children with Autism: Biological Effects and Potential Confounds

    PubMed Central

    Walker, Lindsay; Gozzi, Marta; Lenroot, Rhoshel; Thurm, Audrey; Behseta, Babak; Swedo, Susan; Pierpaoli, Carlo

    2012-01-01

    Background Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been used over the past decade to study structural differences in the brains of children with autism compared to typically developing children. These studies generally find reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) and increased mean diffusivity (MD) in children with autism, however the regional pattern of findings varies greatly. Methods We used DTI to investigate the brains of sedated children with autism (N=39) and naturally asleep typically developing children (N=39) between 2 and 8 years of age. Tract Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS) and whole brain voxel-wise analysis were performed to investigate the regional distribution of differences between groups. Results In children with autism, we found significantly reduced FA in widespread regions, and increased MD only in posterior brain regions. Significant age by group interaction was found, indicating a difference in developmental trends of FA and MD between children with autism and typically developing children. The magnitude of the measured differences between groups was small, on the order of ~1–2%. Subjects and controls showed distinct regional differences in imaging artifacts that can affect DTI measures. Conclusions We found statistically significant differences in DTI metrics between children with autism and typically developing children, including different developmental trends of these metrics. However, this study indicates that between-group differences in DTI studies of autism should be interpreted with caution, as their small magnitude make these measurements particularly vulnerable to the effects of artifacts and confounds, which may lead to false positive and/or false negative biological inferences. PMID:22906515

  11. Climate change as a confounding factor in reversibility of acidification: RAIN and CLIMEX projects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, R. F.; Jenkins, A.

    The RAIN and CLIMEX experiments at Risdalsheia, southernmost Norway, together cover 17 years (1984-2000) of whole-catchment manipulation of acid deposition and climate. A 1200 m2 roof placed over the forest canopy at KIM catchment excluded about 80% of ambient acid deposition; clean rain was sprinkled under the roof. A climate change treatment (3.7°C increase in air temperature and increase in air carbon dioxide concentrations to 560 ppmv) was superimposed on the clean rain treatment for four years (1995-1998). Sea-salt inputs and temperature are climate-related factors that influence water chemistry and can confound long-term trends caused by changes in deposition of sulphur and nitrogen. The RAIN and CLIMEX experiments at Risdalsheia provided direct experimental data that allow quantitative assessment of these factors. Run-off chemistry responded rapidly to the decreased acid deposition. Sulphate concentrations decreased by 50% within three years; nitrate and ammonium concentrations decreased to new steady-state levels within the first year. Acid neutralising capacity increased and hydrogen ion and inorganic aluminium decreased. Similar recovery from acidification was also observed at the reference catchment, ROLF, in response to the general 50% reduction in sulphate deposition over southern Norway in the late 1980s and 1990s. Variations in sea-salt deposition caused large variations in run-off chemistry at the reference catchment ROLF and the year-to-year noise in acid neutralising capacity was as large as the overall trend over the period. These variations were absent at KIM catchment because the sea-salt inputs were held constant over the entire 17 years of the clean rain treatment. The climate change experiment at KIM catchment resulted in increased leaching of inorganic nitrogen, probably due to increased mineralisation and nitrification rates in the soils.

  12. Timing of human preimplantation embryonic development is confounded by embryo origin

    PubMed Central

    Kirkegaard, K.; Sundvall, L.; Erlandsen, M.; Hindkjær, J.J.; Knudsen, U.B.; Ingerslev, H.J.

    2016-01-01

    STUDY QUESTION To what extent do patient- and treatment-related factors explain the variation in morphokinetic parameters proposed as embryo viability markers? SUMMARY ANSWER Up to 31% of the observed variation in timing of embryo development can be explained by embryo origin, but no single factor elicits a systematic influence. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Several studies report that culture conditions, patient characteristics and treatment influence timing of embryo development, which have promoted the perception that each clinic must develop individual models. Most of the studies have, however, treated embryos from one patient as independent observations, and only very few studies that evaluate the influence from patient- and treatment-related factors on timing of development or time-lapse parameters as predictors of viability have controlled for confounding, which implies a high risk of overestimating the statistical significance of potential correlations. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION Infertile patients were prospectively recruited to a cohort study at a hospital fertility clinic from February 2011 to May 2013. Patients aged <38 years without endometriosis were eligible if ≥8 oocytes were retrieved. Patients were included only once. All embryos were monitored for 6 days in a time-lapse incubator. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS A total of 1507 embryos from 243 patients were included. The influence of fertilization method, BMI, maternal age, FSH dose and number of previous cycles on timing of t2-t5, duration of the 2- and 3-cell stage, and development of a blastocoel (tEB) and full blastocoel (tFB) was tested in multivariate, multilevel linear regression analysis. Predictive parameters for live birth were tested in a logistic regression analysis for 223 single transferred blastocysts, where time-lapse parameters were investigated along with patient and embryo characteristics. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE Moderate intra-class correlation coefficients

  13. BEST: Biochemical Engineering Simulation Technology

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1996-01-01

    The idea of developing a process simulator that can describe biochemical engineering (a relatively new technology area) was formulated at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) during the late 1980s. The initial plan was to build a consortium of industrial and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) partners to enhance a commercial simulator with biochemical unit operations. DOE supported this effort; however, before the consortium was established, the process simulator industry changed considerably. Work on the first phase of implementing various fermentation reactors into the chemical process simulator, ASPEN/SP-BEST, is complete. This report will focus on those developments. Simulation Sciences, Inc. (SimSci) no longer supports ASPEN/SP, and Aspen Technology, Inc. (AspenTech) has developed an add-on to its ASPEN PLUS (also called BioProcess Simulator [BPS]). This report will also explain the similarities and differences between BEST and BPS. ASPEN, developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for DOE in the late 1970s, is still the state-of-the-art chemical process simulator. It was selected as the only simulator with the potential to be easily expanded into the biochemical area. ASPEN/SP, commercially sold by SimSci, was selected for the BEST work. SimSci completed work on batch, fed-batch, and continuous fermentation reactors in 1993, just as it announced it would no longer commercially support the complete ASPEN/SP product. BEST was left without a basic support program. Luckily, during this same time frame, AspenTech was developing a biochemical simulator with its version of ASPEN (ASPEN PLUS), which incorporates most BEST concepts. The future of BEST will involve developing physical property data and models appropriate to biochemical systems that are necessary for good biochemical process design.

  14. Prostate-Specific Antigen Velocity Before and After Elimination of Factors That Can Confound the Prostate-Specific Antigen Level

    SciTech Connect

    Park, Jessica J.; Chen, Ming-Hui; Loffredo, Marian; D'Amico, Anthony V.

    2012-03-01

    Purpose: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) velocity, like PSA level, can be confounded. In this study, we estimated the impact that confounding factors could have on correctly identifying a patient with a PSA velocity >2 ng/ml/y. Methods and Materials: Between 2006 and 2010, a total of 50 men with newly diagnosed PC comprised the study cohort. We calculated and compared the false-positive and false-negative PSA velocity >2 ng/ml/y rates for all men and those with low-risk disease using two approaches to calculate PSA velocity. First, we used PSA values obtained within 18 months of diagnosis; second, we used values within 18 months of diagnosis, substituting the prebiopsy PSA for a repeat, nonconfounded PSA that was obtained using the same assay and without confounders. Results: Using PSA levels pre-biopsy, 46% of all men had a PSA velocity >2 ng/ml/y; whereas this value declined to 32% when substituting the last prebiopsy PSA for a repeat, nonconfounded PSA using the same assay and without confounders. The false-positive rate for PSA velocity >2 ng/ml/y was 43% as compared with a false-negative rate of PSA velocity >2 ng/ml/y of 11% (p = 0.0008) in the overall cohort. These respective values in the low-risk subgroup were 60% and 16.7% (p = 0.09). Conclusion: This study provides evidence to explain the discordance in cancer-specific outcomes among groups investigating the prognostic significance of PSA velocity >2 ng/ml/y, and highlights the importance of patient education on potential confounders of the PSA test before obtaining PSA levels.

  15. Are the apparent effects of cigarette smoking on lung and bladder cancers due to uncontrolled confounding by occupational exposures?

    PubMed

    Siemiatycki, J; Dewar, R; Krewski, D; Désy, M; Richardson, L; Franco, E

    1994-01-01

    It has been suggested that the well known associations between smoking and cancer may in part reflect inadequately controlled confounding due to occupational exposures. The purpose of the present analysis is to describe the association between cigarette smoking and both lung and bladder cancers, taking into account the potential confounding effects of over 300 covariates, most of which represent occupational exposures. A population-based case-control study was undertaken in Montreal to investigate the associations between a large variety of environmental and occupational exposures, on the one hand, and several types of cancer, on the other. Interviews were carried out with male incident cases of several sites of cancer, including 857 lung cancers and 484 bladder cancers. A group of non-smoking-related cancers, comprising 1,707 interviewed subjects, was used as one control group. Additionally, 533 population controls were interviewed and constituted a second control group. Interview information included detailed lifetime smoking histories, job histories, and other potential confounders. Each job history was reviewed by a team of experts who translated it into a history of occupational exposures. These occupational exposures, as well as nonoccupational covariates, were treated as potential confounders in the analysis of cigarette smoking effects. Regardless of whether population controls or cancer controls were used, the odds ratio (OR) between smoking and lung cancer (ranging from 12 to 16 for ever vs never smokers) was not materially affected by adjustment for occupational exposures. The odds ratios for bladder cancer (ranging from 2 to 3) were also unaffected by confounding due to occupational exposures.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) PMID:8117783

  16. Incorporating linked healthcare claims to improve confounding control in a study of in-hospital medication use

    PubMed Central

    Franklin, Jessica M; Eddings, Wesley; Schneeweiss, Sebastian; Rassen, Jeremy A

    2015-01-01

    Introduction The Premier Perspective hospital billing database provides a promising data source for studies of inpatient medication use. However, in-hospital recording of confounders is limited, and incorporating linked healthcare claims data available for a subset of the cohort may improve confounding control. We investigated methods capable of adjusting for confounders measured in a subset, including complete case analysis, multiple imputation of missing data, and propensity score (PS) calibration. Methods Methods were implemented in an example study of adults in Premier undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in 2004-2008 and exposed to either bivalirudin or heparin. In a subset of patients enrolled in UnitedHealth for at least 90 days before hospitalization, additional confounders were assessed from healthcare claims, including comorbidities, prior medication use, and service use intensity. Diagnostics for each method were evaluated, and methods were compared with respect to the estimates and confidence intervals of treatment effects on repeat PCI, bleeding, and in-hospital death. Results Of 210,268 patients in the hospital-based cohort, 3,240 (1.5%) had linked healthcare claims. This subset was younger and healthier than the overall study population. The linked subset was too small for complete case evaluation of 2 of the 3 outcomes of interest. Multiple imputation and PS calibration did not meaningfully impact treatment effect estimates and associated confidence intervals. Conclusions Despite more than 98% missingness on 24 variables, PS calibration and multiple imputation incorporated confounders from healthcare claims without major increases in estimate uncertainty. Additional research is needed to determine the relative bias of these methods. PMID:25935198

  17. Reducing Bias Amplification in the Presence of Unmeasured Confounding Through Out-of-Sample Estimation Strategies for the Disease Risk Score

    PubMed Central

    Wyss, Richard; Lunt, Mark; Brookhart, M. Alan; Glynn, Robert J.; Stürmer, Til

    2014-01-01

    The prognostic score, or disease risk score (DRS), is a summary score that is used to control for confounding in non-experimental studies. While the DRS has been shown to effectively control for measured confounders, unmeasured confounding continues to be a fundamental obstacle in non-experimental research. Both theory and simulations have shown that in the presence of unmeasured confounding, controlling for variables that affect treatment (both instrumental variables and measured confounders) amplifies the bias caused by unmeasured confounders. In this paper, we use causal diagrams and path analysis to review and illustrate the process of bias amplification. We show that traditional estimation strategies for the DRS do not avoid bias amplification when controlling for predictors of treatment. We then discuss estimation strategies for the DRS that can potentially reduce bias amplification that is caused by controlling both instrumental variables and measured confounders. We show that under certain assumptions, estimating the DRS in populations outside the defined study cohort where treatment has not been introduced, or in outside populations with reduced treatment prevalence can control for the confounding effects of measured confounders while at the same time reduce bias amplification. PMID:25313347

  18. Levels and confounders of morning cortisol collected from adolescents in a naturalistic (school) setting.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Shona J; Young, Robert; Sweeting, Helen; Fischer, Joachim E; West, Patrick

    2008-10-01

    Salivary cortisol is widely used in research but little is known about the typical, or expected, functioning of the HPA-axis in adolescents in naturalistic settings, nor whether the extensive array of confounders documented in the literature is applicable in this situation. In a school-based study, 2995 15-year-old pupils provided two saliva samples, 30 min apart, in morning sessions timed to capture peak cortisol decline. The collection protocol was a balance between the large sample size obtainable in a school situation and a limited number of samples, constrained by the school timetable. In addition, pupils completed a questionnaire containing items previously shown to be associated with cortisol levels (e.g. time since awakening and life events), and their height and weight were measured. Outcome measures were cortisol levels at Times 1 and 2, and change (per minute) in cortisol between the two time points. Median (IQR) cortisol levels for males and females were 10.5 (8.1) and 11.6 (9.3) nmol/L at Time 1, and 8.2 (6.0) and 8.1 (6.5) nmol/L at Time 2. 73% had a decline in cortisol level of more than 10% across the two time points, compatible with the expected diurnal pattern. In bivariate analyses, cortisol sampled on Monday, times of measurement and since awakening, prior smoking and several life events were associated with cortisol levels at Times 1 and 2 in both sexes. However, in multivariate analysis, few of these variables remained after controlling for times of measurement and since awakening and, in addition, the final models differed between the sexes. Two events (friend dying and splitting with a boy/girlfriend) predicted cortisol levels in both sexes while age, maturity, recent eating and smoking were predictors only in males. Several factors associated with cortisol change differed from those observed for absolute levels. Further adjustment for school clustering affected some associations, particularly time of measurement. This study managed many of

  19. Indoor biofuel air pollution and respiratory health: the role of confounding factors among women in highland Guatemala.

    PubMed

    Bruce, N; Neufeld, L; Boy, E; West, C

    1998-06-01

    The authors investigated the association between respiratory symptoms and the use of open fires and chimney woodstoves, as well as the distribution of confounding factors, in a cross-sectional study of 340 women aged 15-45 years living in a poor rural area in the western highlands of Guatemala, and found a significantly higher prevalence of reported cough and phlegm for 3 of 6 symptom measures among women using open fires. When considering confounding factors, very strong associations were found between the type of fire and a number of household and socioeconomic factors including the arrangement of rooms, floor type, and possession of a radio and television. The spouse's economic activity type was also significantly associated. 82% of open fire users had dirt floors, with the remaining 18% having cement or tile floors, while only 16% of chimney woodstove users had dirt floors. PMID:9698135

  20. Stratification-score matching improves correction for confounding by population stratification in case-control association studies.

    PubMed

    Epstein, Michael P; Duncan, Richard; Broadaway, K Alaine; He, Min; Allen, Andrew S; Satten, Glen A

    2012-04-01

    Proper control of confounding due to population stratification is crucial for valid analysis of case-control association studies. Fine matching of cases and controls based on genetic ancestry is an increasingly popular strategy to correct for such confounding, both in genome-wide association studies (GWASs) as well as studies that employ next-generation sequencing, where matching can be used when selecting a subset of participants from a GWAS for rare-variant analysis. Existing matching methods match on measures of genetic ancestry that combine multiple components of ancestry into a scalar quantity. However, we show that including nonconfounding ancestry components in a matching criterion can lead to inaccurate matches, and hence to an improper control of confounding. To resolve this issue, we propose a novel method that assigns cases and controls to matched strata based on the stratification score (Epstein et al. [2007] Am J Hum Genet 80:921-930), which is the probability of disease given genomic variables. Matching on the stratification score leads to more accurate matches because case participants are matched to control participants who have a similar risk of disease given ancestry information. We illustrate our matching method using the African-American arm of the GAIN GWAS of schizophrenia. In this study, we observe that confounding due to stratification can be resolved by our matching approach but not by other existing matching procedures. We also use simulated data to show our novel matching approach can provide a more appropriate correction for population stratification than existing matching approaches. PMID:22714934

  1. Ultrasound Elastography and MR Elastography for Assessing Liver Fibrosis: Part 2, Diagnostic Performance, Confounders, and Future Directions

    PubMed Central

    Tang, An; Cloutier, Guy; Szeverenyi, Nikolaus M.; Sirlin, Claude B.

    2016-01-01

    OBJECTIVE The purpose of the article is to review the diagnostic performance of ultrasound and MR elastography techniques for detection and staging of liver fibrosis, the main current clinical applications of elastography in the abdomen. CONCLUSION Technical and instrument-related factors and biologic and patient-related factors may constitute potential confounders of stiffness measurements for assessment of liver fibrosis. Future developments may expand the scope of elastography for monitoring liver fibrosis and predict complications of chronic liver disease. PMID:25905762

  2. Biochemical Engineering. Part II: Process Design

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Atkinson, B.

    1972-01-01

    Describes types of industrial techniques involving biochemical products, specifying the advantages and disadvantages of batch and continuous processes, and contrasting biochemical and chemical engineering. See SE 506 318 for Part I. (AL)

  3. Potential confounding effects of benzyl alcohol as a formulation excipient support the elimination of the abnormal toxicity test from pharmacopoeias.

    PubMed

    Xie, Jianxun; Ottaviani, Giorgio; Sun, Kai; Lu, Mingqiu; Wu, Xiaoqin; Huang, Sunfeng; Bopst, Martin

    2015-11-01

    Benzyl alcohol is an excipient used in many drugs as a stabilizer. Depending on the amount present in drug formulations there might be confounding findings in the Abnormal Toxicity Test (ATT). The ATT is utilized as a quality control (QC) release test to detect extraneous contaminants according to national pharmacopoeias. Our study assessed the effects of benzyl alcohol as defined in ATT designs. This study - the first thorough evaluation of the confounding effects of benzyl alcohol on the ATT - was conducted in relation to particular health authority questions and was part of the root-cause analyses resulting from some transient behavioral findings observed in the test. Two strains of mice, CD-1 & Kunming, plus Hartley guinea pigs were administered intraperitoneally (ip), subcutaneously (sc), or intravenously (iv) with benzyl alcohol at dose level defined in the ATT design. In both mice and guinea pigs, only after ip administration, minimal behavioral changes were observed transiently within 2-3 min after administration. Therefore, the presence of benzyl alcohol in the product batch may confound the ATT results. This study provides further evidence to question the validity of the ATT for its intended use. PMID:26449397

  4. Examining the Relationship between Heavy Alcohol Use and Assaults: With Adjustment for the Effects of Unmeasured Confounders

    PubMed Central

    Liang, Wenbin; Chikritzhs, Tanya

    2015-01-01

    Background. Experimental studies suggest that alcohol can lead to aggression in laboratory settings; however, it is impossible to test the causal relationship between alcohol use and real-life violence among humans in randomized clinical trials. Objectives. (i) To examine the relationship between heavy alcohol use and assaults in a population based study; (ii) to demonstrate the proxy outcome method, as a means of controlling the effects of unknown/unmeasured confounders in observational studies. Methods. This study used data collected from three waves of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The effects of heavy alcohol use on assault were measured using multivariable logistic regressions in conjunction with the proxy outcome method. Results. Application of the proxy outcome method indicated that effect sizes of heavy alcohol use on the risk of assault were overestimated in the standard models. After adjusting for the effects of unknown/unmeasured confounders, the risk of assault remained 43% and 63% higher (P < 0.05) among participants who consumed 5+ drinks/day for 5–8 days/month and 9–30 days/month, respectively. Conclusions. Even after adjustment for unknown/unmeasured confounders the association between heavy alcohol use and risk of violence remained significant. These findings support the hypothesis that heavy alcohol use can cause violence. PMID:26380283

  5. Distinguishing benign confounding treatment changes from residual prostate cancer on MRI following laser ablation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Litjens, G.; Huisman, H.; Elliott, R.; Shih, N.; Feldman, M.; Viswanath, S.; Fütterer, J.; Bomers, J.; Madabhushi, A.

    2014-03-01

    Laser interstitial thermotherapy (LITT) is a relatively new focal therapy technique for the ablation of localized prostate cancer. However, very little is known about the specific effects of LITT within the ablation zone and the surrounding normal tissue regions. For instance, it is important to be able to assess the extent of residual cancer within the prostate following LITT, which may be masked by thermally induced benign necrotic changes. Fortunately LITT is MRI compatible and hence this allows for quantitatively assessing LITT induced changes via multi-parametric MRI. Of course definite validation of any LITT induced changes on MRI requires confirmation via histopathology. The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess and distinguish the imaging characteristics of prostate cancer and benign confounding treatment changes following LITTon 3 Tesla multi-parametric MRI by carefully mapping the treatment related changes from the ex vivo surgically resected histopathologic specimens onto the pre-operative in vivo imaging. A better understanding of the imaging characteristics of residual disease and successfully ablated tissue might lead to improved treatment monitoring and as such patient prognosis. A unique clinical trial at the Radboud University Medical Center, in which 3 patients underwent a prostatectomy after LITT treatment, yielded ex-vivo histopathologic specimens along with pre- and post-LITT MRI. Using this data we (1) identified the computer extracted MRI signatures associated with treatment effects including benign necrotic changes and residual disease and (2) subsequently evaluated the computer extracted MRI features previously identified in distinguishing LITT induced changes in the ablated area relative to the residual disease. Towards this end first a pathologist annotated the ablated area and the residual disease on the ex-vivo histology and then we transferred the annotations to the post-LITT MRI using semi-automatic elastic registration. The

  6. Evaluating Public Health Interventions: 3. The Two-Stage Design for Confounding Bias Reduction—Having Your Cake and Eating It Two

    PubMed Central

    Spiegelman, Donna; Rivera-Rodriguez, Claudia L.; Haneuse, Sebastien

    2016-01-01

    In public health evaluations, confounding bias in the estimate of the intervention effect will typically threaten the validity of the findings. It is a common misperception that the only way to avoid this bias is to measure detailed, high-quality data on potential confounders for every intervention participant, but this strategy for adjusting for confounding bias is often infeasible. Rather than ignoring confounding altogether, the two-phase design and analysis—in which detailed high-quality confounding data are obtained among a small subsample—can be considered. We describe the two-stage design and analysis approach, and illustrate its use in the evaluation of an intervention conducted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, of an enhanced community health worker program to improve antenatal care uptake. PMID:27285260

  7. Evaluating Public Health Interventions: 3. The Two-Stage Design for Confounding Bias Reduction-Having Your Cake and Eating It Two.

    PubMed

    Spiegelman, Donna; Rivera-Rodriguez, Claudia L; Haneuse, Sebastien

    2016-07-01

    In public health evaluations, confounding bias in the estimate of the intervention effect will typically threaten the validity of the findings. It is a common misperception that the only way to avoid this bias is to measure detailed, high-quality data on potential confounders for every intervention participant, but this strategy for adjusting for confounding bias is often infeasible. Rather than ignoring confounding altogether, the two-phase design and analysis-in which detailed high-quality confounding data are obtained among a small subsample-can be considered. We describe the two-stage design and analysis approach, and illustrate its use in the evaluation of an intervention conducted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, of an enhanced community health worker program to improve antenatal care uptake. PMID:27285260

  8. Biochemical adaptation to ocean acidification.

    PubMed

    Stillman, Jonathon H; Paganini, Adam W

    2015-06-01

    The change in oceanic carbonate chemistry due to increased atmospheric PCO2  has caused pH to decline in marine surface waters, a phenomenon known as ocean acidification (OA). The effects of OA on organisms have been shown to be widespread among diverse taxa from a wide range of habitats. The majority of studies of organismal response to OA are in short-term exposures to future levels of PCO2 . From such studies, much information has been gathered on plastic responses organisms may make in the future that are beneficial or harmful to fitness. Relatively few studies have examined whether organisms can adapt to negative-fitness consequences of plastic responses to OA. We outline major approaches that have been used to study the adaptive potential for organisms to OA, which include comparative studies and experimental evolution. Organisms that inhabit a range of pH environments (e.g. pH gradients at volcanic CO2 seeps or in upwelling zones) have great potential for studies that identify adaptive shifts that have occurred through evolution. Comparative studies have advanced our understanding of adaptation to OA by linking whole-organism responses with cellular mechanisms. Such optimization of function provides a link between genetic variation and adaptive evolution in tuning optimal function of rate-limiting cellular processes in different pH conditions. For example, in experimental evolution studies of organisms with short generation times (e.g. phytoplankton), hundreds of generations of growth under future conditions has resulted in fixed differences in gene expression related to acid-base regulation. However, biochemical mechanisms for adaptive responses to OA have yet to be fully characterized, and are likely to be more complex than simply changes in gene expression or protein modification. Finally, we present a hypothesis regarding an unexplored area for biochemical adaptation to ocean acidification. In this hypothesis, proteins and membranes exposed to the

  9. Smoking and degree of occupational exposure: are internal analyses in cohort studies likely to be confounded by smoking status

    SciTech Connect

    Siemiatycki, J.; Wacholder, S.; Dewar, R.; Wald, L.; Begin, D.; Richardson, L.; Rosenman, K.; Gerin, M.

    1988-01-01

    Occupational cohort studies are usually carried out without the benefit of information on smoking habits of cohort members. One common approach to avoid confounding bias related to smoking habits is to carry out an internal analysis, comparing workers with different degrees of occupational exposure. The premise behind this approach is that within a cohort there is unlikely to be correlation between degree of exposure and smoking habits. If this were untrue, smoking could confound the disease-exposure relationships. Our purpose was to verify the premise. The study sample consisted of 857 French-Canadian men born between 1910 and 1930, with 11 or fewer years of education, and interviewed around 1980 in the context of an occupational cancer case-control study. For each man we had information on smoking habits, job history, and a history of the chemicals he was exposed to in each of his jobs. We computed two indices of the dirtiness of workers' job histories: one based on the job titles held by the man and a second based on the degree of exposures to workplace substances. There was no correlation between these indices of job dirtiness and smoking history. We also examined the smoking-exposure relationship among the subsets of men who had been occupationally exposed to ten especially noticeable substances. Within the subsets, there was no indication of a consistent difference among the smoking subgroups in level or duration of exposure to these index substances. These findings do not support the view that nonsmokers sought out cleaner job environments than smokers; they imply that internal analyses of dose-response in cohort studies are unlikely to be seriously confounded by smoking habits.

  10. Meta-analysis of lung cancer in asphalt roofing and paving workers with external adjustment for confounding by coal tar

    SciTech Connect

    Fayerweather, W.E.

    2007-07-01

    The study's objectives were to update Partanen's and Boffetta's 1994 meta-analysis of lung cancer among roofing and paving asphalt workers and explore the role of coal tar in explaining the statistical heterogeneity among these studies. Information retrieval strategies and eligibility criteria were defined for identifying the epidemiologic studies to be included in the analysis. The relative risk ratio (RR) for lung cancer was selected as the effect measure of interest. Coal tar bias factors were developed and used to externally adjust each eligible study's published RR for confounding by coal tar. The meta-Relative Risk (meta-RR) and its variance were estimated by general variance-based methods. Heterogeneity of the RRs was assessed by heterogeneity chi-square and I{sup 2} tests. The results from this update were similar to those in Partanen's and Boffetta's original meta-analysis. Although the meta-RRs for the roofers and the pavers were no longer statistically significantly different from one another, significant heterogeneity remained within each of the coal tar-adjusted sectors. Meta-analysis of non-experimental epidemiologic studies is subject to significant uncertainties as is externally correcting studies for confounding. Given these uncertainties, the specific quantitative estimates in this (or any similar) analysis must be viewed with caution. Nevertheless, this analysis provides support for the hypothesis proposed by several major reviewers that confounding by coal tar-related PAH exposures may explain most or all of the lung cancer risks found in the epidemiologic literature on asphalt roofing and paving workers.

  11. Abnormal liver function and central obesity associate with work-related fatigue among the Taiwanese workers

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Yu-Cheng; Chen, Jong-Dar; Chen, Chao-Jen

    2008-01-01

    AIM: To examine the associations between objective health indicators and high need for recovery (NFR) after work, one of the subjective presentations of work related-fatigue, among apparently healthy workers in modern workplaces. METHODS: From October to December, 2007, an annual health examination was performed for the workers from an electronics manufacturing factory in Taiwan. Health records of 1216 workers with a relatively homogeneous socioeconomic status were used for analysis. The health checkups included personal and NFR scale questionnaires, physical examinations, blood tests for biochemistry and hematology. The workers within the top tertile NFR score were defined as high-NFR workers. RESULTS: After adjusted for potential confounders, the workers with elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and central obesity had a significantly higher NFR after work, with increased risks of 1.4-fold [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01-2.0] and 1.8-fold (95% CI = 1.2-2.7), respectively. Shiftworkers had a 2.0-fold (95% CI = 1.5-2.6) increased risk for high-NFR. The associations between high-NFR and lipid profiles, blood sugar, hematology indexes or blood pressure were insignificant after controlling for confounders. CONCLUSION: For apparently healthy workers, high NFR after work is not simply a subjective experience. Objective health measures, such as elevated ALT and increased waist circumference, should be carefully evaluated for the apparently healthy workers having a higher NFR after work. PMID:19030209

  12. Vector Encoding in Biochemical Networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Potter, Garrett; Sun, Bo

    Encoding of environmental cues via biochemical signaling pathways is of vital importance in the transmission of information for cells in a network. The current literature assumes a single cell state is used to encode information, however, recent research suggests the optimal strategy utilizes a vector of cell states sampled at various time points. To elucidate the optimal sampling strategy for vector encoding, we take an information theoretic approach and determine the mutual information of the calcium signaling dynamics obtained from fibroblast cells perturbed with different concentrations of ATP. Specifically, we analyze the sampling strategies under the cases of fixed and non-fixed vector dimension as well as the efficiency of these strategies. Our results show that sampling with greater frequency is optimal in the case of non-fixed vector dimension but that, in general, a lower sampling frequency is best from both a fixed vector dimension and efficiency standpoint. Further, we find the use of a simple modified Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process as a model qualitatively captures many of our experimental results suggesting that sampling in biochemical networks is based on a few basic components.

  13. Biochemical abnormalities in Pearson syndrome.

    PubMed

    Crippa, Beatrice Letizia; Leon, Eyby; Calhoun, Amy; Lowichik, Amy; Pasquali, Marzia; Longo, Nicola

    2015-03-01

    Pearson marrow-pancreas syndrome is a multisystem mitochondrial disorder characterized by bone marrow failure and pancreatic insufficiency. Children who survive the severe bone marrow dysfunction in childhood develop Kearns-Sayre syndrome later in life. Here we report on four new cases with this condition and define their biochemical abnormalities. Three out of four patients presented with failure to thrive, with most of them having normal development and head size. All patients had evidence of bone marrow involvement that spontaneously improved in three out of four patients. Unique findings in our patients were acute pancreatitis (one out of four), renal Fanconi syndrome (present in all patients, but symptomatic only in one), and an unusual organic aciduria with 3-hydroxyisobutyric aciduria in one patient. Biochemical analysis indicated low levels of plasma citrulline and arginine, despite low-normal ammonia levels. Regression analysis indicated a significant correlation between each intermediate of the urea cycle and the next, except between ornithine and citrulline. This suggested that the reaction catalyzed by ornithine transcarbamylase (that converts ornithine to citrulline) might not be very efficient in patients with Pearson syndrome. In view of low-normal ammonia levels, we hypothesize that ammonia and carbamylphosphate could be diverted from the urea cycle to the synthesis of nucleotides in patients with Pearson syndrome and possibly other mitochondrial disorders. PMID:25691415

  14. High Levels of Sample-to-Sample Variation Confound Data Analysis for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening of Fetal Microdeletions.

    PubMed

    Chu, Tianjiao; Yeniterzi, Suveyda; Yatsenko, Svetlana A; Dunkel, Mary; Shaw, Patricia A; Bunce, Kimberly D; Peters, David G

    2016-01-01

    Our goal was to test the hypothesis that inter-individual genomic copy number variation in control samples is a confounding factor in the non-invasive prenatal detection of fetal microdeletions via the sequence-based analysis of maternal plasma DNA. The database of genomic variants (DGV) was used to determine the "Genomic Variants Frequency" (GVF) for each 50kb region in the human genome. Whole genome sequencing of fifteen karyotypically normal maternal plasma and six CVS DNA controls samples was performed. The coefficient of variation of relative read counts (cv.RTC) for these samples was determined for each 50kb region. Maternal plasma from two pregnancies affected with a chromosome 5p microdeletion was also sequenced, and analyzed using the GCREM algorithm. We found strong correlation between high variance in read counts and GVF amongst controls. Consequently we were unable to confirm the presence of the microdeletion via sequencing of maternal plasma samples obtained from two sequential affected pregnancies. Caution should be exercised when performing NIPT for microdeletions. It is vital to develop our understanding of the factors that impact the sensitivity and specificity of these approaches. In particular, benign copy number variation amongst controls is a major confounder, and their effects should be corrected bioinformatically. PMID:27249650

  15. High Levels of Sample-to-Sample Variation Confound Data Analysis for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening of Fetal Microdeletions

    PubMed Central

    Chu, Tianjiao; Yeniterzi, Suveyda; Yatsenko, Svetlana A.; Dunkel, Mary; Shaw, Patricia A.; Bunce, Kimberly D.; Peters, David G.

    2016-01-01

    Our goal was to test the hypothesis that inter-individual genomic copy number variation in control samples is a confounding factor in the non-invasive prenatal detection of fetal microdeletions via the sequence-based analysis of maternal plasma DNA. The database of genomic variants (DGV) was used to determine the “Genomic Variants Frequency” (GVF) for each 50kb region in the human genome. Whole genome sequencing of fifteen karyotypically normal maternal plasma and six CVS DNA controls samples was performed. The coefficient of variation of relative read counts (cv.RTC) for these samples was determined for each 50kb region. Maternal plasma from two pregnancies affected with a chromosome 5p microdeletion was also sequenced, and analyzed using the GCREM algorithm. We found strong correlation between high variance in read counts and GVF amongst controls. Consequently we were unable to confirm the presence of the microdeletion via sequencing of maternal plasma samples obtained from two sequential affected pregnancies. Caution should be exercised when performing NIPT for microdeletions. It is vital to develop our understanding of the factors that impact the sensitivity and specificity of these approaches. In particular, benign copy number variation amongst controls is a major confounder, and their effects should be corrected bioinformatically. PMID:27249650

  16. A principal stratification approach for evaluating natural direct and indirect effects in the presence of treatment-induced intermediate confounding.

    PubMed

    Taguri, Masataka; Chiba, Yasutaka

    2015-01-15

    Recently, several authors have shown that natural direct and indirect effects (NDEs and NIEs) can be identified under the sequential ignorability assumptions, as long as there is no mediator-outcome confounder that is affected by the treatment. However, if such a confounder exists, NDEs and NIEs will generally not be identified without making additional identifying assumptions. In this article, we propose novel identification assumptions and estimators for evaluating NDEs and NIEs under the usual sequential ignorability assumptions, using the principal stratification framework. It is assumed that the treatment and the mediator are dichotomous. We must impose strong assumptions for identification. However, even if these assumptions were violated, the bias of our estimator would be small under typical conditions, which can be easily evaluated from the observed data. This conjecture is confirmed for binary outcomes by deriving the bounds of the bias terms. In addition, the advantage of our estimator is illustrated through a simulation study. We also propose a method of sensitivity analysis that examines what happens when our assumptions are violated. We apply the proposed method to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. PMID:25312003

  17. Correlations between cannabis use and IQ change in the Dunedin cohort are consistent with confounding from socioeconomic status.

    PubMed

    Rogeberg, Ole

    2013-03-12

    Does cannabis use have substantial and permanent effects on neuropsychological functioning? Renewed and intense attention to the issue has followed recent research on the Dunedin cohort, which found a positive association between, on the one hand, adolescent-onset cannabis use and dependence and, on the other hand, a decline in IQ from childhood to adulthood [Meier et al. (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(40):E2657-E2664]. The association is given a causal interpretation by the authors, but existing research suggests an alternative confounding model based on time-varying effects of socioeconomic status on IQ. A simulation of the confounding model reproduces the reported associations from the Dunedin cohort, suggesting that the causal effects estimated in Meier et al. are likely to be overestimates, and that the true effect could be zero. Further analyses of the Dunedin cohort are proposed to distinguish between the competing interpretations. Although it would be too strong to say that the results have been discredited, the methodology is flawed and the causal inference drawn from the results premature. PMID:23319626

  18. Correlations between cannabis use and IQ change in the Dunedin cohort are consistent with confounding from socioeconomic status

    PubMed Central

    Rogeberg, Ole

    2013-01-01

    Does cannabis use have substantial and permanent effects on neuropsychological functioning? Renewed and intense attention to the issue has followed recent research on the Dunedin cohort, which found a positive association between, on the one hand, adolescent-onset cannabis use and dependence and, on the other hand, a decline in IQ from childhood to adulthood [Meier et al. (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(40):E2657–E2664]. The association is given a causal interpretation by the authors, but existing research suggests an alternative confounding model based on time-varying effects of socioeconomic status on IQ. A simulation of the confounding model reproduces the reported associations from the Dunedin cohort, suggesting that the causal effects estimated in Meier et al. are likely to be overestimates, and that the true effect could be zero. Further analyses of the Dunedin cohort are proposed to distinguish between the competing interpretations. Although it would be too strong to say that the results have been discredited, the methodology is flawed and the causal inference drawn from the results premature. PMID:23319626

  19. In Situ Biospectroscopic Investigation of Rapid Ischemic and Postmortem Induced Biochemical Alterations in the Rat Brain

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Rapid advances in imaging technologies have pushed novel spectroscopic modalities such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at the sulfur K-edge to the forefront of direct in situ investigation of brain biochemistry. However, few studies have examined the extent to which sample preparation artifacts confound results. Previous investigations using traditional analyses, such as tissue dissection, homogenization, and biochemical assay, conducted extensive research to identify biochemical alterations that occur ex vivo during sample preparation. In particular, altered metabolism and oxidative stress may be caused by animal death. These processes were a concern for studies using biochemical assays, and protocols were developed to minimize their occurrence. In this investigation, a similar approach was taken to identify the biochemical alterations that are detectable by two in situ spectroscopic methods (FTIR, XAS) that occur as a consequence of ischemic conditions created during humane animal killing. FTIR and XAS are well suited to study markers of altered metabolism such as lactate and creatine (FTIR) and markers of oxidative stress such as aggregated proteins (FTIR) and altered thiol redox (XAS). The results are in accordance with previous investigations using biochemical assays and demonstrate that the time between animal death and tissue dissection results in ischemic conditions that alter brain metabolism and initiate oxidative stress. Therefore, future in situ biospectroscopic investigations utilizing FTIR and XAS must take into consideration that brain tissue dissected from a healthy animal does not truly reflect the in vivo condition, but rather reflects a state of mild ischemia. If studies require the levels of metabolites (lactate, creatine) and markers of oxidative stress (thiol redox) to be preserved as close as possible to the in vivo condition, then rapid freezing of brain tissue via decapitation into

  20. Biochemical nature of Russell Bodies

    PubMed Central

    Francesca Mossuto, Maria; Ami, Diletta; Anelli, Tiziana; Fagioli, Claudio; Maria Doglia, Silvia; Sitia, Roberto

    2015-01-01

    Professional secretory cells produce and release abundant proteins. Particularly in case of mutations and/or insufficient chaperoning, these can aggregate and become toxic within or amongst cells. Immunoglobulins (Ig) are no exception. In the extracellular space, certain Ig-L chains form fibrils causing systemic amyloidosis. On the other hand, Ig variants lacking the first constant domain condense in dilated cisternae of the early secretory compartment, called Russell Bodies (RB), frequently observed in plasma cell dyscrasias, autoimmune diseases and chronic infections. RB biogenesis can be recapitulated in lymphoid and non-lymphoid cells by expressing mutant Ig-μ, providing powerful models to investigate the pathophysiology of endoplasmic reticulum storage disorders. Here we analyze the aggregation propensity and the biochemical features of the intra- and extra-cellular Ig deposits in human cells, revealing β-aggregated features for RB. PMID:26223695

  1. Biochemical Analysis of Microbial Rhodopsins.

    PubMed

    Maresca, Julia A; Keffer, Jessica L; Miller, Kelsey J

    2016-01-01

    Ion-pumping rhodopsins transfer ions across the microbial cell membrane in a light-dependent fashion. As the rate of biochemical characterization of microbial rhodopsins begins to catch up to the rate of microbial rhodopsin identification in environmental and genomic sequence data sets, in vitro analysis of their light-absorbing properties and in vivo analysis of ion pumping will remain critical to characterizing these proteins. As we learn more about the variety of physiological roles performed by microbial rhodopsins in different cell types and environments, observing the localization patterns of the rhodopsins and/or quantifying the number of rhodopsin-bearing cells in natural environments will become more important. Here, we provide protocols for purification of rhodopsin-containing membranes, detection of ion pumping, and observation of functional rhodopsins in laboratory and environmental samples using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. © 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. PMID:27153387

  2. Diagnosis of hyperandrogenism: biochemical criteria.

    PubMed

    Stanczyk, Frank Z

    2006-06-01

    Biochemical derangements in ovarian, adrenal, and peripheral androgen production and metabolism play an important role in underlying causes of hyperandrogenism. Specific diagnostic serum markers such as testosterone (total) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), respectively, may be helpful in the diagnosis of ovarian and adrenal hyperandrogenism, respectively. Validated immunoassays or mass spectrometry assays should be used to quantify testosterone, DHEAS and other principal androgens. Free testosterone measurements, determined by equilibrium dialysis or the calculated method, are advocated for routine evaluation of more subtle forms of hyperandrogenism. The skin, with its pilosebaceous units (PSUs), is an important site of active androgen production. A key regulator in PSUs is 5alpha-reductase, which transforms testosterone or androstenedione to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT in blood is not effective in indicating the presence of hyperandrogenism. However, distal metabolites of DHT have been shown to be good markers of clinical manifestations of hirsutism, acne and alopecia. Assays for these peripheral markers need improvement for routine clinical testing. PMID:16772150

  3. Interpersonal discrimination and depressive symptomatology: examination of several personality-related characteristics as potential confounders in a racial/ethnic heterogeneous adult sample

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Research suggests that reports of interpersonal discrimination result in poor mental health. Because personality characteristics may either confound or mediate the link between these reports and mental health, there is a need to disentangle its role in order to better understand the nature of discrimination-mental health association. We examined whether hostility, anger repression and expression, pessimism, optimism, and self-esteem served as confounders in the association between perceived interpersonal discrimination and CESD-based depressive symptoms in a race/ethnic heterogeneous probability-based sample of community-dwelling adults. Methods We employed a series of ordinary least squares regression analyses to examine the potential confounding effect of hostility, anger repression and expression, pessimism, optimism, and self-esteem between interpersonal discrimination and depressive symptoms. Results Hostility, anger repression, pessimism and self-esteem were significant as possible confounders of the relationship between interpersonal discrimination and depressive symptoms, together accounting for approximately 38% of the total association (beta: 0.1892, p < 0.001). However, interpersonal discrimination remained a positive predictor of depressive symptoms (beta: 0.1176, p < 0.001). Conclusion As one of the first empirical attempts to examine the potential confounding role of personality characteristics in the association between reports of interpersonal discrimination and mental health, our results suggest that personality-related characteristics may serve as potential confounders. Nevertheless, our results also suggest that, net of these characteristics, reports of interpersonal discrimination are associated with poor mental health. PMID:24256578

  4. Disentangling the confounding effects of PAR and air temperature on net ecosystem exchange in time and scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    yang, Z.; Chen, J.; Becker, R.; Chu, H.; Xie, J.; Shao, C.

    2013-12-01

    Net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE) in temperate forests is modulated by microclimatic factors. The effects of those factors differ at different time scales and during different time periods. Some of them are correlated across a number of time scales, so their effects on NEE are confounded by each other. PAR and air temperature (Ta) are among the two most important drivers of NEE in temperate forests, and among the two most correlated microclimatic factors. PAR and Ta have similar daily, seasonal, and annual cycles. Their influence on NEE is confounded by each other and entangled together especially at those scales. In this study, we tried to disentangle the confounding effects of them on NEE at different time scales and during different time periods. To accomplish this objective, we applied the innovative spectral analysis techniques including Continuous Wavelet Transformation (CWT), Cross Wavelet Transformation (XWT), Wavelet Coherent (WTC), and Partial Wavelet Coherence (PWC) on seven years time series (2004-2010) of PAR, Ta and NEE from the Ohio Oak Openings site (N 41.5545°, W 83.8438°), USA for spectral analysis. We found that PAR is the major driver at short time scales (e.g. semidiurnal and daily) and Ta is the major driver at long time scales (e.g. seasonal and annual). At daily scale during growing seasons, PAR is anti-phase with NEE with no time delay while Ta lagged PAR about 2-3 hours, which could be explained by the strong dependence of photosynthesis on PAR and a 2-3 hours lags of the daily course of Ta to PAR. At daily scale during non-growing season, NEE has little variation and thus neither Ta nor PAR has high common wavelet power and significant coherence with NEE. At annual scale, Ta is anti-phase with NEE and PAR leads NEE about 34 days, which could be explained by the strong dependence of LAI dynamics on Ta and the lag between the LAI/biomass development and the progress of sunlight. We also found that NEE distributes most of its variation

  5. Serum Biochemical Phenotypes in the Domestic Dog

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Yu-Mei; Hadox, Erin; Szladovits, Balazs; Garden, Oliver A.

    2016-01-01

    The serum or plasma biochemical profile is essential in the diagnosis and monitoring of systemic disease in veterinary medicine, but current reference intervals typically take no account of breed-specific differences. Breed-specific hematological phenotypes have been documented in the domestic dog, but little has been published on serum biochemical phenotypes in this species. Serum biochemical profiles of dogs in which all measurements fell within the existing reference intervals were retrieved from a large veterinary database. Serum biochemical profiles from 3045 dogs were retrieved, of which 1495 had an accompanying normal glucose concentration. Sixty pure breeds plus a mixed breed control group were represented by at least 10 individuals. All analytes, except for sodium, chloride and glucose, showed variation with age. Total protein, globulin, potassium, chloride, creatinine, cholesterol, total bilirubin, ALT, CK, amylase, and lipase varied between sexes. Neutering status significantly impacted all analytes except albumin, sodium, calcium, urea, and glucose. Principal component analysis of serum biochemical data revealed 36 pure breeds with distinctive phenotypes. Furthermore, comparative analysis identified 23 breeds with significant differences from the mixed breed group in all biochemical analytes except urea and glucose. Eighteen breeds were identified by both principal component and comparative analysis. Tentative reference intervals were generated for breeds with a distinctive phenotype identified by comparative analysis and represented by at least 120 individuals. This is the first large-scale analysis of breed-specific serum biochemical phenotypes in the domestic dog and highlights potential genetic components of biochemical traits in this species. PMID:26919479

  6. Serum Biochemical Phenotypes in the Domestic Dog.

    PubMed

    Chang, Yu-Mei; Hadox, Erin; Szladovits, Balazs; Garden, Oliver A

    2016-01-01

    The serum or plasma biochemical profile is essential in the diagnosis and monitoring of systemic disease in veterinary medicine, but current reference intervals typically take no account of breed-specific differences. Breed-specific hematological phenotypes have been documented in the domestic dog, but little has been published on serum biochemical phenotypes in this species. Serum biochemical profiles of dogs in which all measurements fell within the existing reference intervals were retrieved from a large veterinary database. Serum biochemical profiles from 3045 dogs were retrieved, of which 1495 had an accompanying normal glucose concentration. Sixty pure breeds plus a mixed breed control group were represented by at least 10 individuals. All analytes, except for sodium, chloride and glucose, showed variation with age. Total protein, globulin, potassium, chloride, creatinine, cholesterol, total bilirubin, ALT, CK, amylase, and lipase varied between sexes. Neutering status significantly impacted all analytes except albumin, sodium, calcium, urea, and glucose. Principal component analysis of serum biochemical data revealed 36 pure breeds with distinctive phenotypes. Furthermore, comparative analysis identified 23 breeds with significant differences from the mixed breed group in all biochemical analytes except urea and glucose. Eighteen breeds were identified by both principal component and comparative analysis. Tentative reference intervals were generated for breeds with a distinctive phenotype identified by comparative analysis and represented by at least 120 individuals. This is the first large-scale analysis of breed-specific serum biochemical phenotypes in the domestic dog and highlights potential genetic components of biochemical traits in this species. PMID:26919479

  7. When can we measure stress noninvasively? Postdeposition effects on a fecal stress metric confound a multiregional assessment.

    PubMed

    Wilkening, Jennifer L; Ray, Chris; Varner, Johanna

    2016-01-01

    Measurement of stress hormone metabolites in fecal samples has become a common method to assess physiological stress in wildlife populations. Glucocorticoid metabolite (GCM) measurements can be collected noninvasively, and studies relating this stress metric to anthropogenic disturbance are increasing. However, environmental characteristics (e.g., temperature) can alter measured GCM concentration when fecal samples cannot be collected immediately after defecation. This effect can confound efforts to separate environmental factors causing predeposition physiological stress in an individual from those acting on a fecal sample postdeposition. We used fecal samples from American pikas (Ochotona princeps) to examine the influence of environmental conditions on GCM concentration by (1) comparing GCM concentration measured in freshly collected control samples to those placed in natural habitats for timed exposure, and (2) relating GCM concentration in samples collected noninvasively throughout the western United States to local environmental characteristics measured before and after deposition. Our timed-exposure trials clarified the spatial scale at which exposure to environmental factors postdeposition influences GCM concentration in pika feces. Also, fecal samples collected from occupied pika habitats throughout the species' range revealed significant relationships between GCM and metrics of climate during the postdeposition period (maximum temperature, minimum temperature, and precipitation during the month of sample collection). Conversely, we found no such relationships between GCM and metrics of climate during the predeposition period (prior to the month of sample collection). Together, these results indicate that noninvasive measurement of physiological stress in pikas across the western US may be confounded by climatic conditions in the postdeposition environment when samples cannot be collected immediately after defecation. Our results reiterate the importance

  8. Soil acidification as a confounding factor on metal phytotoxicity in soils spiked with copper-rich mine wastes.

    PubMed

    Ginocchio, Rosanna; De la Fuente, Luz María; Sánchez, Pablo; Bustamante, Elena; Silva, Yasna; Urrestarazu, Paola; Rodríguez, Patricio H

    2009-10-01

    Pollution of soil with mine wastes results in both Cu enrichment and soil acidification. This confounding effect may be very important in terms of phytotoxicity, because pH is a key parameter influencing Cu solubility in soil solution. Laboratory toxicity tests were used to assess the effect of acidification by acidic mine wastes on Cu solubility and on root elongation of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Three contrasting substrates (two soils and a commercial sand) and two acidic, Cu-rich mine wastes (oxidized tailings [OxT] and smelter dust [SmD]) were selected as experimental materials. Substrates were spiked with a fixed amount of either SmD or OxT, and the pH of experimental mixtures was then modified in the range of 4.0 to 6.0 and 7.0 using PIPES (piperazine-1,4-bis(2-ethanesulfonic acid)), MES (2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid), and MOPS (3-(N-Morpholino)-propanesulfonic acid) buffers. Chemical (pore-water Cu and pH) and toxicological (root length of barley plants) parameters were determined for experimental mixtures. Addition of SmD and OxT to substrates resulted in acidification (0.11-1.16 pH units) and high levels of soluble Cu and Zn. Neutralization of experimental mixtures with MES (pH 6.0) and MOPS (pH 7.0) buffers resulted in a marked decrease in soluble Cu and Zn, but the intensity of the effect was substrate-dependent. Adjustment of soil pH above the range normally considered to be toxic to plants (pH in water extract, > 5.5) significantly reduced metal toxicity in barley, but phytotoxicity was not completely eliminated. The present results stress the importance of considering confounding effects on derivation of toxicity thresholds to plants when using laboratory phytotoxicity tests. PMID:19480535

  9. Clinical and methodological confounders in assessing the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome in adult patients with posterior fossa tumours.

    PubMed

    Omar, Dashne; Ryan, Tracy; Carson, Alan; Bak, Thomas H; Torrens, Lorna; Whittle, Ian

    2014-12-01

    The cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome (CCAS) was first described by Schmahmann and Sherman as a constellation of symptoms including dysexecutive syndrome, spatial cognitive deficit, linguistic deficits and behavioural abnormalities in patients with a lesion in the cerebellum with otherwise normal brain. Neurosurgical patients with cerebellar tumours constitute one of the cohorts in which the CCAS has been described. In this paper, we present a critical review of the literature of this syndrome in neurosurgical patients. Thereafter, we present a prospective clinical study of 10 patients who underwent posterior fossa tumour resection and had a detailed post-operative neuropsychological, neuropsychiatric and neuroradiological assessment. Because our findings revealed a large number of perioperative neuroradiological confounding variables, we reviewed the neuroimaging of a further 20 patients to determine their prevalence. Our literature review revealed that study design, methodological quality and sometimes both diagnostic criteria and findings were inconsistent. The neuroimaging study (pre-operative, n = 10; post-operative, n = 10) showed very frequent neuroradiological confounding complications (e.g. hydrocephalus; brainstem compression; supratentorial lesions and post-operative subdural hygroma); the impact of such features had largely been ignored in the literature. Findings from our clinical study showed various degree of deficits in neuropsychological testing (n = 1, memory; n = 3, verbal fluency; n = 3, attention; n = 2, spatial cognition deficits; and n = 1, behavioural changes), but no patient had full-blown features of CCAS. Our study, although limited, finds no robust evidence of the CCAS following surgery. This and our literature review highlight a need for guidelines regarding study design and methodology when attempting to evaluate neurosurgical cases with regard to the potential CCAS. PMID:24881640

  10. Neuroticism explains unwanted variance in Implicit Association Tests of personality: possible evidence for an affective valence confound

    PubMed Central

    Fleischhauer, Monika; Enge, Sören; Miller, Robert; Strobel, Alexander; Strobel, Anja

    2013-01-01

    Meta-analytic data highlight the value of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) as an indirect measure of personality. Based on evidence suggesting that confounding factors such as cognitive abilities contribute to the IAT effect, this study provides a first investigation of whether basic personality traits explain unwanted variance in the IAT. In a gender-balanced sample of 204 volunteers, the Big-Five dimensions were assessed via self-report, peer-report, and IAT. By means of structural equation modeling (SEM), latent Big-Five personality factors (based on self- and peer-report) were estimated and their predictive value for unwanted variance in the IAT was examined. In a first analysis, unwanted variance was defined in the sense of method-specific variance which may result from differences in task demands between the two IAT block conditions and which can be mirrored by the absolute size of the IAT effects. In a second analysis, unwanted variance was examined in a broader sense defined as those systematic variance components in the raw IAT scores that are not explained by the latent implicit personality factors. In contrast to the absolute IAT scores, this also considers biases associated with the direction of IAT effects (i.e., whether they are positive or negative in sign), biases that might result, for example, from the IAT's stimulus or category features. None of the explicit Big-Five factors was predictive for method-specific variance in the IATs (first analysis). However, when considering unwanted variance that goes beyond pure method-specific variance (second analysis), a substantial effect of neuroticism occurred that may have been driven by the affective valence of IAT attribute categories and the facilitated processing of negative stimuli, typically associated with neuroticism. The findings thus point to the necessity of using attribute category labels and stimuli of similar affective valence in personality IATs to avoid confounding due to recoding. PMID

  11. Biochemical mechanisms of quinidine cardiotoxicity.

    PubMed

    Bachmann, E; Weber, E; Zbinden, G

    1986-01-01

    "Quinidine-like action" and the synonym "membrane-stabilizing activity" are often encountered descriptions for adverse cardiac effects of drugs. Quinidine, 50 mg/kg/day, 5 days/week for 4 weeks, was found to cause disturbance of intracardiac conduction in rats. It was the purpose of this study to investigate the effect of the same dose of quinidine on biochemical activities involved in the energy metabolism of the heart. Electron transfer activities in heart mitochondria were progressively slowed down. At the same time, uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation was observed and mitochondrial creatinephosphate kinase activity decreased. Concomitantly, mitochondria showed a progressive loss in semipermeability, manifested by an increasing creatine content. Total adenine nucleotides (especially ATP) content declined to 65% of control values to return to normal levels at the end of the 4 week treatment period. Calcium-binding activity and various ATPases (Na/K, Mg, Ca) of myocyte membranes (sarcolemma + sarcoplasmatic reticulum fraction) were also impaired by quinidine. Protein synthesis in total heart tissue and heart mitochondria, an energy-requiring process, was also moderately inhibited by quinidine. Maximal quinidine concentration in heart tissue was 0.123 microgram/g fresh weight 24 h after the last of 19 medications. PMID:2427825

  12. Biochemical Characterization of Indole Prenyltransferases

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Xia; Liu, Yan; Xie, Xiulan; Zheng, Xiao-Dong; Li, Shu-Ming

    2012-01-01

    The putative prenyltransferase gene ACLA_031240 belonging to the dimethylallyltryptophan synthase superfamily was identified in the genome sequence of Aspergillus clavatus and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The soluble His-tagged protein EAW08391 was purified to near homogeneity and used for biochemical investigation with diverse aromatic substrates in the presence of different prenyl diphosphates. It has shown that in the presence of dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP), the recombinant enzyme accepted very well simple indole derivatives with l-tryptophan as the best substrate. Product formation was also observed for tryptophan-containing cyclic dipeptides but with much lower conversion yields. In contrast, no product formation was detected in the reaction mixtures of l-tryptophan with geranyl or farnesyl diphosphate. Structure elucidation of the enzyme products by NMR and MS analyses proved unequivocally the highly regiospecific regular prenylation at C-5 of the indole nucleus of the simple indole derivatives. EAW08391 was therefore termed 5-dimethylallyltryptophan synthase, and it filled the last gap in the toolbox of indole prenyltransferases regarding their prenylation positions. Km values of 5-dimethylallyltryptophan synthase were determined for l-tryptophan and DMAPP at 34 and 76 μm, respectively. Average turnover number (kcat) at 1.1 s−1 was calculated from kinetic data of l-tryptophan and DMAPP. Catalytic efficiencies of 5-dimethylallyltryptophan synthase for l-tryptophan at 25,588 s−1·m−1 and for other 11 simple indole derivatives up to 1538 s−1·m−1 provided evidence for its potential usage as a catalyst for chemoenzymatic synthesis. PMID:22123822

  13. Interpretation: a confounding factor.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Mohit

    2016-01-01

    With reference to the article "Passive euthanasia in India: a critique", authored by Ms Rohini Shukla and published online on August 5, 2015, I would like to make a few comments and highlight the following points. First, the author notes that Section 309 IPC has been decriminalised. This is not so since there has neither been any amendment to the IPC, nor has any ordinance been passed regarding the matter. Attempting suicide is still an offence in India. Second, the author observes that withholding life support is an act of omission and withdrawing life support is an act of commission and the terms have been used interchangeably by the Hon'ble Court, although there is a subtle difference between the two terms. PMID:27260827

  14. Assessment of Telomere Length in Archived Formalin-Fixed, Paraffinized Human Tissue Is Confounded by Chronological Age and Storage Duration.

    PubMed

    Kong, Po-Lian; Looi, Lai-Meng; Lau, Tze-Pheng; Cheah, Phaik-Leng

    2016-01-01

    Telomeres shorten with physiological aging but undergo substantial restoration during cancer immortalization. Increasingly, cancer studies utilize the archive of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues in diagnostic pathology departments. Conceptually, such studies would be confounded by physiological telomere attrition and loss of DNA integrity from prolonged tissue storage. Our study aimed to investigate these two confounding factors. 145 FFPE tissues of surgically-resected, non-diseased appendixes were retrieved from our pathology archive, from years 2008 to 2014. Cases from 2013 to 2014 were categorized by patient chronological age (0-20 years, 21-40 years, 41-60 years, > 60 years). Telomere lengths of age categories were depicted by telomere/chromosome 2 centromere intensity ratio (TCR) revealed by quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. Material from individuals aged 0-20 years from years 2013/2014, 2011/2012, 2009/2010, and 2008 were compared for storage effect. Telomere integrity was assessed by telomere fluorescence intensity (TFI). Epithelial TCRs (mean ± SD) for the respective age groups were 4.84 ± 2.08, 3.64 ± 1.21, 2.03 ± 0.37, and 1.93 ± 0.45, whereas corresponding stromal TCRs were 5.16 ± 2.55, 3.84 ± 1.36, 2.49 ± 1.20, and 2.93 ± 1.24. A trend of inverse correlation with age in both epithelial and stromal tissues is supported by r = -0.69, p < 0.001 and r = -0.42, p < 0.001 respectively. Epithelial TFIs (mean ± SD) of years 2013/2014, 2011/2012, 2009/2010 and 2008 were 852.60 ± 432.46, 353.04 ± 127.12, 209.24 ± 55.57 and 429.22 ± 188.75 respectively. Generally, TFIs reduced with storage duration (r = -0.42, p < 0.001). Our findings agree that age-related telomere attrition occurs in normal somatic tissues, and suggest that an age-based reference can be established for telomere studies on FFPE tissues. We also showed that FFPE tissues archived beyond 2 years are suboptimal for telomere analysis. PMID:27598341

  15. A Program on Biochemical and Biomedical Engineering.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    San, Ka-Yiu; McIntire, Larry V.

    1989-01-01

    Presents an introduction to the Biochemical and Biomedical Engineering program at Rice University. Describes the development of the academic and enhancement programs, including organizational structure and research project titles. (YP)

  16. Zooplankton community changes confound the biodilution theory of methylmercury accumulation in a recovering mercury-contaminated lake.

    PubMed

    Todorova, Svetoslava; Driscoll, Charles T; Matthews, David A; Effler, Steven W

    2015-04-01

    In this study, the biodilution hypothesis of methylmercury (MeHg) accumulation was examined in a Hg-contaminated ecosystem that has undergone concurrent changes in nutrient loading and zooplankton community composition. Using a long-term record of 17 years (between 1980 and 2009), we demonstrate that zooplankton MeHg concentrations in Onondaga Lake, NY, are strongly driven by changes in the zooplankton community and body size. MeHg concentrations in zooplankton increased with an increase in body size and biomass. The highest concentrations of MeHg were observed under eutrophic and hypereutrophic conditions when large-bodied Daphnia species, Daphnia pulicaria and Daphnia galeata mendotae, were present. Bioconcentration rather than biodilution was governing the accumulation of MeHg in zooplankton without apparent growth dilution or zooplankton biomass dilution. Algal-bloom dilution controlled the variability in the MeHg concentration only under hypereutrophic conditions when Ceriodaphnia predominated the cladoceran population. Our study demonstrates that changes in zooplankton community composition confound the biodilution theory in Onondaga Lake and that the presence of large-bodied zooplankton species drives elevated MeHg concentrations. PMID:25741879

  17. Does environmental confounding mask pleiotropic effects of a multiple sclerosis susceptibility variant on vitamin D in psychosis?

    PubMed Central

    Iyegbe, Conrad O; Acharya, Anita; Lally, John; Gardner-Sood, Poonam; Smith, Louise S; Smith, Shubulade; Murray, Robin; Howes, Oliver; Gaughran, Fiona

    2015-01-01

    Background: This work addresses the existing and emerging evidence of overlap within the environmental and genetic profiles of multiple sclerosis (MS) and schizophrenia. Aims: To investigate whether a genetic risk factor for MS (rs703842), whose variation is indicative of vitamin D status in the disorder, could also be a determinant of vitamin D status in chronic psychosis patients. Methods: A cohort of 224 chronic psychosis cases was phenotyped and biologically profiled. The relationship between rs703842 and physiological vitamin D status in the blood plasma was assessed by logistic regression. Deficiency was defined as a blood plasma concentration below 10 ng/µl. Potential environmental confounders of the vitamin D status were considered as part of the analysis. Results: We report suggestive evidence of an association with vitamin D status in established psychosis (ßstandardized=0.51, P=0.04). The logistic model fit significantly benefited from controlling for body mass index, depression and ethnicity (χ2=91.7; 2 degrees of freedom (df); P=1.2×1020). Conclusions: The results suggest that, in addition to lifestyle changes that accompany the onset of illness, vitamin D dysregulation in psychosis has a genetic component that links into MS. Further, comprehensive studies are needed to evaluate this prospect. PMID:27336042

  18. The confounding effects of light, sonication, and Mn(III)TBAP on quantitation of superoxide using hydroethidine.

    PubMed

    Zielonka, Jacek; Vasquez-Vivar, Jeannette; Kalyanaraman, B

    2006-10-01

    Previously, we showed that hydroethidine (HE) reacts with intracellular superoxide radical anion (O2-*) to form a unique fluorescent marker product, 2-hydroxyethidium cation (2-OH-E+), that was not formed from HE reaction with other biologically relevant oxidants (H. Zhao et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA102:5727-5732; 2005). Here we rigorously assessed the confounding effects of light, sonication, and Mn(III)TBAP on 2-OH-E+, the HE/O2-* reaction product. Results indicate that continuous exposure to visible light induced photo-oxidation of HE to ethidium cation (E+) by a 2-OH-E+ -dependent mechanism. Treatment of HE with ultrasound, a frequently used technique to lyse cell membranes, induced 2-OH-E+ from in situ generation of O2-*. Mn(III)TBAP, a cell-permeable metal-porphyrin complex used as a catalytic antioxidant, reacts with HE to form E+. This finding provides an alternative interpretation for Mn(III)TBAP effects during the HE/O2-* reaction. In order to correctly interpret the HE reaction with O2-* in cells, it is therefore imperative that HE and HE-derived products be measured by HPLC. A new and improved HPLC-electrochemical (HPLC-EC) detection has been developed for analysis of intracellular O2-*. The HPLC-EC method is at least 10 times more sensitive than the HPLC-fluorescence technique for detecting O2-* in cells. PMID:16962930

  19. Cannabinoid receptor activation in the juvenile rat brain results in rapid biomechanical alterations: Neurovascular mechanism as a putative confounding factor.

    PubMed

    Chatelin, Simon; Humbert-Claude, Marie; Garteiser, Philippe; Ricobaraza, Ana; Vilgrain, Valérie; Van Beers, Bernard E; Sinkus, Ralph; Lenkei, Zsolt

    2016-05-01

    We have recently reported cannabinoid-induced rapid changes in the structure of individual neurons. In order to investigate the presence of similar effects at the regional level, measures of brain tissue biomechanics are required. However, cannabinoids are known to alter cerebral blood flow (CBF), putatively resulting in presently unexplored changes in cerebral tissue biomechanics. Here we used magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) and flow-sensitive alternating inversion recovery (FAIR) imaging to measure in vivo alterations of mechanical properties and CBF, respectively, in the rat hippocampus, a brain region with a high density of type-1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1R). Systemic injection of the cannabinoid agonist CP55,940 (0.7 mg/kg) induced a significant stiffness decrease of 10.5 ± 1.2% at 15 minutes. FAIR imaging indicated a comparable decrease (11.3 ± 1.9%) in CBF. Both effects were specific to CB1R activation, as shown by pretreatment with the CB1R-specific antagonist AM251. Strikingly, similar rapid parallel changes of brain elasticity and CBF were also observed after systemic treatment with the hypotensive drug nicardipine. Our results reveal important drug-induced parallel changes in CBF and brain mechanical characteristics, and show that blood flow-dependent tissue softening has to be considered as an important putative confounding factor when cerebral viscoelastic changes are investigated. PMID:26661178

  20. Potential confounds in estimating trial-to-trial correlations between neuronal response and behavior using choice probabilities

    PubMed Central

    Maunsell, John H. R.

    2012-01-01

    Correlations between trial-to-trial fluctuations in the responses of individual sensory neurons and perceptual reports, commonly quantified with choice probability (CP), have been widely used as an important tool for assessing the contributions of neurons to behavior. These correlations are usually weak and often require a large number of trials for a reliable estimate. Therefore, working with measures such as CP warrants care in data analysis as well as rigorous controls during data collection. Here we identify potential confounds that can arise in data analysis and lead to biased estimates of CP, and suggest methods to avoid the bias. In particular, we show that the common practice of combining neuronal responses across different stimulus conditions with z-score normalization can result in an underestimation of CP when the ratio of the numbers of trials for the two behavioral response categories differs across the stimulus conditions. We also discuss the effects of using variable time intervals for quantifying neuronal response on CP measurements. Finally, we demonstrate that serious artifacts can arise in reaction time tasks that use varying measurement intervals if the mean neuronal response and mean behavioral performance vary over time within trials. To emphasize the importance of addressing these concerns in neurophysiological data, we present a set of data collected from V1 cells in macaque monkeys while the animals performed a detection task. PMID:22993262

  1. Confounding dynamic risk taking propensity with a momentum prognostic strategy: the case of the Columbia Card Task (CCT)

    PubMed Central

    Markiewicz, Łukasz; Kubińska, Elżbieta; Tyszka, Tadeusz

    2015-01-01

    Figner et al. (2009) developed the Columbia Card Task (CCT) to measure risk-taking attitudes. This tool consists of two versions: in the COLD version the decision maker needs to state in advance how many cards (out of 32) they want to turn over (so called static risk taking), in the HOT version they have the possibility of turning over all 32 cards one-by-one until they decide to finish (dynamic risk taking). We argue that the HOT version confounds an individual’s willingness to accept risk with their beliefs in trend continuation vs. trend reversal in a prognostic task. In two experimental studies we show that people believing in trend continuation (momentum subjects) turn over more cards than those believing in trend reversal (contrarians) in the HOT version of the task. However, this is not the case in the COLD version. Thus, we provide evidence that, when considered as a dynamic risk propensity measure, the number of turned over cards in the HOT version of the CCT is a contaminated measure and reflects two phenomena: (1) risk preference and (2) the decision-maker’s belief in trend continuation. We speculate that other dynamic risk taking measures can also be biased by a momentum strategy. PMID:26300799

  2. Cryptic confounding compounds: A brief consideration of the influences of anthropogenic contaminants on courtship and mating behavior

    PubMed Central

    Blocker, Tomica D.; Ophir, Alexander G.

    2012-01-01

    Contaminants, like pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and metals, are persistent and ubiquitous and are known to threaten the environment. Traditionally, scientists have considered the direct physiological risks that these contaminants pose. However, scientists have just begun to integrate ethology and toxicology to investigate the effects that contaminants have on behavior. This review considers the potential for contaminant effects on mating behavior. Here we assess the growing body of research concerning disruptions in sexual differentiation, courtship, sexual receptivity, arousal, and mating. We discuss the implications of these disruptions on conservation efforts and highlight the importance of recognizing the potential for environmental stressors to affect behavioral experimentation. More specifically, we consider the negative implications for anthropogenic contaminants to affect the immediate behavior of animals, and their potential to have cascading and/or long-term effects on the behavioral ecology and evolution of populations. Overall, we aim to raise awareness of the confounding influence that contaminants can have, and promote caution when interpreting results where the potential for cryptic affects are possible. PMID:24244068

  3. Do time-invariant confounders explain away the association between job stress and workers' mental health? Evidence from Japanese occupational panel data.

    PubMed

    Oshio, Takashi; Tsutsumi, Akizumi; Inoue, Akiomi

    2015-02-01

    It is well known that job stress is negatively related to workers' mental health, but most recent studies have not controlled for unobserved time-invariant confounders. In the current study, we attempted to validate previous observations on the association between job stress and workers' mental health, by removing the effects of unobserved time-invariant confounders. We used data from three to four waves of an occupational Japanese cohort survey, focusing on 31,382 observations of 9741 individuals who participated in at least two consecutive waves. We estimated mean-centered fixed effects models to explain psychological distress in terms of the Kessler 6 (K6) scores (range: 0-24) by eight job stress indicators related to the job demands-control, effort-reward imbalance, and organizational injustice models. Mean-centered fixed effects models reduced the magnitude of the association between jobs stress and K6 scores to 44.8-54.2% of those observed from pooled ordinary least squares. However, the association remained highly significant even after controlling for unobserved time-invariant confounders for all job stress indicators. In addition, alternatively specified models showed the robustness of the results. In all, we concluded that the validity of major job stress models, which link job stress and workers' mental health, was robust, although unobserved time-invariant confounders led to an overestimation of the association. PMID:25550077

  4. The essence of linkage-based imprinting detection: comparing power, type 1 error, and the effects of confounders in two different analysis approaches.

    PubMed

    Greenberg, David A; Monti, Maria Cristina; Feenstra, Bjarke; Zhang, Junying; Hodge, Susan E

    2010-05-01

    Imprinting is critical to understanding disease expression. It can be detected using linkage information, but the effects of potential confounders (heterogeneity, sex-specific penetrance, and sex-biased ascertainment) have not been explored. We examine power and confounders in two imprinting detection approaches, and we explore imprinting-linkage interaction. One method (PP) models imprinting by maximising lod scores w.r.t. parent-specific penetrances. The second (DRF) approximates imprinting by maximising lods over differential male-female recombination fractions. We compared power, type 1 error, and confounder effects in these two methods, using computer-simulated data. We varied heterogeneity, penetrance, family and dataset size, and confounders that might mimic imprinting. Without heterogeneity, PP had more imprinting-detecting power than DRF. PP's power increased when parental affectedness status was ignored, but decreased with heterogeneity. With heterogeneity, type 1 error increased dramatically for both methods. However, DRF's power also increased under heterogeneity, more than was attributable to inflated type 1 error. Sex-specific penetrance could increase false positives for PP but not for DRF. False positives did not increase on ascertainment through an affected "mother". For PP, non-penetrant individuals increased information, arguing against using affected-only methods. The high type 1 error levels under some circumstances means these methods must be used cautiously. PMID:20374235

  5. 40 CFR 158.2010 - Biochemical pesticides data requirements.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Biochemical pesticides data...) PESTICIDE PROGRAMS DATA REQUIREMENTS FOR PESTICIDES Biochemical Pesticides § 158.2010 Biochemical pesticides... required to support registration of biochemical pesticides. Sections 158.2080 through 158.2084 identify...

  6. 40 CFR 158.2010 - Biochemical pesticides data requirements.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Biochemical pesticides data...) PESTICIDE PROGRAMS DATA REQUIREMENTS FOR PESTICIDES Biochemical Pesticides § 158.2010 Biochemical pesticides... required to support registration of biochemical pesticides. Sections 158.2080 through 158.2084 identify...

  7. 40 CFR 158.2010 - Biochemical pesticides data requirements.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Biochemical pesticides data...) PESTICIDE PROGRAMS DATA REQUIREMENTS FOR PESTICIDES Biochemical Pesticides § 158.2010 Biochemical pesticides... required to support registration of biochemical pesticides. Sections 158.2080 through 158.2084 identify...

  8. 40 CFR 158.2010 - Biochemical pesticides data requirements.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Biochemical pesticides data...) PESTICIDE PROGRAMS DATA REQUIREMENTS FOR PESTICIDES Biochemical Pesticides § 158.2010 Biochemical pesticides... required to support registration of biochemical pesticides. Sections 158.2080 through 158.2084 identify...

  9. 40 CFR 158.2010 - Biochemical pesticides data requirements.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 23 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Biochemical pesticides data...) PESTICIDE PROGRAMS DATA REQUIREMENTS FOR PESTICIDES Biochemical Pesticides § 158.2010 Biochemical pesticides... required to support registration of biochemical pesticides. Sections 158.2080 through 158.2084 identify...

  10. Metformin and Cancer Risk and Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis taking into account Biases and Confounders

    PubMed Central

    Gandini, Sara; Puntoni, Matteo; Heckman-Stoddard, Brandy M; Dunn, Barbara K; Ford, Leslie; DeCensi, Andrea; Szabo, Eva

    2014-01-01

    Previous meta-analyses have shown that the anti-diabetic agent metformin is associated with reduced cancer incidence and mortality. However, this effect has not been consistently demonstrated in animal models and recent epidemiological studies. We performed a meta-analysis with a focus on confounders and biases, including BMI, study type, and time related biases. We identified 71 articles published between January 1, 1966 to May 31, 2013 through Pubmed, ISI Web of Science (Science Citation Index Expanded), Embase, and the Cochrane library that were related to metformin and cancer incidence or mortality. Study characteristics and outcomes were abstracted for each study that met inclusion criteria. We included estimates from 47 independent studies and 65,540 cancer cases in diabetic patients. Overall cancer incidence was reduced by 31% (SRR=0.69, 95%CI: 0.52–0.90), although between-study heterogeneity was considerable (I2=88%). Cancer mortality was reduced by 34% (SRR=0.66, 95%CI: 0.54–0.81; I2=21%). BMI-adjusted studies and studies without time-related biases also showed significant reduction in cancer incidence (SRR=0.82, 95%CI: 0.70–0.96 with I2=76% and SRR=0.90; 95%CI: 0.89–0.91 with I2=56%, respectively), albeit with lesser magnitude (18% and 10% reduction, respectively). However, studies of cancer mortality and individual organ sites did not consistently show significant reductions across all types of analyses. Although these associations may not be causal, our results show that metformin may reduce cancer incidence and mortality in diabetic patients. However the reduction seems to be of modest magnitude and not affecting all populations equally. Clinical trials are needed to determine if these observations apply to non-diabetic populations and to specific organ sites. PMID:24985407

  11. Confounding effect of EEG implantation surgery: Inadequacy of surgical control in a two hit model of temporal lobe epilepsy.

    PubMed

    Balzekas, Irena; Hernandez, Jose; White, Jacob; Koh, Sookyong

    2016-05-27

    In rodent models of epilepsy, EEG implantation surgery is an essential modality to evaluate electrographic seizures. The inflammatory consequences of EEG electrode-implantation and their resultant effects on seizure susceptibility are unclear. We evaluated electrode-implantation in a two-hit model of epileptogenesis in C57BL/6 mice that included brief, recurrent febrile seizures (FS) at P14 and kainic acid induced seizures (KA-SZ) at P28. During KA-SZ, latencies to first electrographic and behavioral seizures, seizure severity, and KA dose sensitivity were measured. Mice that received subdural screw electrode implants at P25 for EEG monitoring at P28 had significantly shorter latencies to seizures than sham mice, regardless of early life seizure experience. Electrode-implanted mice were sensitive to low dose KA as shown by high mortality rate at KA doses above 10mg/kg. We then directly compared electrode-implantation and KA-SZ in seizure naive CX3CR1(GFP/+) transgenic C57BL/6 mice, wherein microglia express green fluorescent protein (GFP), to determine if microglia activation related to surgery was associated with the increased seizure susceptibility in electrode-implanted mice from the two-hit model. Hippocampal microglia activation, as demonstrated by percent area GFP signal and GFP positive cell counts, prior to seizures was indistinguishable between electrode-implanted mice and controls, but was significantly greater in electrode-implanted mice following seizures. Electrode-implantation had a confounding priming effect on the inflammatory response to subsequent seizures. PMID:27095588

  12. Are apparent negative effects of feeding GM MON810 maize to Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, caused by confounding factors?

    PubMed

    Sissener, Nini H; Hemre, Gro-Ingunn; Lall, Santosh P; Sagstad, Anita; Petersen, Kjell; Williams, Jason; Rohloff, Jens; Sanden, Monica

    2011-07-01

    The present study was conducted to follow up on apparent differences in growth, relative organ sizes, cellular stress and immune function in Atlantic salmon fed feed containing GM Bacillus thuringiensis maize compared with feed containing the non-modified parental maize line. Gene expression profiling on the distal intestinal segment and liver was performed by microarray, and selected genes were followed up by quantitative PCR (qPCR). In the liver, qPCR revealed some differentially regulated genes, including up-regulation of gelsolin precursor, down-regulation of ferritin heavy subunit and a tendency towards down-regulation of metallothionein (MT)-B. This, combined with the up-regulation of anti-apoptotic protein NR13 and similar tendencies for ferritin heavy chain and MT-A and -B in the distal intestine, suggests changes in cellular stress/antioxidant status. This corresponds well with and strengthens previous findings in these fish. To exclude possible confounding factors, the maize ingredients were analysed for mycotoxins and metabolites. The GM maize contained 90 μg/kg of deoxynivalenol (DON), while the non-GM maize was below the detection limit. Differences were also observed in the metabolite profiles of the two maize varieties, some of which seemed connected to the mycotoxin level. The effects on salmon observed in the present and previous studies correspond relatively well with the effects of DON as reported in the literature for other production animals, but knowledge regarding effects and harmful dose levels in fish is scarce. Thus, it is difficult to conclude whether the observed effects are caused by the DON level or by some other aspect of the GM maize ingredient. PMID:21418706

  13. Phenotypic variation as an indicator of pesticide stress in gudgeon: Accounting for confounding factors in the wild.

    PubMed

    Shinn, Cândida; Blanchet, Simon; Loot, Géraldine; Lek, Sovan; Grenouillet, Gaël

    2015-12-15

    The response of organisms to environmental stress is currently used in the assessment of ecosystem health. Morphological changes integrate the multiple effects of one or several stress factors upon the development of the exposed organisms. In a natural environment, many factors determine the patterns of morphological differentiation between individuals. However, few studies have sought to distinguish and measure the independent effect of these factors (genetic diversity and structure, spatial structuring of populations, physical-chemical conditions, etc.). Here we investigated the relationship between pesticide levels measured at 11 sites sampled in rivers of the Garonne river basin (SW France) and morphological changes of a freshwater fish species, the gudgeon (Gobio gobio). Each individual sampled was genotyped using 8 microsatellite markers and their phenotype characterized via 17 morphological traits. Our analysis detected a link between population genetic structure (revealed by a Bayesian method) and morphometry (linear discriminant analysis) of the studied populations. We then developed an original method based on general linear models using distance matrices, an extension of the partial Mantel test beyond 3 matrices. This method was used to test the relationship between contamination (toxicity index) and morphometry (PST of morphometric traits), taking into account (1) genetic differentiation between populations (FST), (2) geographical distances between sites, (3) site catchment area, and (4) various physical-chemical parameters for each sampling site. Upon removal of confounding effects, 3 of the 17 morphological traits studied were significantly correlated with pesticide toxicity, suggesting a response of these traits to the anthropogenic stress. These results underline the importance of taking into account the different sources of phenotypic variability between organisms when identifying the stress factors involved. The separation and quantification of

  14. Post-study therapy as a source of confounding in survival analysis of first-line studies in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer

    PubMed Central

    Zietemann, Vera D; Schuster, Tibor; Duell, Thomas HG

    2011-01-01

    Clinical trials exploring the long-term effects of first-line therapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer generally disregard subsequent treatment although most patients receive second and third-line therapies. The choice of further therapy depends on critical intermediate events such as disease progression and it is usually left at the physician’s discretion. Time-dependent confounding may then arise with standard survival analyses producing biased effect estimates, even in randomized trials. Herein we describe the concept of time-dependent confounding in detail and discuss whether the response to first-line treatment may be a potential time-dependent confounding factor for survival in the context of subsequent therapy. A prospective observational study of 406 patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer served as an example base. There is evidence that time-dependent confounding may occur in multivariate survival analysis after first-line therapy when disregarding subsequent treatment. In the light of this important but underestimated aspect some of the large and meaningful recent clinical first-line lung cancer studies are discussed, focussing on subsequent treatment and its potential impact on the survival of the study patients. No recently performed lung cancer trial applied adequate statistical analyses despite the frequent use of subsequent therapies. In conclusion, effect estimates from standard survival analysis may be biased even in randomized controlled trials because of time-dependent confounding. To adequately assess treatment effects on long-term outcomes appropriate statistical analyses need to take subsequent treatment into account. PMID:22263071

  15. Coping with confounds in multivoxel pattern analysis: what should we do about reaction time differences? A comment on Todd, Nystrom & Cohen 2013.

    PubMed

    Woolgar, Alexandra; Golland, Polina; Bode, Stefan

    2014-09-01

    Multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA) is a sensitive and increasingly popular method for examining differences between neural activation patterns that cannot be detected using classical mass-univariate analysis. Recently, Todd et al. ("Confounds in multivariate pattern analysis: Theory and rule representation case study", 2013, NeuroImage 77: 157-165) highlighted a potential problem for these methods: high sensitivity to confounds at the level of individual participants due to the use of directionless summary statistics. Unlike traditional mass-univariate analyses where confounding activation differences in opposite directions tend to approximately average out at group level, group level MVPA results may be driven by any activation differences that can be discriminated in individual participants. In Todd et al.'s empirical data, factoring out differences in reaction time (RT) reduced a classifier's ability to distinguish patterns of activation pertaining to two task rules. This raises two significant questions for the field: to what extent have previous multivoxel discriminations in the literature been driven by RT differences, and by what methods should future studies take RT and other confounds into account? We build on the work of Todd et al. and compare two different approaches to remove the effect of RT in MVPA. We show that in our empirical data, in contrast to that of Todd et al., the effect of RT on rule decoding is negligible, and results were not affected by the specific details of RT modelling. We discuss the meaning of and sensitivity for confounds in traditional and multivoxel approaches to fMRI analysis. We observe that the increased sensitivity of MVPA comes at a price of reduced specificity, meaning that these methods in particular call for careful consideration of what differs between our conditions of interest. We conclude that the additional complexity of the experimental design, analysis and interpretation needed for MVPA is still not a reason to

  16. Biochemical Removal of HAP Precursors From Coal

    SciTech Connect

    Olson, G.; Tucker, L.; Richards, J.

    1997-07-01

    This project addresses DOE`s interest in advanced concepts for controlling emissions of air toxics from coal-fired utility boilers. We are determining the feasibility of developing a biochemical process for the precombustion removal of substantial percentages of 13 inorganic hazardous air pollutant (HAP) precursors from coal. These HAP precursors are Sb, As, Be, Cd, Cr, Cl, Co, F, Pb, Hg, Mn, Ni, and Se. Although rapid physical coal cleaning is done routinely in preparation plants, biochemical processes for removal of HAP precursors from coal potentially offer advantages of deeper cleaning, more specificity, and less coal loss. Compared to chemical processes for coal cleaning, biochemical processes potentially offer lower costs and milder process conditions. Pyrite oxidizing bacteria, most notably Thiobacillusferrooxidans, are being evaluated in this project for their ability to remove HAP precursors from U.S. coals.

  17. Reconfigurable neuromorphic computation in biochemical systems.

    PubMed

    Chiang, Hui-Ju Katherine; Jiang, Jie-Hong R; Fages, Francois

    2015-08-01

    Implementing application-specific computation and control tasks within a biochemical system has been an important pursuit in synthetic biology. Most synthetic designs to date have focused on realizing systems of fixed functions using specifically engineered components, thus lacking flexibility to adapt to uncertain and dynamically-changing environments. To remedy this limitation, an analog and modularized approach to realize reconfigurable neuromorphic computation with biochemical reactions is presented. We propose a biochemical neural network consisting of neuronal modules and interconnects that are both reconfigurable through external or internal control over the concentrations of certain molecular species. Case studies on classification and machine learning applications using the DNA strain displacement technology demonstrate the effectiveness of our design in both reconfiguration and autonomous adaptation. PMID:26736417

  18. Biochemical computation for spine structural plasticity

    PubMed Central

    Nishiyama, Jun; Yasuda, Ryohei

    2015-01-01

    The structural plasticity of dendritic spines is considered to be essential for various forms of synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. The process is mediated by a complex signaling network consisting of numerous species of molecules. Furthermore, the spatiotemporal dynamics of the biochemical signaling is regulated in a complicated manner due to geometrical restrictions from the unique morphology of the dendritic branches and spines. Recent advances in optical techniques have enabled the exploration of the spatiotemporal aspects of the signal regulations in spines and dendrites and have provided many insights into the principle of the biochemical computation that underlies spine structural plasticity. PMID:26139370

  19. Highway proximity associated with cardiovascular disease risk: the influence of individual-level confounders and exposure misclassification

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Elevated cardiovascular disease risk has been reported with proximity to highways or busy roadways, but proximity measures can be challenging to interpret given potential confounders and exposure error. Methods We conducted a cross sectional analysis of plasma levels of C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha receptor II (TNF-RII) and fibrinogen with distance of residence to a highway in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Distance was assigned using ortho-photo corrected parcel matching, as well as less precise approaches such as simple parcel matching and geocoding addresses to street networks. We used a combined random and convenience sample of 260 adults >40 years old. We screened a large number of individual-level variables including some infrequently collected for assessment of highway proximity, and included a subset in our final regression models. We monitored ultrafine particle (UFP) levels in the study areas to help interpret proximity measures. Results Using the orthophoto corrected geocoding, in a fully adjusted model, hsCRP and IL-6 differed by distance category relative to urban background: 43% (-16%,141%) and 49% (6%,110%) increase for 0-50 m; 7% (-39%,45%) and 41% (6%,86%) for 50-150 m; 54% (-2%,142%) and 18% (-11%,57%) for 150-250 m, and 49% (-4%, 131%) and 42% (6%, 89%) for 250-450 m. There was little evidence for association for TNF-RII or fibrinogen. Ortho-photo corrected geocoding resulted in stronger associations than traditional methods which introduced differential misclassification. Restricted analysis found the effect of proximity on biomarkers was mostly downwind from the highway or upwind where there was considerable local street traffic, consistent with patterns of monitored UFP levels. Conclusion We found associations between highway proximity and both hsCRP and IL-6, with non-monotonic patterns explained partly by individual-level factors and differences between proximity and UFP

  20. A Course in Biochemical Engineering Fundamentals (Revisited).

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bailey, J. E.; Ollis, D. F.

    1985-01-01

    Provides: (1) a glossary of terms used in biochemical engineering; (2) a list of key developments in the field; and (3) emphases placed in 15 topic areas in a course restructured on the basis of these developments. Topic areas include enzyme kinetics/applications, genetics and microbial control, transport phenomena, and others. (JN)

  1. Predictive biochemical assays for late radiation effects

    SciTech Connect

    Rubin, P.; Finkelstein, J.N.; Siemann, D.W.; Shapiro, D.L.; Van Houtte, P.; Penney, D.P.

    1986-04-01

    Surfactant precursors or other products of Type II pneumocytes have the potential to be the first biochemical marker for late radiation effects. This is particularly clinically important in the combined modality era because of the frequent occurrence of pneumonitis and pulmonary fibrosis secondary to radiation or chemotherapy. Accordingly, correlative studies have been pursued with the Type II pneumocyte as a beginning point to understand the complex pathophysiology of radiation pneumonitis and fibrosis. From our ultrastructural and biochemical studies, it is evident that Type II pneumocytes are an early target of radiation and the release of surfactant into the alveolus shortly after exposure persists for days and weeks. Through the use of lavaging techniques, alveolar surfactant has been elevated after pulmonary irradiation. In three murine strains and in the rabbit, there is a strong correlation with surfactant release at 7 and/or 28 days in vivo with later lethality in months. In vitro studies using cultures of type II pneumocytes also demonstrate dose response and tolerance factors that are comparable to the in vivo small and large animal diagnostic models. New markers are being developed to serve as a predictive index for later lethal pneumonopathies. With the development of these techniques, the search for early biochemical markers in man has been undertaken. Through the use of biochemical, histological, and ultrastructural techniques, a causal relationship between radiation effects on type II pneumocytes, pulmonary cells, endothelial cells of blood vessels, and their roles in the production of pneumonitis and fibrosis will evolve.

  2. 2009 Biochemical Conversion Platform Review Report

    SciTech Connect

    Ferrell, John

    2009-12-01

    This document summarizes the recommendations and evaluations provided by an independent external panel of experts at the U.S. Department of Energy Biomass Program’s Biochemical Conversion platform review meeting, held on April 14-16, 2009, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, Denver, Colorado.

  3. Survey of Biochemical Education in Japanese Universities.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kagawa, Yasuo

    1995-01-01

    Reports findings of questionnaires sent to faculty in charge of biochemical education in medical schools and other programs from dentistry to agriculture. Total class hours have declined since 1984. New trends include bioethics and computer-assisted learning. Tables show trends in lecture hours, lecture content, laboratory hours, core subject…

  4. Biochemical Applications in the Analytical Chemistry Lab

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Strong, Cynthia; Ruttencutter, Jeffrey

    2004-01-01

    An HPLC and a UV-visible spectrophotometer are identified as instruments that helps to incorporate more biologically-relevant experiments into the course, in order to increase the students understanding of selected biochemistry topics and enhances their ability to apply an analytical approach to biochemical problems. The experiment teaches…

  5. Biochemical Approaches to Improved Nitrogen Fixation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Improving symbiotic nitrogen fixation by legumes has emerged again as an important topic on the world scene due to the energy crisis and lack of access to nitrogen fertilizer in developing countries. We have taken a biochemical genomics approach to improving symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes. L...

  6. Biochemical Thermodynamics under near Physiological Conditions

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mendez, Eduardo

    2008-01-01

    The recommendations for nomenclature and tables in Biochemical Thermodynamics approved by IUBMB and IUPAC in 1994 can be easily introduced after the chemical thermodynamic formalism. Substitution of the usual standard thermodynamic properties by the transformed ones in the thermodynamic equations, and the use of appropriate thermodynamic tables…

  7. Estimating the monetary value of willingness to pay for E-book reader's attributes using partially confounded factorial conjoint choice experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yong, Chin-Khian

    2013-09-01

    A partially confounded factorial conjoint choice experiments design was used to examine the monetary value of the willingness to pay for E-book Reader's attributes. Conjoint analysis is an efficient, cost-effective, and most widely used quantitative method in marketing research to understand consumer preferences and value trade-off. Value can be interpreted by customer or consumer as the received of multiple benefits from a price that was paid. The monetary value of willingness to pay for battery life, internal memory, external memory, screen size, text to Speech, touch screen, and converting handwriting to digital text of E-book reader were estimated in this study. Due to the significant interaction effect of the attributes with the price, the monetary values for the seven attributes were found to be different at different values of odds of purchasing versus not purchasing. The significant interactions effects were one of the main contribution of the partially confounded factorial conjoint choice experiment.

  8. Propensity Score-Based Approaches to Confounding by Indication in Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis: Non-Standardized Treatment for Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis

    PubMed Central

    Fox, Gregory J.; Benedetti, Andrea; Mitnick, Carole D.; Pai, Madhukar; Menzies, Dick

    2016-01-01

    Background In the absence of randomized clinical trials, meta-analysis of individual patient data (IPD) from observational studies may provide the most accurate effect estimates for an intervention. However, confounding by indication remains an important concern that can be addressed by incorporating individual patient covariates in different ways. We compared different analytic approaches to account for confounding in IPD from patients treated for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Methods Two antibiotic classes were evaluated, fluoroquinolones—considered the cornerstone of effective MDR-TB treatment—and macrolides, which are known to be safe, yet are ineffective in vitro. The primary outcome was treatment success against treatment failure, relapse or death. Effect estimates were obtained using multivariable and propensity-score based approaches. Results Fluoroquinolone antibiotics were used in 28 included studies, within which 6,612 patients received a fluoroquinolone and 723 patients did not. Macrolides were used in 15 included studies, within which 459 patients received this class of antibiotics and 3,670 did not. Both standard multivariable regression and propensity score-based methods resulted in similar effect estimates for early and late generation fluoroquinolones, while macrolide antibiotics use was associated with reduced treatment success. Conclusions In this individual patient data meta-analysis, standard multivariable and propensity-score based methods of adjusting for individual patient covariates for observational studies yielded produced similar effect estimates. Even when adjustment is made for potential confounding, interpretation of adjusted estimates must still consider the potential for residual bias. PMID:27022741

  9. Removing the influence of feature repetitions on the congruency sequence effect: why regressing out confounds from a nested design will often fall short.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, James R; De Schryver, Maarten; Weissman, Daniel H

    2014-12-01

    This article illustrates a shortcoming of using regression to control for confounds in nested designs. As an example, we consider the congruency sequence effect, which is the observation that the congruency effect in distractor interference (e.g., Stroop) tasks is smaller following incongruent as compared with congruent trials. The congruency sequence effect is often interpreted as indexing conflict adaptation: a relative increase of attention to the target following incongruent trials. However, feature repetitions across consecutive trials can complicate this interpretation. To control for this confound, the standard procedure is to delete all trials with a stimulus or response repetition and analyze the remaining trials. Notebaert and Verguts (2007) present an alternative method that allows researchers to use all trials. Specifically, they employ multiple regression to model conflict adaptation independent of feature repetitions. We show here that this approach fails to account for certain feature repetition effects. Furthermore, modeling these additional effects is typically not possible because of an upper bound on the number of degrees of freedom in the experiment. These findings have important implications for future investigations of conflict adaptation and, more broadly, for all researchers who attempt to regress out confounds in nested designs. PMID:25419672

  10. [COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FOR ACCOUNTING OF CONFOUNDERS IN THE RISK ASSESSMENT IN COMPARATIVE STUDIES ON THE BASE OF THE METHOD OF STANDARDIZATION].

    PubMed

    Shalaumova, Yu V; Varaksin, A N; Panov, V G

    2016-01-01

    There was performed an analysis of the accounting of the impact of concomitant variables (confounders), introducing a systematic error in the assessment of the impact of risk factors on the resulting variable. The analysis showed that standardization is an effective method for the reduction of the shift of risk assessment. In the work there is suggested an algorithm implementing the method of standardization based on stratification, providing for the minimization of the difference of distributions of confounders in groups on risk factors. To automate the standardization procedures there was developed a software available on the website of the Institute of Industrial Ecology, UB RAS. With the help of the developed software by numerically modeling there were determined conditions of the applicability of the method of standardization on the basis of stratification for the case of the normal distribution on the response and confounder and linear relationship between them. Comparison ofresults obtained with the help of the standardization with statistical methods (logistic regression and analysis of covariance) in solving the problem of human ecology, has shown that obtaining close results is possible if there will be met exactly conditions for the applicability of statistical methods. Standardization is less sensitive to violations of conditions of applicability. PMID:27266034

  11. Annual survival estimation of migratory songbirds confounded by incomplete breeding site-fidelity: Study designs that may help

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Marshall, M.R.; Diefenbach, D.R.; Wood, L.A.; Cooper, R.J.

    2004-01-01

    Many species of bird exhibit varying degrees of site-fidelity to the previous year's territory or breeding area, a phenomenon we refer to as incomplete breeding site-fidelity. If the territory they occupy is located beyond the bounds of the study area or search area (i.e., they have emigrated from the study area), the bird will go undetected and is therefore indistinguishable from dead individuals in capture-mark-recapture studies. Differential emigration rates confound inferences regarding differences in survival between sexes and among species if apparent survival rates are used as estimates of true survival. Moreover, the bias introduced by using apparent survival rates for true survival rates can have profound effects on the predictions of population persistence through time, source/sink dynamics, and other aspects of life-history theory. We investigated four study design and analysis approaches that result in apparent survival estimates that are closer to true survival estimates. Our motivation for this research stemmed from a multi-year capture-recapture study of Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea) on multiple study plots within a larger landscape of suitable breeding habitat where substantial inter-annual movements of marked individuals among neighboring study plots was documented. We wished to quantify the effects of this type of movement on annual survival estimation. The first two study designs we investigated involved marking birds in a core area and resighting them in the core as well as an area surrounding the core. For the first of these two designs, we demonstrated that as the resighting area surrounding the core gets progressively larger, and more "emigrants" are resighted, apparent survival estimates begin to approximate true survival rates (bias < 0.01). However, given observed inter-annual movements of birds, it is likely to be logistically impractical to resight birds on sufficiently large surrounding areas to minimize bias. Therefore

  12. Kombucha tea fermentation: Microbial and biochemical dynamics.

    PubMed

    Chakravorty, Somnath; Bhattacharya, Semantee; Chatzinotas, Antonis; Chakraborty, Writachit; Bhattacharya, Debanjana; Gachhui, Ratan

    2016-03-01

    Kombucha tea, a non-alcoholic beverage, is acquiring significant interest due to its claimed beneficial properties. The microbial community of Kombucha tea consists of bacteria and yeast which thrive in two mutually non-exclusive compartments: the soup or the beverage and the biofilm floating on it. The microbial community and the biochemical properties of the beverage have so far mostly been described in separate studies. This, however, may prevent understanding the causal links between the microbial communities and the beneficial properties of Kombucha tea. Moreover, an extensive study into the microbial and biochemical dynamics has also been missing. In this study, we thus explored the structure and dynamics of the microbial community along with the biochemical properties of Kombucha tea at different time points up to 21 days of fermentation. We hypothesized that several biochemical properties will change during the course of fermentation along with the shifts in the yeast and bacterial communities. The yeast community of the biofilm did not show much variation over time and was dominated by Candida sp. (73.5-83%). The soup however, showed a significant shift in dominance from Candida sp. to Lachancea sp. on the 7th day of fermentation. This is the first report showing Candida as the most dominating yeast genus during Kombucha fermentation. Komagateibacter was identified as the single largest bacterial genus present in both the biofilm and the soup (~50%). The bacterial diversity was higher in the soup than in the biofilm with a peak on the seventh day of fermentation. The biochemical properties changed with the progression of the fermentation, i.e., beneficial properties of the beverage such as the radical scavenging ability increased significantly with a maximum increase at day 7. We further observed a significantly higher D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone content and caffeine degradation property compared to previously described Kombucha tea fermentations. Our

  13. Reconstructing biochemical pathways from time course data.

    PubMed

    Srividhya, Jeyaraman; Crampin, Edmund J; McSharry, Patrick E; Schnell, Santiago

    2007-03-01

    Time series data on biochemical reactions reveal transient behavior, away from chemical equilibrium, and contain information on the dynamic interactions among reacting components. However, this information can be difficult to extract using conventional analysis techniques. We present a new method to infer biochemical pathway mechanisms from time course data using a global nonlinear modeling technique to identify the elementary reaction steps which constitute the pathway. The method involves the generation of a complete dictionary of polynomial basis functions based on the law of mass action. Using these basis functions, there are two approaches to model construction, namely the general to specific and the specific to general approach. We demonstrate that our new methodology reconstructs the chemical reaction steps and connectivity of the glycolytic pathway of Lactococcus lactis from time course experimental data. PMID:17370261

  14. Construction and analysis of biochemical networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Binns, Michael; Theodoropoulos, Constantinos

    2012-09-01

    Bioprocesses are being implemented for a range of different applications including the production of fuels, chemicals and drugs. Hence, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and model how they function and how they can be modified or designed to give the optimal performance. Here we discuss the construction and analysis of biochemical networks which are the first logical steps towards this goal. The construction of a reaction network is possible through reconstruction: extracting information from literature and from databases. This can be supplemented by reaction prediction methods which can identify steps which are missing from the current knowledge base. Analysis of biochemical systems generally requires some experimental input but can be used to identify important reactions and targets for enhancing the performance of the organism involved. Metabolic flux, pathway and metabolic control analysis can be used to determine the limits, capabilities and potential targets for enhancement respectively.

  15. Application of biochemical interactions in fossil fuels

    SciTech Connect

    Lin, M.S.; Premuzic, E.T.

    1994-12-31

    Certain extreme environments tolerant microorganisms interact with heavy crude oils by means of multiple biochemical reactions, asphaltenes, and bituminous materials. These reactions proceed via pathways which involve characteristic components of oils and coals such as asphaltenes, and in the chemically related constituents found in bituminous coals. These chemical components serve as markers of the interactions between microorganisms and fossil fuels. Studies in which temperature, pressure, and salinity tolerant microorganisms have been allowed to interact with different crude oils and bituminous coals, have shown that biochemically induced changes occur in the distribution of hydrocarbons and in the chemical nature of organometallic and heterocyclic compounds. Such structural chemical rearrangements have direct applications in monitoring the efficiency, the extent, and the chemical nature of the fossil fuels bioconversion. Recent developments of chemical marker applications in the monitoring of fossil fuels bioconversion will be discussed.

  16. Biochemical correlates of neurosensory changes in weightlessness

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leach, Carolyn S.; Reschke, Millard F.

    1989-01-01

    The possible existence of a relationship between space motion sickness and chemical and biochemical variables measured in body fluids is studied. Clinical chemistry and endocrine measurements from blood and urine samples taken before and after Space Shuttle flights were analyzed along with the occurrence of SMS during flight and provocative testing before flight. Significant positive correlations were observed with serum chloride and significant negative correlations with serum phosphate, serum uric acid, and plasma thyroid stimulating hormone.

  17. [The use of antimicrobial stabilizers in biochemical research].

    PubMed

    Pishak, V P; Iarmol'chuk, G M

    2000-01-01

    The ability of highly active antimicrobial biochemical stabilizers to sustain samples (T = 4 degrees C to 8 degrees C) till biochemical analysis in 20-50 days was tested. A new generation of delayed biochemical assays with the use of these stabilizers can be invoked in metabolic studies of cosmonauts and aviators, personnel of atomic submarines, pole explorers and other occupational groups. PMID:10826068

  18. [Biochemical antenatal screening for fetal anomalies.].

    PubMed

    Torfadóttir, G; Jónsson, J J

    2001-05-01

    Biochemical antenatal screening started 30 years ago. Initially, the goal was to detect neural tube defects by measuring a-fetoprotein in maternal serum (MS-AFP) and amniotic fluid (AF-AFP). The serendipitous discovery of an association between low AFP maternal serum concentration and chromosomal anomalies resulted in increased research interest in biochemical screening in pregnancy. Subsequently double, triple or quadruple tests in 2nd trimester of pregnancy became widely used in combination with fetal chromosome determination in at risk individuals. In Iceland, antenatal screening for chromosomal anomalies has essentially been based on fetal chromosome studies offered to pregnant women 35 years or older. This strategy needs to be revised. Recently first trimester biochemical screening based on maternal serum pregnancy associated plasma protein A (MS-PAPP-A) and free b-human chorionic gonadotropin (MS-free b-hCG) and multivariate risk assessment has been developed. This screening test can be improved if done in conjunction with nuchal translucency measurements in an early sonography scan. PMID:17018982

  19. Hydrogel-based piezoresistive biochemical microsensors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guenther, Margarita; Schulz, Volker; Gerlach, Gerald; Wallmersperger, Thomas; Solzbacher, Florian; Magda, Jules J.; Tathireddy, Prashant; Lin, Genyao; Orthner, Michael P.

    2010-04-01

    This work is motivated by a demand for inexpensive, robust and reliable biochemical sensors with high signal reproducibility and long-term-stable sensitivity, especially for medical applications. Micro-fabricated sensors can provide continuous monitoring and on-line control of analyte concentrations in ambient aqueous solutions. The piezoresistive biochemical sensor containing a special biocompatible polymer (hydrogel) with a sharp volume phase transition in the neutral physiological pH range near 7.4 can detect a specific analyte, for example glucose. Thereby the hydrogel-based biochemical sensors are useful for the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes. The response of the glucosesensitive hydrogel was studied at different regimes of the glucose concentration change and of the solution supply. Sensor response time and accuracy with which a sensor can track gradual changes in glucose was estimated. Additionally, the influence of various recommended sterilization methods on the gel swelling properties and on the mechano-electrical transducer of the pH-sensors has been evaluated in order to choose the most optimal sterilization method for the implantable sensors. It has been shown that there is no negative effect of gamma irradiation with a dose of 25.7 kGy on the hydrogel sensitivity. In order to achieve an optimum between sensor signal amplitude and sensor response time, corresponding calibration and measurement procedures have been proposed and evaluated for the chemical sensors.

  20. Electronic modulation of biochemical signal generation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gordonov, Tanya; Kim, Eunkyoung; Cheng, Yi; Ben-Yoav, Hadar; Ghodssi, Reza; Rubloff, Gary; Yin, Jun-Jie; Payne, Gregory F.; Bentley, William E.

    2014-08-01

    Microelectronic devices that contain biological components are typically used to interrogate biology rather than control biological function. Patterned assemblies of proteins and cells have, however, been used for in vitro metabolic engineering, where coordinated biochemical pathways allow cell metabolism to be characterized and potentially controlled on a chip. Such devices form part of technologies that attempt to recreate animal and human physiological functions on a chip and could be used to revolutionize drug development. These ambitious goals will, however, require new biofabrication methodologies that help connect microelectronics and biological systems and yield new approaches to device assembly and communication. Here, we report the electrically mediated assembly, interrogation and control of a multi-domain fusion protein that produces a bacterial signalling molecule. The biological system can be electrically tuned using a natural redox molecule, and its biochemical response is shown to provide the signalling cues to drive bacterial population behaviour. We show that the biochemical output of the system correlates with the electrical input charge, which suggests that electrical inputs could be used to control complex on-chip biological processes.

  1. Stoichiometric network theory for nonequilibrium biochemical systems.

    PubMed

    Qian, Hong; Beard, Daniel A; Liang, Shou-dan

    2003-02-01

    We introduce the basic concepts and develop a theory for nonequilibrium steady-state biochemical systems applicable to analyzing large-scale complex isothermal reaction networks. In terms of the stoichiometric matrix, we demonstrate both Kirchhoff's flux law sigma(l)J(l)=0 over a biochemical species, and potential law sigma(l) mu(l)=0 over a reaction loop. They reflect mass and energy conservation, respectively. For each reaction, its steady-state flux J can be decomposed into forward and backward one-way fluxes J = J+ - J-, with chemical potential difference deltamu = RT ln(J-/J+). The product -Jdeltamu gives the isothermal heat dissipation rate, which is necessarily non-negative according to the second law of thermodynamics. The stoichiometric network theory (SNT) embodies all of the relevant fundamental physics. Knowing J and deltamu of a biochemical reaction, a conductance can be computed which directly reflects the level of gene expression for the particular enzyme. For sufficiently small flux a linear relationship between J and deltamu can be established as the linear flux-force relation in irreversible thermodynamics, analogous to Ohm's law in electrical circuits. PMID:12542691

  2. Electronic modulation of biochemical signal generation.

    PubMed

    Gordonov, Tanya; Kim, Eunkyoung; Cheng, Yi; Ben-Yoav, Hadar; Ghodssi, Reza; Rubloff, Gary; Yin, Jun-Jie; Payne, Gregory F; Bentley, William E

    2014-08-01

    Microelectronic devices that contain biological components are typically used to interrogate biology rather than control biological function. Patterned assemblies of proteins and cells have, however, been used for in vitro metabolic engineering, where coordinated biochemical pathways allow cell metabolism to be characterized and potentially controlled on a chip. Such devices form part of technologies that attempt to recreate animal and human physiological functions on a chip and could be used to revolutionize drug development. These ambitious goals will, however, require new biofabrication methodologies that help connect microelectronics and biological systems and yield new approaches to device assembly and communication. Here, we report the electrically mediated assembly, interrogation and control of a multi-domain fusion protein that produces a bacterial signalling molecule. The biological system can be electrically tuned using a natural redox molecule, and its biochemical response is shown to provide the signalling cues to drive bacterial population behaviour. We show that the biochemical output of the system correlates with the electrical input charge, which suggests that electrical inputs could be used to control complex on-chip biological processes. PMID:25064394

  3. Experimental Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in Rats: Comparison of Two Endovascular Perforation Techniques with Respect to Success Rate, Confounding Pathologies and Early Hippocampal Tissue Lesion Pattern

    PubMed Central

    Höllig, Anke; Weinandy, Agnieszka; Nolte, Kay; Clusmann, Hans; Rossaint, Rolf; Coburn, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Recently aside from the “classic” endovascular monofilament perforation technique to induce experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) a modification using a tungsten wire advanced through a guide tube has been described. We aim to assess both techniques for their success rate (induction of SAH without confounding pathologies) as primary endpoint. Further, the early tissue lesion pattern as evidence for early brain injury will be analyzed as secondary endpoint. Sprague Dawley rats (n=39) were randomly assigned to receive either Sham surgery (n=4), SAH using the “classic” technique (n=18) or using a modified technique (n=17). Course of intracranial pressure (ICP) and regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was analyzed; subsequent pathologies were documented either 6 or 24 h after SAH. Hippocampal tissue samples were analyzed via immunohistochemistry and western blotting. SAH-induction, regardless of confounding pathologies, was independent from type of technique (p=0.679). There was no significant difference concerning case fatality rate (classic: 40%; modified: 20%; p=0.213). Successful induction of SAH without collateral ICH or SDH was possible in 40% with the classic and in 86.7% with the modified technique (p=0.008). Peak ICP levels differed significantly between the two groups (classic: 94 +/- 23 mmHg; modified: 68 +/- 19 mmHg; p=0.003). Evidence of early cellular stress response and activation of apoptotic pathways 6 h after SAH was demonstrated. The extent of stress response is not dependent on type of technique. Both tested techniques successfully produce SAH including activation of an early stress response and apoptotic pathways in the hippocampal tissue. However, the induction of SAH with less confounding pathologies was more frequently achieved with the modified tungsten wire technique. PMID:25867893

  4. 'Bigger data' on scale-dependent effects of invasive species on biodiversity cannot overcome confounded analyses: a comment on Stohlgren & Rejmánek (2014).

    PubMed

    Chase, Jonathan M; Powell, Kristin I; Knight, Tiffany M

    2015-08-01

    A recent study by Stohlgren & Rejmánek (SR: Stohlgren TJ, Rejmánek M. 2014 Biol. Lett. 10. (doi:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0939)) purported to test the generality of a recent finding of scale-dependent effects of invasive plants on native diversity; dominant invasive plants decreased the intercept and increased the slope of the species-area relationship. SR (2014) find little correlation between invasive species cover and the slopes and intercepts of SARs across a diversity of sites. We show that the analyses of SR (2014) are inappropriate because of confounding causality. PMID:26246332

  5. Statin adherence and risk of acute cardiovascular events among women: a cohort study accounting for time-dependent confounding affected by previous adherence

    PubMed Central

    Lavikainen, Piia; Helin-Salmivaara, Arja; Eerola, Mervi; Fang, Gang; Hartikainen, Juha; Huupponen, Risto; Korhonen, Maarit Jaana

    2016-01-01

    Objectives Previous studies on the effect of statin adherence on cardiovascular events in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease have adjusted for time-dependent confounding, but potentially introduced bias into their estimates as adherence and confounders were measured simultaneously. We aimed to evaluate the effect when accounting for time-dependent confounding affected by previous adherence as well as time sequence between factors. Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting Finnish healthcare registers. Participants Women aged 45–64 years initiating statin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in 2001–2004 (n=42 807). Outcomes Acute cardiovascular event defined as a composite of acute coronary syndrome and acute ischaemic stroke was our primary outcome. Low-energy fractures were used as a negative control outcome to evaluate the healthy-adherer effect. Results During the 3-year follow-up, 474 women experienced the primary outcome event and 557 suffered a low-energy fracture. The causal HR estimated with marginal structural model for acute cardiovascular events for all the women who remained adherent (proportion of days covered ≥80%) to statin therapy during the previous adherence assessment year was 0.78 (95% CI: 0.65 to 0.94) when compared with everybody remaining non-adherent (proportion of days covered <80%). The result was robust against alternative model specifications. Statin adherers had a potentially reduced risk of experiencing low-energy fractures compared with non-adherers (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.07). Conclusions Our study, which took into account the time dependence of adherence and confounders, as well as temporal order between these factors, is support for the concept that adherence to statins in women in primary prevention decreases the risk of acute cardiovascular events by about one-fifth in comparison to non-adherence. However, part of the observed effect of statin adherence on acute cardiovascular events

  6. Ecological risk assessment of impacted estuarine areas: integrating histological and biochemical endpoints in wild Senegalese sole.

    PubMed

    Gonçalves, Cátia; Martins, Marta; Costa, Maria H; Caeiro, Sandra; Costa, Pedro M

    2013-09-01

    The analysis of multiple biomarker responses is nowadays recognized as a valuable tool to circumvent potential confounding factors affecting biomonitoring studies and allows a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying exposure to natural mixtures of toxicants. For the purpose of an environmental risk assessment (ERA) in an impacted estuary in SW Europe (the Sado, Portugal), juvenile Solea senegalensis from commercial fishing areas were surveyed for histopathological liver alterations and biochemical biomarkers. Although the findings revealed moderate differences in the patterns of histopathological traits between urban/industrial- and agricultural-influenced areas within the same estuary, no significant distinction was found between the cumulative alterations in animals from the two sites. The overall level of histopathological injury was low and severe traits like neoplasms or pre-neoplastic foci were absent. While metallothionein induction and lipid peroxidation could relate to histopathological condition indices, the activity of anti-oxidant enzymes appeared to be impaired in animals collected off the estuary's heavy-industry belt (the most contaminated site), which may partially explain some degree of hepatic integrity loss. Overall, the results are consistent with low-moderate contamination of the estuary and indicate that oxidative stress is the most important factor accounting for differences between sites. The study highlights the need of integrating multiple biomarkers when multiple environmental stressors are involved and the advantages of surveying toxicity effects in field-collected, foraging, organisms. PMID:23810368

  7. Automatic analysis of computation in biochemical reactions.

    PubMed

    Egri-Nagy, Attila; Nehaniv, Chrystopher L; Rhodes, John L; Schilstra, Maria J

    2008-01-01

    We propose a modeling and analysis method for biochemical reactions based on finite state automata. This is a completely different approach compared to traditional modeling of reactions by differential equations. Our method aims to explore the algebraic structure behind chemical reactions using automatically generated coordinate systems. In this paper we briefly summarize the underlying mathematical theory (the algebraic hierarchical decomposition theory of finite state automata) and describe how such automata can be derived from the description of chemical reaction networks. We also outline techniques for the flexible manipulation of existing models. As a real-world example we use the Krebs citric acid cycle. PMID:18606208

  8. Biochemical Disincentives to Fertilizing Cellulosic Ethanol Crops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gallagher, M. E.; Hockaday, W. C.; Snapp, S.; McSwiney, C.; Baldock, J.

    2010-12-01

    Corn grain biofuel crops produce the highest yields when the cropping ecosystem is not nitrogen (N)-limited, achieved by application of fertilizer. There are environmental consequences for excessive fertilizer application to crops, including greenhouse gas emissions, hypoxic “dead zones,” and health problems from N runoff into groundwater. The increase in corn acreage in response to demand for alternative fuels (i.e. ethanol) could exacerbate these problems, and divert food supplies to fuel production. A potential substitute for grain ethanol that could reduce some of these impacts is cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol feedstocks include grasses (switchgrass), hardwoods, and crop residues (e.g. corn stover, wheat straw). It has been assumed that these feedstocks will require similar N fertilization rates to grain biofuel crops to maximize yields, but carbohydrate yield versus N application has not previously been monitored. We report the biochemical stocks (carbohydrate, protein, and lignin in Mg ha-1) of a corn ecosystem grown under varying N levels. We measured biochemical yield in Mg ha-1 within the grain, leaf and stem, and reproductive parts of corn plants grown at seven N fertilization rates (0-202 kg N ha-1), to evaluate the quantity and quality of these feedstocks across a N fertilization gradient. The N fertilization rate study was performed at the Kellogg Biological Station-Long Term Ecological Research Site (KBS-LTER) in Michigan. Biochemical stocks were measured using 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), combined with a molecular mixing model (Baldock et al. 2004). Carbohydrate and lignin are the main biochemicals of interest in ethanol production since carbohydrate is the ethanol feedstock, and lignin hinders the carbohydrate to ethanol conversion process. We show that corn residue carbohydrate yields respond only weakly to N fertilization compared to grain. Grain carbohydrate yields plateau in response to fertilization at

  9. Biochemical processing of heavy oils and residuum

    SciTech Connect

    Lin, M.S.; Premuzic, T.; Yablon, J.H.; Zhou, Wei-Min

    1995-05-01

    During the past several decades, the petroleum industry has adjusted gradually to accommodate the changes in market product demands, government regulations, and the quality and cost of feedstock crude oils. For example, the trends show that the demand for distillate fuels, such as diesel, as compared to gasoline are increasing. Air-quality standards have put additional demand on the processing of heavier and higher sulfur feed stocks. Thus, the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments require the industry to produce greater quantities of oxygenated gasoline, and lower sulfur diesel and reformulated gasoline. Biochemical technology may play an important role in responding to these demands on the petroleum industry.

  10. [Morphological and biochemical criteria for cell death].

    PubMed

    Chernikov, V P; Belousova, T A; Kakturskiĭ, L V

    2010-01-01

    The state-of-the-art of classifications of and criteria for cell death in the light of the 2009 recommendations of the Nomenclature Committee on Cell Death is presented as a lecture. Motivation is given for the necessity of using the unified criteria in the description of cell death and more than one study in its verification. The major structural and biochemical signs of four typical types of cell death--apoptosis, autophagia, keratinization, and necrosis are compared. Data are given on the major atypical forms of cell death--mitotic catastrophe, anoikis, exitotoxicity, Wallerian degeneration, paraptosis, pyroptosis, pyronecrosis, and entosis. PMID:20734836