Consistency of epidemiologic estimates

Barendregt, JJ and Ott, A (2005) Consistency of epidemiologic estimates. European Journal of Epidemiology, 20 10: 827-832. doi:10.1007/s10654-005-2227-9

Author Barendregt, JJ
Ott, A
Title Consistency of epidemiologic estimates
Journal name European Journal of Epidemiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0393-2990
Publication date 2005-01-01
Year available 2005
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10654-005-2227-9
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 20
Issue 10
Start page 827
End page 832
Total pages 6
Editor A. Hofman
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Subject C1
321202 Epidemiology
730104 Nervous system and disorders
Abstract Background: The epidemiology of a disease describes numbers of people becoming incident, being prevalent, recovering, surviving, and dying from the disease or from other causes. As a matter of accounting principle, the inflow, stock, and outflows must be compatible, and if we could observe completely every person involved, the epidemiologic estimates describing the disease would be consistent. Lack of consistency is an indicator for possible measurement error. Methods: We examined the consistency of estimates of incidence, prevalence, and excess mortality of dementia from the Rotterdam Study. We used the incidence and excess mortality estimates to calculate with a mathematical disease model a predicted prevalence, and compared the predicted to the observed prevalence. Results: Predicted prevalence is in most age groups lower than observed, and the difference between them is significant for some age groups. Conclusions: The observed discrepancy could be due to overestimates of prevalence or excess mortality, or an underestimate of incidence, or a combination of all three. We conclude from an analysis of possible causes that it is not possible to say which contributes most to the discrepancy. Estimating dementia incidence in an aging cohort presents a dilemma: with a short follow-up border-line incident cases are easily missed, and with longer follow-up measurement problems increase due to the associated aging of the cohort. Checking for consistency is a useful strategy to signal possible measurement error, but some sources of error may be impossible to avoid.
Keyword Bias
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 17:38:57 EST