Controlling for unmeasured confounding and spatial misalignment in long-term air pollution and health studies

Lee, D. and Sarran, C. (2015) Controlling for unmeasured confounding and spatial misalignment in long-term air pollution and health studies. Environmetrics, 26(7), pp. 477-487. (doi:10.1002/env.2348)

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The health impact of long-term exposure to air pollution is now routinely estimated using spatial ecological studies, due to the recent widespread availability of spatial referenced pollution and disease data. However, this areal unit study design presents a number of statistical challenges, which if ignored have the potential to bias the estimated pollution-health relationship. One such challenge is how to control for the spatial autocorrelation present in the data after accounting for the known covariates, which is caused by unmeasured confounding. A second challenge is how to adjust the functional form of the model to account for the spatial misalignment between the pollution and disease data, which causes within-area variation in the pollution data. These challenges have largely been ignored in existing long-term spatial air pollution and health studies, so here we propose a novel Bayesian hierarchical model that addresses both challenges, and provide software to allow others to apply our model to their own data. The effectiveness of the proposed model is compared by simulation against a number of state of the art alternatives proposed in the literature, and is then used to estimate the impact of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter concentrations on respiratory hospital admissions in a new epidemiological study in England in 2010 at the Local Authority level.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lee, Professor Duncan
Authors: Lee, D., and Sarran, C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Journal Name:Environmetrics
ISSN (Online):1099-095X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Environmetrics 26(7):477-487
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
588351A rigorous statistical framework for estimating the long-term health effects of air pollution.Duncan LeeEngineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/J017442/1M&S - STATISTICS