Interpreting epidemiologic studies of diet and health is often complex because it involves many methodological issues and sources of uncertainty. Pertinent examples are false-positive and false-negative results, that is, findings that erroneously indicate the presence or absence, respectively, of association. Our objective in this commentary is to help nutrition and other health professionals interpret epidemiological studies when faced with this task. Our aim is not to provide an exhaustive discussion of all the methodological nuances of nutritional epidemiology; rather, we focus on some of the salient factors when interpreting findings from dietary studies, and the role that uncertainty (namely, from false-positives) plays, using relevant examples from the past few decades.
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EpidStat in the News
EpidStat presented "Survival Synthesis: Methods for Meta-analysis of Survival Rates and Aggregation of Survival Data" at a poster session for the International Conference on Health Policy Statistics on January 10, 2018 in Charlston, SC. The poster details the methods used in Bylsma et al. Arteriovenous Fistulae for Haemodialysis: A Systematic Review and Metaanalysis of Efficacy and Safety Outcomes. European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, 2017. We discussed the process of digitizing survival curves from the published literature and simulating individual patient data to derive survival statistics that were not published with the article. We conclude that while labor-intensive, the methodology makes the best use of available study data.