Thursday, February 28, 2013

Obesity, low vitamin D and bi-directional mendelian randomisation

Just when you think you cant sort out cause and effect in cross sectional data correlating low vitamin D levels with obesity  – along comes bi-directional mendelian randomisation in PLOS Medicine. Interesting, from a previous post,  that a big chunk of the Environmental Health 2013 conference is devoted to the mediation of  environmental exposures via genetic and epigenetic pathways.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Health Risk Assessment - the leading edge from NTP

The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institute for Environmental Science of NIH is a great resource for human toxicological information. You can subscribe to the NIEHS newsletter Environmental Factor for updates.

The NTP Office of Health Assessment and Translation has just released a Draft OHAT Approach for Systematic Review and EvidenceIntegration for Literature-based Health Assessments – February 2013 – it provides a seven-step framework for conducting evaluations using principles of systematic review. I particularly like the way step 5 (Rate confidence in the body of evidence)  and Step 6 (Translate confidence ratings into evidence of health effects) are described in Figure 1. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Reviewing my Journal Table of Contents Alerts

Its 2013 and time to review my journal table of contents alerts.  I have decided to reduce the number of journals I will follow and focus on higher quality journals.  I sed the journal impact factor to review top ranked journals in public health/enviromental health. I know there is controversy as to whether the impact factor is the best guide to the importance of  journal so I used the Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports which includes other metrics to fine tune my selection. Basically, impact factor was not so different to "Article Influence Score" for most of the public health/environmental health journals of interest - except for Annual Reviews in Public Health which is only ranked 5 in impact factor but number 2 in "Article Influence Score".   Here follows the journals dropped from the reading list in 2013, those added and those continued..

Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results

We all know we should - but now we have evidence to support open sharing of data. In the summer of 2005, Wicherts and colleagues contacted the corresponding authors of 141 papers that were published in American Psychological Association journals which contract authors to openly share their data after publication (as do PLOS One).  Although all corresponding authors had signed a statement that they would share their data for verification purposes, most authors failed to do so and the authors of papers with more statistical errors were less likely to share their data.