B3073 - Development of Caetanos discontinuity endogeneity test and application to the effect of vegetarianism on health - 06/03/2018

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
David Carslake | MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (UK)
Prof Kate Tilling, Dr Kate Northstone, Mr Wes Spiller, Prof George Davey Smith
Title of project: 
Development of Caetano's discontinuity endogeneity test and application to the effect of vegetarianism on health
Proposal summary: 

Observing that an exposure (e.g. higher meat intake) is associated with an outcome (e.g. higher BMI) does not necessarily mean that the exposure caused the outcome. Other factors may "confound" the association by causing both the exposure and the outcome. Such confounding can be difficult to detect if the factors responsible have not been measured. A recent study proposed a method to detect confounding by unmeasured variables if they cause discontinuous variation in the exposure. We intend to develop this method further and apply it to the question of whether eating meat affects a person's BMI. The method should tell us whether simple observation of people's meat intake and BMI reveals the causal effect or is confounded.

Impact of research: 
Our promotion and development of this method will make it available for a variety of epidemiological applications. The results will also inform our knowledge of the effects of dietary meat on adiposity and iron metabolism
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 21 February, 2018
Statistics/methodology, Obesity, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, Statistical methods, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., BMI, Methods - e.g. cross cohort analysis, data mining, mendelian randomisation, etc., Nutrition - breast feeding, diet, Statistical methods