Do We Adequately Control for Unmeasured Confounders When Estimating the Short-term Effect of Air Pollution on Mortality?


Marra, G; Radice, R; (2011) Do We Adequately Control for Unmeasured Confounders When Estimating the Short-term Effect of Air Pollution on Mortality? Water, air, and soil pollution, 218 (1-4). pp. 347-352. ISSN 0049-6979 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-010-0648-x

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Abstract

Numerous time series studies have quantified the potential association between daily variations in air pollution and daily variations in non-accidental deaths. In order to account for the presence of unmeasured confounders, a smooth function of time trend is typically used as a proxy for these variables. We shed light on the validity of the results obtained by using this approach. Specifically, we use data from the National Morbidity, Mortality and Air Pollution Study database, and carry out a carefully designed simulation study. Our findings suggest that the use of a smooth function of time trend cannot fully account for the presence of unmeasured confounders, especially when their impact is strong relatively to the effect of air pollution, and when several unobservables are not included in the model.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Adverse health effects, Air pollution, Generalized additive models, Unmeasured confounding
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Web of Science ID: 290724400030
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/674

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