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Adjusting for a causal intermediate is a common analytic strategy for estimating an average causal direct effect (ACDE). The ACDE is the component of the total exposure effect that is not relayed through the specified intermediate. Even if the total effect is unconfounded, the usual ACDE estimate may be biased when an unmeasured variable affects the(More)
Race is a thoroughly contentious topic, as one might expect of an idea that intrudes on the everyday life of so many people. The modern concept of race grew out of the experience of Europeans in naming and organizing the populations encountered in the rapid expansion of their empires. 1 As a way to categorize humans, race has since come to take on a wide(More)
In a large data-synthesis project, the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study has provided summaries of fatal and nonfatal diseases worldwide. However, the GBD investigators' estimates for sub-Saharan Africa do not help to define the burden of disease for the region and provide no real contrast with developed countries. It is even doubtful that the study(More)
BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic research is often devoted to etiologic investigation, and so techniques that may facilitate mechanistic inferences are attractive. Some of these techniques rely on rigid and/or unrealistic assumptions, making the biologic inferences tenuous. The methodology investigated here is effect decomposition: the contrast between effect(More)
Recent studies suggest that obesity may be "contagious" between individuals in social networks. Social contagion (influence), however, may not be identifiable using traditional statistical approaches because they cannot distinguish contagion from homophily (the propensity for individuals to select friends who are similar to themselves) or from shared(More)
POLICYFORUM A t least two dozen companies now market " genetic ancestry tests " to help consumers reconstruct their family histories and determine the geographic origins of their ancestors. More than 460,000 people have purchased these tests over the past 6 years (1), and public interest is still skyrocketing (1–4). Some scientists support this enterprise(More)
BACKGROUND A relatively consistent body of research supports an inverse graded relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). More recently, researchers have proposed various life course SES hypotheses, which posit that the combination, accumulation, and/or interactions of different environments and experiences throughout(More)
Numerous authors have critiqued the use of race as an etiologic quantity in medical research. Despite this criticism, the use of variables encoding racial/ethnic categorization has increased in epidemiology, and most researchers agree that important variation in disease risk is captured by this classification system. Previous discussions have generally(More)