Concept: Propensity score
Previous research suggests a link between the quality of teacher-student relationships and the students' behavioral outcomes; however, the observational nature of past studies makes it difficult to attribute a causal role to the quality of these relationships. In the current study, therefore, we used a propensity score analysis approach to evaluate whether students who were matched on their propensity to experience a given level of relationship quality but differed on their actual relationship quality diverged on their concurrent and subsequent problem and prosocial behavior. Student/self, teacher, and parent- (only waves 1-3) reported data from 8 waves of the Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children and Youths (z-proso), a longitudinal study of Swiss youth among a culturally diverse sample of 7- to 15-year-olds were utilized. The initial sample included 1483 (49.4 % female) students for whom information relevant for this study was available. The sample represented families from around 80 different countries, from across all the continents; with approximately 42 % of the female primary caregivers having been born in Switzerland. Following successful matching, we found that students who reported better relationships with their teachers and whose teachers reported better relationships with them evidenced fewer problem behaviors concurrently and up to 4 years later. There was also evidence for an analogous effect in predicting prosocial behavior. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to prevention and intervention practices.
When estimating the average effect of a binary treatment (or exposure) on an outcome, methods that incorporate propensity scores, the G-formula, or targeted maximum likelihood estimation (TMLE) are preferred over naïve regression approaches, which are biased under misspecification of a parametric outcome model. In contrast propensity score methods require the correct specification of an exposure model. Double-robust methods only require correct specification of either the outcome or the exposure model. Targeted maximum likelihood estimation is a semiparametric double-robust method that improves the chances of correct model specification by allowing for flexible estimation using (nonparametric) machine-learning methods. It therefore requires weaker assumptions than its competitors. We provide a step-by-step guided implementation of TMLE and illustrate it in a realistic scenario based on cancer epidemiology where assumptions about correct model specification and positivity (ie, when a study participant had 0 probability of receiving the treatment) are nearly violated. This article provides a concise and reproducible educational introduction to TMLE for a binary outcome and exposure. The reader should gain sufficient understanding of TMLE from this introductory tutorial to be able to apply the method in practice. Extensive R-code is provided in easy-to-read boxes throughout the article for replicability. Stata users will find a testing implementation of TMLE and additional material in the Appendix S1 and at the following GitHub repository: https://github.com/migariane/SIM-TMLE-tutorial.
Objectives To study the association between maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring.Design Observational prospective cohort study with regression methods, propensity score matching, sibling controls, and negative control comparison.Setting Stockholm County, Sweden.Participants 254 610 individuals aged 4-17, including 5378 with autism, living in Stockholm County in 2001-11 who were born to mothers who did not take antidepressants and did not have any psychiatric disorder, mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy, or mothers with psychiatric disorders who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy. Maternal antidepressant use was recorded during first antenatal interview or determined from prescription records.Main outcome measure Offspring diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, with and without intellectual disability.Results Of the 3342 children exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy, 4.1% (n=136) had a diagnosis of autism compared with a 2.9% prevalence (n=353) in 12 325 children not exposed to antidepressants whose mothers had a history of a psychiatric disorder (adjusted odds ratio 1.45, 95% confidence interval 1.13 to 1.85). Propensity score analysis led to similar results. The results of a sibling control analysis were in the same direction, although with wider confidence intervals. In a negative control comparison, there was no evidence of any increased risk of autism in children whose fathers were prescribed antidepressants during the mothers' pregnancy (1.13, 0.68 to 1.88). In all analyses, the risk increase concerned only autism without intellectual disability.Conclusions The association between antidepressant use during pregnancy and autism, particularly autism without intellectual disability, might not solely be a byproduct of confounding. Study of the potential underlying biological mechanisms could help the understanding of modifiable mechanisms in the aetiology of autism. Importantly, the absolute risk of autism was small, and, hypothetically, if no pregnant women took antidepressants, the number of cases that could potentially be prevented would be small.
Clinical guidelines recommend early discharge of patients with low-risk pulmonary embolism (LRPE). This study measured the overall impact of early discharge of LRPE patients on clinical outcomes and costs in the Veterans Health Administration population. Adult patients with ≥1 inpatient diagnosis for pulmonary embolism (PE) (index date) between 10/2011-06/2015, continuous enrollment for ≥12 months pre- and 3 months post-index date were included. PE risk stratification was performed using the simplified Pulmonary Embolism Stratification Index. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to compare 90-day adverse PE events (APEs) [recurrent venous thromboembolism, major bleed and death], hospital-acquired complications (HACs), healthcare utilization, and costs among short (≤2 days) versus long length of stay (LOS). Net clinical benefit was defined as 1 minus the combined rate of APE and HAC. Among 6,746 PE patients, 95.4% were men, 22.0% were African American, and 1,918 had LRPE. Among LRPE patients, only 688 had a short LOS. After 1:1 PSM, there were no differences in APE, but short LOS had fewer HAC (1.5% vs 13.3%, 95% CI: 3.77-19.94) and bacterial pneumonias (5.9% vs 11.7%, 95% CI: 1.24-3.23), resulting in better net clinical benefit (86.9% vs 78.3%, 95% CI: 0.84-0.96). Among long LOS patients, HACs (52) exceeded APEs (14 recurrent DVT, 5 bleeds). Short LOS incurred lower inpatient ($2,164 vs $5,100, 95% CI: $646.8-$5225.0) and total costs ($9,056 vs $12,544, 95% CI: $636.6-$6337.7). LRPE patients with short LOS had better net clinical outcomes at lower costs than matched LRPE patients with long LOS.
There is mixed evidence from correlational studies that breastfeeding impacts children’s development. Propensity score matching with large samples can be an effective tool to remove potential bias from observed confounders in correlational studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of breastfeeding on children’s cognitive and noncognitive development at 3 and 5 years of age.
Few studies on the influence of race/color on pregnancy and birthcare experiences have been carried out in Brazil. Additionally, none of the existing studies are of national scope. This study sought to evaluate inequities in prenatal and childbirth care according to race/color using propensity score matching. The data comes from the study Birth in Brazil: National Survey into Labor and Birth, a national population study comprised of interviews and revisions of medical records that included 23,894 women in 2011/2012. We used logistic regressions to estimate odds ratios (OR) and respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) of race/color associated with the outcomes were analyzed. When compared with white-skinned women, black-skinned women were more likely to have inadequate prenatal care (OR = 1.6; 95%CI: 1.4-1.9), to not be linked to a maternity hospital for childbirth (OR = 1.2 95%CI: 1.1-1.4), to be without a companion (OR = 1.7; 95%CI: 1.4-2.0), to seek more than one hospital for childbirth (OR =1.3; 95%CI: 1.2-1.5), and less likely to receive local anesthesia for an episiotomy (OR = 1.5; 95%CI: 1.1-2.1). Brown-skinned women were also more likely to have inadequate prenatal care (OR = 1.2; 95%CI: 1.1-1.4) and to lack a companion (OR = 1.4; 95%CI: 1.3-1.6) when compared with white-skinned women. We identified racial disparities in care during pregnancy and childbirth, which displayed a gradient going from worst to best care provided to black, brown and white-skinned women.
OBJECTIVE:: In a large nationwide administrative database of hospitalized patients, we investigated postoperative outcomes after laparoscopic or open distal gastrectomy in Japan. BACKGROUND:: The benefits of laparoscopic gastrectomy, such as decreased length of stay and morbidity, have typically been evaluated only with limited data on the basis of small samples. METHODS:: Using the Japanese Diagnosis Procedure Combination Database, we identified 9388 patients who were preoperatively diagnosed with stage I and II gastric cancer and underwent laparoscopic (n = 3937) or open (n = 5451) distal gastrectomy between July and December 2010. One-to-one propensity score matching was performed to compare in-hospital mortality, postoperative complication rates, length of stay, total costs, and 30-day readmission rates between the 2 groups. RESULTS:: Patients with younger age, lower comorbidity index, or stage I cancer were more likely to receive laparoscopic gastrectomy. In the propensity-matched analysis with 2473 pairs, the laparoscopic gastrectomy group in comparison with the open gastrectomy group showed a slight reduction in median postoperative length of stay (13 days vs 15 days, P < 0.001) but a slight increase in median total costs (US $21,510 vs $21,024, P = 0.002). There were no significant differences in in-hospital mortality (0.36% vs 0.28%, P = 0.80), overall postoperative complications (12.9% vs 12.6%, P = 0.73), or 30-day readmission rates (3.2% vs 3.2%, P = 0.94). CONCLUSIONS:: In this large nationwide cohort of patients with early-stage gastric cancer, laparoscopic gastrectomy was associated with a statistically significant but slight reduction in postoperative length of stay, but no differences between laparoscopic gastrectomy and open gastrectomy were detected in terms of early mortality and morbidity.
PURPOSE: Heart failure (CHF) guidelines recommend mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists for all symptomatic patients treated with a combination of ACE inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and beta-blockers. As opposed to both eplerenone trials, patients in RALES (spironolactone) received almost no beta-blockers. Since pharmacological properties differ between eplerenone and spironolactone, the prognostic benefit of spironolactone added to this baseline combination therapy needs clarification. METHODS: We included 4,832 CHF patients with chronic systolic dysfunction from the Norwegian Heart Failure Registry and the heart failure outpatients' clinic of the University of Heidelberg. Propensity scores for spironolactone receipt were calculated for each patient and used for matching to patients without spironolactone. RESULTS: During a total follow-up of 17,869 patient-years, 881 patients (27.0 %) died in the non-spironolactone group and 445 (28.4 %) in the spironolactone group. Spironolactone was not associated with improved survival, neither in the complete sample (HR 0.82; 95 % CI 0.64-1.07; HR 1.03; 95 % CI 0.88-1.20; multivariate and propensity score adjusted respectively), nor in the propensity-matched cohort (HR 0.98; 95 % CI 0.82-1.18). CONCLUSION: In CHF outpatients we were unable to observe an association between the use of spironolactone and improved survival when administered in addition to a combination of ACE/ARB and beta-blockers.
The purpose of this study was to examine the association between oral statin use and the progression of open angle glaucoma.
Objectives This study was undertaken to determine the cost savings of prevention of adverse birth outcomes for Medicaid women participating in the CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care program at a pilot program in South Carolina. Methods A retrospective five-year cohort study of Medicaid women was assessed for differences in birth outcomes among women involved in CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care (n = 1262) and those receiving individual prenatal care (n = 5066). The study outcomes examined were premature birth and the related outcomes of low birthweight (LBW) and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) visits. Because women were not assigned to the CenteringPregnancy group, a propensity score analysis ensured that the inference of the estimated difference in birth outcomes between the treatment groups was adjusted for nonrandom assignment based on age, race, Clinical Risk Group, and plan type. A series of generalized linear models were run to estimate the difference between the proportions of individuals with adverse birth outcomes, or the risk differences, for CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care participation. Estimated risk differences, the coefficient on the CenteringPregnancy group indicator variable from identity-link binomial variance generalized linear models, were then used to calculate potential cost savings due to participation in the CenteringPregnancy group. Results This study estimated that CenteringPregnancy participation reduced the risk of premature birth (36 %, P < 0.05). For every premature birth prevented, there was an average savings of $22,667 in health expenditures. Participation in CenteringPregnancy reduced the incidence of delivering an infant that was LBW (44 %, P < 0.05, $29,627). Additionally, infants of CenteringPregnancy participants had a reduced risk of a NICU stay (28 %, P < 0.05, $27,249). After considering the state investment of $1.7 million, there was an estimated return on investment of nearly $2.3 million. Conclusions Cost savings were achieved with better outcomes due to the participation in CenteringPregnancy among low-risk Medicaid beneficiaries.