Announcing November BEMC Talk

Dear Berlin-area Epidemiological Methods Enthusiasts,

You are invited to our next BEMC Talk on Wednesday, November 6th.  

BEMC Talk: Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 @ 4pm

“The causes of the causes in context: confronting the burden of proof in lifecourse and social epidemiology” – Michelle Kelly-Irving, Inserm-Toulouse, Equity research team, LEASP, Faculté de Medecine, Toulouse, France

  • Please register online: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf_awqo35G2KGZmEo064vEhbfuQdALUPVlt7SYx65jGwlyTGg/viewform?usp=sf_link
  • Description: “Social determinants are at the root of many potential causal pathways towards health outcomes. Increasingly, the randomized-control trial approach to establishing causality is questioned with the development of other causal approaches. These methods can be especially challenging for research questions involving social determinants and health inequalities within a lifecourse framework. In complex observational settings understanding and defining the context is a key issue affecting the generalizability of findings and transferability of interventions. Theory-driven research may be especially important when dealing with these methodological challenges, and enable lifecourse researchers to interpret their findings. I will present these challenges in terms of research on social-to-biological questions relating to health inequalities, and discuss how interdisciplinarity and triangulation may help to establish the burden of proof.
  • Location: Seminar room 3 in the Neurology Clinic; Bonhoefferweg 3 entrance, Charité – Campus Mitte

Upcoming Berlin Epi Events:

  • November 20th – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online
  • December 4th – BEMC Talk – Uwe Siebert, Hall in Tirol
  • December 18th – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online

Interested in other Institute of Public Health events? Visit our calendar to check out upcoming conferences & short courses!

Follow BEMC on Twitter and leave questions for our speakers: @BEMColloquium

October Annoucment!

There is no BEMC talk in the month of October, but there is still a lot going on in the epi community!

JClub on Oct 16th: Please click on this link to see the chosen journal article. Note: for the first time ever, we will be reading a pre-print and submitting feedback as a group to the authors! Should be a cool experience to influence ongoing research, so don’t miss out!


IPH lecture on Oct 23rd: Professor John Gill is going to give a talk on “Understanding and communicating risk of rare but serious health complications – an example from living kidney donation” – click on this link to find out more and register for the event.


Our next regularly scheduled BEMC talk will be in November.

See you soon!

Semptember Talk: A Student Summary

“An introduction to precisely and ggdag: Tools for modern methods in R” – a summary by Ana Sofia Oliveira Gonçalves

On the 4th September 2019, Malcolm Barrett held a lecture on the topic of “An introduction to precisely and ggdag: Tools for modern methods in R”. Malcolm Barrett is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of Southern California. He has experience in epidemiology and has worked with R studio.

During his lecture, he introduced two R packages that he has developed: “precisely” and “ggdag”. He then wrapped up his talk by sharing best practices in creating software for epidemiology analysis.

Malcolm first introduced the package “precisely”. Precisely is an R package which calculates sample size based on precision rather than power. It allows researchers to calculate sample sizes for common epidemiology measures, like risk differences, risk ratios and odds ratios. It can be used with R or just as a calculator on the web. It goes hand-in-hand with the recent discussion regarding statistical significance. During the discussion, he commented that the move away from p-values will still take some time. The motivation behind developing this package came from reading an article from Rothman and Greenland on planning study size based on precision. In this package, researchers need to set a desired precision, proportions of exposed to unexposed, group ratio and coverage. It also allows the calculation of precision given the sample size. The package shiny helps to run webapps, thus, people who do not work with R can still use precisely. He highlighted the common wrong interpretations of confidence intervals. 

Malcolm proceeded to introduce his package “ggdag”. Ggdag is a package used to create causal diagrams in R. Dagitty does not always create beautiful plots and ggplot2 is the best data visualization tool at the moment. Hence, ggdag aims to integrate dagitty and ggplot2 (and ggraph which is actually part of ggplot2). Dagitty has powerful, robust algorithms and ggplot2 has unlimited flexibility. Ggdag also provides information (graphically) regarding the variables that need to be adjusted/controlled for.

Later on, he gave some insights on designing software for epidemiology. He mentioned that the developed software should be 1) very flexible, in order to automate tedious parts of analysis and be very loud about the difficult part, 2) expressive (modular code is better than monolithic functions), 3) able to fit into the ecosystem. He finished his lecture describing the package he is currently creating, which will be a tool to help clone datasets. 

Announcing September BEMC Talk

Dear Berlin-area Epidemiological Methods Enthusiasts,

You are invited to our next BEMC Talk on Wednesday, September 4th. Please note the location — CVK, Forum 3, Hörsaal 3, 13353 – Campus Virchow Clinic. 

BEMC Talk: Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 @ 4pm

“An introduction to precisely and ggdag: Tools for modern methods in R” – Malcolm Barrett, California

  • Please register online:
  • Description: “Modern epidemiology gives us insight into study planning and causal inference, but the success of these approaches require friendly and accessible software. I will discuss two R packages for modern methods in study design and causal inference: precisely and ggdag. precisely is a study planning tool to calculate sample size based on precision rather than power. Calculating sample size based on precision focuses on the width of the confidence interval instead of statistical significance. precisely is a fast and flexible R implementation of the work by Rothman and Greenland on this subject, including a Shiny web app for calculating sample size. ggdag is a toolkit for working with causal directed acyclic graphs (DAGs), a central tool in causal inference. DAGs help identify many types of bias, such as confounding, selection bias, and measurement error, as well as tell us how to correct for it. ggdag makes it easy to create, analyze, and plot DAGs in ggplot2.
  • **Location change: CVK, Forum 3, Hörsaal 3, 13353 – Campus Virchow Clinic

Upcoming Berlin Epi Events:

  • September 18th – BEMC JClub – Paper posted online
  • October 2nd – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online
  • Wednesday, October 23rd – IPH Lecture Partner event– John Gill from Vancouver
    • Charite Mitte Campus, COO starting at 4pm
  • November 6th – BEMC Talk – “The causes of the causes in context: confronting the burden of proof in lifecourse and social epidemiology” – Michelle Kelly-Irving, Toulouse
  • November 20th – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online
  • December 4th – BEMC Talk – Uwe Siebert, Hall in Tirol
  • December 18th – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online

Interested in other Institute of Public Health events? Visit our calendar to check out upcoming conferences & short courses!

Follow BEMC on Twitter and leave questions for our speakers: @BEMColloquium

Announcing September BEMC Talk

Dear Berlin-area Epidemiological Methods Enthusiasts,

We hope you had a great summer break!
We look forward to seeing you again at our September BEMC Talk in a few short weeks…
BEMC Talk: Wednesday, Sept. 4th, 2019 @ 4pm ·

“An introduction to precisely and ggdag: Tools for modern methods in R” -Malcolm Barrett (US)
**IMPORTANT: Location change: Forum 3, Hörsaal 3, Campus Virchow Klinikum (CVK) in Berlin-Wedding, 13353** ·
Please register here

Description: “Modern epidemiology gives us insight into study planning and causal inference, but the success of these approaches require friendly and accessible software. Malcolm will discuss two R packages he has developed as tools for implementing modern methods in study design and causal inference: precisely and ggdag. precisely is a study planning tool to calculate sample size based on precision rather than power. Calculating sample size based on precision focuses on the width of the confidence interval instead of statistical significance. precisely is a fast and flexible R implementation of the work by Rothman and Greenland on this subject, including a Shiny web app for calculating sample size. ggdag is a toolkit for working with causal directed acyclic graphs (DAGs), a central tool in causal inference. DAGs help identify many types of bias, like confounding, selection bias, and measurement error, as well as tell us how to correct for it. ggdag makes it easy to create, analyze, and plot DAGs in ggplot2.”

Other upcoming Berlin-area epi-related events:
Sept. 18th BEMC JClub article posted here ·
Early Oct no BEMC Talk!
Join us for the IPH lecture on Oct. 23rd · “Understanding and communicating risk of rare but serious health complications – an example from living kidney donation” – John Gill (Vancouver) ·
Oct. 16th, BEMC JClub article posted here ·
February 20-22nd, 2020: REWARD/EQUATOR Conference in Berlin (co-hosted by BIH-QUEST). Details & abstract submission here: https://www.reward-equator-conference-2020.com/

July Talk: Student summary

“Thick” and “Thin” Branches in Epidemiology – a Student Summary from Ana Sofia Oliveira Goncalves

On the 3rd of July 2019, Suzanne Cannegieter held a lecture on ““Epidemiology as a Toolbox to Benefit the Patient”. She graduated as a MD, did a PhD focused on anticoagulant therapy in patients with artificial heart valves, and then completed a Masters in Epidemiology. Throughout her career, she has done numerous studies focused on venous thrombosis. During her lecture, she used venous thrombosis examples to clarify her toolbox, this toolbox can be applied on other diseases as well. She started by highlighting the difference between “thick” and “thin” branch research using a tree as a metaphor. In thick branch research, discoveries are scientific relevant but with little clinical effect. Many other discoveries can come from thick branch research as it leads to further unanswered questions. On the other hand, thin branch research is clinically relevant but holds little scientific influence. Compared to thick branch research, thin branch research is more relevant for patients. She used venous thrombosis as an example for the main study design types: case-control studies, matched case-control studies, self-controlled case series and RCTs. She pointed out that for “thicker” studies, case-controls are the most appropriate study designs, while for “thinner” studies, RCTs are the best option. During the discussion, participants questioned Suzanne whether research can both be “thick” and “thin”, to which her answer was positive. She thinks that it is ideal to be a specialist in a specific disease and a generalist in terms of methods. She also mentioned that scientific research follows trends and some study designs are used less often compared to others.

Announcing July BEMC Talk

Dear Berlin-area Epidemiological Methods Enthusiasts,

You are invited to our next BEMC Talk on Wednesday, July 3rd.

BEMC Talk: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 @ 4pm

Title: “Epidemiology as a toolbox to benefit the patient” – Suzanne Cannegieter, Leiden, Netherlands

  • Please register online: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf55CFowWvqWsFVlITF8DrGP0aMBj9XbhrOphPx3xSmL9IFMQ/viewform?usp=sf_link
  • Description: “In this lecture, I will discuss how the methods and techniques that we have learned as epidemiologists are applied to many different aspects of medical science. It is, however, not always clear how individual patients benefit from the large number of studies that are performed. From examples of my own research and the literature I will demonstrate how such knowledge eventually evolves from etiologic research into risk factors, via prognostic research in which all this knowledge is combined, toward therapeutic research in which optimal preventive or treatment strategies are developed. Finally I will discuss some pitfalls, and the effects they can have on this type of epidemiologic research.
  • Location: Seminar room 3 (of the Neurology Clinic); Bonhoefferweg 3 entrance, Charité – Campus Mitte

Upcoming Berlin Epi Events:

  • July- no JClub!
  • August 2019 – no BEMC Talk or JClub
  • September 4th – BEMC Talk – Malcolm Barrett **Location change for September BEMC Talk: Campus Virchow Clinic**
  • September 18th – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online
  • October 2nd – BEMC JClub – Paper will be posted online
  • Wednesday, October 23rd – IPH Lecture Partner event– John Gill from Vancouver

Interested in other Institute of Public Health events? Visit our calendar to check out upcoming conferences & short courses!

Follow BEMC on Twitter and leave questions for our speakers: @BEMColloquium

June JClub

Don’t miss our June JClub! As usual, it will be held at 4pm on the 3rd Wednesday of the month in the usual location (Bonhoefferweg 3, Charité Campus Mitte Berlin, Neurology Seminar room).

June 19th

  • Tipton E, Pustejovsky JE, Ahmadi H. A history of meta-regression: Technical, conceptual, and practical developments between 1974 and 2018. Res Synth Methods [Internet]. 2018 Dec 27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30589224

PS: BEMC fashion is really taking off! 😉

bemcfashion

Announcing June BEMC Talk

Dear Berlin-area Epidemiological Methods Enthusiasts,

You are invited to our June BEMC events:

BEMC Talk: Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 @ 4pm

  • “Cool new applications in R for epidemiologists: optimize your programming”– Jochen Kruppa (Berlin)
  • Please register here
  • Description: ““The programming language R was original invented and written late in 1993. Since then, many new applications and packages have been added to the core code of R. The R Studio environment has been developed and helps the users to code in R. Still, R sometimes seems to be slow and very unstructured. The problem is twofold. First, young R scripts should be compatible with old R scripts, written a long time ago and second, users are not able to improve the R core code but to add packages to the R environment. In my talk, I will give an overview of the new implementations of faster and efficient programming in R. The focus will not be on pure applications, such as loading packages or running analyses; instead, I will focus on the crafting of R programming. Nowadays, R offers the possibilities to pipe code through functions and allows us to run parallel calculations in an easy manner. Writing and reading of code into R from different sources is very easy and can be plugged into the tidyverse. The talk will give a broad overview, introduce the R packages, and offer code chunks. The Rmarkdown script of the presentation will be sent to the audience. In an ideal world, you will be able to program better and have new ideas to improve your code after participation in my BEMC Talk.”
  • Location: Seminar room of the Neurology Clinic; Bonhoefferweg 3 entrance, 3rd floor, Charité – Campus Mitte

BEMC JClub: Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 @ 4pm

  • Paper will be posted online by June 1st
  • Location: Seminar room of the Neurology Clinic; Bonhoefferweg 3 entrance, 3rd floor, Charité – Campus Mitte

Other upcoming Epi happenings in Berlin:

  • July 3rd – BEMC Talk – “Pragmatic trials and lessons from venous thrombosis” – Suzanne Cannigieter, Leiden
  • July 19th – BEMC JClub
  • August – Summer Break – check out the summer 2019 BSPH short courses in advanced epi methods, medical informatics, applied digital health and mastering R.

 

Check out our website (bemcolloquium.com) for the full schedule of all BEMC JClub and Talk events.

Follow us on Twitter and leave questions for our speakers: @BEMColloquium

Please note: Magdalen Gallagher, part of our BEMC organizing team, left the Charité at the end of May. We thank her for all her help behind the scenes to make the BEMC happen and wish her the best for the future! Please use our online contact form for any BEMC-related inquiries.