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The importance of major risk factors, such as hypertension, total cholesterol, body mass index, diabetes, smoking, for predicting incidence and mortality of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is well known. In light of the fact that age is also a major risk factor for CHD death, a natural question is whether the risk effects on CHD change with age. This thesis focuses on examining the interaction between age and risk factors using data from multiple studies containing differing age ranges. The aim of my research is to use statistical methods to determine whether we can combine these diverse results to obtain an overall summary, using which one can find how the risk effects on CHD death change with age. One intuitive approach is to use classical meta analysis based on generalized linear models. More specifically, one can fit a logistic model with CHD death as response and age, a risk factor and their interaction as covariates for each of the studies, and conduct meta analysis on every set of three coefficients in the multivariate setting to obtain 'synthesized' coefficients. Another aspect of the thesis is a new method, meta analysis with respect to curves that goes beyond linear models. The basic idea is that one can choose the same spline with the same knots on covariates, say age and systolic blood pressure (SBP), for all the studies to ensure common basis functions. The knot-based tensor product basis coefficients obtained from penalized logistic regression can be used for multivariate meta analysis. Using the common basis functions and the 'synthesized' knot-based basis coefficients from meta analysis, a two-dimensional smooth surface on the age-SBP domain is estimated. By cutting through the smooth surface along two axes, the resulting slices show how the risk effect on CHD death change at an arbitrary age as well as how the age effect on CHD death change at an arbitrary SBP value. The application to multiple studies will be presented.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Statistics in Partial FulﬁLlment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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