In this article, we develop a piecewise Poisson regression method to analyze survival data from complex sample surveys involving cluster-correlated, differential selection probabilities, and longitudinal responses, to conveniently draw inference on absolute risks in time intervals that are prespecified by investigators. Extensive simulations evaluate the developed methods with extensions to multiple covariates under various complex sample designs, including stratified sampling, sampling with selection probability proportional to a measure of size (PPS), and a multi-stage cluster sampling. We applied our methods to a study of mortality in men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) cancer screening trial to investigate whether a biomarker available from biospecimens collected near time of diagnosis stratifies subsequent risk of death. Poisson regression coefficients and absolute risks of mortality (and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals) for prespecified age intervals by biomarker levels are estimated. We conclude with a brief discussion of the motivation, methods, and findings of the study.

We consider multi-state capture–recapture–recovery data where observed individuals are recorded in a set of possible discrete states. Traditionally, the Arnason–Schwarz model has been fitted to such data where the state process is modeled as a first-order Markov chain, though second-order models have also been proposed and fitted to data. However, low-order Markov models may not accurately represent the underlying biology. For example, specifying a (time-independent) first-order Markov process involves the assumption that the dwell time in each state (i.e., the duration of a stay in a given state) has a geometric distribution, and hence that the modal dwell time is one. Specifying time-dependent or higher-order processes provides additional flexibility, but at the expense of a potentially significant number of additional model parameters. We extend the Arnason–Schwarz model by specifying a semi-Markov model for the state process, where the dwell-time distribution is specified more generally, using, for example, a shifted Poisson or negative binomial distribution. A state expansion technique is applied in order to represent the resulting semi-Markov Arnason–Schwarz model in terms of a simpler and computationally tractable hidden Markov model. Semi-Markov Arnason–Schwarz models come with only a very modest increase in the number of parameters, yet permit a significantly more flexible state process. Model selection can be performed using standard procedures, and in particular via the use of information criteria. The semi-Markov approach allows for important biological inference to be drawn on the underlying state process, for example, on the times spent in the different states. The feasibility of the approach is demonstrated in a simulation study, before being applied to real data corresponding to house finches where the states correspond to the presence or absence of conjunctivitis.

In this article we present a new method for performing Bayesian parameter inference and model choice for low- count time series models with intractable likelihoods. The method involves incorporating an alive particle filter within a sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) algorithm to create a novel exact-approximate algorithm, which we refer to as alive SMC. The advantages of this approach over competing methods are that it is naturally adaptive, it does not involve between-model proposals required in reversible jump Markov chain Monte Carlo, and does not rely on potentially rough approximations. The algorithm is demonstrated on Markov process and integer autoregressive moving average models applied to real biological datasets of hospital-acquired pathogen incidence, animal health time series, and the cumulative number of prion disease cases in mule deer.

The various thresholding quantities grouped under the “Basic Reproductive Number” umbrella are often confused, but represent distinct approaches to estimating epidemic spread potential, and address different modeling needs. Here, we contrast several common reproduction measures applied to stochastic compartmental models, and introduce a new quantity dubbed the “empirically adjusted reproductive number” with several advantages. These include: more complete use of the underlying compartmental dynamics than common alternatives, use as a potential diagnostic tool to detect the presence and causes of intensity process underfitting, and the ability to provide timely feedback on disease spread. Conceptual connections between traditional reproduction measures and our approach are explored, and the behavior of our method is examined under simulation. Two illustrative examples are developed: First, the single location applications of our method are established using data from the 1995 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a traditional stochastic SEIR model. Second, a spatial formulation of this technique is explored in the context of the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa with particular emphasis on potential use in model selection, diagnosis, and the resulting applications to estimation and prediction. Both analyses are placed in the context of a newly developed spatial analogue of the traditional SEIR modeling approach.

Often the object of inference in biomedical applications is a range that brackets a given fraction of individual observations in a population. A classical estimate of this range for univariate measurements is a “tolerance interval.” This article develops its natural extension for functional measurements, a “tolerance band,” and proposes a methodology for constructing its pointwise and simultaneous versions that incorporates both sparse and dense functional data. Assuming that the measurements are observed with noise, the methodology uses functional principal component analysis in a mixed model framework to represent the measurements and employs bootstrapping to approximate the tolerance factors needed for the bands. The proposed bands also account for uncertainty in the principal components decomposition. Simulations show that the methodology has, generally, acceptable performance unless the data are quite sparse and unbalanced, in which case the bands may be somewhat liberal. The methodology is illustrated using two real datasets, a sparse dataset involving CD4 cell counts and a dense dataset involving core body temperatures.

Community water fluoridation is an important public health measure to prevent dental caries, but it continues to be somewhat controversial. The Iowa Fluoride Study (IFS) is a longitudinal study on a cohort of Iowa children that began in 1991. The main purposes of this study (http://www.dentistry.uiowa.edu/preventive-fluoride-study) were to quantify fluoride exposures from both dietary and nondietary sources and to associate longitudinal fluoride exposures with dental fluorosis (spots on teeth) and dental caries (cavities). We analyze a subset of the IFS data by a marginal regression model with a zero-inflated version of the Conway–Maxwell–Poisson distribution for count data exhibiting excessive zeros and a wide range of dispersion patterns. In general, we introduce two estimation methods for fitting a ZICMP marginal regression model. Finite sample behaviors of the estimators and the resulting confidence intervals are studied using extensive simulation studies. We apply our methodologies to the dental caries data. Our novel modeling incorporating zero inflation, clustering, and overdispersion sheds some new light on the effect of community water fluoridation and other factors. We also include a second application of our methodology to a genomic (next-generation sequencing) dataset that exhibits underdispersion.

Clinical biomarkers play an important role in precision medicine and are now extensively used in clinical trials, particularly in cancer. A response adaptive trial design enables researchers to use treatment results about earlier patients to aid in treatment decisions of later patients. Optimal adaptive trial designs have been developed without consideration of biomarkers. In this article, we describe the mathematical steps for computing optimal biomarker-integrated adaptive trial designs. These designs maximize the expected trial utility given any pre-specified utility function, though we focus here on maximizing patient responses within a given patient horizon. We describe the performance of the optimal design in different scenarios. We compare it to Bayesian Adaptive Randomization (BAR), which is emerging as a practical approach to develop adaptive trials. The difference in expected utility between BAR and optimal designs is smallest when the biomarker subgroups are highly imbalanced. We also compare BAR, a frequentist play-the-winner rule with integrated biomarkers and a marker-stratified balanced randomization design (BR). We show that, in contrasting two treatments, BR achieves a nearly optimal expected utility when the patient horizon is relatively large. Our work provides novel theoretical solution, as well as an absolute benchmark for the evaluation of trial designs in personalized medicine.

We consider quantile regression for partially linear models where an outcome of interest is related to covariates and a marker set (e.g., gene or pathway). The covariate effects are modeled parametrically and the marker set effect of multiple loci is modeled using kernel machine. We propose an efficient algorithm to solve the corresponding optimization problem for estimating the effects of covariates and also introduce a powerful test for detecting the overall effect of the marker set. Our test is motivated by traditional score test, and borrows the idea of permutation test. Our estimation and testing procedures are evaluated numerically and applied to assess genetic association of change in fasting homocysteine level using the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention Trial data.

Infection is one of the most common complications after hematopoietic cell transplantation. Many patients experience infectious complications repeatedly after transplant. Existing statistical methods for recurrent gap time data typically assume that patients are enrolled due to the occurrence of an event of interest, and subsequently experience recurrent events of the same type; moreover, for one-sample estimation, the gap times between consecutive events are usually assumed to be identically distributed. Applying these methods to analyze the post-transplant infection data will inevitably lead to incorrect inferential results because the time from transplant to the first infection has a different biological meaning than the gap times between consecutive recurrent infections. Some unbiased yet inefficient methods include univariate survival analysis methods based on data from the first infection or bivariate serial event data methods based on the first and second infections. In this article, we propose a nonparametric estimator of the joint distribution of time from transplant to the first infection and the gap times between consecutive infections. The proposed estimator takes into account the potentially different distributions of the two types of gap times and better uses the recurrent infection data. Asymptotic properties of the proposed estimators are established.

Matched case-control studies are popular designs used in epidemiology for assessing the effects of exposures on binary traits. Modern studies increasingly enjoy the ability to examine a large number of exposures in a comprehensive manner. However, several risk factors often tend to be related in a nontrivial way, undermining efforts to identify the risk factors using standard analytic methods due to inflated type-I errors and possible masking of effects. Epidemiologists often use data reduction techniques by grouping the prognostic factors using a thematic approach, with themes deriving from biological considerations. We propose shrinkage-type estimators based on Bayesian penalization methods to estimate the effects of the risk factors using these themes. The properties of the estimators are examined using extensive simulations. The methodology is illustrated using data from a matched case-control study of polychlorinated biphenyls in relation to the etiology of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The Wilcoxon rank-sum test is a popular nonparametric test for comparing two independent populations (groups). In recent years, there have been renewed attempts in extending the Wilcoxon rank sum test for clustered data, one of which (Datta and Satten, 2005, *Journal of the American Statistical Association* **100**, 908–915) addresses the issue of informative cluster size, i.e., when the outcomes and the cluster size are correlated. We are faced with a situation where the group specific marginal distribution in a cluster depends on the number of observations in that group (i.e., the intra-cluster group size). We develop a novel extension of the rank-sum test for handling this situation. We compare the performance of our test with the Datta–Satten test, as well as the naive Wilcoxon rank sum test. Using a naturally occurring simulation model of informative intra-cluster group size, we show that only our test maintains the correct size. We also compare our test with a classical signed rank test based on averages of the outcome values in each group paired by the cluster membership. While this test maintains the size, it has lower power than our test. Extensions to multiple group comparisons and the case of clusters not having samples from all groups are also discussed. We apply our test to determine whether there are differences in the attachment loss between the upper and lower teeth and between mesial and buccal sites of periodontal patients.

Efforts to personalize medicine in oncology have been limited by reductive characterizations of the intrinsically complex underlying biological phenomena. Future advances in personalized medicine will rely on molecular signatures that derive from synthesis of multifarious interdependent molecular quantities requiring robust quantitative methods. However, highly parameterized statistical models when applied in these settings often require a prohibitively large database and are sensitive to proper characterizations of the treatment-by-covariate interactions, which in practice are difficult to specify and may be limited by generalized linear models. In this article, we present a Bayesian predictive framework that enables the integration of a high-dimensional set of genomic features with clinical responses and treatment histories of historical patients, providing a probabilistic basis for using the clinical and molecular information to personalize therapy for future patients. Our work represents one of the first attempts to define personalized treatment assignment rules based on large-scale genomic data. We use actual gene expression data acquired from The Cancer Genome Atlas in the settings of leukemia and glioma to explore the statistical properties of our proposed Bayesian approach for personalizing treatment selection. The method is shown to yield considerable improvements in predictive accuracy when compared to penalized regression approaches.

We present a general method for estimating the effect of a treatment on an ordinal outcome in randomized trials. The method is robust in that it does not rely on the proportional odds assumption. Our estimator leverages information in prognostic baseline variables, and has all of the following properties: (i) it is consistent; (ii) it is locally efficient; (iii) it is guaranteed to have equal or better asymptotic precision than both the inverse probability-weighted and the unadjusted estimators. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first estimator of the causal relation between a treatment and an ordinal outcome to satisfy these properties. We demonstrate the estimator in simulations based on resampling from a completed randomized clinical trial of a new treatment for stroke; we show potential gains of up to 39% in relative efficiency compared to the unadjusted estimator. The proposed estimator could be a useful tool for analyzing randomized trials with ordinal outcomes, since existing methods either rely on model assumptions that are untenable in many practical applications, or lack the efficiency properties of the proposed estimator. We provide R code implementing the estimator.

Observational studies are often in peril of unmeasured confounding. Instrumental variable analysis is a method for controlling for unmeasured confounding. As yet, theory on instrumental variable analysis of censored time-to-event data is scarce. We propose a pseudo-observation approach to instrumental variable analysis of the survival function, the restricted mean, and the cumulative incidence function in competing risks with right-censored data using generalized method of moments estimation. For the purpose of illustrating our proposed method, we study antidepressant exposure in pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorder in offspring, and the performance of the method is assessed through simulation studies.

In many practical cases of multiple hypothesis problems, it can be expected that the alternatives are not symmetrically distributed. If it is known a priori that the distributions of the alternatives are skewed, we show that this information yields high power procedures as compared to the procedures based on symmetric alternatives when testing multiple hypotheses. We propose a Bayesian decision theoretic rule for multiple directional hypothesis testing, when the alternatives are distributed as skewed, under a constraint on a mixed directional false discovery rate. We compare the proposed rule with a frequentist's rule of Benjamini and Yekutieli (2005) using simulations. We apply our method to a well-studied HIV dataset.

Times between successive events (i.e., gap times) are of great importance in survival analysis. Although many methods exist for estimating covariate effects on gap times, very few existing methods allow for comparisons between gap times themselves. Motivated by the comparison of primary and repeat transplantation, our interest is specifically in contrasting the gap time survival functions and their integration (restricted mean gap time). Two major challenges in gap time analysis are non-identifiability of the marginal distributions and the existence of dependent censoring (for all but the first gap time). We use Cox regression to estimate the (conditional) survival distributions of each gap time (given the previous gap times). Combining fitted survival functions based on those models, along with multiple imputation applied to censored gap times, we then contrast the first and second gap times with respect to average survival and restricted mean lifetime. Large-sample properties are derived, with simulation studies carried out to evaluate finite-sample performance. We apply the proposed methods to kidney transplant data obtained from a national organ transplant registry. Mean 10-year graft survival of the primary transplant is significantly greater than that of the repeat transplant, by 3.9 months (), a result that may lack clinical importance.

We propose a novel Bayesian hierarchical model for brain imaging data that unifies voxel-level (the most localized unit of measure) and region-level brain connectivity analyses, and yields population-level inferences. Functional connectivity generally refers to associations in brain activity between distinct locations. The first level of our model summarizes brain connectivity for cross-region voxel pairs using a two-component mixture model consisting of connected and nonconnected voxels. We use the proportion of connected voxel pairs to define a new measure of connectivity strength, which reflects the breadth of between-region connectivity. Furthermore, we evaluate the impact of clinical covariates on connectivity between region-pairs at a population level. We perform parameter estimation using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques, which can be executed quickly relative to the number of model parameters. We apply our method to resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from 32 subjects with major depression and simulated data to demonstrate the properties of our method.

With the internet, a massive amount of information on species abundance can be collected by citizen science programs. However, these data are often difficult to use directly in statistical inference, as their collection is generally opportunistic, and the distribution of the sampling effort is often not known. In this article, we develop a general statistical framework to combine such “opportunistic data” with data collected using schemes characterized by a known sampling effort. Under some structural assumptions regarding the sampling effort and detectability, our approach makes it possible to estimate the relative abundance of several species in different sites. It can be implemented through a simple generalized linear model. We illustrate the framework with typical bird datasets from the Aquitaine region in south-western France. We show that, under some assumptions, our approach provides estimates that are more precise than the ones obtained from the dataset with a known sampling effort alone. When the opportunistic data are abundant, the gain in precision may be considerable, especially for rare species. We also show that estimates can be obtained even for species recorded only in the opportunistic scheme. Opportunistic data combined with a relatively small amount of data collected with a known effort may thus provide access to accurate and precise estimates of quantitative changes in relative abundance over space and/or time.

In genome-wide gene–environment interaction (GxE) studies, a common strategy to improve power is to first conduct a filtering test and retain only the SNPs that pass the filtering in the subsequent GxE analyses. Inspired by two-stage tests and gene-based tests in GxE analysis, we consider the general problem of jointly testing a set of parameters when only a few are truly from the alternative hypothesis and when filtering information is available. We propose a unified set-based test that simultaneously considers filtering on individual parameters and testing on the set. We derive the exact distribution and approximate the power function of the proposed unified statistic in simplified settings, and use them to adaptively calculate the optimal filtering threshold for each set. In the context of gene-based GxE analysis, we show that although the empirical power function may be affected by many factors, the optimal filtering threshold corresponding to the peak of the power curve primarily depends on the size of the gene. We further propose a resampling algorithm to calculate *P*-values for each gene given the estimated optimal filtering threshold. The performance of the method is evaluated in simulation studies and illustrated via a genome-wide gene–gender interaction analysis using pancreatic cancer genome-wide association data.

Large-scale homogeneous discrete *p*-values are encountered frequently in high-throughput genomics studies, and the related multiple testing problems become challenging because most existing methods for the false discovery rate (FDR) assume continuous *p*-values. In this article, we study the estimation of the null proportion and FDR for discrete *p*-values with common support. In the finite sample setting, we propose a novel class of conservative FDR estimators. Furthermore, we show that a broad class of FDR estimators is simultaneously conservative over all support points under some weak dependence condition in the asymptotic setting. We further demonstrate the significant improvement of a newly proposed method over existing methods through simulation studies and a case study.

Subject-specific and marginal models have been developed for the analysis of longitudinal ordinal data. Subject-specific models often lack a population-average interpretation of the model parameters due to the conditional formulation of random intercepts and slopes. Marginal models frequently lack an underlying distribution for ordinal data, in particular when generalized estimating equations are applied. To overcome these issues, latent variable models underneath the ordinal outcomes with a multivariate logistic distribution can be applied. In this article, we extend the work of O'Brien and Dunson (2004), who studied the multivariate *t*-distribution with marginal logistic distributions. We use maximum likelihood, instead of a Bayesian approach, and incorporated covariates in the correlation structure, in addition to the mean model. We compared our method with GEE and demonstrated that it performs better than GEE with respect to the fixed effect parameter estimation when the latent variables have an approximately elliptical distribution, and at least as good as GEE for other types of latent variable distributions.

We develop alternative strategies for building and fitting parametric capture–recapture models for closed populations which can be used to address a better understanding of behavioral patterns. In the perspective of transition models, we first rely on a conditional probability parameterization. A large subset of standard capture–recapture models can be regarded as a suitable partitioning in equivalence classes of the full set of conditional probability parameters. We exploit a regression approach combined with the use of new suitable summaries of the conditioning binary partial capture histories as a device for enlarging the scope of behavioral models and also exploring the range of all possible partitions. We show how one can easily find unconditional MLE of such models within a generalized linear model framework. We illustrate the potential of our approach with the analysis of some known datasets and a simulation study.

Motivated by a longitudinal oral health study, we propose a flexible modeling approach for clustered time-to-event data, when the response of interest can only be determined to lie in an interval obtained from a sequence of examination times (interval-censored data) and on top of that, the determination of the occurrence of the event is subject to misclassification. The clustered time-to-event data are modeled using an accelerated failure time model with random effects and by assuming a penalized Gaussian mixture model for the random effects terms to avoid restrictive distributional assumptions concerning the event times. A general misclassification model is discussed in detail, considering the possibility that different examiners were involved in the assessment of the occurrence of the events for a given subject across time. A Bayesian implementation of the proposed model is described in a detailed manner. We additionally provide empirical evidence showing that the model can be used to estimate the underlying time-to-event distribution and the misclassification parameters without any external information about the latter parameters. We also provide results of a simulation study to evaluate the effect of neglecting the presence of misclassification in the analysis of clustered time-to-event data.

DNA methylation studies have been revolutionized by the recent development of high throughput array-based platforms. Most of the existing methods analyze microarray methylation data on a probe-by-probe basis, ignoring probe-specific effects and correlations among methylation levels at neighboring genomic locations. These methods can potentially miss functionally relevant findings associated with genomic regions. In this article, we propose a statistical model that allows us to pool information on the same probe across multiple samples to estimate the probe affinity effect, and to borrow strength from the neighboring probe sites to better estimate the methylation values. Using a simulation study, we demonstrate that our method can provide accurate model-based estimates. We further use the proposed method to develop a new procedure for detecting differentially methylated regions, and compare it with a state-of-the-art approach via a data application.

There is an overwhelmingly large literature and algorithms already available on “large-scale inference problems” based on different modeling techniques and cultures. Our primary goal in this article is *not to add one more new methodology* to the existing toolbox but instead (i) to clarify the mystery how these different simultaneous inference methods are *connected*, (ii) to provide an alternative more intuitive derivation of the formulas that leads to *simpler* expressions in order (iii) to develop a *unified* algorithm for practitioners. A detailed discussion on representation, estimation, inference, and model selection is given. Applications to a variety of real and simulated datasets show promise. We end with several future research directions.

Causal mediation modeling has become a popular approach for studying the effect of an exposure on an outcome through a mediator. However, current methods are not applicable to the setting with a large number of mediators. We propose a testing procedure for mediation effects of high-dimensional continuous mediators. We characterize the marginal mediation effect, the multivariate component-wise mediation effects, and the norm of the component-wise effects, and develop a Monte-Carlo procedure for evaluating their statistical significance. To accommodate the setting with a large number of mediators and a small sample size, we further propose a transformation model using the spectral decomposition. Under the transformation model, mediation effects can be estimated using a series of regression models with a univariate transformed mediator, and examined by our proposed testing procedure. Extensive simulation studies are conducted to assess the performance of our methods for continuous and dichotomous outcomes. We apply the methods to analyze genomic data investigating the effect of microRNA miR-223 on a dichotomous survival status of patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). We identify nine gene ontology sets with expression values that significantly mediate the effect of miR-223 on GBM survival.

Cigarette smoking is a prototypical example of a recurrent event. The pattern of recurrent smoking events may depend on time-varying covariates including mood and environmental variables. Fixed effects and frailty models for recurrent events data assume that smokers have a common association with time-varying covariates. We develop a mixed effects version of a recurrent events model that may be used to describe variation among smokers in how they respond to those covariates, potentially leading to the development of individual-based smoking cessation therapies. Our method extends the modified EM algorithm of Steele (1996) for generalized mixed models to recurrent events data with partially observed time-varying covariates. It is offered as an alternative to the method of Rizopoulos, Verbeke, and Lesaffre (2009) who extended Steele's (1996) algorithm to a joint-model for the recurrent events data and time-varying covariates. Our approach does not require a model for the time-varying covariates, but instead assumes that the time-varying covariates are sampled according to a Poisson point process with known intensity. Our methods are well suited to data collected using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), a method of data collection widely used in the behavioral sciences to collect data on emotional state and recurrent events in the every-day environments of study subjects using electronic devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) or smart phones.

A new objective methodology is proposed to select the parsimonious set of important covariates that are associated with a censored outcome variable *Y*; the method simplifies to accommodate uncensored outcomes. Covariate selection proceeds in an iterated forward manner and is controlled by the pre-chosen upper bound for the number of covariates to be selected and the global false selection rate and level. A sequence of working regression models for the event given a covariate set is fit among subjects not censored before *y* and the corresponding process (through *y*) of conditional prediction error estimated; the direction and magnitude of covariate effects can arbitrarily change with *y*. The newly proposed adequacy measure for the covariate set is the slope coefficient resulting from a regression (with no intercept) between the baseline prediction error process for the intercept-only model and that process corresponding to the covariate set. Under quite general conditions on the censoring variable, the methods are shown to asymptotically control the false selection rate at the nominal level while consistently ranking covariate sets which permits recruitment of all important covariates from those available with probability tending to 1. A simulation study confirms these analytical results and compares the proposed methods to recent competitors. Two real data illustrations are provided.

Estimation of the skeleton of a directed acyclic graph (DAG) is of great importance for understanding the underlying DAG and causal effects can be assessed from the skeleton when the DAG is not identifiable. We propose a novel method named PenPC to estimate the skeleton of a high-dimensional DAG by a two-step approach. We first estimate the nonzero entries of a concentration matrix using penalized regression, and then fix the difference between the concentration matrix and the skeleton by evaluating a set of conditional independence hypotheses. For high-dimensional problems where the number of vertices *p* is in polynomial or exponential scale of sample size *n*, we study the asymptotic property of PenPC on two types of graphs: traditional random graphs where all the vertices have the same expected number of neighbors, and scale-free graphs where a few vertices may have a large number of neighbors. As illustrated by extensive simulations and applications on gene expression data of cancer patients, PenPC has higher sensitivity and specificity than the state-of-the-art method, the PC-stable algorithm.

In the context of group testing screening, McMahan, Tebbs, and Bilder (2012, *Biometrics* **68**, 287–296) proposed a two-stage procedure in a heterogenous population in the presence of misclassification. In earlier work published in *Biometrics*, Kim, Hudgens, Dreyfuss, Westreich, and Pilcher (2007, *Biometrics* **63**, 1152–1162) also proposed group testing algorithms in a homogeneous population with misclassification. In both cases, the authors evaluated performance of the algorithms based on the expected number of tests per person, with the optimal design being defined by minimizing this quantity. The purpose of this article is to show that although the expected number of tests per person is an appropriate evaluation criteria for group testing when there is no misclassification, it may be problematic when there is misclassification. Specifically, a valid criterion needs to take into account the amount of correct classification and not just the number of tests. We propose, a more suitable objective function that accounts for not only the expected number of tests, but also the expected number of correct classifications. We then show how using this objective function that accounts for correct classification is important for design when considering group testing under misclassification. We also present novel analytical results which characterize the optimal Dorfman (1943) design under the misclassification.

The proportional hazards model (PH) is currently the most popular regression model for analyzing time-to-event data. Despite its popularity, the analysis of interval-censored data under the PH model can be challenging using many available techniques. This article presents a new method for analyzing interval-censored data under the PH model. The proposed approach uses a monotone spline representation to approximate the unknown nondecreasing cumulative baseline hazard function. Formulating the PH model in this fashion results in a finite number of parameters to estimate while maintaining substantial modeling flexibility. A novel expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm is developed for finding the maximum likelihood estimates of the parameters. The derivation of the EM algorithm relies on a two-stage data augmentation involving latent Poisson random variables. The resulting algorithm is easy to implement, robust to initialization, enjoys quick convergence, and provides closed-form variance estimates. The performance of the proposed regression methodology is evaluated through a simulation study, and is further illustrated using data from a large population-based randomized trial designed and sponsored by the United States National Cancer Institute.

Infectious diseases that can be spread directly or indirectly from one person to another are caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Infectious diseases remain one of the greatest threats to human health and the analysis of infectious disease data is among the most important application of statistics. In this article, we develop Bayesian methodology using parametric bivariate accelerated lifetime model to study dependency between the colonization and infection times for Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria which is leading cause of infection among the hospital infection agents. We also study their associations with covariates such as age, gender, apache score, antibiotics use 3 months before admission and invasive mechanical ventilation use. To account for singularity, we use Singular Bivariate Extreme Value distribution to model residuals in Bivariate Accelerated lifetime model under the fully Bayesian framework. We analyze a censored data related to the colonization and infection collected in five major hospitals in Turkey using our methodology. The data analysis done in this article is for illustration of our proposed method and can be applied to any situation that our model can be used.

Estimating the conditional quantiles of outcome variables of interest is frequent in many research areas, and quantile regression is foremost among the utilized methods. The coefficients of a quantile regression model depend on the order of the quantile being estimated. For example, the coefficients for the median are generally different from those of the 10th centile. In this article, we describe an approach to modeling the regression coefficients as parametric functions of the order of the quantile. This approach may have advantages in terms of parsimony, efficiency, and may expand the potential of statistical modeling. Goodness-of-fit measures and testing procedures are discussed, and the results of a simulation study are presented. We apply the method to analyze the data that motivated this work. The described method is implemented in the qrcm R package.

Graph-constrained estimation methods encourage similarities among neighboring covariates presented as nodes of a graph, and can result in more accurate estimates, especially in high-dimensional settings. Variable selection approaches can then be utilized to select a subset of variables that are associated with the response. However, existing procedures do not provide measures of uncertainty of estimates. Further, the vast majority of existing approaches assume that available graph accurately captures the association among covariates; violations to this assumption could severely hurt the reliability of the resulting estimates. In this article, we present a new inference framework, called the Grace test, which produces coefficient estimates and corresponding *p*-values by incorporating the external graph information. We show, both theoretically and via numerical studies, that the proposed method asymptotically controls the type-I error rate regardless of the choice of the graph. We also show that when the underlying graph is informative, the Grace test is asymptotically more powerful than similar tests that ignore the external information. We study the power properties of the proposed test when the graph is not fully informative and develop a more powerful Grace-ridge test for such settings. Our numerical studies show that as long as the graph is reasonably informative, the proposed inference procedures deliver improved statistical power over existing methods that ignore external information.

It is common in biomedical research to run case-control studies involving high-dimensional predictors, with the main goal being detection of the sparse subset of predictors having a significant association with disease. Usual analyses rely on independent screening, considering each predictor one at a time, or in some cases on logistic regression assuming no interactions. We propose a fundamentally different approach based on a nonparametric Bayesian low rank tensor factorization model for the retrospective likelihood. Our model allows a very flexible structure in characterizing the distribution of multivariate variables as unknown and without any linear assumptions as in logistic regression. Predictors are excluded only if they have no impact on disease risk, either directly or through interactions with other predictors. Hence, we obtain an omnibus approach for screening for important predictors. Computation relies on an efficient Gibbs sampler. The methods are shown to have high power and low false discovery rates in simulation studies, and we consider an application to an epidemiology study of birth defects.

We present a technique for using calibrated weights to incorporate whole-cohort information in the analysis of a countermatched sample. Following Samuelsen's approach for matched case-control sampling, we derive expressions for the marginal sampling probabilities, so that the data can be treated as an unequally-sampled case-cohort design. Pseudolikelihood estimating equations are used to find the estimates. The sampling weights can be calibrated, allowing all whole-cohort variables to be used in estimation; in contrast, the partial likelihood analysis makes use only of a single discrete surrogate for exposure. Using a survey-sampling approach rather than a martingale approach simplifies the theory; in particular, the sampling weights need not be a predictable process. Our simulation results show that pseudolikelihood estimation gives lower efficiency than partial likelihood estimation, but that the gain from calibration of weights can more than compensate for this loss. If there is a good surrogate for exposure, countermatched sampling still outperforms case-cohort and two-phase case-control sampling even when calibrated weights are used. Findings are illustrated with data from the National Wilms’ Tumour Study and the Welsh nickel refinery workers study.

Multiple imputation (MI) is a well-established method to handle item-nonresponse in sample surveys. Survey data obtained from complex sampling designs often involve features that include unequal probability of selection. MI requires imputation to be congenial, that is, for the imputations to come from a Bayesian predictive distribution and for the observed and complete data estimator to equal the posterior mean given the observed or complete data, and similarly for the observed and complete variance estimator to equal the posterior variance given the observed or complete data; more colloquially, the analyst and imputer make similar modeling assumptions. Yet multiply imputed data sets from complex sample designs with unequal sampling weights are typically imputed under simple random sampling assumptions and then analyzed using methods that account for the sampling weights. This is a setting in which the analyst assumes more than the imputer, which can led to biased estimates and anti-conservative inference. Less commonly used alternatives such as including case weights as predictors in the imputation model typically require interaction terms for more complex estimators such as regression coefficients, and can be vulnerable to model misspecification and difficult to implement. We develop a simple two-step MI framework that accounts for sampling weights using a weighted finite population Bayesian bootstrap method to validly impute the whole population (including item nonresponse) from the observed data. In the second step, having generated posterior predictive distributions of the entire population, we use standard IID imputation to handle the item nonresponse. Simulation results show that the proposed method has good frequentist properties and is robust to model misspecification compared to alternative approaches. We apply the proposed method to accommodate missing data in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System when estimating means and parameters of regression models.

Many robust tests have been proposed in the literature to compare two hazard rate functions, however, very few of them can be used in cases when there are multiple hazard rate functions to be compared. In this article, we propose an approach for detecting the difference among multiple hazard rate functions. Through a simulation study and a real-data application, we show that the new method is robust and powerful in many situations, compared with some commonly used tests.

In comparative effectiveness research, it is often of interest to calibrate treatment effect estimates from a clinical trial to a target population that differs from the study population. One important application is an indirect comparison of a new treatment with a placebo control on the basis of two separate randomized clinical trials: a non-inferiority trial comparing the new treatment with an active control and a historical trial comparing the active control with placebo. The available methods for treatment effect calibration include an outcome regression (OR) method based on a regression model for the outcome and a weighting method based on a propensity score (PS) model. This article proposes new methods for treatment effect calibration: one based on a conditional effect (CE) model and two doubly robust (DR) methods. The first DR method involves a PS model and an OR model, is asymptotically valid if either model is correct, and attains the semiparametric information bound if both models are correct. The second DR method involves a PS model, a CE model, and possibly an OR model, is asymptotically valid under the union of the PS and CE models, and attains the semiparametric information bound if all three models are correct. The various methods are compared in a simulation study and applied to recent clinical trials for treating human immunodeficiency virus infection.

Treatment policies, also known as dynamic treatment regimes, are sequences of decision rules that link the observed patient history with treatment recommendations. Multiple, plausible, treatment policies are frequently constructed by researchers using expert opinion, theories, and reviews of the literature. Often these different policies represent competing approaches to managing an illness. Here, we develop an “assisted estimator” that can be used to compare the mean outcome of competing treatment policies. The term “assisted” refers to the fact estimators from the Structural Nested Mean Model, a parametric model for the causal effect of treatment at each time point, are used in the process of estimating the mean outcome. This work is motivated by our work on comparing the mean outcome of two competing treatment policies using data from the ExTENd study in alcohol dependence.

The confidence intervals for the ratio of two median residual lifetimes are developed for left-truncated and right-censored data. The approach of Su and Wei (1993) is first extended by replacing the Kaplan–Meier survival estimator with the estimator of the conditional survival function (Lynden-Bell, 1971). This procedure does not involve a nonparametric estimation of the probability density function of the failure time. However, the Su and Wei type confidence intervals are very conservative even for larger sample size. Therefore, this article proposes an alternative confidence interval for the ratio of two median residual lifetimes, which is not only without nonparametric estimation of the density function of failure times but is also computationally simpler than the Su and Wei type confidence interval. A simulation study is conducted to examine the accuracy of these confidence intervals and the implementation of these confidence intervals to two real data sets is illustrated.

We propose an model for population size estimation in capture-recapture studies. The *tb* part is based on equality constraints for the conditional capture probabilities, leading to an extremely rich model class. Observed and unobserved heterogeneity are dealt with by means of a logistic parameterization. In order to explore the model class, we introduce a penalized version of the likelihood. The conditional likelihood and penalized conditional likelihood are maximized by means of efficient EM algorithms. Simulations and two real data examples illustrate the approach.

We present a novel formulation of a mark–recapture–resight model that allows estimation of population size, stopover duration, and arrival and departure schedules at migration areas. Estimation is based on encounter histories of uniquely marked individuals and relative counts of marked and unmarked animals. We use a Bayesian analysis of a state–space formulation of the Jolly–Seber mark–recapture model, integrated with a binomial model for counts of unmarked animals, to derive estimates of population size and arrival and departure probabilities. We also provide a novel estimator for stopover duration that is derived from the latent state variable representing the interim between arrival and departure in the state–space model. We conduct a simulation study of field sampling protocols to understand the impact of superpopulation size, proportion marked, and number of animals sampled on bias and precision of estimates. Simulation results indicate that relative bias of estimates of the proportion of the population with marks was low for all sampling scenarios and never exceeded 2%. Our approach does not require enumeration of all unmarked animals detected or direct knowledge of the number of marked animals in the population at the time of the study. This provides flexibility and potential application in a variety of sampling situations (e.g., migratory birds, breeding seabirds, sea turtles, fish, pinnipeds, etc.). Application of the methods is demonstrated with data from a study of migratory sandpipers.

Under suitable assumptions and by exploiting the independence between inherited genetic susceptibility and treatment assignment, the case-only design yields efficient estimates for subgroup treatment effects and gene-treatment interaction in a Cox model. However it cannot provide estimates of the genetic main effect and baseline hazards, that are necessary to compute the absolute disease risk. For two-arm, placebo-controlled trials with rare failure time endpoints, we consider augmenting the case-only design with random samples of controls from both arms, as in the classical case-cohort sampling scheme, or with a random sample of controls from the active treatment arm only. The latter design is motivated by vaccine trials for cost-effective use of resources and specimens so that host genetics and vaccine-induced immune responses can be studied simultaneously in a bigger set of participants. We show that these designs can identify all parameters in a Cox model and that the efficient case-only estimator can be incorporated in a two-step plug-in procedure. Results in simulations and a data example suggest that incorporating case-only estimators in the classical case-cohort design improves the precision of all estimated parameters; sampling controls only in the active treatment arm attains a similar level of efficiency.

Spatial generalized linear mixed models (SGLMMs) are popular models for spatial data with a non-Gaussian response. Binomial SGLMMs with logit or probit link functions are often used to model spatially dependent binomial random variables. It is known that for independent binomial data, the robit regression model provides a more robust (against extreme observations) alternative to the more popular logistic and probit models. In this article, we introduce a Bayesian spatial robit model for spatially dependent binomial data. Since constructing a meaningful prior on the link function parameter as well as the spatial correlation parameters in SGLMMs is difficult, we propose an empirical Bayes (EB) approach for the estimation of these parameters as well as for the prediction of the random effects. The EB methodology is implemented by efficient importance sampling methods based on Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms. Our simulation study shows that the robit model is robust against model misspecification, and our EB method results in estimates with less bias than full Bayesian (FB) analysis. The methodology is applied to a Celastrus Orbiculatus data, and a Rhizoctonia root data. For the former, which is known to contain outlying observations, the robit model is shown to do better for predicting the spatial distribution of an invasive species. For the latter, our approach is doing as well as the classical models for predicting the disease severity for a root disease, as the probit link is shown to be appropriate.

Though this article is written for Binomial SGLMMs for brevity, the EB methodology is more general and can be applied to other types of SGLMMs. In the accompanying R package geoBayes, implementations for other SGLMMs such as Poisson and Gamma SGLMMs are provided.

Semicontinuous data in the form of a mixture of a large portion of zero values and continuously distributed positive values frequently arise in many areas of biostatistics. This article is motivated by the analysis of relationships between disease outcomes and intakes of episodically consumed dietary components. An important aspect of studies in nutritional epidemiology is that true diet is unobservable and commonly evaluated by food frequency questionnaires with substantial measurement error. Following the regression calibration approach for measurement error correction, unknown individual intakes in the risk model are replaced by their conditional expectations given mismeasured intakes and other model covariates. Those regression calibration predictors are estimated using short-term unbiased reference measurements in a calibration substudy. Since dietary intakes are often “energy-adjusted,” e.g., by using ratios of the intake of interest to total energy intake, the correct estimation of the regression calibration predictor for each energy-adjusted episodically consumed dietary component requires modeling short-term reference measurements of the component (a semicontinuous variable), and energy (a continuous variable) simultaneously in a bivariate model. In this article, we develop such a bivariate model, together with its application to regression calibration. We illustrate the new methodology using data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (Schatzkin et al., 2001, *American Journal of Epidemiology* **154**, 1119–1125), and also evaluate its performance in a simulation study.

Understanding HIV incidence, the rate at which new infections occur in populations, is critical for tracking and surveillance of the epidemic. In this article, we derive methods for determining sample sizes for cross-sectional surveys to estimate incidence with sufficient precision. We further show how to specify sample sizes for two successive cross-sectional surveys to detect changes in incidence with adequate power. In these surveys biomarkers such as CD4 cell count, viral load, and recently developed serological assays are used to determine which individuals are in an early disease stage of infection. The total number of individuals in this stage, divided by the number of people who are uninfected, is used to approximate the incidence rate. Our methods account for uncertainty in the durations of time spent in the biomarker defined early disease stage. We find that failure to account for this uncertainty when designing surveys can lead to imprecise estimates of incidence and underpowered studies. We evaluated our sample size methods in simulations and found that they performed well in a variety of underlying epidemics. Code for implementing our methods in R is available with this article at the *Biometrics* website on Wiley Online Library.

For a study with an event time as the endpoint, its survival function contains all the information regarding the temporal, stochastic profile of this outcome variable. The survival probability at a specific time point, say *t*, however, does not transparently capture the temporal profile of this endpoint up to *t*. An alternative is to use the restricted mean survival time (RMST) at time *t* to summarize the profile. The RMST is the mean survival time of all subjects in the study population followed up to *t*, and is simply the area under the survival curve up to *t*. The advantages of using such a quantification over the survival rate have been discussed in the setting of a fixed-time analysis. In this article, we generalize this approach by considering a curve based on the RMST over time as an alternative summary to the survival function. Inference, for instance, based on simultaneous confidence bands for a single RMST curve and also the difference between two RMST curves are proposed. The latter is informative for evaluating two groups under an equivalence or noninferiority setting, and quantifies the difference of two groups in a time scale. The proposal is illustrated with the data from two clinical trials, one from oncology and the other from cardiology.

Climate change is expected to have many impacts on the environment, including changes in ozone concentrations at the surface level. A key public health concern is the potential increase in ozone-related summertime mortality if surface ozone concentrations rise in response to climate change. Although ozone formation depends partly on summertime weather, which exhibits considerable inter-annual variability, previous health impact studies have not incorporated the variability of ozone into their prediction models. A major source of uncertainty in the health impacts is the variability of the modeled ozone concentrations. We propose a Bayesian model and Monte Carlo estimation method for quantifying health effects of future ozone. An advantage of this approach is that we include the uncertainty in both the health effect association and the modeled ozone concentrations. Using our proposed approach, we quantify the expected change in ozone-related summertime mortality in the contiguous United States between 2000 and 2050 under a changing climate. The mortality estimates show regional patterns in the expected degree of impact. We also illustrate the results when using a common technique in previous work that averages ozone to reduce the size of the data, and contrast these findings with our own. Our analysis yields more realistic inferences, providing clearer interpretation for decision making regarding the impacts of climate change.

Technological advances have led to a proliferation of structured big data that have matrix-valued covariates. We are specifically motivated to build predictive models for multi-subject neuroimaging data based on each subject's brain imaging scans. This is an ultra-high-dimensional problem that consists of a matrix of covariates (brain locations by time points) for each subject; few methods currently exist to fit supervised models directly to this tensor data. We propose a novel modeling and algorithmic strategy to apply generalized linear models (GLMs) to this massive tensor data in which one set of variables is associated with locations. Our method begins by fitting GLMs to each location separately, and then builds an ensemble by blending information across locations through regularization with what we term an aggregating penalty. Our so called, Local-Aggregate Model, can be fit in a completely distributed manner over the locations using an Alternating Direction Method of Multipliers (ADMM) strategy, and thus greatly reduces the computational burden. Furthermore, we propose to select the appropriate model through a novel sequence of faster algorithmic solutions that is similar to regularization paths. We will demonstrate both the computational and predictive modeling advantages of our methods via simulations and an EEG classification problem.

Menstrual cycle length (MCL) has been shown to play an important role in couple fecundity, which is the biologic capacity for reproduction irrespective of pregnancy intentions. However, a comprehensive assessment of its role requires a fecundity model that accounts for male and female attributes and the couple's intercourse pattern relative to the ovulation day. To this end, we employ a Bayesian joint model for MCL and pregnancy. MCLs follow a scale multiplied (accelerated) mixture model with Gaussian and Gumbel components; the pregnancy model includes MCL as a covariate and computes the cycle-specific probability of pregnancy in a menstrual cycle conditional on the pattern of intercourse and no previous fertilization. Day-specific fertilization probability is modeled using natural, cubic splines. We analyze data from the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study (the LIFE Study), a couple based prospective pregnancy study, and find a statistically significant quadratic relation between fecundity and menstrual cycle length, after adjustment for intercourse pattern and other attributes, including male semen quality, both partner's age, and active smoking status (determined by baseline cotinine level 100 ng/mL). We compare results to those produced by a more basic model and show the advantages of a more comprehensive approach.

Recurrent events often serve as the outcome in epidemiologic studies. In some observational studies, the goal is to estimate the effect of a new or “experimental” (i.e., less established) treatment of interest on the recurrent event rate. The incentive for accepting the new treatment may be that it is more available than the standard treatment. Given that the patient can choose between the experimental treatment and conventional therapy, it is of clinical importance to compare the treatment of interest versus the setting where the experimental treatment did not exist, in which case patients could only receive no treatment or the standard treatment. Many methods exist for the analysis of recurrent events and for the evaluation of treatment effects. However, methodology for the intersection of these two areas is sparse. Moreover, care must be taken in setting up the comparison groups in our setting; use of existing methods featuring time-dependent treatment indicators will generally lead to a biased treatment effect since the comparison group construction will not properly account for the timing of treatment initiation. We propose a sequential stratification method featuring time-dependent prognostic score matching to estimate the effect of a time-dependent treatment on the recurrent event rate. The performance of the method in moderate-sized samples is assessed through simulation. The proposed methods are applied to a prospective clinical study in order to evaluate the effect of living donor liver transplantation on hospitalization rates; in this setting, conventional therapy involves remaining on the wait list or receiving a deceased donor transplant.

A common practice with ordered doses of treatment and ordered responses, perhaps recorded in a contingency table with ordered rows and columns, is to cut or remove a cross from the table, leaving the outer corners—that is, the high-versus-low dose, high-versus-low response corners—and from these corners to compute a risk or odds ratio. This little remarked but common practice seems to be motivated by the oldest and most familiar method of sensitivity analysis in observational studies, proposed by Cornfield et al. (1959), which says that to explain a population risk ratio purely as bias from an unobserved binary covariate, the prevalence ratio of the covariate must exceed the risk ratio. Quite often, the largest risk ratio, hence the one least sensitive to bias by this standard, is derived from the corners of the ordered table with the central cross removed. Obviously, the corners use only a portion of the data, so a focus on the corners has consequences for the standard error as well as for bias, but sampling variability was not a consideration in this early and familiar form of sensitivity analysis, where point estimates replaced population parameters. Here, this cross-cut analysis is examined with the aid of design sensitivity and the power of a sensitivity analysis.

Recurrent event data arise frequently in longitudinal medical studies. In many situations, there are a large portion of subjects without any recurrent events, manifesting the “zero-inflated” nature of the data. Some of the zero events may be “structural zeros” as patients are unsusceptible to recurrent events, while others are “random zeros” due to censoring before any recurrent events. On the other hand, there often exists a terminal event which may be correlated with the recurrent events. In this article, we propose two joint frailty models for zero-inflated recurrent events in the presence of a terminal event, combining a logistic model for “structural zero” status (Yes/No) and a joint frailty proportional hazards model for recurrent and terminal event times. The models can be fitted conveniently in SAS Proc NLMIXED. We apply the methods to model recurrent opportunistic diseases in the presence of death in an AIDS study, and tumor recurrences and a terminal event in a sarcoma study.

Finding an efficient and computationally feasible approach to deal with the curse of high-dimensionality is a daunting challenge faced by modern biological science. The problem becomes even more severe when the interactions are the research focus. To improve the performance of statistical analyses, we propose a sparse and low-rank (SLR) screening based on the combination of a low-rank interaction model and the Lasso screening. SLR models the interaction effects using a low-rank matrix to achieve parsimonious parametrization. The low-rank model increases the efficiency of statistical inference and, hence, SLR screening is able to more accurately detect gene–gene interactions than conventional methods. Incorporation of SLR screening into the Screen-and-Clean approach (Wasserman and Roeder, 2009; Wu et al., 2010) is also discussed, which suffers less penalty from Boferroni correction, and is able to assign p-values for the identified variables in high-dimensional model. We apply the proposed screening procedure to the Warfarin dosage study and the CoLaus study. The results suggest that the new procedure can identify main and interaction effects that would have been omitted by conventional screening methods.

We introduce statistical methods for predicting the types of human activity at sub-second resolution using triaxial accelerometry data. The major innovation is that we use labeled activity data from some subjects to predict the activity labels of other subjects. To achieve this, we normalize the data across subjects by matching the standing up and lying down portions of triaxial accelerometry data. This is necessary to account for differences between the variability in the position of the device relative to gravity, which are induced by body shape and size as well as by the ambiguous definition of device placement. We also normalize the data at the device level to ensure that the magnitude of the signal at rest is similar across devices. After normalization we use overlapping movelets (segments of triaxial accelerometry time series) extracted from some of the subjects to predict the movement type of the other subjects. The problem was motivated by and is applied to a laboratory study of 20 older participants who performed different activities while wearing accelerometers at the hip. Prediction results based on other people's labeled dictionaries of activity performed almost as well as those obtained using their own labeled dictionaries. These findings indicate that prediction of activity types for data collected during natural activities of daily living may actually be possible.

Despite spectacular advances in molecular genomic technologies in the past two decades, resources available for genomic studies are still finite and limited, especially for family-based studies. Hence, it is important to consider an optimum study design to maximally utilize limited resources to increase statistical power in family-based studies. A particular question of interest is whether it is more profitable to genotype siblings of probands or to recruit more independent families. Numerous studies have attempted to address this study design issue for simultaneous detection of imprinting and maternal effects, two important epigenetic factors for studying complex diseases. The question is far from settled, however, mainly due to the fact that results and recommendations in the literature are based on anecdotal evidence from limited simulation studies rather than based on rigorous statistical analysis. In this article, we propose a systematic approach to study various designs based on a partial likelihood formulation. We derive the asymptotic properties and obtain formulas for computing the information contents of study designs being considered. Our results show that, for a common disease, recruiting additional siblings is beneficial because both affected and unaffected individuals will be included. However, if a disease is rare, then any additional siblings recruited are most likely to be unaffected, thus contributing little additional information; in such cases, additional families will be a better choice with a fixed amount of resources. Our work thus offers a practical strategy for investigators to select the optimum study design within a case-control family scheme before data collection.

Medical and public health research increasingly involves the collection of complex and high dimensional data. In particular, functional data—where the unit of observation is a curve or set of curves that are finely sampled over a grid—is frequently obtained. Moreover, researchers often sample multiple curves per person resulting in repeated functional measures. A common question is how to analyze the relationship between two functional variables. We propose a general function-on-function regression model for repeatedly sampled functional data on a fine grid, presenting a simple model as well as a more extensive mixed model framework, and introducing various functional Bayesian inferential procedures that account for multiple testing. We examine these models via simulation and a data analysis with data from a study that used event-related potentials to examine how the brain processes various types of images.

Stochastic process models are widely employed for analyzing spatiotemporal datasets in various scientific disciplines including, but not limited to, environmental monitoring, ecological systems, forestry, hydrology, meteorology, and public health. After inferring on a spatiotemporal process for a given dataset, inferential interest may turn to estimating rates of change, or *gradients*, over space and time. This manuscript develops fully model-based inference on spatiotemporal gradients under continuous space, continuous time settings. Our contribution is to offer, within a flexible spatiotemporal process model setting, a framework to estimate arbitrary directional gradients over space at any given timepoint, temporal derivatives at any given spatial location and, finally, mixed spatiotemporal gradients that reflect rapid change in spatial gradients over time and vice-versa. We achieve such inference without compromising on rich and flexible spatiotemporal process models and use nonseparable covariance structures. We illustrate our methodology using a simulated data example and subsequently apply it to a dataset of daily PM2.5 concentrations in California, where the spatiotemporal gradient process reveals the effects of California's unique topography on pollution and detects the aftermath of a devastating series of wildfires.

Gene regulatory networks represent the regulatory relationships between genes and their products and are important for exploring and defining the underlying biological processes of cellular systems. We develop a novel framework to recover the structure of nonlinear gene regulatory networks using semiparametric spline-based directed acyclic graphical models. Our use of splines allows the model to have both flexibility in capturing nonlinear dependencies as well as control of overfitting via shrinkage, using mixed model representations of penalized splines. We propose a novel discrete mixture prior on the smoothing parameter of the splines that allows for simultaneous selection of both linear and nonlinear functional relationships as well as inducing sparsity in the edge selection. Using simulation studies, we demonstrate the superior performance of our methods in comparison with several existing approaches in terms of network reconstruction and functional selection. We apply our methods to a gene expression dataset in glioblastoma multiforme, which reveals several interesting and biologically relevant nonlinear relationships.

Current methods for detecting genetic associations lack full consideration of the background effects of environmental exposures. Recently proposed methods to account for environmental exposures have focused on logistic regressions with gene–environment interactions. In this report, we developed a test for genetic association, encompassing a broad range of risk models, including linear, logistic and probit, for specifying joint effects of genetic and environmental exposures. We obtained the test statistics by maximizing over a class of score tests, each of which involves modified standard tests of genetic association through a weight function. This weight function reflects the potential heterogeneity of the genetic effects by levels of environmental exposures under a particular model. Simulation studies demonstrate the robust power of these methods for detecting genetic associations under a wide range of scenarios. Applications of these methods are further illustrated using data from genome-wide association studies of type 2 diabetes with body mass index and of lung cancer risk with smoking.

Genetic association studies with longitudinal markers of chronic diseases (e.g., blood pressure, body mass index) provide a valuable opportunity to explore how genetic variants affect traits over time by utilizing the full trajectory of longitudinal outcomes. Since these traits are likely influenced by the joint effect of multiple variants in a gene, a joint analysis of these variants considering linkage disequilibrium (LD) may help to explain additional phenotypic variation. In this article, we propose a longitudinal genetic random field model (LGRF), to test the association between a phenotype measured repeatedly during the course of an observational study and a set of genetic variants. Generalized score type tests are developed, which we show are robust to misspecification of within-subject correlation, a feature that is desirable for longitudinal analysis. In addition, a joint test incorporating gene–time interaction is further proposed. Computational advancement is made for scalable implementation of the proposed methods in large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The proposed methods are evaluated through extensive simulation studies and illustrated using data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Our simulation results indicate substantial gain in power using LGRF when compared with two commonly used existing alternatives: (i) single marker tests using longitudinal outcome and (ii) existing gene-based tests using the average value of repeated measurements as the outcome.

In the analysis of longitudinal or panel data, neglecting the serial correlations among the repeated measurements within subjects may lead to inefficient inference. In particular, when the number of repeated measurements is large, it may be desirable to model the serial correlations more generally. An appealing approach is to accommodate the serial correlations nonparametrically. In this article, we propose a moving blocks empirical likelihood method for general estimating equations. Asymptotic results are derived under sequential limits. Simulation studies are conducted to investigate the finite sample performances of the proposed methods and compare them with the elementwise and subject-wise empirical likelihood methods of Wang et al. (2010, *Biometrika* 97, 79–93) and the block empirical likelihood method of You et al. (2006, *Can. J. Statist*. 34, 79–96). An application to an AIDS longitudinal study is presented.

Progressive and insidious cognitive decline that interferes with daily life is the defining characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Epidemiological studies have found that the pathological process of AD begins years before a clinical diagnosis is made and can be highly variable within a given population. Characterizing cognitive decline in the preclinical phase of AD is critical for the development of early intervention strategies when disease-modifying therapies may be most effective. In the last decade, there has been an increased interest in the application of change-point models to longitudinal cognitive outcomes prior to and after diagnosis. Most of the proposed statistical methodology for describing decline relies upon distributional assumptions that may not hold. In this article, we introduce a quantile regression with a change-point model for longitudinal data of cognitive function in persons bound to develop AD. A change-point in our model reflects the transition from the cognitive decline due to normal aging to the accelerated decline due to disease progression. Quantile regression avoids common distributional assumptions on cognitive outcomes and allows the covariate effects and the change-point to vary for different quantiles of the response. We provided an approach for estimating the model parameters, including the change-point, and presented inferential procedures based on the asymptotic properties of the estimators. A simulation study showed that the estimation and inferential procedures perform reasonably well in finite samples. The practical use of our model was illustrated by an application to longitudinal episodic memory outcomes from two cohort studies of aging and AD.

Personalized medicine is a rapidly expanding area of health research wherein patient level information is used to inform their treatment. Dynamic treatment regimens (DTRs) are a means of formalizing the sequence of treatment decisions that characterize personalized management plans. Identifying the DTR which optimizes expected patient outcome is of obvious interest and numerous methods have been proposed for this purpose. We present a new approach which builds on two established methods: Q-learning and G-estimation, offering the doubly robust property of the latter but with ease of implementation much more akin to the former. We outline the underlying theory, provide simulation studies that demonstrate the double-robustness and efficiency properties of our approach, and illustrate its use on data from the Promotion of Breastfeeding Intervention Trial.

To facilitate comparative treatment selection when there is substantial heterogeneity of treatment effectiveness, it is important to identify subgroups that exhibit differential treatment effects. Existing approaches model outcomes directly and then define subgroups according to interactions between treatment and covariates. Because outcomes are affected by both the covariate–treatment interactions and covariate main effects, direct modeling outcomes can be hard due to model misspecification, especially in presence of many covariates. Alternatively one can directly work with differential treatment effect estimation. We propose such a method that approximates a target function whose value directly reflects correct treatment assignment for patients. The function uses patient outcomes as weights rather than modeling targets. Consequently, our method can deal with binary, continuous, time-to-event, and possibly contaminated outcomes in the same fashion. We first focus on identifying only directional estimates from linear rules that characterize important subgroups. We further consider estimation of comparative treatment effects for identified subgroups. We demonstrate the advantages of our method in simulation studies and in analyses of two real data sets.

Confounder selection and adjustment are essential elements of assessing the causal effect of an exposure or treatment in observational studies. Building upon work by Wang et al. (2012, *Biometrics* **68**, 661–671) and Lefebvre et al. (2014, *Statistics in Medicine* **33**, 2797–2813), we propose and evaluate a Bayesian method to estimate average causal effects in studies with a large number of potential confounders, relatively few observations, likely interactions between confounders and the exposure of interest, and uncertainty on which confounders and interaction terms should be included. Our method is applicable across all exposures and outcomes that can be handled through generalized linear models. In this general setting, estimation of the average causal effect is different from estimation of the exposure coefficient in the outcome model due to noncollapsibility. We implement a Bayesian bootstrap procedure to integrate over the distribution of potential confounders and to estimate the causal effect. Our method permits estimation of both the overall population causal effect and effects in specified subpopulations, providing clear characterization of heterogeneous exposure effects that may vary considerably across different covariate profiles. Simulation studies demonstrate that the proposed method performs well in small sample size situations with 100–150 observations and 50 covariates. The method is applied to data on 15,060 US Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor between 2000 and 2009 to evaluate whether surgery reduces hospital readmissions within 30 days of diagnosis.

Covariate-specific time-dependent ROC curves are often used to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a biomarker with time-to-event outcomes, when certain covariates have an impact on the test accuracy. In many medical studies, measurements of biomarkers are subject to missingness due to high cost or limitation of technology. This article considers estimation of covariate-specific time-dependent ROC curves in the presence of missing biomarkers. To incorporate the covariate effect, we assume a proportional hazards model for the failure time given the biomarker and the covariates, and a semiparametric location model for the biomarker given the covariates. In the presence of missing biomarkers, we propose a simple weighted estimator for the ROC curves where the weights are inversely proportional to the selection probability. We also propose an augmented weighted estimator which utilizes information from the subjects with missing biomarkers. The augmented weighted estimator enjoys the double-robustness property in the sense that the estimator remains consistent if either the missing data process or the conditional distribution of the missing data given the observed data is correctly specified. We derive the large sample properties of the proposed estimators and evaluate their finite sample performance using numerical studies. The proposed approaches are illustrated using the US Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) dataset.

Epidemiological studies of related individuals are often complicated by the fact that follow-up on the event type of interest is incomplete due to the occurrence of other events. We suggest a class of frailty models with cause-specific hazards for correlated competing events in related individuals. The frailties are based on sums of gamma distributed variables and offer closed form expressions for the observed intensities. An inference procedure with a recursive baseline estimator is proposed, and its large sample properties are established. The estimator readily handles cluster left-truncation as occurring in the Nordic twin registers. The performance in finite samples is investigated by simulations and an example on prostate cancer in twins is provided for illustration.

We suggest an estimator for the proportional odds cumulative incidence model for competing risks data. The key advantage of this model is that the regression parameters have the simple and useful odds ratio interpretation. The model has been considered by many authors, but it is rarely used in practice due to the lack of reliable estimation procedures. We suggest such procedures and show that their performance improve considerably on existing methods. We also suggest a goodness-of-fit test for the proportional odds assumption. We derive the large sample properties and provide estimators of the asymptotic variance. The method is illustrated by an application in a bone marrow transplant study and the finite-sample properties are assessed by simulations.

Standard use of Cox regression requires collection of covariate information for all individuals in a cohort even when only a small fraction of them experiences the event of interest (fail). This may be very expensive for large cohorts. Further in biomarker studies, it will imply a waste of valuable biological material that one may want to save for future studies. A nested case-control study offers a useful alternative. For this design, covariate information is only needed for the failing individuals (cases) and a sample of controls selected from the cases’ at-risk sets. Methods based on martingale residuals are useful for checking the fit of Cox's regression model for cohort data. But similar methods have so far not been developed for nested case-control data. In this article, it is described how one may define martingale residuals for nested case-control data, and it is shown how plots and tests based on cumulative sums of martingale residuals may be used to check model fit. The plots and tests may be obtained using available software.

In a relative risk analysis of colorectal caner on nutrition intake scores across genders, we show that, surprisingly, when comparing the relative risks for men and women based on the index of a weighted sum of various nutrition scores, the problem reduces to forming a confidence interval for the ratio of two (asymptotically) normal random variables. The latter is an old problem, with a substantial literature. However, our simulation results suggest that existing methods often either give inaccurate coverage probabilities or have a positive probability to produce confidence intervals with infinite length. Motivated by such a problem, we develop a new methodology which we call the Direct Integral Method for Ratios (DIMER), which, unlike the other methods, is based directly on the distribution of the ratio. In simulations, we compare this method to many others. These simulations show that, generally, DIMER more closely achieves the nominal confidence level, and in those cases that the other methods achieve the nominal levels, DIMER has comparable confidence interval lengths. The methodology is then applied to a real data set, and with follow up simulations.

Statistical tests for epidemic patterns use measures of space–time event clustering, and look for high levels of clustering that are unlikely to appear randomly if events are independent. Standard approaches, such as Knox's (1964, *Applied Statistics* **13**, 25–29) test, are biased when the spatial distribution of population changes over time, or when there is space–time interaction in important background variables. In particular, the Knox test is too sensitive to coincidental event clusters in such circumstances, and too likely to raise false alarms. Kulldorff and Hjalmars (1999, *Biometrics* **55**, 544–552) proposed a variant of Knox's test to control for bias caused by population shifts. In this article, I demonstrate that their test is also generally biased, in an unknown direction. I suggest an alternative approach that accounts for exposure shifts while also conditioning on the observed spatial and temporal margins of event counts, as in the original Knox test. The new approach uses Metropolis sampling of permutations, and is unbiased under more general conditions. I demonstrate how the new method can also include controls for the clustering effects of covariates.

In capture–recapture studies, the use of individual covariates has been recommended to get stable population estimates. However, some residual heterogeneity might still exist and ignoring such heterogeneity could lead to underestimating the population size (*N*). In this work, we explore two new models with capture probabilities depending on both covariates and unobserved random effects, to estimate the size of a population. Inference techniques including Horvitz–Thompson estimate and confidence intervals for the population size, are derived. The selection of a particular model is carried out using the Akaike information criterion (AIC). First, we extend the random effect model of Darroch et al. (1993, *Journal of American Statistical Association* **88**, 1137–1148) to handle unit level covariates and discuss its limitations. The second approach is a generalization of the traditional zero-truncated binomial model that includes a random effect to account for an unobserved heterogeneity. This approach provides useful tools for inference about *N*, since key quantities such as moments, likelihood functions and estimates of *N* and their standard errors have closed form expressions. Several models for the unobserved heterogeneity are available and the marginal capture probability is expressed using the Logit and the complementary Log–Log link functions. The sensitivity of the inference to the specification of a model is also investigated through simulations. A numerical example is presented. We compare the performance of the proposed estimator with that obtained under model of Huggins (1989 *Biometrika* **76**, 130–140).

In many applications, covariates possess a grouping structure that can be incorporated into the analysis to select important groups as well as important members of those groups. One important example arises in genetic association studies, where genes may have several variants capable of contributing to disease. An ideal penalized regression approach would select variables by balancing both the direct evidence of a feature's importance as well as the indirect evidence offered by the grouping structure. This work proposes a new approach we call the group exponential lasso (GEL) which features a decay parameter controlling the degree to which feature selection is coupled together within groups. We demonstrate that the GEL has a number of statistical and computational advantages over previously proposed group penalties such as the group lasso, group bridge, and composite MCP. Finally, we apply these methods to the problem of detecting rare variants in a genetic association study.

Traditional voxel-level multiple testing procedures in neuroimaging, mostly *p*-value based, often ignore the spatial correlations among neighboring voxels and thus suffer from substantial loss of power. We extend the local-significance-index based procedure originally developed for the hidden Markov chain models, which aims to minimize the false nondiscovery rate subject to a constraint on the false discovery rate, to three-dimensional neuroimaging data using a hidden Markov random field model. A generalized expectation–maximization algorithm for maximizing the penalized likelihood is proposed for estimating the model parameters. Extensive simulations show that the proposed approach is more powerful than conventional false discovery rate procedures. We apply the method to the comparison between mild cognitive impairment, a disease status with increased risk of developing Alzheimer's or another dementia, and normal controls in the FDG-PET imaging study of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative.

We present a principled technique for estimating the effect of covariates on malaria parasite clearance rates in the presence of “lag” and “tail” phases through the use of a Bayesian hierarchical linear model. The hierarchical approach enables us to appropriately incorporate the uncertainty in both estimating clearance rates in patients and assessing the potential impact of covariates on these rates into the posterior intervals generated for the parameters associated with each covariate. Furthermore, it permits us to incorporate information about individuals for whom there exists only one observation time before censoring, which alleviates a systematic bias affecting inference when these individuals are excluded. We use a changepoint model to account for both lag and tail phases, and hence base our estimation of the parasite clearance rate only on observations within the decay phase. The Bayesian approach allows us to treat the delineation between lag, decay, and tail phases within an individual's clearance profile as *themselves* being random variables, thus taking into account the additional uncertainty of boundaries between phases. We compare our method to existing methodology used in the antimalarial research community through a simulation study and show that it possesses desirable frequentist properties for conducting inference. We use our methodology to measure the impact of several covariates on *Plasmodium falciparum* clearance rate data collected in 2009 and 2010. Though our method was developed with this application in mind, it can be easily applied to any biological system exhibiting these hindrances to estimation.

Multi-state models can be viewed as generalizations of both the standard and competing risks models for survival data. Models for multi-state data have been the theme of many recent published works. Motivated by bone marrow transplant data, we propose a Bayesian model using the gap times between two successive events in a path of events experienced by a subject. Path specific frailties are introduced to capture the dependence structure of the gap times in the paths with two or more states. Under improper prior distributions for the parameters, we establish propriety of the posterior distribution. An efficient Gibbs sampling algorithm is developed for drawing samples from the posterior distribution. An extensive simulation study is carried out to examine the empirical performance of the proposed approach. A bone marrow transplant data set is analyzed in detail to further demonstrate the proposed methodology.

When a true survival endpoint cannot be assessed for some subjects, an alternative endpoint that measures the true endpoint with error may be collected, which often occurs when obtaining the true endpoint is too invasive or costly. We develop an estimated likelihood function for the situation where we have both uncertain endpoints for all participants and true endpoints for only a subset of participants. We propose a nonparametric maximum estimated likelihood estimator of the discrete survival function of time to the true endpoint. We show that the proposed estimator is consistent and asymptotically normal. We demonstrate through extensive simulations that the proposed estimator has little bias compared to the naïve Kaplan–Meier survival function estimator, which uses only uncertain endpoints, and more efficient with moderate missingness compared to the complete-case Kaplan–Meier survival function estimator, which uses only available true endpoints. Finally, we apply the proposed method to a data set for estimating the risk of detecting Alzheimer's disease from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative.

Times of disease progression are interval-censored when progression status is only known at a series of assessment times. This situation arises routinely in clinical trials and cohort studies when events of interest are only detectable upon imaging, based on blood tests, or upon careful clinical examination. We consider the problem of selecting important prognostic biomarkers from a large set of candidates when disease progression status is only known at irregularly spaced and individual-specific assessment times. Penalized regression techniques (e.g., LASSO, adaptive LASSO, and SCAD) are adapted to handle interval-censored time of disease progression. An expectation–maximization algorithm is described which is empirically shown to perform well. Application to the motivating study of the development of arthritis mutilans in patients with psoriatic arthritis is given and several important human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variables are identified for further investigation.

Perfusion computed tomography (CTp) is an emerging functional imaging modality that uses physiological models to quantify characteristics pertaining to the passage of fluid through blood vessels. Perfusion characteristics provide physiological correlates for neovascularization induced by tumor angiogenesis. Thus CTp offers promise as a non-invasive quantitative functional imaging tool for cancer detection, prognostication, and treatment monitoring. In this article, we develop a Bayesian probabilistic framework for simultaneous supervised classification of multivariate correlated objects using separable covariance. The classification approach is applied to discriminate between regions of liver that contain pathologically verified metastases from normal liver tissue using five perfusion characteristics. The hepatic regions tend to be highly correlated due to common vasculature. We demonstrate that simultaneous Bayesian classification yields dramatic improvements in performance in the presence of strong correlation among intra-subject units, yet remains competitive with classical methods in the presence of weak or no correlation.

In this article we propose a Bayesian hierarchical model for the identification of differentially expressed genes in *Daphnia magna* organisms exposed to chemical compounds, specifically munition pollutants in water. The model we propose constitutes one of the very first attempts at a rigorous modeling of the biological effects of water purification. We have data acquired from a purification system that comprises four consecutive purification stages, which we refer to as “ponds,” of progressively more contaminated water. We model the expected expression of a gene in a pond as the sum of the mean of the same gene in the previous pond plus a gene-pond specific difference. We incorporate a variable selection mechanism for the identification of the differential expressions, with a prior distribution on the probability of a change that accounts for the available information on the concentration of chemical compounds present in the water. We carry out posterior inference via MCMC stochastic search techniques. In the application, we reduce the complexity of the data by grouping genes according to their functional characteristics, based on the KEGG pathway database. This also increases the biological interpretability of the results. Our model successfully identifies a number of pathways that show differential expression between consecutive purification stages. We also find that changes in the transcriptional response are more strongly associated to the presence of certain compounds, with the remaining contributing to a lesser extent. We discuss the sensitivity of these results to the model parameters that measure the influence of the prior information on the posterior inference.

Associating genetic markers with a multidimensional phenotype is an important yet challenging problem. In this work, we establish the equivalence between two popular methods: kernel-machine regression (KMR), and kernel distance covariance (KDC). KMR is a semiparametric regression framework that models covariate effects parametrically and genetic markers non-parametrically, while KDC represents a class of methods that include distance covariance (DC) and Hilbert–Schmidt independence criterion (HSIC), which are nonparametric tests of independence. We show that the equivalence between the score test of KMR and the KDC statistic under certain conditions can lead to a novel generalization of the KDC test that incorporates covariates. Our contributions are 3-fold: (1) establishing the equivalence between KMR and KDC; (2) showing that the principles of KMR can be applied to the interpretation of KDC; (3) the development of a broader class of KDC statistics, where the class members are statistics corresponding to different kernel combinations. Finally, we perform simulation studies and an analysis of real data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study. The ADNI study suggest that SNPs of *FLJ16124* exhibit pairwise interaction effects that are strongly correlated to the changes of brain region volumes.

Multiple longitudinal responses are often collected as a means to capture relevant features of the true outcome of interest, which is often hidden and not directly measurable. We outline an approach which models these multivariate longitudinal responses as generated from a hidden disease process. We propose a class of models which uses a hidden Markov model with separate but correlated random effects between multiple longitudinal responses. This approach was motivated by a smoking cessation clinical trial, where a bivariate longitudinal response involving both a continuous and a binomial response was collected for each participant to monitor smoking behavior. A Bayesian method using Markov chain Monte Carlo is used. Comparison of separate univariate response models to the bivariate response models was undertaken. Our methods are demonstrated on the smoking cessation clinical trial dataset, and properties of our approach are examined through extensive simulation studies.

The test of independence of row and column variables in a contingency table is a widely used statistical test in many areas of application. For complex survey samples, use of the standard Pearson chi-squared test is inappropriate due to correlation among units within the same cluster. Rao and Scott (1981, *Journal of the American Statistical Association* 76, 221–230) proposed an approach in which the standard Pearson chi-squared statistic is multiplied by a design effect to adjust for the complex survey design. Unfortunately, this test fails to exist when one of the observed cell counts equals zero. Even with the large samples typical of many complex surveys, zero cell counts can occur for rare events, small domains, or contingency tables with a large number of cells. Here, we propose Wald and score test statistics for independence based on weighted least squares estimating equations. In contrast to the Rao–Scott test statistic, the proposed Wald and score test statistics always exist. In simulations, the score test is found to perform best with respect to type I error. The proposed method is motivated by, and applied to, post surgical complications data from the United States’ Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) complex survey of hospitals in 2008.

In a period starting around 2007, the Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) became wide-spreading in China, and the Chinese public health was seriously threatened. To prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases like HFMD, effective disease surveillance systems would be especially helpful to give signals of disease outbreaks as early as possible. Statistical process control (SPC) charts provide a major statistical tool in industrial quality control for detecting product defectives in a timely manner. In recent years, SPC charts have been used for disease surveillance. However, disease surveillance data often have much more complicated structures, compared to the data collected from industrial production lines. Major challenges, including lack of in-control data, complex seasonal effects, and spatio-temporal correlations, make the surveillance data difficult to handle. In this article, we propose a three-step procedure for analyzing disease surveillance data, and our procedure is demonstrated using the HFMD data collected during 2008–2009 in China. Our method uses nonparametric longitudinal data and time series analysis methods to eliminate the possible impact of seasonality and temporal correlation before the disease incidence data are sequentially monitored by a SPC chart. At both national and provincial levels, our proposed method can effectively detect the increasing trend of disease incidence rate before the disease becomes wide-spreading.

The use of sequential statistical analysis for post-market drug safety surveillance is quickly emerging. Both continuous and group sequential analysis have been used, but consensus is lacking as to when to use which approach. We compare the statistical performance of continuous and group sequential analysis in terms of type I error probability; statistical power; expected time to signal when the null hypothesis is rejected; and the sample size required to end surveillance without rejecting the null. We present a mathematical proposition to show that for any group sequential design there always exists a continuous sequential design that is uniformly better. As a consequence, it is shown that more frequent testing is always better. Additionally, for a Poisson based probability model and a flat rejection boundary in terms of the log likelihood ratio, we compare the performance of various continuous and group sequential designs. Using exact calculations, we found that, for the parameter settings used, there is always a continuous design with shorter expected time to signal than the best group design. The two key conclusions from this article are (i) that any post-market safety surveillance system should attempt to obtain data as frequently as possible, and (ii) that sequential testing should always be performed when new data arrives without deliberately waiting for additional data.

In medical studies comparing two treatments in the presence of censored data, the stratified Cox model is an important tool that has the ability to flexibly handle non-proportional hazards while allowing parsimonious covariate adjustment. In order to capture the cumulative treatment effect, the ratio of the treatment specific cumulative baseline hazards is often used as a measure of the treatment effect. Pointwise and simultaneous confidence bands associated with the estimated ratio provide a global picture of how the treatment effect evolves over time. Recently, Dong and Matthews (2012, *Biometrics* **68**, 408–418) proposed to construct a pointwise confidence interval for the ratio using a plug-in type empirical likelihood approach. However, their result on the limiting distribution of the empirical likelihood ratio is generally incorrect and the resulting confidence interval is asymptotically undercovering. In this article, we derive the correct limiting distribution for the likelihood ratio statistic. We also present simulation studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach.

**EDITOR: TAESUNG PARK**

**Bayesian Networks With Examples in R**

(Marco Scutari and Jean-Baptiste Denis)

Taeryon Choi

**Applied Meta-Analysis with R**

(Ding-Geng Chen and Karl E. Peace)

Mira Park