The collaboration with the group in finland has turned into a nice new publication, with the title
“Cardiovascular events after ischemic stroke in young adults”
this work, with data from Finland was primarily done by KA and JP. KA came to Berlin to learn some epidemiology with the aid of the Virchow scholarship, so that is where we came in. It was great to have KA to be part of the team, and even better to have been working on their great data.
Now onto the results of the paper: like in the results of the RATIO follow-up study, the risk of recurrent young stroke remained present for a long-term time after the stroke in this analysis of the Helsinki Young Stroke Registry. But unlike the RATIO paper, this data had more information on their patients, for example the TOAST criteria. this means that we were able to identify that the group with a LAA had a very high risk of recurrence.
We published a new article just in PLOS Biology today, with the title:
“Where Have All the Rodents Gone? The Effects of Attrition in Experimental Research on Cancer and Stroke”
This is a wonderful collaboration between three fields: stats, epi and lab researchers. Combined we took a look at what is called attrition in the preclinical labs, that is the loss of data in animal experiments. This could be because the animal died before the needed data could be obtained, or just because a measurement failed. This loss of data can be translated to the concept of loss to follow-up in epidemiological cohort studies, and from this field we know that this could lead to substantial loss of statistical power and perhaps even bias.
But it was unknown to what extent this also was a problem in preclinical research, so we did two things. We looked at how often papers indicated there was attrition (with an alarming number of papers that did not provide the data for us to establish whether there was attrition), and we did some simulation what happens if there is attrition in various scenarios. The results paint a clear picture: the loss of power but also the bias is substantial. The degree of these is of course dependent on the scenario of attrition, but the message of the paper is clear: we should be aware of the problems that come with attrition and that reporting on attrition is the first step in minimising this problem.
A nice thing about this paper is that coincides with the start of a new research section in the PLOS galaxy, being “meta-research”, a collection of papers that all focus on how science works, behaves, and can or even should be improved. I can only welcome this, as more projects on this topic are in our pipeline!
Research in the media. It is however not my own research, but these two newspaper articles are related to my research.The first article (pdf) is on the role of helmets for scooters. This is linked to the publication on the risks related to motorised two-wheel vehicle crashes. (cick here for the pubmed entry)
The second article from the same edition of the NRC is related to the topic of my thesis. It is about the role of FXII in thrombosis, based on a publication by Thomas Renne et al in Science translational medicine. Antibodies against FXII downregulate the pathological thrombogenenis during extracorporeal circulation. These antibodies might be used in the prevention of clots during heart-lung surgery, but might also be applied in the prevention of thrombosis, both arterial and venous. Click here (pdf) for the NRC newspaper article, and here for the original research by Renne et al.
I find the several Dutch examples of scientific fraud and misconduct quite intriguing and I consider this topic to be one of my ‘projects’. I believe that these examples from the past learn us how the exactly the scientific community works. Different books, documentaries and reports have been published on this topic (such as the books from Frank van Kolfschoten, the weird apology-in-book-format from Diederik Stapel, the nice documentary on Buck, and the comprehensive reports from the KNAW such as the Schuyt report), and since last friday we can add an episode of the Dutch program “de vloer op” a TV program in which Dutch top actors improvise scenes which are only described in one little sentence.
For this scene, two actors are placed in an empty university dining hall, and the junior scientist is about to confront the senior prof with his suspicion of scientific fraud. The result can be seen here (unfortunately the video cannot be embedded on this wordpress.com website)
PS if you like “de vloer op” please consider to support this great program because the government support for HUMAN is not guaranteed. please visit their special website.
The arthritis Care and Research paper which I co-authored (PubMed) attracted attention from the guys of the NTVG. This paper, originally a collaboration between the Reumatology department and the department of Clinical Epidemiology described the relationship between BMI as a proxy for obesity and treatment response in patients with rheumatoid arthritis as is described on the news section of the NTVG website. The text of the news item from the NTVG website can also be read on this website if you ….
The Cicero, the monthly magazine of the LUMC, wrote an article on my thesis. During the interview, I was able to bring fort the nuances of the work in the thesis. That is, my thesis does not fully provide all the answers in details for allr esearch questions but it does provide a simple overview: an increased clotting potential is a risk factor for ischaemic stroke but not for moycardial infarction. Unfortunately, space limitations dictated that some remarks had to be left out. Fortunately, the last remarks is about the relevance of teaching experience as a PhD: a great link to one of my propositions.
The picture above was placed in the Cicero to accompany the interview. I like it very much because it has a certain epidemiological feel to it: a group (a cohort?) of women all different, but with certain patterns.