This year, The HESI Environmental Epidemiology Committee launched a webinar series to illustrate the critical role epidemiology can play in the field of quantitative risk assessment. The fourth webinar in the series will feature Dr. Scott Bartell (UCI), who will present on “Understanding the Replication Crisis and Its Implications for Environmental Epidemiology.”
Investigators in a variety of fields have reported that many published findings can not be replicated. This talk reviews the factors contributing to lack of reproducibility, implications for environmental epidemiology, and strategies for mitigation. Although publication bias and other types of selective reporting may contribute substantially to irreproducible results, underpowered analyses and low prevalence of true associations likely explain most failures to replicate novel scientific results. Increased attention to exposure mixtures and susceptible subpopulations, and wider use of omics technologies, will likely decrease the proportion of investigated associations that are true associations, requiring greater caution in study design, analysis, and interpretation. Decision makers can counter these risks by relying on meta-analyses and well-powered studies that focus on scientifically justified hypotheses, by emphasizing risk estimation over statistical significance, and by employing bias analysis and triangulation.
Scott Bartell, PhD
Dr. Scott Bartell is Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health and Statistics at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). His research interest is environmental health methodology, with applications in environmental epidemiology, exposure science, and risk assessment. Since 2006, much of his research has focused on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including linkage of fate and transport models and a pharmacokinetic model for exposure reconstruction and epidemiological analyses in the C8 Studies, development of Bayesian statistical methods for biomarker-based pharmacokinetic calibration in exposure reconstruction, and assessment of the potential impacts of exposure measurement error on previous epidemiological findings for PFAS. Dr. Bartell currently serves as Principal Investigator for the UCI PFAS Health Study, the California site in the CDC/ATSDR Multi-Site PFAS Study.