Methods based on propensity score (PS) have become increasingly popular as a tool for causal inference. A better understanding of the relative advantages and disadvantages of the alternative analytic approaches can contribute to the optimal choice and use of a specific PS method over other methods. In this article, we provide an accessible overview of causal inference from observational data and two major PS-based methods (matching and inverse probability weighting), focusing on the underlying assumptions and decision-making processes. We then discuss common pitfalls and tips for applying the PS methods to empirical research and compare the conventional multivariable outcome regression and the two alternative PS-based methods (ie, matching and inverse probability weighting) and discuss their similarities and differences. Although we note subtle differences in causal identification assumptions, we highlight that the methods are distinct primarily in terms of the statistical modeling assumptions involved and the target population for which exposure effects are being estimated.
Background: Mumps vaccination coverage is low in Japan, partly because of its voluntary nature. Although pediatric cases of mumps virus infection are captured by the National Epidemiological Surveillance of Infectious Diseases program under the Infectious Disease Law, there are currently no data regarding the occurrence of mumps and its complications in adults.
Methods: We investigated the annual incidence rates of mumps and its complications based on health insurance reimbursement data for 5,209,660 individuals aged 0–64 years for 2005–2017, obtained from JMDC Inc., to estimate the mumps-related disease burden during this period.
Results: There were three mumps outbreaks (2006, 2010, and 2016) during 2005–2017. The annual incidence of mumps was highest in individuals aged 0–5 years (808–3,792 per 100,000 persons), followed by those aged 6–15 years (658–2,141 per 100,000 persons). The incidence of mumps was higher in females than in males (male/female ratio, 0.90). Among mumps-related complications, the overall incidence (per 1,000 mumps cases) was highest for orchitis (6.6), followed by meningitis (5.8), deafness (1.3), pancreatitis (0.5), and encephalitis (0.3). No cases of oophoritis were noted. The overall incidence of mumps-related complications was 2.5 times higher in males than in females.
Conclusions: This study revealed the disease burden due to mumps and its complications in Japan during 2005–2017. These data suggest the need for mumps-prevention measures in adolescents and adults, as well as in children.
Background: Research findings indicate that four health-related behaviors (HRBs), smoking, alcohol, diet, and physical activity, do not co-occur within individuals by chance and therefore cluster. To date, there is a lack of research investigating the clustering of these HRBs in the Japanese population.
Methods: The Japanese National Health and Nutrition Survey 2010 was used, containing information on 8,015 community-dwelling adults. Latent profile analysis identified distinct cluster patterns of four HRBs: smoking status, alcohol consumption, calorie intake, and the number of steps per day.
Results: For men, four distinct HRB clusters were identified. The largest cluster (54%) was characterized by drinking more than Japan’s recommended alcohol guidelines and walking an inadequate number of steps per day. A small cluster (4%) also emerged, characterized by smoking, high calorie intake, and exceeding alcohol guidelines. Members of these clusters had higher systolic blood pressure than those in the remaining clusters. For women, five distinct HRB clusters were identified. The largest cluster (57%) was characterized by not smoking or drinking and walking an inadequate number of steps per day. For both genders, there was a relationship between cluster membership and age. Cluster membership was associated with income and health status among men but not women.
Conclusion: Detecting distinct clusters of HRBs in a Japanese population-based survey provides a person-centered understanding of Japanese lifestyles. This approach can assist policy makers in Japan and overseas to identify new strategies for targeting behavioral risk factors and make health promotion policies more effective in their respective countries.
Background: Rotavirus vaccination was introduced into the Australian National Immunisation Program in mid-2007. We aimed to assess the impact of the rotavirus vaccination program on the burden of hospitalizations associated with all-cause acute gastroenteritis (including rotavirus gastroenteritis and non-rotavirus gastroenteritis) in the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population in Western Australia.
Methods: We identified all hospital records, between July 2004 and June 2012, with a discharge diagnosis code for all-cause gastroenteritis. Age-specific hospitalization rates for rotavirus and non-rotavirus acute gastroenteritis before and after the introduction of the rotavirus vaccination program were compared. Interrupted time-series models were used to examine differences in the annual trends of all-cause gastroenteritis hospitalization between the two periods.
Results: Between July 2004 and June 2012, there were a total of 106,974 all-cause gastroenteritis-coded hospitalizations (1,381 rotavirus-coded [15% among Aboriginal] and 105,593 non-rotavirus gastroenteritis-coded [7% among Aboriginal]). Following rotavirus vaccination introduction, significant reductions in rotavirus-coded hospitalization rates were observed in all children aged <5 years (up to 79% among non-Aboriginal and up to 66% among Aboriginal). Among adults aged ≥65 years, rotavirus-coded hospitalizations were 89% (95% confidence interval, 16–187%) higher in the rotavirus vaccination program period. The time-series analysis suggested reductions in all-cause gastroenteritis hospitalizations in the post-vaccination period among both vaccinated and unvaccinated (age-ineligible) children, with increases observed in adults aged ≥45 years.
Conclusions: Rotavirus vaccination has been associated with a significant decline in gastroenteritis hospitalizations among children. The increase in the elderly requires further evaluation, including assessment of the cost-benefits of rotavirus vaccination in this population.
Background: Notifications of novel coronavirus infections increased in early 2020 in Japan. We described characteristics of novel coronavirus infection cases and analyzed risk factors for severe outcomes.
Methods: Cases were persons with laboratory-confirmed novel coronavirus infection reported under national surveillance between January and March 2020. Clinical characteristics were described, and risk factors of (1) intensive care unit [ICU] admission and (2) invasive ventilation/death were analyzed using Poisson regression.
Results: Among the 516 cases analyzed, median age was 60 years (range: 1–97 years) and 285 (55%) were male. Common symptoms/signs were fever (375/475, 79%), cough (353/465, 76%), and pneumonia (245/387, 63%). Ten (2%) cases died. Of the 348 cases with data, 50 (14%) required invasive ventilation. Adjusted for each other, male gender and 1-year increase in age were associated with ICU admission (risk ratio [RR] 4.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.69–10.32 and RR 1.05; 95% CI, 1.03–1.08, respectively) and invasive ventilation/death (RR 2.79; 95% CI, 1.49–5.21 and RR 1.06; 95% CI, 1.04–1.08, respectively). Diabetes, dyslipidemia, hyperuricemia, and lung diseases were also associated with severe outcomes. Of the 80 cases asymptomatic at hospitalization, 40 developed symptoms and five of them >70 years of age required invasive ventilation.
Conclusions: The early stage of the novel coronavirus epidemic in Japan disproportionately affected the elderly. Older age, male gender, and underlying conditions were associated with severe outcomes. Notably, some elderly case-patients who were asymptomatic at diagnosis and promptly hospitalized still went on to develop severe disease, indicating the importance of careful monitoring of certain populations.