Meta-analysis is a formal quantitative method for evaluating a potential health effect across a body of epidemiologic literature. In a meta-analysis, researchers assess heterogeneity across studies, examine subgroups of studies to determine if selected subsets of the research data provide similar or different results, and calculate summary relative risk estimates. A meta-analysis provides a more statistically precise risk estimate, as well as a better understanding of the consistency of findings (or lack of) in the research literature. A meta-analysis is distinct from a qualitative or narrative review in that a meta-analysis involves a systematic review of the literature, relevant data extraction, and quantitative analyses of data across multiple studies. A pooled analysis is similar to a traditional meta-analysis, except that exposure and outcome data are combined (or pooled) from multiple studies and are analyzed as a single dataset.
Exponent’s team of epidemiologists, biostatisticians, and scientists are well-versed in conducting meta-analyses and pooled analyses of observational and clinical data. Our staff is trained in conducting analyses of heterogeneity across studies, sensitivity analyses, subgroup analyses, and examinations of publication bias. Exponent’s personnel has expertise in statistical computing, utilizing a wide-variety of software packages, including STATA, SAS, SPSS, Comprehensive Meta-Analysis, Meta-Analysis MIX, and Episheet. Exponent scientists have conducted a wide variety of scientific assessments that rely upon meta-analysis methodology. For example, our capabilities include: determining an exposure-response relation across a body of scientific literature, identifying sources of variation across study groups, revealing successful intervention strategies and identifying effective treatment options.
Exponent staff has an impressive array of publications, abstracts, technical reports, poster presentations, and forum presentations in which meta-analysis techniques were used to evaluate exposure and health outcomes.
Sample Publications and Presentations Pertaining to Meta-Analyses of Epidemiologic Studies
Alexander DD, Kelsh MA, Mink PJ, Mandel JS, Basu R, Weingart M. A meta-analysis of occupational trichloroethylene exposure and liver cancer. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2007 Nov; 81(2):127–143.
Alexander DD, Mink PJ, Mandel JH, Kelsh M. A meta-analysis of occupational trichloroethylene exposure and multiple myeloma or leukemia. Occup Med (Lond) 2006; 56(7):485–493.
Mandel JH, Kelsh M, Mink PJ, Alexander D, Kalmes R, Weingart M, Yost L, Goodman, M. Occupational trichloroethylene exposure and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A review and meta-analysis. Occup Environ Med 2006; 63(9):597-607.
Halpern MT, Schmier JK, Snyder LM, Asche C, Sarocco PW, Lavin B, Nieman R, Mandell LA. Meta-analysis of bacterial resistance to macrolides. J Antimic Chemo 2005; 55(5):748–757.
Goodman M, Teta MJ, Hessel PA, Garabrandt DH, Craven VA, Scrafford CG, Kelsh MA. Mesothelioma and lung cancer among motor vehicle mechanics: A meta-analysis. Ann Occup Hyg 2004; 48(4):309–326.
Halpern MT, Schmier JK, Van Kerkhove M, Watkins M, Kalberg CJ. Impact of long term inhaled corticosteroid therapy on bone mineral density: Results of a meta-analysis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2004; 92:201–207.