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Res Synth Methods. 2015 Dec;6(4):310-32. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1157. Epub 2015 Nov 27.

Meta-analysis in Stata using gllamm.

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Department of Computer Science and Biomedical Informatics, University of Thessaly, Papasiopoulou 2-4, Lamia, 35100, Greece.


There are several user-written programs for performing meta-analysis in Stata (Stata Statistical Software: College Station, TX: Stata Corp LP). These include metan, metareg, mvmeta, and glst. However, there are several cases for which these programs do not suffice. For instance, there is no software for performing univariate meta-analysis with correlated estimates, for multilevel or hierarchical meta-analysis, or for meta-analysis of longitudinal data. In this work, we show with practical applications that many disparate models, including but not limited to the ones mentioned earlier, can be fitted using gllamm. The software is very versatile and can handle a wide variety of models with applications in a wide range of disciplines. The method presented here takes advantage of these modeling capabilities and makes use of appropriate transformations, based on the Cholesky decomposition of the inverse of the covariance matrix, known as generalized least squares, in order to handle correlated data. The models described earlier can be thought of as special instances of a general linear mixed-model formulation, but to the author's knowledge, a general exposition in order to incorporate all the available models for meta-analysis as special cases and the instructions to fit them in Stata has not been presented so far. Source code is available at


Stata; gllamm; meta-analysis; tutorial

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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