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Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Feb 1;188(2):408-417. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwy242.

Integrating Clinical and Epidemiologic Data on Allergic Diseases Across Birth Cohorts: A Harmonization Study in the Mechanisms of the Development of Allergy Project.

Author information

1
ISGlobal.
2
Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
3
Consorcio Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Epidemiología y Salud Pública, Barcelona, Spain.
4
Biomax Informatics AG, Planegg, Germany.
5
Hospital del Mar Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain.
6
Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
7
Epidemiology of Allergic and Respiratory Diseases Department, Institut Pierre Louis d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Paris, France.
8
Saint-Antoine Medical School, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.
9
Odense Research Center for Anaphylaxis, Department of Dermatology and Allergy Center, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.
10
Department of Paediatric Allergy and Pulmonology, Division of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
11
Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
12
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
13
Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
14
Centre for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden.
15
Sachs' Children and Youth Hospital, South General Hospital Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden.
16
Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
17
Bradford Institute for Health Research, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford, United Kingdom.
18
Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, EA 4064 Epidémiologie Environnementale, Paris, France.
19
Mairie de Paris, Direction de l'Action Sociale de l'Enfance et de la Santé, Cellule Cohorte, Paris, France.
20
Department of Epidemiology, Lazio Regional Health Service, Rome, Italy.
21
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
22
Institute of Epidemiology I, Helmholtz Zentrum München-German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany.
23
Servei de Salut de les Illes Balears, Area de Salut de Menorca, Spain.
24
Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.
25
National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece.
26
Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
27
Contre les Maladies Chroniques pour un Vieillissement Actif en France, European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing Reference Site, Montpellier, France.
28
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité Mixte de Recherche 1168.

Abstract

The numbers of international collaborations among birth cohort studies designed to better understand asthma and allergies have increased in the last several years. However, differences in definitions and methods preclude direct pooling of original data on individual participants. As part of the Mechanisms of the Development of Allergy (MeDALL) Project, we harmonized data from 14 birth cohort studies (each with 3-20 follow-up periods) carried out in 9 European countries during 1990-1998 or 2003-2009. The harmonization process followed 6 steps: 1) organization of the harmonization panel; 2) identification of variables relevant to MeDALL objectives (candidate variables); 3) proposal of a definition for each candidate variable (reference definition); 4) assessment of the compatibility of each cohort variable with its reference definition (inferential equivalence) and classification of this inferential equivalence as complete, partial, or impossible; 5) convocation of a workshop to agree on the reference definitions and classifications of inferential equivalence; and 6) preparation and delivery of data through a knowledge management portal. We agreed on 137 reference definitions. The inferential equivalence of 3,551 cohort variables to their corresponding reference definitions was classified as complete, partial, and impossible for 70%, 15%, and 15% of the variables, respectively. A harmonized database was delivered to MeDALL investigators. In asthma and allergy birth cohorts, the harmonization of data for pooled analyses is feasible, and high inferential comparability may be achieved. The MeDALL harmonization approach can be used in other collaborative projects.

PMID:
30351340
DOI:
10.1093/aje/kwy242

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