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Guidelines for reporting methodological challenges and evaluating potential bias in dementia research.

Journal article
Authors Jennifer Weuve
Cécile Proust-Lima
Melinda C Power
Alden L Gross
Scott M Hofer
Rodolphe Thiébaut
Geneviève Chêne
M Maria Glymour
Carole Dufouil
Ingmar Skoog
L Zahodne
Published in Alzheimer's & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer's Association
Volume 11
Issue 9
Pages 1098-109
ISSN 1552-5279
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Pages 1098-109
Language en
Keywords Bias (Epidemiology), Dementia, epidemiology, Humans, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Research Design
Subject categories Other Medical Sciences


Clinical and population research on dementia and related neurologic conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, faces several unique methodological challenges. Progress to identify preventive and therapeutic strategies rests on valid and rigorous analytic approaches, but the research literature reflects little consensus on "best practices." We present findings from a large scientific working group on research methods for clinical and population studies of dementia, which identified five categories of methodological challenges as follows: (1) attrition/sample selection, including selective survival; (2) measurement, including uncertainty in diagnostic criteria, measurement error in neuropsychological assessments, and practice or retest effects; (3) specification of longitudinal models when participants are followed for months, years, or even decades; (4) time-varying measurements; and (5) high-dimensional data. We explain why each challenge is important in dementia research and how it could compromise the translation of research findings into effective prevention or care strategies. We advance a checklist of potential sources of bias that should be routinely addressed when reporting dementia research.

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