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Usefulness of Mendelian Randomization in Observational Epidemiology
University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Rue du Bugnon 17, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 December 2009; Accepted: 16 February 2010 / Published: 26 February 2010
Abstract: Mendelian randomization refers to the random allocation of alleles at the time of gamete formation. In observational epidemiology, this refers to the use of genetic variants to estimate a causal effect between a modifiable risk factor and an outcome of interest. In this review, we recall the principles of a “Mendelian randomization” approach in observational epidemiology, which is based on the technique of instrumental variables; we provide simulations and an example based on real data to demonstrate its implications; we present the results of a systematic search on original articles having used this approach; and we discuss some limitations of this approach in view of what has been found so far.
Keywords: genetic epidemiology; causality; observational studies; instrumental variables
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Bochud, M.; Rousson, V. Usefulness of Mendelian Randomization in Observational Epidemiology. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 711-728.
Bochud M, Rousson V. Usefulness of Mendelian Randomization in Observational Epidemiology. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2010; 7(3):711-728.
Bochud, Murielle; Rousson, Valentin. 2010. "Usefulness of Mendelian Randomization in Observational Epidemiology." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 7, no. 3: 711-728.