Estimating a Causal Exposure Response Function with a Continuous Error-Prone Exposure: A Study of Fine Particulate Matter and All-Cause Mortality

by   Kevin P. Josey, et al.

Numerous studies have examined the associations between long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and adverse health outcomes. Recently, many of these studies have begun to employ high-resolution predicted PM2.5 concentrations, which are subject to measurement error. Previous approaches for exposure measurement error correction have either been applied in non-causal settings or have only considered a categorical exposure. Moreover, most procedures have failed to account for uncertainty induced by error correction when fitting an exposure-response function (ERF). To remedy these deficiencies, we develop a multiple imputation framework that combines regression calibration and Bayesian techniques to estimate a causal ERF. We demonstrate how the output of the measurement error correction steps can be seamlessly integrated into a Bayesian additive regression trees (BART) estimator of the causal ERF. We also demonstrate how locally-weighted smoothing of the posterior samples from BART can be used to create a better fitting ERF. Our proposed approach also properly propagates the exposure measurement error uncertainty to yield accurate standard error estimates. We assess the robustness of our proposed approach in an extensive simulation study. We then apply our methodology to estimate the effects of PM2.5 on all-cause mortality among Medicare enrollees in the New England from 2000-2012.


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