Introductive remarks on causal inference

Silvana A. Romio, Rino Bellocco, Giovanni Corrao


One of the more challenging issues in epidemiological research is being able to provide an unbiased estimate of the causal exposure-disease effect, to assess the possible etiological mechanisms and the implication for public health. A major source of bias is confounding, which can spuriously create or mask the causal relationship. In the last ten years, methodological research has been developed to better de_ne the concept of causation in epidemiology and some important achievements have resulted in new statistical models. In this review, we aim to show how a technique the well known by statisticians, i.e. standardization, can be seen as a method to estimate causal e_ects, equivalent under certain conditions to the inverse probability treatment weight procedure.

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1973-2201/3591