Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gene Analysis & Biostatistics – 3 Is Better Than 2 But Not Than 4

Three-stage procedures offer an optimal relationship between costs and benefits in analysing genetic influences in diseases and therapies, a fact that has major practical importance for the ever growing number of gene analyses.

This finding from a current project by the Austrian Science Fund FWF was presented at the 5th International Conference on Multiple Comparison Procedures (MCP2007) in Vienna, which recently drew to a close. The conference, held at the Medical University, focused on the increasingly important issue of boosting the efficiency of medical studies in statistical terms.

30,000 – this is the number of genes that can be analysed simultaneously with state-of-the-art instruments. Such analyses provide a means of identifying whether individual genes have a decisive impact in the course of a disease or therapy. However, the more genes that are examined in a study, the greater the probability of incorrectly identifying a gene as a factor when, in reality, it has no influence.


... more about:
»Medical »Result »method

Dr. Sonja Zehetmayer from the Department of Medical Statistics, Medical University of Vienna, says: "The problem of identifying factors incorrectly could be countered by a very high number of repetition. However, repetition normally needs to be kept to a minimum, owing to high costs. A more innovative approach to solve this problem is offered by multi-stage methods. These involve preselecting genes following the first examination stage. In subsequent stages, only these selected genes are subject to further analysis. Concentrating on fewer genes thereby cuts error probability."

The question of exactly how many stages are needed to deliver an optimal cost-benefit ratio has until now remained unresolved. The answer has now been calculated, published, and discussed by Dr. Zehetmayer and her colleagues at the MCP2007 held in Vienna from 8 to 11 July. In actual fact, the solution turned out to be unexpectedly straightforward – three stages deliver the optimal ratio between the accuracy of the results obtained and the costs necessary for this. Although a fourth stage would offer greater accuracy, the resources this would require are out of all proportion to the additional accuracy gained.


Dr. Zehetmayer also found surprising results when she compared two different test designs with each other: "Multi-stage series of tests can be analysed either by integrating the results of all levels or by analysing the results of only the last stage. While the choice of test design for four-stage methods has a marked effect on its statistical characteristics, this effect is mitigated in the case of a three-stage method."

Dr. Zehetmayer’s colleague Alexandra Goll presented a further aspect contributing to the optimum configuration of test methods at the MCP2007. She showed that the individual stages of multi-stage test methods can be configured very differently without having a major detrimental effect on the accuracy of the end result. This means that initial stages can clearly be more cost-effective if more accurate and more expensive methods are used for the following stages (involving fewer genes).

There is good reason why the latest trends in the statistical analysis of clinical data are being initiated and analysed at the Department of Medical Studies at the Medical University of Vienna. Prof. Peter Bauer published a paper there in 1989 refuting a basic principle of biostatistics that the test design in an ongoing study must not be changed until the end. This evidence is and remains the basis for multi-stage adaptive analytical methods that have recently attracted worldwide research interest due to cost pressures in healthcare and are supported by the FWF in Austria.

Image and text will be available online from Monday, 16th July 2007, 09.00 a.m. CET onwards:

Till C. Jelitto | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: Medical Result method

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Signaling Pathways to the Nucleus
19.03.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht In monogamous species, a compatible partner is more important than an ornamented one
19.03.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Development and Fast Analysis of 3D Printed HF Components

19.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

In monogamous species, a compatible partner is more important than an ornamented one

19.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Signaling Pathways to the Nucleus

19.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>