Methodological issues in the observational studies conducted in older population: A narrative review

Andrea Poscia, Agnese Collamati, Sonja Milovanovic, Davide Liborio Vetrano, Giuseppe Liotta, Tommasangelo Petitti, Maria Luisa Di Pietro, Nicola Magnavita, Walter Ricciardi, Antonio Cherubini, Graziano Onder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Well-conducted observational studies may represent valuable tools for getting insight to disease etiology, detecting the effect of age-related changes, and providing an important perspective on health risk factors and disabilities in an aging population. Nevertheless, this kind of research poses several challenges for researchers. The main aim of this narrative review was to address the potential methodological issues in performing the observational studies in the elderly, the factors that influence their participation, and the possible solutions for overcoming the barriers to research in this population. Methods: Comprehensive search for the papers published in the period from January 1st 1980 until 31st July 2016 in English or Italian was conducted through MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science electronic databases. Findings from the included papers were finally summarized. Results: In cohort studies, the following barriers were addressed: sample size calculation, ascertainment of the target population, frequency of data collection, exposure determination, multi factorial loss to follow-up (drop-outs), cognitive impairment, definition of confounders, and ethical aspects. Case-control studies were reported to be prone to the issues like ascertainment of cases and controls, willingness to participate, data accuracy, recall bias, issues related to patients’ multi morbidity, and cognitive impairment. Conclusions: Important factors to consider in research in elderly people include: precise definition of the study population, well conducted recruitment process, engagement with family and home care staff, cognitive impairment assessment and the consequent relevant ethical and legal issues, relief of participant burden in order to minimize withdrawal, and engagement with the media.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12627
JournalEpidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Observational Studies
Research
Population
Health Services Needs and Demand
Home Care Services
Ethics
MEDLINE
Sample Size
Case-Control Studies
Cohort Studies
Research Personnel
Databases
Morbidity
Health
Cognitive Dysfunction
Data Accuracy

Keywords

  • Case control
  • Cohort
  • Elderly
  • Observational studies
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Poscia, A., Collamati, A., Milovanovic, S., Vetrano, D. L., Liotta, G., Petitti, T., ... Onder, G. (2017). Methodological issues in the observational studies conducted in older population: A narrative review. Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health, 14(2), [e12627]. https://doi.org/10.2427/12627

Methodological issues in the observational studies conducted in older population : A narrative review. / Poscia, Andrea; Collamati, Agnese; Milovanovic, Sonja; Vetrano, Davide Liborio; Liotta, Giuseppe; Petitti, Tommasangelo; Di Pietro, Maria Luisa; Magnavita, Nicola; Ricciardi, Walter; Cherubini, Antonio; Onder, Graziano.

In: Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health, Vol. 14, No. 2, e12627, 2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Poscia, A, Collamati, A, Milovanovic, S, Vetrano, DL, Liotta, G, Petitti, T, Di Pietro, ML, Magnavita, N, Ricciardi, W, Cherubini, A & Onder, G 2017, 'Methodological issues in the observational studies conducted in older population: A narrative review', Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health, vol. 14, no. 2, e12627. https://doi.org/10.2427/12627
Poscia, Andrea ; Collamati, Agnese ; Milovanovic, Sonja ; Vetrano, Davide Liborio ; Liotta, Giuseppe ; Petitti, Tommasangelo ; Di Pietro, Maria Luisa ; Magnavita, Nicola ; Ricciardi, Walter ; Cherubini, Antonio ; Onder, Graziano. / Methodological issues in the observational studies conducted in older population : A narrative review. In: Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health. 2017 ; Vol. 14, No. 2.
@article{86934bcc47094c24811442269b0262b6,
title = "Methodological issues in the observational studies conducted in older population: A narrative review",
abstract = "Introduction: Well-conducted observational studies may represent valuable tools for getting insight to disease etiology, detecting the effect of age-related changes, and providing an important perspective on health risk factors and disabilities in an aging population. Nevertheless, this kind of research poses several challenges for researchers. The main aim of this narrative review was to address the potential methodological issues in performing the observational studies in the elderly, the factors that influence their participation, and the possible solutions for overcoming the barriers to research in this population. Methods: Comprehensive search for the papers published in the period from January 1st 1980 until 31st July 2016 in English or Italian was conducted through MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science electronic databases. Findings from the included papers were finally summarized. Results: In cohort studies, the following barriers were addressed: sample size calculation, ascertainment of the target population, frequency of data collection, exposure determination, multi factorial loss to follow-up (drop-outs), cognitive impairment, definition of confounders, and ethical aspects. Case-control studies were reported to be prone to the issues like ascertainment of cases and controls, willingness to participate, data accuracy, recall bias, issues related to patients’ multi morbidity, and cognitive impairment. Conclusions: Important factors to consider in research in elderly people include: precise definition of the study population, well conducted recruitment process, engagement with family and home care staff, cognitive impairment assessment and the consequent relevant ethical and legal issues, relief of participant burden in order to minimize withdrawal, and engagement with the media.",
keywords = "Case control, Cohort, Elderly, Observational studies, Older adults",
author = "Andrea Poscia and Agnese Collamati and Sonja Milovanovic and Vetrano, {Davide Liborio} and Giuseppe Liotta and Tommasangelo Petitti and {Di Pietro}, {Maria Luisa} and Nicola Magnavita and Walter Ricciardi and Antonio Cherubini and Graziano Onder",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.2427/12627",
language = "English",
volume = "14",
journal = "Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health",
issn = "2282-2305",
publisher = "Prex",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Methodological issues in the observational studies conducted in older population

T2 - A narrative review

AU - Poscia, Andrea

AU - Collamati, Agnese

AU - Milovanovic, Sonja

AU - Vetrano, Davide Liborio

AU - Liotta, Giuseppe

AU - Petitti, Tommasangelo

AU - Di Pietro, Maria Luisa

AU - Magnavita, Nicola

AU - Ricciardi, Walter

AU - Cherubini, Antonio

AU - Onder, Graziano

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - Introduction: Well-conducted observational studies may represent valuable tools for getting insight to disease etiology, detecting the effect of age-related changes, and providing an important perspective on health risk factors and disabilities in an aging population. Nevertheless, this kind of research poses several challenges for researchers. The main aim of this narrative review was to address the potential methodological issues in performing the observational studies in the elderly, the factors that influence their participation, and the possible solutions for overcoming the barriers to research in this population. Methods: Comprehensive search for the papers published in the period from January 1st 1980 until 31st July 2016 in English or Italian was conducted through MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science electronic databases. Findings from the included papers were finally summarized. Results: In cohort studies, the following barriers were addressed: sample size calculation, ascertainment of the target population, frequency of data collection, exposure determination, multi factorial loss to follow-up (drop-outs), cognitive impairment, definition of confounders, and ethical aspects. Case-control studies were reported to be prone to the issues like ascertainment of cases and controls, willingness to participate, data accuracy, recall bias, issues related to patients’ multi morbidity, and cognitive impairment. Conclusions: Important factors to consider in research in elderly people include: precise definition of the study population, well conducted recruitment process, engagement with family and home care staff, cognitive impairment assessment and the consequent relevant ethical and legal issues, relief of participant burden in order to minimize withdrawal, and engagement with the media.

AB - Introduction: Well-conducted observational studies may represent valuable tools for getting insight to disease etiology, detecting the effect of age-related changes, and providing an important perspective on health risk factors and disabilities in an aging population. Nevertheless, this kind of research poses several challenges for researchers. The main aim of this narrative review was to address the potential methodological issues in performing the observational studies in the elderly, the factors that influence their participation, and the possible solutions for overcoming the barriers to research in this population. Methods: Comprehensive search for the papers published in the period from January 1st 1980 until 31st July 2016 in English or Italian was conducted through MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science electronic databases. Findings from the included papers were finally summarized. Results: In cohort studies, the following barriers were addressed: sample size calculation, ascertainment of the target population, frequency of data collection, exposure determination, multi factorial loss to follow-up (drop-outs), cognitive impairment, definition of confounders, and ethical aspects. Case-control studies were reported to be prone to the issues like ascertainment of cases and controls, willingness to participate, data accuracy, recall bias, issues related to patients’ multi morbidity, and cognitive impairment. Conclusions: Important factors to consider in research in elderly people include: precise definition of the study population, well conducted recruitment process, engagement with family and home care staff, cognitive impairment assessment and the consequent relevant ethical and legal issues, relief of participant burden in order to minimize withdrawal, and engagement with the media.

KW - Case control

KW - Cohort

KW - Elderly

KW - Observational studies

KW - Older adults

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85025816066&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85025816066&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.2427/12627

DO - 10.2427/12627

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:85025816066

VL - 14

JO - Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health

JF - Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health

SN - 2282-2305

IS - 2

M1 - e12627

ER -