Data_Sheet_1_A weighted quantile sum regression with penalized weights and two indices.docx (33.11 MB)
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Data_Sheet_1_A weighted quantile sum regression with penalized weights and two indices.docx

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posted on 2023-07-18, 04:27 authored by Stefano Renzetti, Chris Gennings, Stefano Calza

New statistical methodologies were developed in the last decade to face the challenges of estimating the effects of exposure to multiple chemicals. Weighted Quantile Sum (WQS) regression is a recent statistical method that allows estimating a mixture effect associated with a specific health effect and identifying the components that characterize the mixture effect.


In this study, we propose an extension of WQS regression that estimates two mixture effects of chemicals on a health outcome in the same model through the inclusion of two indices, one in the positive direction and one in the negative direction, with the introduction of a penalization term.


To evaluate the performance of this new model we performed both a simulation study and a real case study where we assessed the effects of nutrients on obesity among adults using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.


The method showed good performance in estimating both the regression parameter and the weights associated with the single elements when the penalized term was set equal to the magnitude of the Akaike information criterion of the unpenalized WQS regression. The two indices further helped to give a better estimate of the parameters [Positive direction Median Error (PME): 0.022; Negative direction Median Error (NME): −0.044] compared to the standard WQS without the penalization term (PME: −0.227; NME: 0.215). In the case study, WQS with two indices was able to find a significant effect of nutrients on obesity in both directions identifying sodium and magnesium as the main actors in the positive and negative association, respectively.


Through this work, we introduced an extension of WQS regression that improved the accuracy of the parameter estimates when considering a mixture of elements that can have both a protective and a harmful effect on the outcome; and the advantage of adding a penalization term when estimating the weights.