The resurrection of time as a continuous concept in biostatistics, demography and epidemiology

Bendix Carstensen, Senior Statistician at the Steno Diabetes Center, Copenhagen, Denmark, gave the Knibbs lecture to the Canberra Branch of the Statistical Society on 24 November. He is the spitting image of English actor Daniel Craig, but his line of work is somewhat different! His main suggestion in this talk was to use models where the quantitative nature of time is used explicitly in modeling of occurrence rates, using parametric functions to describe time-effects. This allowed for simple derivation of demographic quantities such as residual life time, years of life lost or years spent with disease. Bendix described the philosophy of the Lexis diagram for representation of multistate data on multiple time scales implemented in the Epi package for R. He drew his examples from the clinical literature around diabetes and cancer, and advocated strongly for more graphs and fewer tables in epidemiological journal articles.

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