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  • 1. Tanner, E. M.
    et al.
    Bornehag, C. -G
    Gennings, C.
    Repeated holdout validation for weighted quantile sum regression2019In: MethodsX, ISSN 1258-780X, E-ISSN 2215-0161, Vol. 6, p. 2855-2860Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Weighted Quantile Sum (WQS) regression is a method commonly used in environmental epidemiology to assess the impact of chemical mixtures in relation to a health outcome of interest. Data are partitioned into a single training and test set to reduce sample-specific chemical weights. However, in typical epidemiology sample sizes, this may produce unstable chemical weights and WQS index estimates, and investigators may resort to training and testing on the same data. To solve this problem, we propose repeated holdout validation whereby data are randomly partitioned 100 times, producing a distribution of validated results. Taking the mean as the final estimate, confidence estimates may also be calculated for inference. Further, this method helps characterize the variability in chemical weights, aiding in the identification of chemicals of concern. This is important since it may direct future research into specific chemicals. Using data from 718 mother-child pairs in the Swedish Environmental Longitudinal, Mother and Child, Asthma and Allergy (SELMA) study, we assessed the association between prenatal exposure to 26 endocrine disrupting chemicals and child Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Results using a single partition were unstable, varying by random seed. The WQS index estimate was significant when all data was used (e.g. no partition) (β = −2.2 CI = −3.43, −0.98), but attenuated and nonsignificant using repeated holdout validation (β = −0.82 CI = −2.11, 0.45). When implementing WQS in epidemiologic studies with limited sample sizes, repeated holdout validation is a viable alternative to using a single, or no partitioning. Repeated holdout can both stabilize results and help characterize the uncertainty in identifying chemicals of concern, while maintaining some of the the rigor of holdout validation. • Repeated holdout validation improves the stability of WQS estimates in finite study samples • Uncertainty in identifying toxic chemicals of concern is acknowledged and characterized

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