The statistics program at RERF has the following objectives:
To conduct analyses of epidemiological data from the major cohorts in collaboration with epidemiologists and clinical researchers.
To perform research on statistical methods and mathematical models useful for radiation-related risk assessment and for other needs of RERF researchers.
To collaborate and consult with scientists on the design of studies and the analysis of other epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory data.
To aid in the development of complete, accurate, and accessible research databases.
Risk assessment is concerned with relating changes in the rate of disease occurrence or some other outcome of interest to levels of exposure. Risks are typically characterized in terms of mathematical functions that describe how risk varies with dose and other factors. Statisticians are involved in the estimating of radiation risks for all of the major RERF study populations (Life Span Study, Adult Health Study, and First-generation offspring cohorts).
The statistics program also provides statistical consulting to the various RERF research departments and scientific programs. Such consulting includes giving advice about study design and planning, calculating the statistical power (likelihood of detecting a meaningful effect) for proposed studies, analyzing research data to detect associations and trends, and helping in the design of databases that facilitate efficient access to RERF research data.
Statisticians at RERF are involved in methodological research in addition to data analysis and consulting. Some areas where research is ongoing include mathematical modeling of carcinogenesis and radiation risk, statistical methods for the analysis of correlated data, efficient epidemiologic study designs, applications of risk estimates through assessment of causation, and lifetime summaries of risk.