alexa Towards New Tools for Pharmacoepidemiology
ISSN: 2167-1052

Advances in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
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Review Article

Towards New Tools for Pharmacoepidemiology

Barry Robson*
Professor of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Evidence Based Medicine, St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine, Distinguished Scientist, Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Wisconsin, Chief Scientific Officer, Quantal Semantics Inc., North Carolina, and Chair, The Dirac Foundation, Oxfordshire, UK
*Corresponding Author : Barry Robson
Professor of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Evidence Based Medicine
St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine
Distinguished Scientist, Mathematics and Computer Science
University of Wisconsin-Stout, Wisconsin, Chief Scientific Officer
Quantal Semantics Inc., North Carolina, and Chair
The Dirac Foundation, Oxfordshire, UK
E-mail: [email protected]
Received November 26, 2012; Accepted December 14, 2012; Published December 17, 2012
Citation: Robson B (2012) Towards New Tools for Pharmacoepidemiology. Adv Pharmacoepidem Drug Safety 1:123. doi:10.4172/2167-1052.1000123
Copyright: © 2012 Robson B. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
 

Abstract

Here the data analysis challenges for pharmacosurveillance and pharmacogenomics are reviewed. Four interrelated tools to tackle the ubiquitous problems of high dimensionality and sparsity are outlined: the contribution of negative or contrary evidence in the four pillars of evidence established in the early days of epidemiology, information and decision theory, the zeta function, and hyperbolic-complex algebra. These four tools are described in a fairly integrated way, and this order basically reflects the degree of novelty and degree of acceptance in biomedicine, the most recent and controversial coming last. The zeta function is essentially an estimate in information theory, an extension to express the expected information in a system, the amount of available to the observer via the data, and in one guise has been in use in bioinformatics since the early 1970s. Hyperbolic-complex algebra is concerned with encoding information in two directions of conditionality, of potential importance in inference about etiology, considerations derivable mathematically from the zeta function. It takes on importance when many zeta function terms as estimates of information terms are used in an inference network. Its usefulness remains to be, although it essentially represents the method of inference due to Dirac and already established in quantum field and particle theory. Including negative evidence in inference using estimates based on multiple factors, however, requires that we are careful in interpretation.

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