Theory of partitioning of disease prevalence and mortality in observational data.

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In this study, we present a new theory of partitioning of disease prevalence and incidence-based mortality and demonstrate how this theory practically works for analyses of Medicare data. In the theory, the prevalence of a disease and incidence-based mortality are modeled in terms of disease incidence and survival after diagnosis supplemented by information on disease prevalence at the initial age and year available in a dataset. Partitioning of the trends of prevalence and mortality is calculated with minimal assumptions. The resulting expressions for the components of the trends are given by continuous functions of data. The estimator is consistent and stable. The developed methodology is applied for data on type 2 diabetes using individual records from a nationally representative 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries age 65+. Numerical estimates show excellent concordance between empirical estimates and theoretical predictions. Evaluated partitioning model showed that both prevalence and mortality increase with time. The primary driving factors of the observed prevalence increase are improved survival and increased prevalence at age 65. The increase in diabetes-related mortality is driven by increased prevalence and unobserved trends in time-periods and age-groups outside of the range of the data used in the study. Finally, the properties of the new estimator, possible statistical and systematical uncertainties, and future practical applications of this methodology in epidemiology, demography, public health and health forecasting are discussed.





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Akushevich, I, AP Yashkin, J Kravchenko, F Fang, K Arbeev, F Sloan and AI Yashin (2017). Theory of partitioning of disease prevalence and mortality in observational data. Theor Popul Biol, 114. pp. 117–127. 10.1016/j.tpb.2017.01.003 Retrieved from

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Igor Akushevich

Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Arseniy Yashkin

Research Scientist, Senior

I am primarily a health outcomes researcher who specializes in cancers and chronic age-related diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease and type II diabetes mellitus.  However, I also write in epidemiology, demography, health economics and genetics.  I am a specialist in the analysis of administrative big health data.   My main contributions to scholarship can be summarized across three focus areas: health outcomes research, epidemiology and methodology, and health economics.  Some of my most important findings are described below.


Konstantin Arbeev

Associate Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

Konstantin G. Arbeev received the M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics from Moscow State University (branch in Ulyanovsk, Russia) in 1995 and the Ph.D. degree in Mathematics and Physics (specialization in Theoretical Foundations of Mathematical Modeling, Numerical Methods and Programming) from Ulyanovsk State University (Russia) in 1999. He was a post-doctoral fellow in Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock (Germany) before moving to Duke University in 2004 to work as a Research Scientist and a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Sociology and the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI).  He is currently an Associate Research Professor in SSRI. Dr. Arbeev's major research interests are related to three interconnected fields of biodemography, biostatistics and genetic epidemiology as pertains to research on aging. The focus of his research is on discovering genetic and non-genetic factors that can affect the process of aging and determine longevity and healthy lifespan. He is interested in both methodological advances in this research area as well as their practical applications to analyses of large-scale longitudinal studies with phenotypic, genetic and, recently, genomic information. Dr. Arbeev authored and co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications in these areas.


Frank A. Sloan

J. Alexander McMahon Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Health Policy and Management

Professor Sloan is interested in studying the subjects of health policy and the economics of aging, hospitals, health, pharmaceuticals, and substance abuse. He has received funding from numerous research grants that he earned for studies of which he was the principal investigator. His most recent grants were awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Center for Disease Control, the Pew Charitable Trust, and the National Institute on Aging. Titles of his projects include, “Why Mature Smokers Do Not Quit,” “Legal and Economic Vulnerabilities of the Master Settlement Agreement,” “Determinants and Cost of Alcohol Abuse Among the Elderly and Near-elderly,” and “Reinsurance Markets and Public Policy.” He received the Investigator Award for his work on the project, “Reoccurring Crises in Medical Malpractice.” Some of his earlier works include the studies entitled, “Policies to Attract Nurses to Underserved Areas,” “The Impact of National Economic Conditions on the Health Care of the Poor-Access,” and “Analysis of Physician Price and Output Decisions.” Professor Sloan’s latest research continues to investigate the trends and repercussions of medical malpractice, physician behavior, and hospital behavior.


Anatoli I. Yashin

Research Professor in the Social Science Research Institute

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