ds.glmSLMA {dsBaseClient}R Documentation

Fit a Generalized Linear Model (GLM) with pooling via Study Level Meta-Analysis (SLMA)

Description

Fits a generalized linear model (GLM) on data from single or multiple sources with pooled co-analysis across studies being based on SLMA (Study Level Meta Analysis).

Usage

ds.glmSLMA(
  formula = NULL,
  family = NULL,
  offset = NULL,
  weights = NULL,
  combine.with.metafor = TRUE,
  newobj = NULL,
  dataName = NULL,
  checks = FALSE,
  maxit = 30,
  datasources = NULL
)

Arguments

formula

an object of class formula describing the model to be fitted. For more information see Details.

family

identifies the error distribution function to use in the model.

offset

a character string specifying the name of a variable to be used as an offset.ds.glmSLMA does not allow an offset vector to be written directly into the GLM formula.

weights

a character string specifying the name of a variable containing prior regression weights for the fitting process. ds.glmSLMA does not allow a weights vector to be written directly into the GLM formula.

combine.with.metafor

logical. If TRUE the estimates and standard errors for each regression coefficient are pooled across studies using random-effects meta-analysis under maximum likelihood (ML), restricted maximum likelihood (REML) or fixed-effects meta-analysis (FE). Default TRUE.

newobj

a character string specifying the name of the object to which the glm object representing the model fit on the serverside in each study is to be written. If no <newobj> argument is specified, the output object defaults to "new.glm.obj".

dataName

a character string specifying the name of an (optional) data frame that contains all of the variables in the GLM formula.

checks

logical. If TRUE ds.glmSLMA checks the structural integrity of the model. Default FALSE. For more information see Details.

maxit

a numeric scalar denoting the maximum number of iterations that are permitted before ds.glmSLMA declares that the model has failed to converge. For more information see Details.

datasources

a list of DSConnection-class objects obtained after login. If the datasources argument is not specified the default set of connections will be used: see datashield.connections_default.

Details

ds.glmSLMA specifies the structure of a Generalized Linear Model to be fitted separately on each study or data source. Calls serverside functions glmSLMADS1 (aggregate),glmSLMADS2 (aggregate) and glmSLMADS.assign (assign). From a mathematical perspective, the SLMA approach (using ds.glmSLMA) differs fundamentally from the alternative approach using ds.glm. ds.glm fits the model iteratively across all studies together. At each iteration the model in every data source has precisely the same coefficients so when the model converges one essentially identifies the model that best fits all studies simultaneously. This mathematically equivalent to placing all individual-level data from all sources in one central warehouse and analysing those data as one combined dataset using the conventional glm() function in native R. In contrast ds.glmSLMA sends a command to every data source to fit the model required but each separate source simply fits that model to completion (ie undertakes all iterations until the model converges) and the estimates (regression coefficients) and their standard errors from each source are sent back to the client and are then pooled using SLMA via any approach the user wishes to implement. The ds.glmSLMA functions includes an argument <combine.with.metafor> which if TRUE (the default) pools the models across studies using the metafor function (from the metafor package) using three optimisation methods: random effects under maximum likelihood (ML); random effects under restricted maximum likelihood (REML); or fixed effects (FE). But once the estimates and standard errors are on the clientside, the user can alternatively choose to use the metafor package in any way he/she wishes, to pool the coefficients across studies or, indeed, to use another meta-analysis package, or their own code.

Although the ds.glm approach might at first sight appear to be preferable under all circumstances, this is not always the case. First, the results from both approaches are generally very similar. Secondly, the SLMA approach can offer key inferential advantages when there is marked heterogeneity between sources that cannot simply be corrected by including fixed-effects in one's ds.glm model that each reflect a study- or centre-specific effect. In particular, such fixed effects cannot be guaranteed to generate formal inferences that are unbiased when there is heterogeneity in the effect that is actually of scientific interest. It might be argued that one should not try to pool the inferences anyway if there is marked heterogeneity, but you can use the joint analysis to formally check for such heterogeneity and then choose to report the pooled result or separate results from each study individually. Crucially, unless the heterogeneity is substantial, pooling can be quite reasonable. Furthermore, if you just fit a ds.glm model without centre-effects you will in effect be pooling across all studies without checking for heterogeneity and if heterogeneity exists and if it is strong you can get theoretically results that are badly confounded by study. Before we introduced ds.glmSLMA we encountered a real world example of a ds.glm (without centre effects) which generated combined inferences over all studies which were more extreme than the results from any of the individual studies: the lower 95 of the combined estimate was higher than the upper 95 ALL of the individual studies. This was clearly incorrect and provided a salutary lesson on the potential impact of confounding by study if a ds.glm model does not include appropriate centre-effects. Even if you are going to undertake a ds.glm analysis (which is slightly more powerful when there is no heterogeneity) it may still be useful to also carry out a ds.glmSLMA analysis as this provides a very easy way to examine the extent of heterogeneity.

In formula Most shortcut notation for formulas allowed under R's standard glm() function is also allowed by ds.glmSLMA.

Many glms can be fitted very simply using a formula such as:

y~a+b+c+d

which simply means fit a glm with y as the outcome variable and a, b, c and d as covariates. By default all such models also include an intercept (regression constant) term.

Instead, if you need to fit a more complex model, for example:

EVENT~1+TID+SEXF*AGE.60

In the above model the outcome variable is EVENT and the covariates TID (factor variable with level values between 1 and 6 denoting the period time), SEXF (factor variable denoting sex) and AGE.60 (quantitative variable representing age-60 in years). The term 1 forces the model to include an intercept term, in contrast if you use the term 0 the intercept term is removed. The * symbol between SEXF and AGE.60 means fit all possible main effects and interactions for and between those two covariates. This takes the value 0 in all males 0 * AGE.60 and in females 1 * AGE.60. This model is in example 1 of the section Examples. In this case the logarithm of the survival time is added as an offset (log(survtime)).

In the family argument a range of model types can be fitted. This range has recently been extended to include a number of model types that are non-standard but are used relatively widely.

The standard models include:

Each class of models has a "canonical link" which represents the link function that maximises the information extraction by the model. The gaussian family uses the identity link, the poisson family the log link, the binomial/Bernoulli family the logit link and the the gamma family the reciprocal link.

The dataName argument avoids you having to specify the name of the data frame in front of each covariate in the formula. For example, if the data frame is called DataFrame you avoid having to write: DataFrame$y~DataFrame$a+DataFrame$b+DataFrame$c+DataFrame$d

The checks argument verifies that the variables in the model are all defined (exist) on the server-site at every study and that they have the correct characteristics required to fit the model. It is suggested to make checks argument TRUE only if an unexplained problem in the model fit is encountered because the running process takes several minutes.

In maxit Logistic regression and Poisson regression models can require many iterations, particularly if the starting value of the regression constant is far away from its actual value that the GLM is trying to estimate. In consequence we often set maxit=30 but depending on the nature of the models you wish to fit, you may wish to be alerted much more quickly than this if there is a delay in convergence, or you may wish to allow more iterations.

Server functions called: glmSLMADS1, glmSLMADS2, glmSLMADS.assign

Value

The serverside aggregate functions glmSLMADS1 and glmSLMADS2 return output to the clientside, while the assign function glmSLMADS.assign simply writes the glm object to the serverside created by the model fit on a given server as a permanent object on that same server. This is precisely the same as the glm object that is usually created by a call to glm() in native R and it contains all the same elements (see help for glm in native R). Because it is a serverside object, no disclosure blocks apply. However, such disclosure blocks do apply to the information passed to the clientside. In consequence, rather than containing all the components of a standard glm object in native R, the components of the glm object that are returned by ds.glmSLMA include: a mixture of non-disclosive elements of the glm object reported separately by study included in a list object called output.summary; and a series of other list objects that represent inferences aggregated across studies.

the study specific items include:

coefficients: a matrix with 5 columns:

family: indicates the error distribution and link function used in the GLM.

formula: model formula, see description of formula as an input parameter (above).

df.resid: the residual degrees of freedom around the model.

deviance.resid: the residual deviance around the model.

df.null: the degrees of freedom around the null model (with just an intercept).

dev.null: the deviance around the null model (with just an intercept).

CorrMatrix: the correlation matrix of parameter estimates.

VarCovMatrix: the variance-covariance matrix of parameter estimates.

weights: the name of the vector (if any) holding regression weights.

offset: the name of the vector (if any) holding an offset (enters glm with a coefficient of 1.00).

cov.scaled: equivalent to VarCovMatrix.

cov.unscaled: equivalent to VarCovMatrix but assuming dispersion (scale) parameter is 1.

Nmissing: the number of missing observations in the given study.

Nvalid: the number of valid (non-missing) observations in the given study.

Ntotal: the total number of observations in the given study (Nvalid + Nmissing).

data: equivalent to input parameter dataName (above).

dispersion: the estimated dispersion parameter: deviance.resid/df.resid for a gaussian family multiple regression model, 1.00 for logistic and poisson regression.

call: summary of key elements of the call to fit the model.

na.action: chosen method of dealing with missing values. This is usually, na.action = na.omit - see help in native R.

iter: the number of iterations required to achieve convergence of the glm model in each separate study.

Once the study-specific output has been returned, ds.glmSLMA returns a series of lists relating to the aggregated inferences across studies. These include the following:

num.valid.studies: the number of studies with valid output included in the combined analysis

betamatrix.all: matrix with a row for each regression coefficient and a column for each study reporting the estimated regression coefficients by study.

sematrix.all: matrix with a row for each regression coefficient and a column for each study reporting the standard errors of the estimated regression coefficients by study.

betamatrix.valid: matrix with a row for each regression coefficient and a column for each study reporting the estimated regression coefficients by study but only for studies with valid output (eg not violating disclosure traps)

sematrix.all: matrix with a row for each regression coefficient and a column for each study reporting the standard errors of the estimated regression coefficients by study but only for studies with valid output (eg not violating disclosure traps)

SLMA.pooled.estimates.matrix: a matrix with a row for each regression coefficient and six columns. The first two columns contain the pooled estimate of each regression coefficients and its standard error with pooling via random effect meta-analysis under maximum likelihood (ML). Columns 3 and 4 contain the estimates and standard errors from random effect meta-analysis under REML and columns 5 and 6 the estimates and standard errors under fixed effect meta-analysis. This matrix is only returned if the argument combine.with.metafor is set to TRUE. Otherwise, users can take the betamatrix.valid and sematrix.valid matrices and enter them into their meta-analysis package of choice.

is.object.created and validity.check are standard items returned by an assign function when the designated newobj appears to have been successfuly created on the serverside at each study. This output is produced specifically by the assign function glmSLMADS.assign that writes out the glm object on the serverside

Author(s)

Paul Burton, for DataSHIELD Development Team 07/07/20

Examples

## Not run: 

 ## Version 6, for version 5 see Wiki
  # Connecting to the Opal servers
  
  require('DSI')
  require('DSOpal')
  require('dsBaseClient')
  
  # Example 1: Fitting GLM for survival analysis
  # For this analysis we need to load survival data from the server 
  
  builder <- DSI::newDSLoginBuilder()
  builder$append(server = "study1", 
                 url = "http://192.168.56.100:8080/", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "SURVIVAL.EXPAND_NO_MISSING1", driver = "OpalDriver")
  builder$append(server = "study2", 
                 url = "http://192.168.56.100:8080/", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "SURVIVAL.EXPAND_NO_MISSING2", driver = "OpalDriver")
  builder$append(server = "study3",
                 url = "http://192.168.56.100:8080/", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "SURVIVAL.EXPAND_NO_MISSING3", driver = "OpalDriver")
  logindata <- builder$build()
  
  # Log onto the remote Opal training servers
  connections <- DSI::datashield.login(logins = logindata, assign = TRUE, symbol = "D") 
  
  # Fit the GLM 
  
  # make sure that the outcome is numeric 
  ds.asNumeric(x.name = "D$cens",
               newobj = "EVENT",
               datasources = connections)
               
  # convert time id variable to a factor 
               
  ds.asFactor(input.var.name = "D$time.id",
              newobj = "TID",
              datasources = connections)
              
  # create in the server-side the log(survtime) variable
         
  ds.log(x = "D$survtime",
         newobj = "log.surv",
         datasources = connections)
  
  ds.glmSLMA(formula = EVENT ~ 1 + TID + female * age.60,
         dataName = "D",
         family = "poisson", 
         offset = "log.surv",
         weights = NULL,
         checks = FALSE,
         maxit = 20,
         datasources = connections)
         
  # Clear the Datashield R sessions and logout
  datashield.logout(connections) 
  
  # Example 2: run a logistic regression without interaction
  # For this example we are going to load another type of data  
  
  builder <- DSI::newDSLoginBuilder()
  builder$append(server = "study1", 
                 url = "http://192.168.56.100:8080/", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "CNSIM.CNSIM1", driver = "OpalDriver")
  builder$append(server = "study2", 
                 url = "http://192.168.56.100:8080/", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "CNSIM.CNSIM2", driver = "OpalDriver")
  builder$append(server = "study3",
                 url = "http://192.168.56.100:8080/", 
                 user = "administrator", password = "datashield_test&", 
                 table = "CNSIM.CNSIM3", driver = "OpalDriver")
  logindata <- builder$build()
  
  # Log onto the remote Opal training servers
  connections <- DSI::datashield.login(logins = logindata, assign = TRUE, symbol = "D") 
  
  # Fit the logistic regression model

  mod <- ds.glmSLMA(formula = "DIS_DIAB~GENDER+PM_BMI_CONTINUOUS+LAB_HDL",
                dataName = "D",
                family = "binomial",
                datasources = connections)
                
  mod #visualize the results of the model

# Example 3: fit a standard Gaussian linear model with an interaction
# We are using the same data as in example 2. It is not necessary to
# connect again to the server 

mod <- ds.glmSLMA(formula = "PM_BMI_CONTINUOUS~DIS_DIAB*GENDER+LAB_HDL",
              dataName = "D",
              family = "gaussian",
              datasources = connections)
mod

# Clear the Datashield R sessions and logout
datashield.logout(connections) 

## End(Not run)


[Package dsBaseClient version 6.1.1 ]