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Title: Interventional effects with latent mediators: Applications in life course epidemiology Authors:  Bianca Lucia De Stavola - University College London GOS Institute of Child Health (United Kingdom) [presenting]
Abstract: Life-course epidemiology is important for understanding the effects of lifetime exposures on health outcomes, and for suggesting interventions to improve health, but it is complex and challenging. Conceptual models, represented by formal directed acyclic graphs, can help make sense of the many possible pathways via which exposure in early life may affect health outcomes in adulthood, while counterfactual reasoning can help specify relevant targets of estimation. Using an example drawn from life course epidemiology, alternative conceptual models will be discussed to represent the role that body size at increasing ages in childhood may play in the onset of eating disorders in adolescence. Different causal questions can be asked and expressed for example in terms of natural effects of early childhood size mediated or not mediated via later childhood sizes. These investigations will then be expanded to address questions regarding the best time for intervening to prevent eating disorders. Estimands such as the direct and indirect interventional effects will be discussed, involving a single or multiple mediators, as well as observed or latent mediators.