A hierarchical model for spatially clustered disease rates


Maps of regional disease rates are potentially useful tools in examining spatial patterns of disease and for identifying clusters. Bayes and empirical Bayes approaches to this problem have proven useful in smoothing crude maps of disease rates. In recent years, models including both spatially correlated random effects and spatially unstructured random effects have been very popular. The spatially correlated random effects have been proposed in an attempt to capture a general clustering in the data. As an alternative, we propose replacing the spatially structured random effect with fixed clustering effects associated with particular areas. A reversible jump Markov chain Monte Carlo (RJMCMC) algorithm for posterior inference is described. We illustrate the model using the well-known New York leukaemia data.

Statistics in Medicine