The researchers address Mukamal, Stampfer and Rimm’s (MSR) substantive points regarding Mendelian randomization of alcohol and cardiovascular disease, an issue on which MSR dispute the MR findings…


George Davey Smith, Michael V. Holmes, Neil M. Davies and Shah Ebrahim


Davey Smith, G., Holmes, M.V., Davies, N.M. et al. Mendel’s laws, Mendelian randomization and causal inference in observational data: substantive and nomenclatural issues. Eur J Epidemiol 35, 99–111 (2020).

European Journal of Epidemiology
Release date

Research article

Mendel’s Laws, Mendelian Randomization and Causal Inference in Observational Data: Substantive and Nomenclatural Issues


The researchers respond to criticisms of Mendelian randomization (MR) by Mukamal, Stampfer and Rimm (MSR). MSR consider that MR is receiving too much attention and should be renamed.

The researches explain how MR links to Mendel’s laws, the origin of the name and their lack of concern regarding nomenclature. The researchers further address MSR’s substantive points regarding MR of alcohol and cardiovascular disease, an issue on which MSR dispute the MR findings.

The researchers demonstrate that their strictures with respect to population stratification, confounding, weak instrument bias, pleiotropy and confounding have been addressed, and summarise how the field has advanced in relation to the issues they raise.

The researchers agree with MSR that “the hard problem of conducting high-quality, reproducible epidemiology” should be addressed by epidemiologists. However the researchers see more evidence of confrontation of this issue within MR, as opposed to conventional observational epidemiology, within which the same methods that have demonstrably failed in the past are simply rolled out into new areas, leaving their previous failures unexamined.

Source Website: Springer