Time series smoother for effect detection

Cheng You, Dennis K.J. Lin, S. Stanley Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In environmental epidemiology, it is often encountered that multiple time series data with a long-term trend, including seasonality, cannot be fully adjusted by the observed covariates. The long-term trend is difficult to separate from abnormal short-term signals of interest. This paper addresses how to estimate the long-term trend in order to recover short-term signals. Our case study demonstrates that the current spline smoothing methods can result in significant positive and negative cross-correlations from the same dataset, depending on how the smoothing parameters are chosen. To circumvent this dilemma, three classes of time series smoothers are proposed to detrend time series data. These smoothers do not require fine tuning of parameters and can be applied to recover short-term signals. The properties of these smoothers are shown with both a case study using a factorial design and a simulation study using datasets generated from the original dataset. General guidelines are provided on how to discover short-term signals from time series with a long-term trend. The benefit of this research is that a problem is identified and characteristics of possible solutions are determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0195360
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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