According to Mendelian randomization lore, the idea behind MR was first dreamt up on a rainy Hawaiian beach by Dutch epidemiologist Martijn Katan and subsequently published in a 450-word commentary in the Lancet. Katan’s rationale was, if we know that the effect of cholesterol on cancer is hopelessly confounded, why not look instead at genetic variants that are associated with cholesterol? Read more
MR lay dormant until the early 2000’s and especially began attracting attention with the publication of Davey Smith and Ebrahim’s 2003 paper which, I think, is the most-cited MR paper out there. From there MR exploded in many different directions. Included are mostly papers that cover important methodological considerations for MR as well as the STROBE-MR guidelines. Zheng 2017 covers many of the additional developments in MR such as bi-directional MR, MR-EGGER, two-step MR…the list goes on. Lastly, a commentary that is a word of caution on some of these more recent MR methods.
To be read with the caffeine of your choice while listening to Talking Heads’ live album “Stop Making Sense”.