Biophysical modeling of sensitivity and positive accuracy of detecting episodic endocrine signals

R. J. Urban, M. L. Johnson, J. D. Veldhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


To investigate the nature of false-negative and false-positive errors in endocrine signal detection, we used a multiparameter convolution procedure to create random hormone secretory bursts. We observed that 1) data containing high signal frequency, amplitude, and/or duration can be analyzed at less stringent peak-detection thresholds; 2) for any given secretory burst amplitude, increasing the peak-detection threshold enhances positive accuracy but decreases sensitivity; 3) increased sampling frequency improves sensitivity but requires more stringent peak-detection thresholds; and 4) increasing noise diminishes both sensitivity and positive accuracy. We conclude that secretory properties, peak-detector thresholds, investigator-specified sampling intensity, and experimental variance all significantly influence false-positive and false-negative errors associated with the enumeration of episodic endocrine pulse signals. The present observations should offer objective principles to aid in the rational design and analysis of neuroendocrine studies of pulsatile physiological phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20/1
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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