Erik Thorlund Parner


Contact information
Erik Thorlund Parner
Department of Public Health - Department of Biostatistics
Bartholins Allé 2
Building 1261, room 212
8000 Aarhus C

Phone: +45 871 67995
Mobile: 3069 1084
AU profile:

Born August 2, 1967

Academic degrees
1995: M.Sc., University of Aarhus.
1997: Ph.D., University of Aarhus (“Inference in Semiparametric Frailty Models”)

Positions held
1997-2000: Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Aarhus.
2001-2011: Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Aarhus.
2011-: Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Aarhus.

Scientific competences
Research interests:
•Time to event analysis. Epidemiology. Statistical genetics. Causal inference.
•Risk factors for autism and time trends in autism prevalence.
•Treatment variation in general practice.
•Running participation and risk factors for running-related injuries.

Awards and honors
2013: The Stata Journal Editors’ Prize 2013: Erik T. Parner and Per K. Andersen.
2014: The JCD Prize, Main PhD supervisor of the Year. Health, Aarhus University.
2016-: Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute (ISI).

Scientific and career breakthroughs
1.My methodological research is mainly on analyzing time-to-event data, with the main focus on methods used to analyze data from health care databases.
2. I have had an interest in describing the time trends in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and other child psychiatric disorders, attempting to quantify factors than can explain the increase in prevalence of these disorders. We were (among) the first to show that the increase in prevalence of ASDs also holds for other child psychiatric conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Tourette’s syndrome. We have shown that some part of the increase in autism can be explained by a decrease in the age of diagnosis. Lately, we have shown that 60% of the increase in prevalence for children born 1980 to 1991 can be explained by changes in change in diagnostic criteria (from ICD-8 to ICD-10 in 1994 in Denmark) and by the inclusion of outpatient contacts in the health care databases (in 1995 in Denmark). Hence, this study supports the argument that the apparent increase in ASDs in recent years is in large part attributable to changes in reporting practices.
a. Atladóttir HO, Parner ET, Schendel D, Dalsgaard S, Thomsen PH, et al. Time trends in reported diagnoses of childhood neuropsychiatric disorders: a Danish cohort study. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007 Feb;161(2):193-8. PubMed PMID: 17283306.
b. Parner ET, Schendel DE, Thorsen P. Autism prevalence trends over time in Denmark: changes in prevalence and age at diagnosis. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008 Dec;162(12):1150-6. PubMed PMID: 19047542.
c. Hansen SN, Schendel DE, Parner ET. Explaining the increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders: the proportion attributable to changes in reporting practices. JAMA Pediatr. 2015 Jan;169(1):56-62. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1893. PubMed PMID: 25365033.

Research leadership and administrative work (selected)
Research management:
•Danish site principal investigator of the International Collaboration of Autism Research Epidemiology (iCARE) network.
•Danish site principal investigator of the NIH Autism Centers of Excellence, Multigenerational FamIlial and Environmental Risk for Autism (MINERvA) network.
•Chair of the research committee at the Department of Public Health, Aarhus University (2015-). 

Board memberships, panels, etc.:
•Associate editor for the Scandinavian Journal of Statistics (2013-).
•Board member of The Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics (2005-2009).
•Expert for the European Medicines Agency (2007-2013).

Reviewer for the following journals:
Annals of Statistics; Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine); Bernoulli; Biometrical Journal; Biometrics; Biometrika; Communications in Statistics; International Journal of Epidemiology; Journal of the American Statistical Association; Journal of the Royal Statistical Society; Journal of The Danish Medical Association (Ugeskrift for Læger); Lifetime Data Analysis; PLoS ONE; Scandinavian Journal of Statistics; Statistical Modelling; Statistical Papers.

See also for details on scientific activities.

Scientific publications
Please see my bibliography at

Presentations and talks at conferences and meetings
Selected invited talks in the past 5 years:
2012: Analysis of cohort studies with applications in autism epidemiology. Inaugural lecture, Aarhus University.
2012: Statistical challenges in psychiatric epidemiology. The Danish Epidemiology Society.
2012: Cohort studies of prevalence and risk factors for autism. 50 year celebration, Autism
2012: Epidemiological autism studies. autism@aarhus, MindLab.
2012: Analysis of cohort studies with application in autism epidemiology. Autism symposium, Regional Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
2012: Recurrence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in full and half siblings, and trends over time. Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
2013: Events per variable for risk differences and relative risks using pseudo-observations. Meeting in the Danish Society for Theoretical Statistics.
2014: Key note speech at German Stata Users Group Meeting.
2014: Invited speaker at “Strategic agenda for Autism Spectrum Disorders: a public health and policy perspective” jointly organized by the Italian Ministry of Health and the Italian National Health Institute and is part of the initiatives of the Italian Semester of Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Rome, 17 December, 2014.

Current research funding
External research funding obtained in international or national competition:
2012-2017: PI: Parner ET, Multigenerational FamIlial and Environmental Risk for Autism (MINERvA) Network, Autism Center of Excellence. USD 398,346. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
2013-2018: PI: Mogens Vestergaard. Mental health in primary care - diagnostics, treatment, and co-morbidity (MEPRICA). DKK 16,000,000, Lundbeck Foundation.

Main supervisor of two PhD students.
Co-supervisor of five PhD students.

Main supervisor of two PhD students.
Co-supervisor of five PhD students.

Teaching experience
20 years’ experience in teaching and 17 years’ experience as a course coordinator.