Stat Med. 2021 Nov 30;40(27):6038-6056. doi: 10.1002/sim.9168. Epub 2021 Aug 17.
We consider Bayesian high-dimensional mediation analysis to identify among a large set of correlated potential mediators the active ones that mediate the effect from an exposure variable to an outcome of interest. Correlations among mediators are commonly observed in modern data analysis; examples include the activated voxels within connected regions in brain image data, regulatory signals driven by gene networks in genome data, and correlated exposure data from the same source. When correlations are present among active mediators, mediation analysis that fails to account for such correlation can be suboptimal and may lead to a loss of power in identifying active mediators. Building upon a recent high-dimensional mediation analysis framework, we propose two Bayesian hierarchical models, one with a Gaussian mixture prior that enables correlated mediator selection and the other with a Potts mixture prior that accounts for the correlation among active mediators in mediation analysis. We develop efficient sampling algorithms for both methods. Various simulations demonstrate that our methods enable effective identification of correlated active mediators, which could be missed by using existing methods that assume prior independence among active mediators. The proposed methods are applied to the LIFECODES birth cohort and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) and identified new active mediators with important biological implications.