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Decision Support Methods for Finding Phenotype — Disorder Associations in the Bone Dysplasia Domain
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Author: Razan Paul et al.

by Razan Paul, Tudor Groza, Jane Hunter, Andreas Zankl

A lack of mature domain knowledge and well established guidelines makes the medical diagnosis of skeletal dysplasias (a group of rare genetic disorders) a very complex process. Machine learning techniques can facilitate objective interpretation of medical observations for the purposes of decision support. However, building decision support models using such techniques is highly problematic in the context of rare genetic disorders, because it depends on access to mature domain knowledge. This paper describes an approach for developing a decision support model in medical domains that are underpinned by relatively sparse knowledge bases. We propose a solution that combines association rule mining with the Dempster-Shafer theory (DST) to compute probabilistic associations between sets of clinical features and disorders, which can then serve as support for medical decision making (e.g., diagnosis). We show, via experimental results, that our approach is able to provide meaningful outcomes even on small datasets with sparse distributions, in addition to outperforming other Machine Learning techniques and behaving slightly better than an initial diagnosis by a clinician.
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