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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Autism Literature Mining

Developing a Deeper Understanding of Autism: Connecting Knowledge through Literature Mining

Abstract

In the field of autism, an enormous increase in available information makes it very difficult to connect fragments of knowledge into a more coherent picture. We present a literature mining method, RaJoLink, to search for matched themes in unrelated literature that may contribute to a better understanding of complex pathological conditions, such as autism. 214 full text articles on autism, published in PubMed, served as a source of data. Using ontology construction, we identified the main concepts of what is already known about autism. Then, the RaJoLink method, based on Swanson's ABC model, was used to reveal potentially interesting, but not yet investigated, connections between different concepts in research. Among the more interesting concepts identified with RaJoLink in our study were calcineurin and NF-kappaB. Both terms can be linked to neuro-immune abnormalities in the brain of patients with autism. Further research is needed to provide stronger evidence about calcineurin and NF-kappaB involvement in autism. However, the analysis presented confirms that this method could support experts on their way towards discovering hidden relationships and towards a better understanding of the disorder.


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