Reliable diagnoses of dementia by the naive credal classifier inferred from incomplete cognitive data

Artif Intell Med. Sep-Oct 2003;29(1-2):61-79. doi: 10.1016/s0933-3657(03)00046-0.


Dementia is a serious personal, medical and social problem. Recent research indicates early and accurate diagnoses as the key to effectively cope with it. No definitive cure is available but in some cases when the impairment is still mild the disease can be contained. This paper describes a diagnostic tool that jointly uses the naive credal classifier and the most widely used computerized system of cognitive tests in dementia research, the Cognitive Drug Research system. The naive credal classifier extends the discrete naive Bayes classifier to imprecise probabilities. The naive credal classifier models both prior ignorance and ignorance about the likelihood by sets of probability distributions. This is a new way to deal with small and incomplete datasets that departs significantly from most established classification methods. In the empirical study presented here, the naive credal classifier provides reliability and unmatched predictive performance. It delivers up to 95% correct predictions while being very robust with respect to the partial ignorance due to the largely incomplete data. The diagnostic tool also proves to be very effective in discriminating between Alzheimer's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Lewy Body Disease / complications
  • Lewy Body Disease / diagnosis*
  • Lewy Body Disease / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index