Data mining of mental health issues of non-bone marrow donor siblings

J Clin Bioinforma. 2011 Jul 20;1(1):19. doi: 10.1186/2043-9113-1-19.


Background: Allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is a curative treatment for patients with advanced hematologic malignancies. However, the long-term mental health issues of siblings who were not selected as donors (non-donor siblings, NDS) in the transplantation have not been well assessed. Data mining is useful in discovering new findings from a large, multidisciplinary data set and the Scenario Map analysis is a novel approach which allows extracting keywords linking different conditions/events from text data of interviews even when the keywords appeared infrequently. The aim of this study is to assess mental health issues on NDSs and to find helpful keywords for the clinical follow-up using a Scenario Map analysis.

Findings: A 47-year-old woman whose younger sister had undergone allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation 20 years earlier was interviewed as a NDS. The text data from the interview transcriptions was analyzed using Scenario Mapping. Four clusters of words and six keywords were identified. Upon review of the word clusters and keywords, both the subject and researchers noticed that the subject has had mental health issues since the disease onset to date with being a NDS. The issues have been alleviated by her family.

Conclusions: This single subject study suggested the advantages of data mining in clinical follow-up for mental health issues of patients and/or their families.