Semantic MEDLINE for discovery browsing: using semantic predications and the literature-based discovery paradigm to elucidate a mechanism for the obesity paradox

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2013 Nov 16;2013:164-73. eCollection 2013.


Applying the principles of literature-based discovery (LBD), we elucidate the paradox that obesity is beneficial in critical care despite contributing to disease generally. Our approach enhances a previous extension to LBD, called "discovery browsing," and is implemented using Semantic MEDLINE, which summarizes the results of a PubMed search into an interactive graph of semantic predications. The methodology allows a user to construct argumentation underpinning an answer to a biomedical question by engaging the user in an iterative process between system output and user knowledge. Components of the Semantic MEDLINE output graph identified as "interesting" by the user both contribute to subsequent searches and are constructed into a logical chain of relationships constituting an explanatory network in answer to the initial question. Based on this methodology we suggest that phthalates leached from plastic in critical care interventions activate PPAR gamma, which is anti-inflammatory and abundant in obese patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
  • Natural Language Processing*
  • Obesity* / complications
  • Obesity* / mortality
  • Semantics