On building a diabetes centric knowledge base via mining the web

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2019 Apr 9;19(Suppl 2):49. doi: 10.1186/s12911-019-0771-6.


Background: Diabetes has become one of the hot topics in life science researches. To support the analytical procedures, researchers and analysts expend a mass of labor cost to collect experimental data, which is also error-prone. To reduce the cost and to ensure the data quality, there is a growing trend of extracting clinical events in form of knowledge from electronic medical records (EMRs). To do so, we first need a high-coverage knowledge base (KB) of a specific disease to support the above extraction tasks called KB-based Extraction.

Methods: We propose an approach to build a diabetes-centric knowledge base (a.k.a. DKB) via mining the Web. In particular, we first extract knowledge from semi-structured contents of vertical portals, fuse individual knowledge from each site, and further map them to a unified KB. The target DKB is then extracted from the overall KB based on a distance-based Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm.

Results: During the experiments, we selected eight popular vertical portals in China as data sources to construct DKB. There are 7703 instances and 96,041 edges in the final diabetes KB covering diseases, symptoms, western medicines, traditional Chinese medicines, examinations, departments, and body structures. The accuracy of DKB is 95.91%. Besides the quality assessment of extracted knowledge from vertical portals, we also carried out detailed experiments for evaluating the knowledge fusion performance as well as the convergence of the distance-based EM algorithm with positive results.

Conclusions: In this paper, we introduced an approach to constructing DKB. A knowledge extraction and fusion pipeline was first used to extract semi-structured data from vertical portals and individual KBs were further fused into a unified knowledge base. After that, we develop a distance based Expectation Maximization algorithm to extract a subset from the overall knowledge base forming the target DKB. Experiments showed that the data in DKB are rich and of high-quality.

Keywords: Diabetes-centric KB; Knowledge extraction; Knowledge fusion.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • China
  • Data Mining*
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Internet*
  • Knowledge Bases*