Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Computational biologists from Saarbrücken simplify diagnosis for hereditary diseases

29.07.2014

In the case of a cough or a sore throat, the doctor can usually diagnose a common cold immediately.

However, the diagnosis of hereditary illnesses like cystic fibrosis, which affects the metabolism, or Huntington’s disease, which leads to cognitive decline, is much more complex. A patient may suffer from a multitude of symptoms, pointing to several different diseases.

This can now be remediated using a program developed by bioinformatics experts from Saarbrücken, which is now also available as an app. With the aid of this application, physicians can discover patients’ afflictions quickly and without great research effort.

The computing method that the program is based on compares different patterns of hereditary diseases from an extensive online database and weights them by their likelihood.

Diseases like diabetes, epilepsy, a heart defect or deafness can themselves be symptoms of a range of hereditary diseases. „That makes it so difficult for medical specialists to diagnose someone with the correct disease from the beginning“, says Marcel Schulz, who is leader of the research group „ High-throughput Genomics & Systems Biology“ at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and also a researcher at the Cluster of Excellence „Multimodal Computing and Interaction“.

„Additionally, each disease appears with different characteristics in different patients“. In the case of a heart defect, for instance, the patient may not only be afflicted by the defect itself, but could also be suffering from the Miller-Dieker syndrome or Cat eye syndrome, depending on the patient’s other symptoms.

Together with physicians and computational biologists from the working group of Professor Dr. Peter Robinson at the Charité clinical center in Berlin, Schulz has developed the program „Phenomizer“, which can be used by doctors to discover what the patient is afflicted with. This approach can be used for various hereditary illnesses like trisomy 21, Morbus Wilson or the Marfan syndrome.

„We are using an extensive online data base developed at Charité, called the ‘Human Phenotype Ontology’,,which lists more than 10 000 disease characteristics structurally and assigns them to 7500 diseases“, explains Schulz.

The computing method scans, compares and weights the data related to the symptoms the user provided, and then assigns these characteristics to certain diseases. Within seconds, the doctor receives a list with the most probable results. The advantage of the program is clear to Schulz:

„The doctors no longer have to research in databases or books for several hours. The list supports them in detecting the disease more quickly. Moreover, doctors can ask patients about their symptoms in greater detail. This makes it easier to assess which aspects they need to pay attention to.

The Phenomizer program has recently been made available online as an Android version for smartphones and tablets. It can be downloaded for free from the „Google Play“ platform. „We developed the app together with six different computer scientists from Saarbrücken“, explains Schulz. The students created the app within the context of a software engineering course at Saarland University.

The Phenomizer app is available for free on Google Play.

Background information about Computer Science research at Saarland University
The Department of Computer Science represents the center of Computer Science research in Saarbrücken. Seven other internationally renowned research institutes are nearby: The Max Planck Institutes for Informatics and for Software Systems, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Center for Bioinformatics, the Intel Visual Computing Institute, the Center for IT Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA), and the Cluster of Excellence “Multimodal Computing and Interaction”.
See more at: http://www.mmci.uni-saarland.de/en/news/article/?article_id=233#sthash.7RgThJfj....

The app is available at:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.charite.phenomizer&hl=de

Further information:
The program Phenomizer online:
http://compbio.charite.de/phenomizer/

Publications:
Exact Score distribution computation for ontological similarity measures, Schulz et al., BMC Bioinformatics 2011
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2105/12/441

Clinical diagnostics in human genetics with semantic similarity searches in ontologies, Köhler et al. The American Journal of Human Genetics 2009
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929709003991

A press picture is available at: www.uni-saarland.de/pressefotos
Please pay attention to the terms of use.

Press inquiries:
Dr. Marcel Schulz
Computational Biology and Applied Algorithms
Max Planck Institute for Informatics
Phone: +49 681 93253115
Mail: mschulz@mpi-inf.mpg.de

Editor:
Gordon Bolduan
Science Communication
Competence Center Computer Science Saarland
Mail: bolduan(at)mmci.uni-saarland.de
Phone: +49 681 30270741

Weitere Informationen:

http://compbio.charite.de/phenomizer/

Friederike Meyer zu Tittingdorf | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New technique controls autonomous vehicles on a dirt track
24.05.2016 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Engineers take first step toward flexible, wearable, tricorder-like device
24.05.2016 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Worldwide Success of Tyrolean Wastewater Treatment Technology

A biological and energy-efficient process, developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck, converts nitrogen compounds in wastewater treatment facilities into harmless atmospheric nitrogen gas. This innovative technology is now being refined and marketed jointly with the United States’ DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). The largest DEMON®-system in a wastewater treatment plant is currently being built in Washington, DC.

The DEMON®-system was developed and patented by the University of Innsbruck 11 years ago. Today this successful technology has been implemented in about 70...

Im Focus: Computational high-throughput screening finds hard magnets containing less rare earth elements

Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.

The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...

Im Focus: Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...

Im Focus: Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices

Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.

Im Focus: Graphene: A quantum of current

When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene

In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

International expert meeting “Health Business Connect” in France

19.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

11 million Euros for research into magnetic field sensors for medical diagnostics

27.05.2016 | Awards Funding

Fungi – a promising source of chemical diversity

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

New Model of T Cell Activation

27.05.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>