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:
The program Phenomizer online:
Exact Score distribution computation for ontological similarity measures, Schulz et al., BMC Bioinformatics 2011
Clinical diagnostics in human genetics with semantic similarity searches in ontologies, Köhler et al. The American Journal of Human Genetics 2009
A press picture is available at: www.uni-saarland.de/pressefotos
Dr. Marcel Schulz
Computational Biology and Applied Algorithms
Max Planck Institute for Informatics
Phone: +49 681 93253115
Competence Center Computer Science Saarland
Phone: +49 681 30270741
Friederike Meyer zu Tittingdorf | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
The app for frequent fliers and those who are radiation-conscious
15.04.2015 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)
Passenger-focused air conditioning
14.04.2015 | Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Konstanz are working on storing and processing information on the level of single molecules to create the smallest possible components that will combine autonomously to form a circuit. As recently reported in the academic journal Advanced Science, the researchers can switch on the current flow through a single molecule for the first time with the help of light.
Dr. Artur Erbe, physicist at the HZDR, is convinced that in the future molecular electronics will open the door for novel and increasingly smaller – while also...
Cells of the vascular system of vertebrates can fuse with themselves. This process, which occurs when a blood vessel is no longer necessary and pruned, has now been described on the cellular level by Prof. Markus Affolter from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. The findings of this study have been published in the journal “PLoS Biology”.
The vascular system is the supply network of the human organism and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the last corners of the body. So far, research on the...
Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy
Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a...
A team of physicists from MPQ, Caltech, and ICFO proposes the combination of nano-photonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems and creating new states of matter.
Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, that are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have been proven to be one of the most...
According to new research out of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, that is indeed the case. Chetan Jinadatha, M.D., M.P.H., assistant...
13.04.2015 | Event News
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
20.04.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2015 | Architecture and Construction
20.04.2015 | Physics and Astronomy