Disease Inference from Health-Related Questions via Sparse Deep Learning

Automatic disease inference is of importance to bridge the gap between what online health seekers with unusual symptoms need and what busy human doctors with biased expertise can offer. However, accurately and efficiently inferring diseases is non-trivial, especially for community-based health services due to the vocabulary gap, incomplete information, correlated medical concepts, and limited high quality training samples. A user study report is done on the information needs of health seekers in terms of questions and then select those that ask for possible diseases of their manifested symptoms for further analytic. Next to propose a novel deep learning scheme to infer the possible diseases given the questions of health seekers. The proposed scheme comprises of two key components. The first globally mines the discriminant medical signatures from raw features. The second deems the raw features and their signatures as input nodes in one layer and hidden nodes in the subsequent layer, respectively. Meanwhile, it learns the inter-relations between these two layers via pre-training with pseudolabeled data. Following that, the hidden nodes serve as raw features for the more abstract signature mining. With incremental and alternative repeating of these two components, this scheme builds a sparsely connected deep architecture with three hidden layers.

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