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- PublicationPrediction of quality of life in people with ALS: on the road towards explainable clinical decision supportAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes a rapid decline in motor functions and has a fatal trajectory. ALS is currently incurable, so the aim of the treatment is mostly to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life (QoL) for the patients. The goal of this study is to develop a Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) to alert clinicians when a patient is at risk of experiencing low QoL. The source of data was the Irish ALS Registry and interviews with the 90 patients and their primary informal caregiver at three time-points. In this dataset, there were two different scores to measure a person's overall QoL, based on the McGill QoL (MQoL) Questionnaire and we worked towards the prediction of both. We used Extreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost) for the development of the predictive models, which was compared to a logistic regression baseline model. Additionally, we used Synthetic Minority Over-sampling Technique (SMOTE) to examine if that would increase model performance and SHAP (SHapley Additive explanations) as a technique to provide local and global explanations to the outputs as well as to select the most important features. The total calculated MQoL score was predicted accurately using three features - age at disease onset, ALSFRS-R score for orthopnoea and the caregiver's status pre-caregiving - with a F1-score on the test set equal to 0.81, recall of 0.78, and precision of 0.84. The addition of two extra features (caregiver's age and the ALSFRS-R score for speech) produced similar outcomes (F1-score 0.79, recall 0.70 and precision 0.90).
- PublicationUsing Patient Information for the Prediction of Caregiver Burden in Amyotrophic Lateral SclerosisThe aim of this study is to create a Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) to assist in the early identification and support of caregivers at risk of experiencing burden while caring for a person with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. We work towards a system that uses a minimum amount of data that could be routinely collected. We investigated if the impairment of patients alone provides sufficient information for the prediction of caregiver burden. Results reveal a better performance of our system in identifying those at risk of high burden, but more information is needed for an accurate CDSS.
- PublicationPrediction of caregiver burden in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a machine learning approach using random forests applied to a cohort studyOBJECTIVES:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare neurodegenerative disease that is characterised by the rapid degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons and has a fatal trajectory 3-4 years from symptom onset. Due to the nature of the condition patients with ALS require the assistance of informal caregivers whose task is demanding and can lead to high feelings of burden. This study aims to predict caregiver burden and identify related features using machine learning techniques. DESIGN:This included demographic and socioeconomic information, quality of life, anxiety and depression questionnaires, for patients and carers, resource use of patients and clinical information. The method used for prediction was the Random forest algorithm. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:This study investigates a cohort of 90 patients and their primary caregiver at three different time-points. The patients were attending the National ALS/Motor Neuron Disease Multidisciplinary Clinic at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. RESULTS:The caregiver's quality of life and psychological distress were the most predictive features of burden (0.92 sensitivity and 0.78 specificity). The most predictive features for Clinical Decision Support model were associated with the weekly caregiving duties of the primary caregiver as well as their age and health and also the patient's physical functioning and age of onset. However, this model had a lower sensitivity and specificity score (0.84 and 0.72, respectively). The ability of patients without gastrostomy to cut food and handle utensils was also highly predictive of burden in this study. Generally, our models are better in predicting the high-risk category, and we suggest that information related to the caregiver's quality of life and psychological distress is required. CONCLUSION:This work demonstrates a proof of concept of an informatics solution to identifying caregivers at risk of burden that could be incorporated into future care pathways.