When William of Ockham meets Thomas Bayes: finding a few diagnoses among agreat many symptoms.

Authors
Citation
A. Sonnenberg, When William of Ockham meets Thomas Bayes: finding a few diagnoses among agreat many symptoms., ALIM PHARM, 15(9), 2001, pp. 1403-1407
Citations number
12
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Pharmacology,"da verificare
Journal title
ALIMENTARY PHARMACOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS
ISSN journal
0269-2813 → ACNP
Volume
15
Issue
9
Year of publication
2001
Pages
1403 - 1407
Database
ISI
SICI code
0269-2813(200109)15:9<1403:WWOOMT>2.0.ZU;2-3
Abstract
Bayes' formula is a means to estimate disease probability based on the pres ence of symptoms and the outcome of clinical tests. The probability helps t o decide among competing diagnostic options. If, however, several diseases present with similar symptoms, they may appear equally probable, and Bayes' formula will fail as an aid to reach a diagnostic decision. The aim of thi s study is to show how a merger of Bayes' principle with that of Ockham. ca n help to decide in favour of one diagnosis among multiple, seemingly equal ly probable diagnostic hypotheses. The hypotheses are compared to each othe r with respect to those tests and symptoms which they fail to explain. The unexplained tests and symptoms are used to estimate the probabilities for a set of secondary diagnoses that match each one of the primary diagnoses. T he more likely a secondary diagnosis appears, the less likely its correspon ding primary diagnosis will remain as the sole diagnosis to explain all the clinical findings. Even without a detailed calculation, the proposed conce pt of using unexplained tests and symptoms to rate competing differential d iagnoses could help the clinician to select the most probable diagnosis.