Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Big data' technique improves monitoring of kidney transplant patients

June 27, 2014
University of Leeds
A new data analysis technique radically improves monitoring of kidney patients, according to a new study and could lead to profound changes in the way we understand our health.

A new data analysis technique radically improves monitoring of kidney patients, according to a University of Leeds-led study, and could lead to profound changes in the way we understand our health.

The research, published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, provides a way of making sense out of the huge number of clues about a kidney transplant patient's prognosis contained in their blood.

By applying sophisticated "big data" analysis to the samples, scientists were able to crunch hundreds of thousands of variables into a single parameter indicating how a kidney transplant was faring.

That allowed the team of physicists, chemists and clinicians to predict poor function of a kidney after only two days in cases that may not previously have been detected as failing until weeks after transplant.

The extra few days would give doctors a better chance to intervene to save a transplant and improve patient recovery periods. In some cases, the team were able to predict failure from patients' blood samples taken before the transplant operation.

Dr Sergei Krivov, research fellow in the University of Leeds' Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, who led the research, said: "If you put a blood sample through Nuclear Magnetic Resonance analysis you get a very large number of different parameters that vary with the outcome for a patient.

"These are vital clues but, if you have got thousands of variables all moving in different ways in a complex system, how does a doctor bring all that information together and decide what to do? It is not possible to do this with the human mind; there are just too many variables. We have to do it with computers."

The study, which analysed daily blood samples from 18 patients immediately before and in a week-long period after kidney transplants, produced a single "optimal reaction coordinate" from the thousands of variables. This was translated to a single number (on a continuous scale from 0 to 1) describing the likelihood of a patient's state at any one time resulting in organ success or failure.

Dr Krivov said: "It is a bit like measuring GDP in the economy: a single number quantifying a huge amount of complex activity and allowing you to understand the dynamics of the system."

He added: "One of the advantages is that the output is not binary. In the past, we have tended to make decisions based on certain physical parameters. Depending on the current value or a large movement in such an indicator, we have decided whether a patient is 'healthy' or 'unhealthy' and whether or not they require treatment. At the simplest level, that could be taking their temperature. The new approach describes the dynamics of the whole system and quantifies on a continuous scale where the patient is."

Importantly, the technique does not depend on an understanding of the exact mechanism of kidney disease and is therefore, in principle, applicable in many other areas.

Dr Krivov said: "I am not a kidney specialist. I just need the data. I can then analyse it using the same equation we used here to describe the dynamics of a condition. This could be particularly powerful in areas where you are dealing with slowly developing and complex conditions, where you need to get away from a healthy-unhealthy dichotomy and engage with the incremental dynamics of the disease."

Given enough data, the technique could even be used to quantify very complex and extended processes affecting the whole population and could, ultimately, change our way of seeing our health.

"It would require a lot of data and a lot of people regularly giving their data but there is nothing in theory to stop us applying this to something like age, for instance," Dr Krivov said.

"If you are looking at biological aging, what is the best way to quantify it? You don't just have two states: 'old' or 'young'. It is a really slow process and it is certainly not described by your passport age. If we can quantify your age in a biological way, we can change the way you see your life and health. If you have a number describing it, you can see where you are speeding up biological aging and you can then work out ways to slow it down or even reverse it."

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leeds. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Sergei V. Krivov, Hayley Fenton, Paul J. Goldsmith, Rajendra K. Prasad, Julie Fisher, Emanuele Paci. Optimal Reaction Coordinate as a Biomarker for the Dynamics of Recovery from Kidney Transplant. PLoS Computational Biology, 2014; 10 (6): e1003685 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003685

Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "'Big data' technique improves monitoring of kidney transplant patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627094900.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2014, June 27). 'Big data' technique improves monitoring of kidney transplant patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627094900.htm
University of Leeds. "'Big data' technique improves monitoring of kidney transplant patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140627094900.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This

More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News


      Free Subscriptions

      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile

      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?

      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins