DARTH group mission
Ever-increasing healthcare provision demands strain national health systems globally, which struggle to meet patients' needs. There is a growing unmet clinical need to develop accurate, robust, practical decision support tools to facilitate diagnosis, assessment, and symptom monitoring to improve patient health and care.
We are a dynamic research group based at the Usher Institute, Edinburgh Medical School, University of Edinburgh working at the interface of engineering, mathematics, informatics, and medicine. We passionately believe we can design and provide effective solutions which will revolutionize contemporary healthcare delivery through capitalizing technology and harnessing data.
We develop and apply signal processing and statistical machine learning algorithms to explore data and decipher complicated concealed statistical relationships. Our algorithms are directly driven by and validated on complicated real-world problems, aiming to facilitate interpretation of the underlying key mechanisms of the modelled system. Our work is inherently multi-disciplinary and we collaborate with industrial partners and researchers worldwide. We tackle challenging problems in healthcare domains from neurodegenerative disorders and mental health, to asthma, cardiovascular disease, and neonatal monitoring.
28 July 2020
New journal article accepted for publication in IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing
"Beyond Mobile Apps: a Survey of Technologies for Mental Well-being”. Mental disorders are closely associated with fear of stigma, structural barriers such as financial burden, and lack of available services and resources which often prohibit the delivery of frequent clinical advice and monitoring. This review article provides an overview of traditional techniques followed by their technological alternatives, sensing devices, behaviour changing tools, and feedback interfaces.
24 June 2020
New journal article accepted for publication in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
"Measuring and reporting treatment adherence: what can we learn by comparing two respiratory conditions?". This study investigated medication non-adherence and its longer-term effects in terms of side-effects, morbidity, and mortality. We used as testbeds two respiratory conditions, asthma and tuberculosis, to cross-reference approaches towards assessing adherence, and making recommendations for effective adherence reporting.
24 June 2020
New journal article accepted for publication in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
"Eye-tracking for longitudinal assessment of social cognition in children born preterm". We have monitored preterm-born and term-born children to investigate social attentional preference in infancy and at 5 years, its relationship with neurodevelopment, and the influence of socioeconomic deprivation.
27 May 2020
New journal article accepted for publication in Neurocomputing
"Artificial intelligence within the interplay between natural and artificial Computation: advances in data science, trends and applications". This comprehensive study from an inter-disciplinary international team summarizes many of the recent advances in data science and artificial intelligence within the interplay between natural and artificial computation.
8 May 2020
New journal article accepted for publication in Stroke
"Telemedicine cognitive hebavioural therapy for anxiety after stroke: proof of concept randomized controlled trial". Anxiety affects a large proportion of stroke survivors. We developed a telemedicine-based approach for delivering guided self-help cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety after stroke. The study also explored the use of objective assessment using wrist-worn actigraphy to complement patient reported outcome measures.
2 March 2020
New journal article accepted for publication in JMIR mHealth and uHealth
"Objective characterization of activity, sleep, and circadian variability patterns using a wrist-worn activity sensor: insights into post-traumatic stress disorder". This study provides new approaches towards visualizing, extracting patterns, and interpreting findings to characterize actigraphy data. The application is on post-traumatic stress disorder, but the algorithmic tools can be applied in any setting where we passively record actigraphy signals using wrist-worn wearables.
11 February 2020
New journal article accepted for publication in JMIR Medical Informatics
"Challenges of clustering multimodal clinical data: a review of applications in asthma subtyping" investigates common pitfalls in the application of clustering methodologies in clinical settings, using asthma as an exemplar. The manuscript makes a strong case for careful algorithmic considerations based on data variable type, sample size, and more general issues that appear in multimodal clinical datasets when attempting to infer data properties through clustering.
19 January 2020
Four new conference papers accepted for publication in BioSignals (BIOSTEC 2020)
Thanasis is co-organising a special session 'SERPICO' as part of the 13th Internatonal Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies, and four members of the group (Andres, Evi, Minhong, Thanasis) will be presenting work across different topics. Andres and Thanasis present findings on Parkinson's disease, Evi presents work from her PhD on neonatal monitoring, and Minhong presents her latest findings on stem cell pattern formation.
Previous years in review
1 September 2019
Three new conference papers accepted for publication in IEEE BIBE
Holly, Minhong, and Thanasis will be presenting their research findings in the next IEEE BioInformatics and BioEngineering conference in Athens, Greece at the end of October 2019. Thanasis is co-organising a special session at the conference entitled Intelligent Digital Health Interventions towads Prevention, Self-Management, and Treatment of Pathologies.
16 August 2019
New journal article accepted for publication in Circulation
We developed a statistical machine learning algorithm which uses changes in cardiac troponin concentrations, controlling for age and gender, and demonstrated we can very accurately predict myocardial infarction. The findings have been validated on a very large cohort of approximately 8,000 people. The algorithm can be used to identify low-risk and high-risk patients and lead to better-informed clinical decisions.
1 August 2019
New conference papers accepted and keynote lecture - MAVEBA
Andres will be presenting his work on: "A neuromechanical model of jaw-tongue articulation in Parkinson's disease speech", and Thanasis will be presenting results from the Parkinson's Voice Initiative study. Thanasis will also be delivering this year's keynote lecture in MAVEBA, entitled: Developing new speech signal processing algorithms for biomedical and life sciences applications: principles, findings, challenges, and a view to the future.
4 June 2019
New journal article accepted for publication in BMJ Open
Asthma is a long-term condition with rapid onset worsening of symptoms (‘attacks’) which can be unpredictable and may prove fatal. Models predicting asthma attacks require high sensitivity to minimise mortality risk, and high specificity to avoid unnecessary prescribing of preventative medications that carry an associated risk of adverse events. This protocol paper describes the planned work to create a risk score to predict asthma attacks in primary care using a statistical learning approach trained on routinely collected electronic health record (EHR) data.
14 May 2019
New journal article accepted for publication in Scientific Reports
"Quantifying ultrasonic mouse vocalizations using acoustic analysis in a supervised statistical machine learning framework" Most mouse communication is produced in ultrasonic frequencies beyond human hearing. These ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) are typically described by experts using nine call types. In this study, we replicated the expert-defined call types of communicative vocal behavior with 85% accuracy by using acoustic analysis to characterize USVs and a principled supervised learning setup. This has important implications in understanding animal behaviors.
11 April 2019
New conference article accepted for publication in EMBC
"New insights into Parkinson’s disease through statistical analysis of standard clinical scales quantifying symptom severity" In clinical practice, neurologists do not have time to use the full span of clinical scales and anecdotally rely on their experience to use a subset of the available items in fully established clinical metrics assessing Parkinson's disease symptom severity. This study aimed to investigate the practical implications of standard clinical assessment tools in monitoring Parkinson's disease symptom severity.
10 April 2019
New journal article accepted for publication in JASA
"Developing a large scale population screening tool for the assessment of Parkinson’s disease using telephone-quality speech". We collected the largest speech database in the world through the Parkinson's Voice Initiative and aimed to demonstrate that speech recordings collected under highly uncontrolled conditions may lead to acceptable accuracy in differentiating healthy controls from people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease simply processing sustained vowels collected over the standard telephone network.
22 March 2019
New article published in Urology News, highlighted in the frontpage of the magazine
"Rise of the machines: will artificial intelligence replace the urologist?" In this article we review the state of the art in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) focusing in the field of urology with a view to contemporary developments and future directions. We argued that data scientists and urologists need to work in close collaboration to harness opportunities: "rather than replace urologists, AI will mainly be used to inform, enhance, and complement their practice."
17 February 2019
New PhD student joining the DARTH group
Congratulations to Andres Gomez-Rodellar for successfully interviewing at the highly competitive DTP in Precision Medicine programme and being offered a position to join our research group. Andres will be starting with us in September 2019.
20 January 2019
New journal article accepted for publication in JMIR
Machine learning has attracted considerable research interest towards developing smart digital health interventions. These interventions have the potential to revolutionize healthcare and lead to substantial outcomes for patients and medical professionals. Unfortunately, research findings are rarely translated in clinical interventions. This study provides a literature review to contextualize the current state of the art in this setting and highlight contemporary limitations.
Setting up the DARTH group.