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AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2012;2012:1060-9. Epub 2012 Nov 3.

An analysis of multi-type relational interactions in FMA using graph motifs with disjointness constraints.

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  • 1Division of Medical Informatics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


The interaction of multiple types of relationships among anatomical classes in the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) can provide inferred information valuable for quality assurance. This paper introduces a method called Motif Checking (MOCH) to study the effects of such multi-relation type interactions for detecting logical inconsistencies as well as other anomalies represented by the motifs. MOCH represents patterns of multi-type interaction as small labeled (with multiple types of edges) sub-graph motifs, whose nodes represent class variables, and labeled edges represent relational types. By representing FMA as an RDF graph and motifs as SPARQL queries, fragments of FMA are automatically obtained as auditing candidates. Leveraging the scalability and reconfigurability of Semantic Web Technology, we performed exhaustive analyses of a variety of labeled sub-graph motifs. The quality assurance feature of MOCH comes from the distinct use of a subset of the edges of the graph motifs as constraints for disjointness, whereby bringing in rule-based flavor to the approach as well. With possible disjointness implied by antonyms, we performed manual inspection of the resulting FMA fragments and tracked down sources of abnormal inferred conclusions (logical inconsistencies), which are amendable for programmatic revision of the FMA. Our results demonstrate that MOCH provides a unique source of valuable information for quality assurance. Since our approach is general, it is applicable to any ontological system with an OWL representation.

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