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J Biomed Inform. 2010 Oct;43(5):774-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2010.04.011. Epub 2010 May 6.

Prediction of influenza vaccination outcome by neural networks and logistic regression.

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Department of Family Medicine, Medical School Osijek, University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia.


The major challenge in influenza vaccination is to predict vaccine efficacy. The purpose of this study was to design a model to enable successful prediction of the outcome of influenza vaccination based on real historical medical data. A non-linear neural network approach was used, and its performance compared to logistic regression. The three neural network algorithms were tested: multilayer perceptron, radial basis and probabilistic in conjunction with parameter optimization and regularization techniques in order to create an influenza vaccination model that could be used for prediction purposes in the medical practice of primary health care physicians, where the vaccine is usually dispensed. The selection of input variables was based on a model of the vaccine strain which has frequently been changed and on which a poor influenza vaccine response is expected. The performance of models was measured by the average hit rate of negative and positive vaccine outcome. In order to test the generalization ability of the models, a 10-fold cross-validation procedure revealed that the model obtained by multilayer perceptron produced the highest average hit rate among neural network algorithms, and also outperformed the logistic regression model with regard to sensitivity and specificity. Sensitivity analysis was performed on the best model and the importance of input variables was discussed. Further research should focus on improving the performance of the model by combining neural networks with other intelligent methods in this field.

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