Ontologies for the study of neurological disease

In Towards an Ontology of Mental Functioning (ICBO Workshop), Third International Conference on Biomedical Ontology. Graz: (2012)
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We have begun work on two separate but related ontologies for the study of neurological diseases. The first, the Neurological Disease Ontology (ND), is intended to provide a set of controlled, logically connected classes to describe the range of neurological diseases and their associated signs and symptoms, assessments, diagnoses, and interventions that are encountered in the course of clinical practice. ND is built as an extension of the Ontology for General Medical Sciences — a high-level candidate OBO Foundry ontology that provides a set of general classes that can be used to describe general aspects of medical science. ND is being built with classes utilizing both textual and axiomatized definitions that describe and formalize the relations between instances of other classes within the ontology itself as well as to external ontologies such as the Gene Ontology, Cell Ontology, Protein Ontology, and Chemical Entities of Biological Interest. In addition, references to similar or associated terms in external ontologies, vocabularies and terminologies are included when possible. Initial work on ND is focused on the areas of Alzheimer’s and other diseases associated with dementia, multiple sclerosis, and stroke and cerebrovascular disease. Extensions to additional groups of neurological diseases are planned. The second ontology, the Neuro-Psychological Testing Ontology (NPT), is intended to provide a set of classes for the annotation of neuropsychological testing data. The intention of this ontology is to allow for the integration of results from a variety of neuropsychological tests that assay similar measures of cognitive functioning. Neuro-psychological testing is an important component in developing the clinical picture used in the diagnosis of patients with a range of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis, and following stroke or traumatic brain injury. NPT is being developed as an extension to the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations.

Author Profiles

Barry Smith
University at Buffalo
Alan Ruttenberg
University at Buffalo


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