USA: A team of researchers from Northeastern University and Harvard University has created a map summarising disease associations expressed in a population of more than 30 million people. Using a database of insurance claims, the researchers have created the largest disease network database ever built.
Reflected by the Phenotypic Disease Network map, the study found that patients affected by diseases that are connected to other diseases tended to die sooner than those affected by less connected diseases.
The authors have made the network data publicly available through an interactive website ).
“Mapping disease networks using digital medical records dramatically change the way we understand diseases in general,” said César A. Hidalgo, researcher at the Center for International Development at Harvard University and lead author of the study. “Disease networks can also be used to inform patients of diseases they may be at risk of developing based on the patient’s medical history. This opens new potential applications and opportunities for digital medical records.”