Background: Insomnia as one of the dominant diseases of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been extensively studied in recent years. To explore the novel approaches of research on TCM diagnosis and treatment, this paper presents a strategy for the research of insomnia based on machine learning.
Methods: First of all, 654 insomnia cases have been collected from an experienced doctor of TCM as sample data. Secondly, in the light of the characteristics of TCM diagnosis and treatment, the contents of research samples have been divided into four parts: the basic information, the four diagnostic methods, the treatment based on syndrome differentiation and the main prescription. And then, these four parts have been analyzed by three analysis methods, including frequency analysis, association rules and hierarchical cluster analysis. Finally, a comprehensive study of the whole four parts has been conducted by random forest.
Results: Researches of the above four parts revealed some essential connections. Simultaneously, based on the algorithm model established by the random forest, the accuracy of predicting the main prescription by the combinations of the four diagnostic methods and the treatment based on syndrome differentiation was 0.85. Furthermore, having been extracted features through applying the random forest, the syndrome differentiation of five zang-organs was proven to be the most significant parameter of the TCM diagnosis and treatment.
Conclusions: The results indicate that the machine learning methods are worthy of being adopted to study the dominant diseases of TCM for exploring the crucial rules of the diagnosis and treatment.