Background and aim: In this study, performances of classification techniques were compared in order to predict type of pain in patients with spinal cord injury. Pain is one of the main problems in people with spinal cord injury. Identifying the optimal classification technique will help improve decision support systems in clinical settings. 

Methods: A descriptive retrospective analysis was performed in 253 patients. We compared performances of "Bayesian Networks", "Decision Tree", neural networks: “Multi-Layer Perceptron” (MLP), and "Support Vector Machines” (SVM). Predictor variables were collected in data set in SCI patients referred to Shefa Neuroscience Research Center, Tehran, Iran from 2010 through 2016. Performances of classification techniques were compared using ”Accuracy”, ”Sensitivity or True Positive Rate” (TPR), ”Specificity or True Negative Rate” (SPC), ”Positive Predictive Value” (PPV), ”Negative Predictive Value” (NPV).

Results: MLP with Boosting technique was found to have the best accuracy (91%), best sensitivity (89%), best specificity (95%) best PPV (91%), and best NPV (96%) to predict spinal cord injury in this data set, given its good classificatory performance. 

Conclusion: Computer-aided decision support systems (CAD) are dependent on a wide range of classification methods such as statistical methods, Bayesian methods, deductive classifiers based on the state or case, decision-making trees and neural networks: Multi-Layer Perceptron. Neural network classifiers especially, are very popular choices for medical decision-making, with proven effectiveness in the clinical field.


Keywords: Bayesian Networks, Decision Tree, Support Vector Machines, Neural Networks, Spinal cord injury, pain; Accuracy
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