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Using UMLS Semantics for Classification Purposes
The Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) contains semantic information about terms from various sources; each concept can be understood and located by its relationships to other concepts. We describe a method in which the semantic relationships between UMLS concepts are exploited for the purpose of classification. This method combines three existing components: 1) Mapping terms to UMLS concepts; 2) Restricting UMLS concepts to MeSH; and 3) Mapping MeSH terms to disease categories. When applied to the automatic classification of condition terms into broad disease categories in the Clinical Trials database, this method assigned relevant categories to 92% of the 1823 condition terms encountered. 135 (7%) failed to be classified and 14 (.77%) were misclassified. The limits of this method are discussed, as well as the reuse of existing components, and the tuning required to achieve automatic classification.