Fully unsupervised low-dimensional representation of adverse drug reaction events through distributional semantics

Electronic health records show great variability since the same concept is often expressed with different terms, either scientific latin forms, common or lay variants and even vernacular naming. Deep learning enables distributional representation of terms in a vector-space, and therefore, related terms tend to be close in the vector space. Accordingly, embedding words through these vectors opens the way towards accounting for semantic relatedness through classical algebraic operations. In this work we propose a simple though efficient unsupervised characterization of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs). This approach exploits the embedding representation of the terms involved in candidate ADR events, that is, drug-disease entity pairs. In brief, the ADRs are represented as vectors that link the drug with the disease in their context through a recursive additive model. We discovered that a low-dimensional representation that makes use of the modulus and argument of the embedded representation of the ADR event shows correlation with the manually annotated class. Thus, it can be derived that this characterization results in to be beneficial for further classification tasks as predictive features.

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