BACKGROUND: Collaborative efforts of physicians and basic scientists are often necessary in the investigation of complex disorders. Difficulties can arise, however, when large amounts of information need to reviewed. Advanced information retrieval can be beneficial in combining and reviewing data obtained from the various scientific fields. In this paper, a team of investigators with varying backgrounds has applied advanced information retrieval methods, in the form of text mining and entity relationship tools, to review the current literature, with the intention to generate new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying a complex disorder. As an example of such a disorder the Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) was chosen. CRPS is a painful and debilitating syndrome with a complex etiology that is still unraveled for a considerable part, resulting in suboptimal diagnosis and treatment. RESULTS: A text mining based approach combined with a simple network analysis identified Nuclear Factor kappa B (NFkappaB) as a possible central mediator in both the initiation and progression of CRPS. CONCLUSION: The result shows the added value of a multidisciplinary approach combined with information retrieval in hypothesis discovery in biomedical research. The new hypothesis, which was derived in silico, provides a framework for further mechanistic studies into the underlying molecular mechanisms of CRPS and requires evaluation in clinical and epidemiological studies.
Hettne, K. M., de Mos, M., de Bruijn, A. G., Weeber, M., Boyer, S., van Mulligen, E. M., Cases, M., Mestres, J., & van der Lei, J. (2007). Applied information retrieval and multidisciplinary research: new mechanistic hypotheses in complex regional pain syndrome. Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration, 2, 2. https://doi.org/10.1186/1747-5333-2-2