Complete stab in the dark, stimulated by Google’s release of their cutting edge TensorFlow product, is our adventure in to document summarisation.  The work below does not use TensorFlow, we’re starting gently with something a little easier to implement!  But the general idea is you take long documents and summarise them into something shorter and easier to digest.  All the work below involves automated methods and the summarisation is pretty much instant.

I’ve long held the idea (see Article social networks, meaning and redundancy) of trying to make sense of document clusters and this work is another exploration of this area.  So, I took 5 articles from the UTI and cranberry cluster mentioned in the article above, focusing on the prevention of UTIs and placed them through our test system.  Below are the results for 5 articles, with the title (with embedded URL to the actual abstract) and then the summary as generated by our system.

1) Cranberry juice fails to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection: results from a randomized placebo-controlled trial.
Summary: we conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the effects of cranberry on risk of recurring uti among 319 college women presenting with an acute uti. conclusions.: among otherwise healthy college women with an acute uti, those drinking 8 oz of 27% cranberry juice twice daily did not experience a decrease in the 6-month incidence of a second uti, compared with those drinking a placebo.

2) Cranberry-Containing Products for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections in Susceptible Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Summary: the aims of this study were to evaluate cranberry-containing products for the prevention of uti and to examine the factors influencing their effectiveness. medline, embase, and the cochrane central register of controlled trials were systemically searched from inception to november 2011 for randomized controlled trials that compared prevention of utis in users of cranberry-containing products vs placebo or nonplacebo controls.

3) A randomized clinical trial to evaluate the preventive effect of cranberry juice (UR65) for patients with recurrent urinary tract infection
Summary: the subjects drank 1 bottle (125 ml) of cranberry juice or the placebo beverage once daily, before going to sleep, for 24 weeks. in the group of females aged 50 years or more, there was a significant difference in the rate of relapse of uti between groups a and p (log-rank test; p = 0.0425).

4) Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections
Summary: cranberry products significantly reduced the incidence of utis at 12 months (rr 0.65, 95% ci 0.46 to 0.90) compared with placebo/control. cranberry products were more effective reducing the incidence of utis in women with recurrent utis, than elderly men and women or people requiring catheterisation.

5) Recurrent urinary tract infection and urinary Escherichia coli in women ingesting cranberry juice daily: a randomized controlled trial.
Summary:  to compare the time to urinary tract infection (uti) and the rates of asymptomatic bacteriuria and urinary p-fimbriated escherichia coli during a 6-month period in women ingesting cranberry vs placebo juice daily. the proportion of women with p-fimbriated urinary e coli isolates during the intervention phase was 10 of 23 (43.5%) in the cranberry juice group and 8 of 10 (80.0%) in the placebo group (p=.07). minor adverse effects were reported by 24.2% of those in the cranberry juice group and 12.5% in the placebo group (p=.07).

Then, as a further twist I took the 5 summaries above and placed them through the summarisation software to give this ‘meta-summary’:

Among otherwise healthy college women with an acute uti, those drinking 8 oz of 27% cranberry juice twice daily did not experience a decrease in the 6-month incidence of a second uti, compared with those drinking a placebo. to compare the time to urinary tract infection (uti) and the rates of asymptomatic bacteriuria and urinary p-fimbriated escherichia coli during a 6-month period in women ingesting cranberry vs placebo juice daily.

Not sure it makes much sense!

So, as a further experiment I took all the conclusions from the 5 articles (as opposed to our summaries) and this is the result:

the potential protective effect we observed is consistent with previous studies and warrants confirmation in larger, well-powered studies of women with recurrent uti. there is some evidence that cranberry juice may decrease the number of symptomatic utis over a 12 month period, particularly for women with recurrent utis.

Perhaps it is just me, but this seems interesting.  Interesting as it’s not too bad and interesting because this could be fully automatic – we just need to automated the clustering and improve on the summarisation.  So, when we get Google’s cutting edge TensorFlow working (which uses deep learning) I’ll repeat the experiment and see where that takes us.

One small step along a winding and interesting journey!

 

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