W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > April 2008

RE: An argument for bridging information models and ontologies at the syntactic level

From: Ogbuji, Chimezie <OGBUJIC@ccf.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 10:45:00 -0400
Message-ID: <2702D0EBA4F0A749968E52E8644184EA01DE99AB@CCHSCLEXMB59.cc.ad.cchs.net>
To: dan.russler@oracle.com
cc: dirk.colaert@agfa.com, "Dan Corwin" <dan@lexikos.com>, public-hcls-coi@w3.org, public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org, public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org, rector@cs.man.ac.uk, "Samson Tu" <swt@stanford.edu>, "Oniki, Tom (GE Healthcare, consultant)" <Tom.Oniki@ge.com>, "Kashyap, Vipul" <VKASHYAP1@PARTNERS.ORG>

Hello, Dan.  Comments inline below.  I'll start with my general
understanding of data and measurements and see if I can't converge on an
answer to your question.

By data, I mean anything that is captured in some (mostly electronic)
medium and typically represents or is a proxy for some phenomenon of
interest.  By measurement_process I mean an assay ("a quantitative or
qualitative test of a thing [sic] to determine its components").  By
measurement_data, I simply mean data that was derived from a

>-----Original Message-----
>Hi Chimezie,
>It may be helpful to examine what "data" means and what 
>"measurement" means.


>There is a kind of classification system that is used in medicine.
>The "process of living" includes many hundreds of thousands of 
>sub-processes that must work in harmony for the individual to 
>remain alive.
>These sub-processes each have a "status" at a given point in time.
>We can perform measurements that give us data about the status 
>of the sub-processes. 

measurement_processes that result in measurment_data?

> However, the data is meaningless without 
>Are the values we receive from measurement free of error? Most 
>tests will guarantee that the data is only 95% free of 
>significant error.
>If the value can be assumed to be free of error, does the 
>value represent a significant change in the state underlying 
>process being measured?
>If the state of the underlying process is significantly 
>changed, does the change represent "dis-ease" or does the 
>change just represent a "variant of normal," i.e. a temporary 
>normal abberation in a processes?
>Note that there is not always agreement about when a variance 
>of normal process function actually constitutes a disease or 
>"diseased process." Of course, life is only compatible with 
>relatively minor abnormalities in body processes. Major 
>abnormalities lead to immediate death.

I think of measurement_data as (mostly) objective and so independent of
the interpretation that comes into play when (for example) a clinician
follows-up with an attempt to categorize the change that the
measurement_data reflects.

>So we are left with some important concepts that need to be 
>fit into an ontology that is useful to scientists and clinicians.
>"Living is a set of processes; disease is a slightly abnormal 
>process in the midst of many normal processes. 

So, by *this* classification, the distinction between disease (or
slightly_abnormal_process) and data would follow from:

processes != data


> We only know 
>about these slightly abnormal processes by making measurements 
>of some sort that proxy for the "state of the process." 

measurement_data that proxy for the "state of the process"?

>Usually, one kind of measurement is not sufficient to tell us 
>much about the status of a processes. From a series of 
>different kinds of measurements, one can make conclusions 
>about whether the state of the process is permanently abnormal 
>or just transiently abnormal. One can make conclusions about 
>whether the process is becoming more abnormal or becoming more normal."

So, the conclusions would be the diagnosis (which is independent from
the measurement_data, measurement_process, abnormal processes, etc.?)

>Now with this perspective, perhaps you can better describe how 
>a disease is different than data?

I've tried to above.  I hope the distinction is clearer than before.


P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

Cleveland Clinic is ranked one of the top hospitals
in America by U.S. News & World Report (2007).  
Visit us online at http://www.clevelandclinic.org for
a complete listing of our services, staff and

Confidentiality Note:  This message is intended for use
only by the individual or entity to which it is addressed
and may contain information that is privileged,
confidential, and exempt from disclosure under applicable
law.  If the reader of this message is not the intended
recipient or the employee or agent responsible for
delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are
hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or
copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.  If
you have received this communication in error,  please
contact the sender immediately and destroy the material in
its entirety, whether electronic or hard copy.  Thank you.
Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 14:46:00 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 17:20:33 UTC