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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D
Volume 41 Number 6A, November/December 2004
Pages 835 — 846

Qualitative profiles of disability

Roberta Annicchiarico, MD, PhD; Karina Gibert, PhD, Associate Professor; Ulises Cortés, PhD, Associate
Professor; Fabio Campana, MD, PhD; Carlo Caltagirone, MD, Professor

IRCCS (Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico) Fondazione Santa Lucia, via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy; Department of Statistics and Operation Research, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Pau Gargallo 3, 08028 Barcelona, Spain; Software Department, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, c/Jordi Girona 1-3, 08034 Barcelona, Spain; Centro Assistenza Domiciliare ASL RM E, Viale di Valle Aurelia 115/a, 00168 Rome, Italy; Department of
Neurology, Università Tor Vergata, via O. Raimondo 18, 00173 Rome, Italy
Abstract — This study identified profiles of functional disability (FD) paralleled by increasing levels of disability. We assessed 96 subjects using the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II (WHODAS II). Clustering Based on Rules (ClBR) (a hybrid technique of Statistics and Artificial Intelligence) was used in the analysis. Four groups of subjects with different profiles of FD were ordered according to an increasing degree of disability: "Low," self-dependent subjects with no physical or emotional problems; "Intermediate I," subjects with low or moderate physical and emotional disability, with high perception of disability; "Intermediate II," subjects with moderate or severe disability concerning only physical problems related to self-dependency, without emotional problems; and "High," subjects with the highest degree of disability, both physical and emotional. The order of the four classes is paralleled by a significant difference (<0.001) in the WHODAS II standardized global score. In this paper, a new ontology for the knowledge of FD, based on the use of ClBR, is proposed. The definition of four classes, qualitatively different and with an increasing degree of FD, helps to appropriately place each patient in a group of individuals with a similar profile of disability and to propose standardized treatments for these groups.

Key words: artificial intelligence, cluster analysis, disability profiles, functional disability, Knowledge Discovery, qualitative analysis, rehabilitation.

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