Medicine and health care are currently faced with a significant rise in their complexity. This is partly due to the progress made during the past three decades in the fundamental biological understanding of the causes of health and disease at the molecular, (sub)cellular, and organ level. Since the end of the 1970s, when knowledge representation and reasoning in the biomedical field became a separate area of research, huge progress has been made in the development of methods and tools that are finally able to impact on the way medicine is being practiced.
Even though there are huge differences in the techniques and methods used by biomedical researchers, there is now an increasing tendency to share research results in terms of formal knowledge representation methods, such as ontologies, statistical models, network models, and mathematical models. As there is an urgent need for health-care professionals to make better decisions, computer-based support using this knowledge is now becoming increasingly important. It may also be the only way to integrate research results from the different parts of the spectrum of biomedical and clinical research.
The aim of this book is to shed light on developments in knowledge representation at different levels of biomedical application, ranging from human biology to clinical guidelines, and using different techniques, from probability theory and differential equations to logic. The book starts with two introductory chapters followed by 18 contributions organized in the following topical sections: diagnosis of disease; monitoring of health and disease and conformance; assessment of health and personalization; prediction and prognosis of health and disease; treatment of disease; and recommendations.