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UI Team Wins Competition Predicting Drug Side Effects

A team of researchers at The University of Iowa recently won the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership Cup challenge, where they used data mining to organize a database of information to better predict the side effects of prescription drugs.

Nick Street, an associate professor of management sciences, and Si-Chi Chin, a doctoral student in information science, took first prize in the competition and won $5,000.

Street and Chin were given a database of side effects and prescription drugs from medical records and other documents. The team created software to organize the data and look for trends in the 22 million pairs in the database.

"We used these tools to see if the relationships were real and if our conclusions would hold up to future data, to determine if there really was a drug interaction or if it was just background noise in the data," Street said in a statement.

Since the recent push in the medical field is toward electronic documents, Street said in a statement that the software he and Chin created could be used to help doctors find unknown side effects from prescription drugs that could save lives.

The Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership Cup is a challenge presented by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health designed to find new ways of monitoring prescription drugs on the market using databases.


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