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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 307152, 8 pages
Research Article

Developing a Deeper Understanding of Autism: Connecting Knowledge through Literature Mining

1Department of Child Neurology, University Pediatric Hospital Ljubljana, Bohoričeva 20, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Centre for Systems and Information Technologies, University of Nova Gorica, Vipavska 13, 5000 Nova Gorica, Slovenia
3Department of Knowledge Technologies, Jozef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Received 9 February 2011; Accepted 13 April 2011

Academic Editor: Mohammad Ghaziuddin

Copyright © 2011 Marta Macedoni-Lukšič et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the field of autism, an enormous increase in available information makes it very difficult to connect fragments of knowledge into a more coherent picture. We present a literature mining method, RaJoLink, to search for matched themes in unrelated literature that may contribute to a better understanding of complex pathological conditions, such as autism. 214 full text articles on autism, published in PubMed, served as a source of data. Using ontology construction, we identified the main concepts of what is already known about autism. Then, the RaJoLink method, based on Swanson's ABC model, was used to reveal potentially interesting, but not yet investigated, connections between different concepts in research. Among the more interesting concepts identified with RaJoLink in our study were calcineurin and NF-kappaB. Both terms can be linked to neuro-immune abnormalities in the brain of patients with autism. Further research is needed to provide stronger evidence about calcineurin and NF-kappaB involvement in autism. However, the analysis presented confirms that this method could support experts on their way towards discovering hidden relationships and towards a better understanding of the disorder.