The data in this paper are under medical ethics review and will not be released for the time being

Citation Author(s):
School of Automation,Chongqing University
Department of neurology,Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Submitted by:
zechen li
Last updated:
Sat, 10/10/2020 - 04:49
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Background: Insomnia as one of the dominant diseases of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been extensively studied in recent years. To explore the novel approaches of research on TCM diagnosis and treatment, this paper presents a strategy for the research of insomnia based on machine learning.

Methods: First of all, 654 insomnia cases have been collected from an experienced doctor of TCM as sample data. Secondly, in the light of the characteristics of TCM diagnosis and treatment, the contents of research samples have been divided into four parts: the basic information, the four diagnostic methods, the treatment based on syndrome differentiation and the main prescription. And then, these four parts have been analyzed by three analysis methods, including frequency analysis, association rules and hierarchical cluster analysis. Finally, a comprehensive study of the whole four parts has been conducted by random forest.

Results: Researches of the above four parts revealed some essential connections. Simultaneously, based on the algorithm model established by the random forest, the accuracy of predicting the main prescription by the combinations of the four diagnostic methods and the treatment based on syndrome differentiation was 0.85. Furthermore, having been extracted features through applying the random forest, the syndrome differentiation of five zang-organs was proven to be the most significant parameter of the TCM diagnosis and treatment.

Conclusions: The results indicate that the machine learning methods are worthy of being adopted to study the dominant diseases of TCM for exploring the crucial rules of the diagnosis and treatment.


The application of TCM can be traced back to thousands of years. In spite of the fact that TCM is still regarded as the complementary and alternative therapy in the field of modern medicine, it can hardly be ignored that TCM has attracted widespread attention in recent years due to its unique personalized treatment scheme and the outstanding treatment effect on some dominant diseases. Insomnia is one of the dominant diseases of TCM. It has been proven that TCM has been successfully applied to the treatment of insomnia in the medical field. Compared with the western medicine in the treatment of insomnia, the advantages of TCM treatment are the personalization of diagnosis and treatment ideas, the non-dependence of treatment drugs and the diversity of treatment schemes, etc. Unlike the diagnosis and treatment of the western medicine, which is based on rigorous scientific trials, most of TCM diagnoses are relied on the experience of doctors to get comprehensive and personalized treatment strategies. Consequently, TCM is considered as an empirical medicine as well. Nonetheless, it should be noted that a set of core theories of TCM have been established since the beginning of the TCM development. Subsequently, the core theories of TCM have been developed into the TCM prescription, acupuncture, meridians and other theories. Moreover, in the long-term clinical practice, with the constant deepening of the understanding of the basic theories of TCM, the diagnosis and treatment ideas of TCM have been promoted tremendously, and the diagnosis and treatment standards have achieved an innovation as well. Diagnosis and treatment ideas and treatment strategies are the critical points of the clinical practice. Meanwhile, the medical record data are the embodiment of diagnosis and treatment ideas, thus worth exploring. The medical record of TCM is composed of four parts, including the basic information, the four diagnoses of TCM, the treatment based on syndrome differentiation and the main prescription.