The utility of web mining for epidemiological research: studying the association between parity and cancer risk

January 14, 2016
Free for AMIA members and students of Academic Forum member institutions; Others: $50
Georgia Tourassi, PhD - Director of the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

Georgia Tourassi will discuss this month's JAMIA Journal Club selection:

Tourassi G, Yoon HJ, Xu S, Han X. 

The utility of web mining for epidemiological research: studying the association between parity and cancer risk. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2015 Nov 27. pii: ocv141. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv141. [Epub ahead of print]


Georgia Tourassi is the Director of the Health Data Sciences Institute at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). She holds a B.S. in Physics from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1987) and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University (1993). She received the Young Investigator's Award from NIH (1994) and the Whitaker Foundation (1996). Before joining ORNL, Dr. Tourassi was Professor of Radiology and the Medical Physics Graduate Program at Duke University Medical Center, where she currently holds an Adjunct Professor position. Her research interests include biomedical informatics, medical imaging, and computer-aided decision support. Her medical imaging research has been featured in several publications including The Economist and recently won an R&D 100 award (2014). Latest research work is focused on the use of cyber-informatics for cancer related epidemiological discovery, which was selected as a finalist for 2015 R&D awards. She has authored over 250 peer-reviewed journal papers, conference proceedings papers, and book chapters. Dr. Tourassi serves on NIH grant review study sections as charter member. She has also served on the FDA advisory committee on computer-aided diagnosis devices. She is senior member of several scientific societies (IEEE, INNS, SPIE, AAAS, BMES). In 2015 she was elected Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). 


  • 40-minute discussion between the authors and the JAMIA Student Editorial Board moderators including salient features of the published study and its potential impact on practice.
  • 20-minute discussion of questions submitted by listeners via the webinar tools.


  • Follow @AMIAinformatics and #JAMIAJC for Journal Club information.
  • Participants also receive short feedback surveys to evaluate the JAMIA JC webinar.


JAMIA Journal Club managers are JAMIA Student Editorial Board members:

Mary Regina Boland, MA, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University

Matthew K. Breitenstein, PhD, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic


The PubMed citation for the paper under discussion is:

Tourassi G, Yoon HJ, Xu S, Han X. The utility of web mining for epidemiological research: studying the association between parity and cancer risk. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2015 Nov 27. pii: ocv141. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv141. [Epub ahead of print]

Fee Statement

Students who are not AMIA members, but whose academic institutions are members of the Academic Forum, are eligible for a complimentary JAMIA Journal Club registration. Please contact Susanne Arnold at for the discount code. In the email, please include: full name, Academic Department, and the primary Academic Forum representative of that Academic Department. Note that AMIA Student memberships are $45, which allow access to JAMIA, all JAMIA Journal Clubs, and other webinars of interest to the biomedical informatics community. 

Statement of Purpose

The World Wide Web has emerged as a powerful data source for epidemiological studies related to infectious disease surveillance. However, its potential for cancer-related epidemiological discoveries is largely unexplored.

The Tourassi et al. study evaluated the feasibility of web mining as a big data-driven knowledge discovery mechanism for exploring the association between parity, defined as the number of births a woman has had, and cancer risk. By comparing study findings with the findings reported in traditional epidemiological studies, the authors examined the feasibility, reliability, and limitations of web mining for epidemiological discoveries in cancer.

It may be promising for data scientists to use this strategy to generate study hypotheses for guiding and prioritizing future epidemiological studies.

Target Audience

The target audience for this activity is professionals and students interested in biomedical and health informatics.

Learning Objective

After this live activity, the participant should be better able to:

  • Explore the strategy of using a web mining approach to generate study hypotheses for epidemiological studies.


Georgia D. Tourassi, PhD
Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Center
Computational Sciences and Engineering Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN

Accreditation Statement

The American Medical Informatics Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The American Medical Informatics Association designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Criteria for Successful Completion

Completion of this live activity is demonstrated by:

  • Viewing the live webinar
  • Optional submission of questions via webinar feature; option to follow @AMIAinformatics and tweet via #JAMIAJC
  • Completion of the evaluation survey at and 
  • Verification of attendance through the participant's electronic report through the individual login at 

The physician participant will be able to generate a CME certificate through the AMIA automated system. 
For a certificate of completion, contact

Commercial Support

No commercial support was received for this activity.

Disclosure Policy

As a provider accredited by the ACCME, AMIA requires that everyone who is in a position to control the content of an educational activity disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest for 12 months prior to the educational activity.

The ACCME considers relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner.

Faculty and planners who refuse to disclose relevant financial relationships will be disqualified from participating in the CME activity. For an individual with no relevant financial relationship(s), the participants must be informed that no conflicts of interest or financial relationship(s) exist.

AMIA uses a number of methods to resolve potential conflicts of interest, including: limiting content of the presentation to that which has been reviewed by one or more peer reviewers; ensuring that all scientific research referred to conforms to generally accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, and analysis; undertaking review of the educational activity by a content reviewer to evaluate for potential bias, balance in presentation, evidence-based content or other indicators of integrity, and absence of bias; monitoring the educational activity to evaluate for commercial bias in the presentation; and/or reviewing participant feedback to evaluate for commercial bias in the activity.

Disclosures for this Activity

These faculty, planners, and staff who are in a position to control the content of this activity disclose that they and their life partners have no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests: 

Faculty: Georgia Tourassi
JAMIA Journal Club planners: Mary Regina Boland, Matthew Breitenstein
AMIA staff: Susanne Arnold, Pesha Rubinstein

JAMIA Journal Club planner Michael Chiang discloses the following:

  • Received Grant/Research support from the National Institutes of Health
  • Is an unpaid member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Clarity Medical Systems

Instructions for Claiming CME/CE Credit

CME site (MyAMIA) works best with IE 8 or above version, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

• Login to your AMIA account on the website
• Go to “My Profile”
• Click “Invoices & Transactions” tab
• Scroll down to Events section and click ‘Credits’ next to “Webinar: JAMIA Journal Club - January 2016”
• Physicians: for “Select Credit Type” click “Physician” in the drop-down menu.
• For “Select Physician Credit Type” click “Physician” (not MOC-II)
• Click Submit
• Click on the AMIA Activities tab in your account; click “download” in the row for “Webinar: JAMIA Journal Club - January 2016”; you may print out your certificate
Other attendees: if you require a certificate of participation, please contact

Contact Info

For questions about content or CE, email