Drug Extraction from the Web: Summarizing Drug Experiences with Multi-Dimensional Topic Models

Michael Paul and Mark Dredze

Multi-dimensional latent text models, such as factorial LDA (f-LDA), capture multiple factors of corpora, creating structured output for researchers to better understand the contents of a corpus. We consider such models for clinical research of new recreational drugs and trends, an important application for mining current information for healthcare workers. We use a "three-dimensional" f-LDA variant to jointly model combinations of drug (marijuana, salvia, etc.), aspect (effects, chemistry, etc.) and route of administration (smoking, oral, etc.) Since a purely unsupervised topic model is unlikely to discover these specific factors of interest, we develop a novel method of incorporating prior knowledge by leveraging user generated tags as priors in our model. We demonstrate that this model can be used as an exploratory tool for learning about these drugs from the Web by applying it to the task of extractive summarization. In addition to providing useful output for this important public health task, our prior-enriched model provides a framework for the application of f-LDA to other tasks.

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