, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 158-164

Comparison of neural networks and statistical models to predict gestational age at birth

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The aim of this study was to produce models for the prediction of high risk pregnancies, with particular emphasis on pre-term delivery. Neural network and logistic regression models have been developed utilising pregnancy and delivery data spanning a period of seven years. Five input factors were used as explanatory variables: age, number of previous still births, gestational age at first clinical assessment, diabetes and a measure of socio-economic status. There was little difference between average model performance for the two techniques: optimal neural network performance was achieved with a fully connected feed forward network comprising a single hidden layer of three nodes and single output node. This produced a Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve area of 0.700. The ROC area for logistic regression models was 0.695. The performance of these models reflected weak associations within the data. However, performance is encouraging given the relatively limited number of predictive inputs.