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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 Jun 2024 - 7 Jun 2024

2024 May 31

Sci Rep




Prognostic subgroups of chronic pain patients using latent variable mixture modeling within a supervised machine learning framework.


Zhao X, Dannenberg K, Repsilber D, Gerdle B, Molander P, Hesser H


The present study combined a supervised machine learning framework with an unsupervised method, finite mixture modeling, to identify prognostically meaningful subgroups of diverse chronic pain patients undergoing interdisciplinary treatment. Questionnaire data collected at pre-treatment and 1-year follow up from 11,995 patients from the Swedish Quality Registry for Pain Rehabilitation were used. Indicators measuring pain characteristics, psychological aspects, and social functioning and general health status were used to form subgroups, and pain interference at follow-up was used for the selection and the performance evaluation of models. A nested cross-validation procedure was used for determining the number of classes (inner cross-validation) and the prediction accuracy of the selected model among unseen cases (outer cross-validation). A four-class solution was identified as the optimal model. Identified subgroups were separable on indicators, predictive of long-term outcomes, and related to background characteristics. Results are discussed in relation to previous clustering attempts of patients with diverse chronic pain conditions. Our analytical approach, as the first to combine mixture modeling with supervised, targeted learning, provides a promising framework that can be further extended and optimized for improving accurate prognosis in pain treatment and identifying clinically meaningful subgroups among chronic pain patients.