Skip to Main Content
Machine-learning techniques have found widespread applications in bioinformatics. Such techniques provide invaluable insight on understanding the complex biomedical mechanisms and predicting the optimal individualized intervention for patients. In our case, we are particularly interested in developing an individualized clinical guideline on wheelchair tilt and recline usage for people with spinal cord injury (SCI). The current clinical practice suggests uniform settings to all patients. However, our previous study revealed that the response of skin blood flow to wheelchair tilt and recline settings varied largely among patients. Our finding suggests that an individualized setting is needed for people with SCI to maximally utilize the residual neurological function to reduce pressure ulcer risk. In order to achieve this goal, we intend to develop an intelligent model to determine the favorable wheelchair usage to reduce pressure ulcers risk for wheelchair users with SCI. In this study, we use artificial neural networks (ANNs) to construct an intelligent model that can predict whether a given tilt and recline setting will be favorable to people with SCI based on neurological functions and SCI injury history. Our results indicate that the intelligent model significantly outperforms the traditional statistical approach in accurately classifying favorable wheelchair tilt and recline settings. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study using intelligent models to predict the favorable wheelchair tilt and recline angles. Our methods demonstrate the feasibility of using ANN to develop individualized wheelchair tilt and recline guidance for people with SCI.