Capstone Projects

Predict Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) Based on Electronic Oral Health Records

Program: Data Science Master's
Host Company: Change Healthcare
Location: Not Specified (remote)
Student: Meisam Omidi

A growing body of evidence has linked oral health status (OHS) to several metabolic abnormalities, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is one of the most common chronic liver diseases. It affects more than 25 percent of the U.S. population. NAFLD causes no symptoms in most cases and can develop into more severe and progressive forms, namely NASH. The latter can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, which are end‐stage liver diseases. There is no ideal and effective drug for NAFLD, but it is reversible in the early stages. Research shows that lifestyle interventions such as energy restriction, dietary changes, and increased physical activity are particularly effective in the early stages of NAFLD. Therefore, early detection and treatment of NAFLD are essential. Abdominal ultrasound is the standard noninvasive diagnostic method for NAFLD. Due to its complexity, this method is unsuitable for large-scale epidemiological screening. Also, this imaging technique is not feasible or available to most people. Therefore introducing new noninvasive screening methods for NAFLD can be very practical. We had two aims for this project: first, to determine oral health status using dental claims; second, to explore the relationship between NAFLD and OHS and introduce a new noninvasive screening method for categorizing NAFLD based on developed OHS.