Mining e-cigarette adverse events in social media using Bi-LSTM recurrent neural network with word embedding representation

Jiaheng Xie, Xiao Liu, Daniel Dajun Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: Recent years have seen increased worldwide popularity of e-cigarette use. However, the risks of e-cigarettes are underexamined. Most e-cigarette adverse event studies have achieved low detection rates due to limited subject sample sizes in the experiments and surveys. Social media provides a large data repository of consumers' e-cigarette feedback and experiences, which are useful for e-cigarette safety surveillance. However, it is difficult to automatically interpret the informal and nontechnical consumer vocabulary about e-cigarettes in social media. This issue hinders the use of social media content for e-cigarette safety surveillance. Recent developments in deep neural network methods have shown promise for named entity extraction from noisy text. Motivated by these observations, we aimed to design a deep neural network approach to extract e-cigarette safety information in social media. Methods: Our deep neural language model utilizes word embedding as the representation of text input and recognizes named entity types with the state-of-the-art Bidirectional Long Short-Term Memory (Bi-LSTM) Recurrent Neural Network. Results: Our Bi-LSTM model achieved the best performance compared to 3 baseline models, with a precision of 94.10%, a recall of 91.80%, and an F-measure of 92.94%. We identified 1591 unique adverse events and 9930 unique e-cigarette components (ie, chemicals, flavors, and devices) from our research testbed. Conclusion: Although the conditional random field baseline model had slightly better precision than our approach, our Bi-LSTM model achieved much higher recall, resulting in the best F-measure. Our method can be generalized to extract medical concepts from social media for other medical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberocx045
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bi-LSTM
  • Deep neural network
  • E-cigarette adverse event
  • Recurrent neural network
  • Word embedding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


Dive into the research topics of 'Mining e-cigarette adverse events in social media using Bi-LSTM recurrent neural network with word embedding representation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this