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Advantages and disadvantages of using artificial neural networks versus logistic regression for predicting medical outcomes

Tu JV. J Clin Epidemiol. 1996; 49(11):1225-31.

Artificial neural networks are algorithms that can be used to perform nonlinear statistical modeling and provide a new alternative to logistic regression, the most commonly used method for developing predictive models for dichotomous outcomes in medicine. Neural networks offer a number of advantages, including requiring less formal statistical training, ability to implicitly detect complex nonlinear relationships between dependent and independent variables, ability to detect all possible interactions between predictor variables, and the availability of multiple training algorithms. Disadvantages include its "black box" nature, greater computational burden, proneness to overfitting, and the empirical nature of model development. An overview of the features of neural networks and logistic regression is presented, and the advantages and disadvantages of using this modeling technique are discussed.

Keywords: Research and statistical methods Screening and prevention Coronary disease/Myocardial infarction