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— updated 2018-07-24


Herbalists' BootCamp
Beginner Tutorial #7:   AutoSage-TCM

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.
These BootCamp tutorials will help you get started using the HerbalThink-TCM software, ensure it is installed correctly, demonstrate how to use important features and modules, and teach you basic principles of Chinese herbology that you can begin applying practically. Successful completion of this series is required for all applicants to the RMHInet brainstorming network and to our professional courses.

Copyright ©2016-2018 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.

Jump to another tutorial in this sequence:
#1: Introduction, Download #2: Setup and Documentation #3: Self-Study Reference #4: Herbal Tutor #5: Pulse Simulator #6: CaseQuery #7: AutoSage-TCM #8: Completing member/admission requirements

Subtopics on this page…


Tutorial #7:   AutoSage-TCM

Estimated completion time:   6 hours

CaseQuery and AutoSage-TCM together comprise expert-system software for automated pattern recognition of the clinical syndromes constituting traditional Chinese medical (TCM) pathophysiology theory, including quantitative assessment of complex cases characterized by multiple simultaneous syndrome-patterns.

CaseQuery allows users to record detailed case histories of symptom, tongue, and pulse data. Case record files are created in a standardized format that can be read and understood by the AutoSage-TCM analysis software. The user then emails this data file to RMHI, where it is processed by AutoSage-TCM, and then a detailed, cross-referenced report is emailed back to the user.

Both CaseQuery and AutoSage-TCM are described in much greater detail in TCHS Vol.6: User's Guide to AutoSage-TCM. Chapter 7 of that text includes instructions for CaseQuery users and a series of screen shots. It may be helpful but not necessary to read any of that material before completing this tutorial.

For an overview and introduction to AutoSage-TCM:


Questionnaire #7 — copy this form

  • Copy and paste the following into a text document using any simple text editor (Mac OS X: TextEdit;   Windows: WordPad, Notepad). You will be filling in your answers (between the [[[ ]]] marks — please leave these marks intact) during this tutorial and then emailing your completed questionnaire to your assigned tutor.
  • Most questions will require simple, short answers. These questions are designed primarily to ensure that you know how to access the appropriate material within each module and to interpret it correctly.
  • Now you are ready to actually begin the tutorial. Follow the instructions in the remainder of this tutorial, and then fill in your answers to the questionnaire when asked to do so.
  • Please email this tutorial questionnaire to your assigned BootCamp tutor (the person who emailed you the original download instructions — Tutorial #1) and wait for a reply/feedback before continuing with the next tutorial.
                             [updated 2018-07-24]

YOUR FULL NAME:  [[[  ]]]

--------------- AutoSage-TCM, a simple case:
A-00: What is the gender and age of the individual in case #C102b_20161123 ?
(Note that this case is DIFFERENT from the case file you created for CaseQuery.)
    [[[  ]]]

A-01: What is the EXACT value of his body-mass index (BMI)? (See the first 
encoded symptom, near the beginning of that entry.)
    [[[  ]]]

A-02: What does the 2nd encoded symptom say about the quality of fever? 
State your short answer in plain English.
    [[[  ]]]

A-03: What is his pulse strength at position L1? (Remember to interpret the 
'shorthand' notation correctly, i.e.: mild Moderate SEVERE EXTREME!!.)
    [[[  ]]]
    Hint:   See the link  'All pulse parameters summarized, by position'  
    for a display of the pulse qualities in the same format as in the 
    CaseQuery  'PULS'  tab.

A-04: What is unusual about the pulse at position L2? (Why are there two 
sets of data lines specified here instead of the more typical single line?)
    [[[  ]]]
    Hint:   You may wish to refer back to the  'PULS'  tab within 
    the CaseQuery program to review the instructions for encoding pulse 

A-05: One of the tongue tissue colors is specified to be 
'TONGaTISCOLOR_1_red_d1s'. Find the link to the corresponding color sample. 
In what way does this color differ from normal — hue, saturation, and/or 
    [[[  ]]]
    Hint:   You may wish to refer back to the 'TONG' tab within the 
    CaseQuery program to examine the color table for tongue-tissue colors. 
    Also, you may wish to review "The HSL color-space model explained"
    in the Supplements to tutorial #6.

A-06: What portion of the tongue is specified to be the preceding color? 
(Which sectors/rows?)
    [[[  ]]]

A-07: Referring to the section "Syndrome-pattern analysis summaries: 
ByProductOf_MAGN_RANK_PROB__overThresholdOnly", list the top-scoring 
dominant (1st-tier) syndrome followed by its importance score, 'product 
    [[[  ]]]

A-08: Examine the reasoning behind the conclusion for the top-scoring 
dominant syndrome.
   How many of its active symptom variables have scores for RANK_raw 
≥ 1.0? (List them here by copying and pasting.)  [[[  ]]]
   What is this syndrome's probability score and why is it relatively 
high? (Hint: examine the competitor syndromes.)  [[[  ]]]

A-09: Likewise, list the only other dominant syndrome followed by its 
importance score, 'product of MAGN*RANK*PROB'.
    [[[  ]]]

A-10: Likewise, list the three 2nd-tier syndromes followed by their 
respective importance scores.
    [[[  ]]]

A-11: Referring to the section "Detailed analysis of all syndromes, 
by functional group", find the syndrome 'ORGU_5_DeficiencyOfHeartYin' 
and examine its detailed analysis.
   What is its importance score (MAGN*RANK*PROB)?  [[[  ]]]
   Why is its score so low in spite of a number of its symptom variables 
being significant? (Hint: examine the competitor syndromes and their 
effect on the probability, PROB.)  [[[  ]]]

--------------- AutoSage-TCM, a complex case:
B-01: What is the complexity score for case #C901_20161123 ?   Note that 
this is a DIFFERENT case ('example of a complex case') from the one for 
A-series questions.
    [[[  ]]]

B-02: What do the instructions (see 'Complexity metrics') say about complex 
cases and designing clinical strategies for helping them?
    [[[  ]]]

B-03: What are the three dominant (1st-tier) syndromes in this case, 
listed in order of importance?
    [[[  ]]]

=============================== END ======================================

Autosage-TCM, simple case

In the first part of this tutorial, you will be reading the AutoSage-TCM analysis report for case #C102b_20161123   (link opens in a new window).
Note: this case is different from the case you completed for CaseQuery, in the preceding tutorial.
After reading the instructions ("How to use this report") contained within that report, answer the questions in the questionnaire below.
(This case is a fictional composite of a number of real cases.)

Refer to the report's table of contents to find specific sections. In the "Summary of original case record" section, you will find the complete set of encoded symptom data, listed in a standard order identical to its sequencing within the CaseQuery tabs. To start with, go to that section now, read "Encoding of symptom-sign data explained", and then begin answering the questions below. Remember to jump back to the table of contents when you need to find a different data section.


—>>  Questionnaire — AutoSage-TCM, simple case

Please answer all questions in section A of the questionnaire.


Autosage-TCM, example of a complex case

The first case you worked with in this tutorial was relatively simple. The dominant patterns of the case were all clustered around the main theme of "DampHeat". Graduates of RMHI's Level-1 course will be able to easily recognize the dominant pattern of that case, because the symptoms are very close to its textbook definition. The first test of any expert system is to double-check that it can achieve accurate identification of simple test cases. If your client has a clearly dominant syndrome pattern that closely matches the textbook, you will not need to use AutoSage-TCM, except perhaps to demonstrate to a skeptical client that you know what you are doing.

In contrast, an increasing number of people are now experiencing very complicated symptom pictures that do not clearly match any textbook pattern. These are typically people who may have received conflicting medical diagnoses from a series of doctors who have prescribed multiple pharmaceutical drugs and therapies. Designing expert systems to analyze such cases has been exceedingly challenging and the vast majority of TCM expert systems have succeeded in identifying only the single dominant pattern, which falls far short of what is really necessary in such cases. AutoSage-TCM is a revolutionary system for providing accurate, quantitative estimates of the magnitude, rank, and probability of each of the multiple dominant syndromes that may coexist in a complex case.

Refer to the AutoSage-TCM analysis report for case #C901_20161123   (link opens in a new window).


—>>  Questionnaire — AutoSage-TCM, complex case

Please answer all questions in section B of the questionnaire.


Summary of what you learned in this tutorial

The AutoSage-TCM expert system can analyze a CaseQuery report file to produce a detailed analysis of the syndrome-patterns, allowing you to determine the dominant patterns and to examine the exact reasoning behind those conclusions.

Please submit your completed questionnaire for this tutorial, wait to receive feedback from your assigned tutor, then go to  Tutorial #8:   Completing member/admission requirements