Asia (the Chest Clinic)

This example originates from the seminal paper of Lauritzen & Spiegelhalter (1988).

Shortness-of-breath (dyspnoea) may be due to tuberculosis, lung cancer, bronchitis, more than one of these diseases or none of them. A recent visit to Asia increases the risk of tuberculosis, while smoking is known to be a risk factor for both lung cancer and bronchitis. The results of a single chest X-ray do not discriminate between lung cancer and tuberculosis, as neither does the presence or absence of dyspnoea.

If we learn the fact that a patient is a smoker, we will adjust our beliefs (increased risks) regarding lung cancer and bronchitis. However, our beliefs regarding tuberculosis are unchanged (i.e., tuberculosis is conditionally independent of “smoking” given the empty set of variables). Now, suppose we get a positive X-ray result for the patient. This will affect our beliefs regarding tuberculosis and lung cancer, but not our beliefs regarding bronchitis (i.e., bronchitis is conditionally independent of X-ray given smoking). However, had we also known that the patient suffers from shortness-of-breath, the X-ray result would also have affected our beliefs regarding bronchitis (i.e., “bronchitis” is not conditionally independent of “X-ray” given “smoking” and “dyspnoea”).

A Bayesian network for the knowledge described above can look like this:


The above figure shows the node labels inside each node. A unique node name is assigned to each node in the network node names are: “Visit to Asis?” has name A, “Smoker?” has name S, “Has tuberculosis” has name T, “Has lung cancer” has name L, “Has bronchitis” has name B, “Tuberculosis or cancer” has name E, “Positive X-ray?” has name X, and “Dyspnoea?” has name D.

This network has been installed on your computer with the HUGIN software. Open the network in the HUGIN Graphical User Interface (Note: not all browsers can open HUGIN directly). You can find the network in the directory where you installed HUGIN (e.g., C:Program FilesHuginHugin LiteSamples).

You can also find the samples at the HUGIN download area.