Advances in measurement technology are producing increasingly time-resolved environmental exposure data. We aim to gain new insights into exposures and their potential health impacts by moving beyond simple summary statistics (e.g., means, maxima) to characterize more detailed features of high-frequency time series data. This study proposes a novel variant of the Self-Organizing Map (SOM) algorithm called Dynamic Time Warping Self-Organizing Map (DTW-SOM) for unsupervised pattern discovery in time series. This algorithm uses DTW, a similarity measure that optimally aligns interior patterns of sequential data, both as the similarity measure and training guide of the neural network. We applied DTW-SOM to a panel study monitoring indoor and outdoor residential temperature and particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) for 10 patients with asthma from 7 households near Salt Lake City, UT; the patients were followed for up to 373 days each. Compared to previous SOM algorithms using timestamp alignment on time series data, the DTW-SOM algorithm produced fewer quantization errors and more detailed diurnal patterns. DTW-SOM identified the expected typical diurnal patterns in outdoor temperature which varied by season, as well diurnal patterns in PM2.5 which may be related to daily asthma outcomes. In summary, DTW-SOM is an innovative feature engineering method that can be applied to highly time-resolved environmental exposures assessed by sensors to identify typical diurnal (or hourly or monthly) patterns and provide new insights into the health effects of environmental exposures.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Dec 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from NIH/NIBIB U24EB021996, U54EB021973, U54EB022002, and the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center NIEHS P30ES007048.
© 2021, The Author(s).