Umberto Picchini, Susanne Ditlevsen, Andrea De Gaetano; Maximum likelihood estimation of a time-inhomogeneous stochastic differential model of glucose dynamics. Math Med Biol 2008; 25 (2): 141-155. doi: 10.1093/imammb/dqn011
Stochastic differential equations (SDEs) are assuming an important role in the definition of dynamical models allowing for explanation of internal variability (stochastic noise). SDE models are well established in many fields, such as investment finance, population dynamics, polymer dynamics, hydrology and neuronal models. The metabolism of glucose and insulin has not yet received much attention from SDE modellers, except from a few recent contributions, because of methodological and implementation difficulties in estimating SDE parameters. Here, we propose a new SDE model for the dynamics of glycemia during a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp experiment, introducing system noise in tissue glucose uptake and apply for its estimation a closed-form Hermite expansion of the transition densities of the solution process. The present work estimates the new model parameters using a computationally efficient approximate maximum likelihood approach. By comparison with other currently used methods, the estimation process is very fast, obviating the need to use clusters or expensive mainframes to obtain the quick answers needed for everyday iterative modelling. Furthermore, it can introduce the demonstrably essential concept of system noise in this branch of physiological modelling.