We used network analysis to identify subtypes of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis subjects based on their cumulative signs and symptoms. The electronic medical records of 113 subjects with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis were reviewed, signs and symptoms were mapped to classes in a neuro-ontology, and classes were collapsed into sixteen superclasses by subsumption. After normalization and vectorization of the data, bipartite (subject-feature) and unipartite (subject-subject) network graphs were created using NetworkX and visualized in Gephi. Degree and weighted degree were calculated for each node. Graphs were partitioned into communities using the modularity score. Feature maps visualized differences in features by community. Network analysis of the unipartite graph yielded a higher modularity score (0.49) than the bipartite graph (0.25). The bipartite network was partitioned into five communities which were named fatigue, behavioral, hypertonia/weakness, abnormal gait/sphincter, and sensory, based on feature characteristics. The unipartite network was partitioned into five communities which were named fatigue, pain, cognitive, sensory, and gait/weakness/hypertonia based on features. Although we did not identify pure subtypes (e.g., pure motor, pure sensory, etc.) in this cohort of multiple sclerosis subjects, we demonstrated that network analysis could partition these subjects into different subtype communities. Larger datasets and additional partitioning algorithms are needed to confirm these findings and elucidate their significance. This study contributes to the literature investigating subtypes of multiple sclerosis by combining feature reduction by subsumption with network analysis.


Electrical and Computer Engineering


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Grant BX000467

Keywords and Phrases

Communities; Feature Reduction; Modularity; Multiple Sclerosis; Network Analysis; Phenotype; Subsumption; Subtype

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Article - Journal

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Final Version

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

11 Jan 2023