Research Article| Volume 3, ISSUE 5, P575-583, September 2014

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A web-based decision support tool for prognosis simulation in multiple sclerosis


      • An evidence based online decision support tool for prognosis simulation is presented.
      • Relevant variables are synthesized in a comprehensive and easy to use model interface.
      • The onset of the secondary progressive phase and long-term disability are emphasized.
      • Model validation results are in line with the existing scientific evidence.


      A multiplicity of natural history studies of multiple sclerosis provides valuable knowledge of the disease progression but individualized prognosis remains elusive. A few decision support tools that assist the clinician in such task have emerged but have not received proper attention from clinicians and patients. The objective of the current work is to implement a web-based tool, conveying decision relevant prognostic scientific evidence, which will help clinicians discuss prognosis with individual patients. Data were extracted from a set of reference studies, especially those dealing with the natural history of multiple sclerosis. The web-based decision support tool for individualized prognosis simulation was implemented with NetLogo, a program environment suited for the development of complex adaptive systems. Its prototype has been launched online; it enables clinicians to predict both the likelihood of CIS to CDMS conversion, and the long-term prognosis of disability level and SPMS conversion, as well as assess and monitor the effects of treatment. More robust decision support tools, which convey scientific evidence and satisfy the needs of clinical practice by helping clinicians discuss prognosis expectations with individual patients, are required. The web-based simulation model herein introduced proposes to be a step forward toward this purpose.


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