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Di Serio, C. and Lamina, C. (2003): Bayesian P-Splines to investigate the impact of covariates on Multiple Sclerosis clinical course. Collaborative Research Center 386, Discussion Paper 353




This paper aims at proposing suitable statistical tools to address heterogeneity in repeated measures, within a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) longitudinal study. Indeed, due to unobservable sources of heterogeneity, modelling the effect of covariates on MS severity evolves as a very difficult feature. Bayesian P-Splines are suggested for modelling non linear smooth effects of covariates within generalized additive models. Thus, based on a pooled MS data set, we show how extending Bayesian P-splines to mixed effects models (Lang and Brezger, 2001), represents an attractive statistical approach to investigate the role of prognostic factors in affecting individual change in disability.