Comorbidity networks: Beyond disease correlations

Enrico Capobianco, Pietro Liò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Biomedical research is increasingly emphasizing the emerging role of multi-source big data. An example comes from electronically available records of patients from a mix of genotypic, phenotypic, multi-omic and clinical conditions. These data are, in part, already publicly available, and thus call for integration firs, and modelling afterwards. Consequently, a new paradigm of data-intensive biomedicine is naturally leading to novel inference tools, dealing in particular with complex diseases and comorbidities. The latter arise when multiple diseases occur in the same patient, and the complexity of treating such cases is especially high as it involves uncertainty in diagnosis and treatment.We first review some characteristics of such multifaceted complexity, emphasizing the implications for the computational analysis of data interrelationships which in comorbidity studies necessarily span much more than correlative associations. We then describe topics that require closer attention in perspective, in view of a better understanding of the role of multi-evidenced comorbidity data.We finally suggest the rationale for using networks and their tree configurations to explore causality, thus approaching a novel synergistic and translational inference design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Complex Networks
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2015


  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Decision support systems
  • Evidence synthesis
  • Networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Control and Optimization
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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