University of Oulu

Giunti, G., Claes, M., Zubiete, E. D., Rivera-Romero, O., & Gabarron, E. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 on Multiple Sclerosis Topic Discussion on Twitter [BA]. In J. Mantas, L. Stoicu-Tivadar, C. Chronaki, A. Hasman, P. Weber, P. Gallos, M. Crişan-Vida, E. Zoulias, & O. S. Chirila, Public Health and Informatics (Vol. 281, pp. 865–869). IOS Press.

Impact of COVID-19 on multiple sclerosis topic discussion on Twitter

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Author: Giunti, Guido1,2; Claes, Maëlick1; Zubiete, Enrique Dorronzoro3;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
2TU Delft, The Netherlands
3Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
4I3US: Research Institute of Computer Engineering, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
5Norwegian Centre for E-health Research, University Hospital North Norway, Norway
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: IOS Press, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-02


Introduction: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the world’s most common neurologic disorders. Social media have been proposed as a way to maintain and even increase social interaction for people with MS. The objective of this work is to identify and compare the topics on Twitter during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: Data was collected using the Twitter API between 9/2/2019 and 13/5/2020. SentiStrength was used to analyze data with the day that the pandemic was declared used as a turning point. Frequency-inverse document frequency (tf-idf) was used for each unigram and calculated the gains in tf-idf value. A comparative analysis of the relevance of words and categories among the datasets was performed.

Results: The original dataset contained over 610k tweets, our final dataset had 147,963 tweets. After the 10th of march some categories gained relevance in positive tweets (“Healthcare professional”, “Chronic conditions”, “Condition burden”), while in negative tweets “Emotional aspects” became more relevant and “COVID-19” emerged as a new topic.

Conclusions: Our work provides insight on how COVID-19 has changed the online discourse of people with MS.

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Series: Studies in health technology and informatics
ISSN: 0926-9630
ISSN-E: 1879-8365
ISSN-L: 0926-9630
ISBN: 978-1-64368-185-6
ISBN Print: 978-1-64368-184-9
Pages: 865 - 869
DOI: 10.3233/SHTI210302
Host publication: Public Health and Informatics : Proceedings of MIE 2021
Host publication editor: Mantas, John
Stoicu-Tivadar, Lăcrămioara
Chronaki, Catherine
Hasman, Arie
Weber, Patrick
Gallos, Parisis
Crişan-Vida, Mihaela
Zoulias, Emmanouil
Chirila, Oana Sorina
Conference: Medical Informatics Europe Conference
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
3124 Neurology and psychiatry
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Copyright information: © 2021 European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) and IOS Press. This article is published online with Open Access by IOS Press and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0). doi:10.3233/SHTI210302