Inter-relationship of stated diet adherence and relapse, disability, and fatigue in multiple sclerosis

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Steve Simpson, Jr. Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Professor Tracey Weiland Personal web page

Project Details

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive, autoimmune, demyelinating condition of the central nervous system, manifesting in sensory, motor and/or cognitive dysfunction. Given its onset is typically in the prime years of life – often in the 20s – it has devastating impacts on the quality of life and independent living of the patients so affected.

Diet quality, and associated qualities like BMI and dyslipidaemia, have been implicated in MS onset and progression. Accordingly, a number of diets have been proposed which may improve clinical course in MS, including vegetarian, paleo, non-dairy, and other diets. People with MS, seeking to find some way to improve their disease, frequently attempt these diets but with varying degrees of adherence.

This project, making use of HOLISM longitudinal cohort study (n=1,401 at 2.5-yr follow-up, n=952 at 5-yr follow-up), will assess the relationship of stated diet adherence to several prominent MS-specific diets reported at the 5-yr timepoint with clinical outcomes in MS, including relapse rate, disability as measured by the Patient Determined Disease Steps and fatigue as measured by the Fatigue Severity Scale. By using longitudinally measured diet quality, this study will examine the prospective relationship of diet quality with these core elements of clinical course in MS, with a goal to determine whether diet associations with clinical course reflect causal pathways or reverse causality. Understanding the potential beneficial impacts of diet adherence with clinical course will be of great import in MS, both in terms of potential beneficial effects, as well as appreciating any potential negative effects.

Analysis methods to be employed include linear regression, multilevel mixed-effects linear regression, log-binomial regression, and/or Poisson regression, including univariable and multivariable models, as well as potential inter-group assessment of interaction by sex, age, MS course, or others as appropriate.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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