Prospective relationship of diet and relapse, disability & fatigue in multiple sclerosis

Research Opportunity
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. The bulk of such studies have been cross-sectional or case-control in nature, however, precluding ascription of causal directionality. Prospective studies, which could better assess causality of observed relationships, are relatively lacking.

Using the HOLISM longitudinal cohort study (n=1,401 at 2.5-yr follow-up, n=952 at 5-yr follow-up), we aim to assess the relationship of diet quality, as measured by components of the Dietary Habits Questionnaire, with clinical outcomes in multiple sclerosis, 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.

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

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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