A brain-healthy lifestyle for people living with MS

Ms Olivia Wills

The University of Wollongong, NSW

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Scholarship | 2023 | Investigator Led Research |


Treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) has changed dramatically over the past decade with improvements to the number of available drug therapies and timely standards for monitoring disease activity. While the initial focus is on the choice of treatment, discussions around brain-healthy lifestyle management, with referral to services that support lifestyle modifications, are suggested within three months of diagnosis. This represents a critical window for protective lifestyle interventions to delay the progression of MS and to maximise overall brain health. 

Combining treatment and lifestyle management to preserve brain tissue and optimise brain health is endorsed by the international MS Brain Health initiative. Lifestyle factors such as cardiovascular fitness, avoidance of smoking and limiting the use of alcohol have been prioritised to maximise lifelong brain health for people living with MS (plwMS). Dietary guidance appears to be overlooked as an element of a brain-healthy lifestyle. 

Therefore, this project will explore the role of diet in a brain-healthy lifestyle for plwMS pertaining towards advancements in understanding of the role of diet in MS disease progression, management and brain health. As no dietary guidelines have been established for plwMS, this project aims to rationalise dietary choices and behaviours from the perspectives of both consumers and specialist clinicians involved in MS care. This will allow exploration of the connection between diet and brain health and how clinicians can further support lifestyle management. Increased knowledge on this topic may lead to targeted nutrition approaches for brain health including recommendations for plwMS, their carers and their families. 

Updated: 22 February, 2023

Stages of the research process

Fundamental laboratory

Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 10+ years

Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.

Lab to clinic timeline: 5+ years
Clinical Studies
and Clinical Trials

Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.

Lab to clinic timeline: 1-5 years


Total Funding

  • $70,000


  • 2 years – starting 2023

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Associate Professor Tomas Kalincik

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A brain-healthy lifestyle for people living with MS