Reduced mental health, including stress, anxiety and depression, and functional difficulties such as fatigue and cognition issues affect many people living with MS. However, access to effective psychological treatments is often challenging.
This research study aims to increase access to psychological care by developing, evaluating and implementing psychological treatment programs for people with MS that can be delivered remotely. Several proof-of-concept clinical trials of this treatment approach have shown encouraging results.
The proposed study aims to take this research to the next phase and explore the effectiveness, acceptability and safety of this treatment approach in the real world, including when delivered via a hospital-based MS clinic. This will address current knowledge gaps and allow the development of new and effective treatments approaches for Australians with MS needing psychological care.
Dr Milena Gandy and her team have now commenced the clinical trial of an internet-delivered psychological treatment program, the Wellbeing Neuro Course, for adults with MS living across Australia. The Wellbeing Neuro Course comprises of six online modules and materials made available over a 10-week period. It teaches practical skills for self-managing one’s mental health (e.g., depression and anxiety) and functioning (e.g., memory, and activity/fatigue levels). Support from a psychologist via telephone or message system is provided throughout.
The current clinical trial compares the psychological outcomes (e.g., symptoms of depression and anxiety) of participants who receive the course immediately with a control group that waits 10 weeks to commence the course.
Over the past year, Dr Milena Gandy and her team have managed to recruit approximately 90 adults with MS into the trial. About half of these participants have been randomised to receive immediate access to the treatment, with the other half in the wait-list control. During the past calendar year, approximately 40 people have completed the 10-week Wellbeing Neuro Course treatment with optional support from a psychologist. They are continuing to treat participants and collect data into 2023 and beyond. In addition, the team have also received ethical approval to run another clinical trial of the Wellbeing Neuro Course at the MS Clinic at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. Training is being delivered to the Clinical Neuropsychologists on this team to offer the course to the patients of the clinic commencing in 2023.
Dr Gandy has submitted several publications in relation to this work, two of which are now In Press.
Updated 31 March 2023
Updated: 14 February, 2022
Laboratory research that investigates scientific theories behind the possible causes, disease progression, ways to diagnose and better treat MS.
Research that builds on fundamental scientific research to develop new therapies, medical procedures or diagnostics and advances it closer to the clinic.
Clinical research is the culmination of fundamental and translational research turning those research discoveries into treatments and interventions for people with MS.