The role of diet in Multiple Sclerosis

Ms Alice Saul

Ms Alice Saul

University of Tasmania, TAS

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Scholarship | 2019 | Investigator Led Research |


There is great interest in the effects of dietary factors and their influence on MS disease progression. Many people with MS modify their diets to align with diets promoted as being beneficial for MS. However, there is a lack of solid evidence on the impact of many diets on disease progression of MS.

This PhD project aims to generate more evidence on the effect of dietary factors on MS progression. Ms Alice Saul is focusing on dietary patterns and diet quality, to determine whether MS outcomes including disability progression, relapses and symptom severity are impacted by diet.

Progress to Date

Ms Saul is examining the role of diet in MS using the AusLong study. This is a study of an internationally unique group of people who were recruited soon after they had initial symptoms suggesting they would go on to develop MS. This group was then followed annually for 10 years.

Thus far, Ms Saul has examined whether diet quality and diet “inflammatory index” are associated with fatigue, anxiety and depression.

Ms Saul has also analysed diet quality and compared it with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) outcomes over 10 years. She is now examining whether these dietary factors are associated with MS relapses and progression of disability.  The findings of these studies are confidential at the moment as the results are being written up into six separate scientific manuscripts, and we look forward to announcing the results when these publications are released.

The knowledge gained from this project will enable the design of studies on diet for MS that can be tested through clinical trials and will contribute to development of evidence-based dietary advice for people with MS to enhance their quality of life.

This research was presented at the world’s largest annual international conference in MS, ECTRIMS/ACTRIMS, in 2020 and 2021 in addition to national conferences.

Updated: 31 March 2022

Updated: 03 January, 2019

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


Grant Awarded

  • Postgraduate Scholarship

Total Funding

  • $78,000


  • 3 years

Funding Partner

  • The Penn Foundation
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The role of diet in Multiple Sclerosis