MS is a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects the brain and spinal cord, causing lesions and affecting muscle strength and movement. Certain lifestyle factors, such as low sun exposure, low vitamin D levels and smoking have been shown to increase the risk of developing MS. Although nutritional factors have long been of interest in MS, the link between diet and MS remains unclear.
This project uses dietary intake information and blood samples from people with early signs and symptoms of MS, available through studies in Australia and in the US, to investigate whether specific foods or nutrients can help reduce the risk of disease onset and progression in MS. The impacts of dietary factors such as following a Mediterranean diet, consuming foods with anti-inflammatory properties, and blood levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and other fats are being assessed.
Although the restrictions enforced during 2020 led to disruptions in the study, Dr Black and her team have forged ahead to gain some new dietary insights around MS. Dr Black’s analysis has revealed several important and fascinating relationships between specific dietary factors and the risk of MS.
Results from this project so far provide new insights into the role of diet in the risk of MS onset. Going forward, further research could also provide evidence that could lead to the development of a clinical trial to test appropriate dietary strategies to reduce progression in the early stages of the disease. The results of this study could also potentially lead to evidence-based dietary recommendations for people with MS and those at high risk of MS. It is expected that new findings will be released in the coming year to address the use of fish oil supplements in MS, dairy consumption in MS, and outcomes from a Mediterranean diet and the progression of MS.
Updated: 14 April 2021
Updated: 04 January, 2019
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.