Evidence-based food focus for people with MS and health care professionals

Associate Professor Yasmine Probst

Associate Professor Yasmine Probst

University of Wollongong

| Better treatments | Social And Applied Research | Fellowship | 2022 | Investigator Led Research |


Healthy eating is a modifiable element of lifestyle that has the potential to improve symptoms and disease progression for people with MS. When people are first diagnosed with MS, they often change their food intake as a method of taking control of their disease. The information related to healthy eating for MS is inconsistent, with many fad diets being developed and promoted without appropriate support. When visiting their healthcare team, the topic of nutrition is rarely discussed. People with MS want to know what they should be eating to take control of their disease safely.

This research will target researchers who run studies that health professionals use as evidence. By ensuring that the tools used to target nutrition in studies are accurate and by guiding health professionals about the impact of nutrition for MS, we will begin to grow a more consistent flow of information to people with MS.

Studies in MS are heavily focused on single nutrients when food and patterns of eating should be targeted. This research will bring the focus to food by creating a toolkit for health professionals and decision support tools using artificial intelligence so that people with MS can make decisions related to their eating based upon their individual circumstances.

The tools that are developed in this research program will be tested in practice with health professionals and people with MS through two randomised trials that will provide additional support and guidance toward the importance of nutrition in the management of MS.

Progress to Date

In the first year of this study Associate Professor Probst has increased her research team from two members to a team of thirteen and collaborations with the United Kingdom and Germany are underway.

Evaluation of existing online dietary advice for people with MS has been completed. The results indicate that navigating online dietary advice for MS continues to be characterised by information that can be unreliable, contradictory and potentially unsafe. A manuscript has been drafted for this part of the project.

A scoping review has also been undertaken to look at the tools currently used in lifestyle interventions, namely physical activity, smoking cessation and healthy diet. This aspect of the work is being drafted and submitted for publication.

To further understand how people with MS are eating, consistency is needed in the choice and reporting of tools by MS researchers. Associate Professor Probst and her team have created a tool to assist with this process. Having the right tools available for use in future studies will improve the quality of nutrition related MS research to clearly answer questions such as whether people living with MS are meeting current dietary guidelines.

Updated 31 March 2023

Updated: 14 February, 2022


  • Associate Professor Yasmine Probst

Grant Awarded

  • Senior Fellowship

Total Funding

  • $390,000


  • 3 years

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Evidence-based food focus for people with MS and health care professionals