Neural and muscle characteristics of fatigue in multiple sclerosis

Associate Professor Justin Kavanagh

Griffith University, QLD

| Better treatments | Neurobiology | Incubator | 2023 | Investigator Led Research |


Up to 80% of people with MS experience fatigue, and half of those affected by fatigue report challenges when performing work, exercise, and activities of daily living. This not only impacts the individual, but also family and friends of the person with MS. 

For many decades, researchers have studied mechanisms underlying fatigue from a neural perspective and a muscular perspective in people who are healthy. However, there is a lack of translation of this work into the MS population. This project will use cutting-edge neurophysiology methods to assess fatigue-related factors in people with MS. Associate Professor Justin Kavanagh and his team will examine how the brain and spinal cord is compromised during fatigue-inducing exercise. 

The team will then delve further into muscle physiology and study underlying muscle metabolic consequences of MS, and how this may impact on fatigue characteristics in this population. 

This project will not only provide a clear understanding of factors that impair physical activity in people with MS, but the data will also enable a better understanding of what features of fatigue people with MS report to clinicians. 

In clinical settings, it is common to characterise MS fatigue using detailed (self-reported) fatigue scales. This project will provide great insight into the relationship between self-reports of fatigue and quantifiable dysfunction in the motor system. 

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

  • $25,000


  • 1 year – starting 2023

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Neural and muscle characteristics of fatigue in multiple sclerosis