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Australians with MS sought to ‘taste test’ new nutrition program

Media release

Curtin University researchers are seeking to recruit 50 people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to test an online program that encourages healthier food choices as part of a new project funded by MS Australia.

Ms Rebecca Russell, Associate Professor Andrea Begley and Associate Professor Lucinda Black.

Chief Investigator Ms Rebecca Russell, a PhD student from Curtin University’s School of Population Health, said the evidence showed that diet can play a significant role in managing some symptoms of MS, and people with MS want a nutrition program that is tailored to their needs.

“People with MS often turn to the internet for information about diet and MS, and they can be faced with conflicting information from the many ‘special diets’, which often exclude important food groups,” Ms Russell said.

“We know people with MS want clear information on what dietary changes they should be making, so we have been working with them to develop this new online nutrition program that seeks to challenge the misinformation about diet and MS, and ensure they are getting the right advice.”

The research team is seeking to recruit 50 people diagnosed with MS within the last five years who have internet access and are able to take part in the online program.

MS Australia is the national peak body for people affected by MS and is dedicated to advocacy, communications, education, funding and coordinating MS research, as part of the worldwide effort to solve MS. It is estimated that more than 25,600 Australians currently live with MS.

MS Australia Chief Executive Officer Rohan Greenland said he was delighted to support this new project because it offered a practical solution to an ongoing issue that many people with MS face.

“Currently, people with MS are advised to follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines, however they have found this advice can be non-specific for people who have been recently diagnosed,” Mr Greenland said.

“Given the abundance of information on the internet, people with MS need advice on how to interpret what is evidence-based, and how to apply this to their own dietary preferences and living situations. We look forward to seeing the outcome of this exciting new program developed by Curtin researchers in collaboration with people living with MS.”

The online program will provide people with MS with the knowledge and skills to understand the evidence in the field of nutrition and MS; judge the credibility of diets promoted for people with MS; select, prepare, and cook nutritious foods; and assess the quality of their own diet.

The new program has been funded as part of MS Australia’s 2021 incubator grant round.

Anyone interested in taking part in the program should contact the research team by email at MSDietProject@curtin.edu.au or by phone (Andrea Begley, research project supervisor) on 08 9266 2773.

For more information about MS Australia, visit here.