Food for thought: Clinical trials on diet in MS
Food for thought: Clinical trials on diet in MSArticle from December 2019 edition of Intouch eNewsletter

Extensive research is currently being conducted into the role that diet may play in the management of multiple sclerosis. Diet is an area of particular interest because it may also help treat other health conditions that are common in people living with multiple sclerosis, such as cardiovascular disease, and has minimal to no side-effects. In addition, many people have reported interest in this sort of approach, as they like the idea of being able to actively take control of their health.
For any sort of new treatment, the ‘gold standard’ of proof is through a randomised controlled trial. Whilst randomised controlled trials have commonly been performed for medications, rarely have they been performed on the use of diet in multiple sclerosis. Currently there’s work going on around the world to try and design these types of trials and begin to test their effectiveness across the variety of diets that have been proposed for use in the management of multiple sclerosis. 

The early results of one such study have just been published. This project looked at whether a clinical trial on the use of the Mediterranean Diet by people living with multiple sclerosis would be feasible. The researchers wanted to know the answer to three questions:

  1. Would they be able to recruit enough people who were interested in participating? 
  2. Would the participants stick to the diets that they were given? 
  3. Would the participants stay in the trial until the end? 

They found that the answer to all these questions was yes. However, it should be noted that their recruitment goal of 30 people within a year was quite low and would need to be much larger for an actual trial. Out of interest, they looked at some of the clinical benefits that the people who followed the Mediterranean Diet obtained. While the study was too small to make any real conclusions, they did see that there was a significant reduction in fatigue in this group, as well as some potential improvements in disability. It is hoped that this preliminary work will lay the foundation for a larger study, which will provide more concrete answers as to whether - diet can help people living with multiple sclerosis.

Article written by MStranslate.

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