Making it Personal: Identifying personalised triggers of fatigue in multiple sclerosis using N-of-1 studies

type of intervention

Non-interventional, Observational

recruitment status




type of ms

Primary progressive MS, Relapsing MS, Relapsing remitting MS, Secondary progressive MS

Brief summary

This research study aims to discover factors that worsen feelings of fatigue in people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Most research studies explore topics like this using scientific approaches that report the average results of a large group of people, rather than focusing on identifying results for each individual. As a result, there is limited knowledge about how fatigue symptoms fluctuate day-to-day and the factors that may worsen symptoms for individuals with MS. This study will use 'N-of-1' methods to identify personalised patterns and triggers of fatigue at the individual level. One key part of the study is determining whether people with MS will be able and willing to participate in studies that use N-of-1 methods.


In this study, participants will complete brief surveys three times a day using a wrist-worn electronic diary for a period of 6 weeks. The surveys will collect data about personally relevant MS symptoms including fatigue and hypothesised symptom triggers. At the end of the study, participants will receive personalised feedback about patterns and triggers of their fatigue based on the data they provided and invited to participate in an interview to explore their views about participation. Participants will receive a $75 shopping voucher to thank them for taking part in this study.


Inclusion criteria

You may be eligible to take part if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are aged 18 years or older
  • You live in Greater Brisbane
  • You have access to the internet to complete an online questionnaire at the start of the study
  • You are willing to complete brief questionnaires via an electronic diary each day for 6 weeks
  • You are currently experiencing moderate to high levels of fatigue


You will be asked to complete an online questionnaire prior to commencing any of the study procedures to determine whether you are eligible to participate. The study team will also contact your GP to confirm that you meet all the eligibility criteria (see exclusion criteria below).

Exclusion Criteria

Your GP will be asked to confirm that you do not meet the following exclusion criteria:

  • Acquired brain injury
  • Unstable psychiatric disorder
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Untreated sleep disorder (e.g., untreated obstructive sleep apnoea)

Other relevant progressive neurological disorder

Anticipated Start Date

Already commenced

Recruitment Contacts

If you would like to learn more about the study, or would like to express your interest in participating, please provide your contact details here and a member of the research team will contact you with more information.


For any other enquiries, you can contact the study team directly via email:

Further Details

Study team: Dr Suzanne McDonald, A/Prof. Jane Nikles, Prof. James McGree, and Dr Zara Ioannides. Ethical approval: This study has been approved by The University of Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee (ID: 2018/HE000741). Funding: This study is funded by MS Australia (ID: 22-195 MS Australia Incubator Grant, 2023-2024).


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