An investigation of a novel mechanism of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

type of intervention


recruitment status




type of ms

All forms of MS, Primary progressive MS, Relapsing MS, Relapsing remitting MS, Secondary progressive MS

Brief summary

Multiple sclerosis (MS) and obstructive sleep apnoea co-occur frequently with shared symptoms such as fatigue, depression and cognitive impairment which when together may be more severe and difficult to manage. The mechanisms for the high prevalence of sleep apnoea in people with MS are unclear. Understanding the causes of sleep apnoea in people with MS is important to guide appropriate targeted therapies.

The purpose of this study is to measure the activity and reflex response of the largest muscle located at the base of the tongue which plays an important role to keep the upper airway open and facilitate breathing. During sleep, this muscle can fail to activate appropriately causing the upper airway to narrow and close repetitively resulting in OSA. To understand if this mechanism plays a key role in people with MS and OSA, we will invite participants for one week of non-invasive home sleep monitoring using an under-mattress sensor and one overnight sleep study at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, Flinders University. During the sleep study visit, participants will be set-up with standard sleep study equipment, two pressure sensors in the airway and two fine wires inserted into the base of the tongue to measure muscle activity. In addition, a nasal mask will be used during a short breathing test in the evening and overnight while sleeping to monitor breathing.

Inclusion criteria

1. Male or female between 18 to 75 years of age and confirmed diagnosis of MS
2. Stable MS (with or without disease modifying drugs) with no relapses in the past month
3. BMI less than 30 Kg/m2
4. With or without obstructive sleep apnoea
5. Must be able to understand the nature of the study and must have the opportunity to have any questions answered.
6. Must not currently be using treatment for sleep apnoea

Exclusion criteria

1. Cardiovascular disease
2. Neurological disorders other than MS
3. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding

Anticipated start date

Currently recruiting

Recruitment contacts

Amal Osman, Ph: +61 8 7421 9876, E:

Lady Samantha Calonzo , Ph: +61 8 6304 2210, E:



Ethics Approval

This study has been approved by the Health Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (2021/HRE00411).

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