Clinical Trials

Understanding the meaning of a brain healthy lifestyle from the perspective of MS clinicians

Type of Study/Intervention

Non-interventional, qualitative study (individual interviews)

Recruitment Status


Form of MS

Neurologists, nurses (registered, enrolled, MS nurse) and/or accredited practising dietitians

Brief summary

People with MS are often proactive in their approach to maintain health, by seeking advice from their healthcare professionals on healthy lifestyle management (such as physical activity and diet), with growing evidence that protective lifestyle factors may reduce relapse rate, improve quality of life and slow disease progression. People with MS have previously report feelings of disappointment with how lifestyle management, or a lack thereof, is incorporated into their routine healthcare consultations. This lack of information undoubtably heightens anxiety and can leave these people feeling disempowered.

Neurologists and MS nurses are considered key points of contact closely involved in the day-to-day disease management support of MS and, have an opportunity to empower people with MS by highlighting the value of lifestyle modifications during consultations. Anecdotal evidence has also suggested that people with MS express an urgent need for nutrition support and dietary guidance. As the role of diet for brain health has previously been overlooked, dietitians are ultimately positioned to support evidence-based dietary changes to maximise lifelong brain health. Therefore, interviewing neurologists, MS nurses and dietitians will help to identify targets for evidence-based, brain-healthy lifestyle initiatives with a focus on dietary recommendations. The aim of this study is to qualitatively explore Australian MS clinician’s current practices and perspectives of the role of diet in a brain-healthy lifestyle.

Eligible participants will be required to complete one, online, one-to-one, semi structured interview, of up to 60 minutes in duration (plus 10-minute demographic questionnaire). An interview guide will provide a framework to ensure key topics are address and probing questions will expand on individual responses. Interviews will be audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using Leximancer natural language processing.

To the researcher’s knowledge, this will be the first Australian, qualitative study, providing insight into how/if brain-health is valued by healthcare professionals in a clinical setting and how they can be further supported to initiate discussions about living a brain-healthy lifestyle for people with MS. This research will form one component of a larger project which aims to establish recommendations that support the therapeutic role of diet in a brain-healthy lifestyle for MS care.

Inclusion criteria

Clinicians including neurologists, nurses (registered, enrolled, MS nurse) and/or accredited practising dietitians, living in Australia, that are registered or have a professional membership with their national governing body and have clinical experience in consultations with people with MS. Clinicians must be consulting adults with MS on a weekly basis.

Exclusion criteria

Do not meet the above criteria; located internationally, paediatric only specialist MS clinician, are not registered or governed by a national body.

Anticipated start date

3rd April 2023

Recruitment contacts

PhD candidate Miss Olivia Wills (


Any region NSW/ACT/SA/VIC/QLD/WA/TAS/NT/NZ as the study will be conducted solely online.

Ethics Approval


Last updated


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