Dietary interventions in multiple sclerosis: Development and pilot-testing of an evidence based patient education program

Karin Riemann-Lorenz, Marlene Eilers, Gloria Von Geldern, Karl Heinz Schulz, Sascha Köpke, Christoph Heesen

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background Dietary factors have been discussed to influence risk or disease course of multiple sclerosis (MS). Specific diets are widely used among patients with MS. Objective To design and pilot-test an evidence based patient education program on dietary factors in MS. Methods We performed a systematic literature search on the effectiveness of dietary interventions in MS. A web-based survey among 337 patients with MS and 136 healthy controls assessed knowledge, dietary habits and information needs. An interactive group education program was developed and pilot-tested. Results Fifteen randomised-controlled trials (RCTs) were included in the systematic review. Quality of evidence was low and no clear benefit could be seen. Patients with MS significantly more often adhered to a 'Mediterranean Diet'(29.7% versus 14.0%, p<0.001) compared to controls. 143 (42%) of the patients with MS had tried special MS diets. Important information needs addressed effectiveness of MS diets (44%) and relation between nutrition and MS (43%). A pilot test of our newly developed patient education program with 13 participants showed excellent comprehensibility and the MS-specific content was judged as very important. However, the poor evidence base for dietary approaches in MS was perceived disappointing. Conclusions Development and pilot-testing of an evidence-based patient education program on nutrition and MS is feasible. Patient satisfaction with the program suffers from the lack of evidence. Further research should focus on generating evidence for the potential influence of lifestyle habits (diet, physical activity) on MS disease course thus meeting the needs of patients with MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0165246
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 01.10.2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)


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