Be in a study

People affected by MS are at the heart of all MS research.

You are vital in progressing understanding of the cause of MS, developing a cure and providing support and treatments for people living with MS. Involvement in research can range from completing a questionnaire to being in a clinical trial for a new treatment.

Clinical trials test whether new treatments, from drugs to physiotherapy, are safe and effective. Trials usually look for benefits and side effects of new drugs, or new ways of using old drugs, like changing dose or frequency. By taking part in a clinical trial you may be given a new treatment or placebo and be monitored over a period of time.

Other research studies aim to improve our understanding of MS and the impact it has on people’s lives. These studies may involve completing a questionnaire, taking part in discussion groups or being asked questions over the phone.

Clinical trials and research studies currently looking for participants are listed below.

Please note: this information should not be interpreted as advice or recommendation for participation in any given study or trial. If you have any questions or concerns about being in a study you should contact your doctor, MS nurse or neurologist.

Clinical trials

Relapsing remitting MS

Symptom management 

Other research studies

Determining the reasons for anxiety for people living with MS

Swansea University

What’s this study about?

Anxiety and MS

How will this help people affected by MS?

This study will allow us to understand the reasons for anxiety among people living with MS. This could help us to better support people with MS who are experiencing anxiety.

What will participants be asked to do?

There are two ways to get involved:

  1. You can take part in telephone interviews. Telephone interviews will be set at a time convenient for you.
  2. You can complete a short survey. This can returned by post or by email.

Who can take part?

Anyone over the age of 18 who has a confirmed diagnosis of MS can take part.

Who is conducting the research?

Catrin Lyddon under the supervision of Professor Kerina Jones

When can I take part in this study?

November 2016 - January 2017

Where is this research taking place?

Swansea University. As the survey and telephone interviews can be done remotely, there is no requirement for participants to come to the university.

Who has reviewed this study?

The study has been reviewed and approved by the Swansea University College of Health and Human Sciences Ethical Committee.

The main study and amendments to include telephone interviews and a survey all have ethical approval.

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about this study and would like to receive a participant information sheet, please contact Kerina Jones at k.h.jones@swansea.ac.uk. Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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Assessing the factors and events that influence care requirements

University of Southampton

What’s this study about?

This study aims to identify and better understand the factors and events that determine care needs for people living with a long-term neurological condition, including MS.

How will this help people affected by MS?

Many long-term neurological conditions such as MS have a long-term impact on quality of life with care requirements that vary over time. This frequently creates a mismatch between the needs of patients at particular stages in their condition and the available resources required to assist them.

We want to use the results of this study to better understand the factors that influence care levels for people living with conditions such as MS. This may help us to develop new ways of assessing and monitoring important aspects related to MS. It may also help us to better support people with long-term neurological conditions in the future.

What will participants be asked to do?

The first part of the research is a survey that can be completed online, on paper or over the telephone. It should take less than 30 minutes to complete. The survey will ask about the things that you feel increase and decrease the amount of care you or a person with MS you care for needs.

The second stage of the research is a focus group. At the end of the survey you will be asked if you would be interested in taking part in the focus group. You can decide to only take part in the survey, without going on to participate in the focus group.

Who can take part?

Anyone who:

  • lives in Hampshire or Dorset
  • has a diagnosis of MS
  • or cares for someone with a diagnosis of MS.

Who is conducting the research?

This study is being conducted by a research team based at University Hospital Southampton. It is led by Sarah Fearn, a Senior Research Fellow. The chief investigator is Dr Chris Kipps, a consultant neurologist.

When can I take part in this study?

From November 2016 to 31 March 2017.

Where is this research taking place?

The research is based in Southampton but covers all of Hampshire and Dorset.

Who has reviewed this study?

The University of Southampton Research Governance Office has reviewed the study and granted it ethical approval.

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about this study and would like to receive a participant information sheet, please contact Sarah Fearn at S.Fearn@soton.ac.uk or call 07393762105.

Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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Understanding fatigue in children and adolescents with MS and chronic fatigue syndrome: a questionnaire study

King’s College London.

What’s this study about?

This study aims to improve our understanding of fatigue in childhood MS. Although we know that a lot of young people with MS experience fatigue, we currently don’t fully understand the symptom and its impact. We would like to invite young people with MS and their caregivers to answer some questionnaires about MS and fatigue and complete some thinking tasks, in order to help our understanding.

How will this help people affected by MS?

Fatigue can have a significant impact on the lives of young people, and there are currently no effective ways of managing this symptom in this age group. We hope that the information gained from this study could help develop methods for children and adolescents with MS to manage their fatigue in the future.

What will participants be asked to do?

Children and primary caregivers will be asked to complete two sets of online questionnaires, which should take 30-40 minutes to complete. Children will also be asked to meet with the researcher to do some thinking tasks with words, blocks and numbers. This will take 45-60 mins.  Children and primary caregivers will each receive a £10 shopping voucher each as a thank you for taking part.

Who can take part?

All children and adolescents with MS aged 18 or under can take part. We would like to invite young people both with and without fatigue to take part. Primary caregivers of children and adolescents with MS can also take part.

Who is conducting the research?

This MS Society-funded research project is being carried out by Susan Carroll, a PhD student at King’s College London, under the supervision of expert researchers and clinicians.

When can I take part in this study?

February to December 2016.

Where is this research taking place?

The questionnaires can be completed online, with a face to face meeting either at King’s College London or the participants own home.

Who has reviewed this study?

This study has been reviewed by the West London and GTAC NHS Research Ethics Committee.

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about this study and would like to receive a participation information sheet, please contact Susan Carroll by email at susan.carroll@kcl.ac.uk or by phone on 0207 188 0196.

Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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SIMS – Systemic Inflammation in Multiple Sclerosis Study

Which institution is responsible for the study?

University of Southampton.

What’s the study about?

This study will look to find out if there is a link between infections and the accumulation of disability in MS.

What will participants be asked to do?

The study will last two and a half years in total and participants will be asked to:

  • Provide weekly urine samples. You will be given a special double-packed urine collection kit to store small samples of urine in your home freezer. You will be asked to bring this kit with you when you come into the clinic.
  • You will be asked to record any infections that you may have over the study period and will receive training from the researchers on how to look for signs of infection.
  • You will be asked to attend a clinic at Southampton General Hospital once every three months. Appointments will be 30 minutes to one hour long. The appointments will involve some neurological tests; blood and urine samples may be collected.
  • Every six months, a member of the research team will visit you at your home to monitor your physical activity. You will be asked to wear a monitor for a week to help monitor your physical activity.
  • You will be asked to have two MRI scans, one at the start of the study and another at the end.  

The research team will keep in touch with you throughout the study and will be available for you to contact throughout.

The research team will request that they can view your medical records to access your clinical details. You will be asked to explicitly give your permission for this on the consent form. Your information will not be shared and remains confidential within the research team.

Who can take part?

People with progressive MS who are still able to walk, with or without walking aids.

Who is conducting the research?

The research is being conducted by Dr Ian Galea (principal investigator) and his team within the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton.

When can I take part in the study?

The researchers will be recruiting participants to the study between 2015 and December 2016.

Where is this research taking place?

The study will take place in Southampton General Hospital (Victoria House), Tremona Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 6YD.

Who has reviewed this study?

NHS Health Research Authority, NRES Committee South Central - Hampshire B.

Interested?

If you would like to find more information about this study and receive a participation information sheet, please contact the SIMS Study research team at sims@soton.ac.uk or 07867 142 277.

Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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Personal experiences of progressive multiple sclerosis

City University

What’s this study about?

Progressive MS can have a considerable impact on the lives of those affected by it. However, research on progressive forms of MS is limited, despite the fact that progressive MS poses a number of challenges for those affected. As a result, we know very little about how people manage the impact of progressive MS on their lives. We don’t know how they feel about themselves, or how these might change as the illness progresses. We will be exploring these issues by asking people with progressive MS about their experiences and how they adjust to it.

How will this help people affected by MS?

Certain psychological factors, like stress and social support, have been identified as affecting how people adapt to their MS. If we can understand more about the process of psychological adjustment in progressive MS, we can use this information to develop therapeutic interventions to support people and improve their wellbeing.

What will participants be asked to do?

The aim of the study is to find out how people feel about their MS, how it affects their life, how they cope with it, and how psychological factors contribute. Participants will address these issues through a questionnaire, which takes about an hour to complete.

As we are interested in how people manage the impact of MS on their lives over time, participants will be asked to complete the questionnaire again, 12 months later (two questionnaire assessments in total).

Participants will receive £10 for each questionnaire assessment to compensate for their time (£20 in total).

Who can take part?

Anyone with a confirmed diagnosis of primary progressive MS or a transition to secondary progressive MS within the last 12 months is eligible to take part in this study.

Who is conducting the research?

The research is conducted by Dr Fern Day, Dr Angeliki Bogosian, Dr Sam Norton, and Professor Rona Moss-Morris at City University and King’s College London and it is funded by the MS Society.

When can I take part in this study?

Between December 2015 and May 2017.

Where is this research taking place?

You can complete the questionnaires independently or with the support of a researcher.

If you want to complete the questionnaires by yourself, you will be provided with either paper questionnaires to complete at home and stamped addressed envelopes to return them in, or online versions.

If you would like to complete the questionnaires with a researcher, they will contact you to arrange a convenient time to meet at City University.

Who has reviewed this study?

The City University Psychology Department Research Ethics Committee has reviewed this study.

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about this study and would like to receive a participant information sheet, please contact Fern at fern.day@city.ac.uk or on 07590210419.

Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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Understanding depression and anxiety in people with multiple sclerosis

University of Liverpool.

What’s this study about?

The aim of this study is to understand more about depression and anxiety in MS. This will be done using questionnaires that will address emotional distress, fatigue, pain, and how people make sense of their MS.

How will this help people affected by MS?

Little is known about the nature of depression and anxiety in MS. This research will help identify important factors involved in triggering and maintaining depression and anxiety in people with MS.

A focus is needed to improve this understanding so that it can be used to develop new treatments and inform delivery of care.

What will participants be asked to do?

Participants will be asked to complete six online questionnaires at two time points. The first set shortly after reading the information about the study and the second approximately three months later. Each set of questionnaires will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and will be available online.  

The questionnaires will ask about a range of symptoms (anxiety, low mood, fatigue and pain) participants may have experienced over the last month and about how they cope with them. If participants have not experienced all of these symptoms in the last month their opinions are still valuable for the research. All of the information provided will be kept securely and confidentially.

Who can take part?

Anyone over the age of 18 with a confirmed diagnosis of MS and access to email and the internet can take part in the study.

Participants will be offered the chance to enter a prize draw for one of three £50 gift vouchers once the questionnaires have been completed.

Who is conducting the research?

The research will be conducted by doctoral student investigator Phillip Heffer-Rahn, alongside principles investigators Dr Peter Fisher, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, and Prof Peter Salmon, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool.

When can I take part in this study?

February 2016 - February 2017.

Where is this research taking place?

The questionnaires are web-based, available here, so can be carried out from home.

Who has reviewed this study?

The University of Liverpool Committee on Research Ethics.

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about this study and would like to receive a participant information sheet, please contact Phillip Heffer-Rahn at prahn@liverpool.ac.uk.

Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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Understanding self-management in MS

University College London

What’s this study about?

The study aims to explore the ways people living with MS manage their health in everyday life and how we could support self-management with valuable technologies. We would like to invite participants to an interview study exploring the following questions:

  • In what ways do people use different tools to manage their health (e.g. paper diaries, spreadsheet software, websites, mobile apps, fitness tracking devices, etc.)?
  • What do people track (e.g. physical activity, mood, diet, pain, fatigue, etc.)?
  • What kind of challenges do people face and what do they learn?  

How will this help people affected by MS?

This research will increase our knowledge of how people living with MS could be better supported by new technologies. What we learn will be shared with people affected by MS, healthcare professionals and technology manufacturers, who can use our research to improve the management of MS.

What will participants be asked to do?

Participants will be asked to take part in an interview answering questions on various topics, including how they manage their individual symptoms and whether they use any technologies to track their health. The interview should take about one hour. As a thank you for taking part, participants will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.

Who can take part?

Anyone over the age of 18 with a confirmed diagnosis of MS. We are interested to speak to people that may have used paper notebooks or technologies such as smart phone applications, to track their health conditions, although this is not essential.

Who is conducting the research?

Amid Ayobi, a PhD student from University College London is conducting the study. Amid will be supervised by Paul Marshall, a Senior Lecturer in interaction design and Anna Cox, a Reader in human-computer interaction, both members of the University College London Interaction Centre.

When can I take part in this study?

February 2016 - April 2017

Where is this research taking place?

The interview can either be carried out at the University College London Interaction Centre, or in a public space close to your home, such as a quiet café. Alternatively, we can conduct the interview via phone or Skype.

Who has reviewed this study?

This research study has been reviewed and approved by the UCL ethics committee.

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about this study and would like to receive a participant information sheet, please contact Amid at amid.ayobi.14@ucl.ac.uk.

Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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Can a flavonoid-rich cocoa drink improve fatigue?

Oxford Brookes University

What’s this study about?

A healthy diet may be a simple, cost effective and safe therapy for improving symptoms experienced in people with MS (pwMS), and thus for increasing quality of life. There is currently no cure for fatigue yet it is one of the most debilitating of symptoms associated with MS

Pure cocoa may have the ability to improve fatigue due to compounds in the cocoa called flavonoids. However to date, no well-designed studies have looked at the role of cocoa consumption for fatigue management in pwMS.

This study will collect data comparing the effect of a high flavonoid pure cocoa drink to a low flavonoid cocoa drink on fatigue and blood levels of inflammatory markers in pwMS.

How will this help people affected by MS?

There may, or may not be, direct benefits to anyone taking part in this study. The study is being undertaken to find out whether certain dietary interventions are beneficial to pwMS.  

By taking part, you will be helping us to answer this question, which may be of benefit to pwMS in the future.

What will participants be asked to do?

Participants will be asked to attend three research visits over a 6 week period at Oxford Brookes, where we will measure fatigue levels, take some blood samples and ask a series of questions about daily activities.

Each visit will last no more than one and half hours and they will take place before 10 am. For each visit, participants will need to fast overnight (approximately 10-12 hours) – this means no food or drink, although participants are allowed to drink water in moderation before each of the three test days.  

At each visit participants will be asked to:

  • Recall their diet from the previous day, performed by a trained nutritionist
  • Walk for six minutes whilst being timed on a stopwatch to look at mobility (first and third visit only). During this we would place a small device on your back that measures how you walk;
  • Complete a few short questionnaires about health and well-being;
  • Have blood samples taken

After the first research visit, participants will be randomly allocated to one of two dietary interventions that can be managed at home, over a six week period. One group will consume a low flavonoid hot cocoa drink daily (in the morning) for six weeks. The other group will follow the same procedure but they will consume a high flavonoid pure cocoa drink daily.

During the six weeks, participants will be asked to wear a wrist watch for no more than three out of the six weeks, in order to gather information about daily activity. Participants will receive a text message three times a day asking about their level of fatigue via a mobile phone.  If you do not have a mobile phone, one will be provided.

Who can take part?

Anyone over the age of 18 with a new (<5 year) clinical diagnosis of RRMS and who is not yet on medication for their MS or taking first line disease modifying treatments (e.g. glatiramer acetate, interferon beta, teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate) can take part. Participants must not have had a relapse or sudden change in MS symptoms within the previous three months, and they must be willing to providing a blood sample and to consume the hot cocoa drink.

Participants must have no other conditions that may be associated with fatigue, (e.g. anaemia), and cannot be on medication for the treatment of depression.  Participants must not have any other condition affecting the central nervous system other than MS (however certain conditions such as migraines would not exclude you from the trial), and must not be pregnant or lactating.

Participants must be able to walk with a walker for at least 16 metres to take part.  The researchers on the trial may need to contact your GP and/ or neurologist during the study, and you must consent to this before entering the trial.

Who is conducting the research?

Prof Helen Dawes, Dr Shelly Coe and other researchers at Oxford Brookes University

When can I take part in this study?

June 2016 - June 2017

Where is this research taking place?

During the study, there will be a total of 3 assessment visits; the first and last visit will take place at Oxford Brookes. For the second visit you will have the option for the researchers to come to your home in order to take measures.

The researchers will also call you on the telephone and/ or send you emails/ text messages in order to remind you to assess your fatigue and to see generally how you are doing during the trial.

Who has reviewed this study?

This study has been reviewed and approved by the Proportionate Review Sub-Committee, IRAS ID 199515

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about this study and would like to receive a participant information sheet, please contact Dr Shelly Coe at scoe@brookes.ac.uk Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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Using online information about medications to inform a person living with MS

Swansea University Medical School.

What’s this study about?

There are a number of options for treating and managing MS. To ensure people with MS can make informed decisions about the management of their condition, it is important that they are educated on their options.  

Previous research has shown that many people with MS will use the internet to learn more about MS and treatment options available, as well as to better understand information provided by healthcare professionals. Whilst much of this health-related information is readily available on the internet, to the best of our knowledge there is no measure of the quality of this information.

Our study aims to explore how people with MS search for medical information online, and how they determine the quality of the information. We will also explore whether the availability of an online resource could help to inform treatment choices (e.g. side effects of prescribed medications). This tool would help people to decide if the information they have found is of good quality.

How will this help people affected by MS?

Increasing our understanding of how people with MS access information online and how they determine the quality of information may help to provide guidance for people in the future. This may help to protect people from accessing misleading or biased information.

What will participants be asked to do?

Participants will be asked to complete an online questionnaire.

Who can take part?

Anyone over the age of 18 with a confirmed diagnosis of MS can take part, as can anyone who cares for someone with MS.

Who is conducting the research?

Adel Alhlayl, a PhD student from Swansea University will be leading the study. Adel is supervised by Dr Melanie Healy, Dr Kerina Jones and Dr Gareth Noble.

When can I take part in this study?

June 2016 to December 2016.

Where is this research taking place?

The questionnaire is web-based, so can be carried out from home. It is available here.

Who has reviewed this study?

This research has been reviewed and approved by the Research Ethics Committee at the College of Human and Health Sciences (reference number: 120716-536264@swansea.ac.uk).

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about this study and would like to receive a participant information sheet, please contact Adel Alhlayl at 536264@swansea.ac.uk. Please note that enquiring about participation does not commit you in any way.

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