ongoing research and recently completed projects

Some examples of recent and current research projects funded by MS Research. We are constantly looking for new high quality projects.

MS-related Tremor.

Not everyone who has MS develops tremor but the minority that do can find everyday life very difficult. Simple things like keypad use, putting cards in slots and many other daily tasks can be extremely difficult. Many treatments have been tried but none are fully successful probably because MS tremor is a very complex movement disorder affecting upper limbs and making accurate movement very difficult.

MS Research participated in a major EU-funded programme looking to better understand tremor and its complexity by making measurements of normal movements and those affected by tremor. These studies have moved on to using new movement sensors similar to those used in CGI applications to gain a better understanding the nature of tremor with a view to design better treatments. Current studies are taking place in collaboration with the UWE (The University of the West of England) and a movement disorders specialist team. 

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used successfully in Parkinson's disease and other causes of tremor, but results with MS are very variable. MS Research is working towards a better understanding of the nature of MS tremor as this may help to understand which patients will benefit the most from DBS and to find other solutions. 

Understanding MS Fatigue.

2018 was the final year of a PhD programme on understanding fatigue in MS carried out at CRIC (Clinical Research and Imaging Centre) Bristol. Dr Jade Thai’s PhD research student’s three year study into improving our understanding of how fatigue affects function using functional MRI Imaging (fMRI) of the brain was completed and she was awarded her PhD, which was jointly funded by MS Research and the University of Bristol. Research papers are currently being submitted for publication on this and other MS Research supported research projects.

Further studies on the evaluation of better treatment strategies for neuromuscular fatigue, mobility and balance are underway. A further fMRI study on understanding how people respond to information about new treatments is planned for 2019/2020. 

Core Stability in Wheelchair Users 

A project to help positioning in wheelchair users with trunk instability explored ways of preventing the many unwanted consequences of being a regular wheelchair user. A group of five Bristol University design engineering Masters degree students explored the use of new measurement systems for assessing the needs of wheelchair users. Alongside this, they evaluated new materials and, with staff from University of the West of England, using 3D printing techniques to aid design and test support systems that move from wheelchair to normal seating with the wheelchair user. This study was also supported by staff at the Bristol Enablement Centre who provide disability services in the South-West for people with MS who are wheelchair users.  All students were awarded their Masters degrees in 2018.


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