Multiple Sclerosis affects about 400,000 people in the US. Current treatments may have severe side effects, and there is no cure. But researchers at Mount Sinai hospital in New York are testing how diet may help battle the disease.
Once a month a pioneering group of MS patients meet to get tips from a nutritionist and share their temptations.
Neurologist Ilana Katz Sand is leading one of the first clinical trials to study the link between what we eat, gut bacteria, and MS symptoms.
In MS, inflammation occurs when the immune cells attack the brain and spinal cord. This study is testing whether a dietary intervention can re-program the immune system to slow down the assault on itself.
Kerane Providence, and the other patients enrolled in the trial, are following a strict Mediterranean style diet—no processed food, dairy or meat, but lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
MS symptoms, like fatigue, difficulty walking, vision problems and cognitive changes, can be severe and disabling.
With the help of medication, Kerane is still able to work nights as an oncology nurse, just four years after her diagnosis.
She says that sticking to the diet is a small sacrifice for better health.
This is a small study of about 30 patients. It will be six months before researchers know if the diet has any measurable impact on MS symptoms, though some in the group already report more energy.