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MS Trial Alert: Investigators Recruiting Nationwide – Can an Internet Program for Behavior Change Improve Thinking Speed?

May 1, 2023

Investigators at the University of Illinois at Chicago are recruiting 300 people with MS nationwide for a study testing an internet-based program for behavior change supported by video chat. The study is designed to determine whether the program can help increase individuals’ physical activity and if that translates into increased thinking speed. The study is being conducted remotely and participants can live throughout the United States.

Rationale: Changes in cognitive function — that is, problems with thinking and memory — are common in MS. MS is more likely to affect some functions than others, including Information processing (dealing with information gathered by the senses). In a previous study funded by the National MS Society, an internet-based program for behavior change, supported by video chats with coaches, was found to increase and help sustain physical activity in people with MS. Now this team is testing whether using this approach to increase physical activity will translate to increasing progressing speed in people with MS.
Eligibility and Details: Participants should be aged 18 years or older, diagnosed with MS, relapse free in the past 30 days, have internet and email access, currently physically inactive, and able to walk without assistance. Participants can live throughout the United States.

Individuals will be randomly assigned to either one of two groups. One group will participate in an internet-based approach that includes use of a website and video chats with a behavioral coach, specifically aimed to increase physical activity. The other group will receive materials and coaching on general wellness not specifically designed to increase physical activity.

Participants will be provided with accelerometers (wrist-worn movement detectors) to track physical activity. The primary goal of the study is to determine whether the program can improve information processing speed significantly more than general wellness information. Participants will be evaluated using remotely delivered evaluations that look at processing speed, as well as other outcomes including fatigue, depression, anxiety and quality of life.  

The study is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.
To learn more about the enrollment criteria for this study, and to find out if you are eligible to participate, please visit or contact the Project Coordinator, Emily Barron at or (833)329-1441.

Download a brochure that discusses issues to think about when considering enrolling in an MS clinical trial (PDF).
Without participants in research studies, MS research would come to a standstill. Read more here.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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