Sustainability and Future of Intermittent Calorie Restriction in Multiple Sclerosis: Laura Piccio, MD, PhD


The neurologist and physician scientist at Washington University in St. Louis provided perspective on the need for additional studies assessing the long-term effects of dieting strategies in multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"If you look back in the last 5 years, there were quite a few published studies that provided robust scientific evidence in one sense or another. But we’re still at the beginning, we need more studies like this that are larger and longer.”

Although dieting is not a new concept in multiple sclerosis (MS), there are several unknowns about its impact on immunometabolic and cognitive measures. At the 2023 Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum, held February 23-25, in San Diego, California, research looked at the effects of intermittent calorie restriction (iCR) on adipokines levels, metabolic and immune/inflammatory biomarkers, clinical and brain MRI features in those with relapsing remitting MS.

Led by Laura Piccio, MD, PhD, the study identified significant reductions in anthropometric and body adiposity measures in those on iCR over a 12-week period compared with those on an unrestricted diet. Other findings showed increases in adiponectin over the 6 and 12 weeks of dieting, as well as decreases in Th1 levels. Above all, patients on iCR showed significant improvement compared with an unrestricted diet in cognitive scores, assessed through the Symbol Digit Modalities Test.

Piccio, a neurologist and physician scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, believes these data are promising, but come with caution, as the study was only performed for 12 weeks. At the Forum, she sat down to discuss the feasibility of implementing iCR in patients with MS, and how this type of research speaks to where the field is currently. Additionally, she spoke on the need for more long-term studies, and continued commitment to research efforts on dieting and lifestyle factors.

1. Ghezzi L, Tosti V, Cantoni C, et al. Randomized clinical trial of intermittent calorie restriction in people with multiple sclerosis: effects on immunometabolic and cognitive measures. Presented at: 2023 ACTRIMS Forum; February 23-25; San Diego, CA. Cutting Edge Developments.
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