Dr Yasmine Probst. Photo by Mark Newsham.

IHMRI and University of Wollongong Dietitian Dr Yasmine Probst is investigating whether a balanced diet could reduce the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

MS is a condition of the central nervous system (CNS), interfering with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. 

Dr Probst has been living with MS for the past 15 years.

“I was diagnosed in 2004 when I was studying my PhD. I was a healthy 22 year old but was burning the candle at both ends and not managing my stress levels,” said Dr Probst.

“I started experiencing flashes of light in my eyes and went to see an optometrist and then an ophthalmologist to try to work out what was going on. But when the numbness began in my feet I knew something was going on in my brain,” added Dr Probst.

“The numbness continued creeping up my legs like compression socks which prompted a GP to refer me for blood tests and eventually an MRI,” she said.

There is no cure for MS and the reason people develop it is unknown.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women affected than men.

Research suggests that when myelin (the fatty substance that coats nerve fibres) starts to break down, the nerves begin to fray and messages do not get transmitted to other parts of the body.

“My research to improve outcomes for people living with MS involves a methodological process for updating the dietary approaches in cohort studies, as many weren’t designed with diet in mind,” said Dr Probst.

She is also looking at the benefits of of increased fruit and vegetable intake because of their powerful antioxidants.

The aim of the research is to create dietary guidelines for people living with MS along with clinical trials to test the evidence.

Dr Probst is part of a nationwide collaboration looking at different types of diets and the impact on MS symptoms.

She is also part of the management Council for Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia (MSRA) and is currently undertaking a review to determine the level of evidence for various dietary approaches.

In February this year, Dr Yasmine Probst won the Dame Bridget Ogilvie Clinical Excellence Award, which recognises female researchers at IHMRI who have demonstrated high impact in their respective field.

Related stories

Empowering women in health and medical research

Myelin breakdown research at IHMRI and links to MS

Media coverage

Illawarra Mercury

31 October 2018: MS Gong Ride is personal for Wollongong’s Dr Yasmine Probst

Media contact

Louise Negline, Communications Coordinator

t: 4221 4702

m: 0417 044 867

e: louisenegline@ihmri.org.au

Photo credit

Mark Newsham

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