Field: Neuroscience

Location:

UQ Centre for Clinical Research (Herston) 

Type of student: Both types will be considered (i.e. you are flexible with your project/s)

Type of work:

Clinical work 
Literature review 

Brief synopsis:

Background: Fatigue is one of the most commonly reported, most disabling but least understood symptom experienced by patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Patterns and predictors of fatigue may differ considerably from one individual to another but these differences are concealed in research using group-based designs (e.g. randomised controlled trials) that focus on average results for the group studied. Tools for assessing fatigue symptoms typically involve self-reported retrospective recall which can be subject to a number of memory biases. Furthermore, fatigue assessment is typically conducted on only one occasion, which results in a limited understanding about how fatigue fluctuates over time. N-of-1 methods involve the repeated, quantitative and prospective measurement of a health-related outcome in an individual over time. N-of-1 methods can be used to identify patterns and predictors of fatigue over time that are unique to the individual. Methods: This project will involve a series of n-of-1 observational studies to explore fluctuations in fatigue and potential predictors (activity, sleep, stress, mood etc.) over time in MS. Daily data about fatigue and potential predictors will be collected from participants three times per day for a period of 6 weeks using an electronic diary with integrated physical activity monitor. Data will be analysed using time series analysis. Participants will receive detailed feedback about the patterns and predictors of their fatigue at the end of the study, which may lead to better self-management of fatigue symptoms.

Learning objectives: The student(s) will learn about a novel research method; N-of-1 methods play a key role in the movement towards personalised medicine, patient-centred health care and shared decision-making. The student(s) will gain experience and skills in relation to conducting an n-of-1 study with a clinical population.

Prerequisite skills: N/A

Time frame: N/A

Website: N/A

Supervisor

Dr Jane Nikles

Dr Jane Nikles

Senior Research Fellow
UQ Centre for Clinical Research

Contact Person

Dr Suzanne McDonald

Senior Research Technician
UQ Centre for Clinical Research