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University of Michigan Professors Awarded $3.5 Million for MS Research

Monday, September 18, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Two University of Michigan (U-M) researchers have received almost $3.5 million in funding to conduct a clinical trial to examine treatments for multiple sclerosis patients who suffer from fatigue.

“This clinical trial will use a patient-centered approach that takes into account the many facets of MS, in order to directly impact clinical practice and payer coverage of two of the most widely accepted treatments for MS fatigue,” Tiffany Braley, professor of neurology at Michigan Medicine, said.

Braley, along with Anna Kratz, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine, was awarded $3,476,448 in funding over four years by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

The researchers say a lack of evidence to help patients and other stakeholders choose from the available care options makes this topic important to explore.

Braley and Kratz’s team will compare the effectiveness of Modafinil, a commonly used fatigue medication; cognitive behavioral therapy, a commonly used behavioral treatment strategy; and a combination of both treatments.

All subjects will wear accelerometers to measure their physical activity, and they will self-report their fatigue severity and fatigability throughout the day. The investigators said the cognitive behavioral therapy will be administered by phone to address treatment accessibility. Collaborators have a variety of specialties, including neurology, physical medicine, and rehabilitation, psychology and psychiatry.

“The interdisciplinary nature of this study team is very exciting, particularly because it matches the common real-world scenario where patients seek out a variety of different practitioners for help in managing difficult symptoms like fatigue,” Kratz said.

PCORI selected this project or its potential to fill an important gap in the understanding of MS treatment, PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby said.

“It will provide useful information to help patients and their caregivers weigh the effectiveness of their care options. We look forward to following the study’s progress and working with Michigan Medicine to share the results,” Selby said. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.

Both Braley and Kratz are members of U-M’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, which will help the team disseminate study findings to clinicians and health policy stakeholders based on the results.

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