What is the DEALS Study? (Diet and Exercise in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Study)

This is a Phase 2 clinical trial to assess tolerance, preliminary efficacy, and any side effects of an exercise and diet regime in people with MND.

People with MND experience weakening muscles resulting in speech and swallowing disorders. Research in humans suggests that active swallowing exercises may prolong the ability to eat and drink safely, and prolong the ability to speak, but further research is required among people with MND. Animal studies suggest a diet enriched with extra virgin olive oil may be effective in slowing the progression of MND with improved maintenance of weight status and muscle function.

The DEALS Study brings together the allied health professions of speech pathology and dietetics. It aims to evaluate the effects of active swallowing exercises and/or a diet enriched with extra virgin olive oil on disease progression, weight, muscle function and quality of life.
What is involved?

People with MND will participate in this clinical trial in Sydney, Westmead Hospital.  Participants are randomly assigned to one of three different groups: an exercise only group; an extra virgin olive oil diet group; and an exercise combined with extra virgin olive oil diet group. Swallowing function, speech function, weight, muscle mass, diet intake and quality of life will be assessed in participants.

Participants will receive therapy support for four weeks, and will be assessed at baseline, after four weeks and again three months later. People with a possible, probable or confirmed diagnosis of MND are eligible to participate and need to be able to attend therapy sessions at Westmead Hospital for a four-week period.

How far off is a treatment?

This research will provide preliminary data on whether active exercise combined with an enriched diet is well tolerated and whether it helps to maintain weight, swallow function and speech in the short term. If the results from this pilot study are feasible and promising, the investigators will run a larger multi-site clinical trial to assess the longer-term effects and quality of life.

Contact details
Contact study principal investigator: Professor Vicki Flood or 0412 118 977.

Proud member of:

International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations

ACNC Registered Charity


MND Australia would like to advise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users that this website may contain images or names of deceased persons.