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One million adults in the United States are living with multiple sclerosis (MS), and nearly one in four of them have Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Only 50% of persons with MS who have MDD have received treatment, and the treatments may not be effective in those with MS. Researchers have demonstrated that alternative approaches, such as exercise training, can be effective for managing MDD in those with MS.

The Mood and Exercise Training Study for Multiple Sclerosis (METS for MS) is examining the effects of two different remotely delivered and monitored exercise training programs for managing MDD among persons with MS. We believe these targeted, evidence-based exercise programs will produce improvements in depression, cognition, fatigue, quality of life, and fitness for those living with both MS and MDD.

  • Increase physical activity

  • Improve depression

  • Enhance cognition and fitness

About the study Heading link

The METS for MS study consists of two different home-based exercise training programs completed three days per week for 16-weeks.

  • One exercise program will consist of both aerobic and resistance training exercises, while the other program will focus on stretching and flexibility as an important part of fitness. Both programs are designed specifically for adults with MS and will be adjusted and personalized based on your needs, capabilities, and experiences.
  • Participants who are eligible will be randomly assigned to one of two exercise programs.
  • We will provide the equipment and materials materials for completing the programs (i.e., yoga mats, resistance bands, training manual). Participants can keep these materials after the study ends.

Participants will be paid $300 in compensation via gift cards for completing the METS for MS study.

map of Chicago and surrounding areas

We are currently enrolling participants living within 200 miles of Chicago (Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan)

Team Heading link

  • Robert Motl

    Robert Motl is a Professor of Kinesiology and Nutrition and the principal Investigator for the METS for MS study. Prof. Motl oversees the entire project, including the delivery of the exercise training protocols and behavioral coaching within the METS for MS study. Prof. Motl developed the METS for MS project during 15+ years of research on the benefits of exercise for people living with MS. This includes developing evidence-based exercise prescriptions for MS and then identifying methods for supporting the adoption and maintenance of these exercise programs over time.

  • Jennifer Duffecy

    Jennifer Duffecy is an Associate Professor in Clinical Psychiatry and a Co-Investigator for the METS for MS Project. Dr. Duffecy’s primary role involves working with Prof. Motl to oversee the mental health testing and monitoring of patients enrolled in the study. Much of her work focuses on increasing the impact of interventions through improving adherence to treatment. She specializes in the treatment and prevention of depression in a variety of populations including adults, adolescents and perinatal women.

  • Alison Wathen

    Alison Wathen is a Research Associate in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition and is the Project Coordinator for the METS for MS study. Alison’s primary role involves working with Prof. Motl in coordinating and administering the METS for MS study. Alison is the primary point of contact for participants in the METS for MS study. Alison previously worked on research projects centered on improving the overall health and quality of life of those experiencing depression and anxiety.

Contact us for more information Heading link

Alison Wathen

Research Coordinator