Evaluating a nutritional management intervention for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

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Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), Clinical Trials Research Unit (CTRU) and School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) staff were awarded a six-year programme grant from the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Programme Grants for Applied Research, focused on the nutritional management of people living with ALS (also known as Motor Neurone Disease).

The HighCALS research programme is led by Christopher McDermott, Professor of Translational Neurology, University of Sheffield, in collaboration with a number of colleagues including those from ScHARR, University of Leeds, University of Oxford and King’s College, London.

Underpinning HighCALS was a programme of work designed to understand the current national service models, the beliefs of stakeholders and the development of behaviour change strategies to support and improve nutritional interventions.


We are now in the final phase of the programme, conducting an effectiveness and cost effectiveness study to investigate whether the OptiCALS intervention can prolong life in people with ALS (pwALS). We believe addressing this potentially simple issue could have a dramatic impact on survival, function and quality of life for the 6000 people with ALS (pwALS) in the UK.

The OptiCALS trial is seeking to recruit 304 participants across 20 research sites.

Central study staff

Name Role Organisation Contact
Professor Christopher McDermott Chief Investigator Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust / University of Sheffield c.j.mcdermott@sheffield.ac.uk
Gemma Hackney Programme Manager University of Sheffield g.hackney@sheffield.ac.uk
Elaine Scott Programme Manager University of Sheffield elaine.scott@sheffield.ac.uk
David White CTRU Oversight University of Sheffield d.a.white@sheffield.ac.uk
Shamila Ditta Research Assistant University of Sheffield s.ditta@sheffield.ac.uk
Jonathan Woodward Research Assistant University of Sheffield Jonathan.Woodward@sheffield.ac.uk
Naomi Roberts Trials Support Officer University of Sheffield naomi.roberts@sheffield.ac.uk


Name Role Organisation
Ammar Al-Chalabi Professor of Neurology and Complex Disease Genetics King's College London
Wendy Baird Professor of Health Services Research University of Sheffield
Mike Bradburn Senior Medical Statistician University of Sheffield
Janet Cade Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology University of Leeds
Lizzie Coates Qualitative Researcher University of Sheffield
Cindy Cooper Professor of Health Services Research and Clinical Trials

University of Sheffield

Vanessa Halliday Senior Lecturer in Public Health University of Sheffield
Gillian Marsden Deputy Operations Director Head & Neck Care Group Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Paul Norman Professor of Health Psychology University of Sheffield
Alicia O'Cathain Professor of Health Services Research University of Sheffield
Pamela Shaw Director the Sheffield NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience University of Sheffield
Theocharis Stavroulakis Post-doctoral Research Associate University of Sheffield
Martin Turner Professor of Clinical Neurology & Neuroscience University of Oxford
David White Research Fellow University of Sheffield
Sean White Home Enteral Feed Dietitian Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Tracey Young Senior Researcher in Health Economics University of Sheffield


Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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