Dr. Terry Wahls Research Fund
By Donating To The Dr. Terry Wahls Research Fund, You Will Help Support:
- Diet and lifestyle research in the setting of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other complex chronic disease states.
- New investigations into other disease states, including fibromyalgia and post-acute coronavirus sequelae, also known as long covid.
- Grant applications to fund research on our interventions in the setting of progressive multiple sclerosis, optic neuritis, and persisting fatigue following cancer treatment.
My big, hairy audacious goal is to revolutionize the standard of care.
I have a vision where all patients newly diagnosed with MS or any autoimmune condition or complex chronic health problem that includes neurological or psychological symptoms are immediately told to improve their diet, manage their stress, and continue to exercise. I want them to know that these changes will improve their disease course and health outcomes.
It is a BIG vision, one that will take decades to realize. But we can do it. We can change the standard of care, allowing more people to live healthier, happier lives.
To make this vision a reality, we need more high-quality research focused on the effects of diet and lifestyle interventions in patients with MS, autoimmune conditions, and complex chronic disease states. This research should include randomized controlled trials with a control or usual care arm, as well as the incorporation of biomarker and mechanism data. My mission-driven research portfolio is dedicated to investigating diet and lifestyle interventions that consistently help people make meaningful improvements in clinical function and quality of life, ultimately restoring health and vitality.
To achieve this, we must collaborate with basic science researchers to study the molecular pathways of biospecimens collected during our clinical trials, as well as the mechanisms by which diet and lifestyle interventions improve the health and vitality of multiple sclerosis, neuroimmune, and chronic complex disease patients.
I am fully committed to conducting those kinds of studies, collecting data, and publishing results in peer-reviewed scientific journals, high-impact journals such as Neurology, The New England Journal of Medicine, Science, and Nature. I aim to empower my postdoctoral fellows with the skills and confidence to lead their own research teams investigating the impact of diet and lifestyle on health and cellular mechanisms in patients with MS, neuroimmune conditions, and complex chronic disease.
If you share my goal and vision for changing the standard of care, I invite you to support our progress by contributing to the Dr. Terry Wahls Research Fund. Your contribution will help facilitate more innovative research, publish more papers, and increase awareness that diet and lifestyle interventions can improve quality of life for patients. Increased funding will enable the Wahls Lab to conduct more of the activities essential to achieving our goal, including:
Obtain preliminary biomarker data for our grant proposals.
Having preliminary biomarker data makes our grant proposals stronger and more likely to be funded. We already have frozen biospecimens from study participants that we want to analyze for changes in markers of neurodegeneration (serum Neurofilament light chain and other markers of neurological damage), oxidative stress, mitochondrial function, and inflammation. These funds will allow us to conduct analyses and generate preliminary data that can help explain the molecular mechanisms by which changes in diet and lifestyle lead to reduced symptoms and better function. This kind of data makes grant applications much stronger and more likely to be funded. Biomarker data are essential for being able to include a mechanism piece in our future grant proposals and eventually change the standard of care.
Fund postdoctoral research scholars in the lab.
Hiring postdoctoral scholars increases the Wahls lab’s ability to write more research papers and apply for more grants. Postdoctoral scholars help conduct biomarker analyses and learn how to conduct clinical trials that investigate diet and lifestyle in the setting of complex chronic disease states. Having additional postdoctoral scholars in the lab will increase the Wahls lab’s impact on the field of diet and lifestyle research in the setting of MS, other autoimmune conditions, and complex chronic disease states.
Fund small single arm pilot studies in new disease states.
Starting investigations in new disease states is challenging without preliminary data. Having the funds to conduct a small single arm pilot study in a new disease state will allow us to obtain the preliminary data that we can use to begin adding more disease states to our research portfolio.
How you can help:
Become part of the team that will answer important questions about the impact of diet and lifestyle and the mechanisms by which changes in diet and lifestyle lead to reduced symptoms and improved function.
You can help by:
Making an individual gift
Hosting an event
The University of Iowa Center for Advancement is a non-profit organization on the University of Iowa campus that solicits private, tax-deductible contributions for all areas of the university, including the diet and lifestyle research of Dr. Terry Wahls.
The University of Iowa acknowledges the UI Center for Advancement as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. When donating to the Dr. Terry Wahls Research Fund, you will receive a thank you letter and receipt for tax purposes from the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. You will be helping Dr. Wahls and her team conduct more innovative studies that can change the standard of medical care. Thank you for your support!
Have you thought about hosting your own event to raise awareness and funds for the Dr. Terry Wahls Research Fund?
The University of Iowa Center for Advancement has assembled a PDF guide for hosting third-party events that raise funds to support the research of Dr. Wahls and her lab.
Contact the University of Iowa Center for Advancement Development team to learn more about Dr. Wahls’ innovative research by reaching out to Robert.King@foriowa.org (319) 467-3788
Implications of our studies:
We think everyone should be using a therapeutic diet and lifestyle as part of their treatment of multiple sclerosis, other autoimmune conditions, and/or complex chronic disease states. Right now, when most people see the specialist who manages their disease, they are told to start disease-modifying drug treatment right away. They are not told that diet and lifestyle are important factors in disease course and health outcomes.
I want to change that! It takes 30 years to change the standard of care. We are 15 years into this–halfway there. In 2008, my ideas were considered unorthodox and possibly dangerous. Now I am recognized as one of the leading dietary and lifestyle researchers in the setting of MS. In the world of science, that is very fast.
I launched our first MS clinical trial in 2010. I gave a TEDx talk, Minding My Mitochondria in 2011, and published a book, The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine in 2014. The TEDx talk and my book created sufficient public interest in wellness that the National MS Society made diet and wellness research a priority.
In 2016 I received a million-dollar grant from the National MS Society to conduct the study Dietary Approaches to Treating MS Related Fatigue. Other researchers also began doing small pilot diet studies. In 2018 I joined the National MS Society Nutrition Committee. In 2023 our lab published work in Neurology, one of the top-tier scientific journals. There was also an accompanying editorial recommending all MS patients be referred to a nutrition specialist to improve their diets.
The Wahls lab has conducted 7 clinical trials and published over 60 peer-reviewed abstracts, posters, and scientific papers that have been cited over 1,500 times by other researchers. We present our research at international MS meetings and publish our papers in top-tier neurology journals.
We are making headway, but to change the standard of care so that all neurology residents are taught to include diet and wellness programs in the care of their patients, more published research is needed. We have a freezer filled with biospecimens from those earlier studies that are ready to be analyzed, as soon as we have the resources. We also need resources to present our research at international MS research meetings.
I don’t know of any other researcher who has a big hairy audacious goal of changing the standard of care so that all patients with MS, other autoimmune conditions, and complex chronic diseases are told as soon as they are diagnosed that it is vital to also address diet and lifestyle, regardless of whether they start disease-modifying drug treatments.
We are committed to doing the research that is needed to change the standard of care. Join the team and help make it happen!
By donating, you become part of a team doing research that is changing lives and improving the future.