The Wahls's Research Team focuses on three major areas:

  1. The use of Functional Medicine as a guiding principle in the evaluation and management of multiple sclerosis and other chronic diseases.
  2. The impact of food choices and eating plans on health and disease states.
  3. The impact of modifiable lifestyle factors on health and disease states.

Dr. Terry Wahls experienced significant disability due to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and spent four years dependent upon a tilt/ recline wheelchair.   Reviewing the basic science multiple sclerosis research, Dr. Wahls devised a program using modifiable lifestyle factors to optimize the health of her mitochondria and brain cells.  The results of this intensive program led to a dramatic improvement in her function.  In less than one year she went from needing a tilt/recline wheelchair to being able to complete an 18 mile bicycle tour with her family.

As a result, Dr. Wahls' understanding of health and disease was transformed as was her clinical practice and her research interests. The Wahls Research Team is dedicated to deepening the understanding of the role of modifiable lifestyle factors in managing the symptoms associated with autoimmune and other chronic disease states.  The first trials were feasibility and safety studies to replicate the interventions Dr. Wahls used in her recovery with others who have progressive multiple sclerosis.

The initial interventions included a modified Paleolithic diet, stress reduction practices, exercise and electrical stimulation of muscles.  Functional Medicine has been used as an organizing principle to guide the development of the interventions used in the clinical trials.  The follow up studies are now randomized trials in the setting of multiple sclerosis and pilot studies involving other disease states. In addition we are collecting data and bio specimens for future analyses to understand the mechanisms by which utilizing modifiable lifestyle factors can lead to reduced disease related symptoms and improved quality of life across a wide variety of disease states.

Dr. Wahls in her wheelchair, 2007


Dr. Wahls on a bicycle, 2008