Clinical Applied Nutrition (CAN)

About us

Good nutrition is important to maintain function and health as we age, and this becomes increasingly important in those with neurological conditions, children and the elderly. We aim to develop research into the area of nutrition for symptom management and health maintenance in a variety of vulnerable and disease populations, and to implement this research alongside other key areas including exercise interventions and gait analysis.

The rise of the clinical nutrition research has built on current collaborations, both nationally and internationally, within the group, and will continue to expand this expertise.

Person chopping vegetables


Shelly Coe

Dr Shelly Coe

Senior Lecturer in Nutrition

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Name Role Email
Dr Johnny Collett Reader in Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation
Professor Helen Dawes Honorary Professor
Dr Patrick Esser Reader in Sport and Rehabilitation Technology
Professor Derick Wade Professor In Neurorehabilitation


Name Thesis Title Supervisors Completed
Matt Poulter Diet, Nutrition, and Health in UK prisons Professor Jonathan Tammam, Dr Shelly Coe


Francesca Tabacchi Nutritional support in cancer patients during treatment. Professor Jonathan Tammam, Dr Shelly Coe, Dr Vasiliki Iatridi, Professor Eila Watson



Active projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Association of diet and other lifestyle factors on non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s

This overall aim is to co-develop and evaluate the feasibility of a diet-based lifestyle intervention to support the management of fatigue and associated non-motor symptoms amongst individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The intervention will be developed through participatory design methodology whereby it is informed by data analysis of clinical data from the Oxford Parkinson’s Discovery Cohort (OPDC), in addition to interviews and consensus workshops with patients, carers and healthcare professionals.
Dr Shelly Coe Oxford Brookes University From: September 2019
Until: December 2023

Completed projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

Flavonoid-rich pure cocoa to reduce fatigue in people with Multiple Sclerosis

Dietary changes may be a simple, cost effective and safe therapy for improving symptoms experienced in people with MS (pwMS), and thus for increasing quality of life. Many pwMS have expressed their interest in dietary therapies to manage their symptoms; however scientific evidence for these therapies is lacking. The aim of this project is to undertake a feasibility study to determine whether flavonoid-rich cocoa has the potential to improve fatigue in pwMS in order to inform a follow-on trial.
Dr Shelly Coe, Professor Helen Dawes MS Society From: September 2015
Until: December 2018

Exploration of lifestyle including dietary patterns on later life quality of movement

A healthy lifestyle, e.g. diet patterns and physical activity, has been associated with an overall health state, including improved cognitive ability and more recently an association has been found to motor performance and function. Currently little is known on how lifestyle factors throughout life affect quality of movement in later life. This is a national and international collaboration.
Dr Shelly Coe, Dr Patrick Esser Oxford Brookes University From: September 2017
Until: December 2020

Nutrient intake and association with symptom severity in a Multiple Sclerosis Registry cohort

The aim of this study is to determine the self-reported dietary intake of a representative sample of pwMS. This will promote our understanding of the current dietary behaviours in this group in order to determine: if differences exist between the diet in pwMS compared to the general UK population and to the UK dietary guidelines; specifically for what foods and/or nutrients these differences occur; and the influence of covariates (type and stage of disease) on diet.
Dr Shelly Coe From: January 2015
Until: December 2020

Standing up for Cerebral Palsy

The aim is to determine the feasibility and possible extent of the immediate and short-term effects of interrupting sitting with brief moderate to vigorous physical activity (PA) breaks on physical and cognitive performance in young people with Cerebral Palsyl. Possible benefits of PA breaks in young people with cerebral palsy (YPwCP) are extremely promising as YPwCP are less fit, less active than their typically developing (TD) and show deficits on cognitive tasks.
Professor Helen Dawes AMR From: January 2018
Until: December 2020

Key Publications

Chocolate bar and cocoa beans