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Reducing the effects of fatigue

Fast facts

  • Official title: Brain Tumours – Lifestyle Intervention and Fatigue Evaluation (BT-LIFE). A multi-centre, feasibility, Randomised Controlled Trial
  • Lead researcher: Dr Alasdair Rooney
  • Where: University of Edinburgh
  • When: August 2017 – September 2019
  • Cost: £210,026
  • Research type: Adult, High Grade and Low Grade, Clinical Trial
  • Grant round: Quality of life

What is it?

Previous research has focused on studying the effect of stimulant drugs to help fatigue, but no studies have evaluated changes in lifestyle and behaviour as a way to help manage fatigue. The aim of the research team, led by Dr Rooney, is to investigate if changes in lifestyle can alleviate these symptoms.

To do this, the research team will employ structured lifestyle and behavioural interventions, this will include health coaching and patient activation, respectively.

Health coaching will target elements such as diet, exercise, sleep, and stress; whereas, patient activation will empower patients to improve independence, quality of life, their satisfaction, and should complement health coaching.

Why is it important?

Each year, more than 10,000 adults in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour. The majority of them experience some level of fatigue, especially after treatment. Fatigue has multiple possible causes and currently there are no medications that specifically target it, which makes it a complex problem to manage. Fatigue affects people differently, but can have a profound impact on quality of life, making it essential to find new ways to manage fatigue effectively.

Who it will help?

This research project is a multi-centre study, allowing adults to take part in brain tumour clinics in Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Manchester. This highly collaborative project, involving clinical and non-clinical personnel, patients, and their caregivers, as well as the National Health Service (NHS), the private sector, and other brain tumour charities. While this project is a pilot study, it’s an important step in laying the foundation to discover new non-drug treatments for fatigue.



  • Since the beginning of this project, the research team has successfully received approval to begin the trial in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Manchester.
  • The trial has been recruiting patients steadily and the participants have started on their respective journeys to manage fatigue.


  • The trial is expected to finish later this year, and we eagerly await the final results.

Since 2004, I’ve been helping people of all abilities improve their lifestyle choices to improve their health. Our overall approach is to remember that we are all human first. We aim to coach healthy behaviour in a person-centered way, gently when needed and with a little more push whenever possible. Offering this flexibility is important for all but we’ve learnt this is essential for anyone with a brain tumour and fatigue. Working with Dr Rooney and the BT-LIFE team has been a joy. Special thanks to every patient for their trust, humour, and inspiration.

Garry Anderson, Health Coach for BT-LIFE.

If you have any questions about this, or our other, research projects please contact us on research@thebraintumourcharity.org

This page has been last updated: 01 May 2019

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Dr Rooney is an academic psychiatry trainee with a research interest in the psychiatric and behavioural consequences of brain tumours.

He is also a member of the NCRI Brain Tumour Clinical Studies Group and a contributing author to the European Association for Neuro-Oncology (EANO) Clinical Guidelines Group.

Dr Ally Rooney explains the structure and collaborative nature of the project, BT-LIFE.