What is the microbiome?
Living within each one of us are many communities of microorganisms (or microbes). While some microbes can coexist within our bodies without causing harm, or indeed promote health, others are responsible for causing disease. Microorganisms, just like humans and other organisms, contain DNA. The collective term for DNA belonging to the microorganisms which live within us is called the “microbiome”.
Why is the microbiome important?
The microbiome plays an important role in maintaining the health of the person that they reside within, the host. They can play an important role in the development and maintenance of the immune system, regulation of the metabolism through the production of short chain fatty acids. Additionally, the microbiome has known roles in the gut brain axis as well as providing resistance to inflammation, infection and disease causing -pathogenic microorganisms.
There is an abundance of research demonstrating the interplay of the microbiome and diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and liver disease however, there still a massive gap in our understanding of what a “normal” and “healthy” microbiome looks like. Through the HOAM Study, researchers at UNSW Microbiome Research Centre hope to shed some light on this by defining what the ultimate-healthy and normal microbiome looks like.
How you can help
To make this study a success, we are seeking participants for several groups. These include
- Senior and very senior adults with a clinical diagnosis of dementia (age 65 plus) -join now
- Adults (age 19 to 65) and not active more than 3 hours per week - Join now
- Teenagers (age 13- 18) - join now
- Very Senior adults (age 95) -join now
- Elite and professional athletes (age 19-45) and those who are generally active (age 19-65) -join now
This is a non-intervention study, so there is no medications or treatments to undergo. If you take part in the study, you would be asked to provide a sample of your poo (stool), a blood sample and an oral swab as well as some complete some clinical assessments. Additionally, you will be asked to complete some surveys about your health, lifestyle and medical history and some tests of your cognition.
You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:
- Can provide a stool, blood, urine and oral swab samples
- Can have some clinical measures taken e.g. height, weight and blood pressure
- Can complete a survey about your diet, mood, and lifestyle
- Can complete a computer-based ‘brain-game’ cognition test (optional)
- Have not had antibiotics in the last 3 months
- Have not had major gastrointestinal surgery such as bowel resection or bariatric surgery