The human microbiome is a person’s collective genetic material of the microorganisms (microscopic organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungus etc.) that live on and inside our body. Bacteria have long been associated with disease and illness, but as human beings, we rely on a complex team of essential microorganisms to carry out vital processes within our body systems. There are trillions of microorganisms that live on the human body and in our environment. These microbes play a vital role in the maintenance of our health. Everyone has their own unique microbiome signature. Microbes have been proven to influence mood, sleep, appetite, and our ability to fight infection. We know that lifestyle factors, our environment, as well as things we can’t change like disease, our age and genetics can all have a major impact on our microbial community.
This research study aims to understand what constitutes the optimal, healthy, Australian microbiome across different age groups, and how this might relate to health, disease, and other aspects of human living like physical activity, diet, ageing, mood, cognition, and quality of life. Ultimately, we want to establish what is an ideal ‘state’ for the human microbiome. By gaining an understanding of what is a normal and healthy microbiome, clinicians, researchers, and healthcare professionals will be better informed about what they might be able to do to improve health by modulating the microbiome.
If you choose to take part you will be asked to provide one (1) oral sample, one (1) blood sample and one (1) stool sample. You will also be asked to complete some health and lifestyle questionnaires and an optional “brain game”. For older adults (aged 65 or older) we will also ask you to complete some assessments which test your cognition.
Samples will only be taken once and there is no follow up for this study. It is hoped that all surveys and assessments will be undertaken during one visit or online in your own time. However, for some participants, we may need to visit for a second time, to complete testing or collect samples. You can provide all your samples on the day of your first visit; however, some participants prefer to collect their stool samples in the comfort of their own homes.