Investigating Probiotics As A Potential Treatment For Depressive Symptoms

What is the purpose of this research?

Our aim is to investigate the link between gastrointestinal health, and mental wellbeing. Research has already demonstrated that improving gut health, through consuming probiotics, leads to improved levels of stress and anxiety in healthy participants. In this study, we aim to investigate whether consumption of probiotics will also improve mood in individuals with symptoms of depression.

Who do we need to participate?

We are looking for adults of any gender, who are currently experiencing depressive symptoms, who are willing and able to travel to the University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo campus on a weekly basis for a check-up session lasting 9 weeks. Individuals currently receiving other depression treatments or experiencing other health conditions, such as Crohn's disease, will unfortunately not be able to participate in the current study. Please contact us for full details on eligibility criteria.

What does participation in this project involve?

Participants enrolled in this research study will be asked to consume a provided probiotic twice daily over 8 weeks. During this time, participation will involve weekly attendance at UTS, Ultimo for approximately 30 minutes to fill out mood and wellbeing questionnaires, and a final follow-up session in week 9 of the study to evaluate the effectiveness of the study. We also intend on taking biological measures of health and wellbeing, and thus participants will be required to provide a stool sample twice during the study (at the beginning and at the end), and will have their blood pressure measured three times during the study (at the beginning, middle and end).

Participants will be provided all necessary materials free of charge, however they will need to organise their own transport to and from UTS. Correspondence with participants prior to the study during the enrolment phase, and any notifications during the study will be communicated via email.

When does this project close for participation?

Recruitment is to begin again in January 2017. Please check the page linked below.

How will this information be used?

We intend for the results of this research study to be published as an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. We may also present the results of research at talks or conferences. Further research exploring other potential avenues in which probiotics may be beneficial for wellbeing may also be conducted as a result of the conclusions of our research. In any case, any data we gather and present will be de-identified in a way that no individual or personal information will be available.

Who is conducting the trial?

The chief investigator and head of this study is Dr Lynette Roberts. Working with her is Sophia Kwan, a research assistant for this trial, as well as a panel of sub-investigators who will be involved in managing participant well-being. This includes a medical doctor, psychiatrist, pharmacist, and microbiologist.

Where to go for more information

Individuals interested in participating should go to http://www.mhitpsych.com/participate-in-research to register their interest, or to find out more information. Alternatively, we can be contacted at MHITpsych@gmail.com.

Auspicing Institution and Ethics Committee Approval

This trial is approved by the UTS Human Research Ethics Committee (UTS HREC REF NO. 2015000438)