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Why is this study important?

Exciting new research convincingly demonstrates a link between the human gut bacteria (the “gut microbiota”) and mental health. An effective way of changing the human gut microbiota is through Human Microbiota Transfer Therapy (HMTT). This involves extracting the bacteria from the human gut of one individual and transferring it into another person. Evidence suggests that depression may be linked with unhealthy gut bacteria. Although HMTT is approved for use in Australia for other conditions, it is not yet approved to treat depression.


How are we doing the study?

The Moving Moods Pilot Study will trial this new therapy in adults with moderate to severe Major Depressive Disorder. We are looking for 15 people in the Geelong and Melbourne regions who are currently experiencing an episode of depression. We are trialing HMTT, which will be added to your existing treatment.


This project will involve taking bacteria from the gut of a healthy donor and then transferring the bacteria into a person with depression. This will be done via four micro-enemas. A micro-enema involves inserting the HMTT directly into your rectum, which is the lower part of your gut. As part of this research project, you will receive either four HMTT micro-enemas or four placebo micro-enemas.


This project is being led by Psychiatrist and PhD Candidate at Deakin University’s Food & Mood Centre, Dr Jessica Green. The study will be run out of University Hospital Geelong. Therefore, we are currently only recruiting people from the Geelong and Melbourne regions.


What will the study involve?

As part of the study, you will be asked to:

  • Attend 10 study appointments based in Geelong (some of these will be available online)
  • Receive four micro-enemas of either the HMTT or a placebo product over four consecutive days
  • Receive a medical and mental health assessment
  • Provide blood samples and stool samples
  • Complete a series of questionnaires


Who is eligible to participate?

If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible to participate:

  • Adult aged 18-65 years
  • Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder
  • Currently experiencing a depressive episode
  • Are not pregnant or considering becoming pregnant; not currently breastfeeding
  • Have not been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a psychotic illness, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa
  • Do not have an anaphylactic food allergy

What do we hope to find?

We would like to study the use of HMTT in people with depression to see if it is an acceptable and tolerable treatment. Next year, we hope to recruit approximately 160 more participants to learn whether Human Microbiota Transplant Treatment can be used to effectively treat depression.

The 2022 recruitment period is officially OPEN!

If you would like to receive more information about the study or enquire about participating, please contact us on 03 5227 2290 or submit your details using this form:
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The Food & Mood Centre acknowledges the Wilson Foundation for their generous support of Moving Moods.