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Why is this study important?
The interaction between your brain and the bacteria within your gastrointestinal tract, otherwise known as the gut microbiome, has been emerging as a major factor in health and wellbeing. Fermented dairy products like yogurt contain “live cultures” of specific types of bacteria that interact with your gut microbiome and by doing so, may be potentially beneficial to your brain function, cognitive performance, and mood. To date, research on fermented dairy and brain measures is limited. For this reason, we are interested in studying the possible impact of fermented dairy on measures of brain function and neurochemistry.

How are we doing the study?
The Fermented Dairy Trial will compare the possible effects of fermented dairy against a non-fermented dairy drink by measuring several areas of brain function. We are also interested in investigating possible differences between these groups on antioxidant capacity, cognitive performance, mood, and gut microbiota composition.

We are looking for 40 people in the Melbourne region to consume 130g of dairy product each day for 8 weeks. Participants will be randomly allocated into either the intervention group, receiving fermented dairy products, or control group, receiving matched placebo dairy products. This project is a collaboration between Deakin and Monash Universities, and will be run out of BrainPark, The Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

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

  • Consume the provided dairy products for 8-weeks
  • Attend 2 visits at the Brain Park clinic at Monash University Clayton campus
  • Provide blood and stool samples (Optional)
  • Undergo two MRI scans

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

  • Healthy females aged 18 – 55 years
  • Absence of diagnosis of cognitive impairment or major neurological disorder
  • No current psychiatric diagnosis (e.g. clinical depression)
  • Deemed safe and comfortable to undergo an MRI
  • Willing to maintain their usual diet and level of exercise

What do we hope to find?
We hope to answer an important public health question; are fermented dairy products any better or worse for our health than conventional dairy products? Findings from this study may be of particular relevance to the many Australians who suffer from depression, anxiety and stress. This information will be useful for health professionals and policy makers, and may shape future dietary guidelines.

Interested in participating

If you would like to receive more information about the study or enquire about participating, please submit your details using this form: