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The GUT Feelings Study for Breast Cancer Survivors:

Marriage, Mood and the GUT Microbiome


What is the purpose of the study?

Everyone has bacteria in their gut (intestines), and these bacteria help the body to digest food and synthesize vitamins. Studies have also linked differences in the gut microbiome (the bacteria in your gut) to moods and to a person’s typical daily diet, as well as gut health and metabolic disorders. This study is designed to help understand how your mood, your diet, and your life with your partner affect your gut microbiome and your immune system, and to assess the degree of similarity in your partner’s microbiome and your own microbiome. The researchers will measure certain aspects of your immune system to see if your microbiome, your mood, your diet, and your relationship with your partner are related to your immune system in ways that could affect long-term health.

What does the study involve?
You and your partner will each complete an online screening form to determine if you are eligible to take part in the full study. If you and your spouse are both eligible for the study and you both agree to participate, you will be scheduled for two 1.5 hour in-person appointments at Ohio State. These visits will be scheduled 2-4 months apart. All visits will occur on a weekday between 7:30 AM and 11:45 AM.

You will be asked to attend the visit together with your partner, although we may be able to schedule you separately in some cases. Because this research is designed in part to understand how your life with your partner affects your gut microbiome and your immune system, both partners must be willing to participate; you cannot take part in the study if your partner does not participate.

What do the study visits involve?
You will be scheduled for two 1.5 hour visits at Ohio State. All visits will occur on a weekday between 7:30 AM and 11:45 AM. These visits will include a blood draw, questionnaires, and interviews.

During each session, you will have 65ml (2.2 ounces, or just over ¼ cup) of blood drawn from a vein in your arm by a trained study staff member.

You and your partner will each provide a stool sample for your gut microbiome analysis, and you will be asked about bowel-related problems like constipation and diarrhea. You will receive a kit that contains a cotton swab and a tube with a liquid preservative. You will collect the sample at your home by swabbing a soiled place on your toilet paper after you have had a bowel movement, then swishing the swab (a sterile Q-tip) in the tube with the preservative liquid for two minutes before capping the tube and throwing away the swab. The amount of sample needed is quite small, and the cotton swab goes immediately into the preservative liquid in the closed container, so there is no smell from the sample. You will register your sample kit online with uBiome (so you can get your own results), and you will return the sample in a special envelope that will be provided.

Who can participate?
You and your partner may be eligible for this study if you:

  • Are between the ages of 21-90
  • Are married OR in a marital-like relationship and currently living together
  • Are not taking long-term antibiotics
  • Are not pregnant
  • Are not diabetic
  • Do not have Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Inflammatory Bowel Disease

How would I benefit from being in the study?

  • You will receive the results from your microbiome test, which will provide you with information about your microbiome, how you compare to others, and even how you compare to yourself over time, from the first to the second sample.
  • You will receive a detailed report regarding your eating patterns, your average daily intake of different nutrients, and recommendations for improving your diet.
  • If you come to OSU for the study, you will receive free parking.
Will I be paid for participating?
You and your partner each may be reimbursed up to $80 (up to $160/couple) in Amazon gift cards or a check for your time in the full study. Each partner will be paid once uBiome confirms it has received your stool samples.

Who are the investigators?
Our investigators are scientists and physicians at the Ohio State University Colleges of Medicine and Public Health. Our project is a joint venture of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, the Department of Internal Medicine, the School of Public Health, and uBiome.

Please consider participating!

If you would like to participate in this study, please contact us. We would be very happy to discuss our research with you and give you more specific information. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 614-685-2249 or email us at Gut@osumc.edu.

Need more info?
Click here to read the consent form (pdf)
Click here to read the HIPAA privacy policy (pdf)

Ready to apply!
In order to determine whether you are eligible to participate in the study, you will need to fill out the online application. Please click here to fill out the online application.