FSHN Students take Active Role in Large Nutrition Study

Published: July 12th, 2013

Category: News


As a study coordinator, Ada Jutba was one of 25 undergraduate FSHN majors who received research credit for working on a large human nutrition trial. Study coordinators assisted with recruiting, consenting, randomizing, and sample collections throughout the study. Four FSHN graduate students also worked on this project.

Approximately 600 undergraduate students were enrolled in this study, examining the effects of a dietary supplement on the maintenance of digestive and immune health during a time of peak academic stress (i.e., fall final exams). Subjects participated in this 7-week study and received one of four possible treatments: placebo or one of three different strains of probiotic; this study was double-blinded, so neither the researchers nor the study participants knew what treatment was received. Participants consumed the treatment for 6 weeks and completed questionnaires along the way. Participants also provided stool and/or saliva samples (used for quantitative measures of immune function and stress, respectively). The data have been collected and analysis is currently underway to determine the results.

This study is one of many conducted by an experienced research team, including Bobbi Langkamp-Henken and Wendy Dahl (IFAS – Food Science and Human Nutrition), Volker Mai (PHHP – Epidemiology), and Mary Christman (IFAS – Statistics). As a team, their primary interest is to determine how fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics alter the bacteria in the intestine and how these changes ultimately impact digestive and immune health.

The “Nutrition Study” signs will continue to be seen on campus indefinitely, as FSHN researchers conduct ongoing and new nutrition and food related studies. The “Blue Trees,” an art exhibit here at the University of Florida, will remain on campus for a period of six to twelve months from the time they were colored (in October 2012); the eco-friendly paint will naturally degrade with the rain. This art project was hosted by international artist, Konstantin Dimopoulos.

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