IN THE NEWS
Dr Debbie Palmer discusses the importance of allergy research
The ultimate goal of The ORIGINS Project is to reduce the rising epidemic of non-communicable diseases through 'a healthy start to life'.
As well as ORIGINS long-term core research, there are a number of clinical trials, early interventions and shorter-term research studies that sit within the project.
Information for families participating in The ORIGINS Project
The ORIGINS Project provides researchers, students, clinicians and universities with a unique opportunity to play a crucial role in changing the health of future generations.
Promoting gut health (symbiosis) with prebiotic fibre for prevention of allergic disease
Allergic diseases including eczema, asthma, hay fever and food allergies now affect 30-40% of the Australian population.
One in every four children will suffer from eczema and asthma, while one in every ten children will have at least one food allergy.
We now know that a baby's immune system begins to develop even before birth, and that the mother's diet and her environment in pregnancy can have an important influence. Research shows that the mother's gut health may have important effects on the immune development of her baby.
'Prebiotics' is a general term for non-digestible dietary fibre that promote health and well-being by inducing the growth and/or activity of beneficial gut bacteria. Prebiotics occur naturally in grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit and breast milk. The supplement and dose to be used in this study has the demonstrated prebiotic properties of a high fibre diet, including favourable effects on gut bacteria and immune health.
In total, 652 women and their babies were recruited.
Pregnant women have received either a prebiotic supplement or a placebo supplement. They are being asked to take the supplement from 18-20 weeks gestation until their baby is 6 months of age. The study is then examining whether supplementing the mother's diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding with the prebiotic fibre will reduce the development of allergies in her child.