AAIMS: Adolescence study | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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AAIMS: Adolescence study

Investigating links between gut health, the brain, and Mediterranean eating patterns

Seeking teenagers with and without ADHD for a world-first study

Did you know that the health of your brain is linked to the health of your gut?

One of the best ways to nurture gut health - and therefore your brain health - is through what we eat.

We’re investigating the links between the brain, the gut microbiome, and the Mediterranean eating pattern in teenagers with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

**We are now only seeking participants diagnosed with ADHD, thanks to a very supportive response from our community. Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in this important research**


What the study involves

Eligible participants:

For more information refer to the Research Project Information Sheet


The study seeks volunteer participants who:

Take part

Adolescents with and without ADHD Imaging and Microbiome Study (AAIMS)

Email: naomi.lewis@research.usc.edu.au

Tel: +61 7 5456 3894

Ethics Approval Number: S221783

ADHD - or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder - is a common neurodevelopmental condition experienced by about 1 in 20 Australians. Although some think of it as a childhood condition, most people with ADHD continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. During adolescence, ADHD can impact areas such as schooling, work, relationships, and mental health.

For all teenagers, both with and without ADHD, adolescence is also a very important period for brain development and a time when many life challenges can arise. Nurturing brain health during this time is vital to facing these challenges and for well-being into adulthood.

Researchers want to find out how to best help adolescents with and without ADHD to improve brain health and to best manage their challenges.

The human body is home to trillions of microorganisms, and most of these live in the gut. We refer to this as the gut microbiome. Having a healthy gut microbiome is very important to many vital body functions.

Because the gut and the brain “talk” to each other, anything that impacts the health of the gut will also impact the health – and function – of the brain. Therefore, looking after brain health and development means looking after the gut microbiome.

Some of the symptoms of ADHD may also be linked to disturbances in the gut microbiome which can disrupt brain functioning.


Eating healthy food is one of the most important ways that we can keep our gut microbiome, and brain, in the best shape possible.

Mediterranean eating is based on the traditional eating habits of nations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Following this healthy way of eating has been shown to prevent and manage many different health conditions, and much of this is because of its positive effects on the gut microbiome.

Therefore Mediterranean eating may also be good for well-being in adolescents.

Very few studies have looked at associations between the gut microbiome, brain factors, and well-being in adolescents with and without ADHD, and the possible role of diet in these processes, and none have been done in Australia.

The main purpose of this study is to investigate links between diet (how similar your diet is to the Mediterranean diet), the gut microbiome, brain imaging factors, and well-being in adolescents with and without ADHD.