We do a great deal of research on the hormone cortisol. This hormone is involved in the energy balance of our body and helps us respond to stressful situations. We often measure cortisol in saliva or in hair. If you participate in one of our studies, you may be asked to collect saliva in a special tube which we will give you.
We may also ask you to collect saliva from your child. For this we use special small sponges that are very absorbent. Babies and young children generally tend to enjoy sucking on these sponges.
We are interested in the development of gut bacteria in babies and children. These bacteria have, among other things, an important role in immune fuction, in the digestion of food, and in the synthesis of important vitamins. But there are also more and more indications that the bacteria in our intestines are communicating with our brain and could even influence our emotions and behaviour!
The intestinal bacteria can easily be seen in stool samples. We may therefore, for example, ask you to collect a little bit of your baby’s stool from his or her diaper. We will provide you with special tubes with a scoop to do this.