Researchers to study nutrition, stress

June 5, 1998

Christchurch School of Medicine and Lincoln University researchers have won a $450,000 grant from the Health Research Council to continue work on the link between nutrition and stress.

Project co-ordinator Sue Alexander said the research had a direct application to several stress-related and eating disorders including depression, anorexia nervosa, obesity and the loss of appetite in cancer and Aids patients.

The project will use a non-invasive technique to collect blood from the pituitary glands of horses. Horses were being used because of their special arrangement of veins draining the pituitary, which allowed blood to be collected by tube, with no pain to the animal.

Over the next two and a-half years, the Lincoln team would monitor the hormonal responses of three horses alternating between periods of ideal nutritional intake and brief fasts, in an experiment designed to achieve careful control of stress responses.