Today, the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations have announced a $150,000 Health Investment Grant to support a project run by Associate Professor Philippa Middleton and her team at the SAHMRI Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children theme. The project is focused on developing a personalised approach to identify which food sources will be best for each pregnant mum.
Trials conducted by SAHMRI researchers have already shown that Omega-3 (fish oil) can prevent preterm birth. However, not all women will need or benefit from large doses of fish oil.
Associate Professor Middleton said the first step is identifying each pregnant woman’s fatty acid profile using a dried blood spot technology invented by the team. “Then we can work out which fats can help optimise each pregnant woman’s diet,” she said.
“We’re determined to help improve pregnant women’s health, and believe nutritional interventions are one of the most effective ways to do this,” she said.
A direct link between philanthropy and improved health outcomes
SAHMRI’s Executive Director Professor Steve Wesselingh said that the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations have made substantial contributions to the health and wellbeing of Australians for more than 45 years.
“We are very grateful for this support. As researchers, we all want to see better health outcomes for the community, and by funding this project, the Ramaciotti Foundations are helping us make a real difference to pregnant women, their children, and their longer-term health,” he said.
Why all the fuss about omega fats?
While omega-3 can help prevent premature birth, omega-6 is a type of fat that can be less than ideal. In Australia, omega-6 is over-consumed by many women of reproductive age, and it is often ‘hidden’ in modern diets in processed food.
This project is aiming to identify the best dietary fat intake for pregnant mums on a case-by-case basis. A key part of this will be testing strategies to improve omega-3/omega-6 balances.
The Ramaciotti Foundations; investing in a healthier future
Each year, the Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations award a number of grants to medical researchers across Australia. The Ramaciotti Foundations Health Investment Grants support early career researchers who are conducting research that has the potential to reach a clinical application within five years.
The Clive and Vera Ramaciotti Foundations’ grants are managed by Perpetual.