Recently Launched Supplementary Study to Analyze the Effects of Work Environment on Microbiome Health in First Responders

Endominance, Inc., a leading assessment and data analytics firm headquartered in California, announced the recent launch of an adjunct study to their existing research on exercise and resilience in first responders. Lead researchers Endominance and Psomagen are conducting the supplementary study to examine the correlation between cognitive results, body composition analysis, and microbiome state to determine the effects of work environment on the gut microbiome. Microorganism activity in the gut can be affected by stress and have a significant impact on health and disease. First responders have experienced an increase in workplace stress throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – this study will provide data to guide in helping first responders build resiliency to those stressors.

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Dr. Heather Twedell, a first responder psychologist with over 13 years of experience and the founder of F1RST, will supervise the study along with neuropsychiatrist Dr. John Ratey. InBody, an international leader in Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), will use their 770 device to calculate participant body composition metrics. Psomagen, a next-generation sequencing company, will measure the participants’ microbiome composition using their Gutbiome+ test kit.

“Recent research studies have demonstrated the association of changes to the gut microbiome as it relates to stress including PTSD,” says Ryan W. Kim, CEO at Psomagen. “We are looking forward to being a partner to this groundbreaking study to further shed light on the role of the microbiome on mental health.”

Endominance will gather cognitive data using their proprietary evaluation tool, the COSEC (Cognitive Orientation & Social-Emotional Competencies) Assessment. Additional key information will be collected via a health survey. Under the guidance of CEO Paul Lee, Endominance will measure and determine the unique cognitive data for each participant.

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“This preliminary study is a meaningful step toward finding personalized and immediate solutions to help first responders,” said Lee. “At Endominance, we believe we are socially responsible for these heroes. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted work atmospheres everywhere, and it’s safe to say that first responders have been disproportionately affected. Our mission is to find evidence-based and actionable solutions to help first responders continue to serve our communities with less risk to their well-being.”

The research provides an unprecedented, holistic picture of first responders’ wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic as it pertains to their work environment, shift hours, and activity levels. The physiological, biological, and cognitive data gathered in this study will be used for comparative analysis with future research examining the impact of working conditions on first responders. Ongoing collaborative efforts are anticipated to identify and provide solutions.

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