Microbiome – Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions related specifically to the microbiome sub-study, titled BioNUGUT. If you have general questions about Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, please visit our Common Questions page.
If you have a question you don’t see here, please get in touch with us.
Thank you for being a part of Alberta’s largest research project!
ATP’s COVID-19 Antibody Testing study is one of four studies that tests for COVID-19 antibodies within adult Albertans.
Alberta Health has tasked us with conducting a provincial COVID-19 antibody testing study that tests for COVID-19 antibodies within adult Albertans. The study, also known as serology testing, determines if you’ve had a past infection of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Yes, you will receive an email notifying you when your results are ready to be viewed on our participant portal. More information will be provided with your tests results. It may take up to one month for you to receive your results.
Please note: An antibody test cannot tell whether you’re currently infected with the COVID-19 virus because it can take up to three weeks after an infection for your body to create antibodies.
- Our tests are developed to be specific for certain types of antibodies so they know what to look for.
- Your body produces many types of antibodies when you’ve been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
- To date, we’ve only been testing for the main type of antibody produced when you are infected by the COVID-19 virus.
- Scientists have created vaccines that result in another main type of antibody.
- The new test will now deliver results for both types of antibodies – those that reflect a COVID-19 infection and those that reflect the vaccine.
- All types of antibodies will provide protection against COVID-19.
- When we first began this study, there were no vaccines so the study was geared to better understanding antibodies produced by infection with the COVID-19 virus.
- Since the vaccine targets one type of antibody, we now need to include it in our study moving forward.
- Now that more than half of the population of Alberta is fully vaccinated, we can now start testing for the antibodies produced by the vaccine, and begin to understand better how levels may change over time.
- If you haven’t had COVID-19, but are vaccinated, it is likely you will only test positive for antibodies produced by the vaccine.
- If you have previously been infected by COVID-19 and are vaccinated, it is likely you will likely test positive for both types of antibodies.
- Yes, we are still unsure how long antibodies can live in your system and how long after an infection or vaccine it takes for your body to start producing antibodies.
- This study will help us better understand this.
No, the test does not identify what variant of the infection you’ve had.
- We recommend you receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Even if you test positive for antibodies, we do not know how long they live in your body or how protected you are against the virus.
- You now will receive two test results for both types of antibodies.
- Please be advised due to this change there could be a delay in receiving your results if you came in for testing for July 20, 2021 onwards.
The human body produces different types of antibodies, including antibodies in response to a vaccine. The screening test we used at the beginning of this study only detected antibodies produced in response to a past COVID-19 infection, not those produced in response to a vaccine. We are now using a second test that will detect antibodies produced by the vaccine along with those from a natural infection.
No, you do not have to withdraw if you receive a vaccine, and we hope you choose to continue with the study – your data and samples are very valuable! If you do receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please ensure to answer the vaccine questions on your Pre-Appointment survey. As the circumstances of COVID-19 in Alberta evolves, we are updating the characteristics of our study as required.
The study results will be most accurate if the same participants provide blood samples over a period of time, so we encourage you to complete all four appointments. Coming in for a blood draw four times over a year will allow us to spot and track the length of time COVID-19 antibodies may appear in your blood.
Yes. The purpose of this study is not to check for a current COVID-19 infection, but instead to determine the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood, and to track the length of time these COVID-19 antibodies remain in your blood.
It is important to know that results for the antibody test do not diagnose a current infection with the COVID-19 virus. Only a swab test can confirm whether you have an active COVID-19 infection, and you are encouraged to continue following public health guidelines to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection. If you are showing any symptoms, please call HealthLink by dialling 811.
One of the blood samples we receive from this study will also be banked in our ATP biobank for future research into cancer and chronic disease. Just like we ask for updates on your health conditions and lifestyle behaviours over time on our surveys, collecting blood samples taken over various time points allow researchers to look for biological changes and better understand changes over time and individual risk.
In order to participate in our antibody testing study, you need to currently reside in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge or Red Deer, or the surrounding areas, and be invited by email. If you have moved outside these areas, you are not eligible to participate at this time. However, we want to keep you in Alberta’s Tomorrow Project even if you move to another province, or to another country.
To change your name, address or phone numbers please contact us by calling toll-free within Canada at 1-877-919-9292. From outside Canada, please call collect 1-403-955-4617, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your file is up to date, we will not need to contact you until our next survey. If you are unsure whether your file is up to date, please get in touch with us, via email, mail, or phone. We will contact you when our next questionnaire is ready, in the meantime, we are busy preparing our vast database for analysis by researchers inside Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, and by those associated with research and academic institutions across Alberta and beyond.
Alberta’s Tomorrow Project aims to reveal what causes and what may prevent cancer and chronic disease. We are interested in understanding the impact that COVID-19 has had on your physical, mental and emotional health, as well as your economic and social environments. All these factors are important influences on health conditions, including cancer and chronic diseases. Your input is important as we seek to better understand and record the impact of the coronavirus on Albertans, now and in the future.
This COVID-19 questionnaire is also being administered by other regional cohorts from the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath). We are collaborating internationally to learn more about pandemic experiences here in Alberta, in the U.S., and in Europe. The information you choose to provide will be of great help to Canadian and international researchers, and will enrich the ATP health research platform.
In this questionnaire, we want to understand how the pandemic has affected your lifestyle and wellbeing. Additionally, we would like to find out the following information:
- Your current health condition
- Your risk factors and whether you were tested for COVID-19
- What symptoms you may have experienced
- What kind of support network you have around you
- The impact of the pandemic on your mental, emotional, social and financial wellbeing, and how your job status may have been affected
- If you were hospitalized or received medical care
- The potential source of your exposure
You may be self-isolating at home, but completing this questionnaire is a tangible, and incredibly valuable way you as an ATP participant can directly contribute to the global scientific efforts currently underway.
Your answers will directly contribute to the Canadian and international body of research being developed to help us all understand how we come to be at risk for the virus, treatment approaches, and how our communities can work to lessen transmission. The data you provide will also help researchers to understand the current and lasting effects of COVID-19 on the health of Albertans.
Yes! We know this pandemic has impacted Canadians in many ways, including economically, psychologically, and socially. The information you choose to provide will help Canadian and international researchers to build a more complete picture of the effects of the virus.
No. Historically, you have been invited to complete our surveys on paper. Online surveys are much more cost effective, and they automatically skip irrelevant questions, which allows you to more efficiently finish a survey, possibly even saving you time.
We apologize for not being able to offer a paper version of the COVID-19 survey. It is very important that we collect the data for this survey while the pandemic is ongoing and it takes much longer and is more costly to collect data on paper due to the time associated with printing, sending and receiving through the mail and entering the data. We would be more than happy to walk you through the steps of signing up for a digital account.
You can still participate! We still want you to remain a participant in our study and you are eligible to complete the survey.
Sex is assigned at birth, whereas gender identity is related to how individuals define and experience their gender, and both aspects can have influences on health and factors related to health. Please note there is a ‘Prefer not to answer’ option on the questionnaire as well.
Your blood type (A, B, AB, or O) is determined by the types of antigens and antibodies that are on your red blood cells. These may influence your immune system response, and therefore your blood type and immune system may play a role in how susceptible you are to COVID-19. It is important to note that there is no definitive evidence for this yet, but we are collecting information like this because it may be prove to be part of the puzzle of understanding COVID-19 and its related health effects on the population.
Yes. We hope this questionnaire will help researchers in all fields understand the effects of COVID-19 on the current physical and emotional health of Albertans. We also would like to know how the pandemic may be affecting your access to treatment.
No. Your spouse/partner/family member would need to be registered with us through their own email address. If they are a participant of ATP and would like to update their information, please email us at email@example.com.
Use the email invitation you received from Alberta’s Tomorrow Project to log back into our ATP portal and access the survey. If you need us to resend you the invitation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many direct and indirect risk factors, including our social and economic environments, which affect the prevalence of cancer and chronic disease in a population. Although we don’t yet know the effect that COVID-19 may have on existing health conditions, the pandemic has had significant impact on many of these factors. Your answers can help researchers to better understand the impact of the coronavirus on existing diseases.
ATP is a longitudinal study, which means that participants, both healthy and those with pre-existing conditions, are followed over a period of many years. Studies like ATP can be critical when researchers want to estimate the true burden of infection and disease in a population. Our questionnaire asks about many different aspects of your lives, information that may not be captured through traditional channels like hospital visits but can be especially valuable in understanding the true impact of the pandemic.
Because of participants’ past contributions, ATP is a ready-made, active research platform for researchers wishing to study the effects of the pandemic. To recreate this 20-year old cohort of 50,000+ participants today from scratch would simply take too long and cost too much.
Population studies like ATP provide an important opportunity to assess population-level prevalence, and identify the biological and lifestyle factors that make some people more likely to get the virus or make some get sicker from it than others. It can also help us to capture how our health may change over time as a result of COVID-19.
If you are already a registered participant of ATP, we will contact you to let you know when a new questionnaire is available for you to complete.
If you experience technical difficulties while completing this questionnaire, please send an email to email@example.com. You can also leave a voicemail at our toll free number 1-877-919-9292 and someone will return your call within two business days.
MADI is a secure system operated by the Government of Alberta that hosts a number of online services. Alberta’s Tomorrow Project (ATP) has partnered with MADI as a secure way to login to access the ATP participant portal.
The ATP participant portal is where a number of participant activities can be completed online.
Possibilities include accessing online follow up surveys, updating contact information, and other possibilities for ATP projects (such as filling out digital consent forms and booking appointments).
Once participants have already registered and have accessed the participant portal, they can log back in by going to myatphub.ca.
If you already accessed the ATP Participant Portal and started the survey, please go to myatphub.ca and log back in to pick up where you left off.
If you have not yet accessed the ATP Participant Portal, you will need to register first before you can begin completing the online survey. Please refer to our invitation email for instructions.
The invitation email we sent you will be from Alberta’s Tomorrow Project (firstname.lastname@example.org) and will have the subject “You’re invited to our COVID-19 Antibody Testing (ATP CAT) study!“.
This email has the instructions for how to proceed and participate in ATP CAT.
If you need this resent to you, please contact us by calling 1-877-919-9292 or by emailing email@example.com and we would be happy to resend you the invitation email.
No, you do not need to sign up for a new account. You can use your preexisting MADI account but we still need you to connect this account to the ATP participant portal if you have not done so yet. If you go straight to the instructions for Step 2 of our invitation email, you will be able to click your personal link and finish the process.
You are able to have your MADI username sent to your personal email by clicking here.
You are able to reset your password by clicking here.
Yes, you can still sign up with a basic MADI account and link this to the ATP participant portal, even if you live out of province or out of country.
No, MADI is a secure system operated by the Government of Alberta but it is separate from ATP. We are partnered with MADI as a way for ATP participants to securely sign in and access the ATP participant portal which in turn allows them to complete participant tasks online.
This registration process has been refined since the time when we launched Survey 2017 online. We received wonderful feedback from participants at that time and we have worked with MADI and our teams at ATP to apply this feedback and make this a much more user-friendly process.
We would love for you to try it out again!
If you require assistance with the process, please visit our registration tutorial page by clicking https://myatp.ca/maditutorial or you can contact us by calling 1-877-919-9292 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the ATP project assistants would be happy to help you with the registration steps.
No government office, insurance company, employer, or other organization will have access to your identifying information or survey information under any circumstances. For more information, please visit our privacy pledge page by clicking here: https://myatp.ca/for-participants/privacy-pledge
No, for ATP’s purposes, we have no need for you to provide your driver’s license information. We only require you to have a basic MADI account (not a verified one) to access the ATP participant portal.
MADI does have a verification step which asks for users to provide their driver’s license information but this is for other Government of Alberta online services such as paying for traffic tickets or securely accessing personal immunization records. Although this step can be very useful in order to access these extra services, this verification step is not required for ATP.
Unfortunately no. We understand if you only use one email between the two of you. However, only one MADI account can be created and therefore only one ATP participant can connect their MADI account to the ATP participant portal per unique email address.
If you have a second email address you could apply to your ATP participant file, please contact us by calling our toll-free number 1-877-919-9292 or emailing email@example.com.
Otherwise, the ATP participant who does not have an email on his/her participant file will not be able to complete participant tasks online.
This usually indicates that one of the required fields wasn’t filled out correctly. Please scroll down to see if there is a red error message by any of the fields. All of the fields are required unless there is an “(optional)” written beside it.
If you have successfully submitted your MADI create account page, you will be prompted to return to the personal email inbox used with your MADI account. This prompt says to open an email sent from MyAlberta Digital ID (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject “Confirm your email address”.
If you cannot see this email in your inbox, please try refreshing your inbox or check your junk mail folder.
There is no way to reactivate an account that has expired. You will need to sign up for a basic account again as if it was a new one.
When you click your personal link in Step 2 of this process, there should be a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that is automatically submitted for you. Your PIN is the 9 digit number in your personal link. If you are brought to the ATP PIN page, this means it wasn’t submitted successfully. You can try to enter and submit this 9 digit number manually but if it still isn’t working, please click the blue “Resend My PIN” button. This action will cause your PIN number to be emailed to you and your account will be reset so you should be able to manually submit your PIN now. If it is still not working, please call us at 1-877-919-9292 or email us at email@example.com and one of the project assistants would be happy to help.
First off, thank you for your efforts with the process thus far! We really appreciate it.
To help you further, we have a couple of options:
1) Please refer to our MADI tutorial page https://myatp.ca/maditutorial which has the steps broken down into more detail including all of the pictures of what you will see along the way.
2) If your are still having trouble, please contact us by calling our toll-free number 1-877-919-9292 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the project assistants would be happy to help you with the process and try to troubleshoot where you are getting stuck. We are here to help!
Our bodies are host to a huge array of microorganisms, also known as microbes, which play a significant factor in our overall health. The human microbiome is composed of all the bacteria and other microbes that live in and on the human body.
A microbe or microorganism is a very small living thing that can only be seen with a microscope. Our human microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, a type of microbe, which researchers have discovered play a significant role in keeping us healthy.
BioNUGUT is the name of the microbiome study Alberta’s Tomorrow Project is involved in. Your participation in the BioNUGUT sub-study does not affect your participation in Alberta’s Tomorrow Project in any way. Alberta’s Tomorrow Project has partnered with Dr. Jane Shearer, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary, to explore how the trillions of bacteria living on and within us can be used to signal ongoing health.
Alberta’s Tomorrow Project is undertaking a feasibility study to determine whether this microbiome study can be rolled out to the entire cohort. The selection process was completely random, and your involvement in this sub-study does not in any way affect your participation in Alberta’s Tomorrow Project. Your participation is and always will remain completely voluntary.
There have been some findings in the broader research community linking gut bacteria to things like obesity, diet preference, and mental health, but the way the microbiome impacts our health is not well understood. There is still so much to investigate, and your participation will potentially allow researchers to discover more about how the microbiome plays a factor in the maintenance of health, or the development of disease. In addition, you are one of the lucky few who get to take part in the feasibility study before Alberta’s Tomorrow Project considers rolling this out to the broader cohort of 55,000.
Unfortunately, participants were randomly invited to take part. We cannot take volunteers at this point in time, but we thank you for your interest!
Please follow the directions on the cardboard collection container, and reschedule your appointment if you have not had a bowel movement in the day before your appointment. If you are still having issues, please contact us at 1-877-919-9292 so we can assist you directly.
You can log in to our website at http://myatphub.ca/ to change your appointment. You may also call us at 1-877-919-9292 to let us know.
If you are taking antibiotics, we would ask that you let us know when you expect to complete your course of antibiotics. One of the requirements to take part in this sub-study is that you have not taken antibiotics within 3 months of providing your sample. If you are not on antibiotics, please do not change your diet, and continue taking your medication regularly.
The C-DHQ II queries 165 questions of which 153 are food questions, 10 questions are related to nutritional supplement use (vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements), one question asks about the cooking of meat and one asks about vegetarian diets. One hundred and forty-three food questions are queried with portion sizes.
For more information, please visit the following website https://epi.grants.cancer.gov/DHQ/forms/canadian/
The CDHQ-II survey will take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
The IPAQ is an abbreviation for the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. The purpose of the questionnaire is to provide a set of well-developed instruments that can be used internationally to obtain comparable estimates of physical activity. There are two versions of the questionnaire. The short version is suitable for use in national and regional surveillance systems and the long version provides more detailed information often required in research work or for evaluation purposes. The long version produces estimates of physical activity in four domains: work, leisure, transportation and household.
By providing a stool sample, blood sample, and information about your diet and activity, researchers will be better able to determine how differing diets and activity levels affect your microbiome. All results will be aggregated and studied on a group, rather than individual, basis.
No, you can complete either one at your one pace, and in multiple sittings. Your location will be saved in each online survey so you can continue where you left off. You do not need to complete either in a certain order, either.
The IPAQ will take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
The Canadian Diet History Questionnaire II is a modified version of the American Diet History Questionnaire, which has been adapted for use in Canada. Modifications are minor, but reflect the differences in food availability and fortification practices in both countries.
Through the collaborative efforts of Dr. Amy Subar and staff at the Risk Factor Assessment Branch, and Dr. Ilona Csizmadi and colleagues in the Division of Population Health and Information at Alberta Health Services, in Canada, the DHQ was adapted for use in Canada.
We recommend using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari. Participants using Internet Explorer may experience technical issues.
You may download any of the preferred browsers by clicking the browser icons above.
Yes, however the survey works best on a desktop or laptop computer.