General guidelines for study participants

You are receiving this sample collection kit because you have indicated your willingness to participate in our study of the microbiome in multiple sclerosis patients. To ensure that we can use your sample for our studies, please complete and sign the consent and return it to the study representative or include it with your sample in the pre-paid mailer provided.

Thank you for your participation in our MS studies.

Once you have provided your signed consent to participate in this study, you will be provided with a pre-assembled kit containing all necessary materials to collect your stool samples in a hygienic and private manner. The kit will also contain two pre-paid envelopes for you to mail your samples back to our lab by overnight delivery. You will also be asked to fill out an online nutrition questionnaire.

FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS EXCEPT SAN FRANCISCO

Instructions for participants in San Francisco are at the end of this page.

Instructions for home stool sample collection

Please see instructional videos at the right side of this page.

General instructions

1. Place the ice packs provided in your freezer at least one day prior to sample collection.
2. Collect a sample of the first bowel movement of the day.
3. Collect samples only from Sunday to Wednesday.
4. Mail samples only from Monday to Thursday

Kit contents for all participants except San Francisco

2 copies of the informed consent
1 set of instructions for completing food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) online
1 hard copy of FFQ
2 Paper sample collectors (toilet hats)
2 Alcohol wipes
2 Brown screw-cap sample collection tubes
2 Red cap sterile qtip collection tubes
2 Biosafety bags (for samples)
4 Ice packs
2 Silver padded envelopes
1 Ziploc bag (if needed, for consent)
2 Pre-paid flat-rate padded shipping envelopes

Sample collection for all participants except San Francisco

1. Please write the date of sample collection and your initials on the label of the sample collection tubes.
2. Stick the paper sample collector (hat) onto toilet seat according to instructions printed on paper collection device (do not urinate on collection device).
3. Following bowel movement, unscrew the lid of the brown-cap sample collection tube – the lid has a scoop attached, using the scoop, collect a small scoopful of stool from the collection hat.
4. Re-screw the lid tightly on the sample collection tube.
5. Peel open the qtips container and remove the (red) cap.
6. Rub the cotton end of both qtips against the used toilet paper so as to stain the qtips brown. No solid material should remain in the qtips (if they stain brown, it is plenty already!)
7. Remaining stool and paper collection device may be flushed down the toilet (see instructions on collection device).
8. Place both collection tubes (brown-cap and red-cap) in provided ziploc bag
9. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds.

Packing and shipping of sample for all participants except San Francisco

10. Place the completed and signed consent form (only if not signed in person) into the second (larger) ziploc bag, seal the bag.
11. Place  the  ziploc  bag  containing  the  stool  collection  tubes  inside  the  silver  padded envelope.
12. Place two frozen ice packs in the silver padded envelope.
13. Place the silver padded envelope inside the pre-paid flat-rate shipping envelope
14. Mail the pre-paid flat-rate envelope as soon as possible following sample collection to ensure overnight delivery to our lab.

Please remember: In order to avoid sample delivery on a weekend, please only collect and mail samples from Monday through Thursday.

 

SAN FRANCISCO PARTICIPANTS ONLY

Instructions for home stool sample collection

Please see instructional videos at the right side of this page.

General instructions

1. Place the ice packs provided in your freezer at least one day prior to sample collection.
2. Collect a sample of the first bowel movement of the day.
3. Collect samples only from Sunday to Wednesday.
4. Mail samples only from Monday to Thursday

Kit contents for San Francisco participants ONLY

1 Copy of the informed consent (for your records)
1 Set of instructions for completing food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) online
2 Paper sample collectors (toilet hats)
2 Alcohol wipes
2 Empty Brown screw-cap sample collection tubes
2 Brown screw-cap sample collection tubes filled with liquid (culture medium)
2 Red cap sterile q-tip collection tubes
4 Cylindrical containers for collection tubes
2 Biosafety bags (for samples)
2 Ice packs (1 per sample shipment)
2 White Padded Mailers
2 Pre-paid flat-rate padded shipping envelopes

Sample collection for San Francisco participants ONLY

You will find three different tubes per sample collection – 1 empty brown cap, 1 brown cap with liquid, and 1 red cap with a q-tip swab.
1. Please write the date of sample collection and your initials on the label of all the sample collection tubes.
2. Place the paper sample collector (hat) onto the toilet seat according to instructions printed on paper collection device (do not urinate on collection device).
3. Following a bowel movement, unscrew the lid of the empty brown-cap sample collection tube – the lid has a scoop attached, using the scoop, collect a small scoopful of stool (the size of a pea is sufficient) from the collection hat.
4. Re-screw the lid tightly on the sample collection tube.
5. Unscrew the lid of the sample collection tube (brown cap) filled with liquid using care not to spill the liquid inside (culture medium). The tube lid has a scoop attached; using the scoop, collect a small scoopful of stool from the collection hat into the tube. Use caution and try to minimize the time that the collection tube remains open.
6. Re-screw the lid tightly on the sample collection tube.
7. Shake the tube vigorously for about 10 seconds to ensure dispersion of the sample within the solution (culture medium).
8. Peel open the q-tips sleeve and remove the (red) cap. Do not discard the plastic sleeve.
9. Rub the cotton end of both q-tips against the used toilet paper so as to stain the q-tips brown. No solid material should remain in the q-tips (if they stain brown, it is plenty already!)
10. Remaining stool and paper collection device may be flushed down the toilet (see instructions on collection device).
11. Individually package each of the collection tubes (brown caps) in the provided containers, and put the q-tip swab back into its plastic sleeve.
12. Place the contained sample collection tubes (2 brown-cap and 1 red-cap per sample) in the biosafety bag (make sure to remove excess air within the bag). The bag should contain 2 brown cap tubes in their respective containers as well as the q-tip swab in the plastic sleeve.
13. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds.
14. Place the biosafety bag containing the samples in the freezer overnight.

Packing and shipping of sample for San Francisco participants ONLY

15. Place the Ziploc bag containing the frozen stool collection tubes inside the white padded envelope.
16. Place one of the frozen ice packs in the white padded envelope. Make sure the ice pack touches the samples inside the padded envelope.
To Seal the padded envelope, you will see two adhesive peels labeled, “REMOVE TO EXPOSE ADHESIVE.” One is located on the inside of the padded mailer near the top, the other is located on the envelope flap.
17. First, remove the adhesive peel on the inside of the padded portion and seal the envelope
shut such that you cannot see the samples inside.
18. Then, remove the adhesive peel at the flap of the envelope to seal the entire mailer shut.
19. Place the padded envelope inside the pre-paid shipping envelope and seal the shipping envelope.
20. Mail the pre-paid envelope, by dropping it off at the post office, as soon as possible to ensure overnight delivery to our lab.

Please remember: In order to avoid sample delivery on a weekend, please only mail samples from Sunday through Thursday.