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December 2011

EFSA issues psychological health claims guidance

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published draft guidance on the scientific requirements needed to support neurological and psychological health claims on food.  Stakeholders had until 16th December to comment.  The type of claims included in the draft guidance cover:

  • cognition
  • alertness
  • attention
  • memory
  • mood
  • anxiety, stress
  • vision
  • sleep

The guidance presents examples drawn from current or past evaluations to illustrate the approach of the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies, who drafted the guidance.  The 12 page draft document is here

Source:, 18th October 2011
Original source:

Industry criticises study into link between food packaging chemical and poor child behaviour

The American Chemistry Council (ACA) has criticised research, undertaken jointly by the Harvard School of Public Health, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Centre.  The results, from a cohort of 244 mothers and their 3-year-old children, found Bisphenol A (BPA, used in a range of food packaging) in over 85% of the mothers’ urine samples and 97% of the children. 

Taking other factors into account, the team linked increasingly gestational BPA concentrations with more hyperactive, aggressive, anxious and depressed behaviour, as well as poorer emotional control and inhibition in girls but not in boys. The ACA has criticised the study design and pointed out that other studies have supported the continued safe use of BPA.

Source:, 24th October 2011
Original source: Pediatrics, November 2011: 128(5) Braun, J et al. Impact of Early Life Bisphenol A Exposure on Behaviour and Executive Function in Children.

Study links soft drinks to violence

New research published in the medical journal Injury Prevention suggests a link between high soft drink consumption in teens and aggressive behaviour. The study, which analysed the soft drink consumption of 1,878 Boston public school students, showed teens who drank more than five cans of non-diet soft drink a week were 9 to 15 per cent more likely to act aggressively than those who consumed less.  The research also found evidence of a dose-response relationship, and found the increase in aggressive behaviour remained, despite taking into account factors including age and gender, alcohol and cigarette consumption and average amount of sleep.  However, the researchers cautioned against making too many judgments based on the results. 
Source: Weekly News Brief from International Association for the Study of Obesity, 27th October 2011,
Their source: ABC News Australia,

Low vitamin B12 levels in elders cause brain shrinkage and possible dementia

Dementia and brain shrinkage in older people may be caused by low levels of vitamin B12 (found in many foods, including as shellfish, poultry, eggs and milk).  The research, published in Neurology, was undertaken at Rush University Medical Centre, Chicago and led by Dr Christine C Tangney.  From a biracial group of 10,000 participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project 121 people over age 65 had their blood levels of B12 measured and were given memory and other thinking tests.  After four and a half years their brains were scanned and the researchers found those with B12 deficiency had the lowest cognitive test scores as well as smaller brain volumes.

Source: Foodsmatter newsletter no.47, 29th October 2011,
Original source: Neurology journal

Tart cherry juice improves sleep quality and duration

Researchers at Northumbria University found that tart cherry juice from Montmorency cherries significantly increased melatonin levels in the 20 volunteers in their study.  Urine samples were collected, the volunteers wore actigraphy watch sensors to monitor sleep and wake cycles, and they also kept a daily dairy of sleeping patterns.  Those who drank the tart cherry juice for seven days had more urinary melatonin, and had a 25 minute increase in total sleep time, plus increased “sleep efficiency”.

Source:, 3rd November 2011
Original source: European Journal of Nutrition

Poor diet could increase mental health risk in adolescents

Researchers from Deakin University’s Barwon Psychiatric Research Unit, in Australia, analysed data from more than 3000 Australian adolescents in 2005 and again two years later.  Dr Felice Jacka, who led the study, said “On average, adolescents whose diets improved ove the two-year period experienced an improvement in mental health…this wasn’t explained by changes in physical activity levels or weight”.

Source: Choice magazine, November 2011
Original source:, September 2011

Fatty food addictive as drugs in growing body of science

Twenty-eight scientific studies and papers on food addition have been published in 2011, according to a National Library of Medicine database.  Researcher Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the USA said, “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain”.  Studies have found that sugary drinks and fatty foods can produce addictive behaviour in animals, and brain scans of obese people and compulsive eaters reveal disturbances in brain reward circuits similar to those experienced by drug abusers.

Source: Weekly News Brief from International Association for the Study of Obesity, 3rd November 2011,
Original source: Bloomberg Business Week, 3rd November 2011

Study into effects of black pepper and rosemary on mental energy and fatigue

University of Georgia researchers, led by Dr Patrick O’Connor, are examining whether rosemary or black pepper could tackle mental fatigue.  This follows earlier research (published in the Journal of Medicinal Food) showing a dose-dependent effect of rosemary on speed of memory among 28 people (average age 75).  The lowest dose (750mg of dried rosemary leaf powder) had a statistically significant beneficial effect but the highest does (6,000mg) had a detrimental effect.

The studies are being funded by the McCormick Science Institute (MSI), set up five years ago by McCormick & Co. spice company.  The MSI does not fund research on spice blends proprietary to McCormick & Co. and research results must be submitted to reputable scientific journals.

Results from the new study should be available next year.

Source:, 10th November 2011

NICE postpones review of ADHD guidance until 2014

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced that it will be July 2014 before it reviews its guidelines for the diagnosis and management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, young people and adults.  The current guidelines were published in September 2008 and were due for review in November 2011.  The NICE review recommendation is that the guideline should not be updated at this time.

Source: More details are available here

Choline may help protect the brain from effects of ageing

Choline is found in foods such as saltwater fish, eggs, liver, chicken, milk and some legumes, including kidney beans and soy.  Researchers, led by Rhoda Au at Boston University’s School of Medicine, analysed data from the long-running Framingham study.  Some 1,400 adults, (aged between 36 and 83 years) completed a food frequency questionnaire and undertook tests of their memory and other cognitive abilities, along with an MRI brain scan.  Those with higher reported choline intakes performed better on memory tests.

Choline is the precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, so this may account for the difference.  However, the researchers emphasised that the differences in test scores were small and no single nutrient should be regarded as a cure for dementia or age-related mental decline.

Source: Source:, 30th November 2011
Original source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol 94, no 6, pp1584-1591. Poly, C et al. The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort.


Training for counsellors and therapists
A series of workshops over three days are being held at The Sustainability Hub Buildings, Keele University in Staffordshire to introduce nature-guided therapy to counsellors and therapists. Organised by Dr John Hegarty of Green Age at Blore Heath Farm it is being run in association with the Counselling Psychology Short Course programme at Keele University. The dates are:

  • Saturday, January 14th, 2012
  • Saturday, February 11th, 2012
  • Saturday, March 17th, 2012

See for for details.
Source: November e-bulletin

August 2011

Digestive problems in early life may increase risk of depression

Results from a study carried out on laboratory rats at the Stanford University School of Medicine suggest that some human psychological conditions may be the result of short-term gastrointestinal disorders. Past research has looked at neurological disorders being the cause of gastrointestinal disorders, but this study investigated whether the cause might not be the other way around in some cases.

Dyspepsia was introduced in baby male rats, and at 8-10 weeks old they were given a series of tests to determine their behaviour. These tests revealed that the rats with dyspepsia displayed anxiety and depression-like symptoms where the control rats did not.  The scientists conclude that gastric irritation in the period after birth can induce a long lasting increase in depression and anxiety-like disorders, plus an increased sensitivity to stress.

Source:  Foods Matter, 11th June 2011, no.37. 
Original source:

NICE Clinical Guidelines for improving the experience of care for people using mental health services

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is developing clinical guidelines on the above issue and will begin the consultation on 21st June 2011. If you register as a stakeholder by completing this online form you can comment on the consultation and be kept informed of the development of the guidelines.  You can also contact Erin Wittingham on

Nutritional and metabolic status of children with autism

A new study has found that children with autism have decreased energy production because of impaired mitochondrial function. Children with autism were also found, in this study comparing 55 with autistic spectrum disorders to 44 neurotypical children of similar age, to have significantly lower nutritional status. Levels of biotins and other vitamins were lower, as were levels of glutathione, a major anti-oxidant. Low levels of tryptophan, an essential amino acid, suggest children with autism have lower levels of serotonin (an important neurotransmitter) and melatonin (the hormone which induces sleep). Low levels of lithium confirms an earlier study by Adams et al, which found lower levels of lithium in young children with autism and their mothers. Low levels of lithium are also implicated in psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and aggressive behaviour. The lead author, Professor James Adams of Arizona State University, says that these results show that although there are many nutritional and metabolic abnormalities in children with autism, many of them may be remedied by careful supplementation.

Source: Foods Matter, 15th June 2011, no.38.
Original source: Nutrition and metabolism

Pre-pregnancy vitamins may protect against autism

A study led by Dr. Rebecca J. Schmidt, assistant professor in the department of Public Health Sciences in the UC Davis School of Medicine has found that women who did not take prenatal vitamins just before and during the first month of pregnancy were almost twice as likely to have a child with an autistic spectrum disorder as those who did take supplements. The risk of autism increased by seven times for women who had high-risk genetic make up.  The authors hypothesise that the folic acid, which provides the mother with folate needed for the foetus’s neural development, is critical and has the potential to prevent up to 70% of neural tube defects, although there are multiple possible factors for autistic spectrum disorders.

Source: Foods Matter, 9th July 2011, no.39.
Original source: UC Davis MIND Institute

Fatty foods may boost moods

Researchers at the University of Leuven, Belgium have reported that infusion of fat solution into the stomach of volunteers was associated with an activation of brain regions which reduced sad emotions.  Changes in the brains of healthy non-obese individuals experiencing sadness were shown using magnetic resonance imaging.

Source: Food Navigator, 27th July 2011
Original source: Journal of Clinical Investigation
“Fatty acid–induced gut-brain signaling attenuates neural and behavioral effects of sad emotion in humans”Authors: L. Van Oudenhove, S. McKie, D. Lassman2, B. Uddin, et al


Care Farming UK (formerly The National Care Farming Initiative) is holding a national conference on Tuesday 6th September at Reaseheath College, Nantwich, Cheshire.  There will be a range of speakers and workshops and more details are available at


June 2011

Food addiction has similar brain response to drug addiction
The research used functional magnetic resonance imaging (f\MRI) to study the brain activity of 48 young women (ranging from lean to obese). It found that people with addictive-like eating behaviours appear to have greater neural activity in regions of the brain that are associated with substance dependence, including elevated activation of reward circuitry in response to food cues, and reduced activation of inhibitory regions in response to food intake.

Food and drug use both result in dopamine release in mesolimbic regions [of the brain] and the degree of release correlates with subjective reward from both food and drug use” said the researchers, led by Ashley Gearhardt of Yale University in Connecticut. “If food cues take on enhanced motivational properties in a manner analogous to drug cues, efforts to change the current food environment may be critical to successful weight loss and prevention effort,” they added.
Source:, 5 April 2011. Original source: Archives of General Psychiatry, “Neural Correlates of Food Addiction”: A.N. Gearhardt, S. Yokum, P.T. Orr, E. Stice, W.R. Corbin, K.D. Brownell

Police call for high-energy drink ban
In light of community concern over hyperactive youth causing trouble, Hampshire police have recently requested shops to stop selling high-energy drinks especially Kick and Red Bull to under-16s on Friday nights.

The British Soft Drinks Association has stated that each can of high-energy drinks contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, so these drinks cannot be specifically marketed to children. However Professor Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University London stated "It is marketing an image of coolness, keep going, bounce through the night, and dance till you drop. It is all part of that trendy, youth, hip culture and they know it and they are walking a very fine line to not break their own self-regulation." The companies producing high-energy drinks response is "All of our products should be consumed as part of a balanced diet."
Source: Child Exposure to Food Marketing, News, 14th April 2011, part of the Stanmark project (

Obesity damages our brains as well as our bodies
More research has been published that shows that being overweight appears to diminish the brain’s ability to think, remember and reason. Science News has reported a new study from Kent State University in Ohio, USA, where they tested the cognitive functions of obese volunteers and compared them with healthy people. In general, the obese participants’ scores were lower, and in memory tests nearly 25% of the obese participants scored low enough to be considered learning disabled. Researchers also used magnetic resonance imaging and noted that obese participants tended to have damage to a particular substance that surrounds and insulates nerve fibres in the brain. John Gunstad, who led the study, said the damage could be a problem for signals trying to get from one place to another in the brain.
Source: 14th April 2011

Pesticide link to lower IQ
Researchers have found that exposure during pregnancy to pesticides called organophosphates – used on food crops – may impair child cognitive development. They found that every tenfold increase in measures of organophosphates detected during a mother's pregnancy corresponded to a 5.5 point drop in overall IQ scores in children by the age of seven.

Children in the study with the highest levels of prenatal pesticide exposure scored seven points lower on a standardized measure of intelligence compared with children who had the lowest levels of exposure. The study was based on the children of more than 400 women from Harlem, New York - implying that exposure was from eating fruit and vegetables sprayed with pesticides, rather than directly from the environment. Organophosphates are commonly used on crops in Britain, although some only with stringent limitations.

Brenda Eskenazi, professor of maternal and child health at University of California, Berkeley, described the impact as "substantial". She said: "That difference could mean, on average, more kids being shifted into the lower end of the spectrum of learning, and more kids needing special services in school."

Reported in The Daily Telegraph, 21st April 2011

Norwegian project links brain science and industry
Aker Biomarine, Pfizer and Merck are among the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies that have joined with academia to better connect “brain science and industry”. This one-year-old Norwegian project, the Nansen Neuroscience Network, has a medical slant but is also interested in nutritional interventions to prevent disease. It is partially state-funded and topped up with membership fees. Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are some of the mental ailments the project is tackling.

One of the Network member companies, Smartfish, produces Smartfish Medical containing 1100mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), along with 10mcg of vitamin D3, 8g of proteins and 200 calories. It has just been registered by Norwegian authorities and will be available in pharmacies in June, and will also be sold hospitals and rest homes as a medical food targeting the malnourished elderly.
Source:, 5th May 2011.

Cocoa flavanols can improve eye and brain function
A new study from the University of Reading University’s School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences claims that consumption of cocoa flavanols may improve aspects of eye and brain function. Their results show that performance on vision tests in 30 healthy young adults and some aspects of cognitive performance can be improved by the acute intake of cocoa flavanols (CF) found in higher amounts in dark chocolate. They said that intake of CF has previously been shown to influence hemodynamics, increasing both central and peripheral blood flow. However, they also noted that although the researchers did not know who had consumed the dark or white chocolate, the participants did and so might have been affected by this knowledge.
Source:, 9th May 2011.
Original source: Physiology & Behavior, Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in an acute improvement in visual and cognitive functions. D. T. Field, C. M. Williams, L T. Butler

Gut bacteria may influence brain chemistry and behaviour
It has been known that there is a link between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system, but fewer people are aware that the central nervous system can influence the microbiota of the gut, and vice versa. Researchers at McMaster University worked with healthy mice to show that disrupting the normal balance of bacteria in the gut with antibiotics caused changes in the mice’s behaviour. There was an accompanying increase in brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which has been linked to depression and anxiety. When the antibiotics were discontinued, the gut bacteria returned to normal and so did behaviour and brain chemistry. While previous research has focused on the role bacteria play on brain development in early life, this research confirms that the nature and stability of gut bacteria influence behaviour, and alteration from antibiotics or infection produces changes in behaviour.
Source: Foods Matter, newsletter 36, 28th May 2011
Original source: Gastroenterology

US Salt Institute funded study suggests low salt diet may increase anxiety
Author of the study, Professor Micah Leshem, from the department of psychology at the University of Haifa, Israel, noted “we investigated the effect of low dietary sodium in models of depression and anxiety, on chronic mild stress (CMS), and on acute unpredictable stressors,”. The study, undertaken on rats, was funded by grants from the University of Haifa and the US Salt Institute.

Leshem reported that dietary sodium intake of 0.04 per cent (the equivalent of 3 grams per day salt intake in a 70 kg man) slightly reduces body weight, increases adrenal and heart weight, and increases mortality to 55 per cent in rats. He added that, despite its minimal effect on growth, the sodium deficient diet “exacerbated measures of anxiety, specifically decreasing time, activity, and the ratio of activity.” The research findings showed that high salt intake may be an adaptive response for coping with adversity, finding that low dietary sodium induces anxiety in rats.

Leshem added that the determinants of human salt intake, in “excess and persistence, are unknown.” “We do not know why heightened salt appetite persists, why it is so ubiquitous, nor why it is so in the face of [...] health risks and the social pressure to moderate intake ... Hence, there must be additional causes maintaining high salt intake,”.
Source:, 31st May 2011.
Original source: Physiology & Behavior, Volume 103, Issue 5 , Pages 453-458, “Low dietary sodium is anxiogenic in rats” Author: M. Leshem


January 2011

B vitamins delay Alzheimer’s onset
Brain shrinkage is a symptom of mild cognitive impairment, which often leads to dementia. The B vitamins folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 affect levels of homocysteine, which is linked to faster brain shrinkage. Volunteers were given either a daily B vitamin supplement or a placebo, and the rate of brain shrinkage measured after two years. The team found that, in those taking the supplement, brain shrinkage slowed by an average of 30%. Experts agree that more research is needed to see whether high doses of B vitamins can prevent or treat cognitive impairment.  
The study is published in the journal Public Library of Science One -

Treatment with vitamin C rapidly improves the emotional state of acutely hospitalized patients
Hospital patients received either vitamin C or vitamin D supplements for seven to ten days in a study carried out at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital and Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. Patients given vitamin C had a rapid and significant improvement in mood state, but no significant change was seen with vitamin D. Subnormal levels of these vitamins have been observed in the majority of acutely hospitalized patients.
Source: Jewish General Hospital. published in Nutrition

Care farm initiative
Patients with depression are being prescribed a day in the country mucking out pigs and feeding chickens. The scheme allows patients to work on a farm, doing anything from tending animals and growing fruit and vegetables to tinkering with tractors. The initiative offers help to people recovering from a wide range of problems including mental illness and stroke.
Read more:

Manganese in Drinking Water: Study Suggests Adverse Effects on Children’s Intellectual Abilities
A study from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology, Health, Environment and Society has linked exposure to high levels of manganese- a naturally occurring mineral – to poorer performance in tests. This is in spite of the fact that manganese concentrations were well below current guidelines.  For each child, the researchers assessed manganese exposure from both tap water and food, and used tests to assess cognition, motor skills, and behaviour. The average IQ of children whose tap water had the highest manganese concentration was 6 points below those whose water contained little or no manganese.
Read the paper:

ADHD link to pesticide exposure in womb
The Daily Telegraph has reported that researchers at the University of California tested pregnant women for pesticides absorbed by their bodies, and then followed their children as they grew. Women with more traces of the pesticides in their urine while pregnant had children more likely to have symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age 5.

Mid-life cholesterol levels not linked to Alzheimer's disease
Contrary to earlier research, cholesterol level in middle age may not be linked to development of Alzheimer's disease. A recent study suggests that decreases in cholesterol levels greater than those expected in old age might in fact be a more accurate indicator of dementia risk.  In the Swedish study, women were assessed for health and lifestyle factors, and measurements taken throughout the 32 year study. At four points, the women were tested for dementia. While cholesterol levels in middle or old age showed no link to dementia, women whose cholesterol levels decreased the most from middle to older age were the most likely to develop dementia.

Low Pre-Natal Vitamin D Doubles Schizophrenia Risk
Newborn babies with low levels of vitamin D have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia in later life, researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute have found. The team compared vitamin D concentrations in babies who later developed schizophrenia with those in healthy controls. Those with low vitamin D had a twofold increased risk of developing the disorder.


Nutrition in Childhood
Date: 18 January 2011
Venue: ORT House Conference Centre, London NW1

This event will present scientific evidence on the factors contributing to obesity, allergies and learning, mood and behavioural disorders. These include diet during pregnancy and childhood, modern lifestyles and persistent environmental exposures. Researchers and clinicians will explore the role of natural interventions and offer practical, evidence-based and cost-effective approaches on how to manage and, in many cases, prevent common childhood conditions.
Full programme and booking information:



April 2011

Does dirt make us happier?
A review of research from Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, USA, the University of Colorado and University College London points towards investigating the loss of beneficial micro-organisms as a possible cause of depression.  The authors have used information from laboratory and human studies to explore the idea that there may be a relationship between major depressive disorder and exposure to some types of bacteria.

People with major depression disorders can show extreme immune responses (including inflammation) to stress, and inflammation can trigger symptoms of depression. The authors put forward the hypothesis that improvements to hygiene, although reducing risk of infectious diseases, have also disrupted our evolutionary relationships with certain micro-organisms that may have had a positive effect on our physical and mental health.

The micro-organisms were those found in soil, food and faeces and it is human contact with these that has declined in industrialised countries. The authors suggest that reintroduction of these ‘old friends’ (beneficial bacteria) to people affected by depression may reduce their symptoms.  The report was not a conclusive finding of any relationship that might exist between bacteria and mental health: however it was drawing on previous studies and opening a new line of investigation.

Source: Foods Matter, no.27, January 2011.  Original source: Archives of General Psychiatry, December 2010

Study links trans fat intake to depression
Trans fats may increase the risk of depression, whilst healthier oils such as polyunsaturated fatty acids and olive oil may reduce the risk, according to a new Spanish study.  Based on results from the SUN Project – consisting of over 12,000 Spanish volunteers – the study found that participants with the highest level of trans fat consumption had up to a 48 per cent increase in the risk of depression compared to those who did not consume these fats. The research also found that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, in addition to olive oil were associated with lower incidence of depression.

Source: Open access journal PLoS ONE,  from
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016268
“Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Depression: The SUN Project”
Authors: A. Sánchez-Villegas, L. Verberne, J. De Irala, M. Ruíz-Canela, E. Toledo, L. Serra-Majem, M.A. Martínez-González

Poor childhood diet linked to low IQ, suggests study
A diet high in fats, sugars, and processed foods in early childhood may result in lower IQ scores, while a diet rich in healthy foods packed with vitamins and nutrients may work in reverse, suggests new research. The study, published in BMJ’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, reports a “weak but novel” association between dietary patterns in early childhood, and general intelligence assessed at eight and a half years of age.

The results of the study suggest that the eating habits in early childhood – particularly up until the age of three – may play a role in shaping the development of the brain, and thus affect behaviour, learning performance and IQ in later life.  The new cross sectional study, based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), examined the links between dietary patterns through early and mid-childhood (3 to 8.5 years) and IQ assessed at 8.5 years of age.

From  Original source Source: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1136/jech.2010.111955
“Are dietary patterns in childhood associated with IQ at 8 years of age? A population-based cohort study”
K. Northstone, C. Joinson, P. Emmett, A. Ness, T. Paus

Restricted diet’ linked to reduction in ADHD
New research published in The Lancet, suggests that a diet restricted to just a few basic ingredients could be “a valuable instrument to assess whether ADHD is induced by food.” In the new study, children with ADHD were put on a ‘restricted elimination diet’ – containing only rice, meat, vegetables, pears and water – for five weeks. The authors found that ADHD symptoms were reduced in 78 per cent of children placed on the diet. The authors noted, however, that the new study does not answer a number of questions, such as whether or not the elimination diet reduces symptoms long-term, and said that clinical practice should not be changed based on the results of one study. The authors also noted that the study had potential limitations, due to the fact that it was open-label.

From  Original source: The Lancet
Volume 377, Issue 9764 , Pages 494-503, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62227-1
“Effects of a restricted elimination diet on the behaviour of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (INCA study): a randomised controlled trial”
Authors: L. Pelsser, K. Frankena, J. Toorman, H.F. Savelkoul, A.E. Dubois, R.R. Pereira, et al

EFSA approves vitamin B1-infant brain health claim
EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) backed German firm HiPP’s article 14 claim as it affirmed that B! (thiamin) deficiency, like deficiencies in other essential nutrients, could cause, “mental changes, such as apathy, decrease in short-term memory, confusion and irritability as well as polyneuritis and paralysis of the peripheral nerves.”   It also affirmed an article 13.1 opinion issued in 2010 that found in favour of thiamin’s importance to “normal psychological functions” for all population groups, although it rejected tiredness and fatigue claims.

The NDA noted that any approved claims should take into account the strict EU marketing rules for infant formula, follow-on formula, infant medical foods and cereal-based foods for infants and young children.

Source:, 14 February 2011

Moderate alcohol consumption decreases risk of dementia
The study, published in Age and Aging, investigated the relationship between alcohol intake (quantity and type) with the onset of the syndrome. The scientists found that participants who drank moderately were 29 per cent less likely to have developed incident dementia by the end of the three-year period than those who didn’t drink alcohol. A significant association was only found between those subjects who consumed between 20 and 29g per day.

Participants in the study were aged 75 and older, who were attending general practitioners in Germany. so a much older age group than previous studies.  The findings are also consistent with meta-analyses that include younger age groups, the study claims.

Source:, 3 March 2011

The nutrition of cognition: Review considers the evidence for Alzheimer’s
Supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), uridine, and choline may improve the cognitive functions of Alzheimer’s patients, according to a new review. The study, published in Nutrition Reviews, assesses previous research and clinical trials that have attempted to use nutritional modification to aid brain functioning, suggesting that certain compounds may bring about physiological and cognitive benefits for the brain.

The reviewers, led by Dr Richard Wurtman, Professor of Neuropharmacology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, noted that administration of such compounds over several weeks “can enhance cognitive functions and neurotransmitter release in experimental animals,” whilst their administration to patients with mild Alzheimer's disease “significantly improved memory in a clinical trial involving about 220 subjects.”

Source:, 14 February 2011

Original source: Nutrition Reviews Volume 68, Issue Supplement s2, pages S88–S101, doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00344.x “Nutritional modifiers of aging brain function: use of uridine and other phosphatide precursors to increase formation of brain synapses”
Authors: R.J Wurtman, M. Cansev, T. Sakamoto, I. Ulus

Food & Mental Health: The project promotes understanding of the links between good diet and mental wellbeing, addressing the many implications of the growing evidence linking what we eat to the way we feel and behave.

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