Nutrition and Health
The Nutrition & Health group conducts basic and translational research exploring the interaction between the body, brain and health. The group take a multidisciplinary approach in their work and have a particularly close working relationship with researchers from disciplines such as biochemistry, pharmacy, nutrition and education both here at the University of Reading and elsewhere. In relation to nutrition, the group studies the interplay between dietary intake and measures of psychological well-being such as cognitive performance, food preference, mood and quality of life using a wide range of techniques (e.g. neuroimaging, survey methods and randomised controlled trials) and population groups (e.g. breast-feeding mothers, infants, older adults and patients with mild cognitive impairment). The group has also demonstrated the potential health benefits of behavioural interventions for example, showing that children's eating habits can be modified by exposure to pictures of foods in books they take home to read (Houston-Price et al. (2009), JECP). Improvements in spatial working memory induced by a high flavanoid diet were documented by the group and linked to de novo protein synthesis in the hippocampus (Rendeiro et al. (2012), Psychopharm) with implications for the development of nutraceutical foods. Rapidly developing work on the anti-epileptic properties of particular cannabinoids has shown strong evidence that seizures can be minimised in both acute and chronic conditions (Hill et al. (2012), BJPharm) based on in vitro, slice and animal models. This work is an example of flourishing cross-disciplinary collaborations across the University and of the increasingly close ties that the School has with the food and pharmaceutical industries (e.g. recent GW Pharmaceuticals grant (Claire Williams) with Pharmacy).