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  • Autism and the gut microbiome

    Can the gut microbiome help us treat autism?

    Can the gut microbiome help us treat autism? Can the gut bacteria help us to fight autism? According to a recently published study, introducing bacteria from healthy individuals into the gut of the children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can markedly improve not only gut function but also the severity of ASD symptoms. ASD
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  • JoinSummerSchool

    Summer School on Brain, Bacteria and Behaviour

    Master students, PhD candidates, post-doctoral scientists and other early career researchers are lucky this summer: from 13 – 17 July they can join the first Radboud Summer School on Brain, Bacteria and Behaviour. During this intense week students will learn from various international experts in the field about the gut microbiome – brain axis,
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    Feeding the Brain: How Does it Work?

    Every day, our brain depends on what we eat. First and foremost, the brain needs tremendous amounts of energy, that can only be derived from food. While the human brain constitutes only two percent of the body’s weight, it consumes twenty percent of our daily energy intake [1]. When we eat too little, our brain is one of the first organs to
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    Insulin in the Brain: Emerging Therapies for Neuropsychiatric Disorders

    Insulin and diabetes Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreas. It regulates the metabolism by promoting the absorption of glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells. When the blood glucose level is high, the beta cells secrete insulin into the blood, and when glucose levels are low, the
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    The Healing Powers of Your Beliefs

    The occurrence of placebo effects has been known for a very long time. A first “trick trial” concerning it took place in the late 1500s when instead of holy water, ordinary water was placed in a religious flask and given to a girl who was said to be possessed by the devil – which caused her to contort in pain. Likewise, when priests read a
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  • vitamin d and sunlight

    The importance of vitamin D intake when sunlight is scarce

    When exposed to UVB-radiation, the human body produces vitamin D out of cholesterol. Vitamin D is therefore also known as the “sunshine vitamin”. Healthy vitamin D levels in people are thought to play a role in preventing several health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, mood disorders, diabetes and other autoimmune
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  • micronutrient supplements

    Should Micronutrient Treatments be Recommended based on Existing Nutrient Levels?

    I have noticed a growing number of companies offering to measure nutrient levels and then offering a personalized treatment approach to address deficiencies identified. I have also been sent individual blood results from members of the public and asked whether the results can be used to direct the best treatment. Others contact me and tell me
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  • boy and girl on computer

    How Does Participating in a Clinical Trial Work?

    Meet Tim: he is an 8-year-old boy, living in the Netherlands with his parents and younger sister. A couple of years ago, Tim was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity/Impulsivity Disorder (ADHD). His psychologist recommended to participate in the TRACE study: this study examines the short- and long-term effects of dietary treatments
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    Feeding The Brain Under High Stress

    When we are under high stress, we can often reach for foods that are “comforting” (like cookies, donuts, cake, pastries, and chocolate bars), but these foods may not be the best choice for feeding your brain under stressful and demanding circumstances. Comfort foods are often calorie-rich but nutrient-poor. Further, under high stress (and
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    Eating Under Stress

    Stress tends to mess with our eating habits. In times of stress, some people eat more, while others eat less. The type of food people eat also changes: compared to non-stressed individuals, stressed individuals more often eat unhealthy foods. Laboratory experiments have shown that stress causes people to make unhealthier food choices. In a
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  • weights of depression

    Depression, aggression, and Vitamin B1 thiamine supplements as a new treatment

    What is vitamin B1 (thiamine)? Thiamine, which is also known as vitamin B1, is an essential micronutrient, which is required for metabolism, enzymatic processes and conduction of nerve signals. All living organisms use thiamine, but it can be made only in bacteria, fungi and plants. In humans, gastrointestinal microbiota also produces
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  • micronutrients for adhd

    Continued micronutrient treatment associated with long-term ADHD symptom improvements

    Children with ADHD who keep taking micronutrients over one year are mostly in remission in their symptoms with no side effects The results from a University of Canterbury (UC) study into the longer term effects of micronutrients on ADHD symptoms in children was recently published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.
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  • Screen Shot 2019-11-05 at 8.21.51 PM

    Participating in a Scientific Study: How Does That Work?

    Meet Tim: he is an 8-year-old boy, living in the Netherlands with his parents and younger sister. A couple of years ago, Tim was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity/Impulsivity Disorder (ADHD). His psychologist recommended to participate in the TRACE study: this study examines the short- and long term effects of dietary treatments
    Read more
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    Facets of Impulsivity – Differences Between Patients with BPD and ADHD

    Facets of impulsivity – Differences between patients with BPD and ADHD It’s more than likely you have done it before, said something reckless you later regretted or sent a quick and rude response to an email with annoying content. It means that you acted impulsively, or in other words, you had a rapid and unplanned response without appropriate
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  • acai-bowl-3613793_1280


    Chia Who? – The Superfood Trend "I have a green smoothie every morning with chia seeds and acai berries, you should try it too! I feel so fit and healthy!" Have you ever heard this or a similar sentence in your life? In recent years, more and more people have been talking about superfoods. There are many new restaurants with superfoods on the
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    Measuring Behavior in 3-Year-Olds

    To investigate whether nutrition plays a role in inhibitory control and executive functioning early in life, we collected data on behavior using different tasks (see previous blog). To perform these tasks, we choose to visit the children at home with the aim 1) to burden the families less, and 2) to test the children in their home environments
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    Should You Prepare for Grocery Shopping? The Role of Hunger.

    Have you ever done your weekly grocery shopping and ended up with more than actually written on your grocery list? Everybody has at least once experienced how it is to buy food in a supermarket with hunger and buy much more than planned. The widely known recommendation: Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry!!! But is it only a myth
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    Stress and Nutrition: Hungry Brain

    In times of stress, there are mainly two eating patterns in which people react: some tend to eat less, some eat more (Yau & Potenza, 2013). The latter then, unfortunately, develop a desire for more salty, sweet and fatty foods, leading to negative health consequences such as weight gain (Groesz et al., 2012) which in turn may influence
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  • Screen Shot 2019-09-08 at 9.15.41 AM

    What is a Healthy Diet?

    A healthy diet has numerous benefits. But what does a healthy diet consist of? And how do we, researchers, measure diet quality? What’s considered a healthy diet in one country or culture, may not be regarded as such in another. For instance, low-fat and unsweetened dairy products are regarded as healthy in my country, the Netherlands, but
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  • Screen Shot 2019-09-08 at 9.04.50 AM

    Nutrition and Psychiatry: Experience of Attending the 19th WPA World Congress of Psychiatry

    Recently I had a great chance to participate in the 19th WPA World Congress of Psychiatry which took place in Lisbon 21-24 of August 2019. Such an international scientific event summarizes recent findings and sets a trend for future research. The effect of lifestyle on mental health was one of the topics discussed at the conference.
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    How the Gene Called TFAP2B May Increase the Risk for Obesity

    The prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased worldwide and is affecting millions of adults and children 1. The development of obesity is complex with factors like genetics, individual metabolism, dietary and physical activity choices, food and water availability, education and culture, playing a role 2. Several genome wide
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    How Eating Healthy Can Keep You Mentally Healthy

    Mens sana in corpore sano – healthy mind and healthy body Food insecurity – defined as an individual or household lacking access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets individuals' dietary needs – has been linked to children's behavioral, academic, and emotional problems and an increased risk of the development of mental health
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    Twin Studies: A Unique Epidemiological Tool

    Twin studies have been used for decades to estimate the relative importance of genes and environments for traits, behaviors and disorders. A very large meta-analysis of all twin studies conducted during the past 50 years (almost 3000 publications) revealed that across all studied traits the average reported heritability was 49%, meaning that
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    How to encourage children with neurodevelopmental disorders to live healthy?!

    Neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASS) and different types of anxiety disorders are associated with a higher risk of poor dietary, physical activity and sleep habits. Shaping behavior in children with neurodevelopmental symptoms can be challenging. How do parents experience
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  • Green juice

    The effects of food insecurity on mental health

    According to the food and agriculture organization, about 1 billion people in the world were living in hunger or insecurity in the year 2010 (1). Additionally, 5 to 15 % of people in industrial countries experience food insecurity which makes it all the more a public health concern in Europe (2). But, what exactly is food insecurity
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  • kayla-maurais-EZWTMjwAWls-unsplash

    Can mineral-vitamin treatment change the microbiome? Yes it can!

    This week, my lab at the University of Canterbury published the first investigation1 into whether a mineral-vitamin supplement could change the bacteria in the microbiome of children with ADHD. Our preliminary data, based on our sample of 17 kids (half of whom were given micronutrients and half were given placebo for 10 weeks), hints at
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  • Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 8.59.34 PM

    Measuring impulsivity in 3-year-old children

    For my research, I measured impulsive behaviour in 3-year-old children. Briefly, impulsivity is the opposite of inhibitory control. There are several forms of inhibitory control, and although there is no official categorisation of different forms of inhibitory control in young children, Anderson & Reidy (2012) defined five categories. The
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    What the genetics of cocaine dependence can teach us about other psychiatric conditions

    Behavior results from the complex interplay between genes and environment. Our genes predispose us to how we act and feel, by influencing how our brain develops and functions. This way, certain genetic variants in our genome increase the risk of developing mental health problems (while others may decrease this risk). Whether someone actually
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    Stress-induced food addiction – how everyday life stressors alter our dietary habits

    Probably the best known example on how the brain and mental health are linked to nutrition and our gut, and the one that we can all identify ourselves with, is stress. We all know it: studying 24/7 for an important exam, pressure in the job or even a house full of work. We have no time to think and - no - we definitely don’t have time to cook.
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    How to navigate in a world that is constantly reporting scientific findings?

    In the Eat2beNICE project, the researchers aim at studying the effect of diet and mental health and our blogs are meant to enlighten readers. Every day research findings published in journals will offer an opinion on how to best live our lives. It is simply not possible, nor advised, to change your habit after every piece of new knowledge.
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About the author

New Brain Nutrition is the public dissemination effort of Eat2beNICE, a consortium of 18 European universities, hospitals and agencies doing research on the connections between nutrition, lifestyle and mental health. We look to attract members of the public, health professionals, and representatives of industry and government to help develop healthier lifestyles and improved mental health.

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