By: Indira Paz-Graniel
On: 24 November 2020

A coffee a day might keep cognitive decline away

What if enjoying a cup of coffee everyday could preserve your cognitive functioning when aging? In the last decades, the number of individuals that suffer from cognitive decline has increased exponentially. In parallel with an aging population this is a major public health issue. Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia have a multifactorial background, which means that they are caused by many different factors, both genetic and environmental. One of these environmental factors is diet, which has a potential beneficial effect on preventing dementia onset and progression. Coffee is one the most consumed beverages worldwide...

By: Annick Huberts-Bosch
On: 19 November 2020

Lifestyle psychiatry: how could this benefit people with mental disorders?

Mental disorders affect almost 30% of individuals across the lifespan [1]. There are already a lot of psychotherapies and pharmacological treatments available for these individuals. However, there remains a large proportion of people who do not benefit fully form standard treatment [2,3]. Therefore, new approaches towards the prevention and treatment of mental health problems are needed. These can be delivered alongside traditional mental health care. But what could these new approaches include? Lifestyle factors might be an outcome: an emerging body of research has linked both the onset and symptoms of various mental disorders to lifestyle factors. This term refers...

By: Lara Hamzehpour
On: 17 November 2020

“We are what we eat” – How diet impacts our brain structure

Food has become omnipresent and plays a huge role in our everyday life. We eat when we’re hungry, as a reward after a successful work day, as a comfort when we are stressed or sad. We also sometimes eat less and exercise more when we want to lose weight. But what many people don’t know – or seem to forget – is that our brain functioning also depends on what we eat. With the research that I did for my master thesis, I found that a healthy diet and regular physical activity are associated with more grey matter in the...

Till Feldner By: Till Feldner
On: 11 November 2020

Climbing out of Depression: The Bouldering Psychotherapy

Bouldering is increasingly gaining popularity as a leisure sport as it’s both fun and good physical exercise. But perhaps it can even be used as treatment for depression. A recently published study tested the effects of bouldering therapy on depression and found that ten weeks of bouldering therapy was just as effective in reducing depressive symptoms as the usual treatment, cognitive behavioural therapy. This is an important first step in developing new and effective treatments for depression. The need for new treatments for depressionDepression is one of the most common mental diseases all over the world and its prevalence is...

By: Joy Adekanmi
On: 28 October 2020

How low-income parents can reduce their children’s risk of developing problem behavior.

ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is characterized by attention problems and hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in childhood, especially among boys. (1,2) Heritability (genetics) is known to be a main factor in the development of ADHD. However, other risk factors such as gender, diet and socioeconomic status (SES) can strongly influence the development and the course of ADHD in children (you can read more about why ADHD runs in families here). Treatment and management of ADHD include the identification of modifiable risk factors. Some of these risk factors are linked to the consequences of...

By: Dr. Manuel Schlipf
On: 21 October 2020

Vitamin D and Mental Health

Now that autumn has arrived, the sunlight is fading, and leaves are falling. Our vitamin D levels are also at risk of falling because its synthesis in our bodies depends on exposure to the ultraviolet radiation within sunlight.   What is vitamin D and why is it important?The active form of vitamin D, calcitriol, acts as a hormone. In the target cells, it binds to the vitamin D receptor and produces effects on multiple locations. It regulates the concentration of calcium and phosphate and promotes the healthy growth and remodeling of our bones. Calcitriol also has other effects, such as balancing cell growth, neuromuscular,...

By: Lisa Reijmers
On: 9 October 2020

Do peers have an influence on a child’s eating behavior?

Summer holidays are over and schools have started again. Children see their friends and classmates a lot at school and they spend lunch and snack time together. Tim (see: is one of those kids. He has been following the elimination diet of the TRACE study for a while now. When he is at school, he also follows his diet. This has a positive effect on his concentration and impulsivity, which helps him to stick to his diet. However, seeing his friends eating things he is not allowed to, makes it a little harder for Tim to stick to his...

By: Niels Hein
On: 17 September 2020

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Dietary Fibers – Eat Up!

Fibers are a type of carbohydrate. But have you ever noticed how dietary fibers are displayed separately on the table of nutritional facts on the packaging of your food? If they are just carbohydrates, why do they receive special treatment on labels of food packaging? It turns out; fibers provide health benefits far beyond only their caloric value. Similarly, many common “superfoods” boast high contents of fibers as a defining characteristic. But why should we care about the amount of fiber we eat? A healthy diet is the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle, body, and brain. Yet, in most cases,...

By: Ekaterina Veniaminova
On: 13 August 2020

Two birds with one stone: Antidiabetic drugs against depression

An increasing number of studies explore the link between metabolic and psychiatric disorders. Can it be useful in the search for new therapies for such diseases as depression? And do we need to develop new drugs with antidepressant properties? What is wrong with current therapy for depression? Pharmacological therapy does not work for up to 30% of people with depression and is often associated with intolerance and side effects (Santarsieri & Schwartz 2015). There are common side effects such as dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, restlessness and sexual dysfunction, increased appetite, or anorexia. Much less common, but serious adverse effects include...

By: Dr. Berit Skretting Solberg
On: 11 August 2020

How to study the effects of genes versus environment?

 What most people think is that our genetic makeup, or our DNA, decides how we look and behave. A few genes decide simpler traits like color of the eyes, or the height. Several genes are involved in more complex traits like temperament or IQ. However, what most people do not know is the influence of environmental factors in the development of our traits in addition to genetic factors. Environmental factors may be what you eat, or what your mother ate while being pregnant with you, stress levels, smoking, substances in the environment etc. An important question is: How is it...