Workshop on Nutrition for the Ageing Brain @ FENS Forum 2014

FENS Forum 2014
Milan, Italy
03/07/2014 – 04/07/2014

Nutrition and Ageing WS


The programme is available here (latest version: 3 June 2014). 


It is well know that the percentage of aged populations (e.g. 60 years and older) in almost every country will skyrocket in the next few decades. Currently there are no preventative dietary recommendations for preserving brain health and cognition by any major health organisations (WHO, NIH), and regulatory agencies such as EFSA have given no positive opinions for nutrients that help maintain brain function during ageing. At the same time, there exists a wealth of disparate data related to how nutrients, food components and whole diets impact cognitive ageing.

The ILSI Europe Nutrition and Mental Performance Task Force organised a workshop on 3-4 July 2014, prior to the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) conference (5-9 July 2014) in Milan, Italy. The workshop aimed to review available evidence in order to understand the effects of diet or specific sets of nutrients or dietary factors on cognitive ageing, to discuss possible ways to promote healthy cognitive ageing, discuss the effects of nutrients or dietary factors on cognition.

The objective of the workshop was to define mechanisms and timeframes of brain ageing and identify when neuroprotection via nutrition can begin. Five themes were addressed during this event:

  • Setting the stage of nutrition for ageing brains;
  • Mechanisms of ageing and neuroprotection via nutrients;
  • Translation of animal results to human;
  • Individual variation in maintaining brain health;
  • Cognition and Diet.

The workshop ended up with a discussion on the current state of knowledge on nutrition and neuroprotection. Speakers presented arguments for whether there is sufficient evidence to recommend an optimal diet for cognitive maintenance. The proceedings of the workshop will be summarised into a publication for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.


The workshop targeted to academics/researchers studying ageing and neuroprotection. Stakeholders also included food or ingredient companies, NGOs, governments and regulatory bodies who are concerned about increased costs of dementia and the ‘greying’ of Western world populations. It was an open workshop with approximately 80 participants.


Session 1: Introduction and Background
Welcome, Introduction and Objectives of the Workshop
Prof. Diána Bánáti

Understanding Normal and Pathological Declines in Cognitive Function and How They Can Be Influenced by Genetic and Dietary Factors
Prof. Keith A. Wesnes

Session 2: Mechanisms of Ageing and Neuroprotection via Nutrients
Oxidative Stress in Ageing Brain
Dr Anne-Marie Roussel

Neuroinflammation (Inflammageing)
Dr Hugh Perry

Flavonoids as modulators of APP Processing: A Dietary intervention for Dementia?
Prof. Robert Williams

Neurodegeneration and Synaptic Dysfunction/Loss: Are Alzheimer’s Disease and Neurodegenerative Dementia primarily Metabolic Diseases?
Dr Laura Caberlotto

Biomarkers of Cognitive Status
Prof. Robert Perneczky

Anemia and Cognitive Function in Elderly Persons
Prof. Ugo Lucca

Session 3: Can a Healthy Brain be Maintained and a Basic Balanced Diet — What is the Role of Individual Variation?
Healthy Cognitive Ageing: The Beneficial Effects of Polyphenol-rich Diet Intake The InCHIANTI
Prof. Cristina Andres-Lacueva

Trials Investigation Nutritional Effects on Cognitive Ageing
Dr Ondine van de Rest

Molecular Mechanisms underlying Dietary Modulation of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis: Implications for Mental Health
Dr Sandrine Thuret

Ketogenic Diets
Dr Robin Williams (not available)

What is the Potential Role of Exercise and Nutrition (and Stress) in Cognitive Ageing? Can Exercise Enhance Micronutrient Effects?
Prof. Eef Hogervorst

Role of Obesity and Cardio-metabolic Health in Brain Ageing
Prof. Anne Marie Minihane

Session 4: Methodological Challenges — Finding Solutions
Testing the Effects of Diet on Neuro-cognitive Performance: Human, Animal and Cellular Models
Prof. Jeremy Spencer

Effects of Diets on Cerebral Blood Flow, Structure and Function
Prof. Amanda J. Kiliaan

Nutrition and the Ageing Brain: What Epidemiology Tells Us?
Dr Pascale Barberger-Gateau (not available)

Why Randomised Trials in Humans should be the Gold Standard for Data on Nutrients and Ageing?
Dr Robert Clarke

Biomarkers of Nutrition Status: Recent Advances with Metabolomics
Dr Claudine Manach

Session 5: Discussion, Debate and Closing Remarks
Specific Nutrient Intake Levels and Cognitive Ability: Are there Optimal Levels for Preserving Cognition?
Dr Gene Bowman (not available)


For more information, please contact our Scientific Project Manager Mr Jeroen Schuermans at


This workshop is a satellite event of the FENS Forum 2014, Milan. Visit