Our goal is to provide the right environment to facilitate the highest standards of controlled research into the effects and underlying mechanisms of action of nutritional interventions, including herbal and food supplements, psychoactive components such as caffeine and theanine, and food components. Our excellent facilities and resources are geared towards the high demands required for fully auditable controlled-trial research.
The activation by psychological stress of key physiological mechanisms, the endocrine, nervous and immune systems is essential to our daily functioning, but prolonged activation can lead to deleterious effects on physical health, brain function, psychological well-being and performance. Learning how different nutritional interventions mediate the stress response to the benefit of the individual is one of the main focuses of our work. Our laboratory employs a wide range of techniques both to induce stress responses, and to assess subjective and objective responses to chronic and acute stress.
Computerised assessments of cognitive function and mood provide the most sensitive measure of change. Our own purpose designed COMPASS system is a flexible software framework specifically designed to deliver customised assessments of cognitive performance and mood. Specific paradigms include the ‘Everyday Cognition’ and ‘Cognitive Demand’ batteries and the ‘Multi-tasking Framework’ stressor battery. Internet and Mobile Phone technology can also be harnessed for more ecologically valid testing paradigms.
The interaction between nutrition, physical and mental performance and physiological parameters is an area of research that is receiving ever increasing attention. Our academic expertise in this area and access to ‘state of the art’ sport science laboratories means that we are ideally placed to explore the interface between improved physical and cognitive performance by nutritional interventions.
Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
4th Floor, Northumberland Building
Newcastle upon Tyne