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Past Event

Population ageing and brain health: the role of nutrition in mental resilience

About the Speaker

Dr Alex Richardson is a Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford; and Founder Director of FAB Research.

Alex Richardson is best known for her research into how nutrition (and particularly fatty acids) can affect behaviour, learning and mood, although her work also involves several large-scale collaborative programmes that include studies of epidemiology, genetics, brain imaging, biochemistry and nutrition as well as physiological and psychological functioning.

Her primary research interests include:

  • the role of nutrition in brain development and function, and its implications for behaviour, learning and mood.
  • the biology of individual differences in personality, perception and cognition, particularly in relation to developmental and psychiatric disorders.

AJR photo



In modern, developed countries like the UK, rising life expectancy over the last century has led to an increasing proportion of people living for many years beyond retirement. This presents both opportunities and challenges for individuals and society, with the balance depending heavily on how ageing impacts on physical and mental health and resilience. This presentation will focus on the role of nutrition and other lifestyle factors in mental health in older adults, drawing on the latest research evidence from the UK and other countries. This indicates that cognitive decline and dementia are not inevitable consequences of ageing, but instead reflect a complex interplay of genetic and environmental risk factors, with diet and lifestyle playing key roles. Aspects of the typical UK diet that appear to increase the risk of age-related cognitive decline and dementia as well as poor physical health include: excessive consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, a relative lack of long-chain omega-3 fats; deficiencies in key micronutrients (notably some of the B vitamins), and low intakes of vegetables and fruits. Key research findings will be summarised, and their practical implications discussed.

This event is part of a seminar series:

Hilary 2017 Seminar Series: ‘Contemporary Medical Perspectives on Ageing’

Hilary Term 2017 Seminar Series ‘Contemporary Medical Perspectives on Ageing’ Thursdays at 14:00 – 15:30 Seminar Room: 66 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PR Convener: Dr Maja Založnik This seminar series explores some of the contemporary medical advances in ageing and regenerative medicine. An improved understanding of the mechanisms of the process of ageing is the pr...

Event Details

26 January 2017 14:00 - 15:30


Oxford Institute of Population Ageing

66 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PR