A Menu for Brain Responses Opposing Stress-Induced Alterations in Cognition

JPI HDHL JFA “Nutrition and Cognitive Function” (NutriCog)
A Menu for Brain Responses Opposing Stress-Induced Alterations in Cognition
Prof. John F. Cryan
University College Cork


Partner Organization Partner Country
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)France
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)Germany
University of FlorenceItaly
University of MaastrichtThe Netherlands
King’s College LondonUnited Kingdom

1. Overall project description

1.1 Summary

The aged brain is particularly vulnerable to stress-induced cognitive decline and will benefit
tremendously from mechanistically-oriented dietary interventions to attenuate such cognitive
impairment and to provide a general boost to brain health. Moreover, cognitive decline is increasingly
present in the ageing population, who are living with chronic diseases and subjected to elevated levels
of psychological stress, which are both huge challenges for the EU economy and society.

This “food for thought” revolution can only be realized following novel breakthrough findings on the
bidirectional relationships between nutrition, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation and
cognitive performance, which will significantly transform healthcare strategies and policies, and lead to
innovative, evidence-based approaches from the food industry which will notably improve dietary
habits among consumers.

AMBROSIAC (A Menu for Brain Responses Opposing Stress-Induced Alterations in Cognition)
investigates how diet affects cognition across the lifespan through stress-related mechanisms
using preclinical and clinical approaches. This is implemented via a number of integrated components
designed to assess the influence of nutrition on increased susceptibility for stress-induced
cognitive deficits in memory and executive functioning from adulthood to old age (aim 1) and
the impact of a nutritional intervention on cognitive ability, stress vulnerability and stress
perception (aim 2). The molecular mechanisms by which targeted nutritional interventions can
improve stress-induced vulnerabilities in cognition will be investigated using preclinical models
(aim 3).

Together, these will provide converging information on the role of the gut microbiota as a novel
critical signalling mediator between nutritional intake, stress susceptibility and maintenance of
cognitive health in ageing (using samples from aims 1, 2 and 3).

AMBROSIAC will unravel the direct effects of dietary components, nutritional status,
metabolism and the impact of the gut microbiome on cognitive function (i.e., memory and
executive function) and how this interaction is modified through stress and ageing.

Research findings and outcomes are poised to lead to novel evidence-based nutritional
guidelines/strategies and recommendations/ policies to prevent stress-induced and cognitive decline
and maintain/preserve brain health throughout the ageing process.

1.2 Highlights

4. Impact

4.1 List of publications

AuthorsTitleYear, Issue, PPPartners NumberDoiPdf

4.2 Presentation of the project

Target groupAuthorsMeans of communicationHyperlinkPdf

4.3 List of submitted patents and other outputs

Patent licencePartners involvedYearInternational eu or national patentCommentPdf

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s
H2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement n.696300

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