ILSI Europe International Sciences


2nd Workshop

Nutrition for the Ageing Brain



30 June-1 July 2016

Copenhagen, Denmark

Session 1: 

Mechanisms of Ageing and Impact of Nutrients

Defining Healthy Ageing

Presentation by

Professor Keith A. Wesnes 

December 2016: New Publication Announcement

Through collaboration with NU-Food Research Facility at Newcastle University, Wesnes Cognition Ltd ran an exciting Randomised, Double-blind, Placebo Controlled, three- way cross-over trial, showing enhancements to memory with Red Bull in healthy young volunteers

Wesnes, K. A., Brooker, H., Watson, A. W., Bal, W., & Okello, E. (2016). Effects of the Red Bull energy drink on cognitive function and mood in healthy young volunteers. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 0269881116681459.


Abstract: The present study compared the cognitive and mood effects of two commercially available products, Red Bull energy drink 250 mL and Red Bull Sugar-free energy drink 250 mL, together with a matching placebo 250 mL. Twenty-four healthy young volunteers took part in a randomised, placebo controlled, double-blind, three-way cross-over study. Cognitive function was assessed using an integrated set of nine computerised tests of attention, working and episodic memory. On each study day the volunteers received a standardised breakfast prior to completing a baseline performance on cognitive tests and mood scales, followed by the consumption of the study drink. The cognitive tests and scales were then re-administered at 30, 60 and 90 min post-dose. Red Bull was found to produce significant improvements over both the Sugar-free version and the placebo drink on two composite scores from the six working and episodic memory tests; one combining the 12 accuracy measures from the six tasks and the other the average speed of correct responses from the working memory and episodic recognition memory tasks. These improvements were in the range of a medium effect size, which reflects a substantial enhancement to memory in young volunteers.

November 2016 - Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Exeter 

Wesnes Cognition is delighted to announce that Keith Wesnes has been appointed Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Exeter Medical School where he will be working closely with the new Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Clive Ballard.

On accepting the position, Keith said: 


I have published and collaborated closely with Clive on a wide range of projects over the last 17 years. I had no hesitation in accepting the offer to join his group at Exeter, and am extremely excited at this incredible opportunity to progress our joint research interests in such a dynamic and forward looking academic environment”.

January 2017: New Publication Announcement

Wesnes, K. A., Brooker, H., Ballard, C., McCambridge, L., Stenton, R., & Corbett, A. (2017). Utility, reliability, sensitivity and validity of an online test system designed to monitor changes in cognitive function in clinical trials. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The Platform for Research Online to investigate Genetics and Cognition in Ageing is a 10-year longitudinal and entirely remote study launched in November 2015. The CogTrackTM System is being used to monitor changes in important aspects of cognitive function using tests of attention, information processing and episodic memory. On study entry, the participants performed CogTrackTM up to three times over seven days, and these data are evaluated in this paper.

During the first six months of the study, 14 531 individuals aged 50 to 94 years enrolled and performed the CogTrackTM System, 8627 of whom completed three test sessions. On the first administration, 99.4% of the study tasks were successfully completed. Repeated testing showed training/familiarisation effects on four of the ten measures which had largely stabilised by the third test session. The factor structure of the various measures was found to be robust. Evaluation of the influence of age identified clinically relevant declines over the age range of the population on one or more measures from all tasks.

The results of these analyses identify CogTrackTM to be a practical and valid method to reliably, sensitively, remotely and repeatedly collect cognitive data from large samples of individuals aged 50 and over.

May 2017: New Publication Announcement

Camfield, D. A., Fontana, R., Wesnes, K. A., Mills, J., & Croft, R. J. (2017). Effects of aging and depression on mnemonic discrimination ability. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 1-20.

Ageing and depression have been found to be associated with poorer performance in mnemonic discrimination. In the current study, a two-response format mnemonic similarity test, Cognitive Drug Research MST, was used to compare these effects. Seventy-six participants were tested; with 52 participants in the young group, aged 18–35 years, and 24 participants in the elderly group, aged 55 years or older. Twenty-two young participants and 10 elderly participants met DSM-IV criteria for MDD or dysthymia. Age-related deficits were found for lure identification and speed of response. Differences in speed of responses to lure images were found for younger depressed participants, and depressive symptom severity was found to be negatively associated with lure identification accuracy in the elderly. These findings may be viewed as putative behavioral correlates of decreased pattern separation ability, which may be indicative of altered hippocampal neurogenesis in aging and depression.

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