Optimizing nutrition can maintain and possibly even enhance cognitive functions known to be affected by aging, such as memory and processing speed. Evidence has shown that nutrition is associated with changes in cognition from before we are born into our old age.

Cognition includes attention, learning, memory and executive functions such as planning and reasoning. While there are many tests of these cognitive skills, there is no consensus on which to apply, and many different ways they can be implemented in studies.

IAFNS assembled an international Expert Group to examine current issues around test selection in nutrition research, with a focus on addressing the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee challenge of facing: “considerable variation in testing methods used, [and] inconsistent validity and reliability of cognitive testing methods” in the literature.

The expert group summarized the key challenges posed in the literature over the past several decades, and proposed solutions that include retrospective harmonization, improved reporting of test administration methods, and other opportunities.

This project was supported by IAFNS’ Cognitive Health Committee