Guidance for reporting of test parameters in nutrition and cognition research

In many publications focused on the effects of nutrition on cognitive performance, reporting on both the intervention, and the cognitive performance test (including administration of the test) lacks the required detail to truly understand how the study was conducted, making replication and interpretation difficult. Psychologists commonly develop new tests, but in such cases, there is often missing information about the methodological specifics – a significant barrier to the evidence interpretation and synthesis.

Comparison of studies and synthesis of evidence is critical for arriving at conclusions about how a nutrition intervention might affect cognitive performance. As variability in test selection and test validity – as noted in the DGAC 2020 report - are challenges in the study of nutrition and cognition, additional reporting detail can assist researchers, the food industry, and public health groups to understand the possible reasons for similarities and differences in study results. Perhaps most impactful, authorities responsible for the development of dietary guidance could have improved ability to synthesize available literature on a specific question.

This work will include an initial phase of a scoping review to document common reporting practices (or lack thereof) to note gaps and evaluate if and why reporting guidance is critical. Phase II will leverage the scoping review to develop a Workshop with the aim of outlining reporting guidance, modeling the process applied by a Federation of European Societies for Nutrition (FENS) working group which proposed the CONSORT-nut checklist.

Institution: Swansea University

Principal Investigator: Hayley Young, PhD

Year: 2024

This work was supported by the IAFNS Cognitive Health Committee.