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The Cognitive Ageing Nutrition and Neurogenesis (CANN) trial.

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    A Randomised Controlled Trial investigating the cognitive benefits of a combined dietary supplement in individuals with mild cognitive impairment The Cognitive Ageing Nutrition and Neurogenesis (CANN) trial.



  • Contact name

    Anne Marie Minihane

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    University of East Anglia

  • Research summary

    This two site Randomised Control Trial (RCT; Norwich and Melbourne) aims to evaluate whether chronic (daily) supplementation with a combined flavonoid/fatty acid mix over 12 months improves cognitive performance in older adults (>55 years, <85 for magnetic resonance imaging) with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or Subjective Memory Impairment (SMI).

    Given the rapidly increasing prevalence of dementia worldwide lifestyle strategies preserving or even improving memory and cognition would provide significant health, social and economic benefits, particularly in at risk individuals (“western diet”, APOE4 genotype, those with modest cognitive impairment).

    Emerging evidence from cell, animal and human epidemiological sources provides evidence for the cognitive benefits of the marine derived omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and flavonoids (plant bioactives). Furthermore given what we know about the targets these dietary components act on in the brain, it is likely and hypothesised that their benefits will to be additive or even synergistic.

    Here, in a 12 month placebo-controlled RCT we investigate for the first time the impact of daily consumption of a fatty acid blend containing EPA, DHA, GLA (and flavonoids) on cognitive performance (primary outcome), brain structure and function (determined by MRI scanning), gut microflora composition and metabolism, and a host of plasma biomarkers, in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (subjective or defined).

    Participant involvement will include: (1) a telephone screen; (2) a consent and screening visit; (3) a practice session for cognitive testing; (4) consuming the intervention food daily; (5) attending 3x2-3 hour clinical assessment visits at 3, 6 and 9 months; (5) providing urine and faecal samples; and (6) completing a number of health and lifestyle questionnaires. Participant visits will be to designated assessment rooms within clinical trials units.

    Please note a favourable opinion is not sought presently for the Melbourne-based part of the study.

  • REC name

    East of England - Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    16 Jul 2014

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion