Central in FOCOM (Food and Cognition Model systems) is the development of predictive model systems that, after validation on high-quality equipment, will be translated in a number of dedicated, low cost behavioural and brain observation techniques.
The goal of work package 4 is to create a Cognition Test, which is able to detect cognitive decline at an early stage, as well as the effect of nutrients on cognitive decline, by utilizing brain measurements.
The Cognition Test is a state-of-the-art measurement system to assess cognitive and brain functioning. It is focussed on measuring cognitive control functions, such as working memory and response inhibition. The setup is guided by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments in elderly, which makes it particularly suited for measuring age-related cognitive decline. Ultimately, the goal of the Cognition Test is to assess the effects of nutritional interventions on cognitive functioning with a set of measurements that are reliable, objective, and much more sensitive than the currently used paper-and-pencil tests. The system will be validated in experiments mimicking the fMRI experiments.
The Cognition Test setup contains functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) optodes that are integrated with electroencephalography (EEG) water electrodes in one cap. Furthermore, the system will be able to concomitantly measure blood pressure, electrocardiography (ECG), electromyography (EMG), exhaled CO2 (%), and behavioural measures such as response times and accuracy. The setup will be portable, lightweight and easy to use in hospital environments.
Another part of FOCOM (WP2), carried out at the Division of Human Nutrition, focusses on the Food Experience System (FES).