Feeding Better Behaviour, Learning and Mood: The Gut, Brain and Nutrition Connection 2015

Regional Seminar Programme: Presentations by: Dr Alex Richardson and David Rex RD / Kevin Williamson

FAB (Food and Behaviour Research) are holding a series of Seminars on the latest scientific evidence on how diet influences learning, mood and behaviour, examines the potential for positive clinical and personal outcomes, and introduces practical, cost-effective strategies to prevent, manage and improve these disorders.

More information can be found from the links below:

2015 Regional Seminar Programme

2015 Evening Seminar Programme


Chy-Sawel – Combating Stigma & Discrimination. [Click here for Web Article]

Steve Angove and myself (Sandra Breakspeare) were delighted to be invited to, and attend, a conference organised by FAB Research (Food and Behavioural Research) on the 4th September 2013 at The Royal College of Surgeons; London.

FAB Research presented key new findings from the DHA Oxford Learning and Behaviour (DOLAB) Studies- the largest research programme to date investigating the role of Omega-3 in relation to behaviour and development. The most interesting and relevant findings were in regard to which Omega-3 fats are most important (and why), and what the latest scientific evidence actually shows.

Presenters included Dr Alex Richardson of Oxford University; founder of FAB Research, and Patron of Chy-Sawel. Professor Michael A Crawford; Director of The Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition, Imperial College London and also Patron of Chy-Sawel. Professor Paul Montgomery; also of Oxford University, and co-principal investigator of the DOLAB studies. His works include studies into Omega-3 in relation to bi-polar disorder, and the use of nutritional interventions for autism and schizophrenia. Also presenting was David Rex; an eminent dietician and nutritionist, who’s role ( of which there are many) include that of Food Policy Advisor for a Health Authority. Finally, Lucy Jones of Channel 4’s recent series ‘Food Hospital’ and is a Senior Specialist Registered Dietician in the NHS and private practise.

Below is a summary of the findings presented and relevant to Chy-Sawel:

*Omega-3DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is the most abundant Omega-3 fatty acid in the brain (found in algae, fish and other seafood). It is critical for both structure of brain and nerve cells, and their functioning.

*in over 600 million years of evolution, DHA has been conserved in brain and nerve cell membranes in every species with a nervous system, and this fact illustrates its importance in human nutrition to this day.

*Modern western-type diets are seriously lacking in DHA, however, as the main sources are algae, fish and seafood (not typical food sources of western culture). Shorter-chain Omega-3 from plant sources cannot reliably be converted into DHA in humans, and so pre-formed DHA is a dietary essential.

*This relative lack of DHA in modern diets helps to explain the dramatic rise in ‘brain disorders’ which have now overtaken all other burdens of ill-health in the UK and other developed countries.

*Increased supplies of DHA are needed to meet the needs of the growing world population, as the quantities needed to support human brain health cannot be met from fish stocks or conventional aquaculture. Some forms of algae already provide a sustainable, scalable source of DHA, and other approaches in development include genetic modification of plants and sustainable farming of the oceans.

( At close of day, I was one of several participants interviewed, and asked for my opinion on subjects related to the presented subjects. These interviews were recorded and can be found below).


Having agreed to attend the recent one day conference, ‘Mental Illness In The 21st Century’, at Truro’s Alverton hotel, I was unsure what to expect.  Would it be a few dedicated followers of nutritional therapy in the treatment of mental illness – or would it attract a wider range of interested professionals?

This was the sixth event organised by Chy-Sawel and it was attended by nearly 100 delegates ranging from mental health care professionals, therapists, carers and service users. So a good mix.

The keynote speaker, Dr William Walsh, showed no signs of jet lag after his long trip across the Atlantic. A formidable world expert in nutritional medicine – and founder/president of the non-profit Walsh Research Institute based in Illinois – Dr Walsh gave three presentations covering nutritional practice and research in the treatment of Schizophrenia and Depression; Behaviour and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders; and the growing field of Epigenetics.

With over 3 million chemical test results from 30,000 patients, Dr Walsh told the conference that he now holds the world’s biggest chemistry database of this type. His research and findings are fascinating, the main message being that we need to take into account nutritional aspects of mental illness right across the board. For example, B6 deficiencies can lead to problems with serotonin levels and accompanying depression. Thyroid deficiency can cause people to be diagnosed with Schizophrenia. There was a collective intake of breath when he announced that 96% of children with ADHD show depleted levels of zinc. So there are children being treated with drugs like Ritalin, when a simple blood test and nutritional intervention could be used to address chemical imbalances.

For those wanting to learn more about Dr Walsh’s pioneering work and the field of Epigenetics – with lots of talk here about DNA make-up and brain neuro transmitters – a copy of Dr Walsh’s recently published book ‘Nutrient Power’ is essential reading. All of the available copies for sale at the conference were snapped up.

Other speakers included psychologist, David Kennard, who covered the history of therapeutic communities and Brendan Hickey, manager of the Lothlorien Therapeutic community since 1992. Both gave insights into a more holistic approach to mental health – the inspiration behind Chy Sawel’s aim to get a therapeutic mental health centre set up in Cornwall.

I left the conference literally with ‘food for thought’. I’m now planning to write a feature for one of the national newspapers and perhaps a TV documentary on the subject of nutritional links to mental illness as well.

Maggie Fogarty is a Royal Television Society award winning TV Producer and Journalist. In 2008 she co-produced an ITV Tonight documentary programme, ‘Teen Too Soon’, looking at children with early onset puberty. It was a finalist in the UK Medical Journalism Awards.

Once again, this year’s Chy-Sawel Conference, held on Thursday 18th October 2012, was a great success.

The title ‘Mental Illness in the 21st. Century’ was portrayed by our keynote speaker Dr. William Walsh who brought us the latest scientific research detailing the progression from the ‘Genome Factor’ to ‘Epigenetics’ which gives hope to so many people who suffer not only ‘Depression’ but right across the board to more severe cases like ‘Bi-Polar’ and ‘Schizophrenia.’  Dr. Walsh’s presentations were exciting and offered great hope that there is a possibility of people being able to recover.(

While medication, the main form of treatment at present offered/ given by the psychiatric system is very useful, it is not the answer as medication only masks and surpresses the problem. What people want is to recover and be able to lead a somewhat normal life.  Unfortunately, medication has so many side effects many sufferers would prefer to have the psychosis return rather than suffer the weight gain, tremors, numbed feelings, lack of emotions etc.

Our second speaker, David Kennard, gave us a history of the development of the Therapeutic Community in the UK, explaining what a therapeutic community is, how they started, developed and are run today….and hopefully in the future.

Brendan Hickey, our final speaker, also spoke about the Therapeutic Community. He has been manager of the Lothlorian Community since 1992, where he has played a pivotal role in developing its innovative approach. He played a short DVD on how the centre is run on a daily basis. (

The philosophy of Lothlorien, complemented by Dr. Walsh’s tests and treatments, gives you an idea of how we visualize the Chy-Sawel centre when set up and running.

Dr. Walsh recently had his book ‘Nutrient Power’ published by Skyhorse Publishing, should you like to purchase one it can be ordered fron Amazon or from

Conference 18th October 2012

This will be our 6th. Conference, an event we now aim to hold annually. Mental illness in it’s many guises is a major medical problem  ————–   past and current research shows that an holistic, nutrition based treatment approach is the way forward. We are dedicated to making this information available to all and to persuade the authorities that sufferers should at least be given an opportunity to try an alternative. Our ultimate goal is to open and run the Chy-Sawel Treatment Centre.

Our keynote speaker at this years conference, Dr. William Walsh —– Founder & President of the Walsh Research Institute, Illinois —– has recently had his latest book published by Skyhorse Publishing.  Signed copies will be available to purchase on the day.

Please visit our Downloads page for timetable, Alverton speakers and booking form.

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