Food & Mood – Auckland
September 9 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm$35 – $75
The Ancestral Health Society of New Zealand is proud to bring together in New Zealand two of the world’s leading researchers in the field of Food, Mood, and Nutritional Psychiatry – Professor Felice Jacka and Professor Julia Rucklidge – over two events (Wellington and Auckland) this coming September.
Professor Felice Jacka, Director of the Food and Mood Centre (Deakin University) and Founding President of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR), ran the first randomised control trial of a dietary intervention for major depression. Professor Julia Rucklidge leads the Nutrition and Mental Health Research Group (Canterbury University) and her research has focused on the role of micronutrients as a therapy for various mental health experiences. Both speakers bring a wealth of knowledge to this area and will make for a fascinating day to have them both speak.
Both these women are world leaders in the field of nutritional psychiatry who conduct trailblazing research and work hard to bring awareness to the role of nutrition in psychological wellbeing. We are thrilled to have them join us for this event and to share their work with our community.
Additional guest speakers at each event venue to be announced in due course.
Professor Felice Jacka
Diet and Brain Health Over The Life Course
With depressive disorders the leading source of disability globally, the identification of new targets for prevention and management is imperative. The 20th century has seen major shifts in dietary intakes globally, with a marked increase in the consumption of sugars, snack foods, take-away foods and high-energy foods. At the same time, the consumption of nutrient-dense foods, such as high-nutrient vegetables and raw fruits, is diminishing. Unhealthy diet, as a key contributor to the high prevalence noncommunicable diseases, is now recognised as the leading risk factor for early mortality globally. However, there is now overwhelming body of evidence to tell us that unhealthy diet is also a key risk factor for psychiatric illnesses, including depression, anxiety and dementia.
Taken together with the evidence concerning the influence of physical activity and smoking on the risk for and treatment outcomes in many mental disorders, these findings highlight the fact that while “there is no health without mental health”, the opposite is also true.
Professor Jacka has pioneered and expedited the development of a robust body of evidence regarding the influence of lifestyle behaviours, particularly diet, on common mental disorders and is now recognised as a research leader in this field. In this presentation, she will provide an up-to-date, critical assessment of the evidence regarding the impact of diet quality on depression, anxiety across age groups and countries. She will then address the rapidly developing evidence base pointing to diet as a critically important and modifiable risk factor in parents prior to conception and in pregnant mothers and their children. She will particularly focus on the new evidence for the microbiome-gut-brain axis in mood and behavior. Finally, she will discuss new evidence for diet as a clinical strategy for improving mental and brain health and address the future research imperatives in this field.
Professor Felice Jacka is internationally recognized as a leader in the rapidly developing field of research focused on Nutritional Psychiatry and is the President of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR).
Professor Julia Rucklidge
A New Mental Health Model: Innovations in Nutritional Therapy
Professor Rucklidge’s interests in nutrition and mental health grew out of her own research showing poor outcomes for children with significant psychiatric illness despite receiving conventional treatments for their conditions. In the last decade, she and her lab has been running clinical trials investigating the role of broad-spectrum micronutrients in the expression of mental health issues, specifically ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety and stress associated with the Canterbury earthquakes. Julia has over 100 peer reviewed publications and book chapters, has been frequently featured in the media, and has given invited talks all over the world on her work on nutrition and mental health. She was the recipient of the Ballin Award 2015 from the NZ Psychologist Society, an award that recognises notably significant contributions to the development or enhancement of clinical psychology in Aotearoa New Zealand. She was also named in the top 100 Most Influential Women in New Zealand in 2015 and received a Braveheart award in 2018 for her contribution to making Christchurch a better place to live. Her 2014 TEDx talk has been viewed over 900,000 times.
Professor Julia Rucklidge is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology and the Director of the Mental Health and Nutrition Research Group. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she completed her PhD at the University of Calgary in clinical psychology followed by a two year post-doctoral fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. In 2000, she joined the Department of Psychology where she teaches child psychology in the Clinical Psychology Programme.