Food from the brain wants your money

to fund ‘research’. I’ve cut and pasted their email flyer, below. It’s very odd. Their test, which I’ve scrutinised here, is not a reliable screening test. See also  here.

As the flyer below say of their online test, FFTB have ‘still to test its diagnostic ability’. This is the same company that will write to GPs after a person has a low score, saying this.  I find this pretty dreadful. I’d love to know how many non evidence based nutritional supplements they have sold off the back of these tests.

FOOD FOR THE BRAIN E-NEWS Evidence Sharp Mind Good Mood Smart Kids
Which project interests you?

Last year over half a million people visited our website looking for information on Alzheimer’s prevention, depression, schizophrenia and children’s mental health.

The Alzheimer’s Prevention Project

In March we launched this project with the free on-line Cognitive Function test, which has been completed by over 90,000 people. The test is validated against the paper and pencil tests used to diagnose Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), but now we need to run a study on people with diagnosed MCI to be able to test its diagnostic ability. We would also like to develop a version for doctors to use, and to keep the free public version running, but this costs money for servers and support. To do all this will cost us £6,000.

The Schizophrenia Project

One in a hundred suffer from this disease, which both ruins and takes many lives, yet the results we get with nutritional therapy are really good. But how do you prove this and help let more people know there is a way out? We’ve been funding an MSc student for the past two years, who has been researching the many promising aspects of the nutritional treatment of schizophrenia and will soon start a trial, through our Brain Bio Centre clinic. The total cost is around £50,000 – we have £37,000 to go – roughly £12,000 per annum for the next three years.

Smart Kids Project

Children’s nutrition is not getting better. Awareness among parents of the link between good nutrition early in life, mental health and academic performance is poor, as is available information and guidance. We’ve designed a web-based project to reach thousands of young mums, giving them concrete steps to make a positive difference to their child’s physical and mental development. We hope to run a pilot study in a nursery school to give parents and schools a blueprint to follow. Our aim is to have this project televised. This will cost us £3,000.

General funding

We run Food for the Brain on a shoe string, part-manned by volunteers. Last year’s wages bill was under £10,000. However, because of the current economic climate donations have dried up and we lost £10,000. That’s about the sum we need every year to keep offering these invaluable services that meet a real need, helping hundreds of thousands of people. £10 helps us reach 500 people. That’s good value.

Please help

We welcome any donation, however small, but to guarantee our ability to keep helping and informing people, we need a pledged £10,000 a year. That’s only ten people giving £1000 a year, or twenty people giving £500 a year. Would you consider being one of those people?

Alternatively, perhaps there’s one of these projects you’d really like to support with a specific donation? You can make a Gift Aided (tax deductible) donation online or call 07966 406263 or email us on

Anything you can give goes a really long way to help give people concrete ways of supporting mental heaOKlth through nutrition. Without Food for the Brain people simply wouldn’t know what is possible. Please help us to keep spreading the word.

Suzanne Gardner-Cuthbert – Volunteer Fund Raiser
Patrick Holford – Chief Executive Officer

Become a FRIEND of Food for the Brain and support our Alzheimer's and schizophrenia research. DO YOU NEED HELP? Come to the Brain Bio Centre, our outpatient clinic.

Take the Cognitive Function Test to assess your risk.

Get the 3 CD set from our panel of international experts.

11 Responses to “Food from the brain wants your money”

  1. Dr Aust September 29, 2011 at 11:48 pm #


    Food for the brain, of course, rather than ‘from’, but agreed the whole thing is distinctly unseemly. But then again, what can you expect from Patrick the media’s favourite celebrity pill pusher?

    I hope the academics whose names Holford invokes, namely Messrs Salthouse, DeJager and (David) Smith are supping with a long spoon, as the saying goes.

  2. Mark Struthers September 30, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    Do you remember Smith, Dr Richard ‘trickey-dickey’ Smith, former editor of the BMJ and now high-flying corporate operative working for UnitedHealth Europe? In April 2003, Smith, editor in chief and responsible for all the journal contained, published this obituary of David Horrobin.

    It is difficult to imagine a more spiteful and frankly nasty piece of hack journalism written so soon after the death of a highly accomplished medical scientist. Why did Smith commission this piece? Who was this unpleasant, hack journalist – and why did she write it? What’s it got to do with brain food? Use your brain, Dr Aust. Why?

  3. Mark Struthers September 30, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    Medical journals are an extension of the marketing arm of pharmaceutical companies …

    Why did the editor of the BMJ carry out a post-mortem character assassination on Professor David Horrobin? I suspect that DrAust’s brain is somewhat undernourished … so I’ll provide a clue,

    Any thoughts, Draust?

    PS. I’m currently reading David Horrobin’s book ‘the Madness of Adam and Eve: how schizophrenia shaped humanity’. As the Guardian noted on the back cover, Horrobin happened “to be one of our finest original thinkers in medicine.”

  4. Mark Struthers September 30, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    The genuinely open minded and curious about food and the brain – i.e. proper scientists – may be interested in this charitable organisation,

    The FAB Research Scientific advisory board comprises

  5. Mark Struthers September 30, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    I couldn’t get through to the website to scrutinise the ‘test’ and then personally gauge its likely reliability as a screening test for anything. I am aware though that a lot of GPs will quickly use the highly dubious PHQ-9 test to tick a QOF box – first and foremost – and then dash off a prescription for a ‘corporate happy pill’ that will then go on repeat prescription for years and years and years and be virtually impossible to stop by patient or doctor.

  6. Margaret McCartney
    margaretmccartney September 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    a screening test needs evidence, not just our opinion of it.
    If you look back at what I’ve been writing about, the overuse of antidepressants and the uselessness of the pfizer-developed PHQ is a recurrent theme.
    We should though apply the same standards of evidence to the supplements industry as we do to the pharmaceutical industry. Supplements and CAM are big business too.

  7. Mark Struthers September 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm #


    Why did the editor of the BMJ carry out a post-mortem character assassination on Professor David Horrobin?

    Could it be because the Prozac business is so much bigger – and nastier – than supplements and CAM, whatever the evidence? And btw, what evidence can we really trust these days?

  8. Derek Tunnicliffe October 1, 2011 at 5:34 pm #


    The only person who could answer your question “Why did “tricky dicky” publish such an obituary of David Horrobin?” is “tricky dicky” himself. To ask anyone else is simply to add speculation upon speculation.

    I think you’ve made your own views on the matter quite clear. Oh, and thank you for the helpful links you provided.

  9. Derek Tunnicliffe October 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm #


    I forgot to mention that the Wikipedia page on David Horrobin is not too praising of him or his work. eg the first thing mentioned is that he was “an entrepreneur”.

    This page has been there for some time and no-one appears to have challenged it.

  10. Mark Struthers October 2, 2011 at 10:08 am #


    Do you think Smithie would actually provide an truthful answer to your question?

    No, to get to the truth of the matter we would need to get all sciencey … that is, make a hypothesis, e.g. ‘Smithie is an obnoxious pharma shill’, look closely at the evidence – forensic psychiatric evidence included – speculate and speculate again, and then draw an honest, evidence-based conclusion. What about the evidence, Margaret?

  11. Mark Struthers October 2, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Derek – and Margaret

    Further evidence to consider when speculating on the alternative hypothesis that “Smithie is an unpleasant and insincere individual”, are the following BMJ articles that eventually followed the Horrobin obituary,

    … and the letter from Professor Huw Davies that followed on from Sharon Davies’ little homily on behalf of her editor in chief.

    PS. Sorry if all this seems a bit too sciencey