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How does diet affect cognitive function? Research opportunity in Auckland area

Reach study

Reach studyAre you aged 65-74 and based in the Auckland area? Researchers at Massey University in Albany are looking for participants to help them understand how diet affects cognitive function as people age.

To say thank you, participants will receive a $50 voucher, breakfast and a copy of their body composition, blood lipid, blood glucose and blood pressure assessments.

As people get older, it’s important to optimise cognitive function for as long as possible. Having a healthy diet and lifestyle are important in preventing cognitive decline.

However, to date most research has focused on single nutrients (eg. omega 3) and foods (eg. fish). This has several limitations as people do not consume foods and nutrients in isolation but as combinations of foods and nutrients resulting in dietary patterns. ‘Dietary patterns’ (a relatively new approach to assessing dietary intake) capture the overall complexity of the diet.

Overseas research has linked dietary patterns to health outcomes including cognitive function. However, very little research has considered dietary patterns in the context of genetics, and other lifestyle factors (eg. physical activity).

This study aims to identify dietary patterns in older adults living in New Zealand and explore their association with cognitive function and other health outcomes associated with aging.


Can you help?

The REACH study is currently looking for participants who should: 

  • be between 65-74 years of age
  • be living independently (not requiring assistance with daily activities or 24/7 skilled nursing)
  • be proficient in English
  • not have had a diagnosis of dementia.
  • not have or have had any of the following conditions which may cause impairments in cognitive function: stroke, traumatic head/brain injury, have a neurological or psychiatric condition.
  • not be colour blind.
  • not be taking medication which may influence cognitive function.

Due to the type of study this is we can only include one person from any household. However, you are welcome to bring a family member or support person with you.

Participants will be required to:

  • Complete a short screening questionnaire
  • Visit the Massey University Human Nutrition Research Unit in Albany to:
  • Answer some questionnaires
  • Complete tests measuring cognitive function, grip strength & body composition
  • Provide a small blood sample
  • Complete some questions about your food intake at home


Please click here to register your interest or click here to view the full information sheet


This study is being conducted by the School of Sport, Exercise & Nutrition at Massey University. Please note the GrownUps is not responsible for the study and participants take part in the research at their own risk. 

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern A, Application 17/69. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please contact Dr Lesley Batten, Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Southern A, telephone 06 356 9099 x 85094, email