Module code: BMSM012

Module Overview

To explain the role of nutrition and nutritional interventions affecting the brain and behaviour. 

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

RAYMAN Margaret (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 100

Lecture Hours: 12

Tutorial Hours: 10

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 14

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Some or all of the following topics

  • Information processing in the central nervous system (CNS): neuroanatomy; neuro-transmitters; receptors; brain metabolism

  • Nutrition and CNS development and function: effects of protein energy malnutrition; effects of micronutrient deficiencies e.g. iron, iodine, folate – neural tube defects; one-carbon metabolism; n-3 fatty acids

  • When can micronutrients influence IQ?

  • Nutrition and behaviour: role of carbohydrates, micronutrients, criminal behaviour, autistic spectrum disorders            

  • Dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD: role of long-chain PUFAs and other nutrients

  • Mood and food

  • Phytochemicals and cognitive functioning

  • Mitochondrial ageing and effect on memory and cognitive function

  • homocysteine, micronutrients and brain pathology

  • Parkinson's disease, B vitamins

  • Nutrition in the aetiology and management of psychiatric illness: schizophrenia, depression and long-chain PUFAs

  • Nutrition in the aetiology and management of neurodegenerative disease e.g. Alzheimer’s disease/dementia – relationship with dietary fats, obesity, micronutrients, B vitamins

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their subject knowledge and understanding (see above) and the development of their cognitive and transferable skills (see above) through the assimilation and appraisal of the literature to address the coursework questions.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework: a range of subject areas will be assessed, demonstrating learning outcomes across the range for the module. Students are required to submit electronically on a set deadline two months following the module.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive feedback electronically in SurreyLearn and Module Organisers will be available for further discussion if necessary.

Module aims

  • To set the scene for the module by giving a clear exposition of information processing in the CNS (including the role of neurotransmitters) and of brain metabolism.
  • To explain the role of nutrients and the adverse effects of nutrient deficiencies in the development and function of the CNS.
  • To understand the importance of fatty acids in brain development and function.
  • To explore the link between diet, behaviour and mood.
  • To understand the potential influence of micronutrients and phytochemicals on IQ and cognitive functioning
  • To explore the evidence on the role of long-chain PUFAs in dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD.
  • To examine the possible role of nutritional factors in the aetiology and management of psychiatric illness.
  • To appreciate the effect of mitochondrial damage on brain ageing
  • To examine the role of homocysteine in the development of dementia and the potential protective effect of micronutrients
  • To explore the role of nutrition in the aetiology and management of neurodegenerative disease e.g. Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer’s disease/dementia

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Review the mechanisms of information processing in the CNS and of brain metabolism K
002 Describe how drugs and nutrients can interact K
003 Discuss the key role of nutritional factors in the development and function of the CNS K
004 Analyse the possible effects of diet and micronutrient malnutrition on behaviour C
005 Evaluate when and how nutritional factors can contribute to the aetiology of neurodegenerative disease, CNS dysfunction and psychiatric illness C
006 Appraise the potential of dietary manipulation and the use of appropriate supplements in the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative disease, CNS dysfunction and psychiatric illness C
007 Critically appraise current research on diet and behaviour T
008 Integrate nutrition research on diet and behaviour to written essays for module assessment exercises T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to be aligned with the descriptor for qualification at level 7 in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) produced by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Workshops

  • Journal club

  • Class discussions


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMSM012

Other information

This module is only available to students on the Nutritional Medicine programme.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Nutritional Medicine MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.