Module code: BMSM012

Module Overview

To explain the role of diet, nutrition, and nutritional interventions that can affect the brain, nervous system and behaviour so students will have a fuller understanding of these very important issues. The importance of brain-microbiome interactions will also be covered now we recognise the importance of the microbiome to other nutrition and health issues. Students will have the experience of a “Brain” dinner where they will be exposed to foods important to the brain.

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: 3

Independent Learning Hours: 80

Lecture Hours: 18.5

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 42

Captured Content: 1.5

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes some or all of the following topics:

  • Overview of CNS neuroanatomy, neurotransmission and brain metabolism

  • Nutrition and brain development

  • Child neurodevelopment: emphasis on fatty acids, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD

  • Diet-microbiome-brain interactions

  • Nutrition and prevention of dementia

  • The role of essential fatty acids in major mental health disorders

  • Epilepsy and the ketogenic diet

  • The relation between diet, obesity and cognitive health

  • Food addiction

  • Impact of dietary flavonoids on brain function

  • Nutrition and autism

  • Diet, nutrition and criminal behaviour

  • “Brain-food” dinner

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

  • the application of their knowledge in practical settings

  • critical thinking

  • their use of the evidence base of appropriate literature

  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.

  • The questions cover a variety of approaches to test skills and knowledge and the students’ ability to explain them (e.g. to employers)

  • The questions allow students to develop areas including essay writing, data analysis, written communication skills, and practical application of knowledge.

  • Students are required to submit electronically on a set deadline approximately two months (dependent on time of year) following the module.


  Formative assessment:

  • Students engage in group work, presentations, scenario-based activity, development of a diet for a particular health situation and receive formative feedback from the organiser and their peers. 


  • Students will receive marks and written feedback on their summative assessments.

  • They will receive feedback during the module in interactive sessions.

  • The Module Organiser is available for further discussion both during and after the Module.

Module aims

  • Give a clear exposition of information processing in the central nervous system (CNS), including the role of neuroanatomy, neurotransmitters and brain metabolism
  • Explain the role of micronutrients (e.g. iron), in brain development
  • Explore the evidence for the role of fatty acids in child neurodevelopment and of long-chain PUFAs in dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD
  • Explain the role of diet-microbiome-brain interactions
  • Explain the role of essential fatty acids in major mental health disorders
  • Explore the role of nutrition (e.g. B vitamins) in the aetiology and management of neurodegenerative disease including Alzheimer¿s disease/dementia
  • Understand the potential influence of micronutrients and dietary flavonoids on cognitive function
  • Understand how epilepsy can be treated by the ketogenic diet
  • Explore the link between diet and behaviour including the relationship between obesity and cognitive health
  • Understand food addiction
  • Understand the use of dietary methods in the management of autism
  • Explore the data on the role of nutrition in criminal behaviour

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Review the mechanisms of information processing in the CNS including the role of neuroanatomy, neurotransmitters and brain metabolism KC
002 Explain the key role of micronutrients (e.g. iron) and fatty acids in brain development and of long-chain PUFAs in dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD KC
003 Describe the importance of diet-microbiome-brain interactions KC
004 Evaluate when and how nutritional factors can contribute to the aetiology of neurodegenerative disease and how nutritional factors can reduce its progression KCP
005 Explore the potential of dietary manipulation and the use of appropriate nutritional treatment in the treatment and prevention of psychiatric illness KCP
006 Explain the treatment of epilepsy by the ketogenic diet KP
007 Compare food addiction with other addictions KP
008 Explain the role of diet, micronutrients and dietary flavonoids in influencing behaviour and cognitive function KP
009 Understand the use of dietary methods in the management of autism KP
010 Critically appraise the research on the role of nutrition in criminal behaviour KPT

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) and also to

  • engage students with different learning backgrounds to use and share their own experiences and contribute to group discussions

  • show the wealth of applications in optimising the effects of ageing through lectures on specific topics from experts on diet and nutrition in those fields.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Class discussions – these are vital to students’ understanding and sharing of their experience and perspectives. 

  • Case reports – students may be able to participate in these

  • Journal club with student interaction

  • Being exposed to foods important to the brain at the “Brain-food” dinner

  • Student presentations on the points discussed – this should help students relate to future interaction with employers.

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

Can be taken as a stand–alone module.



Students gain exposure to speakers from a range of different specialties, including experts in research and clinical settings allowing them to see what possibilities may be open to them.  They learn to deal with problems outside their own experience which will give them a wider range of skills and competence when seeking a new job. The assessments are designed to deal with exposure to real issues in professional life, for example consideration of nutritional issues from a consultation. Students will learn to discuss knowledgeably the role of diet and nutrition in brain and behaviour function.


Resourcefulness and Resilience:

Students are required to apply their knowledge and resourcefulness to solve developmental and mental health problems where nutrition is relevant.  Through critically appraising research studies and gathering and interpreting evidence, they develop resilience.  The nature of the assessments, exposure to foods important for the brain and formative activities in class are such that students will be required to draw upon their individual and collective resourcefulness, often working in partnership with other students to work through cases and suggest solutions. 


Digital Capabilities:

During the module, students use the online virtual learning environment, SurreyLearn, which is set up to facilitate the learning on the module. Some material is available as pre-recorded content. Students are encouraged to search the literature thoroughly to assess previous research and create appropriate recommendations.  As in other modules, students are encouraged to work together in groups, utilising collaborative digital tools, discussion boards, Zoom and Microsoft Office and SurreyLearn to communicate.  


Global and cultural capabilities:

Students will gain an appreciation of both the cultural and international issues that can present barriers to meeting dietary recommendation that are important to the brain and how these can be overcome.  Encouraging students to share their own diverse cultures is informative and may show them other ways of dealing with a particular issue.

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 2025/6 academic year.