NICM HRI Seminar 2021: The impact of diet on mood and cognition

Event Name NICM HRI Seminar 2021: The impact of diet on mood and cognition
Start Date 22 Feb 2021 2:00 pm

NICM Health Research Institute presents Dr Heather Francis, Lecturer in Clinical Neuropsychology, Macquarie University; and Senior Clinical Neuropsychologist, Royal North Shore Hospital Neurology Department.

Join guest seminar speaker, Dr Francis, as she discusses her latest research into diet on mood and cognition.

As a postdoctoral researcher and practicing clinical neuropsychologist. Dr Francis' research investigates the effects of diet on neurological function, and methods for improving cognitive and emotional functioning in individuals with disorders that affect the brain. Her studies have examined the effect of Western-style diets, high in saturated fat, refined sugar and processed foods, on cognition and mood. And conversely, the therapeutic potential of consuming a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet on improving symptoms of depressed mood. Recently, she has also conducted a randomised controlled trial demonstrating that improving diet can improve depressed mood in young adults.


In animals, consumption of a Western style diet - high in saturated fat and added sugar - can cause rapid (i.e. within 3-5 days) impairments in hippocampal dependent learning and memory. Dr Francis' work has sought to investigate whether something similar happens to the human hippocampus when it is exposed to a Western style diet. Conversely, Western style diet has been linked to depression. In this presentation, Dr Francis will  present her results of a randomised controlled trial supporting the idea that improving diet can result in improvements to mood.

How to join and requirements:

Our online seminars use the Zoom platform. Joining the webinar is easy. If you don’t already use Zoom don’t worry, Zoom will download automatically when you click the link to join the webinar. This link will be provided to you in a confirmation email upon registration, and is the easiest and more direct way to join the webinar. Alternatively you can go to the Zoom website (opens in a new window) and enter the Meeting ID (provided in the confirmation email) and click join. Otherwise, you can also dial in on the phone number (provided in the confirmation email). If you have any questions before the day, please contact our seminar programs team at

To ensure a seamless learning experience, please follow these simple steps:

  • Save the session details in your calendar for easy reference
  • Check the guidelines available on the Zoom website,(opens in a new window) along with recommendations for peripheral devices
  • Use a stable broadband internet connection or phone line
  • Connect or dial in 10-minutes early

Please note this webinar will not require a webcam or audio for participants. This webinar will have the Q&A function available for questions at the end of the webinar and a recording may also be made available to participants.

Webinar recording disclaimer:

The presenter’s video and audio (including screen shared content) will be recorded. As attendees, your video and audio are not being transmitted and you will not be visible or heard during the webinar.  You will also not be recorded. Further to this, a recording of this webinar may be published online for reference. Attendees will not be visible or heard in this recording. Participation in the ‘Chat’, ‘Question and Answer’ and/or ‘Poll’ sections of the webinar is completely optional. Any personal information collected by Western Sydney University during the webinar will be handled in accordance with its Privacy Policy and Privacy Management Plan which can be accessed online at

Event details

WHEN: Monday 22 February 2021
TIME: 2.00pm - 3.00pm AEDT (Please note change of time from originally 12.00pm)
VENUE: Zoom webinar 
COST: Free and open to all
RSVP: Registrations for this event closed at 12pm AEDT, Thursday 18 February