Abbott explores brain food with the University of Illinois

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New product development Nutrition

Abbott explores brain food with the University of Illinois
Healthcare giant Abbott has announced a tie up with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to establish a multi-disciplinary research center exploring the relationship between diet and cognition.

The Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory will lead “directed and solicited research on the impact of nutrition on learning and memory” ​and​will direct an annual call for proposals designed to uncover innovative scientific research in the field.

First call for research proposals ends January 6, 2012

The first call for research proposals closes on January 6, 2012 with funding to be determined by a joint committee from Illinois and Abbott, said Abbott Nutrition’s R&D director Dr Robert Miller.

“Combining Abbott's leadership in science-based nutrition with the best-in-class capabilities at Illinois and the world's best scientific minds in the areas of nutrition, brain and cognition will allow us to advance unique and meaningful breakthroughs in this area of research.”

The University’s neuroscience program director Professor Neal Cohen said: "Enhancing learning and memory through nutrition could have truly transformative effects on childhood development and resisting the effects of aging and disease."

The center will utilize the Institute for Genomic Biology and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, plus the University's Division of Nutritional Sciences and Neuroscience Program.

Cognition is one of six areas of focus for new product development at Abbott

Abbott, which generated double-digit growth in its nutritionals division in the third quarter, said its focus for new product development is now on six areas: Cognition, immunity, lean body mass, inflammation, metabolism, and tolerance.

In a conference call with analysts in October, chief executive Miles White said the division – which includes sports nutrition brands EAS Myoplex and AdvantEGDE, weight management brands Zone Perfect and Glucerna and infant nutrition brand Similac – was on course to maintain double-digit growth driven by strong sales in China, India and Brazil.

However, sales of adult nutritional products in the US were down 1.1% in the three months to September 30.

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