Food for vigilance

Food for vigilance






Landbouw, Water, Voedsel>D. Gewaardeerd, gezond en veilig voedsel>D1. Waardecreatie en verdienvermogen






A growing number of professionals work in very complex environments or work under stressful circumstances with tasks that require a continuous vigilant state. These professionals are for example found in air traffic control, airplane piloting, emergency work, etc., both in civil and military contexts. Even a tiny lapse in their alertness can carry large risks for themselves and others. This project investigates the possible role of food ingredients to improve vigilance.

The project goals are to optimise vigilance, and related cognitive skills, through effects that food and specific ingredients can have on vigilance related cognitive functioning.
The context is one of professionals whose tasks require a continuous vigilant state, i.e. professionals who are in very complex environments, work under stressful circumstances.

The project is organised in two research lines:

RL1: focus is on food products/ingredients with a short time frame between intake and expected effect on vigilance. This will be tested in a simulated complex working environment for pilots or pilot students.

RL2: focus is on food products/ingredients which need to be taken for a longer period of time (5-6 weeks), before an effect on vigilance is expected to take place. These ingredients will be tested in a real life military exercise environment where military participants have to function under physical and mental stress.

Doel van het project

Research Line 1:
• Protocol for the study has been written (design, participants, methodology)
• Ethical approval is obtained (SEC).
• Recruitment is started.
• Test battery has been prepared (Multi-Attribute Task Battery; NASA MATB-II; simple lab-based tests (i.e. Psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) and auditory odd ball test), Questionnaires, Eye Tracking measures, physiological measures.
• Drafting pre-registration

Research Line 2:
• Protocol for the study has been written and submitted to the METC.
• Recruitment of participants (groups of military personnel) was initiated and discussed with several groups within Defense. The first year officer training seems a good target group but due to corona this intervention will not take place before September 2021.
• Product development (optimisation of the supplement; formulation of the placebo) and production are ongoing.
• Computer based cognition tests have been developed and questionnaires selected.
• Measurements are expected to take place in September 2021.

b. Results incl publications
2020 was largely focused on the preparation of the two studies. Protocols are ready. The experimental work will start in 2021.

c. Did bottle necks occur? Please explain
RL1 faced different bottlenecks. Firstly, there was disagreement between different METCs on whether the study needed METC approval, or whether approval of the Social Ethical Committee was sufficient. This, in combination with the corona measures, caused a delay in the planning of about two to three months.

RL2 also faced different bottlenecks. The main bottleneck was the corona situation. Standard trainings had to be reorganized and online classes developed and practical /real-life activities minimized of performed with fewer persons together. This made it hard to incorporate the intervention in their educational program. We now hope we can run the study in September 2021. This means a delay of 1 year compared to the original planning. Other bottlenecks were that we had to postpone the submission of the METC application until we had clarity about the group of possible participants. Lastly, the planning of the work is complicated by the period required for production of the supplement to be tested and the shelf life.

d. Did NAPRO emerge at the end of 2020? Please explain the cause
Yes. The delays in the execution of the study resulted in NAPRO. The cause for the delay has been indicated above (2.c) and in a mutation form.

Geplande acties

Research Line 1:
• Submitting preregistration of the study (March)
• Execution of the study (February-April 2021)
• Data analyses
• Drafting and submitting a scientific publication

Research Line 2:
• METC protocol: update and approval.
• Recruitment of participants
• Production of the supplement and placebo
• Execution of the study (September – October)
• Data analysis and publication.

Naam projectleider

Monique Vingerhoeds