Feeding the brain

This year’s Henry Kitchener Prize has gone to an essay exploring how different foods affect the human brain

Emilia McFadzean, a year-eight pupil at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, has won a special highly commended award in the Henry Kitchener Prize essay-writing competition. Emilia was the youngest winner in the country and, along with her certificate, she received a prize of £100 at an award ceremony in central London.

The competition for students under 18 years of age was organised by the Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour (IFBB), which is a national charity making evidence-based policy recommendations in the area of neuroscience and nutrition. The Henry Kitchener essay-writing prize was launched in 2014 in memory of Henry Third Earl Kitchener to encourage exploration into how scientific research in nutrition and neuroscience might help solve practical problems. Henry Kitchener was a physicist who was closely associated with the IFBB for over 20 years. Lady Emma Fellowes, Henry Kitchener’s niece, together with acclaimed film and TV screenwriter Lord Fellowes – creator of ‘Downton Abbey’ – presented the award.

The topic for the competition was ‘How does what we eat affect our brains?’ Emilia thought this sounded very interesting so she decided to give it a go. “I really enjoyed researching the topic, as I didn’t know that much about it before,” she says. “When writing my essay, I used fictional characters from my family to illustrate the effects of different foods on our brain. I tried to make it a little humorous as well as scientific, and I think the judges liked this.”


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