News: Jan 08, 2014
Many NeuroFAST scientists make an active contribution to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching within their home institution. The advent of new multi-disciplinary courses drawing students from a wide range of academic backgrounds from across the University of Aberdeen gave NeuroFAST scientist Julian Mercer the opportunity to build on the successful British Science Festival event held in 2012 (PMID: 23493065) and get students to consider whether the case for ‘food addiction’ is proven or not. The course, ‘An appetite for food and health’, attracted over 150 students in its first year, and used innovative assessment methods including the production of a 10 minute podcast. Here, randomly-selected groups of students identified one of the topics covered in the taught component of the course and produced a podcast in a debate format. The podcasts produced on the food addiction theme, while drawing upon the lecture material, contained a range of additional material that presumably reflected the main courses being studied by those students – e.g. psychology, geography, computer science, religious studies, management studies. There were interesting differences in style, outcome and even recording venue! The overall sentiment regarding the widespread existence of food addiction was skepticism, with recognition that casual use of such terminology is not helpful either to those individuals for whom such a relationship with food does exist, or to the wider population where it almost certainly does not.