About the course

John Gannage, MD, CCFP

Nutritional and Environmental Influences on Neurodevelopment is a continuing medical education program for health care professionals. The course examines the current evidence for nutritional support of healthy neurodevelopment in children, with a focus on the influences of internal (nutrition, microbiome) and external (environmental) health.

The material presented is designed to enhance health care providers knowledge of applied nutritional biochemistry and the associated research literature pertaining to neurodevelopmental conditions in order to facilitate improved communication with patients regarding health promotion, disease prevention and preferences for treatment.

This program has been developed with generous support from the Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation

1. Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Definitions and Scope of the Problem

This introductory module outlines the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders; the standard of care including the use of psychotropic medications; and patient wait times for treatment. The current model of diagnosis and clinical assessment is compared to an integrative model focused on understanding multi-system diseases and comorbidities.

2. Children and Environmental Medicine

This module discusses key environmental factors that affect brain development and function in the context of neurodevelopment and ASD. Sources and effects of fetal and post-natal toxin exposures, as well as mechanisms of action for their negative effects are examined. An in-depth look at the roles of PCBs, Bisphenol A, pesticides, and heavy metals are examined in the context of ASD and neurodevelopment.

3. The Microbiome and Implications for Brain Health

This module discusses the importance of the gut ecosystem and its microbiome, and how the microbiome-gut-brain axis can affect brain development and function. Key influences on the infant microbiome are presented, including mode of delivery, breastfeeding and diet. Additional factors such as digestive disorders, dysbiosis, and candida are addressed, along with potential strategies for prevention and treatment.

4. Nutritional Intervention in Primary Care

This module focuses on the role of nutrition in as it pertains to ASD and mental health disorders. Dietary considerations such as reactive hypoglycemia, dairy and autoimmunity, gluten sensitivity, neuropeptides and excitotoxins are discussed. Research and the clinical use of nutrients to support metabolic conditions including oxidative stress, methylation defects, and mitochondrial dysfunction is presented.