Healing the body, healing the brain: Nutrition and exercise treatments for childhood neurodevelopmental disorders

In the absence of a clear set of recommendations from doctors for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) such as fetal alcohol, cerebral palsy, and autism spectrum disorders, many parents and children affected by NDDs turn to unproven diet- and exercise-based treatments. While some research suggests that such interventions can boost brain functioning, very few studies of these programs look at their effectiveness for NDDs. This project will produce a long-form piece of investigative journalism seeking to explore the promises and dangers of relying on diet and exercise to remedy NDD. Sidebar articles with multimedia components will further examine and provide alternative angles to the use of such non-drug treatments. Additionally, monthly articles about NDD science and related social and legal issues will be produced. Work will appear in The Vancouver Sun, in print and online versions. Ultimately, this work aims to benefit The Sun’s audience by explaining complex science and ethical concerns in plain language that accurately reflects the facts and issues. The articles will include numerous stories of real people and their struggles and provide an opportunity for empathy, interest, and understanding of children and adults affected by NDD and their families. 

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Judy Illes


Dr. Keith Rozendal


Vancouver Sun




Media and communications


University of British Columbia



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