Participants needed for heart and brain health study


Our new study being conducted at Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, aims to explore if consuming novel milk fats can reduce future risk of heart disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Disorders associated with obesity, including heart disease, are a significant contributor to death worldwide, with diet recognised as an important modifiable risk factor. Simultaneously, dementia is a leading public health challenge. The heart and brain are closely connected. Risk factors related to heart disease, including high cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well as unhealthy blood vessels, also contribute to an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Thus, dietary approaches that have the potential to reduce dementia risk through improvements in heart and metabolic health need to be investigated.

Cow’s milk contains unique, bioactive components called ‘complex milk lipids’ which can be substantially reduced during dairy food production. Studies indicate that complex milk lipids may lower LDL cholesterol – the ‘bad’ cholesterol. Further research is necessary to learn if these novel dairy fats have positive effects on heart disease risk markers like blood vessel health and cognitive (brain) function. Therefore, we are interested in studying how milk lipid supplementation affects markers of heart and brain health, and we are inviting participants to take part.

Interested in taking part?

We would like to invite healthy males and females aged 40 – 70 years to take part in this study.

Our team are looking for participants who are:

  • Classified as overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) within the range of 25-45 kg/m². If you are unsure if you meet these criteria, we would still like to hear from you as we can check this in the laboratory
  • Non-smokers and free from any heart, metabolic or neurological disease
  • Not diabetic or taking medication for cholesterol, blood pressure, or inflammatory conditions

And are willing to:

  • Consume ready-to-mix powder shakes twice daily
  • Commit to a 2 x 4-week study period

What will happen to me if I take part?

  • Attend a 45-minute screening visit
  • Participate in a 30-minute familiarisation visit
  • Attend four 2.5-hour study visits that include body composition measurements, blood sample collection, and non-invasive (pain-free) assessments of heart health followed by computer-based tests measuring mood, anxiety, and cognition (brain function)

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

  • The knowledge gained from this study will help our research into the effects of dietary strategies aimed at reducing the risk of heart disease and cognitive impairment.
  • You will receive a small reimbursement for your time and participation.

Interested in finding out more about taking part?

Please get in touch with Aisha Borkar at or Dr Oonagh Markey at

About the researchers:

Aisha Borkar is the PhD researcher running this study at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University under the leadership of Dr Oonagh Markey.