Enhancing children's cognitive function and achievement through carotenoid consumption: The Integrated Childhood Ocular Nutrition Study (iCONS) protocol

Corinne N. Cannavale, Shelby A. Keye, Laura Rosok, Shelby Martell, Tori A. Holthaus, Ginger Reeser, Lauren B. Raine, Sean P. Mullen, Neal J. Cohen, Charles H. Hillman, Billy R. Hammond, Lisa Renzi-Hammond, Naiman A. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lutein and zeaxanthin (L + Z) are carotenoids that accumulate in neural tissue and potentially confer benefits to cognition. Whereas cross-sectional studies have revealed positive associations between macular carotenoids (MC) and cognition, no studies have investigated whether L + Z supplementation impacts MC and cognition in childhood. Accordingly, the Integrated Childhood Ocular Nutrition Study aims to investigate the impact of L + Z supplementation over 9-months on academic abilities, attentional control, memory, and MC among preadolescent children. Children 8–10 years (N = 288) will enroll in a 9-month double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. The study is registered and approved as a clinical trial on the U.S. National Library of Medicine http://ClinicalTrials.gov registry (NCT05177679). Participants will be randomized into an active (10 mg lutein+2 mg zeaxanthin) or waitlist placebo-controlled group. Primary outcomes include hippocampal-dependent memory, attentional inhibition, and academic achievement using a spatial reconstruction task, an Eriksen flanker task, and the Kaufman Test of Academic and Educational Achievement 3rd edition, respectively. Secondary outcomes include event-related brain potentials of attentional resource allocation and information processing speed (i.e., P3/P300 amplitude and latency) recorded during the flanker task. Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) will be assessed using heterochromatic flicker photometry. Cognitive assessments will be completed prior to and after completion of the supplementation period. MPOD will be quantified prior to, at the mid-point of (4–5 months), and after (9 months) the supplementation period. It is hypothesized that L + Z supplementation will improve cognition and academic achievement. Further, benefits for cognition and achievement are anticipated to be mediated by increases in MC among treatment group participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106964
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Academic achievement
  • Attentional control
  • Lutein
  • Memory
  • Randomized-controlled trial
  • Zeaxanthin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancing children's cognitive function and achievement through carotenoid consumption: The Integrated Childhood Ocular Nutrition Study (iCONS) protocol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this