Chocolate lovers rejoyce; your memory may be improved by your consumption of chocolate says the NY Times

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Chocolate lovers rejoice; your memory may be improved by your consumption of chocolate says the NY Times

A new study suggests that consuming chocolate is good for your memory. Many of us love chocolate, however, we never realized that it was good for us.

Check out this article in the NY Times

To Improve a Memory, Consider Chocolate

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Science edged closer on Sunday to showing that an antioxidant in chocolate appears to improve some memory skills that people lose with age.

In a small study in the journal Nature Neuroscience, healthy people, ages 50 to 69, who drank a mixture high in antioxidants called cocoa flavanols for three months performed better on a memory test than people who drank a low-flavanol mixture.

On average, the improvement of high-flavanol drinkers meant they performed like people two to three decades younger on the study’s memory task, said Dr. Scott A. Small, a neurologist at Columbia University Medical Center and the study’s senior author. They performed about 25 percent better than the low-flavanol group.

“An exciting result,” said Craig Stark, a neurobiologist at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the research. “It’s an initial study, and I sort of view this as the opening salvo.”

He added, “And look, it’s chocolate. Who’s going to complain about chocolate?”

The findings support recent research linking flavanols, especially epicatechin, to improved blood circulation, heart health and memory in mice, snails and humans. But experts said the new study, although involving only 37 participants and partly funded by Mars Inc., the chocolate company, goes further and was a well-controlled, randomized trial led by experienced researchers.

Besides improvements on the memory test — a pattern recognition test involving the kind of skill used in remembering where you parked the car or recalling the face of someone you just met — researchers found increased function in an area of the brain’s hippocampus called the dentate gyrus, which has been linked to this type of memory.

 

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