CHOCOLATE: A MEMORY ENHANCER?

 CHOCOLATE: A MEMORY ENHANCER?

A new study at Columbia University Medical Centre found a possible connection between chocolate consumption and memory decline. A naturally occurring substance in chocolate may improve the function of a part of the brain related to natural memory loss. This is the kind of memory loss associated with age, and not the kind linked with diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The Columbia University scientists had previously conducted this study on mice, but in a follow-up study, they took 37 volunteers and randomly gave them a chocolate drink rich in flavanols (Group 1) or low in flavonols (Group 2). Flavanols are compounds made of cocoa, naturally found in chocolates, which boosted the ‘memory holding’ part of the brain.
All volunteers were aged between 50 and 69. Brain imaging and memory tests were conducted on them before and after the three-month study. It was found that in Group 1, if the participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old before the study, he displayed the memory of a typical 40-year-old after it. People in Group 2 showed no change in their memories.
This has turned the spotlight squarely onto flavanols. If we can isolate a compound that can enhance human memory by oral consumption, we can then develop drugs that contain only flavanols and give them to aging people so that their memories don’t get lost. Other scientists have called the results of this study ‘promising’, while warning that we need more comprehensive, larger studies of the same kind.
Until the miracle drug comes out, though, have a bar of chocolate.

Divya Singh

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