Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Cocoa May Reverse Memory Decline Caused By Aging

Cocoa contains chemicals called flavanols, which are biologically active in our body. Some exciting new research indicates that cocoa containing a high flavanol content can reverse memory decline in older adults. This could be a very significant discovery. It's important to note that the research investigated the normal memory decline associated with aging and not the severe memory loss that is part of Alzheimer's disease, though.

Cocoa Beans
Memory loss seems to be a normal part of aging in many people. It generally doesn't become significant until we reach our fifties or sixties. Forgetting the name of a new acquaintance or the location of our car keys are examples of this type of memory loss. The lapses in memory can be frustrating and embarrassing. Researchers know that the problem is linked with a part of the brain known as the dentate gyrus.

The recent research with cocoa was performed at the Columbia University Medical Center. The test subjects were given drinks of cocoa containing a high flavanol content. Unfortunately, this type of cocoa isn't available in stores. Processing of the cocoa before it's sold to the public removes many of its flavanols.

37 people were involved in the study, which is actually a very small number. The age of these people ranged from 50 to 69. Some of the test subjects were given high flavanol cocoa to drink while the rest were given low flavanol cocoa. The researchers performed brain imaging and memory tests on the subjects at the start and the end of the three month experiment.



At the end of the study, the scientists discovered that the people who had followed a high flavanol diet had significantly improved function in their dentate gyrus. In addition, people who had previously had the memory of an average person of 60 now had the memory of a person of 30 to 40 years of age.

The results of the experiment sound fantastic, but they do need to be repeated with a larger sample size. In addition, it would be great if the general public could obtain the high flavanol cocoa used in the experiment. I would definitely start drinking this if I could get it!