Study suggests hot chocolate may improve memory

Posted under Uncategorized on August 8th, 2013 by Editorial Team / No Comments

A new study reported in the online journal Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, suggests that hot chocolate may help older people keep their brains healthy. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that two cups of cocoa every day boosted blood flow to the brain and improved the memories of volunteers with narrow arteries.

The study involved 60 people with an average age of 73 who were not suffering from dementia. Participants drank two cups of hot cocoa per day for 30 days and did not eat any other chocolate. They were given memory and thinking skills tests, as well as ultrasound tests to measure the amount of blood flow to the brain.

Only the 18 members of the group with impaired blood flow saw a benefit from the hot drink. After 30 days, they experienced an 8.3% improvement in flow to working areas of the brain. Test scores of their working memory also improved, with recall times falling from an average of 167 seconds to 116 seconds.

"We're learning more about blood flow in the brain and its effect on thinking skills," said study author Farzaneh A. Sorond, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School in Boston and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer's."

Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We know that poor blood flow can affect people’s brain power because they don’t have enough fuel in their brain cells to complete tasks efficiently. From this small but interesting study, it seems that cocoa helps improve blood supply to the brain, therefore having a knock-on effect of improving people’s cognition.

“Although this could be good news for those who enjoy a relaxing hot chocolate before bed, we do need further research to better our understanding of the link between cocoa and cognition, and also whether it has any impact on dementia.”


The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


Tags: Alzheimer's, neurology, research

Fat versus thin – can thinness predict Alzheimer’s?

Posted under Blog on November 29th, 2011 by Editorial Team / No Comments

A recent study published in Neurology, November 2011, revealed that people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to have a lower body mass index (BMI).

This finding is in accordance with other research stating that people who are overweight in middle age are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease decades later than those of a normal weight.

The study assessed persons suffering from mild cognitive impairment as well as individuals with no memory problems. Those who displayed the Alzheimer’s biomarkers were also more likely to have a lower BMI than those who did not.

These results have the potential to incriminate the hypothalamus, the key player in regards to metabolism and food intake, in the development of the disease but the study’s authors noted that further research is needed to assess the direction of cause and effect.

Click here to find out more


Tags: Alzheimer's, early-stage Alzheimer's, mild cognitive impairment, neurology



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