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Can Cocoa Help Reverse Age-Related Memory Loss?

Can Cocoa Help Reverse Age-Related Memory Loss?

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As if you needed another excuse to eat chocolate.

Here’s another reason to keep eating chocolate: scientists at Columbia University have found that the plant compounds called dietary cocoa flavanols found in cocoa could actually reverse the effects of age-related memory loss, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.

But before you go out and buy extra Halloween candy for your grandma, scientists say that most chocolate bars sold in stores would only have negligible traces of this essential ingredient, but that a concentrated dose of cocoa flavanols could actually make a difference for an older person who is suffering from memory loss. During a study, researchers found that test subjects between the ages of 50 and 69 who took the high dosage of the cocoa flavanols performed better in memory-related tests than those who took a low dosage, or no dose at all. At the end of the study, those who regularly consumed the concentrated cocoa dosage for three months had a memory that would function like a 30- or 40-year-old’s, as opposed to a 60-year-old’s.

“This well-designed but small study suggests the antioxidants found in cocoa can improve cognitive performance by improving blood flow to a certain region of the brain,” Dr. Clare Walton, researcher at the Alzheimer’s Society, told the Daily Mail.

This is the first direct evidence, said scientists who performed the study, that age-related memory problems are caused by a specific region of the brain (specifically dentate gyrus, a region of the hippocampus), and could be righted by a change in diet.

For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."


Cocoa Could Reverse Age-Related Memory Decline

A new study suggests that naturally occurring chemicals in cocoa can reverse age-related memory decline in healthy adults.

As people age, they typically experience a loss in memory. Previous research has shown that this normal decline in cognitive function is linked to changes in an area in the brain's hippocampus that's responsible for the formation of new memories, called the dentate gyrus. A team of researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in the US has now shown that consuming cocoa could reverse these changes.

“Finding the cause-and-effect relationship was the main motive for the study but even though it wasn’t our primary goal, we found that this dietary intervention can, in fact, ameliorate [improve] or even reverse age-related memory decline,” said Professor Scott Small, lead author of the study, in an interview with Gary Stix from Scientific American.

The team investigated the impact of dietary cocoa flavanols - natural ingredients found in cocoa, on the function of the dentate gyrus. In the study, 37 middle-aged participants were randomly assigned either a high-flavanol diet (900 mg of flavanols a day) or a low-flavanol diet (10 mg of flavanols a day) for a period of three months. Though the flavanols are found in cocoa, you would need to consume 25 chocolate bars to get 900 mg of flavanols.

The participants underwent brain imaging and memory tests before and after the diet to evaluate activity and memory function in the dentate gyrus. The results revealed that the participants who had a high-flavanol diet had an increased blood flow to the dentate gyrus, resulting in improved function. They also had a 33 percent improvement in memory as measured by the memory tests than those who consumed the low-flavanol diet.

“If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30- or 40-year-old,” said Small in a press release.

The team plan to repeat the study with a larger group of participants to extend their understanding of the findings, including the optimal amount of cocoa flavanols needed to experience benefits to memory. They hope that this study will help to develop a formula for a high-flavanol product for commercial use.

According to Pam Belluck from The New York Times, "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, randomised trial led by experienced researchers."