Co­coa brain boost

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

A chem­i­cal found in co­coa could im­prove blood flow in a part of the brain that helps with mem­ory, a study has found.

The re­search, pub­lished in Na­ture Neu­ro­science on­line, found that tak­ing co­coa fla­vanols ap­peared to im­prove older peo­ple’s per­for­mance in mem­ory tests.

Pre­vi­ous stud­ies had shown that changes in a part of the brain called the ‘‘den­tate gyrus’’ were as­so­ci­ated with mem­ory de­cline.

The re­searchers used a spe­cially pre­pared co­coa drink, which gave par­tic­i­pants a dose of fla­vanols.

Most meth­ods of pro­cess­ing co­coa re­move many of the fla­vanols.

The 37 vol­un­teers, aged be­tween 50 and 69, who took part in the study were given a 20-minute pat­tern­recog­ni­tion ex­er­cise. Those given the high- fla­vanol drink per­formed sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter.

Scott Small, of Columbia Univer­sity med­i­cal cen­tre, the study’s se­nior au­thor, said if a par­tic­i­pant had the mem­ory of a typ­i­cal 60- year- old at the be­gin­ning, ‘‘after three months that per­son on av­er­age had the mem­ory of a typ­i­cal 30 or 40-year-old’’.

Adam Brick­man, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of neu­ropsy­chol­ogy at Columbia Univer­sity, added: ‘‘When we im­aged our re­search sub­jects’ brains, we found no­tice­able im­prove­ments in the func­tion of the den­tate gyrus in those who had the high-co­coa-fla­vanol drink.’’

Fla­vanols ex­tracted from co­coa beans had pre­vi­ously been found to im­prove neu­ronal con­nec­tions in the den­tate gyrus of mice.

The high- fla­vanol for­mula used in the study has also been shown to im­prove car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

The re­searchers said the prod­uct was not the same as choco­late. Fla­vanols also oc­cur nat­u­rally in tea leaves and some fruits and vegetables, although the amounts and types vary.

Cog­ni­tive neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist at Gold­smiths Col­lege, Univer­sity of London, Ashok Jansari, said the study was ‘‘ ex­cit­ing’’, adding: ‘‘ The au­thors have made a sign­f­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to help­ing us im­prove our cog­ni­tive health.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.