Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 14th 2015 Contents A28
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, November 14, 2015
Eating dark chocolate rich in cacao has been
linked with numerous benefits, including stress
reduction and improved heart health, but a new
study has revealed it can potentially make your
brain smarter and improve memory.
Dark chocolate, which is 70 per cent cacao, is a
major source of flavonoids---powerful antioxidant
and anti-inflammatory components that are known
to be beneficial to cardiovascular health.
The California team s initial studies at Loma Linda
University have shown that absorbed cacao flavonoids
penetrate and accumulate in regions of the brain
associated with learning and memory.
"We are tremendously excited about what these
findings could potentially mean for brain health,"
said Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, who led the team. "This
may open the door for potential restorative uses for
individuals with memory/recall or dementia and
Berk now believes consumption of the cacao results
in nerve-altering and protective proteins that promote
nerve cell growth, increase brain function and brain
communication, improve blood flow and promote
the formation of blood vessels in the brain and sensory
"We have for the first time shown that there is a
possible connection of neuroelectric activities that
initiate the mechanisms of cacao s beneficial effects
on brain reasoning and intellect, synchronisation,
memory, recall, mood and behaviour."
Cacao can regulate various levels of sensory aware-
ness and increase the density of different electroen-
cephalographic (EEG) frequencies. The most profound
finding is that the EEG gamma wave band frequency
associated with the brain s highest level of mental
processing, enhanced memory and recall, and phys-
Berk says that this study provides unbiased evidence
that (EEG) gamma wave band frequency ( BA) is
Customised physical therapy may provide more
relief for lower back pain than general advice on
the best ways to remain active, an Australian
Researchers offered 300 patients with lower back
pain two advice sessions explaining the source of
their discomfort and providing instruction on
proper lifting techniques. Roughly half of them
also got ten treatment sessions of personalised
physical therapy over ten weeks.
The physical therapy group had significantly
greater reductions in activity limitations at ten, 26
and 52 weeks than the advice group and they also
had less back pain at five, ten and 26 weeks.
"Our findings suggest that advice works for
many people but that individualised physical therapy
achieves more rapid reduction in pain and in the
long term superior improvements in function/dis-
ability," lead study author Jon Ford of La Trobe
University in Bundoora, Australia said by email.
Low-back disorders are one of the most common
afflictions that bring people to the doctor, and
many of these patients with acute problems have
persistent symptoms for at least a year, Ford and
colleagues note in the British Journal of Sports
To be included in the study, patients needed to
have experienced pain for six weeks to six months
and have one of five specific types of back pain:
disc herniation, reducible disc pain, non-reducible
disc pain, joint pain or multifactorial persistent
pain. (British Journal of Sports Medicine)
helps lower back pain
Study confirms brain, memory
benefit from eating dark chocolate
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
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started by cacao consumption, with later modulation
for brain, behavioural and physiological benefits.
Berk feels that neuroelectric activity initiated by
cacao flavonoids on brain state will need further
investigation, but also senses that it is the wave of
the future for assessing effects on brain state mod-
ulation by healthy chocolate.
Further studies are in progress by Berk s research
team at Loma Linda University Health to build on
the findings. Berk presented the findings in Chicago
in late October at Neuroscience 2015.
A recent study shows that absorbed cacao flavonoids from dark chocolate
accumulate in regions of the brain associated with learning and memory.
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