Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2017 Contents improve our cognition?
"Regular intake of cocoa and chocolate could indeed
provide beneficial effects on cognitive functioning
over time. There are, however, potential side effects
of eating cocoa and chocolate. Those are generally
linked to the caloric value of chocolate, some inher-
ent chemical compounds of the cocoa plant such as
caffeine and theobromine, and a variety of additives
we add to chocolate such as sugar or milk."
(Source: Frontiers via Science Daily )
A26 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Saturday, July 1, 2017
A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands---a
phrase commonly used to justify one's choco-
late snacking behaviour. A phrase now shown to
actually harbour some truth, as the cocoa bean
is a rich source of flavanols: a class of natural
compounds that has neuroprotective effects.
In their recent review published in Frontiers in
Nutrition, Italian researchers examined the availa-
ble literature for the effects of acute and chronic ad-
ministration of cocoa flavanols on different cognitive
domains. In other words: what happens to your brain
up to a few hours after you eat cocoa flavanols, and
what happens when you sustain such a cocoa flavanol
enriched diet for a prolonged period of time?
Although randomised controlled trials investigating
the acute effect of cocoa flavanols are sparse, most of
them point towards a beneficial effect on cognitive
performance. Participants showed, among others,
enhancements in working memory performance and
improved visual information processing after having
had cocoa flavanols. And for women, eating cocoa
after a night of total sleep deprivation actually coun-
teracted the cognitive impairment (ie less accuracy
in performing tasks) that such a night brings about.
Promising results for people that suffer from chronic
sleep deprivation or work shifts.
It has to be noted though, that the effects depended
on the length and mental load of the used cognitive
tests to measure the effect of acute cocoa consump-
tion. In young and healthy adults, for example, a high
demanding cognitive test was required to uncover
the subtle immediate behavioural effects that cocoa
flavanols have on this group.
The effects of relatively long-term ingestion of
cocoa flavanols (ranging from five days up to three
months) has generally been investigated in elder-
ly individuals. It turns out that for them cognitive
performance was improved by a daily intake of co-
coa flavanols. Factors such as attention, processing
speed, working memory, and verbal fluency were
greatly affected. These effects were, however, most
pronounced in older adults with a starting memory
decline or other mild cognitive impairments.
So should cocoa become a dietary supplement to
Yes, chocolate is good for you
---or at least, your memory
For elderly people, cognitive performance
was improved by a daily intake of cocoa
flavanols (in chocolate); attention, processing
speed, working memory, and verbal fluency
were greatly affected, studies show.
A "painless" sticking
plaster flu jab that deliv-
ers vaccine into the skin
has passed important safety
tests in the first trial in people.
The patch has a hundred tiny hair-like microneedles
on its adhesive side that penetrate the skin's surface.
It is simple enough for people to stick on them-
That should help more people get immunised, in-
cluding those who are scared of injections, experts
told the Lancet journal .
Unlike the standard flu jab, it doesn't need to be
kept in the fridge, meaning pharmacies could easily
stock it on their shelves for people to buy.
Volunteers who tested it said they preferred it to
injections. It offers the same protection as a regular
vaccine, but without pain, according to its develop-
ers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute
of Technology, who are funded by the US National
Institutes of Health.
The patch punctures the uppermost layers of the
skin, whereas regular flu injections go all the way
through and into muscle.
Lead researcher Prof Mark Prausnitz said: "If you
zoom in under the microscope what you'll see are
microscopically small needles. They puncture pain-
lessly into the skin."
His team tested the patch alongside flu injections.
Some of the 100 volunteers got the regular shot in the
arm, while others applied the microneedle patch to
their wrist for 20 minutes.
Most said using the patch was painless, but some
experienced mild side effects---redness, itching and
Painless flu jab patch
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