Diet and Memory: Cocoa-derived flavonoids improve hippocampal function in older adults

1) eat more chocolate & berries
2) I feel sorry for the group that had to go without for weeks

Brain States

The hippocampus is an hugely important structure.  Small in size and buried in the medial temporal lobe, it packs an oversize punch. When it starts to decline as we age, certain facts may become difficult to recall. When inputs to the structure are strangled, Alzheimer’s Disease is a likely outcome. And if it is totally removed, as it was for Henry Molaison in a 1950’s attempt to cure his epilepsy, the brain is no longer able to form new memories.

nn.3850-F1

Just as a country can be divided into states, the hippocampus can be divided into regions. One of these, the dentate gyrus (or DG), shows the most consistent  changes as we age.  Inspired by a study done on mice in which ingestion of epicatechin, a molecule derived from cocoa solids, increased the branching of neurons in the DG, Adam Brickman and his colleagues in  Scott Small’s lab at Columbia University decided…

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