One of the most heartbreaking fields of medicine is that of cognitive decline. I presented to journal club of behavioral neurologists last fall and felt eviscerated… but I know why. There are all these families with loved ones struggling with dementa and hardly any evidenced-based treatments. It's an area rife for fraud and false hopes. Enter cocoa, among other miracle foods (like curcurmin).
New cool(ish) cocoa consumption paper
Crazy take on cocoa consumption and Nobel prizes
I'm not a huge fan of miracle foods. I do see how MCT oil/coconut oil could brush up a ketogenic prescription and help faltering brain energetics. But in general, I'm more a proponant ov avoiding crap processed foods for most meals and enjoying cheats immensely when they come along (like cake for your birthday).
Bruch: Violin Concerto (fast forward to 17:50 or thereabouts for the highlights…and your soul is dead if that last 5 minutes of the concerto doesn't move you)
So this paper is all about miracle foods in cocoa flavanols. FLAVANOLS. They decrease peroxidation and blood pressure and increase insulin sensitivty. In other words they are sexy. Way sexy. Let's eat some blueberries and get a photo shoot sexy.
In this study, super high flavanol rich cocoa drinks were administered along with placebo to folks diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, and the results showed the cocoa flavanoids decreased blood pressure, measures of insulin resistance and cognitive impairment. Working memory, long term memory, and executive functioning all seemed to improve.
From a clinical perspective, I have a hard time poo-pooing the findings. I see little downside from consuming flavanols in the mildly cognitively impaired population considering the likely long-term outcome. But we don't have enough data to make a truly informed choice, which should always make one hesitate.
And, lastly, the study was funded by Mars, Inc, who provided the cocoa drinks for the study…