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Cocoa Improves Cognition

Posted Aug 15 2012 5:18am
Last week, I pointed out a 5 month randomized controlled trial suggesting that $46/d worth of tesamorelin (Egrifta) could improve both normal cognition & mild cognitive impairment (MCI) .  But what if you don't have that kind of change laying around?  In a randomized, double-blind, parallel arm study published early online yesterday in Hypertension , the authors concluded that daily consumption of cocoa flavanols for 8 weeks improved cognitive function in MCI.  When you think about the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on failed research so far, it seems almost laughable that something so tasty could make a difference.

To arrive at their conclusions, the authors randomized 90 individuals w/MCI to high (990mg), intermediate (520mg), or low (45mg) flavanol drink daily.  After 2 months, insulin resistance & blood pressure improved in those randomized to high & intermediate amounts of flavanols daily compared to the low amount.  While there was no change/improvement in Folstein's Mini-Mental State Examination, Trail Making Test A & Trailing Making Test B (Trails A&B) results improved in those randomized to high & intermediate amounts of flavanol daily compared to low amount.  In verbal fluency, those randomized to high flavanols improved their scores compared to those randomized to low flavanol amounts.

So what are we to make of this study?  Well, let's remember that the trial only lasted 8 weeks such that it's impossible to determine or even guess long-term outcomes & safety.  On other hand, cocoa flavanols should be substantially less expensive than any other prescription medication approved for AD.  More telling is that for the price of one daily injection of Egrifta, one can probably purchase enough dark chocolate/cocoa to last  a month.

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