Chocolate Intelligence


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           When Andrew first presented this article to us in class I was surprised that something about chocolate consumption can be published in a scientific journal, while Andrew's paper is still going through the process. This isn't a huge advance in medicine or science, no cure for a disease has been found so I'm not sure why this article gets published, even though it is very interesting. It would be great to know however, that I can increase my cognitive ability by eating more chocolate. The article states that chocolate contains dietary flavanols, which basically slow down the negative effects on the brain due to aging. The authors of this article show that there is a strong correlation between chocolate consumption and Nobel peace prizes won in a country, and when they exclude Sweden as an outlier, the correlation coefficient is very high (0.862) which is hard to ignore.

The-study-author-s-chocolate-consumption-against-Nobel-laurete-winners-graph_dnm_full_size.png

            Why this correlation exists they are not sure. They figure reverse causation could be at play here, meaning the more Nobel prizes won, the more people celebrate with chocolate. However their other hypothesis was that intelligent people understand the power of these flavanols and eat more of them to improve cognition. In my opinion there has to be 3rd confounding variables at play here. Maybe chocolate is part of these countries culture and when they win a prize they are more likely to celebrate or treat themselves to a nice bar of chocolate, the only problem is that this does not explain why they have more Nobel prizes to begin with. No study has been done on Nobel peace prizewinners themselves and their chocolate consumption, however this would be a necessary piece of data to consider.

            The only problem I see with doing this study is that it is not that revolutionary, there are much better things to concentrate on then eating chocolate. The study probably wont be done properly for a while due to the fact that it is insignificant and would be difficult to do. You can't exactly give a random person a lot of chocolate and tell them to go win a Nobel peace prize. The only way I can think to measure it is provide a series of IQ tests, but that would be expensive and I highly doubt any real change would be seen. Either way this is an interesting topic that we just may never see the reason or the mechanism behind chocolate and Nobel peace prizes. 

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Works Cited: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/12/162733830/the-secret-to-genius-it-might-be-more-chocolate

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMon1211064

1 Comment

I don't see why the studying chocolate can't be revolutionary. If there are correlations between eating chocolate and being smart then I feel like it's definitely worth investigating as much as anything else. They could possibly study different chemicals or components in the chocolate, they could get mice to eat chocolate and compare how fast it takes them to learn something compared to mice that don't eat chocolate perhaps. They could also compare different types of chocolates, like seeing if dark chocolate is more useful to intelligence than milk chocolate. But I personally agree that it probably is a third party variable. Maybe smarter people are more depressed, thus making them eat more chocolate to feel better, maybe it just has to do with wealth or amount of scientists in the country too, and maybe when a country is wealthier people eat more non essential foods like chocolate.

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