“Dark gold” as brain food

Europe News Brief: Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013

News | Vienna Review | December 2012 / January 2013

Correlation between chocolate consumption and number of nobel laureates (Photo: NEJM)

A study published in the 10 October issue of the New England Journal of Medicine links chocolate consumption to the number of Nobel Prize winners a country has and suggests it's a sign that chocolate may boost brainpower.

Despite the tongue-in-cheek tone, the author, Dr. Franz Messerli, does believe chocolate has real health effects and writes that there is evidence that flavanols in green tea, red wine and chocolate can help "in slowing down or even reversing" age-related mental decline – an assessment that some medical experts may dispute.

Messerli admitted the whole idea is absurd, although the data are legitimate and contain a few lessons about the fallibility of science.

It's not the first time scientists have found correlations that seem to be illogical, as in the Theory of the Stork, in which the number of storks across Europe has a correlation with birth rates.

Other articles from this issue