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Substance in Cocoa May Aid Aging Memories

A substance found in cocoa may help to improve normal age-related memory loss, a very small study suggests. People in the study consumed a large amount of chemicals called flavanols. They are found in cacao beans, but mostly removed in the processing that creates cocoa and chocolate. The Mars candy company, which partly funded this study, found a way to turn the flavanols into a powder. The study included 37 healthy adults, ages 50 through 69. They were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group consumed 900 milligrams of flavanols daily, mixed with water or milk. That's equal to about 7 dark chocolate bars. The other group received 10 milligrams a day. This diet lasted for 3 months. Before and after the study, people received brain scans. They also took tests of their pattern-recognition skills.

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