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Cerebral blood flow response to flavanol-rich cocoa in healthy elderly humans.

Date Published: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2008, 4 (2), 433-40.

Authors: 
Sorond, F. A.; Lipsitz, L. A.; Hollenberg, N. K.; Fisher, N. D.
Brief: 

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
Cerebral ischemia is a common, morbid condition accompanied by cognitive decline. Recent reports on the vascular health benefits of flavanol-containing foods signify a promising approach to the treatment of cerebral ischemia. Our study was designed to investigate the effects of flavanol-richcocoa (FRC) consumption on cerebral blood flow in older healthy volunteers.

METHODS:
We used transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound to measure mean blood flow velocity (MFV) in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) in thirty-four healthy elderly volunteers (72 +/- 6 years) in response to the regular intake of FRC or flavanol-poor cocoa (FPC).

RESULTS:
In response to two weeks of FRC intake, MFV increased by 8% +/- 4% at one week (p = 0.01) and 10% +/- 4% (p = 0.04) at two weeks. In response to one week of cocoa, significantly more subjects in the FRC as compared with the FPC group had an increase in their MFV (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:
In summary, we show that dietary intake of FRC is associated with a significant increase in cerebral blood flow velocity in the MCA as measured by TCD. Our data suggest a promising role for regularcocoa flavanol's consumption in the treatment of cerebrovascular ischemic syndromes, including dementias and stroke.