In the category of “weird news of the day,” it turns out that scientists have discovered a way to study the impact of dark chocolate on memory skills. But not the memory skills of humans, many of whom would crawl on all fours to be chosen to eat chocolate for the advancement of science. No, the participants selected for this particular study were actually snails.
Researcher submerged snails for 30 minutes in either regular water, or water containing epicatechin, a flavonoid found in cocoa. Whenever the snails extended their breathing tubes, researchers poked them with a stick. The lead study author, Ken Lukowiak, Ph.D, compared it to tapping a sleepy student on the nose every time he yawned in class—eventually the student would remember not to yawn. Would the snails do the same?
Snails in “regular” water remembered the lesson for about three hours. Snails in the “chocolate” water remembered the lesson for 24 to 48 hours. According to Lukowiak, that’s huge. “To go from three hours to 24, you have to have altered gene activity in the neurons that make the memory.”
Luckily for us chocolate-loving humans, there are more pleasant ways to get our flavonoids. We say skip the chocolate bath and go straight for the Hershey’s.