: views from the Hill

Thursday, February 22, 2007

News! Cocoa may improve brain blood flow

One of the sessions I missed at AAAS was a session Sunday titled, "The Neurobiology of Chocolate: A Mind-Altering Experience?"

Harold Schmitz of Mars, Inc. co-organized the symposium. Mars, Inc. happens to be sponsoring research into why chocolate is good for you and how they can make it even better. (Heard of CocoaVia?) I'd spent time in a session a few years back covering similar and/or earlier research on the subject. This session covered recent research including a presentation by Ian MacDonald (University of Nottingham Medical School) on "The Effect of Flavanol-Rich Cocoa on the fMRI Response to a Cognitive Task in Healthy Young People."

Yee haw.

Luckily, there were science writers in the audience to suck it all up for me. CNN reports: Cocoa may improve brain blood flow

Sunday, I was elsewhere -- in an all-day seminar on Virtual Worlds which included papers like "Comparing Mental Health Applications Using Individually Administered Virtual Reality and Second Life: Conceptual and Ethical Issues" from Skip Rizzo, USC, and "Virtual Publics: Youths' Lives in Emergent Social Worlds" from Danah Boyd at UCB.

John Lester (AKA Pathfinder Linden) at Linden Labs organized the seminar. Linden Labs, just down the hill from me, is the creator (are the creators?) of Second Life, which I messed around with playing with after a panel at the Commonwealth Club that we attended last December.

I finally signed up yesterday but with my computer's hiccupy-response to requests to turn and move and change the color of my coat, my experience wasn't optimal. Problems with scaling? Problems with my computer? I'll try again later today and see if I get further.

Sorry I was to miss out on the latest scoop about cocoa, but the Virtual Worlds seminars were crack.

[Thanks for the cocoa link, Sam]

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