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How to Become a Math Genius

I’m verbal. Very verbal. And, like many verbal people, I'm math-challenged. My SAT scores reflected that. I think I got something like a 1220 on the verbal portion and a 20 on the math portion. (Yes, you crazy math people, I know that is not possible. I'm using hyperbole. It's a verbal thing...). Don't get me wrong. I do all of the day-to-day bookkeeping for the business (no comments, please!); I can calculate percentages in my head; and I can add, subtract and multiply. But I will admit that outside of my basic math comfort zone, I quickly become dazed and confused.  

Turns out that the reason I'm bad at math is that I'm not eating enough chocolate. At least that's what researchers Emma Wightman, David Kennedy and colleagues found in their latest scientific study. (You won't believe that they actually get paid for this!)

The researchers found 30 volunteers for the study. (Only thirty? I can guarantee you that if I conducted my own scientific study where I advertised free bon bons to the participants, we'd have 300 volunteers in the first ten minutes!). Volunteers were given 500 mg of flavanol. (Flavanol is a compound found in chocolate, but 500 mg is a mega dose. You'd have to eat more than 6 chocolate bars to get that much flavanol into your system. I know what you're thinking: "I could do that!") Then, the volunteers were asked to count backwards in groups of three from a random number between 800 and 999 generated by a computer.  (If you're not a math person, and you're already confused, stop reading and go eat some chocolate.) Findings showed that the volunteers could do the calculations more quickly and more accurately after they had been given the flavanol. (Duh!!! Give me half a dozen chocolate bars, and I'll solve the Rubix cube, win $20,000 on Jeopardy and find the last decimal place in pi.)

However, the same was not true when the group was asked to count backwards in groups of seven, which the researchers described as a more complex task, requiring a slightly different part of the brain. (Yes, sequences of seven sound very, very difficult to me. And backwards? I think a lifetime supply of bon bons would be in order before I could tackle that task...)

The findings also show that the volunteers did not get as tired doing the calculations if they had been given the cocoa drink, despite being asked to do them over and over for an hour. (ROTFL) 

Although the amount of  flavanol provided to the participants was too great to be found naturally in the diet, researchers said that people should ensure that they have lots of flavanols, also found in fruit and vegetables (yeah right!), on a regular basis.
The moral of this study? Eat more chocolate, but don't fire your accountant!

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