Remember to include a bit of cocoa in your diet every day as a new study claims it might help prevent you from forgetting...who you are later in life.

New research is declaring that the cocoa extract called lavado may be a key in helping prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York first genetically engineered mice to mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. They then tested the mice with three different cocoa extracts.  They found that the lavado cocoa was the most effective in minimizing the formation of Aβ oligomers, groups of molecules that clump together and generally disrupt structures in the brain responsible for memory.

The team of researchers feels that due to its findings, drugs could possibly be developed based on the lavado cocoa that could provide a breakthrough on the future treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The team adds that it may also be possible to take this discovery and convert it into a dietary supplement that provides a safe and inexpensive way to prevent the disease.

The lead researcher of the study, Professor Giulio Maria Pasinetti of Mount Sinai Hospital, explained, "Our data suggest that lavado cocoa extract prevents the abnormal formation of harmful clumped structures which lead to cognitive decline. We believe our results have broad implications for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia."

He added that turning the lavado extract into a supplement could some day lead to doctors being able to offer an effective way of preventing Alzheimer's, even in its early stages.

An Alzheimer's Society spokesman added that while the research may someday provide an exciting breakthrough for new ways to treat the disease, more research was necessary, explaining, "The best way to reduce your risk of developing dementia is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and not to smoke."

According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with the disease. The organization further reports that every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's and that the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

The number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias will escalate rapidly in coming years as the baby boom generation ages. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease, the Alzheimer's Association predicts.

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