We’re smack-dab in the middle of Nobel Prize season–if only it were televised like the Oscars.

All facetious, jocular, and waggish comments aside, now:

As NPR’s excellent blog The Salt reported, a Swiss cardiologist, one Mr. Franz Messerli, wrote an article for The New England Journal of Medicine describing an interesting trend he noticed.

Switzerland is home to the most Nobel laureates per capita. Interestingly, as Messerli noticed, Swiss also consume more chocolate per capita than anywhere in the world. He plotted the number of Nobel laureates per capita and chocolate consumption rates per capita for 23 different countries and found the data made a very neat linear plot. In fact, the correlation was so close that the chance it occurred due to probability is very, very low.

“Unless you — or anybody — else can come up with an explanation. I’ve presented it to a few of my colleagues and nobody has any thoughts,” said Messerli.

Of course, this is just one guy who ran the numbers just once. You have to ask where he’s getting the numbers from, and what his methods are. Even so, it’s an interesting idea. Dark chocolate, tea, and red wine have been shown to have positive effects on the body, such as lowering blood pressure and minimizing your chance of getting heart disease. But Messerli’s findings suggest that these substances may keep your brain fit and nimble for longer.

So long as you keep your consumption levels down to moderate and you know your own body well enough, eating a little bit of chocolate and drinking a little bit of wine each day may keep the doctor away.


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