I enjoy skimming the New England Journal of Medicine when I process our copy at the Law Library where I work. Every now and then they include articles that are a little cheeky, a little humorous, or a little bit of a joke. In October I had my eye out for a particular article that I seen mentioned on NPR.
The concept of both articles is simple. The Swiss have the most per capita Nobel Prize winners and the Swiss also consume the most chocolate in the world! I think this study has a lot of breakthrough messages to teach all of us.
As a bit of stats junky I immediately went to that one little number that says so much: the p-value. Low and behold it was 0.0001. More than coincidence- Statistically significant. Just what every researcher dreams of.
While this is incredibly intriguing, obviously in no way does this indicate that chocolate causes intelligence (Although I think I will be justifying eating an extra piece or two now and then with these results). The discussion was particularly cheeky talking about individuals with higher intelligence being more aware of the benefits of eating chocolate and therefore causing this correlation.
I find it important to note that this article also referenced the study's own limitations. Though they measured country's intake versus Nobel winners but neglected to reflect on individual winner's consumption. It could be they are the lone countrymen not eating chocolate. I sense there will be a few researchers looking further into this topic in the future.
This article particularly reminded me of Professor Ball's post about coffee helping you live longer.
Mocha latte anyone?