Friday, October 12, 2012

Chocolate and Nobel Laureates

Dr. Franz H. Messerli, in a note published in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds "a surprisingly powerful correlation between chocolate intake per capita and the number of Nobel laureates in various countries." Here is the results section of the note in its entirety (except for the accompanying figure):
There was a close, significant linear correlation (r=0.791, P less than 0.0001) between chocolate consumption per capita and the number of Nobel laureates per 10 million persons in a total of 23 countries. When recalculated with the exclusion of Sweden, the correlation coefficient increased to 0.862. Switzerland was the top performer in terms of both the number of Nobel laureates and chocolate consumption. The slope of the regression line allows us to estimate that it would take about 0.4 kg of chocolate per capita per year to increase the number of Nobel laureates in a given country by 1. For the United States, that would amount to 125 million kg per year. The effective chocolate dose seems to hover around 2 kg per year, and the dose–response curve reveals no apparent ceiling on the number of Nobel laureates at the highest chocolate- dose level of 11 kg per year.
Eat more chocolate, win more Nobel prizes? That works for me.