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Researcher studies international cooperation in fighting COVID-19

Credit: University of Colorado Denver

Jongeun You, a researcher at the University of Colorado Denver, recently released a study looking at how a more global approach would have far-reaching societal benefits in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. You discovered that while many governments had a restrictive and nationalistic response to the pandemic, they also focused on international cooperation to provide new insights to the rest of the world.

COVID-19 challenged governments to rely on their own resources and pandemic policies as the world turned away from a globalist approach to fight the virus. Since the beginning, national governments have implemented border restrictions and blocked exports of medical supplies. The large number of bilateral COVID-19 vaccine deals between and vaccine producers hindered the ability of low-income countries to access COVID-19 vaccines.

However, You argues that a more open approach and is needed to tackle COVID-19 and future pandemics. Restrictive measures impede necessary aid and technical support against the virus and disrupt international economic activities.

You’s research into South Korea’s response showed that while the country focused on its own population, it shared knowledge with the international community, supplied medical resources to the rest of the world, and helped to strengthen public health systems in developing countries. South Korea held hundreds of webinars and conference calls with other nations on pandemic policy. For instance, Special webinars on COVID-19 for policy and technology sharing, also called “K-bangyeok” webinars, reached over 3,780 people from 118 countries.

South Korea was also able to continue exporting medical supplies to countries in need while avoiding business losses. Between January and September 2020, South Korea saw a 48% increase in medical exports from the previous year. With the surge in COVID-19-related exports of test kits and , the country saw growth in the

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Chocolate Health Claims | NIH News in Health

February 2021

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Sweet Truth or Bitter Reality?

Love chocolate? Most of us do. It’s a delicious treat. Or a quick pick-me-up after a long day. You may have heard that dark chocolate has health benefits. But is that true or just wishful thinking?

Small studies suggest that cocoa, an ingredient in chocolate, may have health benefits. It’s possible that certain nutrients in cocoa could improve heart health and boost brain function, especially in older adults.

Researchers think this may be due to compounds called flavanols. Cocoa beans contain high levels of flavanols. The beans are dried and roasted to make the cocoa powder used in chocolate. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa and flavanols than other types of chocolate. Flavanols are also found in tea, red wine, apples, and berries.

The evidence linking cocoa beans and heart health has interesting origins. Much of it is based on studies of the Kuna people, who live on islands off the coast of Panama. They consume a lot of cocoa.

“They pull cocoa beans off the tree, they grind them up, and they basically make a hot chocolate,” explains Dr. Laura Baker, an expert in aging at Wake Forest University. “And they treat that like their water, drinking many, many cups per day.”

Scientists discovered that the Kuna people had much lower rates of heart disease, even compared to people in the same region. This sparked interest in the health properties of cocoa beans.

Today, researchers are studying whether concentrated doses of cocoa flavanols can improve health. Thousands of participants are involved in studies of how cocoa supplements affect everything from eye disease to heart health, cancer risk, and cognitiveRelated to the ability