The benefits of Valentine’s Day chocolate; plus, can herpes treat brain cancer? And more health news

Valentine’s chocolates may do your heart good… no, really

Giving dark chocolate to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day may be a win-win emotionally and physically, an expert suggests.

But it’s important to keep any potential health benefits in perspective, noted Lizzy Davis, an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“What is healthy for one person may not be healthy for another,” she said in a university news release. “However, remember that chocolate, in its purest form, comes from a tree. For this reason, there are some health/nutrition benefits to chocolate.”

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Can a form of the herpes virus help treat brain cancer?

A genetically modified herpes virus appears to deliver a “one-two punch” to the rare and deadly form of brain cancer that killed U.S. Sen. John McCain, new findings show.

Glioblastoma brain tumors are a cancer nightmare, with an average survival of 12 to 15 months from initial diagnosis and four to six months after recurrence, researchers say. McCain died in August 2018, one year after doctors discovered he had the aggressive cancer.

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Weight loss surgery can help boost testosterone in obese teen boys

Obesity in teenage boys has all sorts of health consequences, including lower-than-normal testosterone concentrations.

But weight loss surgery may help: A small new study says it can reverse low testosterone in obese teen boys, improving fertility and sexual functioning.

The study, led by Dr. Paresh Dandona from the University at Buffalo (N.Y.), included 34 severely obese male teens who were followed for five years after they had weight-loss (bariatric) surgery.

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An improvement in air quality may help slow cognitive decline

Greater improvement in long-term air quality (AQ) in late life is associated with slower cognitive declines in older women, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in PLOS Medicine.

Diana Younan, Ph.D., M.P.H., from University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined whether AQ improvement was associated with slower rates of cognitive decline in older women (aged 74 to 92 years). The analysis included 2,232 U.S. women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study-Epidemiology of Cognitive Health Outcomes study who were dementia free at baseline (2008 to 2012).

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