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Sunday, Oct 14 2012 11:00 PM

HITS & MISSES: Go ahead, have another bite of brain food

By The Bakersfield Californian

HIT: Further proof of chocolate's mystical qualities surfaced last week with the publication of a study linking a country's chocolate consumption with Nobel prize winners. The study's author decided to research the idea of chocolate's effects on a nation's "cognitive function" after he peer-reviewed an article about chocolate's ability to boost brain power in the elderly. Sure enough, there was a distinct correlation. Switzerland tallied the most Nobel prizes and highest chocolate consumption. The United States scored in the middle and China ranked lowest.

Can chocolate really make you smarter? Experts note that chocolate consumption is also tied to a country's wealth, and wealthy countries tend to have better research facilities and, therefore, more Nobel prize winners. Maybe the study isn't Nobel-winning research but it's thought-provoking, and mouth-watering, nonetheless.

HIT: Wendy Wayne ethics award

CSUB's Kegley Institute of Ethics has renamed its Community Ethics Award the Wendy Wayne Award for Exemplary Ethical Behavior. Wayne, who died of cancer this summer, was a founding member of the Kegley Institute's board of governors and a member of the Community Ethics Award's planning and selection committee. A nurse and teacher, she spent her life working on behalf of children locally and around the world. As Kegley Director Christopher Meyers put it: "(Wayne's) accomplishments, profound commitment to improve the lives of others, and her commitment to ethics, represent exactly the right role model for the rest of us."

MISS: More meningitis questions

A deadly meningitis outbreak that's killed 14 people and sickened nearly 200 is raising serious questions about a little-known part of the pharmaceutical industry: compounding pharmacies. These pharmacies mix up batches of drugs on their own and sell them often for less than major manufacturers. Yet they also operate with little oversight, mainly supervised by state pharmaceutical boards, rather than the Food and Drug Administration. Both the pharmacies and the injections deserve strict scrutiny from federal regulators.

MISS: UFW overbooked Obama event

The UFW mishandled its organizing of President Barack Obama's dedication of the Cesar Chavez National Monument in Keene, telling thousands of people the night before not to come because the event was overbooked. The event in Keene was expected to accommodate about 7,000 people but the UFW failed to monitor its online registration system and 10,000 people signed up. The UFW tried to dissuade attendance, warning of long lines and hassles. But when not enough people canceled, it had to resort to sending un-invites.

HIT: Would we call them Blingons?

Scientists have discovered a planet in the Milky Way composed mostly of diamonds. The ball of bling was found in 2004 but astronomers have only recently been able to piece together information about its composition. But there's little chance of ever getting our hands on these diamonds. The planet orbits a sunlike star so closely that its surface temperatures reach about 3,900 degrees. Not to mention it's about 40 light-years away, or 230 trillion miles.

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