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Hundreds Attend Chocolate and Laughter Lecture at UC San Diego Stein Institute for Research on Aging

By: Maja Gawronska, MS


On April 27 the Center for Healthy Aging and the Stein Institute for Research on Aging welcomed Dr. Lee Berk, professor at Loma Linda University, and his son Ryan Berk, a well-known chef and a chocolatier whose work has been featured at The Atlantic and a TEDx conference. They gave the Frank Benedict Roehr Memorial Lecture titled “The Science of Laughter and Chocolate." 

The lecture attracted the attention of local media and has been featured in a variety of outlets, including the San Diego Union-Tribune.


Dr. Berk has spent nearly three decades studying the effects of a good laugh on your brain and body, including hormone and immune systems. During the lecture to an audience of three hundred people, he discussed the benefits of humor and chocolate for your health. He also offered some practical tips on how to become healthier — with a hint of laughter and high quality, organic chocolate provided by Ryan Berk. 

An owner of a bean to bar chocolate factory, Ryan Berk visits Central America almost quarterly to meet farmers and learn of their cacao growing practices. To a packed auditorium he explained how to find a good organic chocolate, as health benefits won’t be found in highly processed produce, with additives and refined sugars.

The Frank Benedict Roehr Memorial Lecture Series was established by Mr. Roehr’s daughter, Suzanne Angelucci, and is designed to inform the public of the newest areas of scientific investigations on topics associated with the power of humor and positive thinking that affect health and longevity.