No, Oreos are not as addictive as cocaine

19 Oct

As a science writer, I have come to despise how reductionist scientists (well, maybe this is a prime example of how faulty the mainstream media is) can be! Addiction affects and influences EVERY part of the brain, and many neurotransmitters working in conjunction, not just one area and one chemical. Not to mention, I’ve always found drawing conclusions about humans from a rodent’s behavior around a lever or a maze to be…astounding. It’s like, REALLY? It is nice to see a bit of perspective!

Addiction & Recovery News

Thank you, Stephanie Pappas from LiveScience!

“The study performed cannot determine whether Oreos are as addictive as cocaine,” said Edythe London, a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, who uses brain imaging to study the neural basis of drug cravings. “That question is best addressed in a comparison of how hard a rat will work for Oreos versus cocaine — how many times a rat will press a lever to get one or the other.”

The students also measured the expression of a protein called c-Fos, which indicates brain cell activity, in the nucleus accumbens of rats exposed to Oreos or cocaine. This brain region is important for pleasure and positive reinforcement and is involved in addiction because of the pleasurable feelings brought on by drugs.

The rats’ nucleus accumbens activated more strongly with the stimulus of Oreos than the stimulus of cocaine, but those findings don’t…

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3 Responses to “No, Oreos are not as addictive as cocaine”

  1. thirstystill October 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Seeing this story all over the news yesterday was just crazy-making! You’re right, rats are not people, the nucleus acumbens (sp?) is not the brain. And the brain is not the mind. Reductionism is rampant in science and the media, and so it’s a relief to read some thoughtful commentary on this. The extended mind hypothesis (in its various forms) in psychology and cognitive science makes a strong case for including culture along with neuroscience in studying human psychology, and rats in cages are a far cry from real embodied people embedded in their social and cultural worlds.

    OK, thanks for letting me rant here! Love your blog, as always. I’m glad you’re thinking the want vs should thing through. It’s good to see you doing so much better. Hooray you!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl October 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      Wow, NICE comment here, Thirstystill! I love the exchange–I haven’t read much about psychology, and I am very interested in this extended mind theory! Very cool…

      (Yeah, having worked in both science AND media, most of the reporting on “news of the day”-type studies is hilarious…in a, “have you done ANY background or extended research?” kind of way…)

      And, yeah, I’m sort of cruising along now…just working, wanting to work, stay on track, rather sort of enjoying NEVER being hung over. Good things are coming, I can feel it.

      Thank you for your comment! Yay! xx

  2. furtheron October 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Our understanding of the human brain is so limited just on how it functions before you get into all the definition of self etc. He it were all that simple you’d just say to am addict “stop it is bad for you” and whether drugs, drink, sex or biscuits Ulf addict would say “Oh yes how silly” and never relapse.

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