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!
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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