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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rats! Who ate the last Oreo?

(Photo by Edal Anton Lefterov)
Ever wonder why you just can't get enough of those twist-and-lick treats?

Undergraduates at Connecticut College did – and so they designed a research experiment that could hopefully provide some answers.

What this team of four students under the leadership of neuroscience professor Joseph Schroeder discovered was both astounding and disturbing.  After placing rats in a maze twice – the first time with Oreos as one of two choices, and the second time with injections of cocaine or morphine as one of two choices – researchers found that the rats spent as much time pursuing the Oreos as they did the addictive drugs.

This quote from Schroeder was reported by The Christian Science Monitor:  "Our research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do.  It may explain why some people can't resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them."

Perhaps…  However, these "addicts" are still - after all – rats.  (Plus, they only had two choices in the maze each time, and the other choices weren't very enticing.) The question remains:  Would humans behave in the same manner? 

It's certainly possibly that they would - especially since "junk foods" are heavily marketed to humans…  That type of commercial bombardment could stimulate humans to become even more addicted to Oreos than even their long-tailed "cousins."


Copyright October 17, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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