Chances are if you can’t put down those Mallomars you’re not suffering from a bad cocaine habit. The Yale School of Medicine just minted the results on a new study which found that people less interested in food might be at a higher risk for cocaine addiction.
Researchers found that neurons located in the part of the brain that controls hunger are also associated with other behaviors, such as drug addiction and pleasure/novelty seeking activities. The assertion flies in the face of current wisdom that overeating is similar to cocaine abuse on a neuron level.
If you’d care to check out online issue of Nature Neuroscience published on June 24th, you’d find that the study also suggests that an increased interest in food leads to a decreased interest in novelty and cocaine.
YaleNews has more information from the one of the study’s leaders, Tamas L. Horvath, the Jean and David W. Wallace Professor of Biomedical Research and chair of comparative medicine at Yale School of Medicine:
Horvath and his team argue that the hypothalamus, which controls vital functions such as body temperature, hunger, thirst fatigue and sleep, is key to the development of higher brain functions. “These hunger-promoting neurons are critically important during development to establish the set point of higher brain functions, and their impaired function may be the underlying cause for altered motivated and cognitive behaviors,” he said.
“But here, we provide a contrasting view: that the reward aspect can be very high, but subjects can still be very lean. At the same time, it indicates that a set of people who have no interest in food, might be more prone to drug addiction.”
Pick up some powdered doughnuts and you might just be able to trade one white powder for another. Ask Rick James – cocaine is a hell of a drug (he must never eat.)