Friday, August 24, 2007

Is Your Brain Hooked on Chocolate?

From Scientific American:
"Neuroimaging reveals a shared basis for chocoholia and drug addiction...

Mounting evidence shows that compulsive eating and drug abuse engage some of the same brain circuits in similar ways, offering a new angle for understanding and treating obesity. In an interview with Scientific American, Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a pioneer in the study of addiction, explains.

How do foods and drugs affect the brain in the same way? The system in the brain that both drugs and food activate is basically the circuitry that evolved to reward behaviors that are essential for our survival. One of the reasons why humans are attracted to food is because of its rewarding, pleasurable properties. When we experience pleasure, our brains learn to associate the pleasurable experience with the cues and conditions that predict it. In other words, the
brain remembers not just what the food tasted like but also the sensation of pleasure itself, and the cues or behaviors that preceded it. [To access the rest of the article, click here]

No comments: