Research at the University of Pennsylvania showed that male offspring of male rats that used cocaine were less likely to become addicted to the drug after having experienced it, and less likely to want the drug in the first place. Researchers found that cocaine use among males likely causes changes in the DNA that are transmitted to male offspring!
It seems that the neurons of the male offspring were less sensitive to cocaine. Normally, after repeated cocaine use, certain receptors in the brain are usually remodeled; this is part of the development of addiction. But in these male offspring, that didn’t happen.
This is important, because it will be interesting to see how these changes in behavior are passed down from generation to generation. Interestingly, this type of ‘immunity’ to addiction wasn’t seen in female offspring. Understanding the mechanisms behind this could potentially help lead to treatments for addiction.
Photo from www.conncoll.edu
A research study at Connecticut College showed that high-sugar foods can stimulate the brain in the same way drugs do. In a study with rats, Oreos actually activated more neurons in the brain’s pleasure center than cocaine or morphine did! So why is this significant? By showing that high-fat and high-sugar foods can be addictive, this may be able to shed some light on addictive eating habits in humans- and may give parents another good reason to limit sweets.
It’s important to note that they did not compare Oreos directly with morphine or cocaine. The results simply showed the similarity of the animals’ reactions and supported the theory that high-fat and high-sugar foods can have very addictive qualities. Similar results would likely have been obtained by using ANY high-fat/ high-sugar food, but Oreos were used because they are so popular (America’s favorite cookie!).
If given a choice, I would certainly give my child a package of cookies instead a bag of cocaine- but I will definitely be limiting the number of cookies from now on!