A study by the Scripps Research Institute in October shows that junk food can be as addictive as heroin in rats:
Junk food elicits addictive behavior in rats similar to the behaviors of rats addicted to heroin, a new study finds. Pleasure centers in the brains of rats addicted to high-fat, high-calorie diets became less responsive as the binging wore on, making the rats consume more and more food. The results, presented October 20 at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting, may help explain the changes in the brain that lead people to overeat.I know Dr. David Kessler discusses food addiction and overeating in his book The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, but I haven't gotten to read it yet. As soon as I do I'll post about it.
“This is the most complete evidence to date that suggests obesity and drug addiction have common neurobiological underpinnings,” says study coauthor Paul Johnson of the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla....
After just five days on the junk food diet, rats showed “profound reductions” in the sensitivity of their brains’ pleasure centers, suggesting that the animals quickly became habituated to the food. As a result, the rats ate more food to get the same amount of pleasure. Just as heroin addicts require more and more of the drug to feel good, rats needed more and more of the junk food. “They lose control,” Kenny says. “This is the hallmark of addiction.”
Next up, Jezebel posted a link to a study that showed that football losses are correlated with spikes in domestic violence:
Economists Gordon Dahl and David Card looked at twelve years of football upsets — losses by teams predicted to win by three or more points. They found that during the regular season, such losses were correlated with an 8% increase in male-initiated partner violence in the hours immediately after the game. Female-on-male violence and child abuse were both unaffected by football losses, but violence against friends and neighbors increased by about the same percentage partner violence did. So essentially, men who just watched their team lose are more likely to beat up lovers and friends.The domestic violence shelter where I volunteer gets the most hotline calls during the holidays and the Superbowl.
Mentally healthy people in stable relationships probably don't suddenly assault their spouses because the Steelers lost. But it's worth examining the possible external triggers for abuse — triggers that have nothing to do with a woman being "difficult" or "asking for it."
And finally, a little tidbit of a story that was hidden at the bottom of the NYT home page this afternoon:
The government-administered insurance fund that protects depositors [the F.D.I.C] fell $8.2 billion into the red for the first time since the fallout from the savings-and-loan crisis of the early 1990s as the pace of bank failures accelerated in the third quarter.
The article says that consumers shouldn't worry since "the bulk of that negative balance reflects money the agency has set aside to cover future bank failures," but, uh, what if more banks fail, which is exactly what this article predicts?