Chocoholic mice fear no pain

February 9, 2010, BioMed Central

Ever get a buzz from eating chocolate? A study published in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience has shown that chocolate-craving mice are ready to tolerate electric shocks to get their fix.

Rossella Ventura worked with a team of researchers from the Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy, to study the links between stress and compulsive food-seeking. She said, “We used a new model of compulsive behavior to test whether a previous stressful experience of hunger might override a conditioned response to avoid a certain kind of food - in this case, chocolate”.

Ventura and her colleagues first trained well-fed and starved mice to seek chocolate in one chamber rather than going into an empty chamber. Then, they added a mild electric shock to the chamber containing the chocolate. Unsurprisingly, the well-fed animals avoided the sweet treat. 

However, mice that had previously been starved, before being allowed to eat their way back up their normal weight, resisted this conditioning - continuing to seek out despite the painful consequences. This is an index of and the researchers claim that this matches compulsive food seeking in the face of negative consequences in humans.

More information: Food seeking in spite of harmful consequences is under prefrontal cortical noradrenergic control, Emanuele Claudio Latagliata, Enrico Patrono, Stefano Puglisi-Allegra and Rossella Ventura, BMC Neuroscience 2010 11:15, doi:10.1186/1471-2202-11-15

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Perinatal hypoxia associated with long-term cerebellar learning deficits and Purkinje cell misfiring

August 18, 2018
Oxygen deprivation associated with preterm birth leaves telltale signs on the brains of newborns in the form of alterations to cerebellar white matter at the cellular and the physiological levels. Now, an experimental model ...

CRISPR technology targets mood-boosting receptors in brain

August 17, 2018
An estimated 13 percent of Americans take antidepressant drugs for depression, anxiety, chronic pain or sleep problems. For the 14 million Americans who have clinical depression, roughly one third don't find relief with antidepressants.

People are more honest when using a foreign tongue, research finds

August 17, 2018
New UChicago-led research suggests that someone who speaks in a foreign language is probably more credible than the average native speaker.

Critical role of DHA on foetal brain development revealed

August 17, 2018
Duke-NUS researchers have found evidence that a natural form of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) made by the liver called Lyso-Phosphatidyl-Choline (LPC-DHA), is critical for normal foetal and infant brain development, and that ...

Automated detection of focal epileptic seizures in a sentinel area of the human brain

August 17, 2018
Patients with focal epilepsy that does not respond to medications badly need alternative treatments.

Men and women show surprising differences in seeing motion

August 16, 2018
Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on August 16 have found an unexpected difference between men and women. On average, their studies show, men pick up on visual motion significantly faster than women do.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.