People With Weak Appetite For Food May Have Stronger Appetite For Cocaine, Study Finds

People who are disinterested in food may be more inclined to develop a cocaine habit, research has revealed.

What makes a person prone to overeating, or drug or alcohol dependency, is a complex entanglement of nature and nurture, but scientists are constantly examining the puzzle to tease out its intricacies, and new research into appetite for food and appetite for drugs revealed the propensity.

(Also, there is a bit of a cultural association with cocaine use and thinness — but perhaps the propensity of already thin people to favor the drug is in part responsible.)

Per Medical Daily, one might think that overall, those with a hedonistic bent have brains wired to be receptive to fluctuations in reward chemicals released by certain behaviors — and it might seem that overeating as well as drug use pique the same sectors in the brain.

But researchers came to a somewhat different and intriguing conclusion, finding that while conventional wisdom recognizes pleasure-seeking behavior as somewhat static, that it may be a bit more nuanced than we believed.

Researchers looked at mice and their reactions to both kinds of stimuli, as the site explains:

“They divided transgenic mice into two groups. In the first group, they removed a signaling molecule that controls hunger-promoting neurons in the hypothalamus.”

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“In the second group, they eliminated selected hunger-promoting neurons during development, with diphtheria toxin. Then, using non-invasive measures, they measured the mice’s reaction to novelty, anxiety, and cocaine.”

The mice in the second group, with less food appetite, were increasingly drawn to “novelty,” as well as cocaine. The study, out of Yale School of Medicine, was published in the June 24th online edition of the medical journal Nature Neuroscience.