April 21, 2004

Addiction. It Isn't Just for Addicts Anymore

Chocolate and BBQ. Yeah, you're addicted; admit it.

CNN reports that it's possibly so. How silly this is, I'm not sure I can enumerate. Addiction - can't live without. Physical DEPENDENCY. Not mere euphoria. Sorry.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- People who say they are addicted to chocolate or pizza may not be exaggerating, U.S.-based scientists said Tuesday.

A brain scan study of normal, hungry people showed their brains lit up when they saw and smelled their favorite foods in much the same way as the brains of cocaine addicts when they think about their next snort.

"Food presentation significantly increased metabolism in the whole brain (by 24 percent) and these changes were largest in superior temporal, anterior insula, and orbitofrontal cortices," they wrote.

These areas are associated with addiction.

An estimated 30 percent of Americans are obese, meaning they have a body mass index of more than 30. This ratio of height to weight usually works out to being about 30 pounds overweight for a woman and 35 to 40 pounds overweight for a man.
I'm only 31, but I'm pretty sure that chocolate's been prevalent around American society for a good deal longer than my lifetime. How is it that people who partook/continue to partake of said chocolate can do so without being obese? How do I do so today? (Mmm, Hershey's kisses). Unexplained.

Obesity. For those people who blame suburbia and video games, I would like to remind that you that America is a free country, and you do have a CHOICE of what you do in your spare time. That choice may be Grand Theft Auto today and a 20 mile bike ride tomorrow, or both on one day, or, I dunno, sleep, reading, vandalizing viaducts, blah blah blah. Choice. Human beings.

<tangent>Pretty soon, nothing will be your fault. Nothing! Genes explain it all. All nature; no nuture. Waiting for the article on genes and terrorism. Think that'll be out in about 3 years?</tangent>


Posted by hln at April 21, 2004 12:30 PM | Personal Responsibility | TrackBack

I never liked the whole nature vs. nuture argument. It leaves out free will. Nature & nurture give you the menu from which to pick, but every one chooses what they'll have, and they shouldn't blame the waiter for bringing it to them.

Anyway, you're right. This study is all about setting "big chocolate" and "big pizza" up for a fall.

Posted by: Harvey at April 22, 2004 09:14 AM

Leaves out free will? So free will is made of magic fairy dust, that is beholden to neither environment or the physics of biochemistry? If you're going to be a mystic, just go ahead and call it a "soul" and don't pretend to be scientific.

Posted by: hans at April 29, 2004 04:52 PM

Hans, are you picking on my commenters again?

I've never thought of "soul" and "free will" being the same thing. I'll bug you about what you mean later. I'm curious.


Posted by: hln at April 29, 2004 06:05 PM

I don't mean to imply that "soul" and "free will" are synonymous, in fact I contend they are not at all. When someone uses "free will" to mean a component of human decision making that is not grounded in the physical (nature, the phenotype of the nervous system, and nature, the adjustments that system has undergone through time), then I must point out that they are talking about something metaphysical.

I'm put off by the use of "free will" as a more secular-sounding synonym of "soul." Probably because I'm a naturalist, so mysticism in naturalist clothing gives me the willies. Often it's not the product of such devious intentions, though, and just a result of armchair philosophers trying to sound like students of the academy. Which is at least as onerous. ;-)

Posted by: hans at April 29, 2004 10:09 PM