The Loh Down On Science

Are Oreos the cocaine of the cookie world?

This just in:  Oreos have not just a delicious cream filling but a surprising dark side.

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Or so says a new study from Connecticut College.  Oreos can be as habit-forming as cocaine—at least to rats.

Neuroscientist Joseph Schroeder and his team saw this firsthand when they fed Oreos to rats on one side of a maze.  Which, by the way, the rats opened and ate the filling out of the Oreos first. 

Rats on the other side got rice cakes.  Once allowed to roam free, the Oreo-fed rodents kept hanging around the area where they had been fed.  Seemingly waiting for another cream-filled fix.

The rice-cake rats?  Not so much.

When the team repeated the experiment by injecting rats with cocaine, morphine, or saline, only the rats injected with drugs hung around where they got the goodies.

Seems the pleasure center of the brain is activated by both drugs and cookies.  But, wildly, when the team measured the activity of brain cells in that center, the Oreo rats had more neuronal activity there than even the rats on drugs!

“Just Say No” to Double-stuffs!  I know you can do it!

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The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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