From Robert Martone, in Scientific American, “The Neuroscience of the gut”:
We human beings may think of ourselves as a highly evolved species of conscious individuals, but we are all far less human than most of us appreciate. Scientists have long recognized that the bacterial cells inhabiting our skin and gut outnumber human cells by ten-to-one.
Indeed, Princeton University scientist Bonnie Bassler compared the approximately 30,000 human genes found in the average human to the more than 3 million bacterial genes inhabiting us, concluding that we are at most one percent human. We are only beginning to understand the sort of impact our bacterial passengers have on our daily lives. Continue reading
Check out this latest research on food addictions — from Sarah Klein via Health.com:
“SUNDAY, March 28, 2010 (Health.com) — Scientists have finally confirmed what the rest of us have suspected for years: Bacon, cheesecake, and other delicious yet fattening foods may be addictive.
A new study in rats suggests that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin. When rats consume these foods in great enough quantities, it leads to compulsive eating habits that resemble drug addiction, the study found.
Doing drugs such as cocaine and eating too much junk food both gradually overload the so-called pleasure centers in the brain, according to Paul J. Kenny, PhD, an associate professor of molecular therapeutics at the Scripps Research Institute, in Jupiter, Fla. Eventually the pleasure centers “crash,” and achieving the same pleasure—or even just feeling normal—requires increasing amounts of the drug or food, says Kenny, the lead author of the study. Continue reading