Archive for the tag - drugs

Oreos More Addictive Than Cocaine!

oreoIf you’ve ever had an Oreo cookie, you know that it’s almost impossible to stop. One cookie becomes two. Two becomes three. And then, before you know it, the whole bag is gone. But just how addictive are Oreo cookies really?

Researchers from Connecticut College built a rat maze with two sides. On one side, the rats got rice cakes. On the other, Oreo cookies. The rats were then able to choose which side they wanted to explore, and researchers recorded the amount of time spent on each side. The results were compared to a similar experiment in which the rats were given either injections of saline or cocaine and morphine.

According to the data, the rats spent just as much time with the Oreo cookies as they did with cocaine and morphine. But it doesn’t end there.

Researchers also examined the number of neurons activated in the brain’s “pleasure center” when the cookies were consumed. The rats, in fact, received more pleasure from the Oreo cookies than they received from either cocaine or morphine.

What does it all mean? The study designer speculates that high fat, high sugar foods like Oreo cookies may present an even greater health hazard than drugs because of their affordability, availability and association with obesity.

Of course, research done on rats doesn’t always translate to humans. And the research isn’t to say that Oreo cookies, in particular, are any more addictive than other high fat and high sugar foods. But rather, it’s an important cautionary tale to remember the next time you go grocery shopping.

Do Antihistamines Cause Weight Gain?

I think I'm getting some hay fever!

If you’ve ever looked at a bottle of allergy suppressing antihistamines, you may have noticed a warning about possible weight gain. But is this warning valid?

A recent Yale University study showed that people (and men, in particular) who take prescription antihistamines are an astounding 55% more likely to be overweight than their non-antihistamine using counterparts. While this study looked specifically at prescription antihistamines, over-the-counter varieties may also be linked to weight gain.

According to Dr. Linda B. Ford, director of the Asthma and Allergy Center in Omaha:

Antihistamines, which people usually take on their own to control allergic reactions or to help themselves get to sleep, can promote weight gain, too. This occurs only in a minority of people who take the drugs.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes the weight gain. It’s speculated that antihistamines may increase hunger because histamine receptors are thought to play a role in appetite. Antihistamines may also slow down the body’s metabolism, causing it to burn fewer calories. Or it’s possible that some other factor could explain the apparent link between antihistamines and weight gain – clearly, more research is needed.

The problem of weight gain and antihistamine use may become exacerbated by prolonged treatment. Using an antihistamine may result in a few pounds gained here and there, but over the course of years – it can really start to add up. As a precaution, Dr. Joseph Ratliff, the lead researcher of the study, recommends that people with allergies talk to their doctors about the potential side effects of the various treatments including eye drops, nasal sprays, allergy shots, decongestants and non-drug alternatives like limiting exposure to allergy triggers.