Posts Tagged ‘rats’

Scripps Florida: Addicted rats ‘starved themselves’ rather than give up junk food in study

More surprisingly, the fat rats exhibited the sort of self-destructive behavior associated with human junkies. The rats would eat junk food even if they knew doing so would result in a mild but distinctly uncomfortable electrical shock to their feet.

When Kenny and Johnson replaced the unhealthy food with the healthy diet the rats had been raised on, the animals refused to eat at all.

“They actually voluntarily starved themselves,” Kenny said.

Kenny blames the same culprit that afflicts cocaine addicts: the brain’s dopamine D2 receptor. The brain releases dopamine in response to enjoyable experiences such as eating cheesecake, having sex or snorting cocaine.

But, scientists believe, too much pleasure skews the brain’s reward pathways by overstimulating the D2 receptor and causing it to shut down. For the rats addicted to junk food, Kenny said, the only way to stimulate their pleasure centers was to eat more high-fat, high-calorie food.

“They’re not experiencing rewards the way they should,” Kenny said. “When you experience that, one way of feeling better is to go back to the junk food.”

As part of his research, Kenny used a virus to essentially block healthy rats’ D2 receptors. Those rats quickly developed compulsive eating habits.

Kenny hopes his research might lead to a drug or vaccine to treat overeating. The experiments were supported by a $250,000-a-year grant from the National Institutes of Health and smaller grants from Bank of America and The Margaret Q. Landenberger Research Foundation.

Intriguingly, nearly all the rats given junk food became obese. But despite the fact that Americans are faced with a smorgasbord of easily available junk food, most of us can handle the temptation.

Kenny says that’s because overeating is driven by not just the genetic factors that make us crave junk food but also by social pressures. Humans know junk food is bad for us, and we try to avoid it. But rats don’t find their impulses tempered by clothes that no longer fit or by books by Dr. Oz, TV shows like The Biggest Loser and movies such as Super Size Me.

“The rats don’t suffer from the same social pressures that we do,” Kenny said.

Nutrition experts aren’t surprised by the Scripps researchers’ conclusion that junk food is addictive. In last year’s best-selling book The End of Overeating, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler argued that salty, sugary, fatty food triggers dopamine production.

“Certainly, we see this addictive pattern in humans,” said Sandy Livingston, a licensed nutritionist in Palm Beach Gardens. “They know they shouldn’t overeat, but they do it anyway.”

Livingston hopes research like this helps overeaters better deal with their gluttony by realizing that the behavior is driven not by personal failings but by powerful chemical reactions in the brain.

“A lot of people blame themselves — ‘Why don’t I have any willpower?'” Livingston said. “It’s very hard to rely on willpower, because willpower will lose. If your body wants something enough, you’re always going to lose.”

Jordan Rubin, author of The Maker’s Diet and founder of nutritional supplements firm Garden of Life in West Palm Beach, said he’d like to see more research into exactly which types of food and food additives are addictive. For instance, foods such as beef and avocados are high in fat, but Rubin believes addiction is caused not by fat alone but by fat in combination with other foods, such as white flour or the additive MSG.

“Food can be highly addictive,” Rubin said. “When people describe overeating and weight loss as a battle, this is why.”

Rat’s In The Attic

We were called to a residence that had a horrible problem with rats. The last owners moved out and left the new home owners with quite a mess.

 Sadly the pest company before us didn’t do their job very well.  Eighteen rats were caught by the tenants, not their pest control company!

Once there, entry the holes were closed and the snap traps were set. I was surprised that with so many rats in the attic, there was very little evidence.

Over a short period we pulled out a few rats in traps and it had been quiet  until yesterday. We were informed that there was a foul odor coming from the kitchen area.

When we arrived, all the windows were open as well as the doors. The stench of decaying rodents smacked us in the face immediately.

The kitchen had a drop ceiling and the smell appeared to be strongest there. Brandon climbed into the attic and started looking for a dead rodent(s) but could not find anything. The smell was faint, this puzzled us. Then as Brandon started digging through the  thick insulation I heard him say “Aha”!

Brandon had located a hole that led to the drop ceiling which was concealed by the heavy insulation.

A small opening in the insulation that was once unseen.

This hole was in such a position that Brandon could not look inside,  so we used our  T-mobile HTC-HD2 cell phone and took some pictures to get an idea of what was in the hole. The camera feature with its flash, worked very well.

As you can see, there is a heavy amount of rodent droppings just above their kitchen.

I guess T-mobile people can now say they have an Rodent Locater App. in their new HTC-HD2, lol.

The picture allowed us to locate the dead carcass and remove  it from its drop ceiling tomb.

Rodents in that attic can cause serious damage to your home and your health. Most people have openings around their home that they do not know even exist but the rat’s do!

Do you have a rat problem? Don’t want a rat problem? Call us 727-388-6759