When the rats ate chocolate or drank water, their pain response to the heat from the light bulb from under the cage was dulled. -- ST PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR
WASHINGTON - CHOCOLATE activates a part of the brain that blunts pain and makes it difficult to stop eating, a study published on Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience has found.
But drinking water has the same effect and does not contribute to the growing problem of obesity, according to the study led by University of Chicago neurology professor Peggy Mason and neurobiology research associate Hayley Foo.
Prof Mason and Prof Foo gave rats either a chocolate chip to eat or water to drink as they lit a lightbulb underneath their cages.
The heat from the bulb normally caused the rodents to lift their paws.
But when the rats ate chocolate or drank water, their pain response to the heat was dulled and they did not lift their paws as quickly as when they were not eating. They also kept on eating.
Prof Mason said that eating stimulates a system in the part of the brain that controls subconscious responses, which is known to blunt pain. -- AFP