Given that over one-third of American adults are obese, neuroscientists have been attempting to discover which part of the brain makes us so prone to eating, say, a whole tub of delicious chocolately hazelnut spread, instead of just half. So these scientists did what scientists usually do and messed with some mice to find the answers.
The neuroscientists modified the mice so that the specific neurons they were targeting would respond to light differently. In one group of mice, light would activate that specific part of the brain and, in the other group of mice, light would disable it. By shining a laser through the eyeballs of the mice into their brains, the scientists could then effectively activate or disable that part of the brain.
Basically, the following happened: when the neurons were shut down, the mice refused to eat, regardless of how hungry they were. When the neurons were active, the mice wouldn’t stop eating until they resembled the giant blobby future-humans from Wall-E. (Probably.)
See for yourself:
Long-term applications of this experiment could see a potential end to the worldwide obesity epidemic, so it’s important stuff.
Though we could probably see lasering ourselves out of a few late-night snacking decisions too, to be honest.
Image: Jason DeRusha