How Exercise Worsens Drug Addiction
Exercising creates a plentiful new supply of brain cells, all eager to learn and make new associations. When they associate drugs with pleasure, however, the addiction is harder to break.
What's the Latest Development?
Beware of exercising while leading a lecherous lifestyle, says a new scientific study, because physical activity may prime your brain for drug addiction. In experiments carried out at the University of Illinois, mice who exercised developed more powerful addictions to cocaine than their sedentary counterparts. The findings run contrary to the notion that because exercise stimulates reward centers in the brain, it may replace the role of drugs and alcohol in making us feel good. Quite the opposite, exercise seems to increase the power of addiction over our body and mind.
What's the Big Idea?
Researchers say that the physically active mice became more easily addicted to drugs because of how exercise actually benefits the brain. Plentiful supplies of new brain cells were observed in the active mice, cells which were eager to learn by creating new associations. What they learned, however, was that cocaine made them feel good. So, say researchers, while an addiction developed while exercising may be harder to break, exercise continues to increase our capacity to learn—it's up to each individual to use that capacity wisely.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.