The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good
David J. Linden
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From the New York Times bestselling author comes a "hugely entertaining" (NPR.org) look at vice and virtue through cutting-edge science
As he did in his award-winning book The Accidental Mind, David J. Lindenâ€”highly regarded neuroscientist, professor, and writerâ€”weaves empirical science with entertaining anecdotes to explain how the gamut of behaviors that give us a buzz actually operates. The Compass of Pleasure makes clear why drugs like nicotine and heroin are addictive while LSD is not, how fast food restaurants ensure that diners will eat more, why some people cannot resist the appeal of a new sexual encounter, and much more. Provocative and illuminating, this is a radically new and thorough look at the desires that define us.
that no evidence whatsoever existed to support this postulated mechanism. The longest-lasting changes that had been recorded persisted for only a minute or two—a time scale that was totally insufficient for memory storage. In 1964, Terje Lømo was a doctor in the Norwegian navy, soon to be discharged. On leave in Oslo to look for a job, he bumped into the neurophysiologist Per Andersen while walking down the street. After an animated conversation about synapses and neurons, he agreed to join
there are excitatory axons conveying green-light signals to the dopamine cells of the VTA, and the synapses between these axons and the dopamine cells undergo rapid-onset LTP to create the pleasurable association with the green light.29 The same basic model could underlie the association of arbitrary stimuli (like money) or even abstract ideas with pleasure. If one imagines that an abstract idea is represented in the brain by particular patterns of neural activity, then those patterns could be
days of LTP: T. Lømo, “The discovery of long-term potentiation,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 358 (2003): 617–20; T.V.P. Bliss, “A journey from neocortex to hippocampus,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 358 (2003): 621–23. 19. S. Schenk, A. Valadez, C. M. Worley, C. McNamara, “Blockade of the acquisition of cocaine self-administration by the NMDA antagonist MK-801 (dizocilpine),” Behavioral Pharmacology 4 (1993): 652–59.
clinical experience, and translational prognosis,” Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs 14 (2009): 43–65. 18. While application of leptin alone has had little success in treating obesity, there are some early indications that combination therapy using leptin together with the pancreatic hormone amylin can be useful. In one study, long-term leptin/amylin combination therapy produced a mean weight loss of about 13 percent in obese subjects. This might work because amylin somehow restores leptin
pathological gamblers) and prescribed antidepressants (serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs). The treatment was unsuccessful, and the patient soon dropped out of the program and resumed his compulsive gambling. When he finally returned to the clinic in September 2002, the psychiatrists in charge had an insight—they asked the patient’s daughter to surreptitiously monitor her father’s intake of drugs. What they found was that, acting on his own, he had significantly increased his