We examined the nucleus accumbens,” Schroeder explained to me, “which is the brain’s pleasure center. We measured the expression of a protein there [c-Fos]. So it basically tells whether that brain center is being turned on or not in response to a behavior. And we found that there was a greater number of neurons that were activated in the brain’s pleasure center in animals that were conditioned to Oreos compared to animals that were conditioned to cocaine [or morphine].
Given the addictive power of opiates, this is impressive, but I had to laugh: Given the level of Oreo consumption in our home at certain points in my youth, I suspect my father could have come to this conclusion without the lab rat study.