They are getting closer to thinking right.

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They are getting closer to thinking right.

Post by SamCogar on Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:59 am

They got this first part right.

WASHINGTON Uh-oh, the new year's just begun and already you're finding it hard to keep those resolutions to junk the junk food, get off the couch or kick smoking. There's a biological reason a lot of our bad habits are so hard to break they get wired into our brains.
But they got a long way to go because they can't seem to give up "this ole habit" of thinking the following.

That's not an excuse to give up. Understanding how unhealthy behaviors become ingrained has scientists learning some tricks that may help good habits replace the bad.

"Why are bad habits stronger? You're fighting against the power of an immediate reward," says Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and an authority on the brain's pleasure pathway.

It's the fudge vs. broccoli choice: Chocolate's yum factor tends to beat out the knowledge that sticking with veggies brings an eventual reward of lost pounds.

"We all as creatures are hard-wired that way, to give greater value to an immediate reward as opposed to something that's delayed," Volkow says.

Just how that bit of happiness turns into a habit involves a pleasure-sensing chemical named dopamine. It conditions the brain to want that reward again and again reinforcing the connection each time especially when it gets the right cue from your environment.

A dopamine-rich part of the brain named the striatum memorizes rituals and routines that are linked to getting a particular reward, explains NIDA's Volkow. Eventually, those environmental cues trigger the striatum to make some behaviors almost automatic.

Even scientists who recognize it can fall prey.

"I don't like popcorn. But every time I go to the cinema, I have to eat it," Volkow says. "It's fascinating."

HA, falling prey to getting a particular reward? He don't like popcorn, ...... but he has to eat it, ....... and he claims that is "rewarding". DUH, now does that sound silly or does it sound silly?

Much of what scientists know about dopamine's role in habit formation comes from the study of alcohol and drug addiction, but it's a key player in more common habits, too, especially overeating.

In fact, for anything that links an action and a reward, "dopamine is indispensable for the formation of these habits," Volkow says.

My opinion, they don't know as much as they think they know. Far from it to be exact. And they should get a clue from the following.

A movement to pay people for behavior changes may exploit that connection, as some companies offer employees outright payments or insurance rebates for adopting better habits.

It's not clear yet just how well a financial incentive substitutes as a reward. In one experiment, paying smokers at General Electric up to $750 to kick the habit nearly tripled the number who did, says Dr. Kevin Volpp, who directs the Center for Health Incentives at the University of Pennsylvania.

A similar study that dangled dollars for weight loss found no difference and environmental temptation might help explain the differing results.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40893205/ns/health-behavior/

HA, a case of "grabbing at a straw" by suggesting that it might be "environmental temptations". WHATTA hoot.


SamCogar

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