Navigation Links
Rewarding fat rats

We all remember a time when we were paralyzed in the face of a tough decision. For animals in the natural world, making the right choice can mean the difference between life and death.

When rats and other animals choose the thing that leads to a "reward," such as food, changes happen in the body and the brain. Describing and understanding those changes has been the focus of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grantee Peter Shizgal for most of his career.

Shizgal was recently recognized for his contributions by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He will be inducted as a fellow during its annual conference in San Francisco, from February 15 to 19.

"It's an honour to receive this sort of recognition from one's peers, and I do feel proud," says Shizgal, a Concordia University professor of psychology. "That pride should be shared. Achievements like this in the natural sciences often reflect the work of a team, and that is certainly true in my case. I have been privileged to have terrific trainees and faculty colleagues as research collaborators, many of whom have been supported by NSERC scholarships and grants."

In their studies of food reward, Shizgal's team investigated the role of leptin, a hormone that the body produces in proportion to the amount of stored fat. A person who eats a lot during holidays, for example, will make more leptin than a person who sticks to a stricter diet.

In work carried out by Shizgal's team, chubby lab rats were put on a diet to reduce their fat mass and, hence, their leptin levels. They found that restricting the rats' diet to one meal per day not only made them lose weight, but also made reward sensations stronger. Conversely, increasing the level of leptin in the brain weakened the reward sensation. Their work has appeared in notable journals such as Science and Behavioral Neuroscience.

"Trying to understand the brain mechanisms of motivation in animals ?and also in humans ?is not only fascinating for me, but also highly rewarding. More broadly, there is an exciting confluence of work emerging from both major branches of NSERC-supported research: natural science and engineering," says Shizgal.

"While natural scientists use concepts and technologies developed by engineers to try to understand what makes animals tick, certain computer scientists and engineers look to the natural world for inspiration and guidance as they build intelligent machines. Ongoing research has already produced some computer programs and robots that can learn from experience and adapt their behaviour to a complex, constantly changing environment. We can expect that this technology will be greatly improved in the near future."


'"/>

Source:Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


Related biology news :

1. Gene therapy cures inherited liver disease in rats
2. Combination therapy leads to partial recovery from spinal cord injury in rats
3. How nice, brown rice: Study shows rice bran lowers blood pressure in rats
4. Neurons grown from embryonic stem cells restore function in paralyzed rats
5. Gene expression becomes heterogeneous with age in humans and rats
6. Orange, grapefruit juice for breakfast builds bones in rats
7. Temperament linked to onset of cancer and early death in female rats
8. Human stem cells delay start of Lou Gehrigs disease in rats
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/2/2017)... Summary This report provides all the information you ... activities since 2010. ... Read the full report: http://www.reportlinker.com/p03605615-summary/view-report.html ... an in-depth insight into the partnering activity of one of ... company reports are prepared upon purchase to ensure inclusion of ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... , Feb. 28, 2017   Acuant , ... software globally, announces significant enhancements to new and core ... 2016. New products include mobile and desktop Acuant FRM ... TM - a real time manual review of ... idScan® technology provides the fastest and most accurate capture ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- EyeLock LLC, a leader of iris-based identity authentication ... solution on the latest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 mobile ... Congress 2017 (February 27 – March 2, ... Stand 3E10. The Snapdragon 835 ... combination of hardware, software and biometrics technologies ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 Research and Markets has ... report to their offering. ... The Global Market for Bioproducts ... 2016 at a CAGR of 8.9%, This ... bioproducts into seven major product segments: bio-derived chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... MILFORD, Mass. , March 23, 2017 ... leading partner to global in vitro diagnostics ... launch of the industry,s first multiplexed ... inherited disease testing by next-generation sequencing ... materials were developed with input from industry ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  BioPharmX Corporation (NYSE MKT: BPMX), ... dermatology market, today reported financial results for the ... will provide an update on the company,s clinical ... "We are pleased to report that last ... said President Anja Krammer. "We achieved key clinical ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 Kineta, Inc., ... of novel therapies in immuno-oncology, today announced the ... small molecule compounds that activate interferon response factor ... and demonstrate immune-mediated tumor regression in a murine ... study who demonstrated complete tumor regression to initial ...
Breaking Biology Technology: