The Good, The Bad & The Hangry

Hunger seems like a simple phenomenon: the stomach rumbles until it’s fed, then it’s quiet until it rumbles again. Why, then, does it shape so much behavior that, at least on the surface, has so little to do with food? Part of the answer can be gathered from observations of other animals. For some of them, a little starvation seems to confer a survival advantage. In rodents, hunger appears to heighten sensory perception and speed up mental processing. Last year, researchers in Bordeaux, France, showed that the brains of food-deprived lab mice released endocannabinoids, which act on the same receptors as the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, stimulating the animals’ olfactory cortexes and sharpening their sense of smell. Yale University mice showed similarly enhanced environmental awareness: when injected with ghrelin, the so-called hunger hormone, the mice navigated mazes more quickly than their satiated peers. (The hungry rats of Harvard University, meanwhile, ran further on their in-cage treadmills.) At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, ghrelin was found to reduce depression and anxiety in mice, inuring them to tests for both “social defeat” (bullying by larger mice) and “behavioral despair” (swimming in an inescapable acrylic cylinder).

Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit

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