Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mice "run for fun"

The New York Times reports the results of a hysterical, yet potentially important, experiment:  Wild mice voluntarily run on an exercise wheel placed outside.  (Other animals "ran" on the wheel too-- frogs and slugs-- though "the slugs probably ended up on the wheel by accident".  Hah!)

However, it is doubtful that any neurological reward system that may exist in the brains of mice bears much resemblance to the endocannabinoid response observed in humans and dogs, which requires prolonged, moderate aerobic exercise.  The mice only ran for a few minutes.  Could there be a more immediate reward system for short-duration exercise?  A neurological basis for the simple "joy of movement" that kids get when then sprint around after each other?

New York Times link

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