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For that matter, maybe we’re addicted to scientific studies

For years medical officials have said that cigarettes are more addictive than cocaine and that the tobacco industry manipulates nicotine levels to hook smokers. Now, according to Connecticut College neuroscientists, something similar can be said for Oreo cookies (“Oreos: Lab rats get hooked,” Editorial, Oct. 28).

While at one time the term “addiction” was applied only to intoxicants, it is now used for just about any substance encountered in daily life. Scientists elicit addictive responses in lab rats not just from nicotine or cocaine, but from fatty foods and just plain sugar water.

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This expanded concept of addiction contributes to the gradual medicalization of American society. Along with this trend comes increased medical intervention, regulations, and, of course, litigation.

The definition of the word “drug,” according to skeptics, is any substance that, injected into a rat, produces two scientific papers. Connecticut College researchers demonstrate the undeniable validity of this definition.

Stephen Helfer

Cambridge

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