Food, Drugs, or Designer Shoes: Mind Treats All Cravings Equal

Whatever the craving, the same parts of your brain are responsible for the feelings, new research shows.

When people crave food, the study found, the same portions of the brain are active as during other strong longings.

"This is consistent with the idea that cravings of all kinds, whether for food, drugs, or designer shoes, have common mechanisms," Marcia Levin Pelchat, a sensory psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said yesterday.

The new insights, to be detailed in the December issue of the journal NeuroImage, could help research into drug addiction and relapse.

"Identifying the brain regions involved can tell us a great deal about the normal and pathological neurochemistry of craving," Pelchat said, "and in turn, lead us to better pharmacological treatments for obesity and drug addiction."