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  • Were a month into 2015, and a lot of us are probably struggling with our New Years diet resolutions.

    還剩一個月就要 2015 年了,而我們很多人應該正在為了新一年的飲食計畫陷入掙扎

  • But if you find yourself staring at the half-eaten donut in your hand saying,

    但如果你發現自己正盯著手裡吃到一半的甜甜圈,問自己

  • " Why can't I quit you?”, don’t beat yourself up too much.

    「為什麼我沒辦法戒掉你呢?」,別對自己要求太苛刻了

  • New research out this week suggests that our brains are hardwired to love that donut.

    本周有新研究顯示,人類的大腦構造,讓我們對那個甜甜圈無法抗拒

  • Writing in the publication Cell, scientists at MIT say that theyve discovered the neural circuits

    麻省理工學院研究人員近期在學術期刊《細胞》中表示,他們已經發現了

  • that controls sugar and food addictions.

    控制甜食上癮機制的神經迴路

  • It’s called the LH-VTA Loop, and it’s like a highway between the lateral hypothalamus,or LH,

    它被稱作 LH-VTA Loop,很像一座高速公路

  • which controls how hungry you feel, and the eventual tegmental area, or VTA,

    建造在控制飢餓感的側下視丘 (LH) 。還有腹側膜區,又被稱作 VTA 之間

  • which is the center of the brain’s reward circuit.

    用來控制大腦反饋機制的中心

  • Scientists knew that the LH-VTA Loop existed --

    科學家確知 LH-VTA Loop 是存在的,因為當這個區域出現問題

  • problems in this area have been linked to some sexual and drug addictions.

    可以和某些性、藥成癮扯上關係

  • But they didn’t know if it was responsible for food addiction, as well.

    但是他們不能確定這個部位是否也控制了飲食成癮

  • So to test its role in eating behavior, they used a technique called optogenetics, on mice.

    為了檢測它在飲食行為中的角色,他們用了一種叫光遺傳學的技術,對老鼠做實驗

  • They genetically modified certain neurons in the mice’s brains,

    他們對老鼠腦部的一些神經元作了基因修改

  • so that those cells could be basically turned on or off by exposing them to light.

    於是當暴露於燈光下。這些細胞的感應就能被打開或關閉

  • By delivering a yellow light through a small, implanted fiber optic,

    透過一條細小的光纖,傳送黃色的光

  • the scientists could turn those neurons on and activate the LH-VTA Loop.

    科學家可以打開該神經元並促使 LH-VTA Loop 進入活動狀態

  • They could also turn those same neurons off by delivering a blue light.

    他們也能夠透過傳送藍色的光來關閉這些神經元

  • With these modifications in place, healthy, well-fed mice were put into two stations.

    經過這些基因修改後,健康、且已餵飽的老鼠被放置到兩個組別中

  • The first had a cup full of food pellets, and the second had a sugar dispenser.

    第一組放置了一杯食物,第二組有個糖分供應機

  • The scientists then activated the yellow light.

    此時科學家傳送了黃色的光

  • With their reward circuits stuck in theonposition, the mice ate for longer periods of time in the first station,

    當他們的大腦迴路處於打開狀態,第一組老鼠吃得時間比較長

  • and kept going back to the sugar dispenser, repeatedly, at the second station.

    而第二組老鼠則是反覆的去接觸糖分供應機

  • The mice at the second station would even walk across a platform that delivered electrical shocks

    第二組的老鼠甚至會穿越一道發出電擊的平台

  • just to get more of that sweet stuff.

    就為了要吃更多的甜食

  • But when the scientists used the blue light to turn off the LH-VTA Loop,

    但當科學家用藍光把 LH-VTA Loop 關上

  • the mice wouldn’t walk across the electrified platform, and they wouldn’t eat if they were full.

    老鼠再也不會越過電擊平台,飽足時也不再吃任何東西

  • Now, we humans also have this same Loop in our brains, and it’s likely there for a reason.

    而在人類大腦中,我們也有一樣的迴路,想必有其作用

  • Many scientists believe that our taste for what we now think of as junk food

    許多科學家認為那些我們所說的垃圾食物

  • evolved as a way to reward us for finding palatable, high-energy food when food was scarce.

    能在食物不足時,能供給我們高熱量,並透過腦內的反饋機制帶給我們愉悅感

  • But, because we now live in a world with a Krispy Kreme on every corner,

    但由於我們現在身處於一個隨地可見到 Krispy Kreme 的時代

  • our desire for sugar has become more of a hindrance than a help.

    我們對糖分的欲望讓腦內的反饋機制受到了阻礙

  • So, the scientists say that finding the part of our brain that regulates these cravings.

    因此,科學家認為找到我們大腦中控制這些欲望的部分

  • can help in developing treatments for often-debilitating food addictions.

    就可以幫助我們研發治療食物成癮的方式

  • But, besides our brain’s reward system, what else makes us love food?

    但除了大腦的反饋機制以外,還有什麼使我們熱愛食物呢?

  • Well, taste, of course.

    無庸置疑,就是味覺

  • There’s bitter, sweet, salty, sour and what’s sometimes called thefifthtaste,

    味覺包含了苦、甜、鹹、酸,有時還有「第五味」

  • known as umami.

    稱為「鮮味」。

  • It’s best described as a savory -- but not salty -- flavor that you can’t quite put your finger on.

    可口開胃,但並非鹹味,是最好的描述。這是個你無法確切形容的味道

  • Umami flavor comes predominantly from high levels of the amino acid glutamated

    鮮味主要來自於高度精練的谷氨酸鹽

  • and was discovered by a Japanese scientist in 1908.

    1908 年由日本科學家發現

  • It’s found in cheeses, shiitake mushrooms, ham, and monosodium glutamate,

    在起司、香菇、火腿、還有味素

  • a food additive that was developed in 1909 to enhance the umami flavor of food.

    1909 年發明的一種提味用調味品,這些當中都有鮮味

  • Now, according to a new study in Japan, tasting umami might be important to our health.

    如今,根據日本新研究,嘗鮮味對我們的健康可能相當重要

  • Scientists performed what’s known as a paper filter disk test on 44 elderly patients.

    科學家對 44 名成年病患做了這個稱為「濾紙圓盤法」的實驗

  • The test uses a small piece of paper soaked in different concentrations of a tasty solution,

    他們把小張的濾紙浸在各種味道的濃縮溶液裡

  • place on the parts of the tongue responsible for each taste.

    然後將它們放置於舌頭上對應該味覺的部分

  • And 16 percent of those tested turned out to have unusually high thresholds for umami,

    他們發現有 16% 的受試者對「鮮味」的感應門檻較高

  • meaning that they could barely taste it.

    亦即他們很難真的嘗到鮮味

  • And those same patients were also ones who stated that food in general just wasn’t palatable to them anymore.

    而這些同一群的病患也表示他們對一般的食物已無法感應味覺

  • As a result, they had suffered from loss of appetite and weight loss.

    因此,他們身上出現食慾不佳的症狀且體重急速下降

  • Part of their problem, it turned out, was hyposalivation, or the inability to produce enough saliva.

    這問題的一部份來自於缺涎症,也就是無法分泌充足的唾液

  • You have to produce saliva in order to taste anything,

    要嘗味道你就必須分泌唾液

  • because food needs to be partially dissolved by saliva for our taste buds to register them.

    因為食物有一部份得被唾液溶解,才能讓味蕾紀錄它的味道

  • And you know what actually stimulates saliva production? Foods with umami in it!

    而你知道什麼東西能刺激唾液分泌嗎?正是有鮮味的食物!

  • So in a weird kind of catch-22, the patients needed to eat more umami in order to taste umami,

    所以在《第 22 條軍規》這部小說中,病人必須吃更多的「鮮味」來提高他們的味覺

  • to get their appetites back.

    促使他們恢復胃口

  • So the scientists prescribed a daily regime of konbu-cha, a tea made from kelp that’s rich in glutamate

    於是科學家開了一劑日服處方,是用某種富含谷氨酸鹽的大型菌類所作,稱為冬菇茶

  • The tea began stimulating their umami receptors, which caused them to slowly increase saliva production.

    這種茶開始刺激他們的鮮味器官,使他們漸漸恢復唾液分泌

  • And as they started to produce more saliva, they began to taste foods more strongly.

    而當他們開始分泌較多的唾液,也更能感受食物的味道

  • Eventually, food became more palatable and they regained their appetite.

    最終,他們能夠品嘗食物的美味,也恢復了胃口

  • Thank you for watching this particularly delicious episode of SciShow News.

    謝謝您收看 SciShow News 這集特別美味的播出

  • If you want to help us share science with the world, you can become a supporting subscriber at Subbable.com/scishow.

    如果你想要協助我們分享科學知識,可以透過 Subbable.com/scishow 來訂閱

  • And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe!

    也別忘了在 YouTube 上訂閱我們的頻道!

Were a month into 2015, and a lot of us are probably struggling with our New Years diet resolutions.

還剩一個月就要 2015 年了,而我們很多人應該正在為了新一年的飲食計畫陷入掙扎

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