As I near the conclusion of my project, I am very excited about all that I have learned throughout the summer.  I could not be happier with my decision to pursue a Freshman Monroe Project and the opportunity that was subsequently granted to me.  Added benefits aside, I realize that all I really needed to motivate me to do this research was a deadline and the expectation from others that I would not waste their time and resources.  Although my project started out kind of rocky (it took me weeks to finally settle on a topic), I hope that the finished product reflects the time that my advisor and I have put into it and the excitement with which we present it.

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Beginning the Writing Process

In continuation of my project, I have compiled academic studies and reviews related to my topic: analyzing treatments for drug addiction and the ways in which those treatments could be transferred to combat food addiction.  Once I felt that I had a substantial number of papers noted, I began piecing together an outline for my paper.  Currently, my outline consists of seven major subdivisions.

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Finding a Topic within Food Addiction

I began my research this summer by examining studies that have been conducted on animals in an effort to learn more about food addiction.  Many of these studies have focused only on whether or not food addiction actually exists.  There is a great debate occurring in the world of neuroscience about whether or not it is possible to be truly addicted to a substance that we depend on to survive—namely, food.  And if it is possible, what exactly is food addiction?  Is it an overweight person who loves to eat?  Or is it an obese person who binge eats?  Where do we draw the line?

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The Neurochemical Processes behind Food Addiction in Humans

During my research this summer, I will investigate the neurological aspects of food addition. I plan to examine the ways in which certain neurochemical responses to food are similar to those associated with other substance addictions.  I will begin by analyzing the relevant mental processes that occur in animals, particularly rats and mice.  However, my research will ultimately focus on studies that have been previously conducted on human subjects.  All of the resources I will need for this project will be available to me through Google Scholar, PubMed, or Swem Library’s Interlibrary Loan System.  Aside from serving as an opportunity to explore my own interests in both chemistry and psychology, this project may serve as a foundation for a more in-depth project in the future.  Such a project could lead to a more thorough understanding of food addiction, providing an opportunity to improve the medical community’s treatment of the condition.