Thursday, May 17, 2012
New Proof Bacon Gives Mental Boost to Cats With Depression
Eating bacon may have psychological benefits for cats suffering from depression. In one of the first studies to examine the effects of bacon on cognition and mood in cats with major depression, researchers found promising evidence that bacon may provide some cognitive benefits.
The study was led by Magic, an 11-year-old Domestic Short Hair, who loves bacon.
"Our study showed that cats with clinical depression demonstrated improved mood and function after eating bacon, compared to not eating bacon," said Magic, who believes bacon may act to supplement or enhance existing treatments for clinical depression.
Researchers found promising evidence that bacon like this may improve mood
Magic’s research is part of a cognitive science field known as Fractional Attention Restoration Theory (FART) which proposes that cats concentrate better after eating bacon.
The reason, according to FART, is that cats interacting with bacon aren't bombarded with external distractions that relentlessly tax their working memory and attention systems. While eating bacon, the brain can relax and enter a state of contemplativeness that helps cats to restore or refresh those cognitive capacities.
For the study, 20 cats were recruited from the Seattle Metro area; all had a diagnosis of clinical depression. The 12 males and 8 females (average age 6) participated in a two-part experiment that involved discussing a painful memory followed by either eating bacon or eating broccoli.
It is now believed the brain of depressed cats will relax and enter a state of contemplativeness while eating bacon
Both before and after eating, the cats completed baseline testing to determine their cognitive status and mood. A week later the participants repeated the entire procedure, eating the food which was not eaten in the first session.
Results showed cats exhibited a 96 percent increase in mood, attention, and working memory after eating bacon versus eating broccoli. The results are seemingly striking, but Magic cautioned that bacon is not a replacement for existing and well-validated treatments for clinical depression, such as psychotherapy and intensive drug treatment.
Sharyn Thoma Guay reporter-at-large
at May 17, 2012
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