Chocolate, Neuroscience for Kids
Tomas Herraiz, a Spanish chemist, has isolated one more chemical from chocolate. Dr. Herraiz has found alkaloids called tetrahydro-beta-carbolines in chocolate and cocoa. The newly discovered compound, tetrahydro-beta-carboline, and the family of chemicals it belongs to, beta-carboline alkaloids, affect the central nervous system in several ways:
They are mild inhibitors of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase (MAO). MAO is an enzyme that destroys monoamine neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin).
They work by inhibiting the reuptake of the serotonin. The net result is an increase in the amount of serotonin within the synapse.
They inhibit the binding of benzodiazepines on their receptors. This results in a decrease in the level of the neurotransmitter GABA.
Serotonin and dopamine have been shown to influence mood, food intake and compulsive behaviors. Because alkaloids affect these neurotransmitters they may also affect these behaviors. Many people say that chocolate makes them feel happy and relaxed. Perhaps you have felt these feelings after eating chocolate. Some people even "crave" chocolate, hence the sort-of-serious name "chocoholic," for someone who is "addicted" to chocolate. In fact, the alkaloids tetrahydro-beta-carbolines have been implicated in one addictive behavior: alcoholism.
Thus: On-topic , in context, even with the random topicality of the 3 word game.