Scientists are not elite. They are not elitist. They are just people who find joy in learning and discovery. They started out knowing nothing, and worked hard to learn as much as possible. The scientists that I know love to travel far and wide to talk about their work. Most listen to and play music. Some party hard, and all of them keep on talking about their work even on hikes, and in restaurants, bars, and clubs. We don’t live on elite salaries. In grad school I lived on about $8,000.00 per year and I managed to find happiness by learning knew things about biology. My students make only about twice that amount, but apparently they would rather learn things than make money. Now I am fortunate enough to say that I don’t necessarily need to have a job, but I choose to be a scientist because much of my happiness stems from learning and teaching about hormones and behavior.
In my laboratory, we study the role of hormones in the food-sex connection. There is a connection between food and sex. That is, the mechanisms in the brain that control the hunger for food also control the desire for sex. This link might be inextricable, that is, it might be impossible to disconnect. Most of the chemical messengers that inhibit food intake also enhance sexual desire. The opposite is also true. Many chemical messengers that enhance the appetite for food diminish sexual desire. Guess what. These chemical messengers are the basis for most drugs.
This is inherently fascinating in and of itself but has many other implications. The information that we learn and publish will help to understanding obesity and eating disorders. It will provides answers to other important questions. For example, why does every drug we take seem to have more side effects than it has effects? Belviq is an example. What will the current set of diet-related drugs do to our sexual libidos? Sex hormones are used for contraception and hormone replacement therapy in aging men and women. What are sex hormones doing to our body weight and body fat distribution? These steroid hormones are increasing in our environment. Other natural and synthetic chemicals in the environment are binding to our steroid hormone receptors. What are they doing to our body fat distribution and sexual libido? I elaborate on these topics in a book in progress, Sex and Food and. . Meanwhile, get your teeth into a small slice.
Sex and food and. . if you fill in this end of this sentence one way, you probably enjoy new wave music. Fill it in another way and you were a fan of Seinfeld. The point is that scientists are human, and the scientific life is filled with stuff like music, sports, and comedy. Sometimes we rock.