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New Study Explaining Why We Get “Hangry” Likens Humans To… *Checks Notes* Worms.

Humans all experience that dreaded “hangry” behaviour when you go bonkers and realise after chowing down a snack, you were actually just hungry. So researchers wanted to understand that and found some interesting results.

We’ve all been there; you snap at your dearly beloved mother or significant other for no apparent reason and then after getting some food in your belly, realising that your behaviour was indeed just hanger. 

A new study from Salk’s Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory found that hanger may actually be deeply ingrained into human behaviour at a molecular level. 

“Animals, whether it’s a humble worm or a complex human, all make choices to feed themselves to survive. The sub-cellular movement of molecules could be driving these decisions and is maybe fundamental to all animal species,” Sreekanth Chalasani, senior author of the study and an associate professor in Salk’s Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, said in a press release

Using copper sulfate, a known worm-repellent, researchers created a barrier between worms and their food. Presumably to see if they would be willing to risk crossing it for food.

The results, published today in the journal PLOS Genetics, revealed that when worms were deprived of food for two to three hours, they were more willing to cross this toxic barrier, compared to the worms that were fed. 

While studying the worms, they found specific proteins that turn genes known as “transcription factors” on and off, which changed locations when worms were hungry.

The study delves into quite a complex territory relating to the cytoplasm of the worms and specific proteins that trigger erratic behaviour. So if you want to understand it further, you can read more here.

However, put simply, researchers were able to determine this behaviour and believe it is replicated in humans, hence why we can get so uncontrollably angry when hungry.