Zombies had it right

Many will recall a scene in the greatest cinematic opus of the 20th century, “Return of the Living Dead,” when a captured female zombie, no more than a torso, head and pair of arms, explains why the zombie hordes hunger for human brains. “Because…” she gasps, “they make the pain of being dead go away.”

This would at first seem like fanciful movie science. But, as I think about it, it makes sense. Natural painkillers and chemical instigators of pleasure do exist in the brain, primarily in the form of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, endorphin and serotonin. It seems sound to presume that by eating sections of the brain containing these neurotransmitters, the chemicals would be delivered to the nervous system of the creature doing the brain eating. Of course, the physiology of zombies is poorly understood — I believe Obama was going to appropriate funds to study this curious subject — but it does seem possible that the zombie body could absorb the neurotransmitters found in the brains of its prey and temporarily mitigate the pain of decomposition and entropy.

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