PITTSBURGH, PA—Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have released their findings from a new social awareness study involving Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The university published the results on Tuesday revealing that the majority of local residents who participated in the test experienced extreme feelings of pleasure and euphoria associated with cocaine use when randomly seeing the quarterback in public. “It’s not the first time we’ve seen these types of results in similar tests, but certainly the results in this case were the most dramatic,” said Dr. Mantis Toboggan of CMU, adding that the tremendous surge of dopamine caused by the experience was equal to effects of roughly a 1/4 gram of pure cocaine ingested at one time.
Test patient backgrounds varied by age, race and social standing, but all were life-long residents of Pittsburgh. The patients originally signed up for a study to determine if certain foods caused a higher level of dopamine to be released by the brain and testing was conducted at Downtown Pittsburgh restaurant Meat and Potatoes during normal business hours. About half way through the food tasting, Ben Roethlisberger would appear and greet the test patients by their first name. “The moment Ben appeared, almost every test patient’s brain produced an amplified signal to the dopamine receiving neurons. This is what causes the euphoria commonly experienced after taking cocaine,” stated Dr. Toboggan. Munhall resident and life long Steeler fan Stanley Jagowski described the moment he saw Ben Roethlisberger: “I turned around to look for the bathroom and there was Ben. He knew my first name and at that point I began to sweat. My heart rate picked up and I must have been talking a million miles an hour. To be honest, I’m not even sure what I said to him. After he walked away I immediately went out side to smoke a cigarette.”
Dr. Toboggan said that only three percent of patients did not experience the same results as Mr. Jagowski. “These patient’s brains had a different reaction. Their adrenal glands went into overdrive, flooding the body with adrenaline, followed by heavy breathing and an increased heart rate. Once that wave of adrenaline hit, the amygdala portion of the brain started to override their ability to think rationally. These are all common reactions by the human brain in fearful situations.” Dr. Toboggan said this type of behavior was the result of these test patients having a “god like view” of Ben Roethlisberger. “Imagine your grandmother’s reaction to Jesus walking into her house in the middle of Sunday dinner. That’s the best analogy I have to describe the experience three percent of patients who participated in this study had.” Toboggan is also calling for further testing of Steelers fans to see how the life long experience of rooting for a team so loyally can change their DNA. “Much like long-term cocaine use, being a life-long Steelers fan can alter your DNA. Since cocaine use impacts the NAc, part of the brain’s reward center, any structural changes that occur here are likely to have a major impact on reward-seeking behavior, which would explain why die-hard Steelers fans continue to derive their happiness solely on the week to week success of their football team. This type of behavior leads to extreme mood swings, with losses impacting the fan much like a habitual cocaine user coming off a bender. We already have data to back the city of Pittsburgh being the saddest place on earth the day after a loss to the New England Patriots, so we are now looking for solutions to the long-standing issues our residents face here in Western Pennsylvania.”