Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Looking for Love? Try Cocaine

Happy Valentine's Day! It turns out that love has the same affect in your brain as a long, fat line of cocaine, reports CNN. Love is cheaper though, right? I suppose that depends. But I'm sure it is healthier. I'm sure.

So here are the facts. Researchers at Einstein College in New York hooked kids to an MRI machine and found that, when exposed to pictures of their new mates, the "caudate" and "ventral tegmental" areas of the brain lit up. What's interesting about that is, "exactly the same system becomes active as when you take cocaine," said one researcher.

The "system" being affected here controls cravings (the caudate), pleasure and motivation (both are tied to the ventral tegmental).

Not to be limited to one shocking revelation, researchers pushed ahead and checked to see whether or not love and sex lit up the same brain regions. Surprise! They don't. It turns out that sex triggers parts of the brain that control primitive drives like hunger and thirst (the hypothalamus), as well as areas responsible for controlling arousal (the amygdale), of course.

However, there is a connection between love and sex. According to the CNN article, "People in love have elevated levels of dopamine. Lots of dopamine, in turn, triggers the production of testosterone, which is responsible for the sex drive in both men and women."

1 comment:

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.