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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

peep into the real chemistry, biology, neurology of love from a purely scientific view

A peep into the real chemistry, biology, neurology of love from a purely scientific view


By Pam Parkinson
 “Despite the seemingly paramount importance of love to humankind, our current knowledge of its physiological effects, neural substrates and neurochemical systems remains meagre. However, a handful of recent studies have brought to light some interesting findings on the neurochemical basis of romantic love. There is certainly no shortage of chemicals and hormones in the human body with which love can create its overwhelmingly intense myriad of effects. Let’s take a brief look inside “Love’s Laboratory.”
The “Laboratory of Love”
Chemical name: Phenylethylamine
Warnings: Ingest in moderation. May cause false symptoms of love.
Chemical Name: Testosterone
Warnings: May occur in excess amounts in males around attractive females. Side effects may be undesirable.
Chemical Name: Cortisol
Warnings: Use sparingly for recovery from stress. Side effects may involve the formation of annoyingly intense attachments.
Chemical Name: Oxytocin
Warnings: May cause strong emotional attachments. Overuse may result in loss of independence and/or clinical diagnosis of “clingy-ness”.
Chemical Name: Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)
Warnings: May cause neediness and excessively philanthropic behaviour.
From this concise look at a few of the chemicals in “Love’s Laboratory,” it is clear that an extensive collection of chemicals exists. And changes in any one of these chemicals in our bodies can have a multitude of (literally!) mind-boggling effects. “Experimenting” with these different chemicals likely accounts for the crazy and bewildering behaviour characteristic of people who have fallen in love. Though both Marazziti and Emanuele, and colleagues, take great care to point out the limitations of their studies, their findings do raise some fascinating questions about the biology and chemistry underlying the process of ‘twitterpation’, otherwise known as falling in love. Perhaps the most interesting question brought to light by these studies however, is whether the seemingly all-powerful, all-knowing world of science can, in fact, explain everything. And do we really want to?

2] A molecule of passionate love?
Nov. 30, 2005
Special to World Science

Scientists say they have identified a molecule linked to the first flames of romantic love.
The molecule becomes more concentrated in the bloodstream during the early stages of romance, the researchers said. The concentrations die down to normal by about one year later.

The scientists, with the University of Pavia in Pavia, Italy, published their findings in the Nov. 9 issue of the research journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

“In view of the complexity of a sentiment like love, it would not be surprising that a diversity of biochemical mechanisms are involved,” the researchers wrote.

But one of them, they said, appears to be this molecule, called nerve growth factor, or NGF.

In a study with 58 participants, they found that its level was significantly higher in the subjects in the early phases of love than in either the subjects with a long-lasting relationship or the subjects with no relationship, they wrote.

“In 39 subjects in love who—after 12-24 months—maintained the same relationship but were no longer in the same mental state to which they had referred during the initial evaluation, plasma [blood] NGF levels decreased and became indistinguishable” from those of other participants, they wrote.

“Taken together, these findings suggest that some behavioural and/or psychological features associated with falling in love could be related to raised NGF levels in the bloodstream.”
Enzo Emanuele and coworkers reported the protein molecule known as the nerve growth factor (NGF) has high levels when people first fall in love, but these return to previous levels after one year.
These Italian scientists at Pavia University found that a protein molecule known as the nerve growth factor (NGF) has high levels when people first fall in love, but these return to previous levels after one year. Specifically, four neurotrophin levels (NGF, BDNF, NT-3, and NT-4) of 58 subjects who had recently fallen in love were compared with levels in two control groups who were either single or already engaged in a long-term relationship. The results showed that NGF levels were significantly higher in the subjects in love than as compared to either of the control groups
[ Emanuele, E.; Polliti, P.; Bianchi, M.; Minoretti, P.; Bertona, M.; & Geroldi, D (2005). "Raised plasma nerve growth factor levels associated with early-stage romantic love"Psychoneuroendocrinology. Sept. 05].
 co-author Piergluigi Politi said the findings did not mean people were no longer in love, just that it was not such an "acute love".

“Testosterone was also found to increase in love-struck women, but to reduce in men when they are in love.
But in people who had been with their partners for between one and two years these so-called "love molecules" had gone, even though the relationship had survived.
The scientists found that the lust molecule was replaced by the so-called "cuddle hormone" - oxytocin - in couples who had been together for several years.
Oxytocin, is a chemical that induces labour and milk-production in new and pregnant mothers.
Donatella Marazziti, who led the research team, said: "If lovers swear their feelings to be ever-lasting, the hormones tell a different story."
Similar research conducted by Enzo Emanuele at the University of Pavia found that levels of a chemical messenger called nerve growth factor (NGF) increased with romantic intensity.
After one to two years, NGF levels had reduced to normal”

“Falling in Love Only Takes About a Fifth of a Second, Research Reveals
Oct. 25, 2010 — A new meta-analysis study conducted by Syracuse University Professor Stephanie Ortigue reveals falling in love can elicit not only the same euphoric feeling as using cocaine, but also affects intellectual areas of the brain. Researchers also found falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second.
Results from Ortigue's team revealed when a person falls in love, 12 areas of the brain work in tandem to release euphoria-inducing chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopression. The love feeling also affects sophisticated cognitive functions, such as mental representation, metaphors and body image.
The findings raise the question: "Does the heart fall in love, or the brain?"

Ortigue and her team worked with a team from West Virginia University and a university hospital in Switzerland. The results of the study are published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. 

Ortigue worked on the love study with colleagues Francesco Bianchi-Demicheli (Geneva University Psychiatric Center, Switzerland), James Lewis (West Virginia University), Nisa Patel (graduate student in SU's College of Arts and Sciences) and Chris Frum (West Virginia University). Ortigue's follow-up study about the speed of love in the human brain is expected to be released soon.”

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