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Love's All About Chemistry

   

By Niz

     
 

People who have been swept off their feet know the feeling. Love makes us all feel funny. That sense of giddy disorientation, unsinkable euphoria and complete obsession with a new love can be so overpowering, that it's hard to imagine it's all about emotion. Now scientists are confirming there indeed may be a lot more going on in a body that's in love than simple, happy thoughts. In fact, a spate of research has shown what kind of chemical and neurological activities occur at different stages of human and animal relationships. While the results hardly make love less mysterious, they do start to shed light on why it can make people feel so funny.

 

DOPED UP


Helen Fisher, a research professor of anthropology at Rutgers University , is among many scientists who believe the flush of a new love is enhanced by natural stimulants in the brain, dopamine and norepinphrine. She explains that high levels of these natural chemicals can make people lose their appetites and their desire for sleep, just by thinking about their new infatuations. "These are basic traits commonly associated with romantic love and with these natural stimulants," she says. "What else could explain the way you constantly think about a person, about the way you want to read them your bad poetry?"


Further studies show that gushy romantic sensations may be similar to the highs drug addicts feel when they're under the influence. Nora Volkow; the associate director for life sciences at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York , has analysed the behaviours of drug addicts and people in love and found striking parallels. "When a person is passionately in love, it is extremely exciting and provocative, and if the loved one is not there, distressing," says Volkow. "When I see my drug addicted patients, it just clicks with me how similar the addiction is. "The fact that drug addiction and passionate love may trigger the same responses, signals to Volkow that drug addiction is especially dangerous since it taps into a natural sensation.


STIRRING THE BRAIN
 

 
 
 

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