Valentine: Hormone can enhance brain activity associated with love and sex

Hormone can enhance brain activity associated with love and sex

The hormone kisspeptin can enhance activity in brain regions associated with sexual arousal and romantic love, according to new research. The scientists behind the early-stage study, from Imperial College London, are now keen to explore whether kisspeptin could play a part in treating some psychosexual disorders — sexual problems which are psychological in origin, and commonly occur in patients with infertility. The work was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council. Kisspeptin is a naturally occurring hormone that stimulates the release of other reproductive hormones inside the body. The study involved a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which 29 healthy heterosexual young men were given either an injection of kisspeptin or placebo. In an MRI scanner the men were shown a variety of images, including sexual and non-sexual romantic pictures of couples, whilst researchers scanned their brains to see how kisspeptin affected the brain’s responses.

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