Posted on Jan 21, 2009, 4 p.m.
Researchers are beginning to conduct animal testing to help them better understand the brain chemistry responsible for those human emotions that attract members of the opposite sex to each other.
Research studies have led to the development of a wide range of drug therapies to treat many types of emotional disorders, from anxiety and phobias to post-traumatic stress disorders. Now scientists believe that at some point in the future, they will be able to develop a drug that can boost feelings of love and attraction. Animal testing is now beginning to help them better understand the complex neural and genetic components responsible for those feeling that draw humans to a particular person and help keep us true to our spouses. As Professor Larry Young of Emory University in Georgia writes in the journal Nature, “Drugs that manipulate brain systems at whim to enhance or diminish our love for another may not be far away.”In fact, experiments have demonstrated that the hormone oxytocin, when applied as a nasal spray, elevates feelings of trust. Marketers are already promoting products that offer a cologne-like mixture of oxytocin and pheromones. Prof. Young explains that “the hormone interacts with the reward and reinforcement system driven by the neuro-transmitter dopamine, the same circuitry that drugs such as nicotine, cocaine and heroine act on in humans to produce euphoria and addiction.” He notes that although he believes products such as Enhanced Liquid Trust do little more than boost confidence, there are studies in Australia evaluating whether an oxytocin nasal spray could aid traditional marital therapy.
News Release: Love spray being developed by scientists. Telegraph.co.uk January 8, 2009.