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Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2005 Jun;26(3):175-92.

The Neurobiology of Love.

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  • 1Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Institute for General Practice and Family Medicine, Schumannstrasse 20/21, 10117 Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

Love is a complex neurobiological phenomenon, relying on trust, belief, pleasure and reward activities within the brain, i.e., limbic processes. These processes critically involve oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, and serotonergic signaling. Moreover, endorphin and endogenous morphinergic mechanisms, coupled to nitric oxide autoregulatory pathways, play a role. Naturally rewarding or pleasurable activities are necessary for survival and appetitive motivation, usually governing beneficial biological behaviors like eating, sex, and reproduction. Yet, a broad basis of common signaling and beneficial neurobiological features exists with connection to the love concept, thereby combining physiological aspects related to maternal, romantic or sexual love and attachment with other healthy activities or neurobiological states. Medical practice can make use of this concept, i.e., mind/body or integrative medicine. Thus, love, pleasure, and lust have a stress-reducing and health-promoting potential, since they carry the ability to heal or facilitate beneficial motivation and behavior. In addition, love and pleasure ensure the survival of individuals and their species. After all, love is a joyful and useful activity that encompasses wellness and feelings of well-being.

PMID:
15990719
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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