Love and Testosterone

Men, women, love, and the Olympics. In 1999 Donatella Marazziti of U. Pisa found the neurotransmitter serotonin dropped below normal levels in people newly in love (as well as in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.) Now she’s shown that levels of the hormone testosterone go down in men and rise in women for couples in the love-struck phase. “Men, in some way, had become more like women, and women had become like men. It’s as if nature wants to eliminate what can be different in men and women. because it’s more important to survive [and mate] at this stage.” This is an unexpected finding, since there are multiple studies showing that testosterone level rise in men with frequent sexual activity (which as those who have been madly in love know is an entertaining part of the madly-in-love phase.) Marazziti’s follow-up found that with the same couples, after a year or two, still in love but no longer madly in love, hormone levels returned to normal. (Original research in Psychoneuroendocrinology.) (All-time great journal name.)
In related research, Andreas Bartels of University College in London used fMRI to watch blood flow in the brain and found that when the newly-in-love look at images of thier beloveds, the neural circuits associated with critical social assessment seem to partially shut down. (Neuroimage.)
Please note the above confirms earlier investigations reported by Percy Sledge (Mussel Shoals, 1965).
Bottom line for athletes: if you’re a female Olympic hopeful, fall madly in love. If you’re a man, hey, might as well for it – true love beats the Olympics every time. (5/10)

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