ibnlive » Tech

Feb 16, 2009 at 12:10pm IST

Soon, pills to turn you on or off love

New York: After the passion of Valentine's Day, here is some sobering news for lovers. Pop a love pill, and you are on.

And pop an anti-love pill, you are done - without any lingering emotions.

Scientists say it will soon be possible to fall in and out of love at whim - just like hopping into a bus and then getting off two stops later.

POP A LOVE PILL: Scientists say it will soon be possible to fall in and out of love at whim.

They say that since falling in love is merely a chemical reaction in the human brain, a love pill may be invented soon to trigger this chemical reaction to make people in love.

And then there could be an anti-love pill to make people fall out of love.

According to an American neuro-scientist, researchers may soon find the right kind of chemical mixture to help people fall in and out of love.

Larry Young of Atlanta 's Emory University School of Medicine told a television network at the weekend that researchers may soon be able to show that emotions such as love are directly triggered by biochemical events in the human brain.

He said his research into prairie voles - which are short-tailed, mouse-like animals found in the prairies (fertile plains) of the US and Canada - has shown that sexual bonding can be triggered and blocked by the addition or subtraction of certain chemicals to the brain.

"(The voles) are monogamous. That is, they form a life-long bond with a partner. We have been studying the chemistry behind that," he said.

But when Young injected the chemical (hormone) oxytocin into the brain of a female prairie vole, she quickly abandoned her monogamy and fell for the nearest male.

But when the chemical hormone to her brain was stopped, her bonding with the new mate was over.

According to Young, "The hormone interacts with the reward and reinforcement system driven by the neurotransmitter dopamine - the same circuitry that drugs such as nicotine, cocaine and heroine act on in humans to produce euphoria and addiction."

The happy news, said Young, is that his research has shown that "there is an overlap between the brain areas involved in vole bonding and those associated with human love.

"What's more, the chemical oxytocin, which was observed to trigger bonding in voles, also changes human behaviour.

"People who inhale oxytocin become more trusting ... They engage in more eye contact ... (It) tunes them into the social world. Dopamine gives us a reward, so you feel good."

Creating a cocktail of these two chemicals (oxytocin and dopamine) in the form of a love pill could create an attraction between two people, he said.

But if attraction could be chemically induced, he added, the opposite was also possible in the form of anti-love pills.

"You could block those chemicals when you're around this person. All drugs are just mimicking or blocking our own natural brain chemistry," Young said.

He said these chemical cocktails could help countless couples who spend huge amounts of money on marital therapy in future.

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