Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What sex can do for your brain.

Post 535 - I have my doubts that you need another reason to have sex, but in case you were searching for one that also happens to provide an excellent side effect, you've come to the right place today. According to LiveScience.com, scientists at Princeton University who study rats found that not only do sexually active rats appear to be "less anxious" than their virginal counterparts, but the activity also helps grow the rats' brains.

It seems that scientists played matchmaker by pairing up adult male rats with "sexually receptive" females, either once a day for two weeks or just once every two-weeks. Those two groups were then compared with male virgins and it turned out that the sexually active groups had more neurons in the hippocampus (an area of the brain tied to memory), while the rats who were the most sexually active had growth in adult brain cells and more connections between the cells.

However, the rats that only saw females once every two weeks had elevated levels of stress hormones, while the rats that had regular access showed no increase in their hormones. Sexually experienced rodents also proved to be less anxious than the virgin rats. As the article notes, the findings suggest that while stress hormones can be detrimental to the brain, these effects can be overridden if the experiences that triggered them were pleasant. And, apparently, if those experiences also happen more regularly.

Bigger brains and less stress? Just the reason you were looking for, right?

No comments: