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Love Makes Men & Women More Alike

Researcher Donatella Marazziti has discovered that your hormones change when you fall in love. After measuring the hormones of men and women who claimed to be in love, she says, "The most intriguing finding is related to testosterone."

Serotonin levels go down leading to an obsessive-compulsive interest in the loved one, while levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. But when it comes to the male sex hormone testosterone, men and women react differently. Men who are in love have lower levels, making them gentler and kinder (at least when they're courting), but women who are in love have higher testosterone levels, perhaps so they'll take the initiative and not let him get away. Marazziti says, "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."

Researcher Andreas Bartels has found that when people look at their lovers, the neural circuits that are normally associated with critical social assessment of other people are suppressed, meaning we really are "blinded by love." But what happens when our neurons and hormone levels return to normal? We all know the answer to that one.

We also need to learn to love our bodies: Three years ago, Carnie Wilson was 300 pounds, unemployed, depressed, and sitting in a doctor's office being told that she probably wouldn't live much longer. Knowing she had to do something to save herself, Carnie opted to have gastric bypass surgery. She woke up the next day in the hospital determined that she wouldn't just work on having a new body, but also a new life. Don't miss Anne Strieber's interview with Carnie (in which they laugh a lot and fantasize about chocolate cake) on this week's Mysterious Powers!



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