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Being in Love Produces a "Rush" in Brain Activity, fMRI Scans Show

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | February 11, 2009
Love and chocolate go together
Love is usually associated with the heart: Valentine's Day chocolates, for example, often come in a heart-shaped box. But recent studies by neurocientists show that love is actually very much in our heads.

Dr. Lucy Brown, a neuroscientist at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, has studied the brain during various stages of romantic love using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Among Dr. Brown's findings are the following:

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- romantic love appears to be a drive, rather than an emotion.
- chocolate activates the same area of the brain that is activated during romantic love.
- the areas of the brain that are activated by romantic love overlap with areas of the brain that are active when people feel the rush of cocaine.
- people in long-term relationships who report they are still very much in love showed activity in the same area of the brain activated during early-stage romantic love.

There is also some research that suggests that couples that do new and challenging things together tend to keep their relationships fresher and more exciting.

Source: American Physiology Society