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Love's labors found...deep in the brain

        Love may be blind, but scientists now say that they have identified the regions of the brain responsible for those deep romantic feelings. British researchers presented the findings at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans.
"Our goal was to find out what region of the brain actually makes a person fall in love or makes them feel like they are in love," Dr. Andreas Bartels of University College London stated. "We tried to get people who were head-over-heels in love...these people were, on average, in relationships for about 2 years."
The team of researchers enlisted 17 study participants who reported being "truly and madly" in love.
"We relied on the (participants) to tell us that they were deeply in love and they also filled out a psychological questionnaire that assesses if a person is in love or not," Bartels said.
While looking at photographs of their boyfriend or girlfriend and of three close friends, the volunteers were subjected to brain scans that detect regions of activity.
"We found that the emotional response was greater--an increase in blood flow to specific regions of the brain--when they looked at photos of the person they were in love with," Bartels explained.
Specifically, four regions, found in the part of the brain known as the limbic region, were activated. The measurements also showed that looking at a picture of the loved-one reduced activity in other regions, such as the neocortex, an area associated with feelings of depression.
So does this mean that we can all hope for a drug that will rekindle dying flames of love? Bartels is doubtful. However, future research by the team will include the identification of brain regions associated with the love mothers feel for their children, he told Reuters Health.

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