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Rosebud

Sexual pheromones and the evolution of the reward system of the brain;

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Sexual pheromones and the evolution of the reward system of the brain: the chemosensory function of the amygdala.

Brain Research Bulletin. v. 75. no. 2-4. 2008. p. 460 - issn: 0361-9230

 

The amygdala of all tetrapod vertebrates receives direct projections from the main and accessory olfactory bulbs, and the strong similarities in the organization of these projections suggest that they have undergone a very conservative evolution. However, current ideas about the function of the amygdala do not pay sufficient attention to its chemosensory role, but only view it as the core of the emotional brain. In this study, we propose that both roles of the amygdala are intimately linked since the amygdala is actually involved in mediating emotional responses to chemical signals. The amygdala is the only structure in the brain receiving pheromonal information directly from the accessory olfactory bulbs and we have shown in mice that males emit sexual pheromones that are innately attractive for females. In fact, sexual pheromones can be used as unconditioned stimuli to induce a conditioned attraction to previously neutral odorants as well as a conditioned place preference. Therefore, sexual pheromones should be regarded as natural reinforcers. Behavioural and pharmacological studies (reviewed here) have shown that the females' innate preference for sexual pheromones is not affected by lesions of the dopaminergic cells of the ventral tegmental area, and that the systemic administration of dopamine antagonists do not alter neither the attraction nor the reinforcing effects of these pheromones. Anatomical studies have shown that the vomeronasal amygdala gives rise to important projections to the olfactory tubercle and the islands of Calleja, suggesting that these amygdalo-striatal pathways might be involved in the reinforcing value of sexual pheromones. [References: 50]

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So my question is this. I had noticed that I felt very euphoric w/ certain pheromone blends( almost drug-like). I am a former user. Since it's not really possible to become addicted to pheromones. Do you think it would every be possible to intergrate pheromone therapies as a rehabilitative alternative to chemicals such as methadone. Or even for addictions like mine that don't require chemicals to end the usage?

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I'm very much for alternative medicine & natural remedies. I don't think they are always appropriate as complete alternatives to western medicine, but I do think they can be very useful as complements.

 

With phero's I personally think they can be a complement to medical treatment. Eg as mood booster & anxiety/stress relief. BUT phero effects are transient so I don't think you'd be very successful if you relied on phero's alone as your treatment. Drug addiction is very difficult to overcome, and with treating something as significant as that you need to really bring out the big guns. Compare it to painkillers...if you have a bit of a headache popping an aspirin will do the trick, but if your leg was broken an aspirin would do bugger all. You need to bring out the big guns for a broken leg; morphine

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Heh, granted I was waiting for Rosebud, as someone from the medical field, to say something first, BUT:

(informed opinions deconstructing my suppositions always welcome)

-addiction is about maintaining the state of euphoria which is experienced as a matter of the brain being rewired by the substance in question and therefore there are so many factors involved in terms of combating an addiction - psychological triggers, physical responses, environmental contributors, for example - that I truly don't believe it's a case of an either/or substitution in terms of whether pheromones would work in such a scenario.

 

-I have the notion that pheromone use can be psychologically addictive, but I've yet to find any evidence in the literature, of course. This is merely my own inkling from the years of observation I've amassed.

 

-While it does seem "true" that rehabilitation methodologies can involve substituting one crutch for another (as the addictive personality will always seek a crutch of some kind, it's a matter of finding the crutch which is the least destructive to body, mind and lifestyle) I don't know how theraputic it would be to use something like pheromones, as their usage could also carry drug-like connotations (and it's about eschewing the concept of drug use altogether in some schools of thought). Going for the endorphin release of the "runner's high" for example, is an example of a good strategy as it will enhance your well-being on several levels. But using pheromones to trigger your endorphins as a coping strategy against stress or other psychological triggers is perhaps too close to those behaviors which the addict is seeking to discontinue.

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I really agree w/ you Rosebud. I think natural & alternative therapies should complement each other. Neither one should ever be excluded from the other. I was wondering about the pheromones, because it was easy for me to quit. I have quit smoking cold turkey. I have quit meth, cocaine, & mdma(ecstasy) cold turkey. I know it isn't that easy for many people to quit. I just feel bad for people that don't have the personal strength to quit. I personally believe it's a choice. However, I want to believe in the innate goodness of humanity. Whenever, I've seen a woman (very obviously) in the third trimester of pregnancy. Asking for needles to inject Meth. I just want to believe there is something out there that hasn't been looked into yet*sigh*.

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