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This effect may come about because differences in an individual’s immune system alter the body’s bacterial flora and, in turn, the resulting odors created by the breakdown of sweat and apocrine gland secretions by these bacteria. But would nature leave such a vital process as mate selection under the control of microbes, which can change with infections and other environmental influences? As it turns out, it is not the MHC protein itself that is the pheromone. Recent research indicates that it is the small protein fragment clutched in the jaws of the MHC molecule.

Sex and Mental Disorders PTSD is not the only psychological disturbance that appears to play out differently in women and men. A PET study by Mirko Diksic and his colleagues at McGill University showed that serotonin production was a remarkable 52 percent higher on average in men than in women, which might help clarify why women are more prone to depression — a disorder commonly treated with drugs that boost the concentration of serotonin. © 20 09 SCIENTIFIC AMERIC AN, INC . A similar situation might prevail in addiction.

It is also biologically important to diminish sexual arousal toward one’s own family ­members, who are most likely to share your variety of MHC genes. The Wedekind and Ober studies suggest that an individual’s odor is ­affected ( ) Nerve impulses travel out from the brain through nerve zero, but their purpose is unknown. smell and the olfactory nerves that made it possible, whatever nerve zero did was too precious to survival for evolution to abandon. Despite the intriguing findings, nerve zero’s role in the sexual behavior of humans remains unclear.

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Scientific American Mind: Your Sexual Brain (Special Editions) by Scientific American


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