Thursday, May 10, 2007

Can Being Hit On The Head Kill Interest In Sex?

"In 1978, I was involved in a car accident. A few months later, I wasn't interested in sex any longer; I had lost all my chest hair."

Mitch Heller was normal in every way until that car accident in which he took a serious blow to the head. He was examined by brain researcher Dr. William Crowley at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"It appeared the defect was isolated to the reproductive hormone in the hypothalamus - that is, the gonadotrophin releasing hormone [GnRH]," Dr. Crowley said, "and that was extremely interesting because other hypothalamic functions were normal."

The particular neurons of the hypothalamus responsible for secreting the crucial GnRH to the pituitary were traumatized by the head blow. So Dr. Crowley devised a pump through which the hormone could be administered subcutaneously through the abdomen. And to mimic the action of the hypothalamus, it had to be given at two-hour intervals. Soon his sex drive - and chest hair - returned, and he and his wife had a baby girl.

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