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The Medical Inquirer – Student Newspaper

and melt the chocolate, making sure to stir often. Once the

chocolate has completely melted, remove the bowl from

the heat and whisk in the caramelized honey, rum and powdered

sugar. Transfer the mixture to a cool bowl and

allow it to “set” for about 5 minutes.

Combine the sprinkles and salt in a bowl. Using your

hands roll the chocolate mixture into small balls, about 1

inch in diameter. Roll them in the chocolate sprinkle/salt

mixture until they are generously coated. Place them on a

serving tray or store them in an airtight container.

3) Ignore the saying “Diamonds

are a girl’s best friend”.

Flowers at any time of the year

are a perfectly thoughtful way

to have your valentine glow.

4) Write a poem or song letting your valentine know how

much you admire and appreciate them.

5) Make a nice dinner for two.

Oxytocin: The Hormone of Love

Oxytocin, a hormone produced by the mammalian posterior

pituitary gland, plays an important role in inducing

labor, stimulating milk ejection during lactation, uterine

contraction during birth, and is released in both males and

females during sexual orgasm. In most recent studies,

oxytocin shows to play an important role in interpersonal

and emotional relationships.

oxytocin may be mediating emotional experiences in close

relationships... This is one of the first looks into biological

basis for human attachment and bonding.”

Turner and colleagues asked twenty-six non-lactating

women to perform a study on the positive and negative

correlation of emotional stress on oxytocin based on a

previous relationship. Since studies proved that massages

on rats increase the oxytocin level, the women were also

given 15 minute Swedish massages before they had their

blood tested for increase or decrease in oxytocin. This

study showed on average that a positive emotion had no

effect on oxytocin, a negative effect lowered the levels of

oxytocin, and the relaxation massage increased the levels

of oxytocin. What surprised the researchers was the variation

in the oxytocin levels in women experiencing either

stress or insecurity as

opposed to relaxation

and ease in the relationships.

Women

with more confidence,

who recalled a

positive relationship,

showed a higher level

of oxytocin during a

massage, compared

to women with more

Type A personality, who are people-pleasers, less confident,

and experienced more anxiety in close relationships.

Also, women in stable relationships experienced a greater

increase in oxytocin following positive emotions than women

who were single. “It seems that having this hormone

“available” during positive experiences, and not being depleted

of it during negative experiences, is associated with

well-being in relationships”, says Turner.

While the oxytocin functional-anomaly is still being

unraveled by doctors at UCSF, think to yourself, what can

I do to trigger my admirer’s oxytocin level?

From your Valentine

-Magdalena Kozak

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

Please email us at: the.medical.inquirer@gmail.com

Rebecca Turner, a professor and psychiatrist at University

of California San Francisco, is also a lead author of

the study on oxytocin and says, “Our study indicates that

See you next month with more articles here in the

PULS UM! Spread the word to your colleagues :-)

22

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