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LOVE ACTUALLY: IT'S A CHEMICAL REACTION

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SOURCE BODY WORLDS

2-for-1 Admission to BODY WORLDS: PULSE on Valentine's Weekend

NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- It's no surprise that falling in love makes us feel a jumble of emotions and strange physical effects.  According to researchers, falling in love releases a deluge of chemicals that make us swoon, flush, and sweat, our hearts race, and our brains turn obsessional.

The hormones released in the body when one falls in love cause a virtual flood.  The pleasure center of the brain lights up like the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center because of dopamine, which is responsible for the feelings of ecstasy, boundless energy, restlessness, insomnia, and obsession with the beloved.  "The person who is love-struck is in a similar state to that of an addict on opiates," said Dr. Angelina Whalley, designer of BODY WORLDS: PULSE – The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies.

Adrenaline and norepinephrine, the stress hormones which are fundamental during flight from danger and catastrophe are also released when one falls in love.  "They make you more focused, alert, awake, and responsive to the environment, which is probably why a person in love finds the world more beautiful," she said.

Increased blood flow occurs in the pleasure center of the brain, the domain of obsessive-compulsive disorders and addictions.  Serotonin levels of people in love are lower than normal-similar to those diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorders.  "We become obsessional and can think only of the object of our affection," Whalley says. During the advanced stages of love, Whalley says, a different set of hormones come into play.  "For a relationship to endure beyond the attraction phase, there is a need for chemicals that bond us to our mates," she said. This is where hormones and endorphins that create a sense of wellbeing and stability come into play.  Vasopressin plays a role in regulating social and sexual behavior and bonding.  Oxycontin is released in humans during orgasm, and in mothers during birth and while breastfeeding.  Called the "Love Hormone," Oxycontin triggers bonding between lovers, and between parents and children.

"The human body is an unceasing source of wonder," said Whalley.  "It is so keenly intelligent in its form and function even affecting this most emotional and fundamental of human experiences," she said. 

As a special Valentine's Promotion visitors can redeem a 2-for-1 discount at the Discovery Times Square box office, by printing the coupon at http://www.discoverytsx.com/vdaybodyworlds or showing it on their mobile device at the box office.  Offer is valid for general admission tickets on Valentine's weekend from February 14 to 16, 2014.

BODY WORLDS: PULSE is now on display at Discovery Times Square. Experience the splendor of the human body through Plastination, a breakthrough in anatomy invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens.  The exhibition is an inspiring, immersive, multimedia exhibition about health, wellness and living to the beat of life in a vibrant, fast-paced city.  Specimens on display stem from body donors who willed their bodies after death for Plastination and the education of future generations.  For more information visit: http://www.discoverytsx.com.

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