13 February 2011

Hi Jim,
Just want to make sure you saw this study by http://linlab.med.nyu.edu/members.html Dayu Lin at New York University that corroborates your own studies and the work you have been doing for over four decades. Here is the Nature summary of the study: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v470/n7333/full/nature09736.html

Immediate early gene analysis and single unit recordings from VMHvl during social interactions reveal overlapping but distinct neuronal subpopulations

involved in fighting and mating. Neurons activated during attack are inhibited during mating, suggesting a potential neural substrate for competition between these opponent social behaviours.

"The mating circuit acts like a gate on the aggression circuit and actively suppresses nearby fighting neurons when there is a potential mate around," says Lin.

Peace through pleasure
Susan M. Block, Ph.D.

Thanks Susan for the reference. The reciprocal inhibitory relationship between Pain and Pleasure and Peace and Violence have been known for a long time. It is great to know that “mating circuits” actively suppress “nearby fighting neurons” in the mouse brain.

The scientific history of this relationship goes back to the 1950s with the studies of Robert G. Heath, M.D., Sc.D. at Columbia University and continued as Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University Medical School. His edited 1964 textbook The Role of Pleasure In Behavior is a classic in the field.

James W. Prescott, Ph.D.