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She turned her wedding day into a biology experiment

February 10, 2010 | 11:23 am

Bouquet This being the run-up to Valentine's Day, perhaps it's no surprise that more than one publication ran a story on the chemicals that lie behind love.

If you weren't sated by ours, read another one in New Scientist magazine in which a writer decides to find out what happens to her blood chemistry and that of her man as they get married (for good measure, they also tested the blood of several others in the wedding party). From the story, by Linda Geddes:

"We'd booked the venue, chosen the bridesmaids' dresses and even decided on the colours of the table decorations. But finding a refrigerated centrifuge and a ready supply of dry ice in rural south-west England was proving tricky. Then there were the worries about getting blood on my silk wedding dress, and what to do if someone fainted.

Organising a wedding can be stressful enough, but we had a whole extra dimension to consider. We were turning it into a science experiment to probe what happens in our bodies when we say the words 'I do.' "

Geddes was specifically curious about changes that might occur in blood levels of the hormone oxytocin, linked to formation of close bonds, on the happy day, as well as vasopressin, testosterone and stress hormones. To get the job done, she enlisted the help of SoCal researcher Paul Zak of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University.

We won't wreck the suspense by telling you what happens ...

-- Rosie Mestel

Photo credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times


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