Medicine: Brain on Sex

Libido, the technical name for sexual desire, is not triggered by the glands, but by the brain. So Neurologists John Mills Brookhart and Frederick Lemuel Dey of Northwestern University told the American Physiological Society in Chicago last week.

Engineer of the sex instinct, they said, is a nickel-sized area of tissue at the base of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus throws the switch for all man's primitive emotions—rage, fear, desire. Normally the hypothalamus is checked by the more civilized cerebral cortex. But sometimes the leash is broken and the hypothalamus runs wild, ignoring, as a neurologist once remarked, "refinements of...

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