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Pheromone – associated predictions of NIMH DSM-5 position change

Posted on May 5, 2013 by James Kohl.

Sexuality researchers predicted the NIMH DSM-5 position change in the context of the past decades of progress.

First paragraph (with my emphasis): McCarthy et al (2012) [Feb 15]
In 2001 the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S.A., concluded that many aspects of both normal and pathological brain functioning exhibit important yet poorly understood sex differences (Wizemann and Pardu, 2001). Ten years later, the National Institute of Mental Health convened a workshop titled Sex Differences in Brain, Behavior, Mental Health and Mental Disorders and concluded (1) there is a paucity of research examining sex differences at a neurobiological and mechanistic level; (2) there are pervasive sex differences in the brain, and (3) there is a need for more neuroscientists to incorporate sex as a variable in experimental designs (National Institute of Mental Health, 2011).

Excerpts 1,2,3 from Kohl (2012) [Mar 15]

1) Sex differences in the effects of pheromones
The GnRH-directed LH and T response in the male is linked to rapid remodeling of the male infant’s brain that occurs during the first postnatal 6 months, particularly in areas associated with cognitive tasks, including spatial conceptualization and the emotional processing of visual cues (Sanai et al., 2011). This remodeling of the brain appears to continue throughout life. GnRH and LH cause subsequent changes in levels of other hormones associated with sexual differentiation of the brain and with behavior (see for review, Wizemann & Pardue, 2001).

2) Given the importance of understanding how food odors and nutrition epigenetically influence individual survival in other mammals, it is not surprising that a reiteration of the ‘FDA Critical Path Initiative’ (Marts & Resnick, 2007) stresses the need to approach the development of human sexual behavior, which is required for our species survival and beneficial to human well-being, by using the same pathway that links food odors and pheromones to the behavior of honeybees and humans. Including the interactions among the gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ-system pathway (Wizemann & Pardue, 2001) allows sexual differentiation of the brain and behavior to be detailed in the manner that was suggested by Diamond, Binstock, and Kohl (1996) and more recently by McCarthy and Arnold (2011). These details are in obvious accord with what has been neuroscientifically known for several decades about organization and activation of the brain and behavior (Naftolin, 1981).

3) The Public Policy Statement: Definition of Addiction (ASAM, 2011) represents a paradigm shift that may move the current practice of clinical psychology forward. It dictates the adoption and integration of neuroscientific principles that are required in order to understand differences between genetically predisposed brain disease, naturally occurring variations of behavioral development, and choice. These neuroscientific principles include focus on how sensory input influences behavior. The statement specifically mentions food and sex along with drugs and alcohol; each seems to chemically condition changes in hormones and in behavioral responses. Although no link between cause and effect is mentioned by ASAM, these principles could incorporate the GnRH neurophysiological mechanism and levels of LH, which link food odors and pheromones to chemically conditioned behaviors.
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Is what we now see the recognition of works more likely to be incorporated in presentations at the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, the Society for Neuroscience, and Society for Social Neuroscience rather than at my 2012 SSSS poster session (abstract below).

Background: The 2007 iteration of the “FDA Critical Path Initiative” (FDACPI) is a systems biology approach to disease prevention and pharmacogenomics. It stresses the need to examine healthy behavioral development by including interactions among the evolved gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ-system pathway. This pathway links the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones directly to the organization and activation of behavior in species from honeybees to humans. The 2011 American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Public Policy Statement: ‘Definition of Addiction’ dictates the integration of the FDACPI’s neuroscientific principles of epigenetic cause and effect, which are required to understand differences between genetically predisposed brain disease, naturally occurring variations of behavioral development, and choice. These neuroscientific principles include focus on how sensory input influences behavior. ASAM specifically mentions food and sex along with drugs and alcohol. Each of these influences chemically conditions changes in hormones and in behavioral responses. Study design: Nutrient chemical signals are associated with food odors. Pheromones are chemical signals associated with social odors and sex differences. We incorporated what is currently known about the ability of chemical signals to condition behavior. This conditioning occurs via epigenetic effects that calibrate and standardize the molecular biology of intracellular signal transduction and stochastic gene expression, which controls the feedback loops of developmental processes required for movement, ingestion, reproduction, and the diversification of species from microbes to man. Method: Pre-existing, adaptively evolved, nutrition dependent, hormone-driven, cyclic peak fertility in fourteen women was assessed by a non-invasive measure of luteinizing hormone (LH). During a double-blind social construct, the women were exposed for fifteen minutes to a man who had applied either a control mixture (n=7), or a mixture of androstenol/androsterone (n=7). Both mixtures contained the same masking odor. Summary: Evaluated video recordings of interactions showed increased flirtatious behaviors of women, which were statistically attributed to the effect of androstenol on LH and the unconscious affect of androsterone. Measures of self-reported increased attraction correlated with the increased flirtatious behaviors. Conclusions: Across species comparisons of epigenetic effects on nutrition dependent and hormone-driven invertebrate and vertebrate social and sexual behavior indicate that the androstenol/androsterone mixture contains pheromones, which may increase opportunities for properly timed reproductive sexual behavior. Neuroscientifically established epigenetic effects of sensory input on hormones that affect behavior suggest that this mixture of human pheromones causes changes in ecotypically organized neural pathways that directly link nutrient chemicals and social niches to 1) neurogenic niches; 2) the molecular biology of evolved neural circuitry; 3) genetically predisposed physiological changes, and to 4) unconscious affects on behavior in species from invertebrates to mammals. The molecular biology is conserved and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance establishes the pre-existing genetic variation. Our results tentatively extend epigenetic effects on intracellular signaling, gene expression, hormones, and unconscious affects on behavior, which are due to food odors and pheromones in insects, to socioaffective neuroscience in people despite pre-existing genetic variation and phenotypic differences in nutrition dependent hormone-driven development of the brain, and differences in the development of social and sexual behaviors.
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If the above representation is factual, other sexuality researchers have also predicted the NIMH DSM-5 position change and will be more likely to understand the concepts of 1) Nutrient-dependent / Pheromone-controlled Adaptive Evolution and 2) Nutrient-dependent / Pheromone-controlled thermodynamics and thermoregulation based on their current understanding of epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input on GnRH and its regulation of downstream effects on the release of sex steroid hormones and mammalian brain development (see for example: Nuruddin et al.) during the development of hormone-organized and hormone-activated behaviors. However, I also think the focus on sex steroid hormones has taken away from efforts to link the sensory environment to sex differences in behavior via the metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones that control reproduction in species from microbes to man.

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James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl




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James Kohl owns Pheromones.com, and he has published books and award-winning research journal articles about human pheromones. With colleagues he was the first to show that a mixture of human pheromones increases the flirtatious behaviors of women, and increases their level of attraction to the man wearing the mixture - during a real-life social circumstance lasting 15 minutes.

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