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Woefully ignorant politicians and popular science

Posted on August 23, 2012 by James Kohl.

Rape Results In More Pregnancies Than Consensual Sex, Not Fewer

The Sex Files
Fact-checking Todd Akin

By Jennifer Abbasi Posted 08.21.2012 at 12:29 pm

Excerpt:  There’s no direct evidence yet of sex-induced ovulation in humans, although there’s some very new research hinting at the possibility. The LH in semen has been shown to trigger ovulation in camels, alpacas and llamas.


My comment: 08/23/12 at 7:50 pm

In every other species of reflex ovulator its the effect of pheromones on LH that triggers ovulation. This brings up the question of what common neurophysiological mechanism evolved (e.g., in some but not other mammals) to allow semen to trigger ovulation in the absence of the pheromones. What evidence suggests that semen alone is the trigger?  It also brings up the question about familiarity with existing evidence of sex-induced ovulation in humans. Is this the 1973 study that’s mentioned in the article?

Jochle, W. (1973) Coitus induced ovulation. Contraception, 7, 523-564.

The effect on LH could be expected to come from the influence of pheromones on gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurosecretory neurons. The olfactory/pheromonal stimulus doesn’t change when force is used and neither does its epigenetic effects on intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression that result in the GnRH-directed response common in mammals due to conservation of the GnRH molecule in vertebrates across 400 million years of Creation (e.g., via evolution).

I think this may indicate how many people can be offended by the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization required to link sensory stimuli to genetically predisposed effects on hormones and their affects on behavior. For example, there are similar effects reported in mammals that are linked directly to the pheromones of the female and testosterone increase in males:   “The functional significance of the conditioned change in LH secretion lies principally in the unequivocal demonstration that environmental cues can activate the pituitary-testis axis in a way that mimics, in every respect, the activation achieved by exposure to a female.

But wait, what if the epigenetic effects of pheromones on hormones associated with the physical trauma caused PTSD in women that affected subsequent behavior? Would that not exemplify taking the understanding of socioaffective neuroscience too far? If so, there’s no immediate danger I may be the only researcher who is capable of understanding the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors, and detailing how “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.” — as I did in Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.



James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl

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What is the vomeronasal organ (VNO)?

The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is a cone-shaped organ in the nasal cavity, which is believed to be one of the body's receptors of pheromones. More, specifically, the VNO, which is part of the accessory olfactory system in the nose, does not respond to normal scents, but may detect odorless, barely perceptible pheromones.

Other schools of thought believe that it is not the VNO but rather cells in our main olfactory system and their affects on hormones secreted by the hypothalamus that are responsible for the affects of pheromones.

Learn more about the science behind pheromones here.

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Optimized pheromones for men are scientifically proven to bring about an increase in the luteinizing hormone (LH) in women, thereby causing a woman to have a heightened sexual responsiveness to a man. This LH surge elevates a woman's predisposition towards sexual activity.

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