What Is Love? A Brief History of its Many Medical Meanings

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Love isn’t just fodder for poets. For as long as people have been falling for each other, scientists have worked hard to locate the roots of love somewhere in the body. The ancient Greeks and medieval men of medicine believed that imbalances in bodily fluids like phlegm and blood were responsible for that weak-kneed, goofy-smiled condition of longing, but as early as the 1660s researchers had begun to grasp at the brain’s role in romantic love. Modern-day scientists know a lot more about how the emotion works — it involves the brain’s reward centers and pleasure chemicals like dopamine — but it’s still up for debate whether science or poetry describes it better.

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