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2 The Sexual Brain

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Part 2 of "Science & Sexuality." The most important sex organ is between your ears! The hypothalamus is an ancient brain area governing instinctive drives and behaviors. People are animals and sex …

Part 2 of "Science & Sexuality." The most important sex organ is between your ears! The hypothalamus is an ancient brain area governing instinctive drives and behaviors. People are animals and sex is more ancient than people!


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  • 1. The Sexual Brain
  • 2. The Hypothalamus Integration of Neuroendocrine Activity and Genesis of Instinctive Drives & Behavior Ganong, William F. REVIEW OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY 22 nd ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill (2005)
  • 3. Ganong, William F. REVIEW OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY 22 nd ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill (2005)
  • 4. Hypothalamic Functions: Homeostasis and Instinctive Drives & Behavior Ganong, William F. REVIEW OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY 22 nd ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill (2005)
  • 5. Hypothalamus – Pituitary – Gonad Intercommunication Ganong, William F. REVIEW OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY 22 nd ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill (2005)
  • 6. Menstrual Cycle Is Orchestrated by Hypothalamus Ganong, William F. REVIEW OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY 22 nd ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill (2005)
  • 7. Cyclic Ovarian Secretion Men: Estradiol = 50 ug/d, Testosterone = 4000-9000 ug/d Ganong, William F. REVIEW OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY 22 nd ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill (2005)
  • 8. Sex Hormones Before Birth Versus After Birth
    • Female monkeys and humans exposed to androgen or excess estrogen in utero
      • Still have female cyclic gonadotropin secretion
      • Adult sexual behavior altered
    • Sex hormone administration to adults
      • Increases sexual activity
      • But does not change sexual orientation
    Ganong, William F. REVIEW OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY 22 nd ed. Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill (2005)
  • 9. Sexual Behavior Region in Rodents
    • Sexually dimorphic nucleus of preoptic area (SDN-POA)
      • First discovered in rodents
      • In region of hypothalamus with known sexual function
        • Control of masculine sexual behavior
        • Release of gonadotrophic hormones producing ovulation
    Paredes, Raul G., and Baum, Michael J. Role Of The Medial Preoptic Area/Anterior Hypothalamus In The Control Of Masculine Sexual Behavior ANNUAL REVIEW OF SEX RESEARCH (1997)
  • 10. Human Anterior Hypothalamus
    • Four nuclei in preoptic area (interstitial nuclei of anterior hypothalamus)
    • INAH1, INAH-2 and INAH-3 are sexually dimorphic (more cells & volume in males)
    • SDN-POA of humans
      • Horseshoe-shaped, comprised of INAH1 & INAH2
      • Aka intermediate nucleus
    • Uncinate nucleus of humans
      • INAH3 & INAH4 are subnuclei
      • horseshoe-shaped nucleus divided by fornix
    Allen, L. S., Hines, M., Shryne, J. E., and Gorski, R. A. Two Sexually Dimorphic Cell Groups In The Human Brain. JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 9: 497-506 (1989)
  • 11. Uncinate Nucleus of Human & Rhesus Monkey May Be Homologous to SDN-POA of Rat
    • Rhesus monkey hypothalamus has nuclei that resemble the first, second and third interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH1-3) of the human
    • Positional and cytoarchitectonic criteria suggest that of these nuclei, INAH3 and its potential counterpart in the rhesus monkey are the best candidates for homology with the SDN-POA of rat
    • Byne, William. The Medial Preoptic And Anterior Hypothalamic Regions Of The Rhesus Monkey: Cytoarchitectonic Comparison With The Human And Evidence For Sexual Dimorphism. BRAIN RESEARCH 793: 346-350 (1998)
  • 12. Hypothalamus & Limbic System: Genesis of Emotions & Emotional Expression Netter, Frank H. The CIBA COLLECTION OF MEDICAL ILLUSTRATIONS. Vol I. Nervous System. Part I. Anatomy & Physiology. New York: CIBA (1983)
  • 13. Limbic Functions
    • Olfaction
    • Feeding behavior
    • Sexual behavior (including parenting)
    • Emotions
      • Cognition
      • Affect
      • Conation
      • Physical Changes
    • Motivation
    • Learning & memory