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Sex With A New Partner Can Boost Your Brain- Especially If You're In Love

Update Date: Mar 05, 2013 03:26 PM EST

Sex can make you smarter, researchers claim, especially if you've recently fallen in love. A study revealed that having sex on a regular basis could boost brainpower. 

Researchers conducted blood tests on people who've recently fallen in love and revealed that these people exhibited heightened levels of nerve growth in their brains.  In the experiment, researcher examined the blood of three groups of participants: those who had recently fallen in love, those in long-term relationships and those who were single.

Scientists from the University of Pavia, Italy found that people who had recently fallen head over heels exhibited significantly higher levels of nerve growth compared to people who were either single or were already engaged in a longer-term relationship, according to the Daily Mail.  Researchers say that heightened levels of nerve growth are important for a person's well-being and mental alertness.

However, the findings revealed that the levels of nerve growth fell the longer a couple stayed together, leading researches to suggest that there are significant health benefits during the first phase of love.

Researchers concluded "nerve growth factor was significantly higher in the subjects in love than in either the subjects with a long-lasting relationship or the subjects with no relationship," which led researchers to suggest that frequent sex not only reduces stress but enhances brain power, according to the book "Ariginine Vasopressin and Male Attachment: A Marital and Family Therapy Perspective" by Calvin James Thomsen.

The findings were supported by a separate study from Princeton University that examined the mental health of rats. Researchers had studied rats deprived of sex (allowed to only have sex once during the study period) and rats that had sex every day for the two-week study period.

Researchers found that sexually active rats experienced more nerve cell growth and had lower levels of stress hormones in their system. What's more, researchers found that the more sex rats had, the more nerve cells they seemed to have grown.

According to the Daily Mail, past studies have also shown that sex stimulated the growth of brain cells in the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for memory and learning.  While stress and depression have been found to shrink the hippocampus, exercise and sex seemed to counter the effect.

Other experts believe that sex could also protect the brain from decline.  Researchers say that past research has found that sexually active older people are less likely to develop dementia. 

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