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Sex For Thought: Sexual Activity May Boost Intelligence

Update Date: Jan 15, 2014 08:30 AM EST
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Getting lucky may mean getting brainy. Having sex makes you smarter because it promotes the growth of new brain cells, according to scientists.

Scientists found that sex boosts mental performance and neurogenesis in the hippocampus of rats. The hippocampus is the brain region responsible for forming long-term memories.

Researchers at the University of Maryland found that middle-aged rats experienced improved cognitive function and "hippocampal" function after mating, according to The Atlantic. Scientists said that sexual activity in middle-age rats restored age-related decline in brain function to young adult levels.

Researchers said the findings suggest that mating can encourage adult neurogenesis and slow cognitive decline.

However, the study revealed that the cognitive improvements disappeared when sexual activity was stopped.

Korean researchers at Konkuk University in Seoul also found that sex neutralizes the negative effects of stress on brain development by restoring neurogenesis.

"Sexual interaction could be helpful for buffering adult hippocampal neurogenesis and recognition memory function against the suppressive actions of chronic stress," researchers wrote, according to The Telegraph.

Experts note that sex is not enough, and that people need to work to maintain their new brain cells.

"You can make new cells with exercise, Prozac and sex," Tracey J. Shors told Society for Neuroscience, according to the Daily Mail. "If you do mental training, you'll keep alive more of the cells you produced. And if you do both, now you have the best of both worlds - you're making more cells and keeping more alive."

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