Society for Social Neuroscience Presentation scheduled 10/11/12

Poster A15, Thursday, October 11, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Grand Ballroom D, Hilton Riverside Hotel

Human pheromones and nutrient chemicals: epigenetic effects on ecological, social, and neurogenic niches that affect behavior.

James V. Kohl1, Linda C. Kelahan2, Heather Hoffmann2;1Independent Researcher, Epworth, GA, 2Knox College, Galesburg, IL

Presenter: James V. Kohl

Background: The 2007 iteration of the “FDA Critical Path Initiative” (FDACPI) is a systems biology approach to disease prevention and pharmacogenomics. It stresses the need to examine healthy behavioral development by including interactions among the evolved gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ-system pathway. This pathway links the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones directly to the organization and activation of behavior in species from honeybees to humans.

The 2011 American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Public Policy Statement: ‘Definition of Addiction’ dictates the integration of the FDACPI’s neuroscientific principles of epigenetic cause and effect, which are required to understand differences between genetically predisposed brain disease, naturally occurring variations of behavioral development, and choice. These neuroscientific principles include focus on how sensory input influences behavior.

ASAM specifically mentions food and sex along with drugs and alcohol. Each of these influences chemically conditions changes in hormones and in behavioral responses.

Study design: Nutrient chemical signals are associated with food odors. Pheromones are chemical signals associated with social odors and sex differences. We incorporated what is currently known about the ability of chemical signals to condition behavior. This conditioning occurs via epigenetic effects that calibrate and standardize the molecular biology of intracellular signal transduction and stochastic gene expression, which controls the feedback loops of developmental processes required for movement, ingestion, reproduction, and the diversification of species from microbes to man.

Method: Pre-existing, adaptively evolved, nutrition dependent, hormone-driven, cyclic peak fertility in fourteen women was assessed by a non-invasive measure of luteinizing hormone (LH). During a double-blind social construct, the women were exposed for fifteen minutes to a man who had applied either a control mixture (n=7), or a mixture of androstenol/androsterone (n=7). Both mixtures contained the same masking odor. Summary: Evaluated video recordings of interactions showed increased flirtatious behaviors of women, which were statistically attributed to the effect of androstenol on LH and the unconscious affect of androsterone. Measures of self-reported increased attraction correlated with the increased flirtatious behaviors.

Conclusions: Across species comparisons of epigenetic effects on nutrition dependent and hormone-driven invertebrate and vertebrate social and sexual behavior indicate that the androstenol/androsterone mixture contains pheromones, which may increase opportunities for properly timed reproductive sexual behavior. Neuroscientifically established epigenetic effects of sensory input on hormones that affect behavior suggest that this mixture of human pheromones causes changes in ecotypically organized neural pathways that directly link nutrient chemicals and social niches to 1) neurogenic niches; 2) the molecular biology of evolved neural circuitry; 3) genetically predisposed physiological changes, and to 4) unconscious affects on behavior in species from invertebrates to mammals. The molecular biology is conserved and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance establishes the pre-existing genetic variation. Our results tentatively extend epigenetic effects on intracellular signaling, gene expression, hormones, and unconscious affects on behavior, which are due to food odors and pheromones in insects, to socioaffective neuroscience in people despite pre-existing genetic variation and phenotypic differences in nutrition dependent hormone-driven development of the brain, and differences in the development of social and sexual behaviors.

Keywords: neuroscience, social, ecological, neurogenic, affect, effect, olfaction, pheromones, odor, evolution

Author: James Kohl

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