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 May 16, 2005
Gay Men Respond Like Women to Hormonal Stimuli: Report
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The sexual part of a gay man's brain that responds to certain hormonal stimuli works much like that of a woman, Swedish scientists have concluded from new research.

The study offers additional evidence that sexual orientation is not all learned, experts told the Associated Press about the findings, published in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the experiment, gay men and heterosexual women responded similarly when they sniffed a chemical called a pheromone, derived from the male hormone testosterone. The brains of heterosexual men did not respond in the same way. The researchers used an advanced imaging technique called a PET scan to measure the subjects' brain responses.

The responses in gay men and straight women were concentrated in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that is active in hormonal responses necessary for sexual behavior, the researchers said.

Whether people actually respond to pheromones has been debated, the AP reported. In 2000, American researchers said they had discovered a gene they believed directed a human pheromone receptor in the nose, the wire service added.


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