Would you like to be smarter?
…Young adult rats were either allowed to have sex only once in a two-week period, or every day (Leuner et al., 2010).
What they found was that sex was stressful-the rats had elevated levels of stress hormones-but sex also promoted brain cell growth.
The rats that had been having sex for two weeks displayed neurogenesis: the process by which neurons are generated from stem cells in the brain.
The neurogenesis was found in part of the hippocampus, a structure that is thought to contribute to memory formation and other important cognitive functions.
The more sexually active rats also displayed less anxiety.
Middle aged rats
All very well for the younger rat, you might say, but what about the poor, downtrodden middle-aged rat?
He’s losing his looks, his fur and…well…he’s a rat.
When the same research group carried out a similar experiment on older rats, they reached the same conclusions (Glasper & Gould, 2013).
If older rats continued to have sex, neurogenesis in the hippocampus was enhanced.
So there’s hope for the older rats amongst us as well.
The effect did not, however, persist after the rats stopped having sex: they had to keep at it.
You know, some posts just stand by themselves — well, that is, if you’re a rat…