Damn. I never realized that prairie voles provide better insight into human sexual health than actual human beings.
In Keroack's own lectures and writing, he also makes claims designed to scare the bejesus out of kids to convince them to remain abstinent. One pet theory involves the neuropeptide oxytocin, which plays a role in mother-child bonding and social affiliation. Keroack claims that that people who engage in premarital sex experience chronic emotional pain, which lowers their oxytocin levels. This in turn impairs their ability to form healthy relationships down the road. "People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual," he writes.
Keroack's cites research on oxytocin levels in animals like prairie voles. There are obvious problems in extrapolating from voles to humans, whose brains are much more complex. A handful of human studies show a role for oxytocin in promoting sociability. But there are inconsistencies. One study found that lactating women who had higher plasma levels of oxytocin reported being more sociable. But two others found that women with higher oxytocin levels reported higher relationship distress—precisely the opposite of Keroack's claim. More crucially, there are no data to suggest a causal link between oxytocin levels and marital happiness—or between any of this and premarital sex. Keroack's claim is simply "not borne out by the current evidence," says Jennifer Bartz of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, author of an excellent review article. To be less polite, this is a guy who takes a neuropeptide and a prairie vole and spins from them science fiction.
As Slate notes appointing this nutcase can be laid 100% at the Bush administration's feet:
Keroack's appointment, as deputy assistant secretary of population affairs within the Department of Health and Human Services, did not require congressional approval. The Bush administration picked him on its own.
Please! Someone take the "governing" role away from this lame-duck president!! We can't afford his silliness for two more years.Posted by Mary at November 22, 2006 12:44 AM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | Technorati links |