Is love just a chemical cocktail?

It is said that love is a drug. But is it just a drug?

That is the contention of Larry Young, a professor of neuroscience at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Writing in the respected scientific journal Nature, Professor Young argues that love can be explained by a series of neurochemical events in specific brain areas. If it is true, he says, people will no longer have to rely on oysters or chocolates to create a loving mood.

Instead, it will be possible for scientists to develop aphrodisiacs - chemicals that would make people fall in love with the first person they see. And for those who have fallen in love with someone they shouldn't have, there could be an antidote to unrequited love. There is even the prospect of a genetic "love test" to assess whether two potential love-birds are predisposed to a happy married life.

Not poetry

Poets would have us believe that love is one of those things that are beyond understanding.

But that concept is anathema to Professor Young.