Valentine's Day: Is it about the heart, or the hormones?

In this Valentine's Day-themed discussion, "Love is Fundamentally an Endocrine Condition," John Buse, MD, PhD, and Ron Falk, MD, discuss the role of hormones and the endocrine system. This is one part of the upcoming diabetes podcast with Falk for the Department of Medicine Chair's Corner.

Valentine's Day: Is it about the heart, or the hormones? click to enlarge Ron Falk, MD
Valentine's Day: Is it about the heart, or the hormones? click to enlarge John Buse, MD, PhD

"Love is Fundamentally an Endocrine Condition" 

Falk: It’s the month of February and Valentine’s Day is in everybody’s mind. Valentine’s Day has historically been associated with the heart, and chocolate boxes are in the shape of hearts. But for an endocrinologist perspective, Valentine’s Day might be the month of hormones.

Buse: Absolutely. I think love is fundamentally an endocrine condition. It is a wonderful condition. Actually I think of all the things that endocrinology needs to do in the future, is to better understand the importance of love and feeling good about your life, your work, your relationships. We’ve thought of medicine as fixing the numbers. I think most of the misery in our society is related to people whose relationships aren’t very good. Is it possible that hormone disorders underlie that? We know that the secretion of hormones around the time of childbirth is essential for the bonding of mother and child. There is no greater relationship than of a parent with their child.

These hormones are extremely powerful and essential. We know there’s a lot of concern about endocrine disruptors, things in our environment that interfere with normal endocrine function. There’s a lot of research and emerging clinical care around the issue of endocrinology and its link to behavior. For the month of February, love is a great way of talking about that. 

Buse is professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is also the director of the Diabetes Care Center, and is the executive associate dean for Clinical Research in the School of Medicine, where he is the director of NC TraCS. 

Stay tuned for more episodes with Falk and Buse. They will discuss the field of diabetes and where it is today, including new technologies and better care, changes in obesity care, and the physicians treating diabetes and endocrine disorders at UNC.

Visit the Department of Medicine Chair's Corner.