He also noted that humans vary widely in how severely they react to the loss of a longtime romantic partner, perhaps because their genes govern CRF activity differently.
Another expert believes that lovesickness can lead to very real illness, so it's worth investigating.
"When it becomes detrimental to your functioning in life and health, that's when it's important to understand this and to find potential treatments," said Paul Sanberg, director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida, Tampa.
But the day when humans can take a pill to help forget a love affair gone bad is still far off, Young cautioned.
"I don't want to say that this is leading directly to any kind of treatment," he added. "What this will lead to is, perhaps, some investigations in humans to find if this system is involved and could it possibly be targeted, if we need to."
There's more on how the mind works at The Whole Brain Atlas.
Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.