Essay on a brief history and biochemistry
of Valentine’s Day
Timeless, So Preserved Here For Valentine’s Days To Come.
The word Valentine has to do with human sacrifice. Self-sacrifice and martyrdom are not new. They go back to the Iron age when Virgil in his Book IV, dramatically depicted the departure of Aeneas for the Trojan war leading to Dido’s plunging a knife into her breast and sacrificing herself for the love of Aeneas. And we know that during the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian (244-311 AD) Christians were caught and fed to the lions. Were those professed Christians who risked their lives and became dinner for the Emperor’s hungry lions on a suicide mission as are today’s fanatic suicide bombers of Islam? A good question to reflect upon…The martyr sacrificed self. The fanatic bombers sacrifices self and kills innocent others. That is murder…
Fortunately, things got better for Christians after Emperor Constantine (272-337 AD) converted to Christianity in 313 AD. The same persecuted Christians under Diocletian were now pampered and given cushiony jobs under Constantine. What a difference a mere 75 years make!
History tells us that there were three Saint Valentines and the one we westerners strongly identify is the Saint Valentine of Rome who was a priest martyred in 269 AD by the orders of Diocletian. Some 200 years later Pope Gelasius I (he was the pope when saint Augustine ‘345-430 AD’ became the Bishop of Hippo) decided to recognize Saint Valentine’s love and devotion for Christianity and established by papal order the Saint Valentine’s Day. It was not until Chaucer days in the fourteenth century England when the feast of February 14 first became associated with romantic love, a pure Anglo invention.
“For this was on seynt Valentynysday
Whan euery bryd cometh there to ches his mate”
Chaucer “Parlement of Foules,” circa 1381
Our Saint Valentine comes from mid-15th century, “sweetheart chosen on St. Valentine’s Day,” from L.L. Valentinus, the name of an early Italian saint (from L. valentia “strength, capacity;”). Choosing a sweetheart on this day originated 14th century as a custom in English and French court circles. Meaning “letter or card sent to a sweetheart“. The romantic association of the day is said to be from it being around the time when birds choose their mates.
For the past seven centuries the invention has served us well. Imagine the number of weddings that have been facilitated and children conceived by Saint Valentine. Incidentally, the etymology of Valentine is from Latin valentinus means valence, and the word value takes its roots from the same origin.
Many people think that falling in love mimics a state of psychosis, a confirmation of this notion comes from Shakespeare’s insistence the “fine frenzy” of the poet, the madman and being in love are indistinguishable insanities. We all have done the crazy falling-in-love things that there are to do-up all night, romantic breakfasts at dawn, impulsive trips to exotic isles, heartfelt torrents of vows-and suddenly becoming a poet fluid with sentiments and expressive powers…There are a whole host of brain chemical and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, catecholamine, indolamines, endorphins etc., involved in libidinal activities. Recently, however, we have begun to associate the phenomenon of falling in love with a chemical that churns in our body to do crazy things. The molecule is called Phenylethylamine (PEA), a first cousin of amphetamine, which the body produces in its adrenal glands. PEA causes excitement, just as amphetamines do. However, it is not as disruptive as amphetamine. Leading scientists and neuro-endocrinologists insist that biochemistry and psychiatry have a definite place in explaining the phenomenon of romance and falling in love. Why should this be left exclusively to poets and Harlequin romance writers. Scientists, too, have a lot to say about it.
There are people who are in constant need of excitement and romance. These are probably the people who have affairs outside of marriage. Or those who have multiple marriages because of the need for constant stimulation and excitement, these individuals engage in many love affairs. It is suggested that high PEA victims may be suffering from a bipolar affective disorder (manic depressive) form of illness. In order to reach their highs, they must be in love and constantly enjoy the infusion of PEA in their body and brain. Examples of famous PEA levels are folks like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, and Za Za Gabor. Some years ago, British psychiatrists coined the appropriate diagnosis of hysteroid dysphoria to explain the phenomenology of high serum PEA it was never accepted by American Psychiatric Association and what it leads people do
Dr. Assad Meymandi is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry,
University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill.
He is Emeritus, Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief,
Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012)
Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA
Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association
Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry
UNC School of Medicine at Chapel Hill
3320 Wake Forest Rd., Suite 460
Raleigh, NC, 27609
Telephone & Fax: (919) 954-5020 Mobile Telephone: (919) 995-4960
.by Anura Guruge
>> Boston, Chinese New Year, Feb. 17, 2013
>> – SNOW? — Feb 16. 2013.
>> The Year Of The Snake — Feb. 10, 2013.
>> Boston Chinese New Year 2013:
>>— Feb. 8, 2013.
>> Chinese New Year 2013 In Boston: Sunday,
>> February 17, 2013 –– Jan. 22, 2013.
Happy New Year.
It is snowing quite heavily in Boston and eastern Massachusetts — per my earlier heads up yesterday morning. Roads are supposed to be slippery. So watch out — especially for the maniacs driving German SUVs & cars and think that they can defy the laws of physics.
We, alas, will not be going. I am beyond bummed. The snow alone would not have deterred me, I have been in and out of Boston in much, much worse. Teischan, gratis of Dartmouth Hitchcock (Concord), has walking pneumonia! If all of their doctors were half-way competent she would have been cured by now — since we also took her in, on an emergency basis, last Tuesday. So, I am not a happy camper.
The snow is expected to moderate around 1pm. They will most likely still have the dragon/lion parades and crackers. This but comes once a year. If you can get to China Town on the ‘tube’ (which we have done numerous times having parked at the Museum of Science, where we were Members) I would still go. It won’t be fun. The tall building will shield you some, but will also act as wind tunnels.
If you went, and have pictures, PLEASE share.
Happy New Year. A pox on some of doctors at DHMC Concord. May the Chines New Year snake bite them, painfully, on their arses.
.by Anura Guruge
>> Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic Mugged Me — June 30, 2009.
To avoid any misunderstandings let me state a few categorical facts. Our regular pediatrician at DMHC (Concord) for both Devanee and Teischan, Dr. Eric Shulman, who we have been seeing for 6 years or more, is beyond wonderful. He is one of those exception, gifted physicians (and I talk as one with 4 doctors in the family). It also has to be said that the Prenatal & Postnatal groups at DHMC (Hanover) are exceptional. It was a rare privilege to have had Teischan born at Dartmouth. I have never experienced anything like that. That was magical.
That said, we have had some real bad experiences with DHMC Concord. Never with Dr. Shulman. And there are some other GOOD doctors there like the lady we saw today. But, Concord does have some clowns. I mentioned in this post how they nearly killed me. Well we had an analogous situation this week with Teischan, she alas having inherited my bronchial chest. She is asthmatic, and like me gets acute bronchitis even if a butterfly flaps its wings too fast nearby. She is sick, with a cough, a lot. She was very sick earlier this week. On Tuesday morning we took her in. We couldn’t see Dr. Shulman. Instead we saw another pediatrician who we had seen before, again on an emergency basis, in September. He checked her out. Since I have struggled with the same ailment, and seen doctors around the world, I know what questions to ask and what to look for. He assured me that her chest was fine and that she just had a small crackle just in one spot. It was viral. No need for antibiotics. Just up the ante on the inhalers with a second one.
To be fair to him she did not have a fever when we saw him. That changed within hours. She had a 103.4°F fever that afternoon. Deanna called. They said it was normal and that they would expect her to have a fever for 5 days. She kept on getting sicker. She didn’t go to school Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (Valentine’s Day) or Friday; she missed her Valentine’s Day party that she had so looked forward to. On Friday I wanted to take her to the ER. Deanna called DHMC again. They said call on Saturday if she is not any better. We called at 8:30 am on Saturday.
We took her in right away. They saw her quite quickly. She has walking pneumonia.
Yes, she could have got it after we walked out on Tuesday. I am not convinced of that. I am also beside myself that they refused to see us for 5 days. I don’t know what to do. We are very happy with Dr. Schulman. But, we can’t see him when we have an emergency and with Teischan we have 4 emergencies, minimum, per year. Yes, we have taken her to the ER, twice.
Now we can’t go to Boston for Chinese New Year. I am not amused. I know the clowns. I know the culprits.
I don’t know what to do. We are very happy with Dr. Shulman. But, we can’t see him when we have an emergency and with Teischan we have 4 emergencies, minimum, per year. Yes, we have taken her to the ER, twice.