Women and Brains; Why Sally Vetted Harry
Byline: Carrie Lukas, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Feminists should celebrate: Finally someone is taking women's health seriously and has done a thorough study of the female brain.
In "The Female Brain," Louann Brizendine, a San Francisco-based neuropsychiatrist who founded the Women's and Teen Girls' Mood and Hormone Clinic, details the powerful influence that a woman's brain structure and chemistry have on her behavior and outlook from birth to old age.
Dr. Brizendine begins by describing the historical failure of scientists to consider women's unique make up, instead assuming that "women were essentially small men, neurologically and in every other sense except for their reproductive functions." The truth is quite different: 99 percent of male and female genetic coding is the same, but the differences that exist have profound effects:
"What we've found is that the female brain is so deeply affected by hormones that their influence can be said to create a woman's reality. They can shape a woman's values and desires, and tell her, day to day, what's important. Their presence is felt at every stage of life, right from birth."
The book examines each stage of a woman's life, from infancy and childhood to pregnancy and menopause, and explores how the hormones present in her body and her brain affect her life. While Dr. Brizendine provides rich scientific details about brain structure and neuro-hormones, the book unfolds like a drama. A lay reader is invited to consider phenomenon she has witnessed in her own life and those around her and consider potential root causes.
There is power in this knowledge. As Dr. Brizendine writes: "if we can understand how our lives are shaped by our brain chemistry, then maybe we can better see the road ahead." It's easy to see how this information can help women better approach the relationships or personal trials they face.
Women experiencing menopause should have a thorough understanding of the massive changes taking place physiologically. Understanding that men simply do not process and store emotions with the same efficiency as women can help frustrated wives adjust their expectations for their husbands. Women who are aware of how birthing and nurturing a child transforms the brain can more fully appreciate motherhood's wonder and prepare for the inevitable stresses and fears. …