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Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

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January 24, 2006

The Female Brain Revealed This August

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Posted by Zack Lynch

While doing research as a medical student at Yale and then as a resident and faculty member at Harvard, Louann Brizendine discovered that almost all of the clinical data in existence on neurology, psychology, and neurobiology focused exclusively on males. In response to this, Brizendine established the first clinic in the country to study and treat women’s brains. At the same time, the National Institute of Health began to regularly include female subjects in its studies for the first time. The combined result has been an
explosion of new data on the female brain.

The%20Female%20Brain%20Book.jpgIn The Female Brain, due out in August 2006, Dr. Brizendine answers questions like why are women more verbal than men? Why do women remember details of fights that men cannot? Why do women tend to form deeper bonds with their female friends than men do with their male counterparts? Exploring these questions and many others that have stumped the sexes throughout the ages, this revolutionary book combines two decades of Brizendine’s own work, real life stories from her clinical practice, and all of the latest information from the scientific community at large to provide a truly comprehensive look at the way women’s minds work.

LOUANN BRIZENDINE, M.D. is a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF. She is founder and director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic, and lives in San Francisco. Here is a look at the table of contents

Chapter 1 Birth of the Female Brain
Chapter 2 Teen Girl Brain
Chapter 3 Love and Trust
Chapter 4 Sex
Chapter 5 Mommy Brain
Chapter 6 Emotions
Chapter 7 Mature Female Brain
Epilogue: The Future of the Female Brain
Appendix: The Female Brain and Hormone Therapy
Appendix: The Female Brain and Postpartum Depression

While I have yet to get my hands on a copy of the book, I have had an opportunity to bump into Louann several times over the past few years as she was writing this book. I must say I've rarely seen such dedication. Even if it was a beautiful Sausalito summer day, you could bet that she was busy exploring and explaining the inner workings of the female brain. Given the paucity of accessible information and esteemed nature of the author I would suggest that this will quickly become a must read for all of us.

Comments (16) + TrackBacks (2) | Category: Culture & the Brain


1. greensmile on January 26, 2006 5:22 PM writes...

If it is true that "...almost all of the clinical data in existence on neurology, psychology, and neurobiology focused exclusively on males..., I hope Dr. Brizendine will compare data with Simon LeVay. We are in the dark about more than just the neuroanatomical differences between women and men and the comparisons could be quite informative.

All of the women I know have brains so I plan on buying one or two of them copies to see what they think of the book before I spend time reading it.

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2. Devin on July 13, 2006 3:45 PM writes...

Dear Dr.Brizendine,

I am currently writing a powerfull theory on hormones.I find myself urgently in need of some vital data.
1.Which part of the brain is linked to territorial behaviour behaviour and what respectively are the differences between men and women in this concern?
2.Testosterone is rizing in society and one of the symptons of this is an increased growth of the left brain half would a sudden rize of estrogen in society trigger the right brain half to grow?Is each brain half gender specific?

Thank you,I eagerly await your reply

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3. BerkeleyGirl on July 27, 2006 12:27 AM writes...

It is my opinion that, while there may indeed be differences between the brains of the majority of women and the majority of men, there is an exception to every stereotype . I am a 15 year old girl, and I got 'biggest daredevil/most aggressive' in my school yearbook, I have not been bested at tests of strength by any boy my age, and I am not a verbal person at all. I hate shopping, fashions, makeup, ect. There go half of Dr. Brizentine's scientific little ideas--so where do I fit in her set concept of "the female brain"?

It is completely ridiculous to claim that Dr. Brizendine knows about "the female brain", because.....there is no "female brain"! He-llo, I am not the same person as anyone else, my brain is different- "female brain" is singular, so it is like trying to say that there is only one model of brain for women. It is excessively simplified to assume that females all think the same way, act the same way, respond to things the same way, etc. Dr. Brizendine's previous argument against people attacking this book as politically incorrect ('It isn't showing inferiority, its showing uniqueness' type of thing ) doesn't even matter against my complaint. I say, this book is relentlessly stereotyping women into one tidy meek file. This, in my opinion, is CRAP. Stereotypes don't take the individual into account.

This book is trying to do something that can't be done: it is trying to show 'the differences' between 'the male brain' and "the female brain". Newsflash--No two people have exactly the same brain. Certainly the millions of women in the world do not all have the same brain. could it be possible to group that many people together? I have read a few articles containing her ideas. Much of it did not apply to me. can she say that 'this is the way a woman's brain works'?

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4. The Neurocritic on July 27, 2006 2:15 PM writes...

Go BerkeleyGirl!!

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5. Cathyryn on August 1, 2006 12:40 PM writes...

It is highly problematic to try and characterize all women as having the same thought processes, strenghts, "weaknesses," etc. Berkleygirl exemplifies the problems associated with broad generalizations - there are always exceptions and the result of generalization is oppression. These ideas serve only to reinforce conventional wisdom. The assertion that saying, "oh, different doesn't mean inferior" is pointless because, in this culture, anything associated with the male is considered admirable and worth aspiring to achieve, and anything associated with the female is considered weak, vacuous, and passive. Additionally, these ideas simply don't apply to many women (see berkleygirl for an excellent example and post-modern analysis). Where is the study outlining the differences between individual female brains? Why aren't we obsessed with establishing clearly-definined, ostensibley scientifically-based, differences between German women's brains and Irish women's brains? How about between lesbian women's brains and bisexual women's brains? We aren't obsessed with that because those questions don't help reify an existing power-structure we have in the West that hinges on strict gender role assignment. Now, put down those trucks and video games ladies - just accept it and go play with your dolls. Maybe you can find a way to make a living staring at babies faces and shopping and text messaging - god, I mean, science (hmm, the same?) knows that's all you are good for (oh yeah, and you have some verbal skills, you passive, emotionally perceptive, consumer, you).

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6. Anonymous on August 1, 2006 9:44 PM writes...

Funny how the same arguments can be made about the male brain, but we don't have people in a huff about how wrong it is to say all men think a certain way, react a certain way, etc., based on research that is done using male subjects. Here's a little newflash for you, Berkeley Girl: describing how every individual female thinks is not what this book is supposed to be doing.

And I'll reserve any further comment until the book is actually released and I've had a chance to read it.

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7. Jonathan on August 22, 2006 4:25 PM writes...

I'm looking forward to reading this book, I think it will help men and women make better decisions about how they interact with eachother. I'd also like to reaffirm the idea that it is reasonable to take a statistical average of people's behavior and consider that behavior normal while recognizing common exceptions to that behavior. I think brain chemistry plays the most important role in how we respond to certain stimuli. Since we're really complex machines, its got to start in the wiring.

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8. Anonymous on September 24, 2006 9:55 PM writes...

The book wasn't written keeping every single type of female in mind - majority rules, and that is what the book appears to be based on. It is not stating that all female brains are the same, but I believe there is a general difference in the male and female brain.

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9. dennis on October 12, 2006 11:14 AM writes...

I have not read the book, so I can only assume that it will be based on regions of the brain that get more activity when certain "Tests" are conducted. The reason why I am on this search for information is because I received a link to a video that in my opinion is pretty shocking and frankly I wanted to prove it wrong.

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10. Patrick Bannister on November 23, 2006 6:51 AM writes...

Social networking site MySpace is to block users from uploading copyrighted music to its pages...

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11. Kendall Leslie on November 24, 2006 8:26 AM writes...

Colombia's vice president is "baffled" by Kate Moss's success following cocaine allegations...

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12. Stephon Park on November 24, 2006 10:56 PM writes...

Jonathan Ross is dubbed "risque" by Ofcom but not in breach of rules over an interview with David Cameron...

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13. EW on February 5, 2007 3:28 PM writes...

I think one of the strongest points that Brizentine's research makes is that what we perceive as a sex or gender division (male/female) is actually given to many, many variations -- a sort of "sliding scale" depending upon what the hormones were doing before birth, after birth, adolescence, you name it. There is defintely a place for very agressive fifteen-year-old girls, and for intuitive fifteen-year-old boys. THAT's what's radical about her book to me-- the research itself explains a lot of trans-gender issues from a biological perspective, even if Brizentine's focus of interpretation has focused more of the men-women, girl-boy distinction. The neurological and hormonal and brain research of the last ten years could blow a lot of old conception about what are "men" and what are "women" out of the water.

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14. Bob on February 28, 2007 1:41 PM writes...

It is interesting how people can critize a book without reading it. I have read it and I found it very interesting.

My review of the book is that it is more about how hormones affect the female brain during a females life time. One should view the book as a way of looking at one specific female brain as it changes from birth to death.

Athough there are some generalizations of behavior in the book, this to me was a way to explain why in general females do what they do. As a male, most of reasons behind female bahavior have always been a mystery to me! This books help me understand.

I also like how the author compared the female brain and behavior with the male brain and behavior. I now understand why I do some of the things that I do.

I highly recommend this book.

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15. Peter on March 1, 2007 12:13 PM writes...

I you all love!a

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16. franco on July 9, 2007 3:10 AM writes...

wow,just locate the clinic and the book and told my girl.i hope and wish every woman could share the insight and saw us as just man .gosh it would be great and happy regards all who is in the search of better understanding of life and happiness.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Female Brain Revealed This August:

the female brain diets from flying hedgehogs
i went to amazon to pre-order myself a copy of the female brain by louann brizendine, MD. i thought it was absolutely hilarious that amazon was kind enough to suggest i buy the south beach diet along with it. [Read More]

Tracked on January 24, 2006 7:24 PM

Female Brain vs. Male Brain from
via Brain WavesIn The Female Brain, due out in August 2006, Dr. Brizendine answers questions like why are women more verbal than men? Why do women remember details of fights that men cannot? Why do women tend to form deeper [Read More]

Tracked on January 31, 2006 5:46 PM


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