See also a discussion of menstrual odor and pheromones and douches to kill genital odor.
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
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Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.


Menstrual Synchrony and Suppression by Martha McClintock
Page 1

Do women who live together cycle together? Maybe, maybe not. See the 5 February 2008 New York Times item for the latest about this.

But below is the history-making article in the magazine Nature (vol. 229, pp. 244-245, 22 January 1971) that Martha McClintock based on what she observed in a dormitory at Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts, U.S.A.) (She received her bachelor's degree there in 1969, as did Hillary Rodham Clinton. She spoke at the 1997 conference of The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research).)

Note her discussion of the influence of light (which influences melatonin production, which in turn affects estrogen production) and pheromones on menstrual periods.

By the way, menstrual drift was the term apparently used early on, as related - in the MUM News for February 2003 - by a nurse recounting her experience as a test subject for the Rely tampon.

Read the story of how McClintock's article came about, below, from pages 123-124 of Rebels in White Gloves: Coming of Age with Hillary's Class - Wellesley '69 by Miriam Horn, 1999. (A portion of the book was originally published in U.S. News & World Report. Miriam Horn is a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report.) I thank Laura Hussong Kole, Wellesley (College)'77, for sending this to me:

Martha McClintock was just twenty years old when, perched at the edge of a room full of the world's top biologists, she broke into their conversation with an observation that would become the basis for a study of major scientific importance. It was the summer after her junior year at Wellesley [College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, U.S.A.], and Martha was invited, with a handful of other students, to attend a conference at Jackson Laboratory in Maine. The scientists were discussing pheromones - chemical messages that pass between organisms without their conscious knowledge - and how they cause female mice to ovulate all at the same time. McClintock recalled the event for Chicago magazine: "Driven by curiosity despite my self-consciousness, I mention that the same thing happens in humans. Didn't they know that? All of them being male, they didn't. In fact, I got the impression that they thought it was ridiculous. But they had the courtesy to frame their skepticism as a scientific question: 'What is your proof?' I said it was what happened in my dormitory. And they said unless you address it scientifically, that evidence is worthless."

Her Wellesley faculty adviser, Patricia Sampson, encouraged Martha to take up the challenge, and the 135 women in her dorm agreed to participate. Each woman recorded the dates (...) She wrote up her results as her senior thesis and the next year, in graduate school at Harvard, was urged by E.O. Wilson, the sociobiologist famous for his studies of chemical signaling among ants, to submit her findings to Nature magazine. Published in 1971, when Martha was twenty-three, the paper was the first scientific evidence ever presented of the functioning of human pheromones.

Professor McClintock co-authored another amazing article in the same magazine 27 years later, showing that human pheromones cause the synchrony (Regulation of ovulation by human pheromones, Kathleen Stern and Martha McClintock, in Letters to Nature, Nature, vol. 392, pp. 177-179, 12 March 1998).

Professor McClintock, now at the University of Chicago, spoke at the conference of The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research in June 1997; see my report and photo of her.

See the SECOND and last part.

Nature magazine kindly gave its permission to show this article.

 You can also download a BETTER QUALITY PDF of the two pages. I thank a MUM visitor for sending it!
NEXT: the SECOND and last part. See also a discussion of menstrual odor and pheromones and douches to kill genital odor.

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