Sophmoric bio question - from a sophmore

Irene Anne Eckstrand IAE at CU.NIH.GOV
Mon Dec 9 11:08:23 EST 1991

> In a private e-mail G.A.Denomme writes what I assume is a friendly warning.
>  To
> wit that my post 'Sophmoric bio question - from a sophmore' was a "disgrace"
> and I would "probably get flamed."  He suggested that I post and apologize
> quickly.
> The question to which he refers <1991Dec8.001157.2473 at> read:
> >Trying to settle a disupute between an English major and a history major
> >concerning bio:
> >
> >Is there any validity to the claim that the menstrual cycle of a woman who
> >lives out of doors (in the forest or something) for an extended time will
> >sychronize with the cycle of the moon -- so her period would always arrive
> with
> >a specific period of the moon?
> >
> >Thanks,
> >Peter Seibel
> >(and his roomate Nick)
> I'm not sure whether the question is a disgrace because I evidence a
> disgraceful lack of biological knowledge (as I said I am an English major) or
> because it is not the sort of topic discussed on this board (seemed like
> biology - if light weight - to me.)  At any rate, to anyone who is shocked by
> my biological illiteracy or who feels their time was wasted or who was
>  offended
> for some other reason I offer my most humble apologies.  (I also just realized
> that my spelling was pretty much disgraceful in my post, sorry.)  Thanks also
> to Andrew Hill for his reply <1991Dec8.012426.16360 at>:
> >   Nope, nothing truthful about that.  Of course, if she was living
> >outside with a man, her cycles would tend to syncronize around his
> >hormonal cycles, and if two women were living together, they would
> >syncronize with each other, and eventually stop cycling (in theory
> Sincerely,
> Peter Seibel
> ------------------------------------
> e-mail: peter_seibel at
> tel: 203-436-0619
> snail: P.O. Box 306 Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520
> ------------------------------------

Peter -
Your question is neither disgraceful nor tasteless (and I speak
as a card carrying biologist and feminist).  Menstrual synchrony
is a quite interesting topic - and I don't believe your question
has an answer rooted in experiment (though I have heard lots of
speculation).  It is part of a very exciting field of biology
which focuses on the initiation, regulation, and synchrony of all
sorts of cycles.

I would like to know if there is recent evidence regarding
synchrony with lunar cycles.  And I would strongly question whether
women who live together eventually become amenorrehic.

Can anyone out there take responsibility to be a science educator
and provide references to convincing experiments in this area?

Irene Eckstrand
National Institutes of Health

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