odor and humans

tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu
Wed Dec 28 12:23:55 EST 1994


In article <D1DqtK.7L7 at cix.compulink.co.uk>,
colinc at cix.compulink.co.uk ("Colin Cracknell") writes:
>I just can't believe in this external cue (I'm not counting the influence 
>of one woman on another, but looking for something non-human).
>
Dear Colin,

>Let's suppose that the free-wheeling frequency is 31 days +/- 3, and the 
>external influence is the full moon.

	There is no reason to assume that it's the *full* moon, different
women could be at different phases--in fact, there is not a noticeable clus-
tering of menstruation around any particular phase that I'm aware of.

>[snip] What about those with a weaker 
>natural 31-day cycle? They should start off locked to the moon, but 
>eventually their natural clock will take over and flip them to 31 days 
>(or maybe 29 or 30, with residual lunar influence). Their cycle will then 
>drift relative to the phase of the moon, until they start to approach 
>synch again, and the moon drags them back into synch, probably with a 
>single cycle of about 33 days. AFter this they revert to 28 days, until 
>they start to freewheel again. AFAIK this just doesn't happen.
>
	How about the possibility that every time a woman experiences a lunar
cycle (or the "active" portion thereof) the phase of her menstrual cycle is
shifted by an amount of about one or two days.  In this case, her cycles will
be 29 or 30 days unless for a particular cycle there are two active portions
of the lunar cycle, in which case, her cycle would be shortened to 27 to 29
days.  The 27-day case is unlikely--much more probable is that two successive
cycles will be 28 days.  In other words, the lunar cycle is not a phase-locking
mechanism, but an impulse mechanism which can act continuously and additively.

>Rather more devastating for your theory: If there's *any* external cue 
>that synchs women's periods to (say) 28 days, and it's strong enough to 
>disrupt the internal clock, then there should be an enormous peak of 
>menstruation whenever that cue reaches its peak. Again AFAIK, taking 
>women in general there's no day on which they're more likely to 
>menstruate than any other.
>
	Again, with the proposed free-wheeling plus correcting mechanism, the
internal clock is reset (either occasionally or continuously), not disrupted.
As for the "enormous peak", that is what seems to be observed in groups of
women living together.
	I am not an expert on this, although I have read some about the body's
timing mechanisms.  Perhaps there *is* an expert out there who can settle this.
I notice that all these comments seem to be made by men; any women wish to par-
ticipate?  I'd be interested in their points of view.
				Yours,
				Bill Tivol



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