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The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed On Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth Paperback – June 16, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

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*Starred Review* Science journalist Seaman, cofounder of the National Women's Health Network, takes no prisoners in this scathing indictment of hormone replacement therapy in general and estrogen in particular. Her account of pandemic abuse of the trust women place in their doctors cuts a wide swath of guilt that begins at medical practitioners but scores drug manufacturers as well as the Food and Drug Administration. The experiment with hormone replacement--called an experiment because the drugs were manufactured, marketed, and prescribed either without or in defiance of scientific proof of their safety--began in 1938 in England when a biochemist published his formula for synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol (DES). The ensuing story reads like an X-Files conspiracy script as, for the next 65 years, doctors and authorities ignored mounting evidence of the sometimes-fatal consequences of taking these hormones. Seaman has long been an outspoken opponent of what she calls medicalization, which places such normal occurrences as pregnancy and menopause under medical control, and has advocated full drug disclosure so that women may be made aware of drug side effects and health hazards. She has been accused of being an alarmist, but recent evidence of the dangers of such drugs as DES rather validates her alarm. A wake-up call to women about unquestioningly accepting doctors' orders. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A splendid history that exposes how menopause was transformed into a medical problem . . . " -- Ruth Rosen, San Francisco Chronicle

"Lively and impassioned . . . [Seaman] certainly makes her point." -- Gina Kolata, New York Times

"Seaman's story is sometimes astounding." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (June 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786887346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786887347
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,943,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anielka on August 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Greatest Experiment is a fascinating book. It offers a valuable history of estrogen use from World War II to the present. Barbara Seaman, a well known science writer, has been following the estrogen story for years and was able to interview many of the major figures in the field. The story of how menopause came to be viewed as disease, how a dangerous drug was prescribed to women as a tonic for brittle bones, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease on the basis of circumstantial evidence is, indeed, compelling. The struggle to expose the side-effects of estrogen-derived birth control pills is also told. This led to Congressional hearings and forced drug companies to provide information on the side effects and dangers of birth control pills. The Greatest Experiment contains much more including the tragic story of the DES daughters (whose mothers received diethylstilbestrol, an estrogen derivative, to prevent miscarriages and gave birth to daughters who experienced life-long reproductive problems.) Also told is the troubling use of DES by farmers who still use it to fatten livestock. Finally, the book has an excellent Appendix on the options now available to women who seek treatment for symptoms of menopause.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Naweko San-Joyz on December 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Barbara Seaman's work is a women's must read because it encourages women to take complete ownership of their health and bodies.

Seaman details story after story of why women should question their doctors and pharmaceutical companies. From taking drugs that destroyed their babies to taking cancer provoking concoctions, women have served as uninformed guinea pigs for years.

Accordingly, Seaman gives women a reason to say "No" to new drugs and new therapies that promise to make our lives easier in the ever popular crusade to ease "woman problems".

The female physique is inundated with mystique. That which is not understood faces constant scrutiny and treacherous attacks. Seaman sends a message loud and clear to all women- Take control of your own health because there are thousands of people out willing and waiting to experiment with your well-being while hailing promises of new found youth and renewed vigor.

I suggest your cross read The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women with Uzzi Reiss' Natural Hormone Balance for Women. Reiss claims that estrogens have a "bad" rap because studies such as those covered by Seaman only address synthetic hormones or those derived from horses. I did not find Reiss' arguments compelling, it just offered another view of the women's hormone scene.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Yogini on July 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The information in this book is crucial to women of all ages. Ms Seaman presents her thorough research in a clear, direct and engaging manner. I found myself outraged by the comments of some 'respected' doctors, researchers and drug companies. I was also amused by some of Ms. Seaman's comments. The spirit of feminism is alive and well, thanks to Barbara's work.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This work teaches contrary to conventional orthodoxies.
Barbara cautions the reader on hormonal products as a cure-all
for women. She points out how the pill can impact the liver
adversely resulting in jaundice and irregular sugar metabolism.
There is a section describing the downside of oral
contraceptives. The author debunks the myths about the breakage
of bones . She goes on to state that bones break due to a lack
of lean muscle mass, cigarette smoking, tranquilizers etc.
Bone mass may be preserved with a rigorous exercise regimen.
This book is helpful in identifying the science or lack thereof
with regard to a number of health products directed toward women.
I would recommend this book as an integral part of any
health library for adults readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Felicia A Anderson on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The information touch on a lot of details that were almost intimate in nature, but the fact remains that the public allows medication and doctors too much power in their life. there are so many ways that we as a public can be informed about the truth is we quit looking for the next miracle drug to solve our problems. I believe that there is a place for medication and medical interviention,
but wisdom on the part of the patient needs to be used and excercised. the facts in this book need to be part of the education of all docotrs and others who care for people in a medical setting. One person can make all the difference.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A reader on March 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
While suffering through a severe reaction to hormones, I struggled to find a single medical doctor who took seriously the lethal impact these 'commonplace' drugs can have. Barbara Seaman, however, truly understands the dangers of hormone use. Before you fill another prescrption for birth control, HRT, fertility drugs, or any other hormones (including OTC progesterone cream), please read everything you can get your hands on by Barbara Seaman! In this excellent, fascinating book, Ms. Seaman offers critically important information concerning hormones and their impact on the health and lives of women. What you read could (literally) save your life. Like me, you may end up begging all of your friends and family to read this book. I wish that I could get copies of it into the hands of as many people as possible.
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