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on January 6, 2003
This book explores the evidence of structural and functional differences between the male and female brain. The author examines in great detail the evidence from both recent and historic research supporting these differences, and provides many case studies. It is well illustrated, and provides a comprehensive list of references, as well as suggested reading. A background in neurophysiology would be beneficial to the reader, but not required, as the second chapter provides a good introduction to many of the terms and concepts used throughout the book. (I do not have any background in biological science myself but was able to comprehend it using only the material supplied.) The author also provides recommendations for overcoming the biases of the scientific community, both in the research and treatment of many diseases and disorders.
This book is not for the light reader, but should be comprehensible by most, and is well worth the effort.
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on January 15, 2010
Konduru's review is for a different book! There are two books "The Female Brain" - one by prof. Cynthia Darlington from New Zealand, and second by Louann Brizendine M.D. from California. My guess is that Mr. or Ms. Konduru read Brizendine's book and placed his or her review beneath 2nd edition of prof. Darlington's book. Prof. Darlington book has 9 chapters:

1. Introduction
2. A historical pespective
3. Brain structure
4. Functional differences: Neurotransmitters and neuromodulators
5. Perception and cognition
6. Laterality
7. Neurology, psychiatry, and the female brain
8. Drugs, sex, and...
9. Where do we go from here?

It is a scientific book from Conceptual Advances in Brain Research series.
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on December 6, 2009
I am writing this review to notify those who are contemplating reading this book that only read it if you want to read for fun and entertainment, not for pure knowledge. I purchased and read this book for two reason: 1) I was curious about the neuronal changes between men and women that affects the way they think and act, and (2) because one of my classmates in Introductory Neuroscience class recommended it as an essential look inside the female brain. As I read the book however, I was extremely disappointed in the amount of neuroscience that is actually present in the book and the bias in which the information is presented. Although I found the book to be an easy read with witty anecdotes and minimal use of complicated jargon, I found it to be over simplified to quench my curiosity about the neuroscience behind the clear difference between genders.

Style and Structure:

The book is divided into seven chapters discussing the different stages of a female's life, and topics like sex, love and trust, and emotions in terms of females. The book starts with an introduction section that pretty much covers most of the neuroscience present in the book. In the rest of the chapters, the author uses stories of her patients in the Women's and Teen Girl's Mood and Hormone Clinic, which she founded at University of California, San Francisco, to provide real life examples of emotions and actions of women during various stage of life. In addition, she provides extensive notes and references section for further readings.

Synopsis:

Introduction
Before even starting the book, the author provides a page of neuro-anatomy that is important in causing gender differences though their size and level of activation. This gives a very brief description of the part and how it is different in men and women. The brain parts that are discussed are the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC), Prefrontal Cortex (PFC), Insula, Hypothalamus, Amygdala, Pituitary Gland, and Hippocampus. Next, the author provides a list of hormones that affect the female brain. This section discusses the hormones in a very non-scientific way by describing what emotions these hormones invoke in women. And the last section describes the various phases of a female life, and hormone changes, female specific brain changes, and the reality changes that occur during these phases. Sadly, this section pretty much covers all of the neuroscience that is present in the book.

The Birth of the Female Brain
In this chapter we learn that female is the default brain setup in all fetuses until the eight week of development. During this time, the male fetuses experience a surge of testosterone, which decreases the cell growth in communication center of the brain and increases them in the aggression areas. In addition, she states that "girls arrive already wired as girls, and boys arrive already wired as boys" which means that their mental characteristics are already determined before birth. The author states that these initial changes in the brains cause differences in genders regarding reading emotions, differentiating tone changes in voices, showing empathy towards others, avoiding conflicts, and communicating feelings.

Teen Girl Brain
In this section, the author discusses how the brain changes during puberty and why there is so much drama in a teen girl's life. For example, the author discusses how the estrogen and progesterone waves have a great impact on the emotions and actions of a teenage girl. In addition, the author discusses how hormones in teen girls have increased memory and increased desire to communicate their feelings while the teen boys start becoming recluse.

Love and Trust
In this section, we learn topics such as female mindset on mating and how it has been influenced by the evolution, chemical attraction between genders, how women calculate potential danger, and how love influences and changes neural circuitry. When discussing love, the author writes "it shares brain circuitry with states of obsession, mania, intoxication, thirst, and hunger." In addition, we learn that dopamine and oxytocin play an extremely important role in bond forming in females.

Sex: The Brain below the Belt
This section discusses the various aspects of a female orgasm. She says that "female sexual turn-on begins, ironically, with a brain turn-off." This means that any activation in the amygdala disrupts the female orgasm. In addition, she discusses the evolutionary significance of a female orgasm. This chapter ends with a discussion of what sex means to men vs. what it means to a women.

The Mommy Brain
This chapter discusses the influence of hormones during the pregnancy and birth of the baby. This chapter mainly focus on the depth of the connection between a mother and a baby. The hormone that are significant during the delivery of the baby is oxytocin. When a woman's water breaks, the progesterone levels in the body collapse, and the oxytocin throughout the body greatly increases. Not only do mothers have increases protective instinct, they also have "better special memory," and "they may be more flexible, adaptive, and courageous." More surprisingly, even if it is not your baby, a person who is around a child a lot will have more oxytocin release than those that are no around children. This chapter also discusses breast feeding and the daddy brain.

Emotion: The Feeling Brain
This chapter discusses the biology of the gut feeling, and how woman are more easily aroused by emotional feeling than men. We learn that it is much easier to activate a woman's amygdala than a male's. Because increased memory is associated with the emotional arousal during the formation of the memory, women tend to have much better memory than men. This chapter also discusses the concept of "mirroring" in women that helps them understand others' emotions better.

The Mature Female Brain
This chapter's main focus is the brain's and body's response to the decline in hormones during menopause for women. It discusses how a woman's mood, personality, and thoughts change during this time, and how the drop in the levels of estrogen and oxytocin in the body affect this. This section also discusses the decrease in the testosterone in females during this time, which decreases the sex drive for women as well. She suggests that hormonal supplements can help a woman get through these years of her life.

Critique:
Initially, I would like to point out the positive aspect of the book. The book was entertaining in its description of how different stages in a woman's life are affected by the hormones. On the other hand, I felt that the book had several short coming that affect my confidence in recommending this book. For example, the way in which the author presented the scientific information in the book. If the author was confident that her claims about the female brain were accurate, she would have provided references where she made claims about various facts. Instead, she writes the book without any references in the text, and provides a 57-page list of references with no explanation of how these references assisted her in her conclusions. If she had provided citations throughout her book of published literature or other scientific sources, it would have greatly increased the credibility of the book.

In addition, the book's major focus is how the levels of hormones in the female have a great impact on a female's emotions, impulses, values, and their perception of reality. In that case, why is the book titled the "Female Brain" when her entire focus is the effect of hormones on a female? This misnomer also decreases my regard for the book as well.

As a person who believes in gender equality regardless of physical changes, it is extremely disappointing at how the author try to emphasize on the factors that make women better than men. She repeatedly compares various aspects of men and women, and she repeatedly presents a conclusion that women are better than men. As an author of a book that is trying to provide scientific information, the author needs to provide information in a objective way such that the reader can form his/her own opinion. In this case however, the author imposes her opinion that women are better than men throughout the book.

I recommend this book to only those who are reading for entertainment more than knowledge. If you are reading for entertainment, however, it is an enjoyable book because the author writes the book in a very novel like fashion. If you are critical reader trying to gather scientific knowledge about the female brain, I would suggest you look elsewhere.
11 comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 6, 2009
I am writing this review to notify those who are contemplating reading this book that only read it if you want to read for fun and entertainment, not for pure knowledge. I purchased and read this book for two reason: 1) I was curious about the neuronal changes between men and women that affects the way they think and act, and (2) because one of my classmates in Introductory Neuroscience class recommended it as an essential look inside the female brain. As I read the book however, I was extremely disappointed in the amount of neuroscience that is actually present in the book and the bias in which the information is presented. Although I found the book to be an easy read with witty anecdotes and minimal use of complicated jargon, I found it to be over simplified to quench my curiosity about the neuroscience behind the clear difference between genders.

Style and Structure:

The book is divided into seven chapters discussing the different stages of a female's life, and topics like sex, love and trust, and emotions in terms of females. The book starts with an introduction section that pretty much covers most of the neuroscience present in the book. In the rest of the chapters, the author uses stories of her patients in the Women's and Teen Girl's Mood and Hormone Clinic, which she founded at University of California, San Francisco, to provide real life examples of emotions and actions of women during various stage of life. In addition, she provides extensive notes and references section for further readings.

Synopsis:

Introduction
Before even starting the book, the author provides a page of neuro-anatomy that is important in causing gender differences though their size and level of activation. This gives a very brief description of the part and how it is different in men and women. The brain parts that are discussed are the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC), Prefrontal Cortex (PFC), Insula, Hypothalamus, Amygdala, Pituitary Gland, and Hippocampus. Next, the author provides a list of hormones that affect the female brain. This section discusses the hormones in a very non-scientific way by describing what emotions these hormones invoke in women. And the last section describes the various phases of a female life, and hormone changes, female specific brain changes, and the reality changes that occur during these phases. Sadly, this section pretty much covers all of the neuroscience that is present in the book.

The Birth of the Female Brain
In this chapter we learn that female is the default brain setup in all fetuses until the eight week of development. During this time, the male fetuses experience a surge of testosterone, which decreases the cell growth in communication center of the brain and increases them in the aggression areas. In addition, she states that "girls arrive already wired as girls, and boys arrive already wired as boys" which means that their mental characteristics are already determined before birth. The author states that these initial changes in the brains cause differences in genders regarding reading emotions, differentiating tone changes in voices, showing empathy towards others, avoiding conflicts, and communicating feelings.

Teen Girl Brain
In this section, the author discusses how the brain changes during puberty and why there is so much drama in a teen girl's life. For example, the author discusses how the estrogen and progesterone waves have a great impact on the emotions and actions of a teenage girl. In addition, the author discusses how hormones in teen girls have increased memory and increased desire to communicate their feelings while the teen boys start becoming recluse.

Love and Trust
In this section, we learn topics such as female mindset on mating and how it has been influenced by the evolution, chemical attraction between genders, how women calculate potential danger, and how love influences and changes neural circuitry. When discussing love, the author writes "it shares brain circuitry with states of obsession, mania, intoxication, thirst, and hunger." In addition, we learn that dopamine and oxytocin play an extremely important role in bond forming in females.

Sex: The Brain below the Belt
This section discusses the various aspects of a female orgasm. She says that "female sexual turn-on begins, ironically, with a brain turn-off." This means that any activation in the amygdala disrupts the female orgasm. In addition, she discusses the evolutionary significance of a female orgasm. This chapter ends with a discussion of what sex means to men vs. what it means to a women.

The Mommy Brain
This chapter discusses the influence of hormones during the pregnancy and birth of the baby. This chapter mainly focus on the depth of the connection between a mother and a baby. The hormone that are significant during the delivery of the baby is oxytocin. When a woman's water breaks, the progesterone levels in the body collapse, and the oxytocin throughout the body greatly increases. Not only do mothers have increases protective instinct, they also have "better special memory," and "they may be more flexible, adaptive, and courageous." More surprisingly, even if it is not your baby, a person who is around a child a lot will have more oxytocin release than those that are no around children. This chapter also discusses breast feeding and the daddy brain.

Emotion: The Feeling Brain
This chapter discusses the biology of the gut feeling, and how woman are more easily aroused by emotional feeling than men. We learn that it is much easier to activate a woman's amygdala than a male's. Because increased memory is associated with the emotional arousal during the formation of the memory, women tend to have much better memory than men. This chapter also discusses the concept of "mirroring" in women that helps them understand others' emotions better.

The Mature Female Brain
This chapter's main focus is the brain's and body's response to the decline in hormones during menopause for women. It discusses how a woman's mood, personality, and thoughts change during this time, and how the drop in the levels of estrogen and oxytocin in the body affect this. This section also discusses the decrease in the testosterone in females during this time, which decreases the sex drive for women as well. She suggests that hormonal supplements can help a woman get through these years of her life.

Critique:
Initially, I would like to point out the positive aspect of the book. The book was entertaining in its description of how different stages in a woman's life are affected by the hormones. On the other hand, I felt that the book had several short coming that affect my confidence in recommending this book. For example, the way in which the author presented the scientific information in the book. If the author was confident that her claims about the female brain were accurate, she would have provided references where she made claims about various facts. Instead, she writes the book without any references in the text, and provides a 57-page list of references with no explanation of how these references assisted her in her conclusions. If she had provided citations throughout her book of published literature or other scientific sources, it would have greatly increased the credibility of the book.

In addition, the book's major focus is how the levels of hormones in the female have a great impact on a female's emotions, impulses, values, and their perception of reality. In that case, why is the book titled the "Female Brain" when her entire focus is the effect of hormones on a female? This misnomer also decreases my regard for the book as well.

As a person who believes in gender equality regardless of physical changes, it is extremely disappointing at how the author try to emphasize on the factors that make women better than men. She repeatedly compares various aspects of men and women, and she repeatedly presents a conclusion that women are better than men. As an author of a book that is trying to provide scientific information, the author needs to provide information in a objective way such that the reader can form his/her own opinion. In this case however, the author imposes her opinion that women are better than men throughout the book.

I recommend this book to only those who are reading for entertainment more than knowledge. If you are reading for entertainment, however, it is an enjoyable book because the author writes the book in a very novel like fashion. If you are critical reader trying to gather scientific knowledge about the female brain, I would suggest you look elsewhere.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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