Why Do Women
What seems a silly
question to most of the world is serious business to
you and me, and John Travis of Science
News, a weekly magazine published in Washington, D.C.,
provided some answers in the 12 April issue.
As discussed earlier, Mr. Travis visited MUM in his research, but the possible answers
came from MacArthur Fellow Margie Profet; Beverly I. Strassmann, an anthropologist
at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; Kim Hill of the University of
New Mexico in Albuquerque; Peter T. Ellison at Harvard University; and Colin
A. Finn of the University of Liverpool Veterinary Field Station in Neston,
Basically, the scientific community, including the above
scholars, has discredited the theory
of Margie Profet, who maintained in a paper in the
September 1993 Quarterly Review of
Biology that menstruation functions partly as a way to rid the uterus of harmful microbes brought
in by sperm from the vagina (see also
the news item below).
Even an editor of the Review, who initially supported Profet's theory, now
agrees with one of her strongest critics, Professor Strassmann, who published
her criticism in the same publication.
Vaginal Infections Can Cause
Pregnant women who regularly
check the acidity of their vaginas can drastically
lower the possibility of having a premature child.
The Berlin physician Erich Saling, called by the German
Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper the pioneer of perinatal medicine in an article from
the 26 March edition (Natur und Wissenschaft section), conducted a study
showing that women who test and control their vaginal acidity with lactic acid have less than half the premature
rate of the general population. The
newspaper reports that vaginal infections reaching the interior of the uterus
cause 70% to 80% of all premature births.
Harmful bacteria tend to grow well in
alkaline environments, and a woman supplied with test strips supplied by her
doctor, which Dr. Saling is issuing to interested women in Germany, can
immediately test for and counter bacterial growth, with lactic acid, even
between appointments with her physician.
Premature children often suffer from life-long
handicaps, including mental retardation.
It's interesting to keep in mind that
the theory of Margie Profet (see the
news item directly above) also concerns
the combatting of uterine infections. Menstrual
blood makes the vagina much more alkaline, allowing bacteria to grow more
By the way, I've read recently that there
are hundreds of unidentified types of bacteria in the vagina - something
to think about.
The Last Gasp on Grot
Well, the author
of the letter herself straightened me out this past
week; actually she agrees with the other writers. In her words,
"grot".. does mean yucky...
grotesque... disgusting... grotty... it's just a type of slang
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