Scientific American May 2019

Age-old taboos against menstruation have led to a lack of research on how women’s cycles work, with serious consequences for their health

<div class="article-block article-text" data-behavior="newsletter_promo " data-newsletterpromo-text="Sign up for Scientific American’s free newsletters.

” data-newsletterpromo-image=”https://static.scientificamerican.com/sciam/cache/file/458BF87F-514B-44EE-B87F5D531772CF83_source.png” data-newsletterpromo-button-text=”Sign Up” data-newsletterpromo-button-link=”https://www.scientificamerican.com/page/newsletter-sign-up/?origincode=2018_sciam_ArticlePromo_NewsletterSignUp” itemprop=”articleBody”>In 2007 Susan Brown encountered the repelling power of period blood. While studying what menstrual fluid might reveal about a woman’s health, she wanted data from a cross section of subjects beyond the student volunteers at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, where she worked as an evolutionary psychologist. Brown’s team members set up a booth near the entrance of a Walmart in downtown Hilo and hung a sign that said, “Menstrual Cycle Research.” Then they waited. All afternoon women and men would spot the sign, then gingerly skirt past without making eye contact.



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