Barbara Seaman
The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women

from the publisher:

"A wake-up call to women about unquestioningly accepting doctors' orders". --Donna Chavez, Booklist, July issue

"Seaman passionately and convincingly argues that women have been unnecessarily put at risk by doctors treating menopause as a disease." --Publishers Weekly

"Barbara Seaman is the first prophet of the women's health movement and her prophesies are still coming true." --Gloria Steinem

"Barbra Seaman started a revolution in women's health by questioning what was taken for granted and meticulously exposing how little had been established about the safety of many common drugs and practices." --Devra Lee David, Ph.D.

"Barbra Seaman is one of the heroines of the women's health movement. She was one of the first people to point out that postmenopausal hormones could be dangerous and has been a relentless fighter for the health of women." --Susan Love, M.D.

"If a menopausal woman has pain or makes trouble, pound her hard on the jaw." --Egyptian medical text, 2000 B.C.
For almost a century women have been taking some form of estrogen to combat the effects of menopause and aging, and more recently to prevent a host of diseases, from osteoporosis to Alzheimer's to heart disease. For most of that hundred years, doctors have been prescribing estrogen in either its organic or synthetic forms, and women have gone to their pharmacists and dutifully filled their prescriptions. In some cases, menopause sufferers who were experiencing the most extreme symptoms were in search of relief from hot flashes, night sweats, dryness, and more, but increasingly in recent years, women began receiving estrogen sometimes with progesterone as "hormone therapy," not because they were in immediate danger of anything but rather as a preventative. But was this regimen warranted? Did doctors know enough about estrogen and its effects to be widely prescribing it for such a range of ailments? Or were women being used as guinea pigs in a great experiment, an experiment the author terms "The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women"?

Since the 1960s, women's health icon Barbara Seaman has been one of the lone voices in journalism to question whether doctors have sufficient justification to be writing so many estrogen prescriptions, or whether it is the pharmaceutical industry that is driving the research, marketing, and use of hormone replacement therapy. In 2002, several important women's health studies revealed that estrogen may cause more problems in patients than it is correcting or preventing, and that in fact it has a dismal record in terms of prevention.

This groundbreaking book illuminates today's "menopause industry," tracing the history of estrogen use from its early purveyors, including a well-meaning British doctor who lost control of the marketing of DES and therefore inadvertently led to the DES baby crisis, to Nazi experimentation with women and estrogen, to the present, and looks at how an experiment of this proportion could have been conducted without oversight, intervention, or real knowledge as to what its effects would be.

A women's health advocate for more than forty years, Barbara Seaman is a national judge of the Project Censored Awards, an advanced science writing Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism, and the cofounder of the National Women's Health Network, a women's advocacy group in Washington, D.C., that refuses money from the drug industry as part of its charter. A frequent contributor to the New York Times and the Washington Post, she has been either a columnist or contributing editor at the following publications: Ms., Omni, Ladies' Home Journal, Bride's, Family Circle, and Hadassah magazine. She is the author of The Doctors' Case Against the Pill, For Women Only: Your Guide to Health Empowerment, Free and Female, Women and the Crisis in Sex Hormones, and Lovely Me: The Life of Jacqueline Susann. She lives in New York City.